Authors: Helena Rose
Hector set off the
next morning, careful to avoid meeting both Eduardo, and Raquel.
He went into Lucas’ room to say goodbye. Lucas greeted him with a smile:
"Look what I found in the garden uncle," he exclaimed happily.
Hector looked at the smooth stone that Lucas handed him.
"It looks like treasure." Lucas said as his face lit up with a smile
"It's wonderful." Replied Hector, ruffling Lucas’ hair that was as
black as coal, then he continued:
"I’ve brought you some gifts so that you'll remember me after I’ve
Hector handed him a few items: some books, a penknife with a mother of pearl
handle, and a small pendant of lapis lazuli.
Lucas happily said goodbye, thanking him.
"Come back soon Uncle!"
Hector smiled sadly, leaving the room and going to collect his luggage.
He had decided not to take too many things with him that would remind him of
his past existence. He was also about to leave his Navarra y Reyes medallion,
but then shook his head and decided to keep it, putting it around his neck. It
was a medallion engraved with a bull's head surmounted by a crown: the Pamplona
bull, symbol of Navarra, the Spanish region where his ancestors had originated
from when they had come to settle in the New World. Eduardo also had one: their
father, Don Alvaro, had had them made for his two sons, as he was proud of the
family’s Spanish descent.
He threw one last sad look at the family
before getting into
the carriage, bound for Veracruz, the first leg of his journey. Only Lucas saw
Hector leave, as he stopped to watch the carriage until it disappeared down the
main street that led to the entrance.
he gone?" Raquel asked her maid, Penelope, who was combing her long black
Raquel," replied Penelope.
"Well, now we just have to wait for the birth of my baby. Then I'll take
care of that little bastard Lucas.”
"Have you thought about what to do with him?"
"Not yet in detail. I'll see him driven out of this house. You’ll help me,
"I’m always at your service, ma’am ," answered Penelope, sweetly.
Raquel, with a wave of her hand, ordered Penelope to stop brushing her hair.
She rose from the dressing table.
" Your services will cost a lot, won’t they?"
Penelope shrugged her shoulders.
"You know very well that I'm not going to be a servant all my life."
"Yes I know, ever since we were little girls you have annoyed me with your
passion for witchcraft and herbal remedies."
"My passions have helped you on more than one occasion, ma’am."
Raquel did not answer but could not help but agree with Penelope. With her
powers, real or imagined she had spun charms and hexes and frightened her
enemies, her herbs had fixed several unpleasant situations; she used animal
blood for her rites that had served to deceive Eduardo on their wedding night.
Her services were very expensive, but undoubtedly, Penelope was useful.
However, she knew she had to be careful not to depend too much on her. She
could become a hazard.
"Is Eduardo at the plantation?"
"Yes, I saw him just now." Penelope seemed to hesitate a moment,
"A strange thing happened early this morning."
"Tell me, what did Eduardo do?" Raquel asked abruptly.
Penelope bit her lip.
"Come on, speak!" ordered Raquel.
"This morning he came into the kitchen. And he began to ask questions.”
"What kind of questions?" Asked Raquel alarmed.
"About Hector. And about you. Then I came along and he chose not to
continue querying the rest of the servants. Of course, I ordered everyone to
shut up and not to disclose silly gossip, especially about their master."
"Damn Hector!" Said Raquel furious. "He must have said something
before he left that made Eduardo suspicious!"
She turned to Penelope.
"You have to make sure that no one says anything to Eduardo!" Said
Raquel wringing her hands. She knew that sometimes she and Hector had been
imprudent. Some of the servants could have seen one of them leaving the other’s
bedroom at night.
"Be especially attentive of that meddling Amparo," ordered Raquel.
Amparo was the
’s stout cook. She was already in service when
Eduardo and Hector had been born. And maybe she was the only one of the
servants not to fear the new mistress. And with good reason: Eduardo was very
fond of her and up till now Raquel had not been able to get rid of her.
Raquel." Said Penelope hastening to add.
"Stay calm. All in all, she is proving to be an inadvertent ally. She is
very loyal to her master and the Navarra y Reyes name, and she is trying to nip
in the bud any gossip that might tarnish the good name of her beloved Don
Eduardo. And those silly servants consider her an authority in this
"It's important then that she doesn’t believe these rumors, otherwise I’ll
be lost." Replied Raquel, sighing. Unfortunately, she could not be calm.
