Like Water for Chocolate Five

From Chapter Five

Orlando hurriedly threw open the door, brown eyes slightly wild. He stepped out onto the porch barefoot, not realizing who it was yelling from the bottom of the stairs. When he saw Gretchen, incensed, standing there before him after so long, he froze and his jaw slackened.

“Gretchen,” he managed.

The one word set Gretchen off. “You cruel sonofabitch,” she snapped. “How could you be so heartless?”

For a moment, Orlando stood there, shell-shocked. He eventually descended the stairs and stopped short a mere two feet away from his former amour. “What are you talking about?”

“You know damn well what I’m talking about. You and my fucking sister. That’s what I’m talking about.”

Something flickered in Orlando’s eyes at that moment, something Gretchen didn’t recognize. But then indignation quickly replaced it. “I don’t see why you care anymore,” he shot back, voice garnering some edge. “You stood me up, Gretchen, and didn’t even have the grace to call—”

“I lost my phone that night,” Gretchen admitted abruptly, “and I couldn’t call you at the time. I’ll accept that mistake because it could have been easily rectified. But I didn’t feel the need to contact you since it seemed that you found better company.”

Orlando merely blinked at her, perplexed. “Better company, Gretchen?”

“Oh, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m referring to. That night? Our date? The hostess told me that you left with my sister, Sienna, and Miranda. And Sienna told me that you ended up alone with Danie. Now what the fuck am I supposed to believe?”

“The truth, for a start. Nothing went on between your sister and me that night. So do not stand there and accuse me of something of which I am not capable.”

“Like hell you aren’t capable of it. You’re thinking about putting a fucking ring on my sister’s finger after a mere four months of dating her. I call that damn capable of you, Orlando.”

Orlando remained silent for a long moment, trying to find the words for a response. Gretchen lifted her chin, eyes glistening with anger and unshed tears.

“So that’s that,” Gretchen said quietly. “You’re marrying Danie and you don’t have a damn thing to say for yourself.”

“I cared about you, Gretchen,” Orlando insisted. Then he amended, “I still care about you. Very much so.”

“Oh—bullshit!” Gretchen burst out hotly.


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