"Where the fuck have you been? I've been calling you for days!"
"I go to your home, your roommates haven't seen you!"
“I check in with your family, theyhaven't seen you.”
"Albear I can't talk, email me."
"Did you really just ask me to email you? Who the fuck do you think you are?"
"I think that I'm really busy working, and I don't have a whole lot of time for nonsense."
"So all your friends are nonsense now? Your above it all?"
"Everything okay in here?" Emma walked in smiling.
Lourdes smiled and nodded her head. "I'll call you after work I promise." She said into the phone and then hung up. "Everything's going great, right on schedule." She picked up a platter of fruit and handed it to Emma.
"Thanks for doing this again." Emma said, putting a plastic tong on top of the fruit. "There is no way that I would have ever been able to pull this off in time."
"Anytime." Lourdes said smiling as Christina walked into the room. Thomas came in right behind her. "Anything I can try?" He asked looming over the the h'orderves.
"You can try everything!" Christina laughed. "It's all ready."
"Great." He said, reaching out for a vanilla duck wonton. Emma slapped his hand. "Don't ruin the presentation, you can eat in two minutes with the rest of the guest." Thomas frowned at her.
Lourdes looked up and smiled at the two of them. She totally understood how Emma felt, after all, it was her masterpiece.
"Now help me bring this in there and then you can have something to eat." Emma said to Thomas. She threw Lourdes a quick wave.
"How's it looking out there?" Lourdes asked Christina.
"Not too shabby. The guest are arriving." Christina said, wiping down the counter. "There's a cutie patooty out there asking about you."
"Oh yeah?" Lourdes asked half interested, piping cream into profiteroles. "Anyone I know?"
"Listen," Emma said coming back into the room, "if everything's all set, why don't you two come out and join us."
"Sounds great." Christina said.
"Yeah," Lourdes said glancing up quickly, while drizzling melted chocolate on the puff pastries, "I want to garnish the Panna Cotta with raspberries, then I'll be there in a sec."
Emma smiled and walked out of the kitchen.
"I could use a glass of wine, how 'bout you?" Christina asked.
"Lovely." Lourdes said, placing the pastries on a platter. "I'll meet you at the little bar."
When she finished her arrangement, she took off her chef's coat, unwrapped her hair out of a bun and let it fall into a ponytail, and she was ready to mingle. Lourdes walked out of the kitchen, past the dining room, to the room where the party was going on. She spotted Christina at the make-shift bar with two glasses of wine. She also spotted Gabriel flirting intensely with Stacy. Christina waved her over, but Lourdes stood there for a moment watching them. Everywhere she turned, whenever Gabe was around, Stacy seemed to be there too. Lourdes didn't mind if he still engaged in a mild flirtation with his ex, given her own brief affair with Alexsander, but she was becoming more and more concerned that it was more than just flirting.
Stacy was smiling brightly at him with her hand rubbing up and down his arm, and he was leaning in her face talking quietly.
"Lourdes!" CC's raspy voice boomed from across the room. "Over here!"
Gabe and Stacy stopped talking and looked across the room at her. Lourdes smiled and made her way over to Christina.
"Red or white honey?" Christina asked when she reached the bar.
"White." Lourdes said. She spotted Emma and Thomas holding hands and talking to another couple. Emma smiled at her and gave her a thumbs up. So far so good.
Lourdes didn't even have to turn around, she knew that unmistakeable British accent anywhere. "Hey Gabe." She smiled while he kissed her quickly on the cheek. "Alright then?" He asked.
"Alright then." Lourdes repeated nodding her head. "Gabe have you met my partner Christina?" She said introducing them.
"No," he said, taking Christina's hand and kissing it, "I don't believe I've had the pleasure."
"Nice to meet you!" Christina gushed. "You're absolutely friggin' charming, that's what you are." She smiled at the both of them.
"Cheers." Gabe laughed. "And everything looks great. Well done you two."
"All in a days work." CC said. "Oh the pastries!" She picked up her glass of wine and headed to the kitchen. "Nice to meet you. Be right back!" She called over her shoulder.
"She seems like a laugh." He said leaning against the bar.
"She is." Lourdes said sipping her wine and gazing into his intense brown eyes. She tried very hard to avoid Stacy's eyes watching them from across the room.
Gabe softly furrowed his thick, dark eyebrows. He was looking very serious and distinguished in his full on beard. "Where you been love, I've been calling you loads."
"A lot of work." Lourdes said quickly. "You know how it is around the holidays."
"So much work that you can't make time for me?" He asked.
Lourdes turned to Gabe and smiled, fluttering her long lashes at him. "You seem to be making up for that in other ways."
"What is that suppose to mean?" He asked. Lourdes turned slightly in Stacy's direction, but spoke nothing of her. "You know we have very different schedules."
