"Basta" said the sleepy voice.
"I'm afraid we have to go downstairs for breakfast right now" King said coldly. This got him no response.
"God, just go by yourself! You do not need me to be around you every waking second do you" she asked as she sat up in anger.
They shared a silent moment, staring at each other the way two old enemies would.
"And what should I tell them about the absence of my wife"?
"I don't know, I'm sure you'll figure something out", Mona replied with her eyes squinted.
King watched this angry face for a second, then nodded and left the room.
Mona sunk back into the bed and sighed. Somehow this did not feel like a victory. What was wrong with that man? For the past few days Mona felt like they were getting closer. At first she didn't realize that he might have been interested in her, but since they started pretending to be married, the way he talked to her, held her hand, and even looked at her, started making her feel something between them. But then, what the hell was last night? Mona was no little girl, she knew desire, and recognized it when she saw it in a man's eyes. And then he gave her a kiss on the head!
She turned on her side in anger and sighed. The worst part was that she really wanted to kiss him. Anger rose in her again; why was he the one to dictate the course of what were to happen between them? She was infuriated; she hated it when she felt as though she couldn't control her own course.
On the same matter, what the hell was wrong with this Candie guy too? Seemingly gentle, this man acted like a manipulative sociopath would. And the way he made her feel like prey last night… Somehow she got even more furious, she should've told that pompous fool then and there he'd better watch his mouth.
Mona threw the covers off, and got up to get dressed. Well, she was the master of her own path and no man was ever going to get the chance to reject her again, or make her feel helpless. She looked down to the floor. And no way in hell was she putting on that corset again.
The conversation stopped as Mona walked into the room.
"Good morning; I apologize for my absence".
"Do not worry darling" King addressed her without adverting his eyes from his plate. "I have already explained Monsieur Candie that your coughing fit last night must've worn you down."
"Your outfit is… lovely" Lara said with distaste she couldn't hide. Mona was wearing a skirt like a proper lady would, but tucked inside the skirt was the plain white shirt she wore to bed. She was wearing her dark hair in two thick braids wrapped around her head; like the way her father told him Spanish women did.
"It is everything but Southern" Mona replied with a smile as she sat down to the empty seat next to King.
"So Doctor, you still haven't informed me as to which day our transaction should take place" Candie changed the subject.
"Sometime during the next week" King replied coolly.
"That is very ambiguous isn't it" Candie asked. Clearly he wanted answers when he wanted them.
"It will take my attorney a few days to get here", King said with a smile. "But Monsieur Candie, I'm starting to think that you doubt my intentions" he continued acting a little offended. Mona caught her breath, and could have sworn she heard Django do the same as well. This was a risky thing to say.
"Of course not" Candie replied as he grinned. Although he was smiling, he still looked annoyed, perhaps with the obvious confrontation.
"There is one thing my husband isn't Monsieur Candie" Mona jumped in with a smile. She placed her hand on King's arm, causing him to turn and look at her. "He certainly isn't a tease"!
As everyone laughed at this little inappropriate joke, King forced himself to smile. He looked at the woman smiling innocently and staring back at him. He was utterly irritated with how easily she could throw him off of his track.
"Monday, Monsieur Candie" he said suddenly.
Candie smiled in triumph.
After the breakfast the men, minus Django, were having coffee and discussing politics when Candie excused himself. He strolled around his mansion, trying to find the dark haired woman.
When he first met Mona he quickly thought that he could persuade a woman like hers into a quick affair. Women were prone to his good looks and status after all. And a woman like that, so recklessly self-indulgent, would be prone to be seduced by him. For these reasons, he was quite surprised to see Mona be offended by how he talked about her husband. He wasn't expecting loyalty as such from a woman that seemed so… occupied with herself. And this intrigued him. Calvin Candie loved puzzles. And enigmatic women: well, they were his weak spot.
"There you are" Candie stated in delight, finding Mona in the reading room.
"Here I am" she mimicked as she closed the book she was taking a look at.
