That skanky, sleazy, puta...

She takes on her case and then, what? Loses purposefully in order to get closer to Ivan?

She'd kill her. She'd shoot that lying, scheming-

No. It.. It wasn't Paulina. It was him.

Ivan.

It was all him. And his... Man-whore ways.

He was the one who needed to be punished.

He'd hidden from her for days and ignored her for years.

It was his fault she was sent away, that she...

His.

She growled, gritting her teeth, as she pushed her way through the crowd and into Paulina's office.

"Lucia!" her lawyer gasped, pushing Ivan away from her.

"I'll deal with you later," she hissed, focusing on her husband.

"Lucia! Darling!" Ivan offered, that same winning smile plastered to his face.

"Don't you 'darling' me," she narrowed her eyes.

"What is it?" he asked, moving forward.

"IVAN!"

She rolled her eyes, sighing, as Ivan's puta dramatically burst into the room.

"SHE'S GOT A GUN!" the woman yelled.

She shook her head, scolding, "Well now you've gone and spoiled the ending."

"Lucia," Ivan started, stepping forward.

"Back," she gestured, pulling the gun out and aiming it at Ivan's puta, "And you too."

"You can't!" the woman argued.

"Lucia, be reasonable," Paulina started.

"Don't placate me, you slut. You compromised my case to fuck my husband," she growled.

"That's not what happened," her lawyer swore. "It wasn't like that. I really did try my best."

"It doesn't matter," she swore, shaking her head. "This is between me and my husband." She aimed the gun at his chest, narrowing her eyes.

"You can't!" Pepa repeated.

"And why the hell not?" she demanded. "All he's done to me? Everything he's put me through? … You're gonna try to defend him after he showed he'd do the same to you with that one?" She glared coldly at her husband before sparing a look at his puta. She fingered the trigger fondly, preparing to erase him and free herself.

"I'm pregnant!" Pepa yelled.

Her eyes went as wide as Ivan's as all attention moved to her.

"Pepa..." Ivan started.

"Then maybe I should kill you," she thought aloud, aiming the gun at her chest instead. "What about that, Ivan? Hmm? Deny you your child the way you denied me mine."

"L-"

"Don't you dare start," she growled. "Because of you, I saw him grow up through once a week, supervised visits. … That's the worst thing you can do to a mother. That hurt more than losing you. … He didn't even know who I was, Ivan."

"Please," Pepa begged, trying to step forward.

"Step back," she ground out, narrowing her eyes. "... But, no, Ivan. Being denied a child wouldn't bother you, would it? You never fought for Carlos."

"Your parents-"

"Raised him with morals," she finished. "While trying to take care of their daughter who had lost her fucking mind!" She was practically shaking, breathing hard, "But you still could have fought for custody. You didn't care. You're not a father. You're a... gigalo, ruled by what's hanging between your legs. … You'll never change."

"... Would you want me to?" he challenged, stepping forward.

"Ivan, don't," Pepa grabbed for him.

"And not be a man whore? Yes," she spat.

"You wouldn't love me if I were anything but what I am," he countered.

"Back the hell up," she warned, lowering the gun slightly.

"You could never shoot me, Lulu," he told her. "You love me."

She bit her tongue hard, defiantly raising the gun again, "Back up, Ivan."

"But you've spent so much time with me backing away. Don't you want me to step up?" he asked, his voice smooth and seductive and all the things it had always been.

"Don't fucking push me!" she yelled, raising the gun again and aiming it at his throat and the source of that velvet voice. His eyes went wide and he let Pepa pull him backwards. "... There is nothing I could do to hurt you as much as you hurt and destroyed me," she realized, thinking aloud. "Not … killing your puta. Not denying you either child... Not killing myself. … Even if I killed you, your press would sky rocket and you'd be a bigger star."

He nodded, not entirely agreeing, "That's right, Lulu; put down the gun."

"Enough of your Goddamn pet names!" she screeched. "You left me! You disappeared without any word or reason and abandoned me and our child. And-and I waited. I waited for you and- and then they took me away." She shook her head, crying, "And you didn't visit. You didn't come get me or visit with Carlos once a week... I n-never saw you again. Not for nineteen years. And then I got out and-and I tried to call..."

