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I finished my drink, probing the bottom of the glass with the straw for the last remnants, making that sound that always annoyed Mum. On that day, however, reclining side by side on our loungers down at the pool while the continuing heat wave showed us its stuff, she didn’t say anything.
It was the day after our exfiltration of Gina, Kitten having spent most of this time alone, as I understood it, and we were worried and concerned over her. Though she’d never have admitted it, something else that both Mum and I worried about was what would happen once Ashleigh got wind of it all. Chances were that she’d already been told about it, if not by her staff and the gatekeeper, than quite possibly by Kitten. The only thing that implicated Mum, of course, was her following Gina out and down to the gatehouse in my car to ensure she got through and away at any cost. Presently, this was the topic of conversation between us and the thing most likely responsible for her not commenting on my annoying straw suction.
“Why don’t we just tell Ash that I went to try to change her mind?” she asked.
“Because she’d never believe you’d let Gina get as far as the door if you really thought she should stay. Besides, you probably saw her through the gate, then turned around and came back, right?”
“Yes,” she answered, adding, “Oh… yes, I see. The gatekeeper could report that I literally saw her through without even so much as getting out of the car to catch her there when I had the chance.”
“You’re sure she was still closed and put to rights when she left?” I asked.
“Yes, no question. Kitten didn’t get in again.”
“Okay. While keeping in mind that we haven’t a clue about what those two talked about before things moved into the corridor, we have to assume that Kitten noticed Gina was put to rights again. In turn, we have to assume that she’ll report this, or already has reported it, to Ashleigh and that…”
“What?” she fretted.
“Uh… we also have to assume that Kitten saw you in the corridor. If Ashleigh is led to believe Gina was allowed to leave here knowing about us, which she was…”
“Oh, no,” she groaned under her breath, voicing the conclusion of our fears with, “Once Kitten tells Ash that Gina was obviously able to evade her influence, I’ll have to be prepared for explaining why I’d let her go without making sure she was secure first in any case.”
“Exactly. If you’d done what would have been expected of you in the corridor, there would’ve been no need to follow her to the gatehouse anyway.”
“I have to lie and say that I did,” she judged with helpless finality, even throwing her free hand into the air for a split second. “I have to say I nudged her and got rid of anything that would come back to haunt us.”
“Because it still doesn’t explain your following her to the gatehouse and because I told Kitten that Gina told me she’d never tell anyone about us. She wouldn’t have told me that if you’d taken care of her.”
“Mum, she’d just come back around and she was starting to trip right out. I had to tell her something.”
” … (Sigh) Great. I was supposed to be left out of this.”
“I’m sorry, but you’re the one who involved yourself when you came out to the corridor.”
Mum heaved another, heavier sigh, chewing on the end of her straw as she appeared to study the surface of the pool water. She looked fabulous in that black bikini, the bottoms of her melons hanging out of the relatively small triangles of the top. Slutty and delicious, she’d had my dick rock hard in what she’d come to call my ‘double O trunks’ since we took up position there at the pool.
“Maybe…” I pondered. “Maybe you could say that you were so upset by what you saw, by Kitten’s violent behaviour I mean, that you didn’t even think about checking into Gina, that you only followed her to the gatehouse because you were concerned about her ability to safely operate a car in the emotional state she was in.”
” … No. It won’t work, I’m going to get drawn in.”
“I wish I could share your confidence, Son,” she confided.
I watched Monique emerge from the pool house with my next drink, a big smile and without a stitch of clothing. Her suit was on the deck in front of us where I’d earlier told her to leave it after Mum told her to take it off. She looked almost as good as Mum as she leaned over so we could exchange glasses and, were it not for our conversation, I’d have probably had her bouncing in my lap.
“Keep in mind,” I pointed out after the lovely young French woman politely left our company, “that, officially, you have no idea what I did with Gina the night before. Officially, I did that all by myself in my apartment. You had no idea what I was up to and nobody can prove you had involvement with my interference. So, the next morning, we both heard a ruckus. I got out to the corridor first and hauled Kitten off Gina as you opened your door. I subdued Kitten, Gina told me to tell her she loves her and that she’ll never tell before she left with you following her down Kartal Escort to the gatehouse because…”
We both pondered this until Mum finally gave up with another hopeless and heavy sigh.
