Forbidden Love Book One


                                CHAPTER ONE


It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder rattled the windowpanes, and powerful gusts of wind slammed the roof. Tom set his open book on the desk, removed his glasses, and rubbed his irritated and sleepy eyes. It was his second book, and he struggled to keep up, since he couldn’t understand a word. Tom looked out the window, wondering where his daughter was. He felt as if his mind had split, since he was thinking about so many things simultaneously. Tom had spent the entire night worrying and waiting for the phone to ring. He slumped back in his chair, yawned, and massaged his eyes again with the palm of his hands. Several minutes later, he was pacing and waiting for his daughter to return home.

As his emotions surfaced, he experienced memories of his early childhood. His parents had a small farm, cultivating crops and selling them at local markets. They worked day and night simply to put food on the table. He was just ten years old when he began working on his family’s farm, raising cows and pigs to help support his family.

Tom was a dreamer and thinker. He used his talent to gain access to the resources he needed to help him: educational opportunities, scholarships, and grants. He even took odd jobs while at school, such as waiting tables and washing cars. It wasn’t only his perseverance that helped him succeed; he never allowed circumstances to impede his achieving the American dream. Through courage, hard work, and determination, Tom rose to become one of the country’s most successful and wealthy entrepreneurs.

Then he met his future wife, Martha, one of the most influential women in the advertising industry, at a cocktail party in Hawaii. After only a few months of dating, they married and had twins. They did an outstanding job raising their kids, Jason and TJ, whom they sent to a prestigious school in Beverly Hills, California. And no matter how busy Tom was growing his business empire, he always made time for his children. He was present at their school events and always complimented their talents and abilities.

Tom recalled the day his wife revealed she was expecting their third child. It was the morning of the twins’ elementary school graduation. Martha wasn’t feeling well, so Tom accompanied her to the doctor. He dropped her off in front of the clinic, before driving around to the rear of the building as he parked his car. He entered the room, and the receptionist, a short, dark-haired lady with spectacles, greeted him with a grin. She informed him that his wife should be out soon. Tom nodded; his gaze fixed on his watch. It was just 10 o’clock, so there was still plenty of time to prepare for the twins’ graduation ceremony at 2:00 p.m. To pass the time, he took up a magazine and glanced through the pages without reading a single sentence.

The door slowly opened as the minutes ticked by. An older guy with scruffy gray hair and sagging brows emerged, filling out a report.

“Mr. Grandeville!” shouted the doctor once he recognized Tom. “How have you been?” he asked, smiling.

Tom was taken aback by the doctor’s cheerful smile.

“Is everything OK, Dr. Resnick? How is my wife?” he asked, alarmed.

“Your wife is great, Mr. Grandeville. Don’t worry,” the doctor added, a broad smile on his face.

Tom thought to himself, “There’s that smile again.”

Martha stepped out of the room. Tom noticed a flush in her cheeks and a glitter in her eyes. She seemed as vibrant as ever, yet there was something different this time. Her conduct piqued his interest. Was he exaggerating? He couldn’t be sure. Despite the oddity, he dismissed the notion, believing Martha was simply expressing genuine joy because it was a significant day for them. How often do you get a double triumph when both of your children graduate with honors in a matter of hours?


At the graduation ceremony, Tom observed his wife was preoccupied and couldn’t remain still. She moved around in her seat as if she were on pins. She was concerned with the time, as evidenced by her constant glance at her watch. Martha was acting strangely. When his wife dispatched him and the twins on an errand across town after the ceremony, Tom became suspicious. He couldn’t decide how he felt, so he gave her a skeptical look and shuddered, frowning as he glanced at her again. Before he or the twins could ask or say anything, Martha jumped into a waiting taxi on the curb and waved as it drove away. Perplexed, Tom and the twins were still standing where she had left them.

Tom got irritated and suspicious, but he didn’t want his children to know how he felt. He laughed as he rubbed his chin.

“Your mother is throwing a lavish celebration for you two. It’s clear she’s trying to get rid of us.”

“What’s with the secrecy? It’s not like we don’t know about our party,” Jason added, scratching his head in puzzlement.

“Well, you know your mother. She enjoys arranging things and may be rather sneaky.” Tom feigned a laugh.

TJ frowned. “Why not tell us instead of sending us away? She never even let us change our clothing. For God’s sake, we’re still dressed in our caps and gowns.”

“It’s vital to your mother, boys. She wouldn’t have asked us to do this if she didn’t need us to. Let’s leave it at that, OK?” remarked Tom, putting on a phony smile. The truth was that something was worrying him. Something serious happened to his wife, and he did not know what to do. He planned to talk to her after the party, but for the time being, he had to put on a cheerful face in front of the twins.

“Okay, Dad, but how long are we supposed to be gone?” TJ asked.

“Your mother will not go to this trouble merely for us to return right away. Let’s go to the store. You can help me pick a new fishing rod.”

The father and sons spent a long time in the mall and ended up buying things they didn’t need. They were back on the road, heading home after a few hours. The number of automobiles parked in the driveway astounded them. It was fully occupied.

“Wow! Did Mom invite the entire neighborhood?” asked the twins, laughing.

When they entered the house, their guests greeted them with warm hugs. Tom glanced around, wondering what God’s name had compelled his wife to decorate in such garish hues that were inappropriate for their children’s graduation celebration.

What the hell is going on? What was she thinking? he murmured. He was slow to catch on and sought to decode the enormous hints Martha left around the house.

“Pink and blue pattern; my goodness!” he said, his irritation audible.

