Clara ran to the door as quickly as she could. The knocking was persistent. She opened the door and was pushed aside.
"Where is Mrs. Stenbeck?" Raisa demanded.
Clara was about to speak when she saw two men enter the house dressed in dark suits and the question she was about to ask died in her throat.
"Where is she?" Raisa demanded.
Clara was terrified and pointed to the staircase.
Raisa looked at the two men as if a message was given and understood. She then turned and went up the flight of stairs. She opened door upon door.
Until she was faced with Carolyn. There were two suitcases on the bed and clothes thrown everywhere. Something had happened.
"Why the rush?" Raisa tried to sound unconcerned.
"How did you get in ." The question died in her mouth. "Like everything else you just ram in dont you?"
"Ive had no complaints Cara," Raisa answered with a smile.
"Just get out! I dont need your help. I will pay off whomever. After all, everything is for sale isnt?" Carolyn finished saying in frustration and began to throw clothes in the suitcases again.
Raisa was about to give her smart assed remark when she noticed Carolyns eyes were about to overflow with tears. She took a few steps away and looked around the room. When she spoke again her voice held no sarcasm. "Why the rush?"
"This is not new. I have wanted to leave for a long time." Carolyn answered as she continued to pack.
"Why right now? I told you in two days "
"I cant wait two days!" Carolyn faced her again.
"I swear you Americans are insane. I dont know why I bother with Americanas like you!" Raisa said in disdain.
At that statement she barely had enough time to move before Carolyn had thrown something at her.
"You almost hit my face, you bitch!"
Again Carolyn grabbed another shoe and was about to throw it before Raisa tackled her to the bed.
A loud roar was heard in the distance. At the sound Carolyn began to whimper. Raisa just looked down at the woman beneath her in surprise. The thunder was heard even closer this time and Carolyn hid her face in Raisas embrace.
"Its all right Cara," Raisa began to say softly and her mouth placed light kisses on her forehead. Raisa mouth began its search.
"Get off me!" Demanded Carolyn suddenly very erratically.
"This is his bed. Get off me!"
Raisa got up and Carolyn got off as if the sheets had burned her. Raisa stared. All of a sudden reality hit hard. This was Carolyns bed. She stared at it unable to look away.
Both Raisa and Carolyn heard as the winds began to pick up and the rain started coming down hard.
The next crash of thunder hid the primal scream that came out of Raisa as she started pulling everything off the bed. The electricity went out and Carolyn stared unable to stop her or aid her. Raisa had thrown everything on the floor and torn at the sheets until the bed lay bare. She was breathing hard like it had not been enough. She then turned her eyes towards Carolyn.
Her Carolyn. His wife. His bed. She screamed like an animal does when in pain. She started tearing at whatever she could grab. Her pain became anger. And to Raisa Andieta anger always equaled violence.
"Does he touch you better than me?" Raisa asked in what seemed barely a whisper. "Is the pleasure with him what you want!" She screamed as she kept the distance that separated her from Carolyn. Carolyn started to break the status quo.
Carolyns hand went out to her slowly. When her hand was about to reach Raisas face it was slapped away. Suddenly she pushed Carolyn against the wall.
"How did he touch you Cara? Tell me! Tell me!" Raisa was screaming now. I can do anything better than him! Tell me! How did he touch you!" Raisa was totally out of control now.
"I want you," Carolyn said between tears.
"Arrgghhh ." Raisa hit the wall behind her with a cry of anger and despair.
Carolyn tried kissing her but she turned her face away but still not releasing her hold. Carolyn buried her face in Raisa neck. "I havent been with him since the first time I was with you." Carolyn heard a moan of shear pain as Raisa began to sob and she then held her tighter to her.
Carolyn had held on. Raisa at first had tried pushing herself away. When Carolyn held onto her even tighter she seemed to just surrender and then her arms went around Carolyn.
Raisas rage and sobs continued as Carolyn held her tightly and cried as well. An hour, a lifetime. They had slid down the wall and as the sobs and the anger subsided all that could be heard was the storm still raging both inside and outside the bedroom.
Carolyn still held Raisa to her with her back against the wall as they both lay on the floor. Raisa was half lying on her, her face lay on Carolyns chest. Carolyn began to softly caress her hair and Raisas eyes closed as her mouth turned up to meet the lips she knew were waiting.
The kiss was soft and tender. And when the mouths parted they remained close enough so that their breaths were but a whisper away in the darkness of the room.
"Come with me," Raisa begged.
Suddenly Raisa got up and offered Carolyn her hand. Carolyn saw her clearly as lightning lit the room and the lights came back on. She saw the hand extended to her and took it.
Silently, they both exited the room and walked down the hallway till Carolyn suddenly stopped.
"Simon . I cant leave him."
"Where is he?" Raisa asked.
"At a friends house."
"We will pick him up, come." Raisa took Carolyns hand and led her down the staircase.
When they reached the foyer where the maid and her two men waited, she stopped for only a moment.
"Rodolfo, take Mrs. Stenbeck into the car and wait for me."
Carolyn was about to say something and seemed to change her mind. Raisa was in control; she had surrendered it for now and simply just followed instructions. She felt so tired.
"Tell Mr. Stenbeck that Mrs. Stenbeck and his son are with me at my ranch. I am Raisa Andieta, do you understand?"
"Yes, Ms Andieta," answered the maid quickly. She knew better than to question people like Ms Andieta; nothing good ever came of it.
"Good," Raisa Andieta said and left followed by her other associate.
As soon as she entered the limousine she entered a closed dome. A partition separated them from the bodyguards. When the door was closed she took Carolyn into her arms possessively.
"Where is your son?"
They gave the driver the address and the car pulled out to retrieve its other passenger.
The trip to the hacienda was in some ways a complete blur. Carolyn was emotionally drained. She remembered just giving all decisions over to Raisa. They had picked up Simon and Raisa was the one to talk to him and keep him occupied while she seemed to be in a dormant state.
Raisa had made arrangement from her car phone. They were taken then to a small airfield and got into a private plane.
As they were all settled one of the attendants was talking to Simon about what he would like to eat. Raisa reached out and covered Carolyns hand briefly then picked up the ringing telephone again.
It suddenly occurred to Carolyn that she had been running away from one prison to another. Again, a prison of her own choosing. She had not stopped to think. And this time Simon would be affected. She had been so upset with her Matts threats, the growing, and visible military presence in the country that she had just lost perspective she told herself. She had fallen right into Raisas arms again. How had this happened?
All her life, Carolyn had thought things through, she had always weighed the consequences of her actions. But, with Raisa Andieta it had all changed. Perhaps, it was this land, with its violence and machismo that she had been thrown off keel. All Carolyn knew was that she was confused and tired. And, of course, there was Raisa. What would she do with the choice of Raisa now? As Carolyn looked towards Simon it all seemed surreal somehow. She just closed her eyes and gave into the sleep she so sadly seemed to need.
It would take a few hours to reach Hacienda Virago. She had never taken anyone home. Thats what Virago was to her, home. All she loved was there. Yes, she had invited people over but never into her bed there. No one had ever mattered that much to her. With Carolyn she had never thought; it just seemed the natural thing to do.
There, of course, would be Nona to account to and her brother. But, she would have her way. She was Raisa Andieta and she wanted Carolyn in her house, in her bed and yes, she had to admit, she wanted Carolyn in her life. All these things came to her within the space of a second, rushing in, flooding her mind as she sat back and watched Carolyn as she slept.
This was unfamiliar territory. Before, she knew how to proceed. She had always known what she wanted and how to get it. This was different somehow. Raisa closed her eyes as she remembered all the emotions that went through her back in the room that Carolyn had shared with her husband. She was filled with emotions foreign and new to her. She wanted to destroy and tear apart. Raisa had always prided herself on her control. It was the hardest lesson she had learned; the one taught best to her by her father. To win one must control. And yet, she had no control over her feelings or her actions when it came to this woman.
Raisa stared as Carolyn slept. She recalled past lovers, and remembered her enjoyment of such affairs. She had always been in control. Now, this woman had changed it all and she felt unsure and uncertain of every word and action. It also occurred to her that Nona knew nothing of her tastes, for the lack of a better term.
Nona had raised her. She had been more than a nanny; she was as close to a mother as Raisa had ever known. Her own mother had just left them and gone back to Italy. Nona had stayed and loved her and Andreas. Her approval would be important. Raisa admitted for the first time, perhaps in a long time, that she would dread a look of disapproval from the old woman. But, Carolyn was not a choice. Carolyn was something she had to have.
Andreas was no innocent. He knew that Raisa took as she wanted. He knew she took many and often. He had always just looked the other way and never said anything. She was his big sister and she had always protected him. Especially when their father had not been as understand of his choices. Raisa had always stood by him. He would support her in everything.
