The week started differently for Elena. She was acquainted with a constant level of uncertainty with Lorenzo due to external pressures from both exes, but she enjoyed the growing feeling of soundness in the relationship with him.
It was time to think about the future: she had been warned by the youngest daughter’s therapist more than one year ago, during the first month of relationship with Lorenzo: she should move, because her ex-husband dealt with the divorce in a pathologic manner and her psychological view of the issue was that she was in danger. She loved her cozy sunny house enough to ignore the recommendations until then. She definitely hated his presence on the porch as she arrived from the beach and, even more, the nerve of an ex-mother-in-law to meddle in her private life in such extent so much time after leaving her son.
She checked the appointment book. No immediate jobs to deliver. She turned the computer on, in search of houses for rent. She wanted some place where she could receive Lorenzo without fear. This life of disguising every night, parking far away, driving back home with the bakery bag for her ex’s eyes was tiresome. She would do it happily if it was the only manner to be with her Lorenzo. She started saving for the first time after divorce. If I find an affordable nice place to rent, maybe Lorenzo can visit me…
The week started differently for Lorenzo. The silence of Veitena since he moved his office increasingly filled him with concern. His assistant answered to his requests, working remotely. Veitena’s directions for her had been to be at Marces & Marces Architecture Office normally on working days and assist Lorenzo as if he was there. There is something weird going on, but I don’t get it yet… He had learned to listen to his instincts when dealing with Veitena and they spoke louder every day, demanding caution.
The spectacular weekend with Elena led him to wish a life with her, to envision a future together. The first thing to make it possible was to define how to proceed to get the divorce, once Veitena informed the lawyer that there would be no divorce anymore. I’ll have to talk to her again; maybe she shows better understanding now; otherwise, I’ll have to apply for judicial divorce, a real problem. Then I’ll have to request Dr. Santos to restart the inventory of existing goods for the split. He wrote ‘Veitena’ and ‘Dr. Santos’ on the appointment book, for a talk, later on that week.
Then, he accessed the bank accounts on the main desktop, to check the financial positions of the previous week. A hole seemed to open under his feet when he accessed the financial balances: almost all the money was gone. He closed all tabs and accessed the bank account again. The money was gone. He turned the notebook on and accessed the bank from there: the money was gone. Trembling in anger, he accessed the other banks in which he had money invested. In all them, the balance was not greater than fifty US dollars. He felt he would burst in combustion. Then he felt cold feet and hands. His heart seemed a bass drum being played inside him, then he felt melting in lava.
It took minutes for him to regain control. No use to call the account managers... The origin of that financial earthquake was one: Veitena.
Veitena had rescheduled all the appointments of that Monday morning. She enjoyed some online shopping, killing time, waiting for the call she knew she would receive. She scrolled through fancy travel destinations, fancy designer clothing & purse stores. Her cell phone rang before ten in the morning and she knew who it was before she looked at the display.
“Hello, Lorenzo! It’s good to hear from you! How are you doing?”
“Veitena, did you withdraw the money we have invested?” he spoke in politely controlled voice, “I accessed our bank accounts and the money is gone.”
“I am fine too!” she said, sarcastically, “As for OUR money, I am glad that you consider it ours!”
“Veitena, can you simply explain what happened? If the money is ours, we both have to agree before large size operations are performed, isn’t it?”
In all their bank accounts, the money could be managed by both account holders or by only one of them separately with full powers. Lorenzo knew that it was a rhetorical question only.
“Lorenzo, my dear, the money was not withdrawn;” she said tenderly, “It was moved into safer accounts that I have opened in my name in the same banks, by the way.”
“But why would you do such a thing?” Lorenzo could not get the point. Their marriage was under the communion of goods. Even if she moved their money to an account only in her name, everything would still legally belong to both of them.
“Rest assured that I did not steal our money, Lorenzo. It is safe, invested in the same type of investments, in the same banks.” she answered as she spoke with a child, “And I know that the money still belongs fifty percent to you. There is no reason to worry.”
“Veitena, do you know that by doing this you only give me more reasons to apply for and win a judicial divorce?”
“Oh, certainly I do! But do you know how time-consuming are the Brazilian courts, don’t you?”
“Veitena, what is your point?!”
“Without money for as long as a judicial process takes, who knows, four, five years, no woman will envision any possible future with you in the short-term. No money for fancy restaurants, fancy presents, trips, a house... Let’s just see how long ‘true love’ will last…”
Lorenzo’s clothes were soaked in hot sweat. That blow was so painful that he looked at his clothes to check if he was sweating blood.
“Lorenzo, this is to protect all we have built during a lifetime of hard work. It falls to me to protect your interests and mine. You will thank me in the future!”
From all active projects, the next payments would be at the end of the works only, within months. There was nothing he could sell immediately to make money without the need of Veitena’s signature, including his both cars.
“I had a vision, Lorenzo: on that Monday when you came from the beach, I was about to commit something for which I could burn in hell, away from the love of Our Lord; God has sent me a message when I nearly crashed. Later, after the meeting of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was clear to me that I had to act in an edifying manner, never in a destructive one. And so I did: I opened the new bank accounts over the week and I transferred the funds so that we build our dreams together. We are tied forever under the sacred ties of marriage; it is my duty to protect me and to protect you, because you are the one to be with me for as long as we both shall live.”
Suddenly, Lorenzo was unable to speak. He tried to, but no word was uttered. He closed down the connection, trembling.
He was aware that, from the women with whom he still had contact, only one would hurt him to death if she refused a life with him without money: Elena. He thought about Mara, in whose house he kept going occasionally as friend after she developed an early-stage curable cancer and invoked friendship, demanding support that she insisted in turning into a humanitarian relationship that Lorenzo refused, conducting it politely in the friend zone, without courage to breakup completely. Without money, her advances and bitterness would diminish, for sure. Maybe she would be the one to dump him, with no fancy restaurants for a while.
He was ninety-nine percent sure that Elena would stick together with him in good or bad times. But this one percent spoiled all his day to the point of rendering him unable to eat anything until late night, when she was about to arrive.
Over the day, he saw messages from Codename Úrsula on his cell phone:
’13:10 - Codename Úrsula - For the man with diamonds in his eyes, I am so happy! A thousand kisses is only a part of the kisses I’d like to give…’
’15:56 - Codename Úrsula - Surprise tonight!′
Lorenzo fell in love with Elena reading her and he still kept falling in love a little more everyday reading her. His witty answers made her fall in love more and more with him. But he was unable to answer her on that day. One percent of anything seems little, but it terrorizes me as few forces of life… I love this woman!