Delias Heart | Chapter 20 of 29

Author: V.C. Andrews | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1558 Views | Add a Review

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11

Driving Sophia

One of my Mexican classmates in the ESL class at the public school I attended when I first arrived here had told me the easiest way to make new friends in America was to have a car. I quickly discovered she had not been exaggerating. With the speed of a lightning bolt, Sophia spread the news about my driving her to school in the sports car her brother, Edward, had bought for me. I could practically feel the way the other students were now looking at me. Many who usually hardly said a word to me smiled and tried to start conversations. It was as though I had been accepted into a private club.

It amused me to hear the way Sophia described the car to her friends, emphasizing “we” with everything. She also made it clear that now that I had a car, her mother was soon going to buy her one. In fact, Tía Isabela, according to Sophia, was already researching models and prices.

“You know my mother,” she told Alisha and the girls who had gathered outside the Spanish classroom. “She has to be sure she’s not being ripped off and that she makes the best possible deal. She has friends in the automobile business. In fact, she bawled out Edward for not coming to her first before he spent the money on Delia’s car. She could have saved him thousands, not that he cares.”

She also let some of her friends believe that I would soon be willing to let her use my car.

“Until I get my own,” she emphasized.

Overhearing Sophia’s conversations amused me, but they also confirmed that she was not going through any real personality changes. Her sweet talk and her smiles for me were like flies hitting a closed window. I doubted there would ever be a time when I would open it and let her inside, a time when I would trust her with anything more than hello.

Christian Taylor was quite impressed with my car. During the lunch hour, he went outside with some of his amigos and looked it over. Sophia tried to get me to give her the key so she could show the car to Christian and his friends, but I politely told her I would rather not.

“Then you come out and show it to them,” she urged.

“I want to do some reading for social studies,” I told her. “Maybe later.”

“You’ve got to learn how to relax, Delia. You’re too intense. Social studies class won’t go away.”

“Maybe later,” I repeated, and she pouted.

“You know,” she said, “you could meet me halfway. I’m trying to be a better cousin.”

Halfway, I thought, recalling something Edward had once told me. “You give my sister an inch,” he had said, “and she won’t just take a foot. She’ll take all of you.”

“I’m sorry,” I told her. “I do not like Christian Taylor. I’d rather ignore him.”

“He’s just another boy. Don’t get so uptight about him,” Sophia advised. “I can handle Christian Taylor.”

“I can handle a rattlesnake,” I said. “In fact, I have, but I’d rather not.”

“You have?”

“Where I lived, you learn to get along with everything in nature. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone, unlike Christian Taylor. Snakes may be smarter than us. They’d rather ignore us.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand you.”

“Work harder in Spanish class,” I said. I knew it wasn’t what she meant, but I was feeling more confident and wanted to tease and frustrate her.

She made a face and walked off, but at the end of the day, she was waiting at my car with her girlfriends.

“It’s a beautiful car, Delia,” Trudy said. “I bet it can go very fast.”

“Too fast,” I said, “if you’re not careful.”

“Who wants to be careful?” Alisha said, and they all laughed.

I unlocked the doors, and Sophia opened hers and stood there smiling at her friends.

“Just feel the leather,” she told them, and stepped back so each could touch the seat.

I got in quickly and started the engine. “We must go home now,” I said.

“Right. Talk to you all later,” Sophia told them. “Do you want to stop for a frozen mocha or something, Delia?” she asked, loudly enough for them all to hear, before she closed the door. “I’ll buy them for us.”

“No, thank you, Sophia. Your mother might be waiting for us.”

“She’s probably at some meeting.”

“Maybe,” I said. “It’s better we just go straight home as we promised.”

“Can you put the top down, at least?”

I thought about it and nodded.

The girls squealed with delight when they saw the roof lift up and go back. Sophia sat back, gloating.

I drove us out slowly, and it was lucky I did so, too, because before we reached the entrance to the parking lot, Christian Taylor stepped in our way, smiling. I had to hit the brakes fast.

Estupido!” I screamed at him.

He laughed and leaned over the car. “Wow. Isn’t this too much car for a girl like you? I know I’m too much man.”

