Episode 507: Troubled LandLate into the night, Katherine remained seated upright against the headboard revising her clinic’s budget while Phillip worked on his laptop. Every so often she glanced over at his screen, finding him fixed on pages far longer than his mind would need to comprehend them.
She leaned in and pressed a kiss to his shoulder to let him know she understood. His lips brushed her hairline. Somehow, after everything, they at least still had each other. It was a comfort.
They returned to their tasks. Pretending their thoughts weren’t elsewhere. Torn between fuming and worrying. Their baby had betrayed them, and used them to finance a career in an industry known for chewing people up and spitting them out like yesterday’s trash.
As angry as Katherine was with her daughter at the moment, as disappointed in her, she still didn’t want to see Adria skin her knees, let alone take a turn for the tragic.
"Justine sent an email," Phillip announced, his voice equal parts wonder and suspicion. It was sad that either emotion should be attached to communication with their eldest, but such was the state of their relationship with Justine, as much as they may wish it different.
"There’s a link to something," her husband said. "Probably a virus."
He moved the cursor to delete. Just as Katherine’s mouth opened to ask him not to, the same thought must have occurred to him, the same faint hope must have prompted him to click on the link. A video filled the screen. The unsteady, hand-held camera focused on Adria. She stepped out into the solo spotlight on the otherwise darkened stage.
"Is this a joke?" Katherine asked.
"I think it’s more intended as a slap."
She nodded her agreement. A slap aptly described seeing her daughter in the wedding gown they’d shared a tender moment over, or so Katherine had been led to believe. But just when she was feeling entirely sorry for herself, her heart clutched for Adria as tears fell in torrents down her daughter’s cheeks.
Katherine grabbed Phillip’s arm as she watched dear little Addie drop to her knees and sob convulsively into Ryley’s chest. She and Phillip started talking then, wondering aloud whether they’d been right to turn their backs, until they saw their daughter stand up before a justice of the peace. Without them.