Pic: Caramba Restaurant Madrid

* Music during reading (to feel better the atmosphere of this chapter I recommend this song in the background)

Alex was on the back seat of the black car that was waiting for me in front of the hotel. Stunned by what had happened, I couldn’t wrap my head around his carefree, enthusiastic smile. I responded with an unexpected slap in his face; Although not so long ago, I thought that I would rush to hug him as soon as I saw him.

“I responded with an unexpected slap in the face; Although not so long ago, I thought that I would rush to hug him as soon as I see him.»

“I deserve it,” the person responsible for my concern and anger touched his cheek, reddened by the sudden blow that took us both by surprise, and smiled at me again. His gaze hinted at a hug, and unable to restrain, I threw myself on his neck and started to cry like a little girl. The car started off in an unknown direction.

I touched his face, feeling his hands surrounding my wrists, and looked into his eyes as tears flowed from mine; tears of happiness because everything was all right with him, tears of anger because of the hard time I had in the last hours, tears because I could not believe that he was in front of me.

“Are you okay? Why did you do this to me? I didn’t know what to think!” I said, trying to find his gaze.

Alex did not answer me, he kissed me on the forehead and, hugging me, reminded me that he was by my side. I leaned on his chest, feeling his heartbeat, and the wish that he would go through the same pain as me, the idea with which I went to this meeting, completely disappeared.

“Forgive me, I’ll explain everything to you when the time comes, but now I can’t … I need to finish an important business, and I just want to ask you to trust me,” he spoke to me calmly and evenly, as if asking for something very simple. I sat up straight and, moving away, looked at him suspiciously. “Don’t worry,” he continued, “soon everything will be the same, even better. Ava, I love you. Believe me,” he took my hand and kissed it.

“What about the police?” I asked, remembering the call from the Inspector Aguirre, who was waiting for me at the police station with the news about Alex.

“Don’t say anything. Behave as if this meeting never happened.”

I looked down while my mind was trying to fight my heart upon hearing these words.

“Trust me, everything will be fine. Okay?” He continued.

I nodded. My desire to believe his words was so strong that all possible alternatives that did not lead to this decision seemed wrong to me. The choice that I made earlier, to find out the truth, disappeared along with the initiative, putting my hopes, illusions and feelings above reality and facts.

«My desire to believe his words was so strong that all possible alternatives that did not lead to this decision seemed to me to be wrong.»

“And Sommer?”

“What about Sommer?” Alex answered me without understanding why I’m asking him that.

“He is here. I didn’t know what to do and whom to call… He came this morning to help me find you. He is at the hotel… is your friend, sure he can help you…”

“Forget it!” Alex interrupted me in an altered way. “Did you tell him something about the fact you saw me or that you were heading to meet me?”

“No… I haven’t told anyone… but he has the key. I was angry, and I wanted to end everything between us, I’m sorry …” I answered emotionally, feeling guilty of the unfulfilled request of my fiancé, blinded by my anger and determination of that moment.

“It’s okay, don’t worry. I need you to get it back, but don’t tell Michael why you need it. All right?

“All right…” I confirmed Alex that I was with him in this, ignoring the inner voice that warned me about the possible consequences of what I was getting myself into. If only we could easily identify if that inner voice which speaks to us so often belongs to fear or intuition.

“If only we could easily identify if that inner voice which speaks to us so often belongs to fear or intuition.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon to see how things are going. Okay?

“Yes,” I said uncertainly.

The car stopped again at the hotel entrance. I kissed Alex goodbye and got out of it with even more questions. What’s the matter with me? Why did I give up so easily searching for the answers I wanted to hear so much?

The Mercedes started, leaving me without the determination and courage with which I got into it, while Sommer was watching all this a few steps away, the fact I didn’t even suspect.

I didn’t enter the building, but immediately took a taxi and went to the police station, so as not to raise suspicions about my delay, after I got a call from Inspector Aguirre.

“Miss Gerber, thanks for coming. Follow me, please,” the inspector said in a friendly, but serious way, escorting me through the cold and noisy corridors, where phone calls and the voices of police officers were heard, until we got to the office where I have already been.” Sit down, please. Have you heard anything about your fiancé?” He asked me.

“No, nothing,” I lied, realizing that there was no turning back.

“We found that a significant amount of money had been withdrawn from your boyfriend’s bank accounts a few days before what happened. Do you know anything about this? Maybe why did he need it?

“I have no idea, Inspector. Alex has his own bank accounts, I do not interfere in his financial affairs,” I answered, trying to connect the dots in my head to find the answer to this new information.

The inspector kept asking me questions, when I was trying to not show my obvious nervousness, hiding the new clues that were in my hands. One hour later, he let me go.

I got out of the taxi a few steps from the hotel. Not yet ready to go back to my room and lie to Marta about everything that had happened today, I approached the terrace in tropical motives and with the view of the street that has been so present in my life lately: Alcala. I walked into the cosy and elegant interior of Caramba * through a colourful entrance with floral walls and blue tiles. Customers who noticed my arrival were enjoying their signature creative cocktails made with ingredients from all over the world. This atmosphere, recreated and illuminated by raffia lamps imitating palm leaves, reminded me of the warm Caribbean coastlines, but in the already cold Madrid.

Entering a space with several spaces at different heights, which, at the same time, directly led you to the registration of the Regina Hotel, since the restaurant occupied its first floor, I sat down at one of the tables located in front of the large central bar. I was watching diners enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with exotic flavours and traditional dishes such as Segovian piglet or potato and truffle Spanish omelet, and the shelves of books that adorn the walls of Caramba Restaurant. This design paid tribute to the women of the “Generation 27” – writers, philosophers, poets and artists of the Spanish avant-garde such as Concha Mendez or Maria Zambrano; women who met a hundred years ago in café on the central streets of Madrid searching for inspiration and freedom. Courageous and determined women: qualities that I lacked so much right now because although love is the greatest power in the world, it is also man’s greatest weakness.

«Although love is the greatest strength in the world, it is also man’s greatest weakness. «

I took the phone and dialled Sommer’s number, having no idea that a few hours ago he was waiting for me, determined to confess that he remembered me all this time, or the fact that he saw me with his friend. The only thing I was thinking was that I needed to return the key to help Alex, not even knowing why.


*Due to the measures taken in relation to COVID-19, the schedule and access to some spaces may change.