Raisa shook her head trying to keep the cobwebs from forming any further. She looked out the window and saw the greenery and the ocean of the country she so loved. Venezuela was her heart, wild and spoiled, yet innocent and uncertain; Like a child going from childhood into the uncertain steps of adulthood. If she looked deeper within herself she would have to admit that like Andreas, once upon a time she would have just loved never to leave Virago. But, unlike Andreas, she had let her heart be swayed by the desire to attain love from someone who perhaps did not deserve it.
She was tired of thinking. Simon had fallen asleep soon after Carolyn had. She found herself staring at Carolyn again. Soon, they would be at Virago she thought. How to proceed then?
They arrived at the hacienda after dark. Two black Explores waited at the airstrip. They all got into the air-conditioned cabin and escaped the heat of the surrounding jungles. Carolyn did not utter a word. Simon half lay on her as he slept. In the darkness of the vehicle Carolyn felt Raisas hand hold her own. She simply laid her head on the shoulder of the woman next to her.
Raisa smiled into the darkness.
All were asleep in the hacienda when they arrived. They were met by a servant and Nona, of course. Raisa entered the house with her arm around an emotionally exhausted Carolyn and Simon by the hand.
Nona instantly took in the scene. She gave Raisa a smile immediately.
"Raisa," Nona said with such love in her voice.
"Nona." With a simple word she said it all. "Did they prepare the rooms next to mine for them?"
"Si, mi amor, todo esta preparado como tu pediste." It was all ready, as she had wished.
"Gracias Nona." She smiled and guided both Carolyn and Simon to their rooms.
Nona watched as Raisa walked away with her arm protectively around the blonde woman and the little boy. This was a different Raisa she thought to herself. And she told herself that in time her little girl would come to her and tell her about it.
All Carolyn remembered was Raisa helping her with her clothes and the smell of clean sheets and then soft arms that held her through the night.
Raisa woke up with the light of day. She looked at the woman that lay half on top of her and leaned down and smelled her hair and as she did her arms tightened around the woman in her arms.
She had always woken alone whenever she was at Virago. Now that would change. She finally had all she wanted. She knew that as she knew that she had Carolyn now here in her arms. Nothing would take what belonged to her from her. Nothing and no one. She would be ready.
Carolyn woke up alone. She missed something. She was sure that Raisa had held her during the night. It had all become such a blur. She sat up in bed and looked to see she lay naked under the sheets. Now she was sure Raisa had been there. She could still feel her arms around her body and the air was still filled with her perfume.
She noticed a pair of slacks and a blouse lying on the bed along with other essentials. She could hear Simons laughter coming from outside the window. She wrapped the sheet around herself and walked to look outside.
She could see Simon laughing. He sat in front of Raisa on a black powerful looking horse. Raisa was also laughing. No aloofness in her manner; just plain joy could be seen in her features. Carolyn just watched from the window and listened.
"That was great, can we do it again please?" Simon begged with excitement.
"All right. Are you ready?" She asked, as excited as he was.
"Yes, please, Im ready."
Carolyn stared as the black horse took off in a gallop. She became terrified. Suddenly, both horse and riders turned and headed back towards the house in a full gallop towards a fence. Carolyns breathing seized. The black horse flew over the fence with ease, but Carolyn felt her the room close in on her.
She then ran out of the room sheet and all.
Raisa and Simon were still laughing when she came face to face with them. Raisa smiled broadly as she took in Carolyns attire.
"Are you crazy!" Carolyn shouted. She was furious.
Raisa became serious and Simon stopped smiling.
"How dare you endanger my son that way!"
"Mommy " Simon tried to say.
"Get down from there Simon! Get down from there this instant!"
Raisa helped the boy down the horse without so much as a word.
"But, Mommy, it wasnt her fault. I asked her to jump," Simon said trying to diffuse the situation.
"Simon, you are a little boy. You dont know any better," she said to him and then went back to Raisa who looked moodily at her in silence.
"How could you be so irresponsible!" Carolyn demanded. Raisa stared and said nothing. She then turned her horse and galloped away.
Carolyn just stared as she rode away. She stomped her foot down in frustration and started walking back to the house with Simon in tow.
"Mommy, dont be mad at her, it was my fault," the boy said pouting.
An elderly looking lady waiting at the door interrupted the procession.
"Buenos dias," the woman said with a smile on her face.
"Oh, buenos dias." Carolyn then realized that she had run out with only a sheet around herself.
"Im sorry, I dont speak Spanish very well."
"I will try to speak English," Nona said to her.
"Thank you," Carolyn said with a smile.
"You go and get dressed and I will bring you up your breakfast," Nona said with a smile trying to hide the amusement of the sheet.
Carolyn looked down and smiled too. "Thank you."
Simon was sitting on her bed as she spoke with him from the bathroom.
"You have to use better judgment Simon. You could have been killed!"
"Oh Mom Raisa is a great rider. She won awards and everything for it." The boy tried to assure.
"How do you know all that?"
"She told me. You should see all the things she can do on a horse," he said excitedly.
"Well, that might be true, but she should never have taken you for a jump like that!"
"Oh Mom "
They were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in," Carolyn said from the bathroom.
Carolyn stuck her head out and saw Nona with a tray. She immediately walked out and took it from her.
"Here, let me help you with that," Carolyn said as she set the tray down.
"I am Nona, I am Raisas Nana."
Carolyn knew that this person had been important to Raisa and possibly could be still. "Please, wont you sit?"
Nona sat down with a smile.
"Mommy, can I go outside and play?"
"Yes, but Simon, no more adventures okay?"
"Okay, okay," said the little boy with a disappointed look on his face.
Carolyn sat and smelled the fresh coffee. "Mmmm that smells wonderful, thank you. Wont you join me?"
"Yes, thank you." Carolyn poured two cups.
"You are important to Raisa," the old woman stated bluntly and she noticed how the pot shook for a brief moment in Carolyns hand as she poured the coffee.
"Am I?" She asked with a smile avoiding making eye contact.
"Yes, you are."
Carolyn continued to pour as she smiled.
"You reprimanded her and she said nothing. No one does that to my little girl and gets away with it," Nona said with a giggle as she took a sip of the coffee.
"Im sorry, I was really frightened for Simon," Carolyn tried to explain.
"Oh, dont worry about it, my dear," Nona said as she patted Carolyn in the hand. "My Raisa is used to getting her own way and sometimes she gets carried away. But, she is a good rider. Your boy was safe. However, she should have asked you. Not frightened you like that."
"I have never met anyone like her." Carolyn surprised herself by how honestly she spoke to this woman.
"Yes, my Raisa is unique." Nona added.
Carolyn smiled at the doting woman. If you only knew, she thought to herself. This is the way it would always be if I were with Raisa. Never knowing what to expect.
"You are like my Raisa, always thinking too hard."
"Yes, sometimes. But Raisa, she just seems to be able to fight the whole world and keep on going."
"It may seem that way. But, she has a heart bigger than anyone I have ever known."
Carolyn looked at her for a moment and smiled with a nod. She wasnt sure if they were talking about the same woman. The Raisa she knew was no softy. The Raisa she knew was temperamental and moody. She was egotistical and aggressive and passionate to a fault. Yes, she knew all about Raisas passion. She suddenly felt embarrassed and blushed as she looked up to meet the old womans eyes.
"I know that she cares for you and your son very much," Nona said trying to read the reactions on Carolyns face.
"How can you tell?" Carolyn asked softly looking down at her cup.
"Because, she brought you here," Nona, said as she placed her hand over Carolyns.
Carolyn looked up, smiled shyly and looked down again.
"She has invited people to Virago many times but they have never stayed in her private part of the Hacienda. That is how I know."
Carolyn got up quickly and set the cup down on the tray. She felt nervous and she felt fear seeping in.
"Raisa is hard to know. But, she is so much more than people see."
"Yes, she is. She is a world all to herself."
"Well Nona, have you told her all my secrets?" Raisa said half seriously, half teasing from the door.
Carolyn turned around and their eyes locked. Nona looked from one to the other. They are like Nona thought. She was about to think they were like lovers facing each other. But, of course that was not possible.
"Ah, Cara Mia come in and make up with your friend. I have things to do," Nona waved her into the room.
"I think she is mad at me Nona," Raisa said to the old woman with a smile but her eyes said something differently.
"She will forgive you. Just promise to behave," the old woman said as she went out of the room after patting Raisa on the face lovingly.
Raisa stood in front of Carolyn. She looked magnificent with her dark wind blown hair. Her face was flushed from the ride, her blouse half opened; her white riding pants snug to her body and with high black riding boots she was the epitome of raw power and unbridled sensuality. Carolyn was suddenly filled with a hunger that shook her and she turned around and walked slowly to the window.