Eduardo was very much in love with her, but she knew he was no fool.
allow my whole plan to fail. I'll do anything to ensure that all of the Navarra
y Reyes’s fortune is mine and my child’s!
The years passed quickly at the Navarra y Reyes
One day after supervising the laborers’ shifts with the administrator and
organizing some future activities, Eduardo returned to the
earlier than usual. He saw his two boys playing together: Lucas now close to
early adolescence, tall, slender, with thick and unruly black hair and green
eyes, Federico, just five years old, still characterized by the softness of
childhood, with lighter hair and eyes as blue as the sky.
Eduardo found himself thinking almost involuntarily. Should he believe the
rumors that he had collected from the servants and the plantation laborers ?
Doubt was consuming him. No, now he knew that it was no longer a doubt. It had
all started with Hector’s departure. And then the servants’ voices, who were
terrorized by Penelope. But people love to talk too ... and poor sweet Amparo,
who did not want him to suffer, and who strenuously denied everything.
Certainly not because of a feeling of loyalty to Raquel, indeed, she considered
her almost a usurper to the role that had fallen to the first lady, but out of
loyalty and love for him. Amparo, with her naive simplicity, refused to believe
anything that would either upset Eduardo, who she had raised with immense
affection, or that would blacken Hector’s name.
How could he have been so blind ... Hector had warned him
. Keep an eye on
Lucas, when the other baby is born
. And he had had to fight, to fight
against Raquel who had tried in every way to get him to send Lucas away, to
kick out his eldest son ...
The love, that at one time he believed he had had for her, was now extinct.
Raquel had proved, hard, cruel, cold and extremely ambitious. Eduardo knew that
when she was very young, her family had suffered financial ruin. Raquel had had
to fight to survive, but he did not think what she had been so deeply marked.
Raquel who had once fascinated him, after his premature widowhood, and who had
reawakened his passions, had turned into an icy and unattainable statue.
He decided to go to find Raquel and invite her to join him in the horse-drawn
carriage for a ride in the center of Tampico. He searched for her but could not
find her in the living room where she would usual have been. He asked a servant
where she was. The girl, a bit intimidated, replied that she was in her room
due to a headache and in Penelope’s company.
Eduardo went up stairs and walked towards Raquel’s apartment. The door was not
fully closed and the two women were talking in rather angry voices.
"All these years we have failed, but I definitely want that bastard Lucas
to be cast out of this house!" Raquel was ranting, "even now they are
playing together, and I don’t want them to be close. I want my son to crush him
like a bug. "
"Don Eduardo protects him extremely well, all our attempts have so far
been in vain." Replied Penelope, trying to calm her down. "I'm afraid
you’ll have to be resigned to the fact ..."
"Never! It must be Federico who inherits everything, not Eduardo’s son ...
I’ve done everything to get to this point and I can’t give up now. I seduced
Hector, I fooled Eduardo, passing off his brother’s son as his own. It certainly
won’t be a child that blocks my path and hinders my plans!"
Eduardo listened transfixed. The truth that he had feared, had finally been
revealed to him in all its glory, revealed by the very person who had hatched
this diabolical plan.
That demon woman had tricked, mocked, humiliated him, had destroyed his and
Hector’s life and was now trying to plan with frightening accuracy a way to
destroy his only son!
Stunned by the shock, Eduardo hesitated. But the thought of Lucas shook him
like a thunderbolt.
I have to save Lucas at all costs from this wicked
In the grip of fierce anger, he burst into the room. He saw that Penelope
was applying perfumed ointment to Raquel’s manicured hands.
"Leave us alone." He said resolutely to Penelope who, frightened by
such vehemence, withdrew without asking permission.
Raquel, surprised by Eduardo’s sudden firmness, rose from her chair without
having the courage to open her mouth.
Eduardo approached her and taking a firm hold of her forearm continued:
"How could you have deceived me for all these years?"
"What's got into you Eduardo? What do you mean?" Stammered Raquel her
face as white as a sheet.
"No more lies, now I know everything ... you lied to me and have publicly
insulted my honor and the Navarra name!"
