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Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

January 23, 2023 01:30PM
Lyrics from "For Once in my Life," featured in the first episode of Teen Angels, written by Motown songwriters Ron Miller and Orlando Murden (Songfacts).

On Sunday afternoon, over lunch at the Lobos’ house, everyone talked about going to a big Mardi Gras event. At first Catalina wasn't sure if she should go; walking around during the day to see places was all well and good, but a ticketed party? Only when Javier said of course they would attend, and Tía Lola said she would accompany Catalina, did she accept the invitation.

Or at least, she thought she'd agreed after discussing it with the Aguirres. But when she spoke to Isabel, the other girl only laughed. "Well of course you're going Catalina, who else would Juan get to dance with otherwise? I'm not going to, for sure."

That was the first Catalina had heard about dancing with Juan, who only talked about cars back at lunch. “I'm getting a Fiat next: they pack more horsepower and style than anything else on the road!"

Catalina had tried to get interested, for Javier's sake, and Isabel's, but it was hard when they constantly slunk off into whispers away from everyone else. Angela and Maria mostly wanted to tease their older siblings and fight about clothes, so they were little help in keeping the conversation going, not even when Catalina brought up television.

"I don't watch any telenovelas!" Juan declared. "They're all stupid, overdramatic, just the kind of things only a girl would care about."

"What about Zorro?" Catalina asked desperately, thinking of Javier's favorite show from the past year. "That had a lot of fight scenes in it, with swords, and horses!"

"Who cares about horses?" Juan shrugged, and Catalina belatedly realized that just because he liked watching machines go around a track did not mean he was interested in other things that went fast. "I never watched it: you could tell from the ads that it was really all about that silly woman and who she loved. She wasn't even pretty. Why would Zorro ever care about her?"

"Oh." Catalina wasn't sure what to say, so she decided not to push that topic any further. But even when she kept quiet, Juan didn't.

"For that kind of thing to work you need someone explosive, someone everyone would fall in love with. Like that girl on Love with Makeup, that one wasn't so bad: they were all pretty."

"You mean Pina?" Catalina asked, surprised. "I mean, the one Marlene Favela played?"

"Yes, of course, that girl! She was in that last Species movie, and she was hot!"

"But she was in Zorro. She played Esmeralda." Catalina worried she might have been too blunt, so she quickly added, "Although she looks very different with her hair let down and wearing all those big dresses."

Juan denied it, said he couldn't be mistaken, until Angela quickly ran over to look it up online, then yelled that Catalina was right and her brother was an idiot. "Well, who's the idiot who didn't know until Google told her?" he yelled back. Catalina wished she had kept her mouth shut. The Lobos were even more argumentative since Juan arrived.

And now Isabel expected her to not only chat with him while they were all out together, but dance! At first Catalina was nervous; surely, if Juan wanted to dance with her, he would have said so when they talked about it as a group. If he didn't want to dance, and this was just another private Lobo quarrel, she certainly didn't want to encourage it or make him feel bad by insisting. She asked Javier if he knew how his friend felt but he only shrugged in annoyance. "Of course he'll want to dance with you, I told you he liked you. What, are you too good to dance with anyone now, just that guy from the doctor?"

Unfortunately, Tía Lola had let slip about “that nice Señor Tilve” a while back. Isabel soon got the whole story out of Catalina, then apparently told it all back to Javier and Juan before she could say a word. Javier did not exactly say he was upset, but he had made several comments already, and it was clear he didn't like the idea of his little sister getting too friendly with some strange man of the city.

"We only met once, and the Aguirres were both there. Nothing really happened!" she protested, not sure what she was defending herself from, only wishing Javier would stop bringing it up.

"And nothing ever would, you're just eighteen!" Seeing the tears about to form in her eyes, though, he took pity and hugged her. "I'm sorry, Catalina, it's so hard for me to see you all grown up out here. I worry about you. Just stick with me and Juan and Isabel tomorrow night, please?"

"Who else would I go with?" Catalina asked in all sincerity. "I’ll be glad to come and dance, you know I love it, I just didn't want to make things uncomfortable."

"That's my lovely sister." Javier smiled, kissed her, and left the conversation absolutely certain they were in complete agreement. It never occurred to him that Catalina had never said she wanted to dance with Juan.

