‘Good morning Mum.’ Anais is sitting at the table waiting on her mother to appear for breakfast. She flew in last night from a buying trip and is exhausted but this conversation with her mother is one that needs to be had.

Her brother is hurting, and it is his entirely their mother’s fault. He might put up a good front he but Brodie is a big softie at heart and he loves Blu. He came back for her, even if he is unwilling to admit. She’d gotten to know Blu over the course of their relationship, and really likes her, especially for Brodie; they were good together. Are good together but her mother had to put her foot in it.

‘Early morning Anais call. Nothing about this morning will be good. I’m in trouble.’ Leila sits opposite her daughter at the dining table.

‘You are the trouble mum.’ Anais is stern. Over the years she’d mastered how to deal with her mother. She is a hard woman to get to know and love, growing up she was not motherly and in their adult years, she’d grown cold. Anais wondered if their mother knew or cared about her children. To the world she is the great Leila Sterling, CEO of an empire, a family history well respected, a lineage. Sterling luxury goods. But to her, to her family she’s distant, as if her life did not pan out as she would have liked it to. It was hard growing up because picture perfect as they appear to be in the press, their lives were anything but. Brodie and Elliot left home as soon as they could, Logan stayed, he is the peacemaker in the family so he stayed because he knew without him around both her and Isabel would suffer with their workaholic mother and a father who lives for his work, for company. Their parents stopped loving each other years before the divorce, she isn’t even sure if they ever loved each other. Her relationship with her parents was better, apart, much better with her father but she loves them both, so with her mother she’ll always try. Hard as she might make it, Anais will always try with her, because at the end of the day they will always be family.

‘Oh dear, what have I done now?’ Leila pours herself a cup of coffee. No sugar, a dash of milk. Just like she’s had it for years.

‘You know what you did.’ Anais has that tone, one that cannot be dismissed by her mother.

‘I’ve never been one for riddles. Tell me what you’re here to tell me I have-‘

‘A plane to catch mum, I know, another trip to see some new supplier, some new retailer, some new whatever. I know the score I’m on the board of Sterling, and I too have just returned from a trip so I do know the programme, but this is important.’

‘What is?’

‘I know what you said to Blu. I heard what you said to her.’

That stops Leila. Her senses dulled and her entire body goes numb. She didn’t think anyone heard that conversation.

‘What do you-’

‘Oh mum for heaven’s sake stop it! I heard everything you said to her. How could you?!’

‘How could I what? Tell her the truth?’

‘What truth? You haven’t even told us anything of what you said to her. Does dad even know?’

Leila looks at her daughter, pursing her lips.

‘That’s why he left isn’t it?’

‘The issue between your father and I is none of your business.’

‘It affects us. Your children. Your family.’

‘You are all grown-ups and either way it does not change the fact that it is not any of your business.’

‘But you made it Blu’s when you told her on the day she was meant to marry your son.’

‘They didn’t love each other.’

‘And how would you know?’

Leila falters, ‘that was a low blow.’

‘Not any lower than you went when you tore into her for no other reason than you could. What did she ever do to you?’

‘I don’t know her that’s what Anais. I don’t know her at all.’

‘Did you bother to get to know her when she lived here?’

‘All I know is any time she came around here she looked like she’d rather not be here.’

‘Oh really?’

‘Yes really. How many times did she come for any of the functions we had? Come to dinner? Luncheon?’

‘Because every time she did come you threw some shady comment her way so I’m sure Brodie would have wanted to keep her away from that. Why should anyone come around for that? It’s the same thing you did to Elliot and me and Isabel. About the only person you bothered to give a damn about is Logan.’

‘That’s nonsense and you know it.’

‘No it is not, and you know it!’ Anais fires back at her mother ‘Logan is the only one that bothers with you because no one else can stand your jibes and even so you are mean to his wife. You’re mean mum.’ Anais was pained to tell her mother something she is sure she already knows. ‘You are mean and what you did to Blu and Brodie was horrible. You need to make it right.’

‘I don’t have to do anything.’

‘Yes you do or I will and you know I can be a hell of a lot detailed about things. Out of respect or thinking you would do the decent thing and tell Brodie I left you to it, but you haven’t instead you have made him think Blu was callous and she’s not. If you bothered to open your eyes and really look at them, you’ll see how in love they are with each other. How right they are for each other. How much happier she makes Brodie, and how much he is hurting now.’

‘He left!’ Leila snaps. ‘He left to be with her, how was I going to see anything?’

‘So that’s your excuse? Because he left? When he was here all you gave him was grief. Grief about how he wouldn’t go into the Sterling business, how he took dad’s side, even though none of us did. And you know why he left, the press got to him, it bothered him that they were constantly in our lives and you did nothing to stop it. Nothing to protect us from the mess you created’ Anais looks at her mother with something nearing pity, ‘you need to make this right with Brodie or I am telling him everything.’