The bandage had been wrapped around Catherine’s hand for three weeks.
“Come on, love,” said Mum. “Take it off, eh? You don’t need it anymore.”
“Yes I do.”
“It must be all healed up by now.”
“Maybe. But there’ll be a scar.”
“Is that what you’re worried about? Because everybody has scars, love. Nobody will bat an eye.”
“You know who. I will not have her take pleasure in seeing the scar that she inflicted upon me.”
“You’re being a bit melodramatic, love.”
“I am not!”
“What if she sees the scar and feels remorse? I think that’s much more likely.”
“She couldn’t even fake remorse. She’s evil to the core.”
Arabella saunters silently into the room, nose in the air.
“Well, speak of the devil and she will arrive. Why don’t you take off that bandage and see what happens?”
Catherine watched Arabella, who glanced at her with studied disinterest. “Fine. Let’s see.” She set to work unwinding the bandage, appreciative of the cool, fresh air on skin which had been trussed up for far too long.
Arabella watched as the length of bandage fell to the floor. Then she hurried over to Catherine, jumped up onto her lap and started sniffing gently at her hand.
“Told you,” said Mum. “She’s sorry.”
Catherine couldn’t help but smile as Arabella nudged at the scar with her nose, as though planting a series of delicate kisses along the wound she’d inflicted in a moment of misguided and wholly uncharacteristic rage. “Thanks, Arabella. I guess you’re forgiven.”
The cat looked up at her, narrowed her eyes and swiped at her face.
“Get her off me!”
“Arabella! Put your claws away! Leave her alone!”
Mum got to her feet and started clapping and flailing and shooing. The cat, its white fur fluffed up with adrenaline, ran from the room.
Catherine glared at her mother as fine rivers of blood seeped from paper-thin wounds across her cheeks. “I told you. Evil to the core.”
Mum sighed. “I think she just doesn’t like you, love.”