The Caliente Affairs - Christmas Eve

The final part of Volume One. On Christmas Eve, the strain begins to show on relationships in Pleasantview. Dina Caliente finds herself still stuck on past mistakes; tempers flare between Don Lothario and Nina Caliente; Alexander Goth visits his sister and feels out of place. Angela Pleasant faces the reality that she cannot have both Dustin Broke and her dream of travelling the world. And by the end of the day, only one of these relationships will survive...


8. Gone

“What’s taking so long?” Don yelled, as he impatiently waited in the hospital corridor. When Don arrived, the paramedics took Nina straight into a room and he was told to wait until Nina’s doctor spoke to him, but that was nearly two hours ago. Every possible scenario had ran through Don’s mind during that time, including the realisation that Nina could die. Luckily, before he went crazy with worry, a doctor finally came out to speak with Don.
“Do you mind keeping your voice down, sir.” The doctor ordered.

“What’s happening? Is Nina okay?” Don demanded to know.
“Don Lothario? You brought Nina in, didn’t you?” Don nodded, as the doctor brought Don to one side. “My name’s Doctor Crane, can you tell me what happened?”
“I can’t, I don’t know. I just came back and she was on the floor at the bottom of the stairs. She must have fallen.” Don replied, his voice slightly quivering with worry.
“So you were out when the incident occurred?”
“Yes. Please tell me if she’s alright.” Don pleaded.
“Nina didn’t sustain too much damage from the fall. There’s two possibilities of why this is - she was already unconscious before the fall, or most of the impact from the fall was cushioned by...” The doctor trailed off, as he looked away from Don’s eyes.
“What is it? You said she was okay and... the baby?” Don said, only now remembering that not only could Nina’s life be in danger, but also that of her unborn child’s.
“Don, I’m afraid that Nina suffered a miscarriage. The probable cause was the fall, and it’s likely that if Nina hadn’t have been pregnant, she would have suffered far more serious injuries.” Doctor Crane gently broke the news to Don. “I know that won’t be of any relief to you, but trust me, Nina is lucky to be walking away from this relatively unhurt.” Don simply stared into thin air, as he thought about Nina’s child. Their child. Dead.
“What happens next?” Don stammered out.
“When she regains consciousness, she will understandably be confused and very emotional. We have a councillor waiting by her bedside who’s trained to help Nina cope with her loss.”
Don began to well up, as he realised that Nina didn’t even know she had lost her baby. For a moment, he wished she wouldn’t wake up, so she didn’t have to experience the pain. If he felt bad, he couldn’t imagine how Nina would feel when she realised. Although Don suddenly began to process some of the doctor’s comments and realised that being pregnant had possibly saved Nina from death.
“When can I see her?” Don asked.
“When she wakes up, the councillor will speak with her - and I’m afraid to tell you, she may not want to see you. And if she doesn’t I’m going to have to respect her wishes. It’s entirely up to her.” Don realised that the last time they spoke, Nina had practically told him to never come back.
“I’m going to wait here anyway.” Don persisted.
“That’s alright. If you want to grab anything to eat or drink there’s a canteen downstairs in the lobby.” Doctor Crane informed Don.
“I’m just going to sit here if that’s alright?” Doctor Crane nodded and cleared his throat.
“Don, you say you were out when Nina fell. Was anyone else in the house?” He asked.
“Not that I know of, I left and came back assuming Nina would have already gone to work. Oh god, I should call work and tell them. Oh god, I need to call Dina.” Don realised.
“There’s a pay-phone down the hall.” Don nodded but stood there, unable to even contemplate the words he would use to tell Dina her twin had lost her baby.


