(Six months later)
‘SETH’ Premiere after party. LA.
Vin was shaking hands, kissing cheeks and hugging people without conscious knowledge of his acts; he had his head in the clouds. The only word that had kept being repeated no end over the course of the night had been ‘congratulations’. Not only because of the success of ‘SETH’ but also because they had finally found out their baby’s sex. A boy.
Luna had reached the end of her second trimester of pregnancy without complications, and even though she was suffering the usual upsets a pregnancy entailed, baby and mommy were more than fine. Life couldn’t get any better and Vin couldn’t see to wipe away his goofy grin; he wasn’t just happy but radiant with joy.
Not only had Richard Hopkins surprisingly agreed to re-edit ‘SETH’, but the Studio had also pushed the boat out promoting the movie, going for broke, making sure everybody knew ‘Seth’ was by far Vin’s best dramatic performance. His name even sounded about to be awarded in the Oscar as best leading male role along with Valentino’s and Niko’s, both as best supporting male role and best director respectively. It was a dream come true for the three of them, even though neither of them had wanted to keep their expectations too high.
“How you doing, sexy mama?” Vin leaned forward, burying his face in Luna’s neck, brushing his lips on her neck. “Is our baby boy behaving tonight?” He whispered against her ear as his arms encircled her waist from behind, both of his hands resting on her rounded belly.
“Yeah,” Luna grinned, turning her face and kissing him, “he’s being a good little fella.”
Vin frowned. “You sure? Because if you’re tired or something we’re leaving right now,” his voice sounded tinted with concern and Luna smiled deeply touched; she knew that if she said ‘yes’, within minutes they would be on their way back home.
“Yeah, I’m sure and stop worrying okay?” Luna mock-glared at him and Vin nodded, kissing her lips again. He had gotten past his overprotective instinct, trusting Luna when she said she was okay. If she wasn’t; she would tell him, of that Vin had no doubt.
That had been one of the many benefits they had gotten after going to the marriage guidance counselor. They weren’t done with their therapy sessions though, but the improvement regarding their miss-communication issues was noticeable. Of course, they still fought and sometimes for little things, but they no longer held back, hiding feelings or emotions, and they also were done with secrets, and that was their biggest success.
Vin had honored his word, marrying Luna in San Jose, surrounded with their closest friends and family members. Val had been Vin’s best man, and the Dominican hadn’t stopped teasing Vin, busting his balls at every chance, the same way Vin had done with Val on his wedding day. But, unlike Renee, Luna hadn’t suffered a panic attack, in fact she had seemed to be the only one keeping it cool while Delora, Sammy, Nila, Renee and Violet had looked like about to marry again.
Luna and Vin had decided to not write their vows in advance, preferring to let their hearts and souls do the talking once the right time came, and surprisingly enough, they had made everybody cry their eyes out, especially when both of them said a few words in memoriam of the baby boy they lost.
The date and the place for the wedding had been kept from everyone, as though a national security deal. However, Moira, had been invited to the wedding. Of course, Vin and Luna had sent one of their wedding pictures to the media, but not before they both were heading towards an unknown destination to enjoy their honeymoon, for the second time.
“Okay, then let’s dance,” Vin grinned and steered his wife in the direction of the dance floor, joining Val and Renee, endlessly grateful because he could finally enjoy some time with his own wife.
Vin had spent half of the evening coming and going, meeting the many journalists, guests and celebrities that had been invited to the splendid party the Studio had thrown after the premiere of ‘SETH’. The same with Valentino who, unlike Vin, wasn’t so used to attracting such a level of attention and, for once he was being interviewed because of his job as an actor and not because of Vin’s last mess. Besides, earlier that day, Valentino had known that ‘Life is a Dream’ would be screened at Cannes Film Festival.
It had been the cherry on top of the cake. Not only had Val found his father after almost four months of traveling across three countries, but Miguel had ended up being a decent man who had made a huge mistake. Once Val had had the chance to talk deeply with his father about what had happened for real, Miguel had revealed that he had been tricked by his own brother, Roberto’s father, who had kept to his own family the money Miguel had been sending for his. Such a fact had caused that even Val’s mother had ended up forgiving Miguel, and they were working on their marriage. And that wasn’t all. Miguel had proven to be a hell of a nanny and Luz loved him already. Nevertheless, half of Valentino’s siblings hadn’t showed that understanding and that had only caused that Val had distanced from them even more.
