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    vanalas
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Comments, critiques and tips are warmly welcome.

Raging Love - 1. Chapter 1: The return.

Love... the very essence of life, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It reaches out in little ways, showing attention and admiration. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Like it's been said, 'the best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard... but must be felt with the heart.'

But how can something that gives you strength and courage also hurt you beyond repair? A question that gives endless answers...

When love is real, it doesn't lie, cheat, pretend, hurt you, or make you feel unwanted. It's supposed to be a cure to all your worries. But sometimes, the wounds it leaves are deep and very hard to heal. Sometimes they don't heal at all, only leaves scars that will remind you of your misery each day.

And in love, there are two types of pain, one that hurts you and the other that changes you. But as a person gives up old garments to put on new ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies to replace the old and useless ones.

*

Early morning and there he was, emptying his strength into the punching bag, giving it his best shot. He didn't even bother wearing gloves, at least he didn't feel like that particular day. He was wearing a beautiful black designer's sport's shorts, sports shoes, and without anything on those perfectly carved abs that drove everyone insane.

He had the perfect toned body, really ripped muscles, and six-packs that made people admire him. He was handsome as fuck, made both ladies and men cream their panties. He was perfect, famous, and really rich. What could a guy ask for?

He had spent hours in the gym, punching the bag nonstop... he was breathing heavily, sweat dripping down his body in series, making him look yummy and mouthwatering. The gym had become his place of comfort or rather his torture place where he used to bring his burdens, punch them into the bags. But guess somethings never change. No matter how much you try to avoid them, they'll always come back to haunt you...

"Ah..." He screamed as he gave the bag the hardest punch yet.

It went flying and he was ready to punch it even harder as soon as it came back but got the surprise of his life when it didn't. He groaned furiously, moved his eyes forward, and got the shock of his life when he saw his friend, best friend standing in front of him holding the bag.

"What are you doing?" He asked, his voice rising. "Are you crazy?" He let go of the bag, rushing to his friend. "Look at your knuckles? They are red. How long have you been here?"

"It doesn't matter!"

"It matters to me!" He said harshly, taking his friend's hand. "Look at you! Are you trying to hurt yourself?"

"Leave me alone..."

"Antonio!" Ethan snapped, pointing his finger angrily at him. "Don't tell me to leave you alone? What's wrong with you? Everyone's been worried about..."

"What do they care?" Antonio furiously removed his hands, slightly looking away. He was filled with so much rage, so much anger. He just wanted to vent it away so that it can just go away for good.

Ethan shook his head, looking at Antonio in anger. "They do!" He rested his hand on Antonio's shoulder. "Mother and..."

"If she cared about me then she wouldn't have subjected me to such torture!" He roared, clenching his fist. "All this just makes me so mad. That woman ruined my life and I will never forgive her for that. Whenever I see her... I... I..." He groaned, gripping his hair furiously. "...I just burn inside."

Ethan sighed, combing his hair with his fingers. Then he looked at his friend and saw nothing but anger and rage on his face, a face that once wore a really beautiful smile. It was really painful.

"It's been almost six years, Antonio!" Ethan couldn't mask the pain in his voice. "Six fucking years and I have been your business partner and friend. Each fucking day, I get to see this person that you've become and it hurts me inside. Where's the man that used to be so lively and fun? Where's the man that was always happy, viewing life with a smile on his face?

Where's the man that loved his family so much? With this... this..." Ethan groaned, shaking his head. "...this anger that's inside you, you've expanded your empire to great lengths and you're now the leading musician in our country and a powerful and influential businessman. But behind this... this person is bitter and sad."

Antonio laughed and then took a towel and wrapped it around his neck. "Well, Ethan, that Antonio is dead!" He said hoarsely, his face becoming stern. "He'll never return. Not anymore. The world is run by money and that is what I am making. Money talks and bullshit works, right?"

"Ant..."

But Ethan didn't even finish his sentence as Antonio's phone began ringing and he answered it.

"Yes, Bruno, tell them to wait." He said hoarsely. "I don't pay those idiots just play around my company. If they can't wait for me then they can go to hell."

He cut the call and started rushing outside.

Six years, almost six freaking years had gone by. A lot had changed in those years, a lot. Antonio's music career had reached the sky and he was topping the charts. He had managed to expand his business empire and was now one of the richest and a feared businessman in the country. He was living his life.

He now lived in a really beautiful, big five-star mansion that was befitting a king. It had 25 bedrooms altogether, maids and servants at his disposal, chauffeurs, and a few guards that were found at the large, golden gate. The entire place was huge, had a large swimming pool for relaxation, a big garage where his numerous expensive cars were parked, and everything that he needed for luxury. His mansion also had a conference room, two elevators, and 3 fucking floors.

And here he was, entering his beautiful living room which had expensive white couches, the biggest TV he could find, and all those beautiful things he needed. Just as he was entering, his eyes went straight to the staircase and he saw his mother coming down the stairs, talking to one of the maids with a smile on her face.

She was looking really beautiful in a black plain dress and slippers with her hair tied in a ponytail. She hadn't aged a day and she was just as beautiful. He just stood still, watching as she came down, smiling brightly when she saw him. She rushed to him, wearing the most beautiful smile ever.

"Morning, baby?" She chuckled happily, taking his hand sweetly.

But Antonio angrily withdrew his hand.

Emilia got hurt by her son's reaction but she wasn't gonna give up. "So honey, how was your morning?" She asked sweetly. "I have made your favorite..."

