Advent Stories #16 | Old Wounds

Blu felt her heart stop, holding the phone in her shaking hands. Right on cue, her friends ring all at once. Bloody alerts, social media is alight with the picture of Brodie and Lana Smith exiting Annabel’s, some even going as far as setting the wedding date, others speculating if Lana is already pregnant. Leila Sterling was seen exiting the restaurant before the couple; her “seal of approval”.

She sends all calls to voicemail and switches off her phone, nothing anyone says to her will make it better. She has to get ready for the day with her mother anyhow.


Marie too had seen the blast with a picture of the couple, she didn’t think there was anything to it but the press have a knack for the dramatics. Then again the picture could speak the thousand words not being spoken between Blu and Brodie. Darling Blu; her daughter went to ground after her performance at the altar, she fell off the face of the earth a few weeks afterwards, only calling sporadically to check in and let them know she is alive. In the name of being an adult, Marie gave her room to fester in whatever feelings she is dealing with, but enough room has been given. It is time for mother and daughter to do what mothers and daughters do best… The blast was followed by a picture of Leila Sterling leaving the restaurant before her son and Lana. ‘Hm.’

Marie knows Leila has a hand in whatever happened to Blu that day, it is more than motherly instinct, Leila Sterling is relentless and petty and mean; she should know. There once was a time both women were inseparable, the very best of friends; decades ago. When Blu introduced Brodie to the family she’d been cautious about their union, even though he’d never given her reason to worry, if the stories she heard were anything to go by, Leila Sterling has remained who she was in boarding school; quarrelsome and miserable but her children were different. Brodie and Blu were good for each other, they adored and made each other happy. For the sake of the children, Marie made an effort with Leila and all seemed fine until that day and Marie knows Leila was up to her no good ways. Leila Sterling has not changed, not one bit.

‘We’re here ma’am.’ The chauffeur says to his boss in the backseat before exiting to open the door for her.

‘Morning mum.’

Before Marie can walk up the three steps to the door her daughter’s apartment building in South Kensington, Blu comes bounding out, fully dressed and ready to go.

‘Hello darling.’


A mother knows, one look at Blu’s face and she knows that picture affected her. ‘No, let’s go back inside.’

‘Mum…’ Blu knows what her mother wants to do inside her house, she wants to talk, the talk she most certainly does not want to have, is what her mother wants to have today. This morning of all mornings.

‘Ajibolu mi.’ Marie cups her daughter’s face in her hands using her full name endearingly.

It is all Blu can do not to curl up and cry her eyes out.

Back inside her house, Marie fixes her daughter a cup of tea, Blu’s nerves are shot, she can tell, jittery and unsettled. ‘Here. Drink this, it’ll settle your nerves, and then let’s talk.’

Blu looks at her mom, her loving mother who would do most anything for her children, and she’d gone to battle for them on several occasions.

‘What happened?’

‘I…I don’t know mum, I just… I don’t know.’ Memories of that day always stomp her, leaving her numb.

‘What did Leila say to you?’

Blu looks up at her mother. How did she know? She was going to broach the subject with her eventually, but how did her mother find out?

‘Drink up and we’ll talk.

Robotically Blu lifts the cups to her lips, drinks her cup of tea and surprisingly it calms her nerves. Helps her find her words.

‘Mummy is everything true?’

‘What did she say to you? Tell me everything.’

Instead of heading to Fortnum and Mason as they’d planned, to get the gift baskets for their employees, mother and daughter sit at the dining table as daughter comes clean to her mother about the day that changed everything.


‘So you’ve finally done it. Haven’t you? Tell me, was it worth it?’ Marie Braithwaite bounds into Leila Sterling’s office, an assistant trailing after her.

Leila signals for him to give them some privacy, and he shut the door on his way out. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’

Old friends exchange the coldest of looks. Once upon a time they were on the same side.

‘You know what I’m doing here. Don’t be stupid. I know what you did and what you said to my daughter.’

Leila folds her hands looking at Marie; she didn’t bother to deny it. ‘Whatever I told your daughter, she deserved to know. I shouldn’t have to do your job for you.’

‘Says the woman with children who cannot stand her, yet you only bothered to tell her half the truth-’

‘You and Clyde moved on and left me to pick up the pieces. You have no idea what I went through.’

‘You talk as if it’s our fault.’

‘It is!’

‘That’s a lie and you know it. You ruined your life as you do everything else because you were playing stupid games. Do I have to remind you that we loved each other and we were meant to be best friends but you still did what you did, knowing all that. You seem to have this deluded idea that you are allowed to be mad.’ Marie is exhausted by this nearly fifty year old conversation, ‘I cannot believe I am still talking about this! You’re a sociopath. No wonder everyone wants to leave you behind.’

‘Shut up!’

‘We were sixteen years old. What are you still holding on to?’

‘You have no idea what I went through. What my mother put me through…’

The ex-best friends glare at each other, their history the chasm between them.

‘You have no idea.’ Leila looks the most vulnerable Marie has ever seen her since they were at school.

‘I didn’t know anything because you didn’t bother to tell me and that is what you burden my daughter with. You wanted to be cool to keep your stupid secrets.’

‘You should have known-’

‘Known what? That you would do that to me? My so called best friend.’ Marie seizes Leila up. ‘You’re no good to anyone, not even to yourself. The hurt you go around causing Leila. Why?’

‘Because I can. Because your daughter is no good for my son. Now leave and never come back here.’

‘I’ll leave but know that this is on your hands and I will make sure the world know what you did to your son.’

‘You better not go near my son-’

‘Or what? You’ve done the worst to him already, and I bet he doesn’t know the half of it.’

‘Nor do you or Clyde. You don’t know what I had to deal with afterwards, what I went through. I warn you Marie, don’t go near my son.’

Before walking out of Marie stops by the door and says, ‘one day, very soon I hope, you are going to have to tell him the truth about what really happened and I hope he never forgives you because I will never forgive you for what you did to my daughter.’ She walks out of the office and slams the door almost taking it out of its hinges.

Logan walks away from his window, where he’d observed that exchange between his mother and Marie Braithwaite. What has his mother done now?

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