Chapter 5

Warnings: Nothing too harsh… just a lot of pain. And close to 4K words.
SL05Header

Carlos slowly tried to assess the damage, but without being able to move his head, he was unable to do more than guess at what had happened. Given the fact that his entire left side felt as if it was incessantly being dipped in burning oil, he doubted that was truly what was happening to him. Trying to move his arm again only resulted in another hiss of pain.

He tried to refocus on his brother and it was then that he noticed his left eye was covered. He timidly raised his arm and gently touched the left side of his face. It was covered in bandages.

“Jesus, what the hell happened to me?”

Hector shuffled hesitantly. “We don’t have to talk about that right now…” he said evasively.

“The hell we don’t,” Carlos muttered, his energy already beginning to sap. He let his arm fall back to the bed with a flump. “Where am I?”

Hector’s face was stoic. “Mercy. Burn unit.”

Carlos gave him a direct glare, waiting for more. Finally with a sigh, Hector dragged a hand over his tired looking eyes. “You were in an explosion.”


——————

He woke slowly; his senses dull and foggy and unfocused.

01

All he could see was white and gray shapes, blurred against more white. He could hear was a distant, steady beep, like that of a heart monitor, and with an intake of breath he noticed tubing in his nostrils, and the smell of starched linen; sterile and bleached.

And then, all he could feel was fire.

His left arm felt heavy and he tried to move it, but immediately stopped when the fire intensified twenty-fold, making him bellow out in pain. His voice was raspy; his throat felt shredded. He panted through gritted teeth against the pain. Every breath was like tiny razors flying pell-mell down his throat and into his lungs. The beeping grew annoyingly faster.

“Try not to move,” a familiar voice said from on his right. Surprised, he jerked his head to look and received another wave of fiery pain all down his neck and shoulder.

02

“¿Hector?” he gasped through the pain. He stilled himself so that he wouldn’t move, his eyes wheeling around in the bright white that was slowly coming into focus. White walls. Gray windows. White sheets.

Si, hermanito, estoy aqui.

“I can’t see you.” He heard a shuffle of movement and then a dark shape came into his view. He concentrated on focusing his eyes until the features of his brother began to solidify.

03

“Better?”

The beeping machine somewhere out of his vision on the left began to slow as his heart rate returned to a more normal pace. “Better.”

Hector reached out and gripped his hand gently. “I’m glad you’re awake.”

Carlos winced as he swallowed. It was like all of his muscles were stiff and tight and swollen – or stripped bare, he couldn’t tell. “I think I’d rather go back to sleep,” he observed drily, and Hector chuckled, a look of relief flashing across his features.

Carlos slowly tried to assess the damage, but without being able to move his head, he was unable to do more than guess at what had happened. Given the fact that his entire left side felt as if it was incessantly being dipped in burning oil, he doubted that was truly what was happening to him. Trying to move his arm again only resulted in another hiss of pain.

He tried to refocus on his brother and it was then that he noticed his left eye was covered. He timidly raised his arm and gently touched the left side of his face. It was covered in bandages.

04

“Jesus, what the hell happened to me?”

Hector shuffled hesitantly. “We don’t have to talk about that right now…” he said evasively.

“The hell we don’t,” Carlos muttered, his energy already beginning to sap. He let his arm fall back to the bed with a flump. “Where am I?”

Hector’s face was stoic. “Mercy. Burn unit.”

Carlos gave him a direct glare, waiting for more. Finally with a sigh, Hector dragged a hand over his tired looking eyes. “You were in an explosion.”

Hector looked down at him, his expression a cross between sorrow and anguish, and Carlos could see how much stress this had put on his brother. “It was a small explosion, but you were too close to it. You’ve had second- and third-degree burns all down the left side of your face and neck, chest, shoulder, and arm. You have been in a medicine-induced sleep for two days now, to help you with the pain, and to help you heal.”

Carlos swallowed, feeling the muscles in his neck ripple uncomfortably. The movement enhanced the burning feeling he had felt before. Hector continued.

“They had to shave your hair because of the burns, and they will need to do a skin graft for your arm and chest. You were struck with debris; bits of wood, shards of glass… they, and the burns, have left you scarred. And…” he paused, seeing the breath Carlos took to steady himself. “A shard of glass severed the optical nerve in your left eye. You will be blind in that eye, hermanito… I’m sorry.”

