Cedars Sinai Hospital (Cardiac Care Unit) LA
A crowd of paparazzi and cameramen were already waiting for Vin at the entrance of the Cedars when he arrived early that morning. He put up the hood of his sweatshirt, adjusted his black sunglasses and got out of the SUV.
Walking with long strides and flanked by Mike and Steve, Vin made his way to the main entrance as his bodyguards carelessly pushed the photographers and cameramen back so that they didn’t touch him.
Barely aware of his surroundings, Vin kept walking as if pushed by an invisible force that didn’t allow him to stop. The heavy burden of his guilt weighing upon his broad shoulders like a gravestone, his hangover didn’t seem to bother him. In fact, Vin welcomed the physical pain, in a lame attempt to ease the sorrow he knew would live forever within his heart and soul.
Vin gritted his teeth, blinking against unnoticed tears and walked faster, heading directly to the Cardiac Care Unit.
His lame physical state earned gasps and quick glances from the hospital staff. However, not even one person dared to talk to him directly. In fact, people moved out of his way, murmuring at his back. The words weren’t audible but their expressions seemed to scream at him ‘liar’, ‘traitor’, ‘coward’, ‘assassin’.
Finally, Vin reached the ICU within the Cardiac Care Unit and Mike moved ahead of him, pushing the swinging double doors open. Vin crossed them and went motionless, watching Valentino standing there, staring at him.
Val’s clothes were stained with Luna’s blood, his bruised face stricken with dry tears and his eyes flashing death. Vin knew that this vision would be engraved within his brain as if with molten fire for the rest of his damn life.
Unnoticed, Mike slipped past Vin and stood between both men just when Dr. Williams showed up.
She looked back and forth between them, feeling the thick tension and cleared her throat.
“Vin, please, follow me,” she whispered, gently grabbing Vin’s elbow.
Vin obliged without saying a word and entered the patients area within the ICU. His heart stopped dead as the muscles of his legs twitched wildly, struggling to keep him standing.
Luna’s mouth and nose were covered by an oxygen mask, connected to ventilator and a monitor was registering her heartbeats that seemed slow and steady.
“How is my wife?” Vin leaned heavily against the window, his legs barely supporting his frame.
“Her blood pressure is too low, she lost too much blood, but there are no internal injures which is good,” Dr. Williams said, frowning deeply. “Still, Luna is in a critical state and the following 24 hours are going to be essential.”
“What about the baby?” Vin whispered, his voice thick and strangled.
Dr. Williams sighed hard. “Luna’s panic attack at the thought of losing the baby caused her to suffer a cardiac arrest. The shock caused her to go into premature labor.” She paused, watching Vin’s eyes brimming with fresh tears that rolled down silently. “The baby was only 21 weeks old…I’m sorry, Vin.”
“Do you know what the sex was?” Vin whispered absently, his gaze fixed on Luna’s belly. Under the sheet he could still see a little bump.
Dr. Trisha Williams looked at Luna briefly and then back at Vin. “A boy.”
“A boy.” Vin echoed, letting out a ragged sigh. “Does Luna know?” He straightened completely, getting ready to enter the room.
Dr. Williams shook her head. “As far as I know, Luna was already unconscious. I don’t think she realized she was in labor at all. At least, that’s what I hope or the trauma might have irreversible consequences to her mental health.”
Vin took a shaky breath, blinking his blurry vision and met Dr. Williams’ eyes. “What about her heart? Is she still running a risk to suffer a new cardiac arrest?”
Dr. Williams’ gaze softened when she looked at Vin’s eyes. It was more than clear that he felt responsible for what had happened. His guilt was plainly visible.
“I can’t operate on her now. Luna’s heart wouldn’t stand the anesthesia.” The cardiologist answered, looking back at Luna. “She’s heavily sedated now; I don’t want to run the risk of losing her too when she finds out that she lost the baby.”
Vin nodded in understanding. “Can you tell Valentino about Luna’s current estate?” He stared at Luna through the window, watching her chest rising and falling. “He’s waiting outside and I know he’s worried as hell.”
In response to Vin’s words, Dr. Williams blinked in puzzlement, the unspoken question written all over her face.
“I don’t think he feels like talking to me.” Vin added, sighing hard.
“I’ll take care of that.” She squeezed Vin’s forearm one last time and walked away, heading directly to the swinging doors that separated the patients area from the foyer within the ICU.
Vin took one last ragged breath and entered Luna’s room, closing the door at his back. The beeping emitted from Luna’s heart monitor was the only sound.
