Prologue: The Longing
Maria's Last Mission
TWENTY YEARS LATER
The slim curved, long brown-headed Maria Delvey breathed in the fresh breeze of Frankfurt, Germany, and the world was new again. A frown grew on her face, and her heart tightened as the shadow of the sun slowly emerged from the other side of the hemisphere. Frankfurt is the largest city in Hesse, and it doesn't feel like home for Maria. She sat on the balcony, looking at the dying sun.
She was 14 h 10 min (1,340.2 km) via E45 away from home. She needed to be away from her predators. Maria has no intention of leaving the war behind. It has been twenty good years since she lost everything to her parent's enemy. Maria misses Marco, her Mama, and Papa. How she ended up in Germany was a tragic displacement of human imagination.
Here, Maria could live a life for however long she needed it. One of the things her Mama taught her was that Dictatorship can never compete in a relationship, that kindness is a social circle to live by itself, no matter their parent's income.
She was with her perfect friend. Princess Anna Agnethe. She was the first friend she had when she was ship alongside AnneMira D. Schwarz Delvey, the lonely heiress who adopted her. But she passed away due to blood cancer, transferring all of her wealth to Maria. It made Maria change her name from Maria Caruso to AnneMarie Delvey.
"What is the problem, Meine Dame," Princess Ursula asked, sipping her coffee while scrolling on her phone without looking at Maria.
Maria cleared her throat. Maria is unsure what Anna will say if she tells her that she will be going back to Italy because Ursula is so natural with everything. She doesn't act or behave like a princess, but she is loud and calm. "Prinzessin Ursula..."
"Call me Ursula. Ursula Agnethe, and also, Don't call me princess. It's Ursula." She rolls her eyes at Maria.
"Ursula..." I tested her name on my lips because I don't usually call her Ursula but Ms. Agnethe. "I have something to tell you."
She raised her dark eyebrow and stared at me. "Let's share it, maria."
Maria sighed. "I'll be moving back to Italy,"
The unmitigated shock was noticeable in Anna's eyes. Suddenly, she wanted to laugh. She looks not so surprised.
Ursula has a German accent, and her English is excellent. "Is it about what happened to you years ago?" she looks at Maria with a sad eye.
"Yes, I need to go back," Maria said.
"As Maria Caruso? or AnneMarie Delvey?" She questions.
"As Maria. C. Delvey." she smiles at her.
"When are you leaving?" She grins at Maria.
"I'll be leaving in about two to three days. My items are already in Italy." Maria sniffs.
"You mean that your Items left for Milan before the owner?" She looks shocked. "Is it your parent's house that you are moving into?" she added.
The sadness that embraced Maria's face was inevitable. "No... I left the house for the family helper, Zia Benedetta,"
Princess Ursula nods. "Okay, so, let's fucking get out of Germany," she jerks herself up.
"We?" Maria asks confusingly.
"Ja wir!" Ursula repeats in German. "Let's go crush some bitches. Shall we?" she added.
"Ja wir können." Maria Smiles.
Maria smiled at her. "stop cussing!" Maria warns her.
She grins."Why? don't tell me you want to add me to your mean dictator book?"
Maria furrows her eyes at the princess."Did you call me a mean person?" Maria asks, giving Ursula a dead glare.
"No, it's just that you're always frowning and upset. Look at you now, playing with me like a child." Ursula says in an honest tone possible, not wanting to get on Maria's nerves.
Maria rolls her eyes dramatically. "Preach it!" she mocks.
"Get me my furry coat," The princess said playfully in a princesslike way.
Maria furrows her eyes at her. "Royalty sometimes can be a pain in the ass."
"I need to pack up," Ursula says.
"Are you going to leave your principles behind?" Maria asks sincerely.
"Maria, you know very well that being royal is not my kind of stuff. I am also an engineer like you, Maria, and I have a shipbuilding company that is a conglomerate to yours and others. Tanika is there, and so is Jacob. They will take care of it since they know how to run the royal room. So let's go," she sighs.
"Okay," Maria gave up quickly without arguing with Ursula.
I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries hurt, those who keep silence hurt more. The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day. When something terrible happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.
Why is she declining our offer for chrissake? Even if they are the best in the shipbuilding world and even if the companies are multi-billion holding companies granted billion-dollar and pounds worth of yachts, Navi vessels, and so on around the world. I need to research her,
I don't even know who she is or what she looks like. How can she be so strict with the rules of her mother's company? Madam AnneMira Delvey was a prestigious woman.
