Betty is talking to Dona Catalina and asks her if she called Michel to come to her rescue. Betty tells her she’s made her decision and that she wants to leave EcoModa as soon as possible. Betty informs Cata that Armando broke up with Marcela because he is probably interested in Alejandra and she can’t bear to see him with anyone else.
Armando continues reading Betty’s diary. While he reads all the beautiful things Betty feels for him, he recalls how he abhorred getting close to her and would have to get drunk to kiss her.
Cata asks Michel why he thought of Betty for the job in Cartagena. Cata tells Michel that she always worries about Betty and likes to look after her. She also says that she feels that his proposal will be a good thing for Betty.
Cata goes to the boardroom to talk to Betty. Betty is deep in thought and Cata wants to know if she is thinking about Cartagena. Cata tells Betty that after speaking to Michel she feels that his proposal would be a good thing for her. Cata also tells Betty that Michel is interested in her but that Betty hasn’t wanted to notice. Betty tells Cata that she still feels something for Armando and that she can’t think about Michel right now. Betty says she has to talk this over with one more person.
Armando is still reading the diary and gets to the part where they make love for the first time. When he finishes reading he screams out, “No, No!!!!”
Betty goes to see Nicolas and tells him she is going to resign form EcoModa. She tells him she received a very good proposal. He tells her not to do this to his heart and pocketbook!
Armando is reading the part where Betty says she has discovered the man she loves is her “verdugo” (how do you say that in English?). Armando loses control and begins to shout, “No, No!!” over and over. He trashes his desk. Patricia and Sandra are scared by the noise and Aura Maria hurries over to where they are and asks what the noise was. Sandra tells her it’s coming from Don Armando’s office!
Aura Maria and Patricia look on as Sandra stands at the door of Armando’s office attempting to find out if he is all right. Armando yells at her to go away and Patricia tells them to do something. Aura Maria sends Sandra after Mario to see if he may be able to help.
Meanwhile, Betty is still discussing the job opportunity and move with Nicolas. Betty is telling him that she can not stay and watch Armando begin a new life with another woman. Nicolas understands her feelings but is also concerned that he and her father will be without a job once she leaves. Nicolas jokes that he and don Hermes can work in a restaurant or be fishermen. Nicolas makes Betty laugh with the faces he makes as he describes the new opportunities that await him and don Hermes.
Betty tells Nicolas that he and her father must continue on with Terra Moda. Once Terra Moda is disassociated with Eco Moda they must not let it die. Nicolas says that he understands. His talking about being unemployed was a means of asking her not to leave. He says that it’s fine. That if she has to go she must. He goes on to say that she has done a lot for him, her family and the Company. It is time that they think about her. He says that it is important for them to find out if what the Frenchman is proposing is serious and correct. They need to make sure that he is not playing with her. Betty tells him that she has confidence in Michel. Betty tells him that he is in her office and she wants to introduce him.
Sandra is coming around the corner with Mario and telling him about Armando’s behavior and that she believes that he is drinking. Mario wants to know if the door is locked to which she answers that it is. Mario decides to enter through the conference room. Bertha and Sophia come up to Sandra to find out what is occurring. Sandra fills them in.
Aramando is in his office, hugging the diary and rocking himself back and forth. He is telling himself that he is the worst thing that has existed and that he should not have been born. Mario enters through the conference room. He asks Armando what has happened. Armando tells him that he wants to be alone. Mario says that it’s fine and begins to step out. Armando thanks him. Mario puts his hand in and waves a white flag. He tells Armando that he is a friend. He asks him what is happening and advises him to calm done. Armando becomes upset and throws a book at him and orders him to leave. Mario doesn’t. Armando asks if he doesn’t understand that he, Armando, should not exist. He should be in hell and rotting. He said that he is better dead. (While he is speaking to him, Armando is holding Betty’s diary in his hand.)
Mario tells him that everything is fine and to be tranquil. Mario takes hold of the diary, but is not able to pull it out of his hand. He asks Armando what it is. Armando answers that it is a diary of a disaster. Mario takes the diary and Armando quickly takes it away. Armando tells him that he is not going to touch it. It is Betty’s diary and he is not going to stain it with his dirty hands. Mario asks how he was able to obtain the diary. Armando looks as though he is about to cry and he kicks things on the floor and answer that he pulled it out of her purse. Armando crying tells him that he never noticed how much she loved him and how much pain he had caused her.
Mario reminds him that he knew from the beginning that she loved him and asks why is he now tormented. Armando answers that he fell in love with an angel. He fell in love with a person that put him on a pedestal. He tells him that in that diary he read about the last days of his life. It was written by a woman who loved him and lived for him. He asks him if he can understand that. He says that this woman tried to write what she felt while she was in that dark office that they put her in. He tells him that she loved him before they came up with their formula of seducing and deceiving her. He tells him that in that diary it is written everything that he did to her. He says that she didn’t deserve it. He asks him if he knows what he found in that diary. He tells him that he encountered the ashes of a woman that he killed. The pieces of a good human being.
After having agreed to all that Armando was saying, Mario tells him that he is making him nervous and that he needs a whisky. Armando gets upset and points to where a half empty whisky bottle is located and brings out another in case the first is not enough. Mario asks if he plans on continuing to torment himself. Armando answers that he is and that it is his own problem. Armando sits down and turns his back to Mario. We hear Betty’s voice as he continues to read and he finally turns around to look at Mario.
Sandra is informing the Cuartel that Mario is now with Armando. Bertha wants to know how long Armando has been drinking. Aura Maria says that she doesn’t know, but when she went into the office he had already started. Sophia wants to know what is happening to him. Inesita believes that it is because Betty is with the Frenchman. Sophia wonders if he thinks that Frenchman has come to take his business away. At the moment, Betty and Nicolas come out of his office. The Cuartel asks if they can speak to her, but she tells them that she doesn’t have time. Bertha tells her that she needs to make time because they need to tell her something. Betty and Nicolas look at her with curiosity.
Betty asks what is occurring. Bertha tells her that Armando is acting crazy and that he is very strange. They don’t know what is happening. Some of the Cuartel clear their throats and Nicolas says that he understands and leaves them alone with Betty. They tell her how Armando went into the women’s bathroom on the pretext to find out what they were doing. However, it was a lie because all he did was ask questions about the Frenchman. Betty is taken aback and asks what would he want to know if she has already introduced them to each other. Sophia tells her that Armando gets jealous anytime someone gets close to her. Mariana tells her how they told him that Michel was such a “galan”. Bertha goes on to tell her how they told him that they had walked on the beach plus the rest of the story they told. Everyone, including Betty, begins to laugh. Betty tells them that she and Michel never walked on the beach. Bertha says what does it matter if they did or didn’t. Betty asks why they told him all of that. Aura Maria tells her that they did it so that he will know that other men are turning to look at her. Also, that she hasn’t lost anything not being with him. Mariana tells her that they told him that Michel had come after her. Betty says that he will know believe that Michel has come to manipulate her in order to obtain the Company. This explains why Armando looked at Michel the way he did.
Sophia says that it doesn’t matter because the Frenchman didn’t come to take the Company or Betty. Betty goes silent and turns away. Sophia quickly gets up and asks if Michel came to steal the Company. Betty answers no, but he did come to take her. In unison the Cuartel yells, “What!”. Betty fills them in on what he offered. Aura Maria asks if she plans on accepting. Betty says that everything is going well for the Company and her relationship with Armando and Marcela has worsened. She says that seeing Armando begin a new life with another woman would kill her. In turn, Michel has offered her a new life, a change, the ocean, a better job in a beautiful city. Bertha asks if she is going.
After a brief period of silence, Sophia says that their days are counted. Mariana asks why doesn’t she take them with her. Betty tells them that the Company does not have the capacity to employ them and they would have to move with their families and that would not be easy. Sandra asks if she realizes what terrible news she is giving them. Betty says yes, but that it is time to think of herself and it is a great opportunity. Bertha asks if besides work, is there another reason why he wants to take her. Aura Maria says that of course there is. Betty says that will have to wait until later. Sophia tells her that she should not let that opportunity pass because of them. Betty tells them that she is not leaving right away as there are things that need to be organized. She would like to leave as soon as possible. She tells them not to worry because she plans on leaving them very secure in their positions.
Inesita asks Betty if she has told Armando that she is leaving. Betty answers no. Sandra tells her not to tell him today. They continue to tell her about Armando’s behavior and how they had to call Mario to try to calm him. Betty asks out loud what could be happening. Inesita says that she believes it has to do with Michel. Betty immediately believes that Armando thinks that Michel has come to take the Company. She says that it’s best not to talk to him today. The Cuartel is worried that Armando could hit him and leave his face bruised. Bertha thinks that the bruises would go very well with his blue eyes. Sophia suggests that Betty and Michel leave immediately.
Cata is telling Michel that one of the problems that Betty may encounter is leaving her parents. She tells him how they have a very close relationship. Michel thinks that this is marvelous and would like to know what they do. At this point, Betty enters. Cata tells her what they were talking about and Betty tells Michel that her father is an accountant and her mother a housewife. Betty tells them that she doesn’t know what they have planned, but that she would like to leave. Michel suggests that they go out to dinner or somewhere else. Cata says that she has plans, but suggests that they go out.
After Cata leaves, Michel asks where they will be going. Betty says that since she doesn’t go out much she doesn’t know of any places. Her telephone rings and it’s her mother. Her mother informs her that don Hermes would like to know what time she plans on arriving home. Betty tells her that a friend from Cartagena is in town and that they plan on going out. Dona Julia asks if it is the one from the photo. Betty answers the same. Dona Julia asks why doesn’t she bring him home in order for them to meet him. Betty explains to her that he is in town on business and that he doesn’t know Bogata. Michel asks what is happening. Betty promises to take him the next time he is in town. Michel immediately agrees to go and meet her. Betty agrees to take him.
After hanging up, dona Julia is very excited. Running back and forth she tells don Hermes that Betty is bringing over a French friend. She orders him to take out the whisky while she cooks and she orders him to get dressed. Don Hermes wants to know where Betty met this man. After finding out that it was in Cartagena, don Hermes tells her that he had told her that he didn’t believe that Betty had not behaved as well as she had said.
The Cuartel is discussing how they are going to loose a great friend. Inesita believes that the only thing that could keep her there is if she knew that Armando was changing and that there is nothing between him and Alejandra. Aura Maria asks how can they do that to her. If they were to tell her, she would stay. Armando would then begin dating someone else and Betty would have lost her opportunity with Michel. They are all in agreement that this is the time to think about Betty.
Nicolas comes out of his office and asks the Cuartel what is wrong. He asks if someone died. Bertha answers that it feels as though Betty has died. At the moment, Betty and Michel come out of her office. Betty is telling Michel what her father is like and that it might not be a good idea for them to go. Michel tells her that if she is seriously considering moving to Cartagena, he would be happy for them to get to know him. The Cuartel and Nicolas witness the conversation. Michel believes that her parents should join them in Cartagena. Upon seeing Nicolas, Betty introduces him to Michel as her best friend, almost her brother. Nicolas congratulates him on his new business and Michel tells him that he would be happy for him to come visit them in Cartagena. As he is saying this, he puts his arm around Betty. The Cuartel let out a sigh in unison. Betty asks what is wrong. Bertha answers nothing. Betty asks about Armando and Sandra says that he is still with Mario. After they leave, Sandra sarcastically comments on how happy they were when he first arrived.
In Armando’s office, Armando continues to read while Mario looks on with a whisky in hand. Armando is reading the section where Betty has written that her kisses make Armando sick. Armando pounds his hand at the wall saying that it can’t be. Mario wants to know what is happening. He tells him that the diary states how he was only with her in order to save the Company and that her kisses made him sick. He says that this has to stop now.
Armando has hit the emotional “wall” (literally and figuratively), now what’s next?
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITE"This has to stop now! She’s going to hate me for the rest of her life!” cries Armando.
“Calm down, don’t exaggerate so,” wheedles Mario. “Keep in mind she has her “visitor”… her “monsieur”…” (As if this is going to calm Armando-reminding him that she’s got a new distraction!)
