[STORY] Arranged love (episode 1-16)

“I am done!”
Finally, I had graduated from high school with honors. Many parents were waiting for their children to take pictures. I didn’t look for my parents. They didn’t come to my graduation. Today, my brother, David, was graduating from Harvard Law School. They went there to see his graduation.
Growing up, I never got support from my parents since I was born. My brother was the precious child in my parent’s eyes. He would go beyond their expectation in academics and athletics. They loved him dearly.
My parents planned to never have a child after David but, their plan failed eight years later. When my mother found out about being pregnant, she and my father wanted to get an abortion but, my grandparents didn’t want them to get one. They managed to convince them to keep the pregnancy.
When I was born, my parents had thought of putting me up for adoption. My grandfather managed to convince them to not do such a thing. Instead, my grandparents would raise me as their very own giving me attention, love, and support. When I heard the truth, I was grateful for them. They became my guardians and my parents.
I had seen my parents over the years but, I never got close to them. I would tell them about my successes in school and athletics but, they never seemed to be interested in me. They would boast about my brother’s success in front of everyone to hear. Sometimes, I wondered why they had me born.
My other relatives were drawn to my brother and my parents than me. They were never concerned for me and thought that I didn’t exist in the family. I felt like an outsider. My grandparents were different. They tried to include me in everything. They were the only family to me.
As David got older and more popular, my parents became more involved with his life and fame. He appeared in magazines and the media. When he was in law school, I heard that he had was expected to become a top lawyer by his professors. I didn’t care about his fame. I tried to live my own life.
As I grew up, I worried about my self and my grandparents. I accepted the fact that my parents were never going to be there for me. As for David, I wasn’t too sure. I never had an relationship with him.
I took my diploma and walked to my grandparents who were waiting for me. My grandfather gave me a smile and opened his arms to me. I walked right into them. “Good job Vera. I’m very proud of you,” he said to me.
“Thank you grandpa,” I said to him and released him from my hug. Grandmother gave me a hug. “Our precious Vera. I’m so proud of you,” she said to me. We took a few pictures together and made our way to the car.
“We should go out and celebrate,” grandfather suggested to us. “I agree,” grandmother said to him. {It would be nice.} “Do you have work today?” Grandfather asked me. I worked at a small cafe in our neighborhood. It was a way for me to help support my grandparents. “No. Not today,” I told him.
“That’s great,” he said to me. “Where should we go?” I asked them. We were driving on a major street of San Francisco. “How about your favorite Italian restaurant,” my grandfather suggested.
“Yes please,” I said to him. My grandfather made a turn to another street to drive to North Beach. Soon, we drove into the parking lot of my favorite Italian restaurant, Georgio Italia. We got out of the car and made our way to the restaurant.
What should I order this time? I was walking a bit ahead of my grandparents. My grandparents walked slow due to their age. I slowed down a bit so that they could catch up to me. I turned my head to see a nice looking car driving into the parking lot. Nice car.
Once my grandparents were next to me, I walked with them in their pace. I opened the door for my grandparents and walked inside to see many people who were waiting for their seat in the restaurant. So many people. It’s going to be a midnight meal at this rate.

I was tempted to tell my grandparents that I would be fine to eat a nice home cook meal. After a few minutes, I felt a gust of wind behind me. I turned my head a bit to see an elderly couple who looked very upperclass. The elderly man who was in a wheelchair looked at my direction. Is he looking at me?
My grandfather turned his head to see the elderly man who had called him. “Pietro?” my grandfather said a name. Grandpa know him? The elderly man gave him a smile. “My old friend,” he said to him.
My grandfather walked over and gave the elderly man a hug. Grandmother and the elderly woman greeted each other. “It had been a long time,” my grandfather said to him. The elderly man nodded his head in a good mood. “Yes. It has been a long time,” my grandfather said to him.
The elderly man turned his head to me. “Who is this?” the elderly man asked. I walked over next to my grandfather. “This is my granddaughter, Valeria. She likes to be called Vera for short. She had just graduated today,” my grandfather introduced me to his friend.
The elderly man gave out his hand. “Pietro Minetti,” he introduced himself. I shook his hand. “Vera Laurenti,” I introduced myself him. “It’s nice to meet you and congratulations,” he said to me. I gave him a smile. “Thank you,” I said to him. I met his wife who was Maria.
I turned my head to my grandparents. “Maybe we should leave. I don’t mind a home cook meal,” I finally said to them. “Nonsense. It’s your graduation,” my grandfather said to me. “I know but..” “Wait here,” Pietro cut me off.
He wheeled himself to a waiting staff. I couldn’t hear him because many people were talking at the same time. Soon, I saw a chef come out of the restaurant. Pietro and the chef shook hands and exchange some words. I guess they know each other. Next thing I knew, the chef was talking to a waiter. After a while, the waiter went off somewhere.
Pietro gestured us over. I followed behind my grandparents and Maria. Once we got to him, the waiter returned with some menus in his hand. “Follow me,” he said to us. I looked at Pietro who was about to move the wheels of his wheelchair himself.
I took one handle and placed my other hand on his shoulder to let him know that I was behind him. “Let me,” I told him. He gave me a smile and patted my hand. “Thank you Vera,” he said to me. I pushed the wheelchair and followed the waiter.
We walked into a private room. I pushed him to the head of the table. “Thank you,” he said to me. “Your welcome,” I said to him and sat between my grandparents. “You have a caring granddaughter,” Pietro said to my grandfather.
“Yes. She is very caring,” my grandfather said to him. The waiter passed out the menus and left us in private. I looked down at the menu.
What do I want? I was choosing between chicken carbonara, shrimp scampi, and baked tilapia with shrimp.
Soon, the waiter comeback with his order check book. “Hello. I’m Marcelo and I’ll be your waiter. Are you all ready to order?” he asked us. As a start of our dinner, Pietro ordered everyone a salad. One by one, the waiter wrote our entrees from each person. After he finished writing my grandmother’s entree, he looked up from his order check book at me with a smile.
“What would you like?” he asked me. “I’ll have the shrimp scampi,” I said to him. He wrote down my order. “Anything to drink?” he asked everyone. “Wine all around,” Pietro said to the waiter. I raised my hand to get the waiter’s attention. “Except for me. I’ll have a glass of water,” I said to him. “Certainly,” the waiter said to me.
After we told him our order, he walked out of the room. My grandparents and the Minettis were having conversations. I sat quietly and listened to them speak. After a while, the waiter came back with four glasses, a bottle of wine, and a glass of water. He poured the wine to the elderly and gave me my water before he left the room again.
“How long has it been since we saw each other?” Pietro asked my grandfather. “I would say about twenty years. Your grandson would have been four at the time,” grandfather said to him. I listened to their conversation. I guess they are talking about old times. I took a sip of my water.
Grandmother and Maria were having their own conversation about their husbands. The waiter came back with our salads and our entrees. I had to say that dinner was the best. After our meal, we ordered tiramisu for our dessert. Yes. My favorite dessert.
Once the tiramisu came to the table, I took a bite. It was delicious. “Vera is a beautiful lady. She is the perfect match for my grandson,” I heard Pietro say. Huh? I looked up at them. “Indeed. Remember our promise?” grandfather said to him.
“Of course,” Pietro said to him. Grandmother and Maria stopped their conversation and looked at them. They seemed to know something. Something didn’t feel right. “You mean about the marriage between them?” grandmother said out loud to them.
Quickly, I grabbed a napkin and coughed my tiramisu into it. I was in shock.
[nextpage title=”episode 2″]

I stared at the elderly. Their words were so unexpected to me. Shock, anger, and some disappointment flowed through my veins. My life was taking a different turn that was made for me man years ago before my birth. The plan was unfolding before me.
“Yes. I do remember that promise. Do you think it’s the perfect time?” my grandfather asked Pietro for his thought. Pietro nodded his head thing that it was a perfect time. I couldn’t believe my ears. They had planned for me to marry someone who I didn’t know anything about.
“So when do you think that they can get married?” grandfather asked him. I stood up from my seat. I really didn’t think that I would ever be disrespectful to my elders especially my grandparents and his friend.
“I don’t want to marry…not right now,” I said to them. They looked at me as if they already knew my reaction. “You aren’t getting married right away. I was thinking in two months,” Pietro said to me. Two months! “You will have to meet my grandson and get to know him before the wedding,” he explained to me.
“I’m sorry to be disrespectful and everything when we had just met but, I’m too young to get married,” I told him straight up. I felt a hand on my my hand. I looked down to see my grandmother. “Sit down dear,” she said to me. I breathed in a shaky breath and sat back down in my seat.
This is too much.
“I would like to invite you three to his birthday party next week. He’s turning twenty four,” Pietro told us.
Twenty four! I didn’t expect the age gap. I didn’t mind a three to four year difference but, six year difference was above my limit.
Twenty four year old marry a seventeen year old girl? Isn’t that a crime?
“I think it is the best to marry them in two months. Vera will be eighteen by then,” grandfather said to Pietro. Pietro seemed to like the idea and had a big smile on his face. “Perfect,” Pietro said to him. Grandmother and Maria didn’t seem to mind about the marriage.
I closed my eyes and let out a sigh.
Can’t believe this . I didn’t finish my dessert because I lost my appetite. I couldn’t bring myself to processing everything. They started to talk about the wedding and some old time memories.
Once at home, I walked to my room and closed the door. I put my stuff down on the table. I’ll put them away later . I turned my head to the bed. It looks so inviting . I took my glasses off to make sure that I didn’t scratch them when I dive into the bed. I walked over to the bed and laid down.
Why is this happening to me? What was my grandfather thinking?
For some reason, I was thinking about my parents. I didn’t want to categorize my grandfather like my parents. He wouldn’t sink to their level.
He must have a reason .
I closed my eyes to think. Wonder what he is like . My life as a teenager was over…to a certain extent. Most likely, I wouldn’t be able to attend university, hang out with friends, and go out on my own if the guy was the strict and controlling type.
I drifted off into a deep sleep thinking about my future husband.
Two weeks later…..
What to wear?
I was trying to pick what to wear for my future husband’s wedding. I remembered that his name was Adrian. I spent the last two weeks thinking about him, wondering about his personality and his life. I didn’t know much about him.
Last week, my grandparents were telling me some of their memories of him and the family. They showed me pictures of Adrian as a baby to a four year old. To be honest, he was cute as a child. I wondered what he looked like now.

I decided to wear a maroon wrap dress that went above the knees. I wore my brown high heeled sandal that would match the dress. My hair was in a bun that was held with a comb that was adorned with crystals.
“That should do it,” I said to myself. I decided to wear my glasses in case even though I really didn’t need them. I wore them for a fashion statement. I met my grandparents at the bottom of the stairs and got into the car. We drove off to Pietro’s home. I expected that we get there at sunset.
Remember, you aren’t too eager about the marriage.
After an hour drive, we arrived at the gates of Pietro’s home. I was surprised out of my mind about the view in front of me.
Pietro lives here!
I shouldn’t have been very surprised. His outfit should have set an alarm in my head. “I should have told you, Pietro used to be a CEO of Minetti Resorts,” he told me.
Now he tells me! Why didn’t I think of that? How did I not make the connection?!
I had an idea about my future husband. In my knowledge, the Minettis had three boys. Each boy had their own reputation in business and in the spotlight. The oldest, Matthew Minetti was already married to a woman named Angela who was a fashion designer of a famous Italian fashion company, Bellezza Illuminare .
The second son, Stephen, was not married yet. I had heard rumors that he was dating a model at the moment. He was known to have a nice smile that women would faint in front of him. He loved to do charity work.
The last son, Adrian, was not married either. He had a reputation for dating many girls. No picture has ever been taken of him for some reason. Many people had tried to get his picture for years. Nobody except for a few knew what he looked like.
Grandfather drove to the front of the mansion where a butler was waiting for guests. We got out of the car. The butler walked towards us. “Welcome to Minetti Manor. You must be the Laurentis,” he said to us. “Yes we are,” my grandfather said to him.
“I’m here to park your car sir,” he said to him. Grandfather gave him the keys to park the car. We walked up the stairs that led to the house. Once inside the house, another butler was standing near the door. He looked much older and about my grandfather’s age.
The butler looked at us with a smile. “Ah. I believe you are the Laurentis. Everyone is in the garden. I’ll escort you,” he said to us. He walked us through the mansion to get to the backyard. In the house, everything looked expensive.
Vases, paintings, and other items decorated the mansion. This place must cost a fortune. Soon, we found ourselves in the garden. The garden was very beautiful. Flowers decorated the whole backyard. Lights were already lit since the sun was setting.
Many people were talking to each other. I recognized a few to be important people from different businesses. I was starting to become very nervous. I was getting flashbacks of my family. It was a memory that I had kept hidden in the depths of my mind.
age 5….
It was my brother’s eleventh birthday. My parents invited the whole family to celebrate. They seemed very happy to be at my brother’s birthday. Looking around, everyone were talking to each other besides me.
I walked up to my Aunt Sarah to talk to her. She was talking to my mother. “Aunt Sarah?” I said her name. Aunt Sarah and mother looked down at me. Already, my mother wasn’t happy to see me and interrupt her conversation.
“Don’t you see I’m busy Valeria? Go away,” Aunt Sarah said to me in a annoyed tone. I felt tears forming in my eyes. I looked at mother who seemed pleased about Aunt Sarah’s manner towards me. They returned to their conversation. I walked away to find another person to talk.
I tried to talk to Uncle Martin who was drinking something. “Uncle Martin?” I tried to get his attention. “Excuse me, I need to talk to your father about some business,” he said to me. He pushed me away from him so that he could talk to my father. Nobody seemed to notice me.
I walked to the corner of the room and let the tears fall down my face.
Nobody cared about me. I was an outsider. I don’t belong.
End of Flashback…
I came out of my memory to see my grandparent’s concerned faces. “Are you alright?” grandfather asked me. Slowly, I gave him a nod. “Yes. Why?” I asked him. My grandmother took out a handkerchief from her bag.
“You have tears sweetie,” she said to me. I touched my face to feel something wet. I guess the memory made me tear up. I took the handkerchief and wiped my tears away. Luckily, I didn’t wear make up.
My grandfather was looking around the backyard to find Pietro and his wife talking to another couple. I recognized the couple from many different medias. They owned a finance company in New York City.
Pietro noticed us at the top of the stairs and gestured us over. We walked over to them while the couple walked to away to another couple. “Pietro,” my grandfather said to him. As a greeting, Pietro had a smile and gave my grandfather a hug.
Maria gave my grandmother a hug and gave me a smile. “You look lovely Vera,” she said to me. I gave her a small smile. “Thank you,” I said in a low voice. Pietro and Maria were very dressed up nicely compared to my grandparents and I. They looked very formal for the occasion.
“So where is Adrian?” my grandfather asked him. Adrian! Pietro looked around the garden. He grew a smile on his face. “He’s right there coming towards us,” Pietro pointed out to us. I turned my head slowly to see Adrian.
I felt myself froze. My mind cleared of any thoughts. He looked nothing that I had thought. He was taller than I had expected. He looked five feet eleven inches tall. I was about five feet two inches. I didn’t mind the height.
He had dirty blonde hair that had been sprayed and combed neatly. He worn a grey suit that fit his frame. I could tell that he was built from his size. He seemed like a type of person to have experience with girls.
His eyes were mesmerizing. I felt my heart beating fast. Calm down Vera. I felt so many emotions. I never felt many of the emotions before. I didn’t really know how to deal with them. I was a bit scared of them.
I snapped myself out and composed myself a bit. I didn’t want him to think bad of me. Soon, he walked over to us gave a smile to his grandparents. Once Adrian saw my grandfather, he gave my him a handshake. “Nice to see you again sir,” he said to him. He’s formal.
My grandfather gave him a smile. “Do you remember me?” grandfather asked him. “Of course. You were the one who got me a toy fire truck for my fourth birthday,” Adrian said to him. Grandfather nodded his head.
He remembers grandfather when he was four!
I was surprised by the memory. I didn’t have many good memories when I was four years old. B”Happy birthday Adrian,” Grandfather said to him. “Thank you,” he said to him and hugged my grandmother. “Happy birthday,” grandmother said to him. “Thank you,” he said to her and looked at me.
I looked into his blue eyes and drowned into them.
[nextpage title=”episode 3″]