Carlos’ jaw twitched as he tried to digest the news. No wonder his eye socket ached so badly every time his eye moved. He was surprised by how strongly the news had affected him, making his eyes sting with moisture. Hector squeezed his hand again, and Carlos squeezed back briefly, unable to say anything more at the moment.

“There is one more thing,” his brother said haltingly. Carlos tried to stave off his impending panic with humor.

“What, did I lose a leg?” He was careful to keep his face serious as he looked at Hector. Hector, whose expression had been guarded a moment before, now looked as if he were holding back the urge to laugh, and he tiled his head.

05

“No,” he said. “Can’t you feel your legs?”

Carlos moved first his left leg gingerly, and then his right. Both were responsive, and he could feel the scratchy cotton of the sheet. He moved his head in a small nod, wincing at the pain. “Yes, I can feel them.”

Hector’s expression was serious again. “Your partner…” he started.

“Mark.”

“Mark,” he corrected. He stalled a moment, then, “He saved your life, Carlos.”

Carlos laughed once through his nose. “He’s never going to let me live that one down… Has he already been here?”

He didn’t see Hector swallow, or notice how tense he became. “He’s gone.” Hector’s voice was almost imperceptible. “He’s dead, Carlos.”

Carlos couldn’t believe his ears. If he could shake his head, he would have. “What?” His voice was even raspier than before.

“Your cadets said he followed you when you disappeared around the edge of the building. He heard the first blast and ran, and when he saw what was happening, he jumped in front of you, taking you down to the ground just as the second explosion went off. He… a rather large piece of wood… it went straight through him, Carlos, there was nothing to be done.”

Carlos swallowed the thick lump that had formed in his throat as he’d listened. Suddenly every pain that was associated with that movement became so trivial. So minute. He remembered seeing him now, just before the second blast. He’d shouted at him… he’d told him… “I told him no!” he said, his voice pained and hurt. And tears fell from his eyes slowly, stinging; he tried to hold them back. He brought his hand up to his left eye, the one that ached horribly at the moisture.

06

“I told him not to follow me! I did… I… God… why didn’t he…”

His words were broken by the sobs he couldn’t let out. They choked in his throat, burning him from the inside now. Hector tried to comfort him by laying a hand on his good arm, but Carlos lifted it away from him, not wanting to be touched, not wanting to be reminded that it was he who had survived when he had nothing to live for and Mark had everything; a wife, a baby on the way, parents, siblings…

“When is the funeral?” he heard himself ask.

“A week from tomorrow.”

Carlos tried to fuzzily do the math in his head, but his brain was addled with pain medication and grief. “Why so long?”

Hector ran a hand through his hair. “Ah… his wife… she went into early labor when she heard the news…” Carlos let go of another puff of air, afraid of what his brother was going to say. “The baby, he is in NICU and is doing fine now, but he is premature. They decided to wait until after the mother and baby were recovered enough before having the funeral.”

Carlos closed his eyes and prayed in relief that at least Lizzie was spared even more sorrow. “I want to go to the funeral,” he heard himself say. He opened his eyes and saw Hector’s incredulous expression, shaking his head.

07

“No! You can’t possibly go to a funeral like this… There’s no way…”

Carlos cut him off. “I’m going, Hector. I don’t care what your doctors say; I owe it to Mark… to Lizzie… I owe it to them to be there. To… to honor him.”

“I’ll go in your place, Carlos, you know I will…”

08

“That’s not good enough.” His voice was graveled with conviction. “Get whatever clearance I need to leave. I’ll be back in this bed when it’s over, you have my word. But I am going to go to his funeral.”

Hector was, for once, speechless. Carlos could see his sense of responsibility to his family was warring with that of his job. Being in the health administration, he had access to call the shots when he wanted. “You’ll get an infection,” he said uncertainly. “Your health, Carlos,” he reminded him.

Carlos didn’t care. He’d had enough of arguing, enough raw emotion for one day. He was shaking and his breath came out in a rush. He blinked his eyes several times over but his vision in his right eye seemed to not want to focus. “I can’t see,” he said stubbornly. His left eye was beginning to ache all the way to the back of his head. He heard Hector move and saw the shape of him round the foot of his bed.

“That will happen. Doctor Garrison said your right eye will become fatigued from over-stimulation until you get used to it. I’ll see if I can get someone in here for some more medication.”

