"If you think you are taking my daughter away from me then you don't know me very well," Adele said in controlled anger.
"I am not taking her away from you, you have to believe that," Gillian tried to reassure her. "She loves you, I would never?"
"Will you move back to New York?"
"Then consider this the last time I deal with you. My lawyers won't be as generous," Adele said seething with anger.
"Adele, don't do this," Gillian begged.
"She's my daughter!"
"Not according to the law!" Gillian had regretted the words as soon as they had left her lips.
Adele flew at her with all the anger that she had controlled only moments before. She grabbed Gillian and began to shake her hard.
"I'll kill you!" Adele spat as she shoved the younger woman against the wall.
Upon hearing the commotion two people ran into the room. Gillian's parents were appalled at the scene that appeared to be unfolding in front of them.
Brian Kendell stepped in front of Adele Visconti preventing her from having access to his daughter while his wife; Marilyn went to see if she was all right.
"What do you think you're doing?" He demanded. Never in his wildest dreams would he have ever thought that the woman in front of him would be capable of doing what he had just witnessed. "Get out Adele, leave now!"
Marilyn was helping Gillian up off the floor. "Are you all right honey?"
Gillian nodded as she gradually stood up with her mother's help.
Adele stood still as if in a daze. Her eyes were focused on the woman that had in a single sentence destroyed her world a week before.
Gillian was leaving her for someone else; she had fallen in love her note had said, but worse of all she had also taken their daughter with her. The child that they had both shared together from the very first moment. It had all been too much to take, and all the reason in the world would not stop her from getting what she needed back.
"Adele please go. I don't want to involve the police. You are a reasonable woman. I have grown to know you these past few years. This is not the way. Please, Adele, go." Brian insisted.
Adele was oblivious to all except the eyes of the woman that stared back at her now. The woman that had taken her heart and promised to treasure it. The woman that had coldly a week before left her leaving behind only a note, taking their child with her. She became in that short time the woman she had been all those years before meeting Gillian; and that was the woman that faced them all now.
"One last chance, Gillian," Adele said softly.
Gillian knew this voice very well. Adele at that moment she realized was completely lost to her.
"You can see her whenever you like. I won't keep her from you," Gillian said as the tears ran down her face.
"I live in New York!" Adele yelled losing her control once more.
"Please, why not try to resolve this peacefully?" Brian intervened.
"Peacefully?" Adele stared at him incredulously. "That time passed when she packed up and left with our daughter, leaving me a dear Adele note."
Gillian looked down unable to look at the distraught woman in front of her. Adele could not stop the tears from falling from her eyes. Gillian saw that she had lost weight and her face showed the deep lines of strain. The beautiful face of the woman that had been her world seemed tired; Adele had obviously not been sleeping. Gillian wanted to just walk away. She didn't want to see the proud woman she had loved all these years falling to pieces in front of her, because, if no one else could tell she could. The once proud Contessa who had wooed and pursued her had truly fallen in love and love was now killing her. Gillian turned away and tried to shut out the vision. She had to be strong and stand firm, Adele would survive; Gillian kept telling herself over and over again. It was for the best in the long run. Cutting it clean was best for all of them.
"Adele, sometimes people fall out of love. We can't always control what we feel." Brian was angry after seeing what had transpired when he and his wife had walked in. A part of him was glad that this union had come to an end for his daughter but he also knew that a woman like Adele Visconti was better placated then edged on. He knew his daughter enough to know that her new friend would not last. Maybe then, Gillian would forget all this and settle down in a proper marriage. His daughter would finally and once in for all be normal again.
Adele then turned to him and her eyes became sharp knives. She had always seen through him years ago and now her aversion needed no curtain. She then turned towards Gillian again.
"Where is she? Or is it a he?" Adele said as she looked from father to daughter. " Where is this new love of yours?" She asked sarcastically.
Gillian wouldn't meet her eyes.
"Who is it!" She demanded.
Gillian visibly jumped as she looked at Adele now. "Candice?" she murmured softly.
Adele's face registered her surprise.
