The instant Aurora laid eyes on her mother,her wailing continued.
Shaken by the state her daughter was in, Maria took some time to grasp the situation that her daughter was describing between heartbroken sobs.
When Aurora had finally picked up her calls,she was alarmed to hear her crying but Aurora had barely got out any meaningful word over the phone.
Aurora finally mopped her eyes dry,her eye-lids were so swollen that she could hardly see out of them but she had only to think of Marco and more moisture trickled down her quivering cheeks.
Maria just stared at her daughter, speechlessly.
Aurora had finally come clean with her and she was utterly stunned.
“So you mean to tell me that you’ve been living with Don Marco because of your father?”
Aurora nodded.”But Papi didn’t mean….”
“And now you’re pregnant just to find out the man you love and who’s also the father of your child is dying?”
‘The man you love is dying’
Those words reeled through her head.And there it was,the simple fact that had frozen Aurora’s ability to reason at source.That news had torn her apart,both angering and terrifying her,for she did not know how to handle something so enormous and threatening that it affected her entire world and destroyed even the future.
Silence cloaked the room.
Maria’s heart fell,she had never seen her daughter this shattered before.
“I’m the reason why you’re so heartbroken”Maria muttered, ruefully.
“Your father stole his painting because of me”
“Because he didn’t want to lose you… because he loves you… I knew what he did was wrong and I ended up paying for it by being the mother of Marco’s child but before I got this news that he’s dying…I wanted nothing more than to be his wife,I didn’t regret going to his house,I didn’t regret the times I spent with him,he made me so happy”
“Do you regret it now that you know he’s dying?”Maria asked.
“I don’t know”Aurora replied, tearfully.”He lied to me, and he just seem so calm with sending me off and saying he’d sign off his empire to me,he didn’t even try to hold on to me…he doesn’t even love me”
“It pains me so much that you and your father lied to me, and I’m highly shocked that you came home pregnant…but then it’s devastating seeing you like this,my dear”Maria said, stroking Aurora’s hair.
She wanted her to stop crying already.
“Your father always said awful things about Don Marco,do you really love him?”Maria asked.
Aurora nodded.”I do…I love him alot but he doesn’t….”
“Do you really think he doesn’t feel a thing for you?You stayed with him for awhile,you didn’t notice anything?”
Memories flew into her head,their numerous horse riding…their lovemaking… riding the scooter with him…few times they had walked around his estate hand in hand and most times when they would just lay in bed and make her laugh over random jokes.
“Please don’t cry… please stop crying”
“I’m not worth your tears, Aurora….you would make a beautiful bride…you
deserve someone who would never leave your side…. who would never do
anything to hurt you but I….”
When he had said these words to her,she had thought she saw tears in his eyes…..Was he pushing her away from him because he was dying?
“Even if he loves me,he lied to me,he purposely kept his condition….”
“I think he lied to protect you.He doesn’t want you to feel that you have to stay with him because he’s ill.He knows you didn’t sign up for that and he clearly never intended to tell you.Obviously,he thought he was going to have more time with you.He doesn’t want your pity.That’s why he told you that you could have a separation right now,so that you are free to do whatever you like”
Blinking rapidly, Aurora stared back at her mother.
“What I like?”She echoed.
“You said he made you happy,was he also happy being with you?”
“He’s just giving you the chance to escape getting involved in his illness” “You honestly believe he’s trying to protect me rather than get rid of
me?”Aurora whispered, shakily.
“I think that’s the reason he lied all along.He’s trying to be a tough guy, and deal with his condition alone”
Aurora swallowed the thickness in her throat and stared down at her feet with glazed eyes.”I don’t think I can handle losing him”She framed, gruffly.
“Well,I still don’t know or like that man well enough but if you’ve come to love him this much then don’t give up.By the sound of it,he has already given up,so he doesn’t need more of the same from you.There may still be room for hope.You should tell him that he has to give the treatment a go….for your sake and the
baby’s.”Maria proffered,briskly.”With any luck,it won’t be too late for him to change his mind”
Aurora gasped at the thought like a mental lifeline and held fast to it.”I didn’t even think of how he might feel having such an illness,I was stupid,blind,self-obsessed…”
“You were in shock and now you’ve had the chance to think things through.You have to fight for most things in life that are worth having”
“I’ll go to him…”
“Tomorrow.Right now, you’re exhausted and you need a good night’s sleep before you do anything”Maria told her, firmly.”You have to look after yourself and the baby now”
“Thank you, mother”Aurora muttered, gratefully, the pain in her chest had reduced slightly.