He left the room, and Carlos was alone with his thoughts. They were scrambled, and poignant, and raw. The vision of Mark’s happy face swam before him, and he closed his eyes so he didn’t have to see him anymore, but it didn’t work.

09

*****

10

The morning of the funeral was cool and foggy, the sky gray and blank. Tall green oaks fanned their leaves out in canopies, shading the sleeping ground beneath them. People were already filing up the brick laid path, gathering in clusters or seating themselves in the black metal folding chairs, the atmosphere as solemn as the weather.

11

Hector wheeled Carlos up the jagged brick path. They were late enough that few people noticed as they joined the back of the crowd, and Hector secured the wheelchair in place with his foot. Carlos wore faded black pants borrowed from his brother – his own were too tight against his chaffed skin on his thighs where the skin graft had been taken from – a button down shirt three sizes too large with the left arm cut off at the shoulder, and a black suit jacket that was slung loosely over him. The left side of his face was covered in fresh bandages, and he wore sunglasses to obscure his blind eye and to protect his right from light sensitivity.

Elizabeth Callaghan sat in the front row, her sable hair piled loose on top of her head. She was pale, and kept her head down as the priest gave the sermon, and Carlos could see her shoulders shake silently as the bagpipes began to play.

12

When the sermon was over, one by one the guests filed past the coffin and down the slope. Quite a few co-workers stopped to say something to Carlos, but he only gave quick one-word answers or a cursory nod in acknowledgement. He didn’t want to regale them all with stories of the blast and take away the meaning of the ceremony they’d just been a part of. To him, that seemed like it would be trivializing Mark’s actions and glorifying his own survival. Truth be told, he felt it’d be a much better scenario for all if he and Mark’s positions were reversed anyway.

13

He watched as Lizzie stood at the foot of the coffin. Her head was bowed and the priest said some soft words of prayer for her, which must have comforted her on some level, for she nodded. Carlos’ throat ached with emotion he had yet to shed for the loss of his friend. His sadness was mirrored in the profile of his friend’s widow as she placed the long stem red rose on the top of the casket.

Stepping back, Lizzie hugged her upper arms as she began to walk away. Carlos could see the strain in her face, how fragile her composure was. He did this. He made her a widow. A widow with a young, premature son.

She noticed the wheelchair first, and her gaze traveled upward, until she was staring at his face. Her gaze flickered to Hector and back. He saw the line appear between her brows as she tried to place him. The thought made him grimace; was he really that unrecognizable? He spoke as she approached him.

“Hey, Lizzie.”

14

She stopped short and her expression cleared at once. “Carlos!” She ran to him, dropping to her knees in the grass at his feet. Her hand rested on the area of his thigh that the doctors had taken skin for the skin graft, and Carlos moved uncomfortably. Just as quickly as she’d touched him, she drew her hand away from him. “Oh, Carlos,” she shook her head, tears bright and full in her eyes. Her hands fluttered for a moment, unsure of where she could touch him. “What are you doing here? You should be in the hospital.”

15

Carlos raised his hand and caressed her head in a familiar gesture, his voice soft. “I had to come.”

Hector stood and offered his seat for Lizzie, and she gracefully took it, shaking hands with Hector, accepting his condolences. “Excuse me, there’s something I need to attend to,” he said politely, and he turned and walked down the brick path leading towards the entrance to the cemetery, allowing Carlos and Lizzie to talk in private.

Carlos took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He looked off at the grave site. “It was a really good service,” he observed.

Lizzie looked down at her clamped hands in her lap. “Yeah, it really was.”

Carlos laid his hand on her knee, the only place he could reach without catching his breath at the pain. She looked up at him and her expression undid him. His voice broke. “I’m so… s-sorry… Lizzie.” His voice had gotten thick with emotion and a tear fell unabashedly from beneath his sunglasses.

Lizzie took a shuddering breath, her own tears beginning to cascade down her cheeks. “Oh Carlos… don’t. Don’t blame yourself…” she pleaded, and he bowed his head. She stroked his forearm repeatedly. “Please don’t. He would never allow it. H-he would never w-want you to feel r-responsible…” She trailed off, trying her best not to fall to pieces, while at the same time unable to stop from sobbing.

“I… I tried to tell him…” He raised his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose lightly, trying to stave off more tears. The action pulled at the stitches that ran along the top of his brow and he dropped his hand with frustration. Instead, he turned his face to the sky, to the green canopy above them.