Raisa came up behind her until both barely touched. After a moment she spoke softly. "Im sorry I frightened you."
"You always frighten me," Carolyn said just as softly. "Your whole world frightens me."
Carolyn felt arms come from behind her and pull her close until she could feel Raisas body as if it were her second skin. She could hear Raisas breathing in her ear. And an ache began inside her.
"Ahhhh ." Moaned Carolyn as her head went back onto Raisas shoulder. She was suddenly and quickly turned around. Her mouth was taken with the passion she so feared and could not stay away from.
"Raisa, wait " she said between the onslaughts.
"No, I need you now." And with that all words were silenced.
Carolyn tasted the saltiness of the sweat that covered Raisas body and it only added to the desire growing within her.
Hours later when she woke she was alone in bed again and again only with the memory of the arms that had held her, the mouth that had teased and tasted her and the hands that had caressed and possessed her.
Raisa walked towards where Nona was sitting. Somehow she knew she would end up here.
Nona sat, as if waiting for her. Raisa walked up to her and sat down quietly at her Nonas feet. Suddenly, the proud dark head came down on the old womans lap. The old woman caressed the dark locks of hair as she done so many years ago.
"Cara Mia. You have been away so long," Nona said softly.
Raisa closed her eyes. "Yes, Nona."
"Tell me about your friend." The old woman asked as she kept caressing the dark head of hair.
Raisa got up and took a few steps away.
The old woman waited silently.
With her back to the old woman she began to speak.
"I need her," she said simply.
The old woman still waited. Raisa finally turned around and faced her. "I love her." There, she had said it out loud. She locked eyes with the old woman defiantly.
"This is the one you have chosen?"
"Good," said the old woman simply.
Raisas strength seemed to have left her. And now she looked to the old woman like a frightened child. "You know about me?" She asked softly.
"Cara Mia. You are my little girl; I know all about you" she opened her arms as the now sobbing woman went into them. "Te quiero, Cara Mia. Te quiero." She held Raisa closer to her as she caressed the dark head of hair and she comforted her child with the reassurance of her love.
Late in the afternoon, almost as if by silent understanding, Carolyn walked outside and Raisa was suddenly besides her. She looked different somehow; both gave each other a shy smile and started walking side by side.
Carolyn looked around her and was amazed with the sheer beauty and an almost dreamy like stillness all around them. Peacocks strolled not too far from them and occasionally would open their feathers and parade them to attract their mates.
"What a beautiful bird," Carolyn commented softly.
"Yes, did you know that the one with the beautiful feathers is the male?"
"Really, totally unlike humans, huh?"
"Less sure to attract because of its prickly demeanor perhaps, it needs the beautiful feathers," Raisa said seriously staring at the magnificent birds.
Carolyn now looked at her. "I guess they are as blind as some of us then."
Raisa looked at her now curiously. "What do you mean?"
"Looking for outer beauty," Carolyn said simply and now she looked away at the birds.
Raisa looked puzzled. "We all look for outer beauty."
"Is that what attracts?" Carolyn asked still looking at the birds as she started walking again. Raisa started walking next to her.
"Some it attracts some," Raisa answered uncomfortably.
"Is that how it is with you?" Carolyn stopped now and turned to face her.
Raisa stopped in front of her looking down at her hands as they interlocked nervously.
"Never mind," said Carolyn sadly and started walking away.
"Wait!" Raisa said as she caught up with her.
"Is it always this warm this time of the year here?" Carolyn asked in faked politeness.
"You arent talking to me!" Raisa grabbed her arm and turned her around to face her.
"And who am I talking to?" Carolyn said in exasperation.
Raisa suddenly released her and took a few steps away. She would have normally just walk away and not bother, but with Carolyn it was different. It was obvious Raisa was upset as she turned with the wildness in her eyes again but unlike so many other times she had not run.
"Why must you always provoke me?" She asked in exasperation.
"I dont want to fight," Carolyn said and started walking back to the house.
"What do you want from me?" Raisa demanded in anger.
Carolyn yelled as she kept on walking. "Get a life, you egotistical bitch! And leave me alone!"
"I need you!" Raisa yelled out in pain.
Carolyn stopped and turned around slowly. She saw Raisa moving quickly towards her but stopped abruptly in front of her.
"What do you want me to say Carolyn, that I would want you even if you werent beautiful?" Raisa asked in agitation.
Carolyn looked down feeling uncomfortable in the situation she found herself in. "No " She said softly as she looked down.
"I would want you if I were blind and had never seen you," Raisa said softly. "I cant breathe, eat or sleep without thinking of you."
Carolyn looked up into the eyes that were now soft, filled with uncertainty and fear. "I dont know how to do this." Raisas words could hardly be heard.
Carolyn raised her hand and caressed the softness of the face in front of her. Her lips were close to Raisas, but for some reason unbeknown to her, still waiting. Then suddenly the words came.
"I love you Carolyn," Raisa said barely beyond a whisper and Carolyns lips met hers tenderly.
Raisas arms went around her gently and held her close. When their mouths parted Raisas eyes avoided the others but her arms still held the woman in them. She was like a deer caught by a bright light, frozen, unable to flee.
"I love you too," Carolyn said softly and Raisas head came up quickly searching the eyes in front of her.
She stared at Carolyn in disbelief. Suddenly, she pulled her into her arms so tightly that Carolyn could hardly breathe. "Te amo." And this time her mouth was filled with the taste and promise of passion to come.
For the next two days they took walks and rode in the mornings together. Raisa would take Simon down to the river to pick sweet fruits and Caroline would set up a picnic near by in the afternoons for lunch.
All that passed between them were warm looks that caressed and spoke of love. The words they shared were considerate and tender. They waltzed around one another with care with the uncertainty and excitement of their newfound love.
Carolyn was touched with the patience that Raisa showed Simon in everything. She was like another woman here. Nona had been right. Raisa was unique; every moment with her brought new and wonderful surprises. Here at Virago she was a different woman. Or perhaps it was because she seemed happy. That was the phrase that struck Carolyn as she saw Raisa and Simon running back towards her from the river. Raisa seemed happy.
"I won! I won!" Simon yelled, full of excitement.
Raisa came up behind him and started tickling him and they both rolled on the ground with abandonment and laughter.
"Come on you two before the ants steal our lunch."
"Okay mom," said Simon as he walked over to his mother.
Raisa lay on the ground looking towards the river as she leaned on an elbow. Carolyn got up and walked over to her; then sat down as her hand reached out to caress the dark hair of the woman who had laid siege to her heart.
"Andreas and I used to bathe here when we were children."
"Who is Andreas?"
"My brother. He is away on a buying trip. He will be here in a few days. He is nothing like me dont worry," Raisa said with laughter.
"How is he then?"
"He is he is not like me." Raisa became serious and pensive. Carolyn could see the walls rising.
"Nona would say you are thinking too hard again," Carolyn said and Raisa looked up at her with a smile and then looked back towards the river again.
"Andreas is quiet, there is a gentleness about him. Nona says that he is like my mother. But unlike her he loves this land." She looked all around her. She was quiet for a little while then spoke sadly. "My mother used to love picnics."
"And that makes you sad?" Carolyn asked carefully. This was the first time that they had really spoken of Raisas family.
"She brought Andreas and I here for a picnic to tell us she was leaving Papa and us. She went back to Italy soon after," Raisa said bluntly.
"Im sorry sweetheart," Carolyn said lovingly as she caressed her lovers hair. She could feel the pain and anguish that her lover must have felt when being given this news; Carolyn could still see it in those eyes. She had come to see in a matter of days that Raisa was not as unfeeling as people thought her to be. And faced with such painful things who would not shut out loving or needing another human being? It was obvious in every word that came from Raisas lips that to her love meant pain.
"No need, it was a long time ago," Raisa said and got up suddenly.
Carolyn reached for her hand and pulled her back down to sit beside her. She held on to her hand as they sat. She could feel the emotions building up inside her.
Raisa looked into her eyes and then looked back out towards the river as she started speaking again. "She hated Venezuela and she ended up hating my father. We were his children. So, I guess by association she hated us." She said nothing after that and Carolyn was shocked into silence by the pain and anger that came out of those words.
"How old were you?"
"I was 7 and Andreas was 4 when she left," she answered as she played with a patch of grass in front of her.
"Did you ever see her again?"
"And your father?"
"He died 5 years ago."
The silence stretched between them. They both were now looking towards the river when Raisa felt Carolyns hand take hers again and hold it tightly as she said, "I love you Raisa Andieta."
They were both coming in from their ride when Raisa yelled and her horse took off in a gallop. Carolyn followed.
As they neared the house a man with dark hair came running down the front steps of the hacienda.
Raisas horse pulled to a stop and went up on its hind legs. Carolyns breath skipped a beat as she saw Raisa jump off the animal and run into the arms of the man waiting at the steps.
