Maria had accepted Dylan’s invitation to help him shop for a gift for his mother’s birthday at Tiffany & co’s during her lunch break. They opted to take a cab, firstly because of the afternoon traffic and secondly due to this afternoon traffic, there was no way that Dylan would find any parking.
“Thank you for coming with me” says Dylan, as he settles in at the back of the cab after instructing the driver where to drop them off. “I find it so difficult to shop for my mom,”
“You mean as opposed to other women,” replies Maria.
But Dylan gives her such a hurt look, that she quickly regrets her reply.
“I’m sorry I did not mean it the way you think I did,” secretly hoping he buys it,” I mean you seem to have such nice taste in the way you dress yourself, it’s hard to believe you don’t have a good taste in gifts,” she adds.
“You would be surprised!” he says with a laugh.
“I have a stylist,” he whispers. Maria does not know whether to laugh or to be saddened.
The cab comes to a halt outside Maria’s office building, she looks over at Dylan “Well this is me,” she says and smiles at him. He smiles back, ” Gracias , Maria.”
“De Nada” , she closes the cab door and walks off into the skyscraper.
“Let’s go Victor and return this smelly cab,” instructs Dylan to the driver as he carelessly tosses the small shopping bag with the diamond bracelet on to the seat beside him.
“At once sir, but we’ve rented it out for the day,” answers the obedient chauffeur ,a young man in his late twenties, with wavy chest nut hair and hazel eyes.
“Well I didn’t realize you needed the extra money Victor, coz if you do, then why don’t you just drive around New York picking up smelly strangers, why dontcha?!” snaps Dylan.
“I’m sorry man, its just that women don’t usually tend to give me a hard time. But this Maria – while most women would die to be in my presence and are impressed by me, with her, its, it’s almost like she is repulsed by my very existence,” he says as he sighs at this thought.
“Well sir, maybe you need to show her that there’s more to you than the fancy suits, jewellery and exotic travels,” suggests Victor wisely.
“You know what Victor, you just might be right about that,” says Dylan and his eyes gleam up with excitement as an amazing idea comes to his mind.
“Hello Katrina,” says Dylan into his cell phone , “free up my afternoon for me, I have something important to do.”
“So how was the lunch date?” teases Ashley.
“God! First of all it wasn’t a lunch date and secondly, I couldn’t wait to get back,” answers Maria as she rolls her eyes. She is in the office coffee room, stirring some milk into her coffee. A few minutes later, Emily and Josh, walk into the room, seemingly in the middle of a heated debate, “But don’t you remember what she used to look like in the beginning, had us even questioning if she lived anywhere near New York, her dress, her shoes – I think she even got a boob job,” argues Emily.
“Well in her defence, those boobs were tiny,” laughs Josh.
“JJOOOSSSSHH!!!”” all the three girls say together, appalled at his comment.
“Who are you guys talkin about anyways,” asks a very curious Ashley.
“Heidi, in HR on the floor above us, “answers Emily, eager to share her gossip with some one who is interested, “You see, when Heidi first started, she was dressed in one of those worn out shirts and pants you find in Wal-Mart.”
Maria, self consciously touches her shirt, “what’s wrong with Wal-Mart, they’ve got some nice stuff there,” she says.
“Anywhooooooes,” continues Emily, “as the months went by, I noticed a change in her, the type of clothes she wore, her watches and earrings, sometimes she’d have the latest bracelets and shoes, even before some of the stores have even displayed them in stock.”
Maria and Ashley look over at Josh for some sort of agreement to Emily’s story, but they find nothing but a shrug, as Josh pours himself a cup of very well made foamed latte.
“Well?! ,” they say together at Josh.
“Well what?, ” answers Josh licking his lips after a satisfied taste of his latte.
“The boobs do look good, if I must say so,” he says and ducks just in time to miss a handkerchief that Emily throws at him.
“I am not sure about the prices of the items mentioned by our dear friend Emily, but she has been looking a little more polished compared to the first few times that I have seen her – and don’t let me start on the boobs,” he quickly adds before he rushes out the door ,leaving behind the girls swearing at his back.
As the girls go back to their desks, Ashley can’t help but imagine herself with all those nice things that Emily had mentioned earlier.
“How is she getting all that stuff, maybe she has a rich boyfriend, maybe she is a stripper after work hours – maybe she’s just found a way to really live the American dream ” she thinks to herself, either way Ashley had to get in on that action.
Alegra and Salvatore are sitting all alone at a beautiful table at the Il Bertanelli restaurant, It is five thirty in the evening and the entire restaurant is empty, except for 3 waiters and the couple themselves.
After one of the waiters has finished narrating to them the menu and explaining the dishes to Alegra, who had to question as she had no idea what the fancy names meant, he asks them if they would like to drink anything.
“A glass of 1975 Chateau La Fleur-Petrus for me,” says Salvatore, as they watch while Alegra squeezes her eyes, and scrunches her nose looking at the wine menu.
“I’ll have what he’s having,” she finally says.
“Maybe we ll have a wine tasting session later, so you can get to know the types of drinks we have here at Il Bertanelli,” leans over Salvatore and whispers a kiss in to her ear as he squeezes her hand ,that is placed on the table.
She smiles, looks around and asks, “So what do you do?”
“What do you mean what do I do, Carina,” answers Salvatore after taking a sip out of his glass, he closes his eyes and basks in the taste.
“How smoothly he runs down my throat,” he says, as he opens his eyes to look at Alegra.
“He?” she smiles and asks.
“Si Carina, il vino, ” he answers as he playfully touches a strand of her long wavy hair.
He looks at her, ” how beautiful is this girl,” he thinks to himself as he continues to admire how well the Herve ledger bandage dress fits around her body, he takes in the view of her breasts squeezed together and her lovely long legs crossed one over the other, how warm would it feel if he just reached over and made a place for his hand in the small space right where one soft thigh sat over the other.
“It is quite warm and soft, isn’t it,” he is interrupted and brought back to the restaurant by Alegra’s voice.
He adjusts his pants, which have grown almost too tight for him to fit in at the crotch area.
“What do you mean,” he clears his throat and takes another sip to aid the process.
“I mean Italian, sure when you speak it, it sounds a bit aggressive and loud, but when you really listen to it, it’s quite a soft and warm language,” answers Alegra as she beams at him with a smile.
“Si Carina, you are absolutely right, it is,” he answers her with a smile.
As their appetizers arrive, he shifts his chair closer to Alegra and under the table, he places his hand on her soft naked thigh ,caresses it and says ” It really is.”
