1914 – Gregorij and Katja
In February 1914 Susan and Louis travelled to Europe. Madeleine stayed to take care of the theater but Sunny accompanied them as Eric's nurse.
At last Erik and Eleanor had the chance to see their grandson, who now was seven month old. When they sat all together in the living room talking Erik carried the boy into his study, where they stayed for about half an hour. When they returned he said "Now I have talked to Eric. We understand each other." Susan wondered if her father perhaps had become a little crazy.
Richard, who still went to university, came home to meet them. Susan and Louis had a good time in London and she felt happy to be "home" again.
After a time Louis wanted to return but Susan wanted to stay a little longer. Then they all had word of the wedding between Gregorij and Katja. They were all invited. Erik said that such a trip would be too tiring for him, hoping that the young couple would come to visit them. Susan wanted to go and Louis agreed to accompany her.
Louis was worried about the theater but Susan assured him that Madeleine could manage. Susan had an idea, which she almost didn't dare to tell her husband. One evening she tried. "What would you say about selling the theater in New York and move to London?" – "Selling? What are you talking about?" – " I would very much like to come here again. This is my home and my father is old. He would appreciate having us near him." Louis frowned. "Sometimes I think you care more about him than about me. Eric is his grandson first, then my son."-"It's not like that at all, you know that" she said. "Please consider it, for my sake." – "There are so many practicalities – the theater, Fort Appia, Madeleine. And my mother wo lives in Canada." She went up to him and put her arms around his neck. "All these things can be solved. I would really appreciate it.." – "Ok, I will think about it." He kissed her. "You know you are very persuasive?"
Susan, Louis and Eric took a trip to Paris to visit Jeanette and Eloise. They talked about Gregorij's wedding. Jeanette was not going to attend. "I hope they will visit me if they go to London" she said. Susan and Jeanette both found it interesting that their brother had settled on marrying a woman, after the intermezzo with Boris.
Anna and Igor hosted the wedding between Gregorij and Katja. Michail and his whole family came to Moscow to participate and Katja's mother Tamara came. From London came Susan and Louis with Eric and Richard. Boris and Alexej, Katja's brother, were also invited.
Susan and Gregorij met after not having seen each other for a while. "You are ravishing as always" he said. "A little more mature. Being a mother becomes you. Eric is lovely, just like I imagine a son of yours." – "I hope you will have children too. She is very sweet, your Katja. It's no coincidence that she looks a little like me? You suit each other." He smiled.
Petrushka thought it nice to meet Louis again. Susan wondered how Michail would react seeing her, but if he still had feelings for her, he didn't show them.
They told them that Elizaveta, their daughter, who now was seven, was going to move to Moscow to begin studying ballet and then stay with the Ragavich family. Michail would come to visit her often.
The wedding was beautiful. Katja was a sweet and enchanting bride and the bride's mother wiped as it should be.
Louis and Anna found each other. She admired his son "Little Eric seems just the grandchild Erik always wanted. Now I can hope for grandchildren of my own."
Irina and Richard talked a lot. She told him about Michail Romanov. "In a way I can't forget him. Perhaps I hope that we will meet again under other circumstances. "
Before Susan and her family left for London she said "We have plans to move to London. Only a little more persuation is needed to make Louis want it too."
Katja and Gregorij set out for a wedding trip through Europe. They went to Paris to meet Jeanette. She greeted her new sister-in-law with enthusiasm. "I was so curious to meet the woman my brother decided to marry" she said. "I don't really understand how you all are related" Katja said. "You are Gregorij's sister, but so are Susan and Irina. "-"You will understand in due time. Much of it is due to our mutual father." They also spent time with Eloise, who was a lively girl. Gregorij took his wife's hand. "Would you like one of those yourself?" – "Yes, why not?" Katja smiled.
They stayed for a couple of days. "We will spend some time in London and then we have a long journey back home" Gregorij said. "I begin to feel tired" Katja said. "I long to get to Moscow and decorate our first home together." When they left Jeanette said "I would like you to take a message for Susan. Tell her to prepare to play Tjajkovskij's piano concerto here in Paris in August, before I go to Stockholm for a guest performance. She knows what I mean."- "What does it mean?"- "That she will perform with a conductor who wants to do this with her." – "Who? Him?" – "Yes, the father of my child. We keep in contact." – "I will tell her."
Susan met them at the station. "I have persuaded Louis to move here to London, at least for a period. He has returned to New York to take care of things, find a buyer to the theater and sell the villa. I am so happy to be back in London."
Eleanor greeted them as they came to the apartment. "It's good to see you again, Gregorij. And you Katja. You are so welcome! You look lovely. Are you tired?" – "A little. We have travelled much." They entered the salon. Erik rose from his chair. He hugged his son. "Nice to see you. I'm always glad to be alive to meet my dear ones again." – "Your'e tough, you still have a long time to live." Katja came up to them. She looked a little scared. She was prepared but still the mask frightened her. Erik took her hands. "Welcome Katja. Don't be scared of me. You will soon get used. " He touched her cheek with his finger. "You are lovely." She smiled.
Katja and Gregorij had a room of their own in the apartment. They all had dinner together. Eric and Sunny also participated. "Sunny is here as a Eric's nurse" Susan said. The girl smiled. Her hair was still blond and curly and the family liked her. Erik once told Susan, furtively, that he didn't mind at all looking at a sweet young girl.
