are deadly, but often words are more powerful weapons than any blade.
They cut more deeply and can never be unheard.
Twenty-Seven: Noemi is in a Rush
got out of the car in front of her building and told the guards they
didn't have to bother anymore. She knew that they were keeping an
eye on her for Mario, Alonso, or both. She acted as though she did
not, presenting a cheerfulness that was actually due to the scandal
she had just caused, and went inside.
continued the confrontation with Gerardo about his alleged
arrangement for him to become governor after Alonso is elected
president. She was convinced there was impropriety on his part.
Gerardo tried to get her to understand that Alonso was involved in
corruption up to his neck. He would publicly support her proposed
law but behind everyone's back still ally with Big Business and allow
them to cut their workers' salaries. She still refused to believe
him. Gerardo tried to explain that this was a deal Alonso made with
Morales, but Gerardo would not accept it. He did not want to be part
of this. Regina did not believe him. She finally told him that he
should forget about this, his life, his reputation, and his career;
she was not interested. She turned to leave.
only thing I'm interested in is you,” he said. She turned to look
at him for a moment. “Open your eyes,” he whispered.
left his office without a reply.
came to see Magda for money, as usual. He told her that his
daughter-in-law owed several months' back rent, then tried to back
off. He continued that she had just called him out of desperation
and that she owed thirty thousand pesos [$1,706 US]. Magda
said she didn't have that kind of money with her and he started
backing off again, then said “This is the last time I will ask and
I'll pay you back everything.”
rose, took her purse, and told him she would go to the bank. This
was obviously what he was looking for.
went to see Teresa, who told him that Nayeli had been there earlier
to see Ximena, but that she had left. She overheard them talking
about him sending her to Los Angeles to live with her mother, that
she did not want to go, and was looking for someone to help her.
is she thinking will help her?” he asked.
the governor's son.”
please,” he said. “That spoiled brat thinks he can just do
exactly as he pleases but he can't take her away from here.”
Ignacio became impatient and turned to leave.
I heard horrible things about your ex-wife's husband,” she told
him. “Nayeli told Ximena he had tried to rape her.”
paused for a moment, then came back into the room.
start inventing things like that.”
wouldn't make this us. How can you think I'm lie about something
like this? It's what your daughter told Ximena. That girl wouldn't
make up stuff like this.”
turned away and leaned against the sideboard.
feel like such an idiot. I pressured her to take this trip –”
down. I can talk to Ximena. She must be with her.” She went
through her purse for her cell phone.
are you going to say?”
I know what's up and everything will be alright. Don't worry.”
Teresa, tell Ximena that I need to talk to my daughter. I need to
see her, please.”
and Nayeli were with Emiliano when Teresa's call came in. Nayeli
almost panicked when Ximena said her mother was calling, but Ximena
held up her hand for silence and said not to worry.
is Nayeli with you?”
Some friends came for her.”
you know where she is?”
well. Be careful. Thanks.” Teresa ended the call. She then
turned to Ignacio and shook her head. “She was not there.”
didn't seem to have occurred to her that Ximena had lied.
thanked José for his help the day before.
you don't have to thank me,” he said. “It's my obligation.”
Your obligation is to watch me, which is what Omar pays you for.
But why do you do it?”
I can't allow anyone to hurt any woman, least of all you.”
of all me?”
expect now that I won't be here with you. Take care of yourself.”
can't return to your house.”
mistaken. Because I am now hiring you and you will continue to have
you very much. My work will now be very easy.”
walked in on Magda and Israel just as she was handing him the brown
envelope. She said she would be waiting for him in reception and he
told her not to worry; he would be back right after work. He was
barely out the door when Mauro began demanding to know what he had
been there for. Magda tried to explain but Mauro was not pleased.
He tried to tell Magda that Israel was taking advantage of her, but
she was still in denial about this.
was turning into a gate when Nayeli recognized Almirón, so she
stopped him. She told him that this was the man who had kidnapped
her and they had to get out of there. Emiliano did as she said.
