Tonight Lola and Tomás were coming over to my house. I was nervous. Before everything happened last year, I didn’t like inviting anyone over. But after last year’s events, I feared it.
I was so worried that they’d see the state my mom was in or wander and see something they shouldn’t. I kept reminding myself that Lola let me into her life even though it was far from perfect. I saw Lola’s mom have a breakdown. If Lola saw anything she wouldn’t judge as others had done in the past. She was from a different world than most of my classmates. For her, like for me, things were never perfect.
By lunchtime, I decided to talk to Lola about some tonight.
As I approached the trees, I saw her sitting already. I nodded at her a began to eat my lunch. I was beginning to like her quiet company and would miss her on the days she didn’t eat out here.
After a couple of minutes, I start to talk, “So I want to set some ground rules for my house tonight. Please stick with me and don’t go into any rooms that you don’t know what they are. And try to get Tomás to follow the same rules.”
“What, are you hiding dead bodies at your house or something?” She says trying to joke. I’m not amused though, maybe because I am so nervous. I raise my eyebrow at her.
“Okay so maybe now is not the time to joke. I’ll stick to where you say I can go don’t worry. As for Tomás he’ll be fine.” She tells me.
“Okay, I have some old toys I brought out of storage. Tomás could have some if that’s alright. They were sitting and collecting dust.” I tell her.
“Oh, that would be great. How about we let him pick like 3 or 4 to take home. He can leave the rest, so he’ll have something to do when we meet in future weeks.”
“Okay sounds good.”
I’m currently on my way to Cade’s house. Tomás is so excited that he is bouncing in his car seat. I am happy that Cade gets along with Tomàs so well. But at the same time, it makes me feel even guiltier.
If Cade was a complete asshole, I wouldn’t feel so bad. But I’m pretty sure he is in a lot of pain and deals with it by shutting people out. If he lets me in and I betray him- well, I don’t even want to think about that.
His father is a bad man and that’s who I’m going after. He traffics girls and was probably involved in my friend Julietta’s disappearance. If I kept reminding myself of that I would feel so bad.
I follow the instructions from the GPS on my phone. I pull up to a gate. The man takes my name down and then lets me in. Tomás- like me was amazed by how big these homes were. It was mansion after mansion. I guess selling drugs and people could buy you a place this big.
I pull up to Cade’s house and park on the circular driveway. Then I get Tomás out of his car seat. He bolts to the front door before I have time to grab my bag. When I reach the door Tomás has already knocked so I wait with him for someone to answer.
Noah opens the door. “Hey, Lola, right? Umm, why are you here?”
“Oh, I’m here to work on a project with Cade,” I tell him, I guess the two don’t communicate.
“Oh, sorry he didn’t tell me. He usually doesn’t have anyone over. And who is this?” He says looking at Tomás.
“I’m Tomás, I’m friends with Cade!” Tomás informs Noah. We both chuckle.
“He’s my little brother.” I clarify.
“I’ll go get Cade you can come in and wait in the living room,” Noah says as we follow him into the living room. As we wait Tomás looks all around with his mouth wide open.
After the initial shock of how big the house is wearing off, he says, “look Lota, they have a pool!”
I walk over to the window and look at a huge backyard with a pool. As we are looking Cade walks in.
“Cade! Cade!” Tomás yells.
Cade walks over and picks Tomás up. He tosses him, catches him, and sets him down on the floor. All the while Tomás is laughing and having the time of his life. -okay now I feel guilty.
When Tomás has calmed down a bit he starts to talk to Cade, “can we swim? I just started learning how to dis summer. I could show you how to do a front float. I’m really goot at thodes.”
“How about we swim next time. Then you can bring your swimsuit. Today I have some toys for you to play with while Lola and I work on our project.” Cade tells Tomás as his eyes light up.
Cade picks Tomás up and I follow them upstairs and down a hall. This house is huge. I try to get a good look around but it’s useless.
Cade sets Tomás down in the doorway of a bedroom. Tomás runs in and immediately finds the 2 bins of toys. He starts to pull out different cars and trucks. Cade follows him and shows him how some of the toys work. Cade starts to set up a racetrack as I stand by the door.
