Although she had wanted to everyday, Katey did not mention the idea of Javier returning to America with her again.
The very mention made him visibly uneasy.
However, Javier felt free to discuss and hint at the idea of her and Rosa living in Cuba, every chance he got.
When they went out walking at night, along the beach he would ask her if New York had anything so beautiful. Katey refrained from telling him that, although New York was not surrounded by tranquil beaches with clear blue water; the hustle-and-bustle of the city was in itself remarkable. A city which literally felt alive. Tingling and surging with an incredible intensity. She kept this to herself.
After a night of dancing in the club, when Katey crashed onto the bed and Javier lay beside her, he would look into her eyes, and with his slick smile say "wouldn't you miss this?"
She would give a little nod and bite her tongue when she felt like telling him; "I'd miss you more".
She didn't know why she never spoke up when he implied to the possibility of her and Rosa staying in Cuba. But she suspected it was because his little hints kept her hoping.
Hoping that his clear wanting her to stay with him, forever, would eventually lead to him agreeing to return with her to America...
"It was hard enough leaving Havana the first time.... Wasn't it?"
Javier's question broke Katey's private thoughts.
She looked at him across the table; "yes" she whispered in a meek voice.
"It was hard enough saying goodbye to you the first time..." Javier murmured back, reaching for a glass of water.
Katey furrowed her brow as she pushed a potato around her plate with a fork; "yes" she agreed, quietly again.
She had tried to make the most of her last two precious weeks with Javier.
She had tried, in vain, to forget about the pressing matters which loomed in the back of her mind. The questions Javier refused to answer. The decisions he refrained from making.
She tried to simply enjoy being in his company; and struggled to forget that these few days may very well be the last she ever spent with him. Ever.
Still. The lingering questions and truths she refused to confront were there. Always there in the very darkest place in her mind.
"I have been trying to forget about tomorrow"
Katey's eyes blinked as she registered Javier's voice again.
"Pardon?" she croaked, meeting his eyes.
"I have been trying to push it to the back of my mind..." he explained.
Katey would be lying if she said these past few weeks had been enjoyable.
She had been walking on eggshells....careful not to irritate Javier with her burning questions. It was clear that he wanted to live in the moment and not be pressured by her suggestions about what the future should hold for them.
Although, she noted, he felt quite comfortable expressing his own ideas and wishes.
"Me too..." Katey finally offered, feeling Javier's eyes on her.
"I just don't know how to say goodbye..."
Katey's eyes connected with his once again. "Neither do I" she agreed, before lowering her gaze again.
She wondered when Javier would bring it up.
She had been waiting in dreaded anticipation for him to make his decision known to her. Because it was clear to Katey what that decision was.... She was just waiting for him to grow the courage to tell her out loud.
"Where are you tonight?"
Katey's head snapped up as she realized Javier had been staring at her for the past few minutes while her head whirled with silent questions.
"You are not here...so where are you?"
She looked perplexed for a moment, and then her face softened; "I'm sorry..." she murmured. "I just have a million things on my mind"
Javier nodded. "I know the feeling..." he tilted his head a little to one side. His eyes were warm and welcoming, and Katey knew he was urging her to voice her thoughts.
She gave an easy smile. "I miss Rosa" she finally sighed.
Javier averted his gaze to the empty dance floor as he nodded. "I am sure you are eager to get home to her...."
She did not tell him how uneasy she was though, by the prospect of retuning home empty handed. The very idea of explaining to Rosa why Javier had not returned with her made Katey's heart clench.
"I'm sure she misses you..." Javier added, still not looking Katey in the face.
She bit her bottom lip for a moment, before letting out a breathy sigh; "she misses you too, you know"
This brought Javier's attention back to the table, as he turned his head and looked at Katey. "She doesn't even know me..." he spoke slowly, dejectedly
"That doesn't mean she doesn't miss you...."
Javier shrugged, "How?" he asked, his tone bolder now.
"I suspect Rosa has always known something in her life was missing..." she paused for a moment, reaching for a napkin, "....she doesn't know you...." Katey began slowly wringing the napkin, nervously pulling and tugging at it; "...but she knows that you exist...she knows that her father is somewhere out there...." The napkin tore in half, but Katey continue wringing it, gentler; "...and that you're the missing piece in her life"
"She told you this?" there was a mocking in his tone.
Katey's eyes met his as she looked up, a little wounded that he had so easily dismissed her words. "No....but she doesn't need to...". Katey laid the wrecked napkin on the table, "the look she gives when she sees other children and their fathers...." Biting her bottom lip, she continued, lowering her gaze; "the drawings she does of her and me....with a big gap for another figure to be drawn in, later"
Javier looked away uncomfortably, again.