"Oh stop it!" Antonio snapped, staring at his mother like she was a stranger. "Who are you fooling, Emilia Gonzalez? Stop with your drama. I have always told you this." He warned.

Emilia lost the smile on her face, feeling as tears flooded. "Till when will you continue to hate me, Antonio?" A tear went down her cheek. "When will you forgive me for my mistakes and..."

"As long as I am alive, mother!" He said in between clenched teeth, getting closer to her.

Emilia slightly closed her eyes as her face got flooded with tears of pain. "I am sorry." She sobbed, putting her hands together. "I was only..."

"You were only trying to fulfill your desires while destroying my life." He chimed in, chuckling bitterly. "But you've gotten your perfect son." He opened his arms wider, giving her an evil grin. "Here I am, your darling perfect son. You're probably used to me so don't you dare give me those crocodile tears. I am stupid to fall for them again."

Emilia just stared at her angry son while her heart ripped to pieces. She had always wondered where all that love that he had for her had vanished. His hatred for her had just suddenly emerged and it had been getting stronger. She had lived in pain for the last five years.

"Antonio, darling!" A sweet voice interrupted mother and son.

Antonio moved his eyes and then saw Emma coming towards him, looking smart and stylish. She was wearing a blue designer's skirt, a white designer's shirt, and blue high heels. Her long dark hair was curled and the makeup on her face made her look young and beautiful. And that smile on her face was the final ingredient to her beauty.

"Aunt..." Antonio smiled, going for her feet. "Morning?"

"Morning, baby!" Emma chuckled happily, touching his head to give him her blessings. "How have you been?"

"I have been fine!" Antonio rose and hugged her tightly.

Emma hugged him back while giving Emilia a peal of mocking laughter.

"That's great!" Emma pulled away from the hug. "I made your favorite breakfast, my lovely son!" She caressed his cheek. "Why don't you go and shower and then come down for breakfast?"

"Sure!" Antonio smiled as brighter as ever. "You know how I love your food. I will go and take a quick shower and then come down."

"Alright!"

Antonio rushed upstairs while Emma just remained there, her arms on her chest and a mocking smile that screamed evil grin at Emilia. She enjoyed seeing her sister in law in pain and she didn't get enough.

"I don't think you need to shed those tears, Emilia!" Emma chuckled evilly. "You brought all this hatred upon yourself. You brought Pra... oops!" She covered her mouth. "He who shall not be named, to destroy your son and daughter. Did you think it was gonna end well?"

Emilia sobbed uncontrollably. "Emma, please... I... I have been paying for my sins for six years and..."

"That's not enough!" Emma snapped, getting closer to Emilia. She was so mad that her jaws shook in anger. "You deserve to suffer even more. Because of you, Antonio's life was almost ruined and it's also because of you that... that..." Her eyes became watery. "...that mother's mental state has not been stable. For six fucking years, she... she has not been well and it's because of you and that cursed thing. But I promise you..." She warned, raising her finger at Emilia. "...you'll suffer even more because the almighty will continue punishing you even in your death. I regret the day that my brother brought you home."

She hissed and then rudely bumped into Emilia, making her fall to the floor hard. Emilia covered her mouth and cried in pain like she always did. It was really painful for your children to hurt you and treat you like an outsider it was really painful. She just wished she could turn back time and change everything. But that was impossible, right?

***

Antonio entered his room, a classy room with a queen-sized bed, pure white and red beddings and beautiful paintings on the wall, and some of his pictures. He also had a private room inside the bedroom where he did his music, especially when he wanted to be alone.

"God!" Antonio sighed as he sat on the bed, throwing the towel on the floor.

He rubbed his eyes and rested his face between his palms, feeling tired. He had been in the gym for hours and it had made him extremely tired. As he was busy trying to rest, he felt arms being wrapped around his neck seductively and slowly from behind. He slowly rose his head, closed his eyes, and just breathed.

"I missed you!" A horny voice spoke.

Then the hands started going down to his chest, caressing it lovingly while Antonio did his best to be in the moment. He felt the hot breaths on his neck and he dropped his head, biting his lips sensually. Then he felt it, a kiss on the neck and he couldn't help but give a low groan. It was like powerful sensations took control of his sexy body, turning him on and setting a powerful eternal flame.

Then the hands traced down to his waistband and started going past them. That was when everything changed. Antonio quickly opened his eyes and rose from the bed, breathing like the hounds of hell were after him.

His eyes landed on Bruce who was seated on the bed staring at him like he was so mad and disappointed. He was looking sexy, wearing nothing but a black see-through boxer brief that fit him gorgeously. His body was looking perfect, really hot, and seductive... He was handsome and those lips were inviting Antonio to just lean in and take them and that sexy body was just begging to be touched. But Antonio couldn't do it.

Bruce was looking shocked, confused, and disappointed. His shoulder-length hair was tied in a sexy curled ponytail and it was dark as night. It had grown in the last six years.

"What?" Bruce shrugged, raising his eyebrows.

"I am not just in the mood!" Antonio said harshly, starting to head towards the bathroom.

Hearing his answer, Bruce quickly jumped from the bed and blocked Antonio, folding his arms on his chest. He stared at him with a stern look, shaking his head.

"You're not in the mood?" Bruce chuckled bitterly. "I can't believe this, Antonio! Are you ever in the mood? You're always finding an excuse to avoid..." He paused and groaned, clenching his fists. Then he took a deep sigh and started getting closer to Antonio. "Look at me, Antonio!" He moaned sensually, biting his lip. "Am I not attractive enough?" He took Antonio's hand and rubbed on it sweetly. "My body is craving for your touch, my lips yearn for your kisses and this fire burning in me needs to be quenched. My love..." He kissed Antonio's hand. "...please, I want you to make love to me so badly. I feel like if I won't feel your body on mine, I'll go insane. I need you. I need to feel you inside of me."

