2 Weeks Later
The days in Cuba passed without any incident as I continued to clear my head of all my worries. My family had not asked any questions on the first day as they invited me to stay with them in the empty bedroom that once had belonged to my uncle, whom now lived with his own family at his wife's house. The call to Canada had been unsurprisingly dramatic as my publisher endlessly reminded me about my manuscript in the works and my mother had excitedly told me to send my family messages for her, but I never saw him again. The beautiful Asian man had stayed in my mind for the last two weeks and I truly did not know how to forget about him. I tried roaming the Havana streets aimlessly, but to no avail. Today, marking the second week, I still remembered his face and I could still remember the smell of his cologne.
"Diana, where do you want to go today?" My best friend from when I was a child yelled out to me from the living room in perfect Spanish.
"Habana Vieja," (Old Havana) I shouted back. Marcel Juan Gonzales was his name and we had grown up together in this apartment building, which my family had lived in since I could remember. His curly blond hair was his one feature that had caught my eye when I was five and ever since that point in which I had run up to him and pulled one of his curls we had been best friends.
"Are we going now or in the afternoon?" He joked as I heard his footsteps coming up the hallway leading to my room.
"I'm done, don't be so impatient." I responded, my Spanish a little slower than his.
The sun beat down on us as we walked alongside the streets of Havana. Cars whizzed past us leaving a trail of exhaust to burn our lungs. Merchants yelled out for attention as they sold countless amounts of fruits and jewelry. The city bustled with excitement and groups of teenagers walked past us with hushed laughters as they occasionally looked at Marcel. Clown like honks filled the streets whenever a bike blocked a cars way and the vintage cars drove past us full of beach goers and tourists.
An hour past and Marcel had successfully geared me towards Habana Vieja and I could see the hundreds of tourists walking the crowded paths with exclamations of awe at the wonders of what Havana used to be. The rhythm of multiple Salsa groups echoed down the streets as we walked past the many restaurants that overtook the main section of Habana Vieja.
"What's that?" Marcel practically yelled into my ear as I saw him pointing at a large group of people standing outside of a restaurant up ahead.
"I have no idea," I responded, genuinely curious.
"Let's check it out," he said pulling my arm as we slowly made our way to the crowd. "It might be something good to put in your book."
I let him pull me along beside him and I watch in a sort of daze as he pushed through the crowd of people (he is a pretty built guy, I'm talking six foot three or so and he once told me that his favorite hobby was to work out) the people obediently moved themselves out of our way and soon we were at the front of the crowd watching what was intriguing so many people.
In front of us stood a filming set. Not a large Hollywood like filming set, but a large enough one that people's curiosity had gotten the better of them. But the thing that had me frozen to the ground was not the amount of cameras that I saw, nor the director filming mutely on a high chair in the air, it wasn't even the beautiful people that appeared to read out their lines flawlessly, it was him.
The beautiful Asian. Of all the people to see in Habana Vieja, I had found him. I watched unblinkingly as he read out his lines in flawless English and it dawned on me that he was even more beautiful under the bright afternoon sun.
I faintly heard Marcel swear in Spanish as someone pushed me forward. I felt my knees sting as I landed on the hard cement floor and I heard the director yell something in Japanese.
"Diana," Marcel said quickly as he pushed through the people that had made their way in front of him after I had fallen.
Out of the corner of my eye I watched the beautiful Asian look at me curiously but then I saw, in dismay, a look of pure annoyance overtake his beautiful features. I felt frozen. What could I do? My legs felt like Jello and my mind had gone blank upon seeing his annoyed face, I stared down at the dirty ground under me. A hand appeared in front of my face and I looked up expectantly, it was the Japanese director.
"Can you get up?" he said in broken Spanish, "Are you hurt?"
I looked at his hand and then up at his face. I understood in an instant, he thought I didn't know English and that was the reason for his broken Spanish, he must think that I am a citizen. "No," I said quietly as I took his hand. "That actor," my mind started working quickly as I felt myself blush. "He, he?..." My voice croaked and my Spanish came out slurred.
"Oh," The director said and smiled as he looked over at the beautiful Asian. "You must mean, Takahashi Akihiko."
I let my mind think over his name and I applied the rule I had learned of from my Japanese friends back home. The rule was that in Japan the last name was pronounced first and then the first name, but if you did not know the person well you would refer to them as their last name until they would give you notice that you were allowed to call them by their first name. So his name was Akihiko Takahashi. I looked over at him and was not surprised to see his back turned to me as he tended to the same girl that I had seen at the airport, which I now concluded must be his girlfriend.
"I see that he is not only popular with the women in Japan," the director says, still in broken Spanish as he chuckled softly. "I'm sorry, but may I ask, what is your name?"
I took my eyes off of Takahashi and looked at the director, praying that my blush wasn't visible. "Diana Perez," I pronounced it in Spanish which sounded like Dee-a-na, and I mumbled an apology.
"Not to worry," he said still smiling. "Have you ever acted before Diana?" he asked me quickly.
The question took me by surprise and I shook my head no.
"How would you like a role in the film that I am currently working on?" he said in a hushed voice.
"I don't..." My voice broke off as I dared myself to look over at Takahashi again and the director caught me staring at his actor.
"It is the role of a young Cuban girl who falls in love with my lead over there." he says nodding towards his main actor. "When we were holding auditions, I couldn't find a single girl who could pull this character off, but you are the perfect beautiful Cuban girl I was looking for."
I must have looked surprised because he then smiled and shook his head. "I'm sorry, I am just deeply excited to have finally found the girl I was looking for."
"OK," I said without really meaning it, my eyes widened as I realized what I had said and I somehow couldn't stop myself. "I guess it wouldn't hurt."
The director's smile nearly split his face in half as he shook my hand. "Thank you!" he nearly yelled as he ran over to his cast, leaving me in awe of what had just transpired. I watched as most of his actors smiled and congratulated the director. The only actor who looked severely annoyed and was now staring me down was Takahashi.
Marcel finally broke free of all the people that had overcome him at the beginning of the incident and walked up behind me. "What happened?" he asked, genuinely worried as his light blue eyes scanned me for any wounds. "Are you OK?"
I nodded without paying attention and I watched frozen to the spot as Takahashi walked towards me with a large bundle of papers in his hands, the look of annoyance had not disappeared from his face. "Here," he said in near perfect Spanish, he clearly did not remember who I was, but I sure remembered him. I looked on as he slowly turned around after giving me what I presumed to be the script and took a step back as he quickly turned back to me, ignoring Marcel standing behind me. "I don't care who you are, I don't care about anything that concerns you, just stay out of my way when we aren't filming."
I stood frozen and watched as he and his girlfriend, whom sent me a glare, made their way through the crowd and off of the set. By the time that they had gone the director had nearly skipped towards me looking absolutely happy.
"Welcome to our little family!" he nearly shouted in horrible, broken Spanish.