Vin placed a chair right next to the bed and sat. Then he took Luna’s hand in his and lifted it to his lips.
“I’m sorry, baby,” he whispered, kissing Luna’s hand. “I’m so fucking sorry, Luna.” Vin’s voice sounded barely above a whisper as he closed his eyes, crying silently.
Luna’s eyes fluttered open. Her eyelids felt heavy as she fought sleepiness back. A sound she recognized was floating faintly, distant.
Heartbeats; slow, steady heartbeats.
Blinking as in slow motion, Luna strained her ear, searching for a double-quick beat that should have been sounding out of rhythm along with her own.
And Luna knew. Without anyone telling her and even not being completely aware of where she was or what had happened, due to the strong sedatives, Luna knew that their baby had died.
An alarm started to sound, followed by an insistent beeping and Vin’s eyes snapped open. He blinked in shock, getting to his feet, noticing that Luna’s hand was clenching and unclenching spasmodically around his.
“Luna?” He swallowed forcefully. “Luna!!” Vin shouted, squeezing her hand.
He watched in utter horror as Luna’s body jerked without control and the beeping sound intensified. His own heart started to race wildly and Vin shouted, asking for help.
Dr. Williams rushed inside the room, followed by two nurses and Vin stumbled back. Time seemed to slow down as he heard Luna’s cardiologist throwing orders around; her entire attention focused on Luna.
The nurses moved as if they were synchronized, following Dr. William’s every single instruction, frantically yet with precision.
“Hey, Luna, open your eyes!” Dr. Williams ordered her, checking Luna’s eyeballs and her vital signs at the same time.
Luna was shaking wildly; her entire body jerking up and down as if it had a life of its own.
Vin didn’t have a clue what was going on. He felt as if he was far away, watching the horrible scene, barely conscious of being present. His vision blurred and the image in front of him swung, making him blink fast.
“I know you can hear me, Luna. Come on, sweetheart, look at me!”
Luna’s eyelids fluttered open and closed again. She was hearing someone calling for her and Luna tried to open her eyes but she felt too tired to even think clearly. Her eyes rolled back within her skull and everything went silent within her mind.
“Stay with me, Luna!” Dr. Williams removed the oxygen mask and proceeded to intubate her. “I’m almost done, sweetheart. Stay with me a little more. Come on, Luna, you are a strong woman.” The cardiologist kept whispering under her breath as she finally intubated Luna so that she didn’t suffocate.
One of the nurses adjusted the ventilator, pushing buttons as she kept checking Luna’s blood pressure.
Vin forced his nausea back down his guts and felt his legs giving up. Leaning heavily against the wall he slid down, his eyes fixed on Luna’s face. Pure agony was twisting his heart, tearing his soul apart as Vin realized that all his actions were going to end up killing Luna for real. That she might die without knowing for sure that he loved her and that he was sorry was killing him silently.
More than anything, Vin wanted to be the one lying in that bed so Luna didn’t have to go through any more pain. He had already caused her enough to last ten lives.
Vin pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, chanting ‘please, forgive me’ incessantly as he wished for God to kill him right then and there. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep living without his wife.
After what seemed like an eternity, Luna’s body went limp.
“Goddamnit!” Dr. Williams cursed, slamming her hand against the wall.
Vin’s eyes snapped open as an invisible force pulled him up until he was on his feet again. Wiping away his tears, Vin walked numbly until he was standing right next to his wife’s bed.
A new soft sound joined Luna’s heartbeats. The hiss of the ventilator that kept her alive.
Luna had gone into a coma.
Delora’s and Irving’s house (New York)
Delora clasped her hand against her mouth, muffling the scream that tore her soul open and collapsed onto the couch. Tears overflowed her eyes in seconds, sliding down her cheeks and over her hand as she cried silently.
Irving pulled his wife to him, murmuring soothing words as he fought his own powerless tears back. Then he picked up the forgotten phone and swallowed past the invisible knot that was fast closing his throat.
“Mark? You still there?”
“Yeah…” Vin’s strangled voice sounded at the other side of the line.
“We’ll be in LA tonight.” Irving whispered, stroking Delora’s back up and down as she buried her face in his neck.
Irving heard his son, crying at the other side of the line and gritted his teeth.
“You pull yourself together, Mark, because your wife is going to need you, you hear me?” Irving’s voice sounded firm, full of determination and Vin swallowed hard, nodding ‘yes’ even though deep down, Vin suspected that Luna wouldn’t need him for anything at all. “We’ll see you tonight.”
