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Contract To My Happiness

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Blurb

Sebastián Santorini, lawyer and owner of one of the largest law firms in the United States, currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he has his main office.

He was in a relationship for about 11 years and married for the last 7 years, and his most cherished dream was to have a child with his beloved wife. But fate played a cruel trick on them when, on the day of the birth of their little daughter Bianca, his wife died, leaving him widowed and as a single father of a baby girl who was the spitting image of his deceased wife, who was the love of his life.

Pain and anger were what he felt every day after his loss. He became a cold, selfish, arrogant, intimidating man, extremely demanding in his work, and devoid of many emotions. He decided to build a wall around his heart after his wife's death, refusing to feel anything for anyone, especially not for a woman. Not even his little daughter was able to melt the ice that had taken hold of him and his heart.

But his life takes a turn when the person who was helping him raise the child, his mother, abandons him 8 months ago, without knowing what to do because she has never been present in their daughter's life. He decided to start searching for a nanny to take care of the little girl. Over the past few months, multiple nannies have come and gone, unable to handle the troubled child. Desperate to find someone, he places an advertisement, hoping that someone will come along soon to help him with his problem.

Isabella Davis, tired of the life she was leading, where she suffered humiliation, abuse, and mistreatment from her stepfather repeatedly, had an argument with her mother, who kicked her out of the house. She sees this as an opportunity to start over, leaving the city of Ohio with her meager savings to move to Los Angeles. But nothing is as easy as she thought. She can't find a job or a place to live, and her savings are running out. She finds herself desperate, waiting for a ray of light to illuminate her path. And that's when she has the opportunity to take care of a little orphaned girl with a completely absent father.

Nothing will be easy in this job. She will have to endure a rude and very arrogant man who despises all feelings, including his daughter, whom he blames for his wife's death.

But Isabella, with all her sweetness, slowly begins to melt the iceberg that covered Sebastián's heart, showing that love heals everything, even the greatest pain we may have in our hearts.

In this journey of discovery, Sebastián will meet a different Isabella than he had imagined, and his ice will begin to melt little by little. He managed to find the love that he had buried, also discovering that he had lost even his self-love. And it is on this new path where he will learn to love himself and others.