“You’re the only one who knows it,” I told him, and accelerated.

He leaped back, and Sophia roared with laughter.

“Now you’re turning into my kind of girl,” she said. “Cousin.”

I looked at her and back through the rearview mirror at Christian, who was complaining to his friends. Sophia turned on the radio loudly and lit a cigarette.

“You want one?”

“No,” I said. “I am not that kind of girl,” I said. “I am sorry for my behavior, but he makes me…”

“I know what you mean,” Sophia said. “You don’t have to explain when it comes to Christian Taylor or any other boy, for that matter.”

It seemed no matter what I said, she would find a way to become my new pal, and all because of the car.

I drove on, fuming inside.

Adan called that night to see how I did, and we talked for almost a half hour. He was very excited about an important political endorsement his father had received. He said it was looking good for him to receive some labor and police endorsements as well.

“I’m beginning to think my father could really win,” he said, which surprised me.

“Didn’t you think so before?”

“I hoped, but now it’s more than hope. There’s a big Latino vote in this state, and we’re going to get a sizable portion of it,” he added. “But that’s all boring stuff. I’d rather talk about you.”

If he could see through the phone, he would see a very thoughtful face and not a face full of delight. Every warm feeling I had for him and every moment of pleasure we had together were truly like pins in my heart because of my feelings for Ignacio. Later, when I went to sleep, I dreamed he had heard about Adan and me and it had driven him to become a criminal in Mexico. His family, especially his father, cursed me. I woke gasping and nearly cried because of how vivid the nightmare had been.

My letter to Ignacio still lay under my panties in my dresser drawer. I struggled to come up with a way to drive to the Davilas’ home, but with Sophia clinging so closely to me now, it was difficult. I had been hoping that my company, even in my sports car, would bore her eventually, but she was still basking in the glow and enjoying the way her girlfriends envied her. Finally, on Thursday, she asked me for a favor I was perhaps too eager to grant.

“My mother is at a meeting in Los Angeles today and won’t be home until evening. She told me last night after dinner,” she said as we drove to school. “We can go meet my girlfriends at Alisha’s house for a while. It will be fun. We can talk and have something to drink and listen to music and—”

“No, I cannot go there,” I said. “I have too much to do.”

She was quiet until we were nearly to the school.

“Okay, but will you at least do me a favor and not tell on me? I’ll go home after school with Alisha, and she’ll bring me home at dinnertime.”

“What you do and where you go are not my business,” I replied, instead of saying I would lie for her. It was enough to please her.

“You’re making a mistake not coming with us after school,” she said when we parked. “But,” she added quickly when I started to look angry, “that’s fine as long as you don’t go blabbing to my mother. We have to trust and help each other if we’re to be real cousins, Delia.”

“Tía Isabela did not ask me to spy on you,” I said. “What I don’t know I don’t know.”

She smiled. “Good. Have a nice day,” she said, getting out.

If you only knew how much nicer it will be now, I thought, and followed. Knowing that I was free to drive to the Davilas’ home later made me fidgety and impatient in my classes and even at lunch. Fani noticed and remarked about it.

“Something bothering you?” she asked. “Adan, maybe?”

“No, nothing.”

“Let me know the moment he does something that displeases you, Delia. Although he is older than I am, I am more like a big sister to him.”

“Has he not had any serious love affairs?” I asked her.

“Adan?” She laughed. “To him, every love affair is serious, but serious is not a long-term condition. Perhaps he’s changing,” she added quickly when she saw my reaction and thought I was terribly disappointed. Part of me was relieved. I was still walking a tightrope of emotions. “After all,” she continued, “he’s getting older, and now with his father a serious contender for a U.S. Senate seat, he’s got to at least appear more stable. His playboy days are numbered. Maybe you’re numbering them even less and less.”

I said nothing. My mind was on Ignacio and the Davilas now. As soon as the final bell of the day rang, I was out the door. I drove off before Sophia and her friends could corner me and try to talk me into going to their after-school party. I drove a little too fast to get home and to the letter I had written, but this was my opportunity.