Maria pulled her into a tender hug.
“That doesn’t mean I have forgotten about what you and your father did behind my back,he’d get it from me when he returns”
Aurora nodded, knowing she couldn’t stay angry at them for long.
The next morning, Aurora stood in front of Marco’s house.A deep longing for his presence clawed at her, filling her with fear of the future all over again but also hardening her resolve to take action.
Minutes later,they stood facing each other in his bedroom.
He still couldn’t fathom out what she was doing here.
Aurora stared at him, trying to surmon the courage to fight for a life with
He looked so healthy, with his vibrant golden skin tone hit her like a slap in the face, while the cloaked and unrevealing darkness of his gaze simply hurt her.Once again,she felt excluded,on the outside when she wanted to be involved in everything he did.
Inspite of the pain Aurora was fighting to hold at bay,her heart started to pound very… very fast inside her.
“Will you finally tell me what you’re doing here?”
“What kind of question is that?I live here”Aurora told him tartly. His brow indented and he gave her a bemused look.”Pardon?”
“I want to be with you… I need to be with you”She said boldly.”Blame yourself for that,you dragged me into this”
“You’re taking an emotional view of this situation and that’s wrong”
“Maybe it would be wrong for you but it’s not wrong for me”
“I want you to leave me alone”
“I can’t live with you dealing with this alone and away from me,so it seems we’re at an impasse”Aurora pronounced, taking in the disorientated look starting to
build in his beautiful dark golden eyes and the anger that she was behaving in a way he had not foreseen.”We’re also about to have a major argument”
A black brow lifted.”About what?”He challenged,an aggressive angle to his strong jaw.
“You have to go for that treatment you refused…”
“No”The rebuttal was instant.
“Stop thinking about you and think about this baby you decided to bring into this world”Aurora shot that fiery advice back at him without hesitation.”Our baby deserves that you fight for this by any means open to you,if there’s the smallest chance that you can survive this,you owe it to us to take it!”
Marco gazed back at her with unflinching force but he had lost colour.”Strong words….”
“Strongly felt”Aurora traded, holding that look with intent grey eyes that willed him to listen, for she felt as if she was fighting for both their lives.
“And what if I die during surgery?”
“What if I end up being disabled?”
Aurora squared her slim shoulders.”Then we’ll deal with that when and if it happens.We’ll manage.You’re lucky than most people in that you can afford the best medical care and support if you need it”.
“But what if I’m not prepared to live with the risk of having being maimed?”Marco pressed, darkly.
“Life is precious,Marco.Life is very precious”Aurora whispered, vehemently, longing for him to accept that truth.”I can tell you now that our child would rather have you alive and disabled than not have you at all”
“I’m not going to ask how you feel! I can’t be disabled!”Marco shot back at her in a derisive attack that cut a painful swathe through her anxiety.
“You’re putting your pride and need to be independent ahead of every other factor and you’re assuming what the worst case scenario will result”Aurora condemned in a determined attack on his outlook.”Why so pessimistic? What happened to hope? What’s wrong with having hope?We have a child on the way.I’m asking you to think about what having a father will mean to our baby as he or she grows up”
Marco compressed his lips.”There is no hope and you know that very well but you want to foolishly believe that I would survive.”
Dark eyes bleak and without a shade of gold.Marco breathed curtly.”I have thought long about this and I have already made my decision”
Aurora released her breath in a slow hiss,a ferocious tension holding her taut..draining out of her again to leave her feeling limp and wrung out.”Decisions can be changed!”She argued.
Marco searched her distraught face.”You and that baby have me over a barrel”
“That’s not how I want you to feel”
“This was supposed to be practical.I never wanted you to get involved in this!”Marco derided in a sudden burst of very masculine frustration.