16

Beside him, Lizzie took a deep breath, sighing, composing herself, strengthening herself for him as he should be doing for her.

“He wouldn’t have listened… even if he knew the outcome.”

17

Even as she spoke, he felt shame and disappointment in himself for not being the man he should be. The man she remembered.

Years before – God, almost a decade ago – when he and Lizzie had dated, Lizzie’s grandfather had passed quite suddenly. Carlos had flown with her to Maryland to attend the funeral, and had been the one for her to cling to when the grief became too much for her to handle. That was what she needed now, someone to hold her up, to let her fall into him and just cry and cry and cry. Not to have to dab the constant tears away from her eyes in pretense that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. Not to have to paste a feather of a smile, a glimmer of the beauty she truly was, in order to appear fine.

Because he knew in his heart she was not fine.

And it was because of him and his hasty foolishness.

Reining in the fresh wave of sorrow that threatened to cave in on him, he stared off into the middle distance, unseeing of anything but blurry shapes. He felt a cool breeze blow across the back of his head, the sensation foreign in the wake of his newly shaved head. His hand came up to rub the stubble there.

18

“I don’t think I will get used to this,” he stated. Inwardly he reflected that the statement could be meant two-ways, and he huffed at the irony, dropping his hand away.

“Did they shave it because of the burns?”

“Yes.”

She was shredding a tissue in her lap. “It is true you’re blind in your left eye now?” Her words were uncertain, and he knew enough about her to know that she was trying to be considerate to his feelings, too.

“Yes,” he answered, nodding.

“I’m sorry.”

He didn’t respond, but he let her pull his hand into her lap, and he squeezed her fingers reassuringly. What he was reassuring, however, he had no answer to.

He cleared his throat. “Your little boy… how is he?”

Lizzie sniffed and dabbed at her eyes, nodding her answer before she spoke. “He’s good. He’s home now.”

“What is his name?”

“Mason. Here,” she said, reaching into her purse. She pulled out her cell phone and thumbed through her pictures, before showing it to him. Carlos took the phone from her grasp and brought it up close so that he could focus. The baby was small, and bundled in hospital blankets with a tiny white cap, his plump cheek flushed from sleep. From just a cell phone picture, Carlos could see traces of his friend’s brow and chin. It was clear that little Mason would grow up to look like his father.

He handed the cell phone back to her. “He looks like him.”

“Yes, he does,” she said softly, slipping the phone back into her purse.

“So what now?” he asked.

19

Lizzie paused and looked away, over at the grave site, as if looking for permission. “I think I’m going to go live with my parents for a while,” she said slowly. “To have help with Mason, and because I just… can’t face the house alone.”

Carlos nodded. “That’s a good idea. Get away from here for a little while.”

She turned back to him, her expression etched with worry. “What about you? Are you able to work… with your injuries?”

He took a deep breath. “I’m off the force indefinitely. They didn’t fire me,” he hurried to clarify. “But they want to send me to a specialist for occupational therapy once this is all over, so I’ll be gone for at least six months to a year, maybe more.”

“Where are they sending you?”

There was a pause in his response as he watched her out of the corner of his eye. “Covena.”

She looked at him, surprised. He tensed, waiting for the reaction his brother had given him, and waiting to hear the censure he was used to. But in turn, she surprised him. “Are you going to look for her?”

“No,” he admitted. He heard her small cry of protest and shook his head. “No, I’m not going to look for her.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want her to see me like this… she’d never recognize me. Hell, it even took you a minute to recognize me, and you see me a lot more than she does.” It was funny how he never used her name when he spoke of her… only in his mind. As if it would ruin her mystery if others heard her name.

Ya no queda ni la mitad… de mi mismo,” he said, almost to himself. He shook his head again. “I am broken. And I know there is every possibility that she’s moved on. All I would be doing is bringing back lost memories, and now, a moment of regret and pity when she sees what I’ve become.”

Lizzie laid a hand on his bicep gently, leaving it there until he turned to look at her. “Don’t give up, Carlos. You hear me?” She gave a tiny shake of her head. “Don’t give up. You are not broken, and you are not half of what you were. You are every bit as fine a catch now as you were a week ago.”

His heart twisted in his chest at her words, and he closed his eyes. She kissed her fingers and laid them feather light on his right cheek, wary of the stitches that marred his olive skin. “You’ll see,” she whispered.