"I want to see you." He said.
"And I want to see you too, but I have many obligations right now."
"Right," he said, "such as this."
"Such as this." She repeated.
"Is that why you haven't called Alexsander back either?"
"What?" Lourdes asked surprised.
"He thinks you're taking a piss at him. Say's he can't get a hold of you. Did something go wrong there?"
"No." Lourdes shook her head quickly. "I'm just busy, I don't have time for my own friends let along yours."
Gabe looked at her and smiled. "You are taking a piss at him. What did he do?"
"Gabe, no I'm not-"
"Sure you are. You just called him my friend. If Alex ever heard that, he would hit the roof!"
"Okay so maybe I didn't mean it like that-"
"He's your friend too." Gabe said. "So whatever is going on between you two, sort it out. I can't have my best girl and my mate fighting while I'm away and I can't have him calling me every ten seconds when I'm out on the road working."
"So you're pawning him off on me?" She asked. “He's halfway across the country.”
"No." He said putting his hand around her neck. He leaned in and kissed her slowly. When he pulled back, Lourdes caught a glimpse of Stacy still watching them.
"Just kiss and make up," he said, "I know he bugs the shit out of you sometimes, but really, Alex is a good guy."
Lourdes nodded her head. "He's the best, but I do have my own life."
"Celia loved you by the way, she thought you were brilliant."
Lourdes exhaled quickly and pursed her nude lips. "She's pretty cool herself."
"So what do you think? Will she make the perfect wife for Alex?" Gabe asked grinning.
"Absolutely." Lourdes smiled as her stomach knotted. "Do you know something I don't?"
"No," he said, "but they've been hanging together for forever, it's probably time to pop that question, don't you think?"
"Couldn't agree more." Lourdes beamed.
Gabe put his hand around her neck again and whispered in her ear. "You are very cute in your little catering outfit, by the way."
"Oh fuck off Gabe." She pulled away laughing.
"Seriously," he said, "next time you'll have to cater my party."
"Oh yeah?" Lourdes said. "How many people will be at this party?"
"It'll be a very exclusive party of one." He said. "No h'orderves, no desserts...okay maybe some booze...."
Lourdes laughed. "Un-huh, keep going." She said.
"Just you, me, and that little catering outfit." He smiled at her. "And promise you'll wear that little black apron too."
Lourdes smiled, she grabbed his tie and pulled him close to her. "It's a date." She said.
"Okay, somebody has to say it, so it might as well be me." Lita said a little too loudly, and after about five shots of tequila. "I know we haven't known each other for that long, but there is definitely something different about you. I just can't put my finger on it." She pulled her long black hair, up into a french twist.
"Not when you can use your whole hand." Lourdes smirked at her. They were laying outside by the pool. Lourdes was on her fourth shot, but with an empty stomach, she was already close to being drunk.
"Smart ass!" Lita said flicking a miniature umbrella out of her margarita at Lourdes. "No seriously." She said. "I think you're losing a bit of your flare."
"I never had much to begin with." Lourdes said looking at the small ripple of waves in the pool. It was a warm and breezy California day, even though it was the middle of winter. And they were taking full advantage of the sunshine.
"That's not true." Lita said. "Your personality is what immediately attracted me to you in the first place."
"I thought it was just a victim of circumstances." Lourdes muttered.
"Sure we met because of the party," Lita said sitting up, "but it isn't what attracted me to you."
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was my double d's." Lourdes cracked.
Lita threw her towel at Lourdes. "See this is what I'm talking about. Sure we hang out and we have a blast, but we talk about absolutely nothing and you deflect all my serious comments with humor and wisecracks!"
"What would you have me do?" Lourdes asked. "Walk around crying and spouting my feelings? What a bore."
"Well it would be better than you putting on a front and acting like everything's okay."
"Everything is okay. I'm fine."
Lita got up and stood over Lourdes with her hands on her hips.
"Um, your blocking my sun." Lourdes said smiling up at her. "And it's about to go down." But she continued to stand there and say nothing. Lourdes took off her shades and studied Lita. Though Lourdes had on a simple, ankle length, red dress and flip flops, Lita had a skimpy black bikini on under a too tight wife beater and the shortest shorts Lourdes had ever seen in her life. Coochie cutters, Albear would call them. Lourdes realized for the first time today that the skimpy outfit must have been for her benefit.
She looked Lita over. Sexy, flawless, brown skin. Yeah she was hot. But after everything that had happened, Lourdes thought it would be better to keep her distance.
Of course the tequila had her thinking differently right now. And it had been awhile since she...
"Why are you looking at me like that?" Lita asked smiling down at her.
Lourdes said nothing. She shook her head at her and the corners of her mouth started to turn up slightly.
