“I can’t believe you kept this from us for this long,” Whitmore Franklin said. He was a middle-aged replica of Samuel, very upright in stature and with an almost military bearing to go with his distinguished good looks. His wife was also blonde and perhaps it was because they’d being married for so long and their closeness, but they even actually looked alike. They certainly had the same look of horror on their faces.

“You can’t do this to us, Samuel!” his mother cried, as her husband led her to the nearest chair, which she took with trembling legs. “We always knew you were rebellious but were so sure you’d tire of it. We’ve already set things up with your father’s best friend Gilbert Morris for your marriage to his daughter the surgeon in the near future.”


“You mean Hilda?” asked Samuel with a slight laugh. “Thanks but no thanks, Mother. I’ll admit it would have been a nice match but Hilda could never be my choice. I’m sorry you had to find out about things like this, but Dina and I are already married. We had a civil marriage a week ago.”

Dina watched in dismay as Thelma Franklin fell back heavily against the cushions. Her husband patted gently on her shoulders even as he glared at Samuel and Dina. “I refuse to believe in this marriage,” his father snapped. “I do not recognize it. I strongly suggest you change your mind about this, Samuel.”

“I won’t, Father. You should instead change your mind about Dina and the baby,” he said, his arm around her shoulder as he pulled her stiff body against him. Dina couldn’t think of a word to say as her heart throbbed painfully in anger and hurt at his family’s rejection.

“That’s never going to happen. Your mother and I won’t stand for some gold-digger trying to entrap our son with her tricks and greed. Just forget about taking over the company if you go ahead with claiming some opportunist’s baby. I’ll cut you off if I have to, Samuel.”

“Father,” Samuel growled, his blue eyes blazing as angrily as the identical ones of his father who stood his ground with a stony glare. Dina pushed a fist to her sobbing lips and cut away from Samuel before dashing from the room.

Half an hour later, Samuel came up to the bedroom, where Dina was busy going from the open closet to the half-filled case on the bed. “Dina, I’m sorry about what just happened. My father isn’t himself right now. They’ve left and I’m sure when everyone has the time to think things, through, we…”

He paused as he reached her, only just noting that she was filling the case with her things. He grasped her shoulders gently and turned her to face him. The sight of her tear-stained, reddened eyes cut him.

“Dina…”

“I never dreamed your parents didn’t even know about me or the baby,” she sobbed. “You just broke it to them like that and you expect them to simply take it?”

Samuel cupped her cheeks in his hands and rubbed her tears away with his thumbs. “I expect them to at least respect my decisions and realize that nothing’s about them. This is my life, not theirs. I can understand their shock but not their intolerance.”

“Well, whatever it is, I’m done with it,” Dina snapped, pushing away from him to continue with her packing. Samuel almost grabbed for her again but in her condition, he was worried about hurting her. He could see she already was hurt, though mainly emotionally and he didn’t want to aggravate her further.

“Where will you go?” he asked.

“I don’t care. Anywhere but here,” she replied while zipping up her bag.

“We have a doctor’s appointment in two days, and the baby is due next month. Do you really want your anger taking precedence over what’s best for your wellbeing?” he asked gently.

“I said it before, I don’t care. Nothing you say can change my mind. I’ll do just fine without you, Samuel Franklin. I don’t need your help or your pity. And I certainly don’t need your money.”

This time, Samuel was able to gather her firmly into his arms though she put up a struggle. He finally managed to get her to relax against him, while he could feel her shaking with tears. “You don’t have to let their words shake you. I know you never had your sights on whatever I could offer financially. In their bid to fight for what’s best for my life and future, they managed to hurt the most important person to that life and future. I don’t need my father’s inheritance or approval, but I do need you, Dina – and the baby. I’m not letting either of you go.”

Dina had calmed down by now, but she wasn’t going to let things slide so easily. “You can’t tell me it’s not important,” she said stiffly, as she stood back to wipe at her teary cheeks. “I mean the fact that your parents don’t like me or think I’m good enough. It does matter and it’s going to be an obstacle between us. I hate that, as much as I hate the fact that I’m coming between you and your parents.”

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