Antonio shook his head and quickly withdrew his hand from Bruce's. "I can't do this and please, I have told you that..."

"What the fuck?" Bruce snapped, feeling tears building in his eyes. "What do you want me to do, Antonio? I have practically done everything I possibly can just to put you in the mood. What else do you want me to do?"

"I want you to stop trying!" Antonio said hoarsely, sounding cold. "What do you want me to do? Force myself to..."

"Yes!" Bruce snapped, a painful tear rolling down his cheek. "I am not just some person or a whore that you can treat anyhow you like, Antonio. You're my husband..." He said in pain, shaking his head. "...I am legally married to you and you have to make me feel like a man. You must make love to me when I need it. I am tired of all these excuses."

"Bruce!"

"What?" He glowered. "Am I not telling the truth? Ever since our marriage, you've never touched me, Antonio. We've never had sex as a couple and it's been six fucking years. Six years and I feel like I am not married to you at all. The only time when..." He paused and just looked at Antonio, watching as his husband just stared at him without even feeling pity or regret.

He took a sigh. "Until when will I continue begging you for sex?" His voice was really low. "The only time when you made love to me..." He paused and chuckled. "...you left me hanging halfway during our wedding night and since then..." He shook his head, more tears flooding his face. "...you've never even tried to make love to me."

Bruce could remember it all well, their wedding night. Everything had been going so well... Antonio had been making sweet, passionate love to him when all of a sudden, he had just stopped, picked up his clothes, and ran out of the room yelling... only for him to return the next day looking like a drank man. Since then, nothing had happened between them.

"We've been living like..."

"Well, you wanted to get married to me, didn't you?" Antonio chuckled bitterly, getting closer to him. "This is the marriage you wanted so don't give me a headache!" He warned, pointing his finger angrily at him. "I don't know why you can't just leave me alone. Isn't being married to me enough?"

"But..."

"Look, I'd have loved to continue this conversation but..." He glanced at his watch. "...I am kinda running late and I have an important meeting at the office."

He rolled his eyes and walked past Bruce. He went to the bathroom to take a shower. Meanwhile, Bruce felt like someone had just pierced his heart. It hurt like hell and he felt like crying. But he wasn't gonna do that at all. He was gonna be strong and hope for the best. He quickly rubbed his tears and then glanced at the picture above the bed, their picture.

They had looked really happy at their wedding day. It was grand and epic. Both of them had been putting on expensive black suits and Antonio was behind Bruce with his arms locked around Bruce's waist while Bruce leaned with his neck dropped and his husband kissed his neck. They had both been smiling. How they ended from that to their current state was something that Bruce had failed to understand. He just wished everything could go back to normal.

***

Antonio was coming down the stairs gracefully, looking cute and sexy in a black designer's suit which was buttoned up with a pink shirt inside and black shoes on his feet. The suit was stuck on his muscular body like a second skin, making him look delicious. His hair was made into an Ivy League which revealed his handsome face and well-shaven beards.

As soon as he reached the living room, he heard footsteps and then someone holding or rather hugging his legs tightly. Antonio slowly looked down and a brilliant smile popped up on his face as he took a deep breath, kneeling on one knee.

"And how did my precious baby girl sleep?" He asked in a sweet voice.

The little girl giggled, wrapping her tiny arms around Antonio's neck before kissing him on the lips. He couldn't have liked it any better.

"It was okay, Uncle!" She said in the sweetest angelic voice Antonio had ever heard from anyone.

"That was good!" Antonio held her tightly and rose with her in his arms. "I had a good night too. But I missed you so much and I wish you were there." He kissed her cheek while holding her tightly.

The little girl giggled. "Can I come with you, uncle?"

Antonio chuckled, raising his eyebrow. " Stephanie?" He smiled brightly. "Would you like uncle to take you with him?"

"Yeah!" The little girl raised her hands excitedly, making Antonio smile.

"Okay, uncle will take you with him okay but..."

"But... you have to go to school..." A beautiful female voice spoke.

Antonio quickly turned and saw Celine standing behind the two of them with her arms folded and a beautiful smile on her face. She was as beautiful as ever if not more. She was just wearing a black dress, blue slippers, and her hair was covered with a cap. She was looking amazing and she was glowing.

Stephanie was five years old, really cute, and adorable. She had a cute little face, long dark, curly hair that reached her butt, and a cute round face. She was the daughter of Celine and Eduardo. Antonio loved the kid like she was his own. He never messed with her and he never wanted anyone to mess with her, not even her parents. He spoilt her in any way he could and called her his princess. He was so close to her that her parents were probably jealous. She reminded him of a child he'd have loved to have if at all life had smiled at him.

"My beautiful angel..." Celine opened her arms wide, gesturing for her daughter. "...come or you'll be late for school."

Steph shook her head. "I wanna go with uncle."

Antonio chuckled happily, staring into the beautiful green eyes of his niece. "Baby, listen to your mom, okay? You need to go to school so that you can start working with your uncle for good."

She acted excited. "Promise?"

"And hope to die!" He kissed her cheek lovingly.

Then he gave her to her mother before he caressed her cheek. "Take care of my princess!" He warned in a joking tone.

"You know, I will." Celine chuckled and then leaned to give him a peck. "I will see you in the evening!"

