CHAPTER FOUR: THE BRIDE’S PARTY
I. CAT CATRELLE
Oh, Cat, why did I blame you and the others for my father’s death? Why did I misuse you so? Even more perplexing…why, after all I put you and the others through, did you remain my friends?
You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, that I should’ve never did those despicable things to you. I should’ve never made you into hookers. I should’ve never made you stoop so low. And still, you and the others have remained true friends. What, in your past, did you witness to make you follow me blindly wherever I led? Did you watch from hiding places as my monstrous uncles slaughtered your families? If so, I wish I could erase it all from your memories. I wish, now, that my father had done as his twin did and continued to run…not once stopping in any town long enough to settle. Never feeling safe enough to stop and rest. Perhaps things would have been better for all of us.
Still, in a way, I did my best to protect you all. From what, I didn’t know back then. But now, I do. I was trying, subconsciously, to protect you from the same monsters that my own father tried-but failed-to protect me from. I tried to keep you all safe, in my own way, and under my watchful eye. It was, I suppose, my way of making sure you lived to see your plans and dreams come true.
But even I wasn’t able to see the future. Nor was I able to believe that there was truly safety in numbers…just as there will be greater safety in our numbers on my special day. We will all be there if they show up. And we will defeat their evil once and for all. I know we will. How, I don’t know, but we will find a way.
We will all face our greatest joys, and our worst fears. But we will prevail. We always have. You all, and especially you, Cat, have gone on to succeed in what you wanted to do in life. Now, we must come together and close a chapter in our lives that has been left unclosed for so long.
My tall Amazon, you always had my back. You took care of all of us, even though that was supposed to be my job. You looked out for Rosa, too. Poor little Rosa. Too young to have been doing what I made her do, and yet, she gladly did it all. Could you ever forgive me?
You were always my favorite…besides Rosa. You were the mysterious one. The one who was strong enough to defend those of us who needed to be defended. Hell. You even defended me a time or two.
I would rather have you watching my back than anyone else. But I wronged you all. How could you ever help me now that you know what I tried to do to you? I wouldn’t blame you if you refused. You have all the right in the world to do just that.
Dear, little Rosa. What horrors did you see that kept you silent all those years? Long have I asked myself that, but now I have an idea. Were you present when my uncles murdered your family? If so, how’d you escape? Why’d they not kill you?
I ask myself daily if it wouldn’t have been more merciful had they taken you as well. To live with whatever horror you saw must have destroyed your confidence. Well, this is your time as well as mine. My finest hour will be your hour of deliverance.
We will exorcize your demons once and for all. You will become the vibrant little Cuban you once were…before the Ushers destroyed your family. I swear it. As one of the last honorable members of the Usher family, I promise you that I will restore your pride.
My little Cuban Rose, you will prevail this time. I hope, for all our sakes, that we all get to exact our little piece of justice-nay, vengeance-upon the most vile of my family. I hope, for all our sakes, that we push them to the very brink of self-destruction. And with the help of my other uncle, Lazarus, we will stand strong and you will show them what it means to lose it all…in your own way.
Rosa, I am so sorry for destroying your virtue. It was not mine to destroy, and I know that now. I was wrong. Please, for the sake of our friendship, accept this mea culpa. I desperately need this closure from you.
III. MACIE LOOMIS
Macie. My “African Queen.” The one who kept the men coming back. I know I was wrong. Please forgive me. I should’ve known better. You were so loyal, and remain so even after I did so much to break all of you. Hell. You all are still too loyal.
I don’t deserve friends such as any of you have been. I never have. You were the one who bought the cathouse from me just to keep you and the others together. What was it you said? ‘It was all you had. Without it, you owned nothing.’ Then, your world collapsed. Even the cathouse was taken from you. But you all bounced back and began over. Each of you went your own way, keeping in touch and indirectly keeping tabs on me, and began lives in other fields.
I am so proud of all of you…but especially you, Macie. Did you find someone to fill the hole left by the murder of your family? If so, I am so happy for you. You deserve that and more. You deserve everything I have and more. My happiness. My wealth of money. My business. My home. My children.
But I can not give that all to you, nor would you take it. You would only feel as if you owed me something. I know you, all, too well. You are, all, happy just being arround me. Why, I don’t know. I don’t deserve your friendships at all. I deserve your scorn and hatred. But you can’t seem to bring yourselves to hate me…or even to scorn me. Why?
If I had just taken the time to think things through more clearly in the past, I would’ve never done anything to hurt you. I would’ve been more honorable in my dealings with you. I would’ve found a way to turn our hurt into something more positive.
In this way, I would’ve been more deserving of your loving friendship. Your companionship in those years now past. But I wasn’t. Nor did I deserve your companionship or friendship. I only wanted to hurt you, destroy your honor. And I did. But I destroyed much more. Yet, you gave me everything I didn’t deserve and more. You would’ve gladly given your lives in order that I should live. I am ashamed, now, of my actions. And though I have forgiven myself, I need your forgiveness. Can you ever forgive me?
Can any of you forgive me? Please, for the love of God, say yes…even though I do not deserve it. I admit that I don’t. I have come to realize this, and know that you don’t have to either. But I am sorry, and seek your mercies. I need that from you. I sinned against you, I know. But I am sorry. Very sorry.