Loca Viernes Part II
“I run the streets,” echoed in Caitlin’s head as she stared at JC. They had moved from the dance floor and were standing by a pillar near to the bar. He had offered to get her a drink and she had accepted grateful for the chance to process what he had just told her.
What did that mean exactly? She contemplated as he placed a drink in her hand. She smiled faintly at him, her eyebrows furrowed with confusion. Then clarity seemed to flow across the girl’s face.
“You’re in a gang?” She whispered. He took her hand gently.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “I gotta do what I gotta do to survive, Caitlin,” And she nodded in bewilderment. She smiled weakly and gripped his hand.
“I understand,” She took a deep breath. As much as it had been a shock, she didn’t mind at all. She was fascinated by him and he was cute and a great dancer. She wanted to know more about him. “Thanks for the drink, let’s finish these and get back to dancing.”
He stared at her and examined her expression. She was smiling and not shaking with fear or trying to get away from him. Was she an actress? Because JC assumed she would run. In his heart, he knew most white girls from Hollywood would rather let their appearances go to the dogs before they dated or were even seen with a poor black man let alone a gangster. He nodded slightly bemused and took her hand gently. She was gorgeous and he felt a sense of nervousness he didn’t normally feel for girls. He was a self proclaimed player and getting into a girl just didn’t happen. they downed the drinks they had and headed to the dance floor to be engulfed by the lights, the music and each other.
Emily and Leo were sitting outside in an awkward silence. Em hated this. She usually always ended up sitting at a club with a guy she didn’t think was attractive, let alone like, while Caitlin was off with their friend and having fun. She glowered into the bottom of her glass and standing, announced she was going to get another drink. Leo emptied his glass and headed to the bar inside too. She looked around for her friend and spotted her dancing provocatively on the dance floor with JC. They did look cute together but Emily had one intention now and that was to get drunk and get as far away from Leo as possible. Unlike his friend who seemed polite and sweet, Leo was rude, quiet and pensive. she hated pensive men. Ordering her drink, Emily spotted a few friends at the other end of the bar and sauntered over to join them. Amongst them was her friend from work, Cory.
“Hey Em,” He hugged her tightly, smelling of ax and Ralph Lauryn. “You look good. Where is Miss Dawson?”
“Dancing,” Emily replied, glancing over her shoulder. “With some cute guy as always.” they laughed.
“Come on then, Em, let’s go dance so you can have a cute man on your arm,” She giggled and they headed to the dance floor.
It was crowded and they were bumping some old school west coast hip hop tracks. Everyone was enjoying the music and she smiled as she looked at Cory. He was taller than her and had light brown hair with green eyes. He was slim and lacked a lot of muscle but his smile was dazzling. She grinned at him as they danced flirtatiously on the dance floor. Emily liked Cory, he was sweet, funny, kind and always knew what to say. Until that night, she hadn’t realised how much she liked him. Maybe it was the alcohol but Em didn’t know. He spun her crazily as the track changed and pulled her into his arms.
“Wanna go and cool down?” He asked looking at the light film of sweat on her face. Nodding, they went out to the patio where Em found Caitlin and JC laughing at the table they had been sitting at previously.
“Leo piss you off?” JC asked good naturedly and Emily looked at him unsure if he was annoyed with her or just joking. “Leo has a bad habit of pissing off girls so don’t worry about it Emily. Hi, I’m JC,” He introduced himself to Cory and held out his hand.
“Cory,” The young man shook his hand. Cory was twenty-three and had been raised in San Diego. His parents were both doctors and it was safe to say that Cory had lived an upper middle-class life style. Since moving to LA, he had befriended people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and he took his seat next to Emily.
“How’s it going Caitlin?” He asked his other friend a little nervous of JC. He was taller than Cory and bigger than him too. Cory looked like a boy in comparison and often he got nervous around people he felt intimidated by.
“Good, Cory, how are you? Who you here with?” She was holding a drink in one hand and rested her other hand on JC’s leg. He smiled over at her happily. Caitlin was nothing like any girl he had ever met. And he had to know more about her. It was hard to do that in a crowded club, even outside on the crowded patio where the noise was still as loud.
“Just a few people from work,” Cory replied, sipping his drink nervously. Emily was quiet and this was not lost on her best friend.
“What’s up, Em?” Caitlin touched her best friend on her arm and grinned happily. It was past two A.M and both girls had drank a lot.