"I'm sorry... I don't know why I did it," he offered.

"And you didn't answer then. You can't... fix it. You can't go back and let me raise our son or not have left. …. And you'll do it to her," she gestured at Pepa with the gun, his puta holding her breath and clutching his arm until the gun was aimed at him again. "You'll leave her and your baby... Cause you stray. It's in your nature."

"Lucia, no I-"

"Twelve and a half," she ground out before looking to her lawyer with a morbid chuckle. "Thirteen. I can't confirm the Norwegian but I can confirm her. Thirteen and a half, Ivan. While I pined for you, missing the life I should have had with you and our son, you fucked thirteen women."

"Lulu-"

"You were my only, Ivan," she breathed. "... Do you even remember us? Our wedding night.. when I-I gave myself to you? And you told me I was your first, too.. Do you remember? Or was that a lie, too? Was I just the one you married because I wouldn't fuck you otherwise?"

"No, Lulu. Don't say that... You know I love you," he promised smoothly.

She shook her head again, "You... velvet-tongued son of a bitch. … You're lying now. … It was a lie, wasn't it? I wasn't your first at all. … Do you even remember or have you lost count? All you do is lie and.. hurt and leave."

"L-"

"Not again," she growled, cocking the gun.

"Now, Lulu. Don't do anything rash. Put the gun down, sweetheart," he soothed, stepping forward again.

"Don't-"

"Lulu, darling," he moved closer, raising a hand and cupping her cheek. She grit her teeth, trying not to cry even as she lowered the gun. "That's a girl," he soothed, leaning in and pressing a light kiss to her plump lips.

Everyone jumped when the gun fired, Ivan's jaw dropping in shock and pain.

"What did you do!" Pepa demanded, hurrying forward as Ivan started to collapse forward.

"He won't leave now," she tried to explain, watching the thin girl help Ivan to the ground. "H-he leaves cause he can't- he strays.. He won't now."

"You shot him!"

"Only..." she shook her head, repeating, "He won't leave you now. He won't leave you and the baby. He won't stray."

"Lucia!" her lawyer scolded, hurrying forward for the phone.

"I had to," she insisted. "He- he couldn't leave another baby fatherless. He won't now. He'll stay. Don't you understand?"

"You shot your ex-husband, Lucia," Paulina shook her head. "I don't have a choice."

She shook her head, crouching beside Ivan and the thin girl, setting the gun on the floor. "I didn't have- I had to. So he wouldn't leave." She reached despite herself, caressing his cheek, "I had to, Ivan. So- so you couldn't leave another baby without a d- Don't be mad, Ivan. I love you. You know I love you. It was for you."

"What happened here?"

Lucia looked up at the police officers before looking sadly to Paulina- she hadn't even heard the other woman speak. And now she'd be carted away, again barred from her child.

"We got a page, summoning us here," the officer continued. "What happened?"

"She had a gun," Ivan's puta answered. But she'd done it for her. For her and Ivan and their child. Not for herself. "And she was doing the responsible thing by bringing the gun she found to her lawyer." Her dark eyes went wide as she looked in shock to Ivan's girlfriend.

"Pepa," her lawyer started, shaking her head.

"And Ivan tried to take it from her to unload it and it went off. And he got shot in the... well," the girl looked meaningfully down at Ivan's groin.

She looked up at the police officer, still petting Ivan's cheek- this was the closest she'd been to him in twenty years, it was too much to pass up. "Will he be okay?"

The officer laughed, looking to his companion, before speaking into the radio at his shoulder, "We have an eleven-eighty. Male victim of his own gun, shot in the groin. We need a bus." He looked back at her, "He should be fine, ma'am. No need to worry." He knelt, picking up the gun and easily unloading it before handing it off to his partner.

She looked back to Ivan's girlfriend, "C-can I visit? You and Ivan and the baby?"

"Lucia," Paulina started, "shouldn't you-"

"Yes," the girl smiled, her placating tone skipping over Lucia's head. "Yes, I think we'd all like that."

She smiled, petting Ivan before looking up in a panic, "He passed out! Officer! Officer! Will he-!"

"He'll be fine," the officer repeated.