Gregorij passed on the message from Jeanette. "She once told me that Silvio wanted to perform that piece together with me" Susan said. "August is good. I hope Louis will be back until then."
As soon as Susan or Erik played the piano Eric came to listen, and they realized he was musical. "We must let him learn to play as soon as possible" Susan said. "I remember I learned when I was very small. Father of course wants him to be like me – or rather like himself. Louis is jealous of this. Perhaps it's time to give him someone he could take care of – a little Louisa?"
Erik played and the little boy listened sitting in Sunnys lap. Katja listened too. She was fascinated of the way he became fully engulfed by the music. After a while she stood by his side, looking at his hands. They looked alive and young, not over eighty years old. He smiled at her and she felt a strong sympathy with him.
Susan had a telegram from Louis. "He has found a buyer for the theater and plan to be back in England by the middle of August. Madeleine is coming too."
In the end of June the news spread over Europe that the successor to the throne in Austria and his wife had been assassinated in Sarajevo. The political discussions began. "There is a turbulence in Europe at the moment" Erik said. "There is even talk of war. I hope that could be avoided."
After a couple of weeks in London Katja wanted to return home. "If there is going to be a war we have better avoid it and go home as soon as possible" she said. "But I very much want to come back here. " She had grown fond of listening to Erik playing and did so as often as she could. One afternoon when they were alone in the room and she stood by his side she leaned forward and took off his mask. She had a small shock but didn't scream. He stopped playing. "Why did you do that?" – "I wanted to see you. Do you mind? We are related now and you like me, don't you? You don't need to be ashamed." He put his mask back. "I would like to decide to whom I want to show my face" he said, irritated. "I am so sorry" her voice was full of remorse. "I was curious. I don't know when I'll see you next time. " She lay her hand on his other cheek. "Can you forgive me?" He kissed the palm of her hand. "Yes. I'm so glad Gregorij has found you. Were you scared?" – "A little" – "I hope it hasn't affected you badly in any way. " He looked at her. "Are you going to have children?" – "Perhaps. Yes of course we are." He went on playing and she listened.
Gregorij and Katja travelled back home, just in time to get away from the war.
In July Erik and Jeanette met in Caen. She brought Eloise and Erik was very pleased to meet his little granddaugher. They talked about children. "I hope to get more grandchildren. Perhaps Susan will have another one. But if Katja and Gregorij have children, they will live far away from us." – "What did you think of Katja?" – "She went straight to my heart." – "You fell in love with her?" – "Sort of. You deserve something when you are old like me." –"Like looking at Eric's nurse?" – "Whoever told you that?" – "A little bird. Or perhaps Susan. Will you come to the concert Susan and Silvio will give?" – "I don't think so. I don't like to travel."
Susan practiced a lot before the concert. Louis and Madeleine arrived in the beginning of August. "Just the right time to come to Europe when there is a war coming" Louis said. "England will perhaps stay out of it"Susan said. There was no time to loose and the time for the concert was set. Annabella had not wanted Silvio to go but he was persistent. Susan and Louis arrived from London but nobody else dared to make the journey. Finally Susan and Silvio met again. "I have longed for this" he said. "At last we give the world a chance to listen to us." During the rehearsals Jeanette and Louis spent the time together. "For the first time in my life I feel lost" he said. "I have no work and i have not yet found one."
The concert was a success. Susan was stunning with the diamond hair slide Erik had once given her in her black hair, wearing a long black velvet dress. The audience enjoyed the music and it was evident that the conductor and the soloist enjoyed to play. The applauses never seemed to end, and Susan and Silvio bowed, hand in hand, in front of the auditorium. "I know this is her life" Louis said, watching his wife.
They went to a fashionable restaurant having a good time for the rest of the evening. Then they returned to the hotel. The two sisters took a stroll in the lobby. "Are you going home from here?" Susan asked. "No, I stay with Silvio." –"What's it like living like that – as 'the other woman' so to speak?" – "It's fine. I can have him when I like but I don't have to live with him. But it will come to an end now when I go to Stockholm. And he is getting old. Annabella can have him now." She laughed understanding she was a little intoxicated. Susan laughed too. "I can understand your feelings. I find him charming too."- "You stick to Louis. He is one in a million." – "What if you find a new man to love in Stockholm?" – "Well, you never know. Let's go back to the boys now."
Before he left Jeanette said goodbye to Silvo. "We don't know when we'll meet again" she said. "I will think of you" he said. "Both of you. I hope you will be back for Christmas. " – "I hope so too" she said and kissed him.
Soon after the news spread about the war. Germany had declared war against Russia and France. Germany advanced attacking Belgium and England joined too. André de Chagny, Jeanette's brother, was an officer and had to join up. Jeanette, Eloise and mlle Arquette embarked a ship in Calais and sailed for Stockholm.
Katja and Gregorij made it back to Moscow just before the war broke out. They moved to a new apartment and started their life together. Soon Katja discovered that she was pregnant and probably had been so even when she was in Paris and London. Tamara stayed in Moscow to be near her daughter. Katja was soon tired and began to feel heavy. They went for a thorough examination and were informed that Katja was carrying twins. "In a way that could be practical" Gregorij said. "Yes, but tiresome. I will have to rest a lot now."
Meet Katja's and Gregorij's twins in the last part of this story, Erik – the final part. From the time of Word war one to Erik's final days in the middle of the 1920's.