“What I did is inexcusable, but I’m begging you to forgive me Cara! I promise that I won’t harm you again.”
“I am truly sorry. I love you, Cara.”
Cara didn’t know what to do. She’d given herself to him completely. She’d never get that back. Shouldn’t she try to make it work? He did seem genuinely sorry for hurting her. He’d finally told her that he loved her. Did she believe him? She turned away from him as tears slid down her cheeks.
Donatello kept his promise and was never physically abusive again. Although whether it was because he knew that Cara would fight back or because he didn’t want to hurt her again, Cara didn’t know. His attitude toward her was up and down. Sometimes he was extremely patronizing, condescending and unkind. Other times he was charming and the man Cara wanted him to be.
It was close to the time for Fae’s wedding, and Shawn called her. Cara decided to tell him that she was engaged. He was the first of her family that she told. She knew that he was shocked at the news, and Cara promised that he’d meet Donatello at Fae’s wedding.
She asked Shawn to keep the news private because she hadn’t yet told their parents. She told him that she was looking forward to seeing him at the wedding and that she would tell their parents then. He promised to keep the news to himself.
“I’m not going, Cara, and neither are you. I don’t think it’s proper that I meet your family before you meet mine. We’re going to Tuscany that weekend. I’ve already promised my parents that we’ll be there.”
Cara looked at him in frustration. She wanted to meet her future in-laws and didn’t want to disappoint them. However, she also hated to disappoint Fae. Fae was like family to her! She knew that there was no point in trying to reason with Donatello after he’d made up his mind. She called Fae and told her that she wouldn’t be able to attend her wedding.
Cara was enchanted by the views. So far she had not seen any part of Italy that she did not like. Donatello was quiet and a bit sullen on the trip. He hadn’t told her much about his parents, and she wondered what he had told them about her.
When they reached Valtiberina, Donatello parked the car and they walked through the village. Cara couldn’t wait to go leisurely through the village with her camera and take pictures. She glanced at Donatello. He seemed to be intent on getting to his parents’ home, silently urging Cara along more quickly.
“Mamma! Papà! Siamo arrivati!”
“Il mio ragazzo è giunto il momento!”
She looked at Cara in surprise and then at Donatello. She hadn’t known that Cara spoke Italian. Donatello had told them that she was an American. She looked at Cara critically. She certainly was an exceptionally lovely young woman. Donatello had always had an eye for the ladies, but Cara was too young for him.
Bettina looked at her son with a frown. She knew his past with women and hoped that he would not harm Cara. He had a fiery temper like his father, but unlike his father, he did not have the best of control over his anger.
It hurt her to think of how her son bullied and used women. That was why he was no longer married. His first wife had divorced him and fled Italy. Perhaps he thought that he could exercise better control of a younger inexperienced woman like Cara.
Donatello said something to his father in rapid Italian, and Cara couldn’t make out the words. Bettina took Cara upstairs to the room that Cara and Donatello were to occupy during their visit and then brought her up a cool drink. Cara thanked her and then changed into something more comfortable.
“We are going back home now!”
“Don’t question me, Cara. Even an imbecile could see that this is not the time.”
He threw her dress at her and stuffed her other things back into the suitcase. With shaking fingers, Cara redressed. They left without saying goodbye to his parents.
“This is to make up for my ill-tempered behavior. Once again I must apologize to you.”
He pulled her to him and kissed her lightly. Then he took their things out of the car, and they went inside and checked into the inn. For the remainder of the weekend, Donatello was kind, attentive and a passionate lover.
Cara wondered what had transpired between him and his parents, but she knew that there was no point in asking. Questions would just anger him. After their weekend was over, they returned home.
Over the following months, Cara wasn’t conscious of the fact that she was changing. She was quieter, especially when she was around Donatello. Subconsciously she was always making an effort not to do or say anything to upset him. He was almost like an addiction for her although she thought that what she felt for him was love.
She had finally told her parents about her engagement. They had wanted to come and meet Donatello, but he always ended up canceling their plans due to various reasons. Cara didn’t push it. She and Donatello began to make arrangements for their wedding. He wanted to have it there in Monte Vista, and he’d found a lovely old church where he wanted to have the ceremony.
Her mother had wanted to be a part of the planning, but Donatello had told her firmly that it wasn’t necessary. He and Cara were handling everything themselves. Cara knew that it had hurt her mother, but she felt that insisting that her mother be involved would make things more difficult between herself and Donatello.