“That’s an even graver problem,” Armando replies, his desperation continues to mount. “The Cuartel told me that there’s chemistry between them! Between Betty and the Frenchman there’s chemistry! And (based upon what) I just finished reading, I’m not going to permit him to take her away!” He waves the sacred diary in Mario’s face for emphasis and slams it down on the desk. “I’m not going to let that happen! No! I’m never going to let that happen!”
Mario will agree to anything Armando says at this point to avoid further confrontation. “Perfect, perfect!”
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONMarcela, meanwhile, wants to know what’s going on with Armando and what’s behind the racket he’s making, so she’s come out to check with Patricia.
“Is it true you don’t know what’s happening in the office?”
“No idea. All I know is that the Cuartel called Mario in and now they’re locked in there together.” Patricia is equally adrift as to what’s going on and you can tell it’s killing her. Just then she spots Betty and Michel rounding the corner and she hisses to Marcela, “The French guy! The French guy!” so that her friend can check out the hunk for herself. “There’s the French guy!” The two play coy, appearing to review a magazine, and Betty and Michel approach.
Betty stops, she’s looking for something in her purse (the diary). Michel notes her hesitation.
“Has something happened?”
“Yes. It’s just that I can’t find a very important book…”
She and Michel note the two women (and their studied nonchalance) and Betty offers a terse, “Buenas,” which Michel politely echoes. Marcela and Patricia repeat the greeting (their “nonchalance” cover is blown when you can tell that the magazine they’re “reading” - Who’s Who 2001 - is upside down!) and from the looks on their faces, they enjoyed their glimpse of the Frenchman. (Oh Marcela… it’s good to see that you can enjoy some ‘scenery’ and leave aside for a second your Armando fixation!) Betty and Michel enter the elevator and head downstairs.
“Wow… He’s divine, isn’t he Marcela?” swoons Patricia.
Armando rushes out of his office and slams the door shut, making the two women jump. He heads towards Betty’s office.
“Armando!” Marcela calls after him. “What was happening in your office? They tell me that they heard a horrible noise?”
He whirls around to respond tersely - he doesn’t have time for this, he’s got to talk to Betty! “Yes, they did. I smashed it up. I did it myself,” he takes an impatient, self-mocking half bow as if to say, “Y eso…¿Qué?” and heads back down the hallway without a backward glance.
“He’s very strange,” Patricia advises Marcela. “He’s kind of half crazy!”
The Cuartel is speculating on who at Eco Moda might assume the presidency after Betty. Sofia ventures that there are few options, “Perhaps Do-a Marcela?” This doesn’t sit well with the others.
“And then the Peliteñida is automatically a vice-president? How’s that!” pouts Sandra.
Behind her we see Armando approaching.
“Then, Daniel Valencia…” proposes Sofia.
“No!” exclaim the others.
“The other option is Don Roberto…” she adds.
The others murmur that that could be acceptable.
“…Or the hyena Don Armando…” Sofia never learns her lesson about publicly insulting her superiors because the “hyena” himself has passed within earshot of this salvo and he pulls up, a very testy look on his face.
“Are you talking about me?” inquires Armando, doing his very best Travis Bickle.
Busted, Sofia hops up and starts to try and deny her guilt. “Oh no! We were talking about another hyena… (He’s not happy, try again!) We were speaking about another beast… (No, that’s not it either!) Of another Don Armando…”
With a sharp look, he leaves them to rush into Betty’s office, only to discover her gone. He returns to the Cuartel with an accusatory, “Where is Beatriz?”
Aura Maria volunteers the obvious, “She left.”
“Where did she go?”
The Cuartel exchange nervous glances - should we tell him anything? Aura Maria tells him that they don’t know, all Betty told them was, “Ciao…”
“Did she leave alone,” asks Perry Mason Mendoza, “or did she leave with the Frenchman?”
More nervous looks. “With the Frenchman,” confesses Aura Maria.
Armando’s pained by this inevitable news. “How long since they left?” The answer’s not quickly forthcoming. (Inés jumps her line a bit) and he shouts again, “How long since they left?”
Inés ventures in a conspiratorial whisper, “It’s only been a few minutes.”
Armando seizes on this information and rushes off, leaving the Cuartel to berate Inés for saying anything to Armando about Betty. Inés is unrepentant.
“Who are we to deny this information to Don Armando?”
He taps incessantly on the elevator button, willing it to appear.
Marcela and Patricia can’t figure him out. “What is going on with you, Armando?” asks Marcela. “Calm down!”
The elevator opens to reveal Freddy grooming himself. Armando enters the elevator and grabs him. “Have you seen Betty?”
He nervously tells Armando that he’s just seen the Colombian with the French bread. Armando tosses him out of the elevator to the amazement of Marcela and Patricia and to Freddy as well, and the doors close on him. Freddy is shaken by this peremptory side of Armando and pulls out Armando’s old ID badge from under his own. “Lately I’ve seen an inexplicable side to the Doctor,” he comments, looking at the card in amazement.
OUTSIDE ECO MODAWilson greets Betty as she and Michel leave the building. Outside, Michel notes that he doesn’t have a car, should he ask for a taxi? Betty informs him that she has her own car and points to it. She beeps the unlocking remote and laughs.
“Don’t tell me that you’re one of those whose afraid of women who drive!” she asks him playfully.
“No, it’s just that I feel a little less amiable when they drive,” counters Michel. (Ah hah! Could this be his first ‘wart’?)
Betty offers him the car keys so that he can drive and he escorts her to the passenger side. She enters and he says, “Yeah… No I feel better!” As he walks around to the driver’s side, Betty looks nervously to the entrance. She definitely wants to escape before Armando notices she’s gone. Michel enters and fires up the engine and backs out. They’re way down the block when Armando rushes out the door, shouting for her.
“Betty!” (Look, he’s found his glasses!)
Wilson points out to him where they’ve gone and Armando looks down the street after them. He runs back over to Wilson and asks where his car is.
“Your car? You parked it in the garage. Don’t you remember?”
“I parked it in the garage?” In other words, Armando, it’s not handy to go chase after her.
“It’s not my fault you parked it in the garage,” Wilson counters apologetically.
This is getting Armando nowhere. He asks Wilson if he heard where they were going.
“In truth, I didn’t see or hear anything,” Wilson is no help and Armando’s patience is frayed. “The only thing I noted was when she gave him the car keys so that he could drive.”
“Ah hah? So the French guy is driving Betty’s car?” Armando’s annoyance factor is rising exponentially. “That’s great!” As he reenters the building he leaves Wilson with a few parting insults, “Blind! Deaf! Brute!”
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONInés is still defending her actions to the Cuartel. “Well you can be annoyed with me all you want, but you’re making attributions that never happened. How’s that? Making decisions for Betty without consulting her? Now that the Frenchman is taking her away you’re all crying! Who can understand you?”
Patricia has called it to Marcela’s attention that the Cuartel’s not working.
“Let’s see…” Marcela asks cynically, “When does your meeting end, ladies? It’s only that the business would like to know what hours we can count on from you.”
The Cuartel sadly say that they’re done and Marcela is about to pursue the reason for their mopey behavior when Armando returns to the 2nd floor.
“Aura Maria!” he shouts stridently. “Aura Maria!”
“Here I am, Doctor!” she calls over to him.
“I need you to get me in touch with Beatriz, urgently. I need to speak with her!”
“But Doctor,” hesitates Aura Maria, “I don’t know where I can get in contact with her.”
“And you don’t have her number for her cellphone? Or am I mistaken?”
Armando is making Aura Maria very nervous (and everyone else too with his intensity and wild demeanor). “Yes, Doctor…”
“Yes, I’ll get her…” She runs to go do so.
Armando turns back towards his office, walking right between Marcela and Patricia as if they didn’t exist. The two exchange a stunned look. He thinks of something and turns back again. With a flick of the hand he shoulders aside Patricia as if she were a pesky mosquito and draws a bead on the rest of the Cuartel.
“And what’s the matter with you? Why do you all look so sad? Hmm…?”
Inés volunteers hesitantly, “It’s that Betty told us just a short while ago that very soon she’s going to resign from Eco Moda.”
This news just about wipes out Armando. It’s all he can do to hold back the tears. “I see… She told you this? When is she going to leave Eco Moda?” When they hesitate he calmly urges them, “Look… Tell me to my face… Tell me the truth. What’s happening?” They don’t answer him and his tenuous hold on his temper slips. “Tell… me… what… is… happening!”
Berta swallows and begins; “It’s that the French guy who came… from Cartagena… offered her a very good job.”
Armando holds himself tightly (keeping himself under control?). “Good… good…” He can’t stand this. “Aura Maria!” he shouts.
“Call Beatriz for me, but urgently, and pass her to me in my office! Move it!” he roars, his voice husky with unshed tears and panic. He wheels about and collides with Patricia (who’s been holding her fingers under her nose all this time as if something smelled bad; apparently it’s Armando and the smell of the alcohol). He gives her a wordless snarl and heads to his office.
She comments to Marcela that he’s had a snootful, “He’s been drinking!” As Marcela heads back to her office, Patricia grabs her. “Marcela! Marcela! Do you think Betty is leaving Eco Moda?”
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITEIn the doorway to his office Armando stops, making a fervent vow. “He’s not going to take her away! He’s not going to take her!” There in his office he spots Mario calmly seated at a tidier desk, lightly savoring Betty’s diary. (Desgraciaaaado!)
“But what are you doing here? What are you doing?”
“Various things… Organizing the office because you left it a mess. Reading the diary… but I haven’t finished it yet. It’s very interesting. Look, I think the battle isn’t lost yet because here (flipping pages) it says she’s still in love with you…” Mario is pretty cool about all this and oblivious to his ‘friend’s’ mood.
“Who gave you the authorization to read this, Caldron?” Armando leaps forward and seizes the diary from Mario’s hands. He grabs him by the collar and shakes him for good measure. “Fool! How could you be so forward?”
Mario brushes him off and stands up (get out while the getting is good!) but Armando’s not done with him yet. “You don’t touch what is sacred! You understand? To me Betty is sacred!”
“What sacred? My god! We shared your private moments with her, what’s the big deal? I don’t know who knows it better, me or you!”
Mario’s flippancy is the last straw for Armando. He hauls off and belts him, hard, across the jaw.
“Hey! Why did you hit me?” asks the bleeding and clueless Mario.
“Because you’re a rat!” Armando’s not finished with the insulting Mr. Dimples. He grabs him and prepares to toss him out, but shakes him instead. “You’ll respect Betty for me! Understand this you, the man who respects nobody! You’re going to respect Betty. How you’re going to do this? I don’t know, but you’re going to learn!” He gives Mario a shove towards the door.
“Fine! Don’t push me anymore! No more! But I don’t know why you mix me up in your tragedy… You’re the protagonist of all this! What did we do? You did it all!” Deny, deny, deny, Mario! “Besides, you’re the one who told me what disgust it gave you to kiss her. What did we do? Then…” Any further insulting denials of complicity are cut off by another punishing blow from Armando’s fist.
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONMario staggers out into the hallway, Armando hot in pursuit. He grabs Mario by the collar to the amazed horror of Sandra and Aura Maria. He shoves him into one of the lobby chairs.
“Not another word! Not another syllable!” he threatens Mario. “I tell you I’ll kill you!”
“Come on, hit me!” challenges Mario (never more Satan-like, IMHO). “If that’s what will make you feel cleaner. Hit me! But let me tell you, you’re dirtier than I am. You’re the one who executed it. You’re the one who planned the “detalles”. Now you want to beat your breast! The crime was yours… The crime was yours.”
Sandra and Aura Maria are taking all this in - very interesting because there’s no pretense that Armando’s going to keep his role in the affair secret any longer, or so it would seem. He doesn’t know that they know the truth, but he’s clearly beyond caring.
“At least I have a soul burning,” Armando counters fiercely. “At least I have I have sorrow, shame. At least I know that I’m paying for what I’ve done. I know that I don’t have your cold blood, your cynicism… to continue enjoying and mocking at the expense of the flesh and blood woman who you and I destroyed and threw into disgrace!” Armando’s words barely reach Mario. He seems more concerned with the avid gaze of the two women. Armando continues his passionate assault. “I could go to hell. Yes, to hell… But I will beg for forgiveness, a word that you don’t know!
