ADOPTED – Episode 41
© Happy William
Prudence was shot twice by Portia; one on the leg, and one near the chest.
Paramedics rushed her into an ambulance while Emilio tried to keep me sane and from bursting into the van by holding me tight and telling me she’ll be okay.
Sophia, Cosima, Felipe, Vittorio, Festus and Rosa were all there too.
I couldn’t understand a thing that had happened, esp after seeing Cosima. But Emilio filled me in— Cosima was an aide. She helped them catch the trio. I felt a twinge of jealously but shrugged it off. I was tired, emotionally exhausted, and emotionally unbalanced because I had better things to think about.
Still with my tearstained face and my voice raw from crying a screaming, I let Emilio lead me to my room and tuck me in bed after he’d talked in soothing sounds to me.
He held my hands, rubbing the back smoothly with his thumb while looking at me silently for a second’s worth.
“Are you okay?” he asked softly.
I nodded. “Yeah…I am. Shaken up a bit but OK. I’m just glad it’s all over.” I twisted on the bed to face him and whispered, “And I’m sorry about your family.”
He chuckled silently; the sound coming out like a hiss of air through clenched jaws.
“Don’t be amora. Somehow I always knew we were too perfect to be true.”
Immediately he said this he stared at me with abated breath.
I rolled my eyes upward and inhaled deeply.
“What was that thing Portia was saying about my parents?”
He shook his head and made to get up. “Sounded strange to me too. You should get some rest. The cops have gotten Portia and Sergio and Dante. They’re awaiting trial. It’s all over,” he squeezed my hand, kissed my forehead before walking to the door, taking a last look at me, and closing it gently behind him.
I tossed about to make myself comfortable while plunging into deep thoughts.
Why on earth did Portia come up with such accusation?
And why did Emilio look like he’s hiding something from me?
I didn’t want to have doubts about my parents, or Emilio for that matter, but I had to know.
I spent most of the night staring at the ceiling.
A grunt emanated from my mouth when my fist connected to the tabletop with force.
How the hell did Portia know!?
Have those bloody Sheridan’s been leaking information out?
Pacing restlessly about my office, I tried to think of instances that I might have slipped…. but it boiled down to zip.
I took out my phone and dialed Augusto.
”Where’s Portia?” I asked once he picked up.
“We’ve had her locked up in Rome’s Women Prison Why?”
“Keep a close eye on her and whoever she contacts and report to me.”
“Sì. But care to tell me what’s —”
“It’s better you don’t know. Just do as I say.”
I hung up.
No matter what I wasn’t gonna loose her.
Not in this way.
Prudence was responding to treatment after weeks of laying lifelessly on the hospital bed with Anne constantly keeping vigil over her. Most times Emilio would stay too, but he had a lot of work going on for him— what with the prosecution and the Wine ball.
Rosa, Sophia’s mom, was due with her pregnancy and was rushed to the hospital where she was delivered of a fine baby boy who got the whole family smiling.
Seraphina was excited that she had a baby brother whom she could pick on the way Sophia picked on her.
They named him Samuels.
Sophia and Felipe’s relationship was finally accepted by Festus especially when he saw how kind and devoted Felipe was to his daughter.
But sadly, on Sophia’s first visit to Felipe’s house, his parents indirectly showed that they wanted nothing to do with a poor common vineyard worker.
She was hurt, but still their love wasn’t going to be easily shattered.
Augusto kept busy with Portia’s case. He wasn’t exactly a police with the policia d’Italiano, rather he was a PI (private investigator) on an extension of the forces security services.
Dante had received treatment from the state’s hospital and was also imprisoned.
And Sergio kept loosing it each passing day.
Portia always demanded for a lawyer. But they weren’t about to grant her that privilege. They had enough dirt on her that even the best lawyer couldn’t undo. Still she was planning something big. Something she knew would ruin Emilio totally.
Augusto and Cosima’s relationship blossomed too, but they were the weirdest couple of all.
Unable to help it, Anne found herself becoming suspicious of the littlest move Emilio made or the smallest action he took.
Portia’s words kept ringing in her ears….”You’re adopted. And Emilio knows about it too. He’s a liar…”
It was bad enough that they’d always had problems that threatened to bring them apart. And just when she thought things could get better, they took on an amazing twist.
They still spent their nights together —lovemaking and talking about stuff until Anne felt that she was wasting her time thinking about Portia’s words, when all she’d ever done was try to force them apart.
And so, she reaffirmed her love, and trust in him.
The ward smelled too hospital-ish. Antiseptics, disinfectants, germicides, the blast of cool air from the air condition, the silently-noizy nurses and gurneys moving about with carts whose wheels squeaked on the floor…. I’d heard, seen and smelled them before.
Not just in the hospital back at the NY children social service where I grew up for awhile and worked, but somewhere else back in time.
The image appeared fuzzy, but it always came up each time I thought about hospitals.
I had a feeling I was very young then.
Returning my gaze to Prudence laying on the bed with numerous machines and drips and wires connected to her, I prayed she made it.
She’s like a mother to Emilio. Even though she hurt him by lying, he still cared for her.
After the operation to take out the bullet, strengthen her artery with a donation of blood from the blood bank in the hospital, and sewing sutures over her left breast, she was moved out of the ICU to the ER, where minor operations were carried out before they stabilized her and brought her to this ward. the doctor told us in plain words that she had a 50:50 chance of surviving; in order words, her chances of survival was slim, if not zero to none.
We needed her to testify against Portia in court.
I took a deep breath and picked up my phone, twirling it in my hands as I thought of what to do.
The door swung open, pulling my attention to it.
Emilio strode in smilingly and dropped the wicker basket he carried on the floor to hug me.
He kissed my forehead and we sat back down together.
“How’s she?” he asked.
“The same. Apart from the one time I caught her eyelids flutter.”
Emilio nodded slowly and motioned to the basket.
” I made lunch. ”
I giggled. “I know. Have you had yours?”
“No, I came here straight from the office.”
I made two servings of the dish whose aroma filled the ward and handed one to him.
We ate slowly, talking about this or that while watching her.
We were done.
I returned the plates to the basket and sealed it.
Emilio was staring at me.
I smiled. “What?”
“Nothing,” he chuckled, “Was trying to figure out what exactly would go with your brown eyes and pale skin.”
I always said Aww when I wanted to hide the blush that heated my face anytime he spoke like that to me.
“Come closer,” he said, “Lemme check it out.”
But his voice had dropped a lot of hertz lower. I leaned in, already knowing what he planned to do.
He looked in2 my eyes for a moment before claiming my lips in his for a kiss.
“I’ve missed you.”
I did too.
He was always off to work before I woke up, and then I’ll shower and come over here directly. Sometimes alone, sometimes with Cosima and Sophia whom I’ve become very good friends with.
So I rarely saw him most days, only nights.
He kissed me again, and I responded immediately his lips touched mine.
I don’t know… it’s like I’ve developed a special appetite for him which only him could quench.
We kissed for minutes, neither of us noticing Prudence’s index finger moving, her eyes fluttering open, or the door swinging open until the doctor’s voice said smilingly, “The patient’s awake,” and we broke apart to see both Prudence and Doctor Xav smiling at us from each end of the room.
Emilio looked and acted cool, but I’m sure that my whole face was burning red like a tomato pudding.
Arrgh, I’ll never get used to it.
To be continued