Angela Viktorovna looked at her daughter in bewilderment, not immediately understanding what she was talking about. When the meaning of Veronica’s words reached her, she threw up her hands:
– What are you making up? How are you getting married?!!! For whom???
– Mom, you’re talking nonsense. Don’t you know how to get married? Although, yes…” Veronica grinned, “your marriage was so far away, unsuccessful and short–lived that you can forget about it.
– Nika!!! Her mother scolded her.
– Well, I’m sorry, Mom, – Veronica clung to her mother’s shoulder. – You know how much I love you… And I love Egor too. He’s very nice. And I’m already 22 years old, after all, how many grooms can I sort out?
– Well, who is he, your Egor? What does he do?
– Mom… well, he’s a builder, plasterer, painter… In general, I’m busy on construction sites.
– It doesn’t get any easier from hour to hour! Is he a simple laborer??? Oh my God, Veronica! You are such a beautiful girl, a smart girl, you work in a good salon…Well, why do you need this beggar? Where did you find it?
– Just in my salon. He came to get a haircut. Mom, if you could see how pretty he is…
– My God, my daughter, well, who is being led to a pretty face nowadays? What about his beauty if he has holes in his pockets? No, I don’t even want to hear anything about him.
– Mom, if I said I would marry him, then I will! And no one, not even you, will dissuade me.
Veronica left the room, slamming the door with force. Angela Viktorovna looked after her, thoughtfully tugging at the belt of her robe. What kind of stubborn girl is that? As if to spite her mother, she decided to repeat her fate…
Once upon a time, Angela also fell for the sweet speeches of a blue-eyed handsome man and nothing good came of it. Kostya, unlike Egor, was not a beggar, his father held a good position in the district and was ready to do anything for his son. Angela decided at all costs to marry this major to herself and achieved this by successfully and quickly becoming pregnant, scaring his father with a loud scandal. The wedding took place, but Angela’s joy was short-lived…
Konstantin had already turned into a real despot in the first year of their marriage. He did not want to devote time to his young wife, walked from her right and left, not even hiding his endless mistresses. Angela, with an already well-rounded belly, ran after him in all the clubs where he disappeared, took him out of other people’s beds, screamed and cried, not skimping on evil words and insults.
Once Konstantin, being very drunk, responded to her reproaches with a swing hitting his wife. He couldn’t stop in time, and only when Angela fell to the floor, screaming in pain, came to his senses. The doctors did not save the child…
Angela lay in the hospital for a long time and made plans for revenge for her husband, who was detained by the police. But when Konstantin’s father appeared in the ward and offered to negotiate, the practical Angela pushed emotions into the far corner of her soul and agreed to the conditions that Igor Vasilyevich offered her.
So she got a big house in a nice village, where there were many new buildings. And Angela also owned a store, which was located in the same place, not far from the house. From above, Igor added some money to his daughter-in-law, as he said “for the first time.” In return, Angela took the statement from the police and agreed to divorce Konstantin. Igor’s money was enough for Angela for six months, besides, she did not sit idly by and, showing business acumen, quickly put her business on stream.
A few years later, she married Nikolai, a freight forwarder who often brought goods to her store. A year later, Angela gave birth to Veronica. When the girl turned six years old, Angela threw Nikolai out of the house, who turned out to be a worthless husband and father, forbidding him to appear next to them.
Since then, she has lived alone with her daughter, meeting men from time to time, but not allowing them to cross the threshold of their own home. And now Veronica decided to break their idyll and bring some beggar to them, who clearly coveted the prosperity of her silly and naive daughter.
– No, this will never happen! Angela exclaimed, looking excitedly at the huge mirror hanging in the hallway. – I won’t allow it!
But less than two months later, she was adjusting the wedding dress of her happy daughter and sighing about the fate that she had chosen for herself.
Angela didn’t like her daughter’s fiance. On top of everything else, it turned out that he grew up in an orphanage and had nothing at all behind his soul.
“It’s all clear,” Angela had told him then. – So the wedding will be at my expense. Well, you’ve settled in pretty well, lad.
“I asked Veronika not to arrange any celebration,” Yegor replied, and the color rushed to his face. – There won’t be a single guest from my side…
– Yeah… I see you haven’t had time to save up any money or friends. It’s all strange…
– Well, why are you so, Angela Viktorovna… It is difficult to make friends in an orphanage, everyone is there for himself. At least, that was the case with us. I had comrades in the army, but now they are far away. And I have been living here not so long ago, I arrived only six months ago, having got a job in a team for hire…
– Yeah, and immediately decided to arrange a warm place for myself. You’re a grasping guy, there’s nothing to say…
–You’re wrong,” Yegor flared up again and, with a restrained farewell, left.
