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Authors: Helena Rose

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BOOK: The Forbidden Promise
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"My brother in law must have returned from Mexico a while ago,"
continued Raquel. "and Lucas probably feared that Hector’s arrival would
provoke a scandal ... "
"What scandal are you speaking about?" Urged Don José while Federico
settled back comfortably in the sofa, sipping his cognac and barely able to
control smiling.
"In his will, my late husband wrote that since he had discovered that his
brother Hector was Lucas’ real father, he would disinherit him. Lucas was
obviously aware of the will, and perhaps feared that this secret would be made
"There's something that doesn’t seem clear," objected Don José,
"He lost his inheritance a long time ago, why kill Hector now?"
" I don’t know,"
Raquel said in a faint voice.
"Perhaps to avoid the scandal . No one in town knows the reason why he was
disinherited, there are only rumors. I've always wanted to spare him the
Don José stroked his chin perplexed.
Raquel continued, "don’t forget that
Lucas grew up, by his own choice, in an environment of criminals and is
accustomed to violence. Although I tried in every way to make him stay with us,
with Eduardo’s death and the opening of the will, he unfortunately wouldn’t
listen to reason and left our home to live who knows how..." and she burst
into tears again.
" Well Ma'am, I’ve taken advantage your kindness and hospitality too long,
thank you very much for your cooperation even though I know that it couldn’t
have been easy for you."
Doña Raquel shook her head, stifling a sob, she held out her hand and walked
him to the door while Federico enjoyed his mother’s performance.
"Goodbye Federico and thank you also," Don José said before leaving.
When the door closed, a smile reappeared on
Raquel’s hard face.
"This time son we'll get him out of the way once and for all! He’ll end
his days rotting in jail."
Federico downed the rest of his Cognac and said, "You are unrivalled,
Raquel smiled with satisfaction.
"Now I’m just awaiting Penelope’s report ... If she’s also been successful
that bastard will have been destroyed permanently."
In the meantime, Don José returned to the barracks. As soon as he got to his
office, he decided to issue an arrest warrant for Lucas.
He ordered a detachment of police to position themselves at the road entrance
to the town.
Viviana was right, Lucas would be back the next day and they would
be able to arrest him without going to Zacatecas.

The Vargas de Coronado’s
maids helped
Viviana and Aurora to carry their luggage out of the
"Let's go Aurora, the carriage is ready and Cristobal is already
waiting," said
"Here I am." In her black mourning dress, Aurora slowly descended the
stairs. Her face pale and her eyes still puffy from crying all night.
She seemed like an angel to Cristobal, he helped her into the carriage, and
then took a seat beside her, "Let's go!" He ordered the coachman.
The sun was just peeking over the horizon and the first rays had already lit up
the cathedral’s facade that loomed majestically in the central square.
Aurora watched the town rush by in front of her eyes while deep in her soul she
still hoped that Lucas would arrive, stop the carriage, explain everything to
her, tell her that he loved her and take her away with him ... But this would
not happened today and maybe never.
They reached the station and boarded the train.
Lucas you broke my heart,
I’ll never forgive you.

In Zacatecas, when Lucas returned with the money, the revolt at
the mine was luckily suppressed and the workers went back to work.
They had to proceed with the extraction of silver. Now the load was more
important than ever, as it would make the difference between failure and
Now I have to think about my wife, I’ve already delayed too long ... Aurora
don’t leave me I beg you! I have to explain everything to you!
Lucas rode fast towards Tampico, his heart in his throat, the wind blew through
his black hair, the impetus and the anxiety to reach Aurora made him almost
fly, taking the horse to its limits.
After the long ride, he saw in the distance a detachment of police and pulled
the reins vigorously towards himself, he did not suspect these men were waiting
for him.
When they recognized him, they leveled their rifles and Lucas did not even have
time to pull his gun from his belt.
"Lucas Navarra y Reyes, you're under arrest! Get off the horse!" They
ordered him.
