"Honey," Alex said patting Celia's arm, "be nice."
"I mean no offense," she said, "it's just that most Americans are so aggressively sure that their way is the right way."
"I don't follow you." Lita said picking up her glass of wine.
"She means," Lourdes spoke up. "The fact that you pointed out her accent and was oblivious to the fact that you, as an American, or Latina, have one of your own." She smiled at Celia. "Isn't that right?"
"Ladies-" Alex tried to say.
"Well I meant no offense." Celia said again. "Shall we try this again?" She asked, squeezing Alex's leg. Lourdes watched as she rubbed her hand up and down his thigh. She tried to look away as quickly as possible, but Alex still caught her eye.
"Let's start over. Lourdes," Celia said, "tell me what it is, that you do for a living?"
"Ick!" Lita said, making a funny face. "That is such an awful question, don't you hate it when somebody ask you that?" She turned to Lourdes.
Lourdes smiled, agreeing with Lita, but she turned to Celia and said, "I cook."
"You cook?" Celia asked stifling back a laugh.
Lourdes clenched her jaw and said nothing. Was that a dig at her?
Celia continued talking. "The way Gabe talks about you, I would have thought that you were a rocket scientist or something."
"No that's your job, honey." Alex muttered.
Lourdes and Lita looked at each other. Alex was staring off into space, waiting for things to go bad.
"Why would you think that?" Lourdes asked.
"Well," Celia said pausing, "Gabe goes on about how smart you are, how intelligent, how you challenge him in many ways, so I just thought, that maybe you were in a different profession. But no, it's great, good for you."
Lita and Lourdes looked at each other again. "Gee thanks." Lourdes said smiling. "But I wasn't looking for approval."
"She didn't mean it like that." Alex offered.
"Really." Lourdes muttered.
"I apologize if that came off as rude," Celia said, "but I always thought I heard something about you being a writer."
"Not really," Lourdes said, "I dabble in some things."
Alex smirked, not giving himself away, but Lita laughed out loud.
"Did I miss something?" Celia asked.
"No," Lita said, shaking her head. "It's just this girl's a riot!" She said referring to Lourdes. "Do you really walk around like this all the time?"
Celia looked back and forth between all of them, still waiting to be let in on the joke.
"She's right." Alex said pointing to Lita. "Asking what somebody does for a living is a mundane question, and this one," he said pointing at Lourdes, "is being way too modest."
"What do you mean?" Celia asked.
"She says she cooks and you assume she works at some soup kitchen." Alex said annoyed.
"I never said that!" Celia sounded offended. "I never said that." She said to Lourdes.
"Well that's how it came out." He said. "Am I right?" He asked.
Lourdes said nothing. "Yeah you're right." Lita said. "But I can see how it's easy to draw your own conclusions, when girlie over here," she nodded at Lourdes, "gives the simplest answers possible. Being too discreet, is not charming." She grinned at Lourdes.
Lourdes continued to be silent. How did the focus, suddenly turn to her?
"Yeah, but she is a very accomplished, in her own right. Culinary school, classical french training."
"Lita-" Lourdes tried to say, letting her know it wasn't worth it. She grabbed her hand. "It's okay, you can stop, really."
"No!" Lita said. "It's true, you shouldn't sell yourself short. She cooks, she bakes," she said pointing at the pie, "she even caters. And," she said looking at Lourdes beaming, "she does more than just dabble in writing, in fact you should see the story she's working on now."
"Lita!" Lourdes said. Lourdes looked at Lita pleading with her eyes wide. Lita gave her a devilish grin. "You're fantastic," she said, "why can't I share that with people?"
"Is that so?" Celia asked intrigued. "You two seem very close. How long have you known each other?"
"Oh, I don't know," Lita said, "but it feels like forever, right?"
Lourdes paused, not quite sure where this direction was heading, but she decided to play along. "Right." She said. Lita put her hand on Lourdes' and gave it a squeeze. Reassuring her that she wouldn't take this too far.
Celia glanced at Alex, he was biting his nails. "Have you read any of her work?" She asked.
Lourdes looked at him, waiting on his answer.
He looked at Lita, then Lourdes, then Celia. "Why would I read her work?" He glanced at Lourdes. "We barely know each other."
"So tell us all about it." Celia said excitedly.
"Nah," Lourdes said, "I'm shy about those type of things."
