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The ticking clock

When she arrived home, she noticed the curtains were closed. He was dead then, given it was two in the afternoon and the curtains were never closed at that time. He wouldn’t allow it, Insisting on sunlight through the window.

Gabriella wasn’t sure how she felt. They had married at 16 and never divorced. It became clear after the first ten years living together was not an option. His wandering eye led other parts of him to wander and Gabriella prized faithfulness above all.

They reached an agreement. She accompanied him to social functions, and she received a percentage of the business for remaining a face of the company. Gabriella spent her days painting and taking photographs. She had exhibited all over the world.

Leroy’s arms around her offered some comfort. Her eldest son resembled his father in looks but not personality.

‘Were you with him?’

‘He’s not dead. He’s waiting for you.’

‘How’s Maria bearing up?’

‘She’s exhausted, you know how demanding he is.’

‘Yes, dragging me back from Rome from his deathbed. Antonio and I had a massive row, he really hates me being here.’

‘Mama I’m not sure how much time you have, come quickly.’

Andre her youngest, the summoner, pulled Gabriella towards the house. She saw the tears in his eyes and her heart ached for him.

Mario was a lousy husband but a great father. All three of their children adored him. Maria had nursed him throughout his illness, the boys had taken their turns with her to sit with him. He hadn’t been left alone unless he requested it for the last two weeks.

‘He talks about you constantly. He never stopped loving you.’

‘It’s mutual, your father and I love each other better apart.’

Gabriella took a deep breath and opened the door.


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