“Leo what is with all this noise and why are you grabbing my son?” Xavier yells.
“Are you going to tell him?” Leo asks Mike.
Mike looks up and gives me a smirk while remaining silent.
“What’s going on?” Xavier asks.
Leo lets Mike go and starts to speak, “he’s been following Lola for over a month. He’s been spying on her.”
So, it was Mike who was following me. At least it wasn’t Jeffery. I’m a bit worried since he’s Xavier’s son, last time he blamed me Xavier went easy on him. I’m worried he’ll do it again.
“What is wrong with you Mike? You were told to stay in Mexico until we cleared your name. And yet here you are in the one state that has a warrant out for you!” Xavier says loudly.
“I can explain, alright just hear me out,” Mike says.
“Fine explain yourself,” Xavier demands.
“Arizona was meant to be mine. I just want to prove to you that I deserve it. Dad, you shouldn’t have trusted Lola. She’s going to screw you over. She’s in love with Cade and will tell him everything. I’ve been watching her, she’s going to tell Jeffery Jameson about her deal with you and switch sides. She has no loyalty to us.” Mike spouts.
“Lola is this true?” Xavier asks me.
“Well, I can see why he thinks this but it’s not true. I’m making it seem as if I like Cade, it’s the easiest way to get close to the family. I have no intentions of switching sides, you know how I feel about Jeffery and human trafficking. I guess I did too good of a job at acting as if I was in love with Cade.” I quickly explain. It’s a lie but I know that telling Xavier the truth would make him mad. It also may have been the wrong call since I definitely told Leo that I actually liked Cade. Hopefully, he’ll choose my side. But if I’m going off of past behavior, he will tell the truth and let Xavier decide what to do with it. Maybe I should have told the truth. Then I could have convinced Xavier to include Cade. I think I made the wrong choice.
“Leo is this true? Based on what you’ve seen?” Xavier asks.
“Lola is a very good actor sir. I can’t say if her feelings are real or not. Her methods have been successful. No one else we have sent was able to do what she has.” Leo explains. Maybe this guy is loyal to me.
“Really Leo, you don’t suspect anything?” Mike pipes up.
“No, I don’t, unlike you Lola has integrity. She has yet to lie to me I trust her.” Leo replies.
To this Mike shakes his head and starts to ramble again, “dad you need to listen to me, she’s no good. She’s going to-”
“Enough from you!” Xavier exclaims. “I’m sick of this Mike, grow up already. you’ve done nothing but cause me problems. You’ve lied to me too many times for me to trust your word.”
“Why are you giving her this, I’m your son let me have Arizona!” Mike starts to whine.
“Absolutely not, I was going to give you another chance but with this stunt, I’m at my limit with you. You’re coming home with me, and I’ll deal with you there. Lola, please continue on with what you are doing here. Leo will stay and keep reporting to me. I’m sorry about my son and all the grief he has caused you. I assure you I will deal with him, and he will not interfere again.” And with that Xavier grabs Mike by the arm and they leave the room through the back door.
I get up, take my purse and start to head towards the doors. “Wait,” Leo says.
I turn and look at him. “I know you lied about Cade, but I think that was the right call. Once we figure out a bit more with his family and who knows what we can talk to Xavier about letting him in on this. Getting Jefferys’s family to turn on him would be great for Xavier.” Leo says in a hushed voice.
“Thanks for not calling me out. I acted on impulse. I promise I won’t turn on you guys, I’d never side with someone like Jeffery. I didn’t want Xaiver to turn on me.”
“I know that Lola, I trust you. Even though I should have told Xavier the truth it didn’t feel right. You’ve done nothing but help and follow his instructions. Just please let me know before you act on this stuff. I need to make sure it’s the right call.” Leo says.
“For sure. I’m finding the fact that Cade has no idea about his father a bit challenging, I put the idea in his head, so we’ll see if he does some digging himself. He hates his dad, hell he’s not even his biological father. He stays in that house for his mom and brothers. I don’t know if anything would change that. I think the best thing is to look into his mother. She’s been through a lot and is still living in that house. I just don’t know why.” I explain trying to get Leo’s help.
“That a good idea, I’ll see what I can dig up. What do you know so far?” He asks.
“Well, Cade said she was raped by his biological father. I think Jeffery dealt with the man back then. Then she was kidnapped and raped last year. Cade said it was a drug dealer he was involved with. I’m not sure if his dad had any idea until after it happened. Cade said Jeffery dealt with it again. She’s extremely depressed, lies in bed all day, and hasn’t left the house in months. Jeffery used to beat her but since the rape has left her alone.” I explain what I know.
“Okay, that’s a good start. I’ll let you know what I find. Also, let me know if Mike follows or tries to contact you. Xavier should make sure he leaves you alone, but he is usually too soft on him.”
