Ivan, a twenty-three-year-old rake, was returning home in the morning. He had a great time at the club, lighting up all night with the beautiful Lika, who dreamed of marrying him. Ivan laughed at her wishes because he didn’t want to change anything in his life. And why would he do that?
His rich father provided for his life, pulled him out of scrapes, sponsored whims … under such conditions, it was just stupid to become independent. Of course, Ivan held a good position in his father’s company, but practically did not appear there.
And now I intended to go to bed, because I felt incredibly tired. But his father broke his plans. Andrey Petrovich was sitting in an armchair with a cup of coffee in his hands and thinking about something. The appearance of his son interrupted his thoughts.
– Where have you been?
– Well, at the club. Why aren’t you sleeping?
– I’m waiting for you. I want to know when you’re going to hold your head?
– Pa-a-ap, well, don’t start. I want to sleep…
– You need to get married, – said Andrey. “Your mother and I have lived for thirty years. And they were happy. And if she had lived to see today, she would have supported me. – Andrey paused and asked: – Do you have a fiancee?
– I see. So I’ll find you a bride myself.
– Oh-oh, Dad! Well, let’s do without these cinematic moments. Someday I’ll get married and have children, you’ll mess with your grandchildren, and I’ll become a happy father of a family… only now I’m going to sleep, okay?
— no. Drink coffee, take a shower, change clothes. You have half an hour for everything. Then we will go to the facility.
– Uh-uh, pa-a-ap…
– I said: half an hour! – Andrey got up and left the room, and Ivan grimaced and, groaning, collapsed into a chair … and an hour later he left with his father for the facilities.
The day dragged on unbearably long and Ivan, feeling his head start to crack, asked his father if they would be home soon. Andrey grinned:
– Are you in a hurry to go to the club?
Ivan did not answer, although he understood his father’s sarcasm, but what kind of club is there, he would like to take a shower and get to bed.
Approaching the house, Andrey noticed a disabled beggar standing with an outstretched hand and asked the driver to stop the car. Ivan did not hear what they were talking about, he, without waiting for his father, hurried up to his room and collapsed on the bed, unable to move either arm or leg.
A few days have passed. Once Andrey called his son to him and said in a tone that brooked no objection:
– I found you a bride.
– Yes? – Ivan was unpleasantly surprised, – and who is she?
– Surprise. You’ll see tonight. I invited her and her father to dinner with us. She is your happiness named Irina.
Ivan remained silent, deciding to see what else his father had come up with. But when he went out to meet the guests, he froze in amazement: in front of him was yesterday’s disabled beggar and some girl in a shapeless gray dress and without the slightest shadow of makeup on her face.
He was about to tell the servants to escort the beggars out of here, but his father beat him to it and politely greeted the beggar and his daughter, and then introduced them to Ivan.
The man’s name was Victor, and the girl’s name was Irina. She was about twenty years old and could have been called pretty if not for this dull outfit and sun-bleached hair gathered in a long braid. Andrey smiled at his son’s confusion and asked the guests to come to the table.
– Dad, what are you doing? Ivan said through his teeth.
– What kind of stupid jokes? Do you really want me to marry that little bitch? Or just decided to get me?
–I want you to marry her,” my father nodded. – And you will do it.
– Why?!!! Make people laugh?!
“You’ll understand that later. And you’ll thank me. And now let’s go to the guests, otherwise it’s inconvenient!
– I’m not going! I’m not going to participate in this circus! Go, they’re waiting for you, and I’ll be back in the morning.
— no. You won’t come back. Because if you disobey me, you’ll fly out of the house in your mother’s clothes. I won’t let you take a single rag. And you won’t be any different from this old man and his daughter. Understood? Then go! Well, I’m waiting!
Ivan realized that the time for jokes had passed. Suddenly he realized that his father would really do this to him. But Ivan had no idea how to live without money, so he clenched his teeth and nodded:
– I’ll be right there. I’ll just take a breath of air, calm down and come.
– That’s good, – Andrey slapped his son on the shoulder and went to his strange guests.
And Ivan, after a little thought, dialed Lika’s number and invited her to his place, and then went to the common table. Victor refused alcohol, which surprised Ivan a lot, he looked at the girl sitting modestly – she also drank only water.
Meanwhile, Victor began to talk about himself, and Ivan involuntarily listened, especially since he did not know anything from such a life.
Once Victor was an ordinary village guy and thought that he would live in his native backwater all his life. So it would have happened if not for one meeting. A girl doctor came to them for an internship, beautiful, cheerful and carefree. For a long time she was bored in their wilderness, and then suddenly she noticed Victor – a strong young hunter. He was 10 years older than her, single, and had been looking for a wife for a long time. So it seemed to him that there was no one better than Inna in the world.
