When I got home on Monday night my mom told me that Diego’s and Marcus’ mom Maria got Parole and would be coming home on Wednesday. My mom was ecstatic since Maria had been her best friend since she was 10. They were having a block party on the weekend. All of my mom’s childhood friends would be there. And some of mine would be as well, including Theresa, Sofia, and my Abuelo.
I had also told my mom about kissing Cade. Long story short she convinced me to invite him. Now as I was getting ready on Saturday afternoon to go to this party. I wasn’t sure bringing Cade to a block party was the best idea.
I really liked him, and I knew a lot of the people from my mom’s childhood and my upbringing were toxic. I wasn’t too worried about my Abuelo but I was about everyone else. It was too late to back out, so I had to suck it up and get through the party. Maybe I would be able to convince Cade to leave early and we could do something else.
On Tuesday I had noticed Cade had some bruises on his face and neck. I didn’t ask him about it but wanted to. I wondered if he had got them fighting again. I decided not to ask since I knew he wasn’t too big on opening up. I didn’t want to push him.
I decided to wear jean shorts and a yellow t-shirt with a tiger on it. It was still hot out even though it was the beginning of October. The joys of living in the desert. I did my makeup and then went out to the living room where my mom put my hair in two French braids.
My mom was wearing a cheetah print dress and had curled her hair, “you look nice mom.” I told her while she began to braid my hair.
“Gracias, Mija. Tu también te ves bien.” (Thanks, you look good too.) My mother said.
As she was finishing my second braid Tomás started to whine. “¿Qué ocurre?” (What’s wrong?) I asked him.
“When will we see Cade, I want to see him. I’m bored.”
I checked the clock we’d be leaving in about 15 minutes to pick him up. “Saldremos en quince minutos.” (We will leave in fifteen minutes.) I replied.
Tomás huffed and went back to the window to wait for us to leave. I put my white converse on and packed my bag with some things for Tomás. As I was looking for a sippy cup, I heard my mom come into the kitchen.
“Ahí estás Mija. Tenemos que irnos. Tengo que ayudar a María a montar. Vamos.” (There you are Mija. We need to leave I have to help Maria set up. Let’s go.) My mom says when she spots me. I grab all my things and head outside.
We all get into my car, and head towards Cade’s house. The whole way Tomàs kept saying how excited he was to see Cade.
When we drive into Cade’s gated community my mom says, “Vaya, Mija, debe provenir del dinero. Mira este lugar.” (Wow, he must come from money. Look at this place.)
We get to Cade’s driveway, and he comes out. He sits in the back with Tomás. The whole way both my mother and Tomás talk Cade’s ears off. When we arrive at Diego’s and Marcus’ we all get out. My mother runs in, and I hear squealing. Cade helps me unload Tomás and grab all the stuff.
As we walk in, I see my mom and Maria engaged in a loud and excited conversation in Spanish. When Maria spots me she runs over and gives me a big hug.
“Eres todo un adulto. Tan hermoso. Oh, te he echado de menos a ti ya tu madre.” (You’re all grown up. So beautiful. Oh, I’ve missed you and your mother.) Maria says and then turns to Tomás who is holding Cade’s hand. “y debes ser Tomás. eres un chico muy grande. Soy la mamá de Digeo y Marcus.” (And you must be Tomás. You are a very big boy. I’m Digeo’s and Marcus’ mom.) Then she holds out her hand.
Tomás looks between me and Maria. When I nod, he shakes her hand and then returns to Cade’s side. Maria spots Cade, who looks lost with all the Spanish. “You must be Lola’s friend Cade, right? I’m Maria, basically Lola’s aunt”
“Uh, yeah nice to meet you. Thanks for having me.” Cade awkwardly replies.
“Tenias razon muy guapo.” (You were right, very handsome) Maria says to my mom. They share a laugh.
