Chapter 29 At five o’clock, Catherine was pacing her room. She had her wedding dress on; Chelsea and Jane were still in the living room with their hair and make-up, repeating the episode of so many complaints. She kept on pacing, except for the veil that would go on at the last minute. She was so committed to her pacing that she didn’t notice Dave come into the room. Finally, he spoke.
She ignored him.
“Come on, Cathy, calm down. You’re scouring a hole in the carpet. Relax, you are so tense.”
“Dave! Oh, thank God you’re here. I’m so nervous. I-I… I did what you asked. I took a pregnancy test and it’s positive. Oh, God.” She stepped as fast as she could in the restrictive dress and wrapped her arms around her brother, hugging him tightly. “I don’t know what to do now… are you mad at me?”
“Of course not! But did you tell him?” Dave asked and let her sit at the edge of the bed.
“No! Not yet!” “When are you going to tell him?” “I don’t know. I don’t even know if he wanted this baby. What should I do? Are you not mad at
“Why should I? That’s a blessing. Listen… Catherine … I love you so much. And whatever happens, we will have that baby, OK? For now, fix yourself. You look ready to run away.” Dave added, “I was just over at Jane’s room, helping little Simon, …helping him get ready. Calm down. You look like you’re going to hyperventilate.” “I can’t calm down! I know, I’m trying. God, Dave, I just… I’m so lost! I can’t believe it’s happening… This baby-” “Look, I certainly never thought this would happen as well. I mean, I know we talked about having a big family someday, but… Jesus, I’m also panicking Catherine. We will think about this tomorrow alright? but for now, don’t let him know yet. Let’s weigh his side on this matter, but we are keeping the baby, OK? Promise me, Catherine, promise me.” mumbled Dave with a serious face. “Of course, I’m keeping this. I can’t tell you how many times I hoped and prayed that I’d get to marry someone someday, have children… but to someone who…” she halted and sighed before she continued, “this is a risk I’m taking on, you know this right? Besides, I am already married to him.”
“I know, but for now, it’s all about you and Shawn, and besides, the media is on set. They are waiting to feast on you and the billionaire empire of Richmond, so s**k it up and be the warrior you ought to be. Chin up!”
She nodded her head and took a deep breath. After all, she told him everything about the contract and Shawn’s problem with the shareholders, his grandfather’s issues, and especially
about his ex’s many death threats. Unexpectedly, Catherine had a disastrous thought. “Oh my God, Dave. Do I have time to back out?”
“NO! Are you out of your mind? The baby needs a home Catherine, and it’s a pandemic, for heaven’s sake. Think about how difficult it is nowadays to raise a child… Jesus! Don’t you dare, I don’t have enough earnings yet to support the three of us.” Dave grabbed his sister by the shoulders and looked her right in the eye, willing her to calm down. Don’t worry. Deep breath, in, then out.”
“But he doesn’t love me, Dave! This marriage is just a disaster.”
“Cathy, listen to me! Listen! I know this marriage is just for show and as phony as Elizabeth’s b***s, but trust me on this. Love will come when it’s ready, maybe not now, but soon. OK?” Catherine did her best to calm down, taking long, deep breaths and trying to look her brother in the eyes. She was confused, upset that her brother would hate her, scared that her friends would blame her, just scared of everything. “I’m scared for the baby’s life.” “Stop! Cathy, look at me!” Dave could feel his sister’s whole body shaking, and her breathing was still erratic. “We can do this together, OK? You and me and that child. So what if Shawn doesn’t want it? I’ll work myself to death to support you and the baby. Catherine, you are the only one I have, and I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and that baby safe. Calm down and listen to me and tell me you understand that.”
“I… I do… I just… I love you so much, Dave, and I don’t ever want anything to come between us. And I was talking about how badly I wanted to help you with your art, but I’m too useless. It just occurred to me that you might think… and I didn’t give you enough… Then, you’ll freak out. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, God! Stop doing that. You did everything. You became a mother and father to me, Catherine. It was more than enough.”
“Of course, don’t be sorry. Just tell me, you are keeping the baby. I could get used to having a baby boy, you know, someone I could talk to about boy staff and not makeup and stupid eyeliner.” Catherine chuckled, “I will… I promise, I will.” She began to slowly smile, knowing that her brother was just making her feel better. Her breathing finally came under control, and she somehow escaped the horror of her drama without damage to her makeup.
