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A Problem Like Maria

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A Problem Like Maria
by Lar

 
     

Chapter Seventeen

"So hija, what’s the purpose of calling us all here? I had to practically beg Theresa and Miguel to leave Charity and Ethan." Mother states with a small laugh. I look around at my family gathered before me. Mother sat in the middle of the couch, Theresa and Miguel on each side. Luis and Tony sat in the standard hotel chairs on each side of the couch. The chairs faced inward a bit allowing the slight appearance of a semi-circle, with me standing at the opening.

"Tony and I want to clear up a few things. We want to get through all of this, so please don’t interrupt us. We promise to answer all your questions." I say, looking around the room.

"Well then, please enlighten us." Luis sneers, and I see Tony shoot him a nasty glare.

"Tony." I say, prompting him.

Tony sighs and runs his hands through his hair. "There’s so much to say. I think the best thing to start with is the reason I was gone so long. I really wanted to come home. Or to contact you. But work prevented it. I was on an important assignment. Lives depended on me. Really I shouldn’t be here, except that Maria got hurt and the person I protect is close to her. So we came."

"What’s this job?" Miguel asks.

"Special Agent for the FBI." Tony replies. The shocked expression on Luis’ face is mirrored onto Mother, Theresa, and Miguel. Tony and me exchange glances, and I nod to tell him to continue. He opens his mouth to speak, but mother beats him to it.

"Hijo, I’m so proud of you." She quietly states, tears flowing from her eyes as she finally lets the realization of why her son was gone set in.

"Thanks mother. But there is so much more that I have to tell you." Tony practically whispers. He clears his throat before continuing. "When I left, I didn’t set out to be an FBI agent, I left to find father. A few good tips that I had to work for led me to a safe house in Dublin. That’s where I saw him. But the FBI saw me, and grabbed me. It seems they were protecting father, and the chance that I would say something could jeopardize his life and their case. So they took me into the safe house. At first, I was just like father, a protected witness, but then I made an offer to them. I told them that no one would be a better guard for father than me. I’m his own son, so I’d be more willing to lay down my life for his. They accepted my offer and bingo, after training, I’m father’s body guard."

Tearing my eyes away from Tony, I look around the room, and watch as my family takes in the information. Mother and Theresa have tears streaming down their red cheeks, and tears brim in Miguel’s eyes. Luis sat slumped in his chair, a blank expression on his face.

"Maria was in London a few years later, and we saw her in a show. Little did we know that she saw us, and recognized us. We’ve kept in contact ever since, all of us traveling far and away." Tony continues.

"Hijo, if you’re Martin’s body guard, then where is Martin?" Mother asks quietly.

"Before I disclose his location, I have to give you a for warning. Everything I just told you is confidential. If any word got out that he was here, people would come after him and try to kill him. You cannot breathe a word of anything I’ve told you to anyone. You must go on acting normal. Mother continue lighting your candles, do nothing out of the ordinary." Tony commands, looking each person in the eyes, stopping on Luis.

"We promise Tony, just let us see him." Theresa begs.

Tony looks at me and nods. I walk over to the door between both rooms and knock rhythmically. A short answer comes back through the walls, and a moment later the door opens and I’m face to face with my father. I can see the excitement in his eyes, and smile warmly. After a long stare, he looks past me and walks into the room.

I turn to watch as my parents are reunited. No one in the room has dry eyes, not even Luis. Slowly my father turns and greets the rest of the family he was separated from. Finally he stands face to face with Luis, taking in the man that his second son had become. After an awkward moment, he envelopes him into a bear hug.

Tony walks over to me as father continues to talk with the rest of the family.

"I’ve never seen him so happy." Tony comments.

"Neither have I. Let’s just hope this happiness can last." I reply.

"I have a feeling it will." Tony remarks.

"We’re finally reunited. All of us under one roof." I say, letting the realization finally set in.

"Yes we are. I hope he’s ready to answer questions about that night. I can see them brimming in Luis’ eyes."

"You don’t think he’s ready?" I ask, staring at him curiously.

"No, I think he is. What scares me is what Luis’ll do with that info."

"Why don’t we go sit down and find out." I suggest. Tony leads the way over to two vacant chairs. We sit and watch the rest of the reunion.



"We need to talk some more." I finally say. I feel the eyes of the room look upon me, and I straighten up a bit more.

"She’s right. I know you have plenty of questions." Father says.

"Yes. Tons." Luis remarks.

"Then let me explain first and see if that clears up everything." Father replies. "Where to start?" He ponders aloud.

"How about at ‘that night’." Tony suggests, his eyes supportive and caring.

"Well, I was called up to the Crane mansion by Denise, the night time caretaker. When I got there, I heard some yelling from the Crane library. So I went to the doorway and sneaked in. Three people were in the room, but I only recognized one, Alistair. No one noticed me, and they continued talking. The older man standing across from Alistair kept yelling something about Alistair not keeping up the deal, and before I know it, he pulls a gun out on him. Instincts overcame me, and I rushed over to the table where a gun was hidden. I pulled it out and fired it, killing the older man on the spot. The young man, who I figured was his son, looked at me and then to his father. He ran to him, watching as his father died. I looked up to Alistair, who was looking at me with mixed emotions. Shock, appreciation, and sadness." Father pauses to clear his throat and glances around the room.

"It was later revealed that the man I shot was the head of the Clovac mob family. Alistair was working with the FBI to take down this family. The young man ran away, we were never able to catch him, and that put my life in jeopardy. He saw my face. So, with Alistair’s help, the FBI transported me away from the mansion and to Europe. Then Antonio found me, and finally Maria. You all have been in my heart for the past years. Not a day went by that I didn’t think of you. But now you understand why I left. And I suppose that Tony explained to you how important silence is. The case is almost over as we speak. The last Clovac is being tried."

Father sighs aloud, and looks at the rest of us, waiting for someone to say something.

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