Some more long days went by in the hospital, and I still couldn’t get used to the sterile smelling scent of the place. Laying in bed all day, still in pain somewhat, was fully taking its toll on me. I’d managed to get into a wheelchair once or twice, but it was painful work with broken ribs and bruising everywhere.
The only thing that gave me a sense of comfort, was having Carlos by my side at nearly all times. Nonetheless, it felt isolating to never leave the hospital room, and to not see my friends as often as I would have liked to. Ángeles weighed heavily on my mind, and I felt as though the girls were the only ones who could truly understand. Having to wait between every visit from Marga and Carlota to hear about any potential news of her, had brought nothing but disappointment so far. As of that point, no one had heard a thing from her since she fled Madrid. It was as if she escaped into thin air.
There had been a few days where I’d managed to convince Carlos to go to his apartment and get some proper rest, just for some hours during the day. Although I wouldn’t admit it, I hated being left on my own in that place, but I also knew that sleeping in hospital chairs wasn’t doing him good. One of those days, I was close to dozing off, alone in my room, when someone entered through door. Assuming it was just Carlos or some nurse, I was too sleepy to bother checking who it was.
Then I heard my guest’s voice, and immediately felt as though my heart froze.
None of my nightmares could have prepared me to face this woman again; Carmen Cifuentes. But there she was, standing no farther than a few meters from my bed.
“A bit of a coincidence for us to meet in a hospital again, wouldn’t you say?” She snickered.
I could feel panic building up in my chest, most noticeably by the thudding beat of my heart. I had wished to never have to see this woman again, least of all while recovering from the harm her actions had caused me.
“What are you doing here?” I managed to ask, using all my energy not to appear as scared as I was.
“I’ve come to warn you,” she said, her voice turning stern. “You may not have gotten away easily from tricking me, but you should be grateful you got away at all. I want you to stay away from Carlos. If you think I’ll let you keep my son away from me, and profit off of his fortunes, then you are mistaken.”
“My help isn’t needed to keep Carlos away from you. If you think he will forgive you for the things you’ve done, then you don’t know him half as well as you think.” My act to appear bold was slightly butchered by the crack in my voice, but I managed to keep it together.
“I know my son better than anyone, and most of all how much he loves me. Sooner or later he’ll see what kind of person you are, and come back apologizing. With no child in his future, I’m sure that’ll be sooner than you think.”
“No child? What do you mean no child? The baby is alive, despite your efforts to rob us of it.”
Immediately after blurting that revelation out, I regretted it. If she tried to get rid of the baby once, who was to say she wouldn’t do it again?
Carmen’s face turned pale.
“I don’t know what kind of family you picture having with my son, but I can assure you, it won’t be a happy one.”
She shot me a last threatening glare as she finally retrieved out of my room, before I could bother talking back to her.
Her words got the best of me once I was all alone again, and I couldn’t hold the tears back. As much as I despised Carmen with every inch of my being, I couldn’t help but worry if she was right. In that moment, it seemed like the world was against us. I already knew Carlos’ and my relationship had to be worked on after our rocky history, but Carmen’s threat made the road seem so much longer.
Was I naive to think it could ever work out? That she would leave us alone once and for all?
It felt like ages passed before Carlos finally arrived, although I can’t imagine it must’ve been more than an hour. As soon as I saw him, I couldn’t help but break down. Every worry and fear had built up during my stay in the hospital, and Carmen’s appearance was the final straw.
“Lidia!” His voice and expression were full of worry as he rushed over to my bed. “Are you okay? Did something happen?”
He laid his arms around me, gently pulling my head to his chest.
“Your mother. She came to see me.”
I felt his body freeze up as he sat up straight and looked me in the eyes, his expression a mix of worry and compassion.
“Lidia, I’m so so sorry.” He said, cupping my face with his hands. “You shouldn’t have had to deal with her alone. I promise you I won’t let it happen ever again.”
He kissed my forehead and pulled my head gently to his chest again, embracing his arms around me carefully.
“Carlos, she won’t leave us alone. She threatened to hurt me again if I don’t leave you.”
“I won’t let her near you.” He assured me with absolute conviction in his voice.
“But how? She won’t stop until she has you back. I don’t feel safe here anymore.” I insisted.
“Whatever it takes, my love. I won’t leave your side another time, do you hear me? If you don’t feel safe here, then we could go away. We’ll do whatever it takes.”
I tilted my head to look into his eyes.
“I love you.” I told him, with full sincerity.
“I love you, too.”