“Dad?” Vin forced his own voice out. “Is…is Ma okay?”
“She will be fine, son. She just needs to let it out.” Irving sighed hard, blinking silent tears. “You worry for Luna and I worry for your mom.”
“Okay…” Vin whispered, cleaning his own tears. “I love you.”
“We love you too, Mark.”
Irving hung up the phone and tightened his hold around his wife. Delora was shaking, sobbing and Irving felt his heart breaking apart. He knew without anyone telling him that once his wife was done crying, no one would be able to stop her from finding out what had happened. You’re in deep shit, Mark, Irving said silently, shaking his head. He also didn’t need anyone telling him that his son had been the one messing things up big time.
Hopkins Agency (Marcela office) LA
Marcela hang up the phone, leaning backwards in her seat and closed her eyes, letting out a hard sigh. Things had gone to hell in less than twelve hours and now Luna was fighting for her life after she had lost her baby.
Without anyone telling her, Marcela knew that hard times would approach and the shadow of guilt, anger and pain would hang over all of them as if it was Damocles’ Sword itself.
Shaking her head, Marcela opened her eyes and, pulling out a piece of paper, she wrote down a line.
–We kindly ask that the media respect our painful loss and allow us to heal in private during this difficult time.–
Only a handful of people knew that this press release had been the very same one that she and Richard had sent to the media almost 25 years ago.
Back in the days when they had just married, Marcela had been a highly valued model and Richard was a young, ambitious businessman with a brilliant future and a spotless past.
Marcela couldn’t believe how low she had fallen since that tragic day had changed her life forever. The following months and years hadn’t been anything more than a race against the clock to get revenge, storing hatred and bitterness as the years went by.
A soft knock on the door pulled Marcela out of her memories and she lifted her head, cleaning unnoticed tears.
“Come in.” She cleared her throat and straightened in her seat.
In seconds the door opened and Marcela’s secretary entered, closing it at her back.
“Miss Harley is here.”
Marcela gritted her teeth. “I’m busy, get rid of her.”
“I already told her but she refuses to leave.” Susan winced inwardly when Marcela looked at her, pure, unrestrained anger flashing in her eyes. “She says she has to talk with you and that she doesn’t care if she has to wait the whole day but that she’s not going anywhere.”
Marcela shook her head. “Okay, let her in but call me in five minutes.” Susan nodded ‘yes’. “Here, send this to Moira Feldman from the ‘LA Confidential.” Marcela handed Susan the piece of paper and she read it silently but didn’t say anything at all.
“I’ll do it right now.” Susan whispered sadly as she exited Marcela’s office, heading directly to the reception area. Susan hardened her gaze as soon as she spotted Sheila, smoking. “Mrs. Hopkins is waiting for you, Miss Harley,” she said coldly.
“About damn time!” Sheila got to her feet, stretching her short dress and, putting out her cigarette, she headed towards Marcela’s office, entering without even knocking on the door.
“I’m very busy, Sheila so you better have a good reason to insist on seeing me without having an appointment.” Marcela said, flipping through documents.
“You bet your ass I have one fucking good reason, Marcela!” Sheila snapped back, standing in front of Marcela’s desk. “You don’t take my calls, you don’t reply to my emails and someone forgot to include my name within the celebs that will be invited to assist the LA Confidential annual charity party!” She stamped her foot as her face flushed with fury.
Marcela knit a brow, meeting Sheila’s angered face. “I’m not one of your boyfriends, Sheila, or your agent. I don’t have to answer your phone calls or your emails,” she paused, pulling out a cigarillo, lighting it up. “And you are not invited to assist the LA Confidential annual charity party because you are not a celebrity. If you want to assist, then you will have to buy the ticket, just like any common person.” Marcela’s voice sounded tinted with disdain. “But cheer up, girl; you will contribute with your money to a good cause.” The sarcasm was heavy in the older woman voice and Sheila sulked, gritting her teeth.
“We have a deal, Marcela,” Sheila muttered, folding her arms over her chest.
“Not anymore, Sheila.” Marcela calmly replied. “I told you to not do anything behind my back or we would be done. Now deal with the consequences.”
“You’re not gonna get rid of me so easily, Marcela.” Sheila fumed, enraged.
In response Marcela chuckled condescendingly. “I already did, dear.” She smiled coldly, locking eyes with Sheila.
“If I fall, I’ll drag you with me,” the young actress threatened.