Tonight, however was Luna’s night too. Her name hadn’t been mentioned for any award but she still had received as many congratulations and best wishes as Vin himself, if not more. She had managed to finish her second book and, even though she still didn’t trust Santiago Escudero the way she had at the beginning, he had redeemed himself, by confessing Roberto’s dark motivations. Santiago had even told Luna about his suspicions regarding Roberto refusing to treat her. They hadn’t sounded bizarre to Luna. Quite the opposite, Roberto had acted in a much similar way as Dave had done.
All in all, Roberto had ended up losing his license to practice in US and had been forced to go back to the Dominican Republic. But word was that he wasn’t doing good there either. Apparently, Dr. Roberto Morales had started drinking a little too much and he was a step away from losing his license to practice forever.
Three songs were all the free time the couple of actors were allowed to enjoy with their wives before the media reclaimed their attention yet once more. And there they went, to continue the rounds of shaking hands, hugs, kisses, pictures, autographs and more interviews about the movie, the shoot and their future projects.
Meanwhile, Luna and Renee returned to their table, where Paul and Peter were lively talking while their respective wives, Nila and Samantha were gossiping about what the rest of females that had attend to the party were wearing.
“Oh my God…” Renee whined as she took a seat on her chair. “These damn heels are killing me,” she massaged her sore feet, moaning softly. “How can you stand in yours, anyway?” Renee glanced up at Luna.
In response, she grinned wickedly and, lifting her long, pregnant evening dress, Luna revealed her bare feet. “I removed them two hours ago, chica,” she winked at her friend, sipping from her glass of diet coke.
“Oh, you brat,” Renee giggled.
“Good thing that Mark can dance,” Samantha grinned.
“Yeah, otherwise he would have stepped all over you with those two kayaks he calls feet,” Nila joked, sipping from her glass of French champagne causing a round of laughter around the table.
“Well, you know what they say about a man’s nose and the size of his feet,” Luna pointed out casually but her eyes sparkled with a mischievous gleam.
“You telling me, girl, I married the other twin,” Nila smirked.
“Oh, for God’s sake, I’m eating, you two,” Samantha glared at her sisters’ in law but it was half hearted.
“Hey, who’s that chick?” Renee tipped her chin across the room.
In seconds, the three women followed Renee’s line of vision, watching Vin talking with a girl. They had moved apart and, judging by Vin’s face, he wasn’t liking whatever the girl was saying.
“You know her?” Samantha looked back and forth between Luna and her brother.
“Nope,” Luna sipped from her drink. “Must be a fan or something,” she shrugged her shoulders, pretending to not be in the least concerned, but she was learning to read her husband’s gestures and they told Luna that something was wrong. “Someone come with me, I gotta go pee,” Luna added, getting to her feet.
Across the spacious salon, Vin watched Luna heading towards the restrooms with his sister and, letting out a heavy sigh, he returned his attention to the girl. He had seen her earlier and her face looked familiar. However, Vin hadn’t thought anything of it, that was until she approached him to congratulate him for his success and his upcoming fatherhood, but also to drop a bombshell.
She hadn’t wanted to show up precisely tonight, but it had been her only chance to talk with Vin, since he was going back to NY the following day for a couple of weeks and then he would fly to Europe to start shooting ‘Hannibal’. Besides, the matter was too delicate to be talked about by phone or using middle people, not to mention that she didn’t feel like sharing it with the media or making it public, unless Vin turned his back on her or on his responsibilities, that was.
It was then, after having a closer look at her, when the suspicion that he might know her better than he was able to remember started twisting Vin’s guts. His suspicion was shortly confirmed when the girl pulled out a picture of a baby, a girl, their daughter.
Shocked and confused, Vin stared at the picture as his mind went into overdrive with at least a dozen thoughts that popped at once. Placing the girl had been one of them, but Luna’s reaction at knowing about this was what Vin couldn’t stop thinking about.
That a girl ended up showing up with a baby, claiming that he was the father was a possibility that Vin and Luna had somehow gotten ready for. In fact, this topic had been discussed in the course of one of their therapy sessions with the marriage guidance counselor.
Back then, Vin had confessed that during weeks he had been fucking girls non stop, sometimes more than one girl in the same night, adding that frequently he had been so wasted and so high that, at the time, he hadn’t even been aware of what he had been doing or to who, exactly. Those weeks had now become nothing more than a blurry memory, full of mixed girls’ faces, alcohol and drugs.