I scooped it up and was out the door again before anyone even realized I had come home. On my way down the driveway, I did wave to Señor Casto, who was doing some work with a gardener down near the east wall of the property. Then I shot out of the gate and was on my way. Ignacio’s father and brother weren’t home when I arrived, but his mother and his youngest sister were there, preparing the evening meal. When his sister let me in and I entered the kitchen, I saw the look of happiness and relief on his mother’s face.

“Delia, it has been so long since we last saw you,” she said, wiping her hands on a dish towel and then hugging me. “How are you?”

“I am fine. It has been difficult for me to get away,” I said.

She nodded, but I saw her eyes shift toward the newspaper on the small table by the pantry door. It was open to the picture of me and Adan and Fani. I went to it.

“This was a birthday party I had to attend,” I began.

“Ignacio’s father wanted to send it to him, but I begged him not to do that. He says Ignacio should get used to the idea that you are off to a new life, and he must be off to his new life.”

“No!” I said. “This is nothing. I am planning on returning to Mexico during the school holiday, in fact, and I will see him if he can meet me in my village.”

“Oh,” she said, impressed. She thought a moment, glanced at the article, and shook her head. “For now,” she said, “it would be better not to mention the trip to my husband. He will find something wrong with it.”

. This is my letter to Ignacio. I will get the information on the trip for you to get to him as soon as I know the details.”

She took the letter.

“It will get to him?” I asked, worried that Ignacio’s father had forbidden new letters.

,” she said. “I will make sure.”

Gracias, señora.”

She insisted that I sit and have a glass of Jarritos lime soda with one of her just-baked Mexican chocolate meringue cookies. I told her they were as delicious as I remembered my grandmother’s cookies. I was there more than an hour, telling her about my school, my new car, and life at my aunt’s hacienda. Every once in a while, I looked toward the door, anticipating Ignacio’s father’s arrival, but he did not come while I was there. She could see the anticipation was making me nervous and reassured me that she would make things okay.

We hugged, both near tears thinking about Ignacio, and then I left. When I made the turn onto the main highway, I passed Ignacio’s father and Ignacio’s brother coming home in their truck. I had the top down, and they both turned in surprise at the sight of me driving such a car. I barely had time to nod.

My stomach was a hive of mad bees all the way home. I was afraid for Ignacio’s mother when she defended me. Now I was the source of arguments in their casa, I thought. I was still bringing unhappiness to the people who should love me and whom I loved. When would that end?

Driving up to mi tía Isabela’s hacienda, I was surprised to see Alisha’s automobile. Why had she brought Sophia home so early? I was anticipating her not returning until just before dinner. She would surely be afraid that Señora Rosario would mention her not being at dinner. I parked and went into the house. It was quiet downstairs, but as I ascended, I could hear the music pouring out of Sophia’s bedroom. The door was partially opened. I quickly discovered that was so one of them could spot me entering my bedroom. Instantly, Sophia, Alisha, Trudy, and Delores marched in behind me.

From the expressions they all wore and the glassy look in their eyes, I could see they had all been drinking, probably vodka, because they were able to disguise it in fruit juices. Trudy carried a paper cup and sipped it, smiling.

“So, where were you?” Sophia asked. “I thought you had too much work to do and couldn’t go to Alisha’s house after school.”

“Why are you here?” I asked, instead of answering.

“Alisha’s mother didn’t go where she was supposed to go. It wasn’t…what’s the word, Trudy?”

“Conducive.”

“Yeah, conducive. You know that word? It means favorable for what we wanted. Right, Trudy?” she asked before I could respond.

“That’s it. It was not exactly the right situation for our festivities,” she said, giggling.

“So? Where were you?” Sophia asked. “Huh?”

“I had some chores,” I said.

“Chores?” She looked at her girlfriends, who were all smiling. “It couldn’t have been the chore of being with Adan Bovio, could it?”

I had no hesitation about lying to Sophia, and she had, after all, given me a good excuse.

“Yes, it could.”

“That’s bull crap!” she screamed, her hands on her hips now. “Adan Bovio called here for you just a half hour ago. I heard your phone ringing and answered it.”

