I don’t wanna hear, I don’t wanna know
Please don’t say you’re sorry
I’ve heard it all before
And I can take care of myself
I don’t wanna hear, I don’t wanna know
Please don’t say ‘Forgive me’
I’ve seen it all before
And I can’t take it anymore
You’re not half the man you think you are
Save your words because you’ve gone too far
I’ve listened to your lies and all your stories
You’re not half the man you’d like to be
Don’t explain yourself ’cause talk is cheap
There’s more important things than hearing you speak
You stayed because I made it so convenient
Don’t explain yourself, you’ll never see
Luna had been moved from the ICU to a suite inside the Cardiac Care Unit two days after she awoke and, following her patient’s wishes, Dr. Williams hadn’t allowed anyone to visit her, not even Vin.
Delora and Irving found such an extraordinary request a little hurtful and more than just suspicious, but wisely, they didn’t voice their thoughts aloud. Instead, the couple decided to step back, allowing Luna time to be alone, in hopes that her daughter in law was able to deal with her painful loss without choosing the easiest way out.
It was clear to Vin’s parents that there was much more than just the pain of losing a baby behind Luna’s odd behavior, but they also knew that people have very different ways to deal with such a heartbreaking tragedy.
The fact that the rumors about the Vin/Sheila affair had already hit the media only confirmed their suspicions. Even though at the beginning the gossip had been pushed aside by the tragedy of losing a baby, some tabloids had started focusing their attention once more on the affair, especially after word got out that Sheila had bought a house near Vin’s old house.
Vin’s parents were used to dealing with the tabloids and the rumors and gossip, but this time they both knew that where there was smoke, there was fire. So their reactions had been different.
Irving had kept himself slightly apart, giving Vin a little room to explain himself. He knew his son, or at least, he thought he knew him. Irving just didn’t want to believe that Mark had cheated on his pregnant wife. It was too painful to find that, after all his efforts to be the father Mark never knew, he hadn’t done a great job. Irving couldn’t push aside the sensation of failing in his mission, teaching Mark how to be a decent man.
Meanwhile, Delora had been pushing no end to find every single detail, even the more lurid ones. It wasn’t morbid curiosity but the imperious need to find the truth. Delora desperately need to know if she had failed in her role of mother, teaching his son principles and a code of ethics to rule his life.
She hadn’t had luck in her research though because people around Mark had still kept their mouths shut, not saying anything. It only confirmed Delora’s painful suspicions, feeling her heart filling with sadness. Mark had done exactly the same as his biological father had done in the past; he had betrayed the woman he swore he loved. All in all, the only comfort Delora still had was the fact that, unlike his biological father, Mark hadn’t left Luna. Yet.
While all this was taking place, Vin concentrated on his own guilt and tried to make amends the best he knew. Even though Luna didn’t want to see him, Vin kept coming to visit her, asking for forgiveness and repeating ‘I’m sorry’ over and over. Crying, promising, begging and pleading non-stop, only to receive in return the same answer; silence.
Vin had said everything that he thought he was supposed to say and had acted the way he thought he was supposed to act. Still, Luna hadn’t said one single word to him. She just pretended he wasn’t even there, openly ignoring his presence as well as his words that to her sounded empty and without meaning.
Far from feeling defeated, Vin stuck by Luna’s side, resigning himself to the heartbreaking ostracism his wife was mercilessly subjecting him to, without complaining, getting mad or voicing aloud his disagreement. He knew that he deserved to be left out in the cold, to be pushed away and then some more. His actions were unforgivable and he knew that more than anyone else.
Vin was very aware of the fact that his pain and guilt weren’t anything compared to the living hell Luna was going through or Valentino, for that matter. So in hoping Luna would finally start letting him in once more, Vin accepted his punishment, without arguing, like the grown up, mature, sensible man he was supposed to be. Compliantly allowing Luna to treat him as if he was a worthless piece of shit, giving him the cold shoulder and not showing the minimum interest in whatever he said or did.
The self-imposed punishment went on for more than a week, until Vin had no more tears to shed, no more promises to make and no more apologies to give.
Vin was seriously thinking about giving up when he realized that that was exactly what Luna had been waiting for; for him to throw in the towel. His wife definitely knew him better than everybody thought. She was sure that eventually, Vin would grow tired of trying to pull a reaction from her, any reaction at all.
It was then when Vin finally understood that Luna simply didn’t give a damn anymore, about him or her. She had already crossed the line without option for a return. Luna was already dead inside and he had been the one killing her.
Vin made up his mind. He wouldn’t spend one more single day trying to reach his wife; instead he would set her free, so that way, Luna could start again without him messing her life even more than he had already done.
He knew he was taking the easiest way out, acting like a coward once more, but he also knew that they both needed to stay away from each other. If they were meant to be together, getting old holding hands, they would cross paths again, eventually. If it was in his cards, he would have a family with Luna, if not he wouldn’t be around hurting her.
Cedars Sinai Hospital (Cardiac Care Unit)
“What exactly does that mean, that you’re leaving, Mark?” Delora pressed her lips together in a thin line, her brows deeply furrowed.