"She isn't old enough to articulate those things..." Katey sighed, "But I see them, I notice them....and I feel like a bad mother because of those things"
Javier's eyes quickly returned to her lowered face.
"...Because I don't know what to do for her to feel better..."
"It's not your fault-" he offered, gently.
She looked up, her eyes dry; "yes...it is" she stated firmly.
Javier shook his head, "No, how can you think that?"
"I was the one who didn't tell her father she even existed....." Katey shrugged, "who knows how things might have turned out if I had told you straight away....or if I had broken your wishes and written to tell you I was pregnant..." she shrugged again as she looked at him, "who knows? You may have found a way, been determined enough, to come to us...."
Something stuck in Javier's throat and he couldn't say what he knew Katey deserved to hear. Instead he quickly closed his mouth and looked away from her, feeling his entire body clench with the words he couldn't speak.
"Were you planning on telling my tonight...?"
He slowly turned back to her, "what?"
Katey looked up, her eyes still dry and bold; she had already wasted enough tears over this subject. Silently crying as she lay beside Javier at night.... The thought constantly spinning in her mind; "he won't leave Cuba"
"I thought maybe you would tell me tonight...over dinner..."
"Katey..." he started, perplexed, but she cut him off; "this is our last night together...if you were planning on telling me tomorrow morning then I think that's cutting it a little too close"
"Katey, what are you talking about...?"
Her heart stopped for a moment, and she felt her blood surge and turn suddenly cold; "your not coming back with me are you?"
"I-I...." his speech faltered and for Katey, that was enough.
She wasn't surprised. She knew when she saw him on the beach that day that he had already made his mind up. Even though he knew of her existence, Katey knew Javier wouldn't return with her to America to be with Rosa, his daughter.
Could she blame him? Had she really hoped, for all these seven long years, that when she finally came back to him... told him about Rosa...that he would just drop everything and come back with her to be a father? Had Katey really expect that of him....
No, but she had hoped.
Katey suddenly had a vision of her sister, Susie, and something she had said over Christmas break; when she had returned home from studying abroad.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers-- That perches in the soul-- And sings the tune without the words-- And never stops at all—
Katey had heard Susie receipting that Emily Dickenson poem to Rosa while tucking her into bed. Katey had smiled when she'd heard that. And for some reason, remembering it now made her want to cry.
"I don't want you to tell Rosa that you found me...."
His words brought her crashing back down to reality.
"Please, just tell Rosa and your parents that you couldn't find me...."
She didn't say anything, just gave him a stony stare from across the table.
"...I don't want my daughter to know that I'm a coward" he sighed, after a moment.
"Javier, your not a---"
"I can't leave this place, Katey!" he looked to her, quieter now; "I just can't"
"Why not? Katey's voice had a distinctive quiver to it now, "what is here that Rosa and I can't give you in America....what?"
"Nothing...." Javier held back tears, "that's just it...there's nothing here for me, but I'm still too afraid to leave"
"But why?" she pleaded
Javier quickly stood up, and walked briskly across the dance floor, heading to the club's exit; "I don't want to talk about this on our last night..." he murmured.
"Why, Javier!?" Katey screamed, causing him to stop dead in his tracks, "why?" she whispered the last word as Javier slowly turned back to her.
"Katey, please..." he stammered, turning away again.
"I can't leave without knowing!" she yelled back, anger rising in her throat.
"Because I had such hope for this place!...." He didn't turn back to her as he spoke, "I lived on the hopes my father had built up in his mind for Cuba...and leaving now would mean that everything he worked for, everything I dreamt for, would really be gone....never existed..."
"Javier—"Katey whispered, but he didn't seem to hear her.
"Please don't tell Rosa that her father didn't have the courage to leave...." He paused for a moment, "...didn't have the courage to be a father to her..."
"Javier—"Katey spoke louder, but this time he ignored her as he walked out the door, into the streets of Havana. Katey didn't have the strength to follow. She was weakened by tears.
He returned around midnight, crawling into bed beside Katey who had yet to close her eyes all evening.
"I love you" he whispered, not expecting a reply.
She didn't say anything as she turned over onto her side to face him.
"I'm sorry" he said, looking into her eyes.
She leaned over and kissed his lips tenderly.
They made love that night.
She still felt a burning anger, and her sadness crippled her every being. But she dreaded leaving this place, leaving him, with so many sorry words being their goodbyes.
