After making her announcement, Katrina rushed into the bedroom, trembling with nerves. She heard Myron's footsteps as he followed her. She used her moment or two of solitude to desperately clutch at words, to figure out what she was going to say.
All too soon, Myron entered.
"Darling," he said to her, "what do you mean, "family"?" We're your family, aren't we? You've never mentioned any relatives to me."
Katrina couldn't speak.
"Please, my love," Myron continued. "If you need to tell me something, then tell me. I don't want you hiding any secrets from me."
Katrina drew in a deep breath. This wasn't going to be easy, but Myron was right. It was wrong to keep this a secret any longer. Perhaps it would be best to get it all out at once.
"Myron, darling... I'm so sorry, but... you... you're my second husband."
"W - what?"
"I'm not as young as you think I am. I'm... I'm seventeen years older than you."
"My first husband was named Flamenco. We had two children. Daughters. Nina and Dina. But he passed away whilst they were still young. I raised the girls alone. By the time you came along, they had grown up and were out in the world on their own."
She broken down into tears, relieved to have this weight off of her shoulders, but at the same time, dreading Myron's reaction. Indeed, many moments passed before the gentleman could speak. Much to his wife's surprise, he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, and moved closer towards her.
"Oh, darling... why didn't you tell me before?"
"I... I never really thought about it, what with Juliet and Montague being in our lives. But seeing your brother's grave, and finding grey hairs... it made me realise that my time is running out - "
"You have years left in you!"
" - and I wanted you to know the truth before that dreadful day comes. Please, please... forgive me..."
Myron smiled weakly.
"I cannot forgive you..." he told her, "because there is nothing for me to forgive."
"W - what?!"
"I love you, Katrina. You could have been with a thousand men before me - I would not care. The fact remains that you were my first love, and the only love I'll ever have or want. Whilst I'm shocked by all this, I'm really more upset by the fact you felt that you had to hide it all of these years. I could have met Tina and Mina - "
"Nina and Dina."
"Sorry - in the very beginning, and it wouldn't have changed a thing."
He kissed her, softly - a gesture of care and comfort. Katrina embraced him tightly.
"I want to invite them round this weekend," she told Myron. "I want them to meet their half-siblings. You don't mind that, do you?"
"Not at all. But first, our children have to know the truth."
"Of course. Just give me a minute to collect myself - then I'll tell them."
"No - we'll tell them. Together."
Myron headed towards the door, as Katrina looked for a tissue to dry her eyes. As he was about to leave, he remembered something.
"Oh, by the way - insanity runs in my family."
"See? Now we're square."
And so, the following weekend, Nina and Dina Caliente came to visit.
Juliet and Monty had accepted the fact that they had two half-sisters, but neither one of them was particularly pleased about it. Their views did not alter when they saw them for the first time. Juliet felt that that two women dressed immodestly, and that they weren't particularly intelligent or ladylike - a viewpoint she made known to them.
Monty, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with a longing for mischief, and spent most of the morning impishly teasing Dina - much to her annoyance. Eventually, she snapped and berated him.
"Oh, will you shut up, you little show-off?! Your father may be of noble blood, but that doesn't make you any better than me!"
She stormed off into a back room, with Nina closely following. Whilst Montague seemed genuinely upset by what he had done, Juliet smirked. Women like that had no place in their house, nor in their higher society.
As Katrina sat on the sofa, burying her head in her hands, Myron approached his children sternly.
"How dare you two behave like this! What on Earth do you think you are doing?!"
"We are better than those women, Father," Juliet told him. "I was simply making it known."
"Those women were born to the same mother as you," Myron snapped back. "Are you saying you are better than her, too?"
"No, of course not, Father! I just - "
"Look, I appreciate that has been a shock to you. Don't forget that I didn't know anything about this myself until recently. But the fact is, those women are your family. Your blood. And even if they were not - a well-raised young lady always treats her guests with the utmost respect, regardless of their status. As it stands... you have brought shame upon the Miskins today."
Juliet hung her head, embarrassed. Monty, hearing his father's words, got up and went to find Dina.
Dina was in the master bedroom. Being hot-headed like her mother, she was desperately trying to control her temper and cool down. When she saw Monty poke his head around the ajar door, she very nearly yelled at him... but thankfully managed to hold her tongue.
"What do you want?" she asked him in a cold tone.
"I... I just wanted to say I'm sorry," the child told her. "I don't really think you're bad. I was just teasing. I didn't mean to upset you."
Dina found herself chuckling.
"Oh, well," she said, "you're a kid. I guess it's your job to be annoying."
Monty laughed, and entered the room, taking a seat beside her.
"Sometimes I say or do things without thinking them through," he continued. "Weird, random things. They just pop into my head. I'm starting to think that I might be a little bit crazy."
"That makes sense," Dina told him. "You're my mother's kid, after all."
"They say I'm crazy at school, too," Monty added. "They make fun of me sometimes, when they think I can't hear them. Especially the girls. I know I'm meant to get married one day and carry on my father's legacy, but if all the girls hate me... how can I do that?"
"Don't worry about that," she told him. "You're too young to be thinking about things like that. Besides, you're a sweet little guy. I'm sure you'll grow up into a fine gentleman. Anyway, some people like crazy. There's a chance for you yet."
Her words proved true. If Montague was indeed, socially speaking, the ugly duckling amongst his peers, then his teenage years transformed him into a swan.
Charismatic and sociable, his years of hard study granted him a intelligence and wit that even rivaled that of his older sister. Instead of being ashamed of his eccentricities - an aspect of the hereditary Miskin insanity that he'd received from his father - he wore them on his sleeve, using them to stand out from the crowd and express his individuality.
Montague Miskin wasn't the same as everybody else. And he was loved for it.
Happy that both of her younger children had turned out so well, Katrina entered old age with confidence, ready to spend her twilight years in happiness.
The greatest comfort of all to her was this: despite her grey locks and wrinkled face... Myron still loved her. And he always would.