But dancing was dancing, and a partner was a partner, especially since she almost always had to settle for a brother or cousin back home. So when Juan presented her with a rose the day of the party, and said he wanted to spend the whole evening on the dance floor with her, she eagerly agreed to have fun.

The ballroom was quite a sight: a twinkling disco ball spun in the air as multicolored lights pulsed around them. Everyone was dressed in outrageous costume. There were clowns and dancing girls, even pirates and mermaids. Catalina was delighted with her own sleeveless blue velvet gown, the skirt large and flowing, coupled with a red beaded jacket and black ribbon choker that looked just like something a doña of old would wear. All that with her crown and mask made her feel extremely elegant: the housekeeper even helped weave the rose into her hair.

Tía Lola had been content to only add a color-coordinated mask to her usual finery, but when they finally found the Lobos it was obvious Sra. Eva and her daughters were equally wild about dressing up. They were all covered in feathers and sequins and glitter, but Isabel was the only one who really pulled it off. "You look so beautiful!" Catalina exclaimed, admiring the many layered skirt and peeling bodice. "And how can you even walk on those heels?"

"They're not nearly as tall as some of my others. Stop gawking, Catalina, everyone can see you're pretty too, there's no need to make a fuss. Now where is Javier?"

"I don't know, I thought the boys were driving separately."

"Of course they are silly, I just thought your brother might have said something about when they'll arrive. He's always so thoughtful, I envy you so much. Sometimes I wish I was a Moreno myself!" She giggled into her oversized fan, and her sisters joined in, but Catalina wasn't sure exactly what was so funny. She was quite certain none of the Lobo girls would be satisfied to spend a week back in Fortuna with spotty internet service, and no cable television or boutiques to shop in.

"Well, anyway, I'm sure they'll be here soon," Catalina assured her. "Maybe they're caught in traffic."

"Juan would insist on driving even when he doesn't have to. But don't think I'm worried about them or anything. After all, we're here together, and I think you look so elegant, I can tell Señora Aguirre had a hand in it, you both always look so grand. Even when the boys arrive we mustn't let ourselves get separated. I want to enjoy every minute of your first big Mardi Gras fete!"

They took some time to walk around the room together and admired plenty of strange figures. Isabel sometimes cut too catty for Catalina's taste, but it was easy enough to change the subject to someone else's more attractive outfit. As they returned to where Tía Lola and Sra. Eva sat chatting, it soon became clear a gaucho with a blue and black cape was approaching as well, and Catalina squealed at recognizing Javier when he took off his mask.

"Your costume is amazing!" she exclaimed, and was just about to comment on the cape reminding her of their favorite episode when Isabel shouted her admiration over the music, and immediately grabbed his arm to pull him out onto the dance floor. "You must be a hero, for you are rescuing me now!" she laughed, and Javier barely had time to wave at his sister before the couple were weaving in and out of the others already dancing.

Catalina wished Isabel had waited just a few minutes, if only so she could have asked after her own partner. But it was clear that Javier and Isabel were having a great time so Catalina decided to be happy for them. Coming back to Sra. Eva, she asked if Juan had also arrived, certain he couldn't be too far behind.

"He was just here! I think he went to speak to a friend," Sra. Eva admitted, pointing vaguely around. "There's a race he's interested in, and he wanted to ask about a car, or maybe he went to get something to drink, I don't remember. Just sit right here and wait with me, dear, I'm sure he'll be back soon. He's talked so much about dancing with you."

Catalina nodded and sat down. At first she enjoyed watching everyone and listening to her two older friends reminisce about their past. But eventually the stories started to repeat, and there were no new people to watch, and Juan still did not come back to dance with her. She lost track of where Javier and Isabel were. Angela and Maria went off together in search of fun. Catalina thought about going with them, but Sra. Eva begged her not to. "Juan will be so disappointed, I know he'll come back any second. You will wait for him, won't you?"

Of course she said yes, and so was rewarded to spend another half hour adjusting her skirt and tapping her feet. She would happily have listened to Juan talk about any car race in the world if it meant they could have been dancing, instead of listening to Sra. Eva talk about him and watching Sra. Aguirre pretend not to doze.

