One year later, Scotland.
Once Catherine awakened and sat up, the rays of sun streaming in through the windows immediately blinded her. Her vision was blurry and her hair was a mess as she yawned and tried to get her thoughts together.
She instantly noticed that there was a space on the mattress where Dave should be.
She blinked twice, she was alone in the apartment. It was too silent, too steady and cold.
The empty space was even more apparent now that she was alone. Dave and she have no furniture, no food, and barely any money. And neither of them has a job. It would take months to get the place back to its former classy glory. Maybe, coming to him was a mistake. She probably made too many mistakes. Yes, just a week ago, Catherine was able to escape Javier’s men. It was no easy feat. It was carefully planned. She managed to befriend one of her trainers and gave the poor man a knockout, then flew under a different name, with a fake passport. With her hair very short, contact lenses, and emo dark outfit, no one recognizes her. Months of training made her aware of everything. Buckets of sweat, a tin of blood, and an unhealed wound from her training exercise made her different from who she really was. Her motivation was to haunt Elizabeth. It was the only thing she could think of. She knew she was now ready for the real world, and so she arranged and planned a thorough escape and went to Dave’s here in Scotland. It was risky, wagering her brother’s life was never on her bucket list, but he was the only one who could help her, so she ransacked his old apartment, and maybe it was sheer luck that Dave was here, and knowing full well that Javier was coming after her and probably too unhappy about her escape, she became obsessed with Dave’s security.
“Where the hell was he?” She grumbled under her breath. What if something happened to him? What if Javier had been her brother? She shivered at the idea.
Looking at the almost empty space, she had no clue how to get them back on their feet, and she was quite nervous about beginning the process of renewing her life. She didn’t tell Dave everything, just a few bits and pieces of her lost memory. She was sure Dave was too happy to even question her story or the credibility of it. After all, she was a changed woman now. She was the total opposite of herself before. She became cold. It was quite the opposite of her previous friendly demeanor. She even told Dave to never let Shawn know about her. She made him promise. Yes, Dave was very upset and angry about her unborn child. But she knew her brother was more than grateful that she was alive after all this time. He even told her about his grave, their friends’ grief from her sudden death, and how upset and sad Jane and Chelsea were. How Shawn grieves her death How he manages to silence the media. Dave even questions the woman’s burnt corpse, which they hurriedly buried during her funeral. It was so burned that no one recognized it wasn’t even Catherine. And yet, everybody believed it was her.
She got up from the mattress on the floor and made her way to the small bathroom. She allowed the water to wash over her too-pale skin and jet-black short hair. Despite the cold temperature, she found the water incredibly relaxing.
The water was a symbol of her freedom as it washed over her body. Drip by drip, it encompassed her, releasing her trapped senses and conflicted sentiments. It reminded her that she was home and she was no longer burdened by the horrible life she had lived back then. Javier’s hand. It was probably decent prisoner ground. She had been guarded 24/7, with only ten minutes of freedom in the bathroom. They trained her well, from guns to hand-to-hand combat to sword fighting. Catherine was no less than a tool. A tool for Javier’s boss, greater plans to take the key to Richmond’s gold and diamonds.
He stepped out of the shower and grabbed her towel quickly. She tiptoed on the white, creamy tiles and maneuvered her way around the empty apartment towards Dave’s suitcase in the corner.
She pulled on a pair of jeans, a plain dark t-shirt, and Dave’s girlfriend’s favorite converse shoes. It felt wonderful to be out of those stiff workout clothes and be back in her own comfort zone. Maybe she will start planning her life now. What was she supposed to do? Everything was dull now, even her love for Shawn was forgotten. She seldom thinks about him anymore. Because whenever she does, she still feels the pain of betrayal, and even when Dave mentioned that Shawn never remarried nor married Elizabeth, the pang of pain was still there. Perhaps she was wrong? Maybe Shawn cared for her? But what happened to them exactly? She had more questions than answers.
But looking at herself in the mirror, she felt like herself again, perhaps a little empty and cold, but she was still her.
Just then, the door opened and Dave walked in, carrying two brown bags. She was dressed in black pants and a bright yellow shirt. She appeared flustered but natural.
She quite likes this look on him. The eye bags were gone.
“Dave? Where the hell have you been? I told you to-” she said irritably as she ran over to him and helped with the bags, setting them down on the kitchen counter.
“Stop mothering Catherine.”
“I was worried, Dave. I told you to always tell me.”
“Come on, I just went to the grocery store. “He said with a smile. Looking at his big sister, Dave thought that she was no longer there. But unlike the Catherine he once knew, something in her had changed drastically. She had that look. The look of a soldier came from the war. She was always alert and… damned if he could put a word to it. But even so, he was grateful that she was alive and well. Maybe her little amnesia about what she was saying took a toll on her. Not that she didn’t believe her, but it was too easy. Somehow, his sister was not telling her the truth. “Come on … Catherine, don’t give me that look, but anyway, don’t you look cute? It’s been a while since I’ve seen you in jeans and a t-shirt.”
