To set the scene, it's at Isabella, Joaquin's sisters Quinceneara. Mia and Joaquin have been dancing together, heightening the mood and all, and now the music has stopped for this scene.
While Isa effortlessly performed her musical medley with her escorts, Teresa began working her way through the crowd. To several of the male family and friends, she handed a long stemmed pink rose. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her hand one to Joaquin. He smiled broadly and nodded, but I didn’t think much of it.
The song ended, and the crowd erupted in applause. Isa flushed the color of her glittering pink dress, but she did manage to grin when someone cat called her. Since my Spanish was still sorely lacking, I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what Teresa said when she took the microphone from the DJ. The next thing I knew, a slow song had started, and Joaquin was striding across the floor to his sister.
Isa smiled when he offered her the rose. She took it from him as he swept her into his arms. For a less than a minute, they swayed under the twinkling lights. Then Juan Manuel approached. Joaquin released his sister, and Isa took the rose from her cousin.
I watched in amazement as Isa slowly collected a dozen pink roses and dances from her male family members. At last, Ruben approached her. His rose shook his hand, and there were already tears streaming down his face as he took his baby daughter in his arms.
As she gazed up at her father, tears glistened in Isa’s eyes. And at that moment when father and daughter looked at each other with such love, my heart constricted in my chest. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. The pain spread throughout my chest, threatening my ability to breathe. Reality rained down on me like a firestorm.
My father would never look at me that way. Only disappointment would radiate in his eyes. We would never move past the incident that had banished me. He’d always see me…he’d always look at me the way he had that day when he caught me with Him.
There was only one thing I knew for certain. I had to get out of there before my heart shattered further into a thousand tiny pieces.
I turned on my strappy sandals and started fighting my way through the crowd. No one stopped to notice the tears streaming down my face—they were all focused on the emotional scene on the dance floor. I threw open the double doors, racing into the night. The cool tears streaming down my cheeks were met by the intense July heat.
As I weaved my way through the cars, I tried to clearing my mind. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get Ruben and Isa out of my memory. My chest began heaving with sobs. I wobbled on my heels and fell against a car. I wanted to be home. I wanted to feel my mother’s arms around me. I wanted things to be the way they were before Him. Before I threw it all away. And strangely, I even longed for Livia—to feel her arms around me—her grandmotherly voice soothing me.
A voice brought me back to reality. I rose up from the hood of the car and peered at the person. It was Joaquin. His perfect model face was etched in concern. He shuffled on his feet—unsure of what to do. Finally, he took a step towards me. “What happened? Are you all right?”
“No,” I whispered.
That simple word had him at my side. He pushed my hair back and stared into my eyes. I closed them and ducked my head—desperately wanting to shield myself from his questions. Instead, I felt his hand cup my chin.
“He loves you, Mia. No matter what you think or what he said, he does love you,” Joaquin said, softly.
*Here's the actual Quince I attended in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was for Tania, the niece of my BFF's hubby. I'd met Ruben's family when I went down for my goddaughter's baptism. We all got along so well that they invited me back for her Quince. It was a lot of fun, and here's some pics!
Tania with her dad, Jimmy, that inspired the scene with Ruben and Isa
Tania dancing with "Jack" to Titanic