I felt myself freeze from his gaze. “Adrian. This is Claudio’s granddaughter Valeria. Your future wife,” I heard Pietro say to him. Adrian didn’t seem to react negatively when his grandfather mention the word “wife.” He had a small smile on his face.
“Hi,” he said to me and gave his hand out to me. I looked down at his hand. Slowly, I gave him my hand. Next thing I knew, he brought my hand close and kissed it. I started to feel my face burn. I wasn’t used to the gesture.
“Um…hello,” I said to him shyly. At the corner of my eyes, I could see my gra file smile. “What do you think of my granddaughter Adrian?” my grandfather asked him. I wondered myself what he thought of me. “I think she is stunning,” Adrian said to him. Something told me that he wasn’t honest about his answer.
“It should be time for dinner. Lets go inside,” Pietro suggested to us. The four elderly walked ahead of Adrian and I. We followed behind them. I kept my gaze away from Adrian who kept looking at me. I tried to keep myself calm.
Soon, we found ourselves in the dining room. The dining rom was huge with a long table in the middle of the room. The table was set with expensive plates and utensil. I could tell that we were going to have a multi course meal. The other guests came and took their seats. My grandparents and I were seated next to Minettis.
I was about to pull out my chair until I saw a hand go over mine. I felt my heart skip a beat and looked up to see Adrian’s face so close to mine. “Let me,” he said to me smoothly. My face was burning up again. I gave him a quick nod and had him pull my chair out for me.
We were having an Italian meal. The servers poured wine to everyone except me. The server came up to me. I held up a hand. “I’m underage. I will have a glass of water,” I said to him. The server gave me a nod and got me my water. I was the only underage person in the room.
Everyone had an appetizer for the first course. We had Antipasto. The Antipasto had cured meats, olives, anchovies, peperoncini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, and pickled vegetables in oil.
Everyone were in a conversation while they ate their meal. I ate my meal quietly, listening to the conversation of my grandparents. They were talking about old times from childhood. I heard many of them. Adrian got into the conversation too.
Next, we had soup. Ribollita was served to us. It was one of my favorite soups. It was a Tuscan soup that was made with stale bread, cannellini beans, carrot, onion, cabbage and other greens. It was thick. I didn’t finish my soup since i needed room in my stomach for the other courses.
We had caprese salad that was really fresh. We were having family style for the entree. We had baccala that was salt cod, ravioli that was filled with fresh ricotta and covered in cream sauce, pasta al pomodoro that was simple, Arancini that was an Italian deep fried rice ball, and Acqua pazza that was poached white fish.
“Vera. You are very quiet. Are you alright?” Pietro asked me with concern. I lift my head to see the elderly giving me a concern look. Adrian’s face was emotionless. I gave them a small smile. “Yes. I’m fine,” I said to him. He gave me a nod.
I passed the plate of ravioli to my grandmother. “Here.” I turned my head to see Adrian who was trying to pass me the plate of pasta al pomodoro. I took the plate from him. “Thanks,” I said to him and scooped some onto my plate.
Everyone on the table were in their own world of conversation. “So Adrian. What do you think about the marriage between you and Vera?” my grandfather asked him. I looked at Adrian. I wondered what he had thought the arrangement.
Adrian took a sip of his wine and set the glass on the table. I couldn’t read his expression on his face. “I don’t mind. I love the idea,” he said to them. He looked at me. “I already like your granddaughter,” he said with a smile on his face.
My heart jumped when he said the word ‘like.’ Pietro looked at me. “What about you Vera? What do you think about Adrian?” he asked me. I already told him my thoughts on the marriage . I looked at Adrian who was looking at me. Honestly, he was a good looking guy.
I felt my grandfather squeeze my hand. “I know that you don’t want the marriage. But, I think the marriage would be good for you,” I heard him say to me. I didn’t know what to feel at his words. It’s as if he was trying to give me a better life.
Maybe…he’s right.
Pietro was waiting for an answer. “He seems…nice,” I said to him in a low voice. It was enough for him and everyone on our side of the table to hear. Pietro gave me a smile. “He is very nice gentlemen. He is beyond his age,” he told me.
Adrian had a smile on his face.
Wonder if that’s true . Grandmother seemed happy about my answer. Maria took a sip of her wine happily knowing what I had thought about her grandson. I continued to eat my dinner until my plate was clean.
Looking at at the people in the room, I noticed something. Where are his parents? Don’t they have a say in this arrangement? I didn’t dare talk to them about it. Maybe they are busy with business or something .
After everyone ate their meal, Pietro tapped his wine glass to get everyone’s attention. “Everyone. I have to say thank you for coming to Adrian’s birthday party to wish him a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday grandson,” he said to Adrian and everyone.
“Happy Birthday Adrian,” everyone said to him. “Thank you everyone,” Adrian said to them. A chef came out with a large tiramisu that was covered in candles. {I guess it’s his favorite dessert too.} The dessert was set in front of Adrian.
“Lets sing Adrian Happy Birthday everyone,” Pietro said to them. Everyone started to sing the birthday song to him. After the song, Adrian blew the candles. Everyone clapped their hands and continued with their conversation.
The tiramisu was passed to everyone. I had a smile on my face. Once the tiramisu was set in front of me, I ate a forkful. It tasted like a proper tiramisu. I could taste the coffee and the cocoa. Adrian was enjoying his dessert with more wine.
After dessert, everyone left the mansion. My grandparents and I were getting ready to leave. They walked us to the front of the house. “Thank you for coming Claudio,” Adrian said to him. My grandfather gave him a smile.
“You are welcome Adrian. I’m glad to see that you had grown up to be a handsome man,” grandfather said to him. Adrian gave him a hug. Grandmother gave him a hug. “Thank you Rosa,” he said to my grandmother. “Of course,” she said to him.
He looked down at me. “Thank you Valeria for coming,” he said to me. “Your welcome Adrian and happy birthday,” I said to him. He took my hand in his hand. He bend down and gave a kiss on my hand. His touch sent a tingle sensation up my arm and my whole body.
He looked up to me with a smirk. “See you at the wedding,” he said to me. I gave him a nod. He turned around and walked into the mansion. Pietro and Maria had a smile on their faces. My grandparents had a smile on their faces as well.
Pietro and Maria looked at me. “We will set the wedding and prepare everything. You will have to show up at the altar,” Pietro said to me. I guess I’m not doing the work . “Okay,” I said to them.
I gave them a hug and walked to the car. I had so many things to think about once I got home. Also, I had so much to do for the next two months. I put my seatbelt on and watched my grandfather drive out of the Minetti property.
Once at home, I washed up for bed. It had been a long night. I changed into my pajamas and got under the covers. I never really expected Adrian to be my future husband. Then again, his older brothers were pretty much taken.
What am I going to do?
[nextpage title=”episode 4″]

Epi 4
Two months later…..
Time had flown by really quickly. Maria had to call me a few time about my shoes and dress size. She was buying my wedding dress. I was told that it would be a small private wedding. Our grandparents were going to be our witness.
I had been packing my things into boxes for the past two weeks. My books had to be put in boxes. My clothes had to be folded and fit into boxes. Everything had to been put into boxes and labeled with my name. They would be sent to New York City.
Also, while I was packing my things, I had to make a phone call to my boss Linda Rosario at the cafe. I didn’t tell her the reason. She was very sad that I was quitting but, she told me that I could use her as a reference for jobs in the future. I was grateful for working with her.
Last week, I had turned eighteen. I invited Pietro and Maria to my birthday. Maria tried to get Adrian but, he was busy with work. He had important meetings to attend. I didn’t mind. I was happy to spend more time with Pietro and Maria. Plus, Maria wanted to discuss the wedding with me. Maria had everything set up for me. I had to show up on my wedding day.
Today, I was getting married to Adrian. at a Catholic church in San Francisco that the Minettis attend since they arrived in the United States. I had spent the morning hours getting ready for the wedding. Maria had helped me with the make up. I had to say that I didn’t look like a teenager. My grandmother fixed my hair.
“Let’s get your veil on you shall we.”
My grandmother walked to the table with my wedding stuff. Maria helped me with my wedding dress. I had to say that the dress was very beautiful. The dress touched the ground. When I walked around the room, the dress trailed behind me. The top half had an off the shoulder neckline that showed off my shoulder and neckline. The dressed hugged my body perfectly showing off my curves.
Wow. Maria managed to find a dress that fit me perfectly .
While Maria helped me with my dress, my grandmother came to me with the veil. “Let me put this on you,” she said to me. Carefully, she placed the veil on my head and made sure that the veil was secured. I had my hair down. Through the veil, I could see the tears forming in her eyes. I gave her a small smile.
“Don’t cry grandma,” I said to her. I reached over to her hand and gave it a squeeze. A tear slowly made it’s way down her cheek. Maria came over to us and gave my grandmother a tissue. “Thank you,” my grandmother said to her and dabbed her face so that her make up wasn’t ruined.
Maria handed me my bouquet. The bouquet was very beautiful. “I hope you like the flowers,” she said to me. “I do,” I said to her. She gave me a big smile. As I looked closer at the bouquet, I noticed something.
She used flowers that had very deep meanings. White Lilly meant purity, chastity, and innocence. Aster symbolized love, daintiness, and trusting. Red carnation meant deep romantic love and passion. Purple tulip meant forever love.
She really wants us to fall for each other huh…..
I heard the door knock and turned around to see the door creak open to reveal a lady who I didn’t recognize. “It’s time,” she said to us. Nervousness started to spread through my body. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself down.

I can do this. I can do this…..
I opened my eyes to see grandmother. “Lets go,” she said to me. I got up from my seat and proceeded out of the room to the chapel. I counted the steps and felt the nervousness grow as I got closer to the chapel.
In some ways, I felt that it was a dream and a nightmares. It was a dream to see myself in a beautiful wedding dress but, it was a nightmare because I was going to be given to a man who I was arranged to be with for the rest of my life.
Soon, we found ourselves outside the chapel doors. Grandfather was there to walk me down the aisle. He gave me a big smile. “Oh Vera. You look beautiful,” he said to me. I gave him a small smile. “Thank you,” I said to him.
My grandmother walked over to me. “I’ll see you inside,” she said to me. I gave her a nod and watched her walk to the door of the chapel. I turned my attention to my grandfather who was trying to keep his composure.
“Ready?” he asked me. I gave him a nod. We positioned ourselves in front of the doors. Once the music started in the chapel, it would be the signal for the doors to open and for us to start walking down the aisle.
Grandfather had some tears in his eyes. I couldn’t help but to feel emotional. I felt sad, relief, angry, nervous, and more. I knew that my life was going to change once I marry Adrian. Soon, I heard the music from inside the chapel.
The doors opened to reveal the chapel. The stain glass windows were shining bright by the sun’s rays. The aisles were decorated with baby blue ribbons and the same flowers in my bouquet. The music was played fluidly through the air. The combination brought the feeling of the wedding.
I looked ahead to see Pietro and Maria on the left side while my grandmother stand on the right side. They were happy to see me walk down the aisle. I didn’t see his parents. I guess they are busy to come.
In front of me, I saw him. Adrian’s appearance made me gasp internally.
Oh my….
He made himself more handsome than when I first met him. He wore a black suit with a white dress shirt. Also, he wore a metallic grey tie and polish black shoes. His hair was slicked back. As I got closer, I could see that he had shaved to make his face look good.
I cursed at myself. Don’t think that he looks good Vera. He’s the one who grandfather is giving away. Your life is being given to someone else. There won’t be freedom in this marriage. This is your new reality .
Soon, we got to Adrian. Grandfather gave my hand to Adrian. “Take good care of her,” I heard him say to Adrian. I felt tears forming in my eyes. “I will sir,” I heard Adrian say to my grandfather. Grandfather gave me a smile.
Under the veil, I gave him a small smile in return. Thank you Grandfather for raising me. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you. Grandfather stood next to Grandmother. Adrian and I faced the priest and waited for instruction.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sign of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore – is not by any – to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
I didn’t turn around to look. Nobody was going to stop the wedding…though I wished that someone did come and rescue me. After a while, the priest continued to conduct the wedding. The rings were brought forward to us. We faced each other. Adrian took a ring.
“Repeat after me,” the priest instructed to Adrian. Adrian listened and repeated his words.
“I, Adrian Minetti, take you, Valeria Laurenti, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” Adrian said and slipped the ring onto my finger.
The priest turned to me. I listened and repeated the priests words.
“I, Valeria Laurenti, take you, Adrian Minetti, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” I said and slipped the ring onto his finger.
“You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide. Amen. You may kiss the bride,” the priest ended.
Adrian lift my veil to reveal my face. His eyes widen for a second before his face return emotionless.
He must be surprised about my appearance.
Slowly, he lifted my face with his fingers and leaned down toward me.
Here he comes. I closed my eyes and waited for the moment. I had dreaded about the kiss since I learned about my arranged marriage to him. Honestly, I never had my first kiss with anyone. I had planned to save my first kiss to someone special….not to Adrian.
I came out of my thoughts when I felt his lips on mine. Automatically, I tightened my grip on my bouquet. I felt my cheeks burn from the touch. Goosebumps and chills gone up my arms. After a while, I responded by returning the kiss.
After a few seconds, I felt him remove his lips from mine. I opened my eyes to look up at him to see his blank face. I wasn’t too surprised about him enjoying it. I wasn’t too experienced with kissing.
The wedding was officially over.
We were now husband and wife.
[nextpage title=”episode 5″]

Episode 5
Adrian and I turned around and walked down the aisle with our arms locked together. Once outside the chapel, we unlocked our arms and faced each other. I kept my gaze to the ground and thought about what had happen.
I turned my head to see the our grandparents walking towards us. Pietro shook his grandson’s hand while Maria gave me a kiss on a cheek and a hug. “Welcome to the family,” she said to me. I gave her a nod.
I turned around and gave my grandparents a hug. “We love you Vera,” Grandfather said to me. “I love you both,” I said to them. I held my tears back. I pulled away and gave them a smile. “Time to take some wedding pictures,” Pietro said to us.
Adrian escorted me to a room where our pictures would be taken. Our grandparents were giving us some alone time. The photographer looked up at us. “Mr and Mrs. Minetti. It’s an honor to be at your presence as well as take your pictures,” he said to us. “Indeed,” Adrian said to him. I kept myself silent at watched them have a conversation for a few moments.
After their conversation, the photographer finished setting up his camera. “Alright. The newly weds please stand in front of the camera,” the photographer instructed us. Adrian brought me in front of the camera and wrapped his arms around me waist. He brought me closer to him so that there was no space between us.
Automatically, I placed a hand on his chest and held my bouquet on the other hand. My face felt a bit hot from his touch. Force yourself to smile. I tried to smile. “Perfect,” I heard the photographer say while he took a picture.
We took about five different pictures. Next thing I knew, the day had went by. I had to say that the pictures came out better than I had expected. “I’ll have these developed right away,” the photographer told us. Pietro had entered the room.
“Lets go and celebrate,” Pietro said to us. We walked to the cars that were parked in the parking lot. Surprisingly, I did not see any paparazzi in the area. The Minettis must really made sure that nobody knew about the wedding.
Adrian’s driver was waiting for us. Adrian escorted me tot he car and opened the door for me. I got inside and made sure that my dress was inside the car. He closed the door and walked to the other side of the car.
He got inside the car and wore his seat belt. “To the Minetti Mansion,” Adrian instructed the driver. “Yes. sir,” the driver answered and drove out of the parking lot. Throughout the ride, I stayed quiet and looked out of the window.
I watched the buildings go by as the car drove up the street. I tried to take in the scenes that I passed by me. It was going to be the last time that I see them. Tomorrow, I would be on a plane to New York City with Adrian.
At the corner of my eyes, I could see Adrian looking out of the window on his side of the car. I still wasn’t used to the idea that he was my husband. In time, I would have to accept the fact that I am married to him.
Once at the Minetti Mansion, Maria took me away to a room so that I could change into something comfortable. I liked to continue to wear the wedding dress but, it felt suffocating if I wore it for long period of time.
Maria had me wear a grey and white wrap dress with metallic grey high heeled sandals. I remembered something. I looked at Maria who was tying the dress for me. “Why wasn’t Adrian’s parent at the wedding?” I asked her.

“They were busy with business in Asia. They were happy to know about the marriage and hope to meet you very soon,” she told me. I gave her a nod. I wonder what they are like . I smoothed the dress down.
“I’ll meet you downstairs,” she said to me and left the room. I fixed the dress a bit and shoes quickly. I got my glasses and wore them. Almost look like a librarian . I didn’t care. The glasses made me look smart.
I put my hair up in a neat bun. I made sure to take off my wedding gloves and slip the wedding ring onto my finger. I wasn’t used to wearing rings on my fingers. It felt odd to me. I better get used to wearing a ring .
The wedding ring was adorned with diamonds. So pricy looking . I would have been fine with a simple ring. After all, the ring wouldn’t have much sentimental value. The marriage was loveless and arranged.
“Are you ready Vera?” I heard my grandmother call out to me. I turned my head to see her at the door. “Yes. I’m ready,” I said to her. She took my hand and led me out of the room and through the different hallways.
We walked down the stairs to see my grandfather talking to Pietro and Maria. I turned my head a bit to see Adrian who was wearing a grey dress shirt and black pants. He looked up at me. I couldn’t read the emotions in his eyes.
Once down the stairs, Adrian walked over to me and wrapped an arm around my waist. I felt the chills go up my spine. My cheeks tingled a bit. What is he making me feel? Our grandparents seemed to approve the match.
We walked to the dining room to see that food was set on the table. Adrian pulled my chair for me. I sat in my seat and watched Adrian take a seat next to me. I had many questions popping in my head about him.
In my mind, in order for our marriage to work, I would have to know about him. I didn’t want to know him from the media’s perspective. I would rather learn from him directly. I knew that the media portray people differently.
We passed the food around the table and enjoyed the meal. The servers came with wine glasses and a bottle of wine. I waved at one of the servers. “Can I get water please,” I said to him. “Yes. Of course ma’am,” he said and walked away to get my water.
Underage .
The server came back with my water. “Thank you,” I said and took a sip. At the corner of my eyes, I could see Adrian taking a sip of his wine. I helped myself with some salad and penne pasta. I wasn’t in the mood to have a large dinner.
After the meal, the cake was brought to the dining room. “This is your wedding cake,” Pietro said to us. The wedding cake was decorated elaborately. Wow. The baker really showed off his or her skills.
Everything was symmetrical.
“Adrian and you should cut the cake,” Grandfather suggested to us. I looked at Adrian who gave me a nod. We got up from our seats and walked over to the cake. I looked down at the cake cart to see the cake knife with a crystal handle.
I could see Grandmother getting ready to take pictures with her camera. Adrian took the cake knife and gave the knife to me. I took the knife in my hand and waited for Adrian to hold the knife with me. He placed his hand over my hand and got ready to cut the cake.
“Ready?” I heard him ask me. I felt shivers go up my spine and tingles on my cheeks. He hadn’t spoken to me until now. I gave him a nod. I felt him guide my hand to the cake. We made the first cut and were blinded with flashes.

After cutting the cake, we had the cake slices for dessert. Adrian seemed to have a lot in his mind even though he would talk to his grandfather and my grandfather. It was in his eyes. His eyes looked a bit distant.
“Well…look at the time. It’s time for us to go,” Grandfather said to us. I felt my mood fall. I knew what he really meant to say. We got up from the table and walked to the front doors. I helped my Grandparents wear their coats. It was the least that I can do for them for one last time.
Grandmother gave me a hug goodbye. “Stay health Vera,” I heard her say to me. “I will,” I said to her. I pulled away and gave my Grandfather a hug. Tears were forming in my eyes. I felt him rub my back to comfort me.
“Don’t cry Vera. Be happy,” I heard him say. “I will. I promise,” I said to him. He pulled away and gave me a smile. Hesitantly, I let go of him. Slowly, they made their way out of the mansion and walked to their car.
I watched them get into their car and drive off into the darkness. They were gone. They left me to live my new life. I started to feel different emotions. I felt sadness, loneliness, fear, and nervousness. My new life felt…scary.
I turned around to face my new in laws and my husband. “Well, you should go to your room and get some rest. You have a flight to New York tomorrow,” Maria told me. I gave her a nod. I felt a hand on my small back that made me jump a bit.
“Let’s go,” I heard Adrian whisper softly to me. I felt him push my back that led me to walk up the stairs. He used is hand to guide me through the mansion. I had no idea where we were going. I still didn’t know my way around the place.
Soon, we arrived in front of a door on the right side of the mansion. He opened the door to reveal a large room. I was very surprised about the view. He had a King size bed with a grey blanket, an office desk with a duel screen computer, and a large bookshelf.
I felt him nudge me to go inside the room. Slowly, I walked inside the room and looked around to see that a bathroom was connected to the room Even though the bathroom was dark, I could see that the bathroom had a large size bathtub.
I turned around to see that Adrian closed the door. I felt really nervous. He walked over to me and took my hand. Instantly, I felt a tingle sensation go up my arm and all over me. It’s probably from my nervousness .
He pulled me over to another door. He opened the door and turned the lights on to reveal a large walk in closes that was filled with clothes.
Wow. I really have my own mall here . I saw that the closet was separated into different wears.
He walked me to where my pajamas were located. “Pick one out and wear it. I’ll wait for you outside,” he told me before he left the closet. I let out a deep breath that I seemed to have kept inside the whole time. It was a breath of relief in a way. When I thought about the situation, I didn’t want him to look at me……naked.
I turned my attention the pajamas. I could tell that Maria had them picked out. Sifting through the clothes, I found one that was a bit more conservative than the other ones. The other pajamas were a bit too…appealing for men.
After getting dressed in my pajamas, I walked out of the closet and to the bathroom without seeing Adrian. I made sure to lock the bathroom door so that I didn’t get any surprises. I washed my face and brushed my teeth. I should shower in the morning .
Once I was done, I walked out to see that Adrian was on his computer. Is he working? He didn’t seem to notice that I was looking at him. I walked towards the bed and got under the covers. I laid down close to the edge of the bed to be sure that I didn’t touch him during my sleep.
I could hear him typing on his keyboard. Maybe a long night . I closed my eyes and tried to drown out the sounds. Usually, I couldn’t sleep with any noise around me. I laid on the bed waiting for Adrian to stop his business.
I didn’t know the time but, after a long while, I heard Adrian stop typing. He must be done. I started to drift away into a deep sleep. I heard heavy footsteps go around the bed and to the closet. I heard the lights go on. I didn’t open my eyes to see because I was already ready to go to sleep.
Soon, I was at the edge of falling asleep. I didn’t hear Adrian come out of the closet and wash up in the bathroom. I did feel the bed dip a bit. He must be in bed now . I felt him adjust the blanket so that he had most of the blanket.
I didn’t fight for the blanket because I slipped into a deep sleep.