"See you!" Antonio smiled, waved at Steph, and left for the office.
"Okay, baby..." Celine said excitedly. "...time to get dressed."

Celine laughed with her daughter and then turned. But as soon as she turned, she found Emilia staring towards the door, looking as if she was in so much pain. Seeing her like that, Celine felt terrible. She put her daughter down and told her to run to their room. Steph nodded and then rushed to the room after kissing her, granny.

Celine sighed, resting her arm on Emilia's shoulder. "You don't have to worry, mother!" She assured, squeezing her shoulder. "Very soon, everything will go back to the way it was. Antonio will eventually come back to you and realize that you just wanted what you thought was best for him."

Emilia sighed, fighting her tears. "For the past six years, that's all I have prayed for. But my prayers have never been answered. Sometimes I just feel like God is punishing me for bringing that boy into this house and..."

"No!" Celine said abruptly, shaking her head. "Who would have known this would happen? Pra..."

"Don't mention his name!" Emilia said sharply, slightly closing her eyes. "That name is forbidden in this house. He is gone and he's no longer part of our lives."

Celine took a deep breath, feeling a pain rise deep in her heart. "I am sorry."

"Mother, Antonio, Andrea, and everyone else got hurt." She said weakly, chuckling bitterly. "I watched as my son's love slowly turned into hatred for me. I kinda deserve it. I brought this upon myself, Celine. But you..." She paused and caressed her cheek. "...you're truly an angel and Eduardo is lucky. You still talk to me despite what had happened, you and Eduardo. Thank you so much for this."

"Mom..." Celine quickly pulled Emilia into a tight and emotional hug. "You know how I hate hearing that from you." She pulled away, holding her hands tightly. "I love you so much and nothing will separate you and me. I promise that I will help you and your son to reunite, even if I have to use Stephanie. I will do it."

Emilia felt a tear rolling down. "Thank you!"

"You're welcome!" Celine smiled.

Emilia rubbed her tears and smiled. "I need to check up on mother."

Celine nodded and watched as her mother in law rushed out of the living room. She felt sad for her, a woman that had once been full of life and happiness was looking so miserable.

'Six years, Praveen...' She thought, fighting her tears. '...six years and I still refuse to believe that you had done anything wrong. My heart still tells me you're innocent and... I wish to see you again, my brother.' She looked to the heavens and sighed. 'God, show me a way out of this. Please!'

She got out of her thoughts and rushed to the room.

***

Antonio was seated on his comfy chair, his chin resting on his fist which was resting on the beautiful table. He was staring at his staff from side to side, wondering why the hell he had to go through all that he was going through. He was in the conference room and all of his workers were in there and that sullen look on his face wasn't helping matters.

"So explain to me why the hell all of you came to the office late?" He yelled, a frown appearing on his face. "Do I need to do your jobs for you? I specifically told you that I needed all of you here for the meeting."

The workers looked at each other in fear.

"Can someone say something, damn it?" He furiously rose, hitting his hands on the table. "Do you think I had built this company just so that your lazy asses can ruin things for me?"

"But, sir..." The marketing manager started, his voice breaking. "...we thought that..."

"You thought that what?" He hissed. "What do I need all of you here for if I am doing your jobs for you? You were supposed to do a very important presentation to the clients but as usual..." He chuckled bitterly, sitting furiously on the chair. "...I had to your jobs for you."

"Sir, we thought the meeting was too early and..."

"So you now tell me how to run my company, huh?" He snapped, shaking his head. He was staring at the woman that had just spoken.

"No, sir, I..."

"You're fired!" He said without any feeling of remorse. "Clear your desk in the next thirty minutes or..."

"No, please..." The woman threw herself on the floor, putting her hands together. Tears formed in her eyes as she stared at her boss. "...sir, you can't fire me. I didn't mean to question you or how you run..."

"Yet, you still did." He glowered, folding his arms on his chest. "Perhaps you're tired of working here."

The woman shook her head. "No! I..."

"The next time you question me, I'll make you and your family members jobless." He warned, pointing at her. "Now get out of here." He furiously looked at everyone. "That goes for all of you. Whatever I say, goes. If you can't live by my rules then you're welcome to quit! Get out!"

Everyone quickly got out of their seats and started rushing out of the conference room. They were scared of Antonio Gonzalez. He had been a sweet man before, maybe six years ago but ever since the scandal, his life had changed. He was a cold man, really harsh, and didn't care about his workers. They worked in fear and though he had managed to build a very big empire and make a name for himself both in the business and music world, he was a feared man.

"Incompetent idiots!" He muttered, getting off the chair.

Just as he was about to start getting out of the room, his phone began ringing and he quickly picked it. He listened to what the man on the other end had to say before...

"Look, I don't care what they have said." He said harshly, gripping the phone harder. "Tell them that I am not interested in their deal. If they won't pay by this evening, I am gonna terminate the contract and I don't need to remind them what's gonna happen once I terminate it. If I were them, I'd be looking for the man right now."

He cut the call and rushed out of the room. He just went straight to his fancy office and as soon as he opened the door, he got a great surprise when he found Andrea seated on his chair with her legs on the table, staring at him with a sexy smile.

She was looking really beautiful with her hair curled beautifully like a model and let loose, her beautiful face glowing with makeup and dressed in really expensive clothes, a white skinny jean, red top, and silver high heeled shoes. Seeing her, Antonio couldn't help but smile brightly.

"Hey, what a surprise!" He gasped, rushing towards the desk. "When did you come back?"

