His voice was controlled.
It was the earthquake.
Alex was supposed to be sterile, but they had been wrong about that.
With these words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man of high rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her reception.
The central and largest one was white, and reminded her of the sun.
Nurturing was in his personality.
They saw a landscape with mountains and plains, lakes and rivers, very like those upon the earth's surface; but all the scene was splendidly colored by the variegated lights from the six suns.
His tail was short and scraggly, and his harness had been broken in many places and fastened together again with cords and bits of wire.
The conductor said it was the worst quake he ever knew.
Obviously he was still struggling with it.
Far up in the air was an object that looked like a balloon.
This was a very interesting experience to them.
Their son, Charles Adams, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and moved to Helena, Arkansas.
All were surprised to find that he was not with them.
This was not the light in which I hoed them.
It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress Marya Fedorovna.
America was birthed in optimism.
After the war was over the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
This was a decision she had already made once - but not really.
How long this state of things continued Dorothy could not even guess, she was so greatly bewildered.
He was elected president.
This second one was a Rain of People-and-Horse-and-Buggy.
Water was dripping from the trees, and the grass was wet.
It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles.
A middle-aged man, handsome and virile, in the uniform of a retired naval officer, was speaking in one of the rooms, and a small crowd was pressing round him.
The boy was startled and his eyes were big.
Next minute there was a roar and a sharp crash, and at her side Dorothy saw the ground open in a wide crack and then come together again.
The nobility don't gwudge theah lives--evewy one of us will go and bwing in more wecwuits, and the sov'weign" (that was the way he referred to the Emperor) "need only say the word and we'll all die fo' him!" added the orator with animation.
"That was an awful big quake," replied Zeb, with a white face.
Now was the Wizard's turn, so he smiled upon the assemblage and asked:
"I will show you," was the reply.
Then he got into the buggy again and took the reins, and the horse at once backed away from the tree, turned slowly around, and began to trot down the sandy road which was just visible in the dim light.
He was quite an old little man and his head was long and entirely bald.
I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a little town of northern Alabama.
Next to Washington he was the greatest American.
All that did was to enwich the pwiests' sons and thieves and wobbahs....
Pierre's one feeling at the moment was a desire to show that he was ready to go all lengths and was prepared to sacrifice everything.
And this man was saying we were going to the moon in a rocket ship made of metals we hadn't even invented.
Jim's ears were standing erect upon his head and every muscle of his big body was tense as he trotted toward home.
All this was so terrible and unreal that he could not understand it at all, and so had good reason to be afraid.
Immediately the Prince and all of his people flocked out of the hall into the street, that they might see what was about to happen.
Pierre was among those who saw him come out from the merchants' hall with tears of emotion in his eyes.
His clothing fitted his form snugly and was gorgeously colored in brilliant shades of green, which varied as the sunbeams touched them but was not wholly influenced by the solar rays.
Scarcity was the new watchword as the focus turned to all the problems of the future, not all the possibilities.
It was possible after all - but was it moral?
It was true, and it brought color to his neck, but he didn't comment.
The shed at Hugson's Siding was bare save for an old wooden bench, and did not look very inviting.
There was not an ugly person in all the throng.
It was all they could do, for to go away and leave that strange sight was impossible; nor could they hurry its fall in any way.
"It's violet," said the Wizard, who was in the buggy.
Pierre pushed his way into the middle of the group, listened, and convinced himself that the man was indeed a liberal, but of views quite different from his own.
It was indicative of dissipation and the exercise of authority.
On that subject she was adamant.
The prince was silent and looked indifferent.
He waved a thorny hand and at once the tinkling of bells was heard, playing sweet music.
As they sat upon the grass watching Jim, who was still busily eating, Eureka said:
The only bait he could find was a bright red blossom from a flower; but he knew fishes are easy to fool if anything bright attracts their attention, so he decided to try the blossom.
The great cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, which was begun before your birth, would not be finished by your death.
Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live.
The retired naval man was speaking very boldly, as was evident from the expression on the faces of the listeners and from the fact that some people Pierre knew as the meekest and quietest of men walked away disapprovingly or expressed disagreement with him.
He hardened his heart against the senator who was introducing this set and narrow attitude into the deliberations of the nobility.
But scarcely had Pierre uttered these words before he was attacked from three sides.
