At the event Betty and Cata talk:
Betty: Doña Catalina, I ‘m confused, he’s very different, he’s changed a lot, he’s treating me too good, I don’t understand.Cata: But he had promised to change and it seems that he did or no?Betty: Yes, he’s definitely changed a lot, he gave me his word that he would not tell me the things he would tell me before and now he behaves like a friend.Cata: What is tormenting you Betty, you were not confused when you had a romance with him and he slept every night with Marcela, why does it torment you that he left with her?Betty: Because I thought I knew what he felt for Marcela, but now I’m not sure what he feels for Alejandra, It’s as if he was giving himself a second opportunity in life and she was helping him to get out of that crisis, there’s no doubt that she’s a wonderful woman and even though nothing has happened between them yet, I know there is a big attraction.Cata: You can notice in the eyes, hers.
Armando drives up to the hotel where Alejandra is staying and they start talking about him and Marcela. He tells her he’s made a decision. Alejandra tells him that Marce is in love with him and explains how she must have felt having seen him leave with another woman. Armi tells her that he doesn’t want to continue being a manipulated man and he has to make definite decision, which he hadn’t done before due to his mixed feelings and her unconditional love for him. Armi tells Alejandra that he’s hurt Marcela too many times, he tells her how Marce voted for him for presidency and how he called off the wedding. Alejandra tells him to be careful when he talks to her, she wishes him good luck. Armando tells Alejandra how happy he feels to have her by his side in these moments and she tells him she’s happy to be there for him.
When Armando arrives at Marcela’s apartment he calls her and she doesn’t respond until he finally sees her drinking in the bar.Marce: Good evening Armando MendozaArmi: HiMarce: Are you going to drink something?Armi: No, I don’t want to drink anything and I think you shouldn’t drink too muchMarce: I have to celebrate something, there was a bet that you wouldn’t get home tonight.Armi: I told you I would leave Alejandra at the hotel and that was exactly what I did and I did it as soon as possible to avoid any suspicions.Marce: How considerate, avoid suspicions with me but not in public, and what did you tell the Venezuelan, that you would finish with this and then return.Armi: I didn’t give explanations to Alejandra because I don’t have anything with her. Marcela I simply came to speak with you and afterwards I have no dates with Alejandra or anyone else.Marce: Well then I’ll be taking your time, look if you came to end this, perfect. Do me the favor to pick up all of this, the cards, your bag, your bag which did nothing else than perpetuate your presence in this house, pick up the gifts, take everything and get out, I don’t want to see you again, not here not ever. You’re free to be with whomever you like, do what ever you want and what you prefer but tomorrow you will not see me in EM.Armi: Please Marcela this is not easy, is not precisely the conversation I want to have with you.Marce:If you’re going to end our relationship, I’m saving you all the time in the world, I’m preventing you from having to tell me things, I’m simplifying things for you.Armi: Marcela, I didn’t come here to make a decision on my own, on the contrary, I would like to talk to you, end this the best possible way, I don’t want to end on bad terms.Marce: What!! What Armando!!! You are telling me that you pretend to end our relationship and nothing will happen, or better yet will kiss and tomorrow everything will remain the same. Please, you can’t think that I will agree to end our relationship and throw away four years of my life to the garbage.Armi: Why to the garbage, I don’t see whyMarce:Off course it’s to the garbage!!! I’m not going to let you take away four years of my life, I have fought for you unconditionally, I haven’t even looked at another man when you have been with thousands of women.Armi: I have no doubts about you Marcela, your behavior towards me has been impeccable.Marce: You have nothing to complain about, I have proved it to you one and a thousand times, I fought with my family, with my brother so that you could become president of EM, I put my hand over fire so that you could destroy the company, we lost it, but I was there supporting you.Armi: I’m not saying I don’t recognize thatMarce:Off course you are!! You are not recognizing that and many other things!! I have forgiven all of your infidelities, all your jokes, didn’t I forgive you for canceling our wedding, I forgave you when you made me look like a fool in front of the society. I have forgiven everything and I was always there, I had to swallow when you told me you were in love with Beatriz, when I saw how she tore your life into pieces, I was there also supporting you, giving you an opportunity.Armi: I think we tried, reallyMarce: Tell me what I did to deserve all of this, what was my sin, you have to explain it because I don’t understand.Armi: I think we both know what happened and I think we’ve never confronted it, Marcela, this finished a long time ago.Marce: That it finished a long time ago!! When did I stop feeling anything for you, that I haven’t noticed, what finished, I don’t know.Armi: Maybe what you feel for me hasn’t changed but what I feel for you has, the love I felt for you ended, and if we try to find out when, it could be when I told you I was in love with Betty.Marce: That’s not like that because you fell in love with her before that.Armi: Marcela I can tell you that I fell out of love for you when I fell in love with Betty but it would be a lie, when I started feeling what I FEEL for Betty, I noticed you were out of my heart, so she didn’t come to take your place.Marce: Why were you playing with me?Armi: No, I have never played with you, look I loved you, I really did and I tried to live a life with you together, but at a certain time that ended, and it happened before Betty came.Marce: When Armando?Armi: I don’t know, I couldn’t tell at which moment, I have images in my head, I have memories that might explain something. Your jealousy, your constant reproaches, your mistrust, how you calculated how long it would take me get from a certain place to your apartment, your constant calls to my cellular, your interrogations with every movement I made. You surrounded me so much, so much Marcela that I was living in asphyxia of even giving you explanations of my own dreams. At a certain time I didn’t know if I loved you or feared you, I learned that I feared you, that our relationship was based on fear, fear of a scandal and even then I thought I could live with you.Marce: You’re telling me it’s my fault.Armi: No, No, I didn’t come to blame you for anything, or to wash my hands, I came to talk both of us and together try to find that moment, that place in our story in which we got lost.Marce: Why didn’t you say it from the beginning, why didn’t you speak when you were falling out of love for me, why did you let this advance.Armi: Because I didn’t know when the love finished and the compromise began.Marce: You were with me out of compromise? You know what Armando Mendoza, you didn’t come to finish our relationship, you came to finish me. How much longer are you going to humiliate me?Armi: Marcela I didn’t come here to humiliate you…… In the bedroom…. Marcela…..Marce: I don’t want to hear you, I don’t deserve it.Armi: That has been exactly our biggest error the silence, is my fault more than yours, but we can’t afford that right now because what you’re going to listen to is not a string of humiliations how you think, you’re going to listen to the love story that happened many years ago when a man met a woman and fell in love with her. He saw her grow up, grow up beside him and fell for her adorable intelligence, her marvelous smile, her sensuality, you don’t know how crazy I was about you and how much I loved you. Look, the most important thing for me will always be the day you first told me you loved me and accepted me, I will always cherish that day in my heart as the most sacred thing, and I will cherish it for as long as I live, that’s precisely what I don’t want to break.Marce: You’re breaking it.Armi: No, I’m trying to put everything in place Marcela, that you understand that this is not a game, it’s not a lie, to recover the sacred moments, the happy moments, I’m telling you that I loved you very much and that at a certain time in our lives that love was not enough to rescue us from the everyday life and our defects. I know you are woman with a great capability of loving, that you love a lot and more than me possibly, the problem is that you fell in love with an illusion, a man full of defects, a neurotic, irresponsible man. Marcela, I have never deserved you. You are a beautiful woman, very beautiful, that is capable of being faithful in everyway, a woman that deserves someone better than me.Marce: That is not your problem, I know who I fell in love with because I gave him the best days of my life and I also suffered and I still loved you.Armi: And you kept hurting yourself, Marcela I appreciate that you loved me the way you did, but also know that in many moments of your life you had to realize that I was a lost case. In fact when I told you I was in love with another woman you let me in again, you never give up!!Marce: Because you always came back to me. You told me you loved Betty but look at what you did tonight, you left the event with that woman. You’ll come back to me when you leave her just as you left Beatriz and I’ll be waiting.Armi: I never stopped loving Betty.
And now, the end is near…
We rejoin Armando and Marcela to continue their conversation…
Marcela: Are you breaking up with me so you can to back…
Armando: Marcela, I’m not here because of that and you should know it better than anyone else, you know very well that Beatriz will not give me a second chance after everything I did to her. I’m not here because of that; I’m here to save myself, to cleanse my life, to atone for my sins and to never hurt anyone else. That’s why I’m here, to tell you that I’ll never hurt you again, Marcela.
Marcela: Do you think that by leaving me you’re not hurting me?
Armando: Right now, I know that I’m hurting you very much. But this hurt is nothing compared to how much I could hurt you by staying with you.
Marcela: Let ME deal with that. You say that I’ve had lucid moments – that’s why I’m fighting for you. I know you, better than you know yourself, I know you better than ALL those women that have been with you. (she holds his face). I am not begging you to stay with me, I’m just asking you to think about it, analyze what you’re doing, your life is still out of synch, please…
Armando: I’ve already thought about it. I know what I want out of life, I know what I have to do.
Marcela: I’ve been so patient, waiting for you to get out of this trance.
Armando: Marcela, and it is that patience that has turned into your own dagger, your own dagger. Marcela, don’t you understand that we’re going nowhere fast? And you, you can think that I’m doing this to humiliate you, that to share this with me is to humiliate you, but it will be an even bigger humiliation if you don’t understand that you are living and sleeping with a corpse (YEAH, BUT WHAT A CORPSE, NO??!) by your side, with a man who doesn’t feel anything for you, who doesn’t want to caress you (OUCH, OUCH, OUCH) ever again, who doesn’t have another woman waiting, please, understand me!
Marcela: I know we’re going to get through this, I know it…
Armando: No, no, it would be like you’re wasting away your life. This is not going to solve anything, it’s absurd. You can find someone who really deserves you.
Marcela: I’ve fought for you, I deserve you, I know I will have you. I don’t want (HEY, THAT’S THE MAGIC WORD – WANT!, not LOVE) anyone else.
Armando: No, no, stop it Marcela! Please don’t force me to stay with you because of guilty feelings. That has been my main mistake throughout our relationship, because I have tried to pay you back for everything that you’ve done for me, and all I’ve ended up doing is mistreating you, hurting you, killing you.
Marcela: No, no, Armando, please!!!
Armando: Marcela, stop it. Marcela, I know that tonight you won’t understand it, but you have to think about it, and after you’ve reflected on it, you’re going to hate me more than ever. But, suddenly, you will realize that you’ve been released from the most disastrous relationship of your life. That you’ve freed your self from a man like me, a flawed man, and you will thank me for finally confronting you. You will see that you will be able to sleep peacefully, you will be able to rest, you will realize that there will be newer and better mornings in your life. To try to reminisce about our relationship, because you will no longer see me as the man who destroyed you. Because two people like you and me, who loved each other deeply, will have to realize that the only way to think of each other will be through the beautiful memories, but not the love.
ARMANDO LEAVES MARCELA’S ROOM AND WALKS DOWN THE HALL. HE TOUCHES MARCELA’S WEDDING DRESS AND TAKES THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE TWO OF THEM FROM THE MANTLE.
