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.
"So what are we drinking?" Dalia asked, looking at the liquor
that Lita had took out.
"Haven't gotten that far yet," Lita said, "but we were kind
of hoping for some Mary...maybe a little
"No T." Lourdes crinkled her nose, shaking her
"How about a little E?" Dalia pulled a mini plastic bag out
of her pocket.
"Now you're talking!" Lita said snatching the baggie out of
Dalia's hand. "Let's spike the punch with it!" She looked at them
"No," Dalia said, "there's only enough for each of us to have
a tab, I want the full effect."
Lourdes nodded her head in agreement. So Lita put the booze
away and pulled out orange juice and water
Lourdes swallowed quickly, making sure not to let it touch
her tongue, and washed it down fast with her juice, hoping to
avoid the bitter aftertaste. Lita and Dalia did the
"You should deal with Pullo before you hit." Lita
"He shunned me from across the room," Lourdes said, "what can
Lourdes didn't get to finish as Pullo and two guys came
walking in to the room.
"Hi!" Lita smiled at all of them. "What's
The two men with Pullo smiled, giving quick hellos and put
their empty beer bottles on the counter. Pullo ran his fingers
across Lourdes back, and planted a kiss on her cheek. Maybe he
wasn't as angry as Lita had led on. She stayed on her guard
anyway. Pullo went in the shelf and pulled out a bottle of
bourbon, and three small glasses. "Cheers." He said to the girls,
very coolly as him and the guys headed out of the
"Pullo?" Lourdes said softly. "Can we
"Later." He said not even turning back to look at her. He
went through the kitchen door and disappeared. Strike
So it was going to be like
that, Lourdes thought to herself. She shrugged
her shoulders and looked at Lita. "Can't say I didn't
"Try harder." Lita said kissing her on the cheek, as Dalia
looked at the both of them confused. Lourdes rolled her eyes and
moved away from the counter.
"Come on," Lita said grabbing Dalia and Lourdes' hand, "Jasp
has Mary in his room, we'll go and have her out by the pool.
She'll make everything better, especially when we peek." She
looked at Lourdes. "Then you'll try again."
Lourdes and Dalia both followed willingly. Not many people
were out by the pool. It was almost Christmas and too cold to
swim. Lourdes and Dalia sat on the beach chairs, waiting for Lita
to come with the goods.
"So you and Lita have been friends for a long time?" Lourdes
"Bout five years." Dalia said. "How long have you two been
"Not that long. It's barely been two months." Lourdes
wondered if Dalia knew about Lita's real
"She's fond of you." Dalia said.
"Oh yeah? How can you tell?"
"Because she brings your name into the conversation, at least
three times, every time I talk to her." Dalia
"I'm sorry, that must suck." Lourdes said. But she wasn't,
Dalia pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms
around them. "You did something to impress
Lourdes smiled. "She's just so easy to talk to. I guess we
clicked right away."
"Well, welcome to the fold my friend," Dalia said, "all the
girls want to meet you."
"It'll be my pleasure," Lourdes said, "I'm always up for a
"Lita tells me your a writer. How's that working out for
"Lita's, a liar." Lourdes said, a little too harshly. She was
taken aback that Dalia knew that. That Lita had even mentioned
this to somebody else. It wasn't that she was embarrassed or
ashamed, she just didn't want anybody to read her newest work.
And Lita, was in possession of Lourdes' latest chapters. She
would just die, if anybody else got a hold of them. She would
never publish it. They were sacred. And just for
Dalia was watching Lourdes. "I'm not a writer," she offered,
"I dabble in some things here and there, but I do other things to
pay the bills."
"Yep, you're a chef," Dalia smiled, "she told me that too.
Culinary school after graduation right?"
"Sort of, I graduated early, then took a break before
college, so I still ended up, aligned with my
"Mm-hm," Dalia nodded, "she said that you've worked in
restaurants, resorts, hotels, she even said that you worked on
cruise ships and at a Hot Springs."
"Wow," Lourdes said, "I sound like a self-important
"Not at all." Dalia offered. "You seem to lead quite the
life." She paused for a moment. "To tell you the truth, until I
just met you, I questioned if you even existed. I was starting to
think that Lita made you up."
"Trust me," Lourdes said, "None of those things are as
glamorous as they sound. I just try to do what I'm good
"You're lucky," Dalia said, "to realize your talents so early
on in life. Not very many people have that luxury. Lita's right,
you should make the most of it."
Lourdes was silent for a moment. She couldn't tell if Dalia
was just making conversation or if there were few hints of
jealousy there. She spoke softly. "Lita's just dazzled. Maybe
even a little overwhelmed."
