When I reach the living room I see my mom, Tessa, and two men. My mom is making out with one of the men while the other sits on the floor staring at the ceiling. When I spot Tessa crawling in a pile of white powder my blood starts to boil.
I run over and grab her. “What the hell is this?” I yell.
“Shit she got into my coke,” the man who was making out with my mother answers.
“What the fuck mom?” I exclaim.
“It’s no big deal Mija, Terrance here said he likes babies, so I grabbed Tessa from your room. She was fine, relax,” my mom adds.
“Relax? Really! She could have died. You can’t have babies crawling through cocaine mom! And why do you have two random guys with you? It’s a Tuesday night!” I yell out in anger.
“She was fine. She’s my daughter and I can keep care of her. As far as the men, it’s my place if you don’t like it leave!” My mom shouts back at me.
“I pay for this place, and I’ve been raising both her and Tomás since they were born. All you’ve done is fuck things up. Why can’t you just be an adult for once instead of being a bipolar crack whore?” I reply.
“I will not have you talking to me like that in my house. Get out right now!” She screams at me.
Sensing that she is high and manic I know better than to escalate things further than I have already. I take Tessa to my room and being to pack up some things I’ll need. As I shove a pair of pants into a duffel bag, I think about how wrong this whole situation is. All I’ve done is help my mom and now she’s kicking me out for the night. She’d be dead without me and my siblings in care. Why can’t she just get better already?
As I go to get Tomás I see that one of the men, Terrance I think, is watching me from the hall.
“You better leave in the next 5 minutes, or I’ll throw you out myself,” he tells me. He is a big guy, around 6′2" and over 250 pounds. I have to get out before he tries anything. The last thing I need is to be manhandled by some man high on coke.
“Don’t worry I’ll be gone right away,” I reply and put my head down. I hate that my mom puts me in situations like this.
Once I get my siblings and our stuff in my car I drive to a nearby motel. It’s not very nice but it’ll have to do. It’s the middle of the night and I can’t chance spending too much money in case the kicking out lats for a while. I check-in and get a room. I put Tomás and Tessa back to bed and then go outside for a smoke.
As I smoke, I begin to think about everything that is wrong. Jeffery knows about my deal with Xavier. I can’t tell Cade. My moms kicked me out and I have no idea where to go from here. I let everything sink in and I feel myself start to shake. As I stare out into the parking lot, I can’t help but feel hopeless. I begin to feel tears run down my cheeks; in a way I deserve everything that’s happening to me. I agreed to this whole thing and now I had to pay the consequences I would lose Cade, my mother, and my siblings. Everyone I loved. All I could do now was try my hardest to fight but that’s what I had been doing for years now. I wasn’t sure I could keep doing this for much longer.
I almost hit Cade’s number to call him but then I remember that I can’t tell him anything about the deal I made, which would probably come out of my mouth if I started to open up about tonight. I was running on almost no sleep, and I was completely devastated. I wanted nothing more than for Cade to come here and tell him everything, but I knew that wasn’t a good idea. It would fix nothing and may make me lose him. I couldn’t risk that, I loved him too much.
After I came back inside and had a good cry in the shower, I called myself into school and fell asleep as the sun rose.
I wake up to a knock on the door. I get up and look through the peephole on the door. I see that it’s Leo, so I open the door and let him in.
“How’d you know I was here?” I ask as he steps inside.
“The tracker on your phone. I went to your place to talk to you before you went to school, but you weren’t home, so I looked,” Leo explains. “So, what happened that you’re here?” Leo asks as he sits on a chair.
“My mom, she brought two men and drugs home last night. I woke up to find Tessa crawling in a pile of cocaine. I flipped out and she kicked me out. One of the men threatened me so I left with the kids,” I answer while sitting on a bed across from him.
“Shit, you alright?” He asks.
“Nope,” I respond. “So, what brings you here?”
“Well, here’s the thing, Xavier says he wants you to get Jeffery’s phone,” Leo says while looking around the motel room.
“I don’t know if I can do that,” I say honestly.