Armando: I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. This happiness [THE PICTURE] was real, it was important, and it was sacred in my life (WAS, WAS, WAS!!). HE KISSES THE PHOTO.
HE GOES TO THE DINNING ROOM TABLE AND FINISHES PACKING HIS SUITCASE (YES, YES, YES!). HE GOES TO THE ELEVATOR…
Armando: Goodbye (AND GOOD RIDDANCE, YEAH!).
MARCELA WALKS DOWN THE HALL AND ALSO TAKES THE PHOTO FROM THE MANTLE AND LOOKS AT IT LONGINGLY AND SADLY. SHE WALKS TO THE DINING ROOM AND REALIZES ARMANDO HAS TAKEN THE SUITCASE.
Marcela: He took it, he took it. No, no, no…
THE NEXT MORNING, BETTY IS IN HER OFFICE WRITING IN HER DIARY…
Betty: What a long and disturbing night. I don’t know where morning greeted him, whether next to Alejandra Zingg (IN HER DREAMS, BABY!) or if he ended up next to doña Marcela. I would prefer the latter, because at least it would fit the pattern of his love affairs, because if he was with Alejandra it will be the clearest sign that don Armando’s life has taken a new path that will definitely distance him from me, and it hurts me. Even though I know that I shouldn’t hold out any hope, it’s just that he, with his demeanor brings forth all these hopes that I want to keep dormant…
THE CUARTEL ARRIVES AND DISCUSSES HOW COME BETTY IS IN THE OFFICE SO EARLY. THEY START GOSSIPING ABOUT ARMANDO’S WHEREABOUTS THE NIGHT BEFORE, AND SAY THAT THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE A WRESTLING MATCH WITH MARCELA IF HE DIDN’T GO HOME TO HER THE NIGHT BEFORE. INES COMMENTS THAT ARMANDO HAS BECOME A NEW AND CHANGED MAN…
BETTY CONTINUES WRITING IN HER DIARY…
Betty: Undoubtedly, the Armando Mendoza who came back is a different man, a man who confuses me more than the one who left… he is a different man with doña Marcela, and a different man with me. Last night , with doña Marcela insinuated that the two of us had “lost something.” The truth is that she has lost more than me, because he has been eerily (OH, HOW ROMANTIC AND SPIRITUAL!) close to me, with his words of encouragement, motivating me, acknowledging my accomplishments. I was so conflicted, I started to think that he felt something for me. But, I can’t make this mistake again, that affectionate man, that man who seems to radiate something for me (IT’S LOVE BABY!!), is the same man who destroyed my life, the same one who wearing a façade of tenderness could have a knife hidden to hurt me again…
THE CUARTEL IS TALKING ABOUT ARMANDO’S BEHAVIOR WITH BETTY AT THE LANZAMIENTO, HOW HE PRETTY MUCH BLEW OFF ALEJANDRA AND CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HE DOESN’T HAVE FEELINGS FOR HER. PATRICIA ARRIVES AND IS (SURPRISE, SURPRISE) ON HER CELL PHONE, TELLING HER DADDY ABOUT HOW HARD SHE WORKED AT THE LANZAMIENTO, AND TELLING HIM HOW TIRED SHE IS. THE CUARTEL MOCKS HER, AND PATRICIA SAYS THAT HER CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LANZAMIENTO WERE OF THE “INTELLECTUAL” PERSUASSION! THE CUARTEL STARTS STRUTTING ITS STUFF ABOUT THEIR NEW MODELING CAREERS, AND BERTHA DOES ONE OF HER DEAD ON PATRICIA IMITATIONS. ARMANDO ARRIVES – LOOKING CALM, COOL, COLLECTED, RESTED, AND NOT A SCRATCH ON HIS FACE.
Armando: Good morning…
Bertha (THIS TAKES GUTS!): Did you have a good morning?
Armando: Good, very good, thank you…
Bertha: Of course you did…
THE CUARTEL COMMENTS ON HOW ARMANDO LOOKS NO WORSE THAN THE NIGHT BEFORE, AND THEY SPECULATE THAT HE HAD A “CARACAZO” (MEANING HE AND ALEJANDRA GOT TOGETHER IN THE “BIBLICAL SENSE,” CARACAZO REFERRING TO HER BEING FROM CARACAS). IMMEDIATELY THEY GO TO BETTY’S OFFICE TO SAY HELLO, BUT OF COURSE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO IS GOSSIP ABOUT ARMANDO AND ALEJANDRA. BETTY TELLS THEM THAT SHE DOESN’T CARE (YEAH, RIGHT!) AND CHANGES THE SUBJECT, ASKING INES WHY SHE ISN’T ON VACATION LIKE HUGO. INES SAYS THAT SHE’S GOING TO WAIT UNTIL THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS SO SHE CAN SPEND TIME WITH HER KIDS AND GRANDKIDS. BETTY REMINDS THEM THAT THEY NEED TO CONTINUE WITH THEIR NEW LOOK AND INES REMARKS THAT HUGO LEFT A LOT OF CLOTHES FOR THEM.
MARCELA ARRIVES. PATRICIA IMMEDIATELY GOES ON THE ATTACK, ASKING WHAT HAPPENED WITH ARMANDO. MARCELA GETS UPSET AFTER HEARING THE CUARTEL COMMENTING ABOUT BETTY’S REACTION TO THEIR CONVERSATION ABOUT ARMANDO, ALEJANDRA, AND MARCELA. MARCELA GOES BALLISTIC AND STARTS TELLING THEM TO GO TO WORK, ESPECIALLY MARIANA THAT NEEDS TO BE IN RECEPTION. MARECELA AND PATRICIA GO TO MARCELA’S OFFICE, WHERE THE DOOR IS AJAR (HOW CONVENIENT, NO?). THE CUARTEL IMMEDIATELY RECRUITS BERTHA TO GO ON A RECOGNIZANCE MISSION SO THEY CAN FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON…
Mata (Hari) Berta’s called upon once more. Her mission: to discover what transpired between Marcela and Armando the previous evening. How? To eavesdrop on Marcela and Patricia.
MARCELA’S OFFICEPatricia follows Marcela into her office, clamoring for information. “Don’t ignore me! Tell me what happened last night!”
Marcela asks her what she’s thinking, “Do you expect me to tell you anything in front of Beatriz’s friends?”
JUST OUTSIDE MARCELA’S DOORBerta has put on the jacket of a cleaning woman and removed her shoes to sneak up on the door to Marcela’s office, which is open just a crack. There she hears Patricia tell Marcela she was worried about her friend.
MARCELA’S OFFICEPatricia wonders if she left Armando to the arms of the Venezolana and is shocked by Marcela’s response. Her friend confirms the worst: that Armando had finished with her. “What! What?” squawks the Peliteñida. “And you let him!?”
Marcela tells her sadly that there was little other choice for her; he had decided once and for all to end it.
“So it’s definite then,” asks Patricia. Marcela, tears filling her eyes, tells her that he took his things and he’s not coming back. “So, then he left you for…” begins Patricia, but Marcela is sharply reminded where they are all of a sudden.
“Wait! Shut the door! The walls have ears here.”
Patricia gets up to check and see if anyone’s hanging around outside the office but Berta has gotten away in time. The Peliteñida turns back and tells Marcela she can speak calmly now, “What was the reason he gave you?”
“It wasn’t for the Venezolana. It was for Beatriz. He’s still in love with her!” explains Marcela.
“Whaaaat!!!” shrieks Patricia.
“Lower your voice!” hisses Marcela.
Patricia can’t believe that this is possible and mutters how she warned Marcela how it would be. Marcela’s face hardens, she’s thinking dark and vengeful thoughts. She vows that although Armando may want to end things with her, she’ll never allow Beatriz to have him.
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONBerta returns with her load of fresh hot gossip and is nearly overwhelmed by its caliber. She tells Sandra and Aura Maria that she hasn’t had such high kilowatt gossip in such a long time. She tells them that last night at Marcela’s apartment Armando ended their relationship. Aura Maria’s phone rings: it’s Betty asking for the hotel bills. This is great—that means that they have an excuse to go see Betty with their news!
BETTY’S OFFICEBetty is on another call—it’s someone to whom she’s reporting the details of their successful evening and explaining how after she has the early sales numbers she’ll be able to give him a better idea of when a payment will be made—when Aura Maria enters. Berta and Sandra follow her close on her heels. Aura Maria hands Betty the folder and Betty explains that it should go to Nícolas. She notes the expectant look on the faces of the trio and smiles.
“What did you want?” she asks pleasantly.
Sandra tells her that they have some important news concerning Armando. Betty doesn’t want to hear it, hasn’t she told them that it’s of no concern to her? She asks them to get back to work. The disappointed women head towards the door. Berta, however, can’t let this pass—it’s too good—and she turns back resolutely. She blurts out that last night Armando and Marcela broke up. Betty takes this news pretty calmly, after all, she tells them, and it’s not like this has never happened before. Berta marches back in and sits down in front of Betty; Sandra and Aura Maria follow her. Berta tells her that this time it’s different. He took his things and Marcela couldn’t convince him to stay. She herself said that it’s definitely over.
MARCELA’S OFFICEPatricia asks Marcela if she’s going to hang around watching Armando and Marcela tells her that she’s not leaving the path (to Armando) open for anyone. If Armando isn’t with the Venezolana and if he thinks that Betty won’t forgive him, then that leaves an opportunity open for her. “The doors aren’t totally closed…”
BETTY’S OFFICEThe $64,000 question is why Armando broke with Marcela. Betty believes that he did it for Alejandra Sims, but Berta disagrees. After all, this would be out of character because he’d never done anything like that before with the other women.
“Never, no, never” agrees Betty, trying to put a carefree face on it. She asks the women to let her get back to work.
“What’s wrong, Betty? Do you feel bad?” asks Sandra.
“Please, let me work,” Betty replies firmly.
As they head out the door, a disgruntled Berta mutters, “Ingrate!”
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONHeading back to her desk, Sandra frets. “I knew we shouldn’t have told Betty!” They should just have stopped with the news of the breakup. She can see how it hit their friend like a blow to the chest.
Aura Maria is of the opinion that they owed it to her; they have to keep any member of the cuartel well informed. The elevator opens to reveal Alejandra looking casual and attractive in slim dark slacks and button-down shirt open over a tank. She greets the women pleasantly and asks for Armando. Sandra shoots Aura Maria a knowing look.
ARMANDO’S OFFICESandra enters Armando’s office and informs him that Alejandra is there to see him. He looks mighty dang pleased with this news and adjusts his shirt cuffs (displeasing Sandra mightily with this display of sartorial vanity). He asks her to show her in and she goes to escort in Alejandra, all false sincerity. The panther closing in on her prey, thinks Sandra.
“What prey? More like her trophy!” says Aura Maria.
Alejandra greets Armando and notes the two women spying and jokes on how it’s just more of the usual. He agrees and they close the door to the prying eyes. She gets right down to business and asks him how it went last night. Armando pauses at this question and how it sounds.
