When we entered the kitchen, the Rivera family was in full swing. Emilia was in a highchair, squishing different pieces of fruit with a plastic spoon. Dax’s mother, who I was informed to call Dia, was frying eggs in a large cast iron pan on the stove while simultaneously flipping tortillas on a warmer. Darcy was stirring a large pot of rice, also multitasking with stirring a pan of black beans. A man I had not been introduced to was cutting tomatoes, limes, avocados, and peppers skillfully with a knife. Dax’s face lit up at the sight of the man.
“Papá!” Dax exclaimed as the man stood, embracing Dax in a warm hug.
“Hijo mío, es bueno verte.” Dax’s father smiled happily, and I wondered why I hadn’t met him yesterday with the rest of the family.
“Ha pasado demasiado tiempo.” The embraced again before Dax turned to me, ready to introduce me. “Papá, esta es Jane, la chica de la que hablamos por teléfono.” Dax’s father reached for me and I placed my hand in his. The man pressed a kiss to my skin and smiled lovingly.
“My name is Emilio Rivera, it is a pleasure to meet you.” He then shook my hand and gently let it go. “I was told you do not speak Spanish, why is that?”
“Papá,” Dax said warningly, but his father waved him off disconcertingly.
“Oh, well, my parents’ ancestors were from France, so I was taught French.” I bit my lip, feeling everyone’s eyes on me.
“I was unaware you spoke French, Princesa.” Dax leaned in to whisper in my ear. “I’d love to hear it sometime.” My cheeks scorched red and hot.
“Well, how interesting. Come, sit.” Emilio insisted, pulling out a chair for me. Taking the seat, I scooted into the table and folded my hands in my lap. Plates of food were dished out and I tried Huevos Rancheros for the first time. Mexican cuisine was different than what I had growing up in a French family. French food was often light and delicate, served with wine and some sort of aged cheese. I found Mexican food to be dense with savory flavors, with emphasis on meat and vegetables. I loved both.
“Daxon says you go to University in the States, what is your major?” Darcy asked, feeding her daughter a piece of avocado.
“Veterinary science.” I nodded simply, taking a drink of milk. “I love animals.”
“That’s wonderful,” Dia shook her head in amazement. “Your parents must be very proud.” At the mention of my parents, Dax’s hand found mine under the table, squeezing gently to comfort me. I smiled softly in thanks to him and nodded to his mother.
“I hope so.” The rest of breakfast went by in a breeze. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to have a meal with family. When everyone had finished eating, Dax offered to do the dishes and I was in charge of drying. We did our chore in silence, both of us looking out of the window that sat in front of the sink. It had been so quiet that I jumped when Emilio reentered the kitchen.
“Daxon, cuando termines los platos, necesito tu ayuda en el campo.” Dax nodded to his father and I elbowed his side softly.
“Please tell me you’re not leaving me.” I pouted, drying the last dish and placing it on the rack. Dax pulled the towel from my fingers and dried his hands, smiling softly.
“I’m sorry, Princesa. I’m afraid so,” He leaned against the counter and I followed suit against the island. We stared silently at each other before Dax took a step forward. “But before I go help my father, I’d love to hear you speak a little French.” He placed his hands on either side of me, keeping me pinned against the island, like a cornered criminal.
“Vous avez un cul délicieux.” I whispered softly, a girlish smile playing on my lips.
“What a beautiful language,” Dax mumbled softly, dipping his head down and grazing his lips down the length of my throat, causing my eyes to flutter closed. “Such a pretty mouth, such a foul tongue.” My eyes flew open in horror, watching as Dax pushed himself away from the island and started toward the exit of the kitchen. “If my ass is so scrumptious, Princesa, next time: take a bite.” He left me in his family kitchen, jaw practically on the floor in sheer mortification.
“He speaks French, too?” I gasped, covering my eyes as if they could hide me away. Darcy found me like this, and again, I jumped at her presence.
“I’m sorry, did I scare you?” She chuckled softly and patted my shoulder, “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, your brother’s just full of surprises.” I laughed shakily, glancing out of the window to find he and his father walking toward the field behind the house.
“Dax can be quite the character,” She nodded in agreement, “Are you two...?”
“Oh, no!” I blurted out quickly, “Not really, I mean, it’s confusing.” Darcy smiled knowingly and took nudged me with her shoulder.
“What do you say about going into town with me? I’ll have my mother watch Emilia.” Darcy suggested, excitement dancing in her eyes.
“I don’t know, last time I went out with one of Dax’s sisters, I ended up with a massive hangover.” I laughed, wondering what Dalila and Vivian were doing right now.
“Don’t worry, I’m the good sister. We’ll go shopping and get lunch,” She put her hands together to mock praying, “Please?” After deliberating for a moment, I shrugged.
“Why not?” I smiled and Darcy clapped her hands in victory. Who knows how long Dax would be away with his father. Sure, I was in witness protection, but who says I can’t have a little fun? Maybe I’ll find a souvenir to take back home for Vivian. Besides, I needed a break from Dax anyway. The constant sexual attraction was beginning to drain me of energy. Hanging out with Darcy is exactly what I need and I hope that when I come back, I’ll be able to handle myself around her brother.