Name This Book…

11 Apr

Chapter One

Our eyes met. He was tall – much taller than I. He had dark eyes. Even from this distance I saw that they were black and piercing. He had midnight black hair, also. So black that in certain angles of the light it looked as if it were a purple-blue. He wore a black tuxedo and he stood alone, almost in shadow. He was dark-skinned – as if he was from a Greek Island or worked all day in the sun.
My breath caught. He was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time. He had a strong jaw and his brow was smooth. He looked as if he’d be quick to smile and slow to anger. His nose was straight and his mouth was full, but with a curve. Almost as if he wore a constant look of gentleness and peace.
I glanced away and then looked back. I smiled a small, delicate smile; a shy smile. He, too, smiled. My breath caught again. In my wildest dreams, he couldn’t have been more beautiful, but when he smiled, his face just lit up the room. His teeth were perfectly straight and a gleaming white in his dark face. He slowly took his hands out of his pockets and walked towards me. My heart started pounding and my mouth went dry.
Our eyes met. She was enchanting. Her hair was long and coiled into a braid down her back with slight tresses along her face. Her hair was a light brown with red highlights, if she turned, just a little. She was fair and her skin was like fine porcelain – so smooth and silky looking. I wondered if her skin was like that everywhere… Her eyes looked to be green. They were wide and innocent, but also slanted as if she were of Mexican origin.
She was wearing a green dress. It was low cut and off the shoulders. Those shoulders looked so creamy and so delicate. She was very tiny – maybe only as half as tall as I. I could probably span her waist with my hands. She was breathtaking.
She glanced away, and then, looked back with a smile. It magnified her beauty a hundredfold. So, I smiled back and slowly walked towards her. Her hand came up to her throat and I smiled wider. It was time to meet this seductress.
He stopped in front of me.
“May I have this dance?” He held out a wonderfully large and safe hand.
I curtsied and placed my hand in his. I somehow felt complete. We waltzed around the room and just absorbed each other’s presence.
Then he finally spoke again, “May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?” His voice was as smooth as silk. Its timbre made me shiver.
“My name is Maricruz.” I said softly, “And yours?”
“Dominic Cardi.” He lifted my hand to his lips. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Maricruz.”
My breath caught once more. “Yes.” I whispered.
“Do you have a last name?” He inquired.
“Yes, it is Avalos.” I replied.
“Ahhh,” he nodded. “You are related to the host?”
“Yes, my father is Carlos Avalos, si.” I smiled, “You know him well?”
“Yes, we have done business together many times. He never told me of your existence.” Dominic replied. “It is a shame I never knew of you.”
I lowered my eyes. Such flattery. “I was promised to another.”
“Oh? And now?” He asked quietly.
“He was killed trying to save some children in a fire. I never knew him. Now there is no one.” I shrugged a little.
“Nothing is arranged for you now?” He asked with bewilderment.
“No, I am getting too old.” I lowered my head. “No one wants an old maid.”
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-four.”
“Hardly an old maid!” He scoffed.
“To you, perhaps, but in my country – very old.” I looked at him.
“Perhaps,” he mocked, “I can arrange something with your father.”
“But I don’t know you.” I gasped.
“You did not know the other, verdad?” He used my language to remind me.
“Si, pero you are not Mexicano!” I used what was often called Spanglish. I blushed.
“Does it make a difference?” He asked softly.
“Yo no se,” I paused, “I don’t know what my father would say.”
“Maybe yes.” He smiled.
“Maybe, perhaps.” I smiled back a little.
“Would you want me for a husband, senorita?” He said lowly.
“Perhaps.” I lowered my head again.
“Perhaps?” He lifted my chin.
“Are you Greek?” I inquired.
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Our children would be weird looking, no?” I frowned.
“No, they would be beautiful,” he paused, “As their mother is.” He smiled, “Or will be. Their mother, that is, not beautiful.” He shook his head, “You are the most enchanting woman I have ever met.” He said, near awe.
“I don’t think you should say such things.” I blushed.
“And why not?” He pulled me closer. “I love when you blush.” He grinned as I blushed some more.
“What would my father think?” I could think of nothing better to say. No man has ever paid me such attention.
“Perhaps I shall ask him.” He bowed as the waltz ended and he kissed my hand. I stood there in shock as the next dance began and Dominic left me to go find my father.
“Aye dios mio!” I whispered and held a hand at my throat. What a man!