Carolyn slowed down and arrived to hear only some of what was being said. Suddenly she felt the spark of jealousy come alive.
"God, Ive missed you. You are as beautiful as ever," he said to her and she swung her around in his arms.
"I never stay away from you too long," Raisa said as she ran her hand through the mans hair.
Carolyns horse bucked, expressing her own emotions. Raisa turned around and a bright smile appeared on her face. She walked towards Carolyn with an extended hand to help her down her horse.
"Come Cara, there is someone I want you to meet." Raisa pulled Carolyn with her not noticing the displeasure in her lovers face.
"Andreas, this is Carolyn Stenbeck."
Carolyn looked from Andreas to Raisa back to Andreas again. Her face now was filled with a big smile as she put her hand out.
"Welcome to Virago." He looked to her, his eyes filled with curiosity and admiration.
"Thank you, its lovely here," Carolyn replied honestly.
"Im glad that you like Virago, Raisa and I grew up here. Its far away from everything but it is best that way sometimes; its a different world here."
"Its a beautiful world," Carolyn agreed.
Raisa smiled and thought to herself She has just won Andreas, how does she do that?
"I hope you will be able to stay with us a long time."
Raisa suddenly looked at her brother and saw the appreciatory gleam in his eyes. No, no, no, Carolyn is mine, Im going to clear this up right now.
"Well ." Carolyn was interrupted.
"WE do not have definite plans yet." Raisa placed her hand possessively around Carolyns waist.
Carolyn looked at Raisa and smiled indulgently before she continued. "Yes, we do not have definite plans yet."
Andreas received the message loud and clear. He could see that there was a lot he had to discuss with his sister. He recognized that she had been possessive and, if he didnt know any better, jealous. Yes, they had a lot of talking to do.
Simon running up to them excitedly distracted them all.
"Mom! Mom! Dad is on the phone. He wants to talk to you." The boy tried catching his breath and therefore missed Carolyns eyes as they filled with concern and Raisas anger began to show.
Andreas however missed nothing.
"Excuse me," Carolyn said as she started walking away.
"Carolyn " Raisa reached out to try and stop her.
Andreas intervened by holding his sister in place. "Raisa, why dont you introduce this young man to me."
Carolyn broke eye contact with Raisa and started walking towards the house. Raisa pulled her arms out of Andreas grasp and stomped away in another direction.
It seems that all is not that well, he thought to himself. Then Andreas directed his attention to the boy in front of him. "Hello," he said extending his hand.
Simon took it and stared at him for a moment. "You are Raisas brother."
"How did you know?"
"She showed me your photograph."
"Ah . Well, Simon have you seen the miniature horses yet?"
"Come on, lets ask permission. If your mother says yes, I will take you to see them."
The conversation with Matt had turned into a shouting match. She was relieved that it had been over by the time Andreas and Simon came into the room. Carolyn had allowed her son to ride with Andreas to the south pasture to see the miniature horses. Carolyn knew that a confrontation with Raisa was inevitable and she figured the sooner the better.
She liked Andreas; she could see his gentleness as Raisa had said. Simon had taken to him right away. After seeing them off Carolyn went in search of Raisa.
Carolyn searched for Raisa everywhere. Finally, she just went back to the house. She was going upstairs toward the bedroom she had been sharing with Raisa when she heard loud crashing noises.
When she opened the door she saw chairs upturned and glass chips all over the floor. She looked towards the vanity and instantly knew what had happened. The smell of perfume permeated the room.
At that moment Raisa walked out of the bathroom. Carolyn looked around in shock.
"Why?" Carolyn asked in disbelief and anger.
"Because I wanted to!" Raisa yelled back.
"Why?" Carolyn demanded.
"Because its mine. I can do with it as I please. If I want to smash it into a million pieces then I do it!" Raisa spat out at her.
"Will you do that to me some day?" Carolyn asked suddenly.
All anger left Raisas face. Suddenly she understood Carolyns question. And she rushed to her side.
"No," she said softly trying to reassure her. "No, I would never hurt you."
Carolyn stepped away from her and surveyed the room once more. "Violence seeps into everything in this country, even here," Carolyn said to herself.
"You sound like my mother!" Raisa said in anger.
"Perhaps, that is what she ran from!" Carolyn regretted the words as soon as they had come out. Raisa bolted and ran out like an injured animal.
"Wait! Raisa wait!"
Carolyn got to the verandah only to see Raisa gallop away. She would have to wait until she came back to talk to her. She kept telling herself she should never have said that to Raisa. She had trusted her with her pain and it had been used against her to hurt her. Carolyn had done the same thing that everyone else had done. She had hurt her.
"Oh Raisa, Im so sorry."
Carolyn walked back inside. Nona met her as she walked into the house.
"She will come back."
"I hurt her," Carolyn said sadly.
"She is wild inside. Very much like her father," Nona said sadly. "Adele loved him but in the end " Nona could not finish. Her head bent down in sadness.
"Nona, what happened with her mother? She told me some things but I dont think she herself understands what happened."
Nona looked at her with doubt. "I cant "
"Please help me. I love Raisa. Whatever is chasing her is coming between us."
"Come." Nona started walking towards the verandah and sat down in a wicker chair and Carolyn sat in another opposite her.
"Adele, Raisas mother, married Martin, her father, when she was barely 19. I worked for her family in Italy then. Adele was beautiful and vibrant. She was very much like Raisa in some ways. But of course not quite," Nona smiled indulgently.
"Martin, was handsome and charming. They fell passionately in love. Adeles father objected to the marriage and they eloped. Adele got in touch with her family about two years later. They loved her, so some ties were repaired."
Nona now took a deep breath before she started again. "She was lonely for her homeland and her people. Thats where I come in. I agreed to come and help her with Raisa; she was expecting another child then, Andreas. Right away, I noticed that things were not going well between them. Adele was short tempered and Martin was not indulging."
Carolyn waited patiently.
"After Andreas was born, things just seemed to get worse as time went by. Martin showed favoritism to his son. He was the male child Martin had wanted and Adele fought with him constantly because he ignored Raisa. Still, there was this thing between them that kept the marriage going until it all exploded one night." Nona, became very sad and quite suddenly seemed to age in front of her.
"They fought, and I think that things just went too far. Martin had been drinking. Adele ran out of the house and he went after her. When she returned her clothes were torn and dirty, and, worse of all, she did not speak for days. When Martin came back in the morning he locked himself up in his study and drank for days. She told me she was leaving him. She said she had to leave or this land would kill her. She said she would make arrangements later for the children and me. She never did; Raisa never forgave her. I can still see my little girl she stood in this verandah everyday for a month waiting. She never believed that her mother would really leave her, you see."
Nona looked up at Carolyn now. She could see the questions and the horror on her face.
"I never heard from Adele again. Martin never spoke of her and refused to have anyone speak her name. He never allowed the children to go out of the country even when Adeles parents requested to see them."
"Oh Nona, how awful. Raisa was just a child."
"I dont think she ever forgave either Adele or Martin. But, at least in her mind Martin stayed. She became the son he wanted."
"And Raisa, the little girl, just got lost along the way," Carolyn said sadly.
"She is still there when she puts her head on my lap. When she is tender and out there in the land that she loves, then she is my little girl again. She was adventurous as a child. A little too wild but she was kind and tender. She adored her mother. When she finally accepted that Adele was not coming back for her a part of her just died inside, I think."
"No wonder she is so angry," Carolyn whispered out loud.
"She is fighting herself all the time. Sometimes, it is stronger than she is," Nona said sadly. "You also hate this land dont you, like Adele did?"
Carolyn looked at the old woman and nodded. "She has been so different here until today. I fear the violence Nona. I fear Raisa sometimes too," Carolyn said lowering her head.
Nona put her hand over the younger womans.
"She is like that horse she loves to ride. His name is Furioso. Furioso is wild and head strong, hard to handle and wont let anyone ride him, except for Raisa. That animal is a beast except with her. He loves her and she loves him. He would never throw her and she would never whip him. Do you understand Carolyn?"
"I think I understand, Nona. I just dont know if I can live with it."
"You have to look beyond what you see and see what you love."
Carolyn looked at the old woman and did not understand somehow.
"Adele loved Martin. But, they stopped looking, and all that was left was fear and anger."
Carolyn looked up as Raisa was riding up to the house. Carolyn got up and kissed Nona on the cheek.
"Thank you. I understand a little better now."
"Go, cara mia. Go to her," Nona said gently and walked back inside the house.
Carolyn waited as Raisa got off the horse and someone walked over to take Furioso from her. But before she handed the reins over she caressed the horses mane and spoke gently as she rubbed her face against the animals head.
