Love of Money Above All Else

Synopsis: The Maximillion family places money on a pedestal and even though they appear to have the perfect family life, it is an illusion. The youngest daughter, who is getting married, is the object of another affluent man's affection. His feelings are true, while she is only interested in joining him for his fortune.

Chapter 1--Motive of the Daughter

Mr. Harold Maximillion and his beloved wife, Constance were looking forward to their daughter Erica's union to another millionaire she had known since her teenage years. His name was Sheldon and he had loved Erica since the moment Harold and Constance had matched the two of them together. Erica had played the part of an obedient daughter for years but beneath that false façade of lies she had been telling without the batting of an eyelash was an ultimate hatred of Sheldon and discontent with the marriage arrangement. Erica could've disagreed with her parent's decision to begin with but she felt such a move would be ill advised since she learned Sheldon was making a billionaire's salary. Half of that money would be going to her when the marriage was made legal and Erica already knew how she was going to spend it. No one else outside the Maximillion family was aware of this but Erica had learned from the best. Her parents felt money was the most important factor in their lives and they had lived an abundant living. There really wasn't much of an element known as affection as it existed in Sheldon's life. Personally, the Maximillions felt love was a bothersome emotion that held little if no importance in their lives and they had gotten along tremendously without it. Sheldon Pickering knew nothing of this hidden agenda or side in his bride to be, but as the adage goes, "Ignorance is bliss".

Chapter 2--Behind Closed Doors

The Maximillion/Harrodsburg wedding went off without a hitch, completely perfect and everything in its place. The bells pealed from the lofty church tower as the happy couple ran down the aisle, was showered with soap bubbles through bubble wands from loving friends and family and cheered at wildly as they gathered together inside the limousine to the upcoming reception.

Sheldon couldn't stop kissing Erica. He loved her with every last particle of his being and having been married to her was his dream come true. He couldn't believe what had just happened. In fact, he pinched himself to make certain everything was real. The pain only lasted a moment, but he had to smile at his beaming, radiant bride. She was an object of pure, unadulterated resplendence. Yet, he had no idea that she was using him for every last cent he was worth. As soon as she could find a way to divorce him, she would. If he committed suicide in the process, it was one more way to exude bonuses from the family. She had everything calculated and thinking of it made her sneer greedily as she allowed her newlywed husband continue smooching her in the limousine.

Erica became tremendously difficult over the following days, taking every chance she had to communicate her hatred toward the union between her and Sheldon but despite all the yelling and put-downs, Sheldon wasn't swayed. He still loved her and he combated her attempts at violence against him with gentility, understanding and kisses overflowing.

Erica was infuriated. No matter what she did, Sheldon wouldn't give up on her and wanted desperately to begin a family with her. Erica knew if this happened most of the inheritance would be going to the child and she couldn't have that. She made up a lie, rapidly.

"Sheldon, dearest. I don't think it is possible for me to have children.", she stated, not actually knowing if such a statement was true or not.

"It makes no difference. We can go to a fertility specialist and assess you. If you do have issues, perhaps we can take care of them. If not, we can always adopt.", Sheldon said, kissing her affectionately again. This was the time that she thought physical violence would deter him from pressing the issue any further.

"What's gotten into you ?", Sheldon questioned, wondering why Erica was lashing out at him without giving him a chance to quiet her or possibly calm her.

"I'm annoyed with this whole situation ! I don't want to bother with furthering your lineage in fact I want nothing more to do with you at all. Since you won't take a hint as to how I truly feel I am nullifying our marriage as soon as possible and nothing you can do can stop me, Mr. Harrodsburg.", Erica stated, honestly. That was the first truthful aspect she had ever conveyed to her husband of only 7 days. Sheldon was utterly destroyed and despite countermeasures to convince Erica to stay with him but had grown tired of Erica's tirades and unnecessary throwing of various objects at him. He would be the one to initiate the divorce and decided that he would move back home and start a new life for himself there.

Chapter 3--Slapped By Truth

Erica had ultimately succeeded in her goal of taking whatever alimony she could from her sap ex-husband Sheldon. In all honesty, she didn't care what he was doing now in his home state of South Dakota. In fact, she was ebullient that he wasn't bothering her any longer and the pleasant façade she had held in the beginning was a distant memory.