The bell rings and the halls at St. James are quickly filled with teenagers standing, chitter-chattering against lockers and outside open classroom doors.
In an open classroom, Miguel sits at his desk, nervously looking out side the window, clearly impatiently waiting for something….or some one.
Right on cue, at eleven thirty, a blue Ford freestyle pulls up and stops right across the street from the school window, through which Miguel is looking out. He grabs his bag pack and begins to briskly walk out of the classroom, across the halls and finally out of the school building, before he slips out through one of the side gates and runs straight into the waiting vehicle.
Once they are far enough from the school and he is completely sure no one has seen him, Miguel slowly lifts his head up from the back seat, where he had laid flat on his back for the past 15 mins of the ride.
Ahmet, looks at him through the rear view mirror and laughs. “Relax buddy! No one saw you.”
Miguel shifts from the back seat into the passenger’s seat and puts on his seatbelt,” I just don’t wanna get a lecture from one of the teachers for bunking, you know what I mean”, he says as he buckles in the seatbelt. He takes a look around at the car he is sitting in, it’s not brand new, but definitely in good shape. The seat covers are clean and the dash board seems to be intact.
Ahmet interrupts the slow discovering of the car Miguel is making by looking around by asking him if he knows how to drive.
“No I don’t, my father is always working and his car is the only car we have at home, besides I am too young to drive.”
“You are never too young to do anything Miguel, why, when I was your age I used to herd a large group of cattle across large fields, in sometimes rainy weather and they were stubborn cows and goats , mind you, ” laughs Ahmet as he remembers that one time, he had to run after Bershka under the pouring rain because she refused to go into the barn with the rest of the herd, Oh how he had slipped and slid on the mud that day.
His face suddenly turns sad as he remembers how his mother came out of the house to see what the racket was all about, how her soft black hair plastered onto her beautiful snow white face as the rain came pouring down on her.
He quickly brushed the memory to the back of his head and turns to look over at Miguel, who had clearly felt the shift in emotion and comforts him with a smile.
They drive off to a grass filled location near the water; the weather is a bit chilly but still warm enough to enjoy a picnic outside.
Ahmet lays down a picnic mat, with a basket and a radio/cassette player. Miguel helps him unpack , the basket filled with Acıbadem kurabiyesi, shawarmas, baklawa and 2 medium sized thermos bottles.
Ahmet proceeds to fill a plastic cup with a dark warm liquid from one of the thermos bottles, this liquid has such a strong smell that Miguel can not help but scrunch his face and nose in disagreement.
“What is that?” he says.
“Why I am offended, Dostum! How can you not know?”
“What does that mean…Dust dust tam” asks Miguel
“It means my friend, you are my friend, aren’t you”, answers Ahmet as he extends a Turkish cookie to Miguel.
Alegra looks around for Miguel, but he’s nowhere to be found, she figures that he’s probably already walked on home by himself, when she failed to meet him at the gate as they had agreed.
She was running late because, she had to rewrite an assignment at History class and the teacher would not give her the option of writing it at home. Tiffany was long gone, that was Tiffany, like a flag in the wind, depending on where the wind blew, that’s where you were bound to find her.
Clearly today the wind was not blowing in Alegra’s direction, because Tiffany had walked off with Susan from English class. Oh well, even better, Alegra was not eager on sharing with Tiffany her plans for the evening, she had told her mother that she would walk Miguel home and then continue on to the library to borrow some books before meeting her friends at another friend’s place to study.
Somehow, lately, her mother has been very out of it, previously she would question each and every detail but these past few days, she would get tired after a general question or two, whose answers were usually a simple short sentence instead of a well prepared detailed description of a story.
Alegra did not think much of it, as she took out her shiny new fone and sent out a text message.
” I am done, where are you?”
One received message that read, ” look behind you”
And as she turned around to look, right behind her was the shiniest black Cadillac escalade, she had ever seen. Well, at least not in her neighbourhood.
The chauffeur stepped out to open the back door for her, as she got in, she felt like she was in a P. Diddy video – so surreal.
Adjusting herself on the seat, her left hand is picked up and she feels the touch of soft lips embrace her wrist.
Salvatore opens his eyes and looks up to smile at her after enjoying the pleasant feel of her skin against his lips.
“Andiamo Rafaeli,” says Salvatore to the driver.
“Si Signore “, and they drive off.
Thirty minutes later the escalade pulls up outside Prada and in the nearby boutique a young couple is walking out, the young man holding a Tiffany & co. bag
Alegra watches the couple, the girl is very smartly dressed in a brown pencil skirt , white shirt and a matching brown blazer, but she can not see her face as she has her back turned to Alegra. Even though, the couple are quite far away, Alegra is in awe at how posh the two are dressed and how handsome the man is.
She walks in to the Prada boutique just as Maria turns around to try and spot a cab.
“So that Dylan guy is really digging you,” asks a towel clad Ashley as she rubs an imaginary dick on her crotch.
“eww” shouts Maria and throws a t shirt at her friend.
The girls are busy getting ready for work, Ashley is standing in front of the mirror in the toilet, flat ironing her hair, while Maria is in the corridor, doing another kind of ironing, her dark brown pencil skirt and white long sleeved shirt.
” I mean if you don’t want him, I don’t mind takin a dip in some latin spice,” says Ashley as she puts a finger on her tongue emphasizing a sizzling sensation.
“I know who would like to put his fingers in your cookie jar,” answers Maria as she points the iron at her friend.
“God, you don’t mean Josh , all this time I though he was gay, he’s so well put together, from the tip of his hair to the end of his shoes”.
“JOSHUAAAA!!!!” sings Maria in her best hallelujah church voice and the girls crack up laughing.
They hurry up and leave their place, just in time to catch a cab that was just dropping off a passenger at their building.
“where to?” asks the egyptian cab driver in a thick and heavily accented voice.
He looks up at his rear view mirror to see the girls either applying lip gloss or mascara.
They don’t answer, thinking that he had heard them, when they got in, and he would have heard, if it was not for his radio blasting a loud Umm Kulthum tune.
“la hawla wala quwa,” he says in Arabic,” WHERE TO? ” he shouts and this startles the girls resulting in Ashley poking her eye with her mascara brush and Maria spreading lip gloss on her chin.
“Jesus Man!” says Ashley as she presses her palm on her injured eye.
“if you weren’t playin your hala hala shiki hala so loudly you would have heard us the moment we got into your cab – sixth avenue,” she shouts back as she leaves the man to curse in his own language as he drives off to Avenue of the Americas.
Sonya and Brandon are walking hand in hand on their way to the bookstore.
