“Please, please, do it for me. I promise you, she’ll be gone as soon as she is no longer necessary.”
I said nothing more. I had no one else to talk to, really, no one else to confide in. To my disappointment, Fani had not called or returned since the day she had met me at the pool. I waited each day for some word from her or about her but heard nothing. Señor Bovio did not mention her parents breaking up, either, nor did he mention her. Finally, I asked him about her, and he told me he hadn’t heard from her or her parents.
“Everyone’s busy. I’m sure Fani has many friends. You know she is a very popular girl at school. Maybe she no longer feels she has anything in common with you because you are pregnant.”
He might very well be right, I thought. I was disappointed but said nothing. Of course, there was no word from or about Edward, either, since the day he had been turned away at the gate. I attributed that to mi tía Isabela, who had yet to stop by even to threaten something new since the first day I had come to the Bovio hacienda. Still, I hoped that Edward might at least call me, but the phone never rang.
I always asked Teresa if any messages had been left for me when I was out of the house, but she never said there had been any. I became suspicious about it and for the first time used the phone in my room to call out. I was just testing, so I called the telephone number of a nursing school I was considering. I couldn’t get an outside line. The phone kept going back to the dial tone.
I went down to ask Señor Bovio about it, but he wasn’t in his office, and no one else knew anything about it. I waited for him in the living room, and the moment he entered, I asked him about my phone.
“Oh, that was shut off shortly after my wife died,” he said. “Only the intercom works.”
“Well, can you get it back on for me, please, señor?”
“I’ll see about it,” he said, but he didn’t, and when I reminded him, he apologized. Finally, he told me the technician was having some difficulties and would have to do some rewiring. I asked him to get me a cell phone in the meantime. He was surprised, but he always said I could ask for anything I wanted.
“If I should go somewhere, I might have to call you or Mrs. Newell,” I suggested when he looked hesitant.
“Sí. You’re right. I’ll see to it immediately,” he told me, and to my surprise, the following day, a cell phone was delivered for me.
The first thing I did was call Fani. I hadn’t forgotten her private number, but I was surprised to learn that it had been changed, so I called her house, and the housekeeper told me she wasn’t home. I left my name and my new phone number, but Fani did not return my call.
During the weeks that went by, I often asked Señor Bovio about his efforts to reduce Ignacio’s prison sentence. He told me it was in the works, but it had to go through a chain of command that would take more time. Finally, a little annoyed about my frequent inquiries, he said, “You don’t have to keep asking me about it, Delia. You don’t push people who are doing you favors. I don’t mean me. We are working with bureaucrats who are quite self-important. There are egos to stroke and palms to fill, if you know what I mean. Be patient.”
I could do nothing but nod and hope. To keep myself from thinking about it too much, I put most of my energy into my schoolwork, usually doing more than was required. Mr. McCarthy’s smirk of pessimism didn’t fly off his face, but it began to dwindle as he reviewed my work every Wednesday. Just before he prepared me for my final exams, however, he did admit that he expected me to do well. He administered the finals over two days and then called Señor Bovio to tell him that I had passed everything and would be getting my high school diploma.
Although it was unusual for him to do so, Señor Bovio came up to my suite to invite me to have dinner with him the night after I had passed my exams.
“It is a very special occasion, after all,” he said. “I am proud of your accomplishment, Delia. To be honest, I didn’t think you would be able to do it so quickly.”
“I know it was a real accomplishment. Your tutor has a reputation for being very strict.”
Señor Bovio nodded. “You should look special tonight,” he said. He went to the closet and sifted through my maternity dresses. “I like this one very much. It reminds me of one my wife wore.”
Dozens had been made for me and delivered, especially after the ultrasound results. Señor Bovio had Mr. Blumgarten come to do his new measurements every ten days now, instead of every three weeks. At the last session, he admitted being surprised at how quickly I was showing. He wondered if I were having twins. Mrs. Newell, who overheard, immediately assured him that I wasn’t and that I was not gaining any more weight than expected. Obviously taking it as a criticism of her, she dressed him down so sharply with her remarks that he seemed to shrink and couldn’t get his work over and leave fast enough. However, he did create beautiful clothes.
“It is very pretty, señor. I’ll wear it.”
Señor Bovio continued to look in the closet and surprised me by bringing out one of his wife’s wigs.
“Try this on tonight,” he said. “I think the color suits you.”
I stared, amazed.
He smiled. “I know you young women like to dabble in all this. Go on,” he said, holding it out.
I took it because I could see that it was important to him.
Later, dressed in the wig and the maternity dress he had chosen for me, I entered the dining room. He was already there and immediately registered delight. He stood and pulled out the chair for me.
“You look absolutely beautiful, Delia. I was right about that wig. It suits you. I knew you would soon bloom. I told you that you would be even prettier during your pregnancy. My wife never believed me. I hope you do now.”