I just stared at her. Even lying to her caused more problems. Lies never work for long. Some die the instant they’re born.

“You didn’t just happen to go and meet another boy, did you? One of your Mexican boyfriends, maybe?” She glanced impishly at her girlfriends, who drew closer to her as if to add their support. They all wore the same look of self-satisfaction.

“What I do and where I go are not your business,” I said.

“Ha!” She swayed. The vodka was settling into her brain. “What did I tell you, girls? The Latina Cinderella has found another Latino prince. Who is he? How’s Adan going to feel about it? Where did you meet him? It’s no one from our school, is it? Well?”

“Your mother will not be happy to hear about this after-school party,” I replied, focusing sharply on her. I took a step toward her. “She might very well add on to your punishment.”

“She won’t be happy about you going off to be with other boys, your whoring around.”

“Get out of my room! All of you!” I said, pointing at the door.

“I guess I touched a sensitive spot.” She nodded and held her cold smile on her lips.

“Yeah, her G-spot,” Trudy said, and they all laughed.

“You know what that is, Delia?” Alisha asked.

“She knows,” Sophia said. “Bradley Whitfield showed her.”

Something broke inside me. It was as if a dam holding back the heat in my blood burst and all of it rushed into my head. I spun around, seized the footstool at the base of my bed, and turned on them with the stool’s legs forward. They screamed when I charged at them. Trudy dropped her cup, and they all ran out of my room. I slammed the door closed.

I would ask Tía Isabela to install a lock on the door, I thought, gasping and fuming. I heard them close Sophia’s door, too, after Sophia screamed about me being dangerously crazy.

It took me awhile to calm down, but after I did, I actually laughed at how I had frightened them. They were nothing to fear after all.

Adan called again about a half hour later. I expected that he would ask where I had been, but he didn’t. Instead, we talked about the weekend, Friday night’s dinner, and the schedule we would follow on Saturday. I actually listened much more than I spoke. He realized that I was unusually quiet and he asked if everything was all right.

“It’s my cousin Sophia,” I said.

“What is she doing now?”

“It’s better just to ignore her. Ella cocinará en su propio jugo.”

“What’s that mean?”

“She’ll cook in her own juice,” I said.

“I’m going to need your help with some of those great Spanish sayings. I’m helping my father with his speeches.”

“It’s not a great saying. I make up my own sometimes. I’m like my grandmother in that way.”

“It’s great to me. What works works. I’ll see you tomorrow night,” he said. “I have the number for animal control if you need it for your cousin.”

“Maybe I will,” I said, laughing.

I heard Sophia’s friends leave, and then I showered and changed to go down to dinner. Sophia came to the table timidly but gathered her courage after Señora Rosario and Inez had brought in the food and left.

“If you don’t say anything about me, I won’t say anything about you,” she offered.

“I don’t have to make any bargains. I have nothing about which I am ashamed.”

“Still, it’s better we don’t go ratting on each other to my mother. Deal?”

“Stay out of my room, and never answer my phone again,” I said firmly. “If you don’t—”

“Okay, okay. Who cares what you do in your room or who you see, anyway?”

She pouted and picked at her food, leaving most of it on the plate.

“My mother better get me my own car soon,” she muttered. “Or she’s going to be sorry when my trust kicks in. If I have anything to do with any of these properties and businesses…I’m going to hire my own attorney to look at all the documents my father left.”

I said nothing to encourage her or discourage her.

“I don’t want any dessert,” she told Inez, and rose from her seat. She walked to the doorway and turned. “I’m not going to school with you tomorrow. Christian Taylor is picking me up and will bring me home.”

“You keep saying you don’t think much of him, but you do things with him,” I reminded her.

“We have things to discuss. You can dislike someone and still have things in common, you know.”

“No, I don’t know,” I said, shaking my head and smiling at her.

“That’s right,” she said, her eyes small and cold. “You don’t. You don’t know everything, Delia.”

She stomped out and up the stairs.

Later, Edward called me. “I waited as long as I could,” he said. “How’s the new world going?”

“Sophia is not really changing,” I told him. “But I can handle her. Don’t worry, Edward.”

