My brothers and I are watching a football game on Saturday night. I couldn’t stop thinking about Lola. I was so worried about her. I knew I didn’t need to be; she was so strong but I couldn’t help it. At least my mind was off my dark past.
As I was thinking about her, I got a text from her. She said that we were going to meet the distributor at Denny’s tomorrow morning and then we could hang out and take Tomás to the indoor play gym. As I was replying that I could drive my brothers started to bug me.
“Are you texting Lola?” Noah says with a smirk.
“You know he is, he’s obsessed with her,” Kyle adds.
“Shut up,” I grumble after hitting send and putting my phone down.
“Am I wrong though?” Kyle asks. Then Noah grabs my phone as it lights up.
“Oh, it’s Lola, let’s see what she said,” Noah says and takes my phone with him to the corner of the room.“Cade, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow! Let’s make out all night. I can’t wait to-”
I grab my phone and say, “stop.” I check and she had only said ‘sounds good.’
I sit back down, and Kyle starts up, “we should leave him alone. He really likes this girl.”
I give him a look and he continue, “am I wrong?”
“No, but” I take a deep breath and sigh, “I don’t know. Like I really want things to work out, but I’m scared that I’ll hurt her.”
“It’s okay to be scared, but don’t let that hold you back. I’m pretty sure she like you back.” Kyle says.
“I think you should go for it, your lucky to have found someone. Life’s too short to not take a chance.” Noah adds in.
“Since when are you all into giving relationship advice?” Kyle asks.
“Since now. I think you two are lucky to be able to have relationships.” Noah replies while intensely staring at the tv. Kyle and I share a look but don’t say anything at his outburst.
“So, are you going to tell her how you feel? Maybe ask her out on a date?” Kyle probs.
“I don’t know, maybe. I want to but it might be too soon.” I reply. We then turn our attention back to the game.
The next morning comes and I wake up excited to see Lola. But also nervous about this meeting. I get ready and then head over to Lola’s place. The whole way I replay the conversation I had with my brothers about Lola.
I really liked her, and I was starting to admit it to myself. But with accepting I liked her came a lot of feelings- bad feelings. I was scared that I’d hurt her. From experience, I had proven to be no good. I hurt countless girls and my mother through my behavior.
But maybe it would work with Lola. I had been sober for 2 weeks now. I hadn’t seen any of the people who I used to hang around and get into trouble with since school started. Plus, Lola understood me like no one else. On top of that any time my past had come up and could have hurt her she was strong and dealt with it. She was something and I was glad I had met her. I also wondered if she liked me back. She seemed like she did, but I was doubting myself a bit. I was her only friend, maybe that’s all she wanted.
I decided to let things happen and see where they go.
When I get to her place, she is outside waiting. When she sees me she smiles and comes over. “Hey, how was your day yesterday?” She asks as I pull out of the parking lot.
“Honestly boring, you?”
“Pretty boring, my mom’s doing really well right now, so I got to hang out with her last night. It was nice.” She tells me.
“Well, that’s great.”
“Yeah, I hope it lasts, it never seems too though.” She sighs and we fall into a comfortable silence.
On the way, Lola explains some more details of the plan. She put a lot more thought into it yesterday. All of her changes make sense.
When we arrive at the Denny’s we go in and get a table for 3. We order coffees and wait for the guy to show. We sit on the same side of the booth which probably looks a bit strange. Lola keeps bouncing her leg, I can tell she is nervous, which makes me nervous, I have no idea what to expect from this guy.
When 9:05 hits Lola says, “fuck I bet he won’t show up. He said yes to screw with me.”
I grab her hand and say, “if he doesn’t show we’ll figure something else out. We can get breakfast and go.”
At 9:08 a Hispanic guy walks towards us with a big smirk on his face.
“Pensé que tu madre me estaba mintiendo. No puedo creer que mostraras tu cara después de lo que me hiciste.” (I thought your mother was lying to me. I can’t believe you’d show your face after what you did to me.) the man says.
“Casi matas a mi madre ya Tomás. de todos modos lo estás haciendo bien estos días. por favor, ¿podemos hablar de negocios ahora?” (You almost killed my mother and Tomás. Anyway, you are doing fine for yourself these days. Please can we discuss business now?) Lola replies.
“Okay, okay and who is this?” The man asks in English.
“This is my friend Cade. Cade this is Guillermo.”
“So, what do you want from me?” Guillermo asks.
“I want to take the dirty meth of your hands.”
“And why do you want it? Last time I checked you didn’t want meth anywhere around you.”
“I want to frame someone with it.” She says.
