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] Huh?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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