“You have neither the power nor the brains to do that, Sheila and we both know it.” The coldness in Marcela’s voice infuriated Sheila even more.
“I’ll tell Richard what you did to me. I’ll tell him you used me as if I was a worthless piece of shit.” Sheila hissed.
Marcela laughed hard at that. “Do it and while you are at it, tell him you fucked a security guard to get inside Vin’s house.”
Sheila bit the inside of her mouth, keeping herself from yelling in frustration. “I did what you told me to do. I followed your fucking instructions. You sent me there!”
“Says who?” Marcela smiled evilly. “Why would I send you to visit Vin when everybody knows I’ve been doing everything at my hand to clean up Vin Diesel’s public image, showing him to be the perfect husband and proud father to be, huh?”
“You fucking bitch! You tricked me!!” Sheila yelled, slamming her hands on the desk.
“Welcome to the Major Leagues, Miss Harley.” Marcela mocked. “This is how we, the big sharks, deal with our business.”
“You don’t know who you’re fucking with, Marcela!” Sheila hissed. “I’ll destroy you in a blink of an eye. And I’ll tell Vin how you’ve been manipulating him, scheming and plotting at his back to get rid of that fat cow Luna.”
“Good, and don’t forget to tell him also that you yelled at his five months pregnant wife that you hoped she’d lose the little bastard she was carrying in her fucking womb just a few minutes before she crashed her car, losing his son.” Marcela snapped, quoting Sheila, feeling her self-control slipping away damn fast. “Oh, and don’t forget to add that you were the one sending paparazzi to stalk his wife in hope that she had a heart attack and died.”
Sheila narrowed her eyes, gritting her teeth. Marcela had left her to her fate and now Sheila was alone without backup of any kind. For a second, Sheila felt cornered. If Vin found out what she had done, she wouldn’t have any chance at all to get him. Thinking fast, she regained some control.
“You have no way to prove that, Marcela,” Sheila whispered, her eyes sparkling with restrained fury. “And you better than anyone else should know that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
Marcela chuckled. “I don’t need to prove anything, dear, Luna was there and Vin will believe his wife’s word.”
“That bitch?” Sheila retorted, emotionless. “You don’t read the tabloids, Marcela, do you?” Her lips spread in a devil smile. “That fat cow went into a coma.”
Marcela swallowed her sudden sickness back down her throat. “Luna won’t be in coma forever, Sheila; eventually she will wake up,” she replied calmly. “And I’d love to know what your pathetic excuse for a brain is going to come up with to find a flawless way out once Vin finds about what you did to get rid of his wife,” she added, standing to her feet.
“You mean IF she wakes up at all,” Sheila grinned evilly.
“You don’t get it, Sheila.” Marcela smiled condescendingly. “Luna is a strong woman with a fierce determination and willpower of steel, and now she has a powerful reason to live.” She paused putting out her cigarillo and then continued, “Luna will wake up and Lord help us because that woman will be thirsty for revenge.”
Sheila shrugged her shoulders. “I’m not scared of that bitch,” she seethed. “I’m the one she should be worried about.”
Marcela chuckled. “And that’s why you, a brainless, fourth rate actress with delusions of grandeur, won’t stand a chance against Luna. She will make sure all of us pay for what we did to her, sparing nobody.”
Sheila gasped, swallowing back down her throat the smartass reply that was wildly fighting to be screamed.
“I will get Vin without your help or anyone’s help for that matter and no one will be able to stop me, neither you nor Luna,” Sheila whispered menacingly. “And once I’ve got Vin Diesel all to myself, I’ll make sure all of you are history in less than 24 hours.”
“Careful with what you wish for, Sheila,” Marcela narrowed her eyes, staring at the young actress, “you might get it.”
“Damn right I’ll get whatever the fuck pleases me, Marcela.” Sheila spat out, storming out of Marcela’s office slamming the door closed at her back.
The phone rang within Marcela’s office and she glanced at it for a second. It was her private line and the number blinking in the small screen was one that Marcela recognized. Moira Feldman’s cell phone.
“Good luck, Miss Harley.” Marcela whispered. Then she breathed deeply, exhaling the air slowly and took a seat, picking up the phone.
Vin’s parents flew from NY to LA to be at their son’s side, not wanting to leave him alone. Right now, Delora and Irving knew that Vin needed them more than anything to get through the painful experience of watching Luna fighting for her life, being a powerless witness to the living hell he himself had created with his actions.