Adraksin was in uniform, and whether as a result of the uniform or from some other cause Pierre saw before him quite a different man.
Count Rostov at the back of the crowd was expressing approval; several persons, briskly turning a shoulder to the orator at the end of a phrase, said:
Pierre wished to say that he was ready to sacrifice his money, his serfs, or himself, only one ought to know the state of affairs in order to be able to improve it, but he was unable to speak.
Glinka, the editor of the Russian Messenger, who was recognized (cries of "author! author!" were heard in the crowd), said that "hell must be repulsed by hell," and that he had seen a child smiling at lightning flashes and thunderclaps, but "we will not be that child."
"Yes, yes, at thunderclaps!" was repeated approvingly in the back rows of the crowd.
One of the old men nearest to him looked round, but his attention was immediately diverted by an exclamation at the other side of the table.
He was answered by a voice which informed him of the resolution just arrived at.
There was a rustling among the crowd and it again subsided, so that Pierre distinctly heard the pleasantly human voice of the Emperor saying with emotion:
When Pierre saw the Emperor he was coming out accompanied by two merchants, one of whom Pierre knew, a fat otkupshchik.
The other was the mayor, a man with a thin sallow face and narrow beard.
Was it greedy to want one of their own as well?
Alex was doing everything in his power to provide her with all the experiences of a natural mother.
It should have arrived at Hugson's Siding at midnight, but it was already five o'clock and the gray dawn was breaking in the east when the little train slowly rumbled up to the open shed that served for the station-house.
As she peered through the soft gray light not a house of any sort was visible near the station, nor was any person in sight; but after a while the child discovered a horse and buggy standing near a group of trees a short distance away.
She could count his ribs easily where they showed through the skin of his body, and his head was long and seemed altogether too big for him, as if it did not fit.
He laughed at that, and his laugh was merry and frank.
Dorothy thought he just wiggled one of his drooping ears, but that was all.
Then it must have happened while I was asleep, he said thoughtfully.
There was a breath of danger in the very air, and every few moments the earth would shake violently.
He was not going very fast, but on his flanks specks of foam began to appear and at times he would tremble like a leaf.
The top of the buggy caught the air like a parachute or an umbrella filled with wind, and held them back so that they floated downward with a gentle motion that was not so very disagreeable to bear.
The worst thing was their terror of reaching the bottom of this great crack in the earth, and the natural fear that sudden death was about to overtake them at any moment.
With this thought in mind the girl took heart and leaned her head over the side of the buggy to see where the strange light was coming from.
Dorothy was too dazed to say much, but she watched one of Jim's big ears turn to violet and the other to rose, and wondered that his tail should be yellow and his body striped with blue and orange like the stripes of a zebra.
Then she looked at Zeb, whose face was blue and whose hair was pink, and gave a little laugh that sounded a bit nervous.
Yes; there was land below them; and not so very far away, either.
"I don't know," said Zeb, who was still confused.
There was even a thorn upon the tip of his nose and he looked so funny that Dorothy laughed when she saw him.
If you had any sense at all you'd known it was the earthquake.
"Who did you say it was?" whispered Zeb to the girl.
It was one of the things Gwig usually did to prove he was a sorcerer.
By the time he had attached a handle to this sword he was having much trouble to breathe, as the charm of the Sorcerer was beginning to take effect.
In the center of each plant grew a daintily dressed Mangaboo, for the clothing of all these creatures grew upon them and was attached to their bodies.
"That is a matter I have not quite decided upon," was the reply.
She was not at all heavy, so the Wizard and Dorothy managed to lift her gently to the ground.
Instantly the Princess turned and faced him, and when he saw that she was picked the Prince stood still and began to tremble.
The cab-horse, who was browsing near, lifted his head with a sigh.
Then the boy returned to one of the upper rooms, and in spite of the hardness of the glass bench was soon deep in slumberland.
So the boy went willingly upon the errand, and by the time he had returned Dorothy was awake.
If there was any other place to go, I'd like to go there.
"Oh, you cannot go away, of course; so you must be destroyed," was the answer.
But nowhere in it was there even a hint that it might not be possible.
Whether you are rich or poor, live in the developed world or the developing world, life today is better and easier than it was a century ago by virtually any measure.
"No, we do not want any," was the reply.