"Candice? The woman that?" Adele had not expected the answer.
Candice Wentz had been the woman that Gillian had been with when Adele first met her. The betrayal had become suddenly all the more encompassing and cruel. Gillian had left her for her former lover.
The space between them suddenly became a great distance.
"Have you slept with her?" Adele asked soberly but softly. The only sign of what asking that question had cost her was the pounding she began to hear in her own ears and the way her right hand began to tremble.
Gillian noticed Adele trying to hide it. It would have gone unnoticed to anyone that had not known and loved her. She closed her eyes as she answered the question not wanting to see the eyes of the woman that stood in front of her waiting.
"Yes?" Gillian finally answered softly. In that instant she knew that Adele Visconti would never take her back.
"I'll see you in court." Adele said coldly. She pulled out a cell phone out of her pocket and pushed a button. "Go," was all she said as she closed it and put it back in her pocket. A smile covered her beautiful face.
At that moment Gillian knew fear.
"Possession is nine tenths of the law. You can do as you like but, you are not keeping my child." Adele turned around and began to walk towards the door.
"Adele, what have you done?" Gillian asked nervously.
Brian and Marilyn looked at one another in confusion.
"Adele! Wait!" Gillian caught up with her and turned her around.
Adele pulled her arm away from the hold that Gillian had on her. "Don't touch me," she said menacingly.
"I don't want to hurt you, Dell." Gillian began to say as tears ran down her face.
"Don't call me that!"
"I'm sorry?" Gillian looked deeply into her eyes. "Give me my baby back, Dell," Gillian pleaded softly as she placed her hand on Adele's arm gently. "I need her."
Adele was unable to control herself from taking a step closer. Everything inside her wanted to take Gillian into her arms and love her. But, Gillian wasn't hers anymore.
"No?" Adele said softly then suddenly coldly added. "She's mine."
"I know she is?she's all I have. Don't take her from me Dell, I beg you," she said softly still trying to reach the woman that once could deny her nothing.
"You think I am going to give you my child after what you've done to me?" Adele asked in disbelief. For a moment Gillian could see the strain of her emotions begin to show in Adele's face. Then what Gillian never thought would happen did. "Come back Gillian?" Adele suddenly relented and her eyes showed the pain her soul was feeling. "Come back, I beg you." Tears ran freely down her face now as well as she implored.
With an intake of breath Gillian stared at her in disbelief. Adele was begging her to come back. Adele Visconti was begging?her pride forgotten and her arrogance lay at Gillian's feet. At that moment more than any other Gillian knew the extent of the love felt by the woman in front of her. So many times and in so many ways Adele had defied all for her; by her will she had taken her and not only married her but had given her a child. Adele had denied her nothing; never in her wildest dreams did she ever think to see the proud and arrogant woman she knew as Adele Visconti to be begging her to come back to her even after she had told her that she had been with Candice. Realizing all this Gillian felt the pain inside her grow twofold.
"I can't," Gillian said turning away sadly.
Adele stared at her for a moment then walked out without saying a word.
She wasn't sure how she had been able to walk. Adele just kept telling herself to put one foot in front of the other and move. The whole world could have disappeared and she would not have noticed. A feeling of great loneliness and an aching that she knew would never be filled suddenly flooded her chest; she wished only to close her eyes and just make her life stop.
Gillian had left her.
The tall dark haired woman went into the black limousine waiting for her and when she felt the car begin to move she let her head fall back and allowed herself to close her eyes. How could she live with this unbearable pain? Adele had been from birth taught to control her emotions and her actions. She had learned from the cradle that some things were just not shown and yet when she met Gillian everything inside her had changed.
How had it all gone bad? Why? Why had Gillian stopped loving her? She hadn't slept in three days and now she felt the weight of the world pressing, closing in around her and when she felt the darkness take her she didn't fight it. She longed to loose herself into the abyss. And as so many other times this past week the past never released her.
"Paolo, why am I here?" Contessa Adele Visconti de Caravagio asked haughtily.