“I don’t know how to respond to that question. I ended things with Marcela and it was nothing easy to do. I abandoned four years of my life with someone who didn’t wish to end things.”
Alejandra reflects on his statement and tells him that he was dealing with a woman in love. She wants to ask him how he feels, “I imagine that you feel a little bit relieved.”
He nods chuckles a little nervously at this. “Yes, to be sure, but it still was very hard. Even though I didn’t wish to do so, the moment had come to be frank—I believe it was the best for the two of us.”
She nods cheerfully, “And you feel free?”
“Yes, but I don’t think that she feels the same,” says Armando.
Alejandra encourages him, “What’s important is how you feel.”
He nods his head in acknowledgement.
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONPatricia has returned to her desk. Nícolas gets off the elevator and greets the women cordially. Aura Maria and Sandra respond in kind but Patricia ignores him. He makes a point to say an especial hello to her. He sidles over to her and asks her confidentially if she’s paid her cell phone bill this month, would she be able to return his phone? Of course not! She hasn’t been able to do so.
“How about the coming month?”
Nope! She tells him to come closer and he backs away nervously at first, then does approach her. She confides to him that she’s saving her money to buy a car… a car like the one she once had. Oh is that all? She wants a car? Nícolas gallantly tells her that his car is at her disposal. She can’t believe her ears. Just what does he mean by this? What if she should need it every day? How about getting to and from work? He tells her that he’ll gladly pick her up every morning and take her home again every night.
“And if you need it for other errands, just say so!”
Patricia offers him a less than gracious acceptance, “Okay, okay, Nícolas!” and he heads off, a happy man (especially as she’s treated him to a display of her long legs as she sits down). We hear her thoughts, “I have a car! I have a car!”
Sandra answers her phone: it’s Armando. She tells Aura Maria that Armando wants her to notify Betty that Alejandra is ready to sign the contract. Aura Maria calls Betty and repeats the message. Betty asks her to inform Nícolas and Marcela too, who also ought to be present, and to have them meet in the conference room. Aura Maria claps her hands insolently to get Patricia’s attention and tells her to inform Marcela that she’ll be wanted in the conference room. When the Peliteñida asks her why, Aura Maria spells it out for her: she’s wanted for the contract signing. Sandra goes to Armando’s office to let him know that the message has been relayed and is disturbed to find the door locked.
“Sure, they don’t want to be disturbed,” says Aura Maria. “Call him on the phone.”
Patricia looks on stupidly.
CONFERENCE ROOMBetty enters the conference room first and Marcela enters shortly after her.
“How are you?” asks Betty politely.
“Let’s just say that I’m well,” responds Marcela acerbically. “And you… Don’t you feel well? Anything happen? Have you received news of the point of sales?”
She’s on an expedition—a fact-finding, let’s make Betty uncomfortable expedition. Betty responds affirmatively and that they’re very good.
“I see… We’re going to sign the franchise contract with Venezuela,” comments Marcela, all false politeness. Betty shoots her a grave look. “That should be a very good business for us,” continues Marcela. “Why then the preoccupied face?”
Betty’s not going to play the patsy for Marcela.
“What do you want me to answer to that? That it’s for some personal reason? I assure you that I had a better night than you did. Or is it that you had a very good night…”
Marcela looks grim. At that moment, Alejandra and Armando approach the door of the room, Alejandra stopping to adjust his tie. They note the expression on Marcela’s face and their cheerful mood stops cold. Armando cordially asks her how she is and she replies, “Hello, Armando.” He turns to Betty and salutes her with a polite, “Betty…” She returns his greeting with an equally polite, “Good afternoon, Doctor.” Alejandra turns to greet Marcela and gets a frosty, “How’s it going?” She then turns to greet Betty with a friendlier hello and kiss on the cheek and Betty happily returns the greeting. Marcela notes this very cordial salute and cynically notes how friendly the two are.
“We always have been,” says Betty. “There’s no reason not to be (so friendly).”
Marcela doesn’t deny that such cordiality exists, “It’s just that it’s not often one sees such great friendliness on all sides.”
Her bitter double entendre escapes no one. The entrance of Nícolas breaks the tension a bit. He greets Alejandra and the rest and distributes the contract.
Marcela begins reading it over and clearly something concerns her. Her eye has been caught by some terms that stipulate that Eco Moda will purchase for resale some items from Venezuela.
Alejandra explains that her company offers a number of leather good items: accessories such as belts, shoes, etc.
Marcela is looking for a quarrel. She thought the purpose of the franchises was that they would sell things, not buy them. They make fine leather accessories in Colombia as it is.
Alejandra agrees, but explains that they make some additional pieces from skins that they don’t make in Colombia. It’s a complementary arrangement.
Armando tries to explain as well. He suggests that if she read the details of the contract, she’ll see that the numbers are very favorable for them and that the deal is complementary to both businesses. Marcela states acidly that she thought the deal was to sell things, not to buy them.
Betty tries to explain further the intent of the contract. It’s all part of the plan to integrate their business with Venezuela. Without these terms, there would be less of an advantage for Venezuela. They have their own good designers, textile producers, and manufacturers. This arrangement offers both a deal with exclusivity.
Nícolas picks up this thread of the conversation and elaborates on the dynamics between the two countries. This is something that they should build upon. Betty adds that the two companies, by pooling their resources, can more effectively tackle Europe. As he says, there has always been a great alliance between the two countries—in petrochemicals (oil) and also in mining—and after the U.S., the partnership of Colombia and Venezuela makes them second in economic significance.
“A “cátedra” on economics (as in a boring lecture from someone who knows a lot about the subject),” says Marcela cynically.
Alejandra assures her that good things are ahead for them.
“I imagine so,” says Marcela pointedly. “If you all think this deal will bring us success, then I have no objection. Certainly big things are coming for you all.”
It’s getting late at Eco Moda and Sandra complains that at this rate they’ll be there all night. Freddy makes his typical flamboyant entrance. Looking at Aura Maria, he announces that he has arrived to burn incense at the Altar of Lies. He inquires about the Chilean newspaper guys – Sandra smugly tells them they keep calling and asking them to visit Chile. The phone rings. It’s Armando asking Freddy if he knows where Mario keeps the keys to the liquor cabinet. Freddy says he does.
Meanwhile, the franchise signing meeting continues in the conference room. Alejandra and Nicolas discuss distribution and potential export problems and delays. Armando says he can guarantee the condition of the clothing, but only until it reaches the border. Alejandra agrees that the current border situation between Venezuela and Colombia is affecting business relations and hope it won’t undermine their deal. Armando says not to worry, that commerce between the two countries is bound to improve.
Freddy arrives with the champagne. Marcela looks peeved. Mario arrives. The contract is placed in front of Alejandra and the men all fawn on her. Marcela still looks peeved. Betty then proceeds to sign. Marcela continues looking peeved. Everyone claps and Freddy pops the cork, getting champagne over everyone. Now Marcela really looks peeved. Freddy helps himself to some champagne and waxes poetic about the long friendship between their two countries. He goes on to expound on Venezuela’s musical and literary merits. Marcela goes from looking peeved to looking disgusted. Freddy is still talking away, advising Armando to be careful with the Chileans. Everyone looks perplexed as Freddy dances out of the conference room.
Alejandra says she’s excited about the new partnership. Marcela is back to looking peeved. Attempting to be polite, Alejandra invites Marcela to Caracas. Marcela rudely responds that that is what consultants are for and why should she waste her time when there is no conceivable reason why she should go. She leaves in a huff. The tension is palpable as Alejandra composes herself and says she has to leave. She says good-bye to Betty and Armando escorts her out. Waiting for the elevator, she comments to Armando that Marcela is a strange woman. As the elevator door closes, Aura Maria tells them she hopes they have a really good night. Armando shoots her a dirty look. Flustered, she says that she meant to say goodnight.
Patty rushes into Marcela’s office to inform her that Armando and the Venezolana are off to celebrate. But Marcela doesn’t seem to mind. She’s more focused on Betty and gloats to Patty that Betty is the one who should be upset. She tells Patty that it looks like Betty knows about the break-up and that she now must be super disillusioned with Armando. She again vows that Beatriz Solano will leave Eco Moda totally empty-handed.
En mass, the cuartel enters Betty’s office with the champagne. Stressed, Betty yells at them. Inesita steps forward and tries to calm her down. The girls tell Betty she’ll feel better if she has some champagne.
Betty is not the only one suffering from estres. At the elevator, Marcela snidely tells Patty she’ll have to find her own way home because she has a dinner engagement with Margarita. Patty airily replies that she’s resolved her transportation problem in spite of the fact that Marcela has never given a fig about her problems. She goes on to say that she, loyal employee that she is, could be murdered on her way to work and Marcela wouldn’t care – in fact, she’d have the day deducted from her wages. Marcela yells back that she is constantly lending Patty money, giving her rides, letting her use her car, etc. etc. They get into a shoving match. As the elevator door closes on Marcela, Patty looks a little surprised, but shrugs it off.
Nicolas peeks around the corner at Patty. He pats his hair and does his smell test. Patty also primps at her desk. Down the hall, Bertha witnesses all this and her eyes light up. She watches as Nicolas approaches Patty and offers her a ride home. Patty simpers and even agrees to go out to dinner with Nicolas.
Bertha runs into Betty’s office to tell the cuartel the latest gossip. Betty rolls her eyes. The girls insist Betty have some champagne, but Betty doesn’t want to. Inesita goes to Betty’s aid by telling the cuartel that drinking won’t solve Betty’s problem. Exasperated, Betty asks the girls what do they want her to do? Pursue Armando? He is beginning a new life without her and there is nothing she can do about it. Besides, she says, he’s in good hands!
Armando and Alejandra pull up in front of Alejandra’s hotel and …
Armando - I would like you to keep me updated on how things are going in Caracas. If you have any questions or doubts I would like you to call me immediately, and even if this is not in the contract, I would like you to count on EcoModa and on me, of course, unconditionally.
Alejandra - And I would like you to come back to Caracas and that is not in the contract.
Armando - Of course I’ll go back to Caracas … what did you think? That you were going to get rid of me so easily? No, no, I would like to see you again.
Alejandra (after giving Armando a long look) - And like you’ve said, I hope that our relationship doesn’t limit itself to the contract. I would like to count on your support in Caracas, I’d like you to spend more time there, more time with me, now that you are free …
Armando - Of course, of course I will. I’ll work as hard as possible so that I can soon return to Caracas, really. Now it’s time for you to go to bed and rest. Tomorrow I’ll pick you up early to take you to the airport.
Alejandra (a little saddened, it seems) - No, don’t worry, someone from the hotel will take me to the airport. It’s better that we say our goodbyes now.
Armando - But how come? Aren’t we going to say goodbye at the airport?
Alejandra (sighing) - No …
Armando - What’s wrong, Alejandra? (Alejandra’s eyes turn away and Armando takes her chin in his hands and turns her toward him again) Alejandra, what’s wrong?
Alejandra gives Armando a loooooong, soulful, “wish you would kiss me” look.
