Anyuta turned off the annoying alarm clock, and looked sadly at the gray, leaden clouds covered the sky. It was raining for the third day in a row.
After watching her daughter peacefully snuffling, wrapped in a warm blanket, the woman smiled and softly kissed Evochka on the cheek. My daughter got sick again. All night a suffocating cough kept the child and mother awake. But this is not surprising. They lived in an old and damp room in a communal apartment.
In the summer, somehow more or less living conditions were tolerable, but with the onset of cold weather, water literally trickled down the walls in thin streams in the apartment. The house had been in disrepair for five years, but naturally, no one was in a hurry to respond to the numerous complaints of residents, arguing that there was no free living space for the resettlement of the old Khrushchev.
It was very difficult for Anya to raise her daughter, there were times when a desperate woman had the idea to give Eva to the Internet. But looking at her daughter, Anna understood that she would never be able to do this. She had to work from morning until late at night to somehow make ends meet.
At the age of 17, she became an orphan. All my life I lived with a single mother, in this tiny room, and dreamed of a better life, with a reliable and beloved person.
And it already seemed that she had met him, the one she had been waiting for all her life. Igor was a football player, he showed great hopes. But Anna was attracted to him not by professional activity, but by sincerity and kindness. Six months later, a young man made her a marriage proposal. For some reason, Anya burst into tears then, not believing that finally, after the loss of her mother, she had a native person who would be there all her life, and would never betray.
But, fate decreed quite differently. Before Igor left for the training camp, Anya found out that she was pregnant. She did not dare to immediately tell the good news to the groom, decided to wait until he returned, arrange a romantic dinner, and please the future father. But they were not destined to see each other again.
A loved one did not even bother to call, but only sent a message “Don’t wait for me, I fell in love with another woman, and I will never return to our city again.”
To say that she suffered is to say nothing. At that moment it seemed to her that she had died, disappeared from the face of the earth. And only a barely audible nudge in her side reminded her that she was not alone. That there is a little life in her, for which she simply has to pull herself together and move on.
Soon Anna gave birth to a lovely daughter, who quenched all her sorrows, and gave meaning to life.
As for the men, she simply did not pay attention to them. Having decided once and for all that he would not let anyone else into his heart, and would devote his life to his daughter.
– Good morning, Vera Vasilyevna. How was the night? I brought you some sweet tangerines. – Anya smiled, entering the ward to an elderly woman.
– Anya, well, you’re in your repertoire. You’re already staggering from the wind, you’re malnourished, and you’re carrying treats to me. You’re a kind soul, but you’re unhappy,” the old woman said.
– It’s nothing. You’re sick, you need vitamins more,” Anna waved off, laying out simple gifts on the bedside table.
The young woman was very pleased with this part-time job. A month ago, Anton Fedorovich, an old friend of an elderly woman, called her and said that he was urgently looking for a nurse for literally a couple of hours a day. After hearing the salary amount, Anna happily agreed. After all, for the same money, she had to wash floors and dishes in a cafe for a month.
– Sit down, Annushka. I have a serious conversation. I’ve been watching you for a long time, and today I was once again convinced of the correctness of my choice. I feel like I’m leaving this world soon. But before leaving, I would really like to change your fate.
I am rich, but unfortunately, I have no heirs. I have a luxurious house in the Moscow region, this is the former estate of our ancestral estate. So, I will register the house for you, but I will have one condition that you will have to fulfill.
– Vera Vasilyevna, are you ill? What kind of wealth? What estate? Anna asked in fright, and pressed the staff call button, realizing that the unfortunate woman was delusional.
A minute later, a young doctor appeared in the room. He wanted to change the patient’s pressure, but she just waved him off, asked him not to interfere with the conversation.
– Annushka. I’m telling the truth. And now Anton Fedorovich will come here with the documents. He has been my lawyer for many years.
In confirmation of her words, a trim gray-haired man entered the ward, who smiled at Anna and kissed Vera Vasilyevna’s hand.
– Do you agree to my client’s proposal? – in a businesslike tone, I asked the incomprehensible Anna.
– What offer? – the woman was confused.
– I’m registering my house for you, but with one condition. You should move there immediately after my death to live and take care of my relative. Don’t worry, he won’t cause much trouble. It is important that you are always there – the old lady explained.
– But it’s impossible. I have to work.I have a daughter,” Anna still did not believe in what was happening, not fully understanding what this strange old woman wanted from her.
– Anything is possible. I have family jewels. There, diamonds alone will be enough for you for three lifetimes. In our family, it was not customary to sell them, they were inherited from generation to generation. But, apparently, some kind of curse has been sent to our family. It so happened that I do not and will not have blood heirs. I also bequeath the jewels to you, you have the right to dispose of them at your discretion. I advise you not to sell everything at once. Such money cannot be stored either in the house, or even more so in the bank.
The lawyer turned around, and only now noticed the doctor, who was standing at the door with his mouth open.
– Please leave us. Vera Vasilyevna does not need your help at the moment. He hurriedly left, and the man turned to Anna.