“Senor Avalos, una fiesta excellente!” I clasped his hand.
“Gracias, Senor Cardi.” He pulled me to him for a hug. “I saw you dancing with my daughter. She is muy bonita, no?”
“Yes, she is very beautiful, senor. That is why I came to you. May we talk?”
“Si, this way.” He led me to a room off to the side of the grand ballroom. “What is it you wish to discuss?” He asked when we were seated.
“Your daughter tells me there is no one planned for her, verdad?” I sat forward.
“Yes, this is correct.” Senor Avalos nodded.
“May I ask why?”
“No one wants her. They are all foolish men. Anyone can see she would be wonderful although she is older than they would like.” He growled.
“Well, Senor, I see this.” I let that sink in before I asked my question.
“Yes, I see you are a wise man.” His eyes narrowed.
“I would like to ask you for your daughter’s hand in marriage. Obviously, I am not Mexican, but I come from a good family and can give her all she needs.” I sat back to watch him digest this information.
“My grandchildren would not be full-blooded Mexicans. You are suggesting I break the line and branch off into another blood?” He yelped.
“Senor, our families may have different blood, but I see nothing wrong with expanding. My children would inherit just as much from my side as yours. They would have incomparable wealth and would be powerful with both of our bloods.” I paused. “Senor, I do not know your daughter, but I felt something as soon as I saw her. I felt that I would never be complete without her in my life. I can not say I love her, for I do not know her, but I am sure that I will grow to love her. Perhaps sooner than even I think.”
“I see,” he fingered his chin. “Well, I have to discuss this with my family.”
“Of course.” I nodded.
“I will let you know. Until then, please stay away from my daughter. She can not be accused of any wrong doing.” He stood and held out a hand.
I shook it, “Yes, Senor. Your daughter’s honor means much to me as well. I will take my leave right now.” I smiled and left the room.

He never came back. For weeks I have not seen the man named Dominic Cardi. Nor has my father spoken a word about him. It figures that such men who talk that way are all liars! If he shows his face around here again, I surely will not give him the time of day! It is a pity that such looks were wasted on a pulgoso!
“Maricruz! Can you do the washing?” My mother called.
“Si, mama!” I ran to do her bidding. All the way grumbling about Senor Cardi. “I am glad he was not Mexicano! Father would never have agreed to his proposal!” I huffed. I grabbed the basket of clothing.
“Be careful, nina! The boys are out today!” Mama advised. The boys are the chicanos who are not as mannerly as the rest of us.
“Yes, mama.” I smiled and headed out to the river. There were always other girls and women down there to keep me company.
“Hola, Maricruz!” My good friend Juanita called. I waved and headed to a spot next to her. We always wash our clothing at the river and hang them to dry in the backyard.
“Juanita, como estas?” I gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Oh, no se, Mari. It has been a very hard week.” She soaked some of her husband’s shirts.
“The ninos acting up again?” I shook my head. “You should let me help.”
“Maricruz, there will be plenty of time for watching kids when you get married yourself.” She reprimanded.
“If I ever get married.” I sighed, “No one wants me, Juanita. I am too old.”
“Callate! Maricruz, do not talk like that. A good man will come one day.” She shook her finger at me.
I laughed. “Si, and I will probably be washing clothes and miss him!”
“Hush!” Juanita laughed also.

“Donde esta Senorita Avalos?” I could not find her anywhere. Her father said I could finally woo her and ask for her hand, but the girl was nowhere to be found.
“Oh! She is out washing!” Her mother wrung her hands.
“Oh, well, tell me where and I’ll go find her.” I smiled. Obviously the woman was worried I’d not wait for her daughter. Some of the customs here were just rude. If a man really wanted a woman he’d wait forever!
“What?!” Her mother exclaimed. “You can not go out there. It wouldn’t be right! Oh, no, no! Aye de mi!” She wrung her hands again and moaned.
“Senora Avalos, everything is all right. Do not worry.” I tried to explain, but she just went off in Spanish and didn’t listen. I sighed and threw my hands into the air. I’ll just go find her myself. I left the house at the woman’s wailing.
I walked down the lane looking for anything that would help me out. Some little children ran across my path.
“Excuse me, por favor, where do you do the washing?” I knelt down to their level and they all laughed.
“At the river! At the river!” They yelled and pointed. Of course. Where else would they do it??
“Gracias, ninos!” I smiled and gave them all un dolar. They exclaimed over it in their little Spanish expressions and ran off. They I headed for the river.