Their love was fleeting, Inna became pregnant and went to the city to tell her parents about everything. She never returned to Victor. Several times he himself went to her, looking for a meeting, but her rich parents flatly refused to let him visit her. When he arrived for the last time, a neighbor reported that Inna had been married to some foreigner.
– And the child was given to an orphanage. Petka the driver told me about them. He took the girl there himself,” the old woman whispered confidentially. Victor was stunned:
– How was they given to the orphanage? When?
– And this, my dear, I do not know. You ask Petka, he’ll tell you.
For two long years, Victor tried to get Irishka to be given to him. For this, he even concluded a fictitious marriage in exchange for his village house, which after the divorce remained to that woman. But Victor didn’t regret anything. He took his daughter and went to the capital, where he found a job and rented a house.
They lived, of course, poorly, but they had enough for a modest life. Ira studied well and really wanted to go to college. Of course, she had to rely only on the budget, and therefore she diligently prepared for the future life. Irina did, and the father was very proud of the clever daughter.
Well, when the girl was in her first year, trouble happened to him: an emergency situation occurred at the construction site where Viktor worked, and he, at the cost of his life, saved a person from certain death. Everyone was sure that Victor would not survive, but he turned out to be stronger. That’s just the leg had to be amputated and lay in the hospital for a long time, restoring health.
Meanwhile, Irina was kicked out of the apartment and, crying, she told her father about it. Victor made sure that his daughter was given a place in the hostel, and he stayed on the street.
For four years now he has been living like this, sleeping in flophouses, or even in the open air. But he does not complain about anything and only dreams of one thing, so that his daughter does not need anything.
The small pension he received was credited to Irina’s card, and she could somehow survive at the same time. The girl had no idea that her father earns his living only by begging for alms. He himself told her that he lived in a village, not far from the city, deceived her that he had got together with a woman who was caring for him. And he asked not to come, explaining that he did not tell his new wife about his daughter.
Sometimes he saw Ira somewhere in the park. She told him about her successes, he lied about his life. And he hoped that, having unlearned, Ira would understand and forgive his lies. Of course, Victor did not tell all this at the table, he only briefly outlined his life. But even this was enough for Ivan’s soul to flash some respect for this tall, thin man. But Andrey knew everything.
He found out everything about Ivan from the first meeting, forcing him to tell the whole truth about himself. It was then that the thought flashed through his mind that Ira could become a good wife to his idiot son. And she will be able to become a kind and faithful companion for him for life.
The unhurried conversation was interrupted by the appearance of a guest unexpected for everyone except Ivan. It was Lika. She fluttered into the room, enveloping everyone with the scent of expensive perfume and, after greeting the audience sweetly, stared in surprise at Victor and Irina. It was very strange for her to see such people at the same table with Ivan and his father, and she was even confused. But then, breaking the silence that reigned when she appeared, she asked:
– Vanechka, and these are the very people to whom you wanted to introduce me as your bride?
Andrey raised an eyebrow in surprise and looked at his son:
– Is that so? Is it true?!
– Yes, – Ivan was confused.
– I just didn’t have time to tell you about it before.
– Ah, I see. – Andrey smiled and turned to Lika:
– And what? Are you ready to marry my son like this?
– yes! We love each other.
– OK. I didn’t think, though, that you dream of paradise in a hut, but if there is love between you…
– Dad, – Ivan began, – don’t… But Lika interrupted him, looking at Andrey with bewilderment and not understanding whether he was joking or not:
– How is it in the hut? Why in the hut?
– It’s just that we are ruined and Ivan is poor from today. We have a lot of debt on loans, the company is being sold off and even this house, where we have dinner for the last time, will go under the hammer. But you have love with my son, and there are no barriers to love. Really, son?
– Wa-a-anya-a-a … – Lika opened her eyes wide, – but how… – She abruptly got up and left, throwing Ivan:
– Don’t walk me out…
“I hope you understand, son, that I was joking,– Andrei said. – I just wanted to show the true face of your fiancee…
Ivan looked at Irina and suddenly saw warm sympathy in her eyes, and then she smiled at him, openly and simply, like a friend.
The next few days Ivan was surprised that his phone was silent. Usually they wrote him all sorts of nonsense, invited him somewhere, consulted about something, just found out how things were going. And then suddenly a complete ignore.
Ivan spent all the time with his father, helping him with his work, but one day, barely waiting for the evening, he went to his favorite club, and saw that no one was happy for him there.
“I didn’t understand,” he asked Sevka, an old friend, “what’s going on?”
