Delias Heart | Chapter 23 of 29

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

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14

Change in Plan

Tía Isabela predicted well when she predicted we would meet at a late breakfast the following morning. I slept so deeply and was so tired, but I was still shocked at how late it was when my eyes finally were nudged open by the bright sunshine that had been pouring vainly through my windows until that moment. I glanced at the clock and saw it was already after ten. By the time I drifted down to breakfast, it was nearly eleven, and she appeared only moments after I did.

“Well, I can tell from the way you look this morning that you had a full day. Tell me about it,” she said, sitting. She didn’t ask about Sophia, where she was, whether she had eaten breakfast, anything.

“His boat is beautiful, and I had a wonderful time in Catalina. We had lunch on the boat.”

“Yes, that’s smart. And you went swimming?”

“A little.”

“What did he think of your bathing suit?”

It brought a blush to my face to answer, but her eyes were like doctor’s eyes, searching for signs that would reveal what was going on inside me.

“He liked everything I wore,” I said.

She smiled. “I’ll bet he did. And afterward, you had dinner in Newport Beach?”

“At a steak restaurant on the beach, yes.”

“Good. Since you and Adan are doing so well, I think I will take you with me to the fund-raiser for his father next weekend. It is a dinner at one of the bigger hotels here. There will be more than a thousand people. We’ll sit at the Bovio table, of course. I’m going to take you for a new dress, something more appropriate, and shoes to match. We’ll do it on Wednesday.”

Finally, she glanced at Sophia’s empty chair.

“And where is our own little princess this morning?”

“I have not seen her, Tía Isabela.”

“She did come home last night, didn’t she?”

“Yes.”

Inez began to serve breakfast. Señora Rosario brought in the newspaper.

“Will Sophia be going to the fund-raiser, too?” I asked.

Tía Isabela lowered her paper to look at me.

“Whatever for?” she replied, and returned to her newspaper. “Besides, it’s a thousand dollars a plate.”

“A thousand dollars! For a plate?”

She lowered the paper again and smiled. “Yes, Delia, you’re in a different world now, a world you could never imagine. In time, like me, you’ll forget you were ever in that dirty little Mexican village. It will seem like someone else’s bad dream.” She snapped the paper.

“That will never be, Tía Isabela,” I said defiantly. She heard me but chose to pretend she hadn’t.

After a while, Sophia entered the dining room, wearing a long shirt and slippers, her hair disheveled. Tía Isabela looked at her askance.

“That’s not a proper way to dress for breakfast, Sophia.”

“I just got up!” she cried. “And I’m hungry.” She turned to me, smiling. “You had a phone call. I heard your phone ringing and ringing. That’s what woke me up, actually, so I answered it for you.”

I grimaced. I had asked her never to answer my phone again.

“Who was it?” Tía Isabela asked first.

“Adan Bovio. I told him you were down at breakfast and would call him when you were finished,” she told me.

“You didn’t say anything nasty to him, did you, Sophia?”

“Oh, no, Mother. Heaven forbid I ever do anything like that to Adan Bovio.”

“It would make me very unhappy to hear you had done anything to interfere. I am quite fond of the Bovio family.”

“Oh, we all know that now, Mother.” She picked at some toast.

“Where did you go last night, Sophia?” Tía Isabela asked her.

She looked at me. “We ended up at a movie and had some Chinese food,” she told Tía Isabela, and then she smiled at me. “Goodness knows, I wouldn’t want to get in anyone else’s way.”

Tía Isabela glared at her and then turned her suspicious eyes toward me for a moment. I looked down, and she returned to her paper, mumbling to herself.

Sophia’s smile brightened and widened. She so enjoyed frustrating and annoying her mother. As soon as I finished, I excused myself and hurried back up to my room, first to call Fani and then to call Adan back.

“You were right about her,” I told Fani immediately. “She isn’t that frightened of us. She thinks I go to see the Davilas to give them money.”

“Do you?”

“No, never. Señor Davila is far too proud a man to take money from me, even if I had it to give him.”

“I’d advise you to stay away from the Davilas for a while, then. Don’t give Sophia any more opportunities. Now, forget about her. Tell me about your day.”

“Adan hasn’t called you yet?” I asked, and she laughed.