"You can't be too shy," Alex butted in, "if Lita has already read it."
"She hasn't seen much." Lourdes said glancing, Lita's way. "It was just the circumstances."
"But you have read some of it," Celia asked Lita, "what's it about?"
"Yeah." Alex chipped in, raising his eyebrows at Lourdes. "What is it about?"
Lita looked at Lourdes smiling brightly. "I can say, even though the plot hasn't quite revealed itself to me yet....the characters are funny and over the top and I love every single thing about it."
Lourdes looked at Lita and smiled. Her comment was sincere and she could tell that she meant it. Lourdes set down her drink. "Excuse me," she said, "I need to use the ladies room." Lourdes stood up to escape quickly. She began to walk away.
"It's right around the corner." Celia offered.
Lourdes turned around halfway, pausing slightly. "Right." She said. "Thanks." She turned back around and left.
"Funny." Celia said, watching her walk away. "She knows exactly where she's going, you didn't even have to tell her."
Lita looked at Alex alarmed, waiting for his response.
"She is dating Gabe," he said, "you know, one of my closest friends, remember? Obviously she's been here before, of course she knows where the loo is."
Lita breathed a sigh of relief.
"Of course." Celia said. They were all silent for a few moments. "And what about you Lita?"
"What about me?" Lita asked as Lourdes came back to sit down.
"What do you do for a living?"
Lourdes took a bite of her pie, she was going to try and focus on being more pleasant.
"I'm a prostitute." Lita said.
Lourdes started choking.
"Are you alright?" Lita asked slapping her back hard, while laughing.
"Yea-" Lourdes choked out, holding her throat.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Celia asked, leaning forward in her chair, even though she was surprised by Lita's answer.
Lourdes nodded her head, trying to breathe.
"Come on," Alex said, "you're just having a laugh at us right?"
"No, no." Lita said shaking her head.
"Well this night just got interesting." He said. Celia gave him a disapproving look.
"Lita-" Lourdes tried to choke out, while she cleared her throat.
"It's okay." Lita said. "I don't mind, I want to share. Yes, I suck dick, have sex, take it up the ass....all for money."
Celia had her hand on her chest, shocked in disbelief. Alex took a big gulp of his drink, trying not to laugh.
"I-," she tried to get out, "I... don't really know what to say about that."
"That's a first." Alex said.
"Shh." Celia tried to hush him.
Lita leaned in. "It's okay you two, you don't have to say anything. I'm just fucking with you!"
Lourdes burst out laughing. So did Celia and Alex, but they had no idea that they were laughing for two different reasons.
"Oh, you're wicked!" Celia said to Lita.
Lita smiled at Celia, and then she smiled at Lourdes. "You have no idea." She said clinking her glass with Lourdes. Lourdes took a large sip of her wine. This is the last time that she'll take Lita anywhere.
"So?" Lita asked. "How's your career shaping up Alexsander?"
"It's just fine." Alex said.
"Oh now he's being modest." Celia said rubbing her hand on his chest. "Things have never been better for him."
"Is that right?" Lita said. "Well that must keep you on your toes, I bet the girls are all over him."
"It comes with the territory." Alex said. "I can handle it."
"And he has all that he needs right here." Celia said resting her head on his shoulder. Alex smiled and kissed her on the forehead.
Lourdes continued to sip her drink.
"Well he is one tall drink of water." Lita said smiling at the both of them. "If I were you, I'd keep a eye on him."
"Well we have a tremendous amount of trust between us." Celia said still holding on to him. "He's a wonderful man."
"Yes I can see that." Lita smiled, but her tone of voice was disbelieving.
"You two seem great together." Lourdes said smiling at them. She looked at Alex. "Well done." She said. "You have a beautiful girlfriend, you have a beautiful home," she said pausing, "you have a beautiful life." She looked back and forth between the both of them. "Cherish what you have while you have it. Because it's gone before you know it."
Alex stared at her but said nothing.
"Oh, don't you worry." Celia said, still holding on to him. "This one's not going anywhere."
"More drinks?" Alexsander stood up. "I'll get them." He said, walking away as quickly as possible.
"Celia doesn't think you like me very much." Alexsander said once they were alone. He was standing too close and Lourdes was at the end of her rope.
"I don't like you much, right now." Lourdes said piling up dishes. Celia had took Lita on a tour around the house.