“Ma…” Vin sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose; he was exhausted. “It doesn’t make sense for all of us to stay here and Luna…”
Delora cut her son off. “It doesn’t make sense?!” She blinked, unable to believe her son had said these words and raised her voice. “What doesn’t make sense is Luna not wanting any of us around HER!! What doesn’t make sense is you running away just when your wife needs you most!”
“Lora…” Irving lifted his hand, gesturing for his wife to keep her voice low.
“What?” She panted hard, looking at her husband for a second and then returned her attention to her son, lowering her voice again. “You’re not gonna be like him, you hear me?” Delora hissed as she pointed a stiff finger at her son.
Vin paled; he knew who his mother was talking about.
“I didn’t raise you to become like your damned…”
Irving cleared his throat, his gaze hardening and Delora bit her tongue hard. Her eyes smoldered with restrained anger and she took a slow, deep breath, calming herself a little.
“We are a family and we will stick together, you hear me? You are not going anywhere.” She whispered, ending the conversation and headed to Luna’s bedroom.
The firm tone of Delora’s voice didn’t leave room for complaints and Irving and Vin glanced at each other.
“Let’s have a coffee.” Irving tapped his son’s shoulder.
Vin sighed heavily. “Dad, I’m not…”
Irving cut him off. “I said, let’s have a coffee, Mark.”
Vin didn’t feel like having a man to man chat with his dad, at least not at that very moment. He opened his mouth to protest again but a quick look at his father’s face told him that Irving wouldn’t take a ‘no’ for answer.
“Okay.” Vin whispered and both men headed to the cafeteria within the cardiac care unit.
Luna exited the bathroom and went still, watching Delora sitting on the couch. For a second all she wanted was to rush to the older woman’s side, curling in her loving arms and crying like a little girl. All she wanted was to hear her soothing voice, reassuring her that everything would be okay.
Closing her eyes, Luna fought back her natural impulses and stretched her back. “You should go back to New York, Delora. I’m okay, I’ll be okay.”
At Luna’s words, Delora narrowed her eyes, eying Luna. “Delora…” She chuckled sadly. “You used to call me ‘Ma’.”
Luna winced inwardly, but grabbed a hold of her emotions. “You are not my mother and we both know that.”
Her calculated, cold pose didn’t fool Delora for a second. The pain and anger didn’t go unnoticed either.
“I know what you’re trying to do, Luna, and it won’t work with me. I’m not my son, sweetheart.” Delora whispered calmly, even though Luna’s words had hurt her, deeply. “You feel responsible and guilty, and you want to punish yourself. I can understand that, but there’s no way I’m going to turn my back on you no matter how hard you try to push me away.”
Delora’s soothing voice and her understanding words broke Luna’s heart. Still, Luna couldn’t let Delora in; it would be unfair to Vin’s mother.
“I just want to be left alone. Can you understand that?” Luna replied, crossing the room and taking a seat on her bed.
Delora nodded. “Yes, I can understand that, but you need help, Luna. You won’t overcome your pain and your anger by staying alone.”
Luna chuckled. “What if I don’t want to overcome anything?” she replied defiantly. “What if everything I want is just to forget?”
In response Delora smiled sadly. “You cannot forget, Luna. You have to deal with the anger and the pain before they destroy you.”
“It’s too late for that.” Luna whispered, looking down at her lap.
Delora shook her head in denial. “No, it’s not too late. Never too late to face your demons.” She stood, padding to Luna’s bed and took a seat at her side. “I don’t know how it feels to lose a baby because I never went through such a dramatic experience, but I know a few things about being betrayed by the one you thought wouldn’t dare to do such a thing.” Delora paused and took one of Luna’s hands in hers. “Love is a wicked, little fucker that plays dirty and doesn’t know anything about fair play rules.” She tenderly squeezed Luna’s hand as she continued. “Love comes to your life at the most unexpected moments, turning your world upside down and then leaves you hanging in the lurch.”
Hot tears prickled down Luna’s face and she shut her eyes tightly. “I hate Vin with everything in me.”
Delora sighed heavily. “I know that, but I also know that deep down, in some hidden place within your heart you still love him too, even if not the same way you did once.” She squeezed Luna’s hand again. “The line between love and hate is very thin, Luna.”
At Delora’s words, Luna lifted her face, meeting her eyes. “Do you still love him?” She whispered hoarsely.
Delora went silent. No, she didn’t love Vin’s biological father, in fact she didn’t feel anything at all for him. But it was also true that during a lot of years she secretly fed her anger in a lame attempt to ease the pain of being rejected, of feeling abandoned, until she realized that there was no use, and that she had to let go of him completely if she wanted to survive. Still, there were wounds that would never heal. There would always be that little sting, as if nailed within her soul.
“Not anymore.” Finally Delora answered.
Luna nodded as she cleaned her tears with her free hand. “Go back to New York, Ma. I’ll be fine.” She smiled sadly and leaned forward kissing Delora’s cheek.