He looked around, the vast surrounding plain had little shelter and did not
allow for a safe escape.
There were too many police to attempt a melee and in any case his reaction
would probably have unleashed a hail of bullets.
He let go of the reins and dismounted. In a few moments three policemen were on
him searching him while another held him at gunpoint.
"What do you accuse me of?"
" Of murder ..." the highest ranking policeman said.
" Murder? Of whom?" He asked in amazement.
" Of Don Costantino Vargas de Coronado and Don Hector Navarra y
My uncle in Mexico? When did he come back? And what was he doing in that
chapel with my father in law? My God, murder ... they were murdered!
Lucas did not react while they handcuffed his hands behind his back.
"I assure you that you are making a terrible mistake!" He exclaimed.
has set a trap for me, it's all too strange!
He could not imagine, however, that this arrest was costing him not just
his freedom but also his love for Aurora.
My love, do not leave me

Chapter 19

Mexico City’s cheerful air helped Aurora to lessen some of the pain that
constantly throbbed in her chest.
Although she could not attend parties with her cousin as she was still in
mourning, she took long walks in Cristobal’s company who was very considerate
towards her.
Cristobal was undoubtedly a fascinating, intelligent and kind man who would
make any woman happy.
She felt at ease with him, and had even had the courage to tell him what had
happened the night she had decided to leave Lucas. She had not felt any shame
opening her heart to him, she felt calm and safe when she was in his company.
Cristobal had consoled her with touching words, both for the painful loss of
her father, and for the terrible wound of love that Lucas had inflicted.
when I trusted him, when I thought he was the man of my life and I was most
vulnerable, he broke my heart
Cristobal, meanwhile, was trying to fill the void that Aurora felt within
herself, timidly, never imposing and with extreme delicacy, he assumed the role
of confidant and friend at the time when she needed it more than anything else.
In a short time they had started to use first names and this had made Cristobal
hope that one day he could win Aurora’s love.
Aurora looked at him as they strolled through the
Alameda Central
the sun was shining on his blond hair and perfect profile, a gust of cold wind
made her tighten her hold on his arm and he smiled at her.
"Aurora," Cristobal said, "I think you understand the deep and
intense feeling that I have for you ..."
She parted her lips to say something but he put a finger gently on her mouth.
"Let me continue please..."
He stopped in front of her and took her hands in his.
"I know that maybe it's quite forward of me, but I know I could make you
happy ... Give me the chance to prove it. I love you Aurora and if at the
moment you don’t feel the same maybe one day..."
His piercing brown eyes stared at her determined.
" So much has happened Cristobal ... I don’t feel ready..." She
"Not now ... when the mourning period has passed ... I'll wait even if it
means waiting a hundred years."
"But I'm married ..." said Aurora finding it extremely hard to
control her tears.
"We’ll annul the wedding ..." he said squeezing her hands. "You
forget that I’m a legal expert, I could find some quirk of canon law to declare
your marriage invalid... You shouldn’t feel tied to a man who betrayed you and
crushed your feelings so shamefully."
Aurora felt her heart thump.
I could annul the wedding ... I wrote that damn
pact just to guarantee me a way out
, she thought sadly ,
but am I
really ready to use it? Am I really determined to be permanently separated from
? She would never forgive him for the terrible betrayal, consummated
in their marital bed, but at heart, she knew she still loved him...
"Give me time to think, please Cristobal..." She said, looking down.
"All the time you need." Said Cristobal, bringing her hands to his
lips he brushed them with a gentle kiss.
Aurora blushed and walked on in silence. Cristobal, a real gentleman, said
nothing and did not pressure her any more.
When she arrived home, however, Aurora decided it was time to make a decision,
after all, why delay any longer? Doubt was worse than the most terrible truth.
Why had Lucas not come looking for her? Every time she went out, she expected
to find him waiting for her when she came home, proud and handsome, ready to
declare to the whole world his love for her ...