Armando (reading the look) - You know, a while back I would not have resisted your look and I would have started kissing you madly.
Alejandra - The truth is that you’re still in love …
Armando - No, no, no … what I once felt for Marcela is over. It was actually over a long time ago.
Alejandra - I never said you were in love with her … I said you are still in love. Is there another woman?
Armando - Yes, yes, there’s another woman with whom I’m deeply in love.
Alejandra - And that woman is very intelligent, you admire her a lot, you talk incessantly about her - why didn’t you tell me?
Armando - Because behind it all lies a story and if you knew it, you would never want to see me again. I hurt that woman very much and I don’t think my life will be long enough to pay for the damage.
Alejandra - If you believe in my intuition, I can tell that she loves you. You generate an energy in her that gives her goosebumps when she talks about you and even more so, when you talk to her.
Armando - Just so that you know, Alejandra, what I did to her cannot overcome any other feeling. What I did to her is unforgivable.
Alejandra - You have to seek forgiveness … maybe you deserve it.
Armando - I hope so …
Alejandra - Good luck!! And I hope that this (their conversation in the car) doesn’t keep you from returning to Caracas.
Armando - Of course not … I’ll soon be traveling there. Anyway, I love to be around you.
Armando and Alejandra embrace warmly.
Alejandra - Take care.
Armando - You take care.
Giving Armando one last smile, Alejandra opens the car door, exits it, and walks toward the front door of the hotel. She looks back and gives Armando one last look, which he holds, then she turns and walks in the hotel. Back in the car …
Armando (yelling at himself) - What are you doing, Armando Mendoza?!?!? What are you doing?!?!? You have just let a beautiful woman go!!!! What’s wrong?!?!? Damn it, I know what’s wrong … (wistfully) Betty, my Betty …
Meanwhile back at EcoModa, Inesita reminds El Cuartel that everything they’ve said to Betty tonight about Armando and Alejandra are mere speculations. However, El Cuartel insists on the idea of a romance between Alejandra and Don Armando … they insist that if he turns down a woman as beautiful as Alejandra it would be because he has joined “the other rank” and he is looking for a boyfriend just like Don Hugo. Mariana, however, agrees with Inesita and tells the girls that they are tormenting Betty with so many speculations … but in turn she also justifies El Cuartel’s actions by stating that the reason they’re doing it is to make Betty react, to catapult her into being more aggressive and find herself a “papazote”.
At a fancy restaurant, Patricia ignores Nicolás and talks on her cell phone instead. When the food arrives, Nicolás interrupts her and tells her that her food will get cold … he is especially worried about his eggs. :o) As they begin to eat, Nicolás remembers the night he spent in Patricia’s apartment, when he looked inside her refrigerator and found nothing inside … well, nothing but a few cobwebs, he adds. :o) Patricia gives him a killer look when he brings up the subject of that fateful night and tells him that she doesn’t remember details (referring to their lovemaking, of course) … the only thing that she remembers is that he lied to her and she lost her car as a result. Nicolás tries to calm her by assuring her that he will have many, many more nights to make it up to her, to find a solution to her transportation problem, and in the meantime, go out to dinner every time that she wants. This indeed calms Patricia down … aaaaay, Nicolás!!!!
At Betty’s office, Sandra tries to encourage Betty to go out and find herself a boyfriend. Aura María reminds Betty that with her new looks and her new car, she can definitely find a “papazote” that would fall at her feet … why, she can even order one from a catalogue, she adds!! El Cuartel remembers the good-looking Frenchman in the picture, but Inesita asks them, once again, to be prudent with their comments. But this is to no avail (like always) because Aura María just tells Inesita that her heart is old-fashioned and proceeds to open up Betty’s purse and pull out the picture of her and Michel in Cartagena. She shows the picture to El Cuartel once again, all of whom begin to encourage Betty (except Inesita, of course) and Aura María goes so far as to kiss Michel’s image in the picture. At that precise moment, Freddy walks in and asks Aura María why she was kissing the Frenchman … or was she honoring their President and kissing her? he adds sarcastically :o). Aura María immediately defends herself by attacking Freddy and calling him stupid, Sandra joins in and tells him that this meeting is for women only, or has he changed “sides”? Freddy ignores all of these silly comments and instead concentrates on the fact that they have been drinking and outright tells them that he doesn’t approve, especially when Aura María has to go home on a bus. El Cuartel decides to go home (finally!) and ask Betty whether she is coming with them. Betty tells them that she wants to stay a while longer … alone (can anyone blame her?). Out in the hallway, Freddy offers to give Aura María a ride home on his motorcycle because, he adds, despite their differences, he is still a gentleman and is worried about her getting home safely in that condition. Sandra reminds the other members of El Cuartel that they have to help Betty through this crisis and she asks Aura María for Betty’s agenda.
Nicolás and Patricia pull up in front of Patricia’s apartment complex and, as she gets down from the car, he assures her that he will be there early tomorrow morning to take her to work. Patricia tells him that it must be reaaaaaaaally early because Marcela will fire her if she’s not on time. Nicolás first offers 7 a.m., but then says he’ll be there at 6:30 a.m. for her peace of mind. As Patricia walks away, Nicolás wonders out loud how many lobsters and how many bottles of wine it will take to erase the resentment that his adored Patty feels toward him. :o)
When Betty is finally alone and gets ready to write in her diary, she receives a phone call … it’s Cata, who tells her she is worried about her. It’s obvious that El Cuartel called her to cheer her up, but Betty explains that her friends are exaggerating and assures Cata that she’s doing fine. As soon as she hangs up, she starts to write in her diary …
“This is the first night since I’ve known Don Armando that he has complete freedom. It’s the first time that he is free of his ties to Doña Marcela.”
We see Armando arrive at his apartment, throw himself back on his bed, and say to himself with a big smile, completely relishing the moment, “my freedom, my freedom”.
Back to Betty’s diary …
“I imagine that he’s already at his apartment or maybe he is with her, in no hurry, with no fears, enjoying his freedom, reorganizing his life, planning his future, and of course, I’m not in it and I will never be …”
MORNING-A STREET IN BOGOTA
Nicolas is driving to work in his Mercedes convertible; Patty is sitting at his side!Her hair is wet!
OUTSIDE FRONT OF ECOMODA
A very stylish and chic Cuartel is arriving to work in the morning.
Berta- Well if Don Armando doesn’t come in to work today, it’s because he opened an office in Caracas! ha ha ha
Cuartel-ha ha ha
Inesita-Girls, look at Betty’s car! Could it be that she went home in a taxi last night?
They all run to feel the hood to see if the car is warm.
Mariana-Or maybe she slept here last night!
Aura Maria-I think she just came really early this morning!
Sandra-At any case, she must have had a horrible night!
A STREET IN BOGOTA
Nicolas has a smile on his face as he is driving his Pelitenida to work.Patty is not so joyful. Suddenly Patricia yells!
Patty-STOP!!!!!!!!!!!NICOLAS BREAKSSSSSSSSSSSSSNicolas-(very calmly) What’s happening?Patty-Nicolas that there is The Cuartel!Nicolas-So what, Patty?Patty-What do you mean so what? I don’t want them to see us arriving together!Nicolas-Why?
Patty-(frustrated)Nicolaaaaas!, because who knows what those witches are going to imagine…that maybe you and I spent the night together, or who knows what kind of dirty things they are going to think, Nicolas!
Nicolas-Ay, Patty, it does not affect me if they think those dirty things!Patty-But they affect me!Nicolas-Don’t get all bothered!Patricia begins to hide by lowering the back of her seat and sliding down.Patricia-Don’t get out of the car until those witches go inside.Nicolas-Ok, whatever you say, Patty!
Nicolas parks the car a little bit far from El Cuartel.
But El Cuartel is not going to miss such detail!
Berta-Isn’t that Nicolas Mora?Mariana-Which one?El Cuartel-Oh, yes!
THEY ALL MOVE IN UNISON, INCLUDING WILSON WHO IS NOT SAYING A WORD BECAUSE HIS MOUTH IS BUSY EATING A FRENCHBAGUETTE, TO TAKE A BETTER LOOK AT NICOLAS.
Aura Maria-I wonder why he is parking over there?El Cuartel-Uuy??
Mariana-Why would it be, to be able to show off the car that used to be la Peliteñida’s. ha ha
El Cuartel-ha ha
Sofia-Why don’t we go over there. I’ll flirt with my boss to see if he’ll take care of the kids, ha ha. (looking at Inesita) I’ll set you up!
Inesita-Ay Sofia! Por Dios! (My God!) Leave that crazy talk; are you serious?
Nicolas-Uy Uy Uy!
Patty-(Who is still hiding, lying on her inclined seat) What’s the matter?
Nicolas-El Cuartel is coming!
Patty-WHAT?! No no no, My God, Nicolas, move, MOVE!!
Nicolas attempts to back up, but his car is blocked by other cars on the street.
Nicolas-Oh, no! Mission Impossible!Patty- Noooooo, what anguish, what anguish!Aura Maria approaches first as she skips smiling and saying:AM-Nicolas why don’t you finish parking?…Ah! Peliteñida!Patty-Shut up you idiot!AM turns around and tells the othersAM-I bet you can’t guess who is hiding there!El Cuartel-Who?
Sandra approaches the Mercedes and tapping against it’s side of the car, smiling she says:
Sandra-Why are you hiding mamita?Patty-Turns around pretending to be waking up.Patty-I’m not hiding, for your information I was sleeping!Berta-Why, my love, did you have a late night?El Cuartel-ha ha haPatty-For your knowledge, Nicolas just picked me up, right Nicolas?Nicolas- Yes, yes, that’s a fact!AM-Aha, liar, because… why is your hair wet, hah?
Mariana-and smelling of small soap, my love!(she is talking about the little soaps that are found in motels).
Patty-Because I just bathed, Pechuguin!, because I do bathe!Berta-and with Nicolas Mora?, because his hair is wet too!Nicolas eyes are big and wide of shock!Nicolas-Just a moment, Miss, I just took a bath!Sandra-and you took the bath together really yummy! ha haEl Cuartel- ha ha haAM-A small question, who soaped whom?
Patty-trying to open her car door-DESGRACIADAS! yoou respect me!, because I don’t have anything going on with that!….sir! He offered to bring me in my car!
Sandra-Your car?, Don Nicolas, don’t tell me you already transferred the car to her!Nicolas- No no no no
Inesita-Well, enough, leave them in peace girls and lets go inside or we’re going to be late, let’s go!
Mariana-Besides, we have to go find them each a towel, excuse me!(she turns around and leaves)
AM-So that the Peliteñida can dry her hair!Patty-Oh shut up, Pechuguin, fat one, horrible one, skinny one, stupid!El Cuartel goes inside EcomodaNicolas-Patty, calm down, we have to face the situation!Patty-What situation?Nicolas-That we spent the night together!
Patty-Nicolas, you and I didn’t spend the night together.
Nicolas-Well, that’s clear to me, but to them! We’ll have to prove it!