“No one can handle her, Delia. I do worry. And Adan Bovio? How are things with the possible new senator’s son?”

I told him of Adan’s invitations and the things we were planning to do.

“I’m happy for you if you’re happy, Delia. I saw my mother today, by the way. She actually stopped by while she was in Los Angeles and took Jesse and me for coffee. She’s really buying into your relationship with Adan, so if you end it, let her down slowly. That’s the only advice I’ll give you about it. I’m no expert when it comes to these sort of things.”

“Thank you. Have you thought more about Mexico?”

“You still want to go with us?” he asked with surprise.

“Oh, yes, very much, Edward. Yes!” I said. My enthusiasm made him laugh.

“I just thought you might be spending that time with Adan Bovio, but if you’re sure…”

“Yes, yes.”

“Okay, then. We’ll leave the day after you get out. Jesse says it would take too long to drive our own car, so he suggested we fly to Mexico City and rent a car. We can get to your village that night or the next day or so, depending on what we do along the way.”

“I’d rather we get there quickly and stop to see other things on the way home,” I said.

“Yes, that sounds like a plan.”

“I have some people I’d like to tell we are coming, some of my grandmother’s friends.”

He turned to Jesse to explain, and then Jesse got on the phone.

“You can tell them we’ll be there by the Sunday following your last day of class,” he said. “I’ve plotted it out with the computer. What is this hotel like, this Hotel Los Jardines Hermosos?”

I laughed. “That is the hotel in the village. It has maybe six rooms and a patch of land with some cactus flowers, but the owners are nice people, and the rooms will be clean. It’s just a place to sleep,” I said. “Don’t expect any more.”

“Six rooms? I had better make reservations, then,” he said.

“They will be shocked to hear the request.”

“I’ll use your name.”

“Yes, use my name,” I said, smiling to myself at how they would react. “Thank you, Jesse.”

Edward came back on the phone to tell me he would book our tickets and advised me again to watch out for Sophia and be careful. He wished me a good time on the weekend, too.

It was hard to get to sleep afterward. My anticipation of this trip to my village was overwhelming. I couldn’t wait to write down the details and get them to Ignacio. For me to send them so soon after I had told him of the possibility would be wonderful for him.

And for me, I thought.

For a while, I completely forgot about Adan and our upcoming weekend. The only name on my lips and the only face in my dreams and thoughts were Ignacio’s. It helped me to have a good, restful sleep.

Tía Isabela was at the breakfast table before either Sophia or I was the following morning. If Señora Rosario had told her anything about our dinner the night before, she did not reveal it when Sophia greeted her. I was already at the table, and we were talking about my upcoming trip to Newport Beach with Adan. She was telling me about the time she and her husband had owned a boat she described as a small yacht. They had kept it at Newport Beach and had even traveled to some ports in Mexico. She said it slept eight people, and they often had guests, business associates and their wives, with them on their trips. It sounded as if they rarely had taken Edward and Sophia, and she did reveal that most of the time on the boat was before the two of them were old enough to enjoy it.

“After my husband got sick, we sold the boat,” she explained.

“What about the boat?” Sophia asked as she entered.

“Well, I’m glad you got up, dressed, and down to breakfast before it was time to leave,” Tía Isabela said.

Sophia plopped into her seat. “It would be great if we still had that boat, not that I remember it much,” she said. “Why are you talking about it now?”

I realized she didn’t know about my plans for Saturday with Adan.

“We were talking about Delia’s excursion with Adan on Saturday,” Tía Isabela said.

“Excursion?”

“They’re going on the Bovio yacht.”

“You are?” she asked me. “How come you didn’t tell me?”

“Why does she have to tell you?” Tía Isabela asked.

Sophia looked at her mother with such hate I felt my heart stop and start.

“You’re treating her more like she’s your daughter and not just your niece.”

“When you show me you respect your family, respect me, I’ll have an easier time thinking of you as my daughter,” Tía Isabela replied.

“I’m doing what you want,” Sophia whined. “I got an eighty-five on the math quiz and an eighty on the social studies quiz, didn’t I, Delia?”

I nodded.

“Good. Keep it up,” Tía Isabela said.