“I’d rather hear it from you, Delia. Was it wonderful?”

“Yes, it was,” I said. I could not say otherwise.

“You know, he never took me to lunch on his boat.”

“He is very fond of you, Fani. He speaks of you often.”

“He should. I’ve done many good things for him, including you.”

“Me?”

“Why do you think I invited you to my parents’ dinner party, just to annoy those idiot girls at school? No, I knew you and Adan would hit it off.”

Why wasn’t she concerned about her own romances and not the romances of others? I wondered again.

I told her about Tía Isabela taking me to the fund-raiser for Adan’s father.

“Good. I’ll be there as well. Now, tell me a little more, Delia.”

“More. Por qué?”

“Just give me the juicy details. Did you or did you not make love with Adan on his boat?”

“He was a gentleman,” I replied.

“I take that to mean no, which I don’t believe. If there is anyone you can confide in, Delia, it’s me. I would think you would know that by now.”

Why was she so determined to hear such news?

“It’s nothing to be ashamed about,” she continued. “Well?”

“We did not, as you say, make love on his boat, but we were romantic.”

“Romantic?” She laughed. “I know Adan Bovio. He invented seduction. Okay, my bashful one, keep your secrets.”

She sounded so confident. Had Adan told her some other story?

“I’ll see you in school,” she said.

Before I called Adan, Edward phoned also to hear about my weekend. He listened to my descriptions of everything, and then, after a moment of silence, he said, “You sound ambivalent. You know what that means?”

“I think so. Not sure?”

“Yes, as if you are both happy and sad. Maybe things are happening too fast for you, Delia. My mother sounds like a madwoman matchmaker.”

I didn’t like to gossip, but I mentioned that Tía Isabela was seeing Adan’s father.

“Oh. The plot thickens,” he said. “Anyway, to change the subject, Jesse has made all the arrangements for our Mexican trip. We’ll be down for lunch on Saturday to review everything. It’s not that far off now.”

“I look forward to seeing you both,” I said.

“As for everything else, Delia, take it slowly. The right way will show itself to you in time,” he said, “and I’m confident you will make the right choices.”

Gracias, Edward.”

Hasta luego.”

, see you soon,” I said.

I sat thinking for a while after I hung up. I had promised Ignacio’s mother I would stop by one more time to bring him things she wanted him to have. I would just be more careful about it, I thought. I wondered if I should speak with Santos, too. He had to be warned about Sophia.

Adan didn’t wait for me to return the call. He called again, sounding a little worried because I hadn’t rushed to call him back.

“I was just about to call you,” I said. I made my conversation with Tía Isabela sound longer, but he knew I had already spoken with Fani. He said a strange thing.

“Be careful about how much trust you put in her, Delia. I love Fani, but she is almost her own species.”

“What does this mean, this species?”

“She can change moods, allegiances, very quickly and without any apparent warning or reason. She’s been good to me and sometimes bitterly cruel to me. Of course, she immediately regrets it, but she’s a complicated person, and you’re a sweet and innocent young woman who may be a little too trusting still.”

I’m not as innocent as he thinks, I thought. He would come to that conclusion quickly if he knew the truth about Ignacio. Thinking about it, I told him of Edward, Jesse, and our plan to take a trip to my Mexican village.

“If those two weren’t gay and he wasn’t your cousin, I’d be very, very jealous,” he said. “I’ll miss you, even for that short a period.”

I quickly told him about Tía Isabela taking me to his father’s fund-raiser, and that returned a cheerful tone to his voice. He went on and on about it, the food, the entertainment, the people we would meet.

“There’s a good chance the governor might stop by. He has a vacation home in Rancho Mirage, you know.”

I agreed to try to see him during the week, but I soon discovered Tía Isabela had seen to that. She had him meet us at the dress shop the following Wednesday so he could take us to dinner. I was surprised that Sophia showed no signs of envy when she heard about her mother taking me to the fund-raiser. She told me she hated those sorts of things.

“You’ve got to watch everything you do and everything you say. And the people there are mostly old and stuffy. You’ll see,” she said. “I’ll have my girlfriends and some boys over for a party around the pool,” she told me. “Just don’t dare say anything to my mother about it. I don’t care if she finds out as long as it’s afterward.”