"I must say you look positively stunning today. Who would've thought simple could be so beautiful".
Mona's nostrils flared in annoyance. This man was too much.
"Tell me Monsieur Candie, do you always lust after married woman"?
Candie chuckled in awe of this surprise confrontation. "Not always", he lit up his cigarette. "Only if the woman in question is worth my time".
"That's quite bold".
"I'll take that as a compliment" said Candie smugly.
Mona rolled her eyes. "Yet it certainly wasn't one".
"Well, you are quite bold in return Miss Mona. And that is a compliment" he replied, flashing one of his venomous looking smiles.
"I think we are ready to leave", King's voice filled the room.
They turned to find the Doctor standing by the door, coldly staring at the man shamelessly puffing on his cigarette. If looks could kill Candie would be in pieces right now. Suddenly, Mona felt incredibly guilty for no reason. She lowered her gaze and walked towards the door.
Candie extended his hand as he approached King. "Doctor Schultz, I will see you on Monday".
King nodded and shook his hand rather forcefully. Mona was about to leave the room when Candie grabbed her hand.
"And Miss Mona, perhaps fate will help us meet again" he said with an evil grin as he planted a kiss on her hand. She saw the Doctor shift in anger from the corner of her eyes.
She removed her hand immediately. "Mister Candie" she addressed him as she watched his face go sour. "Thankfully, there is no such thing as fate".
An hour later, Candieland was way behind them and the four travelers were making their way towards the town. Broomhilda was sitting behind Django on his horse- her arms wrapped tightly around him, conversing about what their future possibly held for them. Since they left that cursed plantation behind, neither one of them ceased smiling.
Behind them however, King and Mona were riding in silence. Mona was thinking about the events of the last night and this morning, but mainly how King reacted to them. She quietly sighed. The fact was that Mona had always been a softhearted person. Not only she assumed the best of people and situations, she also found it incredibly difficult to hold grudges.
She watched how furious King got when he saw the way Candie was talking to her. Regardless of how he refused her last night, Mona thought that he must have had feelings for her. Why else would he get that upset? Certainly, that anger was not an act. She chewed her lip in anxiety. But why did he treat her that way last night? Was it just… shyness?
Mona immediately felt better with the thought of this. That must've been it; he was just really shy. She shrugged and smiled wryly. She did like him, but she knew better than to deal with introverts. They were just… not her kind. She had never been the kind of person that waited around for others to catch up to her. Besides, her future held so much for her. She suddenly felt light; her usual confidence took over her again.
"I think we ought to celebrate tonight", she said cheerfully.
King looked at her in awe. It was incredible to him how quickly this woman shook off bad situations and sour feelings. There was always a nonchalant air about her; which captivated and intimidated him at the same time. But for now, he was just plain relieved. All morning he had been in a dark mood, thinking about what could've been.
"I think that is a brilliant idea".
Mona was standing by her horse, eyeing the bookstore across the street when King walked out of the hotel.
"I have convinced the keeper to give us rooms, however there are only two left".
"Well one of those rooms are ours" Django said with a smirk. "I need my wife with me tonight". Broomhilda giggled in delight.
King turned to Mona, expecting an answer.
"Fine by me" she shrugged; she wasn't even looking at him. "I'll be back shortly. I have a few errands to run".
It was around dinnertime when Mona made it back to the hotel. She found her companions dining around the table in the room she was to share with King.
"We thought you left us" Django exclaimed when he saw her walk in.
They must have guessed that the people in the town wouldn't appreciate a mixed-race party eating together and opted out to stay in.
Mona suddenly took out two bottles of very expensive looking champagne and smiled. "And now we celebrate"!
Everyone laughed and cheered as she popped the cork of the bottle and poured it in glasses. She raised her glass and the others followed.
"A quadruple toast" she started. "To Django -For never giving up on love". The man smiled and put his arm around his wife who was looking at him longingly.