Delora knew that it wasn’t the time to have deep conversations; the only thing that mattered at that very moment was Luna’s health. Still, Delora wasn’t planning to leave things be. Vin’s mother was determined to get the answers she desperately needed so that she could understand what had happened. Delora wasn’t stupid and suspected there was much more than what appeared at first sight.
However, that was not the only thing that worried her; there was also the fact that no one seemed ready to talk about what had happened that night. Renee, Mike, Steve, Allison and even Valentino seemed to have agreed on sharing a vow of silence and neither of them wanted to break it first.
Steve and Mike didn’t have too much trouble avoiding answering Delora’s questions, since both of them had signed a confidentiality agreement as soon as they both started to work for Vin.
Valentino had just vanished from view and he didn’t answer his cell phone unless Renee was the one calling him.
On the other hand, Renee and Allison were masters at avoiding giving a direct answer, riding their way out almost flawlessly, even though Delora was starting to get not only worried but also mad.
She could understand that all of them were employees aside from friends but something told her that they weren’t doing it out of a blind loyalty to her son and more to let him alone, dealing with his own shit.
Vin hadn’t answered even one of his parents’ questions regarding the events that led to Luna driving her car alone, without protection at 2am, and Delora was also getting worried about his son’s suspicious behavior along with his sanity.
Vin had refused to leave Luna’s side, practically living within the ICU since his most dreadful nightmare become a horrible reality. He hadn’t slept at all and almost hadn’t eaten. And only after Delora and Allison begged him to go rest after being awake for three days straight had Vin reluctantly agreed, returning to Luna’s side a few hours later.
After the first week, Allison went back to NY to take care of Tyrone. More than anything she wanted to be with Luna but Allison didn’t have any other choice.
Watching Luna lying in that bed, connected to a machine to keep her alive, broke Allison’s heart; she knew Luna was strong but couldn’t help wondering if she was strong enough to find a reason to keep fighting.
Delora knew that Allison and Luna were like sisters, so she gave Allison her word, promising that she would phone Allison every day to keep her updated.
Meanwhile, Renee took care of Vin’s schedule, canceling every single one of Vin’s appointments, causing the promotion of ‘SETH’ to be in stand-by since then.
She had done it out of an impending need to keep herself busy as much as possible more than to please Vin. That way she didn’t have time to think deeply about what had happened.
But at nights, Renee just couldn’t switch her brain off and she kept thinking nonstop about her own baby and about if Luna would finally woke up from her comatose state.
Mike and Steve were around 24/7 but not in plain view, just like they had done in the past. Neither of them had said shit to anyone; at the end they were employees. However, Steve had been seriously thinking about searching for a new job but he wanted to wait until Luna was back on track to make the final decision. Steve had no doubt; Luna would wake up, eventually.
Unlike all of them, Valentino had been the only one that had kept himself apart. Actually Val hadn’t visited Luna at the hospital at all. He left after Luna went into a coma, but Renee had been updating him. Still, Val hadn’t said anything to anyone about that night, not even to his own wife.
Renee decided not to push him; she was sure Val would talk with her when he was ready and not before. She could understand him even though his silence was silently breaking her heart. Not because Val was hurting her but because Renee knew Val was hurting himself and she couldn’t do anything to help him at all.
Two weeks after that fateful night, some sectors of the media, the most sensationalist tabloids, started feeding their readers’ morbid curiosity, publishing pictures of Luna’s car after the accident and pictures of the verge of the road where stains of dry blood could still be found.
Some of these same tabloids published an interview with Stanley Ferguson, for which he’d been paid, in which he described the events that had taken place that night. He even made the rounds on some TV shows, always being paid in advance, bragging about how he had fucked Sheila Harley against the trunk of her indecently expensive Lamborghini Diablo.
Most people didn’t believed him though, but Stanley had nothing left to lose since twenty four hours after his fuckup he had lost his job, being booted out without compensation and his girlfriend had left him, throwing his things into the garbage, the ones she hadn’t set on fire, that is.
However, one person did believe the security guard’s story; Richard Hopkins and he didn’t waste a second to throw Sheila out of his mansion in Palm Springs.
The owner of Hopkins Studios had gone so far as to have Sheila escorted off his property by two security guards, so that way he was sure that she didn’t take anything with her that he had given to her. Namely jewels, two mink coats, a whole collection of the most exclusive clothes, including the matching indecently expensive shoes and the yellow Lamborghini.
At that time, Sheila hadn’t given a damn, yelling at the top of her lungs that he would live to regret it. What she didn’t know was that she would be the one regretting every single one of her actions and that it would be the object of her desire, Vin Diesel in the flesh and bones, who would be the one to make her pay.
