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A Problem Like Maria

Prologue

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A Problem Like Maria
by Lar

 
     

Chapter Fifteen

"Really Tony, itís not like Iím totally helpless. Just walk behind me." I snicker as we exit the elevator. Tony had practically carried me from the car through the lobby of the hotel.

"Sis, Iím just trying to help." Tony replies as we round the corner.

"Well, I appreciate you trying, but youíre trying to hard. I can do this on my own. I was walking fine around the hospital yesterday." I remark as we near the suits at the end of the hall. Tony pulls out a card and slides it through the lock. He opens the door and holds it for me. I gingerly enter the spacious room, and glance around. Itís very open and a door is opposite from the bathroom.

"Closet?" I ask, pointing at it.

"No, thatís a door to father and my room. Weíre right next door." He answers.

"Oh. I see." I walk over to the door and knock on it in a rhythmic beat, leaving the last few knocks out. A few seconds later, there is a knocking reply coming through the door, and a minute later, it opens. My father stands on the other side, wearing a pair of khaki pants and blue button down shirt. His dark brown hair was slicked back, and his olive eyes pierced mine.

"Hello Maria. Iím so glad youíre outta that hospital." He perkily remarks, pulling me in for a gentle hug.

"Thanks father. Iím so happy to be outta that hospital too. It was just awful!" I laugh lightly as he pulls away.

"Shall we celebrate your departure in your room or ours?" Tony asks, smiling from ear to ear. I lean over my father and peek into their hotel room. Clothes were laying on the floor, chairs, and beds. The beds were unmade, and all together, it looks like a tornado decided to go through.

"Um, I think itís best if we stick with mine. I wouldnít want to mess your room up."

"Funny Maria. Very funny." Tony sarcastically replies.

"I like to think I am." I say sweetly. I smile brightly, as my brother snickers and walks past me. Over to the hotel mini-bar he goes, and my eyes follow his every movement. He pulls out three cans of Squirt and places them on the table. I will my feet to move and go sit on the small couch. My father comes to sit next to me, and hands me a can. I sip it gingerly as Tony pulls up a chair and sits across from us.

"Your mother come to visit you this morning?" Father asks, breaking the silence which was looming in the air.

"Yes. Her, Theresa, and Miguel. You saw Theresa yesterday, but you wouldnít believe how much Miguelís grown. Heís a total stud, Theresa said." I excitedly ramble.

"Donít let Maria fool you into thinking thatís all he is. Heís really a great kid. Very polite and respectful. Not at all like Luis." Tony bitterly adds.

"Tony, you shouldnít be so hard on Luis." Father reminds him.

"I know. Itís just amazing, thatís all. He helped raise both Theresa and Miguel, and theyíre both so different from him. Itís like they saw him and decided to be the opposite." Tony defends.

"Fatherís right Tony. Iím not saying I forgive Luis, but he did what he thought was necessary in all circumstances." I interject.

"Oh youíre not going soft on him too." Tony whines.

"No, Iím just saying we should give him a chance." I reply.

"But you remember how he acted yesterday." Tony argues.

"You both were acting like complete jerks if you want my opinion." I snap.

"So if he was to just come up and apologize to you, youíd forgive him?"

"No, itíd have to be a heartfelt apology. Something heís truly sorry for. I donít want no half-assed apology." I shake my head lightly as I answer his comment.

"You both need to have patients with Luis. Heís always been competing for attention. Tony, you always showed favoritism and that hurt Luis. He did everything he could to impress you." Father states.

"Heís right Tony." I sigh, trying to convince my brother to lighten up.

Tony runs his hand through his raven hair, and his deep green eyes look skyward. He rolls his neck, cracking it at the same time.

"God Tony! You know I hate it when you do that!" I yell out at him, disgust in my voice.

"Thatís why I do it." Tony smirks, prompting me to through one of the decorative pillows at him.

"Here we go again." Father mumbles, as the small pillow fight begins to grow.



A sudden knock on my door stops us a half an hour later. Father, Tony, and I all lay on the floor, pillows and blankets tossed around my dismantled room. The remains of the pillow fight still apparent.

"Did you order something?" I ask Tony.

"No. I donít know who that could be." Tony replies, furrowing his brow. The person knocks again, this time a bit more impatient.

"Help me clean this junk up." I whisper to the two men in my life. We quickly get up to our feet and begin putting the blankets back on the bed.

The person knocks again, and I call out, "just a minute." We scurry around the room, placing the fallen lamps in their proper places, and finally putting the pillows back in order.

I hustle over to the door, and open it, without looking through the peep hole.

"Luis! What a....surprise!" I shout out, my eyes widening. I glance back at the room behind me, and a sudden panic races through me.

"Hi Paloma. Mama wanted me to stop by, and well, I wanted to too. Whatís going on here? Youíre hairís all messed up, thatís not like you." Luis comments, trying to look past me and into the room.

"Nothings wrong Luis. Me and Tony were just having a pillow fight." I deny quickly.

"Are you sure thatís all? You seem a little edgy." Luis point out. ĎDamn, heís good.í I think, nervously glancing back again.

"Whatís back there?" Luis asks.

"Nothing, nothing." I shake my head.

"Well then, you wonít mind if I come in." Luis smiles.

"Well, Iíd rather you didnít. Itís really a mess." I say. A loud crash comes from the back room, and father can be heard swearing.

"Thatís not Antonioís voice Paloma. And definitely not Hankís." Luis glares, an anger coming upon his face as he pushes past me. He walks into the back bedroom before I can speak. I stay put by the door, listening.

"Papa?" I faintly hear, before a loud thud. I race towards the back room, and find Luis passed out on the floor, my father and Tony surrounding him.

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