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A Problem Like Maria

Prologue

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A Problem Like Maria
by Lar

 
     

Chapter Twelve

"Donít you ever speak to our sister that way again. If I didnít have enough reason to be ashamed to call you my brother!" Tony yells from the door, staring Luis down before looking at me and offering me a reassuring smile.

"Antonio?" Luis questions silently.

Ignoring Luis, Tony steps over to my other bedside and sits down. He cups my hand in his and asks, "are you okay?"

"Fine." I answer before leaning toward him and whispering in his ear, "you have great timing. Luis was on his question mode. I almost said something about father."

"I do have great timing then. You just follow my lead." Tony whispers back before breaking our little chat and looking at Luis, who was studying us with disbelief written on his face.

"Maybe youíd better sit down Luis, you look like youíve just been punched hard in the gut." I say, in a slightly worried tone.

"Yes brother, I imagine the shock must be great. Probably something similar to what I felt when I saw Maria in Europe. Iíve always known you resented her, but I never wouldíve thought youíd send her away." Tony scowls.

"I...I never resented her." Luis defends, still in a state shock.

"Bull. You always were harder on her. You resented her because she was the first girl, and I gave her special attention." Tony shakes his head, and stares intently at Luis.

"Letís not talk about her any more, where the hell have you been for ten years? You left as soon as I turned eighteen. Just flew the coop, meanwhile, Iím left to be man of the house, your job." Luis growls.

"I went to search for our father. I couldíve left when you were sixteen, but I decided to let you grow up a bit more. Luis, you were always responsible. I just figured you could manage the house. I didnít think Iíd be gone for ten years." Tony argues, a bit of hostility in his voice.

"So you didnít think to write or call. Dammit Antonio! I was only eighteen. Mamaís been so worried about you. Thereís no excuse why you didnít call." Luis replies.

"Thereís a perfectly plausible reason, I was on an assignment. Contacting home couldíve jeopardized everything." Tony sighs.

"Assignment? What arenít you telling me?" Luis demanded.

"Some thingís canít be explained right now Luis." I interject, hoping to show my support.

"Mariaís right. One day everything will be explained. But until then, know that Iím watching your every move. And if I ever see you talk to Maria like that again, I wonít hesitate to do something rash." Tony warns.

"Whatever, I gotta catch my sift. Mamaís coming in later. Youíd better be here to see her Antonio." Luis commands.

"Donít use that tone with me. Iím still bigger than you. And I would love to see mother. Although we will have to have a serious talk." Tony says, staring into Luisí eyes.

"Good bye Luis. Thanks for stopping in." I say in a chipper voice as he leaves the room, his shoulders hunched over.

"You were right." Tony remarks once Luis is no longer in the room.

"I know. Heís like a blood hound." I comment.

"Well, one of these days that nose of him is gonna get him in trouble." Tony states.

"How come you came and not father?" I ask.

"I was awake, he was asleep. I left him a note. Itís a good thing he didnít come."

"Yeah. That wouldíve totally blown it. Especially with the trial starting. As soon as I get outta here, you guys are going back. I donít want you risking it."

"Weíve already made plans. You know Iím always looking out for his safety. Itís my job donít forget." Tony reminds me. I smile mockingly at him, hating to be reminded about his job again.

"So, what exactly are you going to talk to mother about?" I ask.

"Just how she lets Luis walk all over her. Tell her that thatís not the same mother I remember. Basically make her see the error of her ways, and hope she mends them."

"I hope she does. From what Hankís told me, the familyís beginning to become unhinged. Miguel is barely at home anymore, the whole family kinda avoids each other."

"Thatís sad to think about, considering how close we used to be. We would sit up and talk for hours." Tony reminisced.

"Yes, and youíd always put Luis in his place for picking on me. You two are complete opposites." I comment.

"Yep."

"Do you blame Luis for the way the family turned out?" I ask, looking into his eyes.

"Partly. I couldíve stayed. But I thought Luis had learned from me. I helped mother make the decisions, but I didnít make them for her. I offered my advice, and helped with money. Luis more or less took over control. But itís not his fault. Itís partly everyoneís. Mother, father, me, Luis, even you."

"Me? Howíd you figure?"

"Did you really have to come that close to doing it in the park? It is a public place." Tony smirks.

"Oh come on! What about the beach. That was yours and Luisí spot. I had to be different." I defend.

"Yeah, Iíve always noticed you were Ďdifferentí as you put it." Tony jokes.

"Shut up! Or Iíll tell my nurse you are causing me not to feel well."

"Alright sis, you win." Tony relents.

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