“Since you kissed me this morning, im assuming, we are an item,” says Sonya , “And it might not be any of my business but who was that message from, it looked pretty nasty,” she adds uneasily.
She notices a complete shift in Brandon, his shoulders get tense and he shrugs,” No one important just some one I left in my past a long time ago.”
Sonya sees this as a sign to drop the subject and she squeezes his hand a little harder and smiles at him.
It was amazing being with Brandon, he was so nice, caring, masculine and it didn’t hurt that he was so good looking with such an amazing body.
During their time together, Sonya quickly learnt the following about Brandon.
Twenty one year old Brandon Jeffries was the last of two children born to Mary and Simon Jeffries, Simon was a delivery guy for a courier company, while Mary was a waitress at the local diner in New Jersey.
Although they disagreed on several things, they both liked to get drunk off a few bottles of alcohol at the end of a long days work. Only thing is it fuelled more heated arguments, usually it was about money, other times it was about Simon’s philandering ways with the ladies, as far as Mary was concerned, the two were connected, she believed that Simon was out spending some of his money on other women instead of providing for his family.
Brandon tried to spend as much time out of the house to avoid these arguments, and many times, he would take his 11 year older sister with him – until that one day when he was away at Basketball and his mother was knocked out cold from the booze on the living room couch.
Walking past a street near Patty’s school, he saw a sight he would never forget, a little girls hand, wearing a colourful bracelet, peeping out of a body covered in a white sheet.
All around people were staring in horror, as the coroner’s ambulance and two police cars circled the area.
He didn’t have to uncover the body to see who was underneath it, as he was the one who helped tie that very bracelet this morning before walking his baby sister to school.
He rushed past some on lookers as police men tried to hold him back, with tears of fury in his eyes, he kept screaming, “Yo that’s my baby sister right there!, who the fuck did this?”
“Son, calm down son,” says an elderly detective as he tries to restrain Brandon.
“It appears to be a hit and run, no one saw anything,”
“Whatchu mean no one saw anything, are they freaking blind?”
“Huh, are you fucking blind,” he shouts at the onlookers.
Sitting at the morgue, he dials his mother’s number for the tenth time and still no answer.
His father finally calls back, unable to answer previously due to the supervisor riding with him.
“Whats wrong son, ” asks Simon as he can hardly make out through the tears what Brandon is saying.
All he could hear is Patty …..dead… and this is something he just couldn’t believe is true.
And that’s when Brandon had had enough of his parents careless shit, their constant bickering and negligence, his mom was supposed to pick up Patty from school that day and poor Patty thought she could walk all the way home alone.
Straight after the funeral Brandon moved over to his aunt’s place in Brooklyn, away from all the pain of the past to start a fresh page.
That was four years ago and ever since then, he had cut all ties with his parents and was now living with his Aunt Hilda ,a social worker,who has been taking care of him ever since.
He left everything bad behind him, except for his addiction, which had, unfortunately, followed him across the state over to Brooklyn.
Juan Carlos walks into the apartment, to find the usual daily morning scenario, Celia is in the kitchen putting together a quick breakfast for her family, she looks up at her husband and smiles, but her smile quickly turns into a worried expression on her face ,as she notices that there is something worrying about Juan this morning.
“Que hay mi amor?,’’ she asks,” you look upset,” she says as she lovingly caresses his arm while he kisses her hello on her cheek.
Before he can answer, Alegra and Miguel bring their daily argument into the kitchen; as usual it is about how long Alegra takes in the toilet every morning
“God Miguelito estas sooo annoying,” says an annoyed Alegra
“I’M ANNOYING, I’m ANNOYING ,” answers a wide eyed Miguel ,placing his palm on his chest.
“Try being almost about to burst with pee, while banging on a toilet door for more than hour, waiting for a bitchy sister to finish beautifying herself – EVERY MORNING!”
“I SO do not take an hour and you don’t need to beautify something that it is already gorgeous , ha!” says Alegra and she sticks her tongue out at Miguel.
“ENOUGH!” shouts Juan Carlos “Can I , not for once, just once, come home to a peaceful breakfast ,free of arguing and complaining ,” he says as he holds both his hands up to the sky, as if asking the Gods why .
The room falls into a sudden silence, Alegra looks at her mom, with an expression as if to say ‘ What the hell was that about ’ she grabs a chair at the table ,sits down and begins to pour milk into her bowl of cornflakes, Miguel does the same.
Celia walks towards her husband and puts her arms around him, soothingly rubbing his shoulders as she brings her forehead close to his and whispers, “it’s ok Juanito, calm down, just relax, I know its been unbearably stressful lately, pero you really need to calm down, papi,” and she places a soft kiss on his forehead.
Just then, Sonya walks out of her bedroom, all dressed, carrying her bag and ready to step out.
“Mija, no quieres comer?,” asks Celia as she turns around to look at her middle daughter almost whiz out of the door.
“No Ma, im meeting a friend for breakfast, I’ll be fine, “answers Sonya before she quickly rushes out the door.
She quickly walks down the stairs out of the building and as she turns the corner, she is grabbed up by two very strong arms and embraced in a very warm hug.
She looks up into his eyes and is taken back by an unexpected kiss on the lips from Brandon, although lasting only a few seconds, it felt like hours.
“where’d you get that phone from,” asks a curious Miguel as he walks with his sister on their daily route to school.
“it’s none of your business ,” answers Alegra as she continues to simultaneously text and walk.
Miguel rolls his eyes and continues to walk on, from the corner of his eyes, he sees Ahmet standing with his group of friends, enjoying their morning coffee, but this time instead of shuddering when Ahmet smiles at him, he waves hello and Ahmet waves back.
Alegra does not see any of this as she is still busy texting Salvatore.
“I cant wait to see you today”
“me too, I wish I didn’t have to go to school”
” school is important princess, get through the day at school and I’ll have a surprise waiting for you later, deal?”
“I’ve got to go into a meeting now, I’ll text you later, okay princess?”
“Allright Senor Salvatore, have a nice day”
“you too princess”
Alegra slips her fone into her pocket right in time to meet Tiffany, who immediately starts rambling about the argument she had this morning with her mom, about her not having her eggs for breakfast.
“Anywhoes, what about that hawt Italian guy, must admit he’s pretty hawt for an old guy,” says Tiffany “but you know Alegra, college guys are one thing and middle aged Italian mobsters are another, they are loco ,”she adds while making circles on the side of her head and whistling at the same time.
Back at the Santiago residence, Juan Carlos is sipping on a cup of coffee and munching on a grilled cheese sandwich, as he watches his wife, vacuum clean the living room floor.
