“I’ll be back,” I promised him. “I’ll be back.”
He disappeared from my sight when I made another turn, and not long after, I was well on my way to Los Angeles. Driving actually calmed me down. Fani had given me very simple directions to follow, and a little more than two hours later, I was parking in front of her apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. I got out my suitcases and entered the lobby, where a doorman greeted me.
“I’m here to visit Estefani Cordova,” I said.
“She’s expecting you. Take the elevator to the third floor. It’s apartment three C,” he said. “You need help with your suitcases?”
“No, I’m fine, thank you.” I wanted to add that there wasn’t much in either of them.
He came around his desk to push the elevator button for me. When the doors opened, I thanked him again and got in. I couldn’t imagine that this was typical student housing. It was clearly an expensive place to live. Everything looking new and clean, with the hallway on the third floor covered in what looked like a brand-new dark-brown carpet. Before I reached the door of 3C, Fani opened it.
“Jake called up to tell me you had arrived,” she said, holding out her arms to embrace me. “Told you that you would find it easily.”
She held me out at arm’s length and smiled. “Don’t look so frightened. You’re away from Nurse Diablo, aren’t you?”
“But I’m away from my baby, too,” I said.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get to see him plenty, I’m sure. Come on in. We’ll get you settled in the second bedroom. Edward is coming over in about an hour.”
I paused to look around. It was a large, beautifully decorated apartment.
“Do other students live like this?”
“No, stupid. We own this apartment. Daddy bought it when I decided to go to USC. Don’t worry. No one from my family comes to use it. This way,” she said, and led me down a short hallway to a very pretty bedroom with a king-size bed, new light-pink carpeting, and white velvet drapes.
“There’s no view to speak of,” she said. “This is the city, and we’re not high enough, but I’m not complaining.”
“No. I would not complain.”
“Here’s your bathroom. I’ve stocked it with everything you need.” She turned on the bathroom lights. It was marble and tile, with a large shower stall and tub. “That tub has power jets. You can bubble up and relax for hours. Good place to bring a boyfriend, too,” she added, smiling.
As soon as I started to blush, she added, “You’re perfect, Delia. College guys secretly love shy girls. It’s their egos. They have to be in charge. Hombres machos,” she said, laughing. “They’re easy to fool, believe me. Most of the boys you’ll meet are pretty immature, actually, especially if you compare them to someone like Adan Bovio, but you’ll find someone who fits for a while, I’m sure.”
“I’m not rushing to find anyone, Fani.”
“No, but they’ll be rushing you when they set eyes on you, Delia. I’ll have to admit, Nurse Diablo did a good job with your recuperation.”
“Only to get me on my feet faster so she could get rid of me. You don’t know what went on there.”
“Oh, I want to know. I want to know everything, of course. Get yourself settled in first,” she quickly added, as if she were afraid I might start to tell her the details. “We’ll have some wine and cheese and crackers while we’re waiting for Edward. Look in the closet. Go on, look.”
I looked at her suspiciously and then slid the doors open to see a half-dozen outfits hanging. There were still tags on them.
“This is for me?”
“But when did you get all of this?”
“Oh, now and then,” she said cryptically.
“How did you know I would come here?”