She nodded, pulling his head into her lap and brushing his hair out of his face. "You're gonna be fine." Leaning down, she feathered kisses along his brow, "It's gonna be okay, corazoncito. Your Lulu's here." She rocked him gently, "It's okay."


Ivan opened his eyes, instantly trying to move away, "Lucia!"

"Shh," she cooed, petting his hair lightly. "Just rest, corazoncito, or the doctors will have to come in and sedate you. … And that's never fun. Your Lulu knows."

"What are you doing here!" he demanded.

She leaned, brushing her lips against his forehead, "I'm here to watch you and take care of you, mi corazoncito."

"Where are the police?"

She shrugged, "Gone. They left after the ambulance got here. And I rode with you and held your hand- you looked so sad. Were you sad?"

"You shot me!" he reminded.

She kissed his head, "Shh, darling. I forgive you."

He pulled away, "Wh- forgive me! Lucia, you shot me!"

"Shh, darling, you're hysterical," she cooed, clutching his head to her breasts and rocking him. "And I forgive you for leaving... I still love you, mi corazoncito."

"Still lov- Lucia, you blew-" he looked around as he pulled away, dropping his voice as he gestured at his penis. "You shot my dick off!"

She narrowed her eyes, following his lead in looking toward his groin, "I think you're wrong."

He grabbed her hand when she started to reach towards his groin, "Don't! Lucia!"

"Ivan, I stayed," she told him, obediently pulling her hand back. She settled beside him, leaning against the pillow and wrapping an arm around him. "Your girl went home and Paulina went home. But I stayed... Your Lulu stayed."

"'My Lulu' shot me," he reminded, grumbling.

She pulled his head to her breast, "For mi corazoncito." She combed her fingers through his hair, "Come home, Ivan. To your Lulu. And our son." She continued speaking, resting her cheek against the top of his head, "… He's dating someone new. He upgraded from the maid. Now he's with a model. She's pretty."

"Lucia-" he started, trying to pull away.

She looked down, "Is the pain medication wearing off? Do you want more? I might have some in my purse. Let me look." She got up, going to her bag on the chair and digging through it, setting an ice pick beside it before pulling out a bottle of pills and cracking it open. "How much does it hurt?" She started counting pills out in her hand, asking, "Do you want to forget today, this week, this year." Her tone darkened, her eyes narrowing, "... The last twenty."

His eyes went wide behind her at the recognized tone, "Lulu, it's fine. Come sit with your corazoncito. I'll sing to you, hmm?"

She recapped the bottle, smiling gleefully and dropping it back into her bag before bouncing over and crawling into bed next to him. "What are you going to sing, Ivan?" She raised his arm, cuddling against his chest and holding his arm around her.

"What would you like me to sing?" he asked, reaching for the call button.

She reached up, stroking his throat and making him pause, worried he'd been caught, "Sing to me of love, mi corazoncito." She closed her eyes, singing softly, "Tell me we're young again and songs will be sung again and try to see I need you to lie to me; lie to me... You sing, Ivan. You sing so much better. You sing."

He nodded, dropping his hand away from the call button while her hand was at his throat. "That song, Lulu? Speak to me softly when you lie to me, give me a reason to survive. Tell me you're mine again-" Always his. Her corazoncito. "-and make the stars shine again. Bring back the laughter of youth-" Back when he loved her. "-now is no time for tears or the truth."

She looked up when he paused, tracing her finger along his Adam's apple, "Why'd you stop? Keep singing. Please?"

"It's n- yes, of course, Lulu," he agreed. "I don't want to know what is real, what's solid as steel, realities haunt me." She purred softly, pressing herself against him. "I'd give my sanity for just five minutes more of thinking you want me." She would... She had. "Tell me you're waiting back at home for me." She groaned, breathing thickly- he'd always been able to get her with that voice- and rocked her body against his, pleading for more as she tilted her head up and kissed his neck hotly. "Say you'll be there when I arrive."

"Ivan," she murmured, switching to nibbling at his earlobe before latching on to his neck and sucking hard through a small moan in the back of her throat.

He exhaled above her, tilting his head back before gently pushing her away, "Lulu, not now."

