Vanessa eyed her son for a long moment, debating whether or not she wanted to respond. She decided against it.
Hector didn’t seem to appreciate her silence. His annoyed stare was something she had become well-acquainted with during their few recent encounters. “I came to see if there was anything you needed before I leave,” he said.
The lack of hesitation in his voice did not escape Vanessa’s notice. He was telling her that he was going to leave the country. Telling her. Not asking for permission. Not even hoping for approval, by the sound of it.
He was changing. She could see it with each new visit he paid her. The young Lord Goffe. It seemed like he was genuinely starting to believe himself worthy of the title.
How ridiculous everything had become.
“I don’t need anything from you,” she said blankly.
That wasn’t enough to get him to leave, however. “...How have you been doing? Mr. Easton said you haven’t left this room in almost a week.”
Her eyes glazed over. “It’s comfortable.”
“Mom, I... I worry about you.”
Her eyes narrowed at him. Her impulse was to ask why, but she already knew what he would say. The same thing as before--because she was his mother and because he loved her.
And she did not wish to hear that again.
It made no sense whatsoever. How could he love her? After everything that had happened, everything she’d said to him, how the hell could that be possible?
She’d always found it strange. Mothers were supposed to feel something different for their children, weren’t they? Maternal instinct? Where was hers? She’d never felt it. From the moment she first realized she was pregnant, she’d kept expecting something to change, some switch to be flipped inside of her. She thought, surely, she would be able to feel it when she held him in her arms for the first time. It was the only thing that let her endure those nine horrific months. But no. All she’d felt was relief that it was finally over. And afterward, she thought it might come when he took his first steps. Or when he could feed himself. Or dress himself. Or go to school on his own.
But nothing. Not really. He was just some child. No different from anyone else’s. The only distinction was that she had a societal obligation to this one. So she pretended. She played the role as best as she was able.