The other members of the Cuartel draw close, as do Marcela and Patricia. Mario looks to be half enjoying this scene.
“Because you, Caldron,” continues Armando, “can’t distinguish between the sacred and the garbage!”
Marcela steps forward, “Armando! What’s happening?”
He pauses for a second, glancing with animosity at Mario, but Mario answers for him. “Nothing,” he says lightly. “Nothing. We’re just here having a hand-washing session. Armando just decided to do his with his fists, that’s all.” He saunters over to the elevator and presses the button. “I hope this serves to purify your soul and redeem you. Over all, I’m renouncing Eco Moda, and above all, our partnership. I resign from all of you… Many thanks.” Entering the elevator, he takes the opportunity to get in a parting shot. “Ah, Armando! You think that hell is that black pit where sinners go after dying? No!” His eyes alight with wicked glee. “Your hell is here. Your hell is their’s (pointing to the women). And their hell is you. May God keep you in his glory.” Mario makes his cynical final exit as the elevator doors close, posing as if a priest offering his final benediction.
Armando walks to the elevator and smacks the wall, profoundly sad. Marcela walks over to him.
“Armando! What’s this spectacle all about?”
“This is something between him and me.”
“Yes, but you’re using Eco Moda like a set!” She turns to the gawking women, “Get back to work!” They scurry and she turns back to Armando.
“Aura Maria, have you made that call yet?” Armando has only one thing on his mind.
“Yes, Doctor. I’m calling now,” replies Aura Maria.
“I’m not going to ask you what’s going on,” says Marcela, “because I know. It’s killing you that Beatriz is out with the Frenchman! And above all, it’s killing you that she’s going to leave Eco Moda with him!”
“Marcela, I don’t want to be rude to you, but this is not your problem!”
“Yes it’s my problem!” she counters. “When she’s threatening to leave Eco Moda!”
“You know what…?” muses a fatigued Armando. “I have such little desire to continue listening to you…”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to bother you more. I’m going to give you time to assimilate what’s going on with her. I tell you you’re in a losing battle and you’re in hell, like your friend says. But I’m telling you too that you’re going to come out of it (hell) and when you do, we can talk then!” She leaves, striding towards her office.
Armando watches her leave with a sour expression. He turns to note the Cuartel who all of a sudden have become very busy, then heads back to his office. The women can hardly contain themselves, what with all of the drama recently enacted before their eyes.
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITEArmando enters his own office and starts to mutter to himself. “Dammit, Caldron! Dammit! I hope you rot in hell! But her, Caldron, you respect her because she’s sacred to me! Sacred!” He notes the diary on the desk and sits down to read some more. He flips to where he left off.
“But the brain never can go against the heart because the heart is irrational and mine, in this case, has no dignity. Tonight it beat like it had not beaten in a long time. With his single look, with his voice alone, I felt so weak. My heart did not wish to accept the logic of my disaster. It’s as if it was immune to all Don Armando had done to me, a traitor that continues beating when I see Don Armando.”
Armando’s eyes fill with wonderment. He looks up and closes the book for a second. “What’s this?” His voice barely a whisper. Dare he hope? “She still feels something for me? My God!” He continues reading.
CASA PINZÓNJulia’s putting out the snacks and the whiskey. Hermes hustles downstairs patting on the aftershave. Julia hears the beep-beep of Betty’s horn and calls excitedly to her husband, “That should be them! Fix your tie, please.”
Hermes replies contrarily, “What, is the king of France coming or what? Bla bla bla,” he imitates speaking French to Julia’s annoyment. She goes to open the door. Betty and Michel step inside and Betty introduces her parents to him. No sooner are names exchanged than Hermes jumps into it with Michel, “And where did you meet Betty?”
“Cartagena,” says Michel softly.
“Oh ho,” starts Hermes, but Julia cuts him off by inviting Betty and Michel to take a seat in the parlor. Hermes invites Michel to take a whiskey and he accepts. Betty’s cell phone rings and she goes to the dining room to answer it.
“How’s it going, girl, where are you?” asks Aura Maria.
“At my house,” replies Betty. “Why?”
“Betty, Don Armando is like a crazy person,” Aura Maria tells her nervously. “He wants me to locate you.”
“For what?” asks an incredulous Betty.
“He wants to speak with you! Imagine, he found out that you left with the French guy and he went after you like a crazy man, then he wanted me to find you wherever!”
“Aura Maria, for nothing in the world should you tell him where I am,” orders Betty. “I don’t want any scandals in my house!”
“Oh Betty,” cries Aura Maria, “Armando knows that you’re going to leave Eco Moda and that you’re going with Michel!”
This is the scariest news for Betty. “How can this be? How can he have learned all this?”
“Betty, you know how it is… We were here all a sea of tears and Don Armando came buy and noticed and started interrogating us. And Inesita told him that you were leaving! (tattletale!) And Berta got all frightened and told him you were going with Michel!”
Betty is hearing this news with trepidation. “Oh my God! And now what will he be thinking?” she wonders.
Aura Maria tells her about Armando’s fight with Mario and how Mario has resigned and Betty is even more startled. Julia notes her daughters alarm and looks more than a little alarmed herself. Aura Maria tells her that Armando’s locked in his office demanding that she locate Betty. Betty tells her that under no condition should she tell Armando where she is. Aura Maria agrees fervently and tells Betty to turn off her cell phone. “Cause he’ll ask me for the number!”
Betty agrees and thinks to ask Aura Maria another question. She tells her that she’s misplaced a notebook, perhaps in her office. It’s like a student’s notebook, with flowers on the cover. At this description (and the news that it’s misplaced) Julia reacts with alarm. She knows darn well it’s the diary!
“When you find it, guard it well. Don’t let anyone see it, and don’t even look at it yourself, you see?”
Aura Maria promises to comply with this request. Betty hangs up and Julia asks her what the problem is.
“Don Armando is like a crazy person,” she tells her mother. “If he calls, tell him that I’m not here, that you don’t have any idea where I am.”
Julia wants to know why and Betty confesses that it’s because he’s discovered that soon she’s going to go to Cartagena to work with Michel. This is not a pleasant surprise for Julia. Betty asks her if they can speak of it later and they agree to do so, hurrying off to attend to Hermes and Michel.
THE EX-EXECUTIVE SUITEArmando continues reading the diary.
“Today I’m sure about one thing: I can’t support the idea of seeing Don Armando resume his life with another woman at his side.”
He rises to his feet, amazement and hope growing in him.
“That would be most painful for me and if this were to happen, I would have to leave Eco Moda.”
His eyes shine. “She loves me! She loves me still! My God! I’m not going to lose her! I’ve got to get her back!
Aura Maria tells Bertha and Sofia that she contacted Betty at home, but that Betty said that under no circumstances should she let Armando know her whereabouts. And much less that she’s with the Frenchman. Aura Maria jumps a mile when she hears Armando call her, demanding to know why she’s not at her desk. Aura Maria thinks fast and says that Betty left her the task of looking for a notebook, but that she can’t reach Betty because her cell phone is off. Armando demands the truth. Aura Maria manages not to blab, despite his threats. “Fine, fine” says Armando. I suppose that Betty is out on the town with the Frenchman and that those tears I saw were because you are so happy to see the him whisk her off to Cartagena!” He stalks off. Berta is upset that Armando thinks they are happy to see Betty go. Inesita says that Armando knows they are lying and he, with reason, considers the cuartel his worst enemy.
At home, Julia comes in to Betty’s room saying that Michel is a doll. She asks if he’s interested in Betty. Betty responds that Catalina thinks he is. With mixed emotions Julia asks if that means they’ve lost Betty forever. Embarrassed, Betty says it’s not like she’s going to marry him or anything. But Julia says that if Betty has already accepted moving to Cartagena, it’s only logical that she has also accepted him - and it’s to be expected since he’s so handsome and such a gentleman. “And you deserve it, honey, it’s like going from hell to heaven” says Julia. “I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.” Betty again tells her she’s not going to marry Michel and that he has promised them an apartment in Cartagena because he knows she wouldn’t leave Bogota without them. Julia says that it will be difficult to convince Hermes. Betty says they’ll have to see how he gets along with Michel.
Out in the living room, Hermes and Michel chat about Cartagena. Hermes is convinced that it’s a party town, and that Betty lived it up while she was there. Michel assures him that Betty is a very serious woman, committed to her work. Hermes agrees, saying she’s very responsible and that it’s cost him and eye and a leg (eye of the face, literal) to educate her . He asks Michel how to say it in French. L’oeil de la tete, replies Michel. Hermes runs with it. Singing La Marseillaise, he escorts Michel over to Betty’s diplomas. They continue their chat. Michel invites Hermes and Julia to visit Cartagena, offering to cover all the costs. “Ooh la la” says Hermes.
Back at Eco Moda, Patty wonders who will replace Betty as President if she leaves Eco Moda. Marcela says they’d have to see. Patty immediately says Marcela is the logical candidate and that she, Patty, would be her vice-president. After all, she did six semesters of finance at the San Marino. Exasperated, Marcela replies that Armando would be the most likely option. She says that since he thinks he’s lost Beatriz to the Frenchman, by backing him for the presidency, he’d realize that she, Marcela, is the only one that still loves him and supports him
Out in the hall, the an anguished cuartel thinks that Armando considers them cruel and heartless. Armando approaches, yelling. They scatter like a bunch of chickens. He gestures to Aura Maria. She approaches him. Chin to chin, he warns her that unless she and her friends tell him where Betty is, he’ll have to go to Betty’s house and sit there until she comes home. Aura Maria gulps. Armando leaves, slamming the door. Inesita tells them that he’s not crazy, he’s just upset that Betty is leaving. The cuartel continues to insist that they can’t fail Betty. Inesita leaves and goes into Armando’s office without the cuartel seeing her.
In his office, Armando separates his love letters from the ones Mario wrote. Ines comes in. She tells him to try to calm down. Armado says that he must find Beatriz. Inesita tells him that she’s at her house. Armando asks if she’s with “him”. Inesita nods. Armando slams his fist down on the desk. Inesita again insists he calm down. She advises him to keep his wits about him because he’s at a disadvantage - that just one little mistake will ruin his chances. Armando doesn’t know what to do. Inesita explains that the cuartel thinks that Michel is the best option for Betty, but that they don’t want her to go. She tells him that she has a feeling that Armando’s angst has more to it than just his concern for the firm and that is why she’s telling him where to find Betty so he can talk to her. Relieved and hopeful, Armando promises that he won’t disappoint her. He will bring Betty back to this company.
He exits his office clutching the black trash bag containing the cards. With renewed determination, he tells the cuartel that he will bring Betty back and that under no circumstances will he allow her to go to Cartagena. Patty looks on with interest as each of the cuartel pipes up and says how much they love Betty and that they can’t imagine not having her around. That they want the best for Betty but that they don’t want her to leave. Armando quietly swears that Betty will never leave.
After Inesita went to Armando’s office to tell him that Betty went to her home, she told him also that Michele was with her. Armando began to have a controlled tantrum and Inesita counseled him to get a hold on his emotions and that he had too much to lose. She also declared to Armando that the cuartel really were not his enemies, just very good friends of Betty. They want only the best for her but can’t stand the thought of losing her, and they all agree that the only person that could keep Betty in Ecomoda was Armando. She pleaded with him to go to Betty both for his sake and that of Ecomoda : “Vaya por ella, Doctor, vaya por ella!” In the next scene, Armando is holding the famous black bag close to his heart while the cuartel, less Inesita, are grouped together, weeping. Patty stands to the side starring at them without comprehension. Sobbing between her words, Aura Maria also pleads with Armando, telling him that without him they will lose their Betty. Armando swears to them : “I won’t allow anyone to take her away, I swear it. When she is with us, we are very happy. It is my charge to bring her back to Ecomoda.” Then, starting with Bertha, each of them in turn run to Armando, throw their arms around his neck, and confessing their love for him, bestow their blessings for his success. Last is Aura Maria who tells him that he is the only one who can help them keep Betty. He tell her that he won’t let Betty go. Then he gets into the elevator. Aura Maria asks him where he is going and he answers: “Don’t worry about me; I’m going to look for my peace [Betty]” then the doors close. The deep gloom of the cuartel converts into glee as they turn away from the elevator. Sofia is clapping her hands. One of them says, “He’s gone to look for Betty.” They pause, Aura catches up to them and says, “What an idiot I am. He doesn’t know where to look for her.” Sandra comments, “He went home with the black bag [filled with memories] He will probably look for her in the morning.” “But won’t that be too late?” asks Bertha. They chorus, “Oh no!” All their faces cloud over once again, and Patty spits out,”Rrrrriiidículas!” Aura Maria threatens to throw the book in her hand at her. In Betty’s home, Don Hermes is showing Michel a tango album with the picture of Carlitos Gardel, whom he calls a Zorzal Criollo [Criollo thrush ?] then he breaks out in a rich baratone voice singing, “Rechiflado en mi tristeza ... hoy te evocó y veo que has sido en mi pobre vida paria” [I whistled in my sadness ... today I called your name and see that you have been in my poor solitary life] Then he asks Michel if he knew the song and he answers: “Sí, sí” Don Hermes leads Michel over to a rust colored sofa while telling him that the album in his hand is a marvelous tango, not from Argentina< however, it is from the birthplace of the tango, France. Argentina embraced it and made it famous. Then Don Hermes asks Michel where in France is he from. “Paris,” replies Michel.