Raisa walked up to the verandah and passed Carolyn without a word. Carolyn took a deep breath and followed her.
Raisa walked into her bedroom and started taking clothes off as she walked into the bathroom. Carolyn came in and locked the door behind her. She could hear the shower going.
"Well, its now or never," Carolyn murmured and started taking off her own clothes.
Raisa had a storm of emotions all whirling around inside her. She was angry, hurt, and she felt caged and full of raging energy.
She didnt hear the shower door open. When she felt arms come around her she turned in anger ready to strike. Instantly, Carolyn cringed; Raisa reached for her and pulled her to her.
Carolyn melted into the arms that held her. Her hands started stroking Raisas back and slowly she felt the woman in her arms start to relax. When Raisa put her head down on her shoulder Carolyn said the only thing she could and she knew it wouldnt be enough to express her regret. "Im sorry."
Raisas arms tightened around her. "Please forgive me Im so very sorry," Carolyn whispered into Raisas hair. Raisa nodded and Carolyn kept reassuring her with caresses and phrases of love.
Raisa sat at the head of the dinner table with Carolyn on her right and Simon on her left. Andreas sat on the other end. Dinner had been pleasant and cordial.
"So when does the procession start tomorrow?" Andreas asked as he was eating his dessert.
Raisa looked up at Carolyn. Andreas was oblivious.
"This flan is really good. Nona really outdid herself," Andreas said looking down at his dessert.
"What procession?" Asked Carolyn.
"I forgot about the invitations to the Copeco execs completely," Raisa said as she placed her hand over Carolyns.
Andreas looked up and realized that there was going to be a problem. He just listened as the women continued to speak. Carolyn looked visibly upset. Simon looked up suddenly realizing his mother sounded odd.
"How could you forget it?" Carolyn said as she got up to leave the room. She turned to Andreas. "Please excuse me Andreas, Im tired, its been a long day. Simon darling, finish you lovely dessert and come to my room when you are done."
Carolyn left the dinning room. Raisa sat looking into space visibly distraught to anyone who knew her.
"Raisa, is my father coming tomorrow?" Simon asked innocently.
Raisa turned towards the child and almost as if it suddenly hit her; she looked at Andreas. Andreas suddenly understood the problem.
"Raisa?" Simon put his hand on her arm.
Raisa turned towards the child. Her face suddenly relaxed as she looked at the child that to her so much resembled his mother. She reached out and caressed his hair and smiled. "You are so much like your mother, Simon."
Simon smiled at her. "Yeah, my dad says that all the time too."
Raisa smiled at the boy and looked down at her plate again. "Yes, Simon, your father will probably be coming tomorrow," she said softly then raised her eyes and met Andreass gaze.
"Good, I miss my dad," Simon said as he was finishing his dessert.
Raisa just stared at the boy.
"Well, Simon why dont you and I play a game of chess before you go up to your mother?" Andreas asked looking at Raisa. She looked towards her brother and understood instantly that he was giving her time to talk to Carolyn.
"Sure, that would be great Andreas."
"Yes, thank you Andreas," Raisa said to her brother. "Simon, you enjoy your game with Andreas; Im going to speak to your mother and tell her that you will be up after your game."
Simon smiled at her and nodded. Raisa got up and went to find Carolyn.
Raisa walked in and immediately noticed Carolyn sitting in front of the vanity staring into the glass. She had not even heard Raisa come in.
"I forgot. I swear," Raisa said as she knelt down in front of her.
"I cant face Matt tomorrow. I cant do this with Simon here. I need time." Carolyn got more agitated by the second.
"Nothing will happen Carolyn. No one is taking you from me," Raisa said with conviction.
"Dont you see that this has the makings of a disaster?" Carolyn said in exasperation as she got up and walked away from Raisa. "I dont want Simon dragged into this!"
"I would never hurt Simon!" Raisa lashed out.
Carolyn turned to her now. "With Matt here anything can happen. Surely you dont think he wont come?" Carolyn argued back in frustration.
"Nothing will happen I promise you. Simon will be all right" Raisa tried to sound convincing but even she knew that things might very well get totally out of hand.
Carolyn ran to her and hid her face in Raisas neck. "I cant loose my son Raisa, I cant loose my son." Carolyn Raisa held her tightly.
"Nothing will take either of you from me cara mia. Nothing" Raisa whispered into Carolyns hair.
The next morning the Copeco executives started arriving along with their families. Both Raisa and Andreas greeted them. Accommodations were prepared in another section of the house. Towards the end of lunch, most were relaxing around the pool. Children ran and joyous voices filled the air. Carolyn was talking to a few women she had known from other such meetings.
Raisas eyes would intermittently search for her to reassure herself that Carolyn was still there and still hers.
Approximately around two in the afternoon a Land Rover pulled up in front of the hacienda and out stepped Matt Stenbeck. Almost by radar Simon spotted him.
"Daddy!" Simon sprinted towards his father as two sets of eyes followed him; one set with fear the other with rage.
Raisa watched as Matt picked up his son and hugged him. She noticed when his eyes searched and found Carolyn. And as she saw him start towards her she started walking as well only to be stopped by Andreas.
"Let go of me!" She growled behind her teeth.
"Calm down, you dont want to do this. Not now; think Raisa think!" Andreas said to her as he held her by her arm.
"Shes mine!" Her eyes turned to him in anger and in fear. It was the first time that Andreas saw the vulnerability in her.
"Yes, she loves you. No need to storm the barracks. Play to win. You wont win this way. All you will do is make a scene and you will involve Carolyn in a scandal. Is that what you want? Do you want Simon to see it too?" Andreas immediate knew he had reached her. For now, Raisa was rational.
"I wont loose her. I cant," she finished saying softly.
"And you wont," Andreas said kindly to his sister. He had never seen Raisa like this. She had always been the strong one. The one that fought his father so that he could stay in Virago and lead the life he loved. She was the one that kept Copeco going and naturally just took charge. He had always looked on her as not needing what most held dear. And now, he was touched by her vulnerability. For the first time he felt he had to protect her. Andreas followed her eyes and saw as Matt approached Carolyn with Simon by the hand.
"Mr. Stenbeck, hello, I am Andreas Andieta," Andreas said as he extended his hand in welcome.
"Hello Mr. Andieta. Virago is beautiful," Matt answered as he shook Andreass hand.
"Thank you. It has been in my family for five generations," Andreas said proudly.
"I was telling my wife that my flight was delayed; thats why I arrived late."
"Well, the important thing is that you are here," Andreas said politely. "We have had the pleasure of having Carolyn and Simon here with us for a few days."
"Yes," Matt said as he looked toward Carolyn. She looked away.
Before Matt could say anything else, Andreas intervened. "Why dont you get yourself a drink at the bar by the pool and that will take the tiredness away. Here in the jungle we take things a little slower but its worth it."
"It is far away from everything," Matt replied diplomatically.
"Dad, Andreas and Raisa have miniature horses here," Simon interrupted excitedly. Matt noticed as Andreas tousled the boys hair and bestowed him with a smile of affection.
"Im glad that you have enjoyed the visit Simon."
Carolyn sought Andreas eyes then looked away. Andreas did not have to guess what Carolyn was looking at. He turned just in time to see Raisa within feet of them. He just prayed that she would keep it together.
"Andreas, the men are ready for the hunt. They are waiting on you. Will you be joining them Matt?" Raisa asked Matt suddenly.
Matt was about to answer no when Andreas interceded.
"You cant miss this, Mr. Stenbeck. The boars are huge. Of course he will come. All of us men are going." Andreas really gave him no way of refusing politely.
"Yes, of course Ill come. Please call me Matt."
"Then its settled. Matt, Antonio will take you to your room so that you can change into something more appropriately and then we will all be on our way." Andreas motioned for a young man to attend their new guest.
"Come along, darling we can catch up while I change." Matt said as he took Carolyn by the arm. Raisa was about to follow but Andreas stopped her.
"Simon you stay here while I talk to mom." Matt looked back and stopped his son from following.
Andreas noticed the disappointment in the boy. "Simon, the boys over there are staring a volley ball game. Hurry and you can play with them."
Simon looked at the direction he was pointing, smiled and ran toward the other children.
Raisa couldnt stand it and tried pulling away. "Let me go! You dont understand."
"I do understand. She has to sever the ties herself Raisa. You cant do that for her." Andreas insisted.
"You dont understand!"
"Yes I do," Andreas said in a small soft voice.
"You cant possibly. Andreas, I need her!" Raisa said in desperation to her brother.
"You think because I dont act like you that I cant feel as strongly as you?"
Raisa looked deep into her brothers eyes.
"I understand Raisa. I understand."
"Andreas " she began to say gently.
"Another day, not today. Only one passionate love affair per Andieta at a time." He said to her with a smile. "Come, lets see to our guests." He led his sister back to the others.
