"You have got to be kidding! None of that really happened! Did it?" Lamont asked bringing Lourdes a cup of tea. He sat down on the sofa next to her in his silk pajamas. They were in the middle of a Housewives of Atlanta marathon.
"I kid you not," Lourdes said, "it all went down, just like that." She couldn't go home, she was pumped full of adrenaline and she needed to confess to somebody not involved in that circle. She decided to go to Corey and Lamont's apartment.
"Holy shit!" Corey said.”What the hell did you do?"
"What could I do?" She asked. "I excused myself as quickly as possible, and sought shelter with you fine gentlemen."
"How did you get here?" Corey asked.
"Walked." Lourdes said blowing on her tea.
"You walked? Clear across town?" Lamont asked surprised.
"Yes and my feet are killing me. But could you blame me?" She asked. "I had a lot to think about."
"Your telling me." Lamont said. "But Albear's place is closer, I'm surprised you didn't go to him first."
Lourdes smiled. "What, and have him laugh at me for hours?"
"He wouldn't laugh." Corey said with the biggest grin on his face, crossing his legs on the sofa. "At least not for hours."
"And he wouldn't have the right," Lamont giggled, "trust me, we've all been down this road before."
"What road is that?" Lourdes asked, even though she was pretty sure, she knew what he was talking about.
"Syphilis, crabs, gonorrhea. Sometimes no matter how careful you are, you can always have a slip up. It only takes once." Lamont patted her knee.
"Don't take this the wrong way," Lourdes said, "but a girl like me doesn't get STD's. I'm not fucking 30 guys in 30 days.
"As if we are?" Corey exclaimed. "We're not hooking up every night." He pointed back and forth between himself and Lamont, and Nene on the TV screen. "The proof is right in front of your eyes."
"Who the fuck are you kidding." Lourdes mumbled.
"He's right." Lamont said. "We just like to go out and preview the merchandise."
"And you would sample sale every single piece of meat if you could." Lourdes cracked.
"Well, true." Lamont smiled. Lourdes and Corey laughed.
"But that's just for fun." Corey offered. "When something real comes along, all that goes out of the window."
"That's true also." Lamont said. "Well, true for everyone except-"
"Albear." They all said.
The front door slammed shut and they all looked up. "Did I hear somebody just say my name?" Albear came walking into the living room. He was dressed as if he just came from Sin City. He looked at Lourdes. "What the fuck are you doing here? I've been calling you all night."
"Christmas party, remember?" Lourdes said.
"Oh yes right. Hanging with the happy heteros. And I take it, that it was so fun that you had to rush over to tell Corey and Lam all about it?"
"Of course." Lourdes said raising her tea cup up in the air.
"Bullshit." Albear grinned. "Something must have happened."
"Oh something did alright." Lamont said leaning forward on the sofa as Lourdes slapped his knee. "What?" He asked.
Albear flopped down on the other sofa next to Corey and layed his head in his lap. "Tell me all about it." He said. "And I'm starving, let's go get some food."
"Um hello," Corey said, "but we are dressed for bed, some of us have to work in the morning, nobody is up for going out."
"It's only midnight!" Albear said.
"Good point," Lamont said, "So why are you here?"
"Yeah," Lourdes said, "Shouldn't you be out with shirtless boy wonder number 2010?"
"I got bored." Albear confessed. "Pride Diner is open 24 hours. We can walk there."
"No." Lourdes said. "I'm not hungry. Plus I was on my way home."
"Via Corey and Lamont's." Albear said not believing her. He got up and walked over to the refrigerator. "So quit holding out," he called from the kitchen, "and tell me all about the party."
Corey and Lamont started laughing as Lourdes rolled her eyes. "Actually," she said, "I was just leaving."
"Oh honey no." Lamont said. "You just got here, plus you know you can crash whenever you want."
"Stay," Corey said, "it'll be like a slumber party."
"Yeah stay," Albear said coming from the kitchen with a bag of chips, "because I want to know, what was so important that you couldn't come and tell me."
"I didn't come and tell you because I figured that you would be cumming in somebody else right now." Lourdes said smartly.
"Been there done that." Albear cracked. "And I'm free right now, so stop holding out. What's going on?"
"Go on," Lamont said patting her knee again, "we'll be your moral support."
Lourdes smiled but she was still hesitant.
"Yeah," Corey said, "I don't have to be at work until 1pm tomorrow, so we could even go to the clinic with you in the morning."
"Hold on!" Alby said through a mouth full of chips. "Rewind that, and start from the very beginning!"
"Thanks guys." Lourdes said to Corey and Lamont . She took a deep breath and began the story all over again.