[nextpage title=”episode 6″]

I could see that it was morning under my eyelids. I wiggled in the bed but, something was prevented me from moving around. I lied very still to let my sense of touch could feel things for me. I felt something around my waist.
What is that?
Sleepily, I opened my eyes to see that I was in Adrian’s arm. How did this happen?! I looked up at Adrian’s face. He looked very peaceful sleeping. What am I saying?! My face started to heat up from our closeness. I need to get out of bed.
Slowly and carefully, I took his arm off my waist so that I didn’t disturb his sleep. His arm was heavy. {He must work out a lot.} After two minutes, I managed to move his arm off my waist and carefully get off the bed. I pulled the blanket over him so that he didn’t get cold.
Already, I was performing my duties as his wife.
I walked into the closet and sift through the the outfits. I picked a white camisole, maroon button sweater with a v-neckline, blue skinny jeans, and brown shoes. I gathered the outfit with my undergarments and walked into the bathroom to take a quick shower.
I made sure to scrub and wash my hair very well. After the shower, I dried my hair thoroughly and brushed my teeth. Hope I didn’t wake him. “Feel fresh,” I said to myself after brushing my teeth. Quickly, I wore my outfit. Surprisingly, the outfit fitted to my figure.
I wore my glasses and opened the door to see that Adrian was still in bed. He must have been very tired . Worry started to pop in my head. I surpresed the feeling and walked out of the room to make my way to the dining room.
In the dining room, Pietro and Maria were having their breakfast. The table was set with breakfast items. I walked over to the table. “Good morning,” I said to them and sat in my seat. They gave me a smile.
“Good morning. How did you sleep?” Maria asked me. “Fine,” I said to her and got myself some yogurt and fresh fruit. I never liked to eat a heavy breakfast in the morning. “Adrian still sleeping?” Pietro asked me.
“Yes sir,” I said to him. “There is no need for formality dear. We are family now,” he reminded me. That’s right . I gave him a nod and ate my breakfast. I saw a server standing nearby. I waved him over to me. He gave me a smile and walked up to me.
“Good morning. What can I get you ma’am?” he asked me. Ma’am? That makes me sound a bit old. “I would like some hot milk please,” I said to him. He walked away to get my milk. Once my milk came to the table, Adrian walked into the dining room looking very fresh and clean.
That’s quick.
“Good morning,” he said to us. His grandparents gave him a smile. “Good morning. Did you stay up working?” Maria asked him. “Yes,” he answered his mother as he took his seat next to me. Your typing kept me awake.
I took a sip of my milk. Maria grew a frown on her face. “You didn’t think to be with your wife than to work?” she asked with some disappointment. As Adrian got himself a panino (Italian word for panini), a server walked up to Adrian.
Adrian looked up at the server. “Espresso,” he simply said to him. “Yes sir,” the server said and walked away to the kitchen. Adrian turned is attention to his mother who was waiting of an answer. “I’m a busy man mother. You know how it is,” he said to her.

Pietro set his cup down on the table and gave his grandson a serious face. “Adrian. You are married now. You need to think about your wife first before your work,” he told him in a stern tone. “Yes sir,” Adrian said to his grandfather. At the corner of my eyes, I saw him turn his head to me.
I didn’t mind him working yesterday. He seemed to always have something in his mind. I didn’t want to be in his way. I rather have him work than to take care of me. I had been caring for myself since I became a teenager. As his wife, I should be supportive of him.
I managed to finish my breakfast and drank the remainder of my hot milk. “When do you plan on leaving?” his mother asked him. I set my cup at the table and looked at him. He finished his espresso and looked at his watch.
“I was thinking in an hour,” he told her. One hour until I really begin my new life in a different city . “Well, you two should go to your room and get ready,” Maria suggested to us. We got up from our seats and walked up the stairs to our room.
Like yesterday, it was a quiet walk. He had his hand on my lower small back and guided me back to our room. His touched felt warm but, it sent shivers up my spine. Once in our room, Adrian closed the door. I kept my gaze at the bed. For some reason, I haven’t been able to look at him straight in the eyes since our wedding. Nervousness was probably the reason.
I should probably pack.
I was about to walk to the closet until I heard Adrian’s voice. “You don’t need to pack anything. You can go on a shopping spree when we get home,” he told me. Home. The word sounded so foreign to me.
To me, home was San Francisco. San Francisco was my home. San Francisco was where I was raised since I was a baby. When Adrian said ‘home’, many emotions flowed through me. Mostly, I felt very confused.
For the rest of the hour, I sat on the bed thinking of the life before marriage. Adrian was working through the computer. Soon, my life in San Francisco will close. My new life in New York was about to begin.
I came out my thoughts and looked at the door. The door opened to reveal Maria. “It’s time,” she told us. I took a shaky breath and stood up from the bed. Adrian got up from his desk and grabbed his briefcase.
He walked over to me and guided me out of the room and to the front doors. Pietro was there waiting for us. At the bottom of the stairs, a maid came to us with our jacket. I could tell that the jacket was bought for me.
Adrian took the jacket and helped me even though I didn’t need any help. After wearing our jackets, Maria gave us a hug. “Take care,” she said to us. After Maria’s hug, we faced Pietro. Adrian and Pietro shook hands.
I bent down and gave Pietro a hug. “I wish you well,” I said to him. I felt him pat my back. “Thank you dear,” I heard him say to me. I pulled away from him and gave him a big smile. Even though I didn’t like the arrangement that he made with my grandfather, I liked him in general. I started to see him as a grandfather figure.
We walked out of the door and down the stairs. A car was waiting for us at the bottom. Adrian opened the door for me. “Thank you,” I said to him. He didn’t respond back. I got into the car and put my seatbelt on.
Adrian closed the door and walked around the other side to his seat. The driver turned engine on. I looked out the window to see Pietro and Maria who waved at us. Soon, the car started to drive away from the mansion and through the streets of San Francisco.

I watched the houses go by the car. Different memories were played in my mind.
“We are here.”
I blinked and looked around to see that we were at San Francisco International Airport. The door opened for me. I got out of the car and waited for Adrian to get to me. Once he got to me, he placed his hand on my small back and guided me through the airport.
Luckily, nobody seemed to notice him. I guess nobody still know his true appearance. We walked through the gates and walked up to a jet. The Jet had the Minetti name on it. He has his own private jet!
The plane was a descent size for a few people to fly on. I looked down at my wedding ring. I shouldn’t have been to surprised about the plane. The Minettis were wealthy people. When I thought about it, I was a Minetti now.
Adrian walked up the narrow stairs up of the plane while I followed behind closely. Once at the top, we walked inside to see two flight attendants. One was a man and the other was a woman. They looked very professional with their uniforms.
“Hello Mr. Minetti,” they said and bowed to him in unison. I watched the female flight attendant walk up to him. She was really a beautiful person. She had striking brunette hair and green eyes. Her uniformed fit her perfectly that showed her curves.
“Let me take your jacket for you sir,” she said to him. Adrian gave her a nod and took his jacket off. The female flight attendant took the his coat gladly with a big smile on her face. In my heart, I felt a pinch of jealously from her facial expression. I wondered if she knew of my presence…or who I was to him.
The male flight attendant walked over to me with a smile. I could tell that he was built underneath his uniform. He had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. To me, he didn’t look too bad compared to Adrian.
“May I take your coat ma’am?” he asked me. “Yes. Thank you,” I said to him and took off my jacket. He took my jacket from my hands. I looked at Adrian to see him walk towards a seat. I quickly followed behind him.
He gestured me to sit near the window. I sat down in my seat and wore my seat belt. He sat on the other side and put his seat belt on. He couldn’t sit next to me since there was no seat next to me. We had to sit apart.
“Hello Mr. Minetti. This is your captain Steven Spizale with first officer Jordan Michael. We will be taking flight momentarily. At this time please put on your seatbelt. Again, we will take flight shortly,” I heard from the intercom.
I heard the engines roar from outside. I looked out the window to see that the plane was moving towards the runway. Here we go. The plane started to go down the runway increasing speed. Soon, we were rising to cruising altitude.
I looked out the window to see my home of 18 years. Even though I would be back, it felt like I was leaving my home for good to start a new life in New York. Also, I would be creating New York City as my new home.
Bye California.
I heard a sound. It was to indicate that we could take our seatbelt off. I didn’t take my seatbelt off. I looked over at Adrian to see that he gotten his laptop out and started to work.
He always busy. Not surprising.
I decided to not disturb him. The flight attendants got out of their seats and started to do their duties. The male flight attendant walked up to me. “Would you like anything to eat or drink ma’am?” he asked me.
“Water would be nice,” I said to him. He gave me a smile and a nod before he walked away. The female flight attendant walked over to Adrian. “Would you like anything sir?” she asked him. Adrian looked up and gave her a smile.
“Wine would be nice,” he told him. “Yes. Of course,” she said to him with an alluring voice. It sounded as if she was trying to flirt or seduce him. I could see that Adrian liked the way she talked to him. His eyes showed it.
I put my head down. He’s practically having an affair already! The male flight attendant walked over to me with my water. “Here you go,” he said to me. I gave him a small smile. “Thank you,” I said to him.
I took a sip of water and looked out the window.
Through out the flight, Adrian was doing his work as the female flight attendant flirt with him. The male flight attendant asked me occasionally if I needed anything but, I told him that I was fine. Also, he tried to have a conversations with me. From the questions that he had been asking me, I didn’t want to be anywhere near him.
His questions were way to personal. At the corner of my eyes, I could see Adrian glaring at him but, he didn’t do anything else. He kept his attention on his laptop and the female flight attendant who was enjoying his company.
I guessed that he didn’t know that I was married to Adrian. I didn’t think that anyone knew yet.
Few hours later………
“Mr. Minetti. This is your captain speaking. Please put your seat in an upright position. We will be landing at JFK International Airport shortly. Thank you for flying with us and hope you have a very good day.”
I watched the plane land onto the runway. As the plane started to glide to the airport, I saw New York City’s buildings in the distance. Looking at the time, it was in the afternoon. I better get used to the time zone.
The plane was able to land smoothly. I didn’t feel any turbulence on the way down. Once the plane stopped completely, Adrian got up from his seat. “Get my jacket please,” Adrian said to the female flight attendant.
She gave him a big smile and walked away behind the curtains. The male flight attendant disappeared behind the curtains as well. After a minute, they came back with our jackets. I watched the female flight attendant help Adrian with his jacket.
Simply, I took my jacket and wore it with ease without any help. At the corner of my eyes, I could see her button his suit jacket and got too close to him that there was no space between them. “I hope you had a great flight,” I heard her say to him in a seductive manner.
Adrian gave a smirk to her and leaned down to kiss her on the cheeks then whispered something in her ear that made her smile. The male flight attendant gave me a smile. “I hope to see you again,” he said to me.
I hope I don’t see you again.
I gave him a small nod and followed closely behind Adrian.
[nextpage title=”episode 7″]

We walked out of the plane to see a black car waiting for us. I followed Adrian down the stairs and to the car. Nice car. The driver opened the car door for me. “Thank you,” I said to him and slid inside the car. The driver closed the door and opened the other door for Adrian.
Once Adrian got in his seat, he opened his laptop and started to work again. He must be a workaholic. I let him work while I looked out the car window. Soon, the driver drove us out of the airport and into the main streets of Queens, New York City.
I had never been to New York City. The city was huge that you felt like an ant in an ant farm…from what I had heard. I really didn’t have many expectations of the city. I have seen pictures the city in magazines and books. The city looked beautiful at night.
Queens looked very nice. I saw many row houses that lined the streets of Queens. Soon, we had to go through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The tunnel goes under the East River of New York and one of the few ways to get to Manhattan
Once we were out of the tunnel, I could see the different skyscrapers in the distance. Before we could get there, we had to pay the toll. The driver drove up to the terminal and paid for the toll. No words were exchanged.
As we drove down the streets, I could see the difference in architecture down the different streets. After a while, the buildings got bigger and taller in size. Soon, I knew that we were getting close to the heart of Manhattan.
Many people were outside walking in the streets minding their own business. They looked like busy people who are in a hurry and in a rush to their destination. They didn’t really remind me of the people in San Francisco. In San Francisco, you were laid back and take time to get to your destination.
Soon, we stopped in front of a tall and large apartment building next to the Empire State Building. “We are here sir,” the driver said to him. Adrian closed his laptop and packed it in his brief case. He got out of the car and offered his hand to me.
I was a bit hesitant but, I took his hand. He helped me out of the car and placed his hand on my small back to guide me up the small set of stairs. We walked inside the building to hear nothing. The place was very quiet.
We walked down different hallways until we found an elevator that didn’t seem to match the building itself. Once in the elevator, Adrian pressed the button for the top floor. I watched a small screen above the buttons.
[Key Card Please]
Adrian took a card out of his pocket and inserted the card in the scanner. The elevator processed the data in his card.
[Recognize Adrian Minetti]
The elevator started to lift us to our destination that was on the top floor. I watched the screen that showed us how fast and the time that we would reach the top. I could say that the elevator was going really fast.
Through the lift, we didn’t say a word to each other. Adrian seemed preoccupied with something. I could tell from his eyes. His eyes were distant. I wondered what he was thinking. Always, I concluded that it had to do with work.
After three minutes, I felt the elevator slow down. The screen showed that we were at the top floor. Once the elevator settled down, the doors open to a large bright room. I didn’t think that my new home would be very big and spacious.

The windows were huge that the made up a wall on one side of the room. I had to say that the apartment had a good view of New York City. The big windows brought much sunlight into the room. I could see roofs of different buildings in the distance.
I took a step forward to have a better look of the place. I saw a huge swimming pool outside. The view from my new home was very beautiful. Surprisingly, the place was very quiet even though the city was noisy outside.
At least I would sleep well tonight.
I turned my head to see stairs that led to the second floor. Wonder what’s up there.
“Okay. Let me lay down the rules.”
I turned around to look at him. He looked very serious. “First, do not bother me when I am working. I’m a busy man. Second, do not ever come into my office. Third, do not talk unless you are spoken to or answer a question. When you are talking to me, look at my face. Lastly, leave me alone. The last thing I need is someone to ruin my reputation,” he said to me.
I somewhat expected this much from him. We may be husband and wife, but we weren’t married couple emotionally and mentally. We had no feelings for each other. The last thing he said hurt me a little bit. In a way, I already messed his life up.
He walked towards the stairs. “Follow me,” he said as he walked up the stairs. I followed him up the stairs and down a hallway. We passed by many different rooms. If he is not going to give me a tour, then I guess I’ll have to look around myself .
Soon, we stopped in front of a room that was next to a bigger room. He opened the door to reveal a room that was filled with my stuff from my home in San Francisco. “This is your room. My room is next door. Remember, don’t bother me,” he said to me. I gave him a nod.
He looked at his watch to see the time. “I’m going to go in my office,” he said to me and walked away. I closed the door behind me and sat on the bed. Here I was in New York. In a city that was very foreign to me. My new life was already a disaster.
I took a deep breath. You can get through this Vera. You don’t need to tell you what to do . I took another deep breath and got to unpacking my stuff. While I unpacked my stuff, I fell upon my old photo album.
I walked to the bed with the album in my hands and opened to the first page. Already, I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. The first page revealed my baby picture when I was at the hospital. I was wrapped in a pink blanket and a pink hat.
In the picture, my grandmother held me with a gentle smile. My grandfather had a smile on his face and looked over my grandmother in order to see me. My parents weren’t in the picture at all. Underneath the picture, there were words.
Valeria Laurenti
August 29
12:08 am
5 pounds and 7 ounces
I turned the page to see pictures of my grandparents caring for me. Of course, I didn’t have pictures of my parents and my brother with me. My parents never wanted to be near me. It made sense for me to have pictures of my grandparents and I.
I flipped through the pages. Each page showed my years from youth to now. Each page, I could see the changes of myself. Each page gave me flashbacks of that moment. Each page reminded me the emotions that were felt at the time.

In my eyes and mind, I was watching my life go by like a old film. I watched myself grow up with two loving grandparents who saw a little girl with no support and love from her parent. I kept flipping through the pages of the photo album.
Soon, I got to the last page. The last page had my graduation picture. I saw that there was an envelope.
Huh? What is that? I took the envelope and opened it to see a letter inside. Curiously, I opened the letter.
Dear Vera,
By the time you are reading this, you would have started a new life with Adrian. I know that I should have told you about the marriage when you were younger. I wanted you to have a better life than we…your grandmother and I could give you.
We took you away from your parents because we saw the things that we didn’t like about your parents. They didn’t treat you as part of the family. We wanted you to grow up in a loving home so we took you and raised you as our own.
To be honest, I forgotten about the marriage plan until I saw Pietro on your graduation day. In my mind, I thought that it would be great for you to be married to Adrian because the family could provide you things that we couldn’t afford.
I hope that you can forgive me and your grandmother. You are our precious granddaughter and I would have wanted you to have a better life than your parents and brother. I hope the marriage would bring you happiness and remove the trauma and pain from your early childhood.
We will always love you. Take good care of yourself. Stay strong.
Love Grandfather.
After reading the letter, I held the letter to my chest and wept. Oh Grandfather…I miss you so much…
Now I had a better understanding about his thoughts on the marriage and his motive for being me into his home.
After a few minutes, I wiped my tears. I didn’t realized that it was dark outside. I took the letter and placed it in the photo album. I thought that it would be safe to put it in the album so that it didn’t get lost.
I took the album and placed it in my closet. Once I finished putting my clothes away, it was already 6:30 pm. I should get dinner ready. I walked out of the room to see that the lights were dim but, it was bright enough to see.
Slowly, I walked down the hallway and down the stairs to see the living room was lit bright. Outside the window, the scene was beautiful. The city was alive with lights. It was good enough for a movie shot or a postcard.
I continued my way to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to see no fresh food. Everything looked store bought. “I really need to go shopping for better food,” I said out loud. I closed the refrigerator and looked in the cabinets.
The cabinets held plates that looked very expensive. There was nothing to eat. Maybe I should order something . I closed the last cabinet. “May I help you?” I turned around to see a man in a suit. He had brown hair that was gelled back, grey eyes, and cleaned shaved.
Who is he?
“Oh. I didn’t know that my husband had a…butler?” I didn’t know what to say. The man gave me a smile. “Oh. You must be Mr. Minetti’s new wife. I’m Lorenzo Raouli. I am his assistant at his business,” he introduced himself to me.
“It’s nice to meet you,” I said to him. He gave me a nod. “Your husband sent me to see how you were doing. I didn’t see you in your room,” he said to me. I thought he wasn’t interested in me. After all, he is a jerk.
“I came in the kitchen to see if there is anything to eat since it’s dinner time. Does he cook for himself? I looked everywhere to see that he doesn’t have anything fresh,” I said to him. I could tell that he was trying to hold his laughter.
“He is busy for that but, he does know how to cook. It’s just that he rarely cooks at home,” he said to me. “That would explain the empty cabinets and fridge. I guess I’ll need to go to the market tomorrow,” I said to him.
Lorenzo walked over to me and presented me with two different cards. “Mr. Minetti wanted me to give you your credit card that is connected to his bank account and a key card for the apartment,” he said to me. He reached into his pocket and gave me a smart phone.
“This phone had all the contacts that you need,” he said. I took the phone in my hands. “Thank you Lorenzo,” I thanked him and gave him a smile. “You are very welcome. Please, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask,” he said to me.
I gave him a nod. He gave me one last smile and walked away. I looked down at the key card, credit card, and the phone in my hands. They had my name on them….my married name. This is your start of a new life.
I took a deep breath and looked at the credit card. I should go to the bank tomorrow about my bank account in California. “But for now…I need to find something to eat.” Does Adrian want anything ? I made my way to Adrian’s office.
On the way, I saw Lorenzo who was walking towards me with a file in his hand. He gave me a smile. “Hello Ms. Minetti. How may I help you?” he asked me. “I was wondering if Adrian wanted something specific for dinner,” I said to him.
“Oh. Mr. Minetti had already ordered food from a French Restaurant. He made sure to get you something. I’m heading to the restaurant to pick up the food right now,” he said to me. “Oh…that’s nice of him,” I said to him.
He gave me a smile and looked at his watch. “Indeed. Well…I need to get going now. Please excuse me,” he said and walked passed me. I watched him walk down the hallway.
He seems like a nice guy…much better than Adrian.
I made my way back into my room and sat at the windowsill.
My new life started here.
[nextpage title=”episode 8″]