Don Hermes offers his guest another ice cube for his drink. Michel thanks him. Then Don Hermes lays the album on the sofa between them and reclines against the arm to launch into a saga about his uncle, Viejo Larzar Pinzó, a portly old man about Michel’s size who arrived in Colombia with “un solo hato” [only one bundle of clothes] and made a lot of money that he accumulated “en medio de la boñiga” [literally in the middle of horse dung – maybe a teamster. ] and so Michel listens politely until Julia returns with Betty to rescue the prince from Cartagena so that they could go out to dinner. Michel invites her parents to join them, but Julia politely refuses saying that Betty and Michel need some time alone. Don Hermes isn’t exactly delighted about their timely interruption, but finally announces that Michel has invited him and Julia to spend a weekend in Cartagena at the expense of Michel, who offers to be their guide. Both Julia and Betty seem to be surprised. Before the couple leaves, Don Hermes asks Michel for the French word for devil and pig. When Michel tells him, Don Hermes imitating a thick French accent repeats his famous quote in French, “Le diable est porc.” [The devil is a pig] Then he asks them where they are going. Michel tells him that it is a place called, “Almirante Padilla.”
After the couple leaves, Don Hermes starts to chew out his wife, Julia, for daring to interrupt him, then praises his captive listener as a gentleman, who had invited them to Cartagena. Julia, with a serious look on her face says, “Hermes, we have to talk.” The Don, still a bit peeved, asks her what do they have to talk about at that hour, the Frenchman or what …? Julia then drops a small bomb on him: “Betty is resigning Ecomoda to go work for the Frenchman in Cartagena.” Don Hermes colapses backward to sit on the sofa and , with his right arm punctuating his words, says, “I’ve said it a thousand and one times, Julia, le diable est porc.” Julia lifts her eyes to the ceiling, makes a helpless gesture with her hands … and we get a break for a commercial.
Pacing back and forth in the living room before his wife and the sofa, Don Hermes declares that Betty can’t go leaving behind such a mess in Ecomoda. Julia tells her husband that she is perfectly aware of their problems, but if she says she is leaving then she will leave, whether to Cartagena or anywhere else. Don Hermes continues his protest about the difficulties of moving, and so forth … until the door bell rings …
Hermes thinks that it is Nicholas (at this late hour) and orders Julia fix him a snack, then he leaves the room. Julia, remarking about Nicholas not having come to eat there for days, goes to open the door. In steps Don Armando with the black bag in his hands.
ARMANDO: Buenos noches.
JULIA: Don Armando, what are you doing here [ her turn to be irritated ]
ARMANDO: I’ve got to talk to Betty, Doña Julia.
JULIA: Betty is not here. She left. I don’t know when she will return.
ARMANDO: Did she go with him, with the Frenchman?
JULIA: Yes. You know that if you have something to talk to her about that you can do so tomorrow in Ecomoda.
ARMANDO: Doña Julia, I don’t know if you are aware of the fact that Betty is thinking about resigning from Ecomoda to go to work for the Frenchman in Cartagena. I can not allow that to happen. I can not let them compromise [Ecomoda] and much more this very night. Doña Julia, tomorrow may be too late, please …
JULIA, looking around to see if her spouse is in earshot replies defiantly: It maybe that you are intending to manipulate the life of Betty. You must think that you own her. Let her make her own decision. Leave her in peace, please …
ARMANDO: No, I won’t leave her in peace because I love your daughter and I’m not going to lose her.
About that time, Don Hermes calls out to his wife to find out what is going on.
ARMANDO: It’s me, Don Hermes.
HERMES, approaching: Oh, Doctor Mendoza, how can I help you.
ARMANDO: Well actually, I came to speak to your daughter. But since she is not here, maybe I can talk with you two.
JULIA: What do you want to speak to us about.
ARMANDO: About her and me.
JULIA: What do you want to say to him.
ARMANDO: You already know.
HERMES: What’s going on ???
JULIA: Hermes, leave us to talk alone.
HERMES, with his hands on his hips: Alone? Why?
JULIA, with new found courage: Because she is my daughter, please.
HERMES, raising his index finger to the ceiling: You’re not hiding something from me …
JULIA: No, Hermes.
Hermes, walking in front Don Armando: Bueno, está bien. Doctor come in, sit down and make yourself at home. [exits to the living room]
ARMANDO, closing the door behind him: Gracias. [still clutching the black bag enters]
JULIA: Have a seat [pointing to a rust colored sofa]
ARMANDO, taking a seat on the far left end, holds the black bag on his lap : Gracias
JULIA, taking a seat on the other end : Look, Doctor, I will never ever permit you to tell my husband about the terrible things you did to Betty to avoid killing him. You can imagine how he feels about his daughter, hear?
ARMANDO: Look, at some moment in time, Don Hermes will find out that I am in love with Beatriz … I love her.
JULIA: Hmmph! You aren’t deceiving me, Doctor Mendoza, I know very well the suffering of my daughter, and the pain that you inflicted on her. I know everything, from tear to tear “palmo a palmo” [literally bit by bit] … hmmmph [she straightens her back and stares forward out of the room.
ARMANDO: Doña Julia, you know very well everything that happened from the side of Beatriz. But you don’t know it from mine. Let me tell you my version, I beg of you.
The scene switches back to Ecomoda. Marcela strolls quickly out of her office and into area of the secretaries. Patty meets her on the way.
MARCELA: Has Armando left his office?
PATTY: Yes, Marci, he’s gone.
MARCELA: He’s gone, … where to?
PATTY: I have no idea, Marci, but I imagine that he made a pact with the cuartel. He swore to them that he was not going to allow Betty to resign, much less to go away with the Frenchman. How does it look to you?
MARCELA: He left to look for her?
PATTY: I don’t know, Marci. Although it seems that he does not know where she is.
MARCELA: Okay, it will just have to wait till tomorrow. I can’t take you to your apartment. I need to be alone.
PATTY: Don’t worry, Marci, You know that I solved my transportation problem.
As Marcela goes to the elevator, she hears bird whistles. It is Nicholas coming for his Patty.
MARCELA, with a “I don’t believe this stare” from the elevator: Buenas Noches, … Patricia …[ as Nicholas turns to look,the doors close ]
NICHOLAS, shuffling up to Patty’s desk: Que Hubo, Patty [ What happened, Patty] You want me to take you home …
PATTY, crossing her legs so that the side of the top calf faces Nicholas: Nicholas, I am waiting for you. Let’s go but tonight, first I want you to take me out for a little bite to eat, and tomorrow I want you to come by for me early at 7:30 a.m.
NICHOLAS: Don’t you worry, Patty. At home, I have a huge alarm clock that says, “Para Patti, para Patti, para Patti … ja ja ja
Nicholas turns and trips over just as the elevator doors open. Patty joins him as he picks himself up. Inside the elevator, Patty says, “That isn’t funny, Nicholas.” Then she pushes the button to shut the doors.
SANDRA: That guy just played the fool again for the pelitñida, right?
AURA MARIA: Um hum. What interests her is his car.
The scene shifts back to Betty’s house. Armando has placed the black bag on the sofa between him and Doña Julia, and he sits with his hands folded between his opened legs and his chin juted up to the ceiling. Doña Julia sits on the far right with her hands folded in her lap, staring at the floor in front of her.
PART TWO : ARMANDO TELLS DoñA JULIA THE WHOLE STORY
ARMANDO: Doña Julia, what was so horrible was my having lent myself to that plan. It was horrible my having seduced her, with love , all to save Ecomoda. But, at the same time, it was the best thing that every happened to me in my life. Because, to live … that life … with Betty, many doors opened. I came to know things that I never knew before. At first, I was indiferent to what was happening. I wanted only to fulfill this, as you might wish to say bitter, task [for Ecomoda] . I actually believed that I was … master of this game … imagine that … and no … no … because little by little I fell into the arms of Beatriz … I was left with her softness … her belief in me … I thought I could do the impossible … to fight it but … [ Doña J. turns to look at A with eyes wide open ] no, I could not … I just could not … I tried to rationalize, to look for reasons and I found … I found … NEVER before did I find anyone who loved me like Betty did … It was … her kisses … her sincere kisses … Because I felt such tenderness for the first time in my life. Imagine, ha, ha, a guy like me … feeling tenderness … My God! … Doña Julia … I was falling in love with … an Angel.
Doñ Julia turns her head away and stares out into empty space the asks …
JULIA: Why did you not say so …
ARMANDO, picking up a bottle from the coffee table: I said it … I say … a thousand times … a thousand times … [Doña Julia takes the bottle from Armando and pours him a drink] in the middle of all that was happening … to tried to express it … including … I myself [instead of Mario?] began to write notes … cards … with all my love … to show that I was sincere … For that reason, I brought these memories [ he points with open hand to the black bag ] … But of course, she had to discover that damned letter that Mario Calderon wrote me … “Y ahí se me fue todo al piso”. [ loosely translated: “And this was the cause of all that would come to pass.” just a wild guess on my part, Betty fans ]
Doña pours Don Armando another drink. She has a softer expression on her face. Is she beginning to believe ...
ARMANDO: Because … Because nothing … Doña Julia … She never again believed in me. She did not believe that I was capable of falling in love with … that I loved her … and she left … And for me, my life was destroyed … I tried to go back to Marcela … and worse … what happened to me after was worse … Betty returned and nothing … We were in this threatening mess together … the lawyers … the Hell .. that damned Hell! … I tried to tell her that I loved her …and she didn’t believe me …
JULIA: “Ni sueñe que le va a creer … ¡hummph !” [ “Not in your wildest dream will she believe you … hummph!”
Armando gets up and walks past Doña Julia to the doorway (wihout doors) just beyond the sofa and leaning slightly places his hand on the edge of the portal. Doña sides down the sofa towards the black bag.
ARMANDO: I know! I know, Doñ Julia …At this moment I realize that the only way that she will believe me is for me to show her that I have changed … that I have transformed myself … that I was a different man … that I matured. I couldn’t make it with any other woman. I ended it with Marcela. [Doña Julia picks up the black bag and slides all the way to the far end of the sofa sitting on the edge with her back to Armando] I have a good Venezuelan friend and the whole world thinks that there is something between us. But that is not the way it was. I can imagine what was passing through Betty’s mind. Anyway, I was gathering hope … I I, I thought that if I let these things settle a while, I could show her that I loved her … Just at that moment, the Frenchman show up … with his promises … his paradise … his everything. [Armando paces in front of Doña Julia and returns to the portal.] For that reason, at this very moment, Betty is making extreme decisions. It is wrong because I am no being given the opportunity …
JULIA: Doctor Mendoza, you have to understand that the pain you inflicted on my daughter is perhaps irreparable. For all that you say she feels … all that she feels, she is not going to excuse you …Betty will not return to you …she won’t believe … after all the lies … that plan … were monstrous. I’ll give this advice … get away from her, give it up, forget her.