"What the hell is going on, Matteo. The founder of Atlas Werke and Benetti shipbuilding passed away not up to Ten years, and her daughter is making life a living hell for our company?" I yelled in frustration at my stupid friend, who doesn't even dissemble as he cares for me. All Matteo cares about is changing women like daily mattresses all the time.
"Calm the fuck down, Vince," Matteo groans nonchalantly. "The new heiress might not like Perini Navi shipyard since it's still marked as the number seven best shipbuilding in Italy times.
"Why would I calm down, Matteo? The maritime Atlas Werke market has been described on our offer on numerous occasions as a chicken and egg situation." I freed myself from the strangling of my necktie. "She is just an ugly ass bitch!" I added in anger.
"Have you seen her? or knows what she looks like?" Matteo furrows his eyes at me. "She declined our offer, but the Sanlorenzo shipyard gave you a chance, but you declined it too,"
At the hearing of Sanlorenzo, I remembered Caruso's who died in a plane crash twenty years ago. Lorenzo is the brother of the late Nicolo Caruso. Maria.
"Maria Caruso..." The name left my mouth without me knowing.
Matteo, standing at the glass blind, immediately turns to look at me. "Maria Caruso?" He raised a confused eyebrow. "Isn't she the daughter of the late Nicolo and Gisella Caruso, who died in the plane crash with her twin brother twenty years ago?"
I felt my body stiffen. "Can we talk about something else? AnneMira's mean daughter?" I slowly changed the topic, and I know that Matteo felt it.
"Okay..." Matteo scattered his hair as his gold eyes stared deep at me. "Google about the woman that has been giving you nightmares," he added with raised eyebrows.
"Okay, let's see what the witch looks like," I say with all glory stuck in my voice as Matteo weirdly smirks at me.
I instantly googled her name on my MacBook
The beautiful Anne Marie Delvey, also known as Maria. C. Delvey was born in the year April 7, 1989, in frankfurt Germany, only child and sole heiress of german and multi-billionaire best and most popular shipbuilding late mogul, Mrs. AnneMira. D. Schwarz Delvey. The young and beautiful Delvey earned her engineering degree at Yale University with flying colors.
The 30-year-old heiress is now the owner of the global German Lidl discount supermarket chain is worth 37 billion euros ($44.2 billion), according to Bilanz magazine - the richest German heiress ever. The first Lidl branches opened in the 1970s around the city of Ludwigshafen and have meanwhile expanded all over the world. New to the US this year, Lidl is in fierce competition with Walmart. And also Luxury car and shipbuilding engineers. Pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer Altana and the SGL graphite maker: the shipbuilding conglomerate business magazine rank entrepreneur and heiress AnneMarie sixth on its list of the wealthiest Germans, worth 18.5 billion euros.
Did she inherit six different types of companies with other deals worth billions?
Then I looked for her image, but all I saw was just an image of her from the side and her back. A lot of pictures of the late AnneMira but few of her daughter but not well taken. From her body angle, she has a big curvy waist and a slimmer shade, full long curly wavy brown hair.
A few german articles said that she is not the picture kind of person and always privates her life because she wants them personal.
Then again, I looked for guys she dated. I saw pictures of her wearing big hats with a perfect side smile with famous men worldwide. I wonder how many times she changed her lovers in a month.
"Here..." Matteo interrupted me as he handed his mobile phone to me.
I raised my head and took it from him without looking at it. "Why are you giving me your mobile phone?" I ask curiously.
"You can't find any picture of her, Can you?" He added with a furrowed eyebrow.
I sighed. "No,"
"Then you have just been saved," he said with a smirk. "Look at how gorgeous a lady can ever be," he added.
"So, you have to know what the witch looked like, and you allow me to read the whole google search?" I flamed up at him.
"Just look," He rolls his eyes at me. "Scold me later but look at how tormenting the witch is," he says.
I slowly bent the phone to my sight, and my eyes landed on a picture of an Angel who I think descended to earth. She was smiling so well, and she reminded me of someone. Her smile reminds me of someone, someone that my Papa cherishes a lot, Gisella Caruso.
The smiling look so much like her's, and the resemblance? I cleaned my eyes because I already had that crazy notion that she was Gisella Caruso but the younger version.
"What is it? Amico. The cat got your tongue again, didn't he?" Matteo interrupted. "She is the real definition of beautiful."
"She...?" That was the only word that could escape my mouth.
We must laugh and cry, enjoy and suffer, in a word, vibrate to our total capacity. I think that's what being human means. Take life one step at a time, look forward to your future, stop looking back and regretting the past.
The past is the past because it does not last! Your thoughts, feelings, and sensations are the waves of the ocean—coming and going. There are big strong waves, and there are soft, gentle waves; they are all water and all part of the ocean.