The first time Katya saw her husband Sergei’s father was at a wedding. He was not invited, he came himself and, without even looking away, flared up from the anger of his ex-wife, he went across the hall to his son and his fiancee Seryozha.
– I know that I am an unwelcome guest here, but still you are my son and I could not help but congratulate you on such an important event, – he said and handed him a plump envelope with money. – Your bride is a beauty, I am sure that she will be the best wife. Will you introduce us to each other?
– Yes, Dad, meet me. Dear, this is my father, Oleg Ivanovich. Well, and this,” he turned to his father. – As you understand, my wife Katya.
– Katyusha, let me invite you to dance, – Oleg smiled and held out his hand.
Katya looked timidly at her husband, he nodded and the girl put her palm in her father-in-law’s hand. He confidently led her in the dance and she suddenly thought confusedly that he was still so young and handsome. Oleg Ivanovich leaned over to his daughter – in – law and whispered:
– I sincerely wish you, Seryozha, happiness, and this is my personal gift to you.
Oleg stopped and took out an oblong box from the inside pocket of his jacket, which contained an elegant gold bracelet and amazing earrings. Katya gasped and blushed. The girl grew up in a poor family and except for a thin gold chain, which her relatives gave her for her 18th birthday with three families, she never had jewelry. Oleg Ivanovich kissed the flushed daughter-in-law on the hand, then took her to the groom and left saying goodbye.
– Seryozha, – Katya turned to her husband, – maybe you will catch up and bring your father back?! Somehow it turned out inconvenient!
– Katyusha, I already told you that my mother did not forgive him for numerous infidelities. You see how she looks at us, more than anything in the world she didn’t want him to show up here.
Katya looked at Inga Valeryevna and noticed lightning that sparkled in her eyes.
– Seryozha, please go calm her down, ask her to dance. Let’s not spoil our holiday.
Sergei nodded and went to his mother. She was really unhappy with Oleg’s appearance at the wedding. Inga Valeryevna was eight years older than her ex-husband and now she was furiously thinking that he looked just wonderful.
God, he’s so beautiful. Seryozha is all in him and how happy she would be if it weren’t for Oleg’s constant infidelities, which she did not intend to forgive. He walked away from her even when she was pregnant, and then brazenly lied to her eyes that he loved only her. Inga squinted at her second husband Yuri, Sergei’s stepfather, after the divorce she married him for money, and also to spite Oleg, but she was not happy with him for a day.
Now he is a bald, red-faced fat man with an appetite destroying a plate with some kind of snack without paying attention to anyone. He was not even confused by the appearance of Oleg, and Inga watched with hatred and unexpected envy as he whirled around the hall with his son’s fiancee.
Katya didn’t really like her anyway, and now when she saw her dancing with Oleg, she felt a pang of jealousy and a surge of hostility towards her daughter-in-law, and only her son managed to calm her down a little.
“Did you know he was coming?” “What is it?” she asked him.
– No Mom. What are you? I knew it would be unpleasant for you.
– Yes, it’s unpleasant, – Inga nodded and kissed Sergei on the cheek, – thank you, son, and now go. Go to the bride it’s not good to leave her alone…
Ten years have passed since that day. At first, Inga Valeryevna often visited her son and daughter-in-law, constantly found fault with Katya, did not hesitate to check the pots in the refrigerator and dust under the bed, sofa, and if something did not suit her, she reprimanded not only her daughter-in-law, but also her son.
– You shouldn’t have spoiled her so much, Seryozha, there are so many good girls around, and you found such a dirty one. I opened a pot of soup, almost suffocated. Today I will go to the bookstore and buy her a recipe book, now there are many of them for a slow cooker or an oven. That’s why you only ask for techniques if your wife doesn’t do anything anyway.
Katya cried from the trouble, and Sergey laughed at his wife and did not even think to calm her down, and when she started talking about wanting a child, he just waved her off:
– Do you want Mom to settle here with us, she won’t trust you with her own grandson for anything? You don’t have time to take care of me, where else do you need a child.
– Actually, her grandson is first of all our son. My son, not hers! And you are already an adult man, do you need a wife or a babysitter?!
