They were all in Chloe’s apartment, at least all the women. Connie put her foot down and ordered the men out.
Kathiah was crying in Elle’s arms and Elle was telling her that everything would be all right.
Maddy had never met her half-sister before, but Elle waved her over as soon as she walked in the door.
“Kat,” said Elle, “this is Maddy. The two of you have a pretty special bond. And right now, you’re both in the same boat. What you need to do is go downstairs and talk. The rest of us will deal with it up here, but it’s pretty important that you two get on the same page.”
“I’m sorry,” said Kathiah, “I know it’s serious and I really need to pull myself together. It’s just a shock.”
“Nothing to be sorry about,” said Maddy, “about all that’s happening is that the family you didn’t know you had is here to help you. Come on little sister, let’s make it better.”
“I don’t know what to think,” said Kathiah, “How can you spend your whole life being normal, and in a couple hours have that change?”
“They call you Kat, right?” asked Maddy.
“Well I’m Madilyn, though nobody has called me that in so long I’d have trouble spelling it. How’d you get such an interesting name?”
“Kathiah is like a Himalayan mink, or ermine. The fur on the royal robe of Napal is Kathiah. My Dad thought it was very feminine and pretty.”
“It is. And so are you. I’ve spent my whole life being the little sister. And that’s pretty cool. Everyone takes care of you. Now I have a beautiful little sister I have to take care of. And you don’t even have the decency to be homely. OK. I’m cute. I’m short. But there are very few women that wouldn’t feel inferior standing next to you.”
“I’m too tall, and too skinny.” Said Kat.
“You’re delicate and all feminine, tall I’ll buy. As sisters we’re a real Mutt and Jeff act.”
Kat finally loosened up and chuckled. “Yeah, aren’t we?”
“Got anything to drink?”
“Eric brings us wine. Rose and I are nineteen, Chloe’s twenty.”
“So??? Oh, in the cupboard by the refrigerator.”
Maddy found four bottles of the Rosselli’s premium zinfandel, a corkscrew, a carafe and half a dozen wine glasses. She decanted a bottle and brought it over to the coffee table, set out three coasters and poured.
“OK what can you tell me about dear old Mom? I’ve only met her twice and as far as I’m concerned, she’s a total cunt. She was nothing but nasty to me and flat out told me that if she hadn’t gotten a bunch of cash to have me, I’d have ended up in the trash can behind the abortion clinic.”
“I’ve never met her, but I suspect she’d have the same reaction to me. Still I guess I know more about her than you do. She’s a bit of a local scandal. Came to a head about five years ago. Her habit of extortion for abortion was sort of known amongst the richer families, so she was finding it hard to, I don’t know what to call it, score I guess. She got all the way down to high school kids, and the Dad of the second one, a seventeen-year-old decided not to take it. She pushed it, but the court only gave her five thousand. Meanwhile the local media ate her alive and a local DJ ended his show by dedicating an oldie called “Lucretia McEvil” to her.
“She scored pretty well before that I guess. Even after her family disowned her, she’s not hurting. Lives in her own vineyard near Paso Robles. It’s small but she seems to make a good living from it.”
“In other words, she’s a cunt and my first impression was right.”
They talked into the early evening only sipping on the wine and leaving half in the carafe, which they carried up the stairs at about six. The men had been allowed back in and Chloe was about to serve dinner.
“Today we brought some pot roast and meatloaf up from the restaurant. Everybody gets Brussels sprouts, and please, please try them, they won’t be what you expect. There is a mushroom sauce for the egg noodles, if you want it and dessert is three berry pies, which we lost track of, one is boysenberry, one Marion berry, one huckleberry, but we don’t know which is which,” said Chloe. “Drink your milk and you can have wine. Remember that the little children are starving in Armenia so clean your plates. Now sit down, shut up and eat.”
Maddy sat next to Elle on purpose. “Sorry you had to find out this way,” she said.
Elle smiled at her. “Mikey told me the whole story before we got married. He said that secrets like that don’t belong around two people in love. You know Maddy your Dad is just a great guy now. Yeah, he had a rough patch. Karen, that fucking bitch, hurt him pretty badly and he was just lashing out. But I thank God for you. He told me you’d make the decision on what he shouldn’t have told me, and you made it so as not to hurt us, when you probably had every reason to bury the dagger in our hearts. In the end Mikey was a lousy father, but Michel made up for that, and he’s been a good brother. And I’ll try to be a great sister in law. Thank you Maddy.”
Maddy dropped a tear or two on her plate. She just reached over and squeezed Elle’s hand.
After dinner Maddy went back over to Kat. “Tomorrow you have to show me everything,” she said.