“A guy who tried to rape her,” I butt in. “His dad has lots of connections, so most charges won’t stick. This would.”
“Ah, I see. You would be doing me a favor. It’s sitting since it’s so strong and I can’t move it because the cops are looking so hard for it.” Guillermo explains.
“Exactly, I’d pay 1 grand a pound for it.”
“That’s it, I’ll be losing so much money chica.”
“It’s too hot to move, at least you’re not flushing it. I’d also be taking the heat off you. But I do need 2 or 3 of your guys to say they got it from the guy I’m framing. They’d have to get picked up selling it.” Lola says.
“But Lola, the real question is why should I make a deal with the devil herself,” Guillermo asks in a condescending tone.
“Because it benefits you. Don’t call me the devil you deserved everything you got. I know you, you’re selfish that’s why you’ll say yes.” Lola replies getting a bit angry.
Then Guillermo turns to me, “be careful with this one. She seems like she couldn’t hurt a fly but trust me when I say she can ruin your life.”
“Oh shut up, why don’t you take responsibility for yourself. You could’ve killed your own son.”
“Oh, so he’s my son now that it suits you. Chances are he’s not mine. Tus mamás una puta. If you’re so sure get a DNA test and I’ll gladly help out,” to this Lola sneers. “That’s right you’re too scared. Don’t want to lose control over them. You’re just like your father. It’s sad you can’t see it.” (Your mom’s a whore.)
Lola looks him up and down unimpressed. “un hombre tan pequeño,” (such a small man).
“Look I don’t like you but it’s a deal. You’re right I’m selfish. We can meet tonight, and I’ll give you the stock minus a bit for the guys who need to get caught with it. It’ll be 3.5 pounds.” Guillermo says after a tense silence.
The two shake hands and then Guillermo turns to me. He holds out his hand and I shake it. Before he lets go, he says, “she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Be careful.” Then he leaves.
I move to the other side of the booth and we order our food. We are quiet after that. I want to ask about what he said but don’t know if I should.
When our food arrives Lola starts to speak, “I guess I should explain.”
“You don’t have to,” I quickly reply.
“I want to, you deserve answers.”
“Okay, I’m all ears,” I tell her.
“Guillermo was a small-time dealer who knew both my parents. My dad was a crooked cop and would take money from him to look the other way. Well, after my dad’s death and then my brother’s it was just my mom and me. She was really messed up. She used all the inheritance money on drugs. I was paying all the bills with the money I got from working for a drug cartel, I had gotten the job through my neighbor who was also working for them, the guy who left me his car.” I nod understanding who she’s talking about.
“Anyway. When my mom has used up all our savings she would sleep with dealers for drugs. She ended up getting pregnant, but we weren’t sure who the dad was. Once she was showing most of the dealers stopped giving drugs to her, but Guillermo didn’t. He gave her meth that almost killed both her and Tomás. He was born prematurely and had 6 operations in the first month he was alive. I was so upset at him and I had cartel connections. I made sure that the cartel stopped supplying him. I told him what I did and to leave my family alone or he’d have worse things to deal with.”
“Wow,” I say when Lola pauses.
“Yeah, he stayed away for a while, but my mom goes back to him when she’s desperate. I’m not as good as you think I am. I’ve done a lot of bad things. Many of which were to get back at people. Guillermo was right I’m a lot like my father was, spiteful, vindictive, and controlling.” Lola says while looking defeated.
“Lola you aren’t a bad person; you do bad things for the people you love. That doesn’t make you bad. Your heart was always in the right place.” When I see she doesn’t believe me I go on.“Honestly, you are the strongest person I have ever met. The fact that you are still willing to fight for your brother and yourself is amazing, not bad.” I say trying to tell her what I see in her.
“Well, I’m glad you see it like that. Sometimes I think I’ve made the right choices, but I honestly don’t know anymore.”
“If anyone’s a bad person it’s me. You at least had a reason for doing evil things.” I say trying to cheer her up.
“What do you mean? Doing evil is doing evil.”
“No, it’s not, when I was a junior, I got really into drugs, I didn’t care about my actions and I would steal from the dealers. I think I wanted them to hurt me. I even slept with one guy’s girlfriend and stole his entire stash. He was so mad at me he took my mom two summers ago, before my first try at senior year. He held her hostage and raped her to teach me a lesson. My dad found out and dealt with the situation. But since then, I haven’t been able to live with myself. I ruined my mother’s life because I wanted to have fun and be an asshole. The woman can’t leave her room.” As I finish speaking, I realize what I told her. It wasn’t everything but a big chunk. Shit.