Next day……
Sleepily, I got up from bed and walked over to the curtains. I opened the curtains to see the sunrise in the distance. That’s nice. I walked into my bathroom and washed up for the day. The bathroom was pretty amazing. Everything inside was expensive.
After dressing up in my white sweater, black leggings, and slippers, I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked very plain. I didn’t know if I could adapt to a lavish life. I wore my glasses and walked out of my room.
Quietly, I made my way to the kitchen and started to make breakfast for Adrian. In the cabinets, I managed to find bagels, coffee, and cream cheese. I guess these will do for now . Looking inside the cabinets again, I found a kettle and a coffee filter.
To be honest, I didn’t like coffee. However, I made coffee for my grandparents every morning. They looked my pour over brew method. I filled the pot with water and set the pot on the stove to boil. While the kettle boiled the water, I got the filter and the coffee ready.
After putting the filter in a cup and the ground coffee in the filter, I prepared the bagel. I cut the bagel in half and toasted them in the toaster. Soon, I heard the water boiling. I got he kettle and started to pour the boiling water over the coffee ground.
Slowly, the finished product dripped into the cup. The bagel popped up from the toaster. I took the hot bagels and spread cream cheese on them. The breakfast was simple. I really need to go to the grocery store today.
After of the the coffee was done, I removed the filter and the coffee ground. I decided to make the coffee on the strong side. I remembered Adrian drinking espresso back in San Francisco. I hope he likes the coffee.
I set everything on the tray and walked up the stairs. I remembered that his room was located right next to my room. I walked down a hallway to see Lorenzo. He turned his head to see me approach him.
“Good morning Lorenzo,” I said to him with a smile on my face. I was happy to see him. He gave me a smile in return. “Good morning Mrs. Minetti. Sleep well?” he asked me. “Yes. Thank you for asking,” I said to him.
He looked down at the tray that I was carrying. “Did you make him breakfast?” he asked me. “I did. Is he in his room?” I asked him. Lorenzo shook his head. “He is in his office,” he told me. He is in his office!
“Did he sleep last night?” I asked with concern. He gave me a nod. “He slept for a couple hours before returning to work. This is a life of a CEO,” he explained to me. I gave him a nod. “I’ll escort you to his office,” he said.
Closely, I followed Lorenzo to Adrian’s office. His office was located on the other side of the apartment. Soon, we arrived in front of double doors. Already, I had a idea about what his office would look like.
Lorenzo knocked on the door to let Adrian know that someone was at the door. “Come in,” I heard from the other side. Lorenzo opened the door and peeked inside. “Mr. Minetti. Your wife is here with your breakfast,” I heard Lorenzo say to him.
I started to feel my hands sweat. Adrian told me yesterday that he didn’t want to be disturbed by me or anything. It was one of his rules. “Let her in and close the door behind you. I want to talk to her alone,” I heard Adrian’s order to Lorenz.

Lorenzo opened the door for me. Slowly, I walked inside and was amazed by the office. The office was pretty big with the company logo above the desk. The room was spotless. The furniture made me feel like I was in a office building and not an apartment.
From the desk, Adrian looked at me dead in the eyes. I started to feel my legs shake. I didn’t move my eyes away from Adrian. Adrian got up from his chair and walked over to me. I wanted to move a step back but, my legs were paralyzed by fear.
Once he stood in front of me, I looked straight at his chest. I was too afraid to look at him. “What did I say about bothering me?” he asked to me in a stern tone. His tone felt heavy on my shoulders and made my heart drop.
I couldn’t open my mouth. “Look up at me when I speak to you,” he said to me. He didn’t change the tone of his voice. I took a shaky breath and looked up at him. When our eyes met, I completely froze and tense.
I could see the annoyance and anger in his eyes. “Let me ask one last time. What did I say about bothering me?” he asked me. His annoyance and anger were growing by the second. I forced myself to speak without controlling my fear.
“Y-you said t-t-to not b-bother you,” I said to him. “Exactly,” he said to me. He took the cup of coffee and the plate bagels off the tray. “Now get out. Don’t bother me ever again got it,” he said to me. I nodded my head quickly and walked out of his room.
I set the tray in the kitchen and made my way back into my room. Once in my room, I sat on the bed and felt tears fall from my eyes. I let out a deep breath that I had kept inside myself from my encounter with Adrian.
Why did I have to pair with him? He scares me so much.
I looked at my hands to see them shaking. I held my hands together and tried to calm my nerves down.I closed my eyes and thought about my grandparents. They wanted me to have a better life than my parents and my brother.
The question was…was this a better life.
I could see the ups and downs of this marriage. In the end, I decided that I wanted a life where I didn’t have to displease my husband. I shouldn’t have to fear anything as long as I followed the rules that he had set for me.
Follow the rules Vera. You can live through this.
It had been a few hours since my encounter with Adrian. As far as I knew, by the time I left the apartment, Adrian was already gone to his work in the city. I had planned to go to the bank and to the grocery store today.
Right now, I had just gotten out of the bank. I managed to get my bank account transferred from San Francisco and gotten a new credit and debit card under my maiden name. Even though I had a credit card from Adrian, I rather use my money than to use his fortune to buy things.
Walking down the street, I could see the difference between San Francisco and New York. New York was super busy with people and traffic. People were walking up and down the street while they talked on their phones, walked their dog, or listened to their music.
It felt different. I started to miss San Francisco more. I missed the slow relax feel of the neighborhood. I missed the air of the bay. I knew that I would have to get used to New York and it’s business.

I managed to find a grocery store that was near the apartment. It was very convenient. Inside the grocery store, I took a shopping cart and walked through the aisle to find things that would last Adrian and I a few days.
I spent a good hour filling the cart with produce and other goods. Tonight, I wanted to make ravioli stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, spinach, and black pepper. For the sauce, I wanted to make home made marinara sauce cooked with home made sausage and vegetables.
I learned many recipes from my grandmother growing up. I would spend hours in the kitchen with her. It was going to be the first time that I was cooking myself without my grandmother tasting my cooking. Hopefully, Adrian would like my cooking.
Once at the cashier, I watched the screen to see the cost of the total amount go up. I should get a membership card . “Your total is $102.98. Do you have a membership card with us?” the lady asked me.
“No. May I sign up for one please,” I said to her. She gave me a form and pen. Quickly, I filled the form with my information while she got the bags. “Can I get reusable bags please,” I said to her. She gave me a nod and worked on the cash register. “That will increase the total to $110.98,” she told me.
“That’s fine,” I said to her. I gave her the form and got a membership card. I managed to get the price down to $80.97. “Cash or card?” the lady asked me. “Debit,” I said to her. I looked into my wallet and got my debit card.
Once I paid everything and got my bags, I walked out of the grocery store and to the apartment. The walk wasn’t too bad. Once inside the apartment building, I walked into the elevator that was specific to getting to my apartment building.
I pressed the button for the top floor.
[Key Card Please]
I took a card out of my bag and inserted the card in scanner.
[Recognize Valeria Minetti]
The elevator started to move. I set the grocery on the ground and stretched my arms. Next time…less groceries. The screen showed me that I was almost at the top. I grabbed the groceries and waited for the elevator to reach the apartment.
Soon, I arrived a the apartment. I carried the groceries in the kitchen and started to put the groceries away. I made sure to throw away anything expired in the trash as I didn’t want any mold growing anywhere.
It took me a good thirty minutes to put the stuff away.
I placed my hand on my stomach. “That’s right. I didn’t eat anything yet.” I walked over to the fridge and grabbed some stuff for a grilled cheese with basil and tomatoes. I wanted something simple for now since I was going to make a big dinner.
After grilling the cheese sandwich, I started to eat my light lunch with a cup of water. As I ate my food, I looked around the apartment. It really felt empty and lonely. If a pin dropped onto the feel, a person could hear it on the other side of the apartment.
I should really think of something to do . Something clicked in my head. “That’s right…dinner. That should keep me busy until…dinner.” I finished the last of the grilled cheese sandwich and cleaned the dishes.
After the dishes, I made sure to clean the counter.
“Now let’s make the pasta sauce.”
I grabbed the some ingredients out of the fridge and started to make the sauce.
Few hours later…….
“Tastes good.”
I managed to finish making the raviolis an hour ago and kept working on the sauce. The sauce tasted better over time. Everything was made from scratch. So everything was going to taste extra good and fresh.
“Just twenty more minutes and it’s done.” I set the spoon down and looked at the time. It was almost dinner time. I had set dinner between six and seven. Wonder when Adrian is coming home. I never asked him when he was coming home.
But, I couldn’t speak to him at all unless I was spoken to. I walked over to the living room and sat down on the couch. With the remote control, I turned the television on to see what shows were on at the hour.
I had to say that he had almost every channel you can think of.
Four hours later……
Four hours had went by and I was waiting patiently for him. “Maybe he is working late.” I should have known about his work ethics from the start. He worked late on our first night together in San Francisco.
Two hours ago, I decided to make myself dinner and make a plate that Adrian could heat up in the microwave. I had to eat dinner alone. The raviolis tasted great but, it would have tasted better if I had someone to eat them with me.
I packed Adrian’s food in the fridge. I didn’t know if he was going to eat it. I hope that he would eat them.
Right now, I was on the couch doing some research on universities and colleges on my laptop. I had planned to go to college before I got married. I thought maybe I could at least take some online classes and slowly get a degree.
I should wait for a while before enrolling.
After a few more hours, I went to bed without waiting for Adrian to come home.
[nextpage title=”episode 9″]

Next day……..
I woke feeling energized and ready for the day. First thing in the morning, I noticed that Adrian didn’t come home because his office was empty. Also, his ravioli dinner was still in the refrigerator. I decided to leave the plate in the fridge for another day. If he didn’t plan to eat the food, I’ll have to eat it for lunch on the next day.
Today, I wanted to go site seeing and get to know my new neighborhood. I made sure to dress nicely and got everything so that I didn’t get locked out of the apartment. {Should I leave a note?} “I think he would be able to find me. He probably put a tracking device in my phone.”
I walked into the elevator and rode down to the lobby. Once out of the lobby, I walked down the street through the crowd of people. The streets were lively with people and cars. The streets were packed with cars that were trying to get to their destination.
Along the street, people would go in and out of the stores. Many women walked into the clothing stores because they were well known brands. The outfits were amazing…but, the prices were outrageous.
“A two hundred and fifty eight dollar belt!. No thank you.”
Quickly, I covered my mouth and walked away from the store before anyone could notice my expression. The brand stores could really put someone into bankruptcy. To me, brand stores never really caught my eyes.
Walking down the street, I found a bookstore that was filled with people. {Must be a popular bookstore.} I decided to go inside to see why the place was popular. Once I stepped into the bookstore, I could see why people were inside.
The place was huge. The books filled the walls of the shop. At the corner, there was a little cafe where people could buy something to drink while they read their books. Everything was very organized.
“May I help you?”
I turned my head to the voice to see a elderly man at the cashier. “Oh. I don’t need help,” I said to him with a smile. He gave me a smile and a nod. “If you need help, come to me my dear,” he said to me and returned his attention to a customer who was buying a book called “How To Get Girls You Desire.”
I started to walk toward the eastern wall of books.
“Let’s start here and work around.”
The section contained historical and travel books.
“I can’t wait to read my new book when I get home.”
I probably had spent two good hours looking around the bookstore. I managed to find some historical fiction and fiction books that caught my attention. The store owner gave me a discount on the books since I was a first timer at the store. After the bookstore, I had spent time looking at the other stores that had caught my attention.
When I got home, I walked to the mail box to retrieve the mail. I had to say that the box was filled with letters, pamphlets and magazines. “Look at all this.” {Does Adrian ever look at his mailbox?} I took the mail and walked to the elevator.
[Key Card Please]
I got my key card and insert the card in the scanner.

[Recognize Valeria Minetti]
As the elevator lifted me up, I tried adjust my hold on the mail. I had to say that he must have not checked his mail for at least a week or two. There were so many letters and magazines. {Does he really worry about his image?}
Once I reached the apartment, I walked to the kitchen to sort the mail. Most of the letters were for business while others were advertisements. Soon, I got to the magazines. One magazine caught my attention.
The youngest Minetti Bachelor tied the knots!
Rumors had spread about the possibilities of Adrian Minetti marriage. According to sources, he had tied the knots while he was visiting his parents in San Francisco a couple weeks ago. The lucky woman had not been identified yet.
{Nobody knows me yet.}
Relief coursed through my body. I really didn’t want to be an inconvenience to Adrian. After sorting the mail, I walked to his office and set the magazines down on his desk with his mail. He would want to look at it.
As I walked out of his office, I saw Lorenzo who walked towards me. “Hello Lorenzo,” I said with a smile on his face. He gave me a small smile and bowed to me. “Hello Mrs. Minetti. How are you?” he asked me.
{Mrs. Minetti.}
“I’m fine thank you. Please, call me Vera,” I said to him. The way he said my married name felt very foreign to me. “Of course,” he said to me. “I didn’t hear you walk in. May I ask what you are doing here?” I asked him.
“I am here to get your husband’s mail. He had been expecting a letter from the CEO of a travel company based in Italy. He thought maybe the letter had arrived at his home and not at his office,” he explained to me.
{A travel company?}
“Is it from Journey Flight? I did recall seeing a mail letter of it. I placed his mail in his office,” I told him. Lorenzo gave out a sigh of relief. “Thank you. Normally, Mr. Minetti’s business letters are mailed to his office but, on rare occasions, they are mail to his home,” he explained to me.
“That makes sense.” He gave me a nod. “How is Adrian?” I asked him. I hadn’t seen him at home for a while. “He had been busy with work. He probably won’t be coming home until he gets a deal with a real estate agency for a property down in San Diego,” he told me.
{Probably a new resort.}
“Alright. You should hurry and get the letter to him. He’s probably not the kind of person to keep waiting,” I said to him. He gave me a nod and walked passed me. I let out deep breath and continued my way to my room to read my new books.
“I guess I’ll be eating alone for a while.”
One week later……….
Adrian hadn’t returned home for a whole week. I became more worried about him. Of course, I didn’t dare to call him or anything because his rules kept popping up in my head. Lorenzo hadn’t come and check the mail so I check the mail and place them in Adrian’s office.

As for me, I had decided to enroll into a university in New York. Of course, I planned to take a couple of online classes for each semester so that I could focus on my house chores. Also, I wanted to see the amount of school work that I had to do for each class. I could care less what Adrian thought about my decision.
Today, I was in a really good mood that I had forgotten about Adrian. I wasn’t going to let him ruin my life. I had spent a good two hours in the neighborhood and going to the grocery store for more food to fill in the pantry and fridge. The doors to the elevators opened to reveal my apartment. “Home sweet home,” I said and set my goods down on the couch.
“Well hello there.”
I gasped and turned around to the direction of the voice to see a man who looked familiar. His dark hair was down casual. He had some facial hair, but it was very clean. His eyes were brown and familiar.
“I’m surprised that you don’t seem to know me,” he said to me. I couldn’t seem to process his appearance because I was blinded by fear and fright to even think about the identity of the person in front of me.
{How did he get in here?! I need to call Adrian.}
Quickly, I reached for my phone in my bag. “Not so fast,” I heard him say to me. He grabbed my arm to prevent me from getting my phone. He took my bag and tossed it across the room. {My bag.} He turned his face to me and gave me a smirk.
Quickly, he covered my mouth with his hand. I struggled to get his hand away from my mouth. He didn’t seem to notice that he covered my nose too. “Let me explain something to you,” he said to me calmly. I didn’t know what to think.
I could feel the less oxygens in my lungs.
“Mathew! What are you doing!?”
He turned his head to the stairs. I turned my head slightly enough to see a woman who looked like a model. She had long flowing blond hair and dark blue eyes. She had a slim figure but, she was curvy too.
{She looks familiar.}
She made her way toward us quickly. Matthew removed his hand from my mouth. I backed away to the corner of the kitchen trying to catch my breath. Once my back touched the wall, my body didn’t want to respond. My breathing was so uneven that I knew that I was panicking now. The woman looked at me.
“She’s panicking,” she said with concern and walked towards me. “I’m Angela. Your sister-in-law,” she introduced herself to me. “Oh.” I could feel myself relax a bit and turned my attention to the guy. {That means this must be Matthew. Adrian’s brother.}
I didn’t recognize him because his hair. His eyebrows frown a bit. “Sorry if I scared you. I’m Matthew. Adrian’s older brother,” he apologized to me. I wiped my eyes to feel moisture. {Must be fright the fright.} I let out a shaky breath of relief.
“I’m Valeria but, call me Vera and it’s okay. I didn’t know that you two were coming,” I said to him. He gave me a nod. “So I’m guessing that Adrian had went to work,” he said to me. I gave him a nod. I didn’t tell him that he didn’t come home from work since the other day.
Angela took my hand and led me to the living room. Once we sat down, Angela gave me a smile. “It’s so nice to have a sister in law. I didn’t think that I would get one so soon. I would have thought that Stephen would get married and have a wife before Adrian,” she told me.
“That…makes sense,” I said to her. Her smile shorten a bit. “This must be very confusing for you…especially since you came from a…you know…” She didn’t want to say anything offensive. “You mean not so luxurious background?” She gave me a nod.
“I feel so many things. I mean…I’m an eighteen year old girl who just graduated from high school, told that I was arranged to be married to a guy who I didn’t know much about, and live far away from the only family I know,” I said out everything that I held inside.
“It sounds crazy to you. We get it,” Matthew said to me. “Yes but, I’m trying to make it work,” I said to him. He gave me a smile .”I have a feeling that you are a great match for him. You just need to take things one step at a time,” he said to me.
I gave him a nod in agreement.
“So, were you planning on making something for dinner?” Angela asked me. {That’s right.} “Oh. I was planning to make some eggplant parmesan but, I don’t think I have the time now,” I honestly said to her.
Fresh tomato sauce was going to take a long time that I didn’t have now due to them surprising me. “You cook food everyday?” she asked me. I gave her a nod. “I love cooking. I learned everything from my grandmother,” I told her.
She gave me a smile. “Your cooking must be amazing. Adrian must love your cooking,” she said to me. I felt my face frown. {If he was ever at home…} “Did I say something wrong?” she asked with concern in her voice.
“What’s with the face,” Matthew asked with some concern. I let out a sigh and looked at him. “He hasn’t been home for over a week. I would leave his portion in the fridge but, they are never eaten. So, I end up eating them for lunch the next day,” I explained to him.
His grip tightened on his knees. “What an idiot,” Matthew concluded. He looked mad. “It’s okay. I heard that he was trying to get a deal to get the property down in San Diego,” I explained to him. “But, it takes more than a week? He usually finish or get the deal in a few days. What could he possibly be doing?” he said to me.
Now, he got my attention. {If that’s true, is he….} I shook my head. {No that can’t be.} “He might be really busy this time. You never know,” Angela said to him. Matthew shook his head. “He’s a married man now and doesn’t seem to be caring for his wife well,” he said to her in a bit of anger.
“It’s fine really,” I said to him. I wasn’t going to get mad at Adrian. Matthew took a deep breath to calm down and gave me a small smile. “You really look at the bright side of things don’t you,” he said to me.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I guess.” I got up from the couch. “I better start making dinner. You two are welcome to join me,” I said to them. They gave me a nod. “We would love to,” Matthew said to me. Happiness washed over me.
“I am thinking of wild mushroom risotto and maybe steak. I already had them marinating since early this morning. It should be fine to eat today,” I told them. Angela and Matthew stood up from the couch. “I’ll help,” Angela offered to me.
“That would be great,” I told her. “I’m going to make a business call to see how things are doing,” he said to excuse himself. “Alright,” I said to him and walked into the kitchen to get started on the risotto. Angela followed behind me.