"Corazoncito..." she breathed, trying to lean against him again, diving for his neck and kissing his skin again. "Your Lulu's missed you." She moved to climb on top of him, he immediately pushing her back so she was laying beside him. "What's wrong? Do you want top?"

He let out a breath before petting her side, the affection mostly feigned for his unstable ex-wife, "Darling, we can't now. I'll make it up to you later. After we talk to the doctors, hmm?"

"You know what your voice does to me," she reminded breathily, moving her hand over his chest before instead groping for his hand and trying to pull it between her legs, inching her dress up.

"Not here," he toned lowly, pulling his hand back before pushing her dress back down. "Just... take a nap. You've exhausted your Ivan. You always do. Let's just.. rest."

"My Ivan," she echoed softly, cuddling back against him contently before stroking his throat. "I love my Ivan."

He pet her side again, "Just rest."

She looked up at him, her grip on his throat loose and affectionate, "Tell me?"

"Tell you what?"

She closed her eyes, leaning to press a kiss to his mouth before her eyelids flickered open, "Tell me, mi corazoncito."

He hesitated before running his fingers through blonde locks, "Your Ivan loves you." She smiled, nosing against him and tracing her fingers along his throat. "Just rest." His eyes went wide, grappling for her hand when she slid it back down his chest. "Lucia!"

"It feels like you're still in tact," she told him, nodding seriously. She narrowed her eyes in confusion when a nurse came in, recognition flashing. "Sister Mary Traiolla!"

"Oh, Lucia," the nurse sighed. "... Why am I even surprised?"

She looked around, "Am I home? Ivan, we're home. Oh, I see it now. This was my old room! .. You never visited me here before. Sister, this is my husband, Ivan. Ivan, this is the nice nun. She was always my favorite."

He shook his head, his eyes wide, "I'm not-"

"... Did you redecorate? .. I don't like it. It's very bland. Ivan, we'll redecorate," she promised. She climbed out of bed, going to the window, "The bars are gone. Ivan, the bars are gone. … I did that. For you. We'll put them up around Christmas, though. It'll make putting lights up easier, I think. Like candy canes. We'll do red and white lights. Sister, do you want to come for Christmas?"

"... No," Sister Mary Traiolla sighed. "Lucia, I need to check on your h-"

"Why are you mouthing 'ex'!" she squawked, returning to his side and slapping at him. "We are planning our Christmas decorations- it doesn't smell like chicken soup," she noted. "Ivan, did you want chicken soup? I don't think they have it today. Maybe it's cream of broccoli. You always liked that. I'll ask. Sister, what is the menu today? Is it cream of broccoli? That's my Ivan's favorite. Oh! I should call Carlos. Sister, can you call for me? They don't let you have phones in the rooms, Ivan. They worry. So someone else has to do the dialing for you. And they only call one of the numbers already in your file."

Ivan stared blankly, "I-but- You shot me!"

She laughed, sitting beside him and nudging him, "You're so silly, Ivan. Did you take crazy pills today? You silly goose. I would never shoot you."

"Lucia!" the nurse interrupted before he could respond. "I need to check on Ivan."

She nodded, gesturing for her to continue, "Ivan, I think we should bring in reds and purples and yellows and blues. You always liked those colors. We'll do the room in those. We can ask Carlos bring stuff over. Oh! And then we can take him to the zoo. As a family. It'll be so nice. It's been so long since we did something as a family. It'll be so nice, Ivan, don't you think? I think so."

"Don't leave me with her!" he pleaded, reaching when the nurse finished copying his vitals.

She swatted at his arm, "Don't be silly, Ivan. Just lay down. Take a rest. We have the rest of our lives to be alone together. .. But I think we should take Carlos someplace once a week. Like a family outing. I think it'd be nice. Don't you think so, Ivan?"

"Mama?"

She whipped around, smiling widely and stretching her arms out, "Carlos! You came to visit! Sister, you remember my son Carlos!" She pulled him into her arms, rocking him and holding his head to her breast, "Carlos, we were thinking of going to the zoo. Doesn't that sound nice?"

He pulled around, "I heard f-d- Ivan shot himself!"

"No!" Ivan interjected. "Not 'himself.' Ivan was shot by your crazy mother!"

