Julius turned around in horror when I called out to him. But when he realized nobody was backing him up, he snarled at me. “What the f*ck were you shouting for, Liliana? And why’d you come back? Think you’re a bigshot now?”
I quickly shoved him away and stood before my father, extending my arms to defend him. “I told you I’m not selling the copyright, and you can give up on the money. If you harass us anymore, I’ll call the cops on you.”
“Do it then. I’m suing you guys for fraud anyway. Can’t believe a s**t like you are the daughter of two professors. What a joke. Oh, and your brother is still working on his degree, isn’t he? Say, what if I tell his classmates his sister is nothing but a common w***e? I wonder what would happen to him?”
It was then I realized Julius was nothing but a scumbag who would do anything to get his hands on my copyright. My father’s face was red with fury, which was bad. He had hypertension, so he mustn’t get agitated, but this b*stard came and ruined that.
Thus, I calmed my father down first and took a deep breath to hold my anger down. “Julius, you’re not short of money,” I said coolly. “You’re the sales director, so why do you care about the money anyway?”
Julius looked surprised that I was shooting him that question, but he composed himself and shot back at me angrily, “Just so you forget, you almost made me blind, so that money goes to my medical fees. Besides, you took fifteen thousand from my family as a betrothal gift, and I had to pay for your expenses after we’re married. Of course, I’m entitled to your money.”
I knew he was scum, but this must be a new low. First of all, I didn’t even spend a single cent of his money after we were married. He ignored me most of the time after our marriage, and I made my own money from my work. In other words, he lied, and now he was acting like an entitled Karen.
To be frank, I was infuriated by his demands, but at the same time, I was amused. “Honestly, I’d rather be a nun than your wife if I had known your true colors sooner.”
Julius looked at me closely, his gaze filled with nothing but murder and greed. The sight of him made me sick, but I held it down.
“My patience is running thin, but I’m willing to give you some time to think this through. You have a week to cough up five hundred grand, or else.” He stormed out of my house, slamming the door when he left.
The moment he left, I heaved a sigh of relief and cursed under my breath, “That madman.”
“Down on your knees!” My father roared, and a chill ran down my spine. I kneeled as he told me to, and when I looked up at him, his face was red again.
“Calm down, Dad. Don’t work yourself up over this. It’ll worsen your condition.” I tried to hold my dad, but he shoved me away. Caught by surprise, I plopped back down on the ground.
“Don’t call me that! You’ve brought nothing but shame to the family!”
I was shocked that he would yell at me that way, but I stared at him innocently.
“Tell me, did you make your money from stealing someone else’s work?”
Dammit, Julius even told him about that. That b*stard really went all the way. “This is a misunderstanding, Dad—”
“Misunderstanding? So you’re saying this is nothing but a rumor? I don’t believe you. Liliana, have you forgotten the lessons I’ve drilled into your head? Honesty is the best policy, and now you’ve broken that creed.
“You’re getting out of control. First, you mess around before you get married, and then you cheat on your husband? You’ve shamed the family name!”
Wait, I didn’t cheat! Sh*t! Julius lied out of his *ss! But my father was so furious that he started coughing violently. Hence, I couldn’t even explain myself to him, or he might wound up in a worse condition. “Calm down, Dad.” I patted his back.
“Out! You’re no daughter of mine!” He shoved me again, but this time, his words hurt me more than he ever did.
My mother sighed. “I can’t believe this is happening. This is the most humiliating day ever for us, Liliana.”
So that was all they saw me as? A humiliation? I wanted to shout, for everything they had said to me hurt like hell.
“You’d better come up with a way to salvage the situation. I can’t believe you did this even though you’re already a public figure. Never would I have thought that my daughter would be an immoral woman. You’re a disgrace and a disappointment! I hope that you’ll reflect on what you’ve done because you’re banned from coming home until you’ve repented.”
I had already given up all hope when my dad told me that. Julius was the one at fault here, but what did my parents do? They blamed me for bringing shame to the family instead of trying to salvage the situation. Honestly, with the way they act, I might as well be an adopted child.
Tears streamed down my face, but I wiped my tears away. “This isn’t my fault. Why should I shoulder the responsibility?”
My father gaped at me, as he never expected me to talk back.
“I should never have settled in the first place. I’m already twenty-seven, but yet I married myself off so easily because you pressured me into it. All because marrying late is embarrassing to you! All you guys ever cared about is your reputation.
“Because of that, I never told anyone I took the wrong comic. I lived according to your expectations all my life. I lived how you wanted me to so I wouldn’t embarrass you. I never had a chance to live life how I wanted to, but never again. From now on, I’m going to live how I want to, and I’m telling you, none of this is my fault.”
With that, I stormed out of the house, and finally, I let my tears fall freely. I could hear my parents sighing behind me, but I didn’t care. I knew my life was a failure, for I lost my family and my marriage in just a few days. If I wasn’t careful, I could even lose the career I loved too.
I couldn’t shake Julius’ threat out of my head. He was someone who’d go through with his threats, so if he really were to do it, my family would end up losing out the most.
At that moment, I could foresee a life of poverty waiting for me if I didn’t settle this. What should I do? He wants five hundred grand. How am I supposed to cough up that much money? Why does he want so much cash anyway?
As I was trudging along the streets, somber and crestfallen, it suddenly started raining, and there was nowhere I could go. Just then, a black car slowly stopped beside me.
The window rolled down, revealing Dominic in the car. As usual, his face was inscrutable, and he told me coldly, “Get in.”