Maria Manzo Malone was 31 years old when she died. We met when she was at Columbia University studying for a law degree. I had just left active military service and was working as a consultant for a New York City law firm. The case was a fairly simple one and involved the security surrounding a Wall Street Brokerage House. Maria, as a third year law student, was doing research for the lawyers that were assigned to the case.
Believe me it was not love at first site. We were from two different worlds. Mine a simple lifestyle based on everyday family contact. Hers; a world of jet setting parents and wealth I could not even imagine
But long hours of working together brought us to love. Maria was adopted by my family within seconds of them meeting. My mother brought her in as another daughter and she was an instant part of the family.
Maria’s parents were a completely different story. I was the nightmare boyfriend all wealthy parents wish they would never meet. I was never really welcomed in their home and they went out of their way to try and end us before we even began.
Love has a funny way of putting blinders on those involved and Maria and I never missed a beat when it came to us being a couple. Within a year of us meeting and 1 month after she passed the Bar exam we were married. We went off to the Caribbean on a honeymoon and her parents spent that time severing all future financial ties with their only daughter. We never cared about the money. I always felt bad that I was the reason for her family estrangement
Maria always said, “They know where I am if they want to talk to me. I love you.” I still felt bad but every minute we spent together was the best part of my life. In time we put all of it behind us and just enjoyed our lives.
Two years later she was working in the District Attorney's Office. A job she loved. Pete and I were doing freelance security work. It was a very good life with no bumps in the road.
Pete and I took a case that had Russian mob involvement and it was getting dangerous. We were collecting the information our client wanted, a federal agency that wanted to cover up its interests, as fast as we could so we could get out of this case.
We did not get out fast enough. The Russians found us out and attempted to take revenge by putting a bomb in my car. Unfortunately Maria used the car before me and was killed. My life ended that night and soon after I started to drift around the country looking to escape my memories. That never quite worked out.
A scream from the other room woke me up from my day dreams.
I went back to the emails.
She had passed on every other case and was only working on this one. I remember being scared for her sanity. She was totally obsessed.
“He's ready. Begging to talk to you.”. Pete.
“Lets get this over with so we can move on.”, me.
I had a very bad feeling that I could not shake.