"Whats going on Carolyn? What the fuck is going on here?" Matt demanded.
"I want this insanity to stop. We will be civil for the next few days then leave," Matt said as he started unpacking.
"Im not going back," Carolyn said softly.
"Of course you are. You cant get proper medical treatment here. The doctor said you might be over emotional because of the baby." He kept unpacking.
"What? What are you talking about?" Carolyn looked confused.
"The doctor called and I spoke with him. Why didnt you tell me?" Matt now looked up to meet her eyes.
"It cant be true," she said weakly.
"You didnt know did you?" Matt asked her in confusion.
"No," Carolyn said and found a place to sit before her legs gave out.
"Well, that explains your odd behavior. Apparently the doctor says some women get incredibly sensitive and overemotional. So you see, its quite natural. It will all go back to normal when your hormones settle. Its time Simon had a brother or sister anyway," Matt said half to himself and to her while dressing.
Carolyn sat in shocked silence.
"What I dont understand is how you came to be here. I didnt realize you knew Raisa Andieta so well. I just thought your attending those luncheons were a waste of time. But now, well, to know her so well, can only work in our favor."
"Matt please be quiet," Carolyn finally said as she pressed her temples with her hands.
Matt suddenly turned and was about to say something when he noticed how pale she had suddenly gotten.
"Are you feeling ill Carolyn?"
"What do you think?" She got up, agitation plainly showing on her face.
"You will feel better "
"No! I wont feel better! I dont believe you. You are lying!"
"Call your doctor if you dont believe me," Matt said in restrained anger.
"Oh God no." She whimpered as she sat back down again. Her whole world was running through her fingers. How would she tell Raisa? is what kept going through her mind.
"Carolyn, I know that things have not been perfect between us..."
At that statement something inside her snapped.
"What did you say? Were you actually going to say that perhaps something could possibly be going wrong between us?" Carolyn now yelled in mockery.
"Carolyn, you are over reacting."
"You son of a bitch!" She went at him and he grabbed her hands and pushed her onto the bed.
"Calm down, dont embarrass me Carolyn!"
"I will never go back with you. Never!" She yelled from where she lay.
"Yes, you will," Matt said as he walked over to a chair, sat down, and started putting his boots on. "You wont leave without Simon. And that child growing inside you is mine too. This country recognizes my right over them Carolyn!" He spat out at her.
"How could I have married a monster like you?" She cried.
Matt did not bother to answer.
"Matt, its over. Let me go. Please, I beg you."
"No," he mumbled under his breath.
"I dont love you Matt," she said barely above a whisper.
"Matt, let me go. You know how this baby was created. Let me go before all the good is gone Matt," she begged him.
"This child was created with passion Carolyn!"
"You raped me Matt! Thats not passion." She no longer could hold back the sobbing.
"You are my wife. I have the right," he said to her unable to look at her. "All right Carolyn, you can have your divorce. But Simon stays with me."
"You know I wont leave my son, you know that!" She said in desperation.
"Then be the wife I know you can be and let go of this mad idea." He demanded. "Think about what Ive said Carolyn."
On that note he walked out of the room leaving her to deal with her torment.
Carolyn stood by the window and watched as they rode away. For a moment she saw Raisa look towards her. Raisa, being the CEO of Copeco, rode with the men. She was the only woman who rode off but not before looking back and seeing Carolyn looking at her from the window. Then Raisa turned and galloped away.
Carolyns hand was shaking as it went to her temple again. This cant be true", she told herself over and over again. This cant be true.
She had wanted desperately to leave Matt for a long time now. But she couldnt take Simon out of the country without his permission. One night her "no" had not worked and she closed her eyes as the tears ran down her face. Then the whole thing with Raisa started. She couldnt think straight after that. Her emotions ran from hot to cold. She had accepted her desire for Raisa but she was overwhelmed with her need to flee from Matt. That afternoon when she called Raisa for help she was desperate. Matt had told her in no uncertain terms that he would take her whether she wanted it or not. And Carolyns only thought was to run. And run she did; she ran into Raisa Andietas arms.
Raisa loved her, she knew that. But her lover had so much baggage to deal with of her own, Carolyn thought. She had to make Raisa understand, Carolyn told herself. Raisa would help her. She had to.
Her hands went protectively across her abdomen. She would have to tell her the truth. There was no other way. She had to trust that Raisa would love her enough.
Finally, the riders returned with two bores as their trophies. There was a planned dinner that evening so all went to their bedrooms to change for the festivities.
Raisa did not get to see Carolyn until that night. When Raisa entered the room only a few of her executives and their wives had come down. Raisa instantly saw Carolyn speaking to Maria Cabaler and started walking towards her.
"Good evening," Raisa said. Carolyn had not seen her enter the room and turned around to look into the eyes that made her heart soar each and every time.
Both Maria and Carolyn responded. "Good evening."
"Maria, will you please give me a minute with Mrs. Stenbeck?" Raisa asked graciously.
"Of course," the other woman said and then walked away.
Raisa then turned and smiled at Carolyn. "I missed you today," she said barely above a whisper.
Carolyn returned the smile. "I missed you too sweetheart."
"Have I told you how much I like it when you call me sweetheart?" Raisa felt the joy grow inside her. Carolyn was looking at her with eyes filled with love. She would not leave her. And knowing that made her feel giddy with happiness.
"Yes, it does."
"Then I shall have to call you that more often wont I?" Carolyn said lovingly.
This was the perfect time, Raisa told herself. She took a deep breath. "Carolyn, I want to spend the rest "
Mario Carabel, Marias husband, interrupted her. "Good evening Ms. Andieta, Mrs. Stenbeck," he said with a smile. "Have you seen my wife?" He asked pleasantly.
"Good evening Mario. I saw your wife going out to the verandah," Raisa said politely.
"Thank you." As he was about to leave he turned towards Carolyn. "Oh, and by the way Mrs. Stenbeck congratulations on the new baby. Matt seems very happy."
Suddenly Matt appeared and put his arm around Carolyns waist. "Im sorry dear but I was so excited with the news I had to tell Mario."
Carolyn stared at Raisa who immediately shut her out. "Are you expecting a baby Carolyn?" To her credit Raisa asked before judging.
Carolyn could not deny it. "Yes."
Raisa smiled and the coldness from her eyes made Carolyn shiver. "Congratulations Matt, please excuse me." Raisa walked away from all of them and left the room.
Without their hostess the party broke up early. Matt had taken Simon for a walk and Carolyn waited for Raisa. Nona had told her she had gone out on Furioso. Carolyn still hoped that they could work this out.
She was looking out of a window of one of the downstairs sitting rooms, towards the fields, as Raisa came in.
Carolyn turned around to face her and said with all the tenderness she could express. "I love you."
"You love me?" Raisa said to her in mockery as she walked around in her riding attire. "When were you going to tell me? You are worse than a whore! At least they are honest." Raisa kept her distance.
"Dont, please dont." Carolyn could barely speak. The day was taking its toll and she was barely hanging on.
"Well, you made a first class fool out of me."
"Raisa, let me explain." Carolyn walked towards her.
"Are you pregnant Carolyn?" She demanded.
"Yes, but "
"No buts. I am so full of rage that I want to just scream!" Raisa spat at her.
"Let me talk to you! Carolyn demanded.
"Dont you dare raise your voice to me" Raisa lunged at her and grabbed her by the face as she pushed her against the wall. "I honored you. I didnt treat you like the whore that you are. I loved you. I laid my world at your feet and all along you were with him. You lied to me. You said you were only mine. All along I was inside you, all the times my mouth tasted you. All those times Oh God!" Raisa released her and put some distance between them again. The rage inside her was pouring out.
"Go before I kill you," Raisa said softly with her back to Carolyn. And somehow the softness of her voice was more menacing then the screaming.
Raisa felt Carolyns arms come from behind her and she pulled away quickly facing her now.
"Dont come near me! If you do I know that I will hit you" Raisa growled and Carolyn kept walking towards her as Raisa walked backwards until a wall was at her back.
Carolyns eyes were pleading as she continued her approach. She leaned against Raisas body as she remembered the words that Nona had spoken. And she some how knew that Raisa would not hurt her.
Carolyn leaned deeper into Raisa and her head leaned on her shoulder her eyes closed and she began to cry.
Raisas head was leaning back against the wall with her eyes closed. She could feel Carolyns body against her and she knew that she was crying. She could not control what she did next. Her arms came up behind Carolyns back as she held her to her.
"I didnt know I was pregnant till today," Carolyn said between tears. "All that I said to you was true." Carolyn was suddenly pulled away from the warmth of Raisas body.
