Chapter 25 – Pimlico House

Caitlin – March 1983
Caitlin had been perfectly correct. Mario had not wasted any time in discovering the whereabouts of his wife and child. Fortunately by the time he had hotfooted it to England his sense of perspective had kicked in. The last thing that he wanted to do was upset his little princess. Consequently Mario had booked himself into the Savoy and placed a call to Caitlin prior to arriving on her doorstep. The couple had an adult conversation and made an arrangement for Mario to visit his estranged wife and daughter at Pelham Crescent.
Mario arrived clutching a huge bouquet of pink roses for his wife and half of Hamleys toy shop for Charlotte.
Charlotte had thrown herself into her father’s arms with ecstatic cries of,
‘Daddy! Daddy! I knew you’d come’ she wrinkled her pretty nose and blinked the tears of delight from her eyes. Frankly Caitlin was barely less excited to see him. She observed the depth of love that he held for his daughter and felt newly confident that he truly loved her, his wife as well. Not for the first time she felt deep sorrow for her husband. Poor Mario he had tried so hard to be what he was not. Caitlin hugged him with genuine affection.
That same evening Mario and Caitlin had talked late into the night long after Charlotte had been tucked up into her new bed by her adored father. Caitlin was adamant that Mario should not and could not live a lie. She was also convinced that he should forge a new life for himself as a homosexual. Caitlin’s understanding had been tempered by her experience of her father’s staff. She had grown up accepting the unusual arrangement between Hughes and Juan both of who made a fuss of her in their different ways.
Mario had been very emotional. He adored Caitlin and had wanted so much to be a perfect family man. They both had decided that they would continue an outwardly united front for Charlotte’s sake. They would divorce but Mario could visit and see Charlotte whenever he would like to. When she was older Caitlin promised she would let Charlotte stay with Mario in New York on condition that she was never exposed to any of his boyfriends. Mario expressed his shock that she could think that he would be so careless of his beloved child’s welfare. Caitlin excused herself for her over protection knowing in her heart that Mario never would let anything hurt Charlotte.
The arrangement between them settled the two forged a relationship that was based on mutual love of each other and care and adoration of Charlotte. The new status quo was to last throughout their lives.
Not long after Mario’s visit Caitlin received a call from her father and Ariel. She decided to keep the arrangement between her and Mario to herself for the time being so merely chatted about Charlotte and life in London and Sebastian, Emily and life in New York. Caitlin set their minds at rest by telling that she and Charlotte had settled into Pelham Crescent and Charlie had new little friends in the form of Rebecca’s boys Ty and Roo who were really cute.
Remembering her chance meeting with Dylan Ariel updated Caitlin on the whereabouts of Rebecca’s missing husband and told her about his celebrity status on the New York fashion scene. After lengthy farewells and protestations of missing each other Caitlin put the phone down only for it to ring again. She recognised Dylan’s voice immediately but tried to gain some time by pretending not to.
‘Caitlin? It’s Dylan. Rebecca’s husband’ he added unnecessarily. Caitlin uncertain what to do hesitated before responding in a neutral tone,
‘Yes?’ Dylan thought positively, at least Caitlin hadn’t slammed the phone down right away.
‘I ran into your stepmother earlier. She told me that Becca has two boys’ he left a long pause, the words hanging in the air, ‘I didn’t know. I didn’t know she was pregnant and I never mean to hurt Rebecca and for any of this to happen. Please believe me. You…she must think that I’m a complete shit’ he finished unhappily.
‘Well yes we do’ agreed Caitlin, trying hard not to let any sympathy slip into her voice.
‘Do you think she would consider letting me see the children?’ Dylan asked, dejectedly, surprised at the intensity of his desire to reconnect with his offspring.
‘Why would she?’ Caitlin countered.
‘She was persuaded to marry me so that the baby would have a father. Maybe she might still think that he err they need a father figure.’ Dylan was trying hard to sell the idea to Caitlin now he had a hold of a plan. He knew that Rebecca might listen to her friends.
‘I’ve really changed Caitlin. I have work now as a freelance photographer. I make good money and I could help you know with their upkeep’ he hazarded sheepishly.
‘No need, Rebecca’s business if flourishing and they boys have Jack as a father figure.’
‘Jack!’ Dylan’s voice rose in indignant disbelief. He had believed from Ariel that Rebecca was still single. Caitlin almost didn’t disabuse him but couldn’t quite bring herself to be mean to Dylan however much he may deserve it.
‘Yes Jack, Suzanne’s father; Becca and the boys live in her house right now.’
‘Oh, that Jack’ Dylan said relieved, ‘would you mention to Rebecca that I called? I have some assignments coming up in London and y’know if they work out I may be spending a lot of time back in the UK. I know she won’t want to see me but…’
‘I don’t want to upset her’ said Caitlin stoutly, ‘better if you just forget about her and let her get on with her life.’ She hated being in this position because she knew she wouldn’t be able to not tell Rebecca and then it would be her, Caitlin, that was opening the can of worms. Dylan sensed the wavering in her voice and pushed on with an apology to her,
‘I’m sorry Caitlin, I’ve put you in a difficult position now and I didn’t mean to. I just thought that if I turned up at the shop she’d set the dogs on me or something.’ He pleaded miserably. ‘I wouldn’t blame her if she did.’
‘I’ll think about it’ Caitlin answered.
‘One more thing, sorry Caitlin, do you have Charles’s contact details? I called the old place and some crusty old vicar answered!’ Caitlin saw no harm in this and had thumbed through her address book and supplied Penny and Charles’s address in moments.
‘Thank you, Caiti, I really appreciate that you listened to me’ Dylan finished humbly with genuine gratitude. All though he had made a success of his years in New York and had his choice of some of the best looking young women in the world he missed England, London, his old friend Charles and most of all Rebecca. He had genuine hopes for a partial reconciliation. If only Rebecca would let him try to form a relationship with his sons.

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