ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a light yellow tie, a Very Handsome Armando Mendoza, has just returned from his trip. He is standing in the middle of the reception area and reading a sheet of paper he had pulled from his briefcase. As he reads, he shows a little smile on his face.
(Aura Maria makes signals with her hands to Sandra so that the latter one will go talk to her new boss, in other words, be more attentive).
(Sandra stands up; is clearly nervous around him)
(Armando still reading, senses something is going on behind him and without looking back he asks)
Armando-What is going on Sandra?Sandra -(composing herself and smiling) Doctor…that I wanted to ask you…How did your trip go?Armando:(still looking at the paper and serious now) Fine, it went very well for me. What has happened here?Sandra-ahhhh, I have your messages, here(Armando approaches Sandra’s desk)Armando-Tell me, has Marcela arrived from Palm Beach yet?Sandra-No, Doctor, she hasn’t arrived yet.Armando seems upset as he goes to Patricia.Patricia-Why hasn’t Marcela arrived from Palm Beach yet? Is it that she doesn’t know that tonight is the launching of the latest collection?Patricia-(with a depressed look on her face and voice) Yes, Armando, she knew, but what happens is that I haven’t been able to get her an airline ticket.Armando-Oh, Look Sandra, do me a favor. You see? I’m waiting for a very important visitor from Caracas, (the rattle sound is heard) Armando-…be on the lookout, OK?Sandra-Yes, Doctor. (he walks towards his office)
Aura Maria follows him with her big eyes, as Sandra then goes quietly tip toeing to Aura Maria’s desk.
Aura Maria-He didn’t even ask for Betty!Sandra-He didn’t even mention her!(they both look upset or disappointed for Betty) The phone rings-Betty- Aura Maria, please, bring me the list of the international visitors and of the hotels where they will be staying so I can see how things look, OK?Aura Maria-yes m’am
ECOMODA-PRESIDENCIA BETTY’S OFFICE
BETTY IS SITTING AT HER DESK, WHERE SHE IS VERY BUSY WORKING ON MANY FOLDERS. [A LIT, BIG, BLUE CANDLE IS SEEN ON THE SHELF BEHIND HER]. (Aura Maria enters Betty’s office; she hands Betty the list)
Aura Maria-The underlined names have arrived and are already registered, the rest we still await.Betty-Well…(she begins to examine the list) …thank-you very much Aura Maria. Ah, (looking up)get me Catalina Angel on the phone, it’s urgent, I need to know how the rehersals for the fashion show is going.Aura Maria-OK…Betty(AM begins to walk away, then she hesitates, turns around and whispers to Betty)Aura Maria- Betty, Don Armando already arrived!
(DAAAAN! DRAMATIC MUSIC; Betty’s eyes get really big!),
Aura Maria-…and he is in his office, do you want me to communicate you with him or send him a message?Betty-Did he ask for me…did he send a message?Aura Maria-He asked how things were going in the Company; why Doña Marcela hasn’t arrived; and that he is waiting for a visitor to arrive from Caracas.Betty-but, he didn’t send me any message?Aura Maria shakes her head (no).(AM leaves)(Betty sits back on her chair exhales and just stares ahead, looking sad).
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
(Aura Maria returns to her desk, Sandra comes to ask her)
Sandra-Did you tell Betty that Don Armando arrived?Aura Maria-YesSandra-And?Aura Maria-Nothing, she asked me whether he had asked about her…(They are interrupted when suddenly the elevator doors open and a very happy Freddy comes out singing)Freddy-Hear me, listen to me…(Aura Maria smiles widely)Freddy-…because happiness has arrived!. (He dances still in front of the elevator, and he is holding the mail, still kind of singing and talking in rhymes) Hello, how are you? Greetings, greetings, how are all of you? Here’s a very special hello from Freddy Estuart, who is here to bring you… he walks over to Sandra who is at her desk now) Sandrita, your correspondence for the day, my dear Patty, your tragic monthly news… (Patricia takes her mail and Freddy’s arm, but he quickly pulls it back) Please, this month, bite your own hand.Aura Maria_(on the phone) Yes of course, Doña Catalina, I will tell Betty that you are on your way here. See you later.(AM hangs up, seeing Freddy in front of her, she removes a big jacket that she has been wearing, revealing a light orange dress that is tight and as usual reveals a lot of her “Pechugon”, and in a flirtatious manner she greets him again)AM-What’s new Freddy?Freddy-Your correspondence Miss Aura Maria Fuentes.Aura Maria-Oh thank you Señorito , the brave one! the worthy macho man!Freddy-Lets see; look Miss Aura Maria Fuentes, the truth is, please abstain from your commentaries, because I am during working hours and that affects my productivity, and the productivity of my adored Ecomoda!.Aura Maria-(with a voice that’s almost in tears) Oh no!, until when am I going to have to support you like that? …that you treat me like that? Why don’t you decide and tell me that we have…that we have finished and that’s all!…don’t keep me in the freezer, OK?Freddy-What is it, do you have other offers?Aura Maria-No, I have not seen any offers, did you hear me? ….but this is enough! it’s done, I’m not going to end up in a nursing home still asking, (she changes her voice to an old lady’s) Freddy, please, decide, decide because I am turning 90!, decide, please. Well, No!Freddy-Well, no. I also see myself in the same nursing home telling you, (he now speaks like an old man) Forgive me but Excuse me, but is that 104 years old gentleman next to you, another one of your cousins?(Aura Maria gets upset but still sounds like she’s going to cry)AM- Tan Bobo!, You don’t treat me like this!; what’s that?. You know what? This ends right here, and as of today, I declare myself completely free! Freedy-Oh how scary!, No? Well, go, go with your cousins, of course!, go out tonight you’ll have “Francacella Fiesta, Comelona y Puñaldengue, right? [excuse my spelling here]Aura Maria-Noo, tonight I am going with Betty to the launching of the new collection!
DRAMATIC MUSIC PATRICIA LOOKS UP!
Aura Maria-…and there will be a lot of very special guests, did you hear me?Patricia-Ha Ha Ha (she walks to the front of her desk) don’t even dream about crashing the launching, as you just said “pechuguin” Only special guests will be there, not a constellation of poor witches!Aura Maria_Hey, dear (mi hija) don’t suffer! Little monkey!, the one who invited us was Betty!, did you hear me?… The President of Ecomoda, my love!,Sandra-And don’t talk about being poor, because you are the poorest of us all, the new poor! and she even has to ride the bus!(Freddy widens his eyes! and stuttering asks)Freddy-You you you Patty?!!!!Patricia-Ay, Freddy, I already told them that it was intentional, that I am doing a study to analyze the customs; the behavior of the poor in their natural habitat.Freddy-I wish you lots of luck; I for one have a motorized vehicle with 2 horsepower, therefore, I have not had to try those tasteless urbane services!(as he turns to leave, Aura Maria slaps him on his shoulder)Aura Maria- Remember that I have warned you! I have warned you! (she pauses hoping for a response from Freddy but he just stands there)…as of tonight, I am a free woman!Freddy-(trying to look strong) Message completely captured! It came in this ear and came out this other one! (he pauses and then stuttering)…and and it doesn’t affect me! (he walks away and you see the pain on his face and on hers who looks like she is about to cry)Sandra- Ay Aura Maria, just as the peliteñida said, tonight the poor can’t enter the fashion show! I wonder who is going to stay outside?Aura Maria-It’s clear! The NEW POOR!Sandra- The new poor of all the rich people!Patricia-Ha ha ha ha ha, Don’t even dream that I won’t be at the launching, because I don’t need an invitation from the President, I simply go with Marce!Sandra-Ha!
(As Freddy walks towards Berta and Sofia he makes a stop on the hallway, puts his head against a wall and tells himself outloud)
Freddy-This does not affect me!, this does not affect me at all! (he then takes out his breath spray, and because he is so upset he sprays his ear by mistake and then his mouth. He hands the mail to Berta and then to Sofia who tells him …)Sofia-Why don’t you hand Doctor Mora his correspondence directly, because he needs to see you anyway.Freddy-I would like to inform you of something my dear members of the Cuartel, that “it” does not affect me!(as he enters Nicolas’ office)Sofia-(whispering to Berta) I wonder what would happen if it did affect him, ha ha haBerta-ha ha ha
(Nicolas is working at his desk. Freddy enters and still talking to himself outloud but quietly he is saying…)Freddy-Stay calm, be tranquil!Freddy-(to Nicolas) Doctor, do you require my professional services?Nicolas-(looking up at him) Yes, yes, of course, what is your name?Freddy-Freddy E. ContrerasNicolas-Freddy Estuart, right? Estuart!Nicolas-Look Estuart, (he hands Freddy the work) I need you to price these before noon today.because we have to pay the providers of the launching.Freddy- Yes, yes, of course.Freddy-Look Doctor (He hands Nicolas his mail) your correspondence.Nicolas-Thank you EstuartFreddy-Freddy(Nicolas opens a big envelope and when he takes out the paper, he jumps up from his chair in shock!Freddy-Is something wrong?Nicolas-What do you mean is something wrong!, Look at this statement of my cellular phone.Freddy-Doctor, I had only seen that look of anguish before on Patricia Fernandez’ face.Nicolas-Of course Freddy, she has had my cell. phone for a month now.Freddy-Forgive me but Excuse me, but a Vice-President of your caliber can not be lending his cellular phone to a woman like Patricia Fernandez, that is the best way to impoverish illicitly; that condemns you…Nicolas-(interrupting the truths he doesn’t want to hear) OK OK Freddy, OK, Please! go on go on. (Freddy leaves)Nicolas-(in despair) how am I going to ask her for my cell. phone, when I already left her without a car?, although, she did promise me that she would return it in a month, when we paid her! and today we pay her
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
Patricia-(looking at her bills) It can’t be, It can’t be!Sandra-But now what are you complaining about peliteñida, since you don’t have to pay for the cellular phone.Patricia-Ayyy, but now I have to pay for all the other debts that I hadn’t been able to pay; don’t meddle in my affairs, “larguirucha"Sandra-Uyy, I meddle, because you don’t let me do my work because you are always whining Uyy!Patricia-Shut Up! Ayyyyyyy (looking at her bills again and whining to herself outloud) This month I still don’t have enough money,Patricia’s Voice Over- (she is thinking) but that idiot better not think that I am going to give him back his cell phone. He better not dare ask me for it!
(Armando approaches Sandra’s desk-he is holding a yellow folder)Armando-Sandra, did Doctora Pinzon arrive to her office?Sandra-Yes, Doctor, she’s been in her office.(Armando walks en route to Presidencia!)(Aura Maria looks at him and then gives Sandra a look of… mischief?")