“Why not?” Leo asks with a calm tone.
“I can’t, I just can’t anymore” I respond trailing off.
“You know you can tell me the truth Lola. I’ve kept things from Xavier before,” Leo says to me.
“Jeffery knows,” I say. I’m sick of lying to everyone and I need help.
Silence fills the room and all I can hear is Tomás’ soft snores. I begin to regret telling Leo. What if he decides to rat me out, or worse what if Jeffery bugged something and heard all of that. I don’t know what to do, everything in my life is screwed up.
Leo finally replies with “Shit, what did he say to you?”
“That he figured it out and he wants me to get info on Xavier for him now. He said he’s hurt my family if I told anyone. What do I do?” I ask Leo starting to become more anxious.
“I don’t know, we can’t tell Xavier. He’ll cut you out and then Jeffery will hurt you or your family. We also can’t take down Jeffery. Not right away by ourselves anyway,” Leo rants.
“So, what do I do then? Keep playing along with both? Until when?” I respond anxiously.
“Yes, keep playing along. We will both have to think and come up with something,” Leo says starting to talk slower.
“What if we got them both arrested? Or maybe we get a third person after them? Like a gang or a cartel. We could frame them and make a cartel think they stole stuff from them,” I start to list ideas.
“Lola stop, you need to get some rest and clear your head before we figure something out. You are in no state right now,” Leo calmly tells me.
“When am I in the right state? I can’t keep living like this,” I say finally breaking. I begin to quietly sob. I feel Leo place his hand on my back in an effort to comfort me.
As I look up, he says, “Lola we will figure something out, you have my word. I won’t rat you out, we are in this together.”
“Why not though? You should just rat me out, then your job would be done,” I say through tears.
“Because I can’t let you or these two kids get hurt by taking the easy way out. You’re not like these men; they don’t care about anyone but themselves. But you do Lola. And, well I guess I do too. I’ve worked for men like Xaiver and Jeffery for most of my life and I’m sick of watching them take whatever they want. You deserve a chance, and I’m not going to sit by and watch as those men destroy it,” Leo says.
As I think of what to say Tessa wakes up and starts to cry. I go and check on her. She needs a change, so I change her and try to collect my thoughts. I knew I’d tell whoever I saw next everything, I’m way too stressed and scared to keep this in. Not to mention sleep deprived. At least Leo seems to be on my side and wants to help. Maybe things could still work out.
I place Tessa down and turn to Leo, “Look Leo, thanks for understanding. I don’t know what to do anymore. I wish I could walk away from all this. I don’t even have enough savings to do that though. I wish things weren’t so hard you know?”
“Yeah, I know kid. Life sucks and all we can do to make it better is try to help each other. Anyway, I should get going so you can rest. I’ll be in touch soon. Let me know your plan if you’re going to stay here or go home,” Leo says.
“Pretty sure going home isn’t an option anymore. At least not for a week or so,” I tell Leo solemnly.
“You got enough money to stay here?” He asks reaching for his wallet.
“For now, yeah, I’ll let you know though,” I reply feeling guilty. I can’t rely on him for everything. I got myself into this mess.
After Leo leaves, I get back into bed but hear my phone go off. I pick it up and see it’s Cade calling.
“Hello,” I answer.
“Hey, why aren’t you at school?” He asks.
“It’s a long story, my mom kicked us out in the middle of the night. Now I’m at a motel about to go back to bed,” I explain while chewing on my lip.
“Oh shoot, I could come right now. You know help out with Tomàs and stuff while you rest,” Cade tells me.
“No, you stay at school. Tomás is just as tired as me and is sleeping. You could come later and bring my homework though,” I tell him. If he came now, I’d be a mess and tell him too much. I miss him but know that I’ll be rested in a few hours and able to lie or at least ignore my biggest worry, Cade’s father.
“That means I actually have to go to class then,” Cade says with a hint of a laugh. “I’ll do it for you though, see you.”
“See you, I’ll send you the address and room number,” I say and then hang up. Once I send him my location, I fall asleep for some much needed rest.