But Sergey only waved his wife away. Katya sighed calmly only when Inga Valeryevna, together with her husband Yuri, went to live abroad and never returned from there, only sometimes I call my son. Oleg Ivanovich visited his son and daughter-in-law several times over the years, his visits were not at all like Inga’s: firstly, he never came empty-handed: secondly, he behaved like an ordinary guest, was polite and pleasant in conversation. He thanked Katya for the treat, said that she cooks very tasty and she blushed with pleasure. Under his gazes, when he left, I thought with regret that Sergei was not at all like his father in character. In fact, every year her husband moved away from her. Katya had long guessed that he was cheating on her, but when she tried to find at least some proof, it turned out that she had nothing but suspicions.
“Katya, stop it,” Sergei told her. – You know that I work for a company where business trips are common. It’s you who work as a simple salesman, and everything is much more complicated for me.
Seryozha,” Katya sighed, “but you and I live like neighbors. I don’t understand why you need me?
– You are my wife and I love you!- Sergey answered indifferently without looking up from the computer.
– It’s not true! Katya’s lips were trembling. – I feel that you are deceiving me. I’m sure you have a woman, and maybe more than one!
– Katya, please stop! Don’t make it up, better tell me how you feel today?
Katya did not answer and went to her room and lay down on the sofa. Her back really hurt a lot, the heavy boxes of food that she took, and then hastily laid out on the shelves, affected her. The shop where Katya worked was small and all the work fell on her shoulders and an elderly partner.
Now Katerina lay with her face turned away to the wall and waited for her husband to come up, hug her, pity her and caress her, but the keyboard buttons continued to tap their nervous rhythm and Katya had no choice but to lie crying. So she fell asleep, and in the morning it became certain that she would file for divorce. Sergei was still asleep and Katya went to work, from the threshold of the bedroom, looking at her husband, she had no idea that she was seeing him for the last time.
It was nearing noon when an elderly woman came into the store to Katya.
– What can I offer you? Katerina turned to her with a smile, but she only frowned at her in response:
– Are you going to be Sergei’s wife?
– Yes, my husband’s name is Sergey, – Katya was wary.
The woman clarified the last name just in case, and Katya nodded again.
– I’m Valentina Petrovna and that’s what I want to tell you, Katerina… – the woman began after a while. – Your Sergey has been living with my Sveta for three years. She is my daughter, their child is Artemka and there will be another child. Sveta is already in her fourth month.
Katya sank into a chair without strength and soon she folded her hands in her lap. The woman was belligerent, but when she saw Catherine’s silent grief, she suddenly felt sorry for her:
– I don’t like him, he’s such a son-in-law, – she began again, – but just understand, you just live without children, and my grandchildren need a father. You’re young, beautiful. You’ll find yourself another man, but give this one to Sveta, she needs it more than you do… Don’t be angry that I’m telling you all this, but only what kind of person he is… In life, she does not admit to you, and Sveta does not want to see you and you can also understand her. She did not immediately find out that Sergei was married, and therefore it seems like he is not to blame.
Valentina Petrovna was silent again, looking attentively at the silent Katya, and she was trying to cope with herself, sitting with her face in her hands.
– Today he took her to the region for a consultation, – Valentina said and, as if forgetting who to talk to, began to explain. – Sveta wants to give birth there, but there are such doctors here…
– That’s enough! I understood everything… Katerina said in a barely audible voice and suddenly added in a broken voice. – Go away and leave me, leave me…
The woman looked at her attentively, wanted to say something else, but did not and left. Katya walked stiff-legged into the back room, where Luda, her partner, was finishing her tea and asked her to go out into the hall.
– Why are you so pale? Lyudmila was frightened.
– Later, later… – Katya waved and as soon as the door closed behind her, she sank right onto the dirty floor, shaking with sobs.
Calming down a little, she decided to call Sergei, but after looking for the phone, she realized that she had forgotten it at home. Yes, he apparently remained lying on the shelf in the hallway. Having worked hard until 4 o’clock, Katya asked Lyudmila to cover up in front of her superiors if she appeared.
