Anna smiled a satisfied grin when she saw Robin sitting on the cobblestone banks of the Seine.
She was exactly where Anna thought she would be.
'You would've made a terrible spy, sweetie,' Anna thought with smile. 'Thank God for that.'
Unlike her impulsive self, her daughter was a creature of habits. Anna remembered a week before last Christmas, after having nearly failed a crucial exam, Robin had come here, to this very spot and she sat her, in her thick, cotton winter coat, brooding along the banks of the Seine, while staring at the Notre Dame Cathedral in the distance.
Although physically she was her mother's daughter, there were so many other facets of Robin that brought back endless memories of Robert. She had her father's stubborn sense of persistence. Her father's way of shutting out the world in brooding silence when it dealt her an unfair hand. Or when it, once again, took away something too precious to lose. Most of all she had her father's sense of justice.
Robin had taken all of the losses she shouldn't have endured and emerged a determined, compassionate young woman, unwavering in her ideals.
'I wish so much that you could see her,' Anna thought, as she walked towards her. 'You would be so proud of your little girl.'
Anna felt a selfish twinge of pleasure for having found her here. For again knowing her daughter well enough to anticipate her actions, as only a mother could.
"Hey there," she said, crossing her legs as she sat down on the cobblestone pavement next to Robin.
Robin fiddled with the straps of her bag, a half eaten croissant lying on a paper bag next to her. "Hey," she replied, her voice a mumble.
Anna saw a strand of hair fall down the side of Robin's face and instinctively reached over to brush it behind her ear.
"Are you still mad at me?"
Robin shook her head, raising her eyes to meet Anna's gaze. "I'm not mad at you, Mom." She paused, taking a deep breath. "I was out of line this morning. I'm sorry."
"You said what was on your mind," Anna said, pursing her lips in thought. "Sometimes that's for the best."
"I didn't mean to hurt you."
"I know." Anna put her arms around Robin's shoulder, marvelling at her daughter's capacity for love, even in when angry.
"I just don't want him to hurt you again," Robin said softly. "I know he can, because you still love him, don't you, Mom."
Anna nodded. There was no point denying it. "I do."
Robin frowned, staring out into the river.
"But..." Anna said gently. "I need to explain something to you. I left Pine Valley because Leora died, not because David hurt me."
"He couldn't deal with it," Robin countered. "You said it yourself. He was inconsolable after she died. He couldn't even go to the funeral with you! Dad would never have…"
Anna bit her lip. "We lost our little girl, Robin. It was unbearable for both of us. David broke down first, and for me it took a little longer. There's no good or bad, or black or white, sweetie."
"Afterwards he was the one who wanted us to try and make it work. I couldn't do it, Robin. I couldn't stand living in that cabin, in Pine Valley. I'm the one who left him, not the other way around." Anna lowered her eyes. "David couldn't help me after Leora died, and I didn't have anything left when he was ready to start again."
"And now?" Anna felt Robin's head leaning against her shoulder as she asked the question, "He's going to stay in Paris?"
"He left for the airport this morning."
Robin pushed away, staring at her in disbelief, "But after everything you just said, I thought…?"
"He came here to tell me that he has another daughter."
"A daughter he didn't know about."
"He came to Paris to tell you he has a daughter he doesn't know about?"
Anna laughed. "Am I hearing an echo? Yes, that's why he came."
"I missed him," she said softly, staring at a Bateau-Mouche that passed by in front of them, full of tourists enjoying a sunny day on the Seine. "I asked him to stay with me last night, and he did. I'm glad that he did."
"And that's it?" Robin's expression was even more perplexed than it was this morning.
Anna didn't answer.
"That's not it, is it?" Robin pressed. "You still love him. Mom, do you want to go back to Pine Valley?"
Anna shook her head. "No, I could never go back there."
"So he is coming back here then?"
Anna shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know."
"But Mom, if you love…"
Anna squeezed her daughter's shoulders. "I'll tell you what I do know. I know I'm starving," she glanced at the half eaten croissant, lying on the paper bag. "And I know that little croissant couldn't have filled you up either. Why don't we go for breakfast somewhere not French? Preferably some place that has bacon and eggs and pancakes and maple syrup."
Robin laughed, getting up from the ground, "Dream on, Mom." She pulled Anna to her feet, "But we can always compromise and go to McDonalds."
Anna held on to her daughter's hand. "Tell me something, would it bother you if he did come back?"
Robin smirked. "You do know whether he's coming or not, don't you, Mom?"
Anna grinned and pulled her daughter towards her. "I didn't say that."
"If he makes you happy, then I hope he comes back," Robin said, her expression serious again. "You deserve a little happiness."
Anna smiled, as a gust of wind blew her hair into her face. "You do too, sweetie. Except wanting it to happen doesn't always mean it will."
"Not always," Robin smiled a conspiratorial smile as she picked up her pace. "But sometimes."