“is it really possible that My Celia might be having a problem with painkillers?”
“Celia , an addict,” he says to himself as he shakes his head in disbelief.
“Mi amor, is something wrong “, asks Celia worriedly as she unplugs the vacuum cleaner and walks over to sit on a chair beside her husband.
“Celia, tenqo que preguntar te algo muy importante”, says Juan Carlos with a face so serious, it almost worries Celia to know what his question is.
“Exactly how many of those tablets are you taking everyday?”
New York City
Dylan, is sitting on a sofa, looking around at the furniture of the room he is sitting in.
Never in his life has he been in an apartment of this size, his room back home must have been the size of this whole apartment.
Just then Maria interrupts his thoughts, by placing a cup of coffee in front of his face, “here you go”.”
“Must say this apartment is very strange, its almost inconsistent in the stuff it has and the places , they are placed.”
“Its because we couldn’t agree on the stuff we wanted for the apartment,” says Ashley
“SO we decided to do a mixture of both our styles,” burst out both the girls unanimously and they laugh at their outburst.
Dylan smiles and sips on the coffee, “mmm this is quite good”
“Maria is quite the food and drinks expert, she makes everything taste so good, ’’ says Ahsley, lovingly squeezing Maria’s shoulders as she walks by her to sit at the sofa adjacent to Dylan.
“Who do you live with,” asks Maria.
“ I have a penthouse suite in one of the towers that my family owns, over at 42nd and 5th, answers Dylan.
Maria rolls her eyes and looks out the window as she casually starts to rub her neck, implying that its getting late and that they really should be getting to sleep.
Dylan looks over at Maria, slightly confused at this sudden gesture of disinterest from her, it was after all Maria , herself who asked him where he lived.
“Oh well, it is getting late, we’ve got another long day at work tomorrow, best be getting to bed, aye”, says Ashley, trying to ease up the sudden awkward tension in the room.
“Yup , you are right,” says Dylan, as he stands up to leave ,”the Coffee was wonderful, “he says to Maria , with a smile.
She looks up at him from the chair, she is sitting on,” you’re welcome , thank you once again for driving us home ,” she says politely as she stands up to escort him to the door.
“Bye Dylan,” shouts Ashley from the kitchen, as she rummages through the fridge for some midnight snack.
At the door, Dylan turns back to Maria, “Maybe we can grab some lunch or something tomorrow?,
“I doubt it, we are probably going to be swamped, just been handed a new case to work on,’’ answers Maria curtly.
“Well in case, you do catch a break, here’s my card, me gustaria ver te de nuevo,” says Dylan with a sexy smile and puppy dog eyes and he smoothly slips his card into the palm of her hand.
She accepts his card, for that brief moment as their hands touch, she looks up at him and smiles – maybe she should give him a chance and get to know him better.
Over at Sapphire Tower on 34th and 5th, It’s almost 6 am and Juan Carlos is in the janitor’s room pulling a dark brown t shirt over his head. His shift has just ended and he’s getting ready to go home for a few hours’ sleep before he heads over to the garage for another gruesome day of work.
His work timings are from 10 pm to 6 am as a concierge and 10 am to 6 pm as a mechanic; this stressful lifestyle has started to take its toll on his health and is all too apparent in the wrinkles on his forehead, the constant back aches and the white hair on his beard and head.
A once ruggedly handsome face is now just a rugged face; his strong body that enabled him to swim for miles without tiring could hardly stand for a few hours without aching
As he gets into his truck, he thinks about what Doctor Stanford had said to him about Celia the previous day, he had meant to speak to Celia about it but he had forgotten as he was busy arranging for the sending of money to his family in Aguadilla. “Voy a hablar con Ella cuando llego a la casa” he says to himself and turns the key in the ignition.
As he starts to drive off from the Sapphire Tower, he sees Ms. Nicola Lyndon from the 18th floor, going for her morning tea, right behind her as usual, is her assistant/maid Ms. Caroline Oldham.
Juan could never understand why Ms. Oldham would put up with such a snob like Ms. Lyndon, she was not kind to her at all and one of the proofs of this mistreatment was evident right now as Ms.Lyndon seemed to be scolding Caroline for the way she was carrying her precious poodle Marc.
“You stupid girl” says Ms. Lyndon in her un understandable liverpudlian accent ,”is that how you carry a dog, why are you holding it by the balls like that, are you molesting my dog?!, ”she shouts angrily.
Caroline, awkwardly tries to shift the position in which the dogs balls are placed in her hands, as she tries to juggle Ms. Lyndon’s laptop, her own laptop and both their hand bags , trying her best not to drop Ms. Lyndon’s white Birkin.
Juan shakes his head and continues on his way back home, he’s got enough on his mind to worry about another person, even though it does break his heart to see the poor girl so badly treated every day.
Thirty minutes later, Juan is parking his car outside the building he lives in with his family.
Twenty four years, that’s how long they have lived here, their first and only home.
Twenty four years of birthdays ,Christmases ,laughter , tears ,fights and hugs – their three bed room apartment has seen it all, as he gets ready to go up, he thinks about his imminent conversation with Celia and wonders what else will this apartment bear witness to.
“ And do you always ride in limos”, whispers Alegra into a shiny new Motorola gold cell phone.
“Not always… new day, new car,” says a sultry voice on the other end of the phone.
“Sometimes it’s a Mercedes, others Range rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce, the list goes on my dear….so tell me when do you get off school tomorrow? I would love to take you out for dinner,” continues the soothing voice.
The voice belongs to the middle aged Italian man with the dimples and the limo, Salvatore Conti.
A Thirty seven year old millionaire , with a great love for everything extravagantly lavish and even greater love for the ladies, his major weaknesses were money , jewellery and a pretty face with a body to match and earlier this evening, he was exposed to the latter.
“What did you have in mind for dinner,” says Alegra with a little naughty tone in her voice.
“Anywhere you like, my dear,” answers Salvatore, he is standing on the balcony of a very tall building, smoking on a Cuban cigar, wearing a white robe with a pair of silky Giorgio Armani red boxers.
Just then a long legged, blue eyed brunette in a very tiny French maids outfit brings a bucket containing a bottle of champagne on ice, she points it at Salvatore, he nods and with his hand holding the cigarette, ushers the lady to leave him. She struts off, slightly annoyed and closes the door behind her.
“How about Il Bertanelli on 5th Avenue?” asks Salvatore.