“How about you two take Tomás to the living room while Carlita and I cook and catch up,” Maria says. I follow and take Tomás and Cade to the living room. We take out some toys and begin to play with Tomás. Cade and I make small talk and I tell him some childhood stories about my mom and her best friend. One of which included an incident where my mother gave Maria a perm when she was still in hairdressing school. Maria had a bob for a year after that incident.
Marcus comes in and I introduce him to Cade. They got along well, and Marcus was really nice which I was grateful for. They put on a football game and were telling Tomás all about it. I decided to leave to go to the washroom since they were getting along so well. Once I had finished my business, I walked back towards the living room. On my way, I ran into Diego.
He smirked at me and said, “Buenas fotos, se verían mejor en mi piso.” (Nice shots, they’d look better on my floor.) He then grabbed my waist and started to kiss my neck.
I pushed him away and said, “no.”
He stepped back and asked, “¿Por qué no, ha pasado más de un mes?” (Why not, it has been over a month?)
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I say.
He looks behind me and gets an angry look on his face. “It’s the gringo, right?”
I turn around and see Cade standing in the hall. When I turn back to Diego, he had already started to walk the other way back to the stairs.
“Um, I, ugh,” I stumble with my words trying to think of what to say to Cade.
“Hey, don’t worry I get it.” He says.
“No, you don’t, look I hooked up with him in the summer but that’s all it was. I’m not with him or anything.” I try my best to explain. Just as things were looking good between us this had to happen.
“Hey, I’m the last to judge in that department. Trust me,” he says with a small grin.
“Are you laughing at me?” I ask with amusement.
“No more at myself. Anyway, whatever you had with him is over now?” Cade shyly asks.
“Yeah, it’s completely over,” I reply.
“Okay good, let’s get back to Tomás, he sent me to find you, said you were taking too long,” Cade says. Then he takes my hand as we walk back to the living room. When we walk in Marcus spots our hands and looks away quickly. We join him and Tomás and watch a kid’s show to kill time until the party starts.
At one point When Tomás and Cade and engrossed in playing with a train set Marcus turns to me and says, “Me alegra que hayas encontrado a alguien que te trate bien. Te mereces mucho más que mi hermano Lola.” (I’m happy you found someone who treats you right. You deserve a lot better than my brother Lola.) I give him a smile.
Cade was pretty great, but I felt so guilty. I had been putting off going into his father’s office. I knew Xavier was getting impatient. I decided I’d try to break in this week. Maybe hard evidence of what his father was doing would help me tell Cade the truth. Even if it didn’t at least it would get Xaiver off my back for a while. Recently he had been calling me to ‘check in’ a lot.
I’m snapped out of my thoughts when my mother comes into the room. She asks us to help bring the food outside. We all help, even Tomás who takes the stacks of plastic cups. As we set up the food some people start to arrive. My mother and Maria talk to them while Cade and I help Marcus with the chairs.
My Abuelo shows up and I greet him. “Hola abuelo, este es mi amigo Cade. He goes to my new school. Cade this is my Abuelo or grandpa.” (Hi grandpa, this is my friend Cade.) I say.
My Abuelo eyes Cade up and down for a moment then nods and holds out his hand. Cade takes it as my Abuelo says, “It’s nice to meet you, you better treat her well.”
After that, we get food and sit down and eat with my Abuelo, Tomás, and Marcus. I talk about the school play and both Marcus and my Abuelo say they are going to come and watch. I am so happy that my Abuelo is starting to accept me again. I hope I am able to repair our relationship one day.
Once it starts to get dark my Abuelo leaves. Tomás tells me he needs to use the washroom, so I take him inside leaving Cade alone. I run into my mom who tells me she’s going to sleep over and that I should leave Tomás with her and go have fun with Cade. I agree and hug Tomás before leaving to find Cade.
When I spot Cade, he is not alone anymore. He is sitting with Theresa, and Sofia and I can tell they just said something about me. I knew this was a bad idea.