[nextpage title=”episode 10″]

Episode 10

“Dinner is done.”
I managed to finish the dinner in a timely manner. Also, I made roasted herb potatoes and some salad with Italian dressing. Angela was helping with plating the food in a family style. Matthew had went off somewhere. As I set the table, I heard the front door open.
“That might be Adrian,” Angela said to me. I gave her a nod and walked over to the front to see that it was Adrian who had walked into the room. My hands were shaking. I hadn’t seen Adrian for a while so I was a bit nervous. I turned at the corner to see him there.
He didn’t look like he had been staying in the office for a long time. In fact, he looked ready to go to work. His clothes were smooth with no wrinkles. His hair was not in a mess. He had no facial hair showing.
He simply walked away to the stairs without looking at me. My mood went down a bit. I took a deep breath and walked back into the kitchen to finish setting the table. I took the bowl of risotto in my hands. “Did he see you?” she asked me.
What should I say?
“Adrian is here. He said that he will be down in a bit,” Matthew said and took the risotto bowl from my hands. “You don’t have to help. You are the guest,” I said to him as I tried to take the bowl from him but, he was taller than me.
“It’s alright. I’m your brother in law. I’m suppose to help my little sister,” he said to me and walked to the dining table. “That goes for me too,” Angela said as she walked passed me with the salad bowl and the plate of sliced steaks.
I took the plate of roasted potatoes and walked to the dining table. We sat down and waited for Adrian to come to dinner. Matthew walked to the wine shelf. “I should get some water,” I said to them and got up from the table. “I’ll go get them,” Angela offered to me.
“No. I’ll go,” I said to her and walked to the kitchen to get some water for everyone. After getting the waters, I walked to the table to see Adrian who was about to take his seat. He had changed into some more comfortable clothes but, they were still a bit formal like his work clothes.
He turned his head to me. I lowered my head and walked to the table with the tray of waters. Water was placed in front of everyone. “Thank you,” Angela said to me. “Your welcome,” I said to her with a small smile.
I placed the tray nearby and took my own seat. Adrian didn’t help. Matthew noticed it and said the prayer. “Thank you for the food,” we said in unison and started to pass the food around. After everyone had food on their plate, we started to eat and I could tell that Matthew and Angela was enjoying the food.
“This is amazing,” Matthew said and looked at me with a big smile on his face. “Thank you,” I said to him. “I wish I can cook as good as you,” Angela said and took a bite of the risotto. “What do you think Adrian?” Matthew asked his little brother.
“It’s great,” he said with a smile on his face. I felt my heart swell. He liked my cooking. It was the first time that he was tasting my food. Angela and Matthew gave each other a smile and continued to eat their food happily.
Matthew and Adrian talked about business while Angela and I talked about married life. She was telling me how Matthew would be romantic every month. He would plan something romantic for her. I wondered if Adrian would do something like that.
“That reminds me. Where are you two going for your honeymoon?” Angela asked Adrian and I. To be honest, I didn’t know if we were going to go on a honeymoon because Adrian was very busy with his work. Plus, he didn’t seem to like me.

“Great Britain.”
I looked at Adrian. Is he serious?
Matthew didn’t seem to believe him. “Why the Great Britain of all places?” he asked him. “Well, I love the history there. I want to go explore some historical sites and go to a few museums,” Adrian said and then looked at me.
Does he want me to play along or something?
“What about you Vera?” Angela asked me. “Um…” “She had been interested in English history since she was a little girl and wanted to go there. That’s the main reason why I planned for us to go there,” he explained to them. I didn’t know what to think especially at a short notice.
I was surprised that he knew my interest in English history. England was one of the places to go to on my bucket list. I never told him about it. Does he want our marriage to actually work? I was a bit excited. “That’s sounds good. I can’t wait to see pictures,” Angela said to us. Adrian had a smile on his face and continued to eat his dinner.
“So when are you guys going?” Matthew asked us. “In a few days. I already booked the hotel and planned the whole two weeks there,” Adrian said and took a sip of his wine. In a few days! I can’t wait!
The rest of the evening was pleasant.
Few days later…….
“Did I forget anything?”
Today, we were going to the airport to fly to England. We were going to fly from JFK International Airport to Heathrow International Airport. I never had flown in a plane longer than three hours,
Who could that be? I walked to the door and opened it to reveal Lorenzo. “Are you ready Vera?” he asked me. “Yes. I am,” I said to him and proceeded to grab my luggage. “I’ll get that for you,” he said to me and took the luggage off my bed with no problem.
“Follow me,” he told me. I followed him out of my room to the living room where Adrian sat with his laptop open. Looks like he is doing business as usual. As we walked down the stairs, Adrian closed his laptop and stood from the couch.
“Let’s get going. We have business to attend to,” he said to Lorenzo. I was confused. Business? “Yes. Of course sir,” he told him. We walked into the elevator and waited for the elevator to go down. I had many thoughts come to my head.
What did he mean by business? Aren’t we going to our honeymoon?
I looked up at Adrian’s eyes to see that he had the distant look. He was deep in thought. I let out a breath and waited for the elevator doors to open. Once the doors opened, we walked to the car that was in the front.
I felt someone’s hand on my back that made me jump. I turned my head a bit to see that it was Adrian next to me. He helped me into the car before he got inside himself. Lorenzo sat in the front with the driver.
Once Adrian sat in his seat, he opened his laptop and started to work again. I knew to not bother him with his work or anything. I reached in my bag and started to read one of my new books. The book was a romance between a rich man and a poor woman who was arranged to be married.

In a way, it as like me. I was from a poor family in a way. Adrian was from a rich family. Our grandparents had arranged our marriage. We got married without complaints to our grandparents. I wondered if we would have a happy ending like the book.
We got to the airport a bit later than we should have because the traffic was very bad. Adrian helped me out of the car and placed his hand on my back again to guide me through the terminal. I kept my head down and let him guide me to our plane.
I didn’t want to look at the faces of people around us. Will they know my connection to Adrian? Nobody knew my face or anything. The media only knew that Adrian was married but, they haven’t discovered my identity yet.
Soon, we got to the gate. The lady at the front gave us a smile. “Hello. Welcome. Please let me see your ticket and passport please,” she said to us. The thought popped in my head. My passport! I forgot!}
I was a bit afraid to say anything now. My passport was at home. I never brought my passport anywhere because I never flew out of the country in my life. The only time that I used my passport was at the bank when I opened my bank account.
With a bit of fear, I looked up at Adrian who reached into his brief case for his passport. I felt bad that if I said anything now, we would be late for our honeymoon. Next thing I knew, I saw something in his hands. He had two passports.
“Here is mine and my wife’s passports and tickets,” he said to the lady. How did he get my passport?
The lady gave him a smile and took the passports and tickets gladly. I looked over the counter a bit to see that my passport was brand new.
My new passport had my new surname. When did he get that made? It takes a couple months to get a new passport. After a few minutes, she gave him the passports and tickets. “Have a good flight,” she told us.
Adrian put the passports away in his brief case and we continued our way to the plane. We were taking the private jet. Adrian had me go up the stairs to the plane first and followed behind me. Once inside the plane, I recognized the flight attendants.
The female flight attendant had a huge smile when she saw Adrian who was behind me. The male flight attendant had a huge smile on his face when he saw me. I got a creepy shiver go up my spine. They bowed to us.
“Welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Minetti,” they said in unison. Shyly, I gave them a smile. They walked over to us and took our jackets. Adrian took his seat and I took mine at the opposite side of the plane. Immediately, he placed his brief case on the seat next to him and started to work on his laptop.
Quietly, I took a book out of my bag and started to read. “May I get you anything?” I looked up to see the male flight attendant. “Not right now. Thank you for asking,” I said and turned my attention back to my book.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Minetti. This is your captain Steven Spizale with first officer Jordan Michael. We will be taking flight momentarily. At this time please put on your seatbelt. Again, we will take flight shortly.”
I placed my book on my lap and buckled my seatbelt. Once I buckled my belt, I took my book out of my bag and started to read. Soon, I heard the roar of the engines that were turned on. The plane started to make it’s way to the runway.
I looked out of the window to see that we were on the runway. Luckily, nobody was in front of us. Soon, the plane drove down the runway to get some lift. Near the middle of the runway, I knew that were weren’t on the ground.

The sound indicated that we could take our belts off. I didn’t dare to take mine off. A memory came to mind. A memory that I never wanted to experience ever again.
Age 8….
We were on a flight home from visiting my father’s brother in Seattle. My parents sat with my brother on the midsection of the plane in first class. I sat with a close family friend Margaret in the economy section of the plane at the window seat.
My parents knew her since their childhood. She was my brother’s godmother. She knew of my situation with my parents. She would spend more time with me than my brother. I saw her as a mother figure.
“Ladies and Gentleman this is your flight attendant speaking. We are in our final descent. Please put your seats in an upright position. Also, please put your seatbelt on. We are in our final descent. Thank you for flying with us on American Airlines. We hope to many of you flying back home.”
“We are almost home Vera,” Margaret told me. “Yay.” I was happy that the plane would land soon. I really wanted to go home and read some books that I had gotten from my friends. “How long?” I asked her.
“About fifteen minutes,” she said to me. I gave her a nod and returned to my attention at the magazine in my hands. In two minutes, I looked out the window to see that there were droplets on the window.
It was sprinkling outside. I didn’t think anything of it. I returned my attention to the magazine.
I didn’t know how long I was reading. Next thing I knew…..
Everyone started to scream throughout the fuselage. “Get down!” I felt Margaret trying to bend over me so that I wouldn’t get hurt from the bags and other items that were stored in the compartments above us.
I could feel that the fuselage was twirling around and next thing I knew, we felt a hard landing. Once everything settled down, Margaret removed herself off of me. I looked down to see that my belt had unbuckled itself.
“We need to get out,” she told me as she took a handkerchief and cover my nose and mouth. The cabin was filling with smoke. I was in shock to say anything. Everyone in the cabin started to evacuate from the plane from the back in panic. Margaret managed to unbuckle her seatbelt unlike the others who’s seatbelt buckles were jammed.
She got up and got me out of my seat. She guided me out of the plane. I could see that there was a whole on the back of the plane and the cabin was a bit dark. What happen to the tail? “We need to keep moving,” she reminded me.
As we walked through the opening, I could see that the ends of the wires were sparking. “Keep moving Vera. It’s alright,” I heard Margaret behind me. I closed my eyes and kept moving until the light from the outside blinded my eyes.
“We are out!”
Once outside, I took a deep breath of fresh wet air. “Come on. We need to get away from the plane,” Margaret reminded me. We weren’t out of danger. We continued our way off the runway and onto a nearby hill. Luckily, I got away with some scrapes on my legs and arms.
I looked at the plane to see that people were sliding down the escape slides. “Where is mom and dad. Where’s David?” Even though that I wasn’t close to them, I was worried about them since I wasn’t with them.
Sirens of the fire trucks filled my ears. People were still evacuating the plane. The smoke was rising in the air. I could see little bits of flame behind the plane from my view. Once the fire trucks were there, the firefighters coordinated everyone.
Still, I didn’t see my parents anywhere. A security officer walked up to us with blankets in his hands. He gave one blanket to Margaret while the other to me. Margaret helped wrap the blanket around me. I did’ realize how cold I was.
“You need to get on the bus that is right at the middle of the runway. It will take you to the terminal where you can find your love ones,” he informed us. “Thank you officer,” Margaret said to him. We walked with many of the people to the bus.
Once at the terminal, we were escorted to a room where everyone were getting refreshments and waiting waiting for some news. “Margaret!” We turned our attention to the voice. It was my mother with tears in her eyes.
She ran straight to Margaret and gave her a hug. “Are you alright?” she asked her. I looked behind my mother to see father and David. They walked up to us. “Yes, I’m fine. Vera is too,” she told them. They didn’t seem concerned about me.
David gave me a small smile and turned his attention back to Margaret.
End of Flashback…..
[nextpage title=”episode 11″]
Episode 11

I came out of my memories and looked up to see the male flight attendant in front of me. “Do you need anything?” he asked me. Do I need something? I looked at my watch to see that I had day dreamed for a few hours.
“Um..a glass of water with a slice of lemon would be nice,” I told her. He gave me a smile. “Certainly,” he said to me and walked away. Did I really daydreamed that long? I looked over at Adrian who was flirting with the female flight attendant.
My heart felt crushed from the sight.
Listen Vera. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t have feelings for you. You shouldn’t have feelings for him. I let out a quiet deep sigh and returned my attention to my book and waited for my water.
In my heart, I felt some hope that he had feelings for me. We were going to our honeymoon after all.
“Mr. Minetti. This is your captain speaking. Please put your seat in an upright position and buckle up. We are in our final descent. We will be landing at Heathrow International Airport shortly. Thank you for flying with us and hope you again on the way back home.”
The flight was very long. I didn’t get any sleep. To be honest, I didn’t like sleeping on the plane but, I was exhausted from being awake for over ten hours. I closed my book and packed everything in my bag.
Looking out of the window, the runway was in view. Almost there . I sat up in my seat and closed my eyes. As the time went by, I counted down in my head. 5-4-3-2-1. Next thing I knew, I felt the plane jerk forward a bit. We had landed on the runway safely.
I looked out of the window to see that the plane was slowing down on the runway. It didn’t take too long for the plane to come to a complete stop at the end of the runway. The plane taxied to a terminal for private jets.
The lights for the belts came on. I unbuckled my belt and got up from my seat. I had to say that my legs needed some stretching but, I knew that I shouldn’t in front of the flight attendants. I might embarrass Adrian.
Adrian got his brief case and walked near the exit. I made my way next to him while the flight attendants get our jackets. The male flight attendant got my jacket for me. “Here you are ma’am,” he said to me.
I gave him a small nod and took the jacket. I got the jacket on myself even though he was trying to help me. The flight attendant helped Adrian with his jacket. I walked to the exit to feel the cold breeze of England.
Here I am.
Looking below me, I could see that a car was waiting for us. Adrian gave me a little nudge forwards. I walked down the stairs and to the car. The driver opened the door for me and I slipped inside with ease.
Adrian sat on the other side. Lorenzo sat in the front. Immediately, he took his laptop out of his bag and started to work.
Maybe he wants to get ahead so that we can have time together. The car started to move and drive out of the airport.
“Where to sir?” the driver asked Adrian. “Buckingham Palace,” Adrian told him. I looked out of the window and watched the scenery go by. It was amazing that I was here. London almost reminded me of New York…everyone was busy.
In the main streets of London, there were so many people. I wasn’t too surprised about the traffic too. Some streets were way to difficult to get through. but, the driver managed to get around the traffic very well.
Soon, we were near Buckingham Palace. The building was amazing. The driver parked the car not too far from the palace. Adrian, Lorenzo, and I walked up to the gates. I could see the guards in the front of the doors of the palace.
“Lorenzo, get the camera ready,” Adrian told him. “Yes sir,” Lorenzo said and took the camera out of his bag. Adrian took my hand and walked in front of the gate entrance. “Ready,” Lorenzo said to us. Adrian wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me towards him. I could feel the warms and tingles from his hands on my waist. It was comforting against the cold weather.
What should I do?
Subconsciously, I placed my hands on his chest and rest my head over his heart. I could feel and hear his heart thump against his chest. I wonder what he feels for me? I made sure to smile at the camera.
Adrian pulled me away from him gently and waited for Lorenzo to show him the camera. The picture came out really nice. I could see that Adrian didn’t smile wide but, it was enough to show that he was happy.
“Okay. Let’s go,” Adrian said. We walked back to the car and told the driver to take us to the hotel.
Adrian had really spent a lot of money for a hotel. He ended up getting a suite at a luxury hotel in all of London. The suite was located on the highest floors of the hotel and had a great view of the city. Everything inside was top quality. I was happy to see that there were two beds.
I walked over to the window and opened the curtains to see that view. I could see Buckingham Palace and the London Bridge.
Wow .
“Lorenzo. We need to get going. You know that I hate to be late at a meeting,” Adrian told him. I turned to look at Adrian. “What?” Meeting?
Lorenzo gave him a nod. “Of course sir. I’ll get the car ready,” he told him and walked out of the room.
Adrian got his briefcase and looked at me. “You really think that we would come here for our honeymoon? You are so delusional,” he told me. I was speechless. All this time, I had thought that he wanted our marriage to work.
He walked to the for and open it a bit. Before he walked out, he looked at me. “My sole purpose is to do business here. Not to spend time with a poor girl like you,” he told me. His eyes were so cold when he said the words. I could feel tears forming in my eyes. My hands shook from the feeling….of rejection.
“You can have fun here on your own. Remember, don’t bother me when I’m here and anywhere for that matter,” he said and walked out of the room. He closed the door behind himself without looking at me again.
Once I knew that he was gone, I slid down on the floor and let the tears fall. He doesn’t want me. He doesn’t want things to work . He was right about one thing. I wasn’t a rich girl. I was a poor girl. A girl who was unwanted by her family except her grandparents.
I didn’t know how long I was on the floor but, when I was done crying, I could see that it was already night. Slowly, I got up from the floor and looked out the window. I took my glasses off to get a better look.
The city was filled with lights. On the London bridge, I could see that it was filled with cars.
You know what. I will have some fun on my own.
I wasn’t going to let him get me down on my trip here.
“Starting with dinner.”
I got my bag and walked not the bathroom to change into some nice clothes. Since it was cold out, I decided to wear some warm skinny jeans, a white turtle neck sweater and a grey scarf. I made sure to straighten my hair down and wash my face of dried tears.
I applied little make up and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked like a different person without my glasses. “Should I leave my glasses here?” I only wore my glasses because I wanted to look smart and not noticed by anyone. “I’ll just wear it. Protect my eyes from the wind.” I wore my black framed glasses.
Out of the bathroom, I got my white trench coat and brown high heeled books that I had packed. I only packed them because I had thought that I had to look a certain way when Adrian was around other people.
Once I was set, I got the hotel key from the nightstand and walked out with my purse.
Here I come London.
One week later……
I was really enjoying myself in London. Everyday, I would spend most of the time at a particular area of the city. Yesterday, I spent the whole day at Westminster Abby. Westminster Abby was place where the coronation took place as well as the wedding of the royals.
The food was very interesting. i had some fish and chips, english sandwiches, Sunday roast and other known english foods. Of course, I had some healthy foods like salad while I was here. I had some great tea and snacks. The scones were my absolute favorite. They were flaky and buttery. Victorian cakes were good too.
I took many pictures. When I get home, I wanted to make a scrap book of my adventure in London.
I hadn’t seen Adrian since he had left me in the suite. He hadn’t called me to see if I was okay. I figured that he had his own suite somewhere in the hotel or at a different hotel. Lorenzo hadn’t been around as well. Still, I felt hurt from his words a week ago.
Today, I was planning to go to the Tower of London. I knew a lot of history about the tower. Also, I wanted to try Yorkshire pudding somewhere in the area. I dressed very plainly and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked alright.
“I better get going.” I walked out of the suite and got a taxi to the Tower. “Is this your first time here in London ma’am,” the taxi driver asked me. “Yes it is,” I told him. I could see a smile on his face from his rear mirror. “Welcome to London,” he told me. “Thank you.”
Once at the tower, I got out and made my way closer to the building.
I took my phone out and looked to see that it was from Adrian. What does he want? It was the first time that he ever called me. I answered the phone. “Hello?” “Where are you?” He sounded a bit irritated. There was no concern in his voice.
“I’m at the Tower of London,” I told him. “Stay right there. I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he told me and hung up.
I didn’t wait too long.
Adrian managed to find me with no problem. Lorenzo was right behind me. I met him halfway. “What are out doing here? I thought that you were in a business meeting,” I told him. I had thought that I wouldn’t see him for the whole trip. Something told me that he wasn’t here for me.
“We need to take more photos so that we can prove that we were on our honeymoon.” Thought so. I gave him a nod. He took my hand and guided me to the tower. Lorenzo followed behind us and took photos.
As we walked through the tower, I looked around in amazement but, I was a bit scared that I would run into a ghost or something. There were stories about the place being haunted by those who were executed in the courtyard of the place.
Occasionally, I stood close to Adrian but, not too close. In my mind, I felt that I couldn’t trust him. In a way, I started to not believe in his words about our commitment in the marriage. But, I was going to try to stay truthful in the marriage even if my happiness suffers.
We spent about an hour walking around and taking photos at various spots. Once outside, Adrian let go of my hand and looked at his watch. “Lets go Lorenzo. We have a meeting in thirty minutes,” he told him. “Yes sir,” Lorenzo said. They walked away from me without a word.
I looked down at my hand. I could still feel him.
He doesn’t want you. Don’t have feelings for him.
I let out a breath and continued my journey in the surrounding area.
I opened my eyes slowly to see that it was still dark outside. On the clock, it said that it was 2:23 am.
Who could be calling right now?
Slowly, I sat up and turned the lights on. When the lamp lit up, I closed my eyes immediately. I let my eyes adjust to the lighting of the room.
I got my phone and answered. “Hello?” I answered sleepily. “Is this Valeria Minetti?” I didn’t recognize the voice. “Yes. This is she,” I answered. “This is Dr. Martin Dwight,” I heard. He was my grandparent’s doctor.
“Oh. Hello. I didn’t recognize your voice,” I told him. I rubbed my eyes. “I’m sorry to have woken you but, I have some …terrible news,” he told me. Terrible news? “What is it?” He got my attention that I was now completely awake.
I heard a sigh on the other side.
“I’m sorry to say but, you grandparents were killed in an accident.”
My mind when blank. I felt the phone slip from my hand.
[nextpage title=”episode 12″]