Looking around the room again, Catalina saw a very tall fellow walk by in a familiar costume. She stood up to see better, and recognized it at once: the very same white jacket with yellow braiding, the black mask, and the tall black boots. "Nicolás Bauer!" she gasped aloud, and sure enough, at his side was a pretty girl in violet dress and gloves, with purple flowers woven in her hair. "And Cielo Mágico: wow!" She giggled, remembering their dance from episode one of Teen Angels, and was thrilled to only watch the two from afar until they walked right up to her.

"How good to see you again, Señorita Moreno," the Bauer lookalike said, and suddenly Catalina realized who it must be.

"Oh, Señor Tilve, how wonderful! You look just like Nicolás." In her mind, it put even Zorro to shame, not that she would ever tell Javier when he had obviously worked so hard on the costume. But to get the characters from her favorite novela to greet her at a masquerade ball on Mardi Gras night, dressed just like when they first met on the show, was another level of grandeur.

Sr. Tilve laughed, the same musical trill she remembered, and turning to his companion said, "You were wrong, Elena: someone has guessed who we are, even if we had to use costumes meant for different characters. I knew the masks would help." He raised his own as he spoke. "I had to alter this one, they don't exactly sell them looking this way in the store."

"Well it’s just like the one on television! And your crown looks exactly like Cielo's, you even have all the little ribbons tied correctly."

"Gracias," the mysterious Elena said, reaching a gloved hand up to adjust the headgear. "It's difficult to manage: pins just fall out and the ribbons don't stay tight. I told Enrique I got to take it off if anyone knew who we were supposed to be, so gracias again, now I may put it away for some other time." She neatly lifted it out of her hair, which fell back into place as if by magic, then turned to tuck it in a pocket on the back of her wheelchair. "You must be Enrique's tango assistant. I've heard you are an excellent dancer."

"Oh no, not really."

"You are too modest Señorita Moreno: please agree with my sister. If you don't, she will accuse me of once again exaggerating my work, and never believe another word I say."

"You often exaggerate," Elena smiled as she bantered. "So it would serve you right if I didn't, but I think you must have been close to the truth this time."

How different did their arguing sound, if it was even arguing! Neither looked annoyed, or upset, or had raised their voice despite the music. Instead there was the hint of laughter about them and warm smiles shared. She immediately offered for them to share their table, and Tía Lola woke enough to coo over Sr. Tilve and assure him that her husband was doing well as they sat down.

There was some general introduction for Sra. Eva and small talk, especially as Tía Lola became very interested in Elena's dress. "Did you enjoy your time back home?" Catalina asked the man now seated next to her.

"Some. I always like seeing my sister again. But how did you find out where I was? Are you spying on me, lovely lady?"

Catalina blushed, her mask fortunately providing some cover for her feelings, and admitted that she had asked the other therapist about his whereabouts.

"So Inez told you?" Sr. Tilve shook his head. At first Catalina was nervous she had upset him when he folded his arms across his chest in solemn resignation. "This is what Señor Aguirre meant, you know, about resigning yourself to the company of women: they will quickly know everything with you not the least bit aware. Why, here I was only gone a week, and now I have a pretty girl chasing after me. How terrible!"

"I didn't mean...." Catalina started to explain herself, but Elena rescued her.

"Enrique, stop being so awful!" She reached over and tapped him on the arm. "She isn't used to your teasing. I promise he's not serious. In fact, he's probably overjoyed someone asked about him besides his patients."

"True, true, Elena always tells the truth." Sr. Tilve shook his head again, then abandoned his grave act. "I am sorry, my sister is right, I should not be so forward when we are only casual acquaintances. It takes real familiarity before anyone can truly dislike someone, so I hope we may safely say we are still almost strangers and start over. Enchanted to meet you again, Señorita Moreno," and he took her hand, bowing over it like he had in the courtyard and grinning up at her with boyish charm.

Both brother and sister were so cheerful; Catalina was pleased to enjoy their company as long as they were willing to share, although she quickly let them know she wouldn't mind if they wanted to keep moving. "You must have other people you want to see," she said, hoping against hope they might say no.

"Actually, I haven't been back to Mar del Plata in over a year," Elena admitted, tugging at one of her gloves. "All the girls I went to school with are spending the summer elsewhere. So I don't have anywhere else to go."

"And as I am her chauffeur for the evening, where she stays I stay," Enrique said without any hint of resentment, the picture of ease as he leaned back in his chair.