Andrea chuckled and cat walked to her brother, hugging him tightly. "A few minutes ago actually. I didn't want to go straight to the house so I came here to see my brother." She pulled away and held his hands sweetly, smiling like she'd won a lottery.

"Don't you think it would have been better to rest?"

Andrea had come from attending a business meeting in Malaysia in her brother's place and it had gone great. It had been a week since she had left and she wouldn't have happier than she was to be back in the country. She had missed everyone, especially her loving brother.

"And miss out on the fun?" She chuckled happily, shaking her head. "No! In fact..." She paused and started fixing her brother's collar. "You and I are going out for lunch and then movies."

"What?" Antonio gasped, shaking his head. "Andrea, no. I still have a lot of work and besides, I have another meeting in the afternoon."

Andrea raised her eyebrow. "You work too much, Antonio. You need a break. You're the boss and I don't think you can ever deny your beautiful sister, can you?" She stared at him. "And besides, I called your husband and he is already on his way there. We're gonna meet him at the hotel and the three of us will hang out together just like old times."

Antonio sighed, rubbing on his forehead. Though he didn't like the thought of being with Bruce, he couldn't deny his sister. "Okay, but only because I wanna know how the meeting went."

Andrea raised her hands like she was surrendering. "You're the boss."

Antonio laughed softly, shaking his head. He picked up his phone and car keys and they left.

***

Emilia was coming down the stairs with a brilliant smile on her face, her eyes fixed right at the entrance. Her heart raced with joy as she saw the cute looking boy coming inside the house with a tired-looking face. He was looking really cute in his blue uniform, holding his bag firmly. He had pitch-black hair that was shaven on the sides and then combed backward. He was young but so good looking.

"Ryan!" Emilia chuckled happily as she rushed to him.

"Granny!" Ryan chirped and ran in his grandmother's arms. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." Emilia smiled brightly as she kissed the little boy's cheeks, ruffling his hair. She held him tighter and felt some peace calm her down.

Emilia loved Ryan a lot and in the last six years, their bond had grown stronger. Ryan was now eleven years old, really intelligent at school, and loved Emilia maybe even more than Emma. Emilia appreciated that because she missed such a time, especially with her son treating her like shit.

"How was your day?" Emilia asked, staring into his beautiful blue eyes.

Ryan nodded. "I am hungry!"

Emilia chuckled happily, combing his hair with her fingers. "I know." She sighed happily. "Why don't you go to your room, freshen up and then come downstairs? I will prepare something delicious for you and then you can tell me all about your day at school."

"Yes!" Ryan jumped excitedly.

He quickly left his bag with Emilia and ran towards the elevator. Emilia watched happily as he left and shook her head. She started going towards the staircase but before she even took a turn, something fell from Ryan's bag, a photo.

Emilia stopped in her tracks and then quickly turned and found the photo up to the entrance. She quickly rushed there and leaned down to pick it up. But something happened, something that scared the shit out of her. The moment her eyes landed on that photo, she saw the person that was there and before she came to terms with what she saw, her eyes again landed on a pair of cute designer's shoes.

Emilia felt her heart race instantly as a shiver ran down her spine to her brain. She slowly moved her eyes up and when her eyes met with a pair of beautiful green eyes, she gasped in shock as her heart gave a sharp pound in her chest.

It was Antonio and he was staring down at her like he wanted to tear her to pieces. He was breathing heavily, his fists clenched and his jaws shaking. Seeing his state, Emilia felt like someone had just injected poison in her system. She had seen that look before and she knew that he was angry.

With a groan, Emilia quickly picked up the photo and then gripped it in her hand, hoping her son hadn't seen it. She was really scared and her hands visibly shook. She slowly rose to her feet and came face to face with her son. He was so damn mad.

"Antonio, I..."

Antonio raised his hand, gesturing his mother to keep quiet. He was so mad that his heart pounded so painfully in his chest.

"How dare you bring bad omen into my house?" He snapped, his finger becoming shaky. "How dare you?"

His voice was so loud that it scared the elderly woman. "Antonio, I... the thing is..."

"At least, you don't have to pretend that you regret everything and that you care about me." He chuckled bitterly, shaking his head angrily. "You simply don't care about anyone except your selfishness and this..." He furiously gripped the photo from her and without even looking at it ripped it to shreds and threw it on her face.

Emilia closed her eyes, trying to suppress her tears but they came rolling. She was so much in pain.

"You call me your son but you don't care about me!" He glowered, his voice filling the entire living room. "You don't have to pretend anymore. You can continue living your fake dreams that... that..." He grimaced when he remembered the name of the person he had come to hate the most. "...he was such a nice man. He never cheated you!" He chuckled bitterly, reopening Emilia's wounds. "It's visible on your face that you still live in dreams that..."

"Please..." Emilia sniveled, shaking her head.

"What?" Antonio snapped. "Don't you wanna see this family sad?" He yelled, making her take a step back. "You just want all of us to suffer but guess what?" He clenched his fist, yelling in her face. "No matter what you try to do, I am very strong. You can never bring me down. No matter what you do to me, you'll fail and let me warn you, mother..." He said it in such a way that Emilia's heart bled. "...if you wanna stay in this house then you better live by my rules otherwise you'll find yourself outside. I don't care about what you think you play in my life but I won't hesitate to throw you out."

He took one long angry look at her before he hissed and started leaving but...

"Just a minute, Antonio!"

Hearing that voice, Antonio quickly turned and found his brother coming towards him with the angriest look he had ever seen on him. He was wearing a black designer's suit, black shoes with his hair gelled. Eduardo rushed to him and stood in front of his mother, holding her tightly.