"For Gods sake dont lie," Raisa walked away from her again. She walked like a person beaten by exhaustion. She ran her fingers through her hair, sat down on a sofa close by and let her head fall back. "Dont lie anymore Carolyn. I cant "
"Raisa, when I called you that day I was desperate. I had had a fight with Matt that day. We had not been living as man and wife for a long time."
Raisas head lifted from the sofa. She was now listening.
Carolyn became visibly nervous. "I wanted a divorce but he wouldnt let me take Simon out of Venezuela with me. I couldnt leave without Simon." Carolyn looked away but continued. Raisa was looking at her intently. "One night, Matt got home and I " she could not continue.
"You fucked him," Raisa said coldly.
Carolyn faced her with a face full of pain. "He raped me." She began to cry and covered her face with her hands.
Raisa stared in disbelief. She got up not knowing whether to believe what she had heard.
"Please understand. Please, I love you." Carolyn began to beg her.
Raisa grabbed her by the arms and stared into her eyes. "You arent lying," Raisa said as the rage took over. Nothing would stop the storm now.
Carolyn felt the coldness emanating from Raisa as if she had been physically struck. Raisa released her and walked over the mantle of the great room. She removed the rifle and walked over to the cabinet. She struck the glass with the rifle butt and grabbed a box of bullets. Carolyn stared in horror.
"No, no, you cant!" Carolyn rushed over to Raisa as she loaded and cocked the weapon. Raisa neither saw her nor heard her.
It all happened at once. Raisa and Carolyns world exploded. Andreas walked in from one door as Matt was walking in through another.
Carolyn tried to pull the other woman back and Raisas arm struck back and knocked her to the floor as Simon entered the room. Simon saw his mother fall, blood forming at her mouth.
Raisa then pointed the gun at Matt as Andreas rushed her. The shot went off into the air. Matt came towards her as she succeeded in pushing Andreas away. She hit Matt with the butt of the rifle in the gut and he fell on his knees gasping for air. She then screamed her rage and butted him in the head. Blood went everywhere as Matt fell to the floor.
Andreas and Carolyn stared in horror as she cocked the gun again to shoot Matt before Simon covered his father. Raisa had the rifle pointed at his chest.
"Get away from my father!" Simon yelled at the top of his lungs.
The hatred at the boys eyes stunned her. Andreas came up from behind her and took the rifle out of her hands then pulled her back with him.
"I hate you! I hate you! You hurt my father. Mommy, mommy," Simon cried.
Raisa looked and noticed Carolyn on the floor as blood ran down her nose and mouth.
Raisa felt she was in a haze. She looked around her and suddenly all the horror rushed in at once and her world collapsed in front of her as she leaned against her brother in silence.
Carolyn went to Simon who sobbed in her arms. "She hurt you too Mommy. I want to go. She killed my daddy, she killed my daddy!"
Matt stirred and started moving as blood ran down the side of his head. "Daddy!"
Simon left his mothers arms and went to his father. Matt sat up slowly.
Carolyn looked at Raisa in a daze. Their eyes locked for a brief moment. Carolyn broke the connection. The whole world reeled around them. It was over.
Suddenly, all the sounds of the horror around her filled her head. Some servants rushed in followed by Nona. Simon was sobbing. Carolyn seemed frozen and Andreas held on to Raisa from behind. Raisa seemed like a rag doll slumped against him, lifeless.
Nona directed the servants to lock all the doors and windows of the room and keep all of the other guests out. The shots had woken up many of the people in the house and the buzzing of voices could be heard approaching.
Andreas snapped out of it first. He turned Raisa around and sat her down in a nearby chair. She did not move. He believed her to be in shock, when he released her she got up quickly and tried grabbing for Carolyn,
"Carolyn! Carolyn!" Raisa screamed as Andreas pulled her back.
Simons cries became more hysterical as he reached for his mother. "Mommy! Mommy!"
"Carolyn! Please . Please Carolyn!" Raisa continued to beg.
Matt started getting up. Nona directed one of the servants to help him to the sofa as she went to Raisa.
"Mi angel ella no es para ti." My Angel she is not for you Nona said gently as she tried to take Raisa into her arms.
"Yo la amo .ella es mia Nona. Yo la amo!" I love her she is mine Nona. I love her! Raisa screamed almost as a plea.
"No mi angel ella no es para ti." No my angel she is not for you Nona held her tightly.
Raisa let out a scream that released all the pain that one soul can bear inside and sobbed in Nonas arms. "Yo la amo .Yo la amo." I love her I love her. She whimpered as a child. And as she fell to the ground Nona knelt down and took her in her arms again and rocked her in her embrace.
Andreas went to Carolyn and helped her up. Their eyes met briefly. "I think you can still fix this." He whispered to her.
"No we cant." Carolyn held Simon to her and walked over to Matt.
Andreas took over things. To Raisa the world seemed to stop. She knew that it was over. She had seen it in Carolyns eyes. And somehow she could not accept it.
Raisa suddenly woke from a daze and realized that she had lost track of time. She knew that a doctor had been called and that Matt would recover from his concussion. She had not killed him. He had taken from her all that mattered to her and she hated him now more than ever. Then she realized that Carolyn would be gone with him. Like when her mother had left she could no longer really hear or smell or taste. And somehow she knew that she had to find Carolyn. She had to find Carolyn now!
She walked out of her room with a purpose. All she knew was that she had to find Carolyn. She had to make her stay. She would not let her go. She had to make her .
Raisa shook her head. She felt out of control. All she knew for certain was that her life was ending. Nothing had prepared her for this. She was complete emotion, unbridled and unrestrained.
She searched the house and then ran to the verandah that wrapped itself around the second floor of the house. As she turned her head she saw the silhouette of Carolyn. Instinctively Carolyn turned her head at that same moment. Both eyes locked; one set unsure the other filled with sadness.
Raisa stood before Carolyn before she had a chance to catch her breath. Raisa reached out for her and Carolyn took a step back.
"No," she mouthed.
Raisa stood rooted to the spot; as her hands reached out for her a soft cry of pain escaped her lips. "Dont go "
Carolyn just shook her head as the tears ran down her face. "I cant stay here try to understand," she sobbed. Carolyn covered her mouth to control her sobbing.
Raisa went to her and took her in her arms roughly. She tried taking Carolyns mouth with her own. Carolyn shoved her away.
"No!" Carolyn put distance between them. "No! Wanting isnt enough! I cant stay here! Everywhere I look all around me all this violence never ends." Carolyn wrapped her arms around her stomach. "I wont bring another child into this country .I cant live like this ." She sobbed.
"We can leave Venezuela together Ill go wherever you want!" Raisa begged. Her eyes were wild. Carolyn could see the desperation in her eyes.
"No I cant do this," Carolyn said softly and looked down.
"You cant or you wont!"
Raisa did not try to touch her again. After several minutes Carolyn looked up and as she did was surprised by the woman that now stood before her.
The Raisa that stood in front of her now was cool and in control. She took a step towards the verandah railing and then slowly turned around.
"Copeco has offices in Texas. Matt will do well there. He will get a cushy job that he will accept. Your son will live in a civilized country and you will have your child be an American. You will become one of the many other Copeco wives. Your husband will have a mistress or an affair occasionally and then will go home and fuck you when he was time."
Carolyn stood speechless and in shock at the delivery of this speech. "Raisa..." she began to say.
Raisa raised her hand to silence her. "No need to thank me. One day you will curse me. Because this is your punishment Carolyn you are going to curse me for this."
Carolyn took a step back as the woman in front of her became a stranger.
"Your blood will burn as mine does. You will dream of my touch and of my mouth. You will want me everyday of your life. I curse you Carolyn! I will never touch you again!" On that note Raisa turned around and walked away from Carolyn.
Within a few days Andreas had arranged it all. Matt, Carolyn and Simon were flown back to Caracas. Matt had accepted the apology and understood the conditions without saying a word. He accepted his new promotion and they were all planning their move back to the US within the next few weeks. Carolyn never saw Raisa again before leaving Hacienda Virago. Matt never requested an explanation.
Carolyn had notified the school that Simon would not be returning. She had contacted her parents who were delighted of the news of their return to the US. In two weeks she would be leaving Venezuela.
The city seemed tenser since the last time she had been there. More political graffiti seemed to be everywhere. Public transportation went on strike. Suddenly people took to the street and the army was called out to restore order.
It all happened quickly. Troops took over the radio stations and surrounded the Presidential Residence Casa Rosada. It all exploded. Civil war had erupted. Militia took to the streets. Shots were seen from a distance. Helicopters flew overhead. For hours one could hear tanks and machine guns being fired. The world of fear that Carolyn had foreseen had come to pass. Looting started and the populace took to the streets.
Matt had gone out and had not come back. The servants had left attempting to get home to their loved ones and Carolyn was left with Simon alone. When she heard a few helicopters fly overhead followed soon after by banging on her door she thought her knees would give out. Simon hid his face in fear. Carolyn knew that houses were being looted.