20

She rose from the chair and bent to kiss his forehead. He watched her leave as she slowly walked her way down the hill, not looking back at the grave or casket. And he couldn’t help but feel like the last vestiges of the man he once was, were slowly leaving with her.

————————

A/N: WELL! To capsulize the last 24 hours, give or take, this should have been up yesterday, but due to a five-hour migraine, that did not happen. Once the headache was gone, I was able to go back and finish taking pics, but then it got to be too late (almost 3am when I stopped). THEN! I couldn’t fall asleep to save my life… so I didn’t fall asleep til 4. Then I went into work, and on my first break I got to watch as the middle of the warehouse CAUGHT ON BLOODY FIRE. Oh yes. Right there. You know that sound that the movies make when something goes up in flames.. that soft “whoosh”? Yeah. Totally true. And accurate. I hauled ass out of there with my friend and I don’t think I have EVER ran that fast in my life. Feet don’t fail me now… sheesh. But in all seriousness, it was super scary and I’m still shaken from it. My legs still feel jelly-like. I think I’m still in a state of shock, really.

Anyway. I’m okay, everyone got out okay, and now I have a half day… so I got this done earlier than expected!! 🙂

 

ETA: OMG blame the adrenaline brain for this.. MANY AND MANY UBER HUGE THANKS GO TO SIMTOPI FOR ALLOWING ME HER BEAUTIFUL MESH FOR CARLOS’ FACE AND FOREHEAD BANDAGES!!!! Mela, thank you SO much from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to play with those… and thank you for your patience and friendship 🙂 I owe you lots of brownies and starbucks 😛

 

Spanish Lessons:
+ Si, hermanito, estoy aqui = Yes, little brother, I’m here.
+ Ya no queda ni la mitad de mi mismo = I’m not even half of myself

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28 Comments

Filed under Chapter 5

28 responses to “Chapter 5

  1. deagh

    I was expecting that for Mark…I’m psychic like that, I guess :/ Sorry to be right, though. *waits to see what happens in Covena.* I has theories. I will keep them to myself so as not to spoil things. I know what *I* would do, but you aren’t me. 🙂

    Thanks for posting this on my lunch break so I can read it now 😀

    And glad you’re ok, and I know what the jelly legs are like – been there and done that, but this too shall pass, hon.

    • OOooohhhh theories??? DO TELL!!! :333 Er, like, you can email ’em if you want. I love hearing theories.

      And ahahaa you are *quite* welcome… I timed it special and EVERYTHING 😉

      Thanks for the encouragement, the understanding, the patience, the … oh hell, thanks for everything… for real. I’m so glad you’re back, and … I’m gonna make myself cry. So … yeah. But thank you. Really really.

      • deagh

        Heh, I was remembering that she was in the medical field too (see a few comments down) and just because she’s an ultrasound tech doesn’t mean she won’t see him. 🙂

        And yes, I do believe he will still be schmexy afterwards, because if I’m right about what he is going to look like, I have had a _very_ good look at him. 😉 And even if I’m not, then I still have a good idea, thanks to Joshua.

        I”m rather glad to be back myself – life has…well..sucked for a while, but I’m making time for this. I have missed it.

      • THREE CHEERS TO DEAGH. I knew you’d recognize him. Yes, Carlos IS a tweaked version of Joshua!! :DDD But he is definitely going to be looking different when all these wounds heal up 🙂

      • deagh

        Woo, can I call it or what! I likes him, he’s been useful for me. He doesn’t even mind being a pale ginger and playing a supporting role in one of my other offerings. 😀

        Such a trouper. Oh, I’ll email you a funny about him.

  2. kelseypinkshoe

    Oh, Christi, this was so sad! I never expected that at all – when I saw the cover picture, I thought, “Who could’ve died?” And I really liked Mark! Poor Lizzie! ):

    Gorgeous writing, as per usual. I loved the update, even if it made me all sad inside. And the pictures were exquisite!

    Funny note: in your preview video (with all the pictures), there’s a picture of Carlos sitting on a bench and reading a newspaper; when I saw it, I thought it was Juan Molendez, lol! Didn’t recognize Carlos at all. O___o

    In other news, can’t wait to see what happens in Covena, even if Carlos being sent there came at a terrible cost.

    (Sorry if the comment is disjointed…I’m just super, super shocked!)

    • Aww I know it was sad… it was hard to write, too. I had to act out some of those dialogues to get them to sound right and I made myself cry a few times haha.. (is ~dorky).