“Do you really want me to leave?” She asked, releasing Luna’s hand just to hug her.
Delora knew that Luna was acting, pretending that her few words had reached her heart. She didn’t buy Luna’s performance for a second, of course, but decided to move back, giving her daughter room, just to see how far Luna would go in her desperate attempt to push everybody away.
Luna let her, hugging Delora back and burying her face in her neck. “I don’t want to, Ma, but I need to do this alone.” She whispered past a huge lump that came from nowhere.
Luna wasn’t lying, at least not completely. Deep down she wanted Delora there, to have some kind of support and comfort, but at the same time, Luna considered she didn’t deserve it, not after what she had done.
Delora hugged Luna tightly and nodded ‘yes’. She understood Luna’s desperate need to grab a hold of her life once more, being the one having the absolute control of her actions, even if that was not the way to do it. All in all, Delora also understood that Luna deserved to make her own mistakes, if only because in trying to get her life back, she might be able to find some peace of mind.
“Okay, but you call me twice a week.” Delora kissed Luna’s head and leaned backward a little.
“I’ll do it,” Luna lied, nodding ‘yes’ and hugged Delora. It was easy that way; she couldn’t lie to Vin’s mother while looking at her eyes.
Delora chuckled sadly; she knew Luna was lying and that as soon as she left that room, Luna would keep herself as far as possible from her family. It broke her heart, but Delora kept silent. She also knew that no one could learn from others’ mistakes.
“So you woke up, naked, and found this Sheila chick sleeping naked at your side and you weren’t sure how she ended up there?” Irving narrowed his eyes suspiciously. To him it sounded like a far-fetched scene pulled out of a Hitchcock movie.
Vin let out a heavy sigh and nodded ‘yes’, looking down at his coffee, as if the answers he was desperately searching for were there, floating on the black liquid.
He remembered getting wasted and that his body hurt after the beating Valentino had thrown at him. So he had taken a couple of pills and had grabbed a bottle of whiskey. He also remembered Sheila showing up from nowhere, talking shit, but he was too consumed in his own misery to pay attention to anything else.
Then he had woken up with a start, hearing Luna screaming in pain and a cell phone ringing. Then one of his bodyguards entered the room and it was Valentino on the phone calling him to tell him that Luna had had an accident and that she was at Cedars. His own cell phone had been disconnected and Sheila was sleeping at his side, naked as the day she was born.
The rest was just a messy blur. Vin remembered that he had dressed in record time and had ran outside where Mike and Steve were already waiting for him. After Luna had gone into a coma, Steve had filled in the blanks, telling Vin about his own odyssey with the cops, adding that Renee had gotten him out but that he had been released on bail. His other bodyguards had told him about Luna showing up well past midnight and that she had found him with Sheila.
They hadn’t said anything else; after all it wasn’t their business. Both guys had assumed that Vin had fucked Sheila, so there was no point in telling him about Sheila cursing Luna, wishing that she lost the baby and calling his own wife names.
Vin had told his father everything he knew. He just had to. The secret was burning him inside. Vin had also told him about his fight with Luna early that day and that they had agreed to take some time apart to think about their marriage. Then he had added everything about the ‘affair’ with Sheila so that way, the Studio could sell ‘SETH’, since the movie was a piece of crap.
“I can’t believe how easily you were fooled, Mark.” Irving frowned, amused at his son’s stupidity. “I thought you were more intelligent than that.” He scolded him, shaking his head in disbelief.
Vin lifted his eyes, meeting his father’s hard gaze. “I love Luna, dad, and you know it.” He weakly tried to defend himself. “I’d never cheat on my wife, ever.”
In response, Irving snorted, rolling his eyes. “You sure as hell have a fucked up way to show your feelings, don’t you think?” He asked, arching his brows at once. “And stop fooling yourself, because it’s still cheating, even if you didn’t lay a hand on that girl.”
Vin lowered his gaze, ashamed, but nodded ‘yes’. He damn well knew that he was guiltier than the sin itself. He had been doing fuck up after fuck up non-stop, hurting Luna and everybody he loved in the process. Vin knew he deserved what he was going through and then some more.
Irving sighed hard. He wanted nothing more than to smack his son upside his shaved head but knew that it wouldn’t solve anything. The damage was already done. He better than anyone knew what a betrayed woman was capable of as well as how much hatred and anger she can store in record time. He himself had been an exceptional witness of that. If Luna was anything like Delora, then Mark had ahead of him a living hell and that was a nice way to put it.
Still, Irving couldn’t help but feel that he had been the one failing in the first place. He should definitely have smacked Mark when it was the right time. Irving couldn’t stop himself from thinking that he had made a mistake in not keeping Mark on a shorter leash. Maybe because he wasn’t his biological father and that fact always caused him to step back, letting Delora be the one doing a job that should have been his. He considered himself as guilty as Mark for allowing it though.
“You’re not the only to blame, you know?” Irving leaned backwards on his seat, sighing hard. “If I had raised you the way I should have, none of this would have happened in the first place.” He frowned, a little lost in his thoughts. “If I was your real father, you wouldn’t have acted in such a disrespectful way.”
