"Hey baby! How'd you know we'd all be here!" Lamont said giving Lourdes and hug and a kiss. He was very festive in his sleeveless, orange turtle neck and brown leather pants.
"Let me guess, it's Turkey Week at Sin City?" Lourdes asked.
"You got it!" Lam said. "How did you know?" Lamont smiled brightly, showing off the perfect space between his teeth. Lourdes loved that about him. They shared the same trait.
"Hey sweetie!" Melody said putting her hand on Lamont's shoulder. "What are you doing here?"
Lourdes handed them a bottle of red and white wine. "All finished up, thought I'd crash your dinner for a bit. The wine isn't kosher, but I brought it anyway."
"Well you're always welcome." Melody said pulling her inside.
"Yeah," Lam said also, "now you can spend the rest of the night with your other family!"
Lourdes took off her jacket and hung it up. She walked into the dining room and waved at everybody.
"Look who's here!" Lamont said.
"Hey!" They all said. Corey, Tyler, Lisa, Christina and Albear were all there. Albear was sitting next to Lisa, holding Abraham. "Well look what the cat drug in." He said grinning, pretty sure that she was there to see him.
"Come sit down!" Lisa said. "Have something to eat."
"Oh no thanks." Lourdes said smiling and sitting down. "I've been cooking for days, I can't look at another piece of food."
"Well have a drink!" Christina said.
"Yes please, that I'll take." Lourdes nodded her head and Christina laughed. Melody set down a glass of white wine in front of her. "Thanks." She said. "How is every body today?"
"Fabulous." Tyler said. "All of us together in one room, what could possibly go wrong?"
"I'll take that as sarcasm." Lourdes said raising her drink to him, smiling.
"Not at all." Lisa said. "Actually, it's been a lovely day. Friends, family, we're all healthy, who could ask for more."
"She's right." Corey said. "Now all we need to complete the night is-"
"A stiff hard prick?" Albear chimed in. They laughed.
"Going to Sin City also, I see." Lourdes said.
Albear smiled, handing the baby to Lisa. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Come on." He said standing up. "Let's go have a smoke."
Lourdes went outside to the backyard with Alby. He unwrapped a joint out of a handkerchief and lit it up. He pulled Lourdes close to him and put his arm around her shoulders. "So," he said, "how's Mr. ESPN?"
"Away working." Lourdes said, taking the J out of his hand.
"So that leaves you free to play with your Hollywood husband?"
"Not quite." She said, trying to hold her hit and give him back the J.
"And how was the meeting with your dick?"
"Detective," she said, "and I wish you would stop calling him that."
Albear laughed. "What, and miss a chance to use my sarcasm and wit? Never."
"The meeting was very informative." She said.
"Yeah? But I bet he couldn't tell you what Pullo was doing at an orgy, could he?"
"Oh Albear!" She said. "I never would have brought that up, in the first place."
"So is he cool?" Albear said referring to Pullo. "Are you free to fuck his brains out with no remorse?"
"I guess," she sighed, "for the most part..."
"Well I only want to hear about the part, that you're not so sure of."
"Later." She said. "I still have another dilemma."
"Let's hear it."
"Tonight, I'm meeting Alex and his Celia."
"What?" He said taking his arm from around her shoulders. "I thought we talked about this!"
"I know, but he begged me to do this and now I have to go."
"Fuck them." Albear said. "You don't have to do shit, but tell him to fuck off and deal with his own baggage."
"That's just it." Lourdes said. "Me doing this, is my way of dealing with my baggage. I told him, after this last favor, that it's over between us."
Albear studied her. "Good for you." He said. "Do you mean it?"
"Absolutely." She said. "This time it's finally over...."
Celia stared outside at the two girls parked in the driveway. They were having an intense conversation and she wondered what it was about. Could it be about Alex? Could it be about her? Maybe it had nothing to do with them at all.
Alexsander walked up behind Celia, looking out the window over her shoulder.
Celia sensed his presence, but she didn't turn around. "I heard the gate opening." She said. "Looks like your guest have arrived."
"One guest." He said. "Only Lourdes, I don't know the other one."
Celia was quiet for a moment. "Does she come over often?"
"What?" Alex asked. "I'm hardly here."
"There was no buzzer to inform us that somebody had arrived." Celia turned to face him. "She knows the code to get into your house. I would imagine someone who knows your security codes, comes over quite often."
"She knows the code, because I gave it to her when we spoke earlier. I didn't want them to have to wait on the street, just in case they got here before us."
Celia studied him. His face was blank.