ARMANDO: I can’t do that, Doña Julia. I know that Betty has suffered a lot. But do know what is the problem? That not you, not her, not anyone knows what I have suffered. … I have paid for this … with everything. I’m going to tell you something, Doña Julia, that if Betty does not return to me, if she does not remain in this city, if she does not give me another opportunity … I will pay with my life.
JULIA: Aye, Doctor Mendoza, don’t go on tormenting me with … suicide … not that, PLEASE.
ARMANDO: Oh no? … Look! It’s that it is the truth … It’s that … for me, my future is with Betty. If I have no future with her, my life has no meaning, Doñ Julia.
Don Armando drops to his knees at the feet of Doña Julia, placing both his hands tenderly on either side of hers in her lap.
ARMANDO: Look, already I begged God’s … already I begged of the Virgin forgiveness … already I begged Betty’s forgiveness. Now, I beg your forgiveness, because if you know so well how profoundly what has taken place between Betty and me, if you realize that Betty still has some feelings for me … you realize that she still loves me … I know that the Frenchman is offering her a paradise … but believe me that for her that paradise will not exist if she still has feelings for me. I know that I am the best one … and more … I am a loser … I am the worst that exists, but if Betty gives me another opportunity and reconciles with me … I will be able to show her all that she dreamed about me is real … all that she dreamed … that turned into a nightmare … I can transform it again into a dream because it mine as well.
JULIA: No, I can not compromise anything, Doctor Mendoza. Don’t ask me to intervene between you and Betty. I know her … how she thinks …
Don Armando gets up off his knees and sits down at the side of Doña Julia.
ARMANDO: Look, it’s okay. I am not going to ask for you to intercede for me any more before Beatriz, but please at least tell be where she is because Betty is making a decision today … it is going to be wrong …
JULIA: Well, talk to her tomorrow …
Armando jumps up doubled over painfully, as if he had appendicitis, and turns all the way around at the portal slowly standing up to face her again.
ARMANDO: No, but Doña Julia, … how can you say that? I can not sleep knowing that right now Beatriz is with a man that is totally indifferent to … because he is showing her a path where she can find refuge … a place where she can hide from all that happened, Doña Julia. I can not sleep knowing that she is with a man that is making promises, smiling, being so friendly with her … I can not … Look, I do not deserve to pass, like through a thousand nights … because I am jealous …because I love her profoundly.
Armando stands up and takes a deep breath, then he continues ...
ARMANDO: Alright! It’s okay, Doña Julia, now pardon me. I thank you for having listened to me. Now I will leave you in peace. I beg of you one favor, that you deliver that bag of memories to Beatriz and that you tell her all that happened here, … it is nothing more than the truth.
Armando walk toward to door to leave. Then, Doña Julia stands up and calls after him.
JULIA: Don Armando … For once in my life, I’m going to trust you. You know why? Because neither Hermes, nor I believe that the decision that Betty is making is correct. And … you are right … tomorrow will be too late. But promise me that you will conduct yourself properly, you will not cause problems, that you will speak with her peacefully …
ARMANDO: I swear by all that is sacred, Doña Julia, that I am not going to jeopardize this last opportunity that I have in my life …
JULIA: Betty is en … a place they call El Almirante … Almirante … Do you know?
ARMANDO: Yes! Yes!
Doña Julia has just told Armando where Betty went with Michel.
Armando-I know where it is.Doña Julia-I am going to trust you. I trustyour word that you are going tobehave correctly, that you are going totreat the issue as it shouldbe.A- Doña Julia, thank you, thank you!
Doña Julia-My God!
Doña Julia sits on the sofa, by the black bag. She opens it slightly, and takes out the Ferbie which makes his usual noises, while she cries.
Hermes comes back into the room and very seriously asks her.
Hermes-What did Dr. Mendoza want, Julia? Didhe find out that “la niña” isgoing to leave Eco Moda? Is that thereason? (he came)DJ-Yes “mi hijo” that among other things. “laniña” is going to have tothink very well the decision she istaking about her life.
Doña Julia picks up the bag and walks in front of Don Hermes to go towards the stairs.
Hermes- Julia, where are you going with that,today is not garbage day?Doña Julia-This is full of souvenirs.(she turns to leave again and adds)Souvenirs.
Don Hermes stays standing with a puzzled look on his face.
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Close up of a bar, a hand puts down a drink. Music is heard. The camera pulls away from the close up of the drink, and we see people coming into the bar/restaurant.Among them are Michel and Betty.Betty’s face is a bit serious. Michel sees an empty table and he tells her so, pointing in that direction. She smiles a little. He helpsher to the high stool, she thanks him and then he sits in front of her.
We hear the song that was heard (if my memory serves me right, correct me if I’m wrong), the first night Betty was in Cartagenawalking by herself by the sea touching the water, while Armandois in a bar in Bogota drinking alone thinking of her- and the singersare the same ones that we saw at El Meson de San Diego).
A waiter in a uniform comes to greet them.
Waiter-Good eveningBetty-Michel-Good evening.Michel-(to Betty) May I order for you?Betty-WellMichel-(to waiter) In that case, two tropicalcocktails, please.Betty-Ay no, how embarrassing, but It’s justthat I don’t drink.Michel-(with a disappointed look)-Ay but youauthorized me to order for you.
Betty just smiles at the waiter.
Michel-(to the waiter) You know what it is?That ever since I met this woman inCartagena, and I have a lot of goodmemories about her….
Betty smile widely
Michel-…and I want to re-live those momentswe shared. Do you understand me?Waiter-Yes sir.Michel-(to waiter) therefore, two tropicalcocktails, please.(to Betty)and don’t worry, you don’t have todrive, I’ll drive.(She fixes her glasses smiling just a little)Betty-I won’t worry.
They show the musicians, then the people in the bar. Sitting at the bar they show Ricardo Montaner having a drink listening to the music. A woman approaches him and we can see she is asking him for his autograph, to which he agrees.Close-up of Betty, she shows a big smile which quickly disappears as she looks around the bar, biting her lip.(she looks uncomfortable).Michel notices and asks her.
Michel-Is something the matter?Betty-(smiling) no no, it’s nothing. Would youexcuse me a moment?I’m going to the restroom.Betty leaves, Michel remains smiling and enjoying the music.We hear more music as we are shown the musicians again.
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
Aura Maria is sitting at her desk, resting her head on one hand. In the background we see Sandra holding her head with both hands.
Sandra-And how much longer do we have to waithere?Aura Maria-Until Betty calls, I can’t movefrom here, don’t you seethat she said she would call me?The phone rings at that moment.Aura Maria-Ay, I hope it’s her!She picks up the phone.Aura Maria-Hello
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Betty calling on her cell phone from a hallway, where you can still hear the music in the background.
Betty-Hello, Aura Maria, What’s up? This isBetty.What happened with Don Armando?
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
A.M.-Ay what’s up, Betty. We are here veryworried about you.Don Armando already left.There is a pauseA.M.-No, I have no idea
Sandra comes running to stand behind Aura Maria, and places her ear near Aura Maria’s phone so she too can hear.
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Betty-And you don’t know what he was thinkingof doing? or where he was going?
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
AM-Noooooooo! And what’s up with you, whereare you at, mi hija?
Realizing she is talking to her boss, she changes her way of talking.
AM- Ay Forgive me Doctora, ja ja ja
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Betty-No, I’m here in a restaurant/bar withMichel.PauseBetty-No, I din’t tell any one where it is.
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
AM-Ay Betty, don’t worry. Don’t be nervous.Look, Don Armandosaid, as he was leaving, that he is notgoing to let you resign,and that he was going to go find hispeace, and since he’s beendrinking so much, I think he went tosleep. I saw him a lotcalmer, Betty. But don’t you worry,tomorrow I’ll give youall the details. Calm down, OK?
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Betty- Well, Aura Maria, I’m going to try tocalm down, yes! At any case if DonArmando kept drinking, he probably wentto his apartment to sleep,don’t you think?
ECOMODA RECEPTION AREA 2nd FLOOR
AM-Ay, mi hija, what I could not find was thatnotebook you told me to look forbut tomorrow, calmly, I will keepsearching for it, is that OK?
EL ADMIRANTE PADILLA RESTAURANT-BAR
Betty-Well, if anything happens I’ll call youlater.Well, ciao Aura Maria.
Betty puts away her cell phone and walks back towards her table.
Outside in the street, Armando’s car arrives, and parks directly behind Betty’s car by the curb right in front of the club.
(Especially reserved for The Betty La Fea Stars, ja ja).
Armando gets out of his car and walks to stand next to Betty’s car.He pats Betty’s car and decides to walk inside the restaurant.
We are now inside El Admirante again. We see all the people clapping as another song begins.Close up of Michel shows him happy, lightly tapping the table to the rhythm of the music.With a big smile on her face Betty arrives at the table.
Michel-Everything OK?Betty-(still smiling) Yes, everything OK.Michel-(smiling but looking her deep into hereyes) I noticed you’ve beena bit tense.Betty-(hesitating a little)- Noo, it’s justthat since I left the office so early,I left several things outstanding, butnothing else. (smiles again)Michel-(concerned) The last thing I wanted todo with my surprise visitwas cause you problems.Betty- No no no, you haven’t caused me anyproblems, really. I just calledthe office and everything is very well.Michel-Then, you can now be more tranquil?
Betty smiles, but as Michel looks towards the musicians, she takes a deep breath and looses her smile.
We see the singer, and then Armando walking in.He hesitates at the entrance. He looks around, stretches his neck, and decides to keep walking in.
Betty smiles again as Michel turns to talk to her.Michel-(smiling) I understand your stress verywell. It is typical of livingin big cities. One can never enjoyanything!, as opposed to Cartagena…
Betty smiles brightly
Michel-….To work is a pleasure. Being allthe time by the sea You seepeople who are relaxed, enjoyinglife!, and you are going toenjoy your life! (he points a fingertowards her to stress his point)instead of being in a closed office.And when you go outside youare not going to breathe smog, no,instead you will see a bluehorizon, and at night the moonlightreflecting it’s light on the sea.Wouldn’t you like to radically changeyour life?Betty stops smiling and she looks pensive for an instant.Betty-Surely. Yes!Michel-In that case (he picks up his drink) ToCartagena.
Betty picks up her drink and they touch the cups, as she smiles. In the background Armando sees them. He bends foward over a lady’s shoulder to get better look the lady gives him a dirty look and Armando seems to apologize and he moves away.
Michel and Betty take a sip
Michel- I travel back to Cartagena tomorrow,if you like I can find you anapartment or a house with manywindows.Betty-Well, thank you, but we would have tofirst see about the costs.Michel-No, I don’t want you to worry aboutthat. Should you decide to go withme to work, I will take care ofeverything. Agreed?Betty smiling nods in agreement.Michel-Then lets toast to having you inCartagena.
They toast and as they take a sip asARMANDO APPROACHES THEIR TABLEHis lips are very tight. Betty nor Michel have noticed him yet, as each is facing down into their glasses.
Armando-Good evening!Betty jumps a little in her chair and puts down her drink very quickly.Michel just looks at himBetty’s eyes are opened wide as she looks at Armando.
Betty-And what are you doing here, Doctor?Michel’s face is seriousArmando-Don’t get up, I simply came over tosay hello.
The waiter comes to the table and asks Armando.Waiter-Does the gentleman wish to ordersomething?Betty-No, the gentleman is not going to orderanything, Thank you.Armando-(ignoring Betty)-Bring me a whiskey. (and then looking at Michel and Betty)…do you wish to order another drink?Betty-No thank you.Michel-(to the waiter) A whiskey for thegentleman.
Armando gets a stool from the next table and brings it over to sit next to Betty. Betty looks annoyed and maybe a bit nervous, she fixes her glasses and then moves her hands under the table.
Armando-I know that the gentleman is makingyou a job offer, Beatriz.(then looking at Michel) You know, Ididn’t know that when youcame to visit Beatriz, at Ecomoda itwas going to be to make hera job offer; to the President, to takeher away, I didn’t imagine itBetty- Please Doctor, the decision is mine!Michel- Forgive me, forgive me, but Betty toldme that she is planning to leaveEco Moda, and thus, I found itlegitimate to make her thejob offer. At no moment did I come totempt her to leave the Company.
Armando-Fine!, It seems LEGITIMATE to me.(he didn’t yell, he stressed the word).