(He was well acquainted with the senator, but thought it necessary on this occasion to address him formally.)
Not only was Pierre's attempt to speak unsuccessful, but he was rudely interrupted, pushed aside, and people turned away from him as from a common enemy.
"Look out!" cried Dorothy, who noticed that the beautiful man did not look where he was going; "be careful, or you'll fall off!"
He placed one upon the floor, so that it could run around, and pulled apart the other, making three piglets in all; and then one of these was pulled apart, making four piglets.
"I was very hungry," replied the kitten.
Some have asked what I got to eat; if I did not feel lonesome; if I was not afraid; and the like.
"Because I am going to stop your breath," was the reply.
Maybe he thought she would change her mind, but it wasn't going to happen.
It was the first time she thought of Katie that way.
Her heart was starting to flutter.
Maybe something was wrong all along.
He was going to call the doctor.
Her sigh was a mixture of contentment and relief.
In the meantime, Thanksgiving was coming up - and then Christmas.
Alex was uneasy because he and his biological father had never seen eye to eye.
She was uneasy because she had never been on a plane before.
His birth father already suspected she was a country bumpkin.
Her face was burning.
Once the fire of passion was gone, it was embarrassing.
No one could deny that Alex was a devoted husband and father.
Bill was family because he was married to Alex's sister.
When Carmen's father died, she thought she was alone in the world, yet all these people had been there for her.
Alex had been the one who helped her see them as true family, and yet he was having issues accepting his own father.
Apparently his greatest concern was the fact that his mother was married to his adoptive father at the time he was conceived.
That was a double-edged hurt, though, because Alex adored his adoptive father.
With so many people at their house, it was fortunate that the weather was warm and dry so they could utilize the courtyard for the children.
Mr. Reynolds was indifferent to the subject.
That idea was troublesome to Carmen as well.
When Josh died, Mary had indicated that she felt Carmen was at least partially responsible.
In fact, at times she had been almost brutally clear that she was no longer interested in him.
She wasn't vain enough to think that turned him to drinking, though.
Maybe it was her way of keeping Josh alive.
At any rate, today was no different.
That was when Mary decided to relieve her mind of a troubling thought.
What did you really think when you found out Alex was a Mexican?
I can't imagine what he was thinking to hide a thing like that from you.
All I could think about was that I had a living father-in-law.
Communicating feelings with Alex wasn't always easy.
He was such a wonderful person in so many ways.
At ten years old, Jonathan was almost as tall as she was.
He was getting to be quite a handsome young man.
She was only a month into two years old, but she was big for her age.
What was he disappointed about - the new baby?
He wouldn't have approved - of that she was certain.
Then there was the money he left to Carmen.
On the other hand, the dream was in her head, not his.
What was she making him disappointed about?
That was a no-brainer.
It was one thing to tell herself everything was resolved, but quite another to thoroughly accept something she had always considered wrong.
He was respectful of her concerns, but they didn't see eye-to-eye on any of it - except the fact that they both wanted another child.
"I was," she whispered.
The coop was a comfortable 48°F - warm enough to keep the eggs from freezing, but cold enough that the chickens didn't get shocked by the temperature change when they went out of the coop.
Princess was supposed to foal again in January.
Six-month old Dandy nickered to his mother, but Casper was busy talking to Princess and Dawn.
She was due to foal in July.
Somehow it simply wasn't top priority in her life right now.
At least at this point, the old house was paying for itself.
He intended it as a joke, but the memory it resurrected was painful.
She was an only child who had been very welcome.
They put her through college and it was her intent to stay with them as long as they needed her.
For her, losing them was painful enough, but losing a mate - that would be agonizing.
She was equally certain that he would have loved them.
In business transactions Alex was frugal with his money, but when it came to his family, he was generous.
The household account he had set up for her was healthy and growing with the monthly deposits he made.
Katie said that was because Carmen had been raised poor and had become frugal.
That might be true, but there was no point in working at becoming a spendthrift simply because he had money.
In fact, that was a good way to make sure he didn't.
It was nice having Alex home all day and having the family together, but all good things come to an end.
There was shopping and packing to be done before they left on vacation.
As busy as she was, time had to be set aside for play with Destiny.
She was a veritable garden of indecision.
Well, that wasn't entirely true.