(Patricia’s telephone rings)Patricia-Ecomoda(pause)Patricia-Marce! are you at the airport yet?(pause)Patricia-What do you mean? That you are on a waiting list?(pause … now whispering) Marce, you have to come any which way you can, Immediately!, because Armando has arrived and he already went to be behind closed doors with El Garfio!, how do you like that? (pause) Yes, I know you can’t do anything from there, but I’m telling you, you need to come now!, Marce, get in a cargo flight, or hide in a turbine, I don’t know, whatever Marceeeee, besides, the witches of El Cuartel are already saying to my face that they are guests at the launching tonight, and that I can’t go, what do you think about that Marceee! Ecomoda is in their hands! (pause) Yes, Marce, at this very moment they are together in her office. I told you so, I told you so!, this is the great reunion!(Aura Maria motions to Sandra to try to listen, and Sandra replies also with hand motions that she can’t hear a thing!)Patricia-OK Marce OK Marce
PRESIDENCIA- BEATRIZ’S OFFICE
BETTY IS WORKING AT HER DESK. THE DOUBLE DOORS OF HER OFFICE OPEN SUDDENLY! IT’S ARMANDO!
(Armando walks in, decisive, looking very self assured, with a pleasant smile on his face and a very polite attitude) (and very very handsome, lol)
Armando-Good Morning Beatriz!(Betty-as if hesitating to look at him, very slowly looks up)Betty-Ah, Good Morning Doctor.(She looks down and back at him and smiling)Betty-(lying) I didn’t know you had arrived.(Armando moves closer to her desk but remains standing)Armando-I arrived a while ago, but I wanted to prepare this before I came here (he shows her the yellow folder)(She looks a little nervous; she is fidgeting trying to place a paper on a set of pages. She looks down at her papers and then at him, back and forth trying to look calm)Betty-Ah! Good, Doctor, ….and…how did your trip go?Armando-(still very casual) Fine, very well, precisely, I have here for you a set of counter proposals so we can study them…(at this point Armando continues talking but simultaneously he extends his arm handing her the folder, yet when Betty tries to take it, he maintains a hold of it, she pulls a little and he holds back, she pulls, he holds - [none of them really wanting to let go!] she is seen nervous, maybe a little confused…)
Armando-…If all goes well, next week we will be closing the business deal of more than two million dollars! (…and when he finishes talking- at the same time that she has also looked him straight in the eyes with a smile on her face, he releases the folder!)Betty-(Betty takes the folder gets up from her desk and goes to get a binder at the shelve by the window of her office) That’s very good, Doctor!!! (and she laughs outloud, her typical Betty laugh!)Armando-(smiles a little) Well, and now we need to wait for Calderon, I think he is bringing us good news. How is tonight’s launching going?(Betty, who is now holding the thick binder and the yellow folder, turns around to walk back towards her desk, she stumbles on the way a little, she quickly recovers sits, and continues talking acting as if nothing had happened)Betty-Ah, everything is going very well Doctor, and right now, Catalina Angel and Don Hugo are on their way here, we are going to do a little meeting of re-evaluation, it would be good if you were also present, right?Armando-Yes, of course, yes. (now Betty is again looking down at some papers as he continues talking-she’s listening, but it’s as if she doesn’t want to make too much eye contact). Look Beatriz, I wanted to remind you that my guests are also coming. Many of them will also be the future buyers of the franchises of Ecomoda, and we have to treat them very well… (Betty although still looking through some papers, is nodding at his words) …and besides they are going to attend the fashion show, and I also want us to show them what is up for sale.Betty-(motioning agreement) All that has already been taken care of Doctor, I was even just going over the list of the international guests…(Armando smiles as if looking proud of his Betty!)Betty-…and some of them have already arrived, and they have settled in their hotels; everything is going very well.(Armando continues standing, smiling and nods)Armando-Good, good. (he pauses) … I think we can settle the business deal of Caracas today, God willing. There is going to be a very important person, very special arriving today to take care of that.Betty-(nodding and looking at him)-Don’t worry, everything is prepared. (pause) Sit down.Armando-(just smiling and not answering her invitation to sit) OK, well we’ll see each other at the meeting. (she looks down again at her papers. He leaves and when she hears the doors shut, Betty looks ahead and takes several deep breaths!)
ECOMODA ELEVATOR - RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
Hugo and Cata are arriving, Cata is dialing a number on her cell phone while Hugo tells her:Hugo-I don’t understand why I have to be taken out of a moment when I am inspired by my muse, only to be brought here to listen to “Madame Transformed"Cata-Enough, Huguito, leave her in peace, besides it’s a last minute general revision and Betty can’t move from here.(they exit the elevator)Cata-(smiling) Good morning niñas,AM, Sandra, Patricia-Good morning.Cata-is Betty in Presidencia?AM-Oh yes, Doña Catalina, she has been waiting for you.(they walk towards Presidencia, and run into Armando who has already reached the reception area)Armando-HelloCata-Hellooooo, Come, (they kiss) and how did it go?Armando-Fine (he smiles) Very well, Cata!(Hugo who is still standing next to Cata, is now facing away from Armando and has placed his sunglasses backwards on his head, as if to mock Armando)Hugo-And if it went so well, why didn’t you stay there?Armando-Lets see Hugo, I came because I have to kill a designer.(Hugo turns to face Armando, and puts his sunglasses on)Hugo-Ay no no no, no, Do it slowly, not rough. (and then talking to Cata) I don’t understand why they let this type of people enter this country. We were so happy here, there was harmony, there was comprehension in this Company, the truth is that we did not need you at all.Armando-Hugo, don’t kill me, don’t mistreat me with the whip of your indifference, because I’m going to die, Hugui!Hugo-Keep talking like that and you are going to end up like me!(Cata laughing a little)Cata-Hey listen, we are going to do a little meeting of re-evaluation; it would be good if you attended, huh?Armando-Yes, the meeting; Beatriz has already invited me, just let me know when. (he goes to his office)Hugo-(to Cata) Well call me when all is ready, I’m going to be in my work area. (and then looking at Aura Maria) …and what is “pechuguin” doing here, “receptioning of “pechito”?Aura Maria-I’m working!(and she truly was, lol lol)(Hugo goes his way laughing outloud, AM looks at Sandra and says)AM-How do you like that?(Sandra motions her with her hands to just let it go, while Patricia laughs outloud)
SOFT MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND. A DREAMY BETTY SITTING AT HER DESK RESTING HER CHIN ON HER HANDS. The double doors open suddenly and “dreamy Betty” jumps a little. She picks up some papers and begins to shuffle them a little.
Cata_Hellooo Betty! (very cheery)Betty-(big smile) Doña Catalina! how is everything going at the hotel?Cata-Well!; Very Well! The whole morning was spent organizing the lights and the sound, while Hugo had the models rehearse. Everything is very well!Betty-(still smiling and organizing papers), Ah, good! (a small Betty’s laugh)Cata-(sitting in front of Betty and whispering) and, did you see Armando yet?Betty-(acting casual and talking normal instead of whispering) Ah, yes, yes, he came by…he gave me a report on his trip… it seems that it went well for them, no?…(Cata is serious and listening but also observing Betty very closely)Betty-…It seems that next week they will close the deals of the franchises.Cata-(smiling now) Aha, and?(Betty looks at her, opens her mouth a little as if to say something but doesn’t)Cata- (moves her head closer toward Betty) He only talked to you about business?Betty-Yes, nothing more, but I saw him very optimistic, Doña Catalina!(Cata is again observing Betty closely)Betty-…He seemed very well, he seemed to me renovated…(a Betty laugh) …but he didn’t talk to me about anything other than business.Cata- Nothing?, he didn’t say anything to you about what he told you the last night you saw each other?Betty-No, but you know?, I did see him very changed, Doña Catalina, as if the trip did him a lot of good.Cata-(smiling) and you would have preferred to have the old Armando back?Betty-Nooooooo (Betty laugh) I prefer this one! At least he seems willing to leave me in peace, ha ha haCata-ha ha ha Ay, Betty! (more smiles)Cata-Well, what, shall we start the meeting?Betty-Yes, yes.(grabbing her phone) Aura Maria, please tell the executives that we are ready for the meeting.(Cata observes her in action with a smile- maybe also of pride?)(Betty is focused on organizing some more papers, while Cata-serious now, is observing Betty very closely again)
Nicolas and Gutierrez run into each other as they both try to get into the room at the same time.Gutierrez-(in English) Excuse me doctor, please come in come in.Nicolas-(comes in and in Spanish replies) Thank you thank you.Gutierrez-(mixing English with Spanish) Are you going to go tonight… this evening.. .to see the launching of the new collection?Nicolas-Collection, what does that mean?Gutierrez-The new garments….Nicolas- (repeating the same terminology but in Spanish) Ah, the launching of the new collection!Gutierrez-yesNicolas-No, I don’t think so, because that’s not so much for financial executives…Gutierrez-Doctor Nicolas, listen to me, there you will find Great Women! (Nicolas’ eyes get big!)Gutierrez-…Uyyy!, Models!, Invited Specials (this is how he was talking in English trying to say special guests. Nicolas has a big smile now)Gutierrez-(salivating)… Better said, it will be an Ocean of Women! (he makes a sound with his mouth as if he is tasting something delicious) ….where I am going to go to drown! Ha Ha I recommend it! ha haNicolas- In other words, IT IS for financiers! (They both laugh and do a high five as Hugo approaches and can’t walk in because they are blocking him with their high five)Hugo-Well, well, (they stand apart so that the three of them are now standing at the doorway)(Hugo stops)Hugo-The two of you are the only ones here? Ay, I can already see tomorrow’s headlines- Distinguished Designer Dies at the Hands of Two Sadistic Exotic Men!.Gutierrez-ha haHugo-You, don’t laugh! (and he goes to sit where Marcela usually sits but then he sees Cata and Betty come in and he says)Hugo-Ay Cata, come sit here (he holds Marcela’s chair at one of the heads of the table for Cata to sit, and then he sits next to her)Betty-(smiling but saying nothing, sits at the other head of the table)Hugo-Here I was, with these two (pointing at Nicolas and Gutierrez) looking at me with a face of “I want a boyfriend"CAta-ay ay ay(Betty continues smiling as she opens her folder, than she looks at the door because Armando has also arrived)Hugo-Ay Ay Ay, The most perverted has arrived!(Armando sits next to Hugo)Hugo-Why don’t you tell us a few gossips about your adventures in South America, did you leave a lot of “Armanditos Mendozas” all over? (did he get many women pregnant)(Betty’s smile disappears and she looks up to look at Armando)Hugo-…which one did you prefer, the Venezuelan, the Argentinean, the Mexican? … (looking at Cata) Poor Marge! Her forehead must be filled with horns! She must look like a Canadian “Alce”, of course the horns are international!Armando-(smiling) Horns like the ones you are getting from your Argentinian.Hugo-(serious) That was a low blow, Armando!Armando-Do the low blows still hurt you?(Gutierrez laughs and Betty clears her throat as if to stop the exchange and to call the attention)Betty-Well, Could we begin?(Hugo looks upset and serious and taking the sunglasses from his forehead he holds them in his hands as he replies)Hugo-I started a while ago, Doctora!Betty-I would like for us to quickly go over some things. (Hugo is still very serious)… Catalina, is the presentation of the invited artist coordinated?Catalina-yes yesArmando-Who is the invited artist?Catalina-Mario DuarteArmando-Who is that?(Hugo rolls his eyes at Armando)CAta- Ay don’t tell me that you haven’t heard of Golpe de Ala? …He is a Colombian young man, he just launched his first CD, he is very good!Hugo-He looks like a marionette on top of a chest, and he moves like this! (he swings his arm back and forth)…and he is all disjointed….(Nicolas also mocks Mario Duarte by looking at Betty and sticking his finger in his mouth and making a gagging sound. Betty hits him on the arm with her elbow)Betty- Nicolaaas, Please!Armando-(to Nicolas)What’s the matter?Nicolas- Well, I don’t want to meddle in this things, but it seems strange to me that you invite this dude that hangs around wearing strange and street clothes; no, he doesn’t deserve to be invited to this launching, no, there are some people that are so strange, and soo “loca” (looking at Hugo … Hugo laughs)Cata-No no no,Betty, everything is organized, don’t worry! OK?Armando_ I would like to see how the guests are going to be seated.Cata-Yes, here look, I just made this little sketch.