Betty bites her lip in silence as Armando continuesArmando-…The problem is that the Company wasnot aware of it’s President’sintention to leave. (and as he saysthis he stares at Betty into hereyes).
Betty- Doctor you know that my return toEcomoda is transitory, and thatif among you and I, we have reached …(she sighs, searching for her words)…the goals that I proposed,(now more sure of herself, withdetermination)…then after I am at full liberty togo whatever I want!
Armando-(calmly) Of course you are in liberty.I simply wanted…(then to Michel)Excuse me if I’m bothering you(back to Betty)…for you to listen to Eco Moda’sproposal so that you will stay!
DRAMATIC MUSIC (not the musician’s)
Armando-(to Michel)that is also legitimate,right? (he smiles)
Michel’s face if very serious and he doesn’t answer.
Armando- Michel!, Michel, my friend, let metell you that Betty took overmy Presidency at Eco Moda. She hasbeen the best President that wehave ever had. She is freeing theCompany out of major debts thatwe incurred, because of my fault!
Betty is just listening with a serious face staring ahead.
Armando- We are about to reach zero debt,besides, she just threw the bestlaunching that we’ve had in manyyears!
Betty looks embarrassed, she fixes her glasses and looks down for a moment. She begins to bite her lips again as she again looks ahead.
Armando-and she had a genial idea, a brilliantidea,because let me tell you my dearfriend that Betty is brilliant!,to save our points of salesTell me with heart in hand, tell me,do you think I’m going to allow for awoman like this one to leave me?
Michel is still serious and silentArmando-No, right?Michel-Of course no, but, as far as Iunderstand, the success that she hasas President is not everything. Shewants to change environment.She wants a change in her life.
Armando-(finishing a sip from his drink) andthat is perfectly understandableBelieve me, I know, I truly know whyBeatriz wants to change her life.Betty looks like her eyes are getting watery, she is still silently sitting by Armando, mainly just looking ahead.
Armando now looks at Betty.Armando-Doctora Pinzon, I know Eco Moda hasnot been the best thing that hashappened in your life.now he looks at Michel…it was probably the most horriblething that has ever happened to her.
Betty’s eyes look red and as if they are filled with tears.
Armando-..besides it was late when we realizedher talent, her intelligenceand above all things, that wonderfulbeing that she has inside of her(he looks at Betty again, but she isstill just staring ahead)…we discovered all this little bylittle, Michel, and little by littlewe fell in love with each other!
DRAMATIC MUSIC AGAIN
Michel looks seriousBetty’s still looks the same
Armando-…at what exact moment that happened,I don’t know, but I know I found outtoo late, when Betty already had a lotof resentments deep inside ofher due to all the problems thathappened and all the misunderstandingsthat happened and…
he now looks at and speaks directly to Betty
Armando-…we haven’t had the time to clarify,right?Betty doesn’t answer, she looks away, not at himArmando-(back to Michel) In the same manner,we still keep believing in her,we still believe in her work. Weallowed her to take us in her handsto take us out of all the terribleproblems we have.
I know that Eco Moda is not the bestCompany, Look it’s a Company filledwith defects, and maybe the biggestdefect of Eco Moda is me.
(to Betty)But Beatriz, I know that you have alot of pain inside youthat we have caused a lot of badthings for you, and thatyou look at us as a havy burden, and Iwant you to know one thing,that we all love you. The employees,the secretaries the receptionist,the messenger, and of course, me!
Betty-(exhaling and looking at him for thefirst time in a while) No more,please, Doctor.(her voice is cracking as if she wants to cry)…I have to leave Eco Moda and you know it.
Armando-I know, but it’s just that I need, weat Eco Moda need that you give usanother chance.Michel-Doctor MendozaArmando-yeees.Michel- I understand your position, but I alsothink I understand Betty’s.I think that what she now needs is tobreathe fresh air. I thinkshe needs a calmer lifestyle, near thesea, less stressful, it’s whatshe is needing.
Armando picks up his glass and lifts it towards Michel and says.
Armando-Salud (good health)Michel does not replyArmando clicks Michel’s cup which is on the table, and addsArmando_Health, Michel, to Betty’s health!,You know what?, I agree with you,she needs a change of scene, she needsfresh air, besides,my proposal can’tbeat yours. Just think, how can Icompete with the sea, as opposed tothe holes in Eco Moda, or a goldensunset as opposed to a sunsetfilled with factories. Starry nightswonderful music, with the smell of thesea must be incredible as opposed tolow class clandestine bars that arevery dark and play vulgar music.I can’t compete with you, Michel.I want you to know that I think yourproposal sounds good, sounds wonderfulfor Betty, it’s just…and now looking back at Betty who is looking down with her hand over her mouth
Armando-…Doctora Pinzon, I simply want youto listen to me and think of what Iwant to tell you. I can’t offer youparadise, I am so far away from that!maybe all I can offer is those fourwalls that we shared togetherfor such a long time
THE ROMANTIC PIANO BACKGROUND MUSIC BEGINS (not the musician’s music).
Armando-…without the need of having to hearhow the waves crash on the shore ofthe sea, nor to see how the moon fallsbehind the horizon to live what welived Beatriz, to FEEL what we felt!.
(looking at Michel)We had enough with the moon overBogota, that cold moon that is thesame moon that has inspired so manypoets throughout time,and it’s whatwe want to live again, becausewe discovered that this is where lifewas, beating!
(looking at Betty again) (Betty looks like she can’t take all this anymore, she is not angry, she is sad? on the verge of tears? silent, serious, not able to look at Armando)
…that’s why I don’t want to loosethat, Beatriz! (he too soundslike he is about to cry now)
Beatriz-(takes a deep breath) Doctor, please,no more! I don’t want to talk aboutthat and much less here.(Now she looks him straight in his eyes)…Leave me in peace.I have asked you a thousand times.(she is not yelling, she is speaking softly,begging him)
Armando- Fine. I don’t want to ruin yourevening. Quite the contrary.I just wanted you to give me anotherchance, so I’ll leave you both andexcuse me, excuse me.
Armando gets up, takes his glass and leaves the table.
Betty follows him with her eyesBetty- He is not going to leave, he is notleaving.She begins to get upBetty-It’s best that we leave now Michel,Let’s go.Michel-(stopping her) No, no no. Calm down. Becalm because I think you and I need totalk. We are not going to go from here.
Armando is seen walking among the crowd towards the bar. There aretears rolling down his face. He finishes his drink and asks the barman for a double whiskey.
Armando-(crying and talking outloud to himself) I can’t loose her. I can’t looseher.I can’t loose her.I can’t looseher.I can’t loose her.I can’t looseher.I can’t loose her I can’t looseher..
He then notices Ricardo Montaner who is sitting across the bar from him,talking to someone.
Armando-Bar Man, isn’t that Ricardo Montaner?Bar man-Yes sir, he came to look at themusicians who are playing heretonight.
Armando-Ah, thank you.Bar man- Yes sir.Armando walks away.
Camera now takes us back to Betty and Michel
Michel-Betty, I think you are not going to beable to leave in peace, until youleave your situation with himclarified.Betty- I have nothing to clarify to him.Mycycle with Eco Moda is ending andI have all the liberty and all theright to choose my way, even if hecomes with proposals at the lastminute.Michel I want us to leave…Michel-Enough, enough, Betty, please, stoptrying to hide him from me,enough! Something happened with him,something that was very strong!, andwhat I think is, that you would beescaping to Cartagena,escaping from him!, escaping from whatyou feel!Betty-What happened between he and I is past,and it is nothing pleasant.It is a horrible story not worthmentioning, and I don’t have togive him any explanations nor continueto listen to him.Michel-It is not past, it is present. It’syour present and it is his present,and what I see here is that this is asituation that hasn’t concluded for youto call it past. And this guy needs totalk with you and if he can not do ittonight, he is going to want to do ittomorrow or the next, and he is goingto follow you. And what I also thinkis that if you leave this situationlike this you are not going to beable to feel that peace away from EcoModa, nor away from Bogota,you willnot be able to feel at peace anywhere!Betty, I don’t want to take a Bettythat leaves her heart in Bogota.No. I want to take a Betty who iswhole. I think that this is somethingthat is going to require time for youto recuperate.But you will achieve it. I am going tohelp you.
Armando approaches Ricardo and his friend who are still sitting by the bar listening to the music.Armando-Mr. Ricardo MontanerRicardo-(smiling) How is it going, how areyou?Armando-FineRicardo-I’m glad.(and he turns to face the musicians again)Armando-I want to ask you a favor.Ricardo-A favor?Armando-Yes, it’s a very big one!, you seethat girl sitting over there withthe tall blonde Frenchman?We see Betty and Michel from far talking with each otherRicardo-yes, yesArmando-How embarrassing, I want you to singher a song, a dedication from me!
We begin with Armando requesting that the famous singer perform his dedication. The singer apologizes and informs him that he is not there to perform, but to listen to the group that is on stage. Armando apologizes and tells him that he is not the type of person to do this type of thing, he is embarrassed, but this is very important to him. The singer gives him some suggestions, jokingly. Armando tells him that it is an emergency. At this point, the singer looks at Betty and says that she isn’t dying. “No, she isn’t. The one that is dying is me”, says Armando.
The singer wants to know what he means. He goes on to tell Armando that he doesn’t want to get involved in a row. He says that Betty is accompanied and that the gentleman is taller than he. Armando says that he realizes that he is being a bother. The problem he says, is that he is desperately in love with Betty. He continues to say that he is going to lose her and that he is losing her at this moment. He tells him that Betty is going to leave with Michel and that he needs to demonstrate to her that he loves her. He needs to demonstrate it with something big. He needs to demonstrate that he wants her to stay by his side and it can’t be with just his saying that he loves her. This is the reason he thought of the dedication.
The singer apologizes and repeats that he can’t get involved. Armando asks if he sings what he writes. The singer answers yes. Armando says then he must know what it is like to lose a woman that you love. Armando goes on and says that he is feeling the same thing that the singer has felt. The singer apologizes again. Armando says that he is desperate. This is the only opportunity that he has to keep her from leaving, to keep Michel from taking her and to tell her that he loves her.
Michel asks Betty if she is calmer. After she answers yes, Michel tells her that she and Armando need to talk and that he will wait for her outside.
As we are watching Betty, we can hear Armando telling the gentleman that Betty doesn’t love Michel, she loves him. (We are back witnessing the conversation between Armando and the singer.) The singer asks if he would swear it. Armando says yes. He had just finished reading it in her diary. Upon hearing this, the singer’s friend looks surprised. The singer steps in and says that a person does not read another person’s diary. Armando says that he understands that, but that it was his only salvation and that the only thing that he can’t do at this moment is lose her.
The singer agrees that he is desperate. He doesn’t promise anything but he tells Armando of his plan to go up to the stage where the group is singing. He says that he will come up with something, the rest is Armando and Betty’s problem. He says that he will try to do something for him.
The singer goes on-stage and asks the group to play a bolero. He greets the audience and apologizes for interrupting. He tells the audience how he just met Armando and that Armando asked him to do a serenade. Betty looks frightened. The singer, speaking to Armando, says that he never told him the name of the person that he loves. Armando yells out that her name is “Betty”. Betty quickly stands up.
The singer is now speaking to Betty and tells her that the name of the song is “Kiss Me” and that it is being dedicated to her by Armando. The singer asks that she listen. The crowd begins to clap and scream. Betty sits back down while Armando stares at her. While he sings his song, Armando continues to look at Betty and Betty stares at the singer. Our poor Michel steps back in but stays in the backdrop. Armando remembers the times that he and Betty kissed. Depending on the dream of the moment he smiles or he has a look of pain remembering what he was thinking when the kiss occurred. We continue to see the three of them with the pain on their faces. The singer escorts Armando to Betty’s table. The singer sings to Betty and once in a while Betty will glance at Armando with tears beginning to form in her eyes. The singer puts his hand on Betty’s shoulder, gives her a hug and apologizes for interfering. He tells her that he believes that he needs to listen to Armando for a second time. As the singer passes Armando, Armando gives him a big bear hug. After the singer leaves and with the audience clapping and whistling Betty and Armando stare. Michel stares at them and goes back outside.