Alegra can hardly contain her excitement, as images of the 5 star restaurant passes through her mind, in the few times, she’s passed by that restaurant, she couldn’t help but stare in awe at the fashionably dressed men and women that were giving their cars to valet as they walked off into the lavish ambiance of the famous Italian restaurant.
“But it takes ages to get a reservation there, like forever” says Alegra almost a little too fast, her eyes are wide open with awe at the fact that there is a chance that she might be going to the famous Italian restaurant.
“I know, but I don’t need a reservation, I own the restaurant,” laughs Salvatore.
“No way, Tiffany is gonna die,” exclaims Alegra
“So what do you say mi princessa ? You up for it?”
“But before that, I would love to take you shopping, maybe get you a nice evening dress and some shoes to match.”
Unable to believe what she was hearing Alegra eagerly agrees to Salvatore’s suggestions.
There is a knock at her door, “Mija, que estas haciendo, mami? Why is this door locked” says an annoyed Celia as she tries to turn the knob on the door.
“It’s my mom, I’ve got to go, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay,”’ says Alegra hurriedly into the phone before she shouts out to her mom, “just a minute mom, I was just changing my clothes,”
“Good night my princess””
“Good night senor Salvatore ” she giggles into the telephone, before she hangs up and slides the phone under her pillow.
She opens the door and her mother almost bumps into her as she continues to still push the door knob.
“Que hay Mama?, is everything allright?” she asks her mother
“Everything is fine, im just feeling a bit lonely, your father is at work, Sonya is still at the shop doing some stock inventory of the new shipment of books, Miguelito seems to be asleep, he hasn’t answered me when I called, ven sentarse conmigo, my daughter, keep me company until Sonya comes back.” Says Celia as she motions to Alegra to come closer with an inward hand movement.
“Ok Mama” .She walks with her mother towards the living room, as she walks by she can’t help but notice how untidy the house looks, there are newspapers, clothes, in the middle of the room, a sofa is half moved, while the vacuum cleaner sits idly beside it.
She looks back at her mother and asks, “Mama, is everything allright with you?,”
At a park near the bookstore Sonya is sitting on a bench with Brandon, they are both holding a cup of hot lattes in their hands.
“looks like it’s gonna be a harsh winter this time, its starting to get so cold already,” says Sonya as she rubs her hands across her body on both her arms,
“Don’t worry imma be here to keep you warm,” Brandon assures her, as he places his hand on her cheek, transferring the warmth from the cup he was holding on to her cool face. She smiles at him, “thank you for the wonderful lunch and coffee , today was such a nice day full of pleasant surprises.”
She gets up, implying to Brandon that she really should be making her way back home by now, he stands up and faces her, and for that brief moment as he stares into her eyes and her into his, it feels like there is no one else in the park but them, they can hardly hear the voice of the pregnant woman shouting at her two boys to not run so far away from her, as she takes her daily walk, nor could they hear the boys shouting and hollering as they participate in an intense game of basketball in the court a few feet away.
He holds both her hands in his and plants a soft kiss on her forehead and leads her as they make their way back to Sonya’s.
As they walk side by side, hand in hand, their union is disturbed by Brandon’s phone vibrating in his pocket, he takes it off to reveal that he has received a text message, reading the first few digits of the sender’s number as well as the subject of the message, Brandon quickly decides against reading the entire message, he deletes it right away and turns to look at Sonya, who by the look on her face, seems to have caught a glimpse of the first few lines of the subject of the message.
“You Fucking bastard…..
“God mom, its not like we came home at midnight, me and Tiffany just went over to the mall for dinner with some friends.”
“Why didn’t you tell me then?”
“You know we got quizzes this week and that me and some of the girls in my study group were studying in the library next to the mall, logically we’d get hungry and so we went to get some dinner” lies Alegra to her mother.
“Sabes que no me gusta por tu hermano a caminar a la casa sin tu. ’’
‘Yo se mama, pero Miguel no es uno nino, puede caminar solo’’. In fact he should be worrying about me, such a pretty little girl walking the streets alone” laughs Alegra as she tries to make her most innocent face.
Her mother just shakes her head at her,” so I take it that you don’t wanna have any dinner”.
“No mama, im fine, thank you,”
I’ll go to my room and finish up some homework, and she quickly runs off to her room
“Miguel, Miguel, Miguelito, dinner is ready, come eat!” shouts out Celia.
Lying down in his bed, Miguel sits and plays over in his mind what had happened to him earlier.
Ahmet, that was his name, had offered to walk Miguel home, as they walked side by side, he told Miguel about himself.
Thirty two years old, an immigrant from Van, Eastern Turkey, near the Iranian border, he spoke Arabic, Turkish and Iranian; he even spoke his English with a very heavy Middle Eastern accent. Up until 3 years ago, he was still in the Middle East, at the age of 12, his father had died of cancer, after struggling with the illness for almost 10 years. His mother, a beautiful woman of Iranian descent had remarried, as she was not able to support herself and her son. The man who proposed was capable of this as well as helping her support her aged parents and handicapped younger brother. As the only able one of her parents’ two children, this was something she had no choice but to do.
Her new husband, Hakan, a very hot tempered and stern man, was very fond of the beautiful Bahar, but unfortunately not as fond of her son. This led to a very difficult adjustment for Ahmet to his new life, he had moved with his mother to Hakan’s house and somehow his step father managed to convince his mother, to allow Ahmet to drop out of school and join him in the farming business.
He was very strict with Ahmet, often making sure he worked from 6 in the morning up until 6 in the evening, with only 10 mins break to eat a quick short breakfast and a similarly even quicker shorter lunch.
His chores were very demanding, ploughing the land, feeding the poultry stock, milking the cows, herding the sheep and goats and fetching large buckets of water from the nearby river.
He had done this for 4years, while his step siblings, 2 boys and 2 girls lived a comfortable and easy life, with no signs of any hardship in their future.
Many times Ahmet had expressed his unhappiness to his mother, but she, like him, was unable to do anything, for Hakan had become difficult even with her, often rough in his treatment towards her, he treated her like a disposable bin for his seeds, sometimes even raping her when she complained that she was not feeling well enough to comply with his sexual commands.
But she had no choice, her parents, her brother and her children depended on her, to support them, this was one thing that Hakan did not deny her or give her a hard time with.
But if she wanted to go out to a wedding or a gathering or even to visit her parents, he would not allow her until she begged repeatedly. If she wanted to go do some shopping for jewellery or new clothes or new cups, saucers, cutlery and plates for the house, he would become angry and scold her for wasting money on unnecessary things. Finally if she ever wanted to invite her friends over for a small party, he would always adamantly be against it.