– Lika told everyone that you are bankrupt. That’s all like mice and ran away…
– What a fool!
– Vanya, it’s not my business, but Tanya told me that Lika, after learning that you went bankrupt, had an abortion… Did you know she was pregnant by you?
Ivan jumped up, and immediately sat down, holding his head in his hands. And then he drank the cocktail served to him in one gulp and left, ignoring the crowd that parted in front of him.
A month later, Ivan married Irina, his father gave them a separate huge apartment, and helped Victor find a feasible job and bought him a small one-bedroom apartment on the first floor of a brand-new high-rise.
Ivan plunged into his work, trying not to get used to Irina, whom he understood he did not like at all. And she waited for him, cooked his breakfasts and dinners, simplified his life in every possible way and tried not to bother him, realizing that it was hard for him to get used to the idea that he was forced to marry her.
So three years have passed. One day Andrey called Ivan and asked him to come.
– Where are you, at home?
– No, son, I’m in the hospital.
– what?? What happened??? – Ivan rushed to his father and found him lying in a snow-white single room.
– Don’t shout! – My father asked quietly. – This morning was my last attack. then everything… your mom is waiting for me…I have been terminally ill for a long time. He lived on injections. But he hid everything, just like Victor. It was he who showed me how to raise my children. I’m dying peacefully. Ira is very good, you take care of her. She will not betray you and will be there for better or worse. Since you got married, I can’t get enough of you. For so many years I was worried that if I died, you would be left without support, and now I am sure that you will cope with any difficulties … All the documents are signed for you … the house, the company, the bills … everything is yours now … It’s a pity I didn’t have a chance to see my grandchildren … but I’m calm for you… And I’m so glad that I managed to say goodbye to you…
– Dad, why, why didn’t you tell me anything… we would have treated you abroad… saved you…” Ivan sobbed, pressing his father’s limp hand to his face.
– I love you, son, and I didn’t want you to suffer… goodbye, son…
Ivan remembered Andrey’s funeral badly. The house was filled with some people, someone was saying words of condolence, someone was crying, more flowers and mourning ribbons… All this was mixed up in the head of the inconsolable Ivan. And Irina, who was constantly and relentlessly by his side, reminded him that he was not alone.
For a long time Ivan wore mourning in his soul, tried to fill his head with work, was in no hurry to return home and did not want to go to his father’s now empty mansion, he was afraid of the silence that reigned in it. And a year later , Viktor also died…
During this time, Ivan turned into a real adult man, he lost carelessness, stopped being lazy, became serious and responsible. With Irina, he lived smoothly, without much passion in the relationship and, as it seemed to him, without love. He’s just used to having her around all the time. And this stability gave him confidence in the future.
However, soon, everything was shaken. One day, a new employee, Larisa, came to Ivan to get a job. She was wonderfully good, she knew it and knew how to use it. She spent several months trying to seduce Ivan, and one day n could not resist. And I didn’t regret it at all. It was Larisa who brought into his life the spark he dreamed of.
One day Ivan came home and saw Irina sitting at the kitchen table. She was crying quietly, and in front of her were photos of him with Larisa.
– Well, – he began with a challenge, – will you make a scandal for me?
She stood up and looked him straight in the eye. – I don’t know how to make a row. Be happy, Vanya… Goodbye…
He looked after her and shrugged: how many years they had lived together, and nothing had wavered in his attitude towards her. Even in bed, he simply performed his duties, although he could not help noticing that his wife was trying to please him first of all. And so she left, and he didn’t even think to stop her.
Ira settled in a one-room apartment left behind by her father. And Larisa moved in with Ivan, and he completely forgot about peace. Larisa, noisy, talkative, capricious, did not know how to take into account other people at all. She quickly quarreled with all the neighbors, openly rude to other residents of the house, defending a parking space or something else, she did not need to look for a reason for quarrels. And then she took out Ivan’s brain, demanding that he move to his father’s house.
–Wa-a-anya-I-I…” she drawled, “well, if you don’t want to live there, give me a house. I’m so dreaming of a big house…
Two months have passed. One morning Ivan got a call from his lawyer and said that someone had tried to attack their assets at night.
– We urgently need to freeze the accounts. Otherwise we will merge them.
– But how??? We have burning deals, and there the amounts of the penalty are simply fabulous. No one will lend me, I’m up to my ears in debt. Yura, what should I do?
– I don’t know what to tell you, boss… if I could at least sell something, I would definitely do it. But my old cottage will not cover even a fifth of the required amount.