"Security codes can be changed." He said, reassuring her. "And besides, even if I hadn't given her the code earlier, Gabe could have just as easily told her."
Celia turned back towards the window. They were still in the car talking. It looked as if they were laughing about something. "They're both pretty." She said quietly. "Couldn't manage to invite any guy friends over, could you?"
Alex sighed. "Hey you were the one who said you wanted to meet her."
"Of course, I wanted to put a face to the screen name that I have been emailing for weeks now."
"She's not just a screen name," he paused, "she's Gabe's girl, and he would be here if he wasn't working. I told you all of this. Besides, how can you even tell what they look like from where we're standing?"
"Women can sense pretty, just like they can sense ugly. Trust me." Celia nodded her head without turning. "Gabe always did like the exotic ones....but then of course, so did you."
Alex said nothing.
"Which one is she?" Celia asked.
Alex peeked over her shoulder. "The one in the passenger seat."
"Of course." Celia said as Alex put his hand over his head and rolled his eyes. She continued to watch them outside. She saw something that the surprised her. "Tell me, does she and Gabe have a open relationship?"
"What in the world would even make you asked that?" He said.
"Because the one in the drivers seat just kissed her."
"What?" Alex said, pulling back the sheer curtain, trying to get a look, but all he saw was them talking.
"You're seeing things." He said.
"No." Celia said. "I saw correctly. Perhaps this is something Gabe doesn't know about her?"
"Perhaps you're right." Alex said in shock. This was definitely something that he didn't know about.
"Remind me why I'm doing this again?" Lourdes said. She was practically hyperventilating. They were sitting in Lita's car.
"Because he begged you." Lita said. "Because you agreed and because I said that I would come and support you."
"I don't think I can do this." Lourdes said.
"You'll be okay, just think positive thoughts."
"You're so right! Positive thoughts, why didn't I think of that?" Lourdes spat out sarcastically.
"Well excuse me all to hell." Lita said. "Look, just tell me again what he said."
Lourdes took and a deep breath. "He said the minute that he tried to break things off with her..."
"Yes. That she hopped on the next plane out and surprised him by just showing up."
"Why would she do that if he told her it was over?" Lita frowned.
Lourdes shrugged her shoulders. "If you were in a relationship for years with some guy and he told you that it was over, and she thinks it's because he met some other girl, would you just let him go, Scott free?"
"So we're in a reverse French Kiss movie and Celia is Meg Ryan?"
"Your smart ass jokes are delivered right on time!" Lourdes said, throwing her hands in the air.
Lita laughed. "I'm sorry!" She said still giggling. "Okay, I see your point. So have you met her?"
"No, tonight will be the first time."
"Tell me about her, what do you know?"
Lourdes exhaled. "She's got blue eyes and she's 5'9, long blonde hair all down her back.”
Lita smiled. “Congratulations. What's so special about that?"
"She was a model-"
"She's done some acting-:
"And she weighs a buck o'five-"
"Bitch." Lita said trying to be supportive.
"And I guess that she's alright if perfections, what he likes."
Lita put her hand on Lourdes, giving it a soft squeeze.
Lourdes looked at her pained and smiled. "And I'm not jealous, a whole lot..."
"Of course not." Lita whispered.
"I just want everything she's got."
Lita broke out laughing. Lourdes laughed too. "No really," she whined, "Gabe talks about her so amazed, and I'm not sure I can see, Alex look at her that way."
Lita was silent for a moment, studying Lourdes. Then she leaned in close. "There is nothing that she has, that you don't have, except..."
Lourdes looked at her. "Except for what?"
"The only thing she has that you really want, is Alex, and you know that."
Lourdes said nothing.
"So if you want him, take him."
Lourdes' eyes widened.
"Oh what?" Lita said. "Don't look at me like that, I'm only saying what you're thinking. I mean please," she exaggerated, "if it comes down to her happiness or yours, whose it gonna be?"
Lourdes shrugged her shoulders.
Lita shook her head. "You know, I've never seen you like this."
"So unglued. So nervous and out of control. It makes me a little jealous that he can unravel you like this and I can't."
"Lita- this is so not the time to do this," Lourdes pleaded, "I'm just hanging on by a thread here."
Lita said nothing. Lourdes sighed and looked up her, trying not to be such a selfish bitch. "And you do unravel me...in a good way...just not the way he does."
She smiled. "I just want to help take your mind off of your problem for a minute."
"And you are." Lourdes said. "You're great, and I appreciate all of it, and I'll owe you one for doing this."
"Yeah?" Lita said. "Will it be the same owe you one that Pullo's going to get?"