– I’m going home, Lyusenka, you can handle it yourself.
– Go, go… You don’t have a face on you, and don’t worry, I’ll cover it.
Katya came home and realized that Sergey had not returned yet. The phone was indeed on the shelf. She took it and raised her eyebrows in surprise, Sergei called her several times and more than 20 some unknown number. Katya called Sergey, but he did not answer her, then she dialed an unfamiliar caller.
– Hello. Hello, I have a lot of missed calls from your number.
– Hello, Ekaterina Ilyinichna, – a man’s voice, specifying who he was talking to, gave his name, position and rank. – Who do you belong to Sergey Olegovich.
– I’m his wife.
– I have to inform you that about two o’clock in the afternoon there was a collision of two cars on the highway, your spouse and his companion died on the spot. Please accept my condolences. For identification, you need to drive up to the address…
Katya felt the phone melting in her hands. She listened to the traffic police officer nodding, as if he could see her.
– Hello, can you hear me?
“Yes,” Katya replied and added, “I’ll be right there.”
She did not notice how she sank down on the ottoman standing right there in the hallway, but when she tried to get up, she realized that her legs did not obey her. Katya sat staring at the wall for a long time, then called Sergei’s father and told him what had happened.
– Katya, Katya, what are you saying? Oleg’s voice was heard on the phone.
– Where are you?
– I’m out of town, but I’m already leaving.
“I’ll be in the hospital, they’re waiting for me,” Katya replied.
She arrived there before Oleg and immediately ran into Valentina Petrovna, distraught with grief, who immediately attacked Katya with her fists.
– It’s all you… It’s your fault, you miserable witch. At least I would have felt sorry for the baby. I came to you in a good way and you…
“You’re crazy,” Katya tried to defend herself. – I have something to do with it.
– It’s your fault, you. You cursed them, I know.
Blows rained down on Katerina, and she gasped and began to sink to the floor, but strong male hands picked her up. At the same moment, Valentina Petrovna was taken by nurses and one of the doctors to a nearby treatment room and injected with a sedative, and Oleg Ivanovich pressed Katya to him, quietly whispering something kind.
Katya had no idea how she would have coped with everything if it hadn’t been for her father-in-law. Inga Valeryevna, who he himself reported the tragedy, could not bear the blow and ended up in the hospital. Yuri, of course, stayed with her. Oleg did not leave Katya, together with her he issued all the documents, paid for the service, which took care of the funeral process. I made sure that everything went on at a decent level.
Katya was very worried. She could not come to terms with what had happened, and she was also haunted by the thought that they had parted very badly with Sergei. He lied to her for several years, cheated on her, lived in two families and hid that he had children. When she told him that she was dreaming of a baby, he didn’t even want to hear about it, he asked her to wait. Katya didn’t understand why he lived with her if he didn’t need her. For 10 long years he lived, and she just existed.
Why, why did Sergei do this to her? After all, she loved him, but now it’s pointless to ask all these questions and she just had to come to terms with the idea that the past will remain as it was and no one can turn back time. In addition to mental pain, Katya also felt physical pain, she could hardly move her legs and just buckled from a sharp pain in her back. The painkillers stopped helping, Ekaterina didn’t show it only because Oleg Ivanovich’s hand was always there for her to lean on.
Returning home from the funeral, Katya stopped holding back and screamed from a new attack.
– Katya what? Oleg Ivanovich asked, following her in.
– It hurts, I can’t, my back. I just don’t have the strength anymore.
– Let’s take a look.
– No, – Katya blushed. – No, don’t…
Well, Oleg did not listen to her and took her to the bedroom. He almost took her there by force and said:
– Undress and turn around. I need to examine you.
– Oleg Ivanovich…
– Katya, I am a neurologist and I can assure you, a very good one. Don’t be shy, I want to help you.
– I can’t take it off myself.
Oleg helped her undress, and when she was left in her underwear, he carefully put her on the sofa, very quickly he found her pain points and shook his head after asking a few questions:
– Let me help you get dressed.
He picked her up and at some point Katya found herself in his arms. Feeling his touch with every part of her skin, she looked into Oleg’s eyes in fright and he instantly understood her look.
