**HOUSE OF FLOWERS/CASA DE FLOWERS**
The very stylish, very attractive Elena de la Mora Shaw arrives at the offices of Shaw and Associates, a little past 9am. The
“La Señora Elena de la Mora Shaw a visitar a mi Esposo, por favor”, she says to the receptionist.
The receptionist, Lara, smiles a welcome and speaks into a handset, and a few moments later a well-built Latina Woman, equally as
attractive as the visitor, enters the area. “La Señora desea comunicar con su Mararido, ‘Nessa.”
“Por su puesto, Señora. La oficina del Señor es por aqui, si es tan amable a acompañarme.” To the receptionist, she calls, “Mu amable, Lara.”
A discreet tap on the closed office door, then Vanessa waves Elena inside, announcing, “Su Señora, Licenciado,” and leaves, re-closing
the door behind her. The black man seated behind the desk, Dominique Shaw, is handsome enough to be a male model or movie actor.
His wide shoulders, underneath his expensive, well-tailored suit, are those of a college athlete, which he once was. He doesn’t look up,
continues studying one of the multiple screens on his desk. He wears no wedding band. Elena’s is still prominent on her left hand.
Sensing his hostility, Elena goes on the offensive. She walks to one of the visitor’s chairs in front of the CEO’s work area and seats herself.
Fifteen minutes pass, after which her husband still hasn’t spoken.
“You look well.”
No response. Uncomfortable silence.
“ ‘You as well, Elena,’ ”, she states sarcastically, changing her voice to mimic his manly tone. “ ‘Long time no see; what
what brings you here to New York? And by the way, you’re more beautiful than ever’.”
“What do you want,” Dominique cuts in. He’s obviously not in the mood for banter.
“I just wanted to see you, make sure you are alright, after…”
“After it turns out you married me for Citizenship? That this shit was a SHAM all along? That you starting fucking
Claudio from the time we arrived at your Parent’s until you LEFT ME, minutes after our wedding ceremony, so that you
could keep fucking him? ALRIGHT FROM THAT?”
Elena, eyes lowered, flinches at each bitter accusation he spits with such raw contempt. It’s true all of it.
A bit more under control, Dominique says, “I’d ask if you’re joking if I didn’t already know that you aren’t.”
‘Pelame la verga,” he shoots back. Then: “What do you want?”, he asks again.
“I am so regretful, Dom. It wasn’t right, I know that. Can I explain?”
“Explain why the fuck you’re here, Or get the fuck out.”
“Claudio left me. We’re not together.”
“The business is in trouble. We’ll probably have to sell.”
“I came to ask a very big favor, which,” she holds up a hand to ward off any retort Dominique might make, “I’m aware
I have NO RIGHT, NONE, to ask.”
“A favor-from ME.”
“What is it.”
“Delay the divorce proceedings two years. Then, we can divorce, if you still want to. I’ll be able to work in the US,
start re-building La Casa De las Flores…also assist my Parents, my Sisters.”
She doesn’t know whether to read his lack of response as encouraging, or despairing. So, she pushes through to
her final request.
“Also…a loan of…$200,000.00.”
The traffic far below, the low murmur of the large screen tv screen, tuned to the business channel and attached to
the far wall; the drumming of Dominique’s fingertips on the desktop-these are the only sounds in the office (after
Dom’s initial grunt) as Elena waits for his answer with bated breath.
“On one condition.,” he states at last.
“Never contact me again: Leave me THE FUCK ALONE.”
Elena jerks backward, as if he’d struck her. The force and vehemence of the words are clear evidence that Dominique
is furious, barely keeping himself under control. She swallows twice, audibly, then brushes a lock of hair from her eyes,
buying time before speaking again. When she does, her tone is shaky, and she appears on the verge of tears.
“I…you-you mean that?”
“I want your vow, not that that means much, that if I delay the divorce proceedings, that you’ll stop bothering me. I don’t
want to see your face, hear your voice; I want to erase the MEMORY OF YOU, as much as I’m able…to somehow, some
way, forget I ever met you.” His expression is cold and un-forgiving.
“Dom, please…I know that you are angry, of course you are. That you are helping me is proof that you are the best man
I’ve ever known. I made a TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, UN-FORGIVABLE mistake, I know that..Dom…can’t…isn’t there ANY
WAY that we could…?” Her tone is hopeful, sincere. She appears truly devastated.
“Delay the divorce and $200,000. I don’t expect it back, so consider it severance.” (SEVERANCE-this word cleaves her heart
into pieces; the very term is indicative of a business transaction, which is clearly how he sees it.) “You agree to disappear, to get
as far away from me as you can: I want never have to see you, hear from you, or ABOUT you, ever again.” Turning in his chair,
he faces away from his estranged Spouse, jaw clenched tightly.
“There’s…there’s no…possibility of…?”
“I’d hoped…maybe...seeing me...” Elena takes a deep, shuddering breath, then stands shakily, straightening her clothing,
fumbling with her handbag. Dominique stands as well. “Vanessa will arrange the particulars. Leave your information with
Lara in reception. Goodbye, Elena.”
A last, cruel twist of the knife: "Te felecito...que buen negocio-$200 mil dollars y tu ciudadania solo por occupar la cama
de un Moreno-mas bien UN NEGRO por nueve meses...a final de cuentas, he tenido mejor; tan buena ques es, no vale $200k."
This stings Elena more than any other statement he's made. She truggles mightily not to break down, sobbing, and only a
massive force of will is able to avert it.
“I do love you, Dominique, I know that now. It took losing you to realize that. Please, please believe me.”
Just a baleful stare from her, from all intents and purposes, ex-husband.
“Can I…hug you goodbye?” A cold glare is her response.
As she walks toward the door, fighting back tears, she’s met by Vanessa, Dominique’s Executive Assistant. As she turns
to lead Elena out of the office, Dominique calls, “She can see herself out, V.”
(‘V’…he said 'V')...determined not to break down, head held high, Elena continues toward the exit. Turning for one final look,
she sees Vanessa, now in the doorway, squeeze Dominique’s arm affectionately: not quite what one might expect from Boss and