Veronica decided the matter. She made a real scandal for her mother, threatened that she would definitely do something with herself, and Angela, frightened, agreed to everything.
It was more difficult for Veronika with Egor. She promised that they would live with their mother for a short time, and then they would rent a separate apartment for themselves. The girl’s bitter tears melted the guy’s heart, and he proposed to the girl, believing that one day everything would fall into place.
The wedding was fun, but Egor, feeling the eyes of the guests on him, blushed with embarrassment, realizing that they were thinking about him. In general, he just wanted to sign quietly, but Angela said that she would not be understood if she did not arrange a grand celebration for her daughter.
“After all, we are not the last people here,” she said to her future son–in-law, “and you will soon be convinced of this.
Egor shook his head and said nothing.
A year has passed.
All this time, Egor tried to somehow support his family, but no matter how much he worked, his mother-in-law’s income exceeded his own many times. In addition, Nika began to behave quite differently. Egor had no idea how wayward and capricious she was. She had never had enough of everything: his attention, money, entertainment.
Exhausted, Egor saved up money to take his wife to the sea, planning that they would have a good time there for two or three weeks. But on the fifth day they had to return home, because Lina’s requests were so high that Egor had money only for the return trip.
“I should have taken it from my mom,” Veronica burst into tears.
“No, I won’t borrow from her,” Yegor replied.…
– So what? Mom is outgoing! And I came to the sea for the first time and wanted to really relax!
– Yes, that’s why you went to the sea only twice, and the rest of the time you preferred to hang out in clubs and at all sorts of foam parties!
– So what?! We live once! And, for your information, we are also young only once! I want to live and have fun, and not lie like old fat aunts on dirty sand!
– Then you should have married some Rockefeller, not a simple builder!
Veronica sulked at her husband all the way back and even wanted to ask the conductor to transfer her to another compartment, but then she saw some two girls looking at her handsome husband and changed her mind.
– Come on, Egor, I’m sorry, – she came up and hugged the upset guy. – I didn’t want to quarrel with you. In the end, we still have everything ahead of us. We love each other… And we have a real family…
–Nika, I want a baby,” Yegor said. – Son or daughter.
– Egor… well, we told you…
– I didn’t say. The fact that we shouldn’t have a baby now, you and mom decided…
– Well, all right, Egorushka, all right, absolutely…Oh, Egor, I love you so much… if you want a baby, then there will be a baby…Just don’t be mad at me anymore…
Angela Viktorovna, having learned from her daughter their reason for returning home, contemptuously pursed her lips:
–I see,” she said. – And I warned you, Nika, that this would happen.
Veronica lowered her head:
– Mom, it seems to me that I still love Egor, at least I’m definitely jealous and I don’t want him to be with someone else. But this lack of money… just kills him. Mom, this is not the life I dreamed of. And he also insists that we move out of your place. And how will I live there? I’ll have to cook, clean and everything myself… Mom, talk to Egor, make peace with him, I don’t want to move away from you!
– Oh, my daughter… Well, wasn’t it bad for the two of us… yes, at least I found a normal husband, otherwise, don’t understand what… by the way, you know what? Yesterday I saw Igor Trofimov. He asked about you. That’s what I understand would be a husband, after all, his father is the director of the plant and he himself is in business … In vain, you still broke up with him.
– Mom, I caught him with another…
– Oh, well, but your Egor is faithful … – sighed Angela Viktorovna and added:
– Because no one else needs you… And you’ll sit alone all your life. Last night we just returned from rest, this morning he has already taken care of business. The worker…
– Well, it’s good, let it work, money is not superfluous! Veronica replied.
– Yeah, how… money… is it money?! That’s why you didn’t even have enough for a normal rest. But with Igor…
– That’s it, Mom, stop it…
When Egor returned home in the evening, Angela started a conversation with him that it was too early for them to move out from her.
– You shouldn’t think so. Especially since I’ve already found a place for Nika and me.
– Really? Angela shouted, unable to stand it. – Do you want her to starve there with you??? I won’t let you do that! You’re a beggar and you’ll always be one! Who needs you like this anyway??? Stuck to my daughter like a parasite!