At his father’s words, Vin snapped his head up, his eyes widening completely. “You are my father.” He replied fiercely, fighting back tears.
Irving shook his head in denial. “No, I’m not. I’ve been helping your Ma to raise you and, obviously, I did a shitty job.” He paused and looked down, frowning deeply. “I should have known that what was bred in the bone would come out in the flesh.” Irving whispered, more to himself than to Vin.
“No.” Vin gritted his teeth. “I’m not like him.” He muttered, disgusted at the mere idea of being similar in any way to the man he despised above everything and everyone for hurting his mother.
“Oh, yes, you are, Mark.” Irving replied as he leaned forward a little. “You turned out to be like him, in spite of yourself. You probably didn’t want to, but you ended up acting in the very same way your father did.”
“Are you disowning me?” Vin gasped, unnoticed tears falling down his cheeks. “I fucked up big time but that doesn’t mean I’m like him.” He whispered, his voice strangled and thick. “You are my dad, you cannot let me down.”
“I’m not letting you down, Mark. I’m leaving you on your own.” Irving sighed heavily. “You made your bed, now you lay in it. It’s time for you to face what you did, assuming the consequences. I can’t help you this time.” Irving got to his feet, blinking his all of sudden blurry vision. “And I hope you are man enough to stick to the few principles you have left instead of choosing the coward’s way out.” And with that Irving hurried his steps and headed towards the elevator before his son could see him crying.
Vin shut his eyes and bit his fist, fighting back a new wave of fresh tears, thinking about his dad’s words. He was damn right.
Vin had become who he hated most, his biological father, repeating that fucker’s mistakes. He had not only hurt Luna but his mom too, causing her to relive her past again, and now, he had disappointed his dad to a point where he had practically disowned him.
Taking a ragged breath, Vin got to his feet, wiping away his tears. He refused to act like that fucker; he wouldn’t be a coward, his dad had taught him better than that. He was going to start making amends but before he had to pay in full for each and every single one of his fuckups, and he wouldn’t be the only one.
“I phoned my lawyer, he says it’s not wise to get a divorce, at least right now since you’re not a US citizen yet.” Vin cleared his throat and took a seat on one of the chairs. “He talked with Thomas, your lawyer, and they both agreed to concentrate their efforts to accelerate the process so you have a green card as soon as possible.”
Luna lifted her gaze, looking at Vin. “Did you get all your things out of Black Star?”
Vin nodded ‘yes’. He already suspected that Luna wasn’t going to listen to anything he said; unless it was something she cared about. Clearly, getting US nationality or having her legal situation within the country arranged weren’t her priorities, not even knowing that Vin had ordered his lawyers to assure Luna’s financial stability by making sure that the bank account he opened for her didn’t run out of funds.
“Yeah, except Roman,” Vin chuckled sadly. “He doesn’t want to leave.”
“That’s because he’s loyal…unlike you.” Luna retorted coldly and Vin lowered his head. He was not going to argue with her; he knew Luna was right.
“I’m sorry I hurt you, Luna. I wish I could go back in time, but I can’t.”
Luna chuckled. “I don’t give a fuck, Vin and you already know where you can stick your apologies.” Her coldness sent shivers up Vin’s spine but he needed to say one more thing before he left her alone.
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m the only one to blame for what happened and that…” Vin paused, swallowing past the huge lump that was closing his throat at light speed and then continued. “I did everything the wrong way, and I know that nothing I say or do now is going to change the damage I did to you but…I hope you are able to forgive me…someday.”
Luna snorted. “Are you done?” She asked, her eyes flickering to his. Vin sighed heavily and nodded ‘yes’. “Then, get the fuck out of here.”
Vin chewed his lower lip and got to his feet. “I already know that you don’t care but I still love you and I’ll always do.”
“We’re done, Vin, leave me the fuck alone once and for all.” Luna snapped angrily. She couldn’t take anymore. She didn’t want to hear him because she was terrified of allowing herself to believe in his words.
In spite of her anger, Luna admitted to herself that deep down she still loved Vin and the realization only caused her to hate herself even more for not being able to get rid of such a feeling, for being weak and Luna cursed herself silently.
Delora was damn right; the line between love and hate was too fucking thin. If he kept talking, she might end up giving up, again.
Vin turned around and padded to the door. When he reached it, he looked back at Luna upon his shoulder. He needed to because even though he knew Luna hated him; he also knew that she still loved him.
Their eyes met and, once more, time stopped around them. Behind the guilt, the pain and the anger, there was also that little, weak flame, almost extinguished but not yet. Without words they both knew that deep down they would always love each other, and that was something that not even the time would wipe away. This separation would be just the beginning of their own personal living hells.
Cedars Sinai Hospital. Cardiac Care Unit (two days later)
Marcela entered Luna’s suite, closing the door at her back. She stood there, motionless, watching Luna sitting on the big plush couch. Luna’s gaze was fixed in a spot only she could see, the tray with her food untouched.