She smacked his arm again, "Don't yell in front of the baby!"

"Mama, I'm twenty-four," he reminded, sighing.

She reached up, squeezing his cheek, "Of course you are. Now get ready to go to the zoo. We're going to go as soon as Sister Mary Traiolla says we can. Do you want to call your girlfriend? She was nice. And pretty. I told you about her, remember, Ivan? She's a model. But keep it in your pants. Our baby likes this girl."

Ivan looked back at the nurse, who was leaving, "Where are you going?"

"You're bandaged. You're free to go. You have to take your pain medication – I'll give that to your wife," the nurse answered.

"Wh- no! Not my wife!" he argued.

"Well, sir, you can only be released into someone's care." The nurse was wearing an odd grin, like she found irony in the whole situation. "If you don't have someone who will watch you to make sure you don't have any negative reactions, you can't leave."

He looked from the stiff, uncomfortable bed to his ex-wife, who was smiling happily, leaning her head against their son's shoulder. "... I guess I... will go home with Lucia."

She clapped her hands, "Yayy! Do you want to go to the city apartment? That one is already furnished. It's very nice, isn't it, Carlos? Tell him; tell your father."

"It's very nice," he parroted.

She smiled again, sitting beside Ivan and curling an arm around him, "See? Then it's all set. I fired the maid, but I can take care of you, mi corazoncito. Doesn't that sound nice?" She looked from Ivan to her son, beaming. "Oh, and then we will go to the zoo tomorrow, as a family, and you can bring your model girlfriend. Carlos, bring a movie and we'll order in dinner, how does that sound?"

Carlos fidgeted, ".. I'm supposed to meet Candela."

"That's the model," she whispered to Ivan.

"Cand- the model? My Pepa's best friend, Candela?" Ivan echoed, blinking in shock.

She growled, digging her fingers into his shoulder, "You don't have a Pepa."

He exhaled, nodding, "Of course. I just meant... Cause she and I are having a baby, Carlos' little half brother or sister. Not.. I would never-"

"You did!" she accused, suddenly angry again. She narrowed her eyes, "You cheated and you left me and-"

Carlos moved behind her, gripping her upper arms and whispering soothingly, "Think of the zoo, mama. And cuddling with Ivan while you feed him and watch a movie."

She smiled, closing her eyes and sighing contently as she moved out of her son's grip to sit beside Ivan again, "What should we order, mi corazoncito? Or would you rather I cook? You always loved my wild rice and chicken. Unless you wanted soup. Carlos, go get your father's release forms and then we'll take him home."

"Of course, mama," he nodded, leaving.

She pet Ivan's head, her fingers moving from his temple to the back of his neck in slow sweeps, "Such a good boy. Isn't he such a good boy?"

Ivan nodded, reaching up to take her hand and move it, reminding, "Lucia, I need to get dressed before I can go home."

She got up, nodding, "Of course. I'll get your things and then help you get dressed."

"I don't need help," he answered immediately.

"Don't be absurd," she waved a hand. "Of course you do."

He sighed, "... Fine."

She went to the far chair, scooping up his clothing before returning and whipping the sheet from his body, "Gown up. I'm gonna dress you." She pushed it up, he floundering and trying to push it back down.

"The door isn't even closed!" he hissed.

She ignored him tilting her head to one side, "Ivan, you're still in tact. You've got all your bits.

"Lucia!" he snapped, struggling even as she started pulling his boxers up his legs. He obediently shifted, letting her pull his boxers up so the elastic rested at his hip.

"You'll have to get changed when we get to the house. Your pants are all bloody. That's okay. Your Lulu will take care of you," she promised, lightly petting his hips before grabbing his ankle so she could pull his pants up. "Time to get dressed, mi corazoncito. Hips up."

"Mama? They said you have to fill the forms out at the front desk," Carlos gently tapped her shoulder.

She smiled widely, reaching up and patting his cheek, "Of course. Ivan, can you finish putting on your shirt?" She handed him his button-up shirt before draping his sports jacket over his feet. "Carlos? Do me a favor and go to your father's apartment and get a bag of things together for him?"

She obediently went to the front desk, kissing her son goodbye before turning to the nurse. "I'm here for Ivan Valtron. He is in room three thirteen. I need his release forms. Sister Mary Traiolla sent me."