"How dare you!" Raquel said between her teeth, trying to free her
Eduardo squeezed even harder.
"You're a slut of the worst kind, you cheated on me with Hector and you
tried to expel my only son from this house, the true heir to Navarra y
"But I ..." She tried to protest.
Eduardo quickly silenced her. The rage and the desire for revenge dominated
"Don’t say anything, I heard you talking a little while ago with your
accomplice! What you’ve done will never be forgiven, I’ll disown you, and throw
you and your bastard son on to the streets ... so that all Tampico and Mexico
know what the distinguished Doña Raquel has done."
Raquel found herself trembling without meaning to. Eduardo glanced at her
furiously, he had never seen her this way before.
"You wouldn’t dare Eduardo ... I swear that I ..."
"Quiet... I don’t want to hear a single word! You have until tomorrow to
collect your things and get out of this house together with your bastard ...
and from now on, I forbid you to use the Navarra name! "
Raquel opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted again.
"Is it clear?" Cried Eduardo.
Raquel regained control and jerked her arm from Eduardo’s grip.
She looked at him straight in the eye, challenging him with a gaze full of
Then, in a cold voice she replied to Eduardo’s accusations, abandoning any
attempt to delay or deny them.
"I’m glad that you have finally found out about everything, now I’ll not
be forced to lie or to hide the disgust I feel for you! For all these years,
I’ve lived in the shadow of the memory of your first wife, whom you adore like
a holy saint! For you I’ve never been up to being a Navarra y Reyes ... "
She paused to wipe away a tear with the back of her hand that without her
wanting it to, streaked down her cheek.
Eduardo parted his lips as if to give a reply, but she continued, recovering
all her self-confidence and haughtiness.
"Yes, Federico is not your son, and I'm glad that he is not ... Your
brother Hector is a hundred times more of a man in bed than you are ..."
Eduardo's eyes widened and he raised his arm ready to strike her, but then
stopped. Raquel had not even tried to move out of the way, her eyes black as
smoldering coal, challenged him with unmatched hatred.
Eduardo lowered his arm.
"I despise you. You have until tomorrow to leave!"
Raquel said nothing she continued to stare at him without saying anything.
Eduardo, his eyes still burning with anger left the room without uttering
"Never ... I’ll never be kicked out of this house," whispered Raquel.
Still furious, Eduardo went into his study. He did not notice that Penelope was
He sat down at his desk.
I have to resign myself to the truth. Therefore, I
must protect Lucas in case anything happens to me before the separation
Eduardo wrote, with his usual graceful calligraphy, his last will and
In case of death, all my belongings, all my money and the whole
hacienda, goes to my only son Lucas Navarra y Reyes...
Eduardo drew up two copies. One he locked with a key in the drawer of his
desk. He addressed the other to the lawyer Giacomo De la Vega, and slipped it
in his pocket. Giacomo, his old friend had gone to Spain with his wife and son.
I mustn’t underestimate Raquel and her plots; even though tomorrow she’ll no
longer be in this house she could still try to jeopardize me and Lucas
got up and lit a candle. He took the blotting paper with which he had dried the
two manuscripts and burned it. Then he hurried off to look for Amparo.
tell her to send the letter when she goes to Tampico to get the usual kitchen
supplies. I can trust her. I’ll tell her not to tell anyone what I ask her to
Penelope saw Eduardo leave and as soon as he turned away, she walked cautiously
into the study. She saw at once the burning blotting paper in the silver plate
used for the post. By now, the fire had consumed almost all of the paper, but
some words were still distinguishable.
All my belongings will go to my son
Penelope immediately ran to warn Raquel.
She found her still sitting where Eduardo had left her. Her eyes were staring
coldly into space.
Penelope approached her cautiously.
"Ma’am, what’s the matter?"
"He’s discovered everything Penelope ... Eduardo and I have argued
bitterly, now he knows that Federico is not his son but Hector’s."
She paused, staring at Penelope.
"Eduardo wants me out of here." She said, saying every word without
the slightest hint of emotion.
Penelope gasped at the unexpected news. She put her hands to her mouth to
stifle a groan.
"That's why Don Eduardo wrote his will!"
Raquel jumped up.