"Please tell me how the hell you convinced those two to go to the convention with you?" Lamont asked Corey, laughing as he sat down and crossed his legs. They were at Hardy Boys for happy hour.
"It took no convincing," Lourdes smiled at them, "we're dear and loyal friends who didn't want to leave Corey hanging."
"Bullshit." Tyler said, smoothing forward his short black Caesar cut. "I bet you had to drag Albear, kicking and screaming."
"Hey," Alby said, "the point is, we went."
"And had a blast." Corey added. "You should see all the free swag I scored!"
"What about you sweetie?" Lamont asked Lourdes. "Did you have a blast too?"
"You bet she did." Corey started giggling as Lourdes balled up her cocktail napkin and threw it at him.
"What?" Tyler asked. "Did we miss something?"
"No." Lourdes shook her head quickly, but she couldn't keep herself from smiling.
"You missed everything." Alby said. "Y'all should of been there!" He teased.
"Yeah speaking of that, remind me to kill you later." Lourdes raised her eyebrows at Albear.
"What?" Lamont asked. "Tell all!"
Corey continued to giggle. Lourdes smirked, shaking her head. "Nothing that a lace drink of arsenic wouldn't cure for Alby."
"You're kidding right?" Tyler asked. "You assholes! Are you really not going to tell us what happened?"
"Sorry fellas," Albear said, "membership has it's privileges, and if you weren't there to witness, then you lost out."
"You can't do that." Tyler said looking at all of them. "You were the ones who started this."
"Sorry." Albear cheesed.
Lamont rolled his eyes and focused on Lourdes. "You have to give a girl something," he said, "you know us queens live for gossip."
"Yeah but this isn't gossip," Lourdes said, "this is my life."
Tyler and Lamont leaned in close at the table. "All the better." Tyler smiled.
"Yes," Lamont added, "celebrity gossip is fun, but real life gossip is even better."
Lourdes smiled back, almost convinced that she should spill the beans.
"Speaking of celebrity." Albear mumbled as Corey began to laugh into his beer. "Doesn't it seem like the world has gone vampire crazy?"
"Albear." Lourdes said.
"Well, what's the deal?" He asked. "How long are you going to keep us waiting?"
"Come on," Corey said, "just tell us if your going to at least use your new set of keys tonight."
"I knew it!" Tyler said running his fingers through his short black hair excitedly. He stood up, pulling out his wallet and tossing money on the table. "Let's go out to dinner, my treat."
Lourdes sat back in her chair with her mouth slightly open. "Dinner?" She asked. She looked at her Marc Jacobs watch, there was hardly time.
"Oh yay!" Lamont said standing up. "That way, we'll have enough time to pump the dirt out of you."
"I can't go out to dinner." Lourdes said. "I have things to do."
"You mean someone to do. I guess we have an answer to my question." Albear said smugly.
Lourdes was silent. She tossed her head to the side
"So you are using your keys?" Corey confirmed, standing up also.
Lourdes remained silent, while standing up too.
"Okay, what's with the keys, because we have no idea what you're talking about." Lamont whined, as they headed towards the front door.
"They don't know what they're talking about." Lourdes offered as her blue cell rang. Kenneth.
"Who's that?" Albear asked looking over her shoulder. Lourdes sent the call to voicemail. The boys were already breathing down her neck. This was a bad time.
"You have time for dinner at least." Tyler probed. "It's still early yet. And then you can tell us all about it."
"Seriously." Lourdes said as they went outside. "There's nothing to tell."
"That's not what I heard." Corey joked. "You were gone for a really long time after lunch."
"A really long time." Albear mimic.
"Grow up." Lourdes said.
"So long, that it gave us all kinds of scenarios to come up with." Albear continued. "And you know, with a mind like ours..."
"Filthy, dirty, and disgusting." Lourdes mumbled.
"That's riigghhht." Lamont sang.
"So you know that we imagined the worst." Corey looped his arm around Lourdes'. "You know you want to tell us."
"I can't believe you guys, do any of you know how to keep your mouth shut?" Lourdes complained.
"No." They all said in unison.
"What fun would that be?" Lamont asked. "We'd never get laid."
Lourdes laughed, despite herself. "You guys are worse than women!" She put her hand to her head.
"Honey," Lamont paused for effect, "we are women, haven't you noticed that yet?"
"It's becoming quite clear to me." Lourdes cracked.
"Speak for yourself." Albear stuck his tongue out at Lamont. "I never had the desire to be a lady in my life."
"Who the fuck are you kidding." Tyler cracked.
"Well, with being the official lady of this group," Lourdes declared, "I'm not kissing and I'm not telling." They reached the boy's cars. Albear pulled Lourdes away from Corey and kissed her sweetly. "You might be the official female in this group....but-"
"But what?" Lourdes asked.
