Emilia kept the secret from her family for as long as she could, but she was betrayed by the growing bump in her stomach. Her parents, enraged, demanded to know who was responsible. This presented yet another problem for Emilia; Mariano’s low status in Montello society would no doubt make her look even worse to her family. She hesitated in telling them the whole truth, even almost accusing one or two of the respectable suitors she had spent time with, but eventually she came clean.
Her parents’ reactions were just as she had expected, but then they did something that she would have never anticipated. They called for the Cianciulli family to come to their home, Mariano included, and told them the news. It was important, they explained, that both their children make this mistake right and preserve Emilia’s honor. Mariano would have to marry Emilia.
Emilia was horrified. She could hardly stand to be near her abuser; marrying him was simply unimaginable. Mariano, on the other hand, was delighted. Now the beautiful girl so many others were after would be his alone. The wedding proceeded without the joy and fanfare Emilia had dreamed of. Instead, they had a small, drab ceremony that felt more like a funeral than a celebration of love. Emilia left the church alongside the man she hated, and to whom she had hardly ever spoken a word to.
From then, her own family was through with her for bringing shame to their name. She would never be welcome in the di Nolfi house again.
Her charmed life was over. On their wedding night, when Emilia refused his desire to consummate their marriage, he beat and raped her a second time. When Emilia, who had little by way of domestic training, failed to keep the house clean or cook meals to his liking, he brutalized her again.
Understandably, Emilia never got over the trauma of everything that happened so suddenly to her. Emilia retreated into herself. While Mariano was out, either working or drinking away his earnings, she was all alone except for the baby growing inside of her. They lived in abject poverty in those early days. As the months passed, she grew to hate not only Mariano, but also the unborn child that tied her to him.
Less understandable was her treatment of her own daughter.