If God thought it was wrong, nothing we could have done would have been successful.
It wouldn't have been so much fun for him if she had reacted the way he did when she told him she was pregnant.
But then, he had reason - in his head - to believe it wasn't his.
As it was, the kids might pick up on her fear and emulate.
Aside from packing, there was also decorating to be done.
She had to move a few things to make room, but that wasn't too hard.
When she glanced at him, he was eyeing her, a wry smile twisting his lips.
It was presumptuous of him to purchase them.
I know it still galls you that he was willing to help pay for your college education, but not Katie's.
Jonathan came in as Carmen was setting the table.
Alex was watching her, his expression unreadable.
To him, it was no different than artificially inseminating a cow at his clinic... well, the concept wasn't.
Why hadn't it occurred to her that Jonathan might feel he was being replaced?
He was simply one of their children.
I think he felt included because he was helping as much as we were.
"I wasn't thinking," she said.
He was going to like the clothes she bought for the trip.
It wasn't something she would normally do - buying clothes specifically for a trip.
But this wasn't just any trip.
Besides, it was time to replace some of the things she'd been wearing since before they were married.
It was one of those break-through moments.
It was embarrassing to think she had let it go on this long without realizing he was troubled by it.
It was going to be nice having nothing to do but enjoy their little family for the next two weeks.
When she reached Destiny's room, Jonathan was already dressed and was helping Destiny.
I was so excited that I couldn't sleep, so I got up and dressed.
He was dressed in his usual indigo jeans and western shirt.
He didn't want to go, so maybe this was his expression of resistance.
Now he knew what a chicken she was.
Still, the feel of his hand was reassuring.
It wasn't so bad.
When she glanced up at him, even his smile was reassuring.
Outside of this being her first trip in an airplane, the rest of the flight was uneventful.
Alex didn't look at Carmen, which was her first inkling that something was amiss.
Alex wasn't much help, though.
Her dark shining hair was pulled back loosely with bejeweled combs and hung in loose curls down her back.
Señor Medena eyed Carmen thoughtfully, but like Alex, there was no way of knowing what was on his mind.
Carmen tried to focus on Felipa, but her mind was full of questions.
Maybe Katie wasn't the only one who had been overlooked by Señor Medena when it came to inheritance.
Maybe it was the soft accent that held her attention.
Alex was cordial to his father and formal to his sister.
If their meeting today was any indication, this visit was going to be interesting - if not uncomfortable.
The fact that there was nothing to protect her from was irrelevant.
That she doubted, but his tone was confident.
It is a beautiful day, but yesterday it was cold.
Señor Medena was watching Alex, but from the corner of her eye Carmen could see Alex was looking out the window.
Was he actually avoiding conversation with his father?
We... actually, I... was thinking about adopting a few wild horses from out west where they have too many.
It wasn't like him to be petty.
This wasn't the Alex she knew.
Señor Medena was watching him intently.
It simply wasn't like him to be rude like that.
It was a long time back, before they were married.
It was impossible to know what was going on in Señor Medena's mind by observing his expression.
His chuckle was soft.
Maybe he was simply tired.
It was a hacienda, not a ranch, and Señor Medena was the patrón.
More than likely the correction was to prevent her from being embarrassed.
At any rate, the Medena hacienda was impressive.
If the outside was impressive, the inside was magnificent.
It was his way of focusing in - pulling her close without the intimacy of touching.
Sometimes he even did it when there was a room full of people between them.
Actually, she hadn't thought how it looked to others - and there had never been any doubt in her mind that she was fortunate to have Alex.
Her eyes were almond shaped, the brown of the iris so dark that it was almost black.
Her jet black hair was swept up gracefully into a plaited crown.
Alondra was attractive in a delicate way - her features more refined.
Her dark hair was pulled back severely from a narrow face.
And yet, there was something about her that suggested she was in uncharted waters - maybe body language.
Alex introduced Jonathan and their welcome to him was equally warm.
He probably didn't realize that his hostility toward Señor Medena was being transferred to Jonathan as anxiety.
I think she was merely directing the comment at you because she thought you might want to know.
His brows lifted and his chuckle was deep and warm.
It's winter - or was at home.
They swelled and blended smoothly - and that flat tummy was so masculine.
In fact, everything about him was masculine.
