There is a strange man at Janet’s house. It scares Sookie, so Janet and Diego take her to his house.
“Women talk,” she replied. “Some of them have talked about you, rather extensively. And they also talk about Diego. Oh, the things they say!”
“Keep it to yourself,” Diego insisted.
“Not funny, Mona,” Carlos snapped.
“I’m not trying to be. You guys are a two man scandal.”
“Shut up, Mona,” Carlos said.
“Why? So I won’t hurt your feelings?”
“So you won’t embarrass your brother in front of his girlfriend.”
She clamped her lips together. “Sorry. I forget.”
“We always talk like this,” Janet replied. “But it’s kinda different now.”
“It’s weird. In a cool kinda way. Oh, man,” she said in disgust. “I won’t be able to ask you sex questions, cause you’ll be talking about my brother! Ew ew ew!!” Ramona danced around, wiggling her fingers as if she’d just smashed a spider.
“Enough!” Diego slammed his hand on the counter. He stormed from the room and went out to the backyard, the door booming behind him.
“What was that?” their mother called from the living room.
“Nothing, Mom. Wind caught it,” Carlos lied.
“Keep it down, Daddy’s trying to sleep.”
“Sorry.” He glared at Ramona. “That was a cheap shot, Mona.”
“I didn’t mean to upset him. Sheesh, sensitive.”
Carlos tossed down the dish towel, leaning across the table. “Look, girls talk as much as guys, maybe more. We all know that. A guy that dates a lot, well, he kind of figures he’s gonna be the subject of conversation. It’s not easy being the brother of a younger sister. Eventually, one of two things is going to happen. Either you hear the guys discussing your sister in explicit terms, or you hear yourself being discussed by her friends. When you fall for your little sister’s best friend…well, that whole fear factor increases exponentially.”
“I don’t even know what that means, Carlos,” Ramona said in a matter of fact tone.
“It means—Diego’s ego could take a hammering. Teasing him about this isn’t in the cards now. Got it?”
“Why not? He teases me all the time.”
“We don’t pick who we fall in love with, it just happens,” Carlos tried to explain. “Maybe he’s a little embarrassed?”
“That’s just stupid,” Ramona replied.
“He’s supposed to think of Janet like he does you, like his little sister, and he can’t. It’s not so weird, it happens a lot. Happened to more than one friend of mine. Happened to me.”
“You fell for your friend’s little sister?”
“Unlike Diego, I didn’t have the balls to ask her out right away. But I finally did, and I can’t tell you how happy we are now.
“I’m glad you did,” Janet said softly. “Because if Diego hadn’t asked me, I’d have been miserable my whole entire life.” She walked out the back door, closing it quietly.
Diego was in the middle of the yard, staring at the sky. She took his arm, leaning toward him, her head on his shoulder.
“Hey.” He kissed the top of her head as he slipped his arm around her.
“I guess that was to be expected. I don’t know if she’ll ever totally understand.”
“Carlos talked to her. Maybe she will…. Even if she never does, I’m glad we’re together.”
“Me too.” His voice deepened and he moved closer, taking her in his arms.
Janet had learned that was his signal that he didn’t want to talk anymore. She didn’t want to talk either. They kissed a long time. Eventually, the mosquitoes got bad enough, they had to go inside.
Mrs. Hernandez had invited Sookie to spend the night. She extended the invitation to Janet too, who declined.
“All my books and everything’s at home. I’ll be fine in the basement. Thanks, though.”
“You’re always welcome. Anytime.”
©2020 Dellani Oakes