“Okay thanks, Leo, I’ll see you later,” I say.
“Bye Lola,” Leo says as I walk out the door.
I make my way through the restaurant and to my car. I drive home thinking about possible reasons Cade’s mom would stay with a man like Jeffery. From what I’ve gathered it seems like he’s been cheating on her and beating her since before their sons were born. I know firsthand how abusers make their victims stay. It happened with my parents growing up.
I arrive at home and go into my apartment. Both Tomás and my mom are already in bed. I start to clean the kitchen when I hear my phone buzz. I check and it’s from Cade.
Can I call you?
Instead of replying, I hit the call button.
“Hey, um I hope I didn’t wake you.” Cade answers.
“No, I was just cleaning, what’s up?” I ask.
“Could I come over? I can’t be at home right now and I didn’t know who else to call.” He says sounding upset.
“Yeah of course. How long till you’re here?”
“Like 10 minutes, I’m pretty close. I’m driving around right now.” I hear him take a breath and then he continues, “could we stay on the phone until I’m there. I need to talk to someone; I have all these thoughts and I’m driving by where all my old dealers are.”
“Yeah of course. Want to hear a story about Tomás?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Cade replies.
For the next ten minutes, I talk to Cade about Tomás, cooking, and my favorite movies. He keeps thanking me as I go. We talk about Halloween since it’s in two weeks. We decide to take Tomás trick-or-treating together. I also tell him that Clarissa is having a movie night we could go to after.
He says that he’s here and hangs up. I go to the door and open it for him. When he enters my apartment, he gives me a big hug.
After a moment he backs away and says, “thank you so much. You have no idea what that meant. I really needed to be distracted from my thoughts.”
“It’s not a problem Cade. Anyway, want something to eat?”
“Sure, I skipped supper that would be great.”
I go into the kitchen after locking the door. Cade follows and we begin to look at what there is. He decides on cereal. As he eats, we talk some more about light topics.
Once he’s done eating, he helps me clean up. “Do you want to stay over?” I ask after looking at the time. It’s 11:30 and we have school tomorrow.
“Um if that’s alright with you and your mom. I can sleep on the couch.” Cade says nervously. I can tell he doesn’t want to go home but also doesn’t want to intrude.
“It’s totally fine. You can sleep in my room with me if you’re okay sharing my twin bed.” I say.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine with that. Are you sure your mom is okay with this though? Shouldn’t you ask her or something?” Cade asks shyly.
“My mom has been treating me like an adult since I was 12. She used to let my first boyfriend sleep over in my room. When his parents found out they said I wasn’t being raised right. She will be happy if anything.” I say with a chuckle.
“Okay if you’re sure,” Cade says and follows me to the washroom. We get ready for bed and head to my room. I grab my pajamas and go back to the washroom to change.
When I enter my room again, I see Cade on my bed playing with a stuffed animal.
“Is this Tomás’?” He asks.
“No, it’s mine,” I say.
“You sleep with a stuffed fox?” He says with a smirk.
“Yeah, is there something wrong with that?”
“I didn’t think you’d still sleep with a stuffed animal is all.” He says with a smile.
“Well, I do,” I say while I climb into bed beside him. It takes a while to get comfortable since my bed is so small. We eventually get comfy, and I flick the light off.
I decide to ask what’s been on my mind, “do you want to talk about what happened?”
“I don’t know,” Cade says with a huff.
“If you do, I’m here,” I tell him.
“It’s my dad. He came home from a business trip. He was being an asshole and then I made some comments before supper. They were about what you told me. I was so angry with him, and I didn’t think. He got so mad when he heard me. He tried to grab me, but Kyle stopped him. Kyle didn’t get why he’d get so mad about a prostitution comment. My dad denied everything when Kyle asked why he was so defensive. I said that he was a liar and called him out. I left before he could do anything to me. Both him and Kyle haven’t even tried calling or texting me, so I don’t know what happened.” Cade tells me.
I squeeze him because I don’t know what to say. He sighs and continues. “He’s so good at gaslighting us. I bet he has Kyle convinced I made everything up. I should’ve told Kyle when our dad wasn’t around instead of like this. Now he’s going to think I’m lying.”
“I could talk to him if you want, tell him what I told you. But let’s see what he thinks first. Your dad does want him to take over the entire business one day, maybe he wants to get him on board with this and told the truth once you left.” I explain.
“Yeah, maybe that’s what happened. You’re right. Let’s wait to see what happened before we do anything.” Cade says.
I give him a kiss on the cheek and wait to see if he wants to talk about this more. After a moment of silence, he says, “thank you for being here tonight.”
“No problem,” I reply.
I roll over so Cade is holding me from behind. I slowly drift off to sleep. Unlike last night I am able to get a full night’s rest.