"She thinks your fabulous."
"I am fabulous," Lourdes smiled arrogantly, "but not as
fabulous as she's made me out to be. Pretty soon, she'll see that
I'm just like everybody else, even with the writing, then she'll
come down to earth."
"Maybe," Dalia said, "but Lita says that you're quite
talented as a writer, and could go pretty far if you really
"She told you that?" Lourdes asked surprised. "She's my
harshest critic, I can't imagine her ever saying anything like
"She said it to me," Dalia said with confidence, "I think our
girl, may have a crush on you."
Lourdes blinked. She pursed her nude lips, not sure what to
say. "I like her too."
"There's nothing wrong with that!" Dalia laughed. "You know
how it is when you meet someone and you can't get enough of them?
You absorb each other, you want to be around them all the time.
It's like being in love but for girls!"
"I think they have a word for that these days." Lourdes
Dalia started laughing. "That's cute, I like
"I try." Lourdes said.
"No but seriously-"
Lita slid the glass door open and came outside. She plopped
down next to Dalia on the lawn chair. "Success!" She beamed as
she lit up a blunt and passed it around. "What I
"Nada," Dalia said, "I was just inviting Lourdes over to
girls night out, this week."
Lita looked up surprised.
"I accepted." Lourdes smiled.
"Great." Lita said. "You'll love everybody. It's kind of
family night. Potluck dinner, music, booze and
"Right on." Lourdes nodded her head. She layed back on the
beach chair, watching the lights flicker off the blue water in
the pool. The glass door slid open again. Pullo came out and
walked over to them. He stood over Lourdes' chair. Black Calvin
Klein jeans, black Prada shirt. The man could dress. He was
almost as much of a label whore as Alby. Lourdes liked that.
There was nothing sexier than being around a man who knows how to
"Hey Pullo," Lourdes smiled, "sit down, have a toke." She sat
back up, so she could share the seat with him. He sat down,
saying nothing, and took the blunt that Dalia offered to him.
Pullo inhaled, long and slow, then passed to
Lourdes looked at the two girls. Lita shrugged her
Pullo exhaled. "Can we have a minute." He said very coolly,
not really asking, but making it clear that he wanted them to
Lita said. She stood up with Dalia, and gave Lourdes a look, as
if to say, good
Instead of going back in the house, they went over across the
yard, to the other end of the pool. Lourdes was pretty sure, Lita
wanted front row seats, to what was about to go
"You got something you want to say to me?" Pullo
"What could I possibly want to say?" Lourdes asked
"Turns out, you've been a busy bee," he said, "most girls are
all about the questions, but you had none at all. That should
have told me something."
"I did have questions," she said, "you never had
"You weren't asking the right questions." Pullo said looking
straight ahead. Lourdes couldn't read him, he had gone cold on
she shrugged, "I didn't know that was the game I was suppose to be
Pullo looked at her. His coldness had turned to anger, she
could see it in his eyes.
"Hey man," one of Pullo's' friends came walking up, "the
games are about to begin, are you guys coming
Pullo stood up and started walking away.
"Where are you going?" Lourdes asked, still sitting. "We
Pullo stopped at the glass door. "We weren't?" He asked, then
he turned and went back inside anyway.
Lourdes looked away, exhaling slowly. Strike
Lita came rushing over without Dalia. "What happened?" She
"Nothing. We got nowhere. His friend came out and he blew me
"Just go get him. He's pissed, but he'll get past
"I don't care if he gets past this, I'm not going to chase
him all over this party, just so he can treat me like
"Lady," Lita said, "you have it coming. So butch up, be a big
girl and take your punishment."
Lourdes tossed her head to the side.
"And make sure you exonerate me in the process." Lita
"Yeah yeah." Lourdes mumbled.
Lita sat next to Lourdes and kissed her on the cheek. Her
long black hair grazed Lourdes' face. She smelled like
strawberries. "If it helps, I still love
Lourdes turned and looked at her as Lita smiled, rubbing her
lower back. "Go on," she said, "he's waiting for
Lourdes stood up begrudgingly, and dragged her feet into the
house. She made her way to the living room, scanning every face,
until she found the right one. Bingo, she found him. He was off
in a corner with some girl half his age. Surprise, surprise. From
where Lourdes was standing, it looked as if they were flirting.
Whatever he was saying to her, the girl was completely engrossed,
not looking away for a second.
Lita and Dalia came up behind Lourdes. "Shit." Lita mumbled
under her breath.
"Who the fuck is that?" Lourdes asked to no one in
"Alright, so I was wrong," Lita said, "maybe he wasn't
waiting for you to come after him."
Lourdes turned and glared at Lita.