Episode 12

From what I could remember, Lorenzo walked into my room to check on me. He didn’t seem to know what had happened. I struggled to repeat what Dr. Dwight had told me. Once I told him, he called Adrian.
Adrian had canceled many of his meetings in London so that we could fly home in a few hours. When Adrian saw me, he didn’t do much, but he made phone calls to his family that we were going home early and go to San Francisco to make arrangements. When my phone rang, he answered the phone for me. I couldn’t really speak to anyone.
Today, we were in San Francisco to make funeral arrangements. Also, I was told that a lawyer was going to speak to me about my grandparent’s will. Apparently, my grandparents had divided much of their fortune and other items among me and my family.
“Valeria. The lawyer is here.”
I turned my head to the door to see Maria there with concern on her face. Currently, I was in our room at the Minettis in San Francisco. Slowly, I got up from the bed and walked out of the room with Maria at my side.
We walked to the living room to see Adrian and Pietro with the lawyer. Of course, Pietro managed to get the company’s lawyer present. Once I entered the room, everyone stood up and turned their attention towards me.
I gave them a small smile and walked over to Adrian. He didn’t show much emotions in his eyes. He gave me a small embrace and helped me sit down next to him. The lawyer sat down in front of us. “Hello Mrs. Minetti. My name is Sergio Roff,” he introduced to me. “Hello,” I said to him.
“First, I would like to say that I am very sorry for you loss,” Mr. Roff said to me. I forced myself to give a small smile and hold in my tears. “Thank you,” I said in a low voice. He gave me a nod and pulled out a pile of paper from his brief case. It was their will.
“According to your grandparent’s will, they have named you the beneficiary,” he said and handed me the will. The will contained much information about the distribution of their money. According to the will, they were leaving me the majority of the money. I wasn’t too surprised. Ever since my grandparents took me into their home, they cut their contact with my parents.
Looking down the will, I saw that I was to inherit $300,000. My grandfather used to own a furniture building company. He sold the company a couple years before they had brought me into their home.
I continued to look down the will. “My parents are inheriting $10,000 each and my brother is inheriting $30,000,” I said lout loud. “Yes. From my understanding, they wanted to be sure that you will be taken care of,” he told me. I gave him a nod. Oh Grandpa. Grandma.
“Does her family know about the will?” Adrian asked Mr. Roff. I was thinking the same thing. Surely, they would be notified about their death. After all, they were my mother’s parents. Mr. Roff gave him a nod. “I have to say that they weren’t too happy about the inheritance. They expected that they would inherit the majority of the money,” Mr. Roff explained to us. I let out a sigh.
“I’m not surprised.”
I continued to read the will.
In the rest of the will, my grandparents wanted to be buried together somewhere of my choosing and make the funeral arrangements. I looked at Pietro and Maria. “Do you know any places where I could bury them?” I asked them. To be honest, I had no idea about burials.
Pietro and Maria looked at each other and looked back at me. “We can bury them at The Italian Cemetery in Colma. I know that my wife and I would be bury there,” Pietro said to me. I gave them a nod. “I think that would be a nice place,” I told them.
Adrian gently took the will into his hand and looked through the pages carefully. “I’ll help make the funeral arrangements. After all, I am your husband,” he told me. I gave him a nod. This is not like him. He is just acting . He never been involved with anything in my life unless he was in front of his grandparents.

His grandparents nodded in agreement. I looked at Mr. Roff who was waiting patiently. “Is there anything else that I need to know?” I asked him. “Yes,” he said and reached into his brief case and pulled out some more documents.
“The house. According to the will, it’s to be given to you and you are to use the house in anyway you wish,” he told me and placed the documents in front of me. Adrian reached over and took the documents in his hands. The house had so many memories. I hated to see the place be sold off. Also, I didn’t want the furniture to go to the dump.
I looked at Adrian who looked at me intensely. “Maybe I’ll rent it out to a nice family. Also, I would love to have the furniture that my grandfather had built for me in New York. They built the furniture specifically for me since I had moved into their home,” I told him. He gave me a small nod and returned his attention to the will.
I guess…he is really going to help me.
Since our marriage, I could feel happiness and relief…even if it’s only for a short while.
The Italian Cemetery was a very nice place to bury them. Adrian and I went there a few days ago to make funeral arrangements. We had to choose flower arrangements, casket design, fill out the death certificates, and other things.
The workers gave us a tour of the place as well as the chapels for the funeral. Adrian and I chose a church setting. My grandparents would be buried next to each other on the newer part of the cemetery.
Today, we were having the funeral. the caskets stood in front of the stained glass windows. The stained glass window portrayed an image of a scene from the bible. Luckily, the sun was out that the windows were shining brightly onto my grandparents peaceful faces.
“They look peaceful. Don’t they.”
I turned my head to see that Maria stood next to me. “Yes.” I looked back at my grandparents. They weren’t in any pain. Over the past few days, I convinced myself that they were okay. They were in a better place. I didn’t want them to worry about me anymore.
After a few minutes, I looked over to the entrance to see Adrian who was greeting the guest. He had been extremely helpful to me. He took time off from work to help me with the funeral and other things. He was proving himself to be a reliable husband.
We decided to have a small funeral with only a few friends. So far, Adrian’s friends had came for support. I invited my grandparent’s old friends Nikos and Theodora. They were devastated by the news and wanted to come to support me. From what I had heard, Adrian’s parents were coming too.
My parents hadn’t arrived yet.
Theodora walked up to me. “Where are your parents? Surely, they would be here before any of us.” To be honest, I didn’t know how to answer her. I hadn’t heard anything from them since I received the will. I knew that Maria had talked to them a few days ago about the funeral location.
I turned my head to the entrance.
There they are. My parents and David were finally here. I could see that someone else was with them. It was a woman who stood very close to David. Who is she?
“You should go greet them,” Maria told me softly. I let out a deep breath and walked slowly to them.
Space and time seemed to have slowed down around me. My heart thumped with every step. Slowly, noises around me died down. I couldn’t hear anyone speak. They spoke to Nikos while I approached them.
Once I was close to them, I stood there without looking, waiting for them to acknowledge my presence.
I could hear Nikos who gave his condolence to them. “Oh. Valeria is here. I’ll leave you for now. I believe that you would want to talk to her,” I heard and he walked away. It’s time Valeria. You need to say something. Here I go . I forced myself to greet them.

“Hello. Mother. Father. David.”
I didn’t look them in the eye but, I knew that they were looking down at me.
“Valeria,” I heard my father say my name. His voice held some disappointment. I didn’t know what to say to them to be honest. Slowly, I lift my head to see them. Wow. They really aged a bit since I last seen them.
My parents started to show age on their faces. I could see the wrinkles on the corners of their eyes. Father started to have freckles of gray hair on his head. Mother seemed to have dyed her hair considering that the hair was a vibrant brunette.
David….well…he became more…handsome. He had certainly grown taller and had muscle. He was well dressed for the funeral. I could tell that he was making money in his career. His eyes were the same shade of brown. Of course, his appearance didn’t compare to Adrian in a certain extent.
David gave me a small smile.
“Valeria. This is my fiancee Rosa.”
Rosa was a very beautiful woman. She had a slender built. Her face was perfect with no imperfection. She was simply perfect. She must had gotten an approval of some sort from my parents. If I were in their shoes, I would want someone beautiful to match with David.
“It’s nice to meet you. I wished we met under a different circumstance,” she said to me. I gave her a small nod. Maybe …never .
I lift my head to my left to see Adrian who stood next to me. He gave me a small smile and wrapped his arm around my waist. Instantly, I felt shivers go up my body from the touch. My face felt hot. Still, I wasn’t used to his touches.
“How are you feeling?” he asked with concern. “Alright,” I lied to him. I wasn’t alright at all with good reasons. Now that my parents were here and seeing Adrian, I really wanted to do was hide under a rock or something..
My mother looked at Adrian with curiosity. “Who are you may I ask?” my mother asked him. Adrian looked at her. “I’m Adrian Minetti. I’m Valeria’s husband,” he introduced himself. I could see surprise in my family’s eyes.
“What do you mean husband? How come we weren’t informed about the marriage? We never gave our consent for marriage,” my father said out loud that everyone turned their heads to us. I started to feel very uncomfortable. I was confused as to why he was angry about our marriage. I didn’t think that he would even care what I did or anything.
I looked at Adrian to see how he would react and respond. “We gotten married once she had turned eighteen. Therefore, she did not need your consent to marry. She is her own person.” he said. He seemed to be giving my father a glare in his eyes.
“Still… You should have asked us about the marriage,” my mother said to him. She didn’t look happy either. Adrian just stared at my parents. He seemed annoyed by them.
We turned our heads to the voice to see two more people.
“Father. Mother.”
They were Adrian’s parents. I never saw pictures of them at home but, i did see a few photos and a family portrait in Petro’s home. Adrian had gotten most of his father’s facial features except his eyes. He had gotten his eyes from his mother.
They stood next to us and looked at my parents. I could feel the tension in the air. “It has been a while,” Adrian’s father said to my parents. My parents gave them a nod. “Yes. It has been,” my father said to them.
I started to feel a bit uncomfortable that I was having trouble breathing.
I took Adrian’s hand off my waist and turned my body to him. “Excuse me. I’m going to go to the restroom quick,” I said low enough for him to hear and walked away quickly before they said a word to me.
Once in the restroom, I walked over to the sink and held onto the rim. I took deep breaths to try to calm myself down. This is too much. It’s too much . My parents were here with Adrian’s parents. My mind was filled with many thoughts that I couldn’t pull my thoughts together let alone clear my mind.
Next thing I knew, I heard the door open.
“Are you alright?”
I looked from the mirror to see Adrian’s mother. She looked very concerned for me. I let out a deep breath and looked at her. “I’m…I’m just not really taking things very well,” I told her honestly. She gave me a small smile and a nod.
“I am very sorry for your loss dear,” she said to me. I returned the nod. “Thank you.” She took a few steps closer. “I should Introduce myself. I am Adrian’s mother, Elisabetta,” she said to me. “It’s nice to finally meet you…um…”
“You can call me “mother.” You are married to my son after all,” she said to me. I gave her a nod. “Okay.” She walked over to me and took my hand. “Come. It’s time for the funeral to start,” she told me.
I didn’t feel nervous around. Her hands were very comforting like a mother comforting her child. Elisabetta helped me out of the restroom and into the chapel where everyone were waiting for the funeral to start. She was right by me the whole time.
I could really call her my mother.
Back at home in New York
I didn’t know how much time had passed. I felt very empty inside.
Once I had gotten home, I stayed in my room and looked out of the window. Memories played through my mind. I could remember one good memory for every year that I had known them and more. I feared that I would start to forget the memories.
They are gone. They’re really gone.
I didn’t think that I would feel so alone…again.
I came out of my thoughts and looked at my door to see Lorenzo. He gave me a small smile. “Mr. Minetti would like to see you,” he told me. What does Adrian want? I got up from my seat and walked out of the room with Lorenzo.
I didn’t know what to expect.
“Mr. Minetti. Your wife is here. I’ll leave you to with privacy,” Lorenzo said and excused himself out.
Adrian was looking out of his window that had a good view of the city. Once I heard the door close behind me. I took a few steps forward until I was halfway to his desk. All I could hear was nothing. The room was soundproof.
“Do you know why I married you?” I heard him ask me with a serious tone. His voice scared me a bit but, I tried not to show my emotion. I looked up from his desk and straight at his eyes. That answer is simple . “Because our grandfathers arranged it.” I answered him. He gave me a nod on my correct answer.
“Exactly. Our grandfathers arranged our marriage.”
He walked around his desk and stood in front of me. We were two feet apart from each other. He put his hands in his pocket and looked down at me. “Nobody said that we have to like each other. Once my grandfather passes away, I’m going to get a divorce and leave you with nothing.”
Is he threatening me?
I was getting a bit angry. So many questions came into my head now. “When your grandfather passes away? You could have back away before the wedding or even when we had met on your birthday. Why didn’t you back out then?!” Anger grew by the second.
“If I had backed out before the wedding, most likely, my grandfather wouldn’t see me fit to run his company and would have fired me,” he explained to me. I was a bit shocked by his words. From what he was saying, he was using me in order to make sure that he secure his place in his grandfather’s company.
“Marriage doesn’t need love. It’s basically the joining of two people in the eye of the law. It doesn’t mean that your partner have to be there with you 24/7. A marriage certificate is a proof of marriage. A contract that two people are joined together. In a way, it’s just like business,” he explained his view to me.
Closing the gap between us, he walked up to me and leaned down to my ear to whisper some words. I felt frozen to the ground.
“Besides, I would never fall in love to a girl who is a nobody. A nobody who should have never been born and exist in this world.”
I felt the warmth get s—-d out of my body. I heard him walk past me and out the door without looking back. Slowly, I felt myself sink to the ground and onto my knees. A tear slid down to my cheek. I should have never been so surprised by his words.
I was never going to feel loved and wanted by him.

[nextpage title=”episode 13″]

Episode 13

Merry Early Christmas present to you all!
Happy Reading!
“How are you feeling?”
“I am feeling alright. Thank you for asking,” I said through the phone. Elisabetta made sure to call me once every few days to get to know me and hear about her son. I really gotten to know her very well. We spend about an hour talking about different things.
“How is Adrian? Is he treating you well?” she asked me. Is he? “He’s treating me fine,” I lied. He hadn’t done anything for me since the funeral. His focus was his work and nothing else. He would be stuck in his office all day or be at his work a few days at a time. So, I hardly see him. Lorenzo did check on me when Adrian was at home. To be honest, I would rather have Adrian check on me.
“What do you plan to do today?” she asked me. “I was thinking of going out to the city today. I was meaning to get a new book to read,” I told her. Slowly, I was filling my bookshelf with books. “Alright. Well, I need to get going. I have a meeting to attend today,” she told me.
I could feel relief coming. “Alright. I’ll call you next time,” I told her. “Okay. Bye,” she told me and hung up the phone. I put my phone down on my desk and walked to the closet to change my clothes. The bookstore should still be open if I get there fast enough.
Quickly, I changed into my outdoor clothes and got my bag. “Do I have everything?” I looked into my bag as I walked to the front door. My keycard was in my bag as well as my wallet. “Good.” I pressed the button to go down.
My afternoon was very busy. Luckily, the bookstore was still open by the time I got there. I looked over the shelves in the cuisine section to see if I could find a good recipe book. There were so many good ones.
In the end, I managed to get a book on classics recipes. The book didn’t cost me too much because I got a membership card. I collected so many points that I gotten a discount price for my book. In some cases, I got half price on a stack of books.
While I was out, I did go to the grocery store to get some ingredients for the week. For my dinner, I made some simple pasta with olive oil, basil, cherry tomatoes, and some parmesan. As usual, I saved Aidan some pasta even though I would eat it the next day or the day after.
Right now, I was on the computer looking up on universities in my area. So far, I wanted to see universities that offer many online classes. That way, I could focus on being a housewife and attend school at the same time.
Next thing I knew, I heard footsteps coming down the hallway. Usually Adrian got home around 11:30 pm. Today, he seemed to have came home thirty minutes early. I could hear that it was more than one person.
“It’s probably Adrian and Lorenzo,” I said to myself. As the footsteps get louder, something didn’t sound right. One of the set of footsteps sounded much sharper as if someone was wearing high heels.
That can’t be Lorenzo . I knew Lorenzo’s footsteps very well since he usually came and check on me “on behalf of Adrian.” I knew that wasn’t true. Lorenzo was just making sure that Adrian wouldn’t get in trouble by his grandparents.
Soon, I heard Adrian’s room door close and started to hear other noises. My insides started to turn and squeeze. I can’t believe this! I need to get out of this room. I got my laptop and a few books and walked out of the room before I could hear anything more.
Quickly, I walked downstairs to the living room. I felt that I could still hear them. “Where should I go?” I couldn’t go outside since it was a bit dangerous at night. I didn’t know anyone yet in the city. So, my options were very limited.