"It won't be long. You can present the cup and leave Countess, they know that you are on a tight schedule." Paolo Morenza, one of her VP's for public relations in the United States, assured her.
"Paolo, only 10 more minutes, I'm leaving for Fiorenzi in two hours."
She hated these things but she knew that as the head of Caravagio Wineries and the Visconti Estate this was something that was expected. She was the sponsor of these games and although she hated attending functions such as these she accepted that she must. Adele was looking around when a young woman on the other side of the field caught her eye. Her mouth smiled slightly; perhaps the day would not be a total loss after all.
The car did a sudden stop and her eyes flew open. She looked around in confusion.
"I'm sorry Contessa, the car in front of us just stopped," the chauffeur apologized quickly.
Adele nodded and looked out the window. She had not been able to stop Gillian invading almost every moment of her thoughts since she had left her. Gillian was now in her life while she sought to feel nothing. Suddenly the confines of the car was more than she could take.
"Pull over, please just pull over." Her voice sounded strained when she spoke. The chauffeur looked at the rear view mirror and pulled over to the curb as quickly as possible. He wasn't sure what was happening, he had been driving the tall dark hair woman for a few days now, she was easily the most attractive woman he had ever met. Something very painful was obviously going on, that much was obvious.
As soon as the car pulled over Adele pushed the door open, was barely out of the car as her stomach lost all its contents. She stood against the car for a few minutes afterwards and breathed deeply before getting back in again.
"Take me to the airport," she said to him as one hand covered her eyes.
He drove her to a private hanger and saw people get out of another limousine waiting near a private jet.
When she got out of the car he saw people also get out of the other car as well. Two men and a woman holding a young child approached the Contessa. She took the small child and held her tightly to her then walked towards the waiting jet.
"Gillian! Gillian!" Candice ran into the house hysterically.
Gillian looked up from the couch.
Candice only stared. How could she tell her? How could she tell a mother that her child had been taken away under her very eyes. "Gillian?."
"I know Candice?" Gillian answered wearily. She ran her fingers through her hair and just let her head fall back.
"I called the police from my cell phone. They should be here soon," Candice said softly. "I'm so sorry, Gilly. I should have?"
"No one can stop her. She will never giver her back," Gillian said with such sadness that it broke Candice's heart. "It's not your fault. Adele is beyond reasoning right now."
"We will fight her, Gilly. We'll get your daughter back," Candice said gently.
Gillian smiled and her head came up as her eyes looked deeply into Candice's "Adele will do whatever it takes. She doesn't loose."
"I know that better than anyone?" Candice said sarcastically then looked apologetic and added. "I'm sorry. That was un-called for."
"It's all right, Candice. I'm so sorry I hurt you."
"Gilly, that doesn't matter anymore." Candice quickly took her hand and squeezed it. "What should we do, Gilly? I think we should call a lawyer. I know a good one."
Gillian smiled and walked out of the room. They didn't understand. She knew better than anyone that no one that fought Adele ever won.
Brian had heard some of the conversation and saw as his daughter had sadly left the room.
"Brian, I think we should contact an attorney," Candice said standing up facing Gillian's father.
Gillian called the police explaining that the child was not missing. She realized that with Adele all must be done with caution and great care.
"Mother?" Giancarlo Visconti walked into the library apprehensively a few hours later.
"Carlo, I didn't know you were home." She got up and walked over to him, kissing him on the cheek.
Giancarlo searched his mother's face knowing only too well what he was about to hear.
"She's?. Gillian's gone," Adele said softly as she walked away towards the fireplace that she had been standing next to when Giancarlo had walked into the room only a moment before. "She's left?"
She turned towards him again as she searched his sad face. "She talked to you didn't she?"
"Yes, she told me she was leaving," he said sadly.
Adele stared at her son not knowing exactly how to discuss this with him. "What did she say to you?"
"She was crying and said that she would always love me but she had to go. She told me to take care of you. What happened? I thought you two were happy. What will happen with Catty?" Giancarlo searched his mother's face.
"Cateryna is here and here she will remain," Adele said with conviction and turned back to the fireplace.