"Hello?" Lourdes answered her phone half asleep. Albear grunted and rolled over. She had been spending many nights at Alby's. They had been partying too much. But what else was new? There was no answer on the other end. She squinted down at the cell in her hand. Her blue phone. She had lost the call and the line was dead. Lourdes didn't recognize the number, so she put it on the nightstand and rolled over, when her black cell started to ring. Albear groaned in protest and put a pillow over his head. Three o'clock in the morning and two people were trying to reach her simultaneously. Lourdes sat up fully this time and picked up the black phone. Private caller. "Shit." She muttered. It couldn't be anybody else but..."Hello?" She whispered quietly. There was no answer, but a lot of voices and background noise. "Hello?" Lourdes said again. "Do you know what time it is?" But there was still no response, just background noise. "I'm hanging up now and going back to bed." She said, still pausing.
"Yes you are." Albear mumbled under the pillow. "Or else your hitting the sofa."
Lourdes ended the phone call, as the blue cell started to ring again. Same unrecognizable number. She threw the covers off herself, grabbing the phone and went into the living room. She answered the phone again. "Who is this, what's going on?" She asked.
"Right, it's me." A British accent came through clearly.
"Gabe?" Lourdes asked. "What's wrong?"
"Talk to Alex lately?" He asked accusingly.
"What are you talking about?" Lourdes asked. "Isn't he in Europe with you?"
"So he told you he was going home for the holidays?"
"He hasn't told me anything." Lourdes protested. "You went home to London, so I assumed he went to Sweden just the same. Besides, didn't you say that the two of you were going to meet up over there?"
"Yes or no?" Gabe went over her question. "Have you talked to him or not?"
"Is this about the dinner party?" Lourdes asked. "Because I thought we were going to wait until you got back to talk about this."
"Why won't you answer the question?" Gabriel asked.
"Fuck!" Albear yelled from the bedroom. Lourdes came rushing in. Her black phone was ringing. Private caller again. Lourdes grabbed the black and the white cell, apologizing to Albear and rushed out the room.
"What's that noise?" Gabe asked. "Is somebody calling you?"
Lourdes pressed ignore and set the phone to vibrate. then she set the two free cells down on the coffee table. "Gabe, I'm tired, it's three o'clock in the morning here and I just want to go to bed. I haven't talked to you or Alex since the night of the dinner party and I may just keep it that way."
There was silence on the other end of the line. Lourdes had the upper hand. "So unless you're going to tell me what's going on, I'm hanging up now." The black phone started to ring again.
"So what are you saying?" He asked.
"What I'm saying is that, I'm not getting caught in the middle of whatever petty bullshit the two of you have going on." Her phone continued to vibrate.
"And what makes you think there's something petty going on between us?" He asked. "What is it that you know?"
Lourdes hung up on Gabriel. She wasn't in the mood to play these games. "Hello?" She answered the other phone.
"I called you three times! What's so important that you couldn't answer?"
"Alex?" Lourdes asked confused. He sounded drunk and angry. "We have a bad connection." She said.
"Who else would it be?" He was hostile. He had to be loaded. He wasn't slurring his words, but they weren't clear and precise either. Lourdes let out a sigh. First Gabe, now him. And they wondered why she refused to go to Europe with either one of them.
"Do you have something to tell me?" He asked.
"And what would that possibly be?" Lourdes asked right back. "I was in bed sleeping, until you started blowing up my cell!"
"Gabe's fucking Celia!" He yelled into the phone.
"Oh please." Lourdes muttered. "And when would he have time to do that? He hasn't been there that long."
"It only takes one time!" He said. "Did you know about this?"
"Why would I know about that?" She asked. "There are many many oceans between us. You're there, I'm here. And if it is true, then why would he tell me about it?" The blue cell started to ring again. "Hold on." Lourdes muttered, putting the black phone down.
"What?" She said into the blue phone.
"I lost you." Gabe said.
"Gabe, I'm not doing this right now." Lourdes said. "So whatever is going on, you deal with it."
"I will," he said, "but if you talk to Alex...."
"Yes?" Lourdes asked.
"Don't believe a fucking word he says, because it's not true."
"What did you do?" Lourdes asked.
"Nothing!" He said. "That's just it, I didn't do anything, but nobody will believe me."
"Fine." Lourdes said. "I'm going back to bed, I'll talk to you at a more appropriate time."
"Right," he said, "it's just that..."
"What?" She sighed.
"I know that you have no right to believe me, given what just happened with Stacy. So what you may hear, might lead you to jump to conclusions, and I don't want you to."
"Fine." Lourdes said again. "That's fine Gabe, I swear I won't jump to any conclusions about whatever it is that you won't tell me about. Alright? Goodnight or good morning. Whatev-” Lourdes hung up the blue cell and went back to the black one. "Okay I'm back." She said.
"What happened?" He asked.
"Alex I can barely hear you. If you're at a bar, just call me later."
"No!" He said. "I want to talk now."
"Your drunk, I'm tired," she said, "trust me, that's not a good combination."
"There's too many people talking in the background." Lourdes complained.
"So?" He said again.
Lourdes sighed. She wasn't going to be able to rush him off the phone. "So Gabe's fucking Celia." She said. "What makes you so sure?"
"Because she told me!"
Lourdes paused. "And you believe her?"
