That was it? I mean I was married—least I think I was: perhaps I should have been asking, is that it? What I felt about it, I couldn’t say, but it wasn’t all positive, nor was it all negative. A bit like the curate’s egg. I suspect I was still shocked, not to put too fine a gloss on it. I didn’t know how I felt about Simon either. I had just been tricked into marriage. I hope he did it for the best of motives, but he’d better not try anything like it again, or the divorce will cost him loads.
Lady Muck, that’s me—I don’t feel any different, but then I suppose I’ve been sort of using the title for a little while, so it’s hardly a novelty, unless one counts being able to use it legitimately. I told them I still want to use my original name as well, which will complicate things, but for instance, in my professional life, I want to remain Cathy Watts, unless Lady Cameron can open doors my ordinary handle can’t.
We were being driven home in the Mercedes, The three children were in the back of the car and Simon was driving. I hadn’t said much at all, he assumed I was overcome by the emotion—I suppose I was, but not necessarily the one he was thinking about.
The girls had enjoyed themselves, and I suppose I did it for them. It was a Thursday afternoon and they were just about squealed out, all I wanted was to get home and make a cuppa and sit quietly to drink it. I also wanted out of this dress—lovely as it was—I wouldn’t ever wear it again.
I called Mr Henstridge from the bedroom phone, I’d asked the girls to change out of their dresses and for Simon to make the cuppa. He realised I wanted a little space so he did as I asked him.
I was in luck, he had a space tomorrow morning at ten—I would just about get there assuming I could park. “Miss Watts, can you tell me what you wish to discuss?”
“Of course, you said my being married would help the cause of adoption?”
“Indeed I did, are you going to tie the knot?”
“We’ve done so.”
“Oh jolly good, I mean congratulations, does that make you Lady Cameron now?”
“Yes, although for some things I’m going to retain my previous name.”
“I see, well that’s fine, so are you wanting to try for adoption?”
“Yes, for all three—as far as I’m concerned they come as a package.”
“Very good, I’ll start the process. I take it all the children are in agreement with your action?”
“Yes, or they were a few minutes ago.”
“They will be asked by the court and also by social services.”
“Of course, as it should be.”
“Quite, so I shall look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
I suddenly wondered if the girls did want me to adopt them, I hadn’t asked them for a while, perhaps I’d better do so now, or they could get suckered like I did. I went into their bedroom, they were still messing about taking off their dresses.
“Trish, could I see you for a moment?”
“Did I do something wrong, Mummy?”
“No, darling, I just wanted to ask you a question, it’s a bit hypothetical but I think you’ll understand.” She looked very nervous. “Don’t worry, okay?”
“Did I do wrong to make you marry Daddy?”
“No sweetheart, I’m a big girl, I make my own decisions. You’ve done nothing wrong.” She looked relieved. “Now, this hypothetical question...”
“What does that mean, Mummy?”
“It means it’s a question which may or may not be askable.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry, it means it’s like a what if question.”
“What if I don’t understand it?”
“You will, but I need an honest answer.” She looked anxious and I hugged her. “If I had the chance to adopt you—that is to make you legally my child—would you be in favour—I mean, would you want me to?”
“Do I want to be your daughter, like proper daughter.”
“Well apart from your little plumbing problem, which we’ll sort out when you’re old enough, yes you’d be my little girl, not my foster daughter.”
“So, honest answer, would you like me to try or not? I won’t be offended if you said no.”
“No? I want to be your daughter more than anything, Mummy.”
“So that’s a definite then?”
“Yes please, Mummy.”
“The bad news is I can’t promise you that we’ll be able to do it, but I’m going to try my very hardest.”
“Thank you, Mummy.”
“You’re welcome, darling. Now don’t say anything to the other two, because I have to ask them the same question.”
I had video taped the interview with Trish, and I did so with the others as well. They were both as positive and I showed them the tape afterwards. They all giggled with embarrassment, but they were also very supportive of each other.
“Does this mean we’ll be ladies too?” asked Livvie.
“One day, it could well be so. We have to get over the hurdle of the adoption process first.”
“Could they say no?” asked Trish.
“In theory, but I hope not.”
“Can we see the judge man again?”
“Don’t worry, if I feel we need to consult him, I’ll ask Mr Henstridge to organise it.”
“Me wanna be you daugh-ah,” said Mima loudly.
“Thanks, Meems, I want to be your mother officially, then we can be sure that no one will be able to take you away from me.”
“Or Daddy,” said Trish.
“Nor Daddy. Sorry, I meant that we would both adopt you.” Was that a Freudian slip? I hoped not.
“Yay,” the three of them were dancing around and getting very excited and it took quite a while to calm them down.
“I’m going to see Rushton Henstridge tomorrow,” I told Simon.
“You’re not divorcing me already, are you?”
“It crossed my mind for the trick you played on me.”
“It wasn’t meant like that.”
“I hope not, if ever I find it was, it’s going to cost you a great deal.”
“Cathy, we’re only just married.”
“Because you deceived me—never do it again.”
“I won’t—I didn’t deceive you—and you could have said no.”
“What and look a total fool?”
“I’d have looked an even bigger one.”
“You do anyway, but that isn’t the point.”
“What is then?”
“I’m going to start adoption proceedings, I expect your support.”
“You need to ask me?”
“After the stunt you pulled earlier, yes.”
“Why didn’t you say no, then?”
“Because I actually care for you.”
“Don’t you think I love you then?”
“Not as much as you claim.”
“I’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down.”
“I’m not upset, just disappointed.” My remark seemed to cut him to the core and he walked away with his tail between his legs.
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