Luna’s reaction had surprised both, Vin and the counselor, because she had been pretty understanding. Later, once the couple had been back at home, they had talked about what they would do. Once more, Luna’s answer had left Vin shocked. She had said that they would make sure that the baby was his before making any decision and then, if the result was positive, they would do the best for the baby, placing her/his well being ahead of their own. An innocent baby didn’t deserve to pay for their parents’ mistakes.
Luna had also added that at least she hoped that the girl in question, if there was some girl that ended up showing up with a baby at all, wasn’t some slutty nutcase but a normal girl who had happened to cross paths with Vin. Unlikely, but still possible.
Of course, they had been talking hypothetically. Vin guessed that it would be now when they would find if Luna was that understanding when confronted with the real deal.
Vin looked down at the picture of the beautiful baby girl. “How old is she?” He asked quietly.
The girl took a shaky breath, calming her racing heart. “One month.”
One month…quickly, Vin did the numbers and his eyes screwed shut. It was then when the light bulb within his head went on.
Back then, he had felt deeply nostalgic and had pulled out Luna’s pictures. A girl had found him in his office, crying over his wife, feeling so miserable he had wanted to die. She had started talking with him and she had sounded a lot like Lorraine. At the time, his encounter with the girl at ‘Privilege’ had still been very vivid within Vin’s head and he had taken the girl’s hand and had led her to his bedroom. That night, Vin had spent with her alone, infuriating Sheila to a point that she had thrown a tantrum, breaking things.
The name of the girl however just simply wasn’t there; he couldn’t remember for the life of him. Not that surprising a thing, there had been a time when Vin hadn’t even been able to remember Luna’s name.
Vin was pretty sure that back then he had always used protection and, for a moment, the idea of this girl keeping the condom crossed his mind, but he dismissed it. Vin had a lot of experience spotting the opportunist sluts, and this girl definitively didn’t look that kind. Besides, it wasn’t less true that even the best contraceptive method had its issues.
Finally, Vin looked up, meeting the girl’s gaze. “Listen,” he cleared his throat. “No offense, girl, but you have to understand that I can’t and I won’t father this baby if I’m not sure that she’s mine.”
The girl nodded but her eyes flashed Vin with a hurtful gaze. “I swear to you that she’s your daughter, Vin, but I totally understand what you’re saying,” she paused, feeling her eyes stinging with tears.
Naively, she had hoped Vin would remember her and the night they spent together, but it seemed that wasn’t the case. Honestly, she couldn’t blame him. That night Vin’s place had been full of girls, dancing, drinking and partying. Her best friend had been the one telling her that Vin was throwing a party only for girls and she hadn’t been able to say ‘no’. It was Vin Diesel’s party for God’s sake!
“Would you agree to run a DNA test?” she nervously knotted her hands.
This time Vin was the one nodding. “Yeah, that would make sense.”
This girl looked pretty down-to-earth, which was a really good sign in itself and a huge relief. If that DNA test was positive, then Vin would assume his paternity and every single duty that came with it, of course, but it was a really good thing that she wasn’t some slutty nutcase but a normal girl, just like Luna had wished.
“Sorry, what was your name again?” Vin asked softly, sounding calm and relaxed even though inside he was a nervous wreck. There was no point in losing his cool, not yet anyway, since the girl hadn’t given him any reason to be impolite or rude with her at all.
She blinked, not only taken aback but also a bit sad. “You don’t even remember me at all or my name?” There wasn’t accusation on her voice but it sounded tinted with sadness.
In response, Vin smiled, a bit embarrassed. “I’m not very good with names, but I do remember you.”
The girl smiled shyly and opened her mouth to answer when Luna approached them and, extending her hand to the girl, she introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Luna,” she smiled friendly, glancing sideways at Vin’s face.
He was pale and looked guiltier than the sin itself. Then Luna glanced down, at the picture of the baby girl that Vin was still holding in his hand and just like that, she knew. Looking at the beautiful baby the picture showed and to the girl who was standing in front of her, Luna knew not only who this girl was but also who the baby’s father was.
The girl shook Luna’s hand and returned the friendly smile. “My pleasure, I’m Paloma.”
NJRD January ’09