Giancarlo wasn't sure just what that meant. He had been 14 when Gillian had come into his life. They had been a family for 4 years. He had at first resented her for taking what little of his mother he had until he realized that with Gillian's coming he had had more of Adele in the past 4 years than he had ever before in his life. Gillian had made them a family. She had been good for both of them. Two years before his little sister had been born. He loved his sister more than he could have ever thought possible. They had all been so happy. It could not have been more perfect. Why? Why had it all changed and what would happen now?
Gillian had been sitting on her old bed without moving after she had spoken with the police. Her head felt heavy and the back of her neck hurt. She had didn't think she could cry anymore than she had for the past ten days. She then looked around at what had been once upon a time her bedroom. So much had happened since she last lived there. The two most significant events were meeting Adele and having their daughter.
So much happiness all compact in but a few years only to end up with so much pain. It would be so easy to just end it all but, what kind of message would that leave her child?
Her child, Catty?
"Breathe Gillian breathe?" Dr. Lapandusa encouraged.
"I can't?. Oh!" Gillian was beside herself with pain. "Where is she? Dell?" she screamed again.
At that very same moment a dark haired woman entered the hospital followed by three men and met by two others.
"Contessa, per favore, this way." One of the men that met her in the lobby guided as he walked with her. "We have set aside this elevator for you."
She neither acknowledged him nor ignored him. She was used to his kind?it was always the same any act of kindness she would ultimately get the bill for. This would be no different.
When the doors to the elevator opened up she had to contain herself so as not to run. Adele had literally walked out of a board meeting, gotten on a jet and was on her way to the woman that was bearing their child. Nothing and no one could have kept her away.
As soon as she entered the delivery room her whole semblance of aloofness changed. Her features softened as she approached the woman who smiled at her from the bed.
"Its about time, Contessa," Gillian said with a smile.
"The entourage?always keeping me away." She joked back. It had always been a standing joke between them from the beginning, when they had met. Adele then took her hand softly and kissed it. "I'm sorry I'm late." This time her eyes were serious.
"The important thing is that you are here?Oh God, here it comes again!" Gillian held on tightly to Adele's hand.
Adele looked horrified at the doctor. "Do something!" She begged.
"Okay Gillian, let's get this baby born. Push Gillian, push now."
"Come on, Gillian, you can do it, cara mia, just push." Adele encouraged her.
"I see the head, Gillian; push hard so that this baby can enter the world." Dr. Lapandusa smiled and looked back down again. "Here it comes."
Gillian screamed and clung to Adele's hand for dear life. A few seconds later the room was filled with the cries of their daughter, Cateryna Kendell Visconti.
Adele stared at the child unable to believe how one human being could be so perfect. The birth of her son had been a difficult one and she had been in the end sedated. This was so different. The beauty of her daughter left her for once in her life speechless. The doctor turned to her and handed her the child wrapped in a white blanket.
"Here is your daughter," he said and smiled at Adele.
She looked down at the little human she held in her arms and her eyes filled with tears. Adele walked over to Gillian and handed her the baby and locked eyes with the woman she obviously adored.
Gillian held her baby as she smiled at her and cried at the same time. She counted the fingers and the toes and thought her to be the most beautiful little girl she had ever seen. Adele leaned down and kissed her temple tenderly.
Gillian looked up. "She's perfect."
"Yes she is, cara mia. She's perfect." Adele smiled with adoration at the infant in Gillian's arms.
"She looks like you," Gillian said dreamily as suddenly she began to look drowsy.
"She looks like us." Adele smiled and caressed her face. "Gillian?."
"Yes, my love?" Gillian looked up at Adele again.
"Thank you for my daughter. I love you, Gillian." Adele said not caring who heard her. At that moment the outside world that she never exposed herself to just didn't exist and Gillian smiled. And all she felt were soft lips on her own before she closed her eyes.
Gillian caressed her stomach as the tears continued to fall. "I'm sorry little one. Please forgive me." She began to sob as she wrapped her arms around her abdomen protectively. "I'm sorry."