“Cathy, you know I love you. I will always love you. When mom and dad died, you were there for me whenever I needed you, or even if you thought I needed you. I don’t think I could have made it without you.” Dave added.
Cathy hugged her brother again. “You’re my very best friend, Dave, my brother, and my family. Now, we have another one in our family. It’s one of the things that makes this so special. We’re family no matter what.”
“Yes, we are family.”
Meanwhile, in the groom’s room, Shawn doesn’t normally drink hard liquor, but this has been a hell of a day, and as far as he could see, it wasn’t going to pick up soon. So he got himself in his room, sent the media away from him after an interview, ignored Elizabeth the whole time and told the latter to stay away from him and from Catherine, took his bags of fuss up to his room and went straight to his minibar. The room was a mess as he worked his way through it. It was obvious to him that Catherine didn’t want this marriage and didn’t want the limelight either, and he wasn’t the only one stranded in this marriage tonight. He heard her talking to someone on the phone on their shared balcony. And she was not happy about this arrangement, but couldn’t do anything about it. Could he blame her? He didn’t even know what made him enter this mess… Maybe he cared too much about her? Or was he so possessive that he didn’t want to share her with anyone else? He hated the idea of her with another man, and when he heard her call Hugh and cancel their dinner date, it made him so mad and outrageous.
“D**n it!” He was never like this. He didn’t care about her, nor was it his goddamn business if she dated someone, and yes he knew it was a lie.
The bar of his insanity was getting too high now and, looking at it from a much bigger perspective, maybe he was crazy. Being married to some stranger in Las Vegas was crazy enough, but now, making it official that the whole world would know was even crazier… He didn’t know why. He had no experience of this kind of a mess, but to his grandfather, it would be the best thing that would ever happen to him. The old man was happy enough to know that Catherine would be his granddaughter soon. Shawn wasn’t expecting much but he wanted her to like him. Not just because he asked her too in front of everybody else.
For some strange reason, a little pain hit him in the gut thinking about divorcing her after two years. It was an irritation he did not expect; it was much more intimate than an ache or anything he had ever encountered. He took his drink and scanned the room. He thought Catherine was out of his system, that after their mind-blowing s*x in the cottage, he’d be back to himself, but no, he wanted her even more and, to make matters worse, instead of telling her about his feelings for her, he ignored her. Yes, being stupid as he was, he avoided her and she did the same. It was a win-win situation, right?
“B****y hell!” He grumbled under his breath.
His room was now surrounded by broken, shredded glass and empty, smashed bottles of valuable wine. The mini bar was practically empty now, but he immediately envisioned a crowded dance floor and rocking music later at the reception. After all, he made sure that the caterer would bring expensive wine later. He decided that to avoid being over-crowded, everything from the little private ceremony and the reception would be held here in the mansion. Though he wanted an extravagant wedding, Catherine insisted on making it simple, small, and private.
Then her silent reverie was intruded by a knock at the door.
“Come in,” beckoned Shawn, who was now pacing with the same intensity his bride-to-be had been doing from the next room.
The door opened and Dave stepped inside. Concerned with the pacing and seeming lack of happiness on Shawn’s face, Dave walked over to him. “Hey mate, are you all right?” As he
glanced at the broken glass, “You needed to ask the cleaner to take care of the glass. Jesus! It’s all messy here. You’re not planning on canceling this wedding, right? It wouldn’t do any good because you are already married, FYI.” “No! I just hate the media.” Shawn looked up at him but was still clearly distracted and unfocused. He glanced over at the photo of his and his grandfather’s birthday that he had brought with him. He had been so happy that day, and they thought they had the next 20-30 years to spend together, but with his stage four cancer, he would be lucky if the old man was alive until next year. “Grandfather wanted to let the world know that I will no longer be available. D**n if I won’t miss the old man.”
“Where is he, by the way?” “Talking to his doctor. He wasn’t feeling very well.” Dave had caught a glimpse of the picture. He had wondered why Shawn had it here in the room in the first place and had assumed it was so he could be a part of the process. He realized now it was to give him strength. He knew this wedding was the old man’s idea and Shawn was just happy to give the old man everything he wished for before he died.