Marcela cleared her throat and Luna blinked once, meeting the older woman’s eyes. What Marcela saw reflected in Luna’s gaze sent shivers up her spine; it was as if she was looking at her own reflection.
“I never wanted this to happen.” Marcela dropped the tone of her voice, showing a deep sadness that Luna noticed.
“Of course you didn’t,” Luna replied flatly.
She knew Marcela wished for many things to happen but Luna losing the baby wasn’t one of them. Not after experiencing such a painful loss herself.
“I just wanted…”
“…to keep Vin on a short leash, controlling every single one of his actions, I know.” Luna finished Marcela’s line, smiling knowingly. “But, in following your goal, you forgot what my role in this game was, Marcela. When you turned me into your enemy you didn’t think about the consequences of getting me out of your way.”
Marcela frowned, not truly understanding where Luna was heading or maybe not wanting to admit that she always had known, if deep down.
“I was not only his woman, his friend, his lover and his wife.” Luna stood and walked to the window, looking down and outside, at the crowd of fans, photographers and curious that had gathered around the Cedars. Luna was supposed to be released from the hospital that night or the following morning.
“I was also his stability, his peace of mind, his sanity and his rock. Without me, he is only Vin Diesel, the famous action star and we both know what that means.” Luna paused for effect and turned her head to look at Marcela. “Am I right?”
Marcela narrowed her eyes, even though she already suspected what Luna was talking about.
As much as Marcela hated to admit it, Luna had done what any other women had done; she had gotten Vin to stop acting like a wild teenager, even making him start to grow up, if at a slow pace. Luna had done more for Vin Diesel’s public image than Marcela herself. Luna had somehow soothed Vin’s wildest side and, as a direct consequence, the wild parties, the drugs and the chicks had turned out to be just a bad memory.
Now, without Luna in his life and feeling responsible for their baby’s death, Vin would go back to the old days, desperately searching to punish himself and everybody around him in the process.
“Exactly,” Luna answered as if she had heard Marcela’s trail of thoughts. “Good ol’ Vin fucking Diesel is back.”
Marcela shut her eyes for a second, cringing inwardly. Vin wouldn’t give her a second of peace until he was done with his self imposed punishment.
Luna chuckled, watching Marcela’s expression. “You better get ready Marcela Hopkins, because you’re gonna be so busy getting him out of the many fuckups he’s going to get himself involved in that you won’t be able to take a single breath between one and the next. And that’s not all.” Luna continued, her eyes flickering to the older woman’s eyes. “Vin is going to drag everybody down with him, and I mean everybody, including you, Marcela.”
Marcela’s brain went into overdrive. There was no way she was going to be able to undo what had already been done, not without Luna. Vin’s agent had always found a way to get Vin to do what she wanted, but now, after what had happened, there was no way Vin was going to trust her at all. In fact he wasn’t going to trust anyone anymore. She needed to find a way to get Luna back in Vin’s life or it would be a disaster.
“Things don’t have to be like that, Luna. We still can find a way to make amends.” Marcela tried to reason with Luna. She full well knew that Vin’s career would be over in a matter of months and nothing she could think about would stop the falling.
Luna chuckled. “It’s too late for that, Marcela, and you should know it better than anyone else.” She calmly replied. “I’m too tired to keep fighting and too disappointed to care about him anymore.” Luna took a deep breath and continued. “Vin is all yours now, like you always wanted. Have fun.”
Marcela let out a heavy sigh. Yeah, she knew better than anyone else what lay ahead of her in the future. And she also knew better than anyone else how Luna felt. Marcela had been there and she had done exactly the same. She was now realizing how blind she had been, not being able to see in advance where things were going to end. If she had known better, she would have moved backwards, letting Luna be the one giving Vin advice. Now it was too late and God knows what Vin would come up with.
“You will destroy the man, not only his career.” Marcela tried one last time to reach Luna. In response she just set her jaw hard.
“Too fucking bad for him.” Luna replied emotionless.
Marcela nodded defeated and turned to leave when Luna’s next words stopped her dead in her tracks.
“And one more thing, dear.” Luna whispered using the very same condescending tone of voice that Marcela always used with her in the past.
A sudden ‘deja-vu’ sensation sunk in the pit of Marcela’s stomach that clenched so painfully that she ended up gasping soundlessly. Luna’s voice had sounded like her own voice.
“You better watch your back ‘cause that little slut Sheila is a psycho with delusions of grandeur and with your schemes you only clear her the path to get what she always wanted, Vin Diesel all for herself.”
Marcela closed her eyes for a second, cursing herself silently. She already knew that though and she also knew that Sheila wouldn’t skip efforts to achieve her goal. But Marcela had still an ace up her sleeve. If she was going down, she would make sure Sheila would join her in her falling.
“See you around, Luna.” Marcela whispered, opening the door.
“You can count on that, Mrs. Hopkins.” Luna muttered and turned her head back, looking once more at the people outside.