So was it true that he was already tired of her? How could his caresses and passionate
kisses have been false? How could he have lied like that without her suspecting
Perhaps her mother and her cousin were right, it was time to turn over a new
But it was not easy to give up the man who haunted her dreams and whose only
thought still made her heart beat faster.
She decided to make one last attempt,
if it’s all been a farce I want him to
tell me personally,
she thought
She would not however be able to bear the humiliation of going to look for him
to feel rejected once more.
She decided to write one last letter, if within a month she had not received a
response she would understand that everything was really finished and would
rely on the pact to ask for an annulment of their marriage before the Holy
With the help of Dolores she was able to send the letter to Zacatecas without
Cristobal and her mother knowing, given that they controlled her every
move...out of love of course ... but this sometimes made her feel like a
prisoner in a gilded cage. Her mother, in particular, acted very strangely, she
even hid the newspapers with the excuse that she just wanted to keep her quiet
and rested.
Aurora knew that her mother sometimes wrote to Don Jos
Pereira to
know the status of the investigation, but Viviana had never let her read the
replies. She simply said that there was nothing definite yet, that the
investigations were still on going, but there was no news of any kind.
Aurora sighed restless.
If only I could forget everything... if only my
father were here with me...
She had a great desire to return to work, to start over and not think about

At the Zacatecas
life was strangely quiet despite the tragedies that had befallen in the last
days. Santos tried in every way to stand in for Lucas in the supervision of the
mine, but it was increasingly difficult to continue to work without him. Pablo,
on the other hand, had been sent to Tampico to assist Lucas in his terrible
situation and to act as a liaison with Santos. The two exchanged telegrams
almost daily and Pablo took them to Lucas to keep him updated with the silver
extraction. Yolanda remained in Zacatecas with the task of managing the house,
despite wishing with all of her heart to be beside her beloved Lucas. But her
mind was infinitely sad.
And that stupid wife of his left him right when he
needed her most... that phony! I’ll never abandon him
... And so she spent
her days, writing letters to her beloved, daydreaming about her future with
him. Sighing, imagining the day when Lucas was released from prison, declared
innocent, and he came to her to show his gratitude, swearing eternal love...
She was distracted from her thoughts by the arrival of one of the young
The maid in charge of buying supplies in the city, having returned from the
post office, walked into the kitchen and handed three envelopes to Yolanda.
Yolanda went to put them on Lucas’ desk in his office, pausing to caress the
back of the leather chair on which Lucas used to sit.
She arranged the envelopes neatly on his desk, looking at each one quickly,
when her attention fell on one particular envelope. The sender's name was
She weighed the letter on the open palm of her hand.
Why had the mistress
written here? Maybe she didn’t know that Lucas was in prison? Maybe it was a
farewell letter? Or maybe she was trying to get back with him
? Yolanda
She did not know exactly what had happened the night that Aurora had fled but
she was sure that her Aunt Penelope had separated them with some deception. The
letter was perhaps a desperate attempt to get back with Lucas.
She could not allow it, the distance between the two, even if provoked by
injustice, was her only and perhaps last chance to win Lucas, by standing near
him while he was in captivity and keeping him from remembering Aurora.
With a decisive gesture, she tore up the letter and hid the pieces in her apron
I’ll never let that woman come back to torment him ... Lucas will be
only mine! Mine and nobody else’s! Aurora has brought only pain and humiliation
into his life, I’ll not let her continue making him suffer...

In Tampico’s prison, the
hours passed very slowly. The loneliness, the perpetual darkness illuminated
only by dim torches and, the discomfort all made life unbearable for Lucas. But
the greatest torment was the separation from Aurora and the belief that she now
hated him.
My love, I didn’t betray you... Please come back to me! Who knows
what you're doing now, where are you
Why had she not come to see me?
Did she really not care about me anymore?