Finally at age 16, with the help of some of the village men, Bahar decided to let Ahmet leave the village and go look for his livelihood .With the little money she was able to take from Hakan, under the false claim of using it for household purposes, she was able to save a significant amount for Ahmet.
One night, in the back yard of their house, under the shining moon light , as the house slept, Bahar wept as she bid her son farewell, not knowing when she would ever see him again.
“Allah sizi korusun, oğlum. May Allah take care of you, wherever you go, my son,”said Bahar behind eyes full of tears and a cracking voice.
“I know I have not been a good mother to you, but I really tried my best, I love you more than you can ever imagine. I am so sorry, my love,” she hugs him tightly and the tears continue to roll down her cheeks.
“Teşekkür ederim, mama, I know that this is the life that Allah has written out for us, this is my fate.” He answers her as he cups her face in his hands. “And I am grateful, I am grateful to you and to Allah, I love you so much.” He hugs her one last time before he leaves her to join his fellow village men who are travelling away from their village in search of their future.
This was the last time, Ahmet ever saw his mother, many nights he had wondered, if she was well, happy, or even alive. His departure from the village, led him firstly to neighbouring Iran, where he worked in the woodcutting industry for almost a year, after that it was off to the United Arab Emirates on board a fishing boat, where he worked as a fisherman and sailor for six months and another six months as a porter at one of the newly opened ports in the U.A.E, lifting and transporting merchandises to and from ships.
After that for the next 10 years he worked as a personal driver for one of the wealthy merchants, he had met at the port. An opportunity he got, when the merchants driver collapsed due to a heart condition and Ahmet, quickly stepped in to drive him and the concerned merchant to the hospital where the poor Indian driver was treated for heart complications.
Since then Ahmet, has been the trusty confidant of Abu Zayed, the wealthy emirati merchant, often escorting him every where he would go. It was on one of these trips, that while escorting Abu Zayed to meet with merchants from Iran, Ahmet had found out that his mother had died. The Iranian merchant, turned out to be originally from the same village where Hakan was from, he knew Hakan and his family.
He told Ahmet, that Bahar had died of pneumonia during a very cold winter last year.
Ahmet was devastated, for many days after that, he was not the same.
Until one day Abu Zayed told him, that he needed a new start, away from the region, he suggested he moved to America, he told Ahmet, that he had heard from many people that it was the land of opportunities and he was sure to be happy there.
During the last year in the U.A.E, Abu Zayed arranged for Ahmet’s travel to the U.S, he gave him enough money to support himself and even enrolled him in an institute to learn English.
Three years ago at Dubai International Airport, Departure
Amongst the busy hustle and bustle of the airport, where people were hugging each other, some to welcome ,while others to bid good bye, Ahmet stood looking at the face of the man, who has shown him so much care, nurture and love, the man who had helped in molding him to be the man he is today, Abu Zayed.
” Allah yehfathek wu yer’aak ya weldi,” says a teary eyed Abu Zayed as Ahmet kisses his hand.
“Thank you, father, you will never truly know the extent of what your kindness has done for me,” answers Ahmet as he struggles with the tears threatening to explode out of his eyes.
He hugs him one last time, before he walks off to catch his plane bound to New york.
Fast forward three years later to today, several fast food, paper delivery routes and garbage collecting jobs later , Ahmet is the owner of a small Turkish restaurant in the neighbourhood where the Santiago’s live and for the past year, he has been watching Miguel as he walked to school every morning with his sister.
Maria is sitting at the bar, watching her friend Ashley standing with a group of people, clearly amusing them with one of her very exaggerated stories, unlike Maria, Ashley was very good at reigning in a crowd and entertaining them with her stories, it didn’t hurt that she was cute too – which explained the presence of more men than women in her audience but still there were quite a few women too, with eyes wide open smiling with anticipation and every now and again, you would hear unanimous ooohs and aaahs, as gasps of inhalation and exhalation are frequently followed by roars of laughter.
“Your friend is quite the entertainer” says a smooth sultry masculine voice behind Maria.
She turns around to find, Dylan, the Colombian hunk, smiling at her with pearly white teeth and blueish green eyes. She smiles back and continues to sip down her glass of redbull and vodka.
The bar is dimly lit, smooth r n b music is playing in the background, loud enough for you to catch the words of the songs but low enough to converse with friends and acquaintances.
It’s very trendy, quite posh as well, there are framed pictures on the wall of similar trendy bars with well dressed people in them. They seem to be taken in different cities in the world and underneath the frame of the pictures are the names of the cities that the pictured bars are located in, Rome, Milan, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Buenos Aires.
On other walls there are similarly framed pictures, but this time instead of people in bars, the pictures contain well known landmarks and sites of the cities in the other frames.
As Maria looks at some of these frames, Dylan tells her how he has been to all of the bars in the pictures and the landmarks in the other frames as well.
She turns to look at him, “Well that’s nice to know” she says almost sarcastically.
“Puedo decir de tu acento?”
“Creo que hablas espagnole, no?”
He casually sips his gin and tonic as he gives her a sly smile.
“Por supuesto and its not because of my accent that you knew I was Puerto Rican, its because of my name and the disinterest that you are so not used to getting from Latina girls. Us Puerto Ricans aren’t like the other money loving latinos that you are used to – we have pride.”
She says as she walks away towards Emily, who is busy trying to get the attention of the bar tender, in order to get a drink, she is clearly upset and the fact that the busy bar tender is not paying her any attention is upsetting her even more.
“Hey, Hey, Hey you! can’t you hear me calling you! Yes you sir! Mr. Bartender!”
It seems that in addition to being upset, Emily is also drunk.
Maria tries to calm her down and manages to get the bar tender’s attention just intime, before Emily takes off her heel and tries to throw it at the bar tender.
“Whoa, Whoa! Hey there Emily” Maria holds Emily’s hand and slowly grips the heel away from Emily.
Just then Ashley arrives, she scrunches her cute little button nose as she tries to figure out why one of Emily’s heels is in Maria’s hand.
“I think some one’s had a little too much to drink,” says Ashely as she helps Maria lower Emily on to a bar stool, she can barely hold her self up and Ashley tries to hold her up while Maria tries to put on her heel.
” I see Cinderella has found her prince charming,” says a very amused Josh as he looks at the three girls in their dilemma of how to hold Emily up and also put her heel on her foot.
“Josh stop being such an asshole and help us, we need to get her home – does any one know where she lives?” asks Ashley
“Yup she lives with me – She’s my cousin and we live in the same apartment building on 34th and 5th ” answers Josh.
