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“Tell Me,” Edgar Reade insists. He’s careful to keep his tone moderate
and level, so as not to upset his lover further... NOTHING from Zapata.
“TASHA…you can tell me. I’m right here.”

“Ramos….” Tasha is only partially successful in choking back a sob.

Reade is also struggling; the niggling sense of dread in the back
of his mind since his arrival is now full-blown. he cannot help getting angry.
AFTER we agreed that you'd wait for me?

"Please don't shout at me, Reade," the distressed Latina almost whimpers, from
where she's sprawled uncomfortably on their sofa.

Reade takes a deep breath to calm himself, and apologizes. "You're right...I'm...
LOSING IT, seeing you this way." An un-thinkable possibility worms into his mind
turning his blood cold: Did he…He DIDN'T...?-the sentence hangs there, in the space
between them-he is unable to complete the question.

Zapata's response is barely above a whisper “ got away before he could...
he tried to grab me-I fought back…he got in a knee strike (a pause)...into my-my abdomen.”

“Oh…then again: Ohhh.” Reade feels dizzy, as he’s about to vomit.
He’s terrified to ask the follow-up question, and so he doesn’t. Zapata
sees his torment, and though it shears her heart in two, she girds herself and
speaks the words, the dreaded words that must be given voice.

“Reade…Eddie…” Eddie …“What is it Tash? Tell me.”
All the while, he does, but DOESN’T, want the answer.

Tasha’s beautiful dark eyes are wet with tears. She steels herself, swipes
ineffectually at the tears that have brimmed over, before meeting
apprehensive gaze. “He’s gone, Eddie. Our Son is gone...I lost him this
morning, while you were away."

Reade is as still as a statue for long minutes...then he says, in a voice wrought with
despair: "He's gone...GONE...

More moments pass, though to Zapata, it seems like hours. The water sprouts
quickly from his eyes, then his chest heaves. He starts to speak, swallows
hard, and tries again…again without success.

“I’m sorry…I’m so, so sorry, Eddie…” She rises to go to him, hugging herself
and then her legs legs wobble, and from someplace, a place from somewhere
deep inside, a tortured, plaintive groan escapes her as she slowly sinks to her
knees. Reade makes it to her side in seconds, cradling her and pulling her
close. Zapata shakes like a leaf, shivering almost uncontrollably, her face buried
as deeply into Reade’s muscled chest as is possible.

The beautiful Latina can’t stop sobbing the same phrase over and over:
“I’m sorry, Eddie; I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry, Eddie I’m sorry…you told
me not to approach him alone, YOU TOLD ME
...I’m so stupid, so FUCKING STUPID!...”

“Shhhh, Baby, stop it! You didn’t do a DAMN THING wrong. How could
you know that fuck would lose it and attack you? That’s not his jam. None
of us had any way of knowing…don’t apologize , Mi Amor…it’s alright; it’s

“It’s NOT!,” she wails brokenly, her hurt, grief, and guilt combining into a
torrent that cannot, WILL NOT, be denied. “You trusted ME to carry your
baby, to keep him safe, and I---I—GOD!”

Reade holds her tighter, feathering kisses upon her sweaty forehead,
murmuring endearments and assurances that everything will be alright
(even though he has no actual proof that it WILL BE, CAN BE ALRIGHT)....

Gradually, Zapata gets control of her herself, and relaxes against Reade,
clinging to him like a ship-wrecked sailor in the middle of a turbulent sea.

“Te quiero tanto, Eddie,” she whispers. “Te necesito y te adoro.

“Igual,” he whispers back, and they kiss, lovingly, deeply.

“Come on Mama’, you need rest,” Reade tells her at last, helping
her to her feet. Before leading her to their bedroom, he embraces the
love of his life in his strong arms.

“I got you Tash. Always.” Zapata manages a smile.

“You better,” she responds playfully, her eyes full of love.

In their bedroom, he carefully helps her undress, then strips
himself, and as is their custom, they slip under the bed-covers
naked. Zapata cuddles close, breathing in his scent. She’s hesitant to
broach the subject, and after a few moments of internal debate,
she decides to go forward.



“I know how much you…you wanted…WANT…a son…according
to Dr Bahdani, there’s no reason I couldn’t conceive again, just…
I need some time.”

“I get it. You’re still processing-we’re both still processing-what
happened. Your focus should be on HEALING. The rest will take
care of itself. You’ll let me know when you’re ready to be intimate
there’s no rush."

Those dark eyes sparkle with mischief; her wicked grin evidence
that the healing has already begun. “I didn’t say THAT, Assistant
Director,” she teases. I’ll rock your world in a few days, Mr. Man,
so be ready.”

"I'll get him, have my word...Santos will pay...and anyone
else who gets in my way."