Catherine wasn't sure how the meeting was going to go. She could barely think clearly with her heart pounding so fast. It's been over twenty years since she last saw him. They were very close in college, the three of them, Bill, Catherine and Malcolm. So close that Bill was jealous of their friendship, then prevented them from contacting each other not long after they graduated.
It wasn't without a valid reason. There was obviously something between them that they never acted upon. Malcolm was a driving force for Catherine, he always said she would make it good if she had moved to Goldstone the way she intended. Bill thought the same, but instead of supporting her, he was scared of what she would become.
So Bill proposed to her, took her to Bluebridge where it was more suitable to raise a family, where Bill Ludlow can be a big fish in a little pond. Bill always thought Malcolm was a bad influence for Cathy, because he poisoned her with the will of independence. Back in the day, a woman's place was by her husband's side, at home.
Bill's proposal was backed-up by Catherine's parents, even though she had a few doubts, her parents managed to convince her it was the right thing to do. Bill was an established young man with a bright future, he came from a respectable middle-upper class family. Over the years, Bill proved to everyone he could build an empire for himself and his family.
Catherine felt like a coward. She never had the courage to follow her heart. She was so conventional, she never even expressed her doubt to anyone when she agreed to marry Bill, even though she knew she always had a thing for Malcolm. She could never do that, she was loyal but more than that, she was afraid her parents would oppose because Malcolm was black.
Smart, sophisticated, tall and handsome, Malcolm was always sweet and gentle to her. She was sure that Malcolm also had a thing for her, but neither of them ever said anything about it. Especially because it was too late, Catherine was already with Bill at the time. When Bill asked her to stop being friends with him, Malcolm remained to be her 'what if' through the years.