Week 5, Wednesday morning, Garcia hacienda outside of Torreon, Mexico
Mercy sat beneath the shade of some ancient gnarled tree. She was not sure what it was, and since coming here, she had been cut off from any access to the internet. Diego had made certain that they were completely isolated. She missed her tablet and the hundreds of books on it. Books were not all that available in the village either, especially in English.
But she had managed to purchase several notebooks. She did not dare journal her thoughts and feelings as she had been since she was old enough to read or write. She could not risk those falling into Diego’s hands. But she had completed the rough draft of two novels and was well into the third. It was not like she had much else to do other than try to shove food in her ‘father’s’ mouth and wipe his ass several times a day. It was impossible to carry on any meaningful conversation with Ignacio Garcia.
And until today, the only other people she had seen were Consuela, the priest, and that supposed doctor. That woman wanted no part of conversation with her. The priest has seemed friendly enough, but she was not the religious type. And there was something utterly cringe-worthy about the emaciated older man in his dark clothes who came with all those bottles of elixirs that were supposed to help. At least to kill orange trees.
Today had been full of surprises, though. After a restless night filled more with worry about Will than sleep, she had dragged her butt out of bed into the shower. Without the elixir of the gods, it was more challenging to get going each morning. The idea of going without coffee for over a year or more was daunting. She had a new respect for Laura. But somethings had to be. Her hand rested lightly over her flat abdomen.
Of course, she could not be certain. Home pregnancy tests were another thing sorely missing from the little shop in the village. Still, she was usually pretty regular, and she was over two weeks late. Combined with the tenderness and sensitivity in her breasts and occasional nausea that seemed to overcome at any time of day, not just the mornings, she was reasonably sure.
Today was worse than usual, though. Perhaps it was worry about Will? That was undoubtedly a massive part of it. But today’s surprise, though pleasant, might also be contributing to her upset tummy.
After weeks of thinking that perhaps this had been a wild goose chase, this morning, as she walked out of their apartment, she had been greeted by a young light-skinned black woman. Her senses were instantly heightened. She matched the description that Will had given Mercy, but it had been over three years since he had seen his cousin. Bebe would have grown and changed. He had wondered if even he would recognize her.
But whether she was Will’s cousin or not, this was the first person, other than waitresses in the café, who had approached her since they arrived. And when the girl spoke to her in English, she had almost wanted to throw her arms around her. Not that her Spanish was not nearly perfect, it was. But just speaking her native language to anyone other than Will or last night with Roberto was a thrill.
The young woman had told her that she would be helping out with Iggy from now on. Mercy had only half-believed Roberto last night when he said he would convince Diego but it seemed he somehow had. She certainly was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The girl had turned and begun walking towards the estate then without saying anything more. It had taken Mercy a moment to finish locking up and catch up with her.
“I’m Mercy, by the way.”
The girl looked at the hand she held out and then stared around them, looking directly back at the cantina. Whatever she had seen, she had continued to walk on for a couple more moments in silence. That only raised Mercy’s hopes – and fears.
Just as her excitement was about to overcome all common sense, the young woman turned once again and looked behind them. Whatever she saw must have reassured her because she was half-smiling when she turned back to face Mercy. “Yes, I’m Bebe. Thank god that Roberto has arranged for me to get out of there for a bit.”
Mercy did not dare jump up and down with the excitement that she felt inside her, just in case they were being watched from afar. “Oh, god, I’m so glad to find you. Will will be so relieved. We came here to find you and bring you home. Though, I don’t know yet how we will manage that.”
Her next words floored Mercy and pulled the rug out from under her. That was why when her father went down for a nap, she had left Will’s cousin to watch him and escaped for just a few minutes. She needed to collect her thoughts and process what the girl had said. How could Bebe possibly not want to escape? To remain her where her body had been sold over and over again? Where she was…
But before she could even begin to unravel the complexities of that one, another woman approached her. Mercy had seen her walking in this garden almost every day. But even if Mercy had the time, there was just something about the woman that made her uneasy. An overwhelming sense of sadness, indeed, but there was something more profound and deeper. Some intangible that Mercy just could not put her finger on about Diego’s wife.
“I don’t mean to disturb you, but may I join you?”
If this day got any weirder, Mercy was sure that she would hurl the beans, rice, and tortilla that she had eaten earlier.