Almirón may or may not have heard them.
was in Alonso's study, realizing that the work she was being asked to
do was unchanged from what had been going on. Alonso gave her some
con-man double talk about how she stood to make lots of money working
for him while benefitting the people and themselves. It didn't look
like she entirely believed him.
and José moved her things back into her house. This provoked an
immediate reaction from Omar, who insisted that Natalia had no right
to be there. He then turned on José, who then told him that he now
worked for Natalia.
quickly you change sides, traitor Are you being paid with money or
in bed?” the old coot demanded.
up!” Natalia said. “Not everyone is like you.”
nice. If you don't get out of here now I'll have you thrown out. If
you and this clown are still here when I return I'll need not one
coffin but two.”
was not a good idea,” José said.
not afraid,” said Natalia. “Are you?”
here with you.”
what I wanted to hear.”
are you available for the challenge or for me?” Alonso asked.
ran in, saving Loreta from having to answer.
Excuse me, I need to talk to you but I thought you were alone. I'll
come back later.”
I'm leaving,” Loreta said, getting up. She looked at Alonso. “I
will see you later, Governor.”
you later, Secretary,” he replied with some sarcasm. She left the
office. Mauro waited two seconds after she had closed the door.
happened? That was strange.”
isn't as foolish as I thought, but that's a minor problem. What is
spoke with Morales. He said that Martinez would have to think about
to think about it? I'm practically giving him the governorship.”
entered without knocking.
it true that you have an arrangement with business owners?”
that half-truth in the recent report,” Mauro said as an aside. He
then excused himself and walked out.
is it? What do you want?”
promised them a law that would benefit them at the expense of their
workers. Is that true?”
of course I had to negotiate with them to continue my campaign. Do
you want more unemployment, more poverty?”
course,” she replied sarcastically. “You are a great statesman,
Alonso. Don't you get it that by taking away money from workers you
are causing more poverty? No, no, no; you're just thinking of your
campaign. You are a cynic.”
not only supporting management. You're also doing your bit to –”
law will not be passed!”
law will be passed with or without you,” he said, mocking her.
business. Everyone negotiates. Even your little friend, Senator
Martinez. He'll be candidate for governor.”
think you can buy him?”
can be bought. Him, too. Why else would he say he had to think
stared at him as though he were a complete stranger.
Alonso told Mauro about this, saying that the last thing he needed
was more problems with his wife. A new initiative would not suffice.
Mauro couldn't think of anything. Alonso began thinking out loud,
finally saying that his candidacy came first and that the most
important thing to present is a family. Mauro's eyes opened wider at
this, but the ringing desk phone prevented him saying anything.
Alonso answered. It was the president calling.
sat on a bench with Mario trying to find out about Almirón. He told
Mario about Nayeli's accusation... against a man he knew to be in
Mario's employ. Mario – who was so practiced at getting out of
these kinds of corners – asked Emiliano about his relationship with
Nayeli and what he really knew about her. He brought up the drug
issue and Emiliano's reply was “That was just pills.”
tried in an appropriate manner to talk about how pills are still
addictive and could lead to other drugs. He spoke well of Almirón,
saying that he was good at gathering information and investigating
why did he kidnap her?”
this conversation is confidential. Nayeli was going to end up in
jail,” Mario started. “We have to be very careful.”
you're going to help her?”
yes,” he said. “But first I have to ask you something very
important. That's not to tell your mother. Is that clear?”
was and Emiliano acquiesced.
was back at his favorite café, with his favorite waitress attending
him. She was not her usual flirtatious self and told him why: She
was not happy at what had occurred at his place. He tried to tell
her that he and Natalia were separated.
she could return at any moment,” Marcia countered.
but I will make her leave. You just worry about me and I'll just
worry about you. Does that please you?”
looked less than pleased at this. She seemed to realize that she was
in over her head.
was in his office with Cecelia when his underling came in. Mauro
asked Cecelia to leave them alone and she left. He then told the man
that he wanted “a clean job” and that this was about Senator
and Daniela talked in her office about these recent events when
Alonso arrived. Daniela left them alone and the conversation about
his new law continued. He was sure the party would back him. She
asked how much he was bribing them and he replied that they will vote
“with the party.”
opened the door to enter and she asked him to wait. Daniela was
right behind him; her face said she had tried to stop him but
couldn't. Alonso said – dismissively – that he should stay.