“Nothing,” Emily replied, uncertain of why she was suddenly feeling attracted to her work colleague.
Blackmist was whinnying in pain and Lexie felt bad he’d been left alone all this time. She patted the young horse’s head and fed him some oats from her hand. The horse nudged them into his mouth and went to lay down.
“No, no,” she cuddled him to her like she would a small child. “Come on, Blackmist, you’re still good to go.” Scuttling over to a wrack where towels were heating, Lexie took several and placed them on the shivering horse. Holding a bowl of warm water out to him, he lapped it gratefully. “You won’t die on me, that I promise you!” She informed him, feeling an ache in her heart as she petted him gently.
Kiara was such a bitch, Lexie considered angry at her roommate. Why hadn’t she woken her? Sighing deeply, Lexie took a seat on a stool and waited with the horse, crazy thoughts flashing through her mind. She didn’t want Blackmist to leave her. Too much hurt had happened in Lexie’s life.
“Don’t let him die,” She pleaded to the darkened sky outside the stable window. It was so hot in there tonight but Lexie couldn’t open the door to let air in. Blackmist had a chill and his shivers scared her somewhat. Patting the horse’s head, she coaxed him to drink some more boiled water and finally got him to eat some of the broth she had made with lentils, oats and chick peas. He ate slowly but surely and around three A.M had fallen asleep.
“You are crazy!” Caitlin was laughing as JC carried her on his shoulders. She had been complaining about her feet hurting as they walked to Dennys. He had whisked her up onto his strong shoulders and had proceeded down the street hollering,
“Lady coming through! Excuse me, lady coming through!” She had laughed so hard and even Emily who seemed distracted that night had giggled alongside Cory. JC’s friend Leo had disappeared and JC did not seem worried one bit. As they reached Dennys, he lowered her to the ground and took her hand as they walked inside.
“You are totally crazy,” She laughed as they took a booth by the window. The Hollywood skyline looked so dazzling outside, JC had to hold his breath a moment. He didn’t often come into Hollywood to party but he had just got a couple of grand that he had been owed so he and Leo had treated themselves. and it was worth every cent he thought as he looked across at the blonde haired girl, who was giggling and asking her friends what they wanted to eat. He gazed toward the west and knew the ocean was out there somewhere. Sighing, he turned to answer Caitlin who had inquired what he wanted to eat.
“I’ll get some buffalo wings,” He stated and knew that in a few weeks time when his money would run out again, he would not be sitting here with her but he’d be stuck back in Compton with no money to put gas in his car.
They ate quietly and Caitlin sensed a lot of thinking was going on around the table. She knew Emily was distracted by something but what, she couldn’t fathom. And even JC who had been joking around only half an hour previously was sitting silently munching on his food. Cory was quiet but there was nothing new there. She sighed and drank some pepsy.
“So what do you guys wanna do then?” She asked, glancing at her watch.
“Well,” Emily looked exhausted as she turned to look at her best friend. “I think we should probably go home soon. It’s four A.M.”
“Already?” Caitlin pressed a silver button on a silver watch and held it to her ear. Sure enough, it stated that the time was four A.M. She sighed heavily and continued to eat the food she had ordered. JC took her hand gently and felt as though he had been given a glimpse into a life he would never have. She sensed his low mood and turned. With a smile she took his hand and they walked outside to the patio.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, leaning against the wall and smiling widely at him. “You seem really quiet.” He watched her for a second, uncertain of what to say. He had been honest with her earlier that night but a part of him wondered if she really appreciated what he had told her.
“I’m not from your world,” He sighed, gripping his hands together. “I just had a good run of money I was owed but in a few weeks when it’s run out, there will be no partying in Hollywood for me.” She smiled, understandingly.
“Why? Because you won’t have the money?” She moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist and nestled her head into his chest. “JC, I like you. You make me smile and I wanna get to know you more than this. Look, i know what you’re thinking. I’m some rich bitch from Hollywood that only knows how the stars live, right?” A smile crept across her gentle face and he smirked and placed both arms around her.
“Well, I was once told that you should never judge a book by its cover, and I don’t. But it does seem that you know your way around Hollywood pretty well.” They both let out a small laugh and she turned her head up toward him.