Niko’s and Sandra’s apartment (Three weeks after Luna’s car accident)
“I’m so sorry for both of them,” Lorraine sighed hard. “Vin and Luna looked so happy…” she trailed off, shaking her head.
“That proves to you that nothing is what it seems to be. Their marriage was meant to fail anyway.” Sandra shrugged her shoulders, flipping the pages of the tabloid she was reading. “I bet Luna will leave that lying bastard as soon as she wakes up, if she wakes up, that is.”
“Sandra! How can you say that?” Lorraine gasped. “They have to stick together. Now more than ever so that they can survive such a painful tragedy.”
Sandra snorted, rolling her eyes. “Oh, come on, Lorraine, that son of a bitch cheated on his pregnant wife and with that skank Sheila, no less!”
“You don’t know that for sure, Sandra.” Lorraine frowned. “In fact no one knows about that, except Vin and Luna. You can’t trust what tabloids say though; they don’t even have the decency to check if gossip is just that before publishing.”
“Whatever. But it’s still cheating even if you actually didn’t cheat.” Sandra answered firmly causing Niko to glance at her around his newspaper.
He didn’t share his girlfriend’s opinion but Niko knew better than to voice it aloud. A man had physical needs that had to be taken care of. It was who you were thinking about while ‘cheating’ that really counted, not the physical act itself, right? You may be scratching an itch and that was not cheating, now was it?
“I’d chop off Niko’s cock, feeding it to him if he cheated on me and he knows it damn well, am I right, Nicholas?” Sandra grabbed Niko’s newspaper, pushing it down so that she could look at his face.
She was smiling sweetly, batting her lashes but her eyes were flashing with a dangerous gleam that promised a slow, painful death.
Niko cringed inwardly, feeling his cock grew smaller between his legs all of a sudden. Then he laughed nervously and cleared his throat.
“My mom didn’t give birth to a moron, baby,” he answered warily. “I wouldn’t make such a mistake. ‘Sides, I have everything I need and more at home.” Niko added as he leaned forward, kissing Sandra.
Lorraine looked at Joe; he had been quiet for a long moment and he seemed to be lost in thought.
“What do you think, Joey?” Lorraine took his hand in hers, squeezing lightly. “You’ve known Vin the longest.”
Joe blinked, meeting Lorraine’s sad gaze. “I met Vin when he was really wild. Honestly, I though he had changed after getting married,” he sighed heavily.
“Men are all pigs!” Sandra piped.
“Why, thank you, baby.” Niko frowned.
“Well, it’s true. You all are dicks that think with your cocks to get as many pussies as possible. And then you get in trouble.”
Joey coughed and Lorraine grinned.
“With the exception of Joe, of course,” Sandra giggled. “He thinks with his cock to get as many dicks for himself as possible and then he gets in trouble.”
“Yep, my pussy gets me in trouble every time.” Joe snickered. “Just like yours gets you in trouble.” He stuck out his tongue.
“Hey!” Sandra playfully slapped his arm. “I’m a natural blonde, remember? I’m allowed to think with my pussy since I don’t have brains.” She giggled causing the four of them to laugh out loud.
“So what are we going to do?” Lorraine asked, getting serious again.
“We?” Sandra blinked. “Why should we do something, anyway?”
“Because we have to help them; they love each other and I’m sure that Sheila had something to do with all this mess.”
“We can’t do shit, Lorraine, ‘sides it’s not our business.” Joe intervened.
Lorraine looked at Vin’s stunt double as if he had grown a second head. “You were the one who offered your help to Luna. You told her you’d keep an eye on Sheila!”
“Yep, but he did a shitty job.” Sandra frowned. “No offence, Joey, you know we love you anyway.”
“No offence taken. I did a shitty job.” Joe sighed, looking down.
He better than any of them knew how things worked. At the end, Joe had been working in Hollywood for years now and deep down, people didn’t give a damn. It was the ‘every man for himself’ kind of mentality.
“Why do you want to help them at all?” Niko narrowed his eyes, staring at Lorraine and she averted her eyes, looking down.
Niko glanced at Sandra for a second and then back at Lorraine.
“Listen, baby, I know you wanted the role of ‘Leah’ and that Sheila got it, but…” Niko cut himself off when Lorraine snapped her head up gasping.
“You think I want to help them so that I can pay Sheila back because she got the role, right?” Lorraine’s eyes grew wide. “I’m not that kind of person, Niko. I’m not!”