Patty-Of course we’ll have to prove it, dear, now go and park the car(in the garage).
Nicolas-OK, Ay Patty, Patty, Patty, definitely, what we have between us is a lot of chemistry!Patricia goes inside Ecomoda.
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
ELEVATOR DOORS OPEN. EL CUARTEL GET OUT.
Inesita-Yes, sir, you were too indiscreet and too disrespectful with that woman! You had no right to do that scene to her!AM-Sure, of course! Considering how discreet and respectful laPelitenida has been to us! Inesita, it’s just that you don’t know all the scenes she has made for Freddy and me, that silly woman!Mariana-That’s right!Inesita shakes her headSofia-And have you forgotten the day she laughed at me in front of everybody because my hoses had torn? Then, let her “suck now!” (I guess is an expression implying let her suffer now!)Sandra-She’s a bandit, look how she was hiding in Nicolas’ carMariana-That’s right, look Inesita, that woman has already fallen in our eyes, (we have a low opinion of her) so let her now pay the consequences!Berta- You know what?, we ought to go to Betty’s office and see how she’s doing.El Cuartel-Oh yes!
Overhead shot of Betty sitting at her desk writing in her diary. Slow piano music in the background. Slowly the camera begins to lower the point of view so that we see Betty from the front.
Betty’s Voice Over-Last night I merely slept a few hours, and then I came to my office. I can’t continue my life like this. I clearly knew that if I returned to Ecomoda, it would be hard for me to see the relationship of Doña Marcela and Don Armando, but at the same time, I was calm about it because I was used to it and it wouldn’t have affect me so much, but today I have a certainty, I wouldn’t be able to withstand seeing Don Armando renewing his life with another woman, it would be too painful for me, and it’s clear that if that should happen, I shall have to leave Ecomoda.Betty stops writing for a moment, she takes a deep breath and suddenly the double doors open, it’s Aura Maria’s smiling face, and jumping up and down she greets Betty as she comes inside Betty’s office.
AM-How is Miss Betty this morning?El Cuartel followBetty closes her diary and smiling she greets them.Betty-Good MorningEl Cuartel-Good morning Betty!Mariana-Ay, Betty, we thought you hadn’t gone home to sleep.Betty-(smiling and with a sweet but not very energetic voice) I went home, rested and came back very early.El Cuartel-Yes?Berta-and you didn’t sleep, right?
Betty-(exhaling and trying to be patient) I did sleep, Berta, please don’t worry about me anymore, and please don’t call Catalina, I don’t want anybody worried about me; fine? Go work now. (she adds still in a sweet tone)
El Cuartel looks at each other, smiling and Berta adds:Berta-Betty, we have the best piece of gossip!Betty-(still smiling and trying to be patient but firm) I don’t want to know anything about Don Armando.
Berta-(approaching Betty’s desk and sitting down) This is not about Don Armando. We don’t know where he spent the night, nor whether he had “border” problems (border implying with the Venezuelan Alejandra) nor do we care! This gossip is about something else. Guess who we just saw together and with their hair wet?!
Betty (who is now opening a folder) merely looks at them not showing any signs of curiosity, she’s just listening.
Berta- …Nicolas and the Peliteñida! ha haEl Cuartel- ha ha ha ha (Inesita just shakes her head)
Betty-Please, I don’t want to know anything about that either!. Let them do whatever they want! (and she continues to shuffle papers)let them do whatever they want! (she repeats).
El Cuartel seems disappointed that Betty is not enthusiastic about such good piece of gossip.
Sandra-Ay Betty, we know that you are not interested in that type of thing, but we are, and we are going to make sure we make la peliteñida’s life impossible to bear.
AM-Aha! Mi hija, you don’t worry about that, we we’ll handle the little job!El Cuartel (except Inesita) ha ha ha haBetty just shows a little smile neither accusing nor reproaching what they are going to doEl Cuartel-Ciao (and they exit)When they close the doors, Betty looks at her watch and thinks.Betty’s Voice Over-He hasn’t arrived yet!
RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR ECOMODA
AM-Girls, I don’t think poor Betty was able to shut her eyes at all last night!Sandra-Nooo, and she got upset that we called Doña Catalina to tell her what is happening to her.Mariana- I know!, what are we going to do? Look, girls she can get angry or furious, but we have to do something for her!Elevator doors openMariana-HuuuuuuH! (with disgust as la Peliteñida comes out of the elevator).Sandra-(as Patty passes next to her) Girls, I smell small soap, ha ha AM-(laughing) Girls, do any of you have a towel so that the “secretary of the department of sales” can dry her hair?
Sandra-Imagine how that place where she spent the night must have been that they didn’t even have towels!, ha ha ha ha
AM-no no no, things were so poor because they probably spent the night in HER apartment!AM Mariana and Sandra- ha ha ha ha ha
Patricia-(sitting at her desk) LOOK PIECES OF OLD MAID WITCHES, YOU RESPECT ME, AND YOU STOP BOTHERING ME, BECAUSE I DIDN’T SPEND THE NIGHT WITH THAT GUY!
Mariana-Sure Patico, we believe you, my love!
Patricia-(still upset, she gets up and walks towards Mariana who is by the elevator) I DIDN’T SPEND THE NIGHT WITH THAT GUY!…UNDERSTAND SOMETHING I DON’T HAVE YOUR TASTE IN MEN…(by now she is facing Aura Maria with her back to the elevator, as the doors open and Nicolas comes out without her noticing him she continues yelling) …I WOULD NEVER SLEEP WITH A GUY LIKE THAT.
Nicolas-Hello helloPatricia embarrassed, goes directly to her desk without looking at Nicolas.Mariana-(as she gets inside the elevator)- you see Dr. Mora how ungrateful certain people are, see how she is describing your night together?Elevator doors close
Nicolas-(looking embarrassed) Misses, I would like to clarify this misunderstanding. Yes, I picked her up this morning at her home to bring her to work, but it’s as she said, she would never go to bed with a guy like me!, besides, I don’t want you to question her image.
AM-Ay Don Nicolas, it’s just that the image of this girl is beyond questionable!Patricia-UYYY! Pechuguin, don’t be so fresh!; you have no evidence.
AM-What do you mean I don’t have any evidence?, Of course we do, or don’t you remember when he was Betty’s boyfriend you were chasing after him!
Nicolas-One moment please, calm down, please!Sandra-Nicolas, you can’t deny it though, because we caught you two.Nicolas shows an expression of embarrassment at having gotten caught.Sandra (looking at Patty) and you, don’t pretend to be so saintly, we noticed when you were chasing after him while he was still Betty’s boyfriend! and now you act as if you were the Holy Trinity!We know how you are by heart! Be open about things, mamita, be up front!Nicolas-Please don’t hurt each other that way!AM-Don Nicolas, look, the problem here is not with you, it is between her and El Cuartel.
Elevator Doors Open. Marcela Enters Reception 2nd Floor
Marcela-Good Morning!Sandra-(looking distraught) Ay, Good Morning Doña MarcelaMarcela looks at Nicolas as he greets her.Nicolas-Good MorningMarcela looks at Patricia next and with a sarcastic smile she says:Marcela-Patricia! How fine to have you here punctual!. Yes, I told you to be early, but at least you could have combed your hair!Patricia looks embarrassed and touches her wet hair.AM-How is she not going to get here on time, now that she has her own chauffeur?Sandra-and especially since she spent the whole night with him, then of course…
Patricia opens her mouth speechless
Nicolas standing behind Marcela makes a gesture with his hands showing defeat and embarrassmentMarcela-What’s going on here? Are you fighting?Sandra-No no, Doña Marcela, it’s just that since you asked a question, the answer came right out of my mouth!Marcela-What chauffeur, what chauffeur are you talking about?
Nicolas-Pardon me (and he quickly goes towards his office).
Patricia (yelling now that Nicolas left) AY MARCEEEE, DON’T LISTEN TO THEM, YOU KNOW VERY WELL THAT THEY ARE SOCIAL RESENTFUL KIND OF PEOPLE!Marcela- (upset)Well, I don’t want you to be fighting here, and much less that you tell each other’s intimacies! (and she leaves towards her office).Patricia-MARCEEEEE, WHAT INTIMACIES, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THESE TWOOOOOOOOOO?(by now Marcela has gone, so Patricia runs after her)AM-How do you like that? Shameless that she is denying everything!Sandra-Huh, that woman is not going to rest until she takes the car away from Nicolas, better said, until she leaves him out in the street penniless!
BETTY IS WORKING AT HER DESK
The doors openNicolas-What’s up, Betty? How are you?Betty-(smiling widely)Fine, and you?Nicolas-No, I came to see how you are doing, because when I left yesterday I noticed you seemed “bored”!
Betty-(avoiding the question and now more serious) How did your night go?
The happy music begins to play
Nicolas just stands in silenceBetty(smiling a little bit) Where did you take la Peliteñida, huh?Nicolas- Me?Betty-Yes, you!, Last night you left with her, and this morning you arrived with her!Nicolas-No Betty, how does it occur to you?
Betty_How does it occur to me? Ay, I know you Nicolas, and I know her. You are getting in a game where you are even going to loose your car! (she warns him)
Nicolas (denial on his face) no no no, Betty!
Betty-(getting up from her desk and sitting next to Nicolas on the sofa) Look Nicolas, it’s your life, it’s your money, it’s your car!, but I’m your friend, I’m like your sister, Nicolas, and at least I have to warn you about it. Later you see what you do, but that woman, is going to ruin your life!
Nicolas (still in denial) Don’t say that!Betty-Did she return your cell phone?Nicolas-No, because she hasn’t been able to save money to pay…Betty-(interrupting him) and she is never going to be able to save money, Nicolas!Nicolas (silence)Betty-(exhaling) Where did you take her last night? How much did the little account cost you? Hum?Nicolas-Betty, I’m earning enough money…
Betty-(interrupting again and speaking more forcefully) No!, not enough to maintain her and much less to pay her debts.Nicolas-Betty, you speak as if there was romance between Patty and I?Betty-But you spent the night together?Nicolas-Nooooo, how can you think that? we didn’t spend the night together, I wish!
Patricia-How can you believe that I would spend the night with that guy, Marce? You are offending me!
Marcela (mocking her) Oh my God, What looseness! How could such a thing have crossed my mind!, Forgive me!, since it’s never happened…?
Patricia-Marce!, I already explained to you that that happened in a moment of weakness!… I was confused, I didn’t know what I was doing, and it’s all due to the problems that you know of but you don’t want to comprehend. In any case, that wasn’t Patricia Fernandez.I don’t know who that was!
Marcela-and who was the one who went out with him last night? and the one who arrived with him this morning? wasn’t that Patricia Fernandez?
Patty-Yes it was Marce! that was, indeed, Patricia Fernandez, the POOOR one!, who accepted a ride home last night and to be picked up this morning, but who did not spend the night with him!
Marcela smiles in disbelief
Patricia-I swear it, Marcela Valencia!.