Maybe because she knew Adan was going to meet us at the dress shop, Tía Isabela spent nearly two thousand dollars on a gown for me. The shoes were seven hundred. She promised to lend me some more of her jewelry as well. Even though I knew in my heart that she had other motives for doing what she was doing, I let myself be treated like her daughter. The salesgirl, excited about the purchases Tía Isabela was making, had to comment and tell me, “Your aunt must be terribly fond of you. You’re lucky.”

I welcomed her envy. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but at least for a short while, I could feel loved and imagine what it would have been like if my mother had been blessed with Tía Isabela’s wealth and opportunities, and we could have gone off together, perhaps to Mexico City to shop and eat at fine restaurants, laugh and take delight in each other’s company. Maybe, just maybe, I hoped, Tía Isabela had longed for such a relationship with her own daughter and was at least enjoying these moments the way I was.

But as soon as Adan arrived, she transformed from a loving aunt and surrogate mother into a socialite. Her voice took on a more correct and formal tone. Even her laugh was different. It was more of a forgery, dishonest, affected. She treated Adan as if he were a little prince and we had to pay royal homage. She laughed hard at all of his jokes, widened her eyes at his comments as if every one of them were brilliant enough to be written into books.

What threw me the most, perhaps, was how much and how enthusiastically she built me up, boasting and bragging about my achievements at school, my grasp of English, even my cooking abilities, even though she had never tasted anything I had made. After a while, I was so embarrassed I could barely glance at Adan.

Adan was polite and went along with everything she did and said, but once in a while, he winked at me to let me know he wasn’t as gullible as he pretended. I was relieved when the dinner was finally over and we could go home. My body had been frozen in such a tense state the whole time I was actually exhausted. Señor Garman had already loaded the car with my things. We said good night outside the restaurant with Tía Isabela standing off to the side to watch Adan kiss me. As if it were a stamp of approval, she kissed him on the cheek, and we got into the limousine.

“What a wonderful young man,” she said as we were driven away. “It’s nice when a father can be proud of his son and a son can be proud of his father. Do you realize what it would mean for you if Señor Bovio was elected, Delia? You would be in Washington society, mingle with the powers that be. It’s incredible to think that a girl who lived in a house that was more like a barn would exchange greetings with a president or ambassadors. Aren’t you excited?”

“I am not married to Adan Bovio, Tía Isabela. I have only gone on some dates with him.”

She laughed. “You can’t be that dense. I saw it in his eyes when he looks at you, Delia. You’ve hooked him. He’s head over heels in love with you.”

I turned away so she couldn’t read the expression on my face. She was already imagining Adan’s and my wedding, calling it the biggest social event of the decade. More to put an end to all of this fantastic talk than anything, I mentioned that Edward and Jesse were coming on Saturday to review our trip plans.

“What? You can’t tell me you’re still considering doing something as stupid as that. You can’t!”

“Why not? I have promised them, and they are very excited about it.”

“This is ridiculous. And it’s dangerous,” she added, nodding. “I won’t permit it.”

“But you said—”

“I don’t care what I said. I never believed you would go through with such an idea. It’s absolutely the wrong time for you to do such a thing. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of Edward,” she said, as if my only problem was disappointing my cousin.

“No, I must go,” I said, a little more firmly than I had intended.

“What do you mean, you must? Why must you go?”

“I need to visit my grandmother’s and my parents’ graves.”

“Why? It is not the Día de los Muertos. That was last November.”

“I don’t wait for the Day of the Dead to pay my respects,” I said. “I need to thank them for all the good things that have happened for me and will happen.”

“Oh, please. Thank them. What did they do to bring any of this about? You must lose these foolish, ignorant superstitions. You’re about to become a modern woman, an American woman with prestige. You can’t go babbling about evil eyes and blessings from the beyond. And I want you to stay away from these ignorant Mexicans who hold on to these ideas,” she added. She fluffed her dress and pouted. “Now you’ve gone and upset me, and we were having such a wonderful day and evening.”

“I am sorry,” I said.

She grunted but said nothing more until we arrived at the hacienda and entered.

“I’ll speak with Edward tomorrow first thing,” she told me. “Just do your schoolwork and prepare for the wonderful weekend.”

