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Dave: Big party tomorrow…are you nervous? 

Me: A little…I want all of our friends to have a great New Year’s Eve, with us…

Dave: I feel sadness in your voice. You miss Daniele? 

Me: I miss him terribly…sometimes, in my dreams, he’s still with us and we’re talking all our silly talks, then I awake and realize that the only place where I can talk to him is in my dreams…

“She hugged him like it were for the last time…

-Why are you standing there? Come inside! I missed you so much, Dani!

-So many changes in your life, Cari…look at you, all dressed up, high heels, your hair looks different…I almost couldn’t recognize you…where’s the sweet girl in her blue jeans and her pony tail, playing and laughing with the children from the orphanage? They miss you…but I guess you don’t have time anymore…

She felt the guilt trough every fiber of her body and couldn’t stand his gaze. Looking down, tormented. He sensed the effect of his words and felt encouraged to continue.

-Anyway, I don’t wanna put a foot in this apartment. If you wanna see me or talk to me, you can come to the church or we can go out and have an ice cream together. But maybe you’re not eating ice cream anymore, unless is from a high class restaurant…

She took his hand. It was cold and she wondered how could he judge her so harsh.

-You’re being very cold with me, Dani…is hard for me too…to recognize you as my best friend when you’re so harsh…

The sound of her voice melted his anger for a moment. He cupped her face.

-Is just hard for me to see you selling yourself this way. And for what? An expensive apartment, nice dresses, a glimpse into the “high society” who’s anything but high…How can you? Really…prostitution has it’s levels, you don’t need to lower yourself that much…

 His words cut like a knife and for a moment she felt lost. Big tears, salty water from her eyes reached on his fingers.

-I’m sorry, Sunshine…

Hearing him calling her by her old nickname was overwhelming. Her heart felt like breaking in pieces.

-Dani, is not for the money…I’m not with Matteo for his money…I’m not a prostitute…

-I know, I know Sunshine…I was mean to you but that’s only because I hate what your life had become. It’s like you gave up…you’re exactly in the situation where he wanted you to be. Completely helpless and dependent on him…And this time he’ll make sure you wont get out alive…

-It’s not like that! He’s nice to me, he wants to repair…to take things slowly…you know I was the one begging him to take me back…Maybe I love him…and I surely love the way they accepted me as a part of the family…

-Then…what’s the point…if you’re happy, be happy! I’m wasting my time…Maybe we’ll see each other again, you got my number…cause here I cannot step in. Bye Carissa…too bad that you’re always waking up much too late…

He left and she could still feel his touch on her face. The pain of his words were still burning her soul. She heard a voice and her first instinct was to fall into Luisa’s arms and cry her eyes out…

-Cari, figlia…honey, why aren’t you inside? Is a little cold here…Oh, you’re crying…Now come here and tell me everything! Is it Matteo’s fault? His bad temper! This son of mine will hear from me! Let me call him right now!

-No, Luisa, he’s wonderful to me! Don’t call him…please…I’m just…a little sad cause Daniele stopped by and told me some things…

-Oh, really? What things? But first, let’s go inside, I bought you something and I wanna see if it fits…alright, let’s sit here…what did your friend said?

-He thinks I’m a…a woman who do things for money…a…

-Oh My God! That’s so rude! No wonder you’re so upset! Let me give you a hug…how dare he accuse you of such things! Phew…a future priest so rude…

She closed her eyes feeling safe in Luisa’s arms. Missing her mother, missing her home, everything…

-Luisa?

-Yes dear?

-You don’t think that way…right?

-What? Of course not! Now listen to me child! The past doesn’t matter to me. You did things, my son did things…no one is perfect. I see him happy, I see that you two are getting along just fine…what else could I want as a mother? With a little luck, you’ll be my daughter-in-law some day. If you behave properly, if you’re nice and honest with us, especially with Matteo…you know us, we do’t like scandals and we care about our reputation…You make my son happy and let us spoil you just like we would do if you were our own daughter! What do you say?

-Thank you, Luisa…I needed to hear…

-Oh…and forget about that boy. He’s just jealous because you finally have a place of your own…and he’s bitter cause you’re finally happy! Don’t let him poison your mind! You have your boyfriend to care about and you have us, your family. Listen to us and be the daughter I want you to be and you’ll be just fine…”

Dave: The first alarming sign in any relationship…

Me: Is when the outside contacts are limited or even eliminated from your life. I learned it the hard way. Maybe that’s why having friends…a support group…means the world to me. I’ll never be able to thank them enough…to all the people who, with their words and good thoughts, made this possible…

Dave: This?

Me: This feeling of being safe and loved…

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