– Do you agree?
“I, I don’t know,” the woman muttered, taken aback.
– I don’t see the point in your disagreement with my client’s proposal. As far as we know, you live with your child in an emergency house, in deplorable conditions. You have to work from morning to night, and your daughter spends most of her time in kindergarten.
And now you are offered to live in the countryside, in a cozy big house, to have the opportunity never to work in your life, not to know poverty, and to give all your free time to raise your daughter.
And in exchange for all this, you just need to serve a plate of soup to a person who can’t get around himself. It seems to me that there is no point in thinking about it. We need to agree while there is such a chance.
– Annushka, my heart will be at peace only if you live in my estate. Please agree. Fulfill my last wish,” Vera Vasilyevna said weakly.
– Yes, of course I agree, – the woman smiled, wiping away a tear. – It’s just so unexpected. Thank you very much.
Anna hugged the old woman, very sorry that the days of this unfortunate woman are almost numbered. She was as if in a fog, signed some documents, and a contract of lifelong care and maintenance for an unknown person.
The woman did not go into Vera Vasilyevna’s soul and ask about him. It was obvious that her husband was helpless, probably they had no children, so they were left alone in their old age. Anya just now remembered that Vera Vasilyevna never really talked about her personal life, only about the career of an opera singer who was once known throughout the country.
– Girl, can I let you down? – Anna shuddered in surprise, and turning around, she saw the doctor, the same one who came into the ward today.
– no. I’m on the subway. It will be faster this way.
“Is our old woman really that rich?” The young man suddenly asked.
– I don’t think so. You can see the state Vera Vasilyevna is in,” Anna herself did not understand why she lied to this man. Maybe because from his gaze there was a chill that penetrated through.
– Well, yes, – the doctor grinned angrily, and got into an expensive foreign car, quickly drove out of the hospital territory.
A few days later Vera Vasilyevna died. The woman left quietly and calmly, in a dream, with a smile on her lips.
“Don’t cry, my dear. She has lived a bright, interesting and long life. She was a kind woman. She left a warm trace in our hearts forever,” Anton Fedorovich said sadly, hugging Anna.
– I will arrange the funeral, and you get ready to enter into the rights of inheritance, and leave for a new life.
A month later, Anna and her daughter were standing in the courtyard of a huge house, looking with delight at the local beauty. The woman still did not believe in her luck. It seemed to her that this was a pleasant, vivid dream, that now she would wake up in her damp, squalid room, and run to scrub the floors until late in the evening.
– And where is the person I’m going to take care of? – I asked Anton Fedorovich uncertainly.
– In the house, most likely. He is very self-contained. Practically does not happen on the street, is taciturn. I think Igor Petrovich will not give you any special problems and troubles.
Now I will give you the deceased’s jewelry, and with a sense of accomplishment I will leave for the city. If I may, I will visit you once a week. Well, if you suddenly need me, then call at any time of the day.
Anna plucked up the courage, and holding her breath, crossed the threshold of the house. In the large living room by the window, a man in a wheelchair was sitting. Hearing that someone had entered, he turned around abruptly, and the woman covered her mouth with her palm so as not to scream in surprise.
It was Igor. The one, her first and last love, Eva’s father.
– hello! he grinned. – After all, she sniffed out, found me. I tried in vain. Get out of here.
– Egor Petrovich, control yourself. Is it possible to talk to a woman like that? Moreover, Anna Viktorovna is your new guardian. After all, you live under the same roof. I advise you not to complicate this life either for her or for yourself,” Anton Fedorovich was indignant.
– In what way! And I guess I underestimated you. Anton Fedorovich, I insist that I be assigned to a home for the disabled tomorrow. I’m not going to live under the same roof with her,” Igor turned pale.
– As far as I understand, you know each other? I suggest not to cut with hot. I’ll come by the day after tomorrow. I hope you will find a common language, and you, Igor Petrovich, will not make stupid, thoughtless decisions. Anna, these are actually the jewels that Vera Vasilyevna bequeathed.
The lawyer took a neat box out of his briefcase, put it on the dresser, and hurried away, leaving the confused Anna alone.
– Igor. Can you still explain what’s going on? How did you end up in Vera Vasilyevna’s house? And why are you sure I was looking for you? One message was enough for me to permanently delete you, and in general all men from my life.
I feel happy next to my daughter, and believe me, I will never go to baseness, I will not seek a meeting with a man who wiped his feet on me. Where is your beloved woman, for whom you trampled my heart? Why don’t I see her here? Quit?
– There was no woman, – Igor sighed wearily. – I’m sorry if I offended you. I knew that my aunt had bequeathed everything, including me, to some nice and kind woman, but I never expected to see you here.
I got seriously injured many years ago, there, at the training camp. On the same day I had an operation in one of the best clinics in Japan. But, after it, I never felt my legs. The doctor spread his hands, said that surgery is already powerless here. Now everything depends on my body.
Even though I was young, I understood that this was tantamount to a sentence. It was at that moment that I made the decision to disappear from your life. Sent a message. He lied about meeting someone else. After discharge, he went to live here with his aunt. That is all. I will never agree that you take out the ship for me, so I will not change my decision, and I demand to send me to a boarding school.
