Previous chapter: Asian Eden
It had been a few months since Katherine traveled to Singapore. She found herself daydreaming about what happened in the Flower Dome almost every day. Although she was a consummate professional, she occasionally found her mind wandering during meetings. She had even doodled Nick’s name in her notebooks!
Katherine was currently in Madrid for a long-term business deal. But the flame of her love was alive and burning. Nick also had a hectic schedule, but they managed to stay in touch. Their encounters were sweet and passionate; the goodbyes were always difficult. Sometimes, Katherine thought it was all too good to be true.
Her Madrid client, Sara, was a close friend. She knew the story from the very beginning, and encouraged Katherine to continue her relationship with Nick. Sara had fantastic intuition, and could easily sense when her friend was sad, missing her beloved. On that particular day, after a long meeting, she and Katherine stayed alone in the conference room.
“I have to take you to this place I’m sure you’ll love,” Sara said, picking up her laptop and notebook.
“Hmmm,” responded Katherine, slowly picking up the blueprints and fabric samples. “I’m not in the mood.”
“Listen here,” Sara said with a sigh. “I’m sure Nick wouldn’t want you to be moping in the hotel in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”
Sometimes Sara could be a little too frank.
“He has teased me about that,” laughed Katherine. “Maybe I should listen. Ok, I’ll do it. What time?”
“I’ll pick you up at 10 pm.”
It was a flamenco bar. The place was cozy but gorgeous, with plenty of typical Spanish ornaments. The women sat at an intimate table overlooking the stage, drinking wine and eating tapas, talking about their youths. A guitar and a chair were the only things on stage, lit by a single spotlight. Later, a man and a woman took the stage. He started to play the guitar and sing, while she danced and played the castañuelas.
Even though Katherine could barely understand the words, the passion in the singer’s voice went straight to her heart. From what she could make out, he was singing the story of a man who loved and lost, who let the woman of his dreams slip through his fingers.
After a round of applause and “olé”, the singer and dancer bowed to the audience. The man started to talk about the song. He said that the lyrics of the song only told part of the story, and that in fact, it had a happy ending. He had managed to win back his love. He pointed towards Katherine’s direction. Everyone, including Katherine turned around, and her jaw dropped. The woman looked like an older version of herself.
Everyone clapped again and the woman gently bowed her head. She wore a simple dress, a flower in her hair, and bright red lipstick. Something shone on her right arm. It was a beautiful gold bracelet. When the woman raised her eyes, she noticed Katherine and smiled.
“You look just like me when Manuel came back into my life,” the woman said in broken English.
“Really?” Katherine was flushed as the woman took her hands.
“You are bonded with a man just like him, I can feel it.” She let go of one of Katherine’s hands, took off her bracelet and handed it to her. “Here. Never let go of love as valuable as gold. It will always shine, and it conquers the impossible. Love always wins.”
The woman bowed again and walked away, cane in hand. One of the servers helped her. Just then, Katherine’s phone rang. She swore she’d turned it off. It was an unknown number from South America. She went to the bathroom to answer, away from the loud flamenco music. It was the voice of a woman, also speaking broken English.
“Is this Katherine Bennington?”
“Yes? Who is this?”
“Hello, Mrs. Bennington. This is Dr. Alma Suarez from the Central Hospital in Buenos Aires. I’m calling about your partner Nikolas…”
Katherine was terrified. She braced herself while listening to the doctor, holding the bracelet in her hand. After she hung up, Katherine dashed outside without even saying goodbye to Sara. On the way back to her hotel, she put on the bracelet and booked a red-eye to Buenos Aires. One single phrase resounded in her head:
Love always wins.