– Katyusha, you are a very good girl, beautiful. I know you were unhappy with Sergei. I noticed it, I guessed it, but you will still meet your love. I promise you that. He helped her get dressed and sat her down on the sofa. “Now tell me.” All I see is that you carry something inside you and it torments you very much.
Katya nodded and suddenly burst into tears, the tension of the last few days began to let her go and she poured out in words all the pain and resentment that tore her soul.
– You understand, Sergey left, and I can’t forgive him. I can’t think about him calmly and I can’t understand him either. I do not know how to live with it now. Oleg Ivanovich, you also cheated on your wife, tell me why, what do you men lack?
– Katya. Oleg smiled sadly. – I understand you and your grievances too. I don’t know what Sergei was guided by, and of course he was wrong, at least in the sense that he tormented both of you and you to a greater extent. Believe me, I’m very sorry, but still I ask you to forgive him, it will be easier for you. You don’t have to keep bad memories in yourself, because you didn’t always have it like that, there was a good one too, and if he couldn’t just walk away from you, then you were dear to him. He’s just confused. You and I don’t know Svetlana, maybe he stumbled once and got into her net from which he couldn’t get out, and don’t say that you lost to her. You had the same rights to Sergei. Yes, she gave birth to his child and wanted to give birth to more, but it was you, not her, who was his wife. I’m asking you not to think about it anymore. Seryozha has left your husband, and he will no longer be responsible for his mistakes in front of people, and you forgive him, just forgive him and let him go. It’s harder for him, he took with him the feeling of guilt towards you. And as for me, I can tell you about my frankness, I have never cheated on my wife. You mean Inga. I’m sure she told you about it and yet it’s not true. We met her at sea, you know, we had the most ordinary holiday romance. I was 19 years old and I was studying this world every minute, I was in a hurry to live, and Inga had just divorced her first husband and came to distract herself from the unpleasant process. In general, we found each other, so to speak. Yes, Inga was older and more experienced than me in everything, but did it really matter. I fell in love and completely dissolved into our relationship. We left the resort together and never parted, and soon became husband and wife. Then Seryozha was born. Katya, I loved my wife and son very much, but she tormented me with her jealousy. She broke into my office when I was working. She accused me of nonexistent infidelities, searched every inch of my clothes, snatched the phone when I was talking to someone on the phone. Not a single nurse wanted to work with me in the office, because Inga simply did not give unhappy girls a living. I endured for a long time, assured my wife that I only love her. How could I prove it, only everything was useless, she forced me to leave. When the son’s blackmail and reproaches in style began, you left us, but I didn’t leave. You won’t believe it, Seryozha and I met secretly, I came to his school, often saw her in a cafe. It also happened that he told his mother that he was going to a friend, and he came to me and everything was under great secrecy. Otherwise Inga wouldn’t have forgiven him or me. Of course, I had women after her, I was even married, but something didn’t work out and we separated. That’s all…
– What about now?
– Now that’s it, I’ve become different. I no longer have a son, and Seryozha has remained my only child. But you say that my grandson Artemka lives somewhere. I will find him and try to take part in his upbringing, after all, the baby is my blood, who knows, maybe I will be able to pass on to him what I could not give to Seryozha.
– If you manage to do it… – Katya said quietly, – Artemka’s wife will be the happiest woman in the world.
– You, Katya, will still be happy, but first you need to take care of your health.
The very next day Oleg took Katya to the clinic and handed her over to his friend Nikolai, telling him to take care of her and cure her soon, and he went to Valentina Petrovna and after a long conversation received permission to see Artem. Inga didn’t want to hear anything about her grandson, and she also didn’t forgive Katya for not wanting to remain a widow and marrying some doctor.
Five years later, when Valentina Petrovna was gone, Oleg took the boy to himself. The grandson doted on his beloved grandfather, and also adored visiting Aunt Katya and Uncle Kolya, and playing with their little son there. Artem did not understand well who Katerina and her husband were to him, but he knew for sure that they were very good and loved him as much as he loved them, and grandfather Oleg said that they were all a family together, even though they live together, but does it really matter to those who love each other.