"But surely you are here to dance?" Elena asked her, and Catalina explained that she had a partner lined up.

"He went on an errand, I think, but Señora Eva says he'll be back soon."

They continued talking: Catalina told about the parade, and all admired the many decorations. But when she admitted to not joining the party at all yet, Elena frowned. "Didn't your partner say which dances he would take?"

"Not really." In fact, Juan had not actually asked her to dance. "But he gave me this rose. Do you like it?"

"It matches your dress very well," Sr. Tilve spoke up when his sister only nodded. "Still, if you would like to dance while you wait, I'd be glad to take the next one. We could stay close by, so when he comes back you’ll see him at once."

It was a very tempting offer, one Catalina would have loved to accept. Yet she had promised Sra. Eva to wait. Besides, Isabel and Javier both claimed Juan wanted to dance with her so badly. What if he were nervous about girls, like Javier was back home, and just needed a little more time to get up the courage to greet her? How would she explain if she was dancing with someone else? That was the sort of thing that always got girls on television in terrible trouble.

"No, gracias, I'll just wait here for him," she finally said, striving not to let her disappointment show. Fortunately, Tía Lola woke up again and asked for her company to the bathroom, so Catalina was not forced to say anything else about it.

When they came back, Elena was still at the table but Sr. Tilve was not. "One of his coworkers came by and they're over there." She pointed to where the long white coat was arm in arm with a flamenco dancer. "He's already gone around enough with his baby sister.”

It was hard to think of that phrase describing the elegant Elena, considering their conversation had revealed the girl was two and a half years older than Catalina herself, and only four younger than her brother. She sat with perfect posture, watching the crowd. “I'm glad she came by. Enrique so loves to dance."

"I can see why, he's very good at it." Catalina admired the couple, so well fit to each other, and then turned back to her new friend. "Do you like Teen Angels? How many episodes have you seen?"

Elena turned to her in surprise before answering with the slightest hesitation. "I enjoyed the different settings and costume design."

Soon they were deep in plots and subplots, romances and plot twists, so that Catalina didn't even recognize when Juan finally showed up. "Come on, little girl, you're supposed to be dancing with me, not sitting around talking about nonsense," and without warning he yanked her up and pulled her onto the floor.

"I was talking to a friend," Catalina protested, quickly catching her skirt before it was stepped on, and trying to keep up with the pace Juan set.

"That's nice of you, taking pity on her, but you don't have to do that anymore." His smirk felt less debonair than sickly, especially since it smelled like he had downed enough Quilmes to fill his floppy hat. "I'm here now: time to retire the saint and bring out the devil!"

Before Catalina could think of anything to say he grabbed her around the waist and began to march around, not caring whether they were on the beat or not. It grew from merely awkward to agonizing as Juan's hands roved around. Catalina was not at all sure her mother would approve of this dance, if it were dancing at all. She looked around for Javier but he was always just out of reach, his eyes solely on Isabel. The table was too far away from their positions to expect any help from there. She was so glad the Tilves could not see her that she only prayed they didn't come nearby. Deliverance came at last as the music quieted and Juan eased up enough for her to wriggle out of his grasp. "Please, please, I have to go sit down," she said, gathering up her skirt and practically running back to Tía Lola.

She fell into a chair, breathless, and only realized as she reached up to pat her hair down that her mask had come off at some point. The only thing she was able to find left around her head was the rose, which she barely kept herself from throwing away as she thought of who had given it to her. Instead, she let it fall to the floor and borrowed Tía Lola's fan to calm down. When she dared to look back on the dance floor, she could just spot Sr. Tilve with his sister in a corner of the room: she wheeled in circles around him, then he leaned her chair back and spun her around. They looked like they were having a fabulous time.

Catalina was happy for Elena, and happy also that Javier had enjoyed this night of freedom before eventually returning to his studies. But she wasn't sorry when the party ended and she got into the Aguirre car to return. Mardi Gras had been just a little too much for her to handle.

Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

MichelleRWJanuary 23, 2023 01:30PM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

NN SJanuary 23, 2023 10:23PM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

MichelleRWJanuary 24, 2023 03:39AM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

AlidaJanuary 23, 2023 10:20PM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 5: “Someone Who Needs Me”

MichelleRWJanuary 24, 2023 03:36AM


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