Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Ninety-Three
27th August 1975
Langeoog Island, East Frisian Islands
With so many pressing concerns in the city, it felt like Kat rarely got the chance to get away on a holiday. Escaping for the weekend was the best she could do, and Marie Alexandra was already on Langeoog. Unfortunately, Kat was learning that another one of her daughters had become something of a stranger to her. That much was clear as Marie had slept in until late morning then decided to go swimming before lunch. Since when had Marie ever been into anything remotely considered athletic? Eventually, Kat had gone out to the back porch of her vacation house and waited for her daughter to return while sitting in the shade.
As Kat watched Marie emerge from the sea, she saw that her daughter had not bothered with anything that might be considered remotely superfluous before going into the water. While that was perfectly permissible on this side of the Atlantic, it bothered Kat for other reasons. For a young woman who was painfully shy around people, Kat was amazed Marie could also be so bold in other respects. When Kat was that age she had hidden her body under bulky clothes and made herself as unattractive as possible. She had been told that had really been armor used to protect herself from the world by Erma Tangeman and it had much to her surprise that Erma had not encouraged her to do something else, like everyone else had at the time. She had said that Kat would do something else when she no longer felt she needed to protect herself that way.
Kat really missed Erma at times like these. She had known exactly what to say and had understood things probably better than anyone. With Tatiana, Marie, and even Angelica, Kat felt like she was continually messing things up. Things had gotten a lot better with Sophie once she had discovered cycling, something which she was inarguably good at and that had made a world of difference.
Marie had put on an old, oversized T-shirt that hung down to her knees and padded back to the porch on sand covered bare feet, her hair mussed and wet, salt drying to her skin. Kat looked back to the book that she had been ignoring as Marie approached.
“Your book is upside down Momma” Marie said, her voice full of amusement.
“Your Grandmother would have a heart attack if she knew that you were swimming au naturel” Kat said as she put the offending book aside.
“Good” Marie replied with a slight smile. That smile was a reminder that she really did favor Doug when it came to her features. Kat was also aware that this was one of the rare times when she was seeing Marie with no cosmetics or artifice, basically who she was laid bare. Often, Marie could appear as several different people over the course of a day. As Kat had that thought, it occurred to her that she wasn’t the only one who had worn armor.
“Margot is quite the charmer, isn’t she?” Kat asked, knowing that it was probably unfair for her to say that to Marie. Her mother-in-law could be vicious at times, Marie would still need to live with her for the sake of Doug’s father Malcolm.
“Starting next week, this beach will be crowded with people on their Summer Holiday” Marie said changing the subject, nodding towards the mostly empty expanse of sand. “I figure that I might have to go somewhere else for August.”
Kat nodded. It was nearly August and while many people had the last week of July off, the first week of August would be when the season really kicked off. The East Frisian Islands, along with much of the North Sea and Baltic Coastlines would be overrun with tourists.
“Any idea of where you might go?” Kat asked.
“Tatiana might have had the right idea in going backpacking in the Pyrenees Mountains last year” Marie said.
Kat considered making a comment about how she had no clue as to where Tatiana had actually spent last summer. Her contacts in Spain had told her that no one matching Tatiana’s description had been seen in that region. While it was entirely possible that she might have been missed, Kat figured that with her oldest daughter’s tendency to shoot her mouth off every time she didn’t like something, someone would remember having to deal with Tatiana. Kat might have followed up with further inquiries, but Tatiana was an adult now. It was something that Kat would need to remember if she ever wanted that relationship to improve. Still, she didn’t like being fed such an obvious lie.
“You worked briefly with Jack Kennedy in Ireland” Kat said, “Any thought of doing that again?”
“Have you met Jacqueline?” Marie asked in reply, “Every second I am in Jack’s house, endless questions. That girl loves to talk and talk.”
Kat almost laughed at that characterization of Jack’s daughter but figured that Marie would take it the wrong way. “Of course, I would know her” She replied, “She’s one of my God daughters.”
“My God” Marie said, a look of horror on her face. “That means if anything happened to Jack and Bridget she would come live with us.”
“For someone who says she has no interest in acting you are certainly good at it” Kat replied.
Marie blew a raspberry at Kat before getting up and walking into the house, presumably to shower before lunch.