(MUSIC IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND, BETTY’S IS SHOWN CLOSE UP GAZING AT ARMANDO, WHILE ARMANDO’S FACE IS ALSO SHOWN BUT HE IS LOOKING DOWN AT THE PIECE OF PAPER THAT CATA GIVES HIM)
Cata-Look, this is going to be…Armando interrupts her and talking very quickly asks CataArmando-Where is going to be Sims? That’s the only thing that concerns me!
ELEVATOR DOORS OPEN
A beautiful woman with long black straight hair, wearing a tight red top, a black skirt with a slit that reaches high up her leg and a big smile, enters the reception area (2nd floor).Woman-HelloSandra-(standing) Hello(Aura Maria and Patricia stare at the woman)Woman-(smiling)Armando Mendoza, please.(Patricia stands directly behind Sandra and crossing her hands stares further at the newcomer)Sandra-(looking her up and down) and who shall I say is calling?Woman-(smiling)Alejandra Sims.(Sandra now also crosses her arms, and looks at Alejandra up and down) Sandra-and do you have an appointment?Alejandra-(with a smile)Yes, yes, of course, I come from Caracas, and he is waiting for me!
MUSICYO SOY ASI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BY THE ELEVATOR
Sandra, Aura Maria and Patricia are checking out Armando’s visitor. Sandra excuses herself in order to notify Armando that his special guest has arrived, leaving Aura Maria and Patricia trying to look as though they are working while they continue with the inspection. The special guest smiles.
IN THE EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE ROOM
Betty is asking Hugo what has happened with the clothing for Guiterrez and the Cuartel. Answering rudely, as always, he informs her that Inesita is working on it. Which Betty responds that she needs it to be ready before 6:00 p.m. Hugo, holding his huge sunglasses, tells her that he is too nervous and worrying about the fashion show in order for her to bother him with the clothing for her little friends.
Betty - “The clothing for the Cuartel is just as important as the clothing for the collection”.
(During this entire conversation, Armando is the only one who doesn’t look at either one. He keeps his head down turning the pages of some photos that he seems to be studying.)
Hugo realizes that it is just as important and that is why he is putting so much pressure on Inesita finish in order for her to assist him and he is going crazy working alone.
(Sandra opens the doors to the conference room.)
Hugo insults her by calling her a horse and a giraffe. Sandra does not respond to his insults, just stares. Sandra tells him that she wouldn’t have interrupted had Armando not told her that he was expecting an important guest. She says that Alejandra Sim (I’m sorry I had trouble catching the last name.) has arrived. Finally Armando reacts. Catalina looks at Betty, who looks at Armando while he is conversing with Sandra. Armando asks if she has attended to her; offered her coffee and told her where to sit. Armando not liking the answer excuses himself because he has to go and attend to a very important client.
Hugo shouts - “Aye! You are going to be missed.” as Armando leaves the conference room. Hugo then turns to look at Cata who is laughing at his remark.
Betty makes an eye gesture to Sandra who returns it with her own as if though saying “trouble”. After Sandra closes the doors, Betty has a look of concern which is immediately noticed by Cata.
BY THE ELEVATOR
Armando reaches his “special” guest. “Alejandra”, he says with the same smile and tone that he used in the old days when he was making a play for a woman. She asked if she interrupted something, and of course, he answers that she didn’t. They greet each other with the traditional kisses on the cheeks. Meanwhile, Aura Maria and Patricia are looking on with interest.
Armando welcomes her and tells her that he is happy that she is there. She tells him that she is there as she promised and that she is there to disrupt his life. Sandra and Patricia look at each other in shock with their mouths left hanging open.
Armando - “Like in Caracas?” - he asks with a smile on his face. Now its Aura Maria’s turn to look shocked.
Alejandra - “It will be a pleasure.”Armando - “I’m going to demonstrate to you that the nights in Bogota can be as pleasurable as the nights in Caracas.”Alejandra - “You talked a lot about that and I am here to confirm it.”
Armando orders Aura Maria to go and inform those in the meeting that he will not be able to return because he needs to attend to an “important” person.
Alejandra - “I told you that I was here to disrupt your life.”Armando - “Ooooh, that’s good.”
Aura Maria, Sandra and Patricia just stare as they walk away until they enter Armando’s office, who closes the door. After he closes the door, Patricia and Sandra look at each other and in unison say, “Aah”. They turn towards Aura Maria and all three say, “Aah”. Sandra and Patricia notice that they are standing shoulder to shoulder and rapidly separate and begin to insult each other. Aura Maria gets up from her chair in order to go to the conference room.
EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE ROOM
Hugo is stating that all he demands is punctuality, because he intends to begin the fashion show at exactly 9:00 p.m. Cata tries to calm him by informing him that she invited everyone to be there at 7:30.
Aura Maria opens the doors without knocking. To which, Hugo tells her that all of the Cuartel should just go ahead and come in and sit on the table. Aura Maria delivers Armando’s message, all the while looking at Betty, and says that he is attending to someone “very important”. Hugo, a little perturbed, wants to know if it is someone more important than all of them. Aura Maria shrugs her shoulders in a “I don’t know” manner. Cata looks at Betty who is looking concerned.
Upon arriving back at her desk, Aura Maria is approached by Sandra who wants to know if Betty knows. Aura Maria informs her that Betty knows that he has a visitor but that she could not provide her with all the details, as they had seen, in front of that many people. Aura Maria and Sandra are whispering and Patricia is at her desk trying to catch part of the conversation.
The elevator doors open and Mariana runs out and wants to know what they know about the woman who came to see don Armando. Sandra informs her that she is a woman that “came to disrupt his life” and that she’s from Caracas. Mariana is excited that she’s from Venezuela. Aura Maria goes on to tell her how they greeted each other they almost melted. Mariana, with a big smile on her face, reminds them of the saying, “Romance in Caracas”.
Sandra says that with don Armando and Aura Maria says that is what it looks like. Mariana wants to know where the couple is at the moment. Sandra tells her that they are locked up in Armando’s office. The three turn to look towards Armando’s office and notice that Patricia has been leaning over her desk in order to catch their conversation. The three of them single to her to mind her own business. To which Patricia responds with one of her faces.
IN ARMANDO’S OFFICE
Alejandra has made herself comfortable in a chair and Armando is stepping around to his chair and unbuttoning his coat.
Armando is informing her that the fashion show begins at 9:00 p.m. and that they have plenty of time for him to show her the offices and the factory. She replies that she is at his deposition. She leans closer towards his desk and he smiles that smile he has used so many times when he is picking up women. (The music that is always heard when we see scenes between Nicolas and Patricia begins to play.)
Alejandra - “If you want to be with me.” (She is now sitting back in her chair.)Armando - “Don’t say that. You make me nervous.”
Sandra interrupts them by opening the door to his office without asking and asks if they would like anything to drink. Behind her, in the hallway, we can see Aura Maria, Mariana, and Patricia scramble out of their huddle in order for Armando not to catch them trying to catch a glimpse into his office.
Armando, very angry, yells at Sandra and wants to know why she entered in that manner. Sandra apologies that since she hadn’t offered anything previously she thought that she would check to see if they needed anything.
Armando yelling wants to know if it is not possible for her to get rid of that impulse of not knocking before entering. (Patricia slowly walks by to catch a glimpse inside the office.) She apologizes for interrupting. He informs her that she did not interrupt anything, only scared him to death. (Aura Maria and Mariana bump into each other as they try to catch a glimpse inside.) After they inform her that they don’t care for anything Armando asks that she securely close the door behind her. (Patricia does another pass.) Sandra apologies for being imprudent. Armando tells her that she wasn’t imprudent, but could she do him the favor of closing the door and leaving. (Aura Maria and Mariana make another pass.) Sandra is about to speak again when Armando yells at her to shut the door. Alejandra is obviously shocked at his behavior.
Armando regains himself and smiles at Alejandra. She tells him that she had never seen him in such bad character.
Armando - “In Caracas it is difficult to put yourself in a bad character.”
Armando continues to say that Caracas is a beautiful city with beautiful women. Alejandra says that there are beautiful women there. He tells her that the women of Eco Moda are not working women, but rather a sect. Alejandra looks at him puzzled.
Sandra is explaining to Aura Maria and Mariana, with Patricia trying to listen, that she opened the door without knocking in case they were doing something she would be able to catch them. They want to know if they were doing anything. She answers no. They want to know how her makeup looked, her clothing or was her hair messed up. She answered no to all of their questions.
