In the little town of San Bartolo, Petaquillas, there’s a major traffic jam and a crowd of men running through it.
A woman reads a newspaper ad–someone’s looking for a man for well-paid temporary work. Discretion is paramount. Sagrario, the reader, says to her daughter Alba that she can’t understand the fuss. It sounds like a typical ad. And yet, they’re walking past a very long line of men that leads all the way up to the hacienda El Vendaval.
Don Mateo greets Sagrario and Alba as they approach. Sagrario’s upset that these men are trampling her flowers. They all agree that some information must have gotten out.
Maria Laura, Sagrario’s other daughter, saunters up and snatches the paper from her mom’s hand. Aw, darn! They didn’t post her ad! The ad for her bikini calendar. Alba laughs that anyone would want to buy that, but the men within Maria Laura’s shouting range all agree they’d like to see her in a bikini.
The line stretches all the way inside the house where Rosa, the maid, explains the rules. They’ll all go in one by one, no crowding, and no stealing stuff!
Behind the desk in the office sits Marcela Morales. She dismisses applicants one by one. One’s too old, one’s annoying, one lives with his mother, one grabs her and tries to kiss her, one whispers something in her ear that makes her throw him out and fire off her shotgun to scare off the rest of the job-seekers. She leaves it to Don Mateo to get rid of them.
Back in the kitchen, she can’t figure out what happened! There were only five guys yesterday and today there were 300! The last one told her “size matters” and he wasn’t talking about his height. Maria Laura laughs so loud, Marcela assumes she had something to do with this.
Back in town, cars are still honking. Don Timoteo, the presidente municipal (mayor) is in the middle of getting his hair done, but he still comes outside to see what the fuss is about. He assumes this is some kind of demonstration and the town is trying to depose him. His son Lencho, guitar strapped to his back, explains it’s all the people going to El Vendaval. While Timoteo grabs a newspaper out of some random guy’s hand, his hairdresser keeps trying to put dye in his hair and keep it from dripping. He sends Lencho to go find out from Maria Laura, his girlfriend, what’s happening.
Marcela’s back to interviewing. The current applicant mentions showing her the world, but Marcela’s kind of a homebody. “You never go to a party? A carnival? A wedding?”
Uh oh, he said a baaaaaaad word. Two months ago, Marcela was waiting for her fiancé, Camilo, to arrive at the church for their wedding, but he ran off with a guest who was staying at the ranch. The most unfeeling priest ever basically says “Well, I’m outta here. You know where to find me if you need me.” Marcela marches back into the church to tell everyone the wedding is off. Maria Laura smirks.
Flashback!Marcela remembers smooching Camilo. She walks out to her patio, where the reception was going to take place, and a storm starts. She wrecks the main table. Maria Laura thought bubbles that this is what Marcela deserves. Vendaval (gale) and all.
Back in the present, the current applicant says people are saying–Marcela doesn’t care what people are saying. And he’s the last guy she’s seeing today. Yes, it’s true, she’s looking for a husband. From her attitude, this guy’s not it.
In Huatulco, Oaxaca, there’s a very fancy hotel–the Hotel Toscana. As two dudes walk through the pool area, we learn a little about them and about the hotel. Alessandro Casteló is our galan. He’s the Vice President of the hotel chain. He’s nearly-divorced, but not quite. Cristian, his friend, is also his lawyer. Octavia (who we haven’t seen yet) is his annoying soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law who runs the hotel and has made the terrible decision to have the PA system blaring about how awesome their hotel chain is and how many awards it’s won and oh please make it stop! Alessandro’s one of those bosses who knows the names of all his employees and little details about their personal lives.
Alessandro has hired Benito, a private detective. Not to investigate his wife, Damiana. She already gave him all the incriminating evidence he needs. No, Benito’s investigating another woman. One who could be a devil…or a saint.
Two months ago, he went to his cousin Isabel’s wedding on Isla Garza Blanca, to babysit a fancy necklace his mom loaned Isabel. After the wedding, he stashed it in the safe at the family’s house there, just like he promised his mom, and skipped out on the reception. Then Damiana called to bug him about the divorce terms, so he decided to go to a nearby hotel, where they were having a party for Carnaval.
And that’s where…something happened he still can’t understand.
How they met
Marcela’s tells Alba stressing over finding a husband. She’s got one more month to get married or she loses her inheritance and the ranch.
Alba hoped going to Isla Garza Blanca would help Marcela, but she came back more agitated. What happened there is something Marcela still can’t understand. She wanted to die–Camilo was her only hope.
She heard the party going on and there she was in her hotel room drowning in her sorrows. Flashback!Marcela’s vision goes blurry. She rips up a photo of her with Camilo and goes downstairs to party in the blue dress her aunt made and a fabulous silver mask.
She wanted to lose herself in the crowd, fly away like a bird….
Alessandro also wanted to forget, be the man he was before he married Damiana. He wanted a sign to show him he wasn’t the one who was wrong…that somewhere in this world, maybe behind a mask, was a reason to keep living.
Flashback!Alessandro sees Marcela. Marcela had just started to feel like herself behind the mask, but there were too many people, pressing in on her from all sides. Alessandro noticed her and took her hand and she begged him to get her out of there.
Voiceover!Marcela explains that he must have been different, because even in eight years of dating, Camilo never understood that he needed to stand right in front of her so she could see him properly, because of the problem with her eyes. But this man was right in front of her, looking at her like no one ever had before. The fireworks go off behind them, so obviously it’s meant to be.