"How dare, Antonio!" He yelled, pointing angrily at her. "Who gave you the right to speak to my mother like that?"

To say Antonio was surprised would be an understatement. In the past six years, he had never heard his brother speak to him like that before.

"For so long, I have kept quiet but I won't allow you to speak to mother like that."

"Eduardo, listen..."

"No, you listen!" Eduardo seethed, breathing like a predator. "Ever since that boy betrayed you, you've been venting your anger on her. First, it was alcohol but all you do is shout at her." Emilia slowly rubbed her tears but they wouldn't go. She was so much in pain. "By constantly shouting at her, are you trying to prove that you're very strong? That you have no feelings whatsoever? That you don't care about anything?"

Antonio just stared at his brother, his face getting blank. His hands were slowly clenching and his anger was rising.

"That boy left our house six years ago and we've never heard from him, ever!" He yelled, raising his finger. Emilia was trying to stop him but he didn't even look at her once. "And this anger that you repeatedly express on mother is not meant for her but yourself."

Antonio felt his eyes becoming watery. The pain that hit him at that point was unbearable. His fists began trembling uncontrollably and his breaths became harsh. He was looking at his brother, feeling all the pain and anger getting intense.

"You're getting angry at that boy..." He chuckled bitterly, getting closer to him. "...because even today, you still love him a lot."

A tear went down Antonio's cheek which he furiously rubbed and looked away for a second. But when he looked at his brother again, he was so damn pissed that he saw red. But one thing had him glued were he stood. He couldn't move.

Eduardo chuckled mockingly when he saw that look on his brother's face. "You can do whatever you want. You can continue this drama of being normal, hating on everyone, and pretending to be strong. But remember this, Mr. Rodriguez..." He warned. "...however mom is, she's still better than you. All of us are better than you. Because she and all of us have accepted that whatever we went through had broken us. We were shattered but we did not run away from the truth like you."

Eduardo shook his head pitifully and held his crying mother tightly. "Let's go, mom!"

Emilia rubbed her tears and then stared at her angry and hurt looking son before she went away with Eduardo. She could tell that he was deeply hurt.

'...even today, you love that boy a lot!' Eduardo's words rang in Antonio's head.

Antonio groaned in anger and stormed out of the living room like the hounds of hell were after him. He went to his room and furiously closed the door that everyone in the house saw it. Then he quickly started rushing to the bathroom and reaching there, he furiously washed his face while trying to get rid of the words his brother had used on him. He was so much in pain. It hurt like hell.

He took a deep breath, raised his face only to stare into his reflection in the mirror. He could see the anger on his face and he could have sworn he saw his face turn red.

'You love that boy a lot!'

"No!" He hissed, clenching his fist. Even with water on his face, he could see tears in his eyes and it made him hate himself. "These are the last tears I will ever shed for you." His voice was so raw and harsh. "I used to love you boundlessly but not for betrayal. Right now, my hatred is more boundless than my love. I used to be happy but you took all that away from me. But not anymore..." He angrily rubbed his face, his jaws shaking uncontrollably. "Enough of this distress and pain of getting reminded of you.

Now neither will I get distressed nor will I let anyone distress me?" He chuckled bitterly, smiling like an evil warlock. "I will not live in the memories of a cheater or a whore. I hate cheaters!" He barked, hitting his hand on the mirror. "And you better pray that I don't set my eyes on you because now..." He laughed maniacally. "...all that love has turned to limitless hatred. Wherever you've been hiding... better not come out because you've made an eternal enemy. I hate you so much!"

Antonio continued looking in the mirror, vowing in his heart that he wasn't gonna suffer anymore.

***

The door to the classy two-floor mansion that could easily pass for a king's palace opened and there emerged Vanessa, a really beautiful and classy woman wearing an orgasmic smile on her face while cat walking like she was on a model on the runway. Being rich, classy, and sexy for a woman of her age, Vanessa was known as a woman of high fashion.

She was wearing a brilliant blue designer's dress which reached her knees, designed by one of the best designers's in the world, red high heels on her feet and her hair curled and then just loose. It was a beautiful shoulder length caramel-colored hair and her face was beautifully glowing with makeup. She was a happy woman and that day was just special for her.

Vanessa lived in a really beautiful, big, mansion with everything that any classy person would ever need. It had 23 bedrooms and each room had a luxurious modern bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a lot of other things. The compound was big with a luxury pool, a big garage, a huge security gate, and surrounded by a high-security wall fence. It was beautiful. The house was also surrounded by guards that offered extra protection and maids that helped keep the place clean.

"Finally!" Vanessa breathed when she saw a beautiful, black expensive car nearing where she was.

A smile popped up her face and she got goosebumps. She was excited. The car parked right where she was and she quickly rushed to it. A blackguard, dressed in a black designer's suit with black glasses got out and opened the back door.

Vanessa felt her heart miss a beat as soon as the door opened, revealing a beautiful blonde lady dressed in a pink dress with a white flat shoe and her hair tied in a ponytail. She had a smile on her face and Vanessa couldn't help but smile even brighter.

"Claudia!" Vanessa said, her eyes fixed on the car.

"Madame!" Claudia said with a brilliant smile.

"Where's he?"

"Err..." Claudia stammered, still wearing a smile on her gorgeous face. "He said he had to go somewhere really important. That's why he couldn't come with us. He took the other car and told us to come straight home."

Vanessa lost the smile on her face for a few seconds, folding her arms on her chest. She got a bit worried. "Somewhere? Where could he have gone? Did he say anything?"
Claudia shook her head. "Nothing."