"I've seen that look before." Lita smiled. "You're not fooling anybody. I know that look...Lourdes?"
Lourdes ran her index finger up the back of Lita's bare leg. Very soft skin. "Nice coochie cutters." She said smiling.
Lita was trying to be serious, but she laughed, despite herself. She grabbed the bottom of her white tank top and pulled it up over her head. She let the wife beater drop to the ground. Lourdes sat up a little on the beach chair as Lita straddled her hips and sat on her lap. Lourdes rubbed her fingers, slowly up and down Lolita's thighs. "Something tells me you need to get laid." Lita sang.
"Something tells me your right." Lourdes said leaning in close, smiling.
Lita wiggled around on top of her, teasing her. "I never said it was going to be me." She said leaning close to her face.
"Yeah, well you have a funny way of showing it." Lourdes leaned in closer, their noses were practically touching.
"Whoa, what the hell is going on out here?" Pullo asked,stumbling out of the side door, and walking over towards them. He had the rest of the tequila bottle in his hand.
Lourdes flopped back on the lawn chair, disappointed. She put her large oversized shades back on her face and pouted.
"Nothing," Lita said leaning back laughing, but not getting off of Lourdes' lap, "just a little girl on girl action."
"I guess I came at the right time..." Pullo stammered.
“That's what she said.” Lourdes muttered. Her siblings had brainwashed her with too many episodes of The Office.
He stopped and laughed. "But not really though."
Lita and Lourdes looked at each other and laughed.
"I mean...no pun intended." He said. "But...I'd like to...come at the right time."
"Okay!" Lita yelled out. "No more booze for you!"
"Look who's talking." Pullo said coming closer. "I'm not the one dry humping Lourdes."
Lita looked at Lourdes and smiled, unclasping her hair and letting it fall down.
"I told you, you were a tease." Lourdes whispered, smiling back at her.
"Don't let Jasper catch you out here like this." Pullo said taking a swig from the bottle. "He's bound to lose his shit."
"Jasper left hours ago, silly." Lita said smiling up at him, while she bounced on Lourdes' lap. "Remember?"
"Yes, that's right." He said. He stared at the two of them seriously. "What are you waiting for, I want to see a show."
They looked at each other.
"You want to see a show huh?" Lourdes said, still laying back on the chair, putting her sculpted arms up over her head. Pullo started grinning. Lita looked back at him smiling.
"That's the price you have to pay for hitting on my girlfriend." He said.
Lita looked at Lourdes. She mouthed the word girlfriend. Lourdes shrugged her shoulders.
"Well..." Lita said, "I suppose one innocent kiss won't hurt anybody. That is, if your girlfriend doesn't mind."
Lourdes rolled her eyes and tried not to smirk.
Lolita licked her left thumb and ran it slowly along the side of her neck, as Lourdes and Pullo watched. Next, she picked up a piece of lime and the salt shaker. She sprinkled some salt on the wet part of her neck, then she picked Lourdes' last shot of tequila up off the ground and put it to Lourdes' lips. "Pucker up baby." She said grinning, then putting the lime between her teeth.
Lourdes tossed the shot back in one gulp. She set the empty glass down on the ground, then sat up and licked the salt slowly off of Lita's neck. Lita let out a pleased sigh as she put her hand on Lourdes' shoulder. Pullo stood there watching them with his mouth slightly open holding the tequila bottle limply in his hand. Lourdes bit the lime out of Lita's mouth, letting the bitter aftertaste smooth out the burning tequila and salt combination. She turned her head to the side and she spit the lime peel out, letting it plop on the ground. She turned back and grabbed Lita by the back of her neck and kissed her hard. Lita squeezed Lourdes' hips tightly with her thighs excited, as she kissed her back. She moaned a little slowly sticking her tongue in her mouth.
Lourdes pulled back smiling at her. Lita turned and smiled at Pullo. "Ta-dah!" She said.
Pullo stood there for a moment, looking at the two of them. Lourdes couldn't read him. He was either, very shocked, by their open display of affection or...
Pullo walked slowly over to the lawn chair and reached for Lita's hand. She took his hand without hesitation, and he pulled her up off of Lourdes. Then he reached for Lourdes and pulled her up off the lawn chair. Pullo stared at Lourdes with a strange flicker in his eyes. Now she could read him clearly. Lourdes recognized that look. It had been awhile since she had been with Pullo. She hadn't felt like it lately...with anybody.
"Here ya' go." Pullo said, handing the rest of the tequila bottle to Lita, still not breaking eye contact with Lourdes. Lita took a swig out of the bottle, watching the two of them. She went and layed back down on the her beach chair.
"You," Pullo said, taking Lourdes' hand and pulling her towards him, "you come with me...."
"What are you doing?" Lamont asked Albear.