Afterwards they laid together, her head on his bare chest, their sweating bodies glistening in the speckled moonlight.
"This wasn't how I thought things would end" Katey whispered.
Javier said nothing.
"Seven years of imaging how our reunion would be...I never pictured this to be our ending....."
"That's what this is, isn't it..." Javier finally spoke. "This is our ending...the final goodbye?"
"I suppose so...." Katey murmured in reply.
They lay in silence for a moment longer, and then Katey propped herself up and looked down at him; "You do love me, don't you?" she asked.
"Yes" Javier said, in a small voice; "I love you".
"I love you too" Katey agreed, slowly lying down again, "so why couldn't we make this work....?" She whispered.
Javier let out a small sigh; "I don't know..." he whispered, "I just don't know...."
Katey folded her last blouse and placed it gently in her suitcase.
She could hear Javier in the kitchen, busy making eggs.
She closed the suitcase and laid her jacket on top of it. Letting out a gentle sigh as she looked around the room, she resisted the urge to start crying again, but to no avail.
She reached inside her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, and felt something else. She pulled out her photo of Rosa; creased now, from being admired and folded so many times over the duration of her stay. Katey let a smile slip across her face as tears fell while looking at the picture of her baby girl.
"Katey" Javier called.
She walked into the kitchen, to see Javier serving up the eggs.
"Here..." she said as they sat down. She handed him the photo "I want you to have this".
He looked down at it and smiled, "thank you".
Katey moved her eggs around the plate with her fork; she had no appetite but didn't want to be rude.
"Will you send me more...?" he asked, folding the photo and placing it into his shirt pocket.
Katey looked up and gave a weak smile, feeling more tears about to come on; "Of course" she whispered.
Javier smiled aswell, and reached across the table to place his hand gently atop Katey's.
"Have a safe trip home" Iago whispered as he released Katey.
Javier reached for her hand and they made their way to the door, but Katey turned just before they walked out of La Rosa Negra; she breathed in the familiar scent one last time, and let her eyes drink in the image.
"I will miss this place" she said, more to herself.
She waved to Iago and then turned and walked out to a taxi that was waiting for them. Javier was holding the door open for her, and he felt a pang in his heart as she turned one last time before ducking into the cab, to take one last look at La Rosa Negra.
He reached over and took her hand as she blew a kiss out the window, and he felt her squeeze his hand as they turned a corner, and La Rosa Negra vanished.
A little while away from the airport, Javier pulled a chain over his head and held it out for Katey. "I want you to give this to Rosa..." he said, placing it in her hand.
It was a dainty silver necklace with a simple cross attached; with the word Esperanza inscribed.
"Hope" Katey translated, turning to Javier.
"It was my mother's...." he explained, looking out the window; "I want to give Rosa something of me"
Carefully, Katey pulled the chain over her head, "she'll love it".
Javier turned back to her, revealing fresh tears that had run down his cheek.
She reached out her hand and gently wiped them away with her thumb, while she did, Javier caught her hand in his and pressed it firmly against his cheek, closing his eyes and leaning into the warmth.
"Aquí" the driver announced; 'here'.
They didn't walk through the airport, but instead headed out across the tarmac to the airplane's hangers. Sure enough, Paco was there waiting with his little plane, the very same one Katey had arrived in.
"Nice to see you again Señorita" he smiled at Katey, "Mr. Suarez" he nodded in greeting to Javier.
"Podemos tener un minuto?" Javier asked; can we have a minute. Paco nodded and walked up the stairs onto his dingy plane, leaving Katey and Javier to their privacy.
"These goodbyes are hard...." Javier let out an uncomfortable chuckle as he wiped away fresh tears.
Katey nodded, "even harder the second time around" she added with a forced smirk.
Javier looked about to say more, but stopped himself, choosing instead to lean forward, cup her head in his hands, and kissed Katey's lips hard and passionately.
Pulling away he kept his face close to hers and continued to cup it gently in his hands, "it's worth all the pain...." he whispered, "to have seen you one last time..."
Katey let out a small whimper of a cry, and Javier kissed her lips again.
Pulling away Katey forced a smile; "this wouldn't be nearly so hard if I knew we would be saying hello again sometime soon...."
Javier let out a small laugh, and leaned in, kissing her more feverishly this time.
"Te amo" he whispered, when he pulled away.
"I love you too" she replied.
"Tenemos que ir!" Paco's head peered out of the plane, "we have to go!" he repeated.
Javier nodded, and Paco disappeared again, the engines beginning to hum softly.