“I decide what I want to get involved in now”Aurora responded, squarely. “You’ll regret it”He told her, grimly.”At any time, feel free to walk away
from this and me”
“I’m not going anywhere”She informed him, stubbornly.
Taking off his jacket,he pace around the room, beautiful dark eyes lustrous, rousing a tiny scream of pain and fear inside her.How could he look so well and yet be so very far from well?
Suppressing that negative thought,she sensed his uncertainty and she reached for his hand in an instinctive gesture of unity.
“There are things I have to say to you,Nena, things that I thought were better left unspoken”
“So get them out of the way now”Aurora urged, wondering in some apprehension what he had held back from saying to her.”We shouldn’t have any more secrets from each other”
Marco studied her intently.”I blackmailed you into this,princesa”He intoned with regret.”I wanted you and I didn’t care how I got you.But no matter how you feel about it now,it was incredibly selfish of me to plunge you into this situation”
“You’d be surprised how resilient I am”Aurora lifted her head high,her grey gaze soft and strong as it rested on him.”And yes,you blackmailed me but I was attracted to as well, nevermind what happens in the future,I’ll always be glad we did get together”She completed, gruffly.
“But I feel like I’ve trapped you now, you’re way too nice to put yourself first and walk away from me”Marco derided in a frustrated undertone.
“You may not die,you must look at the more positive angle”Aurora breathed,feelingly.”And I’m not too nice,if I didn’t want to be with you, I wouldn’t be here now because I couldn’t fake it…I couldn’t pretend…”
He touched her damp cheek with a gentle forefinger and looked down into her open gaze.”No,I don’t think you could ever fake what you feel either and it’s one of the things that I love most about you.What you see is what you get but I’m still taking advantage of your good nature…”
“Stop pushing me away!Do you love me?”
“I am hopelessly in love with you…at some point…I thought it was kind of obvious”
Aurora was trembling.”I can be slow on the uptake sometimes”She said, shakily.”When did you realize you felt that way”
“I don’t really know exactly but when we started living together,it was a challenge just to be away from you for a couple of hours, and also the thought of being close to another woman… just kissing her is irritating to me, I’ve never felt like that before, and those weeks we were together were some of the happiest moment in my life…. and I didn’t want to sacrifice a day of that to the reality of my condition”
That declaration made her eyes prickle with tears but she swiftly blinked the betraying moisture back because she knew he would take the wrong message from it and return to believing that he was the worst thing that had ever happened to her when in fact he was the best.
“I love you,Marco”
He grinned, tipping her chin with his fingers to look down at her silvery eyes. “Mi corazon es tuyo(My heart is yours)”
She smiled up at him with her heart in her eyes.”I love you so much….”
“I’m never going to stop wanting you,carino(darling)”Marco pronounced with driven sincerity, brilliant dark eyes pinned to her with adoring intensity.”But I didn’t want to do this to you.I wanted to make you happy…not sad.”
“And whatever happens you will make me happy”Aurora told him with confidence.”Everyday we have together now is a day we wouldn’t have had if you had succeeded in scaring me off yesterday”
“But it’s not fair to put you through this with me”Marco groaned, unable to hide his guilty look of concern.
Aurora smoothed gentle fingertips across the taut line of one high masculine cheekbone.”How would you feel if it was me that had the tumor? Could you just walk away?”
“Mierda!Are you joking?”Marco demanded, incredulously.
He would practically do anything to save her life if she was in his shoes. “Well then, don’t expect me to be any different,I love you and I want to be
with you, whatever happens”
Deep down,she knew she was only kidding herself.She knew he definitely had a higher percentage of dying but a big part of her wanted to have hope.She wanted to believe in a miracle.She just have to convince him to take the risk.
And in a flood of passionate appreciation that he could not hide from her,Marco covered her mouth with his and kissed her breathlessly.In the midst of it,she embarked on undoing his shirt buttons and spread loving hands over the warmth of his torso.His lean, strong body was urgent and aroused against hers and she shut out the negative thoughts that lurked ready to threaten her happiness.
The man she loves,loves her back with the same heat and passion and,for now that was enough for her.She would take happiness where she could find it and make the most of every moment with him.