“What did you hope to achieve from today?” Clara asks Lana finding her sitting on a bench near the bakery.
“I want Paul back. I need the kids to do that. You might hate him but He’s been my husband for 23 years and I don’t want to be without him. I did want to see the kids today, I missed Kit’s eighteenth because he was travelling.” Lana says.
“What Paul did to Bea is true. He literally tried to pimp her, to exploit her body for his own financial gain. How can you ever want to get him back?” Clara asks.
“You’ve always wanted to break us up.” Lana says.
“Because I thought you were better than him. I accepted I was wrong years ago. Part of why I never mentioned your existence to Blue was so I didn’t color his view. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, because you might have changed. I genuinely thought the money was covering your medical bills. I suppose that was all part of the scam, asking for that amount plus the college money.” Clara says.
“You could afford it. You didn’t need the money, we did.” Lana says.
“And that’s where Chris gets his attitude from. Bill Gates has money he doesn’t need, doesn’t mean you are entitled to it.” Clara says.
“You took Blue. You owed me for that.” Lana says.
“No I didn’t. No more than you owed me for Chris and Bea. It was your choice to stay with Paul. You could have left him and lived with all three of them. I was incredibly lucky you played me as I would have been deeply unhappy with you, given your true character. Missing out on my children’s childhood is a pain I will never lose but they need a parent now just as much as they did when they were small and they have chosen me. That both Chris and Bea see me as part of their future is going a long way to offset the pain of what I have missed.” Clara says.
“You have stolen them from me with your money.” Lana says.
“You could have had money too if you had ever bothered to work.” Clara says.
“My children needed me to raise them, I didn’t want them running feral like Blue.” Lana says.
“And look how that worked out. Blue is self-sufficient, has a beautiful home, a large group of friends, a steady boyfriend and part owner of several businesses. Bea is lurching from one breakdown to the next and Chris had no direction at all until he met me. Both can be vicious, spiteful, bullies and think the world owes them everything. I don’t think either of them gained anything from having you at home.” Clara says.
“Blue has a lovely home because he stole from you and ripped off an old lady.” Lana says.
“Young lady he did no such thing.” Abby says standing aghast, hands on her hips, glaring at Lana.
“Hello Abby, how are you?” Clara asks.
“I am well. Who is she and how dare she talk about Blue like that? Who does she think she is suggesting I would allow myself to be ripped off? That you would let Blue steal from you. He won lots of money from that magazine for suggesting such lies.” Abby shouts unable to control her anger.
“I’m Blue’s mother and I know the truth.” Lana says.
“Ahh you’re the one who raised those hooligans who bully Blue and slander him all over. Blue has paid for the property several times over. Cooks all the meals Gladys and I can eat. Checks in on us every week, makes sure we’re eating and able to get out. Gives up his time to teach us yoga to keep us more mobile and he’s put his own ambitions on hold to help revitalize every business in this town. For every dollar I discounted that property Blue has paid it back tenfold.” Abby shouts and storms in to the bakery.
“Blue is well loved and respected here, the same at home. I bought him two houses, one to do with as he wished and one with the intention of it being used by other kids from home to encourage them to go to college further afield. Blue gave that second house away to someone he knew would be able to fulfil that promise and sold the first one to fund his move here. I fully approved of both decisions and have told him so. Before he bought Abby’s property he made her get a signed statement from her doctor that she was of sound mind. Blue knows right from wrong and that has never, ever been in question.” Clara says.
“So you are perfect and raised a saint. Not hard when you had more money than Midas and no husband to undermine you.” Lana says.
“Take responsibility for what you did. Own it. Maybe if you do you’ll finally be setting a good example to your kids and they might learn what a true apology is. I’m not perfect, Blue and I have huge ups and downs and we have struggled but he is a good man and I trust him. I might never trust Bea or Chris. Do you?” Clara says.
“You are a fool for trusting anyone.” Lana says.
“When you first met Blue he says it seemed like you were amazed and overwhelmed to finally meet him. Paul too to an extent. What happened?” Clara asks.
“There was nothing of us in him. He might share some of Paul’s features and be identical to Chris in all but weight but the more we knew of him the less he was our son. Paul would love to have more time with him, he really wants a relationship with Kit and Blue.” Lana says.
“But not Bea? Because she’s too smart? Because she is a girl?” Clara asks.
“Because he never wanted her. He always wanted the boys. You stopping him getting what he wanted made him the way he is. Made us the way we are.” Lana says.
“You only kept Bea to spite me. So, so cruel.” Clara says.
“I wanted her. I loved her fiercely but if I showed it Paul would counter ten times over with Kit making the gap between them so much wider. If I had left him he would have kept her to spite me and that would have been even worse for her. You know that. I love him and I love her and Chris.” Lana says.
“But not equally.” Clara accuses and Lana blushes, giving herself away.
“I love them.” Lana protests.
“If you truly love them you’ll stay away and let them come to you when they are ready. You will leave Blue alone.” Clara says.
“They are 21. You don’t get to dictate anything.” Lana says.
“Maybe not. But I still have a few secrets I could spill. Paul never knew of our affair. And he never knew who made you pregnant. I am assuming you never told him it wasn’t him that that knocked you up when you had the ectopic pregnancy.” Clara says.
“You wouldn’t.” Lana says.
“If you mess with the kids I will.” Clara says and gets up and heads into the bakery.
“What is she doing here?” Abby asks Clara the second she steps through the door.
“It’s the kid’s birthday. She has some nonsense idea she can win back her husband if she wins back the kids. I don’t know if that is all it is. She’s a born liar.” Clara says.
“I am sorry for earwigging but I caught what she was saying and couldn’t believe it. I thought you were a terrible mom but she is appalling.” Abby says.
“I wasn’t always a bad mom and I won’t be again.” Clara says.
“If you brought those brats here you are just as bad as ever.” Abby says.
“Chris and Bea need to see Blue occasionally to understand that putting others first doesn’t mean losing and that you can win without kneecapping rivals.” Clara says.
“But what does Blue get from it? Further alienation from his siblings, as you make him into even more of a target. Blue shouldn’t have to give all the time. He ought to be getting something from his family too.” Abby says and Clara sighs.
“Well I best go and rescue him. Thanks for having his back out there. It meant an awful lot to me and I know it would to him.” Clara says.
“I meant it and more. You know that.” Abby says and goes back to her soup.