That pleased smile was on his lips again and his eyes held a glint of humor.
His voice was husky.
All the same, he was the one who broke the embrace.
The idea of making love in a strange bedroom was disturbing enough, but with only a door between them and the children, locked or not, it didn't feel right.
Tonight, when it was dark, she could pretend they were at home.
The man sitting at the other end of the table was introduced to them as Morino el capataz - their foreman, Morino.
The boy who sat beside him was his son.
Apparently the duo was considered part of the family.
He was being positively rude.
When Jonathan spoke, the distraction was welcome.
Carmen shot a glance at Alex, who was giving his meal undue attention.
There was no reason Alex shouldn't tell his father.
It was no secret.
There was no way to defend her moral objections without seeding doubt in his mind.
Having a baby was something they should be excited about - talking about to others.
And yet, she was reluctant to say anything to church members - even family members.
And now she was even resenting Alex for telling his father.
Maybe he was thinking about Alexia, but that was still on their land, in the old house before it was renovated.
Or maybe he was thinking about their conversation last night.
But this wasn't about intimacy - was it?
It was about privacy and morality.
Morino said this horse was gentle.
When they turned around, Alex was still on the horse.
His face was still pale.
The belt buckle that deflected the knife from his heart was now irritating the scar.
Normally it was a raised area, dark pink, but now it looked red and angry.
He did not act as if it was bothering him.
What was that supposed to mean?
He was alright and they probably wouldn't do it again.
Maybe that was what Felipa was talking about - that she fussed over him too much.
The rest of the ride was pleasant.
Maybe it was jet lag - whatever that was.
Alex said nothing, his stoic features giving no suggestion of what was on his mind.
I have been made acutely aware of that fact since I was a child.
In that moment she was certain she saw something in his eyes - something akin to remorse.
You saw how he was.
Alex was watching her intently.
Jonathan was gazing up at Felipa with an adoring expression.
Christmas was only a few days away, and yet it didn't seem like Christmas.
Carmen was up first, showering and dressing before Alex woke.
It was almost as if he were shutting Felipa off before she could reveal something.
But that was behind them.
The shopping trip was exciting because it was so close to Christmas, but otherwise uneventful.
It was time to shove those old inhibitions out of their bedroom.
It was probably the first money, other than the air fares, Señor Medena had been able to spend on Alex - and even then he had to do it through Felipa.
If she was invited, it was as a guest of Alex, so he would tell her when and if he decided to go.
I just thought it was because he was so good looking.
Felipa tipped her head to the side, as if she was considering that information.
But it was more.
Maybe Felipa had a love she wasn't sure about.
But if you could trust him this way and there was no electricity, would it still be love?
It was Alex who talked her into the IVF, but what did it matter?
It wasn't an easy decision.
It was true, of course.
It was the way she wanted it as well.
She wasn't contributing money, but she was certainly contributing her share.
The room was silent for a few minutes after they left.
Carmen's smile was wry.
"I was raised poor," Carmen said.
Whatever the case, it certainly wasn't worth arguing about.
Maybe that was the problem.
Or was it the other way around?
His father was never able to get custody of him as a child.
Now he was exerting his authority in another way.
It wasn't as if he had to be there every living minute of his life.
Hopefully she wasn't offended.
He wasn't hurt, he interjected.
It was nice to hear English spoken without a Spanish accent.
Jonathan was sitting on his bed, watching TV in his pajamas.
Even so, Alex wasn't back by the time she got out.
It wasn't the first time she had gone to bed while he was out on a call, but it was the first time she had done so away from home.
If this was what defined a vacation away from home, she'd just as soon stay at home.
She was still awake an hour later when Alex came through the door.
Better. I think she was foundered.
Oh, I was supposed to tell you about a party.
Felipa was telling me.
The boxes were heavy, so carrying two of them was too much weight to handle.
Jonathan was up early and ready to go, so Alex hurriedly showered and dressed.
How could he do such a thing in front of Jonathan... and where was Jonathan?
It was all just good clean fun.
I don't think anyone was timing me.
Beautiful he was, but he also looked high spirited.
He wasn't going to buy it.
He was merely admiring it.
The architecture was fantastic, but not near as exciting as the ride on a ferry.
The weather was balmy, adding to the enjoyment of the day.