After an extremely eventful morning, Alex was regretting his pre-New Year’s resolution that he had decided to make last night. As he stood on the old front porch of his childhood home and greeted his sister, Alexs promise to ‘come out of the closet’ had previously seemed like such a good idea. But now he knew Dina was pregnant, and his dad was arguing with her, something didnt feel right. Sure, Dina had reassured him that their quarrelling was over, but he knew his father better than Dina did, and Alex was sure that when Mortimer had told him that he and Dina were breaking-up, he had meant it. Now all Alex wanted was a peaceful and uneventful Christmas, with no focus on himself whatsoever. “Are you excited for Christmas?” Cassandra asked.
“Yeah, a little.” Alex hesitated.
“A little? Why, what’s wrong?” Cassandra wondered.
“Oh, it’s just being in a new house I guess - it’ll be my first Christmas away from here.”
“How do you think I feel? I’ve got this whole house to myself. Please say you’ll come over to spend the night!” Cassandra hoped.
“Oh, well, I was just going to stop by to give you some presents.” Alex started.
“Please stay!” Cassandra pleaded.
“Well, I guess, I mean... Can we go inside and talk?” Alex proposed.
“Of course! Wait until you see what I’ve done with the place.” Cassandra told Alex, as she showed him indoors. The old and dated decor that adorned the walls for as long as Alex could remember was still intact, but Alex could spot Cassandra’s little touches to detail. For one, she’d flipped the dining and living rooms around. Three stockings hung above the fireplace in what used to be the living room. Alex could still remember when there were four, but now even his wasn’t present. “I moved the dining room into here after I realised that the same floorboards were underneath the carpet. Isn’t it wonderful?” Cassandra asked, as Alex was momentarily hypnotised by the polished parquet floor.
“It’s so... different. But in a good way.” Alex reassured his sister.
“Well, I didn’t want to go crazy and redecorate the whole house right before Christmas, but just a few changes here and there ended up working a treat. And then of course ,with the house different, I couldn’t just celebrate Christmas in my old, boring clothes - so I got myself an early present!” Cassandra smiled, as she posed to show off her short wavy bob of dark hair, paired with new glasses and what Alex assumed was a new dress. He recognised it as a cheongsam - a mandarin gown Alex remembered seeing pictures of in the Chinese history books he’d borrowed from the library when he was a young, inquisitive child.
“Wait... you changed your hair?!” Alex played dumb, and received a playful punch on the shoulder in response. Hearing Cassandra laugh made him feel at ease, he knew that it would just be stupid to put it off any longer. “I guess everyone’s feeling the need for a change. Even me!” Alex started.
“I noticed.” Cassandra replied.
“You did?” Alex asked, in a surprised manner.
“Sure! It’s obvious someone’s trying to impress the girls by growing a goatee!” Cassandra laughed, as she pulled on Alex’s cheeks. Alex smiled but felt himself turning a bright shade of red. He told Cassandra to knock it off, and he went to look at her Christmas display.
“We don’t usually have the tree here.” Alex noted, walking back out into the entrance hall.
“Well, like I said, it was time for a change.” Cassandra reiterated her previous statement.
“Yeah.” Alex agreed, as he procrastinated even more. “Are all these presents yours?”
“No! Some are mine, and some are Darren’s, but most are Dirk’s. Darren’s been going crazy this year; I told you he started making some serious simoleons from his art? Well, he wanted to treat Dirk. I call it spoiling him, but you know what fathers are like, they never want to hear the truth.” Cassandra stated. Alex picked up on the slight resentment she still had against their father, Mortimer. Alex didn’t know whether it was because of his relationship with Dina Caliente, a women who was barely older than Cassandra. Or due to the fact that he still denied his first wife - their mother, Bella, walked out on the family. But having brought it up, Alex began to think about it. With his own mother abandoning him, naturally he feared rejection and abandonment again. Cassandra was not only his sister and best friend, but a part of him felt as though she was his mother. This was the woman that had practically raised him as her own child when Bella left. It was this that was keeping Alex from opening up to Cassandra. “Anyway, is this what you wanted to talk about?” Cassandra remembered why Alex had agreed to come inside. Alex hesitated and tried to find the words, but his confidence was waning. He thought back to when he had come out to Lilith Pleasant. Rather than being hard, he found that easy. Alex wouldn’t have been bothered if Lilith had rejected him. After Dirk and Meadow, he was actually expecting to be judged. But Lilith had surprised him by not only accepting his secret, but by also becoming a close friend. It was that event that had given him the confidence to come to a decision to tell Cassandra he was gay. Alex wanted so desperately to confess all of his thoughts and fears to his sister, in the hopes that she could cleanse his soul and shine some light onto what it was he was going through. Throughout most of his life, it was Cassandra he had looked up to; he had turned to for guidance. But at that one moment when he needed her the most, the words just would not come. Fear clouded his judgement, and so silent he remained, as Cassandra looked on clueless. Just like everyone else around me, Alex pitifully thought to himself. Though fortunate it would turn out, as Alex realised, when Darren Dreamer merrily wandered down from the first floor of the Goth mansion. Alex turned towards Darren, and received a half-hearted greeting before Darren continued into the kitchen. Surprised, but not shocked, Alex looked at Cassandra for answers. “I’d be really happy if you’d join me and the guys for Christmas dinner tomorrow.” Cassandra wondered out loud.
“Guys?” Alex was confused.
“Dirk and Darren! I know Dad invited us over, but after last time...” Alex shuddered, as Cassandra made him think back to his own actions that day. Pausing in mid-sentence, Cassandra reassured Alex, “I’m sure everything’s okay now, Alex. Dirk’s mood has really changed a lot recently. If you want, you can go upstairs and talk to him.”
“Upstairs?!” Alex asked, with a slight high-pitched squeak to his voice. Cassandra’s living arrangements began to confuse Alex even more.
“Oh, he’s staying in your old room over Christmas.” And on that note, Alex quickly excused himself and went to leave. Unfortunately for him though, Cassandra came out alongside him. “Alex!” She said, stopping him from leaving, “it’s not a problem is it?” She asked. It wasn’t really a problem, just... the thought of Dirk sleeping in what used to be Alex’s room sent him all funny inside! He really did not need those feelings again.
“It’s not a problem for me, was he okay with it?” Alex queried, under the assumption Dirk had and would forever more hate anything and everything ‘Goth.
“Dirk was fine. I mean, Alex, it hasn’t been your bedroom for a while. But if it’s a problem...”
“No, it’s just.” Alex paused, again on the brink of wanting to confess everything, yet cowardly falling in on himself with pity.
“You wanted to tell me something?” Cassandra asked.
“You know, I was just unclear of the whole Dreamer situation and was embarrassed to admit it because, well, you’re my sister and I should know things like that.” Alex half confessed. Cassandra reached out for Alex and smiled.
“We really haven’t been keeping in touch have we? Sometimes I feel like this family’s divided into two halves with you right in-between.”
“That’s me. Confused; in the middle of two halves, not quite sure which one is right.” Alex confessed, although it was secretly how he was feeling about himself rather than his family.
“You’ll always have a room here. I don’t care what Darren says, if you want to come back, Dirk can just take the sofa. Don’t ever feel like you’re not welcome.” Alex hugged Cassandra and smiled, filling him with the confidence he so desperately wanted. He understood, now wasn’t the right time to come out. All of what Alex had needed to hear was for peace of mind. And Cassandra had given him just that. For the first time since he had felt this way inside, Alex was happy.

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