But the blow she had suffered had
been hard, Lucas had to admit it. To the point that perhaps it did not matter
to her that he was rotting away in a squalid prison. And all because of that
damned witch, who since he had been little had abused and obstructed him...
stupid I was to believe that she was repentant and to accept her as a maid
But Penelope’s performance had been fantastic, there was no doubt and he had
fallen for it like a poor fool.
If only I could get out of here! I’d just like to talk to you, to convince
you of my innocence
Suddenly he heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs and along the narrow
corridor. Lucas got up from the pallet and looked out through the bars. He saw
a female figure accompanied by a guard, walking along the dark passage and
getting closer to his cell. When she was close to the bars, he recognized her.
He could not forget that pale and somewhat fascinating face, those deep black
eyes like two dark wells and the smooth, shiny ebony hair now streaked with
"What have you come to do
Raquel?" Lucas asked, irate.
"To make sure that the chains are tight so I can’t escape? Or are you
afraid that I’m not suffering enough? "
Raquel smiled coldly, staring straight into his eyes. She could not and did not
want to conceal the joy she felt at seeing her hated stepson in these
conditions, locked in a filthy cell like any wretched offender. But beyond
enjoying Lucas’ humiliation, in truth, she had gone out of her way to
personally come to the prison to deliver to him the coup de grace, to enjoy the
devastating effect that the news she was going to give him would cause.
" Yes, I'm here for that too, I can’t deny it."
Raquel as
she moved closer to the bars. "For the rest I always knew you were no good
and that you deserved nothing else but prison."
Lucas did not look down, challenging those terrible black eyes.
"But I came mainly to inform you of something that I'm sure will be very
interesting to you." She continued coldly.
"There's nothing you can tell me that might interest me. You don’t exist
for me.” Retorted Lucas.
"Wait to hear before speaking!” Raquel coughed to clear her throat,
"I came to tell you that your dear wife, Aurora, has left the city with
Don Cristobal."
She watched him intently trying to catch a glimpse of a flash of pain in his
Lucas gripped the bars of the cell even tighter, trying not to show his
"Where did they go?" Lucas hissed with anger.
"I don’t know."
Raquel smiled, "And you can’t do
anything about it, because you’ll have to spend years in this filthy
"And why did you come to tell me this?"
Raquel's face became serious, her eyes staring at him cruel and
"Because I want to see you suffer so much, that you curse the day you were
"No ma’am!" He said glaring at her with his deep green eyes.
"I’ll get out of here and it will be you who will be cursing that
At that moment another visitor arrived accompanied by a guard.
Raquel watched him come closer as she pulled her black cloak around her and walked
towards the exit but not before she launched a last contemptuous look at Lucas.
The new visitor was none other than Pablo.
"Good morning Mr. Lucas," cried Pablo happy to see him, "You had
a visitor?"
Pablo turned to look at the woman walking away.
"Yes, to make sure the noose is tight around my neck!" said Lucas
grinning. "It was my dear step-mother,
Raquel Navarra y
Lucas tried to recover quickly from the blow he had received and to calm down.
He did not want to be seen so stricken by anyone.
"Are you all right?" Pablo asked curiously.
"Yes everything is alright," Lucas said, swallowing hard. "What
news do you bring me?”
"I bring you news from Zacatecas, Santos says he has almost completed the
sale of the second load of silver, which means a large amount of cash will be
deposited in the bank, more than you thought, seeing the current market
"Finally some good news, Pablo!" Lucas said, resting his forehead on
the bars.
"It's not over! Don José is questioning a lot of people in town on your
behalf and everyone is saying that you are loved and respected, not only by
your men, but also by the locals. They say you’ve always helped the unfortunate
and that you’re certainly not a murderer. Your lawyer, I mean the one appointed
by the court, says that he’ll come to see you tomorrow to try to verify your
movements on the day of the fire. Unfortunately he can’t find the banker that
you met in the uninhabited house anywhere and so your alibi doesn’t hold up ...