“You were concerned that she couldn’t drive safely,” I dismally repeated.
“If only you didn’t tell Kitten what you did,” she almost moaned. “Logically, I’d have seen to her before I’d let her leave, and I don’t think Ashleigh would ever think for one second that I’d let that slip my mind for any reason, especially during all the time I had while following her through the house and down to the main flippin road.”
“But if I told Kitten that Gina had been seen to before she left, there would have been no reason for her to leave and, if she did, I’d be defeating our purpose. Gina would be waiting for Kitten to return home, Kitten would have no reason not to, and all this effort to keep them safe from her would sooner than later come to naught.”
“You’re right, but that still doesn’t solve this little dilemma,” she depressingly noted.
“Just… say that she wouldn’t look you in the eyes, you didn’t know what to do short of forcing her, but she was already tripping out after getting beaten like that, so all you could do was helplessly follow her to the main road where she left before you could think of what to do.”
“That is so lame. Nobody would ever believe that of me, hon. Furthermore, what if Ashleigh has Gina chased down and returned here?”
” … She wouldn’t do that. Would she?”
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t put it past her. I will say that I’m surprised she hasn’t confronted us on this yet. So, while we’re assuming she already knows what happened, we also pretty much have to assume that she must be up to something, if only gathering evidence that she can bring to bear.”
“On me, you mean,” I droned. “You can’t imagine how much more positive that doesn’t make me feel.”
“I’m sorry, but you know that we also have to assume she knows about most everything that goes on in this house. It’s not just the staff; she could have every room in this house bugged for all we know.”
“Oh, god… Okay, none of this stuff really helps me unless stomach cramps are good. Just stick to what I said no matter what: You didn’t know what the hell to do, so you just made sure she was okay until she was no longer our responsibility. As far as that goes, she was always telling me that Gina was none of my business, so why wouldn’t that apply to you too?”
” … Uh, that’s actually pretty good. That might be what we need. But, why wouldn’t I have gone to her about this sooner, if not before Gina even left?”
” … Because you didn’t think she belonged here, anyway.”
“Sure. The best lies are mixed with truths, and if she doesn’t like your opinion and following actions in the matter, than to hell with her. That’s always been your attitude with her anyway, hasn’t it?”
” … Sweetie pie… I think we may have something here.”
“Yeah… Yeah, just go along with that story. Nobody can prove any different and Sheila will back you to her dying breath. Also, once my guilt comes to light, I’ll deny any suggestions that you were involved in any way. So what if you had an opinion, it doesn’t prove you were complicit. All you were doing was complying with Ashleigh’s non interference mandate, which I’ve obviously mentioned to you. You didn’t have a clue about what I was up to and, while Sheila backs you up as your alibi, I’ll go down maintaining that story.”
“Hmm… It does seem likely that you’ll go down for this sooner or later, doesn’t it?”
I didn’t answer, my silence doing that as well as any words might have.
“I’m sorry,” she sincerely expressed.
“It’s okay. You were right, it had to be done and it had to be me who did it. But you were also totally right about execution. I should have just wiped everything out of her mind like you wanted me to, but I thought I knew better. I’m an idiot.”
“You’re not an idiot, you were right.”
“Mum, look what happened. How could I have been right?”
“What happened was almost inevitable, and I saw it coming when you convinced me of your strategy. Yes, it was horrible, I cried off and on all day yesterday because of it, but now Gina and her people back in Langley are safe and they’ll stay that way because you were able to make a tough call and even pay the piper when all was said and done for what you believed was the right thing.”
” … You think so?” I asked doubtfully.
“Sweetie pie, I know so. As regrettably as it turned out, the easy choice is rarely the right one, and I’m actually quite proud of how you handled this mess that I never wanted to dump on you to begin with. Again, I’m sorry.”
“Thanks, Mum. And it’s okay, I’d have done something about it sooner or later, even if you hadn’t come to me about it.”
“You’re welcome, and I’m sure you would have. That’s why I was so confident in bringing it to you.”
“Even though I involved Sheila?”
” … Have you two spoken since yesterday morning?”
“We had a late Pendik Escort supper together on the patio.”
“Oh? How’d that go?”
“Alright,” she replied.
“Just alright,” she confirmed, her tone growing slightly aloof.