Candice walked into the room and immediately sat next to her and took her in her arms.
"I'm right here, babe. A day at a time, okay?" Candice said as she kissed the golden hair of the woman in her arms while she tried to control her own emotions. "Let me talk to her. Gillian, I can make her understand."
"No!" Gillian got up suddenly. "She would never let me go. It has to be this way." Gillian said as she sat down again. "She must never ever know about this child."
Candice remained silent for awhile as they both sat side by side. She hated asking but decisions had to be made and quickly. "Have you thought about??" She trailed off as soon as she saw the expression on Gillian's eyes.
"Yes." She answered then added. "There really is no choice." Her face took on an expression of longing that almost broke Candice's heart as she saw the woman she loved touch her stomach again. "I'm having an abortion."
"It's best. I can't bring another child into this. Not to this." She ran her fingers thought her hair. "This is my choice."
Candice looked at her and thought that never had she seen Gillian look so defeated. She had always been full of life and sunshine. The world always smiled on her and the sun shone just to delight her. When she had lost her to the infamous Contessa she thought her world would end. This was her chance to be with Gillian and nothing this time would get in the way of that. She hated how it had come about but she would be with Gillian for as long as life would allow.
"I talked to your father. We both think you should call the police and contact an attorney."
"No?If I have a chance of getting Catty back at all it won't be that way." She said. Gillian said sounding even more tired if that was possible Candice thought. "You don't know what she is capable of."
"Gillian, she is not untouchable. We can do this. Catty is your daughter." Candice tried to control her frustration. "You need that little girl."
"Adele is not just anyone. She has not only the money but the type of power that makes her untouchable and she knows it. Catty is an Italian citizen. And like me she bares Adele's name. That alone in Italy would take time to disentangle." Gillian turned to Candice in desperation. "I can't wait that long Candice. I can't! It might take years."
"Okay?okay, Gillian. I want you to get some rest now. You need it. We will fix it all, sweetheart," Candice said as she caressed her hair gently. Gillian seemed so fragile that it broke her heart to look at her.
Gillian got up and picked up the telephone that was resting on her nightstand. Adele was waiting. She knew this as surely as she knew that nothing would ever be the same again.
Gillian waited patiently as the telephone rang while the woman on the other end longed and feared to answer it.
Candice held her breath. Some things somehow never changed. From the very first moment that Adele entered their lives she had never known any peace. She had a chance with Gillian now and this time she would play the game to win by any means necessary. Adele would not get her way this time. She was best for Gillian; Adele had been only a momentary aberration.
"Hello!" Adele had been obviously waiting.
"I'm coming back to New York," Gillian said simply.
Candice stood up quickly but remained silent.
Gillian heard the intake of breath from the woman on the other end of the telephone.
"Dell, I will move back to New York if that is what it will take. I won't take her away Dell, I promise. She is your daughter too," Gillian said softly. "It would just have been easier if I were here."
"Easier for who?" Adele closed her eyes as tears spilled out of them.
"Dell, I ?I never wanted to hurt you. Please Dell."
"It's not that simple anymore," Adele said coldly. The anger and betrayal she felt would not allow her to act any other way.
"How is she?" Gillian asked softly.
Adele had expected demands and recrimination but not that question; nor did she expect the distress in Gillian's voice to touch her as it did still.
"She's having her bath."
"I?I have the dolphin she loves to play with."
Adele said nothing. She knew that Gillian was crying and she shut her eyes again attempting to dispel her need to comfort the woman that still was deeply rooted inside her. Adele was about to relent when she heard Candice speak in the background.
"Gillian, please sit down, sweetheart," Candice said with concern evident in her voice, trying to help her to sit.
Gillian softly pushed her away.
"Adele?" Gillian began to say.
"No! I went to you, Gillian. If you want to talk you must come to me!"
The line went dead.
Gillian put down the telephone gently and sat.
"I'll go to New York with you," Candice said softly.
"No, I've already involved you enough." Gillian took a deep breath. She turned toward Candice. "I'm sorry, Candice; I'm sorry I involved you."
