Elaborate Lives,
Blood Ties

 

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25 Washington Avenue
Blue Cove, Delaware

Extracting the letter from his pocket, Sydney placed it on the kitchen table, deliberately turning his back on it as he walked over to put the kettle on. She had promised that she would contact him at least once after she had faked her death and disappeared from the Centre, and for thirty years he had believed that she had broken that promise. Never once had he considered contacting Harriet, although she had been the person to whom they had sent their letters for each other, certain that the ex-nun would readdress them and forward them on.

Filling the mug, he turned, picking up the letter again and returning it to his pocket before making his way into the living room. Lowering himself into the armchair, he placed the cane on the floor next to him and put the mug onto a convenient small table before easing a finger under the edge of the envelope. The paper crackled loudly in the silent room, and the decades-old paste yielded quickly to his eager pressure, opening to reveal the white paper inside.

Sliding out the page, he unfolded the letter carefully, concerned in case the sheet fell apart, but it unfolded with obliging ease. For a moment, his eyes simply savored the writing, appreciating the smooth lines of her script, before donning his reading glasses and beginning Catherine's final letter to the man she had loved.

4th October, 1970

My dearest Sydney,

It is now almost six months since we last saw each other -- time no doubt worse for you because of your uncertainty about me. As promised, I write to you now from the refuge I have managed to find from those who wanted to kill me. You would perhaps, should you know my location, find the term 'refuge' rather ironic, but I only hope that it will remain such for me. The role I am playing in the Mirage project is drawing to a close, and I can only see two results from it.

One is that I shall soon be able to come back and we'll take Jarod, Angelo and my daughter away to a safe place where we will never hear the word 'Centre' again. Be assured that in such a circumstance you could have your dream of a family of your own fulfilled, more than you could ever imagine. You are still as dear to me as you ever were, and had not the danger at the time been too great to ignore, I know that we could happily have lived the rest of our lives together. With God's help, we may still have that chance.

But should I never return, as I sometimes fear may be more likely, I beg you to do your utmost to save the three children who need it most. I ask you to be a friend to my daughter, in a place where she will have very few of those. Protect her, care for her as you would your own daughter. Believe her to be so if it will help you to do everything you can for her. Keep yourself safe, Sydney, so you can also protect those helpless children.

As everything is so uncertain, I can say nothing more definite to you at present, except that I feel St. Christopher watching over me. I pray this journey will one day come to an end so that we can be together again, if not here on earth then in some better place. Trust in that and pray for me.

My love forever,

Catherine

Sydney's eyes were wet when he looked up, but he brushed away the first tear before it could fall. Standing, he left the letter beside his mug and walked to the cupboard where he stored the precious box of her letters, carrying it back to his chair. Removing the photo of himself, Catherine and baby Morgan, he placed it on the mantel, whereon already stood a photo of Nicholas and Michelle. Going into his bedroom, he brought out the photo of Jacob and Alexis, placing it beside that of his son.

Taking the photo from the bottom of the box, he went to the hallway and opened his briefcase, removing a box that his daughter had given him that afternoon and sliding out the frame inside it. The picture was a perfect fit, and he stood it beside the trio of himself, the woman he had loved and their daughter. Standing back, he eyed the layout, safe in the knowledge that the only people who would see the photos were those who had most to do with them, namely his daughter and his niece.

Returning to his chair, he picked up the photo again, wishing with all his heart that Catherine had felt safe enough to tell him the truth but understanding why she had not. Returning the page to its envelope, he brought it briefly to his lips before picking up the pile of letters that lay beside the now-empty box, slipping the most recent envelope under the band and putting the bundle back into the box, which he put on the floor. With a feeling of contentment, he sat back in the chair, looking up at the photos of his family and sipping his coffee.

End of Episode
Elaborate Lives

 
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