"But honey," Lamont said putting his hand on her shoulder, "you're definitely not a lady."
Corey and Tyler stood by smiling silently, as Albear laughed loudly.
"Is that what you were going to say?" Lourdes asked Albear, eyes wide open.
"In not so many words, but Lam put it as nicely as possible." Albear continued to laugh along with Lamont .
"Oh, so we got jokes?" Lourdes said bitterly, which made them laugh even louder. "We'll bitches, I got your lady right here."
"Ouch!" Albear said sarcastically.
"And you may think you know what it's like to be a real woman, but I've got you beat any day of the week."
"Is that right?" Lamont said putting one hand on his perfectly sculpted hip.
"Hands down." Lourdes said smartly.
"You might be surprised," Lamont said with attitude, "I could probably show you a trick or two."
“Or three or four.” Tyler added smartly.
"You can keep your tricks," Lourdes said, "and I'll keep mines."
"Well la-de-da." Albear said, "who knew the girl had balls."
"Take my advice," Lamont said, "as someone older and wiser-"
Albear snorted on the wiser part, but Lamont kept going. "There is always something to be learned in the language of love."
"Who's talking about love?" Lourdes asked sarcastically. "A trick here, a trick there...we're all just fucking."
Albear smiled, proud of his disciple.
"He's right." Tyler smiled at Lam, turning to his friend. "You should listen to him, sluts aspire to be like Lamont ."
Lourdes choked back a laugh as Lamont cut his eyes at Tyler.
"What?" Tyler said. "I meant it as a compliment."
"Well thanks for the offer," she said, "but I don't need to be shown any tricks. None of my boys complain. Ever."
"Is that right?" Albear asked.
Lourdes tilted her shoulder at him and smiled.
"Give it time," he said, "cause there's always another girl around the corner, who's willing to do something that you aren't."
"Like what?" Lourdes asked.
"Oh honey," Lam interjected, "if you have to ask then you're obviously not doing it."
Lourdes crossed her arms over her chest and squinted at Lamont. Albear put his arm around her shoulders. "Because we," he said pointing to everyone in the group except Lourdes, "we do it all."
Lourdes shrugged away from him as they all smiled at her. "I don't need to be a whore in order to please a man." She said.
"Oh honey, let me tell you what a whore is," Lamont said, "it's anyone who's willing to do what you aren't."
"It's anyone who's having more sex than you are." Tyler added.
"It's anyone who doesn't have the guts or courage to live out their own depraved fantasies." Albear offered lastly.
"Like I said," Lourdes repeated, "I haven't gotten any complaints before."
"Wait awhile," Alby said, "because with the kind of men that you are servicing, it's only a matter of time before their demands change."
"Excuse me?" Tyler asked. "Did he just say men? As in plural? Who else is there besides your Hollywood husband-"
"Will you stop saying that." Lourdes whined.
"And Gabriel?" Tyler finished.
"That's right," Albear said, "you can't tell me that Pullo doesn't make all sorts of request from you."
"Who's Pullo?" Corey asked.
"Albear-" Lourdes started.
"She hasn't even told you about Lolita, has she?" Albear asked them, then turning to smile at Lourdes, as he busted her out completely.
"Albear you cocksucking-"
"Alright, we're discussing this at dinner!" Lamont said, clapping excitedly.
"No really, get in the car." Tyler said, as people walked down the sidewalk looking at them.
"Loud mouth bastard!" Lourdes spat out.
"What?" Alby asked innocently.
"And don't think that I fucking forgot what you did this morning!"
"Hmph." Albear smiled, while nodding his head.
"What did he do?" Tyler asked.
Lourdes waved her hand dismissing the question.
"Lucy," Corey said smiling as he looped his arm back around Lourdes', "you got some 'splainin to do." He gushed in a stupid accent.
Lourdes sighed and got in Tyler's car, refusing to ride with Albear. She pressed ignore again, on the blue cell from another incoming call, as they headed off to dinner.
Dinner was short, as Lourdes could only focus her mind on what was coming for dessert. She layed waiting, halfway under the covers, for Alex to arrive. The house was freezing and it didn't help that she was half naked waiting to surprise him. She took a detour after leaving the convention and went home briefly, finally being able to change her clothing and pack a mini over-nite bag. She picked royal blue, silk lingerie for the evening. The sexy garments were brand new and something that she had been dying to try out. Alex would love it. As much as he boasted about being with a girl who doesn't like all the frills and thrills, his little Alex always stood at attention, when she dressed like this for him.
Lourdes picked up the blue cell as it rang. It was Kenneth calling for the third time. Something was up. But it probably wasn't the best time to answer while she was laying in another man's bed. She chose to ignore the call. How bad could it be? Besides, she only wanted to focus on one thing...
