The bad news delivered, Janet wants to leave. She asks Diego to take her to Taco Village for dinner.
“I had a feeling you’d be coming,” she said. “Call me crazy, I knew to fix a special platter of chicken enchiladas just the way you two like them.”
She presented them with a steaming plate of food. Thanking her, they took forks and started eating from opposite sides. When they were done, his aunt came to clear their plate. She sat down across the table from Janet, taking her hand.
“You look so lost, cariña. What’s wrong?”
Janet told her, trying hard not to cry. Diego’s aunt smothered her in hugs. His female cousins took her to the restroom to freshen up. His aunt stayed to talk to him.
“So, they’re getting back together?” She made a disgusted noise. “I didn’t think that would ever happen. In a way, I’m happy. Ilene’s been alone too long. But to take that girl from all she holds dear. It’s so unfair.”
Diego nodded, gulping. “I don’t want to lose her, Auntie. But what can I do? I can’t marry her yet. What kind of life could we have? We’d have to live with my parents and we might not make it to college. School’s important to Janet.”
“Que sera sera,” she said.
“Don’t go quoting song lyrics, auntie.”
“Not meaning to, Diego. I’m really saying, what will be, will be. You can’t change what’s meant to be. If you’re meant to be together for life, it will happen. But if your lives take you different paths, you follow where it leads you.”
“I’ll try,” he said. “But if it takes me away from Janet….”
“I know. I’ll say special prayers. You take your girl somewhere to make her happy.” She kissed his cheek and pressed money in his hand.
Diego didn’t need the money, but she wouldn’t take it back. Thanking her, he took Janet outside.
“Where do you want to go?”
“I want to go play pool.”
He laughed loudly. “Okay. But we’ll go to my house. I’m not taking you to the bowling ally or the pool hall.”
Diego took her face in his hands. “I love you,” he said in Spanish, knowing Janet was fluent. “That won’t change, no matter where life takes us.”
“I’ll always love you, Diego. Until my dying day.”
They went to his house and played pool far later than they usually stayed up on a school night. His parents, knowing the situation, didn’t argue or fuss.
“That girl’s got a lot to deal with,” his mother said to his father. “She needs this time with Diego.”
Her husband nodded. He was a man of few words, but that didn’t stop him from disagreeing with her if he thought she was wrong. This particular time, he knew she wasn’t. At 10:00, he told Diego to take Janet home.
Sitting in her driveway, Diego didn’t know if he should talk or kiss her. She solved that problem by kissing him—long and slow and deep.
“This weekend, when my parents are gone, I want you to stay with me.”
“Don’t you dare argue with me, Diego Hernandez! I want you to stay here and make love to me. I don’t care what they think. I don’t care what they say. They could change their minds at the last minute, and make me move too. I’m not going to miss out on the one thing I want most, just because of them.”
“Are you really sure?”
“Positive. Will you?”
He nodded, kissing her. “I promise.
The rest of the week went by in a slow blur for Janet. The only moments that were clear to her were the ones that included Diego. Somewhere during that week, her mother took her to the doctor to get on the pill. She endured the humiliating exam without protest. This was simply another step toward getting what she wanted.
©2020 Dellani Oakes