Armando and Alejandra come out with Armando telling Alejandra that he is going to show her their showroom. Sandra and Patricia run back to their desks with Mariana following. Aura Maria bumps into him and apologies and hurriedly makes her way to Sandra’s desk. All four women are staring at the couple and then Armando stops and turns to look at them. Immediately they all make believe to be busy. Alejandra observes the scene.
Hugo exits the conference room and says that he can’t take it anymore. He bumps into a cleaning woman who is pushing a vacuum cleaner and accuses her of hitting him. As she departs, he tells her to vacuum herself. He passes in front of Sofia and Bertha and asks what they are looking at.
Armando and Alejandra come around the corner and he is pointing to the offices of all of the executives. Alejandra greets Sofia and Bertha. She then begins to rub her left hand over her right arm. Armando asks if she is cold. She answers yes. She informs him that when she left Caracas it was in the 70s. As Armando begins to go around her, Aura Maria arrives at her desk where she can witness the entire scene. He puts his arm around her and tells her not to worry that she will become accumstomed. They are in front of Betty’s office and he tells her that this is the office of the president. He just stares at the doors.
Alejandra - “The President. What did you say her name is”?Armando - A smile on his face, “Beatriz Pinson Solano”.Alejandra - “I suppose that she is in the meeting.”Armando - “Yes, her name is Beatriz Pinson Solano and you are going to meet her.”
As they walk away, Alejandra states that she is anxious to meet her since he has talked so much about her.
Armando - “She’s a brilliant woman, you know.”
BACK TO SOFIA AND BERTHA
Sofia comments that this is very strange and Bertha tells her to dial 911. Bertha asks Sandra who that woman is with don Armando and we hear her say, “What!”.
Hugo is asking Inesita for the cell number of his boyfriend, who he is about to call. He believes that he may be cheating on him. He then tells her to hurry because Betty wants her friends dressed and he needs her urgently at the hotel.
Armando and Alejandra arrive. Hugo quickly hangs up the telephone and his attitude changes. He has a sweet angelic look on his face. Armando introduces Alejandra as a very important business woman from the fashion sector in Venezuela. Alejandra extends her hand and tells him that it is a pleasure to meet him. She has heard so much about him.
Hugo - “Good things or bad things. I believe good”.
Hugo tells her that she is a very chic woman and asks if she has modeled. To which she answers, “yes”. He tells her that they will discuss that later, but right now he has to give her some warnings. The warning was something to the extent that he was the typical macho man that keeps trying to reproduce.
Alejandra - “I haven’t proven that yet.”Hugo - “I hope that you won’t have to.”
Armando interrupts and asks Hugo if it would be possible to demonstrate to Alejandra what is done in his showroom. Hugo answers that he is “flying” to do that.
Hugo to Alejandra - “This is where pure art is created. I want you to be still and feel the magic and atmosphere.”
He goes on to tell her that he doesn’t understand why all the attention goes to the administrative area since here is where all the light, color and brilliance are located. Inesita receives a 911 call and when she informs Hugo that she will return immediately he demands to know where she is going. He tells her to bring him back some of his famous drink since he is beginning to get nervous. (While Hugo is demonstrating his showroom Armando grabs a zipper and opens and closes it. He then grabs some material and extends it.) Hugo asks him what he is doing and calls him ex-president and laughs.
SOFIA AND BERTHA’S AREA
The Cuartel, minus Inesita, is listening to Sofia and Bertha’s stories regarding the scene with Armando and Alejandra. Sofia explains how Armando put his arm around her and Bertha tells them how her eyes sparkled looking at him. Inesita arrives and they want whatever information she can provide in regards to Alejandra. Inesita tells them that she is just an executive from Venezuela.
Betty and Cata come out of the conference room and after a few words Betty joins the Cuartel and asks them what is happening. Aura Maria informs Betty that Armando’s visitor is a “mamacita”. Betty has a nervous laugh. Aura Maria goes on to explain how they greeted each other and Sandra adds in the statement that she was there to disorganize his life. Sandra continues with her version of the events. Mariana tells Betty that she believes that there was an affair in Caracas and Bertha adds that they were caressing each other.
Betty tells them that she doesn’t understand why they are telling her all of this and Aura Maria tells her that it is of interest to her. Bertha adds that if it isn’t, it is at least good gossip. Betty tells them that whatever Armando is doing or has done is Marcela’s problem and not hers. She walks away leaving the Cuartel with their mouths open and in shock, with the exception of Inesita. Inesita shakes her head in agreement.
Patricia is on the telephone informing Marcela of the events that are occurring at Eco Moda. She tells her that there are now two that want to take Armando away from her and the new one is dangerous. She believes that Armando has brought her to live in Columbia. Patricia tells her that it is not to worry her, but rather to warn her. She tells her that it is important that she return immediately. Patricia tells her not to worry that she will be keeping an eye on things.
AURA MARIA’S DESK
As Inesita, Aura Maria, Sandra and Patricia walk over to her desk Inesita tells them that she doesn’t understand why they caused a commotion. She says that all she sees is a business relationship and nothing strange. Aura Maria informs her that she doesn’t understand how things work nowadays. She tries to tell her that national and international relations are different. Inesita does not understand why if it didn’t bother Betty why would it bother them.
After Inesita leaves, Sandra tells the remaining two that she believes that Betty was dying. Mariana reminds them of the card reading that she did for Betty where the woman that was going to cause Betty appeared. They all believe that Alejandra is that woman.
Betty is all alone in her office and says to herself, “Affair in Caracas”.
IN THE HALLWAY
Nicolas and Guiterrez come out of the conference room and make plans to see each other at the fashion show.
Before Nicolas enters Betty’s office he sees Armando and Alejandra approaching. He stops to stare. Armando tells Inesita to hurry and take Hugo his drink because they may not have a designer for that evening. As Alejandra and Armando pass, Alejandra puts her arm through Armando’s and greets Nicolas. Armando doesn’t bother to introduce her, but as they pass him Armando turns his head slightly to look at Nicolas.
Betty catches Nicolas staring out in the hallway. It takes a couple of calls of his name to catch his attention. Betty wants to know what he was looking at for so long that his eyes almost popped out. He tells her about the beautiful woman that was with Armando. Betty looks concerned. After saying that she was very pretty and he notices Betty’s look he says that she wasn’t that pretty.
Nicolas informs her that he is going to run company errands and then will be going home to get ready for the fashion show in order to look his best for all the beautiful women. He includes the “button” that he just saw. He then tells Betty that she is also a “button”. After he leaves, Betty begins to feeling her clothing and her hair in an insecure manner.
IN THE HALLWAY
Armando and Alejandra are walking by and she tells him that she liked Hugo. She also recommends that he not be so stressed out. He tells her that he knows and he offers to take her to the factory. After he gets in, he glances side to side. After the door closes we see that the Cuartel had been watching him.
After the elevator doors close, Sofia and Bertha rush over to Aura Maria to find out where they were going. Aura Maria whispers that they were going to the factory. Bertha wants to know if it is true. Sandra wants to know why he would lie. Bertha notices that Patricia is trying to listen in order to report to Marcela. Patricia understands that they are talking about her. They begin to insult each other. Sandra tells her that she is there to spy for Marcela. Patricia tells them that they have her at Eco Moda for her work. She reminds them that she completed six semesters of finance and she is not there to spy for Marcela. Patricia takes off in the elevator and they know that she is on her way to spy. The Cuartel picks one of their members to go down in order to do their spying.
Touring the PlantArmando is explaining the production levels and capacity of the plant to Alejandra. They work one shift and the 1200 machines produce 2500 units daily.
“In this area we have the most current technology… Swiss, Italian… In the other area is the computerized machinery. Right now we’re working at 75% capacity, but if we succeed with our franchise agreements, we expect to be at 100% capacity. "
She looks impressed. “Yes, and for a business that’s 35 years old, it appears well structured.”
Armando explains that he’s tried, since taking the reins of the presidency, to incorporate modern production practices, “as well as an ambitious sales plan,” he adds, a little chagrined. In the background we see the Peliteñida skulking, her hair wrapped in a red cloth like a scarf. Alejandra congratulates him on the apparent success of his efforts but then the awkward question arises. “Armando, why did you retire from the presidency?”
He looks pained by this, but confesses, “Alejandra… I told you that I developed an ambitious sales plan… it didn’t go well.”
She notes his expression and decides to leave this topic. “You don’t have to tell me anything. After all, I told you that I came to add disorder to your life, not to mortify you.” She flashes a Colgate smile at him and he takes her hand in gratitude.
“You came to bring happiness to my life,” he says, caressing that hand. “I’m very glad you did, Alejandra.” Just then, out of the corner of his eye he spots la Pata Hari. “Will you excuse me a second?” Striding over to where she’s lurking, he calls out, “Patricia Fernandez, what are you doing playing a Bedouin?!? Do you think this is an oasis? No, ma’am, this is Production!” She looks up in alarm and whips off the fabric. “What are you doing here?!?”
She scrambles to come up with an excuse that will calm him, but it’s a doomed effort. “Armando, I was just taking a look at what this place looks like…” Armando’s not buying what she’s selling and continues to pressure her for an explanation. Excuse number 2: “I was looking for some catalogues that Marcela needed.” Armando sarcastically asks if she expects to find them under the machines and Pata Hari continues her lying scramble, “Well you know, I didn’t find any here, but then I don’t have much experience in this,” she assures him.
Armando decides to play with her head. “You know, I know why you came… Come on!” He takes her by the arm and starts pulling her towards Alejandra.
“Armandoooo, were are we going?”
“I’m going to satisfy your curiosity. I’m going to introduce you. Come!”
She drags her feet and tries to pull back. “No, I don’t want to meet her!” “Come!” he insists, overruling her protests all the way.
“Alejandra, I’d like to present Patricia Fernandez. She’s the secretary and best friend of the manager of Point of Sales, Marcela Valenciaaaa.” He does the introduction with a flourish and a big grin and Alejandra responds to the name “Marcela” with an informed look in her eyes.
Patricia does the effusively phony, “mucho gusto, welcome to Colombia,” part of her usual introduction and Alejandra responds politely. “A pleasure, I’m Alejandra Sims.”
Armando continues with the introduction. He explains to Patricia that Alejandra represents one of the most important fashion groups in Venezuela and she’s there to check out their plant, their outlets, their business… and (placing his arm around her shoulders and drawing her closer for the big “zing"er) “a great friend of mine! Is there anything else you’d like to know about Alejandra?” All the while his eyes don’t leave Alejandra’s (nor her his) as if to say, “Play along with this joke. See what I put up with?”
