Luca had found Maria’s behavior increasingly disturbing, but because he loved her, he had tried hard to understand her wild ways. Because he had been raised to honor his wife and stay with her through thick and thin, he had forced himself to swallow his anger and told himself that in time, Maria would grow weary of the party scene. In time, she would realize that she would be happiest when she was with him.

And then she had fallen pregnant.

The news of her pregnancy had appeared heaven sent for Luca. Finally, he would be a father. Finally, Maria would realize the error of her ways. Finally, she would have a reason to slow down and spend more time at home.

But she hadn’t.

Instead, Maria had acted even more outrageous. There were nights when she no longer came home, and when she did, it was only because she had either run out of money or places to go. Even so, Luca had been unwilling to restrain her…until the night he had received a call about Maria overdosing on recreational drugs.

Seeing her on the hospital bed, with dark circles under her eyes and looking so pale to the point that she appeared lifeless, Luca had blamed himself for being too lenient. It was now apparent that his wife had needed him to take control, and he hadn’t. All her actions now appeared nothing but the work of a rebellious child, someone begging for understanding and attention.

She clearly didn’t think she was ready for motherhood, Luca had reasoned out to himself. It was why she had taken more risks than usual, a typical way for someone desperate to blind herself to the truth. It was as if by pushing her body beyond its limits, Maria was able to deny the reality of her condition.

That day, Maria had woken up sobbing, terrified by her near brush with death. She had begged for his forgiveness, and he had given it freely, comforting her and promising his wife that he would be with her every moment.

And for a few months, they were happy again. He hadn’t even needed to lock her in the house as he had feared he would. She appeared content to simply spend time with him, and Luca began to hope that the worst was over.

Maria had eventually given birth to a baby girl, and she had insisted that Luca name her himself. Then, he had thought it incredibly generous of his wife, but now he knew of course that it was only because she had been completely uninterested in their child.

He had named their daughter Eula, and he thought her the most precious thing in the world. However, it became apparent soon enough that Maria was less than enchanted with their baby girl. Soon, he came to realize that motherhood was a mere obligation for his wife, and now that she had fulfilled it, she was determined to pick up her life right where she left off.

The parties continued, the late nights, and it was up to Luca and his own mother to care for Eula. While he knew Letitia was more than happy to continue caring for her grandchild, he also knew that it was neither right nor fair to take advantage of his mother’s love and allow her to spend her golden years babysitting his daughter.

When he had told his wife he expected her to spend more time caring for Eula, Luca had already expected that there would be fights ahead of him. And it did happen, but what he hadn’t expected at all was how bitterly acrimonious it would get between them, to the point that his work was affected and he began making mistakes – costly mistakes that eventually wiped out almost the entire family fortune.

When he broke the news to his mother and the aunts, uncles, and cousins who depended on him, none of them had blamed him. Ironically, the only one who seemed to be hit the hardest was also the unspoken cause of his problems.


Upon learning that Luca would have to declare bankruptcy, Maria had flown into a rage. She had stormed out of their bedroom and when he attempted to stop her from leaving, she had begun throwing things at him while screaming invectives. She blamed him for their financial downfall, blamed him for spending too much time on Eula when he should have been working harder to keep them in style.

In style.

Those had been her very words, and the sheer silliness and crassness of it had made him blow up. He had slapped her in the face, and for a moment there had been such stark silence between them.

Luca had found himself appalled and ashamed. He was not the type to ever strike a woman, so how could he have done such a thing, and to his own wife at that?

Tags: Marian Tee Romance
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