Betty asks Armando why he is doing all of this. Armando, with tears beginning to run down his face, asks if she stills doesn’t understand. Does she still not believe him.
Armando - “Because I love you Beatriz Pinson Solano. I am dying to kiss your mouth.”
Betty - “How long is this going to go on?”.
Armando - “Until you believe and understand me or until I die.”
Betty tells Armando that the reason she stayed was to ask him to leave her in peace. She tells him that soon she will be returning his company to him. Armando says that he is tired of hearing about the company and her using it as an excuse. He goes on to say that for him the Frenchman can take the company. Betty stops him and informs him that Michel is not there to take his company away. Armando says that he will give it to him and sign it away to Michel.
Armando - “But not you. He is not going to take my President. I am not going to permit him to take you away. I know that you have it clear that I am not here because of Eco Moda, but because I love you.”
He goes on to say that she doesn’t even believe the Eco Moda story. He tells her that she is involved in a big problem and that is that she is facing a man who is desperately in love with her. He says that all he is asking for is another chance, a second chance.
Betty gives a short laugh and asks when was there ever a first. They stare at each other. Betty is the first to talk and she asks that he stop this because she is leaving. Armando tells that she is not going anywhere. Betty remarks that he is speaking as though he has a say over her. Betty asks if he believes that he will be able to conquer her as easily as the first time. She says that she knows those words and does he actually believe that she is going to fall at his knees. “What type of an embezzle do you think that I am?”, she asks. Armando’s tears are running done his face.
Betty asks him if he does not believe that after all the pain that he has caused her that she may actually hate him. Armando tells her that she doesn’t hate him. Betty says that she feels nothing for him, hate or love. Armando disagrees and says that she does feel something for him. He tells her that is why he has to take this opportunity and ask for a second chance. Betty tells him not to be arrogant. He tells her that it is not arrogance and that if she would give him a second chance he can demonstrate that he loves her a lot more than she loves him. He tells her that he has had her nailed to his heart for a very long time. He tells her that this has to stop.
Betty tells him that he is not speaking to the same embezzle that fell in love with him, she no longer exists. She died. She goes on to say that the embezzle has dignity and that she didn’t wait for a miracle to happen. She tells him that she worked hard and with a lot of pain to get him out of her system, but that she accomplished it. Armando’s face is full of tears. Betty goes on to say that he is out of her life. Armando apologizes for contradicting her, but he knows that she is lying to him. He tells her that she is still in love with him. Betty tells him that she can’t take any more and gets up to leave. He grabs for her and as she is walking away he speaks some of the words from her diary. Betty stops, turns around and comes towards him. She asks for her diary. He pulls it out. He says that he knows that he shouldn’t have read it, but with each page he lived through hell but it also returned life to him. A life that he knows he wants to share with her. Betty grabs the diary and angrily tells him that this is the last hurtful thing that he will ever do to her. She tells him that she will never forget how he hurt her, how he played with her and that she never wants to know another thing about him. She takes off and Armando calls after her. Armando begins to cry.
On her way out, Betty runs into Michel. Betty asks if he wouldn’t mind taking a taxi to the hotel. He doesn’t want to leave her in the state that she is in. Betty tells him that she has been worse and more lonelier. Before she leaves, Michel asks if she is still considering his proposal to which she answers yes. Betty leaves, Michel looks towards Armando and then leaves.
Armando is still at the table and is calling himself an embezzle. He asks the waiter for drinks on the rocks.
With apologies to Shakespeare, “Music hath no charms to soothe the savage breast” - at least not for Betty.
CASA PINZÓN SOLANOBetty silently enters her house and climbs the stairs to her room. She enters and closes the door behind her. She’s startled to see the black bag of detalles on her bed and opens it up. She pulls out one after another as if searching for some missing clue. The door opens, it’s her mother, who greets her softly.
“What’s this doing here?” asks Betty, angrily.
“He brought it,” says Julia.
“Don Armando? He was here?”
“Yes,” nods Julia. “He was looking for you to talk to you, but as you weren’t here, he spoke with me.” She plays nervously with her fringe.
“About what?” Betty’s surprised by this news.
“Well, about what else… about you, my girl.”
Betty tells her mother that Armando showed up at the place where she’d gone with Michel. “Did you tell him I was there?”
Julia hangs her head, silently confessing her guilt. Betty wants to know why she did so.
“Oh my girl… That man was so desperate. He needed to speak with you. That’s why…” Julia pleads quietly for understanding.
“And that’s why you had to send him there? Mama, how could you do this to me?”
Julia remembers the promise she won from Armando and worries, “Was he rude? Did he treat that man badly?”
Ruefully, Betty shakes her head, “No, in reality it wasn’t what I expected.”
Julia breathes a sigh of relief and asks Betty what Armando said to her. Betty, with a strange expression on her face, tells her mother that he made her a counter-proposal to stay at Eco Moda. This surprises Julia and she wants to know more.
“Did he offer you a higher salary, more money?”
“No, he offered instead of paradise in Cartagena the affections of Eco Moda…”
Julia smiles at this: she recognizes the offer of a man in love (even if her daughter is too stubborn to do the same). Betty continues, “…for the love of the employees, for his love.” She pauses and confides further, “I don’t know how he did it, but Ricardo Montaner was (at the place) where we were.”
“The singer!” Julia’s eyes light up at this news.
“Yes,” Betty tells her and proceeds to recount how he got up on the stage and dedicated a song to her. Like Berta with fresh chismes, Julia wants to hear more. She tells Betty that it’s clear that Armando is doing this for her, not for the business, but Betty stubbornly persists.
“So you’ve become his biggest defender, or what, Mama? What was it that he said to you?”
Julia looks down and simply tells her daughter that he told her the story from his side, that he fell in love with her even though it started as a game with a friend… Betty cuts her off.
“He never tires of telling the same story. Every chance he gets he tells me the same thing. I’m not going to believe him.” She can’t believe that her mother appears to believe him, but Julia does.
“He seemed so sincere to me. Something in me says that it’s true what he’s saying. That he’s in love with you and that life without you isn’t worth anything.” Betty shakes her head in disbelief. Julia continues with telling Betty about the changes she senses in Armando and that he had spoken of, “He’s changed, he’s matured. He’s ended things with Doña Marcela… That since he’s learned what he had with you he can’t be with another woman…”
“Oh Mama, please!” Betty doesn’t want to hear this.
Julia is persistent, “And that Venezolana you spoke of, they’re only friends!
Betty gets off the bed and steps a few paces away, “Mama, please! That’s why he showed her off every where, why they went out together so often… Please!” (Jealous, Betty?)
“Betty, didn’t you yourself admit that he’s changed, that he’s closer to you, more caring? Can’t you tell that he’s feeling something for you?”
“Mama, if he’s feeling something for me it’s only since I came back from Cartagena, because I came back a different Betty. Someone a little better fixed up, who held his business. Who’s a little more to his taste… Someone who’d fit in better with his friends, but I’m not going to fall into this game another time! Much less with him!”
“My girl, he’s asking for another chance,” Julia reasons with her.
“When you knew all that he did to me you said that it was unsupportable. You yourself said that it was unforgivable, Mama. What’s happening now?”
Julia is the tender heart. “You see, m’hija, it’s that poor man he told me he’s asked forgiveness of God, of life, forgiveness of you, even asked it of me. And if he’s paid so much and he says that he loves you so much, that you’re the love of his life, then why won’t you give him another chance?”
Betty shakes her head, no she can’t, but Julia encourages her, “I’m not saying immediately, but let him get a little closer…”
“No… No, Mama!” Betty turns away. She notes the door open and goes to shut it. “He destroyed me, he buried me! And now that he comes here with this story… I’m not going to believe it. I’m not going to trust my life to him so that he can do with it as he wishes. I’m not going to give him any more chances and I don’t want to speak any more if it, Mama.”
Julia accepts her daughter’s position with a sigh of resignation and points out the bag on the bed and the detalles. “He said that these are his truths, that he couldn’t throw them away. He didn’t throw them away as you had thought that he had done.”
Betty looks at them with a sober expression. “Yes, I thought that he’d thrown them away. But as he’d read my diary, he’d known what I was thinking.” The ire caused by that fresh indignation creeps back in.
Julia’s shocked by this news. “He read your diary?”
“Oh… He didn’t tell you?” asks Betty with a sarcastic grimace. “He went in my office and into my purse and took out my diary! And when he knew what I was thinking, feeling, he began to persecute me all over again! To tell me that he loves me…” Julia can’t resist a smile at this, but Betty continues her quiet rant. “But I’m not going to tolerate this. Reading my diary is the final sacrilege he’s going to commit against me. Mama, you don’t know him. He’s a manipulator and now he’s telling you what you want to hear so that you believe him.”
Julia’s still on Armando’s side it appears. “Betica, it’s not so easy to confess to someone that you’ve read something so sacred, so personal.” She would know, recalling her own difficult confession to Betty. Her daughter looks at her, a little surprised. Julia rises, leans over and kisses her daughter. “My love… Think. Think on it well…” She turns to leave and Betty stares after her. Julia pleads again, “Think about it, Betty…”
Betty apparently does think about it. Her eyes tear up and she hears again the song dedicated to her… “Besame en la boca…” She pulls out some of the detalles and handles them gently. Thinking… Then, recalling hurts of the past, shoves them back in the bag and tosses it on the floor.
OUTSIDE ECO MODAThe cuartel is arriving for work the next morning and they spy Betty’s car parked out front. Berta jokes about whether Betty was suffering from insomnia.
BETTY’S OFFICEBetty’s somberly typing something in her computer when the cuartel enter en masse to greet her. She returns their cheery ‘good morning’ with a very terse one of her own and they come in to see how her evening went.
“Dr. Armando Mendoza came to my house last night!” she tells them accusatorily.
Aura Maria worries that he might have quarreled with Michel but Betty assures her that fortunately they’d already left her house. “But he bothered my parents! Aura Maria, I thought you said that he was going to go home to sleep at his house!” More recriminations.
Aura Maria is shocked. She wants to know if Betty’s insinuating that she told Armando where she was, because she didn’t. He had asked her to get Betty on the cell phone and when she couldn’t he said that he was leaving to go by her house, “But before he left he said nothing!” The rest agree (except Inés who sort of goes along). Betty tells them angrily that after going to her house he followed her to the bar where she’d gone with Michel. Aura Maria again defends herself (and the cuartel) by exclaiming that she had no idea where they’d gone. She looks to Inés for confirmation. This much is true and Inés does confirm it.
“What’s happening is that Don Armando is following me everywhere and I’m not going to stand for it any longer!” Betty is highly irritated and the cuartel looks worried. She signs a document and asks Aura Maria to make copies of it for distribution to the executive board.
The cuartel heads out the door, soberly, and Sandra turns to Betty, upset, “Betty… It seems like you’re blaming us for what happened last night!” Betty, however, is hardly paying attention to them.
Aura Maria has been reading the document given her and whirls around in shock, “Betty! How can you resign from Eco Moda?!?”
The rest of the cuartel cry out in shock, but Betty looks grimly committed. “That’s right. I don’t want to be here any longer.”
“But why?” asks Berta. “You said that you would be here for several days more!”
Betty tersely states that she can’t wait any longer and orders Aura Maria to hurry and make the copies and then distribute them. When Aura Maria objects, Betty shouts at her to do it and Aura Maria agrees, “Yes, ma’am…”
The cuartel is about to leave again, but Inés turns back. “Betty, I think we deserve an explanation.”
“It’s very simple, Inesita,” sighs Betty. “I asked Dr. Armando Mendoza to leave me in peace but my situation with him here is each day more untenable. I can’t stand it one more day!”
The cuartel resumes their seats. Sofia asks her what happened last night? “What did he say to your mother? Did he create a scandal or what?”
“Don’t tell me he destroyed the bar where you were with Michel,” cries Sandra.
Berta and Mariana take that to the next level and worry that the police were involved but Betty tells them it wasn’t like that.
“Well then, Betty, you’re going to have to calm down and tell us what happened,” Inés firmly tells her.