Alissa and Dale did not like the way that Donatello appeared to be controlling their daughter, but unless Cara asked for their advice there wasn’t anything that they could do about it. They had met him over Skype and instantly disliked him. Dale wanted to catch a plane and bring Cara home, but he knew that Cara was a grown woman now. She had made her own decision whether they liked it or not. Shawn did not have the same reservations.
However, when it was time for his and Fae’s wedding they had both called Cara and invited her to participate in the wedding. He’d told her that she was his twin, and she had to be there. Cara had agreed.
She didn’t allow Donatello to dissuade her. She’d invited him to go with her, but he had refused. Believing that if he refused, she would stay at home too. This time he had miscalculated. Cara went without him. Soon it would be time for their own wedding.
Being there with her friends and family was like a breath of fresh air for Cara. She had apologized to Shawn for getting upset with him during his visit to Monte Vista. She was happy for him and for Fae.
She felt completely relaxed, and she realized that it had been a long time since she’d felt that way. At home in Monte Vista, she always felt on edge wondering if Donatello was going to be calm that day or explode in anger. No matter what she did or didn’t do sometimes he’d just get angry.
Cara was glad to see her sister so happy and expecting hers and Noah’s third child. She had hoped for the same type of happiness for herself. Cara didn’t say so, but she felt that it was too late. She’d committed herself to Donatello, and she intended to keep that commitment. She decided to fly back home a day earlier than she’d planned and surprise Donatello.
“It doesn’t mean anything Cara. It was one last time. Lucianna was willing to put out when you wouldn’t for over a year! I’m a red blooded man who has needs that she was willing to fulfill. You insisted on going to that damn wedding, and she kept me company. You’re the one I’m giving my name. She means nothing to me!”
As she headed for the door, Cara told him that she would send for her things. She put his engagement ring on the dining room table with an overwhelming sense of relief. She left the house and never intended to return. She had already graduated from the university, but she had been taking an additional class. She’d finish it in another month. Until then, she rented a room in town.
A week after their break up, Cara heard that Donatello and Lucianna had eloped. Cara had been surprised by her own reaction. She really didn’t care. Donatello might have left her heart frayed around the edges a little bit, but at least it hadn’t completely broken.
She knew now that it had been a foolish infatuation, and it had taken just a few moments for her to recover. Discovering his cheating had reawakened her self-awareness like a cold glass of water thrown over an unconscious person. She was suddenly herself again.
But if so, why was everything so depressing to her? Maybe part of it was because she was tired of being stared at and pitied. She told herself that she didn’t need or want anyone’s pity. She could do her own suffering and fight her own battles.
Then too maybe she was depressed because she was so disappointed in herself. In the past she had always been baffled by women who stayed in relationships with men who had used and mistreated them in the way that Donatello had done her. She was disturbed that she had allowed it to happen.
The day that Donatello returned to work after his marriage, he sought Cara out. She looked at him coldly. He was an extremely handsome man, holding his age well, but now she knew who he really was. He loved women, but he wasn’t in love with any woman. He had one true love. He was in love with himself!
“No, you don’t have it in your power to hurt me. Well, maybe my pride, but not me. For a while, I was foolish enough to believe what you are on the surface, and I ignored what you are on the inside. But I’m completely free of you now. I don’t understand what you did, and I don’t want to understand it. I just don’t care anymore.”
“Cara, I think that this is the first time in my life that I’ve loved a woman like I love you.”
“If you’re so in love with me as you say, then how does that gibe with the fact that you’ve been sleeping with other women throughout our relationship, or the fact that you’ve now married Lucianna?”
“I’ve got better things to do.”
“Cara, you have to give me a chance to explain.”
“You’ve already told me and shown me all I need to know!”
She rushed away from him! Cara was so angry and upset that she was shaking inside. She was angry with herself for letting him infuriate her like that. She passed some students, and they stared at her. There it was again, a look of pity.
However, after a big blowup later in the week between Lucianna and Donatello in the university parking lot, that was witnessed by many people, the looks of pity were directed toward Lucianna and no longer Cara. Lucianna was accusing Donatello of sleeping with Claudia. It was clear that that marriage was on the rocks before it had barely begun. Cara tried to muster some empathy for Lucianna but failed. She was glad when her final course ended, and she could leave Monte Vista for good.
Cara’s storyline will end in the next chapter. After that will be a storyline that will mainly focus on Aiden, Joy, Sharlee and Noah. Thanks for reading! ❤