"Don't be silly. I will always be there for you and for Catty," she said reassuringly as she placed her hand over Gillian's.
"She asked me if we had slept together. I should never have answered that question."
Candice waited and she searched Gillian's face.
"I was scared. I knew that if I said yes? I thought Adele's pride would not allow her to take me back." Gillian looked suddenly sadder and closed her eyes. Her mind tortured her with the words that she never thought she would ever hear Adele say. Come back, Gillian? Adele's plea had almost broken her heart.
Gillian's eyes flew open and she stared at Candice.
"I don't know how she will react. I'm sorry. I should have thought of what that might mean to you."
"It's okay don't worry. I told you that I would be always there for you no matter what and I meant it. We are in this together," Candice said again reassuringly. "You aren't alone, Gillie, I'm with you every step of the way."
"Thank you, Candice." Gillian smiled and kissed her on the cheek.
"Let's get ready to take the earliest flight," Candice said getting up.
Adele pressed the end button on her cell phone and closed her eyes. When she opened them all the anger and frustration inside her was visible.
"You are not taking my daughter, Gillian," Adele said between her teeth. "I'll be damned if I allow it."
At that moment there was a light knock on the library door.
The door opened and in walked a young woman with a child in her arms.
"Cara mia, come to mama." Adele stretched out her arms and the little girl's arms went out to her enthusiastically.
The young woman then left as Adele dismissed her with a nod.
"How is my beautiful Principessa? Adele said lovingly as she sat in a nearby chair placing the child on her lap.
"Bath. I had a bath." The little girl giggled as Adele tickled her. "Mama?no!"
Adele pressed her closer to her and kissed her dark curls.
"Where Mommy?" The child asked.
Adele's eyes filled suddenly with tears. Such little time, she thought. Such little time. She took a deep breath trying to control her emotions.
"Mommy is visiting your Grandmother and Grandfather. She will be home tomorrow," Adele said softly as she caressed her daughter.
"Want me to read you your bed time story tonight?"
"I want Punzel!" The child said demandingly.
Brian looked up as he saw Candice walk into the kitchen. "How is she?"
"She's resting. We weren't able to get a flight out till tomorrow morning," Candice said, visibly tired as she sat next to Brian.
"We're going to New York in the morning."
"Why? We should call the police. This is kidnapping." Brian was getting more agitated by the minute. "Who does that woman think she is!"
"I tried to talk to Gillian but she thinks this is the best way," Candice said softly. "I don't trust that woman but perhaps Gillian is right."
Brian looked at her then sat down again. "What's going on, Candice?"
"Gillian thinks that Adele might take Catty out of the country."
"Oh dear lord," Brian said in exasperation.
Marilyn then walked in. "Where is Gillian?"
"She's resting. She's all worn out." Candice answered.
"What's wrong, Brian?" Marilyn asked noticing the forlorn expression on her husband's face.
"Candice was telling me that Adele might be taking Catty out of the country."
"Oh no." Marilyn became distraught.
"We are going to New York in the morning to talk to her," Candice added quickly. "I thought we should call the police but I'm not sure now. Gillian might be right. Let's see what happens when we talk to her. I know one thing for sure. This is going to be a hell of a fight."
Marilyn and Brian looked at each other as he placed his hand over hers trying to give her strength in view of the situation. He had hardly seen his daughter since she had been with infamous Contessa. At first he had had to deal with his daughter being the favorite topic of the tabloid rag newspapers. They had actually had to call the police once in the first two years to keep them away from blocking their driveway. It had all been so humiliating. Their neighbors stared them at and once they had even been asked horrible humiliating questions as they were leaving their church.
It was at this time that Brian had found out more than he would have ever wanted to of the woman his daughter had chosen to be with. Every detail of the woman's life had been dragged out for public consumption and the news was all-bad. In those first few months he was horrified every time a photograph of his daughter would appear yet again in one of the newspapers in the supermarket. At least now his daughter had come to her senses. God had finally made her see the light. One day at a time he would get his perfect little girl back.
Continued In Part 2