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
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,”
“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.
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.r
“If I had backed out before the wedding, most likely, he 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.
“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.
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. .
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.
“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.”
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