– Nika, – Egor calmly turned to his wife, – I’m leaving right now. And you choose for yourself whether you stay here or come with me.
– Mom! Veronica exclaimed in despair, but Angela just waved her hand and, clutching her head, went to her room.
That evening Egor and Veronika moved to a new rented apartment. The small house was located in the same village, almost on its edge, and Nika almost burst into tears when she saw the conditions in which she now had to live. But the caresses and care of her husband somehow reconciled her with the unsightly reality and she, reluctantly, took up the arrangement of their housing.
Gradually, everything got better in their lives, only Angela Viktorovna, left alone, began to get sick often and Nika had to visit her mother often. Egor didn’t mind. Although his relationship with his mother-in-law did not work out, but Nika was her only daughter and the fact that she took care of her mother was understandable, understandable and correct.
Sometimes Veronica, returning from work, first came to her and only then went home. Yegor still returned late, there was a lot of work in the fall, people were preparing for winter and hurrying to repair their homes. The masterful and responsive Egor was simply in great demand.
Winter has come.
One day an old huntsman came to Yegor and asked for help. I had to go to Zaimka and bring some things from there.
“Egorushka, don’t refuse,– Trofimych begged. – I see the weather will change, my bones ache, I can’t take a step. I was there the other day, I left my backpack, I didn’t have the strength to drag it home. I would like to chop some more wood, put it by the stove, you never know who will need it. I wanted to get ready all the same, but as luck would have it, my old woman was completely ill, how to leave her, after all, if I go, so for two days, I won’t be able to manage before. And you’ll be home by evening.
– All right, Trofimych, don’t worry, – Yegor lightly patted him on the shoulder, – I’ll quickly pack up and run away.
– Where are you going so early? Veronica stretched in bed.
Yegor, dressing quickly, told about the request of the old huntsman, then came up and kissed his wife:
– And what are you going to do today?
– I don’t know yet… I’ll probably go to my mom…
Egor drew her to him:
– When will you become a mom yourself? Nika, you promised to give me a baby…
– I know, dear … – Nika smiled, – okay, go, you still have to get so far…
The path to Zaimka wound through the forest, but Yegor was not afraid to lose his way. Many times he helped Trofimych and often visited with him in an old log cabin, lost in the wilderness of the forest. A couple of times the path approached the road, along which cars sometimes drove, shortening the path between the villages, but it was a little higher, and the path passed along the bottom of the ravine.
Egor walked calmly and easily, looking around and admiring the winter nature, suddenly his gaze fell on something darkening in the snow. Egor stopped and looked closely, and then hurried to the aid of a man who, apparently, fell off a cliff on a snowmobile.
The mangled car lay not far from the silhouette dusted with snow.
– Hey, brother, are you alive? – Egor bent over the man and examined him carefully, then sighed with relief: there was a weak heartbeat. – Well, how did you manage to do that?
The stranger looked to be in his late fifties. He was wearing a nice warm suit and probably it saved him from frostbite, but it did not protect him from fractures. The man’s leg was unnaturally twisted, and his arm was also clearly broken, so Egor hurried to help the unfortunate. He put splints of broken branches on the fractures, fixing them with his torn shirt. Then he tried to bring the man to his senses by rubbing his cheeks and hands. When he finally moved, he gave him a few sips of hot tea. Then he lit a fire.
“What am I going to do with you?” Egor began to think. – It’s a long way to the village, the loan is closer, besides there is an old walkie-talkie. I can get there faster alone than with you, but how can I leave you here? Suddenly wolves… they can smell blood from afar…
Before Yegor had finished speaking, a long wolf howl was heard somewhere in the distance.
– Well, I told you, – Yegor shuddered and turned to the victim, who suddenly opened his eyes. – Okay, brother, you’ll have to be patient.
Egor was busy for about an hour, while he made some kind of travois and very carefully dragged the unfortunate man onto them. And then he threw the straps over his shoulder and pulled his burden towards Zaimka. Many times he had to stop and give the man tea, checking at the same time whether he was getting worse. Egor wrapped his scarf around his face up to his eyes and was happy to notice that the victim’s breathing became clearly visible. For several interminably long hours, Egor dragged him to Zaimka and when she finally appeared among the trees, he breathed a sigh of relief.
Soon Yegor called rescuers, telling them about the tragedy that had happened, then he flooded the stove and finally warmed the man and warmed himself. Feeling the warmth, the unfortunate man came to himself.