One Race Films offices (one hour later)
Vin stared down at the note that Renee had left for him; her resignation. She had also left a bunch of resumes with another note attached. It seems that Renee had been interviewing the applicants, selecting the ones that would fit best with the spot she was leaving.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Vin leaned backwards in his seat, closing his eyes. He had already received Steve’s resignation and Valentino’s. It didn’t surprise him at all. He was already expecting everybody to leave him, he deserved it though. Still, it hurt to realize how many people he had been hurting being an egocentric bastard. To find himself completely alone without any kind of support was a low price to pay.
A soft knock on his door pulled Vin out of his thoughts. “Come in.”
Alice entered the office, a folder in her hands. “I need you to sign these documents, Vin.” She handed him the folder.
“You leaving too?” Vin picked the folder.
Alice frowned. “No, I like my job, Vin. I’m just your secretary and it’s your life. As long as you keep paying my salary I won’t leave and Mike is not leaving either.” She answered softly.
Vin lifted his tired gaze and locked eyes with his secretary. Alice was looking at him with a hurt expression on her face but she wasn’t showing pity for him.
“Besides, Mike and I are getting married and we need the money.” She added, smiling a little.
Vin nodded. “I’m glad you two are finally taking the step. I wish both of you the best, Alice.” He whispered and Alice smiled sadly.
“Thank you, Vin.”
Vin nodded and signed the documents, handing them back to her. “Thanks for sticking around.”
Alice smiled one last time and exited Vin’s office in time with Marcela entering. “We need to talk.” She closed the door at her back and took a seat at the other side of Vin’s desk.
“What now, Marcela?” Vin tiredly replied as he pulled a cigarette out, lighting it up.
Marcela took a deep breath, pulled out a cigarillo and, after lighting it up, she plunged. “There’s something you should know about the night Luna had the accident and you’re not gonna like it one damn bit.” Marcela blew the smoke out and got ready to explain everything to Vin about her schemes, her motivations and the role that Sheila had played since the beginning.
By the time Marcela stopped talking, Vin was about to explode. He couldn’t believe how stupid he had been. In fact he wanted nothing more than to kick the hell out of himself for being not only a stupid dumbass but also for allowing everybody to manipulate him as if he was a damn puppet. Vin wanted to die then and there. And all the time Luna had suspected, or worse, she had known everything and she hadn’t said shit because she was scared of the possible retaliations from the very same people that had been blackmailing her, using her unconditional love as a weapon against her.
Without saying a single word, Vin met Marcela’s gaze. “Give me her cell phone number,” he coldly ordered.
“What?” Marcela gasped, putting her cigarillo out. “Did you not listen to what I told you?” She blinked, stunned beyond belief.
“I heard you perfectly well, Marcela, now give me that little slut’s number.” His voice sounded as cold as ice itself and Marcela shuddered.
“What for?” She narrowed her eyes.
Vin’s lips spread in an evil grin that sent shivers up Marcela’s spine. “She wanted to get Vin Diesel, right? Well, now she’s going to get him, all of him.”
Marcela sighed hard; she suspected what Vin was plotting. “Vin, listen to me, that’s not a wise decision. That chick means trouble and she’s just…”
Vin cut Marcela off. “Shut the fuck up,” he snapped causing Marcela to jump, startled. She had never seen Vin so pissed off and yet so restrained at once. “Your schemes end here, Marcela. From now on you do as I say and not the other way around, got it?” He locked eyes with her and Marcela nodded ‘yes’. She knew better than contradict him at all. Vin didn’t look like himself. “Now, for the last time, Marcela, give me Sheila’s number.”
Marcela cursed herself silently and picking up a piece of paper, she reluctantly wrote the number, handing it to Vin. He snatched it from Marcela’s fingers and dialed it. Two tones and Sheila answered.
“Who is this?” She coldly asked.
Vin gritted his teeth, closing his hands in fists. “Hi, babe, it’s Vin.” He cheerfully replied but his face was a deadly, emotionless mask.
Cedars Sinai Hospital. Cardiac Care Unit (Later that day)
Luna stared at her reflection, wondering if it was possible to age so much in so little time. New wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and a couple of white hairs seemed to have shown up from nowhere over the last days. Or maybe they had been there all along and she simply didn’t notice them, until now.
Peering over her shoulder through her reflection, Luna saw the dozens of exuberant, natural flower arrangements that people had been sending over as soon as she was moved to a suite within the hospital.
From One Race Films employees and Tigon employees, the Studio employees, right down to Vin Diesel’s unofficial fan club members. Her suite looked like a florist’s shop though. Each and every one of them had arrived with cards, wishing her to get well soon, to stay strong, to keep her faith, to be sure that she was not alone, to remember that she was being missed and to not forget she was loved…
Absently, Luna stroked her belly, drawing invisible circles, the overly sweet mix of natural flowers aromas floating faintly. She swore she could still feel the baby within. Not all the time, of course, just sometimes and especially at nights.