“Next time, please leave me a note. You have me worried there.”
“Find…it’s not like someone’s going to kidnap me here. We are both penniless.” He joked, but yes, it’s true. After her supposed death, he stopped painting and worked as a farmer’s apprentice on the outskirts of the city. It was just sheer luck that his apartment was still empty when his landlord accepted him here last month. Maybe the old man still thought that he was still associated with Richmond, after all, he was the one who helped him before. But after Catherine’s funeral, he stopped accepting his help and came back to Scotland.
“Never, never joke about it, Dave. I wouldn’t be able to come back to my senses if I lost you too.” She began to step backward. At that same moment, Dave saw her as weak as her old self. But seeing her in pain and such sadness made him want to kill those who hurt her. Maybe someday, she will tell him everything.
“Ok, I’m sorry…” he said sweetly, grabbing an apple from one of the bags and propping himself up on the counter. “Where did you go this morning?” changing the subject, he asked:
“Just here… never left the house.” She answered with a little whimper.
“Oh, well, I just had to take a walk. It was so beautiful outside. I really missed going for walks in the neighborhood. I forgot how gorgeous the momings are here. Then I went to check on my stuff in old storage, which should be delivered in two days, and then I went to the farmers’ market for some groceries.”
“Good,” she let out a deep sigh. Dave could tell-being home was making her emotional and scared. Scared with whom?
He added, “Oh, well sis, it’s so good to be home, right? Stop thinking and help me with breakfast. And I’m sorry for what happened, but don’t think about it now, OK? We can do this together. Us. Just us.”
“Just us…” she nodded. The last thing she wanted to do was ruin the mood by diving back into the mess with Shawn and what happened. Dave reached out and rubbed her arm in comfort.
She took a sharp breath in and spoke again, “Shawn never loved me and I really didn’t think it through before I made the decision to get married and live with him. It was a mistake. We had such a wonderful life there in London, just us and my goldfish. I never should’ve given it up. I’m so sorry for what happened to us, Dave. I’m so selfish.” She hopped off the counter and Dave embraced her in a warm, tender hug. “Silly… you did everything for me, Catherine. Don’t you think Shawn didn’t tell me about your contract? About you, sacrificing your whole life to give me an easy one? You did everything for me. You are never selfish. Never. You have to understand that.”
“I am so disappointed in myself, Dave,” she continued
“No..Don’t be. You are amazing. It’s me who wanted to apologize…I’m your brother. I should’ve known better. Please forgive me, Catherine,” he sniffles, holding him tighter.
“Dave, please stop crying. You don’t have to apologize.” She pulled away and stared into his cloudy eyes.
“Fine… but Catherine, it’s so good to have you back… how about Jane and Chelsea?” Dave added with a small smile.
“Not yet. I will inform them soon. But not now.”
The next day, it was barely three o’clock in the afternoon, and the movers were already there with their furniture that had been cooped up in storage for a few months.
As soon as they entered the apartment, Catherine slipped into manager mode. She was now bellowing out instructions on where everything needed to go, so Dave got started on the design
layout of the place.
As soon as an item or box was put down, he moved it around and added his special decorative touch to make the apartment feel homier. Soon, Catherine will have completed the living room. It was decked out with the same creamy rug Dave had had for years, a polished coffee table, a plush golden-colored sofa, and a few family photos hanging on the walls.
The next things they did were hang white curtains above the sliding door that leads onto the balcony and add a few souvenir lamps to give the flat a different look.
Catherine had to admit that she enjoyed watching the transformation take place. She was completely in her zone, designing each room. Adorning also brings back fond memories of Dave and her that she thought were lost.
Dave cannot hide the happiness he felt seeing his sister direct the movers like a professional. Here she was, bustling about the place, her face damp with sweat.
Long after the movers had gone, Catherine and Dave were still busy rearranging the furniture.
ng the kitchen, she was focused on her room. Maybe this new life wasn’t that bad. She thought to herself. But of course, she knew better. Her life would never be the same again, for now. She needed to do this to forget everything. Forget Shawn, her baby, and Javier and his men. Förget Elizabeth while the workload was full-on, she could not be any happier. This was what she needed most before thinking about her plans.
Just as she moved her dresser up against the wall opposite her bed, she heard a soft knock on the main door.
“I’ll get it!” Dave called out from the kitchen. “It must be the last mover dropping off the oven…”
Catherine peered out of her bedroom window to see him hop over some boxes, rolled up wallpaper, tools, and other various items.
When he finally reached the door, he swung it open and froze.
“D******d… who is it?”
When he did not answer her, Catherine let go of the dresser and walked out of her bedroom.
As soon as she was close enough to see the person at the door, her breath caught in her throat.
What the hell was he doing here?
Shawn stood in the doorway, motionless. “Catherine?”