“That may be the case,” Taking his hand she carefully chose her words. “I went to school and lived in carson. My dad moved us here when I was fourteen from a small working town in England. So yeah, I know about stuff you think I don’t. My dad works hard and although I live here in Hollywood, well, Glendale now, I have seen how other walks of life live. J,” her arms were tightly around him and she nuzzled her head again. “Give me your number and we’ll get to know each other, maybe on a date?” Caitlin’s heart pounded in her chest and JC’s hands were sweaty with nerves. She had just asked him out on a date and it was apparent to him that she did really get where he was coming from. Taking her face into his strong hands, he leaned in and his lips caressed hers in a kiss of comprehension. Despite what he had told her about himself, she still wanted to know him. Holding her close, he smiled and glanced over the Los Angeles sky line, his heart pounding happily inside his chest.
“Em, what’s up?” Cory looked across at his friend who was playing with her salad distractedly. .
She had been quiet all night since they had gone out to the patio and sat with Caitlin and the guy she was hanging with. “Have I done something to upset you?” He gently touched her arm and spoke in his quiet, sweet tone to her. She lifted her eyes and looked at him with a faint smile.
“No, of course not,” Her brown eyes conveyed something was wrong but she didn’t want to talk about it.
“Are you sure? You seem so quiet,” He observed, nervously wringing his hands under the table. Dennys was quiet and the streets were ghostly outside. The lights from many buildings cast an Erie aurar over Los Angeles as Cory glanced out of the window. Sighing, he stood.
“I’ll go and ask for the bill,” He quickly walked away and Emily rested her face into her hands. It wasn’t him. It was her, right? Why did she suddenly feel attracted to him and when? Emily couldn’t quite remember when she had started to think Cory was cute and after her revelation at Club Caliente, how would she ever be able to work with him without having some crazy thought of what could be run through her head? Emily had always thought Cory to be sweet and caring and yes, admittedly good looking. But when did her feelings transpire from friendship and colleagues to being some what more? Sipping her drink and feeling the affects of alcohol wearing off, Emily wondered how she and Caitlin would get home. As usual, Caitlin probably hadn’t thought of that, or she would come up with some hair raising scheme how to get home. She was crazy and even though she was so grown up, Emily often wondered if she truly got scared or concerned about herself. Standing to go and find her friend, Em spotted Cory coming back. She smiled weakly and hugged him.
“Listen, Cory, really, I’ve just got some stuff on my mind, that’s all. It isn’t anything you did or said. I promise!” He smiled and offered to pay for the bill. She nodded gratefully and he left for his apartment.
“Caitlin, come on, it’s five A.M.,” Emily called as she walked out onto the patio to find Caitlin and JC chatting quietly in the corner. “We need to get a cab.”
“I’ll give you guys a ride,” He offered.
“Aw, thanks,” Caitlin stood and took his arm while Emily sighed. “What?” Caitlin glanced at her as she heard the noise and despite not being able to see the other girl’s face, she knew Em was troubled about something.
“I’ll go and grab my car,” JC offered quickly, realising the two friends needed to talk. “I’ll pick you up on the corner.” And before he left he handed Caitlin ten dollars. She waved it away and grabbed Emily’s arm as they walked inside the restaurant and into the bathroom.
“What’s up?” Caitlin asked as she washed her hands. Emily opened the cubicle door and joined her, her heels clinking on the tiled floor. “You seem really annoyed about something. Is it because I’ve been hanging with JC?” Caitlin brushed her long blonde hair with a small foldable pink hair brush and turned to hear her friend’s response.
“No, Caitlin,” Emily was suddenly annoyed with her best friend. “Funnily enough, it’s not all about you!”
“Hold up?” Caitlin’s eyebrows raised in ultimate confusion. “Why are you trippin?”
“Sorry,” Emily sighed heavily, dropping her head in shame. “It’s not anything you did. I just, I just need time to process something. I promise we’ll talk as soon as I know myself.” Caitlin nodded and hugged her friend.
“Girl, I’m always here for you!” And Emily nodded, tears glistening in her brown eyes.
The two girls were rather subdued as they entered their house at five thirty that morning. JC had dropped them off and taken Caitlin’s number with his cell phone. The sun was rising over the Santa Monica mountains and Emily gazed as they walked down their path toward the little house they shared with Lexie and kiara. the sky was a red and golden colour and within minutes the sun would rise and another day would dawn over Los Angeles and its residents.