Sandra glared at Niko. “Of course, not, sweetheart. You’re too decent and honest to bear a grudge within your heart to anyone, not even to that trashy slut Sheila.” She took Lorraine’s hand in hers, squeezing it gently.
Lorraine looked at her three friends for a few seconds and saw their doubts reflected in their faces. Should she tell them the real reason why she wanted to help Luna and Vin? They would understand, wouldn’t they? Maybe Joe would do it but Sandra and Niko?
Feeling tears threatening to overflow her eyes in seconds, Lorraine got to her feet and ran out of the salon, heading directly to the bathroom.
“What…” Sandra frowned, getting ready to go get her when Joe, grabbed her arm, stopping her.
“I’ll go talk with her; you two start the movie without us.” Joe whispered and went in search of Lorraine.
Cedars Sinai Hospital, Cardiac Care Unit (at the same time)
“I was thinking…do you remember that time when Mark lost Sammy at the shopping mall?” Delora asked, narrowing her eyes as if she was lost in thought.
Irving looked at his wife from his seat across the room at the other side of Luna’s bed, nodding ‘yes’. “Poor bugger, he was terrified,” he sighed.
“Mark said it had been an unforgivable mistake; that he had gotten distracted for a minute and Sammy wasn’t there anymore,” Delora cocked her head slightly. “And then we found out that he had left Samantha in the playground, asking some staff member to keep an eye on her for a minute and then he had gone to watch a movie with a girl.”
Irving’s eyes narrowed. “The following weeks, Mark never left Sammy’s side at all, playing with her, helping her with her homework, even willingly offering himself to pick Sammy up from her ballet classes.”
That was a chore that Mark had hated with everything in him until that moment.
Delora nodded ‘yes’. “Mark felt guilty and was doing his best to make up for what he had done…” she whispered absently, her mind back in time, remembering her son acting in a much similar way as he was acting now. “Just like now.” Delora’s gaze hardened for second.
Irving nodded in agreement as he locked eyes with his wife. “I wasn’t going to tell you this until I had the chance to talk with Mark, but…” he sighed heavily and then continued. “I couldn’t understand what Luna was doing at that time of the night, driving alone, and since everybody is acting as if they belonged to the Mob, keeping a terrible secret…” Irving trailed off and then plunged. “I went to the supposed place where Luna crashed her car.”
Delora gasped, blinking. “You did what?” she whispered, shocked.
Irving ignored his wife’s reaction for a second and kept talking. “I found that she was really close to Mark’s old house and wondered why she would go there at all in the first place.” He leaned forward a bit, resting his elbows on his knees and kept talking in a low tone of voice. “So, I asked someone from the ER staff at what time Luna was admitted at the hospital that night and who was with her.” Irving paused, frowning deeply as if he was lost in thought.
“And…” Delora couldn’t hide her anxiety.
“It seems that Luna was admitted around 4am and that Valentino was with her inside the ambulance.” Irving added.
“Valentino?!” Delora breathed in shock. “No wonder Val hasn’t come to visit Luna at all; he still must be shocked to his core…” she looked at Luna, squeezing her hand.
Irving nodded ‘yes’. “I can’t imagine what Val went through at the side of that road, watching powerless how Luna was going into premature labor and not being able to do a thing to help her at all.”
“Oh God…” Delora closed her eyes, shaking her head. “I’m afraid Val won’t be able to forget what happened and I wouldn’t be surprised if he blames himself.” Delora cleaned her silent tears as she stroked Luna’s hand, and then it struck her. “Wait, if Val was with Luna…where was Mark?”
“That’s what I want to know.” Irving sighed hard and straightened. “Where the hell your son was while his wife was going into labor at the side of the road and why wasn’t he with her in first place.”
Delora blinked, meeting her husband’s puzzled gaze. The reason for them to have that conversation forgotten for a second as soon as Delora heard ‘your’ son.
“Oh, now Mark is my son?” her brows arched at once. “Why is it that every time he fucks up, he is my son and when he has success, he’s our son, Irving?” Delora glared at him, frowning deeply.
“Oh, come on, Lora…” Irving started to say when a sudden beeping startled them both. In seconds, Irving was on his feet. “I’m going to call a nurse,” he hurried his steps, exiting the room.
Delora got to her feet as soon as she felt Luna’s hand squeezing hers. Oh, my God…She leaned forward, blinking her blurry vision and saw Luna’s eyes fluttering open and closing again.