"What?" She asked, trying not to smile.
"That's nice, real nice." Lourdes said. "Why the fuck did you
even tell me to come over?"
"Don't be a chicken shit." Lita said. "I've never seen that
girl in my life."
"What's your point?" Lourdes asked.
"If I may be so bold," Dalia cut in, "I think she's saying,
go stall the bitch out and take what's rightfully
Lourdes sighed loudly. That's exactly what Albear would say.
All three of them turned to watch Pullo. He looked up from across
the room, making eye contact with Lourdes, then he went back to
"Fuck this shit." Lourdes whispered to herself. She turned
and kissed Lita on the cheek. "Bye babe. I'll see you
"No wait-" Lita tried to say, but Lourdes made her way
quickly across the room and headed out the front
She was only a few paces from the house, when Lita called
after her from the front door. "Lourdes wait! How are you going
to get home? You shouldn't leave in your
Lourdes stopped and turned. She had forgotten just that
quickly, that she had popped a pill, and Lita was right, she
shouldn't go home like that. But she couldn't stay here. She
would figure something out along the way. "I'll be fine!" She
assured her, then kept going. She reached the end of the block.
What to do? Call a cab, catch the bus, head back to the city and
hang with Alby and the boys? She pulled out a cigi. She would
contemplate while she smoked. Lourdes leaned against a stop sign,
breathing in the cold night air. She should have stayed with
Alex. She would be in bliss right now, instead of attempting,
failed damage control with Pullo.
Lourdes turned around as she heard footsteps approaching.
Pullo walked up to her. "Come back to the house." He
"No thanks," Lourdes muttered, "I'll catch up with you
"I'm not asking." He ordered. "We need to
"Pass." Lourdes said dismissing him.
"I'm not going to chase you around," he said, "come back to
the house, we're not talking about this on the
"We're not talking about anything," Lourdes said, "you keep
blowing me off."
Pullo turned and walked away, expecting Lourdes to follow
him. She did, reluctantly. Might as well get this over with. No
time like the present.
Back inside the house, it was much warmer. They made their
way past people and went in Pullo's bedroom.
Lourdes sat in a chair and crossed her legs, determined to
remain calm, no matter what happened. Pullo sat on the edge of
the bed, silently watching her.
"So talk to me." Lourdes said.
"Where do you get off invading my private life?" He
"No really," he said, "what gives you the
"Pullo, I don't have any excuses."
"That's not good enough."
"The only explanation that I can offer, is that I made a dumb
decision, without thinking."
"What decision was that?" He asked.
"W-what? You know already." Lourdes
"No. I don't know, tell me exactly what you
"Are we going to go in circles like this? Or do you actually
want to talk?"
there and talk at me, like you actually have a leg to stand on."
His voice was deep and his tone was serious...kind of a turn on
if she wasn't in such deep shit. "I'm not talking at you," she
said, "fine, I'm busted, I admit that. What do you
want me to do about
Pullo stood up fast and walked over to Lourdes. "Get out of
He opened the bedroom door.
"Leave." He said.
Lourdes stood up. "Okay," she said walking to the door, "have
it your way." She walked outside the room and turned around. Lita
and Dalia were out in the hallway, drinking and talking. They
both looked in Lourdes' direction when she exited the room.
Lourdes turned around to face him. "For what it's worth, I'm
sorry." She said to Pullo. He slammed the door in her face. A few
by-standers in the hallway looked to see what was going
"And fuck you very much." She said loudly, then turning and
walking past Lita and Dalia.
"Didn't go so well?" Lita asked.
"How could you tell?" Lourdes responded
Pullo came out of the room and stormed up to them. "Have it
my way?" He said angrily to Lourdes. "What way is
Lourdes quickly cut her eyes at Dalia and Lita, then looked
back at him.
"What did you just say, when I closed the door?" He
"Pullo, don't do this-"
"Answer me." He said. Some people were looking at them, but
music was playing loud in the living room, so most were
"Pullo-" Lita tried to intervene.
"Shut up!" He said. "She's a big girl, let her
"Hey, don't talk to her like that!" Lourdes looked back and
forth between the two of them shocked. "Lita had nothing to do
"So you say!"
"Don't bite her head off cause you're mad at me!" Lourdes
"You never once told her anything?" He asked
"I already told you no." Lita said
"About anything?" He asked again.
"Hey, I'm standing right here." Lourdes broke in. "She told
you no, how many times are you going to ask her?" She said
"Until you fucking own up to what you did!" He yelled in her
face. Lourdes was starting to get angry, but she bit her
Now a lot more people were staring.
"Um, I'm going to get a another drink." Dalia said, scooting
off as quickly as possible.