I walked near the front door entrance to see a door that I never opened before. I reached the doorknob and turned to open to see another hallway. I thought this was a closet. The hallway was pitch black.
I felt for a switch. Once I found the switch, the hallway lit up dimly. I walked inside and closed the door behind me. I walked down the hallway and down a small set of stairs to another hallway. This place has a lot more rooms that I thought .
Soon, I found myself in front of a door at the end of the hallway. I opened the door to see that it was empty except for a bed and a desk. The room didn’t seemed to be in use. Relief flowed through me. The feel was comforting.
I’ll make this my room. At least I don’t feel like I can hear them.
I yawned and knew that it was time for me to go to bed. I closed the door and set my stuff on the desk before I got under the covers of the bed without changing into my pajamas. I closed my eyes and let sleep invite me into the darkness.
Luckily, I didn’t see Adrian, Lorenzo, and the girl the next day. Still, I didn’t know who Adrian was having an affair with. My chest wheezed from the thoughts. The sounds were imprinted in my mind that I would need to occupy myself.
“Now, I won’t have to hear that noise again.”
I spent the past week moving my stuff into the new room that was farthest from Adrian’s and my old room. At times, I would be in my old room so that nobody suspected that I changed rooms or anything.
“To think that I had married an unfaithful man.”
I couldn’t stop the thoughts going through my head. Adrian was having an affair with someone. A woman who I knew nothing about. I shook my head and walked to the front door to head out of the apartment.
I wanted to go to the bookstore to read and clear my mind. Once I got my bag, I walked out of the apartment. The breeze felt very refreshing in my lungs. The sun was shining brightly. The streets were normal as usual.
Something good is going to happen today. I felt myself smile. Happiness was filling me up that I forgotten about my worries of Adrian and the affair. It was just what my brain needed right now. A time to relax and think for myself.
Soon, I got to the bookstore to see Mr. Britton at the cash register. I walked in through the door to see that the place had a few people. Mr. Britton gave me a smile. “Hello Vera. Here to get a book?” he asked me.
I returned the smile. “Maybe but, I’m here to read for a while,” I told him. He gave me a nod. “If you need anything, I’m right here,” he told me.
Like usual. I walked over to the shelves and scanned the book titles.
I was looking for something that would catch my eyes. The titles weren’t always everything. I would pull a book from the shelf and read the prologue. Sometimes, I would scan the first chapter to see if the book caught my eyes.
Beginner of Authors.
That looks interesting .
I pulled the book from the shelf and walked to a couch to read my book. Once I opened the book, I read the table of contents and the first chapter of the book. After a few pages, I gotten into the book. I should buy this book.
“Hi there.”
I looked up to see a guy who stood above me with a smile on his face. He had blonde hair with a side bang. His eyes were blue with a tint of green. His face had sharp angles that his overall look made him look very attractive. He was well built too.

Who’s is this guy?
“Are you a student at Manhattan College?” he asked me. I shook my head. “No sorry,” I told him. He had a frown on his face. “Oh. Sorry. I’m Victor,” he introduced himself and gave his hand out to me. I shook his hand.
“Valeria but, call me Vera,” I told him. He grew a smile on his face. “Nice to meet you Vera,” he said to me. He asked me if I was a student at Manhattan College. Is he a student there? I started to get a bit curious.
He sat down in a seat in front of me. “Are you a student at Manhattan College?” I asked him. He gave me a nod. “Yes I am. I am an undergraduate there studying business,” he said to me. I saw that he was holding a business textbook in his hands.
“Are you attending college or university somewhere?” he asked me. “No. I was trying to find a college or university that has many online classes so that I could focus on being a housewife. Now, I am trying to find one that is at least close to home,” I told him.
“Where do you live?” he asked me. I gave him a nod. “I live here in Manhattan,” I told him. “Then you should apply at Manhattan College then. If you like, I can help you apply,” he suggested to me. That’s a good idea.
I gave him a smile. “That would be great,” I told him.
“Hey Victor.”
Victor looked up to see another guy about his age standing next to me. He had dark hair, brown eyes, and sharp angles that were almost similar to Victor. He was little more muscular and a bit shorter than Victor.
“Hi Neal,” Victor said happily. Neal sat next to Victor. “So, what are you doing here?” Neal asked him. “I was here to find a book to read. Anyways, Neal. Meet Vera. Vera meet my partner Neal,” Victor introduced us to each other.
I shook Neal’s hand. “Nice to meet you,” I told him. Neal gave me a smile. “Nice to meet you too,” he told me. He said partner. What does he mean exactly? I looked at their hands to see a set of bands on their fingers.
“Are you two engaged?” I asked them. They gave me a smile. “Yes, we are,” they said in unions. I felt myself smile. “”Wow. I’m so happy for you two. When is the wedding?” I asked them. They gave each other a smile and looked at me. “In a couple years. For now, we want to finish school and enjoy life,” Neal told me.
How sweet…
“Your married too right? How long?” Victor asked me with curiosity. Must have saw my wedding ring . “A few months,” I told them. They gave me a smile. “Is he treating you well?” Neal asked me. No! My husband is having an affair. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t love me .
“He’s treating me…alright,” I told the him.
“Vera is going to apply at Manhattan College,” Victor told him. Neal looked at me. “Really?” he asked with surprise. I gave him a nod. “Victor said that he is going to help me. I hope you don’t mind,” I told him. Neal shook his head. “I don’t mind. I’ll help too,” he told me.
“Thank you so much.”
I made my very first friends in New York.
Time had went by so fast that I had forgotten to make dinner at home. Neal and Victor invited me to eat with them at a restaurant. They really knew the best place to eat Chinese food. The Chinese food tasted better than San Francisco.
Once I got home, I placed my new book on my desk and looked at myself in the mirror. Over the years, I had been the girl who was selfless. A girl who helped people around her especially her grandparents. Never in her life, she did anything for herself. Anything to make herself happy.
“It’s time for a change to myself.”
I walked to my vanity and took my cases of plastic glasses and threw them in the trash can. First step done. I walked back to the mirror and touched my hair. My hair grew longer since the wedding. I hadn’t been to a hair salon in a long time.
“Need to go to the hair salon tomorrow.”
I walked to the closet and sorted out my clothes.
“Woah! Where is the Vera we just met a few days ago!”
They were right. I wasn’t the same girl who they met a few days ago. I had gotten a haircut so that my hair was now above my shoulders and a bit wavy. Also, I wore some blue skinny jeans, black high heal shoes, and a brown long sleeve shirt that showed my curves.
I didn’t even recognized myself in the mirror. “So….is it really bad?” I asked them. They shook their heads. “No. It’s just different,” Victor said to me. “It’s a good different,” Neal finished. I gave them a smile.
“Thanks. I thought I needed a change,” I told them. “I”m going in the kitchen to make some snacks. Petit quiches and tea,” he told us. “That sounds good,” I told him. Victor walked into his little kitchen to cook.
Neal got his laptop and got onto the University’s website. “Ready to enroll?” he asked me. I walked over to him and gave him a folder of my transcripts and other documents needed to enroll into the University. I felt a smile grow on my face.
“I am more than ready.”

[nextpage title=”episode 14″]

Episode 14

Four years later…….
It had been four years since I had enrolled into university. My life had changed so much for the better mentally and physically. University had kept me busy and my mind off of my marriage life. University was my stress relief.
Instead of taking online courses, I decided to attend classes. Everyday, I took four to five classes except the weekends. I used the weekends to study and do my required reading for my classes. I was a full time student.
Adrian didn’t know about my activities at home. He was never home. I would leave a note stating my whereabouts but, honesty, they were lies. I would write that I was at the movies or walking around the neighborhood. Sometimes, I would get a phone call from Lorenzo.
On occasions, Adrian and I were suppose to go to family gatherings that only happen once a year. Adrian would excuse himself by saying that he had scheduled a meeting or had business to attend overseas. On some occasions, he would meet with his family with his secretary who I found out to be the one who was sleeping with Adrian. Her name was Mariah Winslow. In honestly, she was beautiful.
I managed to excuse myself every year saying that I was ill or I was busy with something. They told me that they understood. It was a relief for me. I wasn’t sure if they knew about his relationship with the secretary.
To be honest, I didn’t want to deal with my in-laws. They would want to talk about our marriage. Adrian would act to be loving but, he really doesn’t want anything to do with me. Also, they didn’t know about the affair.
Today, I was with Victor and Neal at their new business building that they had bought a few days ago. They wanted to start a business once they received their bachelors in business. They bought a really big space.
They walked me through the building. The place smelt a bit musty due to the place being closed for a long time. The walls were plain with dust. Some windows needed to be replaced because they were cracked. The floor was covered with dust and dirt. Overall, the building was a good size.
“Isn’t this amazing! I can’t believe that this place is ours,” Neal said with excitement. Victor gave him a hug from behind. “So am I. Soon, this place will be well known across the country,” Victor told him. They were so in love with each other.
They haven’t gotten married yet, but they were going to get married soon. “So, what kind of business are you two going to open?” I asked them. They looked at each other. “We were thinking about an organic restaurant,” they told me.
I knew it. “That’s a great idea,” I told them with a smile on my face. They were great cooks. Ever since I met them, they made delicious foods. Everything was organic. Last year, we traveled to an organic farm where they grew many kinds of fruits and vegetables. Victor’s friend, Arthur owned the farm.
“Arthur is willing to help us out with the produce,” Neal told me. “I can’t wait for the restaurant to be open. I would be your very first customer,” I told them. They gave me a smile. “I know you would. You known us for a long time,” he told me.
“I expect to see your Asian style poach salmon on the menu,” I told them. They laughed a bit. “Of course. I’ll add my famous roast beef with wild mushroom sauce to the menu,” Victor told me. Victor was great with cooking savory foods.
“I can handle the desserts,” Neal said as he looked out the window. Neal was a great baker. On my birthday last year, he had baked a cake for me. His famous burnt sugar nut cake. The cake was deadly to my palette….in a good way.
“Before we open, we would like for you to do the taste test,” Victor told me. Wow…. ” Make sure that you don’t give me everything to taste on the same day. It would be too much for my stomach to handle,” I told them.

“Of course. Otherwise, we might have to roll you out,” Neal joked. “Ha ha very funny Neal,” I told him. Victor couldn’t stop laughing. “We have so much to do. We have to paint the walls, replace the tiles, get equipment, and come up with a menu,” Victor listed out.
“How are you guys going to pay for all that?” I asked them. They don’t look rich. Neal had a smile on his face. “After my grandfather passed away, he gave me his inheritance since I was the only relative living,” he told me.
“What did he do to have that much money?” I asked him. “He was a famous baker and an investor,” Neal told me. That explains it. “It’s like I’m going to continue his legacy. Most of the recipes were from him,” he told me.
In his eyes, I could see mixed emotions. One emotion stood out from the rest. “You loved him so much huh,” I said to him. He gave me a nod. “He was the one who taught me to be myself. If I don’t love myself, how do you expect to make great desserts to make people happy?” he asked me.
“You got a point,” I told him. He gave me a nod. Victor walked up to us. “It’s almost dinner time. Why don’t we eat here?” he asked us. “Are we cooking? Or are we doing take out?” I asked him. “Well, I wish we could make food but, we don’t have the equipment here. Let’s do take out. I’ll treat you guys,” Victor said.
“Sure. What do you want?” Neal asked me. “I don’t know….” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to eat. “Craving for anything?” Victor asked as he looked through his phone for delivery service. “You look for dinner and I’ll look up for dessert,” Neal told Victor and took his phone out too.
“What about Chinese,” I suggested. Victor and Neal looked at each other. “I guess we are getting from Zhen Mei restaurant then,” Victor said and looked up at the menu. “I want roast pork,” Neal told him.
Figures .
“I’m getting red braised pork. What about you Vera?” Victor asked me. “Since you’re treating me. I want beef chow fun, fried rice, and walnut shrimp,” I told him. He gave me a funny look. “For a small girl, you have a big appetite,” he joked.
“My brain needs food. Not my stomach,” I said to him. He laughed. “I’m going to go get some creme brûlée pie from the bakery near here that is famous for it. It come with some berry compote,” Neal said and proceeded to walk out the door.
“That sounds good,” I said to him.
They were the greatest friends who are also my guardian angels. They saved me from my marriage sanity.
“While he’s out, let’s order the food,” Victor said and dialed the number.
“Yeah…I’m hungry.”
“That was good,” I said and licked my spoon clean of the berry compote. The dessert hit the spot in my stomach. Surprisingly, we finished everything.
“You should get going. It’s late,” Victor told me. It was 10:00 pm and raining hard outside. “Plus, you have finals to turn in soon and then graduation,” Neal reminded me. I gave him a smile. I’m almost there . “I am already done with them and have them ready to turn in,” I told them.
“Figures. You are always on top of your studies,” Victor said to me. I gave him a nod. “You’re right about the time. I really should get going,” I said to them and looked at the empty take out containers on the mat that we used to eat on.
“Do you guys want me to help clean up?” I asked them. “No. We can clean it,” Neal said and started to put the containers in an empty plastic bag. I got my bag and walked towards the door. “Thank you for dinner and congrats on the building,” I told them.
They gave me a smile. “Thank you. Be careful on the way home,” Neal told me. “Of course. Don’t want to get in an accident in the rain,” I said to them. “Don’t jinx yourself,” Victor told me. I gave them a wave goodbye and walked out of the building.

Quickly I got my keys from my bag and opened the car door. Good thing I have the car with me today. I bought the car with my inheritance. I could have used the credit card that Adrian gave me but, I hate to use his fortune.
Once I got inside the car, I started the engine and slowly, got out of the parking lot. Now, I have a long slow drive to the apartment. New York City traffic was insane. It could take as long as five minutes to go down one block.
After a while, I was halfway home. I waited at an intersection. When the lights turned green, I stepped on the gas pedal. The car moved to the middle of the intersection when I heard a loud screech as if the car was skidding.
I turned my head to see a truck coming towards me.
Adrian’s POV….
“That is one of the easiest deals I have made.”
I sat in my seat and opened up my laptop. My schedule had been packed with business meetings to buy a property down in San Diego in order to build a new resort. I wanted everything in my new resort to be perfect.
“Lorenzo. When is my next business meeting with Cosmos Industry??” I asked him. Cosmos Industry was well known for their Italian furniture. I wanted the our new resort in San Diego to have the most beautiful and authentic feel for our costumers.
I lift my head up to see Mariah at my doorway with a cup of coffee in her hands. “I made some coffee for you,” she said and walked towards me. Mariah gave me a big smile and set my coffee cup on my desk. “Just how you like it,” she told me in a flirty manner.
I didn’t respond to her behavior and took a sip of the coffee. To be honest, I liked Valeria’s coffee better. Valeria’s coffee tasted much darker and smoother on my tongue. Mariah’s coffee tasted generic to me.
“Are we going out tonight again?” Mariah ask and sat on my desk and closed her legs. She was persistent for the past few days about us going out on dates. I was getting tired of her company surprisingly.
My whole family was right about Mariah. She wasn’t my type. She wasn’t the girl who would make me happy.
As the years went on, I realized that Mariah wasn’t the girl for me. Next thing I knew, I started to think about Valeria and our marriage. Valeria had tried to be the best wife to me. She kept bringing me breakfast every morning. She made me dinner every night but, I never ate them except that one time where my brother came over with his wife. Valeria’s cooking was delicious. She would stay up until I returned home from work.
I realized that was a jerk to her. Every day, the guilt and regret grew to the point where I did’t think that our marriage would last much longer. But, I hoped that Valeria would forgive me and we could try to work our marriage out.
I started to think about her more often. At times, I tried to call her but, the call would go straight to voicemail. I sent Lorenzo to check up on her at home. He would tell me that she was doing alright or she wasn’t at home at the moment. He would bring me notes that she had written of where she had gone.
Valeria was my type of girl. Innocent, selfless, and loyal. Her face on our wedding day was imprinted in my mind. She looked like an angel. When I looked at our wedding picture, I could drown myself in those eyes.
I put the cup back on the desk and continued to type away. “I don’t think so Mariah. I am busy,” I told her. She took a hold of my necktie and pulled me towers her. She leaned down and kissed me. I didn’t return the kiss.
I pulled away from her and answered the phone.
“What is it?” I asked. All my calls went through my other secretary, Franco. “Sir. You have an important call coming through,” he told me. “Let the call go through,” I told him. “Yes sir,” he said and connect me to the caller.
“Hello. Minetti Resorts. CEO Adrian Minetti speaking. How may I help you?”
“Hello Mr. Minetti. This is Nurse Charlotte from the emergency room at Plaza New York Hospital,” she said to me. Plaza New York Hospital?
My gut started to twist. Something is not right . “Hello Nurse Charlotte. How may I help you? Is something wrong?” I asked her with little concern.
“Your wife, Valeria, was in an accident at an intersection by a truck. She is in serious condition and in surgery. We would like you to come here at the hospital immediately to tell you in detail of the injuries,” she told me.
For the first time, my heart stopped when I heard the news about my wife.
[nextpage title=”episode 15″]

Episode 15

Adrian’s POV……
“I’ll be on my way,” I said and hung up the phone. “Lorenzo. Get the car ready. Valeria is in the Plaza, New York Hospital,” I told him and got up from my seat. “Yes sir,” he said and took his phone out to call my driver.
“Adrian wait!”
I turned around to see Mariah who grabbed onto my arm. “What about me?” she asked with plead. “What about you?” I asked her as I tried to get my arm out of her grip. “You belong to me Adrian. Not her,” she told me.
Finally, I managed to get her to let go of my arm. “I don’t belong to anyone but my wife Mariah. To be honest, my family was right about you. You are not the girl who is making me happy. You were only a girl who was satisfying my needs until a couple years ago. I realized that I had been a jerk to my wife,” I yelled at her.
Mariah looked stunned at my outburst. “Valeria is the only girl for me the more I think about it. She is selfless, innocent, and loyal. She had been trying to make this marriage work. Me? I had been pushing her away. Making her feel unwanted. I hate to think that she wants nothing to do with me once I see her,” I said to her.
Mariah’s tears flowed down her face. “Now, I may never get a chance to be with my wife,” I told her. “Mr. Minetti.” I turned my head to see Lorenzo. “Your car is ready,” he told me. Quickly, I walked out of the office without looking at Mariah who probably stood motionless on the floor.
“We are almost there sir.”
“Drive faster,” I said impatiently. I was a nervous wreck. As minutes ticked by, many thoughts came hoping in my head. Most of the thoughts were her death. I didn’t want to think about her dying without me saying anything to her.
“We are here sir.”
Immediately, I opened the door and got out of the car without Lorenzo to open the door for me. I walked into the emergency unit and walked to the first person who I saw at the front desk. The woman was on the computer.
“Excuse me. I’m Adrian Minetti. I am here to see my wife Valeria.” The woman looked up at me. “Hello Mr. Minetti. I’m Nurse Charlotte. I was expecting you,” she told me formally. My patience was flowing thin.
“Where is my wife?” I asked her. She typed on the keyboard. “She is still in surgery,” she told me. “For how long?” I asked her. “For a good hour,” she told me. {How much more do they need to operate on her?} I run a hand through my hair.
“I will need you to fill out her paperwork for me please,” she said and gave me the clipboard. I took the clipboard and walked into the waiting room. I took a seat closest to the operating room. Lorenzo sat besides me.
As I looked at the questions, I realized that I couldn’t really fill out much of her information. What is her blood type? How the hell am I suppose to know?! The questions made me realize how little I knew about my wife.
I filled out much of the information as I could.
“Are you Adrian Minetti?”
I looked up from the clipboard to see a doctor in his scrubs. Some blood was on him. Is that Valeria’s blood? ” Yes. I’m Adrian Minetti,” I told him and stood up from my seat. The doctor gave me a nod. “I’m Dr. Seeley. I am one of the few doctors who is operating on your wife,” he told me.

