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...


9. Still

Dina was leaving - frustrated her attempts to resolve her guilty conscience would probably go unresolved. She had made the spontaneous decision to take a paternity test - only to find out from the hospital that the list of things she needed to take the test were confusing. And the risk of her infidelity being discovered far outweighed her need to know who the father of her unborn child was. After all, Ed worked at Sim City General Hospital, as well as... “Don?” Dina cried, as she turned the corner of the hospital corridor and was faced with a solemn looking Don Lothario. He stood up and Dina was greeted with an emotional hug. Before Dina could ask what was going on, he looked into her eyes and sighed.
“When did you get the message?” He asked. Dina struggled to find an answer, hoping that she could fake an understanding so as not to be caught out.
“About... I came as soon as I heard. What’s the news?” Dina thought fast, as she replied.
“I think she’s awake, but I haven’t been able to see her yet.” Don informed Dina.
“Nina?! What... I mean, how?” Dina panicked, as she tried to find out what had happened without Don realising she didn’t already know.
“Like I said on the phone, Nina had an accident and...” Don trailed off and sat down. Dina joined him and tried to keep the frantic worry from showing.
“And?! You know, your message wasn’t all that clear. I think it...” Dina began to make up an excuse but Don interrupted her again.
“She’s lost the baby. The doctor said that if she hadn’t have been pregnant, her injuries would have been much more serious.” Dina’s mouth formed an ‘O shape, as she sat there in open-mouthed silence, unable to reply. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to take that diagnosis. God, I wish didn’t even know.” Don cried out.
“How did she fall?” Dina asked.
“The stairs. Didn’t I say that? Of course I didn’t, I probably left the shortest, most-cryptic message ever. I’ve just been so consumed with worry and guilt.”
“Guilt?” Dina asked.
“We had a stupid argument, she told me to leave and I did. I was gonna turn straight around and apologise, but I thought if I gave her time to cool down and think about things, she’d be more accepting. I was a complete jerk.” Don regrettably thought back.
“So... how do you know she fell down the stairs?” Dina asked once more.
“She was at the... well, I guess I don’t. Why, what are you implying?” Don sharply replied.
“Nothing! Nothing... that won’t have already gone through the mind of her doctor.” Dina tried to break it to Don gently that Nina’s accident could be considered as suspicious.
“Youre saying you think someone attacked her?” Don replied.
“I’m saying that we don’t know what happened, until Nina tells us.” Dina replied, hoping to end the conversation.
“And what if she doesn’t know? She could have blacked out, the doctor said she could have been unconscious before she fell.” Don said in a panic.
“I’m sorry, Don, I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s obvious this is just a tragic accident and I’m spinning this into something completely different.” Don stopped breathing so quickly and tried to calm down.
“You’re right, she’ll remember, she just needs to be around familiar faces.” Don said, as he went to hold Dina’s hand for comfort. Don’s touch reminded her that last time she and her sister had spoken, it was on bad terms. Nina knew of Dina’s dilemma regarding the father of her child. To walk into Nina’s room on the pretence of comforting her would be inconsiderate.
“I can’t, Don.” Dina announced, and stood up.
“What do you mean you can’t? You have to be there, you’re her sister.” Don raised his voice.
“How am I supposed to..? I just can’t.” Dina looked away.
“You know, this is so typical of you! What am I supposed to tell her when she asks for her sister?” Don yelled.
“She’ll understand.” Dina reasoned, and left the hospital. Outside, Dina shook her head and began to cry. How will she ever understand, Dina thought, desperately trying to push her emotions to the back of her mind. The last thing she needed right now was to get over-emotional and confess everything. Things had to carry on as they were - even if that meant being away from her sister’s side.
Before Don could put serious thought into why Dina left all of a sudden, Doctor Crane walked out into the waiting room. He was smiling, and Don stood up - hoping to hear good news. “Nina’s doing just fine. Medically speaking that is. She was understandably distraught over losing her baby, but she told me she wishes to see you.” Doctor Crane told Don.
“What did you find out about her accident?” Don asked, Dina’s wild thoughts ringing in the back of his mind.
“I held back from asking any details, at this moment in time. I felt she may become even more emotional retelling her story. However, I believe she may open up to you if you’re that desperate to know.” He replied.
“No, it can wait. I just want to see her.”
Doctor Crane showed Don into Nina’s room. “I’ve got a visitor.” He announced to Nina.
“Don.” Nina showed subdued glee.
“Is there anything I can get you two?”
“No, Eddie, we’ll be fine thanks.” Nina replied to Doctor Crane. He smiled and left the room. Eddie? Don thought, getting the impression Nina had gotten to know ‘Eddie Crane rather well in a short space of time. Scolding himself, he realised that this was no time to be jealous, and walked over to Nina’s bed.
“Will we be fine?” He said, unable to come up with a conversation starter of his own. Nina looked so drained in front of Don, he couldn’t hold back his tears like he wanted to.
“Please don’t cry, you’ll just get me going again and I don’t think I have the energy.” Nina honestly told Don.
“I’m sorry, I’m just... so sorry.” Don apologised for everything.
“Don’t be sorry, Don.” Nina let out a depressed sigh.
Shuffling off the bed, Don was amazed to see Nina try to stand up. “Don’t get up, you need to rest.” Don told her.
“I need to face you.” Nina said, as Don held her hands. “I know you’re just going to put this down to the shock, but I can tell you with certainty I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I realised.” Nina started.
“Realised what?” Don asked confused.
“That we’re just so wrong for each other.” Nina forced out, as she looked into Don’s confused and hurt eyes. “I stick by what I said this morning. And given the events...” Nina trailed off, as she stammered and clearly held back her tears that were eagerly waiting to fall. “I’m calling off the engagement.” Nina said firmly. Don stood back in shock.
“I’m sorry I put you through this, but please don’t shut me out.” Don pleaded.
“I’m not saying it’s for definite, but I don’t want to have the drama that is you and me hanging over my head whilst I try and grieve. Just... please say you’ll wait?” Nina asked.
“I’ll wait forever.” Don promised, as he paused and embraced Nina. “As long as it means we’ll eventually be together again.” Nina felt Don’s breath against her cheek when he spoke, and she thought about the life they’d created together that was now over. Finally, she let her tears fall.

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