Patricia pretends that Armando’s just being playful with her and gushes, “No, how can you think so? You know that doesn’t concern me! (Armando muttering, “I didn’t think so.") Well, you know, I have to go now! You know,” she leans forward towards Alejandra, “one day we have to do lunch. I know a super restaurant! Ciao!”
Alejandra smiles broadly and thanks her. As soon as Patricia is out of earshot, Alejandra’s expression changes to one of mild concern for her friend Armando. “Marcela Valencia… the one you told me about in Caracas?” she asks him.
Armando looks a little sad. “Yes, the same.”
She looks a little more worried and tells him that she hopes that she didn’t cause any more problems for him.
“Don’t worry,” he tells her. “You don’t create problems for me. On the contrary, I think you will solve my problems,” he says a little cryptically.
She inclines her head at this and looks at him in amused speculation. They continue the tour and we see Berta Hari peering out at them behind a sewing machine. They enter the pressing room of the plant and he explains some of the area’s details. The come upon a rack of the garments for the show and they take a look. She hands him her purse to hold and starts to examine the clothing. (He looks cute with a purse ) She admires the cut and quality of the items, particularly the way the shoulders of a suit jacket are set and comments on the fabric blend. He suggests that she try it on and helps her do so. She pirouettes and he looks at her approvingly.
“Alejandra, you kill me!” he says admiringly.
Berta, now hiding behind a rack of jackets, overhears this exchange and looks shocked.
“Really?” asks Alejandra, playfully.
“Truthfully!” he replies.
Berta is even more shocked, but in her moment of surprise she’s let down her guard and has managed to come into Armando’s line of sight. He looks a little annoyed and asks Alejandra if she’ll excuse him a second.
Berta starts rolling away with the rack in a panic, “He called, my God!”
“Berta!” He strides after her with a purpose.
She turns to face the music, “Agachese, Doctor.”
“Why?” Hands tucked under the arms in his “okay, this had better be good pose”.
“Why are you here?” she asks him because offense is a good defense :-)
He sarcastically tells her he’s come to press clothing, imagine. She quips that things are bad after the presidency for him and he asks again what she’s doing there. She tells him that she came for some production plans and he wonders if they’re pressing plans now. She chuckles nervously and explains that she just happened to be passing through and thought she’d (help) move the clothing. He continues his interrogatory and asks why she’s taken the long route but Berta’s quick on her feet and explains that since she’s a little chubby still after the pregnancy she thought she take the opportunity to get a little exercise. Armando listens with a stern face.
“Who sent you here!”
“Who sent you here?!?” he repeats.
She tells him Gutierrez and he gives her a hard look but decides not to press the issue.
“Okay, okay… You can leave.”
“Yes, Doctor,” she says with a relief.
“Leave. Quickly!” he shoos her away with a wave of his hand and heads back towards Alejandra.
Berta wheels the clothes for a few steps and turns to spy again but Armando, as if sensing her gaze, turns to give her a sharp look and she flees. He heads back to Alejandra with a little smile on his face.
“You like those dresses?” he asks her.
She does, noting their suitability for a warmer climate.
“And who’s secretary is she?” she asks, casually.
Armando explains Berta’s title, “secretary to the V-P of Administration” and she asks if it isn’t more like “intelligence service.” Armando chuckles and tells her that it’s more likely that her appearance has caused a few heads to turn in the feminine sector of the company, but “that’s natural.” She smiles good-naturedly and agrees.
He hands back her purse and they head off to tour the Point of Sales area next.
2nd Floor ReceptionBerta and Mariana dash off the elevator and Sandra rushes to join them by Aura Maria’s desk for an update.
Berta reports with great shame that she’s failed in her mission: she was captured by the enemy! She excuses her failure, explaining that she’s out of practice handling such and important mission, but is cut off by Sofia. She’s in a frenzy not to be left out. Aura Maria tells Sofia the mission failed and she’s shocked. Sandra hopes she didn’t say anything to Armando and wants to know what explanation she gave him for being there. Berta explains about the story that Gutierrez wanted some production plans. She tells them that he made her leave but she has one consolation: the Peliteñida failed in her mission also! This is news to the rest of the cuartel.
Mariana asks for more, “How’s this? You mean the Peliteñida was also doing intelligence work?”
Berta reports that Armando caught her and pulled her by the arm and put her in front of the Venezuelan novia. This makes the group laugh and turn to laugh at Patricia. She makes a face back at them.
“He pulled her over, he introduced her, and he kicked her out!” reports Berta.
Sofia gets down to business. She wants to know if she learned anything at all. The only thing Berta can report is that she happened to see them together. Armando picked out an outfit for Alejandra and helped her put it on and then they were billing and cooing together.
She imitates Ms. Sims: “How do I look? I’m all yours! You see?”
The women are scandalized by this misrepresentation by Berta. Inés rushes up, all sweaty and stressed out and whispers hoarsely that they have to hurry, Hugo needs them in his shop because it’s time for them to get dressed. Berta, the wiseacre, cautions her to “stop shouting at them.” The excited cuartel hurry after Inés, except for Aura Maria, who wants to make sure that Betty doesn’t need her first.
Betty’s OfficeBetty’s more than a little stressed out too. She’s talking with someone about a letter of credit already signed and demands some action. Aura Maria barges in on the call, but Betty hardly misses a beat. She complains that she can’t believe that the caller is still tying things up when it’s already approved and asks that they keep her informed. She hangs up and Aura Maria asks if she can “escape” a few minutes because Hugo needs her in the studio. A frazzled Betty only asks that she not be ten hours in the process. Aura Maria leaves with a chastened, “Fresca!” but it occurs to her to tell Betty the funny story of how the Peliteñida was caught spying on Armando giving the Venezuelan the tour of the factory, “no doubt preparing a list for Doña Marcela.” Betty pays her little heed.
“But you know what was the worst?” asks Aura Maria. “He caught Berta too!”
This gets Betty’s attention. “What do you mean he caught Berta? She too was following them?”
Aura Maria thinks this is very funny and starts to tell the tale of how the cuartel chose their expert to spy on Armando. A blush rises in Betty’s cheeks.
“She saw them in the pressing plant and the Venezuelan was trying on clothes and modeling them like so…” Aura Maria thrusts out her sizeable chest.
“Please, Aura Maria!” cries a shocked Betty. “I want to ask a favor of you and the others: don’t follow them! They’ll think that I sent you and that’s not so. I’m not interested in what they do. Don’t make any more comments to me on them. Leave me in peace on this theme!”
Aura Maria is taken aback and a little ashamed, “Qué pena! Forgive me!”
She heads out and Betty shakes her head. She’s on her way out too and stops in the doorway to her old office and turns and looks in sadly and then sighs.
Hugo’s StudioThe cuartel enters the studio and Berta’s been telling Inés the details of her failed espionage and what she “saw”. Inés counsels her that she’s going to get into trouble but her advice falls on deaf ears. Hugo is cracking up. He thinks that his “chesito” is “putting the horns” on him… his head hurts… She informs him that the cuartel is there for him and he reacts to the news with sarcasm, noting that he hadn’t seen them, seeing as how they move so imperceptibly. He asks God why he’s put such a hard challenge before him and tells them he doesn’t want to see them until another guy has worked them on. That man has the “Titanic” task of doing their hair and makeup. He notes that Aura Maria is missing and asks where the “pechugin” is; said “pechugin” rushes in at that moment.
“I’m at your entire disposal!” she giggles and bounces.
Just what he’s afraid of ;-) He leaves to go do some Tai Chi, but not without a final disparaging comment. The cuartel clusters around Aura Maria to see if she’s spoken to Betty. She tells them that she thinks that Betty took the news hard; and she was upset with them. “And she told me to leave her in peace.” Inés feels that this is what she’s been trying to tell them all along.
Betty’s OfficeBetty is pressing hard on her phone calls. She’s on the line with another caller and urging them to comply with her request. (Note: she’s replaced Armando’s jacks with a statue of the Virgin Mary!) She needs all of the stores to be cleaned because after the show there will be a lot of press. She explains too, to the caller, that Marcela Valencia is out of the city at the moment (which explains the frazzled Betty—she’s doing her work and some of Marcela’s). Hérmes enters mid-call. She hangs up with a sigh and he notes that she’s tense.
“Yes, papa, it’s just that I have the collection upon me and this is all craziness.”
He wants to know where her help is. “Where’s that group of ninfeas?” he asks her, with a wry pun.
She explains that they’re getting ready/arreglando for the show. He wonders why, since there’s no arreglando/put them in order. Bad joke, but it gets a chuckle out of Betty.
Hugo’s StudioThe studio is a veritable hen house with the cuartel demanding the attentions of the hair and makeup man, Johnny. Hugo enters and demands that Johnny finish with the freak show as soon as possible. The women look angry at that remark, but he mockingly retracts and calls them beautiful women. He reminds them that this night isn’t about them, “you all are simply a work of charity.” Gutierrez shows up and Hugo grabs him and harasses him for being late.
“I was in my office working,” he protests and Hugo tells him that, “You know, you’re the most difficult man I’ve ever had to dress in my life!”
Hugo asks Johnny to make the “matachin” presentable. Johnny wonders if Gutierrez would consider shaving his beard—it would make him look younger—but he’s not having that. Hugo’s calling out for the “pervert’s clothing” and all in general is a hubbub.
Inés brings up Gutierrez’s suit and calls for a little calm, “You’re going to give a heart attack!”
Hugo turns his attention on her and tells her she’s got to get ready to because, “you’re part of this science fiction!”
She protests that she’s got too many other people to get ready.
Hugo takes charge, “I’ll dress him (Gutierrez)!” he cries and pulls him along. This makes the women laugh.
“Lot’s of luck!” cries Berta.
Betty’s OfficeBetty is on the phone again. She needs catalogs sent along to the show and to the sales outlets. In her old office, Hérmes is working and calls out to her for some information (totally ignoring the fact she’s on the phone). He needs some reports for the account books. She finishes her call and goes to see to what he wants. She asks him to wait until the secretaries return so that they can get them for him. This isn’t good enough for him. He tells her that he needs them now to handle some paperwork and correspondence.
“Tell me where they are and I’ll go get them.” He rises to go do just that.
She sighs, knowing what a stubborn, bossy old goat he is. “Fine, come with me. I’ll show you where they are.”
The Punta de VentaIn the sales outlet, Armando is wrapping up his tour with Alejandra. They’re in the largest outlet they manage.