Vanessa sighed gloomily. "Okay, and where's Sean?"

Hearing the sweet name, Vanessa couldn't miss the joy that she felt in her heart.

"He's in the car sleeping," Claudia said with a smile. "He got tired and slept off as soon as we arrived. I will go and..."

"No, it's fine!" She gestured. "Get the bags and I will get him."

Claudia bowed and quickly left. Vanessa was still worried because she had no idea what to think of where he had gone to. But her worries vanished when she opened the car door and laid her eyes on the beautiful smiling soul. She couldn't do anything but just stare. It was a sight to see.

***

Loud music from drums could be heard... people cheering at the top of their voices, carrying all kinds of things, women, men, and children dancing joyfully, and people singing while playing with colors on the road.

It was the day of the almighty, the day that people celebrated with colors because they thanked the Lord almighty for bringing color into their lives. There were lots of people celebrating, foods, drinks, and decorations. It was really beautiful and although it was mostly celebrated by the poor, the day was always joyful.

And there he was, walking on barefoot on a path that led to the temple... He didn't care about the place being dirty or how he was dressed... He was holding a prayer plate with offers for the almighty and a small lamp as per tradition... The day was a bit windy, blowing his long hair backward...

He was dressed in an all-white attire with a long white scarf wrapped around his neck... His eyes were fixed forward, staring straight at the temple. People were busy staring at him, wondering who he was and why he was walking barefooted on the dirt path.

'Five years ago, I left this place brokenhearted, weak, and vulnerable.

I was heartbroken, suffered greatly, tormented, and humiliated. My life ended, almost, but only the almighty save and gives people second chances. I have now become convinced that God thoroughly enjoys fixing and saving things that are broken.

No matter how hurt and defeated you feel, no matter how badly you have been damaged, God can repair you. God can give anyone a second chance.

Everyone has a past. I have mine... Like someone once told me, 'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.'

But everything that has happened to me has only shown that I can rise amid a dark and shaking moment. But not without the almighty's blessings.'

He reached the temple entrance and as soon as he took the first step inside, a really strong wind began blowing everywhere and he could feel its impact. But even though the wind blew strongly, the lamp on his prayer plate didn't go off. It rather just glowed even brighter.

And though he didn't even notice it, as soon as he made his first step inside the temple, he started leaving red footprints on the floor, leading to the statue of the idol that seemed to be smiling at him with its hand-stretched as if it was blessing him.

He reached the front and then knelt at the foot of the statue, looking straight at it with a stern face. Then he took some flowers from the plate and carefully placed them at the feet of the almighty. Then he took the plate, bowed, and placed it on the table nearby.

He put his hands together, his eyes fixed on the statue...

"I don't know why I missed you all of a sudden today." He said in a sweet but emotional tone. "I wanted to thank you. I didn't say anything to you the last time I was here. Whenever I feel, there's no reason to smile in life..." He paused and breathed in deeply. "...you give me a reason. I thank you the most..." Tears began building in his eyes. "...you have given me a reason to live and not just to smile."

He glanced at the floor, feeling emotions building up inside of him like a tornado. "I was drowning in the waves like a straw. You've given me support. No matter how much I go astray, you always bring me back on track. So thank you!"

He closed his eyes and started praying to the almighty.

***

6 years ago

*

Santiago and Richard came rushing to the holy river and got the shock of their lives when they saw a crowd of people staring into the water while talking among themselves in fear and shock. They could hear the people saying that someone had committed suicide in the holy river.

Santiago's eyes quickly moved to the water and when he saw a body floating deep underwater, he didn't need to be a genius to know that that body was...

"Praveen!" Santiago hollered, feeling his heart go cold instantly. "Praveen! No!"

He started rushing to the water with Richard behind him and wanted to dive in but the people caught him.

"What do you think you're doing?" They asked, holding him tighter.

Santiago tried to fight but there were a lot of hands holding him. "Let me go!" He cried, trying all he could to let himself free. "Please, he's dying."

"You cannot go in there!" The people told him. "It is a sacrilege without the assistance of a priest. Besides, that body has been in the water for quite some time. He's dead already."

"No!" Richard cried, trying to go in the water but the people caught him too. "Not now, no!" He wept, shaking his head. "Please, my son... I need to save him. I cannot lose him after finding him, please!"

Richard felt a sharp pain in his heart, feeling like his heart was being ripped to shreds. But he ignored it. All he wanted was to save his son.

"Praveen, please..." Santiago's cries were painful. Everyone that heard knew the guy was in so much. "...please, I have to save him." He cried, dropping to his knees.

Santiago dropped his eyes to the ground and cried unlike before. He was ready to trade his life for Praveen's. He didn't want him to die, not a painful death like that. He couldn't take it because Praveen was so important in his life. The pain he felt at that time was unlike anything he had ever felt before.

With a sharp groan, Santiago furiously rubbed his tears and raised his eyes to the heavens. He had no idea where he got the energy from or where all the anger came from.

"Once again..." He screamed, breathing like he was in a war. "...once again you've managed to prove to me that you're weak and useless." His voice was so loud that people covered their mouths when they heard him. They were shocked by his words.

"Just once, once I thought you could answer my prayer and show me that you're not that useless after all." He screamed. His heart was racing and his pain was unbearable. "But here we're are again with you showing how useless and undependable you are.

I asked you..." He paused and sobbed. The anger in his voice couldn't be masked. "... I begged you... I knelt in front of you and I cried too. But you ignored all that because you can't do anything. You're not that powerful."

