For as long as she could remember, life hadn't been particularly easy for her. She remembered growing up in a household where her father was abusive towards her mother. Her father never cared about her and treated her like a stranger, it was always 'good morning daughter' or 'good afternoon daughter' or 'good evening daughter'. Nothing else was said to her by her father and even when she tried to start up a conversation, he always dismissed it and presumed that she wanted money so he would tell her to go to the butler who gave her all the money that she barely ever used.
It got so frustrating to the point that she just stopped trying. Her father usually yelled at her mother at the slightest provocation and said mean words to her and her mother, Elaine would always lock herself up in the bathroom because she didn't want her daughter to see her cry but Ekaterina knew everything and saw everything, even from a young age.
Her father's behavior towards her and her mother made her harbor a strong dislike for him but because he was her father, she could never really bring herself to hate him so she soon thought of their relationship as merely a formality. She was to be the obedient daughter who said yes to his every command while he was the benevolent father who catered for all her needs.
Ekaterina was twelve when her mother finally filed for divorce after her husband had pushed her down the stairs while she was pregnant, not only causing her to lose the pregnancy but making her almost lose her life as well. As soon as she was out of hospital, Elaine filed for divorce and her husband, Ryan readily divorced her. It was after the divorce that Ekaterina found out that her father had gone from yelling at her mother to hitting her for no good reason.
Elaine had quietly endured the domestic violence for the sake of her daughter, because she wanted Ekaterina to have a good life and only Ryan would be able to give it to her. Elaine would try to hide her bruises with big, long clothes and make up and whenever Ekaterina spotted a bruise, she would lie that she had gotten it while doing house chores.
She was ready to endure it all but after Ryan had pushed her down the stairs despite the fact that she was eighteen weeks pregnant, she knew that she couldn't stay with him any longer or he'd end up killing her at some point.
Elaine used the alimony she had gotten from the divorce to rent an apartment and the rest she used to start up something. Ekaterina was an easy child so she quickly adapted to the fact that she didn't have maids and butlers to cater to her whims anymore. Though it was hard to adjust, she eventually did and she began assisting her mother around the house.
Ryan had wanted Ekaterina to become a doctor but she really wanted to become an actress and since her father no longer controlled her life anymore and her mother gave her full support, Ekaterina decided to pursue acting.
She only had a few weeks left to graduate Drama school when she had returned home one day to find her mother unconscious on the floor. After taking her to the hospital, the doctor revealed that Elaine was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease and needed to undergo surgery as soon as possible.
The doctor also explained that the coronary bypass surgery wouldn't cure the heart disease but would ease the symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. The doctor also explained that the procedure could improve Elaine's heart function and reduce her risk of dying of heart disease but how long she would live healthy after the surgery would depend on her daily lifestyle. The doctor suggested that after the surgery, her mother would have to stick to a specific healthy diet devoid of cholesterol and she would have to take her medicines without fail, she would always have to avoid stress as well. The surgery, the medicines and the intensive care, all of which would cost a small fortune which Ekaterina did not have.
After thinking of all her options and realizing that her mother really needed the surgery, she was left with no choice but to go back to her father who she had not seen for the last eight years.
Ryan had remarried and had a young daughter and when he saw Ekaterina again, he was not pleased but still decided to talk to her. She revealed the condition of her mother and pleaded on her knees for her father to save her mother.
Ryan told her that he no longer had any obligations towards Elaine since they were after all divorced and Ekaterina quickly began to wonder why her father seemed to hate her and her mother so much.
She still pleaded with him to reconsider her and claimed that she would be willing to do anything as long as he agreed to pay for her mother's medical expenses. She even said that she would repay all the money as soon as she could and Ryan finally agreed but he told her that she didn't have to repay any money back to him.
She was so happy and began thanking him profusely but he stopped her and told her that he wasn't going to be giving his hard earned money to her for free, she would have to repay all the money he would be spending on her mother but not in cash, he needed something else from her and though she wondered what it was, she agreed.
Ryan then told her that she would be getting married to Rodion Hill, the senator's son. It would be a business marriage so that the senator would finally agree to sign the partnership agreement with his company. The partnership with the senator would bring in billions of dollars as profit for his company and in return, Ryan would pay all Elaine's medical fees and make sure she would be properly taken care of for the rest of her life.
Ryan had always wanted to have familial ties with Senator Hill because he stood to benefit a lot from the man and on the other hand, Irven Hill just wanted a good girl from a wealthy and cultured family to become his daughter in-law. He wanted a woman who would finally make his Casanova son settle down and start a family; the old man was eager to have grandchildren.
Ryan knew about this but he regrettably only had a seven year old daughter who still needed to hear lullabies in order to fall asleep so it just couldn't work and he was in despair but when Ekaterina, his stepdaughter had showed up at just the right time, he knew he needed to take this golden opportunity. He had never really liked the girl and he only spent his money on her because she was his wife's daughter but now would be a good opportunity to finally reap back all he had spent on her but in abundance. He also realized that Elaine still hadn't told Ekaterina the truth that he wasn't her biological father, she was nothing but his stepdaughter. It didn't matter though, as long as the situation kept playing to his advantage.
Despite the fact that accepting her father's proposal would mean throwing away her entire life's work by dropping out of Drama school, marrying a rich and stuck up womanizer who would never love her, becoming a quiet and obedient housewife and baby maker and single handedly destroying her life, it didn't matter. All that mattered was her mother's life and health and she was ready to do anything to preserve that. She was even ready to sell her soul to the devil if she had to, that was just how much she adored her mother.
Ekaterina regrettably gave in to Ryan's request and he was very happy. He promised to make sure that Elaine got the best of everything and in order to make sure that Ekaterina would keep up with her end of the bargain, Ryan decided that he would only let Elaine undergo the surgery after she was successfully engaged to Rodion.
She readily agreed to this because she had already made up her mind and there was no going back.
Ryan made the marriage proposal to Senator Hill over the phone and the old man happily agreed and quickly set a date for the engagement.
The engagement was to take place in a week's time and she would only see the face of her future husband then, not that she really cared. She was more or less like an item being traded for a business deal.
She went to see her mother everyday in the hospital and the woman insisted that she was fine, she didn't like staying in the hospital so she wanted to go home but Ekaterina refused and told her that she would have to undergo surgery before she would be allowed to go home.
Elaine knew that surgeries usually cost a lot of money and she asked Ekaterina where she would be getting the money for her surgery. Ekaterina of course knew that her mother would never agree to her decision of selling herself into a marriage just to pay for her hospital bills so she lied. She lied that she had approached her father and Ryan had happily agreed to pay for all the medical bills. Elaine was a bit skeptical about it at first but since her daughter was always truthful to her, she believed Ekaterina's story. Though Ekaterina was unhappy that her mother would not be a part of her engagement and her wedding, she had no other choice.
She had been forced to go shopping with the maids for her engagement. It was just an arranged marriage so she didn't want anything to do with it but her stepmother would have none of it. Athena, her stepmother, sent her on a shopping trip with the maids and it was on this shopping trip that she had first come in contact with Vadim, innocently falling under his radar.