She pushed the plate over to Vivian, saying, “I made your favorite shortbread. Eat it while it’s hot.”
“Mom, I’m asking you a question! How do you know him?”
Grinning, Rachel explained, “I used to be a housemaid for the Morrison family. At the time, my main job was to look after Benedict. That’s why we’re so close. You have no idea what a beautiful little boy he used to be! I found myself smitten by his cuteness. He took a liking to me too, always running around me and calling me Ms. Rachel. He was such an obedient child!”
Vivian could imagine how adorable Benedict must have been when he was young. She wondered if her baby would be as beautiful. Judging by Finnick’s appearance, it was a given. Once the baby was born, Rachel would be ecstatic to be able to look after another child again.
At this, she was reminded of her main purpose for this visit. Distracted by Benedict’s appearance, she had nearly forgotten.
Her lips curved into a grin as she purposely said vaguely, “Mom, Mom! I have good news to tell you!”
“What is it?”
“Really? That’s wonderful!” It had been a long time since Rachel was this happy.
Ever since Vivian and Finnick got married, Rachel had been worried about her daughter. Now, it seemed like her worry had been for naught.
Taking in the blissful smile on Vivian’s face, Rachel felt the last of her apprehension vanish. She mentally thanked God for looking out for them both.
After asking how Vivian had been feeling recently, Rachel stated, “Your appetite is going to get a lot worse in a few days. You’ll also be suffering from nausea all the time.”
As if on cue, Vivian felt her stomach roiling in protest.
Noting the slightly nauseated look on her daughter’s face, Rachel chuckled and continued, “Let me tell you something. Being pregnant is not as glorious as people always make it out to be. When I was pregnant with you, I was vomiting every single day at every single meal. It got so bad I lost a lot of weight. After that phase, my appetite returned but I was insatiable. It was like my stomach was a black hole. I ate so much that I gained back all the weight I had lost and then some more. Walking became hard and all I could do was waddle around slowly. My stomach was so stretched. Then, at close to ten months, I gave birth to you.”
Vivian paid close attention to what her mother was saying. “Mom, did it hurt when you gave birth to me? Did it hurt a lot?”
“Of course! I gave birth to you naturally, you know. At the time, I kept telling myself that I had to endure till the end. I had to ensure you entered this world safe and sound.”
Rachel’s mind cast back to when she was in child labor. To this day, she could still remember the agony she had been in. It felt like her body was ripping in half. However, the moment she heard her baby’s first cry, tears trickled from her eyes. What was all this suffering in the face of bringing a new life into the world?
Once again, Vivian was in awe at how great her mother was to give birth to her and raise her alone.
She thought back to all the jobs Rachel had done in her whole life. Her mother had been a saleswoman, an insurance agent, a newspaper stand seller, a tailor… The list was endless. All these jobs were difficult jobs that required hard labor.
Despite doing all these hard jobs, all she had gotten in return was scorn and disdain. Yet she still managed to raise Vivian and send her off to university. It was absolutely astounding.
Tears pricked at Vivian’s eyes at the difficult life her mother had led.
As if Rachel had been thinking about her life too, she commented, “It was not easy bringing you up alone. I wasn’t very talented nor was I rich. I had to work hard to earn enough money to get us by. Looking back on it now, the Morrison family actually treated me quite well. At least the work environment was good.”
Something occurred to Vivian and she asked, “By the way, Mom, you said you looked after Benedict when he was young. Does that mean you know Evelyn as well?”
How could Rachel not know who she was?
“Mom? So do you?” Vivian noticed the way her mother’s eyes shifted slightly, like she was hiding something.
Lowering her gaze, Rachel tucked her hair behind her ears. “Of course I do!”
So she does know Evelyn!
Vivian pressed, “What was she like as a little girl?”
Rachel’s voice was low as she replied, “She’s an outstanding girl, of course. After all, she was born into such a good family. How could she not be?”
That’s true. If Evelyn weren’t such an amazing woman, Finnick would not have found it so hard to forget her; Benedict would not have pampered her so either.
Vivian mentally berated herself for asking such a stupid question.
Rachel shot her daughter a curious look. “Why are you suddenly asking about her?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I was just asking.”