Her phone rang again.
Lourdes answered this time. "Okay this had better be good, because I really can't talk." She said into the phone.
"Lourdes?" Lolita asked.
"Oh hey." Lourdes looked down at her phone confused. She should have checked the caller i.d.
"Lourdes, where are you, you have to come over now."
"Why what's wrong?"
"Pullo's so angry..."
Lourdes took the phone away from her ear, she thought she heard something. She put the phone up to her ear quickly. She needed to go, she thought she heard footsteps walking down the hallway.
"What did you do?" Lita asked. "You have to tell me or else I can't have your back. He thinks I had something to do with it."
"Lita, I can't talk now." Lourdes said quietly into the phone as Alexsander appeared in the door way. He was smiling from ear to ear.
"Did you have Pullo investigated?" Lita asked point blank. Now that, caught Lourdes' attention.
"What? What are you talking about?" Lourdes asked, her heart started pounding. How the hell did Pullo find out? And why the fuck didn't she answer Kenneth's calls? He was probably trying to warn her.
Alex walked into the room, took off his blazer and tossed it down on the edge of the bed.
"He's freaking out-"
"We'll deal with this later-"
"No!" Lita said. "We have to deal with this now. There's a house full of people here, I don't know what the fuck to tell Pullo, and believe me, he's not giving me any peace, thinking that I'm at fault. He thinks I told you things, and now you're making me look guilty!"
Alex sat next to her on the bed, his large hands. pulling the covers away from her so he could check out what she was wearing. She slid her long legs in towards her body, out of reflex and butterflies.
"I'm kind of busy right now-" Lourdes tried to say into the phone as Alex leaned close, putting his hand on her thigh and kissed her.
"Lourdes if you fucking leave me hanging, you and I are going to have a problem!" Lita yelled into the phone. "Get your ass over here!" The line went dead. Lourdes closed the blue phone.
Alex pushed her hair behind her ear and turned her head to face him. "That's you're last phone call." He firmly demanded.
Lourdes smiled nervously. How the hell was she going to get out of this?
"I've never seen him this angry." Lita said as they stood a few feet away from the house. It was freezing, and here was Lita, in red short shorts and a white lace halter top. Just looking at her made Lourdes even colder. She pulled her quilted, black motorcycle jacket closer to her body. Lourdes leaned to the side and rested on the four inch heels of her black, knee-hi boots.
Lita was right. There were people everywhere. It was a pretty big party, so Lourdes was able to get to Lita first to feel her out, before she was spotted by Pullo. She talked to Kenneth after she ditched Alex. He was calling to warn her. His boss gave him a good scolding, wanting to know why he went to great lengths to pull a file on somebody that was considered an unrelated case. And to make it worse, a military profile. Somebody on the military end had found out and most likely warned Pullo. Kenneth said that his contact was solid, and he trusted him, so there is no way that he was the jabber, but he wanted Lourdes to be aware of the situation that she might run into.
"He says you know things about him that I don't even know. That Jasper doesn't even know...what the hell have you been up to girlie?" Lita asked, bringing Lourdes out of her thoughts.
Lourdes studied Lita. She wasn't angry. In fact, she seemed amazed. Impressed a little. But Lourdes chose her words carefully. "After the thing...you know..."
"The party, I invited you to?" Lita asked.
"Well yes, but maybe even before that....I think maybe it was the night that I picked you up near the Bancroft Hotel...and we dropped you off..."
"Yes?" Lita nodded her head, waiting for Lourdes to continue.
"I don't know, I guess I was a little freaked out. First with you, then when he whipped that gun out of nowhere and what happened afterwords.."
Lita's, dark plum lips tightened. They had never once brought up that night, since it happened.
"Then there was the party. The last place I would have ever expected him to be...I just couldn't believe it! I mean a sex party? Fabulous or not. At his age? Really?"
Lita continued to listen, intrigued. She tried not to smile.
"Yeah, so after that...my wheels started spinning a bit. I couldn't continue hanging out with Pullo without knowing what kind of man I was dealing with. And I know that he could probably say the same about me...but I had the resource...and I guess I used it to my advantage."
"And this resource is?" Lita asked furrowing her brows.
Lourdes smiled shaking her head. Not so fast, she thought to herself. She wasn't giving up everything.
"Okay," Lita said getting her point, "so it wasn't like you went and hired some private investigator?"
"No." Lourdes responded. "Nothing like that."
"Well, well," she said, "you're just full of surprises. Aren't you?"
Lourdes said nothing. Lita waited for more of explanation.
"He keeps me in the dark about anything real." Lourdes offered. "We can talk about everything under the sun, and yet, when it comes to his life, it's a non-negotiable topic." Lourdes threw her hands in the air. "What else could I do?"