Ivan thought about it. Father’s house. He really didn’t want to sell it, but there were simply no other options to solve the problem. Ivan went to Irina, her permission was required for the sale. She met him calmly as always. She listened, then shook her head.
– No, Vanya. Andrey Petrovich would not approve of this. You can’t do that.
– But what should I do??? Of course, you will be glad if I go broke… will you take revenge on me?
Irina looked at him, then went to the closet and took out a shoe box. Then she put it in front of Ivan.
– what is it? – Open it and you’ll see for yourself.
The box contained bundles of large bills, several bank cards and a piece of paper folded in half. Ivan opened it and saw the codes from the cards and the amounts that were stored on them. Ivan was stunned, not counting cash, there was a lot of money here.
– From where??? – he asked.
– Most of it is from Andrey Petrovich. The second one is from my father. Andrey Petrovich left the cards with me shortly before his death, so that in a difficult moment you would have unexpected additional funds. He called them your insurance. And I didn’t give it to you so that you would conduct business carefully, thinking that you have no one to count on.
And Dad… It turned out that the man he saved was a rich American. He came to check on the object where he almost died. And a few years later I found my father and thanked him with a large sum. Dad didn’t tell me anything about it. And when I asked him why he did that, he said he didn’t want the money to spoil me. He was sure that if I had known about these millions, I would not have studied so hard and, perhaps, would have become like your Face. Do you remember her?
– Why didn’t you take all this money for yourself? I didn’t know anything about them… You could have gone abroad and lived there happily…
– You see, you also think that I am the same as Lika. And I’m different. It’s your money, take it. And I have everything. And how much do I need?
– Thank you, Irisha, – Ivan reached out to kiss her, but she put out her hand, pulling away from him.
– Go, Vanya, it’s time for you…
Ivan left, but when he got to the car, he turned around: Irina was standing at the window and looking at him. Only now did he think how she had changed in appearance. And not for the better. Pale, with huge blue shadows under her eyes, she clearly felt unwell.
In the evening, having settled everything, Ivan called Ira and asked about his health.
“It’s all right,” she chuckled, “don’t worry.
He called her several more times, but she was clearly burdened by the conversation, and therefore Ivan stopped disturbing her. Thanks to Irina, the business was saved, and new funds even allowed it to expand. And yet, Ivan felt guilty before Ira.
He was terribly tired of Larissa, her loud beauty and quarrelsome nature caused irritation, but he could not get rid of her in any way. And then one day, returning home ahead of time, he heard Larisa’s voice.
– And I’m telling you that I can’t find out new passwords. He hides everything. And even changed the code on the safe. Listen, I’ve already leaked information about him to you, why didn’t you use it? Oleg, I’m not interested that you were in a hurry… I got a job with him specifically to report everything to you. And you’re a real ass…
Ivan came up, took the phone from her hands and said to the invisible Oleg:
– Don’t believe her, you’re not an ass, but I am… a stupid, stubborn ass… I would even say an idiot…
Larisa gasped, but Ivan was already holding her hand tightly and dialing the number of his company’s security service. Several days were spent trying to identify all the scammers. Three employees of the company were dismissed…
When all the problems were solved, Ivan went to Irina, but she was not at home. She didn’t answer the phone either. And only the neighbor, who found out who he was, said:
– So a week ago an ambulance came to her… They took your wife away…
Ivan did not listen to the rest, threw a bouquet at the door and rushed to the hospital. There he tried to find her, ran through all the departments, but there was no Ira anywhere.
– Listen, so a couple of days ago some Irina died. Precisely! Still a young woman, and cancer devoured … Oh, bitter grief…
Ivan sank down right on the dirty steps and sobbed, not shy of the people passing by. Suddenly the phone vibrated in my pocket. Ivan answered the call and immediately jumped up because he heard Irina’s voice:
– Vanya, did you call? Something happened?
– Ira… Irochka, my Irishenka! You’re alive! Alive! I almost lost my mind!!!! Where are you????
– In the hospital.
– In the hospital. Getting ready for childbirth…
– Kkkak? Are you married?
– Actually, yes… no one divorced us…
– And the child??
– Ours with you. I left pregnant.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
– And why? You have a new life, business, vanity … you are not up to us…
– No! No! Ivan shouted terribly.
– I understand everything. Sorry! Forgive me! I love you more than life! You and our son! We have a son, don’t we???
– Yes, Vanya, we will have twin boys…
Ivan sank down on the steps again, sobbing… But only now from happiness…
Five years have passed. Ivan is the best husband in the world and the most wonderful dad, standing at his father’s grave on the anniversary of his death and speaking softly:
– Thank you, Dad, thank you for everything… And especially for happiness named Irina!