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Prologue
"The term 'happiness' would lose all its meaning if it were not compensated by sadness." - Carl Jung. Sebastián’s POV Life has always given me what I have desired. I had a peaceful childhood, a good adolescence, and a wonderful adulthood, at least until now. I have been married to the most wonderful woman in the world for almost 7 years. She is everything I have always looked for in a woman — joyful, friendly, tender, and incredibly sweet. We have an incredible chemistry. The day I met her, I knew I was completely lost because when I saw her, I knew I had fallen in love at first sight. We started a relationship when we were both in college—me in my final year and her in her first. It wasn't easy at first, as we had very little time to be together. But, somehow, we managed to see each other. Time passed and our relationship grew stronger. I grew by leaps and bounds in the field of law while she was about to finish her engineering degree. I proposed to her on Christmas, it was a glorious day for both of us. I was very nervous about her answer, but I don't know why I was. I knew she loved me as much or even more than I did. Obviously, her answer was a "YES, I DO". Just remembering that day gives me a tingle in my body. We got married when she graduated as an engineer. It was a simple wedding attended by our closest family and friends. That day, everyone witnessed the deep love we had for each other. We didn't need a flashy wedding to remember it. On the contrary, the simplicity of our ceremony and union was perfect, and I remember it to this day. I think I will always remember it. Time passed and our relationship grew stronger every day. I fell a little more in love with her each day, as if that was possible. A couple of years after our marriage, we wanted to start a family, so we started trying. Things didn't go as we expected. We couldn't get pregnant no matter how much we tried. We decided to go to the doctor to see if either of us had any problems. We went through a lot of check-ups and medical tests, only to be told in the end that there was no problem with either of us. It gave us some relief but still weighed on us for not getting what we wanted. We kept trying for years. It hurt to see my wife suffering with each negative pregnancy test she took. It hurt to see her like that—disappointed. I knew how much she wanted to be a mother and I felt the same way. I longed for the idea of being a father, to have a little one who would be a part of both of us. Shortly before our sixth wedding anniversary, things started to change. She seemed more distant, colder. She wasn't the sweet girl I fell in love with anymore, and I knew the reason. We had been trying to become parents for over 4 years without success. Our loved ones suggested a lot of things, including adoption, but she gave a negative response to all the ideas proposed. Over time, people stopped asking when we would have children. They stopped giving ideas, stopped talking about it. I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how else I could help her be happy again, to be the smiling girl who brightened my life. Now, she was a lifeless woman—depressed, cold, sarcastic, and without any spark. I couldn't let things continue like this. I proposed adoption, to which she shouted a resounding NO, not because she disliked the idea of adopting, but because she wants to have a child in the normal, traditional way. I feel the same way, but I don't want to keep seeing the love of my life sink deeper into misery every day because we can't conceive. I decided to put the topic of having children aside. I no longer cared about having one. I prefer having her by my side and seeing her happy than having a child. That's enough for me. Somehow, I managed to get her to let go of the topic, and I proposed we travel to clear our minds. A week later, we were traveling to France. It's a country she loves, and I knew if I brought her here, she would be happy. And so, it was. Finally, I could see a smile on her face as soon as we set foot on French soil. I missed seeing her smile and be happy. She hadn't done so in weeks. I would give everything I have in the world to see that smile forever. We spent around 2 weeks in France, exploring every possible corner. We didn't stop for a single day. We would arrive exhausted at the hotel at night, but before sleeping, we always made love with the same passion as the first time I made her mine. We had to return to the United States. She hid her sadness very well about this, but I knew her so well. I even knew what she was thinking. The following weeks went by quickly. My wife didn't become as distant and cold as before. She seemed to be in better spirits. We were at home when a scream from her called me, making me run to our room with my heart in my mouth. I imagined a lot of scenarios, except the one I would find seconds later. “What's wrong, love? Are you okay? Are you hurt? Do you need to go to the doctor?” I asked quickly, scanning her to see if she has any injuries or something like that. “No, love... we… we did it,” she says with tears in her eyes and pulls me closer, worried. I don't understand what she's talking about. “Love, I don't understand. What did we accomplish?” I took her face in my hands to lift her face and look into her precious eyes. “I-I'm pregnant…” She struggles to speak until she finally tells me what's happening, and I can't believe it. My chest jumps with excitement, my eyes are wide open, my mouth is dry, and my eyes sting with tears of happiness. “Are… are you sure?” She nods her head affirmatively and shows me the pregnancy test she holds in her hands. She trembles, just like me. As I take the test, I realize it has the two famous lines, which means, f**k, she's pregnant. I don't know what to say. I'm in shock, completely surprised. Finally, after years, we did it... we'll be parents. We celebrated like never before that day. The next day, we went to the doctor to make sure everything was fine and that there was actually a baby on the way. While we waited for our turn, each of us was lost in our own thoughts. We both feared that they would tell us the test lied. I don't know if we could bear it. We had already experienced years of disappointments. A nurse calls my wife's name, forcing us out of our daydream. We walked slowly towards the doctor's office. I'm terrified. I'm extremely afraid of what they might tell us, but I'm even more afraid for my wife. I don't think my beloved wife could handle another disappointment, and that fills my heart with immense panic. It took me a lot to pull her out of the depression she carried. If she couldn't get pregnant now, I don't know how we would overcome this situation. I feared for her, for myself, for us. The doctor started by asking her several routine questions, then proceeded to give her a quick medical checkup before asking her to lie down on the examination table. Now, this is the moment we will know the truth. I tremble slightly and a cold sweat runs through my body due to the nerves I'm feeling. Neither of us says anything. We both remain silent, letting the doctor do what he needs to do. He asks her to lift her shirt to apply some gel and run a device over her belly. My heart races frantically in my chest. I'm scared, very scared. I wish I didn't have to look or hear what the doctor has to say, but I must do it, for my wife. She needs me to be strong by her side. The doctor starts to move the device, and for a few seconds, we don't see anything. I see my wife's eyes start to fill with tears, and she nervously bites her lower lip. ‘s**t! Why the hell can't we see anything?’ ‘Please... please... please!’ I scream internally, not wanting to believe that the test was wrong. ‘God, don't do this to us.’ I've never been very religious, but now I need a miracle to bring a baby into this world. I'm so lost in my thoughts that I don't even realize the doctor is speaking. “Congratulations, guys. In about 8 months, you'll have a beautiful baby.” ‘I can't believe it! Did he really say what he said?’ “W-what did you say, d-doctor?” He looks at us with a radiant smile before answering. “That your wife is pregnant. She's about 5 weeks along.” ‘s**t, did we really do it?’ I turned my face to look at my wife, who is flooded with tears. I approached her and kissed her face completely. “Thank you... thank you... thank you. We finally did it, love. We'll be parents.” I allowed my tears to flow freely, crying like I've never done before. It's just too much to take in. I thought we would never have the fortune of becoming parents, but here we are, watching our little blessing forming in my wife's womb. Months passed, and happiness and joy were more present than ever. We decided to wait until the third month before telling our families. When they found out, they went crazy. Everyone was more than excited. They all knew how much it had cost us to conceive. But here we were, watching our little princess grow in her mother's perfect belly. Because yes, we found out at four months that it was a little girl who would come to accompany us. I imagined her just as beautiful as her mother, and I hope she will be, that she will resemble her magnificent mother. Pregnancy gave her a special glow. She looked more beautiful than ever. Her bulging belly suited her wonderfully. I loved lying beside her and feeling our baby's movements. The pregnancy progressed without major complications. I loved seeing her like that. I loved my life and the beautiful family we were building. And my little daughter, without even knowing her, had already won my heart. The day Bianca was born, it was in the middle of the night. We rushed to the hospital, and she was admitted urgently because she was dilated enough for the baby to be born. I never left her side, I was her support, her stronghold, and I needed her to know that. Almost an hour later, we welcomed our little Bianca Santorini. She was a beautiful thing, so tiny and fragile. I promised myself to do everything in life to make her happy. I wouldn't let anyone hurt her. I approached my wife with our little one in my arms so she could meet her. "Look, love, our little Bianca is beautiful," I said with all the love and sweetness I felt at that moment. "She's beautiful. Take care of her, please." She nodded, and her words echoed in my mind. "We will take care of her, both of us," I said, leaning in to kiss her forehead and then her lips. "I love you... no matter what, I wish for you to be very happy, and... and take care of her for me," she whispered, her words growing slower and more distant. I looked at her closely and noticed that she was very pale, almost colorless, and the sound of a machine began to blare loudly in the room, quickening the beats of my heart. I don't understand anything. I don't know what the hell is going on, but it doesn't look like something good. "Mr. Santorini, I need you to hand over the baby and leave the room." ‘What? No, I refuse to leave.’ "No, I don't want to! What's happening to my wife?" I asked desperately. They took the baby from my arms while two guards entered and forcibly removed me from the room. I screamed desperately for them to tell me what was happening. My wife didn't look good at all. I paced back and forth with nerves on edge. I have a bad feeling, but I prefer not to think about it. She must be fine. She has to be fine. She can't leave me alone. I need her with me... we need her. I don't know how much time passed until I saw the doctor approaching with a look on his face that I didn't like. I don't know if I want to hear what he has to tell me, but I need to know how my wife is. "Family of Mrs. Santorini…" I stood up abruptly and walked quickly to the doctor. I'm all alone. I haven't told anyone that we're here. "I am her husband... How is my wife?" I asked with a lump in my throat, trembling, and my heart beating a mile a minute. "Mr. Santorini, I'm sorry... I'm sorry to inform you that your wife died after giving birth to your daughter." It feels like a thousand buckets of ice-cold water being thrown on me. I stay glued to my spot, just staring at the doctor who just gave me that information, thinking he must have made a mistake or it's a sick joke, but no, his face shows nothing but sadness over the news. ‘No, I refuse to believe what he says.’ I shake my head repeatedly. "No, that's not true. She… she's fine," I managed to say through what I'm feeling. "I'm very sorry, Mr. Santorini, but your wife suffered an internal hemorrhage that couldn't be stopped in time." My eyes well up with tears at what he's telling me, but I still deny what he's implying. ‘She couldn't have left me.’ "Can I see her?" I said with a huge lump in my throat as my eyes fill up even more. I refuse to believe it. I need to see her. I don't believe anything they're telling me. I need to see it for myself. The doctor nods regretfully and takes me to where we had our little one. Everything is calmer now. It no longer has the same chaos as when they took me out. And I see her. She looks so peaceful, so serene. I approached her slowly and fearfully, touch her hand, and it's cold. I'm surprised by how cold it is. "Come on, my love, open your beautiful eyes," I whispered the words with immense pain in my chest. She doesn't respond. She doesn't do anything. She remains just as cold with her eyes closed, those eyes that always enchanted me whenever I saw them. "Come on, sweetheart... don't be like this. Open your eyes for me... tell me something, please." But nothing, I got nothing from her. I started moving her out of desperation because I'm not getting any response from her. "Open your eyes! Damn it, you can't leave me... I forbid it! You can't abandon me." Every second I spend by her side makes me realize the reality, that she's no longer here, that she left me, abandoned me. I can no longer hold back the tears. They started cascading down my eyes. "No! Don't leave me, I don't know what I'll do without you, my love," I screamed desperately, crying, defeated by what's happening, clinging to her lifeless body on the bed. I buried my face in her neck, searching for her scent, but it's not there. I hope to feel her arms caressing mine, but I only feel her cold body beneath mine. I hope she tells me "I love you" or something, but all I hear is the doctor repeating the time of her death. “Mr. Santorini, we need you to leave the room. We need to prepare your wife for...” I was shaking my head at his words. I don't want to hear it. I don't want her to say those words. I refuse to believe that I will never see her again, that I will no longer hear her laughter in the morning, her cheesy jokes or double entendres. I will no longer eat her delicious dishes. I will no longer feel the warmth of her body next to mine or the sweetness of her kisses. I approached her face, drowned in sadness, I run my hands over her cheeks, caressing them one last time. “I-I love you.” I said goodbye even though I don't want to. I kissed her lips that I love so much, hoping for a response, but I get nothing, just the coldness of her skin against mine. I looked at her one last time, hoping for a damn miracle, but nothing. I lost her; she is no longer with me. “Mr. Santorini, would you like to see your daughter?” I heard a nurse speaking to me. I nodded mechanically. I don't even know what she asked me. I let myself be guided by her and she takes me to the newborn area. When I'm looking at a baby who looks just like my wife in the mirror, that is when I realized where I am and who they are showing me. ‘My daughter... our daughter.’ I observed her carefully for several minutes and I realized that she looks just like my wife. The little one opened her eyes, and they are the same color as... as her mother's. I denied what I’m seeing. Anger and rage consumed me. Because of having her, I lost my wife, my spouse, the love of my life. I observed her a few more seconds. I indicated the name we had chosen. I didn't say anything else. I turned my face and left... I don't want to see her. Seeing her only hurts me. Because of her, I lost her... I lost my reason to live!

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