"Not this!" Lita said, surprised that Lourdes would even say that. "Why didn't you ask me?"
"Because every attempt I made to get answers out of you, you shut me down right away. I know how loyal you are to Jasper and Pullo and I didn't want to abuse our friendship by forcing you to compromise your relationship with them."
Lita nodded her head. "So you felt this was the best approach?"
Lourdes shook her head. "Lita, I don't know. This wasn't a very thought out plan. I just needed some answers and I never thought that any of this would come back on me."
"But now it has," she said, "so what did you find out?" She asked curious.
"You tell me." Lourdes said.
"What's that suppose to mean?"
"I mean, what did Pullo say to you? How much do you know? Do you know what I know? And why the fuck didn't you tell me that he's been married, like, fourteen times? With kids to boot!"
"It wasn't my place." Lita said quietly.
"You know..." Lourdes trailed off, starting to get worked up, but she tried to calm herself, "that shit just fuckin' kills me. We can go out, party down, get fucking shit wreaked together, but we can't talk about anything real!"
"What are you carrying on about?" Lita said shaking her head.
"I'm talking about you, me, Pullo, Jasper!"
"Shh!" Lita said grabbing Lourdes by the arm and pulling her further down the block, so they would be out of earshot of the others.
"What a pair we all make!" Lourdes continued. "The happy hooker, the gay brother, the mercenary killer and me!"
"Wait, what?" Lita asked.
"It's no wonder my manuscript is going along swimmingly. I'm never going to run out of material!"
"Back-up," Lita said, "what did you say about Pullo?"
"I had writers block for years! Now I can't even put down a pen and paper, I have blisters from writing so much..."
Lourdes looked at Lita.
"Will you focus please! Forget about all that other shit, because right now, you're going to have to go in there and make things right with Pullo."
Lourdes put her hands on her hips, shaking her head. "Well, this is another situation that I can put on my list of things that I never thought I would have to go through in my lifetime."
"Hi honey," Lourdes mimicked, "how are you? What's that you say?"
"Oh sweetie don't worry," she continued, "yeah, I had your file pulled. I just wanted to know about of all your children, and the names of all of your previous wives!"
Lita was silent now, what was the point? Lourdes obviously needed to vent.
"And no honey, it doesn't freak me out that you seem to get older, but the women you marry all seem to be my age! No it doesn't bother me that anybody could be standing in my place. I'm just the new 3.0 version in your life. The new 29 year old bunny that you have in your sights."
Lita couldn't help but to laugh. "Babe, calm down, I'm sorry I asked!"
"Oh and by the way, it doesn't bother me that you kill people for a living-"
"Hey!" Lita jerked Lourdes by the arm. "You better shut that shit down right now!"
Lourdes went silent, glaring at her.
"Now come on. Let's go inside, have a drink and then deal with Pullo."
Lourdes pouted, pulling herself together and they both walked quietly back to the house. Once they were inside, no chance for a drink, Pullo spotted her immediately. He was with a group of guys, all with beers in there hands, talking in a circle. Lourdes gave him a nervous smile, but he dismissed her with his eyes and went back to the conversation.
Lourdes raised her eyebrows. Alright, guess she did have time to get that drink.
"Come on," Lita said, witnessing everything, "I'll hook you up."
They made their way to the kitchen. "What'll it be?" Lita asked. "No fu-fu cocktails, I have a feeling you're going to need a real drink. Jack? Scotch? Tequila? Name your poison."
"Got anything stronger?" Lourdes asked. "I got a feeling I'm going to need it."
"What'd you have in mind?" Lita smiled, leaning across the counter. "I'm down for a little escape from reality."
Lourdes and Lita both looked up. A short Latina girl came through the kitchen door and walked up to them. Lourdes didn't recognize her, but Lita did instantly.
"Hello." Lita smiled grabbing her hand and pulling her over to them. "Lourdes, this is my friend Dalia."
"Hey." Lourdes said, holding up her hand to wave and forcing a smile.
"Nice to meet you." Dalia said, cutting her eyes at Lita. "We've heard so much about you."
"We?" Lourdes asked.
"The girls," Lita offered, "don't worry, you'll meet them soon."
"They've been dying to meet you also." Dalia said to Lourdes.
"My god Lita, what have you been telling them?" Lourdes smiled nervously.
"Don't worry, all good things." Dalia smiled. "We've just been curious to meet the person, who this chica has been spending all her free time with lately." Lita and Dalia hugged each other, continuing to smile at Lourdes.
Lourdes studied her. Dalia was pretty. Not as pretty as Lita of course. Black hair, a little past her shoulders. Round, cute face, dimple in one cheek. She seemed genuine, but it was too soon to tell.