Chapter 6 (Part 2)

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"Come on Rina... Think about it. You know how your father is..."

"I know mum and that is why I am doing this." Katrina replied as she threw in yet another item into her suitcase.

"But Rina..."

"Mum." Katrina stopped what she was doing and turned to face her. "You have been good to me and you know, had it not been absolutely necessary I wouldn't have done this."

"Then don't." Alice, the younger Mrs Maracheli retaliated. "I know   that I am not your real mum but, you are the closest thing that I have to a daughter, a child even and I really do hate to see you go this way."

"It is not like I have a choice. I can't keep on waiting when it is obvious to everyone that he will never change his mind about me."

"And the baby?"

Katrina smiled as one hand lifted slowly to cradled her growing belly.

"He, she... They. Whoever they are, they are the real reason behind everything. I have thought about it and the more I do, the more I am convinced that this is the best thing that I can ever do for them." she explained with a smile and it was true. This baby had given a sense of purpose and added meaning to her otherwise senseless life. This new purpose gave a direction and an understanding of what it was that she needed to do to make things right.

"Is there no changing your mind then?" the woman that she had come to call mother asked her.

"I am afraid not. My mind is already made up."

"Then I won't try to stop you and you know, if you do ever need anything, I am just but a call away."

"I know mum," she smiled, brushing off a stray  tear from her eye. "but I must decline the offer you gave. I know what dad is like and I want to create a situation with you and dad. He finally found someone, you after a very long time and I wouldn't want to jeopardize that for anything."

"Aaaw... You're so sweet, but I am dead serious. I can handle your father otherwise I wouldn't have married him if I couldn't."

"Look at you mum! " Katrina laughed. "I am so happy to hear that. It makes my leaving you here much easier, that is knowing that you can handle yourself and all."

"Quit making fun of me Katrina." Mrs Maracheli laughed.

"Who? Me?" she pretended to look around dramatically. "I would never!"

"Does this mean that you've changed your mind about leaving?" the older Mrs Maracheli appeared with a silver tray in her hand. On it was a glass of water, some tablets and a white envelope. She proceeded to place it on the vanity before turning back to the pair.

"Hardly. It seems that her mind is already made up." Alice replied as her face took on a skeptical look.

"Huh! So all this was just a ploy?" Katrina accused as she eyes swang from one to another.

"You can't blame us for trying. We care about you. But then again, we should have known, after all you are father's daughter."

"True." Alice agreed. "When I was told, I did find it rather hard to imagine that our sweet and mellow Katrina was the one who stood up and spoke out her mind in front of him."

"But you also do it. All the time in fact. " the old lady pointed pointed out to her.

"Yea, but that is me and I do it in private, not the way this little spit fire did today. "

"Come on... Give me a break. It is not something to be proud of. The way you ladies are putting it, you are making me sound like the rebellious daughter of Mr Dominic Maracheli."

"Aren't you? And you know what? It is never too late to go and make amends."

"Mum... We've been through this already. I am a married woman and I have an obligations." with that Katrina turned around and continued folding her dresses. Behind her, the two older women shared a look between themselves and the older one nodded at the younger, before taking off to walk out in haste. After a while Alice turned around and clasped a hand on Katrina's shoulder. She squeezed it and before she knew it, she had pulled the girl into a tight all encompassing hug.

Slowly, she let go and took a step back, her eyes now shiny as they brimmed with unshed tears threatening to spill out. "Mum..." Katrina mumbled as Alice shook her head. Without a word, she turned around and followed the old lady out leaving Katrina to muse and puzzle over their sudden change and the weird behavior that they were now exhibiting.

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