Author’s Notes: Loosely based on the story “Corazón Salvaje” by Caridad Bravo Adams, although if you’ve seen the movie/soap opera, I can tell you that even if this story follows the plotline partially, you’ll find it is definitely not a copy of it, since I added new elements that hopefully will make this story quite different from the original.
Also, you will find many Spanish customs/words used throughout the story, I beg you to please keep in mind that Galveston and many other cities in Texas were considered Mexican territory up until the Texas Revolution in 1835-1836, and many of the Spanish/Mexican families remained there afterwards. Although the words I’m going to be using are fairly known, I will put their translations at the beginning of every chapter.
Chapter Notes: Glossary:
Hacienda: A landed estate
Don: Spanish nobleman or gentleman
Doña: A Spanish woman of rank
Galveston , Texas , 1870
The carriage advanced slowly towards Campo Real hacienda. Inside Rupert Giles shifted uncomfortably on his seat as he remembered how he had gotten involved in this messy affair. He wished for the thousandth time since it happened that Anna Matthews hadn’t called him to her deathbed, that she hadn’t confided her secret to him. But she had and now he had to deliver the news of her death to don Rodrigo De Alcazar. That wasn’t the worst part though, that would come when he had to explain the real motive of his visit.
He was utterly exhausted, this past week he had gone from one surprise to the other. His mind took him back to last Monday when he had received a message from Mrs. Anna Shaw nee Matthews. He was flabbergasted to say the least, it had been a little over ten years since he had seen her last, and he couldn’t even begin to fathom why she had contacted him now. But of course, being the gentleman he was, he couldn’t deny her request of a visit.
When he arrived to the city of Velasco, his first thought had been how she had managed to evade don Rodrigo’s efforts to find her if she’d lived this close to Campo Real all this time. He was curious over the motive of this visit. She hadn’t explained on her letter why she had asked him to come see her, especially after all these years and why had she asked for him and not don Rodrigo?
He had so many questions that he wanted to ask her, but most of them were forgotten as soon as he entered her room and found her lying in her deathbed. He almost didn’t recognize her at first, she looked so thin and pale, so different from the vibrant young woman that had stolen don Rodrigo De Alcazar’s heart since they’d met. And next to her, he saw a boy of about ten years and when he saw him, he realized that he must have been the reason of her disappearance. The boy was the spitting image of his father, with the exception of the color of his eyes. Whereas don Rodrigo’s eyes were brown, the boy had piercing blue eyes, much like his mother’s. But no one that looked at him and knew don Rodrigo and his family, which was a bit difficult since they were one of the most powerful families in Texas, could deny his heritage.
After sending the boy to play outside of her room, Anna explained to him how don Rodrigo’s parents had made her leave, they had told her that if she really loved him she should disappear without a trace and let him marry Darla Anderson, the woman they had chosen for him. So, disheartened and convinced that don Rodrigo would never go against his parents’ wishes, she had left and shortly after she discovered she was pregnant.
Shortly after she moved to Velasco, she’d met a man, Aaron Shaw and she’d married him. He’d promised her the moon and the stars and although she didn’t love him, she held him in high esteem. They’d had a few good months of marriage but all that had changed when her son, William, had been born and her husband had noticed immediately that the boy wasn’t his. Furious that she’d tried to fool him, he refused to acknowledge him as his son. She tried to leave him and it was then that she’d discovered the kind of man her husband really was. He blackmailed her, and threatened to send her son away to a place where she’d never find him again if she left. He was a powerful man and she didn’t doubt that he’d made good of his threat, so she stayed by his side.
Threatening was not all he did, though, once William got older Aaron treated him like a servant and she was not allowed to go near him, except for a few stolen moments in where she managed to escape from his vigilance. But even that was preferable than not seeing her son anymore, so she hang in there for her son’s sake, stealing moments in which she could act like his mother. Until a few weeks ago when Aaron discovered them and he tried to hit William. That was the day that everything changed, that was the day that she killed Aaron, but not without a price. He had shot at her before he died and she’d been paralyzed and tied to a bed ever since. She knew that the day of her death was soon to come, so she’d call for him so he would take William to his father.
The day after his first visit to Anna, he returned to her house only to find that she’d died during the night and after overseeing the proper arrangements to her burial; he’d taken William with him and now they were on their way to Galveston to introduce him to his father.
Giles felt apprehensive about how don Rodrigo would react to the news that his precious Anna, the love of his life, the woman for whom he had been ready to give up everything he owned and that had disappeared from his life as unexpectedly as she had appeared, was dead and on top of that, had left him something that was theirs, a child, one that neither him or don Rodrigo knew existed.
He spared a glance to the quiet child sitting opposite of him on the carriage and felt a wave of protectiveness envelop him. He hadn’t needed Anna’s confirmation to be sure that William was don Rodrigo’s son. From the curly dirty blonde hair, to the sharp cheekbones that seemed somewhat out of place in the child’s face and the lean frame that might have been due partly to bad nutrition and partly to his father’s heritage. The resemblance between the two of them was almost uncanny, which could be good or bad depending on whom you asked.
He was sure don Rodrigo would be delighted by knowing he had something, or rather someone that would link him to Anna forever. There was no way that anyone that knew them both wouldn’t make the connection. He groaned inwardly as he remembered the one thing he hadn’t taken into account, the reaction of don Rodrigo’s wife, doña Darla, to the news. She would be livid for sure and probably would try to keep don Rodrigo from recognizing William as his son. Especially if that’d mean that her own son, Angel, wouldn’t be the heir to the Alcazar fortune.
He was more than a lawyer for don Rodrigo, he had been his confident for a long time now, he had known all that had transpired 11 years ago and that had ended in Anna’s mysterious disappearance and his subsequent matrimony to Darla Summers and the hell he’d lived while trying to find Anna throughout the country. There was no easy way to go about this and he couldn’t even begin to fathom how don Rodrigo would react to the death of Anna.
He was willing to bet it would crush him though, she had been the love of his life and he knew for a fact that if he hadn’t already been engaged to marry Darla and he had had the guts to defy his parents before Anna disappeared, he would have married her even if it would have meant that his parents disowned him.
He took his spectacles off and after wiping them with his handkerchief in a nervous manner, he put them on again, glancing at the boy sitting in front him. Rupert Giles had felt a strange pull towards the boy ever since he laid eyes on him. He seemed so lost without his mother; even if he’d tried to put a strong front his eyes betrayed him. His blue eyes spoke of his pain and showed a maturity that went well beyond his ten years. What was that phrase his mother repeated so often? Ah, yes, he had the eyes of an old man. That wasn’t surprising considering the kind of life he must have had to endure at the hands of the man his mother married.
William hadn’t said much to him, but he could see in his eyes that he was frightened over what would be of him now that his mother had died. He was probably afraid that he’d be placed in an orphanage, or just left in the streets to die or fare for himself in any way he could.
He made a silent vow that he wouldn’t let that happen; if don Rodrigo for some reason refused to accept his paternity, which he sincerely doubted or if doña Darla didn’t allow William to stay with them, he would offer the boy a home with him.