Her gynecologist had explained to Luna that it was a common after effect. It was similar to the sensation that someone who had been amputated a leg or an arm experienced after the traumatic loss. They swore they could feel the missing member even thought it wasn’t there anymore. The doctor had also said that it would require a rational period of time for the brain and the body to adapt, accepting the new situation and that she wouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant in the future since there weren’t physical damages.
Luna closed her eyes as she removed her hands, placing them on the counter.
No physical damages…what about the damages that couldn’t be seen? What about remorse, grief, anger, guilt…
How the hell was she going to adapt and to accept? How much time would be considered ‘a rational period of time’ anyway? A month? Six months? A year? A whole life?
No physical damages…Gritting her teeth, Luna opened her eyes and furiously pushed away a vase made of fine glass that some nurse had placed on the counter early that morning.
To cheer her up, the nurse had said, smiling warmly as she rearranged the flowers, commenting that they were beautiful and that the vase seemed to be an exclusive piece of fine glass.
The vase crashed on the floor, spilling water and sending little pieces of glass in all directions along with the flowers that had been inside.
As if in slow motion, Luna crouched, picking up a piece of that exclusive, surely indecently expensive vase and stared at its sharp, spearhead shape. Dazed, her gaze slid to her wrist and Luna blinked once, lifting the broken piece of glass in her hand.
Taking a ragged breath, Luna stood as her vision blurred. She shut her eyes tightly and pressed the sharp edge against the sensitive skin. She didn’t apply enough pressure to cut, yet, just left it resting there.
It would be so easy to put a full stop to her life, instead of a full stop, new paragraph. It would be also a cowardly way to go; an undignified way to go actually, but then again she didn’t deserve anything better.
There was nothing left to fight for, to live for. Nothing worthwhile enough, anyway. Not anymore. Self-loathing, revulsion, anger and hatred were the only feelings left.
“El no se lo merece, preciosa,” (He’s not worth it, beautiful) Val’s voice sounded softly, almost a whisper behind her.
Luna’s eyes snapped open as she held Val’s gaze through the mirror.
“I already know that.” Her eyes full of sadness flickered to Val’s. “This is for me; I don’t deserve to live.”
“Don’t say that.” Val whispered, holding her teary gaze. “Don’t you ever say that, Luna.”
Luna swallowed forcefully. “You don’t understand, Valentino…” She closed her eyes, pressing the piece of glass down. “I wanted to die…I wanted to hurt him as much as he had hurt me…I…I wished our baby to die along with me so he wouldn’t be able to keep living without us…I wanted him to die inside…just like I did…”
A soft hiss of pain passed her lips when the sharp edge finally cut the skin.
“Luna…” Val whispered as he hesitantly took a step forward, his gaze fixed now on the thin, narrow line of dark blood that slowly yet leisurely slid down and around Luna’s wrist.
A vision of Luna’s pants drenched in blood spread within Val’s mind and he shut his eyes, shaking his head.
If Luna had wanted the baby to die, it had been for a fraction of a second; of that, Val had no doubt. She didn’t remember herself murmuring soothing words, stroking her belly but Val did remember; he wouldn’t be able to forget it, ever.
Swallowing past an invisible knot that was choking him, Val snapped his eyes, blinking fast against unnoticed tears.
“You called the baby ‘angel’ and you said…‘angel, don’t be afraid, mommy is here and I’ll take care of you…I’ll protect you with my life’…”
Silent tears rolled down his cheeks as Val gently but firmly grabbed the hand holding the broken piece of glass, lightly stroking the outside with his thumb.
“You whispered…‘I won’t let anything hurt you, angel, just relax, baby, everything will be fine, you’ll see…mommy is here…don’t be afraid’…”
Val whispered in a strangled voice as he cupped Luna’s hand in his, lifting it slightly so the sharp glass stopped cutting the wrist.
Luna shut her eyes as she started to shake almost without control. Her heart was beating fast and she took a ragged breath.
“I tried to get you out of the car, but the fucking seatbelt was hooked and I couldn’t remove it as you kept caressing your belly, soothing your angel…”
In one move, Val closed the distance between them, circling Luna’s waist with one massive arm and, pressing her entire frame to his, he kept whispering, for only Luna to hear his words.
“I kept saying ‘come on, Val, you sorry bastard, do something, carajo!’ but… I couldn’t help you or the baby…I…I was there, just watching you and… I…I couldn’t, I couldn’t do fucking shit… and then…then you started bleeding and there was too much blood…” Val gritted his teeth, forcing the air through his lungs. “Dios mío…I saw all that blood and I thought about Renee and our baby and…and…I started praying ‘cause there was nothing else I could do to help you…”
Luna whimpered, feeling her legs giving way as she leaned backwards. The piece of glass was still fiercely gripped in her hand; her fingers almost numb, the knuckles white.
Val blinked away his blurry vision and glanced at Luna’s wrist. He had seen enough cuts in his life to know that it would stop bleeding in a couple of minutes.
“I’m sorry, Luna…I’m sorry I couldn’t help you, baby.”
Burying his face in her neck, Val brushed his lips, kissing the oversensitive skin, using the momentary distraction to peel Luna’s shaking fingers from around the improvised weapon.
