Chapter 01: Laid Off

1806 Words
My name is David Wayne, and I'm in my late twenties. I was laid off today, and it was not because I was slacking off at work, but rather because my colleague, Zack, framed me. I headed toward my mother-in-law, Rosie's house in low spirits. Being a live-in son-in-law was a source of constant suffering for me as she thought of me as nothing but a loser. My beautiful wife Kate would be waiting for me at home. Her elegance and her figure were unmatched, and the number of suitors she had had was simply too high to count. As for the one she called husband—in other words, me—there was not much to say. Other than being a live-in son-in-law, I was just pretending to be her significant other. She was using me as a shield to escape marriage, and we had agreed that I would pretend to be her husband while she would pay for my father's medical expenses. In the past two years, my father's medical expenses cost us a lot of money, but Kate never complained. However, the same could not be said about Rosie, whose expression grew more unsightly as days passed by. In the time I spent pretending to be her husband, I never once touched her. However, I accepted the situation, as I was also aware that I was not worthy of her. On the way home, I received an unexpected call from the hospital. "Mr. Wayne, how are you? It's the hospital staff here. I'm calling you to tell you that your father's condition has deteriorated, and further tests will be needed. The total bill has already been sent to your phone. Please remember to pay on time." At that moment, I felt the world around me become even darker... As I dragged my tired body home, I wondered how I should tell Kate and Rosie that I was fired, and that I would need another four thousand dollars for my father's medical expenses. While I was hesitating outside the door, I noticed the sky getting dark. I braced myself and pushed the door open. To my surprise, I found no one in the living room. However, I heard some sounds coming from the study. I thought it was Kate, busy with her work. I walked gingerly toward the study to give her a surprise. Instead, I heard Rosie's voice as soon as I pushed the door open. "Tell me, what do you want to do? How long has it been since he came here? In all this time, what has he done for our family other than eating our food? When I first saw him, I thought he was someone capable. I took him in and even considered him my son, hoping that he would help us elevate our position. Hah, speaking of which, he really acts like a pampered son as of late. Even if he gives me a grandson in the future, it won't change how much of a good-for-nothing he is!" Rosie's voice was loud, and each of her words stabbed my heart. I felt short of breath and closed my eyes, subconsciously gritting my teeth. I hoped these actions would give me some comfort, making me unable to hear Kate's reply. My brain was already having a hard time processing my thoughts. "John Barkley returned from abroad the day before yesterday, and he immediately came to visit us. That guy would really make a good son-in-law. He even mentioned you, asking how you were doing lately." "Mom, I'm already married, okay?" "It doesn't matter. It's pretty normal to get divorced nowadays. Do you really want to waste your youth with that good-for-nothing? In the worst case, we can give him some money and shoo him away." "It's not about the money. Anyway, let's talk about this later. I just got back, and I'm tired." "Hmph, this girl!" When I heard the sound of footsteps, it was already too late for me to hide. The door to the study was pushed open, and I found myself face-to-face with Kate. She was somewhat startled, and her eyes darted around. "You're back. Go wash your hands and get ready to eat, all right?" she said indifferently. "Yeah." It was the only word I could squeeze out. Although I felt wronged, I did not let it show on my face. I did not have the qualifications, nor the courage. From the very beginning, our marriage was doomed to be like this. She wanted to escape marriage and decided to settle on me, someone she had just met in a bar. As for me, I wanted to help my father treat his illness and decided to marry into her family. In the past two years, I never laid a finger on her. Even though my 26-year-old wife was a ripe fruit ready for the picking, I could only sleep on the floor at night and relieve my urges in the bathroom when the need arose. We used each other without interfering too much in the other's life. At the dining table, Rosie kept singing praises of the rich and handsome John Barkley. After a while, she started to sound like a broken record. My head was throbbing as I pondered how I should tell them about the company laying me off and my father's medical expenses. "Kate, I need to tell you something. I..." Before I