“Shawn, hey, listen to me, okay? Catherine would be okay with this… Or whatever you two had managed to talk about.”
This caused Shawn to look directly into Dave’s eyes. Maybe he was wrong about this man; he seemed more mature and seemed serious than the last time he had a man-to-man talk with him.
“My sister wanted nothing but to work this out. After all, she needs employment, needs a home, needs someone who will take care of her when I’m not around and to find someone. It’s her time to be taken care of now. All our lives, she was the one who cared about me. At a young age, she became a mother and a father to me. I wanted her to be taken care of, to have someone to care for her almost as much as she did for everyone else and lucky you, you’ve got her, she will take care of you. That I know.”
“You really think she’s okay with this?”
“Yes, I have no doubt. None whatsoever.”
“Thanks, I think I needed to hear that. Sorry about being an a*s towards her for two years.” Shawn apologized. “I guess I’m just anxious, a little nervous.”
“Apologies to her, not to me. You owe me nothing,” said Dave. “Last time I saw Catherine, she wasn’t doing any better.”
“Yap! “She was freaking out,” offered Dave. “She was a little nervous too,” but only because she wanted everything to be perfect, of course. It’s not about you or this wedding, maybe something else.”
“Ha! You f*****g liar!” Shawn grumbled and smiled, “I know she told you about our little agreement!” Shawn smirked.
“Yap she did, but her anxiety isn’t about you. Something else is bothering her… you might want to ask her soon. But you know, Shawn,” said Dave as he kicked one broken glass of wine.” I’ve been thinking back to when you guys started seeing each other. I spent a lot of time back then thinking up ever more imaginative ways to kill you.” This brought a small bit of laughter from Shawn as Dave continued. “I mean, I know that my sister is still not over with Jason, yet she has never had anyone since the a*****e… the b*****d. But I don’t want her to get hurt again, and when you told me that you guys have been married for two years now, I lost it. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.” “Because she didn’t tell you?”
“Yes! That too.”
“Yeah, I could tell you weren’t too happy about it,” Shawn said with a smile.
“Cathy and I got into it a few times. If it had been up to me, I would have forbidden her from dating Jason, but he was okay at first, and she was an adult and could make her own choices. Even back then, I made a point of telling her how unhappy and disappointed I was with her lover choices; but she loved the b*****d, f**k! I want to kill him. If ever I see him again, I sure beat the c**p out of him.”
“She loved him?”
“Yes, she did, unfortunately, but he hurt her, big time. So it was a ticket for me to kill him someday.” Dave added. “She told me about the jerk who stole her money,” Shawn mumbled. “Yap! The a*****e cheated on her and, since she was still living at home, I and the girls started brainstorming ideas about what to do to Jason if he ever decided to come back.” “But he never did?” asked Shawn.
“Yes! Good thing! And I recall ever considering that Cathy was pretty upset, hurt and angry, but she never pressed charges nor went to the police. I assumed she was hoping that Jason might come back.” “Hmp!” Shawn nodded his head as Dave continued, “then she said to me one day, she just stopped giving her c**p about him and moved on with her life, but she never dated anyone.”
Shawn smiled wryly and adjusted his position in his chair, leaning forward toward the broken glass for emphasis. Dave looked back at him intently as he continued, “You know, one day I was at the coffee shop. I saw her with someone. I was having my second coffee. I can’t even tell you what it is. I saw a man standing near the door, with my sister at the man’s side. He was well-dressed and well-groomed, in an expensive suit. He was wearing a shirt and tie, nice slacks, and what looked like fairly expensive shoes. I found myself thinking that this was the kind of man Cathy needed to meet. He was sophisticated and seemed to be a successful professional. He looked perfect to me.” “So, what happened to change your mind?” asked Shawn.
“Oh, I did not change my mind. I saw them sitting, and ordered some coffee. She opened her tablet and did her job, but they… I mean, Cathy didn’t see me so I watched them. The man
seemed wealthy, and yes, what I found out was that this man kept on secretly looking at my sister when she was not looking, but from my vantage point, Cathy was too busy to even notice it. I saw some longing, even love in the man’s eyes, like he wanted to tell her something but couldn’t… or he was just too scared to tell her what he felt. And yes, that man was you, two months after you hired her as your secretary.”