I left it alone, instead going back to the subject of my cousin with, “What did you think of Kitten’s little display, anyway?”
“You still think she’s crazy,” Mum assumed.
“What did you think of Kitten’s little display, anyway?” I asked again, this repeat of my words and the wry grin on my face saying it all.
“She’s been under a lot of personal strain lately, you know. She loves you, but she has that situation at home… Well, she had that situation at home. Oh my, what a god awful mess.”
“We’ve all been under a lot of strain lately, Mum.”
“And we’re all showing that strain in our own little ways. Try to be a little considerate of her position.”
“I’m still having a bit of a hard time with how toxic she was for Gina’s position, and I have to wonder how long it’ll be before I’m victimized by-“
“Oh come off it, sweetie pie,” Mum scoffed. “We all abused Gina, not just Kitten, but… that’s Gina. You’re not Gina and you can look out for yourself where Kitten is concerned. Moreover, you’ll be looking out for her.”
“I swear to god, you and Ashleigh keep making excuses for her but, if somebody doesn’t sit her down for a very serious talk, we all might wanna start looking out for Kitten, and this is my point when I say-“
“That’s not what I mean. I mean that you’ll be taking care of her in that way. You’re the one who’ll be giving her most of that talk, you’re the one she’ll really want to please and you’ll be taking care of her like that.”
“What?” I laughed in a slightly higher tone than usual, fearing it was true.
“Hon… Sheila does the things she does partly because of her drive, but also partly because she has problems identifying with other people’s feelings. I told Kitten this not long after we met but, since then, I’ve seen that Kitten is actually very much like her mother in that way. I didn’t recognize it at the time but, now that her eyes have been opened, to use Ash’s lingo, that trait has become a lot stronger.”
“This is supposed to reassure me?” I asked before taking another sip through the straw.
“It wouldn’t reassure me,” she admitted, “but you need to be prepared for that with her just the same. She’s capable of doing things that you may not expect, or ever see coming. She doesn’t mean any harm, it’s just…”
“Well, this is what I told Kitten herself: Sheila, as she grew older, developed this way she had of casually doing things that hurt others without the slightest understanding of why they should be hurt. If the same things were done to her, we’d be planning revenge on somebody over it, but she herself, I came to see, often couldn’t see things from the perspective of others. For example, she’d flirt with a group of guys right in front of her boyfriend and never understand why he’d be upset about it. I’d ask her how she’d feel if her boyfriend did that to her, and she’d tell me that she honestly couldn’t say.
“At first, I had to wonder if she was a liar, then I had to wonder if she was deluded, and then I had to wonder if she was just an idiot. Eventually, I came to see that she was none of those things. She merely harboured- harbours- an almost sociopathic inability to appreciate another’s feelings. Kitten is the same way, especially now, the difference being that she can nudge people and Sheila can’t.”
The gravity of her words, especially how her last statement applied to them, sank in like the heat of the sun overhead, the heavy pause hanging in the air between us almost palpable until she spoke again.
“The good news is that she’s not evil like your grandmother. Her good intentions may sometimes take a backseat to her desires, but we’re all guilty of that, and her intentions are no blacker than those of any other Burchell.”
“Uh huh,” I said, wondering if I’d go so far as to call this ‘good news’, as opposed to something like, ‘not completely bad news’. “Can I have some more positivity?”
“As long as you promise not to tell anyone what I’m going to tell you next, yes you can.”
“Oh? What’s this?”
“You have to promise.”
“Yes, yes, I promise I won’t tell.”
“Well… Kitten’s boyfriend is actually her father.”
This stunned me to quite a degree, my overloaded mind only catching up to just why that was good news seconds later while Mum tried not to laugh at my dumbstruck expression. Kitten was in no position to judge me for having sex with my own mother.
“Yeah, I know,” she finally chuckled. “She told me she got all horny and then got her hands down his underwear… Um, I hope you don’t mind, but I told her that you and I have done some stuff.”
I choked on the mouthful of putrid alcohol, almost spewing it out over myself.
“I’m sorry, but telling her just seemed like the thing to do at the time. She was upset and I didn’t want her thinking Göztepe Escort I thought any less of her.”
“You told her!?”
“Baby, it’s alright. That’s good news for her in the same way her relationship with her father is good news for you.”
“Oh my god!”