He furiously rubbed his tears but they came flowing again. "A boy that has always depended on you always talks about you and following your every teaching. Why did you do this to him? A boy that has suffered unjustly and he's been nothing but faithful to you. He's been devoted to you since he was young. This is the same boy that made me start to believe in you once again." He screamed, clenching his fist.

"I begged you to save him and I would dedicate my entire life to you but once again, you've proved you're useless. Now listen to me..." He warned, raising his finger. "...if Praveen dies, then I promise you that I, Santiago, will make sure that you seize to exist too." He didn't know how he was gonna do it but he was gonna do it. "I will make sure that I taint your name in such a way that no one else will ever pray to you." He groaned, running out of breath. "This is your chance to prove me wrong and show that you exist and you're powerful and not useless! Prove it, damn it!" He screamed.

Lightning split the sky terribly, scaring everyone that was there. Then all of a sudden, something scary happened, something that made everyone feel awed. As soon as lightning split the sky, it was followed by a loud roaring thunder that sounded like an angry voice. Then suddenly, water started making a loud noise like it was boiling, and then... a loud splashing sound was heard.

The river opened up and the next moment, Praveen's body was flying in the air towards the edge. The river threw him at the edge and his body was lying there, all wet.

Everyone looked in shock, including Santiago and Richard. Then everyone started rushing there. Santiago ran to Praveen and when he reached him, he knelt, held his hand, and started checking for a pulse.

Santiago smiled, chuckling softly while tears followed. "He's still alive!" He cried happily, looking at Richard who was equally smiling. "He's alive!"

Richard couldn't mask the happiness inside him. The moment he looked at his son's face, he felt joyous and at peace. It was something that he hadn't felt in a long time. He quickly took his son's hand and kissed it, thanking God that he had been saved.

"Thank you!" Santiago put his hands together, raising his eyes to the heavens with tears flowing. "Thank you so much. I will forever dedicate my life to you."

He took Praveen's hand sweetly and looked at the happily crying man. "I am sorry, sir, I have no idea how you're related to him but thank you so much. We need to take him to a doctor!"

"Let's take him to the temple first." The people suggested. "There's a doctor nearby. We'll call her for you."

Santiago carefully took Praveen in his arms and took him to the temple where they found the priest smiling when he saw them. It didn't take long before the doctor came and examined Praveen. But then, he had some shocking news for them.

"Doctor, how's he?"

"He's fine!" The doctor said, staring at the sleeping boy. "There's nothing wrong with him or maybe not that serious. I don’t even know what to say to you right now. It’s so confusing." The doctor looked tense and shocked. She was together with the smiling priest.

"What do you mean by that?" Santiago gasped, feeling his heart begin to race.

"Well... err... maybe it will be better if the priest tells you because I don’t know what to say to you. He... well, he..."

"What?" Richard gasped, feeling hot all of a sudden. "What's wrong with my son? He's he going..."

"Nothing is wrong with him. The almighty has just decided to give him another reason to live." The priest chuckled, smiling brightly at the confused men.

Richard and Santiago looked at each other confusedly. "But..."

"He's pregnant!" The doctor hollered, followed by a gulp. "I just examined him and... it seems he's two weeks pregnant."

***

Present-day

*

He opened his eyes widely, a harsh breath escaping from him. His heart raced as he raised his face and looked at the statue, feeling like something had possessed him. His eyes were teary and his body felt energized all of a sudden. He fixed his gaze on the almighty and felt a strong wind hit his face, blowing his hair backward.

Then he clenched his fist, showing it to the statue!

"Never again..."

It has just begun...

And now the long awaited series is here guys and I'd like to thank you for your patience and your love. I hope this spin off of 'Destined Hearts," will be a hit and you'll love and support it. I can promise you one thing, get ready for drama, suspense and a heart filled romantic drama unlike before. You'll surely enjoy it.

Copyright © 2020 vanalas; All Rights Reserved.

Thanks a lot to everyone that took the time to read my work. I really love you all guys a lot. Don't forget to drop your comments about what you really think about my work

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Chapter Comments

Smh I’m disappointed Emma & Andrea seem happy as they all deserve the suffering they’re currently feeling. I have no pity for Emilia who blackmailed Antonio into marriage and then so easily turned on Praveen who she claimed to love. I also have very little compassion for grandma as while I don’t think she necessarily deserves what she’s going through they all deserve a dose of karma Ethan included even though he seems mostly ok as well sadly. Brucie...kinda hilarious that he’s now the one in a loveless marriage and it would serve him right if Antonio started having an affair mimicking how he was with Praveen even though that’s clearly not going to happen...unless he has an affair with Praveen. They don’t deserve Praveen or his child in their lives except for Celine & Ryan as they both clearly care for Praveen. Sadly despite how I wish it wouldn’t happen I’m sure Praveen and Antonio will eventually end up together even if this family doesn’t deserve to have him back.

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Praveen now has a child to protect and love keep him out of that family until there are paid back for all the hate and misgivings they have done to the true angel of love Praveen not just mentally but for the physical the only love he received was from Ryan and Celine.let Andrea her aunt will only say it Santiago is the father and try killing him as will mental case Antonio he wanted Bruce he got what he wanted so live with it.thank you for not letting Praveen die 

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tesao

Posted (edited)

I’m happy to see the story continue, and I’m especially relieved that Praveen survived. There’s so much need for justice, and so many who must pay a steep price for their despicable actions.

By the way, in the story synopsis, who is Travis?  Is that the new pseudonym for Antonio, or have I missed something? 😏

Edited by tesao
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So glad you posted here. Looking forward to this again! 

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