Marcela-Hey look, Patricia, after all, this is your problem! You see what you do! You are old enough, and mature enough to know what to do!
Patricia (opening her mouth in shock!) Old enough and mature?, let me remind you that I’m younger than you, Marcela!
Marcela-Yes, you are right? You are younger in every sense. It’s your life! It’s your problem! You don’t have to give me any explanation!
Patty-I was simply trying to protect my image. By the way, speaking of image, I better go brush my hair!
Marcela-Hum!, Armando, did he arrive yet?
Patricia-No, I haven’t seen him. It must be that he overslept!
THE FOLLOWING SCENE WAS CUT BY TELEMUNDO HERE IN MY CITY, SO I WILL COPY WHAT THE COLOMBIA SUMMARY SHOWED IN SPANISH AND THEN TRANSLATE IT.
ECOMODA 2nd FLOOR
llega armando muy rosagante y renovado, aura maria lo saluda, el adivinando sus pensamientos les demuestra que llego sanoy salvo, completico…con todas las extremidades en su lugar…
Armando arrives glowing and renewed, Aura Maria greets him. He, guessing her thoughts shows her that he is still in one piece, that every part of his body is still in place.
[TELEMUNDO PICKS UP THE SCENE WHERE ARMANDO IS ALREADY INSIDE HIS OFFICE AND HE IS CLOSING THE DOOR BEHIND HIM.THE FOLLOWING DIALOGUE PROBABLY REFERS TO SOMETHING THAT I DIDN’T GET TO SEE].
Aura Maria-(talking about Armando)…But they didn’t let him go as late as we thought it would be!Sandra-and he didn’t even get upset!
ELEVATOR DOORS OPEN, MARIO AND FREDDY ARRIVE TO ECOMODA 2dn FLOOR.
Freddy is trying to convince Mario to take with him as an assistant on his trips. He is telling Mario, that to save Ecomoda money, he is willing to travel in the cargo area, while Mario can go first class. He is also willing to sleep in the bathtub, while Mario can sleep on a king size bed. The point, Freddy adds, (as Aura Maria is listening), is that I want to meet new faces; I want to travel. I am willing to be paid small amount. Money is not important to me. Mario still tells him that Ecomoda can’t afford it now.Freddy goes on to compare himself to Sancho Panza, to Esganarelli, (Don Juan’s servant), etc.Mario still assures him that this is something that would have to be thought over because it would be costly.Freddy then begins to deliver the mail, first to Sandra who hits him with the envelopes for the things he’s been saying. He then goes to Aura Maria who makes a comment about him being the flying cricket!
ARMANDO AND MARIO’S OFFICE
Mario enters his office and finds Armando talking on the phone
Armando-Of course. In any case, you already have the conditions and the cost of the deal.. Now, if you prefer, we could go ahead and sign the franchise this afternoon.(Armando notices that Sandra is standing outside on the hallway, eavesdropping, so he motions Mario to close the door).Armando-(still on the phone)…no no no, in that case then we are willing to do it right away; it will be our pleasure.Armando-(still on the phone) that looks very good to me.
OUTSIDE IN THE RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
Sandra-(whispering to Aura Maria) Ay, those two are going to talk! Ay! we have to find out what happened with Armando and the Venezuelan last night.
AM-Go, raise your ears!
Sandra begins to tiptoe towards Armando and Mario’s office, but Patricia comes back to her desk in search of her hair dryer, so Sandra steps back to stand next to Aura Maria again.
AM-With la Peliteñida being there, we are not going to be able to do anything, let’s go!They both run-on tip toes to Berta and Sofia’s desk
Sofia-Extra!, Last Minute News?AM-Yes, yes., Berta, we have a little job for you mi hija!,you see, Don Armando is here now and he’s behind closed door with that Mario Calderon!
Sandra- and knowing those two, the least they are going to do is talk about what went on last night with the Venezuelan!
Berta-Good data!, and tell me, did he arrive with satisfaction on his face?AM-No, he looked normal, ay, but Berta, please go quickly and raise your ears. Go and use the meeting room doors, because the Peliteñida is by the other door.
IT DOESN’T TAKE ANY MORE CONVINCING TO GET BERTA GOING ON HER MISSION OF ESPIONAGE. LA GORDITA GETS OUT OF HER CHAIR AND ASKS SOFIA TO KEEP HER GUARD.SANDRA AND AURA MARIA CROSS THEIR FINGERS.
PRESIDENCIA ECOMODA BETTY IS WORKING AT HER COMPUTER WHEN HER PHONE RINGS.
Betty-Hello, yes. What do you mean the merchandise hasn’t been shipped! That has to be at port today! (She listens and exhales witha little frustration) Well, I’m on my way there now!Betty comes out of her office in a hurry, running in front of Sofia who just looks at Betty wondering what could be wrong. Betty goes towards the back of Ecomoda!
Just at that moment back in the reception area of the 2nd Floor, the elevator doors open!
MICHEL HAS ARRIVED TO BOGOTA!
He is smiling as he gets out of the elevator and greets everyone.
Michel-Good MorningAura Maria looks at him speechless, as does Sandra!
BAAM BBBAAAAAAAAAAMMMM BAAAAAAAAMYO SOY ASI!
The end of tonight’s episode!
The Venezuelan has left Betty jealous, will Michel provoke the same feelings in Armando?
Upon seeing Michel, Aura Maria jumps out of her chair with a smile on face that extends from coast to coast.
Aura Maria - “At your service.”
Meanwhile, Sandra has jumped out of her chair and is making a mad dash towards Aura Maria. While speaking to Michel, Aura Maria eyes him up and down, up and down. Michel informs her that he is there to see Betty and gives his name. By this time Sandra has reached her destination. She won’t look at him, but tells her that he is the Frenchman from Cartegena. While acting giddy, she steals a glance at him. Both women are now staring and Aura Maria says that he is a “pappasote” to which Sandra agrees. Michel just stares at them with a smile on his face.
From behind him Michel hears Patricia informing the two women that they are not greeting the visitor appropriately. Michel turns around to look at her and sees Patricia with a big smile. Patricia is pushing her hair away from her face with a smile to match Aura Maria’s. She instructs them to act decently. Aura Maria tells her to mind her own business. Aura Maria quickly apologizes to Michel. She tells him that she will notify Betty. She can’t keep her eyes off of him. Sandra has made it back to her desk and is trying to measure his height against her when he suddenly turns to look at her. For her part, Patricia is staring at him sitting sideways and smiling at him.
Armando and Mario are in their office. Armando who has been on the telephone informs Mario that they will be receiving many guests who want to deal with them. Mario makes a comment in regards to having to attend to the rest of the world since the girl from Venezuela devoured him. (Bertha is making her way to the door between their office and the conference room in order to eavesdrop.) Armando warns him not to start.
Mario says that he was referring that she devoured his time. He continues to say that if she so happened to devour anything else and in a manner that he doesn’t know, “Congratulations”, he says. Armando reminds him that he had told him that he doesn’t like the tone that he uses when he speaks about Alejandra. Mario tells him that he is tired of all the mystery and wants information. Armando tells him to stop. Mario tells him that what he did, marching Alejandra right under Marcela’s nose, was like putting your best military out for battle. Mario begins to hum a military march and rolls back to his desk.
Armando tells him that he broke up with Marcela. Mario laughs. He wants to know for her long. Until Alejandra leaves? Until she forgives him for being with her? Armando asks how can he make him understand that he broke up with her for good. “For the Venezuelan”, Mario asks. Bertha who has been listening with a water glass decides to pour herself a drink of water. Mario says that with that meat and bones he would not be able to sleep. He tells him not to tell him anything because he will rip his face off. Armando tells him that nothing happened. Bertha is just as surprised as Mario and takes a drink of water.
Mario wants to know how he can say such a thing. He talks about how happy they looked that evening and that Alejandra’s eyes were beaming. Armando sits back in his chair with his arms crossed and making faces. Mario asks if he is making her suffer. Mario says that Armando is playing difficult in order to sing glory at a later time. Armando goes back to his desk to work and informs Mario that there will not be another opportunity, another night or anything because she had left early that morning for Caracas. Mario has a look of shock.
Mario wants to know what happened. What failed? Did she reject him? Armando tells him that it had nothing to do with her, but with him. Mario rolls his chair over for an explanation. Armando tells him that something could have happened but nothing had because he had “controlled” himself. Mario rises from his chair, angry, hits his hands on his legs and asks how. How could he let an opportunity like that pass when he had a “90-60-90” and he didn’t do anything. Mario, even more upset, is jumping up and down. He grabs Armando by his jacket. Armando warns him to let go before he puts his hands around his neck. Mario obeys but continues with his rampage. He reminds Armando that he didn’t let him, Mario, get close to her and then Armando didn’t even touch her. “Why didn’t you let me have her?”, he asks. Armando tells him in a matter of fact attitude, that she isn’t for him either. Mario tells him that he is a “disgraciado”, using the same manner as Patricia. Mario tells him that you don’t do that to a friend. The conversation ends.
Bertha is in the conference room listening through the glass that she just used to drink water when the doors from Betty’s office opens. It’s Nicolas looking for Betty. He tells her to help him locate her since the whole world is looking for her.
Sophia has joined Aura Maria and Sandra. She is giving her opinion as to where Betty may be. The entire time she is just staring at Michel and acting as giddy as Aura Maria and Sandra. Bertha joins them and wants to know what is going on. Sophia manages to stop her and signals her to look towards Michel’s direction. Aura Maria fills her in but Bertha is staring at him with her mouth open. Michel stands in the same place looking uncomfortable. By this time all the women are having trouble breathing. Bertha wants to know who he is. Sophia answers, “It’s him. It’s him.” Bertha makes her way over to Michel to greet him. At that moment, the elevator doors open and out steps Mariana informing them that she can’t locate Betty. Suddenly she notices Michel. She joins the cast of admirers. All the women are just staring and smiling. Michel asks if there is any news about Betty. They tell him that they will go look for her and take off.
Patricia takes this opportunity to make her way towards Michel. We hear our regular seductive music. As she walks towards him she has her hands out in front of her swinging them left to right, left to right and swings her hips. She greets him and introduces herself. She puts her hand out in order for him to kiss it. Instead he shakes her hand. She offers him something to drink, anything. He says that he is fine. “Okay, okay”, she answers. She then asks if he is there looking for Betty, “Is it personal”?, she asks. When he doesn’t answer she tells him that if it is business she may be able to assist him. He answers that no, he is a friend of Betty’s. She answers “very good”. “You are French?”, she asks. He answers with a shake of his head.
The Cuartel has gathered to drool over Michel. Sandra comments, “I died. I died. I died. He’s a foreigner and my height. He’s not like God ordered, but how he feels like being.” Bertha comments, “That little thing has to be a lie. It can’t be real.” She puckers her lips and throws kisses into the air. “It’s a fantasy”, she adds. Sophia says that she would have two more children for a man like that even if he didn’t help support them. Mariana says that the angels sent Michel to Betty. Inesita approaches the group and wants to know what is occurring. Mariana fills her in on Michel’s arrival. Inestia tells them that Betty had passed through the backdoor of the workroom. The Cuartel begins the search for Betty.