The sound of the piece of glass shattering into even smaller pieces when it fell to the floor caused Val to sigh in relief. Then he grabbed a small towel, still not letting Luna go and encircled her wrist, applying pressure.
“Let me die, Val…please…”
“I can’t do that, beautiful.” Closing his eyes, Val turned Luna in his arms, holding her.
Luna buried her face in his chest, muffling a desperate scream that tore her soul open, crying disconsolate.
Val hugged her tightly, stroking her back as they both slid down to the floor.
Renee entered the suite to check on Luna before she headed back home. Renee had quit earlier that afternoon, sending Vin a note. She had felt weird, after all Renee had been working for and with Vin for three years, almost 24/7. They had been much more than just boss and employee.
Still, Luna’s friendship was more important for Renee than her career; it didn’t feel right to stay at Vin’s side, knowing he was not going to be with Luna anymore, even if they were still married.
She found Val and Luna in the bathroom floor, rocking back and forth, crying in each other arms and her eyes filled with tears. Without making a sound, Renee turned on her heels, leaving them alone.
Any other woman would have felt jealous but Renee trusted both Val and Luna and she knew that right now, they needed each other. So she cleaned her eyes and, smiling sadly, she headed towards her house; she wasn’t expecting Val to come any time soon. So Renee though it would be a good occasion to take a long, relaxing bath and to sleep since she didn’t have to worry about Vin calling her anymore.
The following morning, Renee and Val had an appointment with her gyno. They were going to get the results of her pregnancy test. They both already knew the result but it would be official in a few hours.
The first rays of sun filtered through the blinds and Luna stirred a little. Frowning, she realized that she had fallen asleep in Val’s arms and that both of them were still on the bathroom floor.
Val tensed slightly and then winced, feeling his back and neck screaming in pain. Chuckling, he cracked his neck, causing the bones to pop loudly. ¡Coño! He was too old to fall asleep on a hard floor; he was sure he would pay for that later in the day.
Glancing down, Val saw Luna. Her head resting on his chest and she was using one of his arms as a pillow. His shirt was drenched with tears and sweat but Val didn’t give a damn.
Luna needed him, even if she didn’t know it or didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. But Val knew it and he wasn’t planning to leave her alone until he was sure she would be fine.
“I wish I had two lives, so I could spend one with you, beautiful.” Val whispered, stroking Luna’s hair. She looked like a little girl, curled in his arms, crying silently.
Luna smiled sadly, snuggling closer to him. “I wish I was Renee.”
Val chuckled, squeezing her gently. “You should know I snore like a big, old bear.” He replied, grinning, consciously pretending to not catch the double meaning in Luna’s words.
In response, Luna shoved him a little, but silently she thanked him for not letting her drown in her sorrow anymore.
“It’s true! I snore so loud that Renee has to kick me because that stupid sound someone told her to do with her tongue doesn’t work with me.”
“If that’s your biggest flaw, then I could live with it.” Luna squeezed Val’s hand.
“I have other flaws but I’d say you don’t really want to hear about them, now do you?”
“Nope.” Luna whispered.
“Good.” Val smiled and smooched Luna a little.
They were silent for a moment until Luna thought about the last time she had been like this, with Val.
“Last time we were like this was in Santo Domingo.”
Val sighed heavily and leaned his head back, staring at the ceiling. It felt as if an eternity had passed since that night. Back then, he had been comforting Luna after she had a fight with Vin.
“Yep, and if my memory is good, we were smoking the finest quality weed.” Val answered, not wanting to dig into Luna’s painful memories. “You wouldn’t happen to have some of that shit around, eh?”
Luna snorted. “Sorry, baby, my cardiologist seized all my shit, but we could smoke some of those flowers.” She gestured with her head to the flowers arrangement that were spread all over the suite. “I think a couple of them would give us a weird rush though.”
Val laughed quietly. “I bet it would be a hell of a ride.”
Luna snorted and then straightened, meeting Val’s eyes.
“You have to talk with Renee, Val. Don’t push her away. She’s gonna need you more that ever now that she’s….” Luna trailed off, closing her eyes and Val leaned forward until their foreheads were pressed together
“You’re not alone, Luna.” Val whispered past the invisible lump that came from nowhere. “No matter what, Renee and I will be in your life always and at your side.” He tilted his head back and cupped her face. “You gotta find a reason to keep moving ahead or you‘ll be lost forever.” Val cleaned her tears with his thumbs and kissed her lips softly.
Luna forced a smile that didn’t reach her eyes and nodded ‘yes’. She had a reason to live, for now. It might not be a praiseworthy, decent or respectable one, but it sure as hell was going to help her get up from bed every day.
She had told Vin that they were done, but that fact didn’t mean that she was done paying him back. She only needed time to think carefully about how to direct revenge at those that had contributed with their bits to destroy her life; to those that had been scheming and plotting. And Luna was not planning to spare anybody, not even herself.
Disclaimer: I don’t have any rights, not that I claim them. No damage done, no profit made. This is just for entertainment purposes.