      And YES that is Carlos! I’m glad someone noticed that haha. And yes, I can see why you’d think that was Juan Molendez (haha did you have to go look that up? If you pulled that from memory I’d be muy impresionado lol) But I can’t line, I’m kinda glad I disguised him so well :3

      Not disjointed! I was sad about Mark too, I really liked his character. He’s a hoot to write… so I’m sorry Carlos had to lose him. And Lizzie, too.

  3. Qui

    Awww this was hard to read! He goes through so much! I long for the day he is just all happiness! Losing Mark and seeing both Carlos and Lizzie try to be strong had to be the hardest! I am very happy that she does not blame him but encourages him to look for Christi.

    He is still my sexy face! Still the same sweet, passionate Carlos I feel in love with and no second or third degree burns will change that. I’m going to miss his hair 😦
    I’m glad you’re ok! Get some sleep!

    • I want him to be happy too!! lol I’m sorry this one was sad… I know, he’s been through a lot in his life. But hopefully he will find it, yeah? I know we didn’t really get a chance to know Lizzie or her past with Carlos, but we will once I do his character study… ::hint::

      The hair! haha 😦 I know… I think a lot of people will miss his hair. Me included… but he’ll look good, I promise.. hehe 🙂

      Thanks Qui!!

      • Qui

        Crazy thing. I had a dream about this last night and something popped into my head. I’m going to check the character studies you did for the McT’s just to be sure but I’ll send you my thoughts rather than posting it and it turns out to be a spoiler.

        I just have one request, please don’t let Troy come in and try to be super woman for him! Go save them kids chick! LEAVE Carlos alone!

      • oooh do tell!! What was it you thought??

  4. That was so sad. But it was also beautifully shot, some wonderful angles on the funeral. I can’t wait to see how Carlos deals with recovery and the reminders he’ll be left with.

    And a fire?! Gawd! I’m glad you’re okay!

  5. Poor Lizzie…thinking of her with her baby son, without Mark is just heartbreaking. 😦

    Carlos must just feel like everything is falling apart right now. I can understand why he doesn’t want Christiana to see him. I’m hoping the fates will intervene and she sees him anyway. I’m betting nothing that has happened to Carlos would matter to her in the slightest.

    Wow, I’m glad you all got okay from the fire! Scary!

    • Omg Carla, YES he does… everything. He blames himself deeply for what he’s put Lizzie through, and he feels very alone and isolated in his situation right now. Like he said, he feels like half the man he used to be, maybe less… so of course he wouldn’t want Christiana to see him that way. And I think you’ve got the right read on her as well… but you’ve always liked her, too, I know. 🙂

  6. open_the_blinds

    Wait, wait, wait, wait…. *has thoughts – slowly – as she’s been up since 3am*

    Isn’t Christiana a nurse (or something to do with the medical field at least)? *has more thoughts* X)

    Also, I have to admit I was pretty shallow there for a bit: when it was revealed Carlos was blind in one eye, I was all “oh noes!” and then that they’d shaved his head, “oh noes! his beautiful hairz!” … Then it was revealed his partner had been killed and I felt like a jerk. D:

    And this is probably a really morbid/horrible thing to say, but your cemetery is very pretty. (Does that sound as weird aloud as it did in my head, lol?)

    • oh holy god you were awake before i was even asleep… :X That’s scary. And wayyy too early. ugh. It hurts to think about it… actually.

      And wowww yes, good memory! Christiana IS in the medical field… buuuuut she’s an ultrasound technician for an OB-GYN. 😄 But REALLY good thought, and if she was involved in anything burn/OT related, that’d be a perfect scenario! 🙂

      Aww haha you are DEFINITELY not the only one to have those thoughts, not to worry!! But I think you’ll still find him schmexy, I really do. He’s looking good and fine when he’s all healed up X)

      And THANK YOU very much for the compliment on the cemetery! I don’t think that’s morbid at all. I actually find cemeteries very beautiful, weirdly enough. (I feel like we bonded over this before… was this when I was debating on pictures to print for Christmas presents? I had a black and white one of the local cemetery here…) Anyway.. not weird! Not one tiny bit. 🙂 I took more pictures of it in greater detail, I’ll share them (and perhaps upload it if there’s enough interest…?) on the main blog in a few days. It’s weird cause i dragged my feet about building it in the first place, I was going to just use a community lot I had downloaded (which was much more detailed and probably a great deal more work than mine turned out to be), but for some reason my game won’t change lot zoning properly when I do that… so I was forced into building my own. This was slapped together in less than an hour, and I must say, I’m actually really happy with it 🙂

      • Qui

        Ohhh see good thing I read comments! I was wondering the same thing but didn’t remember which part of the nursing field she was in! Possibilities! I’m hopeful!