The trio walk out, Josh and Maria holding up Emily, both her arms around their necks while Ashley, tries to stop a cab.
“That’s NYC for you, when you don’t need them the cabs are everywhere and when you do need them, they are either busy or no where to be found,” says a very annoyed Ashley.
Just then a black SUV rolls up and when the driver’s window comes down, its Dylan at the driver’s seat.” Seems you guys are having a hard time hailing a cab, can I drop you somewhere?”
Ashley turns around and looks at Maria, with a gleam in her eyes.
Before Maria can turn down the offer, Ashley quickly accepts the offer and starts shoving Emily inside, in the back, before Maria can get a chance to get in behind with them, Ashley suggests she sits in front beside Dylan.
“I know Dylan offered to drop us home, but it doesn’t mean he really is our chauffeur and we all need to ride behind,” says a cheeky Ashley as a slightly annoyed Maria shoots her a glare.
She looks at a self satisfied Ashley, a drunken Emily and a surprised Josh then she looks back over at a very patient Dylan.
She slowly walks over to the passenger’s side and sits beside a very happy Dylan.
Just when she turned down his advances earlier, she now has to back down and accept his help.
“So where we headin to?”
“Well you can drop me and Emily off at the corner of 34th and 5th ” answers Josh.
“We’ll help you get her up and into her place,” adds Maria.
“That’s fine the concierge will help me get her in – he’s used to it – it’s not the first time,” says Josh and he rolls his eyes.
“So what about you girls ,where do you both get off ?”
“I know where Maria wouldn’t mind getting off” says Ashely and she giggles.
Maria glares at her with a ‘ wait till I get home, I’m gonna kill you ‘ look.
“She means I would like to get off at home, I’m very close to my family and with all this moving, getting set up for work and all that comes along with starting an independent life away from my family – I do tend to miss them sometimes,” says Maria, grateful that she was able to worm herself out of a potentially awkward conversation on the ride home.
“Yup, that’s what I meant, but you drop us off at 50 West 34th Street, that’s where we live , we’re room mates, you’re more than welcome to come up for a cup of coffee, sober up before you go home ,” answers Ashely with a smile.
They reach Josh and Emily’s apartment building and Ashely gets down with Josh to help him with Emily, they walk up the steps and enter the building, they seat Emily on one of the chairs in the lobby while Josh goes to find one of the concierges to help him get Emily up.
Meanwhile back in the SUV, an uneasy Maria looks out the window, impatiently waiting for Ashely to come back.
“no te preocupes, ella volvera” laughs Dylan at Maria’s uneasy stature, as he pats her hand lightly with his hand.
Finally Ashley leaves Emily with Josh ,after he returns with one of the concierges, Olov, a middle aged Ukrainian man with cold blue eyes and pale skin.
He helps Josh carry Emily towards the elevator, the doors open and Juan Carlos steps out, dragging some luggage behind him.
“Senor Josh, Senorita Emily, what’s wrong?”
“You know what happened, Juan,” says Josh, “it’s what always happens.”
“Ever since that guy broke her heart, whenever she starts drinking, its always downhill from there.”
“Ay Dios Mio!… well God protect her soul, the Matthew’s are moving out, I’m helping them with their luggage, says Juan as he is points at the luggage he is dragging behind him.
Just then Mr. Matthew with Mrs. Matthews arrive to receive the last of their luggage from Juan.
“Oh Juan, we are so going to miss you, you’ve always been here to help us, me with the grocery, Steven with his business trips bags,” says a teary eyed Mrs. Matthews.
“Come on Mary, pull yourself together woman,” says an equally sad Mr. Matthews.
She hugs Juan,” you made our stay at Sapphire Tower so easy and enjoyable – they were a very good 20 years , but now that Jane and Scott have gone away to college ,we’d rather retire to the quiet suburbs of Jersey than be in the hustle and bustle of New york, we ‘re too old to catch up with the speed of the city.”
“No. Thank You, you and Mr. Matthew made an otherwise boring and tiring job, really enjoyable,” says Juan as he hugs back Mrs. Matthews.
She walks off to the waiting caravan taxi.
Mr. Matthews shakes Juan’s hand and hugs him, when he releases his hand, Juan sees that Mr. Matthews has left some money in Juan’s hand.
“No Senior , I can’t, you’ve been too kind already ,” says Juan.
“No Juan, it’s you who has been too kind. You take care now” and he walks away to the car where Mrs. Matthews is waiting, they wave a final goodbye before the car drives off, as Juan waves back.
Juan looks at the money in his hand, $ 3000, 1000 for his mother’s doctorial bills and pharmaceutical needs, 500 he will pay back Pedro, 500 he will save and 1000 he will send to Aguadilla for his family’s expenses.
He looks up at the Sky and says a silent prayer, thanking God.
Sonya is sitting at a coffee shop with Brandon, he decided to take her out during her lunch break “to get to know her better” as he put it.
“I mean up until now, I didn’t even know where you walk to every morning and such a pretty girl like you, you really shouldn’t be walkin alone, doesn’t your boyfriend get jealous?”
Sonya’s cheeks quickly turn red, flattered that someone as good looking as Brandon would assume that she has a boyfriend, it made her feel happy.
“Well, first of all, I don’t have a boyfriend and secondly I hardly ever encounter any problems when I walk to work, the reason for both is, I usually go unnoticed by the world, it’s almost like I am invisible.” says Sonja with a little bit of sadness in her voice.
“You! Invisible! Girl C’mon! you ain’t gotta be humble, I mean this morning when you looked up at me and our eyes met – DAYUUUMM, I was like, FINALLY she gave me a look.”
Sonja couldn’t help but giggle as her cheeks continued to flame up.
She looks at Brandon through the tears of laughter filling up in her hazel eyes, Brandon passes a tissue to her and as she takes it from him, he holds on to her soft hand and kisses it softly.
“From now on I will walk you to work every morning, how about that?,” says Brandon.
“you don’t have to”
“you’re right…….but I want to.”
They smile at each other and continue to sip on their hot chocolate.
Alegra slowly turns around and slowly pushes Brad away and starts to pull her t shirt back down, “I m not sure what you came in here to do, but im pretty sure I can change my t shirt all by myself, I am a big girl – u know…” she lightly pokes her index finger on Brad’s nose.
” I know, I know, I just thought you might like some help – that’s it” and he moves his body a little closer onto hers.
He lowers his lips on to hers and plants a strong kiss on them, before he forces his tongue into her mouth, he brings his hands on to her breasts and massages them through her t shirt.
