“And Marie?” asked Carey quietly. “What happened?”
Peter shrugged. “Mother doesn’t know. After you were born, Marie just left. Mother didn’t find out that she’d killed herself until later.”
“How come I never saw you or your mother? If she and Mrs Howard are sisters…”
“Mother didn’t want to see you, and definitely didn’t want you to know us. Aunt J respected that.”
“Well, that’s nice. That she respected it. Really. Lovely.”
“Carey!” Ceridwen made to move forward, but Carey shook her head.
“So, they lied about the drug addicted criminal part, but were right on target with the bit where she didn’t want me.”
“Carey…” Phil reached out to touch her, but Carey jumped up from the sofa and turned on her.
“No! You lied! You said… you said she’d have wanted me. Would have loved me. But it’s not true, is it? None of it! She just wanted to get rid of me, like they always said. Everyone always lies to me!”
Blind and deaf to the protestations about her, Carey ran out, ran away. She was over a mile away before she became aware of her surroundings, and she sat down on the ground with a bump. She could feel the tears burning to get free, and gasped, trying desperately to pretend that she didn’t care, not one way or another. So Marie hadn’t loved her. So what? It was only the last week that she had thought she might. Really, she had always known the truth, so why should she make a fuss now. Only… it had been there, so close. A family. Love. Somewhere to belong. But it was all a lie, and she was back where she had always been. She banged her chest, trying to make the tears go away. It wasn’t worth it. None of it was worth it. None of it was… Suddenly, Carey became aware of footsteps, and looked up. There was something familiar about the stranger but not quite… and then she realised who she must be.
“Hello, Sylvia,” she said politely.