– Who are you? – he asked Egor in a weak voice.
Egor told me briefly.
– And I’m Oleg … – the stranger called his name. – I’m dying…
– Well, no. I put so much effort into saving you, so don’t even hope for it. Help will arrive soon and you will be taken to the hospital. Don’t be afraid, I won’t leave, I’ll be there…
The doctors arrived closer to night and, having hastily examined Oleg. they told Egor that he was doing well and did everything right.
– You saved his life! And when he recovers, we will definitely tell him about it.
“I know,” Oleg said and held out his good hand to Yegor.
He responded to the weak handshake and wished Oleg a speedy recovery.
Yegor did not return home at night, he was very tired and wanted to sleep, and in the morning he set to work and sat down to rest only after doing everything that the huntsman asked.
Egor returned home late in the evening and was surprised to see no light in the windows of his house. He realized that Nika was staying with her mother and went to meet her, not wanting her to return alone in the dark.
The streets were empty, people were sleeping, and Yegor suddenly felt a vague uneasiness. He quickened his pace and soon stood at the high fence surrounding his mother-in-law’s house.
The smell of smoke suddenly reached him, and Egor, who had been knocking in vain at the locked gate, climbed over the fence and rushed to the house. The glare of the fire illuminated the windows, something was burning in the house. Egor burst into the rooms and, choking with smoke, began to look for and call his wife and mother-in-law.
He found Angela quickly, she was lying on her bed in the bedroom and was unconscious, but Niki was nowhere to be found. Egor took Angela Viktorovna out into the street and, opening the gate, rushed to the neighbors, calling for their help. As soon as he saw that he was heard, he rushed back into the house to look for his wife. Feeling that he was about to drop dead, Egor got out into the yard. A lot of people were already crowding there, they brought Angela to her senses and Egor staggered up to her.
“I didn’t find Nika,” he said desperately, looking back at the burning house, “I went everywhere, but I couldn’t find her…
“Nicky’s not there,– Angela said through sobs. – Egor, dear, forgive me for everything…It’s all my fault… I ruined your marriage…
– Why was it destroyed?
– Nika left you. She went to Igor… Egor, she’s been dating him for several months now…
Neighbors called firefighters and an ambulance, talked about the fact that the wiring in Angela’s house had apparently closed, and she was sleeping and if it hadn’t been for Egor… But he didn’t hear any of it himself, because Angela’s merciless words rang in his ears:
– She went to Igor… She’s been dating him for months now…
A week has passed. Egor lived alone. He did not look for a wife and only went to the city to file for divorce. And even through the emergency room, I gave my mother-in-law some of her favorite food. A couple of days later, she, thin and sad, came to Yegor and knocked on the door.
– Egor… – tears appeared in the woman’s eyes. – Please, let me come to you at least for a while… I was at Niki’s, but she said that Igor would mind if I stayed with her. And you?
– Come in, Angela Viktorovna, I was just going to fry eggs, – said Egor. – Make yourself comfortable. How do you feel?
– Thank you … son, – the woman burst into tears. – And for the goodies that you gave me, it was you who gave them to me… and for your kind, kind heart…
Angela and Egor lived together for three months. They no longer quarreled, and Angela now simply doted on her former son-in-law. And then something happened that Egor did not expect in any way: Oleg appeared on his doorstep. He hugged Yegor tightly and after thanking him for his rescue, smiled:
– And I’ll follow you. I was told here that you are well versed in construction, so, I am the owner of the largest construction company in the region. And I desperately need an assistant who will lead a huge division. And you, besides, know all the subtleties of the work. Agree. You will live in the regional center. And if I ever decide to ride a snowmobile again, I will definitely take you with me, for insurance.
– Will you leave? Angela Viktorovna asked with longing in her voice, not taking her eyes off Egor.
He thought about it and shook his head:
– I can’t leave her. I’m sorry for Angela Viktorovna. And I have no one but her…
– Then let’s go together, – Oleg said and smiled at Angela: – Is it possible to make such a charming woman yearn?
A year has passed. Angela and Oleg quickly became attached to each other and soon became husband and wife, and Yegor married Oleg’s niece, a good, kind girl, whom he raised himself, after the death of her parents. Oleg had no children of his own, and he gave Nastya all his care.
Now, with joy, he entrusted her fate to Egor, to whom he was grateful both for the life saved and for the happiness that came with him to his house.