Giving up conventional employment hadn't caused Katrina to become lazy. In between caring for her family, she spent long hours each day developing her new skill - painting. In time, she was producing moderate-value pieces she could sell to collectors, thus bringing some extra money into the household.
Her masterpiece, however, was her oil portrait of her beloved husband. It was another part of his growing legacy, and would ensure he was remembered for a long time after his days on Earth were over.
Whilst this image of Myron was forever frozen in time, the same could not be said for their children. In what seemed to her parents like the blink of an eye, Juliet had changed from a sweet little girl into an elegant and sophisticated young woman.
Although she was growing up, Juliet remained her younger brother's study buddy...
... and her intelligence and wit both sparkled, much to her father's pride.
With Juliet heading swiftly towards womanhood, Myron became all the more aware of the passing of time... and there was little left of it to waste.
His family had to pay a well-overdue visit to Miskin Manor.
Time had been a healer for the other members of the Miskin family. Lady Amelia was now fully out of mourning, and starting to love life again - her black dress and veil resigned to the wardrobe in favour of a brighter grass-green ensemble.
When her dear brother-in-law and his family appeared at the manor gates, she hurried towards them and ushered them inside. She was keen to catch up with Myron, and so, the two of them headed into her study for a nice long chat.
Meanwhile, the younger Miskins were also becoming acquainted. Juliet shared jokes with her cousin Fleur, whilst Montague and Titus discussed more intellectual topics - Lord Ronan flittering back and forth between them.
In the gardens, Katrina was introducing herself to another family member.
"I hope I've made your brother happy, Lord Mostyn," she whispered to the marble gravestone before her. "And, as such... I hope I've made you happy, too."
Katrina, in particular, was well aware of how the years had passed. Some weeks ago, during her morning toilette, she had discovered a grey hair amongst her cherry-red locks. Now, they were appearing more and more frequently.
Myron didn't know it, but Katrina hadn't exactly been honest about her age. Her husband believed that there was, at most, five years between them. In truth, it was double that... and then some. It had never been a problem before, and Katrina's secret had stayed safe. But the beauty and vitality of her youth was slowly fading. She wouldn't be able to keep up the facade for much longer. And now, as she stood facing a monument to a lost soul, it was a harsh reminder of her own imminent mortality.
Besides... her age wasn't the only secret she had kept from Myron.
She was brought out of her morbid thoughts by the sound of approaching footsteps.
"Oh! Lady Amelia!"
Embarrassed, apologies gushed forth from Katrina's mouth.
"Forgive me... I wasn't intending to... if you want me to..."
Smiling softly, Amelia dismissed the stream of words with a gentle wave of her hand.
"No need to be sorry," she said. "I am honoured that you wish to pay your respects to my dear Mostyn."
"You were close to him?" Katrina asked.
"Oh, yes," Amelia told her. "He was my world. I have never loved another man before or since. He knew everything about me, and I, I should hope, knew all about him, too."
"You kept no secrets from him?"
"Never. To do so would have been the ultimate betrayal of our love."
This statement struck a chord deep within Katrina's conscience.
When she and her family returned home that evening for dinner, Katrina made an announcement at the table. Now that she and the children had met Myron's family...
... it was time for them to meet hers.
Juliet grew to such a gorgeous teen, I'm so excited to see what happens nextReplyDelete
Many thanks for reading!ReplyDelete
Ah, trouble is brewing, I see. Poor Katrina, I sort of feel for her, yet it's a big secret to keep from your husband that you're actually much older and you have children of your own elsewhere... Alas, I will look forward to seeing how that plays out! What a lovely chapter to meet the entire Miskins clan!ReplyDelete