She needs that many doctors to operate on her? My face began to feel pale. “What’s wrong with her?” I asked with concern. Dr. Seeley let out a had breath. “She has suffered many injures. She has internal bleeding, broken ribs, fractures on arm and leg on the right side of her body, a concussion, and a spinal injury. She may not be able to walk,” he told me.
I felt my energy drain from my body. There was one question that I dreaded to ask but, I decided to ask anyways. “Will she have amnesia?” I asked him. He let out a hard breath. “That is a possibility consideration the extent of the concussion,” he told me.
“When will she be out?” I asked him. “That is hard to say. Right now, I just finished stopping the internal bleeding. The other doctors are working on her ribs right now,” he told me. I gave him a nod. “Thank you,” I said to him.
“You are very welcome,” he said and walked back inside the operating room. I sat in my seat with a thud. My legs felt like they couldn’t support my body weight. “Mr. Minetti. Don’t you think that you should call your family?” I heard Lorenzo ask me.
“Yeah. Your right,” I said and picked up my phone. I decided to call Matthew first since he knew Valeria.
“Hello, This is Matthew.” “Hey Matthew. It’s me Adrian,” I said. “You don’t sound like yourself. What’s wrong?” he asked me. “Valeria has been in an accident. It’s really bad,” I said and held my head with my arm as I leaned forward.
“Vera’s in the hospital? How bad are the injuries?” he asked me. How bad? “Enough that she may die on the operating table,” I told him. “I’m on my way with Angela,” he told me. “Can you do me a favor. Can you call grandpa and father for me. I don’t I can tell them,” I said honestly.
“Alright. See you there,” he said and hung up. Next, I called Stephen. Stephen was the only family member who didn’t meet Valeria yet. Plus, he was the only member of the family who didn’t marry yet.
“Hello Stephen Minetti. How may I help you?” he said. “You can help me by coming to Plaza New York Hospital to see your sister in law before she possibly passed away,” I told him. “Something happened?” he asked me.
“Just come here. Matthew and the others are coming over,” I told him. I didn’t feel like explaining myself again. “Alright. I’ll get going there,” he said and hung up the phone. I put my phone in my pocket and tried to hold myself together.
“God. Please don’t take her from me.”
It had been a few hours since I received updates on the operation. Dr. Seeley went back into the operation room a few minutes ago. He told me that Valeria’s heart had stopped two times on the operation table. Right now, they were trying to finish things up.
“Here’s some coffee sir.”
I looked up and received the coffee from Lorenzo. “Thank you,” I told him and took a sip. Just what I need . “Also, I have cancelled your meetings with Mr. Bradley about the expansion in the California Napa location,” he told me.
“Thanks Lorenzo,” I and took another sip of the coffee. “Have you thought about what you are going to say to your family?” he asked me. “About what? The accident?” I said to him. “I mean is…about your affair with Mariah,” he asked me.
He had to remind me. “Now that you are not going to be involved with her, she may go to the press and ruin the business sir,” he said to me. I didn’t even think about that. I wiped my face after realizing that he was right.

“If either of us took her, she could still ruin our reputation and our business,” he told me. I didn’t think of that. “What do we do?” I asked him. “Is she in a relationship with anyone?” he asked me.
I had heard rumors about her being with other men but, I had always rejected them. “Lorenzo. I want you to find out if she is in a relationship or anyone,” I said to him. “Are you planning to blackmail her on a deal?” he asked me.
“That depends on what we find and make sure there is hard evidence,” I told him. If she does have a man, there is a chance that she may be using me. “Yes sir,” he said and walked down the hallway. I need her out of my life permanently.
“I wonder what she was doing outside at night?” Angela wondered. As I sat in my seat, I thought of something. Her phone.
I got up and walked to a nurse behind the counter. “Do you happen to know if my wife had her phone with her at the time of the accident?” I asked. “I believe that she did. Would you like me to get it for you?” she asked.
“That would be great. Thank you.” She got up from her seat and walked away. “Why her phone?” Angela asked me. “It might tell us who she was with that night,” Matthew told her. “She doesn’t seem like a person to cheat,” Angela told me.
Valeria looks to innocent for that.
The nurse returned with her cellphone. It was a different one from what I had given her. “This is her phone?” I asked. “It was with her other things,” the nurse told me. I gave her a nod. “Thank you,” I said and took her phone.
“If you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask,” the nurse said to me and back to her desk. I looked through Valeria’s phone for any clues. Good thing she didn’t set a passcode on her phone . I looked at her text messages to find something interesting.
Victor: Hey u busy?
Vera: No. Just relaxing. U?
Victor: Neal + I got our new building yesterday. U want to c?
Vera: Of course! Just send me address + Ill b there.
Who’s Victor?
My stomach twist from the though that she might have had a affair. “Find anything?” Matthew asked me. “She had been texting with a guy named Victor. He said something about a new building and she was going to go there,” I said to him.
“Maybe you should call him?” Angela said to me. I gave her a nod and started to call Victor with Valeria’s phone.
“Hello. Is this Victor?” I asked. “Yes. It is. Are you Vera’s husband?” Victor asked me. He knows about me.} ” Yes this is,” I said to him. “Nice to hear her husband for the first time in four years. How may I help you,” he asked me.
I told him what had happened to Vera. He sounded very shocked. “We were wondering why she was out late at night,” I said to him. “My fiancee Neal and I were planning to open a restaurantI so we invited her to come to check the place out,” he explained to me.
He has a fiancee…that’s a guy? Relief flowed through my body. She’s not having an affair with him. “We had some Chinese for for dinner and she left for home at around 9:15 pm. We joked that she needed to focus on her studies but, she was already done with her final papers. She just needed to turn them in before she graduates,” he told me.
She was in school too? Valeria was at least keeping herself occupied with other things. “Thank you Victor for telling me,” I told him.
“No problem. Please call or text to let me know how she is doing,” he said to me “Will do. Bye,” I said and hung up. “What did the guy say?” Matthew said. “She hung out at her friend’s new building. She had dinner there and left for home late,,” I explained to him as I looked through her phone.
In her phone, I saw pictures of her with two guys. I had a feeling that it was her friends Victor and Neal. Some pictures were selfies and other pictures of things that she saw around New York. Some photos showed her in the classroom studying.
She is suppose to graduate soon…
In all the pictures, she didn’t look like the girl who I married four years ago. Her hair was shorter. She didn’t wear her plastic glasses. She didn’t wear her usual clothing. Her clothes looked tight that her curves showed in all the right places. She wasn’t the little girl anymore.
She was a beautiful goddess.
I turned to the door and watched them open.
[nextpage title=”episode 16″]

Episode 16

I ran up to her side as the doctors and nurses wheeled her out of the operation room. Her appearance made my heart break into pieces. The doctors had bandaged her right arm. I assumed that her right leg was bandaged too. She had a cast around her chest.
Her head was bandaged up but, her hair was still intact and wet. She had a oxygen mask on. Her face had some bruises and scratches. I reached over to her face and caressed her cheek. Her skin felt a bit cold. Valeria . She was breathing steadily.
“We are moving her to recovery right now. Excuse us,” a nurse informed me. “When can I see her?” I asked her. “We’ll get you once she is situated into her room,” she told me and walked away with the doctors.
I watched Valeria disappear at a corner. “See. She made it,” Matthew told me. Barely . My hands closed in a fist. “Mr. Minetti.” I turned my head to see Dr. Seeley and two other doctors. “This is Dr. Bach and Dr. Fletcher,” he introduced them to me.
I shook each their hands. Matthew and Angela shook their hands too. “Adrian Minetti. My brother Matthew and sister in law Angela,” I introduced us to them. “It’s nice to meet you all,” Mr. Bach said to us.
“How is she?” Angela beat me to it. “She is doing very well. She is stable but, in critical condition. She has sustained a certain amount of spinal injury,” Dr. Fletcher told us. “What does that mean exactly?” I asked him.
“She may not be able to walk. We will only know when she wakes up. If she shows leg movements, she can go into rehabilitation. She is expected to go into rehab once she has recovered,” Dr. Fletcher told us.
Great…another thing to worry about.
“What about her concussion?” Matthew asked them. “From looking at her brain, there was some signs of trauma to the head. She is most likely will have memory loss when she wakes up. Hopefully, her memory loss is not too severe,” Dr. Bach told us.
“How bad can her memory loss be?” I asked him. “From looking at her brain from the MRI scan, I have to say that it could be from Lacunar to Retrograde amnesia,” he told me.
Lacunar? Retrograde? What the hell is that?
Dr. Fletcher sensed my confusion. “If you like, you three can come to my office and I can tell you the details of her head injury,” he told me. “I would like that,” I told him. “Follow me,” he said and excused himself from the other doctors.
We followed him to the elevator and into his office at the psychiatric/neurology department. “Have a seat,” he said to us. We sat in front of his desk. Looking around the room, he was one of the best doctors in the field.
He had his Doctorates in neurology and psychiatric. Also, he degrees in biology and life sciences. He had gotten many awards and his work was known in several magazines and medical journals across the world.
Dr. Bach took his seat and started to type something on his computer. “Let me pull out her MRI scan,” he told us. After a few long minutes, he shifted the computer screen towards us. It showed Valeria’s brain.
“You can see here that it has swollen a bit,” he pointed out to us. “She didn’t have anything broken on the skull right?” Matthew asked him. “Luckily no but, she does have a large bruise on her head. She also has some signs of head trauma due to her head being slammed against the steering wheel and the door window,” he told us.
When did she get a car? I knew that I needed to look into everything. “You said something about different types of amnesia. Can you tell us in detail of each one of them?” Angela asked Dr. Bach kindly.
“Certainly. The first type is the lacunar amnesia. Basically, a person lose a memory about one specific event. The second type is source amnesia which is the inability to remember where, when, or how previous information has been acquired even though the person was able to retain factual knowledge. I am going to tell you right now that I hope it’s one of these two,” he told us.

Worry started to build. “Why?” I asked. Dr. Bach let out a deep hard breath. I could tell that it wasn’t good. “The other types would require much patience for memory recovery,” he told us. “What are the other types?” Matthew asked.
“The first one would be post traumatic amnesia. It’s the inability to recall memories moments before an event such as an accident. Also, the person may lose knowledge of who people are. Depending on the injury to the head, it may take a long time for a person to remember,” he told us.
“The second one would be….” I really wanted to know the other ones. “Retrograde amnesia. It’s the inability to recall memories before the onset or beginning of the amnesia. A person is able to remember general knowledge but, not specifics. Also, overtime, older memories will be easier to recall than newer memories. If the person is exposed to something from their newer memory, that memory may return,” he told us.
“In other words, the condition is temporary,” Angela said. He gave her a nod. “The last one is Anterograde amnesia that is the inability to create new memories. A person may have memories of their past but, are not able to create new ones,” he told us.
I began to feel more worried. What happens if she has that amnesia? I wouldn’t be able to make things right.
“Also, she can have a combination of amnesias,” he told us.
“So, which type do you think she has then?” I asked him. He looked at me. “We won’t know until she wakes up,” he told me. Great. More waiting will kill me. I gave him a nod. Mathew placed his hand on my shoulder.
“You should go and see your wife. If you have any more questions, I’ll be here,” he told us. “Thank you Dr. Bach,” I said and made my way out of the office to Valeria’s room. The hallways were filling with nurses and doctors.
Valeria….will you remember me? I continued to walk towards the recovery ward.
I turned my head towards my brother and his wife. “You should go home and rest. You have been for hours,” Angela suggested to me. I shook my head. “I want to be here when she wakes up,” I told her. I am not leaving her side again.
“Matthew. I think he should stay. He already feels guilty enough for not being at her side for four years,” Angela said. Thanks Angela . Matthew gave her a nod. We walked through the hallways and found ourselves at the recovery ward.
“I’ll go ask where her room is,” Matthew said and walked away to find someone. Angela stayed with me. I paced back and forth. Please God. Please help me. Please help Valeria. “God. What’s taking Matthew so long.” I was getting impatient.
“Look who I found.”
I turned my head to see Matthew and Stephen. How did he get here so fast? Stephen opened his arms and gave me a hug. “Hey. How are you?” he asked me. I pulled away and brushed my hair back with my fingers.
“How am I? I’m in a hell of worry right now. How did you get here so fast? Aren’t you suppose to be in Hong Kong?” I asked him. He gave me a smile. “I was but, I got to San Francisco two days ago to be with my girl,” he told me.
I raised an eyebrow. “Who? Dana?” He had dated so many girls. His last relationship involved with a girl name Dana Paredes who was a model from California. I met her three years ago when they came to my office for a short visit. She was more worried about her looks and image than her relationship with Stephan.
Stephen shook his head. “She has been old history for two years. I’m dating a girl name Eugenia Balestra. I think she’s the one,” he said. Matthew had a smirk on his face. “You say that to every girl you dated,” he told his younger brother.

“I’m serious this time. She is different from the other girls who I dated,” Stephen said to me. “How did you two meet?” Matthew asked him. “We met in Italy at a cafe. She was a waitress there. I fell in love with her. We started dating since,” he told us.
Very unlike him.} “Anyways, for our anniversary, I took her to San Francisco to meet grandfather and grandmother. They approve of our relationship,” he told us. “So where is she now?” Matthew asked him. “She’s at a hotel near here right now. I told her to wait for me there,” he told him.
Matthew gave him a nod and looked at me. “A nurse said that she is in room 411,” he told me. Quickly, I walked down the hallway until I found the room She’s in here. Quietly and slowly, I opened the door.
The room was dark but, I could see the figure on the bed. Slowly, I made my way next to the bed to see Valeria. The heart monitored show that her heart was still beating. She breathed in oxygen from the mask.
I pulled a chair and sat down. Looking at her left hand, I saw bruises. Gently, I held her hand that looked very fragile. Instantly, I felt like I wanted to break down but, I had to be strong for her. I want to be the man who she was going to depend on.
Footsteps were head behind me. I forgot that my siblings were with me. “So, this is my other sister in law.” I turned my head towards Stephen who was meeting Valeria for the first time. “Yes. This is her,” I said to him and turned my attention back to my wife.
Angela walked around the other side of the bed and looked at Valeria. “I hope she remembers us,” she said with worry. Matthew walked up to Angela and wrapped his arms around his wife. “She’s going to be fine. Don’t worry,” he tried to reassure his wife.
Stephen stood next to me. “So…what happened to her?” he asked. That’s right…I didn’t tell him.
“She got into a car accident. A truck ran through a red light and hit her car. She was on her way home from seeing some friends of hers,” I explained to him.
“What is she like?” he asked another question. Great….How am I going to answer that question . “She is selfless, innocent, and loyal. She is a great cook. She makes great pasta and the best coffee that I have ever tasted,” I said to him honestly.
That’s all I know about her .
“I hope I get to eat some of her cooking,” Stephen said to me. I nodded my head.
I took my phone out to see that Lorenzo was calling me. I answered the phone call. “Did you find anything?” I asked him. “Yes but, before that I want to let you know something,” Lorenzo said to me.
What could he want to tell me….
“What is it?” I asked. “It seems that your wife has been using one of the room downstairs. The one at the end of the hallway. It has her laptop, clothes, and some other personal items,” he told me. The rooms downstairs were for guests. I hadn’t finished furnishing many of the rooms except that room.
“Do you mind if you can bring her laptop here? I would like to see what she has been up to,” I told him. “Of course sir,” he told me. “Now, what did you find on Mariah?” I asked him. I really needed her off my back.
“It turns out that she had been seeing another CEO on days where you aren’t spending time with her,” he told me. So…she was seeing someone. On top of that, it’s another CEO . “Do you know who the CEO is?” I asked him.
“You aren’t going to like the name. He is one of your competitors and enemies,” he told me. “Just tell me the name.” I was getting impatient in my seat. “Dario Nazari. CEO of Nazari Hotels & Resorts,” he told me.
Nazari Hotels & Resorts had been a big competitor and enemy to my family for years. They were also trying to out compete us in providing a great Italian experience. The CEO tried to outbid me for the property in San Diego recently.
“Is there anything else?” I asked him. “Yes. From looking into her things, it appears that she had been conspiring with Nazari on the San Diego property,” he told me. “I kind of figured that considering how interested they were on trying to outbid me,” I told him.
“And there is something else,” he told me.
He told me something that I could get Mariah in hell.
Few days later……..
I never thought that I would have to live like this. I had been living in the hospital for the past few days. My siblings came to visit in the afternoons to check on us. They brought me clothes to change into as well as some essentials so that I could freshen myself up.
My parents came two days ago to see us. I explained to them everything about the accident to my behavior with my wife. They were very disappointed with me and would think about what to do with me as well as my position in the company.
My fate in the company were in their hands.
As for Valeria, she was showing little signs of improvement. When I held her hand, she would give my hand a squeeze at times. Doctors said that it could be just impulses from the nerves. I convinced myself that she was responding to my touch.
A nurse would come into the room and check on Valeria’s vitals as well as change the IV. The nurse showed me how to stretch Valeria so that her muscle’s wouldn’t become stiff. I was careful on to hurt Valeria in the process.
Right now, I was in my office expecting Mariah to show up. Matthew and Angela were watching Valeria for me. I told them my plan and they agreed to let me do what I needed to do for Valeria’s sake and mine.
I took the phone from my desk. “Yes.” “Mr. Minetti. Miss Winslow is here to see you,” Lorenzo informed me. Right on time. Time to get this once and for all. “Send her in,” I told him and hung up the phone. I looked at the door and waited.
The door opened to reveal Mariah in her usual black office suit. Her hair was neatly put into a bun. She wore deep bred lipstick and fake eye lashes. Her stilettos increased her height. She was more like a model than an employee.
She walked up to my desk in a flirtatious manner. “Hello Adrian. I knew that you would come back to me,” she said to me. “Have a seat,” I gestured to the seat in front of me. She sat in the seat and crosse her legs to show a lot of skin.
“So, what is this about?” she asked me with a smile on her face. What is this about? I opened my desk and pulled out my weapon.
I slammed the evidence in front of her.
“This is what it’s about.”

1 Comment

  1. Please,the authors should complete their stories. Many stories are not yet completed and it’s painful to we readers.

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