“Eco Moda handles the store layout, displays, placement of clothing on the racks, everything,” he explains.
She’d like to speak with their architect over the details of the layouts and wonders if it will be convenient for him to come to Venezuela to review their needs. She tells him that she’d also like to speak to the person who handles the conceptualization, the colors, etc., of the outlets. Armando tells her that the architect with pleasure will be able to assist her, but he must tell her that the person in charge of the color and decoration was Marcela Valencia.
Alejandra makes a wry face, “Now I understand you. I don’t know if she would want to come with me to Venezuela.”
Armando wants to be fair to Marcela and put Eco Moda in a good light. “Marcela right now is in Palm Beach. You recall that we have another outlet there. Besides, we’re putting together another boutique in Miami. She’s due to return tonight—perhaps we can meet and speak with her then.”
“Perfect,” says Alejandra, satisfied with this news. “Should I wear a bullet proof jacket? Come armed?” she teases at the idea of meeting Marcela. “You’ve painted a picture of her as being so temperamental, I have to take precautions, no?” Another friendly Colgate smile…
Armando smiles back, “No… she’s only that way with me!”
Alejandra tells him that she’s only joking. In truth she’s very impressed by what she’s seen of Marcela’s handiwork.
As they walk in another area of the store, they come to a point where he wants to explain their new strategy in development. They eavesdrop on two women. He tells her that they don’t have sales people so much as they have advisors. The Eco Moda stylist is advising the customer on why a jacket’s color will favor her skin tone, make her look slimmer. It’s not about selling clothing to sell clothing, it’s about the assessment and helping the customer feel at ease with their decisions, to choose based on informed decisions. More important, it’s not just to dress beautiful women, but all women. He’s really embraced this idea of Betty’s and run with it. Alejandra is impressed with the strategy too and wants to know whose idea it was.
He tucks the hands under the arms and with a pleased look proudly says, “Beatriz Pinzón Solano, our president. I told you, she’s very intelligent.”
“Well, I don’t want you to talk to me more about her: I want to meet her!” says Alejandra.
He beams, “Of course. I’ll introduce you to her myself!”
Patricia calls Marcela’s hotel to see if she’s on her way to Bogota and is told that she’s not there. Mario arrives and asks about Armando and Marcela’s whereabouts. Patricia tells him that Marcela hasn’t arrived yet and he asks why. Patricia answers that she wasn’t able to get a flight and that she didn’t study six semesters at the San Marino to be making flight reservations. Betty and Don Hermes come from Presidencia and Betty asks Mario about his trip. He tells her that he needs to talk about it and she says it’ll have to be tomorrow because of all the lanzamiento stuff. The elevator door opens and Armando and Alejandra come out laughing (Armando was telling her about the drag queen episode) Armando introduces Alejandra to Mario, then to Don Hermes who starts on a one of his “my uncle Pinzon was in Venezuela… stories” and Betty asks him to stop. Then Armando introduces Alejandra and Betty and they start to talk about the puntos de venta strategies. They then go to Betty’s office to talk.
In the meantime, Mario (who was especially obnoxious and lascivious last night) starts firing questions at Armando regarding Alejandra. Armando responds – it’s very simple, she’s not for you! Mario, looking like a little kid waiting for a piece of candy, tells him that he wasn’t asking for her, he was just asking the usual questions necessary when such a “specimen” shows up. If she’s his (Armando’s) private property, I’ll step aside, I won’t get involved, I will keep my affection for the Venezuelan to myself. But that doesn’t prevent you from sharing all the details about what’s going on…
Armando is pretty much fed up with Mario by now.
Mario says – so, how was the “banquet” in Venezuela, how was your first night together, was it love at first sight?
Armando (really fed up by now) – Calderon!! Please. I’m not going to tell you anything about Alejandra, I’m not going to hand her over to you on a silver platter so you can make your usual comments. No sir, Alejandra is not for that. Alejandra is a very special woman for me and I’m going to tell you something, I’m not even going to let you manhandle her with your lascivious comments, ok?
Mario (thinking about what to say) – then tell me, my dear ex-president, and what did they do to you over there that you’re so sensitive all of a sudden? No, no, fine. I know, she’s yours, I’m staying out of it. We’ve always respected each other’s “acquisitions” but we did share all the details. He then starts asking him – using a Venezuelan accent and words typically used by Venezuelans (such as chamo – pal) to tell him more…
Armando (completely fed up now) – those were other times! He then leaves the office slamming the door.
Mario mumbles some complaints about Armando and then spits!
Betty asks Alejandra to sit down and they start talking.
Betty: would you like something to drink?
Ale: No thank you. Armando has offered me so many things, he has been very gracious with me.
Betty (definitely sad): Yes, of course. He’s very gracious. And, did you meet in Caracas or did you know each other before?
Ale: No,no we met in Caracas. He asked for an appointment with the fashion house where I work and when he arrived in Caracas I took care of him personally and explained what we were all about. I think it was a very productive trip for him.
Betty: Sure! I guess, because I understand he spent several days over there, right?
Ale: Yes, five days, I thought he’d told you.
Betty:Ah!!! No, really, we haven’t had much time to talk. But he did warn me that someone very special from Caracas would be here; it seemed like he was very anxious to see you (poor Betty can’t help but interject her nervous laugh while she’s talking here).
Ale: Ay!!Armando… he’s so crazy, he’s convinced that because I took him out to dinner and showed him around Caracas he needs to go out of his way while I’m in Bogota.
Betty (not meaning to sound sarcastic, but it comes across that way): Of course, he just loves to be a good host to his guests, he wants to be as kind to you as you were to him.
Ale: Yes, I think that no one is going to get him to change his mind about this, you know him better than I do…
Betty: No, no..not really. The truth is that Don Armando sometimes behaves in a very surprising way (she laughs).
Ale: Well, my impression is that he knows you very well, he talked about you quite a bit.
Betty (surprised): Really? And, and, what did he tell you about me?
Ale: Every time we talked about the business he mentioned you, and actually when he made his presentation to our Board of Directors, he said that a brilliant economist who’d taken over the Presidency at EcoModa was making deep changes to EM to open new international markets. Really, a complete “gush” session about the new President..
Betty gets very serious, like she’s about to cry
Ale: Is something wrong, did I say something wrong?
Betty: No, no like I said before, Don Armando sometimes acts in very surprising ways (laughs).
Ale: I’m surprised that you are surprised about this because he admires you very much. And, after seeing the company, the strategies, he’s right to admire you!
Betty: Thank you (she nods). Well, and what were your questions about the strategies and the puntos de venta?
Ale: Armando was telling me that you introduced a brilliant theory. That the strategies should not be exclusively targeted to beautiful women. He said something very innovative, to dress ugly women well. Where did that idea come from?
Betty: Well, from an ugly woman!
Ale: You? No! I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything ugly in you!
Betty: Well, here she is! Only better dressed and made up. But I can’t believe that Don Armando didn’t tell you that he had an ugly assistant and that this same ugly assistant, with some modifications, is the one that is now EcoModa’s president.
Ale: No, no… every time he spoke about you he referred to a wonderful woman!
Don Hermes and Freddy are talking outside Betty’s office. Betty and Alejandra come out. Freddy pretty much undresses Alejandra with his eyes.
Betty: (to Alejandra) Don’t be so modest, you’re a very beautiful woman.
Alejandra: There isn’t a woman, no matter how beautiful she is, that doesn’t see something wrong with herself when looking in the mirror every day. Freddy, whispering, asks Don Hermes where did this “1 m 75 cm” of temptation come from. Don Hermes explains that she’s Don Armando’s guest from Venezuela.
Freddy then asks why Don Armando didn’t bring any others with him!
Freddy: Excuse me Don Hermes, but would you happen to know where the horrid cuartel of secretaries is?
Hermes: They’re over there, with that weird guy, that Hugo!! He’s supposedly fixing them up. They laugh.
Freddy & Don Hermes: Fixing them? (they both laugh)
Hugo arrives and starts one of his tirades…
Hugo: My dear Lord! Please forgive me for going against nature’s laws, for having betrayed my own sense of aesthetics. Forgive me!
Betty asks – is something wrong Don Hugo?
Hugo: Don Frankenstein… I just left the laboratory of horror where we did all we could to give life to the dead “nature” I was given to work with. Because (this he addresses to Alejandra) I assume that our president told you what she forced me to do.
Hugo : No??? Well, welcome to the fright show! Where the only thing you won’t see is the bearded lady and the two-headed woman. Because, the rest are all here! Well, the circus parade can start, and you can judge for yourself…
Ines with a light colored suit and stole. Sofia with a lilac dress and her hair up. Bertha, eating a bag of chips, with a black pant suit. Sandra with her hair up (no BIG bump, though) with a turtleneck and suit. Mariana with her hair up and a blue suit. And Aura Maria with her hair straightened out and a beige suit. And finally, Gutierrez in a dark suit with his hair gelled back (I also think they trimmed his beard).
When Alejandra asks what’s going on Betty explains that Hugo is implementing the puntos de venta strategy, at her request, through EcoModa’s employees.
Freddy: who did this to my “queenie”?
Alejandra says that they look beautiful.
Hugo: Well, missy. Are you satisfied with your creation?
Betty: Very satisfied.
Hugo: God, please forgive her because she doesn’t know what she sees or says. Ines put on some flip flops (Ines is wearing heels, of course) that we’re going to the hotel.
Ines: Flip flops? And mess up the look?
They leave. Hugo runs into Armando and tells him to go see the new EcoModa. Armando smiles as he sees the “new Cuartel,” crosses his arms (his trademark pose!).
Armando: WOW! Ladies, you look extremely beautiful!
They are very happy at his comment and laugh…
Gutierrez twirls around (like dancing) and Armando tells him
Armando: I said LADIES, Gutierrez.
Alejandra tells Armando that she needs to go to her hotel to change. He offers to take her since he also has to go home to change. Alejandra kisses Betty goodbye and tells her she’ll see her at the lanzamiento. Aura Maria notices Freddy ogling Alejandra and yells at him. The Cuartel starts the inquisition with Betty, about why she talked so much to “that woman,” and how about that Judas kiss… Betty says that it’s not what they think and finally adds…
Betty: She’s not what you think!
Betty: She’s a worldly woman. She’s more dangerous (than an “evil” woman). Because she’s very special. By the way, we need to get going, right?
Cuartel: What? And you’re going to change, right? Since she went to change, you need to go make yourself look “divine” to show Don Armando that you’re not missing anything that the other one has. You need to change to look like what you are, EcoModa’s President.
