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Lover and Lies

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In Líliam Nottingham's life, family has always been the priority. Raised in a loving yet secretive environment, she and her twin sister, Louise, decide to move to the United States in pursuit of a university education. However, the buried past resurfaces when an unexpected revenge, orchestrated by someone she believed to be dead, threatens to unravel the family secrets. Amidst a whirlwind of events, Líliam finds herself entangled in a complex plot, making new friends, gaining enemies, and being drawn into a love triangle filled with mysteries and intense passions. Embark on this emotional journey full of twists and turns, where love and lies intertwine, testing the limits of loyalty and revealing buried truths from the past.


London, 1997.

The air was scarce in her lungs. Sweat glued her hair to her forehead, and her vision was blurred from so many accumulated tears. But she couldn't cry, not yet.

The path seemed narrow, and her feet slid out of the black shoes she wore. Her dress was torn, and the claw marks on her face burned like hell, but nothing hurt more than her heart.

"Just a little more, my dear, we need to run just a bit more," Antoni shouted with a hoarse and choked voice. His once handsome face was stained with blood, swollen, and marked with cuts that would leave scars to remind them of what had happened that night. To remind them of him.

Even though she was exhausted, Helena ran and ran until they finally reached the entrance door of that house that always seemed ominous to her. It was raining heavily, and the cold made their bones ache, but she couldn't give up. They had come too far to end like this, in that way. No, they needed to run more, they needed to escape from there, from that prison.

Before she could pull Antoni away, she saw a luxurious car approaching, and for a minute, she panicked, imagining the worst. However, a feeling of almost relief struck her. With a well-tailored suit, well-groomed hair, and impeccable posture, Joseph hurriedly got out of the car.

"Young Antoni, the car is ready," his voice was choked, and he was already inspecting Antoni's face with care. The older man had always been like a father to Antoni, which is why the younger one threw himself into his arms without hesitation, sobbing and expressing his fear, his sin. "Calm down, Antoni. I'll take care of everything. You and Miss Helena must leave as soon as possible. I arranged tickets to another country; don't worry about visas or housing—I've arranged everything, and all the necessary information is in this notebook."

"How did you do all this in such a short time?" Helena asked, with a suspicious look.

"I've been planning an escape for you for some time. The way Mr. Edmundo was dealing with your relationship was worrying me."

"What's your interest in all this?" she asked, still wary.

"Just the well-being of my boy," the older man replied impatiently.

"Helena, let it go. Joseph would never harm me. Come on, we need to be at the airport in an hour."

"Here," Joseph handed two backpacks and a small key to Antoni. "Inside the backpacks, you'll find clothes, hygiene products, and shoes. The key is for a safe at the airport; there you'll have everything you need."

"Thank you, Joseph. For all these years and for always being by my side." Antoni thanked and hugged him again. "Will you be okay?"

"Don't worry, my boy. I'll be fine if you're happy." Joseph touched Antoni's injured face in a subtle farewell and turned to Helena, who remained unusually quiet. "Miss Helena, take care of my son's heart, be happy together, and take good care of the baby that's coming."

Helena smiled. She touched her belly, realizing that now they had a new life as their responsibility. The future was so uncertain that she felt like crying, but not yet. She couldn't cry.

"Thank you, Joseph. Shall we, Darling?" she asked the woman. Antoni said goodbye once again, and they got into the car.

The journey to the airport was a blur for Helena. Her head hurt, as did her heart, full of guilt. But looking at Antoni, she knew she would never regret what she had done that night. Thinking about what her beloved had gone through to finally be free gave her strength to stay on her feet.

They stopped at a gas station to refuel, and under the curious looks of the attendant, they managed to reach the bathroom, where they could clean themselves as best as they could and put on new clothes. They took care of their wounds, and there, a new Antoni and a new Helena were born, free from any prejudice.

Without delay, they returned to the road, heading to the airport. Already at their destination, the two walked to the safe, opened it, and faced a large sum of money and two plane tickets.

"Brazil?" she questioned.

"At first, yes. He also left an account with... wow, there's a lot of money here," Antoni said surprised. And indeed, it was true. Apparently, Joseph had thought of everything.

"Helena, are we doing the right thing?"

"Hey, leave that for later, my love. Think about our child; we need to keep them safe. Let's leave this for later, alright?"