Meanwhile, the twins were taken aback by the scene in front of them. They thought their mother had lost her usual knack for creativity. Jason tripped over his own feet and fell flat on his face because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going. While they were busy drinking champagne and chatting, the guests expressed their anxiety, a look of concern on their faces as they shared their fears.

“Jason, what happened? Are you OK?” the guests questioned him, grabbing his outstretched hands and pulling him to his feet.

Jason was too confused. He hadn’t expected to embarrass himself in front of everyone at his party. Jason, as charming as he was, rose up and beamed at everyone.

“Nothing’s wrong with me. Don’t worry,” Jason remarked as he wiped dirt and dust from his trousers.

He looked around and scratched his head in disbelief. His mother produced an enthralling party environment. Rainbow origami cubes and multi-colored crepe paper streamers hung from the ceiling. On the table, there was a pink and blue balloon background, matching tablecloths, and coordinated napkins and plates. The centerpiece was an enormous strawberry vanilla cake with pink and blue icing, and the words ‘Will we celebrate in pink or blue?’ written on it.

“What’s going on, Mom?” Embarrassed, the twins asked. Pink was not a favorite hue of theirs.

“Yeah, Martha, what in the name of God is going on?” Tom protested. “What’s the matter with you?”

Martha looks stunning in her peach floral dress, laughing and smiling. As she stepped center stage, she looked radiant, and Tom’s suspicion transformed to surprise when his wife spoke.

“We appreciate your presence tonight for this joyous event. We should share this excitement with friends and family while we are celebrating not one, but two occasions. Guess what? I’m pregnant!”

A loud applause rang across the house, as a deafening roar of voices praised Martha from every corner of the room. They raised their glasses in salute, perhaps a bit too freely as the wine flowed. It was a fantastic event, and everyone had a great time. It was the most amazing night they’d ever had!

When he felt his wife’s arms around him, Tom snapped back to the present. Martha had entered the study room without his notice.

“Tom!” Martha smiled; her gaze fixed on him.

“I’m sorry, darling. Did you say something?” he asked, attempting to regain his composure.

“Go to bed, Tom. Don’t worry. I still have some knitting to do. I’ll sit in my favorite chair by the window and wait for our daughter,” Martha remarked, smiling.

Before nodding, Tom took a minute to gaze at his lovely wife’s face.

“Yes, honey,” he crooned as he leaned down and kissed his wife on the cheek, before saying goodnight and retiring upstairs to sleep.

Martha was knitting in her cozy chair when she became apprehensive after hearing a faint rumble of thunder. She stared out the window, but all she saw was lightning flashing all the time. She thought how disrespectful her daughter was for not calling them. The storm’s rain pounded on the window. Martha sat up all night, worried and staring out the window, waiting for her daughter to come home.

As the minutes passed, Martha’s turn came to have a flashback when she found out she was pregnant with her daughter. It was the most joyous day of her life. It was the morning of the twin’s graduation from elementary school. She went to see her family doctor since she was feeling ill. They had done the blood work a few days before. Martha couldn’t believe it when her test results came back and her doctor informed her she was six weeks pregnant. She was at a loss for words. She and Tom had always wanted another child, but it had never happened. And now it’s happened. Martha requested Dr. Resnick not inform her husband of the pregnancy. She wanted to surprise her family, and the twins’ party was the ideal place and time to do it. She pledged to make it an occasion to remember for everyone.

Martha was nervous and couldn’t stay seated throughout the graduation ceremony. She continually excused herself to go to the restroom, but in reality, she was making phone calls to organize and arrange the party. As soon as the ceremony was over, Martha sent Tom and the boys on an errand to keep them out of the house for a few hours. Martha jumped into a waiting taxi she had called earlier, and she kept waving at her husband and children until the cab pulled away.

The party planner and her team worked tirelessly to set up the decor, a food table, and party favors at several stations. Martha didn’t believe she could pull it off with such short notice, but it was amazing what you could carry out when money was not an issue.

The guests arrived. They recovered from the first shock with a sudden intake of breath, and took in the unexpected sight of the bizarre decorations around the house. As Tom and the twins entered the room, they were taken aback. That was something Martha expected.

When she revealed her pregnancy, Jason and TJ were the first to respond. They screamed at the top of their lungs. While everyone else shouted, cheered, and congratulated them, it startled Tom into silence. It took him a while to grasp what she had said. Tom beamed with joy until he could not contain his happiness and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Yahoo!”

Martha sighed as she returned to the present.

What have I done?

She admitted spoiling her daughter and pampering her since she was born. She and Tom were always there to comfort her when she cried. When their schedule grew too hectic, they hired a wonderful nanny to look after Vanessa. Their daughter grew worse when she learned to walk, wreaking havoc wherever she went. Nanny Maureen had to trail her around all day. She only stayed with the Grandeville for a year, before leaving to work for another rich family.

Vanessa had transformed into a monster when she was four years old, and she had gotten away with terrible things for far too long. She played rough and knocked over a few priceless vases around the house. To keep up with her, her parents had to employ two nannies. Martha catered to her every need to prevent her inevitable outbursts. Vanessa had to have anything she desired. Martha was angry with herself. Instead of allowing her daughter to be disappointed, she paved the way for Vanessa to have a pleasant life.

Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard a vehicle pull into the driveway. Martha rose from her chair, walked over to the window, and peered through the blinds. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her daughter’s Mercedes-Benz come to a halt. Vanessa reappeared shortly afterwards, carrying two Gucci shopping bags.

“Hi Mom! What a wonderful day I spent with my friends. I’ll see you in the morning,” Vanessa muttered as she headed upstairs to her room, leaving her poor mother shaking her head in disbelief at raising such an immature daughter.



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