Chapter 12 - The One Place that isn't stained
Tomas sat in isolation. Trapped behind the closed doors of his father’s wall. Those walls, they still haunted him. They bared witness to so many tragedy, so much hurt, deceit and lies.
He knew that coming back here wasn’t going to go smoothly but his mother, she was all that was left. He loved, yet resented her at the same time because he still blamed her and if he didn’t then he feared that the memory of Paolo would be gone. It would remind him of how much he had failed to protect him.
Tears prickled in his eyes and his lips trembled as he felt his mind drift back to the first month after Paolo had been born, when he and Nicoletta had took turns pacing around the nursery, trying to sooth their restless son.
He remembered once reading about how becoming parents could sometimes put a strain on marriage but Nicoletta and him had become quite the contrary. Their love for Paolo had brought them even closer, determined to love this little bundle of joy and protect him from everything and everyone who would wish to harm him.
But their harmonious relationship was shortly lived, by time Paolo had turned three, Nicoletta had started an affair with a musician who was frequently invited on Island to entertain their guest.
He wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it for himself. They were both shameless, selfish and oblivious to word around them. He remembered walking into his mother’s bedroom in search for Nicoletta as their guests were getting ready to leave but to his horror as he looked outside the window ; his wife, the mother of his child, naked and relentlessly being pounded in the pool by the very man that he, Tomas Carsingni had paid to provide entertainment.
‘You cannot blame me for falling in love with another man.’ She had told him when Tomas had confronted her.
‘You never really loved me Tomas. Our marriage was arranged by our fathers but it was never what you really wanted. I’m tired of being stuck, here, on this forsaken island. Pedro travels the world and that’s what I want. I want to be with him, to see the world and not rot here for the rest of my life.’
His fingers curled into balls as it did that very same night.
‘But I was loyal to you. I cared for you and this is what you do. In this in our home, where our son plays? Where he swims!?’ He had replied fiercely.
‘Be glad that it wasn’t in our bed because it’s about the only place that we haven’t done it yet.’ She spat.
His mother had raised him to never lay a hand on a woman but that day he had been more than tempted. It took all of his strength and the reminder that she was still the mother of their son.
‘Go with your lover if you want but Paolo stays with me. I will never give him up.’
He couldn’t bare the thought of his son growing up fatherless or another man stepping in, replacing him. So he immediately applied to court for sole custody of Paolo and even after Nicoletta’s deceit, he couldn’t allow himself to be selfish, so he agreed for her to have access visits btu under strict supervision as he did not trust her.
But he had underestimated the power of love. A mother’s love. Tomas thought bitterly.
In a way he had been selfish, selfish to think that she would walk away leaving Paolo behind. He had play through so many what if’s and if only, yet none of the scenarios could bring his son back.
The last day of her visit, Tomas had been out of the country, leaving Paolo with his mother.
‘Promise mama, promise that you will not take your eyes off of him. Not for a second. Not until she’s gone.’
His mother had promised to keep him safe and yet--.
Two salty tears rolled down his cheeks, splaterring against the cool surface of the antique table.
The last thing he could remember was rushing on his plane, screaming at the pilot to take off as his mother’s was echoed inside his head, tearing at his heart leaving him with nothing but hoping that it wasn’t true. That his son, his Paolo wasn’t gone.
"I’m so sorry Tomas. I left her for only one minute to say goodbye but she took Paolo....There was an accident.... they crashed. Nicoletta is in intensive care but Paolo...”
Paolo didn’t make it.
Tomas dragged his mind back to the present, his nostrils flaring as he drew a harsh breath and fought to bring his emotions under control. He needed to get out of here. He need to go to one place that wasn’t stained with bitter memories. The beach.
“Thank you for dinner Silvia, it was wonderful.” Laurie said, rubbing down on her overstuffed stomach.
“I’m glad, I finally cook for someone who eats.” Silvia replied smiling back at her.
Laurie got up and helped her place the remaining dishes in the dishwasher despite the several disapproving grunts from Silvia, she was used to it by now and apparently so was Silvia. The first few times she had been more vocal about it. Telling Laurie that this was her job and to go check on Teresa but at least now she had toned it down abit.
When they were done, Laurie made her way up the stairs with full intent on going to her room to retire for the night. But her feet halted on the last step as she saw Tomas walking out of his office and left through the front door.
He seemed upset, she thought, and through all her better judgment a voice in her head told her to go straight to her room and lock the doors ; but she bit her bottom lip and turned on her heels, to follow behind him.
As she closed the front door, Laurie caught a glimpse of Tomas making his way around back to the garden, so she followed suit, careful to remain as further behind so that she wouldn’t be seen.
Tomas had already dissappeared through the bushes that led to the beach. So she stopped walking.
Maybe he wanted to be alone, she thought, he did look upset.
She bit the inside of her cheek.
In most cases, talking does help.
She took a step forward then stopped again.
But what if he doesn’t wish to talk?
“Urgh! What are you doing Laurie?” She scolded at herself, he man probably has alot of problems without you adding to the mix.
She shook head head and turned around ready to head back inside. This was stupid. Her following him, like some kind of spy, what was she thinking? Really?
She moved past Teresa’s favourite bushes of red roses and gasped when she heard her name being called.
“You might as well come all the way down here.”
It was Tomas’ voice.
Laurie held her breath and froze in place. Busted!
She quickly swallowed, sending a little prayer that he wasn’t going to have her fired for snooping.
“Mr.Carsingni, I-” she paused, where is he?
Had she imagined it all. It was dark but the moonlight was evident enough to see that she was the only one standing there.
“Over here, Ms.Slade.” His voice came from behind the bushes, so she followed it.
She nearly landed on his chest as she made a turn on the beach.
“I’m sorry.” She yelped, stricken with horror as a pair of hands caught her.
“It’s quite alright Ms.Slade. Accidents happen.” He said with his hands on her shoulders, helping her to her feet.
She straightened herself, blushing with embarrassment. “Not for that. I mean yes, for almost running into you but im also sorry for following you.” She briskly stuttered somewhat of an excuse.
Tomas raised a brow at her, “So I wasn’t wrong. You were following me.”
“Yes, ” She nodded, “but only because you looked upset. I just wanted to make sure that you were alright.”
His brow fell back into place and he took a step away from her. “Do I look alright Ms.Slade?”
Laurie frowned as she looked up at him. Confused by what he meant.
Her eyes then swept over him, from his head to his white shirt then down to his pair of khaki trousers and finally to his toes. He looked physically fine but that wasn’t what she had meant. And it was obvious that he wasn’t quite taken by her admitting that she had followed him here. The best thing to do was to just excuse herself and leave.
“You look fine Mr.Carsingni.” She stated as her eyes returned to his face.
“Good.” He smirked.
Her face immediately flushed, “I think I should --”
“Walk with me, Ms.Slade.”
“--go back. Wait. What?”
“A walk, Ms.Slade. I wanted to clear my head, so join me. I wouldn’t want you to go back to your room restless and beating yourself down, wondering whether I’m alright or not.”
Laurie stood, stunned.
It wasn’t like she was going to lose any sleep over him, if that’s what he was implying. She just, well, she, she was a nurse, she told herself. So both the mental and physical state of others was a concern to her. It wasn’t like she favoured him or anything.
Tomas turned and began to walk. A few steps ahead, he halted, looked back and sighed when he noticed that she was still in the same position.
“Any day now, Ms.Slade.”
“Right.” She bit out, her feet moving in to the same direction as his.
You asked for this. The voice at the back of her head mocked her.