"To Broomhilda" Mona continued. "For staying strong… And finally getting to go on that honeymoon she deserves". Everyone smiled and cheered once again.
"To the reputable Doctor" she said as she gave him a proud smile. "For being the mastermind behind this ingenious plan".
"And to me" she concluded. "For finally deciding to leave for Patzcuaro, Mexico tomorrow"!
"Here here" Broomhilda said and clinked her glass to Mona's. The men followed suit quietly. It was impossible for Django to not detect the frustration on his friends face.
"That's wonderful. You are going to Mexico" Broomhilda asked.
Mona took out a book from her bag, clearly new, and opened the page she marked down recently. The cover read Sharpe's Corresponding Atlas, Comprising Fifty-Four Maps, Constructed Upon A System of Scale And Proportion, From the most Recent Authorities. King looked at the leather bound book and the champagne bottles she brought back. Where did she find the money the buy these things? Then he realized he never received back the jewelry he gave her.
"Janitzio Island-" she pointed to the map and showed it to Broomhilda and Django "- right in the Patzcuaro Lake, apparently has the best day of the dead celebrations. I met a man down at the hardware store. He told me that they celebrate the lives of their deceased loved ones, and the entire island becomes one giant torch made out of thousands of candles at night".
"Sounds beautiful" Broomhilda said as she smiled. "We are thinking of going North".
Mona stopped chugging champagne to talk "I have friends in Boston. If you need a place to stay or if you want to find a job there, they would definitely help"!
"That would be very useful" Django replied gratefully.
"Mona" Broomhilda turned to her. It made Django happy to see his wife really enjoy this woman's friendship, like the way he did. "Have you ever been married"?
Mona raised her brows in surprise. "No" she replied honestly, and felt King's gaze on her. "I almost did though".
"You never told us that" Django exclaimed.
"Because it isn't the most exciting or interesting story… I thought I could do it, then quickly realized I wouldn't be able to… There was just… still so much for me to see". She shrugged and thought of the day she tried to explain these two men why traveling had become a way of existing to her. They didn't seem to get it then, so they probably wouldn't get it now. She looked away and sipped on her champagne.
"How about you Doctor" Broomhilda asked again.
Mona raised her head and looked at King across the table. He had been so quite all day long, and now he seemed even more to himself.
"Yes, I was once married" the man replied to her surprise.
"Well, you never told me that either" Django said.
"What happened to her", Broomhilda queried.
King sighed. He clearly did not want to have this conversation. "Nothing. It just didn't work out".
An awkward silence followed. Mona realized Broomhilda was about to direct him another question when she jumped in.
"What the hell was wrong with that Lara"?
Django and Broomhilda laughed, distracted. Mona just did not want to make this man feel even more uncomfortable.
"I swear they must have given her a lobotomy and replaced her brain with crochet patterns"
Two hours later, everyone was full and quite buzzed; Broomhilda announced that it had been a long day.
"And we decided to leave early in the morning tomorrow" Django continued.
"Well I don't get up early in the mornings" Mona replied as she found a piece of paper and scribbled down a name and an address.
"This is my friend in Boston", she said as she gave the paper the Broomhilda. "If you need anything, or just want to make a new friend, find him".
"We will" Broomhilda said as she stood in front of the woman. Mona without an hesitation gave her a huge embrace. "Be careful… and buy guns, at least three" she joked.
Django walked to her and gazed at her friend. The duo, in synch, went for a hug. "Stay out of trouble" Django said as they broke the hug. Mona's eyes were tearing up. "Are you crying" the man asked in disbelief.
Mona quickly wiped away her tears and laughed "No, shut up, you are crying". Django flashed a genuine smile "Send us a postcard… And thank you for entertaining me so much". Mona matched his smile. He truly was going to miss her. He nodded and smiled to her as they left the room. They were going to see the Doctor in the morning, since he had no trouble waking up.
With that, they were left alone. Mona wanted to just get to bed and be gone in the morning. This whole adventure had been one emotional mess for her.
