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A Problem Like Maria

Prologue

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A Problem Like Maria
by Lar

 
     

Chapter Two

"Iím sorry." I mumble, and move out of the way quickly. The last thing I want to happen is for Luis to recognize me. Walking around the corner, I pause and listen, hoping to hear anything that Luis and Hank talk about.

"...you recognize your own sister." I catch Hank saying.

"What are you talking about? That wasnít Theresa." Luis sneers.

"No dummy, it was Paloma." Hank replies, and I can just imagine him rolling his soulful brown eyes.

"Paloma is in Spain Hank. You know that." Luis answers, and I roll my eyes. Heíd know differently if he wouldíve called within the last six years.

"Luis, when was the last time you called over there? Sheíd be 23 now, I highly doubt sheíd still be living with your aunt." Hank remarks.

"Itís a tough situation Hank, but thereís no reason to believe that woman was her." Luis comments.

"Man, you truly are blind. It was her, but if you refuse to believe it, then thatís your own deal." Hank commented. I hear foot steps growing louder, and quickly I resume walking towards where the car was parked.

"So you were listening to us." Hank calls out to me, but I pretend I didnít hear him, and walk to the car.

As I approach the car, I can see Julie and Jess looking serious at me, and I grow curious. Entering the car, I smile and say, "What?"

"Anderson just called. The director is really mad. Furious, is the way Anderson put it." Julie responds.

"Thatís nothing new." I roll my eyes, leaning up against the back seat as Jess starts the car.

"I could hear Megan in the background, she sounded awful. Iím worried, if we get bad reviews in Chicago..."

"Donít even say it Jules. Chicago isnít New York. Itís three shows." I reply hoping to calm them.

"I hope youíre right. Címon, Iím ready to turn in." I yawn for emphasis. As if time was slowly ticking away, we move through town, passing my old hang out, Lighthouse Park.

Finally Jess speaks, "So, who was that guy that seen through you?"

"Hank Bennett. Heís my brotherís best friend. Always sly and cunning." I answer.

"Was he always that handsome too?" Julie remarks.

"Jules! You are so boy crazy itís scary!" Jess comments.

"To answer your question, yes, heís always been handsome." I sneer at my friends childish behavior.

"Did you two have something?"

"Jess, how can you even suggest that?

"What, heís your brotherís age, right? Thatís only four years older. And he seemed like he knew you really well." Jess commented nonchalantly.

"No, we never had anything. Heís just... well, heís Hank!" I offer.

"Well thatís a crappy reason if I ever heard one?" Julie replies.

"How about the fact that heís my brotherís best friend." I answer.

"Nope, still not good enough. I dated my brotherís best friend." Jess rejected.

"Well, thereís no pleasing you two. Oh, thereís the hotel!" I say, pointing at the modern Holiday Inn. Jess sighs aloud, and pulls into the parking lot.

I volunteer to go check us in as they grab our bags. The lobby area is barren I note as I walk up to the front desk. Ringing the buzzer, I put my back up against the desk and wait. A small red head walks out of the back room and smiled politely.

"Can I help you miss?" She asks, and I notice her southern accent.

"Yes, Iíd like a room." I smile.

"Any certain requirements or requests?" She asks.

"Nope. Just a plain room." I say letting my voice rise a bit in pitch. She begins to type on the computer and a frown slowly appears upon her face.

"Hold on one minute. I need to go get my boss. These darn computers. They just installed a new system. Excuse me." She remarks and leaves the front desk area.

Smiling and shaking my head, I resume I position before she came out, and nearly have a heart attack when my eyes connect with his.

"You followed me. Isnít stalking a crime here?" I say, venom creeping into my voice.

"You canít con a con man." He remarks. "I know itís you Paloma. The way you hesitated when you bumped into Luis, your coffee. I know itís you."

Taking a deep breath I look into his eyes. Determination stares back at me, and I realize thereís no way Iíll ever get him to think otherwise.

"What do you want Hank?" I ask.

"Ah ha! I was right!" He remarks, a evil smile creeping onto his face.

"Iím sorry miss. Now, what do you want the room name registered under?" The red head asks as she reappears.

Thankful for the interruption, I reply, "Fitzgerald, Maria Fitzgerald."

"Okay." The woman remarks as she types. "Thatíll be $58.30. Will you be paying with cash or credit card?"

"Credit card." I reply, pushing my Visa across the desk at her. She rang it up and with in seconds a receipt was being printed out. I quickly sign it and she hands me a key. Thanking her I turn around and run right into him. He catches me and hangs onto my waist, as my hands fall onto his chest. "Meet me in Lighthouse Park at 10:30. And if you tell anyone..."

"I wonít." He simply replies. Suddenly aware of the close proximity, I jump away and watch as he smiles and leaves. I inhale and exhale, closing my eyes at the same time. A moment later, Julie and Jess walk in, big smiles on their faces.

"What was that all about?" Julie asks.

"He knows. Iím meeting him at 10:30 tonight." I reply, my voice dropping.

"Really?" Jess asks, her eyes growing wide. I nod and look at my watch. 9:20.

"Letís go get settled, then you guys can help me with what to say." I offer. They nod and follow me as I lead them to our room.

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