"Maybe we should go back to your room." Lourdes urged
"Good idea." Lita added.
"No fuck that!" Pullo said. "You had your
"You really want to do this?" Lourdes asked, starting to get
"Right now, in front of all these
"Yes!" He said even louder.
"No." Lita said. "Look, Pullo you had a lot to drink, we've
all been partying, it's been a long day for everybody, let's just
dial things back for a moment.
Pullo glared at both of them. He went back into his room,
slamming the door shut.
"Fuck he's mad." Lita whispered. "Fix
"I'm trying," Lourdes whispered back, "but when somebody
pushes my buttons, I see red. And I can't control my temper if he
keeps coming at me like this."
Lita turned Lourdes around and pushed her in the direction of
his bedroom. But Pullo walked out again. "I'm going to let you
both know now," he said pointing his finger at the two of them,
"whatever you been up to, it ends tonight."
"Pullo, Lita didn't do anything." Lourdes tried to
"My life is not on the table for you to experiment with." He
said more to Lourdes than Lita.
even listening to what I'm saying?" Lourdes asked. "She has
done nothing to you! In fact, I did what I did because I
couldn't get any answers out of you or
"Are you fucking kidding me?" He yelled walking away from
them. "You must think I'm Mr. Old Gullible and
Lourdes put her hands on her hips and choked back a laugh.
This was starting to become ridiculous. "It's a shame," Lourdes
called after him calmly, "cause I love 'em old and
"Lourdes what the fuck are you doing?" Lita whispered through
clenched teeth. "Don't make this worse!"
"Go away," Lourdes said as Pullo stormed back up to them
ready to spit fire, "I'll fucking deal with
"Lourdes!" She said again.
"Fuck off Lita, I said I'll handle
Lita turned and walked away as Pullo reached Lourdes. People
were starting to gather around to see what all the commotion was.
Pullo grabbed Lourdes' forearm. "Come here!" He
Lourdes jerked her arm away. "Take your fucking hand off of
me." She said quietly. She moved past Pullo and headed outside
towards the pool, trying to get somewhere quiet. She turned
around as Pullo approached.
"Look," she started, "I said I was sorry, but you really gave
me no other choice."
"You should work on your apologies," he said, "you're for
shit at it."
"I'm sorry." She said.
"Don't feed me that crap. I don't believe
"It's not crap."
"Do you understand that what you did is an unforgivable,
"I think you're over-reacting." She said
"You crossed the line!"
"I over-stepped, I get that."
"I made a dumb decision. I wasn't
"Stop feeding me this bullshit!" He yelled. The few people
that were outside by the pool, quickly went into the house. "This
whole time that we've been together, I've watched you analyze
everything to a fault. I've watched you make calculated decisions
every step of the way, so don't you dare tell me that you weren't
thinking when you decided to do this."
Lourdes scoffed in the other direction. "Okay, yes." She
"Yes what?!" He asked.
"Yes I had
you checked out. It was the easiest decision I ever made. For
my own peace of mind. Suddenly you're back in my
life, after being god knows where for so many years! We hook-up
on a regular basis and I don't know anything about you. I think
that's scary Pullo! You weren't talking, Lita wasn't talking, and
Jasper's never here. I couldn't get answers out of anybody. I was
left to my own defenses, and being in the dark wasn't good enough
for me. You know these days, when you want to know something
about a person, all you have to do is Google
"You more than Googled me!"
"Yes, I took it a step further."
"You accessed a confidential military personnel file.
Something other military officers don't have access to. Now how
did you do that?"
Lourdes shrugged. "I called in a favor."
"Who do you know that has that kind of reach?" He
There it was. Some of his truth was showing through. Lourdes
shook her head, refusing to answer. "I needed to know if I could
"Well I hope you're satisfied. Because now I don't trust
you!" He said.
Lourdes sighed. "I guess that's fair and you're entitled to
your emotions, but in all honesty...did you ever? I mean,
obviously not, or else we wouldn't be in this
"Don't try and justify your actions."
"I'm not justifying anything. I did what I had to do. Now
it's your choice if you want to get over this or
"Not." He said. "I'm going back to the party. Get the fuck
out of my house."
"Fine." Lourdes mumbled. She followed slowly behind him. Lita
was lurking close with Dalia, trying to make sure that things
didn't get too out of control. Lourdes reached the inside of the
house, ready to leave, but Pullo wasn't done confronting her.
"This is not even close to being over. Don't think that you're
going to get away with this." He said.
"Why do you keep talking shit every time there's people
around?" Lourdes asked. "If you want to talk about this fine, but
I don't need an audience!"