Alegra grabs his hands and pushes them off her, but he forcefully pulls her closer.
They repeat this pulling and pushing, until he grabs both her arms and pins them behind her back, he forcefully pushes his erection on to her, rubbing it violently on her skirt, all the while lickin her neck, Alegra starts to panick, with good reason as well since Brad is being unbelievably violent with her, he bites her neck and that is the last straw, as a sense of desperation comes over her, she starts to scream and with a sudden burst of strength she manages to free herself from his grasp and knees him in the groin, this enrages Brad and he yelps in pain.
Tiffany and Joe rush into the toilet almost bumping into Alegra stumbling out, she grabs Tiffany by the arm , grabs all their stuff from the living room couch and the girls rush out, leaving behind a really angry Joe and Brad, who are cursing the girls.
“come back here you little tramps, fuckin bitches! You owe me a blowjob for the lunch I bought your skanky ass!.”
The girls stumble out of the elevator and start to briskly walk out of the building, bumping into people walking on the pavement.
Once they ve turned the corner, they walk into a park and Tiffany looks at Alegra with concern in her eyes “Hey, are you allright? What happened back there?’
“I’m fine, he was just being a jerk, like all men, once their dicks take over, there’s no getting through to them,” she looks down at her wrists, red with a burning sensation from the tight grasp that Brad had them in.
She rubs her wrists softly and Tiffany holds her hand.
“That was close”, she says.
“Yea that was – but did you his face when I kicked him in the balls?”
“No way…no way you didn’t, did you? Oh My God!!!”
The girls burst into laughter.
“I was wondering why he was sooo mad, I thought you just rejected his request for a blow job or something”
“c’mon lets get home”
They begin to make their way back to their neighbourhood, all the way cursing the horny college guys they just got away from.
As they walk on, a black limousine pulls up beside them , one of the heavily tinted back windows comes down and a very handsome middle aged Italian man smiles at them.
” Would you lovely young ladies like a lift,” he says and the dimples on both his cheeks grow deeper making his already handsome face, just adorable.
The girls look at each other and smile, the amazement and admiration in their eyes are the same and they say one thing – neither one has ever been in a limo before.
Miguel waits for Alegra , so they can walk back home together, but today after 15 mins of waiting,there is no sign of his sister.
So he decides to walk home alone, its not that he can’t walk home alone, its just that his mother prefers him to walk with his sister as it makes her feel safer.
As he walks the daily route from his school back to his home, he contemplates on what he needs to do about his situation with the bullies at school.
Every which way he thinks about it, he always reaches the same conclusion – they will continue to harass and bully him.
Mr. Siddarth did not know what its like to be a 14 year old skinny boy in a rough neighbourhood with an even rougher high school like theirs.
Should he take up defence classes? Should he complain to his parents? …No they ve got enough on their mind as it is.
What about his teachers and headmaster?… No it would only piss off the bullies even more, they would come after him in his sleep.
Miguel shivered at the thought of being attacked right in his very own bed.
Just then, as he turned a corner to continue his route, who should he come face to face with , other than his tormentor, Richard and his entourage.
Richard quickly shoves Miguel and he falls over Stewart, who is on all fours right behind Miguel for him to trip over.
Miguel hits the ground hard and quickly the boys and Richard start to spray paint Miguel’s hair.
Richard and Stewart hold Miguel’s hands behind his back, while Mason, a slightly smaller built kid, takes turns spraying the colours red, yellow and blue on Miguel’s hair.
“Look how funny he looks!” laughs Richard.
“You know what would look even funnier, if we took all his clothes and let him walk all the way home only in his underwear and his funky new hair color…ha ha ha ha,” says Stewart and the whole group laugh approvingly.
They quickly try to take off Miguel’s shirt as he tries to wiggle out of their grasps, Richard punches him in the stomach to stop him from wiggling.
Right then, a middle aged man, with chestnut hair, a big nose and blue eyes appears in front of them, he grabs Richard from the back and pulls him away. With his other hand, he does the same to Stewart; both boys are taken by surprise.
They try to wiggle out of his grip, but his hands are just too strong, he quickly replaces their shirts for their ears and soon enough both ears are turning red from the sting of the pinch that the man is inflicting on them.
The other kids quickly run away.
“Not so tough now, are you?” says the big nosed man to Richard, who is almost crying from the pain.
“No sir, we are not, please, please, let me go”
“Did you let him go when he pleaded with you? “ says the man as he looks at Miguel, who is slowly picking himself off the floor and dusting himself of the dirt he acquired when he fell of Stewarts obstacle back.
“Now get out of here,” he says as he lets go of the two boys and they quickly run off.
He leans down to pick up Miguel’s backpack and gives it to him. Miguel looks up at this strange kind man, but he can’t shake off the feeling that he has seen him somewhere before.
Alegra and Tiffany are laughing their heads off. Comfortable sitting on a sofa, in the college boys apartment, the girls are clearly drunk. On couches on either side of the sofa, Brad and Joe smile at eachother and Brad proceeds to pour the girls another glass of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
“God this tastes soooo bad “, says a very tipsy Tiffany.
“So why are you still drinkin it? “, answers Alegra, the two girls look at each other silently for a moment and then quickly revert to laughing their asses off.
“ So how many years have you guys got left?,” asks Tiffany as she licks her lips and brushes her hair off to the side of her face.
“ Just 1 more year” says Joe as he pours some more whiskey into her glass.
“So that makes you guys , what? 21 , 22 “ says Alegra as she looks over at Brad from Joe.
“Yup, we are old men compared to you lovely young ladies,” answers Brad and winks at Alegra.
“ well you know what they say, you learn to sail on an old vessel” says Alegra and clumsily spills some of her drink on to her t shirt as she erupts into a fit of laughter.
“Shit, fuck no! I cant go home like this, my dad s gonna kill me if he catches me in booze” exclaims Alegra as she tries to roughly wipe off the alcohol from her t shirt.
“ Don’t worry, I got a shirt you can borrow, just wear it over your t shirt– or you could take the t shirt off and wear the shirt over your bra,” says Brad as he gives Alegra a sexy look with his eyes.
Alegra smiles and says, “Show me.”
Brad walks over to her, takes her by the hand, lifts her up and begins to lead her to the bathroom to clean up.
As she stands in front of the sink and starts to run the tap , she uses a cloth to rinse her T shirt. Brad holds her hand, takes the wet cloth off her hands, “this just won’t do, you’ll take ages to finish up.”
He slowly, lifts her blouse off and kisses the back of her neck, although quite tipsy, Alegra is quite aware of what is happening – or what is going to happen.