Author Topic: Lost and Found  (Read 32 times)

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Offline Raolo

  • Human
  • Posts: 1
  • : Raolo Santiago
Lost and Found
« on: March 15, 2023, 09:41:27 AM »
"Come, children," Raolo said as the two climbed down out of the Range Rover.

"Where are we, Tio?" the girl asked, curiosity shining in her eyes.

"We are at a friend's house, mija," he answered gently, giving her a smile as he tousled the boy's hair.

A woman laughed, her footsteps echoing as she descended the driveway. She leveled her eyes at the driver, then looked back to Raolo and smirked. "Friends now, Raolito?"

Raolo narrowed his eyes and took in a deep breath. This was not the time, he reminded himself. He  was here for the children, nothing more. "As I told you on the phone," he said, stepping to the side so she could see both children clearly.

"Hmmm, yes," she said, nearly purring as she stepped closer, finally looking to the two children. First the girl, then the boy. Back to the girl, lingering a little this time and then doing the same with the boy. "They smell of our blood," she agreed. She stepped even closer, squatting down in front of the boy and looking him over appraising. "What is your name, mijo?"

"Reyhan, ma'am," he said shyly, big eyes looking into hers. He wasn't afraid, but cautious. She could respect that.

"A fine name. And you?" she turned her head to face the girl.

"Rosalinde Esperanza Santiago.." the girl narrowed her eyes slightly, then added. "Ms."

The woman laughed softly, then stood. "No worries Rosalinde Esperanza Santiago. I mean your brother no harm. Nor yourself. I am Erica Santiago. You may call me Tia Erica, or Aunt Erica if you prefer."

The children exchanged a glance, both showing wonder at this revelation. "Auntie?" the boy, Reyhan asked.

"Auntie is fine,"

"No, I mean. You're our Auntie? Ma'am?"

Erica glanced to Raolo and back, smiling. "Yes, or close enough. Now, why don't we all go inside and I can show you to your rooms. I even had Mauricio set out some toys you might like."


Twenty minutes later, in the den that Erica spent most of her relaxing time, she poured Raolo a drink as he returned from the restroom. "They're upstairs playing. I think they'll do just fine," she said, handing him his drink.

"Patron?" he asked as he sniffed, then took a sip approvingly. "Good. I was worried."

"Afraid they wouldn't like me?"

"No," he scoffed and grinned a little. "I just feel..."

"Horrible for leaving them with me."

Raolo winced, but nodded as he sipped at his drink.

"I wanted to ask you, did you not think they would be happy in Texas, growing up with your little one?"

"Julieta. Perhaps, but..." he sighed. "I don't want to confuse her. The questions. She's full of questions, and I don't want to confuse her. She's content now and I don't want to disrupt that.."

"But the children.."

"No, I won't have it." he said, turning away.

Erica could see the pain, feel the pain in him for the losses of family he'd experienced. She said no more of it, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"How is...Charles?" he asked after a pause.

"He is well. He wonders why you don't come around anymore."

"You know the answer to that."

Erica shook her head, stepping away after removing her hand from his shoulder. "You hate us so. But we're your family."

"It's not you or Charles I hate. I fear what you've become.."

She laughed. "But you send two six year olds to live with us."

"You won't hurt them, that's not it."

"No, I suppose I understand. You fear more what we are than what we can do. You've been like this since I made you the offer.."

Raolo looked back sharply. "I will not take you up on that. Get it out of your head, woman."

She raised her hands, placating. "I won't go there today." Erica took a sip of her drink, glancing to the stairs. "Next year I'll enroll them at Hargrove and they'll get a fine education, as we discussed. Have you contacted the Elizabeth woman?"

"I have. She offered to keep them year round, but I said you'd let them visit during the summers."

Erica nodded as this was satisfactory. "Perhaps they could visit you in Texas, get to know Julieta."

"No, I will not have it!" he insisted, growing angry now.

"You cannot shield her from this family forever, Raolo. One day she will have questions and she will want to know her family outside of your walls."

"Perhaps, when she is grown she will make her own choices. But I will protect her from all of that as long as I can."

"You protect her so fervently from us yet deliver these two innocents right into our midst. How do you live with yourself and your hypocrisy?"

Raolo looked to her angrily. "Do not judge me. It is not you that I protect her from, but this life you lead. All of this that took my family from me, from Julieta."

"We are your family too, Raolo. It is you that pushes us away."

"I cannot risk it. Not with Julieta."

"As you say," she sighed, letting him have the argument for now. There was no point in pushing the man, she knew this. Stubborn old goat that he was. Erica watched sadly as Raolo set his empty glass down, nodded in her direction, and stepped with purpose out the front door. A moment later, she heard the Range Rover start up.

"Not even going to say goodbye," she tsked, sipping the last of her own drink.

"Where's Tio?" the girl, Rosalinde asked from the bottom of the stairs.

Erica looked over, saw both children watching with concern in their eyes. She sighed softly, set her glass down and stepped towards them. "He has returned to his villa. Tio told me to tell you both that he loves you and will check on you soon." She hated lying, but it was better than the truth in this case. "But he knows you'll be happy here with me."

"Alright," Rosa said with reluctance. She thought about it, then looked at Reyhan. Finally, she smiled and stepped to Erica, leading her brother by the hand. "Then we shall be happy here with you, Auntie Tia."

Erica laughed. "Excellent. Come now, I think Mauricio left some cookies in the kitchen"...
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