“Okay, I understand how you’d be upset, but I didn’t tell her much and I spun it so that it looked like we had no choice.”
“Oh, well that makes it all better,” I groaned.
“But try to look at the big picture, sweetie pie. Now we can be more comfortable together around her, and we can have the dirtiest little threesomes and- hey, where are you going?”
I was only going as far as the pool, throwing myself in to swim the length, then return just to get away from the sound of her voice for a few minutes. It worked, my senses somewhat stabilized over the issue by the time I pulled myself out of the water to sit on the edge, legs still in with my back to her.
“Ashleigh roped me in almost as soon as I got here,” I admitted.
I have no idea why I said this; I certainly hadn’t planned on it, rather just let it spill from my mouth like I was finally vomiting up something that had been making me sick for a long time.
“I don’t mean sexually, although she sure used that angle to varying degrees of success, but I mean she had me… doing her bidding, I guess you’d say.”
“And what did her biding entail?” Mum asked without a trace of animosity, or even surprise.
” … Mostly, she was concerned about bringing Kitten up to speed and made me see to it.”
“I’m the only person who makes you do anything.”
“That’s how she was able to do it to me,” I explained, my wry smile reappearing as I heard her rise from her lounger. “I’ve been so concerned and worried about you since this whole mess began, and finally there’s Ashleigh, someone with some answers, someone who seems to be an authority, or is at least passing herself off as one, and she was all I could have hoped for.”
“That stupid promise,” Mum sighed as she sat beside me, her legs dangling in the water too.
“It wasn’t a stupid promise. It was one you had me make and I took it seriously.”
“I didn’t have you make that promise. She did. And, had she known what was really what at that point, she wouldn’t have. I keep telling you that.”
“I know. I know. It’s just…”
“You’re trying to hang on to some remnant of the past, our life in Vancouver. You see it as normalcy and you’re desperate to return to it, or some form of it that you can recognize.”
“I suppose. I never thought of that, but I suppose you’re right.”
“And what other Icon of normalcy and security would supersede me as the embodiment of those things in your mind?”
I smiled and looked over at her without fear of looking her in the eyes. It was nice that I could do this, even nicer that she wasn’t freaking out about me being in cahoots with her oldest sister.
She smiled back, hanging a hand with rings occupying every finger over my shoulder and asked, “So, what happened?”
” … We’d just come out of Saint John. I had no idea who you were anymore, no idea who I was, and I was almost as afraid of myself as I was of you. All I could think about was all the people you’ve…”
“Murdered,” she finished for me with a correct assumption.
“(Ahem) yeah, and… As I say, I had no idea who you were anymore and I was worried because of the way things were going. I knew I’d never handle you, and you seemed so…”
“Unstable,” she finished again.
“Well, yeah. I didn’t know where we’d end up, so once these invitations panned out the way they did, I had a vested interest in keeping you here for what I saw as your best interests.”
“I had a feeling.”
“Almost from the beginning, but it was in the way she obviously knew about my killing Mum that really told me.”
“That information could’ve been passed to her by one of her investigators. If she knew where to deliver those invitations, there was a good chance she’d know about Grammie’s death and our visit there that same evening.”
“You’re right, but… I know you. I saw the look on your face when she’d bring up Mum’s death in your presence, and my intuition was singing of your involvement every time.”
” … And you didn’t come to kill me?”
She laughed at this, lovingly squeezing my shoulder as she lazily kicked her legs against the water’s resistance.
“Well,” I explained, “anybody who knows you knows that you don’t take betrayal very well.”
“No, I don’t, and I can see that you and Sheila really have been talking,” she said with her leftover smile. “Truthfully… Let’s just say that, by the time I was sure you and Ashleigh were in cahoots, I was starting to see things differently. This place has changed my mind about… things.”
“Mine too,” I threw in.
“The longer I’m here, the harder it is to imagine leaving,” she confided. “I don’t like that, but there it is, and along with that comes a certain understanding of your motives. Like Sheila and Kitten, I sometimes tend to forget that my actions can have effects on those I love. I’m only thankful that I can see it, and I’m sorry if I’ve been putting you through hell, baby. I don’t mean to, I’m just… finding myself anew. Like Kitten is. No, I’m not mad anymore, but please try to cut Kitten and I some slack too, alright?”
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