Alessandro signs some checks–too many, in his opinion–that Octavia requested. He sees Octavia approaching and tries to make a run for it, but she calls out to him.
She wants his opinion on the ads and he tells her they’re horrible. He’d rather listen to music. Octavia snarks that he’d rather listen to other people’s conversations. Alessandro replies that that’s her assistant, Mauro’s job. Anyway, she’ll start getting the complaints soon.
Alessandro tries to leave again, but Octavia delivers a message from Damiana–she might not sign the divorce papers. She and her lawyers are reviewing them and she doesn’t want him to pressure her.
Octavia insists there’s a dirty table in the lobby and calls the closest member of the housekeeping staff stupid for not cleaning it. Once she’s gone, Alessandro tells the woman he knows she does her job well. He tells her to leave the table alone and go hide out downstairs.
Back to the story
Flashback!Marcela explains that she’s so silvestre (wild, rustic) that she can’t be around more than five people or she starts feeling weird. She nearly walks right into a pool as she continues her rant and Alessandro pulls her back, laughing because he thinks she’s drunk. She starts to babble about how she doesn’t drink.
Alessandro interrupts her and says it’s about time they introduce themselves. Marcela refuses to take off the mask and jokes that her name is Cleopatra. Alessandro introduces himself as Marco Antonio.
He invites her into his family’s house, but he just says he has permission to use it. He mentions there’s a bottle of some blue liqueur in the kitchen in this house, waiting for them.
Marcela hesitates. She’s been trying to forget, not to have a good time. She really likes him, but in the middle off all this, she’s still feeling like the saddest woman in the world. She proposes they meet at the yacht club at noon tomorrow, with no masks and real names. And she warns him she doesn’t believe in love. Alessandro’s sure it exists somewhere, though he’s never seen it.
They share a goodbye kiss slightly complicated by their masks. It slightly un-complicates other things. Alessandro leads her inside, where she won’t let him turn the lights on.
In the morning, her side of the bed is empty and her mask is on the pillow. It’s 10:30 and he rushes to get dressed. In the closet, the safe is open and the box for his mom’s fancy necklace is empty.
Present!Marcela explains to Alba that she wasn’t herself that night. She shouldn’t have done it, she knows, but she won’t regret it. She hasn’t been able to stop thinking about him.
Flashback!Marcela prepares for her date at the yacht club, but Alessandro never arrives. He’s busy telling the police that he thinks the mystery woman he met last night must have stolen his mother’s necklace. He suggests going to the yacht club to catch her, but the detective on the case doesn’t think she’ll be there waiting for him. She must have been scoping him out for a while to pull of this job. She’s obviously a professional thief.
Present!Marcela is just sad that her mystery man stood her up at the yacht club. He felt like he was made for her and she felt happy with him. To him, she was a one night stand, but she doesn’t care. She got her faith and her strength back and healed her wounds and she’ll never forget him.
Alessandro can’t forget her either. He still has the mask.
The inheritance Marcela’s trying to collect was left to her by her mother, who she refers to as “that woman.” Marcela says her mother abandoned her, but Sagrario and Mateo exchange a Significant Glance.
Marcela remembers her dad sobbing that her mother abandoned them and was never coming back. Her dad started dying the day she left. The only thing her mother left her has been bad luck.
Marcela remembers the day the doctor told her she had retinosa pigmentaria (retinitis pigmentosa), a hereditary, progressive disease with no cure, that might eventually lead to total blindness.
For right now, all she needs to do is get married and save this ranch.
Lencho drops Maria Laura off at the ranch, but she’s adamant that they’re socios (business partners) and not novios (boyfriend/girlfriend). To hear Lencho tell it, it’s more like socios with benefits. Maria Laura wants to be a queen, so until he’s more than just his daddy’s junior (little boy), he can skip the novios talk. And he’d better not tell anyone about her cousin’s inheritance.
Of course, the first thing Lencho does is call his dad to tell him he knows why there were so many people at El Vendaval.
Turns out Octavia and Don Timoteo are in cahoots. He calls the next morning to warn Octavia that Marcela is about to get an inheritance that will let her pay her debt back to the bank.
Benito, the private detective, found Alessandro’s mystery woman. He’s got an awesome photo of Marcela with her shotgun on her front porch. Alessandro asks if he’s sure that’s the woman who stole his mom’s necklace. Benito knows her name, where she lives, and that she checked out of the hotel the day after the robbery even though her reservation was for two people for a week. She was also the only woman who fit his description. She flew straight to the DF and then headed to the ranch.
And a few days ago she put an ad in the paper, looking for a discreet man for a temp job. The word in town is, she’s looking for a husband.
If a thing’s worth doing….
Marcela wakes up to the sound of mariachis. After a brief fanfare, the singer calls out to Marcela that her future husband is here!
Marcela appears on the porch with her shotgun as the singer starts singing Anillo de Compromiso. He’s only a few lines in when she shoots into the air and says the interviews are OVER!
Later, there’s a knock at Marcela’s front door. She yells out to her aunt and Alba to answer the door WITH the shotgun in case it’s another “loco” with mariachis. When there’s no answer, she calls out “Come in, it’s open!”
And in walks Alessandro, pants tucked into his boots and resume in hand. If she’s still looking for a husband, he wants the job.