His room is not what I expected. It looks like someone else decorated it and he left it. There was little to no personal touches around the room. The color scheme was white, grey, and blue. I also noticed there was a large walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite.
Cade looked at me standing by the door and said, “you could sit at the desk or anywhere really. I’ll come in a sec; I want to make sure this is set upright.”
I walk over to the desk and unpack my supplies. As I look to Tomás Cade pulls up a second chair and grabs a notebook.
I begin to whisper to Cade, “we don’t have to swim next week. It’s okay don’t feel like you have to say yes to Tomás. I can tell him we can’t.”
“Don’t worry it’s no problem. Plus, we pay for the pool to be cleaned but no one uses it anymore. I’d be happy if someone got to use it.” He tells me while watching Tomás play.
“Well if it’s ok with you. I’ll have to go in with him. He’s not good enough to swim on his own yet.” I tell him.
“Ya, of course, he’s only 3. I’ll come in too. You could come earlier next week so we have enough time to swim.”
“Sure, sounds good. We then worked on our history project for around 20 minutes. We looked up lots of information on trains in America. When we were deciding who would write the part for the paper and who would prepare this part of the presentation there was a knock at the door.
I looked and saw a guy who looked like Noah, but older and taller. This must be the older brother. “What do you want?” Cade asked lazily.
“Noah told me you had a girl in your room, so I just had to come and see. I didn’t believe him. But look he wasn’t lying.” He says with a grin.
“Is that it?” Cade asks annoyed.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me?”
“Fine, Lola this is my older brother Kyle. Kyle this is Lola and her little brother Tomás.” Cade says and Tomás looks up, running in since he heard his name.
“Nice to meet you. You must be pretty special; Cade never has anyone over.” Kyle says to me.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that. We have to work on a project. We tried my place last week, but it was too chaotic.” I tell him honestly. If it wasn’t for all that happened and Cade’s liking of Tomás I would not be here.
“Well, still I’m sure you are special. Anyway, Rita made cookies. They are in the kitchen if you want some.” And with that Kyle leaves.
“Cookies! I want cookies! Lota, could we have some cookies pleatz?” Tomás asks with puppy dog eyes.
“Sure, if it’s alright with Cade.”
“Yeah, I think now is a good time for a break. I’ll show you to the kitchen.” Cade tells us.
We go to the kitchen and sit at the island. Cade gets us milk and we start eating some cookies. As we are finishing up a woman walks into the kitchen.
“Hello, there you must be Lola. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Rita.” She says to me.
“Hi, these cookies are amazing thanks so much for making them,” I say and nudge Tomás.
He looks up from his cookie and says, “tank you!”
“You are very welcome. It’s not every day Cade has a friend over. I’m just happy he’s being more like himself recently. Anyway, I should get going. Good night I’ll see you tomorrow Cade.” She says.
“Nice to meet you,” I tell her as she leaves the room.
“She’s really nice,” I tell Cade.
“Yeah, she’s been our housekeeper and cook since I was 4,” Cade tells me. He gets up and starts to clean up our mess. When I try to help him, he says he’s got it so I sit back down.
I think he’s scared I’m going to ask about what Rita said. I won’t, it’s too soon to try to get him to open up to me. We’ve only known each other for a week and a half.
As Cade finishes with our dishes Noah walks in. “Hey Lola, have you put any more thought into trying out for the play?”
“A bit, I’m still not sure. What play is it?” I ask. I feel like I should have heard by now.
“Oh, it’s the Crucible. It’ll be fun I think. It’s about the Salem witch trials.” He says as he grabs a drink from the fridge.
“Cade you should encourage her to try out. She was grey at improv.” Noah says and then leaves the kitchen saying goodbye.
“So, you’re a drama nerd like Noah then?” Cade asks as he picks up Tomás and starts walking back to his room.
“No, I don’t think so. I joined the drama club because Mr. Garett said I should do a couple of activities. I don’t know it sounded good at the time. I never got to try extracurriculars before, so I thought I’d try some this year.” I tell him as we walk back into his room.
Cade sets Tomás down by the toys and says, “why didn’t you get to before? Didn’t your old school have them?”
“Honestly I never had time before. Between helping out with Tomàs and working a job or 2 it was never something I could do.”
“So why is this year different?” Cade asks and I freeze. How am I going to answer this...