“Why have you come here, Tía Isabela? You don’t really care about what happens to me, do you?”
She sighed. “Ray pleaded with me to come talk sense into you. He sounded as if he was on the verge of losing his patience.”
“He’s losing his patience? My baby is upstairs, locked in a room. I am not permitted to see him.”
She shook her head as if it wasn’t a big thing.
“It’s my baby!” I cried.
She closed and opened her eyes. “You had better think hard about all he is offering you and not make this last big mistake. I came for you as much as for him. It’s the last thing I will do for you, Delia.”
She stood up.
“Get out with something while you still can. That’s what I would do.”
“Maybe that’s why I shouldn’t,” I said.
r /> She reddened. “I’m really tired of you. You won’t see me again.”
“Is that a threat or a promise?”
She shook her head. “You know what, Delia? I hope you don’t take Ray’s offer. I hope he does me a favor and gets rid of you, has you deported or something.”
She turned and walked out, her footsteps echoing off along with her, the threats lingering in the air like the odor of something dead.
Not long afterward, Teresa came to my room carrying a dress. She told me Señor Bovio had asked her to invite me to have dinner with him that evening. He had called her from one of his commercial properties and asked her to bring me this dress of his wife’s to wear. It was one I had not seen. It looked like one of the ones that hung with the tags still on them in the closet, never worn.
“He said to tell you he has a nice surprise for you,” she said. “Dinner will be at seven tonight, Miss.”
“That’s all I know, Miss. Oh. He said you should be sure to bring the signed document with you.”
“I see. Thank you, Teresa.”
She smiled. “I hope there’s truly good news for you, Delia.”
“Thank you,” I said.
I was on pins and needles waiting for this dinner and this surprise. Did it mean Ignacio would be freed? Whatever the surprise, it was clear he expected me to give him what he wanted first. I read and reread the revised statement. It simply said that I had visitation privileges, but I had to call and arrange for the visits first. If there was any doubt in my mind before, it was clear now that Señor Bovio expected me to be out of his hacienda very soon.
I put on the dress. It had a very pretty off-the-shoulder white bodice and a red ankle-length skirt. It fit well. I didn’t have the right shoes for it and laughed at myself for even caring. However, I brushed and pinned my hair. I imagined that he didn’t want me to look like the poor lost soul I was. I didn’t mind. If I looked good and held on to some of my dignity and pride, perhaps he would be more forthcoming. I was determined to bring up Adan’s name and see if that would get me anywhere with him, too.
He was already at the table in the dining room when I arrived at seven. He looked quite dapper, more like the Señor Bovio I remembered. It was almost as if all of the terrible things that had happened since were just bad dreams. At any moment, Adan himself would come in behind me, and we would sit at the beautiful table and talk about wonderful things.
“You look very nice,” Señor Bovio said. “I knew that dress would fit you now.”
I sat, and Señor Bovio offered me some red wine. When I hesitated, he smiled.
“You don’t have the same food and drink restrictions now, Delia. Enjoy.”
I nodded, and he poured me a glass.
“I can see, by the way, that Mrs. Newell did a very good job of keeping your weight down. Despite what you’ve been through, you have nearly regained your beautiful figure.”
“Perhaps she should work more with people who are obese,” I said, and he laughed.