Suddenly, she heard the shattering of wood. She saw three men enter the house. Carolyn held Simon to her tightly. Then she saw Raisa.
"Come on," she called to her. "You cant stay here now!"
Carolyn followed her out of the house and into the helicopter that was now a few yards away from the house. The shots could be heard even past the noise of the propellers. Raisa put her hand out to her and Carolyn took it. She got into the helicopter as Simon was hoisted up and strapped in by one of the men that had entered the house.
It was all so unreal. Raisa reached over and strapped her in and as she did she signaled the pilot and the helicopter took to the air. Carolyn looked down in time to see men running into the grounds and shooting at them as they flew higher and higher. A bullet came close and she felt Raisas arms around her.
Within minutes they were landing. She looked up and realized that they were in Maiquetia Airport just outside Caracas. Carolyn was in a daze. She was suddenly being hoisted out of the helicopter again. She could see Simon being carried towards a waiting jet.
Carolyn turned around and felt Raisas mouth on hers instantly. Raisa suddenly released her and said loud enough in her ear as she held her to her. "Now I dont owe you a thing. Next time I see you stay away from me or Ill kill you."
Raisa pushed her away from her and Carolyn was being pulled towards the waiting airplane, shock and hurt still showing in her face. She went up the stairs of the airplane clumsily and she could see Matt and Simon together inside. Carolyn then turned around and looked towards Raisa once more before the door was closed.
Raisa stood as her hair swirled wildly. She saw when Carolyn turned around and she stood there as the door closed and she still stood in the same place minutes after the plane had already gone.
Someone pulled her arm and she saw them signaling towards the car. She went into the waiting automobile and picked up the phone.
"Ms Andieta we have him," she could hear from the other side of the connection.
"Good, Ill meet you at the Country Club. Do we have the TV Station still under our control?"
"Yes, V-Vision is under our control."
"Good, Ill be there soon."
Raisa signaled the driver and the bulletproof automobile took off at great speed followed by four other vehicles. Raisa put on the sunglasses that she was well known for wearing. In a few hours she would either be on her way to unimaginable power or to sure death. She had made sure she had kept her word. Thats what she told herself. She had gotten Carolyn out. Carolyn was safe she had seen to that. Now she only had one thing to focus on. She was playing to win or to die. And at this moment she didnt much care which.
The military coup in Venezuela had failed, reported all news agencies. At the last minute the president had been flown out by helicopter. Said helicopter had landed at the Country Club close the Colinas Residences and then the President had somehow managed to get to the V-Vision television station. He had barricaded himself in the television station with loyal troops surrounding it.
The president had appealed to the people. Support that he did not seem to have previously from the military suddenly appeared and within a few weeks the city was once again under his control. The military had brought back order. Those responsible had been captured. Soon after it became quite obvious that the balance of power had changed. It became apparent to those that understood how things really worked that Copeco was now the major player.
Within a few months things began to stabilize. Elections came and went but that was just expected. Within a few years Raisas control over almost everything that moved, transpired, lived and breathed was absolute. Her power was all encompassing and Copeco was the most powerful conglomerate that Latin America had ever known. Copeco and its subsidiaries grew and multiplied.
A woman screamed in the night. All knew better then to try and assist. The servants had learned to not hear and not see anything. They were well paid for. Women came and went. All left better or the worse for wear but none complained. Their hands were always full of money. And if truth be told given the chance they would keep coming back for more.
It was dark and the two figures on the bed were finally still. Raisa got up and walked naked to the French doors. She flung them open and let the wind rush in. A storm was coming. One could smell the earth and the charge in the air. It was a big storm.
Raisa walked out on the verandah and let the wind caress her body. The moonlight caressed her body as her face looked up and she allowed herself to feel its caress. All she could hear was the wind swirling around her. She fed off the storm. Raisa drew deep within herself and suddenly she could hear music playing. Lighting flashed and thunder could be heard crashing loudly against the earth. She was once again surrounded in darkness.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a shadow. She turned and stared not believing and yet yearning to touch. She heard the thunder once more. All the elements were playing a trick on her. The shadow reached out for her.
"Carolyn!" Raisa took the woman into her arms and her mouth sought lips that burned with passion and promise.
The body in her arms did not fit. The mouth that she kissed was not as warm and did not beckon. She shut her eyes tightly and pushed the body she held away. The lighting illuminated the balcony and Raisa could she the girl on the floor. As usual they all looked at her in fear in the end..
"Go back inside!" Raisa shouted. The girl got up and went back into the bedroom. Raisa looked around and felt foolish and all the anger filled her once more.
She entered the room with all her demons once more inside her. The woman was getting dressed. "I thought you might want to be alone," the young woman said softly.
The lightning flashed outside once more soon after followed by the roaring thunder "Not yet. I still want to fuck. Walk over there and bend over." Raisa walked up to her and grabbed the dress and ripped it as the thunder rang out even louder than before.
Carolyn sat up in bed with a start. She looked around not knowing exactly what she expected. She then looked towards the flashing lights visible from the windows. It was a storm. Thats what must have woken her she tried to rationalize. She looked next to her and saw that Matt was sleeping soundly. She lay back down slowly and stared into the darkness.
She hated waking up in the middle of the night like this. Carolyn always felt as if the darkness mocked her. The darkness that once upon a time had been cool and welcoming now felt foreign and menacing.
She got up and went out of her bedroom as she always did when waking in the middle of the night which was often. Carolyn walked through the house in the dark; first checking on Simon and then on her daughter, Amanda. Confirming that both her children were safe and asleep she went to the great room of the house and sat on the lavishly plush white sofa. She seemed to sink into its softness. Her arms went protectively around her body.
Quite suddenly she was filled with a need that she had felt so many times before. Carolyn closed her eyes and allowed her head to fall back. It hurt so much to remember and yet she was cursed not to be able to forget.
She had cursed her, Raisa had. Carolyn could still remember the words and the look in Raisas eyes. She had cursed her to want what she could not have. Carolyn looked around her. She was surrounded by opulence and wealth. Matt needed to show off at every moment his success. This huge house was just one more showpiece for him like his wife and his children.
Her children were healthy and seemed happy she told herself over and over again. Most women would love to be her. Matt was doing well in the company; his ace always being that he was favored by the head of Copeco herself. He was admired by his colleges and had gone far within the corporate ladder. He was one of Copecos golden boys.
Carolyn had never seen Raisa after she had left Venezuela almost 10 years ago. Raisa had kept her word. All that she had promised Carolyn had come to pass. Raisa had not tried to contact her or so much as interfere in her life. Carolyn had not heard her voice or even seen a photograph of her and yet Raisa was more a part of her than she was when they had been lovers. Raisa was under her skin and in her blood. Raisa filled her mind and her dreams.
Again in desperation Carolyn looked around the room. A heavy wind blew the French doors open and that same wind filled the room. The sounds of the storm and its passion swirled around her and Carolyn cried out in pain into the maelstrom. "Ohhhhhh ." She closed her eyes only to feel the hunger that would never be quenched. She was filled with a need to touch and feel and taste and want and want and want "Raisa " she cried into the darkness.
Raisa felt the rush of pleasure fill her and she screamed out. She sat up in bed in the middle of the night. Her body was covered with perspiration. She felt sated and cold at the same time. Only at these moments, after these dreams that she did not know whether to call them sent from heaven or hell, did she truly feel alive. She shook her head in frustration and screamed again. She lay back down staring at the ceiling. Breathing heavily still, she tried catching her breath after making love to a memory of a woman that still haunted her even now after all these years.
It had been almost ten years to the day that she had last touched Carolyn. She had fucked so many women that after awhile she lost count and all faces blended together. Raisa realized that in cursing Carolyn that day she had cursed herself as well. Only in dreams did Raisa feel pleasure. Only in her dream world did she allow a woman to touch her and possess her. She had fought loving Carolyn ten long years. It was enough she finally told herself. She sat up and stared into the emptiness of her bedroom. She was alone. She finally acknowledged that it was by choice.
When Carolyn woke up in the morning she felt stiff she stretched as if to bring to life a body that had been dormant for many years. For a moment she put out her hand to her eyes to block out the sunlight. She then looked around the room. Leaves were strewn everywhere. The marble floor seemed wet near the French doors that were still stood wide open. Carolyn got up slowly and walked over to the welcoming sunshine coming from outside. She looked around her garden and was suddenly filled with newfound vigor. All was covered with the dew of a new morning. She could hear the singing of the birds and her nose was suddenly filled the smell of roses. "Mmmmmm ." She breathed in and closed her eyes in a comforting gesture. "The night is over . Its a new day."
Continued - Part 3 (Conclusion)
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