"Could you turn around", she asked as King put out his cigar. She did not want any more complications between them. She was leaving tomorrow anyway.
When the Doctor turned away she unbuttoned her blouse and took out the ointment she had from last night as she sat down on the edge of the bed. Taking off her shirt, and trying to hold it against her chest in case King turned around, she managed to open the lid. She took a handful of the gooey stuff and tried to reach around to apply it on her scars. Writhing and struggling, she was too late to realize that the jar was slipping off the bed.
It noisily dropped on the floor and disappeared. "God! Fu… Damn it" Mona cursed trying to see where it went.
"Could I assist you in anyway"?
She sighed in defeat. "Could you find where the jar went"?
King turned around and quickly glimpsed at the woman with the bare back. Her scars were still there, but they seemed better. And that tattoo on the side of her waist: a jellyfish.
He kneeled down to find the jar under the bed and picked it up. "I can put it on your back again if you wish".
She nodded silently. Once again they were in the same situation. King sat on the edge of the bed as well and placed his hands on her back, trying to ignore the softness of her skin. Mona tried to remind herself that this man was not her match, and what she felt right now was just flesh wanting flesh.
His hands still massaging her back "What does your tattoo mean" he asked in an attempt to break the heavy tension between them.
"It doesn't mean anything. It's just a jellyfish".
King wondered if he ever saw a tattoo on a woman. "How did you get one then"?
"I had a Japanese friend in London. And he gave this to me as a birthday gift".
"Why did you choose a jellyfish"? –And just how intimate were you with this friend- he wanted to ask, but kept quite.
"I don't know. Maybe because it doesn't have a great meaning. Just an ordinary creature in a sea of ordinariness".
"Is that how you feel" he queried.
"Maybe… I don't know, I don't take life… very seriously".
King pondered upon this for a moment. There it was again, that feeling that he was just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Where did this comment come from? Such a dark comment from such a seemingly light person.
"Do you have any tattoos", Mona asked trying to keep the conversation going. His hands were electrifying; she had goose bumps all over her body.
King stopped but kept his hands on her back. "No, I'm an old man".
Mona turned around to face him. His musky smell, whisky and cigar, captivated her. The hell with it- she thought. Flesh wanted flesh.
"I don't think you're old", she said. Their faces were an inch apart from each other. "I think you are smart, and funny, and kind… and handsome".
A strand of her fell on her face. King removed it and tucked it behind her ear.
"You are bewitching", he said as Mona smiled in sick anticipation.
"You have put a spell on me, and now… I can't sleep, or eat, or talk without thinking about you… Tell me what you want".
Mona furrowed her brows and smiled. "What"?
"I don't understand it… I don't understand what you want from me. Is it money"?
Mona's eyes widened in terror and anger as she pulled herself away from him. She quickly turned around and got off of the bed. King quietly watched her button her shirt on.
She reached inside her bag, took out a pouch and placed it on the table. King already knew- the pouch contained the jewelry he had given her. He knew that she wasn't interested in money even before he said the words. He just… hated how she made him feel entirely out of control with his feelings. For this, he sat in silence. He needed to let this happen even if seeing her get away from him made his stomach churn. He was a man on his own, and letting this woman in would only be disaster. For this, he remained silent.
Mona turned around and looked at the man sitting on the bed. Not an iota of guilt was present on his face. Her jaw clenched in fury.
She stared at his ice blue eyes; King felt like her gaze was piercing into his soul.
"I don't know if you are old…" she said as she was about to walk out the door but glared at him one last time "…but your heart is clearly insufficient".
With that, she was out of the room. If she was going to cry, this man was not going to have the privilege to witness it.
Now that I leave Tarantino's script behind, I want to make sure that the characters and events are staying believable. Your reviews, in that sense, have been incredibly helpful to me. So I want to thank everyone who took their time to review the last few chapters: you have no idea how insightful they have been.
I hope you have enjoyed this single, alas long chapter update. Thank you for reading, following and reviewing.