Back at Armando and Mario’s office, Armando is telling Mario how he and Alejandra became great friends. He was depressed and she immediately helped him. He told her all about his problems with Marcela and it was then that he came to the decision that he had to end it with Marcela. Mario supposes that he also told her, with a handkerchief in hand, about his great love for Betty. Armando informs Mario that when he spoke about Betty it was only in terms of business. He tells him that he cannot tell a woman like Alejandra what he had with Betty. However, they did speak the previous evening and he ended by confessing that he was in love with another woman. The same way that he confessed to Marcela that he is still in love with Betty. Mario’s mouth drops open in surprise and let’s out a low whistle. Mario tells him that he is “macho” and a brave man. Mario goes on to say that it does not explain his attitude with Alejandra. He wants to know how could he have let her go.
Armando wants to know if he did not understand that they were friends. He couldn’t do that do a friend. Mario wants to know what friendship is for when there is a woman that looks at him the way she does. He goes on to say that she leaves and that he doesn’t even show her a sign of affection. “What is this?”, he asks. Armando is becoming a bit angry and says, “Calderonnnn”. Mario tells him that he is strange and that ever since he broke up with Betty he has not slept with anyone. He wonders how he could have let Alejandra go. Armando is staring at him and Mario tells him not to look at him that way. He is not someone that Mario can confide in. Armando tells him that he is an idiot and that he can’t speak to him seriously. He tells him that for once in his life to grow up. Mario tells him to promise that he will never tell anyone about this because it is embarrassing and it raises suspicion.
Mario goes on to a slightly different angle. He says that Armando is screaming that he loves Betty, but has he told her. Armando tells him that he promised Betty that he would leave her alone. Mario asks for how long. Is he going to wait until another man comes along and takes her away? Mario goes on to say that Betty now has the position that Armando once had, the money that he once had and power. He also tells him that her intelligence and beauty have blossomed. Armando is starting to become upset and he rises from his chair. Mario continues describing Betty by saying that she has a nice face that is sexy and erotic, he doesn’t quite understand. “Her voice”, he says, “let’s not mention it”. Her body is very good. He then begins to talk about how good she looked with the pants that she was wearing the evening of the fashion show.
Armando can’t take it any more. He reaches for his throat and tells him to be quite. He tells him to respect Betty and that he will never again refer to Betty in that tone. Mario is trying to loosen Armando’s hold on his throat. Armando finally lets go. Mario says that he’s a spectacle, he loves them all but doesn’t do anything with anyone. Mario asks if he plans on someone else coming and taking away their president. Armando tells him that he has not resigned in leaving her in peace. He wants to return to her, but not under the terms that Mario suggests. He realizes that he is going to have to wait awhile. He has to show her that he has changed and that everything that he has for her is out of pure love. He realizes that Betty resents him and that he has to change and he has to change her to get her to listen to him. To believe in him again. He asks him that in meantime not to torment him by telling him that someone else is going to come and take her away. He tells him that there is no one else in Betty’s life. Mario asks if he is sure. He says of course, if there were someone else, he would know. Mario says that is the best news they have heard all day.
Patricia is sitting in the lobby with Michel. She is sitting sideways in a chair leaning back, throwing her hair back and swinging her leg. She asks him what part of France he is from and after he answers Paris she says that she used to go there a lot. He asks her in French if she knows how to speak the language. She has a look of “what are you saying”. He then asks in Spanish if she knows French. “Wee, wee, wee”, she answers. She informs him that since she has not been able to return in a long time that she has forgotten it. She tells him that it is so bad that she ran into a friend, that is French, and she could hardly greet her. She couldn’t say one phrase and that she used to speak it very well. Michel is saved by the ringing of her telephone. When she excuses herself to go answer it she uses her hip swing to return to her desk. It’s Marcela and Patricia tells Michel that she is needed for a meeting because without her nothing can be done. Michel gives her a small grin.
Armando and Mario arrive at the lobby. Armando asks if they can drop the subject. He reminds him that they have many visitors to attend. He wants to leave the gossip for another day because he is desperate. Mario notices Michel and asks Armando who is it. Armando answers that he doesn’t know and wonders what has happened to all the secretaries. Mario believes that it could be one of their foreign guests because of his shoes. Armando asks if they should introduce themselves. They greet Michel and when he says that he is French, Mario says something in French. Armando tells him that he must be there for the franchises. Michel answers no. Armando explains to him how they mistook him for one of their guests. He goes on to say that he noticed that he has not been attended to and asks how can he help. Michel informs them that he is there to see Betty, but that she can’t be located. “Betty”, says Armando with a jealous look starting to appear. Armando goes on to tell him that if it has to do with business that he can help him. Michel tells him that it is personal. He is a friend of Betty’s.
“A friend of Beatriz”, says Armando in a low tone and slowly. Along with the jealous look he has a look that says “What do you want with MY Betty”.
“So… Betty has a “friend”, he’s French, and his name is Michel…” When will the panic set in for our pal Armando?
2nd FLOOR RECEPTIONThe Cuartel has located Betty in Production and they rush up en masse to tell Michel the good news. He wonders if they’ve told Betty that he’s come to Eco Moda, but Sandra tells him that they want to surprise Betty. Aura Maria takes charge: she’ll escort him personally to make sure that he gets there safely. Michel excuses himself to Armando and Mario and is dragged off by Aura Maria. Surely the tartest lemon couldn’t cause a more sour expression on the two ex-executives’ faces. They retreat a few steps (the better to observe the raptures of the Cuartel?) and the women commence to gush on the “divine-ness” of Michel. Mariana pressures Inés for her opinion and she admits that it’s been a long time since she’s seen such a specimen. Armando and Mario exchange a suspicious glance.
Berta exclaims, “Betty’s gonna die when she sees him!”
Sofia counters, “No! Imagine how we died when we saw him, think how it’ll be for her!”
“Whee!” squeals Mariana, “Qué chevere!
Sandra swoons, “I would give my life to be in Betty’s skin!”
Mario and Armando haven’t missed a single note. Mario teases Armando speculating how this will end. Armando can’t stand it another second, he retreats to his office.
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITEShaken, his mind races over the assembled evidential data of recent overheard conversations: Betty at the big show being greeted by Claudia Elena Vasquez and asked about “her Frenchman” from the fireworks in Cartagena… Andrea Serna and Adriana Arboleda reminiscing about the time they had in Cartagena — “We should get together a party of the Cartagena group!”— and asking Betty if there’s anything with her and the Frenchman… He recalls Betty telling them that they parted that evening and that’s it, but (but!) he’s sent his greetings along with Catalina. Dang! If only Alejandra hadn’t wanted to leave at that moment he might have overheard more on this now-fascinating topic!
Armando whips off his glasses and wipes his eyes as if incipient tears sting them. Mario barges in and—in a French accent—asks him what’s going on out there with the Frenchman here.
“I don’t understand. Explain it to me!”
“Of course, of course,” starts Armando. “It seems that he’s a Frenchman that Beatriz met in Cartagena and he’s very “special” to her.”
Well color him green! This is news to Mario. “So, you knew about him? And when was Betty in Cartagena? For how long?” Armando tells him that she went there after resigning and had been there until she returned. He knew about it because he’d overheard her talking at the show, “…with Adriana Arboleda, Andrea Serna, and Claudia Elena Vasquez.”
Mario shivers at the idea of the two women friends and makes a wry comment. “And what were they talking about?”
“They were asking about some Frenchman she met in Cartagena,” Armando explains impatiently. “They were together at some hotel watching fireworks with some fabulous Frenchman.”
Mario finds this appearance of Michel and the mention of a Frenchman more than a coincidence, “oo la la!” In French he makes his typical comment about how the fea enjoyed herself and Armando’s not in the mood for more of his humor.
“None of that French talk,” he tells him.
“You don’t like the French?” asks Mario.
“Not for anything!”
THE EX-NOVIA’S OFFICEPatricia is in raptures herself about the fresh meat on the scene—Michel. She is giving Marcela the latest details.
“He’s spectacular. You really ought to go see for yourself.”
Marcela, though, isn’t interested. “I don’t have time for that.”
“You keep on like that and you’ll stay an old maid,” advises Patricia. “Armando gives you the heave-ho and you’re going to “tile the mortuary” (? expression question ?) alone until you die!”
Marcela can’t believe Patricia, “You want me to go parade myself in front of a man, and not just any man, but a man who’s the friend of Beatriz! That’s not my style. I’m not the type to take away the boyfriends or friends of Beatriz. I’ll leave that to you, my dear,” she ends snidely.
Patricia is offended by this remark. “Are you insinuating that I’m an exhibitionist, that I’m easy?”
“Well, I hadn’t meant to say that but now that you do…”
If la Peliteñida wasn’t offended before, she is now. She tells Marcela that if she shows off a little in front of a man (she does a little Vegas showgirl strut to demonstrate) it’s because she has something worth showing, “and if I speak to him it’s not that I’m easy, it’s just that I’m exercising my rights as a single woman.”
Marcela points out that she’s a separated woman (continuity check here: Patsy’s ex, Mauricio Brigman has a new wife, or so his secretary told Ms. P herself! or could this be the confusing use of mujer/woman as mujer/wife?) Patricia concedes this point, but stresses that she’s a free woman able to participate in an active relationship.
“So, you’re going to marry this man?” suggests Marcela.
Goofy Patricia hopes that God hears her! Marcela can’t believe her naivete. Beyond knowing that he’s a Frenchman and a friend of Beatriz’s, what does she know about him? (Exactly! What do any of us know about him!) “He could be married, separated, divorced, or widowed!”
Obviously, Marcela knows nothing about strategy and Patsy-Pat will set her straight. “Should I interrogate him right away? Name! Age! Lineage! Current Salary! Civil State! And then if he answers single I answer, “Hellooo I’m Patricia Fernandez” she ends cooing in demonstration of proper flirtation methodology. “Marcela, you lack training! What you have to do is show him your sensual side and if you later find out that he has those two horrible defects—being married and poor—then you snap your fingers and say, “Ciao amigo!” And of those I’d forgive him being married, Marcela.”
Marcela has a better idea. She wants Patricia to find out what the guy is doing there. Patricia isn’t sure why, “You don’t think he’s interested in Betty?!”
“Go find out, irregardless,” advises Marcela cynically, “Before you make a foolish display.”
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONThe Cuartel is still not getting any work done. They’re sitting in the lobby waiting for Aura Maria to return and speculating rampantly.
Sandra wonders why he’s come, “Perhaps he’s come to ask her hand in a noviazgo… no, better yet, to ask her to marry him!”
The voice of reason, Inés, reminds them that they need to calm down. After all, if they’ll recall the story Betty told them, she only spent just a few days out with the guy. “He was all gentleman,” she enthuses romantically and uncharacteristically, “They were friends, nothing more!”