Before I could respond, she turned and marched off. I carried the boxes containing my gown and shoes up to my room. Sophia had her door shut. I could hear the music. I was sure she was on the phone with one of her girlfriends plotting and planning their own festivities for the weekend. I was so conflicted I didn’t know if I could ever get to sleep. I had already had Ignacio’s mother and father send him the letter that told him of my trip. I would have the specific details for them to get to him this weekend. What if Tía Isabela was able to get Edward to change his mind about going?

And what about all these things she described? Could I deny that they sounded wonderful? I felt as if I had been tied to two donkeys that wanted to go in opposite directions. The beautiful new gown hung in my closet. My memories of the day on Adan’s boat were still vivid. Poor Ignacio’s face was fading. Was it dreadful to wish that mi tía Isabela would make the decision for me? What was happening to the Delia who had struggled and suffered to cross the desert with Ignacio? Where was the Delia who worked happily beside her grandmother preparing tortillas and singing old songs? Had my parents’ tragic deaths and my grandmother’s passing taken that Delia’s soul along with them? When I looked into my mirror in my beautiful new home, did I see only the shell of the girl I had been, and were mi tía Isabela and everyone else I now knew filling me with a new identity?

Maybe in so many small ways that we don’t even realize and rarely understand, we confront our own Day of the Dead. We visit our own graves and finally see that the memory of who we were and where we had been was dwindling like some distant star that had died light-years before and was now only the empty illuminated echo of itself. If you could reach out to touch it, your fingers would pass through to nothing, and you would be left concluding that it was gone. Rather than be alone, you would turn to another star.

And you would be happy and sad at the same time, just as I was this night when I lowered my head to the pillow and fought back the darkness like one terrified of her own dreams. The weight of night was too great to resist, however, and I was soon overwhelmed with sleep.

Tía Isabela said nothing about my Mexican trip in the morning. Apparently, she had forgotten about it for the moment. She was too involved thinking about her own preparations for the weekend, her nail and hair appointments. Someone was coming to the hacienda to do her makeup professionally. She explained that television and other media people would be at the fund-raiser, so she had to be “up to snuff.”

When she spoke about it, I watched Sophia to see her reactions. It was as if she didn’t hear her. She ate or did whatever she was doing and never asked a question or made a comment.

Before Friday, however, Tía Isabela had called Edward about our Mexican trip. They apparently had an argument on the phone, and then Edward called me and told me to disregard whatever his mother had said. He and Jesse were coming down on Saturday, and that was that.

Adan was busy on Friday with his work, and then he was going to some campaign events with his father. He wanted to see me and asked if I wanted to go along as well, but I told him I was tired and would rather rest for the bigger night on Saturday. He said he understood and admitted he probably wouldn’t have had that much time for me anyway, and I might have been uncomfortable.

Neither Sophia nor I knew where Tía Isabela was Friday night. She left no instructions. Sophia went out with her girlfriends, and I had dinner alone, watched some television, and tried to distract myself from thinking about the tension now between Edward and Tía Isabela.

It wasn’t until Saturday morning at breakfast that she brought it up.

“Your cousin and his companion are coming here today. I want you to tell them in no uncertain terms that you will not go to Mexico. Is that clear?” she asked me at the table moments after she entered. Sophia strutted in, half-asleep as usual, but she perked up at the tone in her mother’s voice.

I didn’t respond.

“You’ll ruin everything by doing something that stupid,” Tía Isabela continued.

“I told Adan about my trip already,” I said, keeping my gaze on the plate. “He wasn’t upset.”

“Of course, he wasn’t upset with you on the phone, but he thinks you’re doing it for your cousin, and he wouldn’t want to get into any argument with you about it. He’s too much of a gentleman.”

“Oh, please, spare us,” Sophia said. “Adan Bovio is too much of a gentleman?”

“Don’t you dare contradict me, Sophia.”

“Yes, your highness.”

I was happy they were at each other, and Tía Isabela was not concentrating on me.

“Don’t take that tone with me. Did you go out of this house last night?”

“You said I could if I came home early.”

“Did you come home early? I can ask Mrs. Rosario.”

“It was early to me. It was before midnight. Wasn’t it, Delia?” she asked, turning to me.

I looked at Tía Isabela. “I was asleep early myself,” I said.