Antoni nodded and embraced the woman again, smelling the cinnamon scent coming from her red hair. He loved her and would give his life for her; it had always been her.

They grabbed some snacks and waited. They were nervous, afraid of the mysterious future, but certain about the love they felt for each other.

When the two were already settled on the plane, on a long journey to Brazil and a bank account filled with thousands of euros, Helena could finally relax. It was there, watching her Antoni sleep, with his face bruised and stained with tears, that she allowed herself to cry.

It was a low, heartfelt cry, full of pain. It was also a cry of relief, of a new beginning, and of happiness because no place in the world would be good without Antoni by her side. She touched her belly again, making a silent promise to her child. Everything would be fine. They would be free and happy. The past was buried from that moment on. It was seven feet underground, just like Edmundo. Nothing could disturb the path they would be walking together. Nothing! Not even a ghost.

Two months later, she was taking on the Nottingham surname. A surname that she once cursed, that once brought her so much suffering, but at that moment, she embraced it as her own to change the history of that family, to be with her love, to be their future. That could never cause her regret. It never would.

The ceremony was simple, with only the two of them and a registry office, but it was the happiest day of their lives so far. They left happy and went to the beach, sitting close together and spending the late afternoon there, enjoying the sea and the sunset. They had a hot night of hugs and sighs, in the warmth of each other's arms.

Six months after the wedding, Caleb came into the world. His brown hair, chubby face, and fair skin left no doubt that he was Antoni's son. However, the biggest difference was in his eyes. Gray-blue like Helena's and

cold but full of warmth.

The first five years in Brazil were hard, arduous work. Without many friends, the two faced numerous difficulties, but that year it seemed that luck was finally in a good mood.

Business started to take off, Caleb began elementary school, and some relationships began to strengthen. Antoni still worried about the lack of news confirming Edmundo's death and, especially, about Joseph's disappearance.

For Helena, that was suspicious, but she didn't let Antoni lose his hair over it. Very calmly, between the walls of their room, she made him forget. Amidst sighs, kisses, and the sound of their bodies colliding in passionate love, Antoni forgot what could go wrong in his life.

They were happy. Very happy. And that year they completed their family with the arrival of the twins, Líliam and Louise. Again, they were very similar to Antoni, but they were redheads. Looking at the two, it was very easy to confuse them, but their eyes couldn't be mistaken. Louise had the eyes of Helena and Caleb. However, Líliam had his eyes, the eyes of the man who had caused her so much suffering. They were as green as emeralds, and that hurt Helena. But she would never stop loving her daughter because of that.

For many years, they were happy. Until Helena received that call. It was Louise, and she was crying. The words "hit," "hospital," and "unconscious" shone in her mind. Her cry was painful, full of anguish and sadness. Her little Líliam was at risk of life, and she knew who was to blame.

She then cursed herself for never having sought to know more about Edmundo. For all those years, she and Antoni killed him from their memories, but he was there. He had always been there, and he hurt her daughter. Her eyes overflowed again when Antoni passed by the door, and without delay, he welcomed her in a strong hug.

"Our girl..." she mumbled between sobs. "He hurt our girl."

"How can you be so sure he's alive?" Antoni looked at her horrified.

"Because I saw him. That night, at dinner with our children, I saw him." Helena spoke bewildered, sitting in the nearest armchair. "I thought I was seeing a ghost, Antoni, that my imagination was playing tricks on me, but it was him. Edmundo is back, and he wants revenge."

Chapter 1

The first love was unforgettable. At least, that's what Louise always heard from her sister. But what about the first heartbreak? Would it also be unforgettable? Would that hurt never pass?

Louise was someone who avoided falling in love. She preferred hanging out with friends, being with different boys, and never, ever spending more than a week with someone. Perhaps people saw this as a bad thing, but she adopted the mindset of never, ever paying attention to what people said about her.

Her current boyfriend was her studies. Yes, studying was her passion! But she loved to have fun. Unlike her sister. She and Líliam only had appearance in common because everything else was completely different. Líliam was romantic, mushy, and full of imagination. Louise was focused, a partygoer, and avoided any serious relationships. But one day, people get caught in their own traps, and that also happened to Louise.

That afternoon was cold and gray, but she just kept looking a


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