“What did you just say? You want to divorce Julius?”
My father’s voice abruptly rose several decibels, drowning out the latter part of my utterance.
“Lili, did you cheat on Julius?”
I gaped at my father in shock. What? How could he think that? I’m his biological daughter! Why are they siding with Julius instead? Don’t they need to think about me? And do I have no reason to come back home just because I’m married?
With my head hung low, I glumly asked, “Why must it be my fault? Did you never consider that it’s Julius’ transgression?”
At the side, my mother regarded me dubiously. “So, what exactly did he do that you’d go so far as to divorce him?”
What exactly did he do? I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
Honestly speaking, the indecent scenes in Julius’ video still lingered in my mind. At a loss for words, I heaved a sigh.
Right then, my father started lecturing me again.
“Tell me, how could the two of you divorce when you’ve only been married for half a year? You’ll be the laughing stock of the century, and the Zanetti family will be humiliated!”
“That’s right, Lili,” my mother seconded earnestly. “Say, why do you want to talk about divorce when everything has been fine? Not only is Julius mature, but he’s also gentlemanly and considerate. On the whole, his personality is pretty sterling. Most importantly, he’s a good match in terms of social status. It’s not easy to find such a man nowadays. Just listen to me and go home right away. He doesn’t have it easy either, so you should be considerate of him as his wife…”
“I got it, Mom.”
I propped a hand against my forehead as the veins at my temple throbbed.
It was plain as day from their stance that they were against my divorce, but my mind was set. As such, I could only keep them in the dark for the time being.
After staying for dinner, I fibbed and said that I was going home. When I got downstairs, I hailed a taxi and went straight to a hotel. Checking in hastily, I then settled into a hotel room.
I would never again return to that so-called house. At most, I would find some time to go back and pack my luggage.
After taking a brief shower in the bathroom, I came out in a towel, my hair dripping wet. Just when I was about to call room service for a blow-dryer, my cell phone rang.
As I glanced at the caller ID, Julius’ name greeted me. Ugh! Is he planning to hound me?
Swiping a finger across the screen, I answered the call. In the next moment, Julius’ languid voice drifted out of the phone.
“Have you made up your mind, Darling? Are you selling the copyright or not?”
Hearing that, I curled my lips in exasperation. “I think you have Alzheimer’s, Julius, and it’s getting worse. I don’t think you need to be in a hurry to get discharged since you should also consult a neurologist. I’ll repeat this once more—I’m not going to sell the copyright. So, don’t even dream of getting a single penny from me!”
Surprisingly, Julius wasn’t enraged by my words. Instead, he laughed. But his laughter was so sinister that my heart clenched.
“Don’t try me, Liliana. As I said, you’ve got to sell the copyright and give me the money if you want a divorce. Then, we can discuss everything nicely. Otherwise… not only will I oppose the divorce, but I’ll also smear your family’s reputation by telling everyone that you weren’t a virgin at marriage. The entire world will know about your promiscuous ways. So, do consider it carefully!”
As my hands balled into fists, my nails dug into my palms. The pain was a constant reminder to remain calm instead of acting impulsively.
But how could I possibly calm down? Argh! He’s just taking advantage of my parents’ traditional views on marriage! In their eyes, s*x before marriage is a definite no, and it’s tantamount to a cardinal sin…
“Exactly, b*tch! You injured my son’s eye so badly, yet you refused to recompense him! Now, you must give him the money for the copyright… Otherwise, I’ll kick up a fuss at your parents’ university. We’ll see whether they can still hold their heads up in public!”
On the other end of the phone, Coraline was even more arrogant, threatening me with my parents with every single word out of her mouth. I was so incensed that I was seized by the urge to smash my cell phone.