"Why wouldn't I?" He asked.
"Oh I don't know," she said sarcastically, "maybe because you broke up with her out of nowhere, not too long ago, and she's still hurting."
"Get off the fucking phone!" Albear called out from the bedroom agitated. Lourdes flinched and tried to lower her voice.
"We were never together!" Alex said into the phone. "Not like that."
"Bullshit." Lourdes said. "I met her remember? Long distance relationship or not, that lady has feelings for you."
"Not my problem." He said.
"Well it is now!" Lourdes spat out. "And if you say that you two were never together, like you and I aren't together, then it seems to me, that you were heading down this road anyway. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Alex!" So much for her being quiet.
"What are you saying?" He asked. "That I had this coming?"
"If you dumped me out of nowhere, after a five year relationship, leading me to think that we were going to get married the whole time, I'd tell you I fucked your best friend too!"
"What is this? Female solidarity?" He asked.
"Oh fuck off Alex." Lourdes rolled her eyes. "You told me that you had taken care of this. You said that I wouldn't be bothered with this again. That none of this would touch me. And at the first sign of things not going your way, I get dragged into the middle still."
"I didn't start this." He said.
"But here we are. Something has upset you tremendously or else you wouldn't be bothering me with it. And if none of this is your problem, then why do you care so much?"
"It's the principal!"
Lourdes laughed. Was he serious? She looked up as she saw Albear come stumbling out of the bedroom and making his way to the kitchen. "Why aren't you voicing this principal to Gabe?" She asked. "Why are you calling me to talk about all of this? There's nothing I can do."
"I have talked to Gabe about it. In fact, I more than talked!"
"Oh no, Alex you didn't?" Lourdes put her hand to head. "Don't you have photo shoots and interviews coming up over there? Please tell me you weren't fighting?" Albear looked up from the refrigerator intrigued.
"I didn't throw the first punch." Alex said in his defense.
"Shit." Lourdes muttered. "Is Gabe alright?"
"What!" He said in shock.
"Well you're obviously fine." Lourdes said. "Not at a hospital or anything. Drunk at eleven o'clock in the morning. So, I'm assuming you're not in too bad a shape."
"I don't fucking believe this!"
"What do you want me to say?" She asked. "Am I supposed to take your side? I mean, really Alex? See this is what I'm talking about! So what if Celia fucked Gabe? Why does it matter?"
"Why does it matter?" He asked. "Don't you care?"
"Of course I care!" Lourdes responded. "I would care very much if I actually believed it. But my question, is why do you care? Did you think that we would ban together because of this? Because all I hear that you're saying is, you got into a fight over a girl you claim you don't want!" Albear shut the refrigerator door and came out the kitchen. Lourdes stood up and started pacing around.
There was a moment of silence on the other end. "Listen, I'm sloshed," Alex said, "maybe we should talk later."
"No fuck that!" Lourdes said. "I'm up now and you wanted to talk. You said you didn't throw the first punch. So what happened? What did you say to Gabe that would make him want to hit you?"
"Oh shit!" Albear laughed, sitting on the sofa and getting comfortable. He was wide awake and very interested in what was going on.
Lourdes put the cell to her shoulder. "Go away!" She whispered.
"You go away!" Albear whispered back, not moving. "This is my house." He grinned.
Lourdes turned away from Alby and put the phone back to her ear, still waiting for an answer.
"It was the circumstances." Alex offered. "His was pissed, I was pissed, and we had already been drinking..."
"And a fight emerged when the two of you saw each other." Lourdes muttered, finishing his sentence. "But you're still not saying, who said what to whom."
Albear stood up and went back into the bedroom, giving her some privacy.
There was another pause. And then Alex, finally spoke. "When Celia told me that she was sleeping with Gabe, she said that they had sex Thanksgiving weekend and then again and again when he came into town for the holiday. She tried so hard to rub it in, giving me all these explicit details, it made me so angry that I told her that Gabe more than likely gave her an STD. And he would be too much of a coward to tell her since he didn't have the balls to tell you."
"You didn't." Lourdes sighed.
"That was earlier in the day." Alex said. "By nightfall everybody knew about the Gonorrhea, including Gabe's parents."
"Oh no." Lourdes sighed again.
"Needless to say, a fight was unavoidable. He was pissed about what I did and I was pissed about what he did."
"What you think he did." Lourdes said, then she was silent. She sat back down on the sofa. A realization came over her. "Alex...you didn't tell him about us...did you?"
"What?" He asked.
"With all the anger and alcohol involved, something could have easily slipped out." Lourdes said cautiously. "In the midst of all that, please tell me that you didn't say something about us to him?"
"I told him nothing." He said.
"Are you sure about that?" Lourdes asked. There was silence on the other end of the line. "Alex?" But there was still silence. Lourdes looked down at the phone. She had lost the call.
"Happy New Year!" Dalia said, standing there in a lavender ball gown. It wasn't technically New Year's anymore, but they were still celebrating.