2ND FLOOR RECEPTIONAura Maria is tucking the letter of resignation in envelopes and sniffling when Fredy gets off the elevator with a chipper ‘good day to all’ to the empty desks of Sandra and Patricia. He turns to Aura Maria and notes her tears. “Excuse me, Miss Secretary to the President, but it seems that I heard the faintest sound of lamentation, born in the deepest part of the heart…”
She admits that this is true but tells him not to be such a fool. His voice softens with concern and he steps closer. He tells her that he doesn’t want her to suffer more for him. He’s sorry for having treated her so rudely… She cuts him off and tells him not to be ridiculous-she’s not crying for him. He gets huffy and wants to know then, why she’s crying.
“For Betty, for Betty!”
This takes him aback and he asks her why, if this is a complicated situation. She turns on him and tells him again to stop being such a fool, so ridiculous. “Betty’s leaving Eco Moda!”
She hands him the letter to read for himself. He can’t believe his eyes. How could she leave them? He tells her that the spot he has for ID cards for ex-presidents is completely filled. He’s going to keep the letter but she tells him that it’s private. He’s hurt that there isn’t a copy for him. She tells him it’s only for board members and partners and he’s neither.
He’s flustered but he asks again how Betty can resign, now that she’s getting prettier every day? He puts his foot in it when he wonders why she didn’t resign when she was ugly, but noting Aura Maria’s face catches himself. “…When the situation here was ugly… Ugly. How is it that all our presidents are resigning? Can it be a problem with us, with the employees? Because if it’s a problem with the employees, then let’s all resign! Let those who are at fault resign!” Fredy cries emotionally.
The elevator opens and exits Marcela. She greets them and notes their expressions. “And now what?” she asks irritably.
Fredy tells her that they’ve just read the latest news and hands her the letter to read for herself. She grabs it with a frown. She skims it and asks where Beatriz is. Aura Maria tells her that she’s in her office. “Tell her please that I’ll wait for her in the board room.” Marcela wheels off to her office and Aura Maria replies affirmatively. She and Fredy trade surreptitious glances, their unhappiness forging a small bond again, but they turn away quickly.
BETTY’S OFFICEIn Betty’s office, the rest of the cuartel are hearing the story of the previous evening.
“And after hearing him make the counter offer, Michel left me alone because he said that we needed to speak privately. And Don Armando, I don’t know how he managed it, but he convinced Ricardo Montaner, the singer…” Betty is pretty enthusiastic here, with a pleased smile, “who was in the bar, to dedicate a song to me.” Betty smiles broadly at the memory.
The cuartel is all enthusiastic at this news and Sandra says, “I would have married Montaner, I mean Armando, on the spot!” Betty only smiles a Mona Lisa smile.
“That’s a pretty big proof of love!” cries Sofia.
“Look, my girl,” adds Inés. “You can cover your ears, close your eyes, but you can’t deny that Armando isn’t showing signs of…” She gestures with her hands as if to imply big things.
Mule-headed Betty discounts this, “It’s too late, Inesita. I’m not going to fall into his game again. He’s hounding me throughout all Bogota. Going to my house… He was even going to speak to my father!”
The cuartel gasps at this and she continues, “I’m not going to permit that to happen. I’ve made my decision.”
“But is it so difficult to give him a chance?” asks Inés.
“Difficult?” Betty can’t believe her. “Weren’t you indignant when you found out what he had done? I don’t see why I have to trust my life to him now that he says he cares for me! Because he sees me changed, or because he needs me, or for whatever reason! I don’t have to do it, nor am I going to take the high road and forget all the harm he’s done me. For that reason, I’ve got to leave here as soon as possible because Don Armando’s attitude affects me too much. To be prey is nothing easy.”
Aura Maria enters and tells Betty that Marcela wishes to speak to her in the conference room and Betty tells her that she’ll go now. “We’ll talk later girls.”
“My girl,” Inés echoes Julia’s advice. “Think a little, yes?”
“That’s what I did all last night, Inesita. And now I have nothing more to think about.”
SALA DE JUNTASMarcela’s on the phone to someone about this latest bombshell. As Betty enters the room, we hear Marcela telling that person that she just received it, that she’s going to speak with her right now, she’s spoken to Daniel and he’s on his way over. As she hangs up, Betty acknowledges the message, that Marcela wanted to see her. The ever-confrontational Marce tells her of course she does. “What does this mean?” She holds up the letter of resignation.
“Something that perhaps you knew. That I’m leaving Eco Moda.”
“Well yes, I knew that you were going to leave, but I didn’t think that it would be in such a radical and immediate manner. I understood that you were going to leave when the business was afloat and out of debt and it’s also my understanding that neither of those two things has happened yet. You can’t leave Eco Moda yet!”
“Doña Marcela,” begins Betty firmly. “May I remind you that I assumed the presidency of Eco Moda because you demanded it of me. I’ve fought against wind and sea here and it hasn’t been easy. Lamentably, my patience has ended. (Marcela makes a face of annoyance) I’ve done all I can to ensure that the company gets back on track and I believe that it will be just a short time until all it’s problems are resolved. The time has come to think of me and I’m well within my rights. I’ve asked the Executive Board to meet today to accept my resignation and select a new president.”
“Roberto isn’t in Colombia,” Marcela points out acidly. “And you know perfectly well that if you leave we’ll enter into big problems with the bankers and creditors.”
Betty shrugs her shoulders. “I’m very sorry, but the new president will have to cope with this.”
Marcela fixes Betty with a cynical stare, “Sooner our later you were going to finish with us, weren’t you?
Betty half smiles, “I’m not taking vengeance, Doña Marcela. If that were my intent I would have charged another price, not resigning from the presidency…” (like the affection of Armando Mendoza?)
“Then, what happened?” Marcela asks, all false sweetness. “Why did you take this decision?”
“Because I don’t want to be here another day!” says Betty, rising from the table, her hair awhirl.
“That’s not an answer!” shouts Marcela angrily.
“It’s the only one that I have,” remarks Betty.
“How’s that? You can’t give that response to the Executive Board.”
“My motives are personal,” Betty tells her.
“Personal! Isn’t that it involves Armando Mendoza?
Betty takes a stand. “You’re the last person I would speak to on this matter. The only thing I can say on the matter is that the promise that I made you -to not involve myself again with Don Armando- I’ve complied with it.” She turns to leave.
“And that’s what torments you?” Marcela crows triumphantly. “You couldn’t be with Armando?”
Betty has the last word, “No. On the contrary; I’m leaving to avoid his assaults.”
Now don’t that just wipe the smug look of Marce’s face!!!
After leaving Armando’s office, Marcela goes over to Patricia’s desk and confirms Patricia’s suspicion that both Armando and Betty have resigned from EcoModa. Marcela adds that Armando claims to be resigning so that Betty will not be forced to leave, but she will leave soon anyway, with the Frenchman. Patricia then wants to know who will then take over the presidency of EcoModa, but Marcela, who has no answer to that question, just stares off into space.
Freddy goes into Marcela’s office and hands Margarita and Daniel Armando’s letter of resignation. Margarita cannot credit what she is reading … that her son will soon leave EcoModa. Marcela comes in:
Daniel – At last … (referring to Armando’s resignation)
Marcela – Yes, he said that he will be leaving the company today.
Margarita – Just a moment! What’s going on here? Both of them resigning? What do they want, to finish off the company?
Daniel – They finished off the company a while back, Margarita.
Margarita – Just a moment … EcoModa is recuperating and you know that full well.
Daniel – It was recuperating, Margarita, but it was essential that Betty remain in charge of everything to keep the company afloat and now she’s not going to be here. I’m going to make something very clear … I will not permit, under any circumstances, that Armando take over the presidency once again. Roberto is not here, he’s in New York. Marcela, would you take over the presidency?
Marcela – You know that that’s not my ambition or my field.
Daniel then concludes that he must take over the presidency right away and comments that he will need a very detailed financial summary from Beatriz covering her time as president. Marcela informs him that she believes that Betty is already preparing that document.
Margarita goes into Armando’s office to try to persuade him to desist from his radical decision and to stay. Armando tells her that nothing will sway him and tells his mother that the main reason he’s leaving is so that Betty can finish her term in office … he knows that his mere presence presents a major obstacle for her. He adds that in the personal aspect, he’s given up all efforts to persuade Betty to believe that he’s loved her for a long time now. Margarita asks him if he’s told her that he loves her and Armando says that he has on several occasions but that Betty won’t believe him … and she has every right to do so, he finishes. Margarita takes Armando’s hands in her own and tells him that he can count on her. Margarita leaves Armando’s office with a decisive look on her face. She then goes back to Marcela’s office and tells her that she tried to persuade Armando, but she was unable to make him see reason:
Marcela – What’s going to happen with the company? You know what’s going to happen with the company if Daniel assumes the presidency … he’s going to sell it!! I know that Armando loves this company and he would forge ahead.
Margarita – But he would need Betty. We can’t lie to ourselves, they make a great team. All we have to do is analyze the most recent collection and look at the excellent results. Of course, that team must now be broken up.
Marcela – The team and the company. In other words, in order for Daniel not to sell the company, then both Armando and Beatriz would have to stay?
Margarita – Maybe Betty could stay on her own, like Armando suggests. But she says she wants to leave the company. She won’t stay because she’s hurt … you know there are a lot of misconceptions that still need to be cleared up.
Marcela – Why don’t you clearly tell me what you’re thinking?
Margarita – Well, the ideal thing to have happen is that the situation between Armando and Beatriz were resolved. Not only is there deep resentment on the part of Beatriz because of what Armando did to her, but there are also a lot of dark and painful issues in their history together that are difficult to clear up.
Marcela – She’s unaware of a lot of things that you, Patricia and I all know about Armando …
Margarita – I don’t know how resigned you are to the fact that Armando will never be yours, I don’t know if your love for him is deep enough to help him climb out of the hole he’s in and find his way to happiness. I also don’t know how strong your pride is, how much indignation you still hold against Beatriz, and how much you would sacrifice for Armando and for EcoModa. But the one thing I do know is that at this moment you are holding the destiny of a lot of people and of EcoModa in your hands. Think about it …
Margarita leaves Marcela deep in thought, her mind flashing back to certain scenes that show her love for the company and some that would certainly help clear Betty’s misconceptions about Armando. She remembers Roberto’s words when she spoke to her about her deceased father and how he always dreamt that his “little girl” would be a dignified representative of EcoModa, where her name and effort would always be remembered. She remembers Betty’s words when she promised that she would stay as far away from Armando as possible and how she just recently confirmed that she’s been able to keep the promise. She remembers the words of Armando while he was breaking up with her when he told her that Betty never took him from her … she was already out of his heart when Beatriz came into it.
Meanwhile, in Betty’s office, El Cuartel continues to try to convince Betty to stay. They give her all of the details of how they found out that he had nothing whatsoever to do (in the romantic sense) with Alejandra Sims, that they witnessed that he fought with his best friend, Mario, over her, and they conclude that he has definitely changed. Sandra comes in with Armando’s letter of resignation and an annexed document and hands them to Betty. Bertha asks Betty to read the documents out loud and Betty accedes in a sad tone:
“Dear Dra. Pinzón,
This is to ratify my definite resignation from EcoModa effective this date. With my resignation as well as that of Dr. Calderón, I leave at your disposal the commercialization area and the international sales area so that you may restructure them accordingly. I would have loved to continue working at your side until your term was over, but for reasons which we have fully discussed, the best thing for EcoModa and for yourself is that you continue this path alone. With all of my heart I wish you the best of luck and that you continue with your term with the successes that you have already obtained.
El Cuartel is silenced into shock … they cannot believe that Armando is really leaving. Bertha asks Betty to read the annexed document. Once again, Betty complies:
“Attached to this letter you will find a power of attorney through which the company will be able to dispose of my assets.”
Betty tells El Cuartel that she never asked him for such a document. Sandra brings everyone up to date and tells them that Daniel has asked for a detailed financial summary of everything that happened during Betty’s term in the presidency. El Cuartel reacts negatively to the possibility of Daniel taking over the presidency, especially since Patricia already threatened that if he did, she would certainly have an important position in the administrative area. They all conclude that the best thing to do would be for them to start resigning as well. At that, Marcela comes into Presidencia and tells Betty that she needs to speak with her. El Cuartel immediately files out and Marcela and Betty face each other.