“You’d never stand up for me, would you?” Sophia complained. “But you expect me to come to your defense all the time.”

“I didn’t say you were lying. I just said—”

“Yeah, yeah. I came home early, Mother, earlier than you.”

“That’s enough. You’ve spoiled my appetite. I will not allow myself to get stressed out today. It does terrible damage to your face, deepens lines, not that I have that many.”

She suddenly remembered what she had said to me.

“Just be sure to make it clear to Edward, Delia. I expect nothing less from you.”

Again, I said nothing. After breakfast, I went up to my bedroom anticipating Edward and Jesse’s impending arrival. I tried doing some reading for school and some math homework just to keep myself from thinking about it all. I think I dozed off for a while, because suddenly, Sophia was at my door, a gleeful smile on her face. I could hear shouting below.

“Hear that?” she said. “They’re fighting about you.”

I stepped out into the hallway. Edward and Jesse had arrived, and Tía Isabela had intercepted them before they started up the stairway.

Sophia held her smile and followed me to the top of the stairway.

“Do you fools realize how dangerous it is nowadays to travel those back roads in Mexico to that decrepit village? Why would you want to go there and see that poverty? And what about the health issues?”

“You hid our heritage from us all our lives,” Edward responded. “We have a right to know and understand from where we have come.”

“Understand?” She laughed. “Now, you listen to me, Edward Dallas, you can threaten to do whatever you want with your money. I no longer care. I have through my own business associates created a strong financial foundation. What we lose because of you, we lose and you lose, but I am that girl’s legal guardian, not you. She is still in my care and control, and I absolutely forbid your taking her on this idiotic Mexican trip. That’s final.”

I took a few steps down.

“If you defy me, I swear, I’ll go to the police and have them pick you up for kidnapping.”

I saw her pointing to Edward and then to Jesse.

“Don’t either of you test me on this,” she said, turned, and walked to her side of the hacienda. Edward and Jesse stood there looking after her. Then Jesse saw me on the stairway and nodded.

Edward turned to me. “C’mon,” he said. “We’re taking you to lunch. That we can do without the police coming after us.”

I hesitated and looked up at Sophia. She was as pleased as a hog wallowing in cool mud. I hurried down the stairway.

Hasta la vista,” Sophia cried, laughing.

We hurried out to Edward’s car.

“Just get in,” he said. His face was red with rage. Jesse said he would drive.

“What turned her off on all this?” Edward asked as we pulled away from the hacienda. “She wasn’t so against it when we first told her.”

“It doesn’t sit well with her matchmaker plans, is that it?” Jesse asked.

. She is afraid it will upset Adan and Señor Bovio.”

“That’s a twist,” Jesse said. “Ray Bovio is running as a Latino candidate, and she’s saying he’d be upset if you took a trip to Mexico.”

“She wants me to forget my past and think only of the future.”

“Think only of her future,” Edward said. “That’s what she really means. Well, we’re not going to do it,” he said.

“Not go to Mexico?” Jesse asked, surprised.

“No, not listen to her. Don’t worry about it, Delia. Her threats are empty threats. She’d never put the police on us. It would bring too much shame to the Dallas name.

“But for now,” he continued, thinking aloud, “we’ll let her believe she’s frightened us off. Don’t mention the trip anymore to anyone, Delia. If anyone asks, it’s off, especially Sophia. Put on an act for her or something. Act very sad about it. She’ll enjoy seeing you sad and believe you.”

“And then?” Jesse asked.

“And then we’ll go as planned,” Edward said, smiling. “You’ll sneak out of the house that day, and we’ll pick you up. Before she knows anything, we’ll have flown to Mexico City,” he said. “She’ll get over it just the way she gets over everything. One thing about my mother, she never lets anything annoy her too much. She’s afraid it would age her. This is one time I’m grateful for her vanity.”

Jesse smiled.

“Okay, Delia?” Edward asked.

I had my chance. I could have stopped it all then.

But I didn’t.

I nodded and added one more secret to my backpack, another burden to weigh on my soul.

We drove on now talking about Mexico.

All I could think about was how I had to sneak up to the Davilas’ and give Ignacio’s mother the details.

And then, after that, there was just the waiting and constantly looking for the evil eye.

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

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