“We’ve come right home every day and started our homework, too,” Sophia added, glancing at me.

“That’s perfect.”

“I told Christian he could pick me up for school today,” Sophia inserted. “I’m just going to school and back.”

“You should have asked permission first,” Tía Isabela said.

“Why? I would go with Delia otherwise. It’s just a ride to school, Mother.”

“Be careful, Sophia. I know when I’m being deceived.”

“I’m not deceiving you! Damn.”

“Watch your language at the table.”

Sophia looked down at her plate.

“You can go with Christian, but I don’t want to hear anything about speeding or side trips or anything else, understand?”

“Yes, Mother,” she said.

Sophia looked satisfied, which only made me worry more.

Tía Isabela returned to her reminiscing about happier days with her husband, but some warning was buzzing in the back of my mind. It would be with me all day. I tried to think about anything but my schoolwork, and when I had the opportunity, I wrote the additional letter to be given to Ignacio.

When the school day ended, I hurried out to my car. Fani, who had her own car, too, was already in the parking lot.

“You want to come over to my house for a while?” she asked. “We can discuss you-know-who a little more.”

“Thank you, Fani, but I have an important chore I must do.”

She bristled. No one turned down an invitation from Estefani Cordova.

“Can I come over right after I do the chore?” I quickly added.

“Well, how long will you be?”

“Not more than an hour,” I said. She wasn’t happy, but my quick thinking saved me.

“If you’re much longer, just don’t come,” she told me, and got into her own car.

I hurried to mine. All of the students were leaving the school now, and I caught sight of Sophia and Christian walking quickly to his car. I sped up and nearly got a speeding ticket, because a policeman who was following me pulled up alongside and wagged a warning finger at me. I smiled, nodded, and slowed down. He drove on.

Ignacio’s brother, Santos, was out front when I arrived. I was surprised to see him. If he was finished with school, he would usually go to work with his father’s crew. I noticed he was carrying some tools. He paused when I drove into the driveway.

“Where did you get that car?” he asked immediately.

“My cousin.”

“You’re really rich now, aren’t you?”

“I’m not. Mi tía is. What are you doing?”

“I’m repairing these steps,” he said, nodding at the front steps.

“Your mother is inside?”

He nodded. “Can I look at your car?”

,” I said. I handed him the keys, and his eyes filled with excitement.

Then I went in and found Señora Davila folding towels she had just washed.

“Back again so soon? Is something wrong?”

“No, something is right, Señora Davila. Did you get the letter off to Ignacio?”

“This morning,” she said, nodding.

“I need now to get this to him,” I said, handing her the additional letter and information. “It will tell him about my trip.”

“So, you are really going?”

.”

“You will come back before?”

“If you like.”

“I have some things I would like you to bring him,” she said.

“Then I will be back. I have to rush off now,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

She took the letter, and we hugged. I hurried out. Santos was sitting in the car, dreaming of driving it. He got out quickly, surprised at how short my visit was.

“It is a beautiful car,” he said. He handed the keys back to me.

“Maybe next time I come, I will have time to take you for a little ride in it.”

“Maybe,” he said.

I got in and started the engine

“The top goes down?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’ll show you.”

I lowered the top, and his eyes widened with appreciation.

“When you take me for a ride, I’d like the top down, too.”

“Okay. I will see you soon,” I said, and backed out. I was very excited about everything and had to remind myself to keep my attention on my driving.

When I turned and started away, I checked my rearview mirror.

My heart sank.

There, parked on the street, watching me, were Christian and Sophia in Christian’s car.

They had followed me.

That was why she had asked him to pick her up and why the alarm was going off inside me. Instinctively, like a wild animal in the desert, I sensed the danger. I should have listened to the alarm and anticipated something like this.

I slowed down to see if they would follow me again. When I reached the corner, I stopped and watched them. Christian started his car and drove up to the Davilas’ house. I saw Santos turn with surprise when Sophia got out of the car. She walked toward him.

A car had come up behind me, and the driver leaned on his horn, making me jump in my seat. I accelerated quickly and drove on, my heart pounding harder than the engine, all the way to Fani’s house.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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