A nurse stormed inside the room, followed by Vin, Irving in tow. A second and Dr. Williams entered the room, urging everybody out; her firm tone of voice not leaving room for complaint.
They all reluctantly left the room except Vin who stubbornly stood his ground until the cardiologist barked at him to get out if he wanted to be allowed to be with his wife again as long as she was in the ICU.
Setting his jaw hard, Vin obliged, throwing a murderous gaze to Dr. Williams that she ignored along with his muttered curses, keeping her entire attention focused on her patient.
Luna’s eyes fluttered open and her pupils contracted as soon as Dr. Williams flashed her patient with a penlight. Good. She was responding to external stimulus. Pinching her arms and legs slightly, Luna groaned and Dr. Williams grinned.
Carefully, she removed the tube from Luna’s throat, noticing that she was breathing on her own. Luna gagged and her heart rate sped considerably.
Luna opened her mouth, trying to speak and Dr. Williams shushed her, whispering to keep breathing deeply. Luna did what she was told, feeling the air as if it was burning her lungs.
Breathing felt painful and her brain seemed as if it was working slower than usual. Forming coherent thoughts seemed a very difficult task and Luna closed her eyes, feeling exhausted.
She just wanted to go back to the place where she couldn’t think at all; the place where she wasn’t conscious of what she had done; the place where there was nothing more than oblivion.
Dr. Williams ordered a few tests so that way she could check on Luna’s health and if the coma had caused any damage. She was not going to make the same mistake twice. Once the cardiologist was sure that Luna wasn’t in imminent danger any more, she would allow her family to visit.
Luna winced, swallowing dryly. Her throat felt as if hundreds of needles were stabbing it at once. She worked her throat muscles once more and what came out was a grunt, followed by what sounded a curse, a Spanish curse actually.
Dr. Williams grinned inwardly. If Luna was swearing, she then might be good.
“Okay, Luna, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand once.”
Focusing all her senses, Luna lifted a hand, grabbing Dr. William’s hand in hers, squeezing.
“Great! Now tell me if you can see me clearly.”
Luna blinked her blurry vision and squeezed the cardiologist’s hand again.
“Wonderful!” Dr. Williams smiled widely, squeezing Luna’s hand back. “I have to talk with you about a few things. I don’t want you forcing your voice out to answer me. You just nod if you understood me, okay?”
Luna nodded ‘yes’.
“I promise I’ll let you sleep once I’m done,” Dr. Williams added and then gestured for the nurse to leave them alone. “Okay, now that’s much better,” Dr. Williams winked at Luna and proceeded to explain to her everything that had happened.
Once she was done updating Luna, Dr. Williams noticed that her patient’s heart was beating slow and steady and that she wasn’t crying. In fact, Luna seemed relaxed even though the cardiologist hadn’t omitted one single event, not even the most painful ones. Of course, she looked exhausted but aside from that, Luna seemed as if Dr. Williams hadn’t said a word to her.
“Luna, did you understand what I told you?” she asked, narrowing her eyes.
In response, Luna nodded ‘yes’. She understood; actually Dr. Williams confirmed what Luna already knew, unconsciously. She had killed her baby.
The cardiologist filled in the blanks, informing Luna that she had gone into a coma for three weeks. That, Luna had suspected since she had somehow lost track of time while she had been in a place where there was nothing left with the exception of silence, a dead silence.
Right now all her memories seemed to be a blurry weird mix of images, sounds and feelings that didn’t seem to make too much sense. Luna didn’t have the energy left to put them in a logical order though, yet she couldn’t stop envisioning them again and again.
A disgusting man, leering, a dirty smile spread on his mouth. Steve’s hurt gaze. Vin naked, snoring. The smell of alcohol, weed and sweat. Betrayal. An iron gate whining as they opened and then closed. Allison’s concerned eyes brimming with tears, her gaze pleading, begging. Pain. The sound of distant sirens; cops’ sirens. Sheila staring defiantly, yelling and cursing. Nausea. Wheels scratching. Valentino’s soothing voice. Sadness. Vin crying, his voice broken, chanting ‘please, forgive me’. Loneliness. A song. It was a beautiful day. A horn, flashing lights. Heartbeats; slow, steady heartbeats. Silence. Guiltiness. Death.
Of course Luna did understand. She had wanted to die, desperately searching for an easy way out, but she only got to kill her baby. Everything seemed to make sense within her brain and her sorrow turned to bitterness, then anger and finally fury, unleashing a new secret wish. Revenge.