Pleasant as it was, they had to go back.
She was so worn out that she fell asleep at the table.
If he thought Alex was warming to him, he saw more than she did.
That night after Jonathan was in bed, Carmen turned to Alex.
For a minute there, I thought I was getting forgetful.
Carmen couldn't make out more than a few words, but one of them was mare.
The warm bubble bath was relaxing.
A friend, certainly, but their relationship was also romantic so best friend didn't seem like a good description.
When she glanced at Alex, he was watching her intently.
His response was a warm smile.
Jonathan was watching them intently.
His expression was reflective as he continued to regard her.
It wasn't something she had considered before, but another thought followed his.
Alex was going to college when his parents died in the plane crash.
He had started the clinic shortly after they were married, so his dream was barely being realized.
Now his father was putting a damper on it with his all consuming, self-serving plots.
Was the man capable of thinking of someone other than himself?
Jonathan was watching them, his mouth hanging open.
He was realizing the impact the lie had on their relationship.
He was growing up and she needed to keep that in mind - and some things off his mind.
Felipa said it was supposed to be nice outside today.
It made a safe ball that didn't go far, which was perfect for Destiny.
It was the first time Carmen had seen Alondra actually laugh.
Some might think Dulce didn't know what she was missing, but Carmen suspected she did.
Nina wasn't the only one awaiting her arrival.
Was it possible that their accent was in large, contrived?
Felipa was wearing a perky red satin gown with spaghetti straps and full skirt.
Her figure was not as well developed as Alondra or Dulce, but she looked nice in the style and color.
It was nice seeing Alondra like this.
The big question was, would her confidence last?
But then, maybe Alondra was one of those people who simply took a long time to warm to strangers.
The overall effect was surprising.
Everyone was looking at her.
For a minute there, I was ready to do just that.
First of all, I wasn't the only one involved.
It was a strange thing for a man to say.
It was something she had always liked about him, mostly because he was sincere about it.
Maybe that was what made him such a good salesman in the past.
It was a good thing he found it so amusing.
She was relieved when an older gentleman cut in.
The proper distance was maintained - and proper was the operative word.
Yet he too was an excellent dancer - or maybe everyone's dancing skills were so much better than hers that it only appeared so to her.
Alex was busy talking to a lady with a low-cut bodice.
By the expression on his face, he wasn't exactly enjoying the conversation.
That was the extent of their conversation before Señor Medena cut in.
She was beginning to see why Alex wasn't impressed with Señor Medena.
Alex was ten times the man Señor Medena would ever be.
Speaking of which, where was Alex?
He looked to be about her age and his blond hair was neatly combed into a fashionable style.
Dancing with someone that tall was going to be... interesting.
I was a little surprised at the invitation.
We all knew about his family, but the way he acted, it was as if he wanted to hide them from us.
I thought maybe I wasn't high society material.
His grin was infectious.
He was protective of you before he even met you.
He was so tall there was a vast difference in their height.
Truthfully, Gerald wasn't all that good a dancer.
Somehow that was a relief.
I worked with him for two years before I discovered who he really was.
If he knew who Alex really was, he probably knew more than Alex did.
Gerald was staring across the room.
Maybe Katie was simply trying to stay out of trouble.
He wasn't gentle then.
Most people would have said it was difficult for Alex.
But then, that was obvious.
That was the first time she had said it to anyone.
Somehow talking to him was easy.
His smile was relieved.
I guess the only thing he wanted more than that was a good woman and children.
It was a pleasure to meet you.
She looked too proper to be considered beautiful, and her expression was lofty.
It wasn't true, of course.
In fact, it was ludicrous - but it still hurt.
Her beef was with Dulce - and maybe Alex.
Then he turned back to his father, who was watching him with interest.
When Carmen turned, Dulce was watching her with the same expression.
Something about the way Felipa was smiling up at him suggested she was anticipating a good night kiss.
The idea was reinforced when Gerald turned and walked out the door without doing so.
His warm hand on her waist was reassuring.
But Tessa wasn't simply another pretty face.
Tessa was the girl who left him standing at the altar once.
Her step was too long, making contact with his foot.
"I thought he was going to beat you to me again," "Who?" he asked again.
Her smile was wry as she gazed up at his face.
His smile was strained.
He said I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.