Javier encased Katey in his arms, kissed the top of her head lightly and breathed in her scent.
"I can't watch you fly away...." He whispered.
Pulling away, Katey gave a fine understanding nod, and then reached up to kiss him one last time. "I love you Javier Suarez" she whispered, "I always have and I always will"
He forced another smile, "I'm keeping you here with me"
Katey smiled aswell, knowingly; "and I'm taking you with me"
Javier looked to the plane, and then back to her; "goodbye Katey Miller"
She gave a delicate smile through her tears, and turned to the plane.
As she boarded, Javier turned and walked away, wiping at his tears as he walked.
And while Katey took her seat, she hugged herself and shook her head as more tears fell.
Javier walked briskly, hoping that the faster the earth passed underneath his feet, the sooner his pain would cease.
He ducked back into the cab that was waiting for him, and told the driver to head back into the city.
Javier was wiping at the last of his tears, running a hand through his wild hair, when the cab pulled over.
"Cuál es es usted que hace?" Javier demanded; 'what are you doing?'
The driver said nothing, simply motioned to his rear-view mirror.
Javier creased his brow as he turned around to look out the back window.
He quickly sucked in a breath as he opened the cab door and leapt out.
Katey came to a stop in front of him; "Hello" she said simply.
"Hello?" he repeated, "what are you doing Katey....there isn't another plane for..."
She raised a hand, "Paco said he would come back in three days time"
"Katey, what are you—"Javier tried to sound angry at her haste, but he couldn't help the smile that crept across his lips.
"You said that you weren't strong enough to leave Cuba...that you didn't have the courage..." Katey spoke slowly, "so, I'm going to force you to be strong..." she reached for his hand, holding it tight, "I'm not going anywhere without you, Javier—"
"Katey...." He tried unsuccessfully.
"No! Seven years without you was long enough...." She smiled up at him, "I love you, and if you love me, then that's all the strength you need...."
"I don't know—"he started, his voice quivering.
"Please, Javier" she smiled, "this time I really do want to take you with me...instead of leaving you behind"
Three days later:
"What if she—"
Katey silenced him by leaning over and firmly kissing his lips. When she pulled away, a delicate smile spread across her lips; "trust me, Javier..." she began, "there's no way in the world that you could disappoint her"
He reflected her smile, and leaned in to kiss her again.
"Here we are" the driver announced.
As they walked up to the door, she could feel Javier's nerves tingling throughout his whole body. She squeezed his hand again, reassuringly as she pushed the door open.
"Katey!?" someone called, "Katey is that you....?"
Mrs. Miller appeared and her jaw dropped when she caught sight of Javier.
"Oh my—"she started, turning pale.
"Is it my Katey?" Mr. Miller appeared by his wife's side, mirroring her shock.
Katey smiled at them both, and squeezed Javier's now sweating hand, again. "Where is..." Katey began to ask, but as her eyes wandered up to the staircase, she noticed her little girl's head behind the railings, spying down on them.
"Rosa..." the name escaped Katey's lips and she felt her eyes well.
Javier followed Katey's eyes and felt his heart stop.
"Rosa, mi angel" Katey called up, her voice trembling with tears of joy, "come down here, there's someone I want you to meet...."
Slowly and cautiously, the little girl made her way down the staircase. Minding her every step, and constantly lifting her head to eye the man standing beside her mother....the man from the film reel's, she knew him.
Katey released Javier's hand and stepped aside as Rosa reached the bottom, and lifted her head to meet her father's gaze.
Javier stalled for a moment. His body stiffened, his eyes welled, his heart pumped and his blood surged.
He quickly found movement, and brought a hand to wipe away a tear that was sliding down his cheek.
Slowly, he crouched down to Rosa's height.
"Hola" Rosa said instantly.
Javier let out a watery laugh and quickly looked to Katey, who was looking on through blurry eyes, and then back to his daughter; "Hola Rosa" Javier replied, smiling.
"You know my name....?" the little girl said innocently, a faint grin playing across her lips.
Javier laughed again, and nodded, "Of course I know your name...." he said, "I've been looking forward to meeting you"
"You have?" she asked, the smile becoming obvious now.
Javier nodded again, "Very much" he whispered, smiling through his tears.
Well that's it. I hope you all enjoyed the ending. I hope you enjoyed the story in general.
Thank's to everyone who reviewed, for your kind and supportive comments.
Sorry if the ending was disappointing, or 'cheesy'.... But I just couldn't give my characters a sad ending. I just couldn't. They had to be together!
I'll finish on these words; I love Diego Luna!