could finish, Kate put down her fork and gently shook her head. She sighed and said, "I'm a bit tired. You two keep eating. I'm going to rest." As soon as Kate left, the last vestige of my will to live left me as well. Sure enough, with Kate gone, Rosie became even more brazen and arrogant. "Well, well, what did you want to tell Kate?" she demanded coldly. "Nothing." I lowered my head and remained silent. "Fine. If you won't talk, I will! David, it's been two years since you've come here. You've earned next to no money and are burdening us with that half-dead father of yours. I've endured for two years, but now it's time to put an end to all this." She then took out a divorce agreement, which left me stunned. "Sign it, and stop being a burden to my daughter. David, being self-aware is very important, and you do realize how useless you are, right?" My dignity was trampled upon, and my face paled with anger. However, I did not know how to refute her words. Rosie's words made my heart bleed. I felt like a criminal on the execution platform waiting for his sentence. I stood up and left the room without turning my head. I felt no warmth whatsoever in this house. "Oh, you sure are difficult. Let's see how long you can resist. Starting next month, I'll stop paying for your father's medical expenses! Just wait and see as he breathes his last. Hmph!" As the door closed behind me, I felt my head spinning. I had always considered myself a strong man and felt that no matter what kind of venomous words were spat at me, I would be able to endure them. It was only when she cursed my father and wished him death that I felt like slapping that hag! Tears streamed down my face. I was a human being, but at that moment, I hardly felt treated like one! I arrived at the park while trying to think of a way to gather money. After all, I had to deal with my father's medical bills one way or the other. While I was deep in thought, my phone rang. At first, I thought it might be some important news from the hospital. But after a careful look, I discovered that it was a message from Bank of America, which left me puzzled. "Dear customer, $8,000,000 has been credited to your account XXXXX749. Total available balance: $8,006,000.15." I found myself short of breath, and my legs almost betrayed me. It was my first time seeing so much money. And at this moment, my phone rang again. It was a call from abroad. I picked up with shaky hands. "He-Hello, who is it?" "David, did you receive the money? You've had it hard all these years." The person on the other end knew my name, which led me to wonder who they might be. Since I was a kid, it was just me and my father. There were no other relatives, and definitely not relatives from abroad. "Hello, I'm David Wayne. May I know who you are?" "I'm your mother's personal butler." Hearing the word "mother", I trembled deep down. It was a word that had never been part of my life. Did I even have a mother? I kept silent, finding it hard to conceal the turbulence in my heart. The person on the other end continued, "David, I'm abroad right now, but I'll meet with you within two days and tell you everything in detail. This money belongs to your mother, and of course to you. You can spend it as you wish. You'll receive more such deposits in the future. That should be all." "Wait, did you just say 'mother'? Where is she now? Where did she get all this money?" "I can only tell you that your mother is one of the richest people in Dubai." Before I could ask other questions, the call ended. I felt confused, just as if I were in a dream. My mother is one of the richest people in Dubai? In any case, having extra money was not a bad thing. I did not lose myself in happy thoughts and took a taxi to the hospital. I was already behind in payments, so I decided to seize this opportunity to settle them and give my father the best treatment. When I arrived at my father's ward, I saw his withered face. From his expression, I could tell that he was not feeling well. "Ah... ahh..." He could not speak well, but it was clear that he wanted to say something, and it seemed urgent. I subconsciously lifted his quilt. The smell of urine immediately assailed my nostrils. I lost my temper and started shouting for the nurse responsible for my father. My angry voice was somewhat loud, which attracted the stares of the other patients. However, I ignored them. "Nurse! Where is the nurse!" I raised my voice further. "I'm coming! We're inside a hospital, why are you shouting so loudly? Have some restraint!" The female nurse recognized my voice, so she came over leisurely. Since I had been having a hard time paying my father's medical bills, this woman had constantly been looking down on me. From her expression, it was clear that she was being sarcastic.
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