I guess he was stunned by my beauty.
But he wasn't her concern tonight.
Alex wouldn't lie, but if he was given enough time to think about it, he could certainly evade the issue.
She was invited to the party.
By whoever invited all these other people - I suppose because she was someone I knew.
So the party was actually for him, not both of them.
He was a junior salesman.
It wasn't my intent to hide anything from you.
Possibly not, but that was the end result.
When the band took a break, Carmen was looking for something cool to drink.
Sweets usually made her thirstier - but it was wet.
It was far too sweet and had a bitter aftertaste.
I guess I wasn't very polite, making a face like that.
While the band was on break, Eduardo entertained them with some Spanish guitar.
He was amazingly good, his fingers plucking the strings with quick nimble strokes.
Obviously the long week was taking its toll on him as well.
Even as tired as she was, his arms were a welcome haven.
The kitchen was open all the time, but Alex didn't drink - or never had to her knowledge.
Carmen rushed to him, but found that he was either asleep or passed out.
In fact, what she felt was pity.
Hopefully, this was his one and only session with drinking too much.
Being groped by him again wasn't something she was looking forward to.
The way he acted tonight was a little too much like he did when he came home from the hospital.
At the time she had thought Dulce was annoyed because she didn't like the punch.
It was something Alex didn't need to know.
"Was I disrespectful?" he insisted.
She was no longer tired - no longer concerned about the children or the strange room.
Home was any place they were together.
The service on Christmas Eve day was, of course, about Jesus.
The subject was how Mary had been a vessel to carry the son of god.
After the service, Alex was unusually silent.
Nothing. I was just thinking about technology.
It was a picture taken at the party and the focus was on Carmen and Alex.
Carmen was looking at someone behind the camera and Alex was looking at a girl who stood about five feet from him.
His gaze was clearly focused on her half exposed breasts.
A spiked drink might seem harmless, but if a person was taking certain prescription drugs, it could be dangerous.
Perhaps it was a foolish thing to do.
Her accent was still there, but the clumsy speech pattern was gone.
The other obvious fact was that Dulce didn't accept the inheritance issue.
I wasn't even aware that I was staring at her... there.
I think everyone was guilty of staring at her at least once - if for no other reason, wondering if she was going to fall out of her dress.
He was at least equally intrigued by hers.
Maybe she thought it was funny.
In fact, she said it was for me.
Even inviting Tessa was disrespectful.
As for the drink, there was no point in bringing that up.
Of course, it was possible that someone might harm her.
There was a lot at stake.
I didn't realize what a mess it was.
His voice was soft.
His laugh was short and humorless.
You said Eduardo was your cousin.
Señor Medena was the first boy in his family.
She wasn't telling him anything he didn't already know.
All she was doing was reminding him how powerless he was.
It was a good thing they didn't change after church, because everyone at the table was dressed as if going to church.
Was it another attempt to humiliate them - her?
Alondra was still a big question mark, but her gut said no to that idea too.
The return address was the Doctor's office in Chicago.
Carmen glanced at Señor Medena, who was beaming as if they were his children... or as if they were his biological grandchildren.
Who was paying for this?
She had assumed Alex was, but... she needed to look at his files.
Dropping off home-cooked meals was a very nice gesture.
Actually, her first morning of sickness had been unpleasant, until she discovered the cause was pregnancy.
The memory was poignant, overshadowed by events that took place after she told Alex she was expecting.
From that point on it was a nightmare.
If he had simply ignored her, she might have been able to get her emotions under control, but now a sob threatened so convincingly that she was afraid to breathe.
She was just surprised by what was in the envelope.
It was amazing how children honed in on parents emotions and sympathized.
No matter how sorry Alex was for what happened, or how many times he apologized or tried to make up for it, he couldn't remove the hurt.
For the most part, the facial expressions of those sitting around the table were sympathetic, but Dulce looked as if she was ready to break into tears.
Well, he was probably embarrassed by her outburst and felt the need to explain.
What would be different this time was the fact that he couldn't deny the babies were his - that and the fact that this time she had no uterus to lose.
A part of her might never forgive him for what he did... and that was a dark part of her personality that she didn't want him to see.
He was fallible like everyone else.
Yet somewhere deep inside she feared that if he was capable of betrayal once, then he might be again.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.