  7. I’m really happy that those bandages could be of use to someone else, but I can’t take credit for them really. I just found a texture online and played around with it, is all. I see now what you needed them for! Poor Carlos! Poor Lizzie losing Mark like this. Carlos is so honourable, of course he’ll take it hard, but I hope he recovers. And maybe Christiana will really see him when they find eachother. We’ll wait patiently here while Carlos makes the trip to Covena.

    • Um.. pshhaw you can take credit for them!! You were the one who brilliantly drew up the shape and worked tediously to make that borrowed texture work so it looked as realistic as it did! All I did was tilt it, blow it up a few sizes, and stretch the thing across his cheek haha. 😛 No getting out of Starbucks and brownies!!! (I need the excuse to eat teh chocolitz nd caf-eenz.)

      Honorable really is a great descriptor for Carlos. I think Mark would agree to that as well. Weird fact; Mark was actually a clone of Aldis with a few changes, and was only supposed to be in the beginning of the first chapter. Funny how things change like that!

      Thank you again, Mela, and you have no idea the little skippy-jump I did when I found out you read this :3

  8. im a new reader to this story so i’ll sum up all my thoughts and comments here… first i want to say that your writing is exceptional! i mean there isnt an ounce of detail lost and you never over do it. give me your skills!!
    this chapter in particular was very powerful. i dunno if its because my wretched monthly is coming or what but i was literally near tears at the funeral scenes. its so sad and so realistic! can’t wait to read more 🙂

    • awww thank you very much!!! That means so much to me.. I have tried a few different approaches to my writing in this story, so to know that they are making a difference is just what I needed to hear. So thanks!!

      I know this sounds morbid, but I really liked writing this chapter. I don’t know why… since it brought me to tears a few times as well, especially when Lizzie tells Carlos not to blame himself, and when Carlos found out that Mark had died. I guess that saying is true; “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” I try to hold to that whenever possible, if the scenes call for it. My husband thinks I’m crazy 😉

  9. Me

    OMGEE for certain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED IT!!! I loved the emotion in Carlos and I had a lump in my throat the whole way through. He REALLY needs to look for her. The pictures are beautiful and really compliment the story well. Good job dear, I love it! 🙂

    PS…This is me…again.

  10. Hayley

    I loved this!!!! I’ve been reading the McT’s for a while now (one of the anonymus posters) and I haven’t gotten around to reading it for a while so I ended up spending a good hour reading everything that I missed, and I have to say I love all of it! Spanish Lullaby is amazing, I like the insight into Carlos’ world, to see what he’s up to and all, and I really hope things work out for him and Christiana though I can imagine it would be a little awkward mentioning that he has a daughter and they barely know each other. When I saw Carlos without hair I was like OMG it better grow back!!!! But Mark’s death was so sad, but my heart went out to Lizzie because she’s the one left alone to take care of those kids 😦 awww
    When I saw the coffin I was like What? Carlos died??! But I remembered Mark and figured that you wouldn’t have killed off such an important character! I’m really looking forward to either story (SL or McT’s) and I cannot wait for their lives to collide! 😄

    • oh wow am I ever late, I’m sorry!!

      Thank you so much!! I’m very glad you like it, and that you you’ve taken the time to read them! That means so much to me. I’m sorry I had to kill off Mark, because I did like him.

      And yes!! Awkward is a perfect word for how that revelation would go. “Oh, btw… you’re a dad! Surprise!” haha. 😉

      Thank you!! 🙂

  11. SB

    He is going to look for her. Everything that has happened to him makes it even more important to look for her, even if he isn’t searching hunting…it is a search of the soul. Something that has to be done.

    There was a reason I had to wait to read this, and I hope you know why. Your work is stunning, creatively unique, gorgeous, and you find that place that people want to see.

    • awww SB… 😦 I’m sorry if this upset you. I would never want to cause you more pain.

      I think you’re right; Carlos WILL be searching, if not actively then subconsciously.

      *hugs* Thank you so much for your compliments… they always bring a smile to my face and warm my heart. <333

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