Aura Maria: Very remamita!!
Betty goes into her office and leans against the door, she looks very sad. Don Hermes leaves the “cave” and tells her that her mom is on the phone and wants to talk with her.
Hermes: What’s wrong?
Hermes: Well then, get on the phone that your mom wants to wish you luck tonight.
Betty: Mama don’t give me your blessing over the phone because I want you and dad to be with me tonight. Yes, ma’am, I’m inviting you. Go get dressed that I’m on my way home to change and the three of us can go together.
Hermes: Sweetheart, what happened with the young lady from Venezuela?
Betty (not very happy with this question): She went to her hotel to change, why do you ask?
Hermes: No, nothing. I just wanted to make sure that she was being looked after. We have to make sure that our fraternal links (between Colombia and Venezuela) are taken care of.
Betty: Yeah, right!
Hermes: What are you insinuating?
Betty: Well, your eyes were coming out of your head when you saw her…
Hermes: Listen to me missy, Hermes Pinzon Galarza has never dared look a woman other than your mother, Julia Solano de Pinzon Galindo, since that beautiful spring afternoon 30 years ago when I met her. Since then I’ve never cheated on her. Even though el diablo es puerco, puerquísimo!
Betty: Then, go pick up your wife at home for tonight’s lanzamiento.
Hermes: Me, with your mom?
Betty: Sure, why do you ask?
Hermes: No, I think it’s great. It’s what I’ve been doing for 30 years, mija. I’m leaving for home to go change!
Betty: That’s fine.
Betty gets her cell phone from her purse and dials Cata.
Betty : Doña Catalina.. How are things going over there (at the hotel)? Oh, okay. Doña Catalina I’m going home to change and fix myself up. Would it be possible for you to come with me? Yes! It’s very important. I want to look very beautiful tonight!
While the “New and Improved” Cuartel is on their way to the elevator so they can leave EcoModa and attend the launching of the new collection, Patty remains behind, arguing with an airline employee about whether Marcela is on a flight. Since she is otherwise engaged, El Cuartel takes the opportunity to model their new attires right before Patricia, whose mouth is wide open at seeing them dressed up and made up. As soon as Patricia hangs up, having had no luck with the airline, she starts attacking El Cuartel and calls them a circus with five clowns: 1) Sandra, Goofy’s wife; 2) Bertha, Orca the killer whale; 3) Sofía, Miss Bitterness; 4) Aura María, Miss Chest; and 5) Mariana, Little Piece of Coal. But El Cuartel doesn’t take any of her barbs seriously because they can tell she is jealous that she cannot go to the launching (until Marcela arrives, that is). They call Betty over and Patricia takes the opportunity to ask if she can go to the launching, but Betty smartly replies that it’s not convenient or professional that she should go without before knowing what’s happened with Doña Marcela. El Cuartel and Betty enter the elevator and while the door closes on their smiling faces, a morose Patricia sits back at her desk.
On his way out to the launching also, Gutierrez (also “new and improved”), gives various tips to Freddy, who, like Patricia, is dying to go to the launching tonight. He tries to convince Gutierrez to take him along, but Gutierrez flatly turns him down. As Gutierrez leaves, Freddy turns to Patricia and invites her to go out somewhere on his motorcycle. Patricia immediately turns him down. :o)
At the launching, El Cuartel is ogling the men in attendance when Cata arrives. Cata immediately notices the change in their appearance, they all smile back proudly and thank her, and Cata asks them if they can be of help in the launching. As they assent, Gutierrez comes in and immediately starts making his suggestive remarks to Aura María, but she is having none of it and flat-out tells him to leave her alone and that things have changed now that she’s the President’s secretary. Before such an unequivocable turndown, Gutierrez is left with no choice but to seek another target … a girl who just happens to be passing by :o). As he walks away, Betty and her parents arrive. Betty is wearing straight hair, a silver no-sleeve blouse, and black pants. El Cuartel immediately starts to compliment Betty on her looks and while she laughs her “goose” laugh at accepting the compliments, Cata tells her that the international press is arriving and the first one she brings over is Gloria Calzada of Telemundo. After a brief introduction, Gloria, who is amazed at how young the President of Eco Moda is, interviews Betty, who seems ill at ease with the whole situation. After the interview is over and Gloria walks away, Claudia Ramírez of TV y Novelas (Mexico) arrives and Cata introduces her as well. However, there is no interview this time and Betty just tells her to go ahead on in.
Back at EcoModa, Nicolás arrives to find a somber Patty, sulking at her desk. He asks her if she’s going to the launching, but she tells him that she can’t because Marcela hasn’t arrived yet and she doesn’t even know if she was able to catch a plane back from Miami … and, most importantly, she doesn’t even have an invitation. Nicolás then whips out his invitation and invites Patricia to come along with him. Patricia immediately perks up and accepts the invitation. She tells Nicolás, however, that she’s got to stop by her apartment first to change and fix herself up a little, but Nicolás tells her there’s no time and anyway, she looks beautiful just as she is. Ayyyy, Nico!!! Patricia, with a pout, tells him that then she’ll only make a pitstop in the ladies’ room to touch herself up a little. As she walks away, Nicolás notices (how could he not, when she’s pouting?) that Patricia is still very, very sad.
At the launching, Don Hermes starts his regular critiquing of Betty’s attire … the top is too tight and too revealing (LOL!). As Betty tries to explain, Sofía steps in and tells Don Hermes to leave his daughter alone, she looks just fine. After that little exchange, Cata brings over another representative of the international press, the hostess of the Venezuelan TV show, “De Boca en Boca” (the hostess does a weird motion with her fingers to her mouth as she says the name of the show). Another interview takes place and Betty takes the opportunity to let the t.v. audience know that they’ve got a very important guest from the Venezuelan fashion world who will be attending the launching … Alejandra Sims. After this particular interview is over, Cata, who overheard Betty’s answers, asks Betty who Alejandra Sims is. Betty quietly informs her that she is Don Armando’s friend, the one that he had been expecting. Betty’s demeanor tells Cata more than any words could have … the sadness that has overtaken her face is plain to see. Just then, Armando arrives with Alejandra, who is dressed to kill [again! :o)] in a long black dress. Armando looks over to where Betty is standing and does a double-take when he sees her appearance … his heart seems to have stopped and leaped into his mouth. Betty holds his look for a fraction of a second and immediately looks down.
Meanwhile, Patricia’s saga continues at EcoModa. As she is getting ready to leave with Nicolás to attend the launching, Marcela steps out of the elevator … a Marcela that looks impatient and upset. Marcela immediately starts to attack Patricia for her inefficiency and incompetence in even making plane reservations, and while Patricia ineptly tries to defend herself and explain to Marcela that it wasn’t her fault (yeah, right!), a very angry Marcela notices that Patricia seems to be on her way out. Marcela asks Patricia if she was leaving without even making sure that she made it back in time, and Patricia ineptly says that she had waited around long enough and confirms that she was just about to leave for the launching. Marcela gives her a killer look and tells her she can’t believe she was leaving without even knowing the status of her return to Bogotá.
Patty is getting ready to leave with Nicolas as Marcela gets off the elevator. Marcela is upset that Patty would leave without even finding out if she had arrived safely. Marcela tells Patty that she can’t believe she was going to leave with Nicolas. Patty tells Marcela that Betty told her to wait for her but since she hadn’t arrived, Nicolas was going to give her a ride in her car (the Mercedes). Marcela asks about her own car that she lent Patty before leaving for Palm Beach. After one of their usual funny exchanges, Patty explains that she has left the car at her apartment and that she was barely able to get it there because it ran out of gas. After all, Marcela didn’t leave her any gas money! Marcela starts in on her and Patty reminds her that the car is the least of her troubles (intimating that she has a problem with Alexandra Sims). They leave for Marcela’s apartment so that she can change and get to the fashion show.
Armando and Alexandra arrive at the show and Betty is cordial with Alexandra, giving her a kiss. The talk show host from “Boca en Boca”(a very obnoxious woman) interviews Alexandra Sims and insinuates that she and Armando are an item, to which Alexandra gives a flat no. The ex-Miss Colombia arrives and greets Catalina and Betty. She tells Betty that she changed a great deal since they spoke in Cartagena and Betty tells her that she changed a great deal in Cartagena. Armando gives her a strange look as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Betty later interprets this as if Armando hadn’t heard that she was in Cartagena at all.Alexandra asks to see the dressing room after asking Betty when the show begins. Betty tells her it begins in twenty minutes so Armando offers to take her to the dressing rooms. Throughout the entire evening, Don Hermes (who has turned into a dirty old man, has Betty introduce him to all the beautiful women and he dutifully kisses their hands—el diablo es puerco!!)
Meanwhile, in the dressing room Hugo is fluttering about being his usual silly self. Gloria Calzada arrives and interviews him. He informs her that this collection will be the last he does for EcoModa. He confides in her that he doesn’t get along well with Betty and that she’ll see more of him in the states after this last show.
Betty tells Catalina that she thinks Alexandra is a very special person and that the whole time they were talking in her office Alexandra never mentioned having a relationship with Don Armando. Furthermore, Alexandra told her that Armando didn’t stop talking about her during his trip to Venezuela. Betty tells Cata that she doesn’t understand what type of game Armando is playing with her.
Kike Santander arrives and sets the cuartel in a whirlwind. They are all excited about him, especially Sandra who continually measures his height. Finally Sandra gets up enough courage to ask him how tall he is. She is overwhelmed at the prospect of having found the man of her dreams.
Daniel Valencia enters with Margarita and Margarita tells Armando that his father is traveling due to business. Daniel says that there is no need to worry that the important people are here—meaning Betty’s parents. Armando defends Betty and tells Daniel that Betty can invite whomever she wishes. When Daniel and Margarita walk away, Armando apologetically tells Betty that she already knows how Daniel is and not to pay heed to his comments.
The new Miss Colombia and Claudia Elena Vazquez arrive and greet Betty and Catalina. Claudia Elena tells Betty that they hadn’t seen each other since she and the “Frenchman” were with them watching the fireworks in Cartagena. Armando turns to look at Betty in slow motion…not believing what he heard. Claudia Elena congratulates Betty for being the new president of EcoModa and for having returned. Armando chimes in and says well that’s one thing we are in agreement with!
Laura Flores arrives and asks Betty for an interview. In the meantime she is almost attacked by the cuartel who are very excited to see her. They ask for autographs, etc.
