Disclaimer: I do not own the Dollanganger Series.
A/N: Hi, everyone! I've recently begun reading the Dollanganger Series (in addition to watching the Lifetime movies), and I have fallen completely in love with it. I wish I had read it sooner because I love the complexities of the characters!
I've written a little drabble here about how Corrine might have felt when she ran into Carrie on that fateful day in Charlottesville, and I hope to write a longer, more intricate story starring Corrine and the crew. Please read, enjoy, and let me know what you think! Thanks!
At first, Corrine didn't turn when that small, incredulous voice called out that infamous word. In the busy streets of Charlottesville, it wasn't uncommon for children to cry out for their mothers. The simple, everyday folk let their children run wild in the streets on the weekends, so naturally the savage brutes would desperately call out for their parents that so carelessly lost sight of them. It was indeed a busy day in the historical part of Main Street, so of course something like that was bound to happen.
With that, Corrine simply kept walking, admiring her white platform sandals. She didn't honestly care that some child became separated from her mother, and besides – Corrine Winslow didn't have any children, so why would anyone say that to her?
But when, braver and closer now, the light voice again called out "Momma," Corrine finally turned. Standing before her dressed in a light blue dress was a short, petite woman with long blonde curls and striking blue eyes. She had a bright pink ribbon tied into her ponytail, and her eyes, those achingly familiar eyes, stared into hers with a sudden flash of recognition and shock.
Carrie. There was no doubt about it. Her face, once so pale from the enclosure of the attic, gleamed with a light, natural tan, and her dress sat perfectly on her small, curvy figure. She was short – very short – and her head seemed to be disproportionate to her small body. But her eyes, those soft, baby blue eyes, sparkled just as radiantly up at her, now filled with hope and a deep, painful longing.
"Momma, it's me – it's Carrie." Her eyes were so excited, so bright – so innocent, just as before. "Momma, is that really you? It's been so long since I've seen you."
Momma. What a name. When she was a child, Corrine had never called her own mother "Momma." It would have been too close and too familiar. A mother like Corrine's mother demanded complete, utter respect, and any affectionate variation of "mother" just wouldn't do. And, like Malcolm had said, pet names were "weak" and showed unnecessary vulnerability. One's title was their title, and petty emotional ties couldn't override the title's function.
But when Corrine had children of her own, she fixed that. Straight away with Christopher, it was never "Mother" but always "Momma." Oh, how the children flocked to her then, sweetly calling her "Momma" before putting their little arms up and letting her hug and kiss them! How Christopher used to scrunch up his nose in delight and kiss her back, how Cathy would rest her head on Corrine's chest while touching her hair, how Cory had clung on tightly to her embrace and whispered that he loved her…
Cory. Another sad, forbidden memory. Those soft blue eyes and frail, shrinking bones haunted Corrine to that very day, but she could never, ever reveal it. As she stared down at Carrie, feeling heartbroken for her twin and full of guilt for the girl's own life, Corrine knew what she had to do; she knew that she had to be strong.
"I don't know you." Corrine's eyes turned cold, and Carrie merely stared. "I don't have any children."
"But, Momma, it's me." Corrine could see the panic that surged through Carrie's eyes and her little body. Her hands started moving nervously, just as Corrine's did, and Corrine's own hands threatened to move up to her pearl necklace with the diamond butterfly clasp. For a moment, Corrine's eyes revealed a deep, long-contained sorrow, but almost instantly, she shielded it behind glass – frozen, expressionless glass of the most opaque blue.
"You must be mistaken." Oh, the agony! How those beautiful blue eyes broke into delicate, glistening pools! "Now, excuse me."
But as Corrine turned away to leave, to leave and go anywhere but there, her daughter took hold of her hand. Her small, soft fingers intertwined with hers, just like they had back when she was a child. They clung on tightly and gripped Corrine's with a surprising fierceness, and as Corrine turned around again, those eyes bled the most desperate of pleas.
"Momma, you don't have to pretend anymore." Tears started flowing now, and Corrine was rigidly aware that someone could stop and notice this little scene. But even so, she just couldn't look away and couldn't shake away the burning in her heart. "I promise I won't tell anyone. Momma, I just want to talk to you. It's been so long since I've heard your voice and seen your face. Won't you please talk to me? Don't you want to talk to me? Do you not want me anymore, Momma?"
"As I told you twice, I don't have any children." Corrine pulled her hand away and took a step back, trying to glower at the poor, heartbroken girl but merely giving her more of a mutated sort of stare. Secretly, it crushed her heart to do that and not reach out to her and embrace her, but what other choice did she have? "Now, leave me alone."
Oh, how sad the little girl looked! How her pretty face fell and her shoulders slumped; how her entire body crashed down with defeat. It was completely unbearable, and Corrine turned around then, walking briskly to the side of a building with her head held high and her heart trailing invisibly behind her.
But after some minutes had passed, she turned around again, for she couldn't help but double back and take another look.
Carrie was beautiful. It simply stirred butterflies in Corrine's heart to see her daughter so beautiful. She'd always been a cute little girl, and though her looks by no means surpassed those of her sister, they portrayed a delicate portrait of a kind, gentle lady. Corrine wondered what she was doing with her life, for she should be twenty years old by now. Did she have a boyfriend who loved and doted on her? Did she have plans to get married? Would she soon have her own little girl to raise and love? Would she too who be called "Momma"?
Images flashes of a bony, pale little girl vomiting in the attic, and Corrine felt a tear of her own battle to spring loose from her tear ducts. She relived the pain and the misery she had experienced then, feeling helpless as her poor babies got sick all because of her.
It was only for their own good, she had told herself, perhaps crazed by her own euphoria and delirium of a rich, cozy life. She was only making them just sick enough to take them to the hospital, one by one! She would then pretend that they died while hiding them away in a different house, a real house, and they would soon be a true family again.
But that never happened – that would never happen. She would never again kiss and hug her four precious Dresdon Dolls, all spitting images of herself and her dear, darling husband.
A young, baby face again obsessed her thoughts, and Corrine bowed her head, feeling the pain afresh as if it had only just happened. Bart had often wondered why she grew grim and distant around little boys, and of course she could never tell him the truth. Her heart ached and longed for the fresh face of her darling baby boy, but she knew his soul had soared to heaven because of her, and she prayed daily to him to give her peace and sanity as she paid the price of all her sins.
Sighing, Corrine slowly began following Carrie as she roamed around Main Street, looking lost, fragile, and scared – so very, very scared. With a twinge of regret, Corrine realized that it was never Carrie that she had worried about. Carrie had always been so bold and so brazen, so Corrine had thought she would be tough and would adjust. It was Cory who had hay fever and who was susceptible to disease and infections, and it was Cory who had the cuter face and who loved Corrine the way only a young son could.
Had she done the wrong thing by giving him more attention? Did Carrie feel deprived like Cathy did? Was she jealous, hurt, and bitter? After all these years and all this time, would Carrie have it in her heart to forgive her?
"My sweet, sweet girl," Corrine whispered under her breath, watching the blue wave of Carrie's dress disappear as she rounded a corner. "I do want you. I've always wanted you. And I'm here for you, spying from afar." A tear escaped, finding itself nestled on Corrine's cheek. "I am your Momma.