Regina nodded to Daniela, who retreated. Alonso then faced Gerardo
as though they were about to engage in a duel.
is not exactly the right place to find you,” he said. “But,
well, we're here and I'm waiting for your answer. Here, in front of
agreement goes well, Governor.”
said nothing but looked very displeased. Alonso looked smug.
imagine you'd like to familiarize yourself with your new office,”
he said. “You should come over this morning so I can fill you in
on the details. Gerardo, I hope this arrangement will help us
recover our friendship.”
quite. The arrangement is alright but I will not be the candidate.”
don't believe it. Far be it from me to speculate on how party
decisions are made.”
not the candidate because I'm leaving the party. I'm not going to
get involved with someone as corrupt as you.”
not for sale.”
no, of course not,” said Alonso. “Your specialty is running
around with women who are other men's property.”
saw where this was heading. “Alonso, please!”
no, no,” said Gerardo. “Very soon you will have a gift, Madam,
when you're no longer married to this miserable --”
what you're saying!”
what? You'll pay to have me killed like others? Is that how you
resolve your problems?”
charged him, but Regina stepped in to stop the fight.
no, please!” she said as she separated them.
said all I came to say,” said Gerardo. “Do you have an answer?”
was struck dumb and frustrated for that reason. Gerardo left the
office as he had arrived, looking as impeccable as James Bond.
looked over documents from her digital investigator. There were
receipts for services rendered but because cell phone messages had
been encrypted he could not access them. The location where services
were rendered was familiar; it was the place she had been dumped one
night. She thanked the man and went to get his payment.
made a call to Mario from the back of his car, telling him to follow
Teresa. He ordered him to lead her more deeply into her main vice
because he intended to make her and Gerardo's lives a living hell.
left the Senate house. Regina followed him out and down the stairs.
She wanted to talk to him but not there. He opened the passenger
side door to his car and asked her to accompany him. She got in.
of Mario's men took Teresa to a casino she hadn't been in before. It
looked like something out of la belle epoch. She noticed some
people she knew and waved to them. She told the man she did not
understand why Mario asked him to bring her there. He said that Don
Mario wanted her to enjoy herself and then reached into his pocket
for an envelope full of cash for her. She wasted little time
questioning this. She accepted the money and headed for a table.
and Gerardo arrived at the park, where he escorted her up the steps
into a classical structure.
can't believe you brought me here.”
This is where I saw you for the first time.”
I break up with Alonso, yes.”
can be direct here.”
have a lot to talk about. I feel about about how I've seen you –”
know. I'm sorry.”
course. You couldn't have done anything else.”
what I said to Alonso is –”
is to demand the truth. I understand that you can't easily look at
someone you've been with for so long and see that he isn't what you
believed in. That's exactly what happened to me with Teresa.”
how our lives were.”
why do we continue? Just for appearances?” He touched her face,
then her hairline. “I cancelled the bodyguard today so I can enjoy
your beauty, your goodness...”
kissed slowly and deliberately, not thinking whether anyone who knew
them could see them. There appeared to be no one else there save a
few people on the street who were minding their own business.
Finally Regina backed away slightly.
can't do this,” she said.
you, Regina. I've waited so long for this.”
this isn't right.”
isn't right? To be faithful to someone who betrays you all the time,
doesn't respect you? We're here.”
isn't about him or about where we are; it's about me. I'm sorry, but
I don't know what to do about my conscience. I can't enter into
this. It's not right.”
you enjoyed this. Do you want me to say that at the core I know
course, but how can that solve the problems?”
doesn't have to end, please.”
looked him in the eyes and turned away. He took her arm.
no, no. I have a son. He's only an adolescent. Do you think I can
look him in the eye after something like this?”
just for a moment, think about it.”
touched her face with both hands, as though he were the lover in an
think. Not of the politician, the mother, the daughter. Think of
the woman to whom I would give my whole soul. That is you, Regina.”
say that,” she said, looking down.
with you here, and now. Let's try. What can happen? Why can't we
be together? We're adults. We may never have another opportunity.