Inesita comes looking for Betty (Hugo has sent for her). She starts walking toward the dressing room with Inesita. We see Armando watching Betty whiles he speaks to Alexandra. Armando tells Alexandra to excuse him for a few minutes and walks off toward Betty.
Armando is headed, with a very determined look, to the dressing room. On his way he encounters Mario who is wondering if Armando plans on abandoning Miss Venezuela. “Would you like me to take care of her”, Mario asks. Armando warns him to be very careful with her. Mario repeats his question. Armando repeats his answer. After Armando walks off, Mario gives it a bit of thought and concludes that Armando does want him to take care of her. (As he slithers towards her we begin to hear the famous “I am going to make a move on you” music. The camera gives us a long view of her back which shows us that it is bare.) He arrives and they greet each other.
Hugo is in the dressing room barking orders to the models and giving the line up for the show. Jenny asks if she can walk down the runway wearing a dress that she is holding in front of her. Hugo answers that the only item that she can model is an apron.
Inesita calls Hugo to inform him that Betty is there. He answers that since Betty is so changed he didn’t notice. He tells Betty that his models are ready and he would like to know if and whom will make the presentation before the show and who is going to speak to the international press. If she prefers, he suggests, they can just go out and do the show, return and rapidly finish the show. Betty tells him not to worry that she will take care of it.
As Betty is heading out she is approached by one the models that was at the beauty pageant. She greets her, tells her that she looks good and congratulates her on her presidency. She reminds her that they have a discussion pending as to the events at the beauty pageant, meaning Michel.
Betty is rushing out of the dressing room and as she goes around the corner she bumps into Armando. He asks if she is having problems with Hugo and she informs him that Hugo wanted to know if there would be a presentation before the show. “Of course”, Armando answers. He reminds her that there are many special guests and many have come from abroad. She reminds him that it was customary for his father to do them when he was President and then Armando when he was President. Armando tells her that now she is the President and it is her turn. Betty refuses and asks him the favor of doing the presentation. He reminds her that everyone knows that he is no longer president. To which she answers that everyone knows that the only reason she is president is because an attorney put her in that position. She tells him that it is not her company, his father did not want to be there and that Daniel said it best, “The company is in the hands of a stranger”.
Armando tells her that she is president because she deserves it. He tells her that it is not he who is saying it, but the time that she has been at the Company. It’s said by the strategy that she has put in place, her manner of doing things, her work and the manner in which she has resolved problems. This show is hers and that is why she has to go out and do the presentation. She tells him that she is not a public speaker. She is not good at it and he is. She again asks him to do it. He tells her that he used to do it and that she has 100 visitors waiting for her and for her to confirm why she is the president.
“Doctor”, she begins, but is stopped by Armando. He sweetly says, “No Betty, you have waited all your life for this day. It is time that you begin to live this new period of your life.” He steps a little closer. “It is time for you to be recognized. You deserve it more than anyone and I know that from the bottom of my heart”. He tells her that she is going to do a good job and triumph. He continues by saying that he realizes that she doesn’t believe in him and that she hates him. He tells her that if she doesn’t believe him at this time, it is like she doesn’t believe in herself. He tells her to go out there and take what is hers. “Good luck, Beatriz.” Armando steps closer, puts his hands on her arms, looks her straight in the eye and says, “Good luck, Betty”. She hurriedly steps back and he apologizes. Before he leaves he again wishes her luck.
Armando makes his way back to the audience and takes his seat. There he finds Mario and Alejandra speaking. Mario tells him that they were missing him. As he says this he grabs her hand and hurriedly puts it back down and lets Armando know that he has been behaving. At the same time, she removes her hand and gives him a short smile. (One of those smiles that a person makes when they feel uncomfortable.)
Catalina wants to know what has happened to Betty. Armando says that she is on her way to make the presentation. “Betty!”, says Cata. Armando says that he hopes so. Alejandra wants to know if there is a problem and Armando answers no and he apologizes for taking so long.
(The serious music begins to play.) Betty walks out hesitantly and the audience begins to applaud. That is, everyone but dona Margarita. Betty’s mother gives Betty a blessing. Betty nervously takes her place at the microphone and leans into it to begin speaking. She greets everyone and thanks them for being there. (Betty gives one of her funny laughs.) She announces the name of the new collection, “Renovation”. She informs the audience that the collection was so named due to the new strategy that the Company is taking. (Daniel won’t look at her. Instead he looks at the ceiling. Dona Margarita looks bored.) After she introduces Hugo, Armando, along with the rest of the audience, applauds. Armando closes his eyes and nods his head in approval. As Betty approaches him, Daniel rises.
Hugo, the showoff, comes out and takes the microphone. He walks down the walkway to speak about his collection. He tells the audience that this new collection is also due to the aggressive new strategy that has been put in place by the president. He asks the audience to applaud for her. He ends by telling them that there will be a surprise at the end, which will show what the new president has in mind.
Marcela and Patricia arrive. Marcela comments that the show is over. Patricia asks what she expected since she took so long to get dressed. Marcela wants to know what she expected, that she go with the same clothes that she had when she arrived from the airport. Patricia catches eye of Armando and Alejandra and points them out to Marcela. Upon seeing them, Marcela’s eyes almost pop out. Patricia wants to make the move and remove “that Venezuelan”. Marcela tells her to hold on. She tells her that unlike herself, she has class and dignity and that she will not make a fool of herself. Patricia then suggests that they find two chairs where they can be seen by Armando and Alexandra, and torment them. Marcela again refuses and decides to drink. She does not want anyone to know that she is there.
Armando leans over to whisper in Alejandra’s ear. Patricia immediately informs Marcela who turns around to witness it. She asks Patricia to tell her what he is saying. However, due to the music it is difficult for her to hear. (Even if there was no music, they are not close enough to hear.) “Then”, asks Marcela, “why are you tormenting me”?
Hugo is back in the showroom where he demonstrates a skirt to Inesita and Jenny. He tells her that it is the latest in New York. A designer made it for him in order to close the show. He orders Inesita to summon the Cuartel. She wants to know why. He tells her that all she needs to do is call them. She tells him that she will do it after the show. He threatens to throw a rock, that is supposedly in his pocket, at her. He asks her how long have they worked together. He asks if when he says “now” does that mean in six months. Inesita goes out to summon the Cuartel.
The show has ended and Hugo comes out and takes his bow. He walks down the aisle to show off his outfit. He informs the audience that he will now leave them with the surprise. The true “Renovation”.
“The cuartel can’t figure out why Hugo’s summoned them backstage. Jenny assures them it will be a surprise and calls them witches, wondering where they left their brooms. “Or perhaps you’ll turn into pumpkins,” she suggests nastily. The women respond to her jibes with catcalls and she flounces off, flaunting her figure. Hugo enters, complimenting the models for their success. He sends them off to change and he’ll see them later. He turns to the cuartel, “Now we turn to the harsh reality.”
Berta asks if he needed them for something and he tells them that he wants them to model for him. They join in a chorus of surprised, “What’s!?” He notes that they consider themselves so transformed and beautified… what, don’t they want to show off? He asks “Naomi Campbell” Mariana if she doesn’t want to strut her stuff.
“Don Hugo, are you speaking seriously?” asks Mariana.
“What? Do you think I’m a politician or what? Your president charged me with the task that you look better. Don’t you think that the press and the people in attendance would like to see the results of my work?”
“Noooo!” they cry in unison.
He claps his hands and tells them that they’re going to do the catwalk. INES protests and tells him that he’s gone crazy. How can the women model? He tells her that they won’t be alone out there; she’s going with them!
“No! You’ve gone insane!” she says emphatically.
“What is the problem?” asks Hugo. “They’re not expecting models out there. They’re expecting a demonstration of the strategy of our president. Go model!”
Jenny’s protesting as much as the cuartel, but for entirely different reasons. The women are in a state of mild panic and each proclaims her concerns simultaneously with the others. It’s like the Tower of Babel!
A reporter is trying to find a good spot to view the show and surprises Gutierrez primping in his seat. He offers her his seat and takes the one next to her. Armando grimaces at this little display and Catalina greets the reporter. (Can it be the same Andrea from Cartagena?) Next to Armando, Alejandra leans over to him and asks what’s going to happen. He replies that that’s what they’d all like to know.
“Catalina, do you know what this surprise is that Hugo has for us?” asks Armando, but she can only respond that she has no clue. He leans over towards Betty and asks her if she knows anything, but she has no idea either. At that moment, out comes Hugo.
“My esteemed public, for me the parade of models is one of the things I most love in the world, that I most respect. This catwalk is the altar of the esthetic, where art and creation join hands.” He embellishes on the topic, but goes on to say that tonight there will be something else. He tells them that he had to commit sacrilege, under orders. Betty looks nervous, Catalina looks grim. He tells them that he’d like them to meet the new directors of Eco Moda, his Eco Moda. He would also like to take this opportunity to tell them that the collection that they’ve just seen is the last collection of Hugo Lombardi. Betty looks anxious. Mario looks more than a little anxious too. Hugo takes a bow and bids them good night. He introduces the last part of the show, “the sacrilege”. Armando asks Catalina if the cretin is quitting, but she shushes him.
Backstage, Hugo orders the cuartel to get out there and show themselves, but now! They hang back, refusing.
“Prove to them that you’re not children!” he demands. He tries to bully them into going but they shake their heads no. Inés pleads with him, asking him why he’s asking them to make themselves look ridiculous. He tells her to ask her president. After all, she’s the one who was so confident that her idea was so wonderful. “Well show them!” he orders.
Armando’s disgusted by Hugo. “What’s that desgraciado trying to do?!” The crowd waits for something to happen. Betty decides to act. “I’m not going to let him! I’m not going to let him!” She gets up from her seat and walks down the stage to the backstage area.
Backstage, she encourages Mariana to go out. “Let’s go, Mariana! Come on! You can!” Mariana takes one hesitant step out on center stage. She pauses, then finds her natural rhythm and takes to the catwalk like the Naomi Campbell Hugo called her. Applause builds: she owns that crowd! Next up is Aura Maria. Betty squeezes her hand in encouragement. “Let’s go! You’re beautiful; show them!” cries Betty. She gets her nerve and goes and moves with a confident, energetic step, a huge smile on her lovely face. Betty dashes across the stage to where Sandra’s panicking. It’s her turn for the 20-second pep talk. “Sandra! Stand up straight! You’re two meters closer to the stars!” A startled Sandra takes the leap and heads out. She hears the applause and it works on her nerves like a tonic.
Backstage, Sofia’s next and she’s really panic-stricken. Betty’s trying her best to coax her out but she’s resist