Sandra reminds her that he hoped she’d stay in Cartagena and Berta adds that there’s the issue of that kiss he wanted to give her. Inés doesn’t think this adds up to a marriage proposal, but Sandra says that, “one never knows.”
Mariana reminds them that the cards said that this man missed her a lot and was thinking of her. “To me, this visit isn’t gratuitous.” she says, her eyes twinkling.
Sofia can only imagine the look on Betty’s face when she sees him there. The women laugh at the mental image. Then there’s Armando’s face… Mariana comments that it gave him an envious moment, but no more than that because he doesn’t give a fig for what Betty does. This reminds Sofia that Berta was just out on an espionage assignment.
“What did you hear outside the door of Don Armando and Don Mario’s office?”
The rest of the group is all ears. Berta rises to let the gossip float to the surface; this is a juicy one. She tells them that it’s so incredible, so flavorful… but with the appearance of the divine apparition it flew out of her head. The women don’t buy this and drag her back down to tell them what she heard. She’s about to do so when Patricia returns to her desk and wonders why they’re all still there talking about the visitor.
“Don’t you have anything else to do today?”
Sandra jumps up behind her aggressively, “Don’t be a butt-insky Peliteñida!”
Inés cautions them to not get into any quarrels. Mariana gathers them into a huddle and suggests that they meet later when Aura Maria can share the rest of the details with them. They all agree enthusiastically.
Sofia gets the last words, “The Peliteñida was right… That was an apparition, a divine one!” They all laugh and disperse.
Sandra sits down and Patricia casually asks what the French guy does, but Sandra tells her that’s not her problem. She can quit looking at him and come down from the clouds because this guy’s not for her, “he’s meters above you! Meters! He’s here for Betty!”
Patricia plays it cool. She boasts that the others can consider him a divine apparition—they’ve probably never seen a Frenchman before in the flesh—but for her he’s just another one. They can’t even speak with him properly, unlike her. She shows off her limited French skills, “Comment ce va? Ce va bien? You have no idea (how to handle a Frenchman)!”
She turns to her work with a toss of the hair. Sandra and Mariana laugh and as Mariana returns to the first floor she wonders how they’ll deal with the famous polyglot in their midst.
PRODUCTION FLOORAura Maria is grilling Michel as they stroll through the plant. “When did you arrive here from Cartagena?” she asks him giddily.
“This morning,” he tells her.
She doesn’t hear him at first because she’s so busy greeting others on the floor and bouncing around, and he needs to repeat his answer.
“How did you know I had come in from Cartagena?” he asks her.
She gushes that Betty had spoken to them of him, “super, super good things,” she adds. Oh really? “She wasn’t being gossipy with us, just telling us that she’d a new friend that she’d met in Cartagena and that you behaved so nicely to her.”
Michel confirms that he indeed meet, “a marvelous woman.”
Aura Maria should switch to decaf. She grabs him by the lapels and gushes, “Divine! Divine!” Out of the corner of her eye she spots Freddy spying on her and she turns back to Michel and begs him to say something to her in French, “Puhleeze!”
He tells her in French that she’s very pretty. It’s noisy on the plant floor (half the noise being generated by Aura Maria it seems) and she asks him to repeat what he’d said, so he does. “Vous etes tres jolie,” he near-shouts in her ear.
Freddy draws closer. Aura Maria tells him to stop and apologizes to Michel. “These employees!” she says disparagingly.
Freddy asks her to introduce this gentleman to him and she does, very agressively, telling him that he’s a friend of Betty’s. “A very special invited guest. Excuse us!”
Freddy’s left behind (again) to give his name to thin air. “It smells to me like that’s the one in the photo,” he speculates. He takes off on a run the opposite direction.
SHIPPINGBetty is mid-problem with one of the plant personnel. She can’t believe that the garment’s aren’t ready, they should have been ready yesterday, and now the truck is there for pickup. She’s firm in telling them she won’t accept any excuses. She tells the worker to determine what flights are leaving that day that they can get the shipment on and make sure that it happens. He promises to do so and she pauses to gather her thoughts.
Aura Maria rushes up joyfully, “Look what I brought you!”
She tells her that she has a surprise for her but when she turns she doesn’t see Michel. Betty looks around a little confused by what Aura Maria is telling her, but then Michel peers out from behind a rack off garments. Betty’s eyes widen in delighted surprise and the two greet each other with an affectionate embrace.
“What a huge surprise! I had no idea that you were here!”
Aura Maria’s eyes gleam watching this reunion. Michel teases her that he’s heard nothing from her.
Betty apologizes, “How embarrassing! Since I came back to Bogota I’ve had time for nothing. I’ve had to work, here at the business.”
“I know. I’ve seen all of the news stories,” Michel assures her. “I saw how they applauded you… I was so pleased.”
Betty modestly thanks him, laughing emotionally. Aura Maria excitedly adds that she participated in the show too and he kindly says, “Yes, yes (now go away!) And Catalina told me many things about you. She’s extremely proudly of you, you know.”
Betty is so pleased. “She told me that you two had spoken often.”
She asks Aura Maria to call her and tell her that she needs Doña Catalina and Aura Maria happily agrees to do so. She makes a giggly exit.
“And I suppose that Doña Catalina knows that you’re here in Bogota?”
“No, I don’t think so,” says Michel.
At a momentary loss for words, the two laugh in delight. Michel looks around, aware of the surroundings, “Wow! It’s impressive. It’s enormous!” She offers a tour and he agrees delightedly, “Yes, Ms. President.” He adds, “You’re very beautiful.” She blushes and stammers her thanks.
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITEIn the ex-executives office, Armando is playing with one of his jacks, spinning it idly, lost in dark thoughts. (Where oh where is the new-and-improved Armando now?)
“In all events, I don’t think those two had anything in Cartagena,” states Armando in a pensive tone.
Mario murmurs an “Mmm… hmmm” in the appropriate spots. Armando goes on to speculate that the reason for thinking so is the way Betty responded to Andrea Serna’s questions; that they were just friends.
“Later I’d heard that he’d sent a greeting with Catalina, that he’d like to see her again.”
“Mm… hmmm!” This get’s Mario’s attention.
Armando continues recalling Andrea’s suggestion that if Betty were to hear from Michel, that they should all get together, the Cartagena gang.
“So, Betty’s going to have a little soiree with her Frenchman by her side and with the little girlfriends,” Mario notes with glee. “Do you think they’ll invite us to the party?”
Armando’s face is dark and gloomy. He shoots Mario a disparaging look.
“Well, that doesn’t matter,” Mario counters blithely. “We’ll speculate a bit. I don’t think that things are so light (between Betty and Michel) or there wouldn’t be such insistence on the part of Claudia Elena, Adriana, and Andrea. And how about the big to-do when he arrived here? The comments on how it would be a surprise for Betty, so exciting…”
Uncertainty is eating away at Armando. “Why did Betty have to speak so much about that damned French guy?”
Mario, alias Satan, adds, “Or with so much enthusiasm or else the Cuartel wouldn’t be so emotional…” He smoothly proposes that they’re not speaking of some little plaything, but that it appears that this guy has triggered something in Betty’s hormones. “If I were you I wouldn’t be sitting with my arms crossed without trying to find out what’s really going on.”
Armando turns to look at him. Mario turns to the keyboard humming “La Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen (Carmen sings of her fickleness in love) and this gets Armando’s goat. Mario flourishes at the keys of his computer as if playing the piano and Armando grabs his hands to make him stop.
2ND FLOORAura Maria returns to the office but is waylaid by Freddy.
“Bon jour, bonne nuit,” he says, apparently using up his allotment of French. “Bravo!” He comments bitterly that now she’s having French whispered in her ear.
Not speaking any French, good or otherwise, she tells him she doesn’t understand him and calls him an idiot. He reacts to this insult huffily. She tells him to speak clearly and be quick about it cause she’s in a hurry. He continues to speak mangled French-ish and asks her if she’s busy and then wants to know if the French guy was kissing her (mua mua) on the mouth (mua mua).
“What are you trying to say?” asks a shocked Aura Maria. “That I would kiss the French guy on the mouth?”
“Oui!” asserts Freddy.
“You think, fool, that I’m so easy?” asks an incredulous Aura Maria.
He backpeddles a bit and says that she smells of him and it seems that he not only kissed her on the mouth but on the (he gestures to the chest area)… “I don’t want to be indiscreet…”
She’s mad now! “I never want to see you again in my life!” She wants to slap him but he warns her not to try it.
“I don’t want to see you again in my life either.”
“Stupid! Stupid!” she cries, flinging off her jacket in her rage. She flounces off and Freddy admires the view of her posterior and wonders how she wouldn’t be bothered by the Frenchman.
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONSofia notes her return and she and Berta rush up for the details. Aura Maria tells them that she left them talking because Betty asked her to make a call. Berta tells her that they’re calling a 911 of the Cuartel, “what do you think?” Aura Maria tells her that’s a good plan and she’ll be there soon. The two head off to gather the rest of the group. Aura Maria tells Sandra that the meeting is about to start. Patricia’s ears pick up at the news of a meeting but Sandra tells her huffily that it’s not for her.
Aura Maria makes the call to Cata and asks if she’ll call on Betty. She then tells her the surprising news: that Michel has come from Cartagena. The elevator opens and Mariana’s stressed because there’s no one to cover for her in reception.
“Have you seen Freddy?”
Aura Maria looks over towards where she left him and claps to get his attention, calling out to him. He comes over and asks what she needs.
“Go down to reception and back up Mariana.”
“Ah ha! So now I’m of service!” he says cynically.
Aura Maria tells him that he’s got that right and calls him and idiot messenger. He chuckles weakly and hesitates until Sandra comes up to chase him downstairs. She takes him by the tie and tells him that the only French he knows is the bread he has for breakfast. She thrusts him into the open elevator and the door closes on him. The women skip off to the sala del Cuartel with Patricia hurling insults after them. She scurries back to her desk as Armando walks by on the way to the elevator. He notes that the women are all gone again and asks Patricia where Sandra is.
“With all the others,” she says tattle-telling. “In the bathroom gossiping!”
His head turns slowly as he mulls over this information.
SALA DEL CUARTELIn the bathroom, Aura Maria is beginning to recount the details of the meeting between Betty and Michel. She tells them of her few words with him and how he smiled when she told him that Betty had told them about him. She tells them with a flourish how he told her, “I met a marvelous woman in Cartagena…”
The woman laugh gleefully and chatter excitedly. Mariana thinks it would be very cool if Betty takes up with Michel and throws it in the face of Don Armando. Inés thinks that Betty shouldn’t get involved in such a plan. Why would it matter to Don Armando what she does? She should just brush him off. Aura Maria chides her for her “lack of professionalism”. Betty should flaunt things in front of that hiena and humiliate him and show him that she can have someone fall in love with her and she can marry someone. The women laugh wickedly at this suggestion. Sandra agrees because Betty’s not something to take up with and throw away. Sofia agrees. Armando may not be jealous—that doesn’t matter—but this is a way to be vindicated, a form of vengeance, so delicious—a form of validation for a woman. Aur