Erica now had more money than she knew what to do with and she was keeping the money to herself. The Maximillion estate all the while Erica was living a luxurious life was beginning to crumble and fall. Harold and Constance never asked for anyone's help before but they had lost so much capital that they were beginning to live similarly to a low-income family and had to sell everything simply to make ends meet. No matter how many instances they had called Erica, she had ignored them.

"We gave you life and loved you from the beginning of your entrance into the world, Erica, dear. Why must you treat us both so cruelly ?", was Constance's constant cry to her beloved daughter, who had grown deaf to their complaining.

"You 'loved' me with money, dearest mother. Money is the only comfort I know and it is all that I need in this world. It has been a friend in dire straights and it has never failed me.", Erica would answer, flippantly and disrespectfully. After that short conversation, as often times they were between Erica and her family, Harold would become incensed.

"If I wasn't a man of proper breeding, I'd cut her completely off from the estate indeterminately.", he said, nostrils flaring. Constance came close to him and embraced him for the first time in a long time like she did long ago when they had first met. It reminded Harold of the time they had truly been in love with one another before money had become a barricade between them. This was the only comfort that the couple had now. Their daughter had become alien to them. They didn't even know who she was anymore, but sadly they were living in denial. It was their values that they had taught her from an early age that had caused her develop in such a negative fashion and it seemed that her life was taking a very vicious downturn and no matter what Harold or Constance tried to do to intervene, their daughter was already a lost cause.

Unexpectedly while Erica was at a rather important social gathering for 'posh folks' from all over the world she had met a British fellow that she immediately fell dizzily in love with. His name was Cyril and he seemed to be quite popular with the female guests that had come to the gala. He could have any woman he so chose but he seemed to have his eyes set on Erica.

"Jackpot !", the greedy heiress mused as the dapper Brit sashayed over to her.

"Are you by chance Ms. Erica Ambrosia Maximillion ?", Cyril inquired in his seductive accent.

"Why, yes I am. Why do you ask ?", Erica answered, fluttering her eyelashes flirtatiously. "Well, I was wondering if you would like to come with me to someplace more comfortable ?", he said. Erica realized the sub context in the gentleman's words but little did he know that Cyril's intentions were less than gentlemanly.

Before Erica realized that the situation was dangerous, Cyril had held a knife to her throat and asked her for all her information. She did as she was asked, pleading him not to hurt her.

"I've had my way with all kinds of women, but you've given me what I have asked for and I know when to withdraw.", Cyril stated sardonically but wittily. Yet, he pointed the knife dangerously at her.

"If you should inform the authorities of what I have done here, no matter where you hide, I will find you and I will slit your throat while you sleep.", he vowed through gritted teeth as he left the room silently and escaped out the window in cover of darkness. Erica had lost everything. She was now like her parents and had nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to. Feeling utterly lost she decided to give her parents a call and try to make amends for torn feelings, broken hearts and misused trust which would take years possibly to overcome.

Chapter 4--Living With Less

After many years of counseling, Harold, Constance and Erica were able to begin life anew for the first time. Unfortunately, she had realized what she had been missing with Sheldon but he had ultimately moved on and married another woman who appreciated him for who he was. Strangely enough however, Sheldon forgave Erica for her past mistakes with him and the two had become good friends. In fact, the Harrodsburg family and the Maximillion family were still upon speaking terms and had refurbished their relationship together.

The Maximillions had to adjust to their newfound way of life. Erica had been the only one complaining about it day in and day out but she learned a valuable lesson. One didn't have to have boatloads of money in order to be happy. In fact, she could be much more joyful simply taking the time to enjoy what simple pleasures life had to offer her in every moment. There were still some times she missed the jubilant clink of change in her coin-purse but she found that it didn't compare to the laughter of her mother and father and giving some of her extra change away to someone truly in need.

Epilogue

The Maximillions may not be the empire they once were but their lives are richer than they ever thought possible. It took a bit of harsh reality to snap sense into all of them but many times certain individuals have to enroll in the school of hard knocks to be taught a lesson that remains with them for the rest of their lives.

Eventually Erica did marry and this time it was not for money. Like Sheldon, Philippe loved her dearly and grew along with her as he helped her along the sometimes treacherous pathways that life could lead them both down. Though at times the two of them had to draw in their belts to make ends meet they did their best for the baby they were going to bring into the world. Erica vowed she wouldn't make the same errors again as her parents had. This little boy or girl would be taught that money wasn't the answer for life's ills, nor was it meant to replace the precious connection among family and friends that makes life worthwhile and a much-needed sanctuary from the cruelties of reality.

The End