"You seem to like her." Alex responded, taking dishes away from her.
Lourdes stopped and turned, her long black hair flying. "Well she seems like a spectacular woman who is very confused and unsure."
"We're all that, in one way or another," Alex said, "who do you know that isn't?"
"You." Lourdes said tossing down some forks. "You seem to be, a happy go lucky guy."
"Lourdes," he said closing the door and pulling her into another room and closing that door too, "I stood by for months while you and Gabe carried on in front of me like two star crossed lovers, and I never once reacted like this!"
"That was different!" She whispered.
"How is that different?"
"Because you don't force a woman to tell you that she loves you, when you practically have a fiance dangling on your arm!"
"You said you wouldn't do this!" He said. "I thought that we were going to go by our own rules."
"That was in the past." She said. "Before you had a girlfriend. Before you deceived me so exquisitely. And yes, we were going to play by different standards, but they have to apply to both of us!"
"So what are you saying," he whispered back angrily, "that you can have someone in your bed at all times but I can't have someone in mines?"
"No you can't!" She said trying to whisper, but she was becoming louder. "You can't have me, and Gabe and Celia and fifteen fucking Hollywood whores!"
"Why? Because you deserve to have it all and I don't?" He was starting to get upset, but not dignifying her last comment.
"No it's not about that! It's about being decent enough, to have the balls to make it work with the right person! And when you have twenty bitches dangling from your dick, it's pretty obvious that the person that you don't to be serious with is me!" She was shaking, she couldn't do this anymore.
"You seem to forget something," he said "you've already made the decision of who you'd rather be with. You were never going to leave Gabe!"
"Your right." Lourdes sniffed. "And it was the smartest decision I ever made." She threw her hands up in the air."Look how things turned out in the end!"
"Don't say that." He said, trying to calm himself down. "You don't mean that."
"But I do." She said. "I do." She repeated with more conviction. "I sat through this shit tonight, watching the two of you, and all I could think of is, this is real, and Alex and I-” She tossed her hands in the air. “You make me so afraid to care about you...and yet, I'm still terrified to lose you."
Alex came around the desk and sat on the edge. He grabbed Lourdes hand and pulled her towards him. "It doesn't have to be so black and white," he said, "they're many shades of gray and you and I are just different."
Lourdes looked down at the hand she was holding, she kissed it softly and let it go. She couldn't believe she was about to do this. "I've turned myself into a liar. Because I'm not special. I'm not different, as much as I seem to be." She took a step back. "But here I am, standing here like some bad cliche. And deep down I know why we can never really be together...but in my heart of hearts..." Her voice broke, but this was no time to lose courage. "I do want you to be with me. And only me. I want you to feel about me the exact same way I feel about you." Tears came to her eyes. "And I don't really want to acknowledge who you are at all."
Alex stood up and moved towards her. He cupped her face in his hands. "I think you see me." He said resting his head on hers. "I think you know me. And I think you already know that I care about you. More than care about you."
"It isn't enough to keep on doing what we're doing," she breathed resting her hands on his chest and closing her eyes, "what do you want?"
Alex said nothing, but he kissed her.
"No," she whispered, "that's not enough."
"Why?" He asked still not letting go.
"Because I don't know how to be around you and not feel so betrayed by you." She whined. But he kept kissing her. There wasn't very much fight left in her as she eventually gave in and kissed him back.
They both turned fast, Lita was standing in the door way. She must have snuck up on them she was so quiet. "Is everything alright in here?" She asked.
Lourdes wiped the tears off her face quickly and pulled away from Alex. "Yes everything is great." She walked up to Lita and Lita grabbed her hand. "Looks like we should call it a night." She said glaring at Alexsander.
"I think you're right." Lourdes said trying to put on a smile. "It's late, let's go."
"Nice meeting you again." Lita called over her shoulder to Alex, even though she didn't mean a word of it. She tried to pull Lourdes out of the door.
"Hold on." Alex said to Lourdes. They paused. Lita released her hand begrudgingly and kept going.
Lourdes turned back to Alex and he walked over to her. "You can't just say, what you said to me and walk out of my life forever."
Lourdes exhaled slowly. “What I said and what I want is totally irrelevant." She said still wanting to make a clean break. "We've made our choices. Let's just end things here. It's over."