Lourdes smiled, taken aback by her comment. "For right now," she paused, "all I can say is thank you for doing this with me. And I do promise to owe you."
Lita quickly leaned over from the drivers seat and kissed Lourdes. "Don't thank me," she pulled back smiling, "the truth is I wouldn't miss this for the world and I'm so happy that you trust me enough to bring me with you." They laughed.
"I hear that." Lourdes said.
"And besides," Lita smiled, "I'll collect from you later."
They got out of the car. "Don't worry, you look great."
"You sure?" Lourdes asked. She tried to straighten out her long, pale pink dress and leather jacket, looking at her reflection in the car window.
"Yep," she said smiling, "you look beautiful."
"Thanks." Lourdes said, taking a deep breath. She even changed her hair to be long and straight. She probably had on too much make-up, but she wanted to feel like somebody else tonight. "Here we go." She said ringing the door bell.
"What you don't have a key?" Lita asked.
"Fuck off." Lourdes said, trying not to smirk. Lita's laugh was cut short as the door knob started to turn. "Hi!" Lita and Lourdes both said at the same time as Alexsander opened the door. They were smiling brightly. Ready to put on a show.
"Hello." Alex said in his Swedish accent, moving out of the way, so they could walk in, past the double doors. Lourdes was glad she changed her outfit ten different times until she was satisfied. He was looking great. He wore grey pants with a white shirt and black blazer. His hair, was combed back and his goatee was growing in, just the right amount, the way she liked it.
"Brought along some spirits." Lita said, handing him a bottle of wine.
"Right, thanks." He said to Lita, but he was eying Lourdes, smiling at her with those blue eyes.
Celia came walking into the room. "Hello everybody." She said smiling.
They both turned to check her out. She was just as Gabe described her. Tall, elegant, long hair, and practically a waif.
"Hi!" Lourdes and Lita said in unison smiling fakely. Lourdes couldn't quite place the accent. It didn't sound like Alex's though.
"This is Celia." Alex said introducing her. He put his hand on her back. Smiling proudly.
"His girlfriend Celia." Celia added, extending out her hand.
Alex continued without missing a beat. "This is Lourdes and this is-"
"Lolita." Lita said shaking her hand.
"Nice to meet you." Lourdes said, shaking her hand after Lita.
"Lourdes," Celia said giving her a hug, "I feel like I know you already, Gabe's told me so much about you. He's absolutely crazy about you."
Lourdes smiled, not sure what to say. That was a little overkill or was she being paranoid? Alex was looking down at the floor. Lourdes handed her a pie. "For the holiday."
"Wow. Thank you!" Celia said looking into the box. "You shouldn't have. Oh, sweet potato. One of Alex's favorites, how did you know?" Celia and Alex both smiled at Lourdes.
Lourdes smiled plainly and shrugged her shoulders. "Lucky guess, I suppose."
"Of course." Celia said looking at Alexsander. He smiled at the both of them. "And they brought a nice vintage." He said holding up the bottle.
"Ooh you should have." Celia said smiling at the girls. They nodded their heads and smiled back.
"Well come on in," Alex said, "sit yourselves down." Celia and Alex walked a few feet ahead, leading them into the atrium.
"Since when does he have an accent?" Lita whispered into Lourdes ear.
Lourdes shrugged her shoulders, giving her the look that she would explain later.
"You have a lovely home." Lita said, looking around. "How long have you two lived here?"
Lourdes looked at Lita, as if to say, what are you doing? But Lita only smiled at her.
"We don't live here together." Alex said. "Celia's just in town visiting."
"Oh, I see." Lita said nodding her head. "So you're from where exactly?"
"Sweden." They both said.
"I see." Lita said. "That's a lot of ocean between you two. How do you two make it work?"
Lourdes nudged Lita before they could see.
"It doesn't work." Alexsander said. Lourdes sucked in her breath. What was he doing? Celia's permanent smile, quickly faded. Lourdes and Lita looked at each other.
"That is to say," he added, "that we never get to see each other, and I miss her all the time, I wish she did live here with me." He kissed her own the cheek. Celia was beaming again.
So that's how he's going to play this. Lourdes thought to herself.
"Actually, Alex doesn't really live here also." Celia said.
"Is that right?" Lita asked.
"In fact, we have actually discussed, my moving to Southern California, maybe living there." Celia smiled at Alex and put her arm around his waist.
"That's a wonderful idea!" Lourdes exclaimed. "Then you two can be together all the time." Alex was staring daggers at her. "How soon are you two moving in together?"
