He had cleverly arranged for my funds to be transferred to a Mexican bank. The first chance we had, we withdrew them and put them into another bank. Of course, he had money of his own as well. Finances would never be a problem.
“You’ll grow up with your son in pretty places,” he told me. “Maybe you’ll even change your name eventually. Someday, I’m sure you’ll meet a new young man who will quickly fall in love with you, and you will have a good life after all. I’ll make secret trips to Mexico, and we’ll see each other as often as possible.”
On and on he went as we drove, creating this wonderful story of my future. He even predicted that when he became an international lawyer, he would find a way to clear my name and make it possible for me to go anywhere. Nothing could stop us now.
After we settled into a small hotel in Guadalajara, I went with Adan Jr. to th
e beautiful cathedral and gave thanks and prayed.
Edward said he was afraid to use his cell phone now. He didn’t want to be traced, so he went to a public phone to call a friend back in the Palm Springs area to see if there was any news about me. When we met afterward at a café, he said there was nothing in the papers and nothing on the television or radio news.
“Señor Bovio hasn’t made this a big story. Maybe he won’t. It’s not the best publicity for him.”
It sounded good for us, but I was still very worried.
The following day, we set out for Puerto Vallarta. The weather was perfect. Edward was enjoying the Mexican music and learning more phrases and expressions in Spanish. He thought that if he lived there a month, he would easily become fluent.
“It’s in my blood, after all,” he said.
It was good to see him so happy. Maybe he was right when he said I was doing him a favor by letting him help me. Maybe he needed this almost as much as I did.
We had come so far together since the day I had met him. The journey was filled with obstacles and disappointments along the way, but when I looked back at the Delia who had first arrived in America, terrified and lost, and the Delia I saw in the mirror now, I realized how much older I had become, perhaps because of those obstacles and disappointments. The same seemed true for Edward as well.
Just outside Puerto Vallarta, we stopped at a cantina for some lunch. From the patio, we could see the ocean. I breast-fed Adan Jr. No one seemed to notice or care. Edward thought that was amusing.
“My mother,” he said, “would probably pass out on the spot. We’d be scraping her off the floor here.”
I laughed, and he told me some stories about things he had done when he was younger, things that embarrassed her in public. He wanted me to talk more about my mother. He was intrigued with the differences between the sisters. I realized as we ate and talked about ourselves and the family that these past days had drawn us closer than we had ever been. I couldn’t remember ever feeling as optimistic as I did at that cantina table. Adan Jr. seemed just as contented, and when he smiled, Edward laughed and said, “No matter what, that makes it worth it.”
Afterward, all of us feeling warm and hopeful, we continued into Puerto Vallarta. We saw the tourists coming off the cruise ships and the busy streets and shops. Edward was right, I thought. We would be less distinguishable there. We drove slowly, searching for a good place to stay. Edward had a guidebook that described some of the smaller, slightly out-of-the-way places. There was one called the Playa Iguana that he thought sounded perfect because of its small size. At one point, we had to stop so I could get directions, but we eventually reached the street where it was.
Both previous nights, I had had nightmares, some so vivid that I woke up in a sweat. I never mentioned them to Edward. When I was little and had a nightmare, Abuela Anabela would tell me, “Los sueños sueños son. Dreams are only dreams. Air. Poof.” She would clap her hands to show me how quickly they could be destroyed. No one comforted me as well as she did.
But when we drove down the side street and pulled in front of the Playa Iguana, one of my nightmares vividly came to life. It was so incredible a sight that neither Edward nor I could utter a sound.
There, standing in front of the hotel, was Señor Bovio. Beside him were two policemen.
And behind us now was a police car.
It was as if el diablo himself had dropped out of the sky.
As we were soon to discover, our biggest mistake had been to take my car instead of Edward’s. Neither of us knew that the car’s luxury package included a tracking system designed to find it if it was ever stolen. It had taken Señor Bovio a while to get the Mexican authorities involved, but once they were, they tracked us easily on our way to Puerto Vallarta. When we started toward the Playa Iguana, they concluded that we were headed to the hotel. Señor Bovio had been flown in and quickly brought up to date concerning the tracking. Moments before we turned into the street, he and the police had turned into it.
My heart stopped and started when I saw him, but what made the nightmare come to life even more horrendously was Mrs. Newell stepping out of the hotel to walk with him and the police toward my car. I held Adan Jr. tightly. Edward looked at the options, thinking perhaps that he might be able to pull away and escape, but another police car appeared in front of us.
“It’s no use,” I said. “Your mother was right. He’s too powerful.”
Mrs. Newell tugged on the rear door. “Open this door!” she screamed.
A policeman stood by Edward’s window, glaring in at him. He tapped the window with his baton.
Edward’s shoulders dropped. He flipped the switch to unlock the car, and Mrs. Newell jerked the door open.
“Please, señor, don’t let her take my baby!” I cried.