– Won’t your daughter even stop you? Anna asked quietly. – Maybe you still want to take part in Eva’s upbringing?
Igor changed his face, looked out the window at the girl who was playing carelessly in the yard. It was obvious how hard it was for him at this moment.
– no. I don’t want to be a burden to you and to my daughter. All. The conversation is over,” the man said, and retired to his room.
Anna couldn’t come to her senses. I was in a state of stupor all day. She could not allow Igor to go to a disabled home because of her. After all, she understood what kind of life awaits him there.
The woman decided to renounce the inheritance and the contract of lifelong custody. It would be better for everyone, including her. Igor has changed a lot over the years. He became alien and distant. The Igor she loved is no more, and never will be.
The woman cooked dinner. She silently brought Igor into the room, fed her daughter, put her to bed, and went to bed herself. Sleep did not come to her that night. She tossed and turned for a long time, for some reason she felt creepy and uncomfortable in this huge alien house. Ominous noises were heard everywhere, and the cry of an owl outside the window only added to the horror. She managed to forget herself in an anxious dream already in the dead of night.
Hearing the cracking and ringing of breaking glass in the room, the woman jumped out of bed and screamed in horror. At that moment Eva also woke up. Throwing her arms around her mother’s neck, the girl burst into loud tears. Seeing the silhouette of a man towards the room, Anna froze in horror, realizing that this was the end. At that moment, the light came on in the room, and another uninvited guest jumped into the window.
– You? – the woman was taken aback, recognizing the doctor.
– hello! – he smiled with an animal grin.
– Where are the stones?
– What stones? the woman whispered, understanding why the doctor had come.
– Don’t make a fool of yourself. If you want to stay alive with your brat, you quickly confessed where the brulies are.
But Anna clearly understood that the doctor would not leave any witnesses alive, regardless of whether she would give him the jewels or not. She remembered that the box was still on the dresser in the hallway. Apparently, the thieves did not know that their prey was so easily accessible.
– And now we’ll hang the girl by the leg to the window, then the mother will be more accommodating, – the second bandit neighed so that the walls shook.
– Help! Igor, help me! Anna screamed, hugging her daughter to her, and realizing that with all his desire, Igor is unable to help them.
– Are you calling your invalid? Well, well, shout louder,” the doctor grinned.
Igor did not sleep that night. He heard a window break on the second floor. I heard the men talking, and Anna’s scream. The man knew that somewhere in the kitchen, behind the refrigerator, there was an alarm button, which his aunt had once told him about. After all, the police won’t arrive in such a remote place for at least a couple of hours.
Having left his room noiselessly, he headed for the kitchen. But it was only when he drove up to the refrigerator that he realized that he would never reach the cherished button. To do this, they had to get on their feet and reach for the refrigerator.
Hearing Anna’s desperate cry again, he closed his eyes from the pain, and not believing in himself, he raised himself on his hands from the chair, and the next moment stood on his feet. After taking an uncertain step, he reached out to the cherished goal, and the next moment a loud alarm howl was heard throughout the neighborhood.
– what is it? – one of the raiders shouted in fright, and quickly jumped out of the window. The doctor followed him without further ado.
Anna, not letting go of her daughter, ran down the stairs. When she saw Igor lying on the floor, she ran up to the man.
“Are they gone?” – he asked.
– yes. They ran away at the same moment when the siren sounded. How did you turn it on? And why are you on the floor?
– Anya, I can feel my legs. But I couldn’t resist for a long time, strong weakness in my legs, – admitted Igor
– Really? – the woman was delighted. – That’s great! We’ll go to the clinic in the morning.
“Were they looking for jewelry?” Igor asked.
– yes. Searched. They probably didn’t even realize that the diamonds were lying on the dresser in the living room. It was a doctor from the clinic where Vera Vasilyevna was lying. He heard our conversation, and apparently lost his peace, followed me. We need to report to the police urgently. But it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that you got on your feet,” the woman rejoiced like a child.
– I’m sorry for everything, – the man smiled.
– Daughter, were you really scared? Don’t be afraid. Dad won’t let anyone offend you,” Igor took his daughter by the hand, making it clear that she is under reliable protection.
Six months later, a few guests gathered at Vera Vasilyevna’s estate. Among them was Anton Fedorovich, who smiled all the time, rejoicing for the newlyweds.
– Congratulations, my dears. After all, Vera Vasilyevna has achieved her goal, she has succeeded.
– What do you mean? Igor raised an eyebrow.
– Did Auntie know about our relationship with Anna?
– Of course I knew. As you know, there are no random meetings. After all, every meeting is a test, a punishment, or a gift of fate,” the lawyer philosophically remarked.
– In our case, this is a gift of fate, – the young people said in one voice, and laughed.
Needless to say that they were happy, I think not. It was read in their gaze, in every cell of their body and soul.
Anna and Igor endured difficult trials, but finally found each other again, this time for always.