Alex continued to look at Lourdes, but said nothing.
"Well, we have a lot to discuss," Celia said, "I would basically be uprooting my whole life, and it's a big decision, so nothing is permanent yet."
Alex stared at Lourdes. "She's right, nothings set in stone, there's a lot to be discussed."
Lourdes looked away.
"Anyway," Alex said handing Celia the bottle of wine. "why don't we pop this open for starters."
"Sure honey." She said.
Lourdes felt her first pain.
"Here let me help you." Lita said grabbing the pie. "Nothing like wine and dessert to top off an evening." Lita smiled at Lourdes as she followed Celia to the kitchen. Lourdes and Alex sat down.
"Thanks for coming." Alex spoke quietly.
"I said I would." Lourdes said avoiding eye contact.
"I know, but I thought you might change your mind."
"Nope." She said. Taking off her jacket.
"A couple of drinks and it'll be over." He said.
"Can we talk later?"
"Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Will I see you before I leave?"
"Why?" He asked, even having the nerve to look confused.
"Because you fail to see the point that it's over between us." She whispered.
"If you're going to be here, you can at least be civil to me." He said.
"I am." She said. "I'm doing the best I can, given the situation."
"Try harder." He said.
"Well why don't you tell me how I'm supposed to act around the guy that I'm cheating with and his girlfriend? You tell me what's the proper behavior?"
"Just stop it." Alex said. "You're not so innocent in all of this."
"Lovely accent that is." Lourdes said still not looking at him. "You're such a good actor."
"You really wanna do this now?" He said. "At this very moment?"
"No," she said shaking her head and playing around with her small clutch purse, "I don't want to do any of this, I want to get the fuck outta here."
"So you can be with Lita?" He asked.
"What?" She asked, looking at him for the first time surprised.
"Celia said she saw you two kissing. What the fuck is that all about?"
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"Why would she lie?" He whispered, agitated.
"My actions don't really concern you anymore now, do they?" Lourdes spoke smartly.
"Is this just another ploy to get my attention?" He asked.
Lourdes laughed. "When was I ever trying to get your attention?" She said. "You called me."
"So you're into girls now? What would Gabe think?"
"I don't give a fuck what Gabe thinks and I don't give a shit what you think either. And for your information, whatever your girlfriend thinks she might have saw, was only friendly affection!"
"You don't have to explain anything to me!" He whispered angrily. "You don't give a shite what I think remember."
"Did you ever think that this might work in your favor?" Lourdes asked.
"Why would I ever think that?"
"Because if you can get past your own ego for one second, you would see that the more your girlfriend is thrown off by my actions, the less she'll think there's a chance that the two of us could have been together."
"Oh your good!" He said. "You have an answer for everything. And she's not my girlfriend!"
"Oh fuck off Alex! You could have corrected her back at the door."
"The best thing for everybody is just to act normal until I can get rid of her." He said sitting up in his chair and smoothing his hair back. "I can't let her lose face now."
"Act normal, what is that?" Lourdes said tossing her head to the side.
"Why did you come if you're just going to make this night miserable for me?" He asked. "I thought-"
"You thought what?" She said cutting him off. "That I would come over play hostess and we would be one big happy fuckin' family! Well guess again. This is killing me!"
"You think this is easy for me!" He whispered back angrily. "You think I enjoy any of this? Why would I want to hurt you like this? What advantage could I possibly gain from being in this fucked up situation? I want you. And I thought-" he paused, choosing his words carefully, "and I thought you wanted me too."
Lourdes felt the wind taken out of her sails. She didn't get a chance to answer. They both stood up quickly, as Lita and Celia came back into the room laughing. They set down saucers with pie and whip cream, along with glasses of wine.
"Here we are." Celia said. Alex and Lita switched places and sat down in their respective seats.
"So how long have you two been together?" Lourdes asked smiling at the both of them. Alex gave her a dirty look.
"Oh it's been awhile now, hasn't it honey?" Celia said.
Alex looked at her but said nothing. Celia looked embarrassed.
"I love your accent, by the way." Lita said, changing the subject.
"Thank you, I like yours too." Celia said.
Lita and Lourdes smiled at each other.
"I didn't realize I had one." Lita said.
"That's what most Americans say. Don't you agree honey?" Celia asked Alex.
Alex nodded his head, taking a big gulp of his wine.
"It must be nice, to live that way." Celia added.
"Live what way?" Lita asked not getting her meaning.
"So politically correct and free. Always knowing that your way of thinking is the right way of thinking. It must be liberating."
"Honey," Alex said patting Celia's arm, "be nice."