Are you listening?" Pablo suddenly asked, seeing Lucas apparently deep in
Lucas walked away from the bars and sat down against the damp wall. Then,
glancing at Pablo out of the corner of his eye, he asked the question closest
to his heart,
Raquel told me that Aurora has left the city with Cristobal
... is it true?"
Pablo looked embarrassed and hesitant.
"I'm afraid so, this gossip has already arrived even to my ears. However
it seems that
Viviana also went with them."
Lucas moved back nearer Pablo and grabbing the bars with fury said,
"Pablo, you have to go to
Viviana’s house and talk to the
maid, Carmen. Try to find out where Aurora is, I need to talk to her, I have to
explain what happened or I’ll lose her forever! "
"I believe that she loves you, you could see from the way she looked at
you, you’ll see that she’ll understand and she’ll wait."
"No! I’m afraid that when I manage to explain everything it will be too
late! Definitely that Cristobal and maybe even her mother are filling her head
with lies against me. Pablo, I’m counting on you, don’t disappoint me my
"I'll go right away to
Viviana’s maid and I’ll ask around to
see if anyone has any news, I’ll return this evening!" Promised Pablo who
was not used to seeing Lucas so depressed and demoralized.
Pablo left the prison and went straight to the Vargas de Coronado’s home. A
girl with olive skin and big black eyes opened the door.
"Are you Carmen,
Viviana’s maid?" asked Pablo.
The girl nodded.
"I’ve come from Zacatecas, I’ve a message for
Aurora. Where
can I find her?"
Carmen seemed hesitant.
"I don’t know if I can say ... "
But fortunately, Pablo was able to discover that Aurora and her mother were in
Mexico City, guests of her cousin Dolores. Carmen did not want to give him
Dolores’s address, despite numerous requests.
"If you want I'll send the message to her..."
Pablo thanked her for her kindness, but declined the offer. He said goodbye to
Carmen and returned as fast as he could to the prison. He managed to get passed
the guard who was reluctant about letting him enter as visiting time had
finished, but with a payment he was able to see Lucas.
Pablo told Lucas what he had discovered.
Lucas began to walk around the small cell, nervously. Dolores had been Aurora’s
bride’s maid at their wedding. He remembered that Aurora and her cousin had
often written to each other while she was in Zacatecas and some old envelopes
with Dolores’s address could still be in his study.
"Thank you Pablo!" Lucas said, shaking his hand, "Now please,
write to Santos as soon as possible tell him to search every corner of the
! Even the smallest clue can help me! I must find out where this
cousin lives in Mexico City!"
Pablo nodded and ran out as fast as he could, eager to please his boss. The
post office was closing, but with his persuasive ways he convinced the clerk to
send a telegram immediately to Zacatecas.
The days passed and Lucas’ anxiety grew. He felt that every minute that went by
was increasing the distance that separated him from Aurora. He had to find a
way of reaching her at any cost, even if only in writing. Until finally, Santos
sent him a note with the address of Aurora’s cousin that he had found on an old
envelope addressed to Aurora that she had kept among her personal effects left
at the
. Pablo brought the news to Lucas who thanked him, he now
regarded Pablo more as a friend than a servant. Left alone, he lost no time, he
wrote a letter immediately to his adored wife in which he explained to her
everything that had happened. He wrote that he loved her and that he had been
unjustly arrested. He swore to her that he would come and get her as soon as
possible and above all that he had never cheated on her, even in his mind.
He waited anxiously for Father Julian, who often came to see him to help him
through these difficult times. It was as if time stood still and Lucas was
still a little lost boy without family and without a penny.
He handed the letter to Father Julian with the prayer to make the letter reach
Aurora, he feared that a letter with his name as the sender would be
intercepted by Viviana or Cristobal and would never be delivered to Aurora.
He could not have imagined how much his fear was well founded.
He hoped that those few lines reached Aurora in time.
wait for me

BOOK: The Forbidden Promise
13.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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