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Villas ‘Maria’ thought it was time for a frank discussion with her husband. These unjustified absences interfered with proper conduct of their family affairs. Too many events without Alex’s presence where an indication that he was becoming weak. She would tell him before it’s too late.

‘What do you want to do about Fosco Adriani? Will you let him steal from us what we have found so difficult to obtain?’ she began. Alex looked at his wife. Her determination and aggressiveness in no way harmed her beauty. He was aware that security, power and money more than love prompted her to marry him. He, Alexander Villas, one of the richest Americans, one of the most coveted bachelors, had fallen hopelessly for her Latin charms.

With a twinge in his heart, he allowed some old memories to form images in his mind. He remembers their first meeting, when Sergei asked him to protect her against a clan war involving her relatives. The all-powerful Velazquez family. She wished then, to flee the brutal world of drugs and bloodshed. Her long black hair, her direct gaze, even her authoritarianism had immediately seduced him. Then, of course, came marriage. A unity leading to a long period of peace and pleasure. They had spent many happy months on the dreamy beaches living only on champagne, lobster, love and fresh water. Everything seemed now to have taken place in another existence. He missed so much this period of their life. He would have sacrifice without remorse, all his fortune to revive just one of those days.

‘What do you suggest Maria? I’m listening.’ Alex replied while trying to erase from his mind all traces of nostalgia. ‘You know very well. There is only one way to solve this problem. My family will wait no longer to finally eliminate the parasite from our territory.’

He watched Maria talk about tribal warfare, to bribe people, sometimes elimination, and realized that the distance between them had never been larger, since they started working together to control drug trafficking. After a time gone by, having fled the drug world, Maria had convinced Alex to join her father in organized trafficking. Obviously, the official version stands that the idea was to join forces with the ‘Velazquez’ family, came from her father. But Alex began to doubt this more and more. He realised that he could easily have become a toy manipulated by her telepathic gift. His ways probably changed her or maybe she never changed just revealed her true self. Nevertheless, he still loved her with all his heart, love for the young brunette, so elegant that day she had asked for protection. Alexander knew that a deadly war was underway. Control of drug trafficking in North America between his clan and that of Fosco Adriani was now taking place. However, conflict between reason and his feelings was becoming far more destructive to him.

Maria stared harder than she would normally at her husband. ‘Trust me Alex, I read the thoughts of your own brother and he sees you as a weak man. Besides, you are small compared to Rico. You know him well enough to understand what he is capable of. He would kill you without hesitation and take your place if he wasn’t so scared of me.’ Maria’s strategy was unfolding as she planned. After having raised his awareness of the outside dangers, she opened his eyes to the even greater risk from those much closer.

‘Do not think, Maria, I do not know my brothers. Rico is, and has always been, hungry for power, but he doesn’t interfere in family matters. As for Rony, he couldn’t care less where the money comes from, as long as he can continue to partying with starlets. Do not be too confident. It is a luxury, that even you can not pay for.’ Alex showed a wry grin to his wife, then went to the bar. He seized the jug of fresh juice and poured himself a drink. He shook the glass to attract the attention of his wife. She replied ‘No’ to the offer, in exasperation. He raised his eyebrows signifying that he understood her refusal and went to sit in his leather chair, glass in hand.

‘Havent you realised that it has been impossible to discuss calmly, as we did before?’ He asked in a weary tone. Maria gasped. While not leaving Alex’s eyes, she wondered if he was sincere or if it was a clever attempt at destabilization. She hesitated a moment before considering a foray into his mind, but the risk was too high. He knew well her talent and could detect the slightest mistake on her side. ‘Anyway…’ said Alex calmly, ‘you’re right on one point. I must make important decisions for all of us. This can not go on. Some decisions must be made and certain elements must disappear. Now is the time to clean the house of my life.’ He rose from his chair and headed towards the window. At the precise moment when Alex’s face was enlightened by the light, Maria felt her legs grow weak. She had planned for a great many reactions from her husband, but not this one.

Alexander, who always favored a forceful and direct approach, had simplifyed the equation. As a result, a frightening idea began to grow in Maria’s mind. What if he came to the conclusion that the best way to rebuild his life meant to fall out with her? Or worse still, eliminate her!

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