Hector’s mother, Delores was already lightening the candles, one by one she lit them for each of the birthdays that Hector had missed. His chest tightened, his throat constricted as he raised his eyes skyward trying to blink away the stinging in those emerald eyes of his. He felt your presence only a moment before your small hand slipped into his. He exhaled deeply, turning his head so your eyes could meet as you squeezed his hand gently.
You were there whatever he needed, you hoped he understood that.
“You tried your best,” you tell him, your chest aching as you watch Rafael swallow hard against the lump of emotion in his throat.
“It wasn’t enough.” he whispered. There was a hopeless in his voice, a resignation and it hurt to hear it. It was rare that you saw this side of him, Rafael wasn’t a man to bare his vulnerabilities and when he did…
You knew that this as destroying him deep down inside but there was nothing that either one of you could do to make this right. It had been a battle, you had fought with everything you had in your arsenal but Rafael was right in the end it simply wasn’t enough.
It was then that the car pulled up to the sidewalk, diverting both of your attention from Hector’s memorial and to the lone woman who opened the passenger door and stepped out of the vehicle.
Your eyes came to focus on Wyatt Morris’ mother, Laurie Colfax. The woman whose son that Hodda had kidnapped. You hadn’t blamed her when she had told you, she couldn’t let her son testify. You had seen the trauma that the child had endured at the hands of Hodda and although it had removed a core foundation of Rafael’s case against that vile man you could not refute her decision.
She was already embracing Delores, the two women clung to each other in a way that only people who had truly lost something could. Hector was gone and Wyatt would never be the same again, the sense of finality resonated through you. You felt Rafael clasp your hand even tighter, knowing that he felt the same.
You weren’t expecting the next few words to leave Laurie’s mouth but when they did you felt a spark of optimism, suddenly brightening the darkness that had shrouded the both of you.
“I’ve spoken to Wyatt and he’ll testify.” she told Delores.
You tilted your head towards Rafael, seeing the first glimmer of hope in those gorgeous emerald eyes of his since the trial had ended.
Hodda may have won the battle but he certainly had not won the war.