I don't want to die without being with you again.”
paused for a long moment before turning away and heading for the
steps, carefully wiping away a tear. He followed her.
when we met here for the first time? Here we are, Regina.”
paused before descending.
will wait for you here.”
walked away trying to smile, but not being able to.
tried to reach Israel at work but he was not there.
returned home to find Natalia there. Again he tried to intimidate
her and again she told him she was not going to leave what was
rightfully hers. He said he was not going to argue with her. She
then asked “What, then? Will you hit me?”
appeared at those words.
did not like this. However, Natalia gave him a speech he liked less.
That one more blow and she would denounce him and he would lose
everything, including the house and all his money. She handed him
the brown envelope that contained the divorce papers. He pulled the
documents out and tore them in front of her, telling her he would
never sign. He then threw the papers almost in her face.
forget about denouncing me. That will never happen.”
went back to the place where she had been dumped that night. She
rang the doorbell. A neighbor appeared and asked whether she was the
administrator. When she answered in the negative the woman told her
that nobody wanted to live in the neighborhood anymore because of the
goings on in that house. She and others had filed a complaint upon
discovery that this building housed prostitutes who were coming and
going at all hours. There was also a rumor that the owner was
someone very high up in influential political company. As in The
told her father what happened. She told him that Nayeli was with
some friends. He told her to get her location so her father could
was getting nervous. She told José she wasn't sure she could
continue with this. He told her he would take care of her. Omar
entered the room with an “Aha!” attitude, saying he knew all
along what was going on. He also had two goons of his own, one of
whom held a pistol at José's head. Natalia begged him not to kill
José. He had one of them lead José out of the room, after which he
enjoyed watching Natalia's fear. When she denied that anything
improper happened between her and José he hit her hard enough to
knock her over. He had drawn blood in the process. He then took off
his jacket, as though preparing to continue.
you lie to me again. Don't you dare laugh at me. Do you hear that?”
went to the location he was told Nayeli was hiding. It was a
dilapidated building where he found a room with much evidence of drug
returned to her office. Daniela had been waiting for her with some
important papers regarding her proposed law, but quickly noticed that
wherever Regina had been had nothing to do with that. Daniela wanted
all the details. Regina told her she had been with Gerardo and that
they had kissed. It was in a special place. Daniela told her she
had to be with him and to not feel guilty about it. Regina, however,
still was not ready for this.
went back downstairs to watch his fat goon lashing José on the face
with a whip. The final lash put him on the floor. He was at the
foot of the stairs as Omar got there and put his own foot on the
young man's hand.
have you done to the lady?”
down, José; she is fine,” Omar lied smoothly. “She was
corrected for challenging me but the slut is alright. A little sad,
maybe, because she was worried about you.”
had leaned enough to cause pain as José asked to take Natalia out of
the house. The two goons picked him up. There was significant blood
on two of the marble steps.
is a slut.” Omar said, calmly. He then patted José's shoulder.
“You'd be better off working for me again.”
don't know what you're talking about,” was the reply.
wife was born poisoned. There's nothing to do about that. But you,
you have a choice. You can help me teach her a lesson. You will do
exactly as I tell you. Make her want you. Make her die to be with
you. And then humiliate her. You are never to sleep with that old
hag. It's that or you will die. Think of your mother alone in her
house. Do you accept or not?”
celled Regina and told her it was urgent.
finally found out the truth about your father. I have to tell you
this in person, not on the phone.”
she crossed the street a black car came at her at full speed. She
ended up on its hood. The car pulled back just enough to dump her in
the middle of the intersection, then took off. The man in the
shotgun seat yelled at the driver all the way. Regina kept calling
out “Mother. Mother!” but Noemi was lying in the intersection.
took his call as he was leaving the building.
do you mean it was a mistake?” he asked.
was supposed to be the boy, but it's the mother. She's dead.”
© Caray, Caray! 2006-2017. Duplication of this material for use on any other site is strictly prohibited.