"Nurse Traiolla," the young woman nodded, putting forms on a clipboard before handing it over with a pen, several lines marked with an 'x.' "You need to sign by the 'x's and fill in his name and information above that."

She took the forms, sitting against the wall and happily filling them in. 'Senora Ivan Valtron.' She drew a heart next to it before continuing, filling out the form with a smile. Beaming, she brought the clipboard back up to the desk.

The girl nodded, "Everything seems to be in order, Senora Valtron. You can take him home when you're ready."

"Thank you," she smiled, returning to his room. She paused at the doorway.

"I bet you'd make my stay comfortable," Ivan's voice offered smoothly.

She dug her fingernails into the wall.

"I'm a doctor, Senor Valtron. I'm not going to listen to your silly little flirtations. Your wife will be coming back any minute," the woman answered.

"Ex," his voice corrected.

She bit back a growl.

"She doesn't seem to think that she's your ex," the doctor reminded.

He hummed lowly, her own eyes closing instinctively before she propelled herself into the room.

"You stop it right now!" she demanded, shoving him before rounding on the doctor. "You dirty puta! You husband-stealing, sleazy scum of the earth!"

"Lulu, you're not being reasonable," her husband cooed, reaching to pet her arms.

She turned, screeching, "Don't fucking touch me!" She slapped his chest before looking at the doctor, who wisely stepped back. She moved forward, diving for her purse and pulling out the ice pick she'd told her son she had. "I'll kill her and you. I'll kill-" she fell back into the chair, clutching the ice pick to her chest as she cried heavily. "Nineteen years!"

He squatted in front of her, petting her thigh and gently trying to take the ice pick, "Lulu, why would you wait for me all those years? You had your own life you should have been living. And you were – are – so beautiful. You could've done anything."

She shook her head, swinging the ice pick, he ducking, "I didn't want to do anything! I wanted my husband to come home to me so we could raise our son together!"

"Lulu," he sang, petting her leg affectionately, "Our Carlos is raised. You did a wonderful job."

"I didn't do it!" she shrieked, swinging the ice pick again. "My parents raised him! I was locked away! And you never even cared! Not about me, not about Carlos!"

"Now, that's not fair. I did care. I tried to talk to your parents about joint custody of Carlos. And visiting you. They didn't think it was a good idea. And they forbade me from seeing Carlos," he claimed.

She looked up, still crying, "You're a liar."

He shook his head, petting her thigh again, "I'm not. I did miss you. I regretted leaving you. I thought of you all the time. You and Carlos."

"I-" She closed her eyes, her white wedding dress filling her mind. "– take thee, Lucia – Nothing's as beautiful as you." She squeezed her eyes tighter, their hotel room – bright pinks and soft blues and candlelight.

They'd gone to Barcelona for the honeymoon.

It was magical.

They'd gone to the symphony – she could feel the plush velvet red seats. And then walked along the beach – the sand beneath her toes as the water crashed around her ankles. He'd playfully given chase, she running through the waves until he caught up, kissing her passionately before they tumbled to the sand. Her skirt was wet. And his pants.

She hummed, broken snatches of a piece the orchestra had played.

He gently took the ice pick, setting it aside before taking her hands and humming with her. "Nothing is as beautiful as you, my Lulu. … Don't run too fast-"

"I'm an actor," she continued for him.

"I'm an actor," he repeated, "not an athlete. I want to be able to catch you."

"I'll never run too fast for you," she told him again, her eyes closed.

He caressed her cheek, "Let's go to your apartment. You have to take care of tu corazoncito."

She opened her eyes, raising her hands and wiping her eyes. "And I'll make you soup?"

He hesitated before nodding, "Yes. Yes, Lulu. I'd like that. Did you fill out the forms? Let's go, hmm?"

"I have to stop at the market," she told him, sniffing. "Y- that girl said you like gazpacho. I have to pick up the stuff to make you some."

"You don't need to do that- I mean, I'm sure I won't have any today so you can just go... another day," he offered. "Just take tu corazoncito home."

She nodded, managing a smile, "Okay, Ivan. … That sounds nice."