“Ready for a bath, Senorita Avalos?” Juanita laughed and started to undress.
“Si, Senora Vazquez.” It was always a favorite pastime to swim and play while the clothes were soaking. That way we could also wash our underclothes and then lay them in the sun to dry.
“Oh! Brrr, muy frio, Maricruz!” Juanita yelped and dove underwater. I took my time about it. I was not subjecting myself to frigid water all at once!
“Aye de mi!” I whispered. It is cold! I shivered. Juanita swam towards me. “How can you be under all at once? It is freezing!” I gasped.
“That is why, Mari. You get under all at once so you can do it quick. It is too cold to play. I am done and leaving! Vamanos!!” She went to shore and dried herself with a towel.
“OK.” I still didn’t wish to dunk myself all at once. I waded in waist deep water for awhile. It was then that I felt as if I was being watched. I turned and looked towards the shore. I figured it must be Juanita waiting for me so we can join the other women. I was wrong.

I found the river. Now I know why Senora Avalos did not wish for me to come. I found Maricruz, also. I found very much of her.
She was wading in the water. My breath caught, and I could not move. She seemed to not want to go all the way under. The water must be cold.
All I could do was watch. I was frozen in place, not daring to breathe, just as she was frozen in the water. Then she turned and looked right at me. She was so beautiful. I remembered why I wanted her so much to be my wife. I remembered what I forgot in the time we were apart.
She gasped and then ducked under the water to her chin. Then she gasped again at the cold water. “What are you doing here?! No men are allowed!!” She yelled.
“Lo, siento, Senorita, I am sorry – I did not know!” I turned away from her and I smiled. A lot of good it did; the damage was already done.
“You are surely in trouble for this one, Senor! My father will hear of it; I will see to it!” I could hear her struggle to get to shore.
“I am sorry. I honestly did not know, Maricruz. I thought you were just washing clothes!” I still kept my back to her and looked at the ground. It was a struggle to keep from laughing.
“You…you…you’re a..an..arrogant man!” She huffed and whacked me with a wet shirt. I turned and got the shirt in my face. Now I was wet. I looked at her through the water dripping from my head.
She gasped and covered her mouth, “I am sorry, Senor!”
I stared at her in her towel and then wiped the water from my face with my sleeve. When I looked at her again, her shoulders were shaking with laughter.
“I am sure you are.” I smiled. We stared at each other for a minute and then I asked her: “Senorita, I have come to ask for your hand.”
“You left! You never said goodbye!” She whispered.
“Your father thought it best if I not be around you while he talked over my proposal with your family.” I shrugged.
“He did not talk it over with me!” She huffed.
“That was left for me to do. Marry me, Maricruz.” I asked lowly. She put a hand to her throat.
“I…” She lowered her eyes. “My father wishes it so?” She asked.
“Yes. So do I. Very much.” I whispered.
She looked at me. “Then yes, I will accept.”
“Good!” I grinned.
“On one condition.” She stated.
“Oh?” I blinked, “What is that?”
She looked at me and slowly smiled, “On the condition that I never have to do the washing again.”
I smiled back and breathed a sigh of relief. “Of course. Once you are my wife, your beautiful hands will never wash clothing again.” I threw my arm around her as we walked away. “We have these wonderful machines that will do the wash for you…”

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3 Responses to “Name This Book…”

  1. graciouslady April 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Can’t wait for the next chapter, beautiful, how is this marriage going t work? Fantastico!!!

  2. blocita May 7, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Ermh…this is kinda weird x.x

    My name is Maricruz and my last name is Avalos. But I guess it’s a pretty common spanish name…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Did you mean: I can’t spell and I am a perv? « D.M. Wright Books - March 4, 2009

    […] maricruz Avalos   1  – this girl searched herself and I am using her name in one of my books. Weird. […]

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