Excerpt From Chapter 8
Mario and Carmen didn’t really want to host dinner at their house, but it was too late to back out. Nobody in their families knew about me, except for his mother and her sister. I didn’t want to be the reason they cancel a family tradition and I told them I didn’t mind staying in my room, but Mario was not having that. He said that our business wasn’t anyone elses concern and if anyone asked who I was, he would handle it. Members of Mario and Carmen’s family started to arrive and I stay in the background, I was doing a pretty good job of playing invisible. Then Mario’s parents and grandparents arrived and the look on his mom’s face, spoke volumes when she saw me. Rita didn’t say anything right away, but she didn’t take her eyes off of me either. Then when Lorena arrived you could cut tension with a knifeand I retreated to a corner in the family room.
The only person I spoke to was his younger brother, I knew him from high school and hanging out at the skating reink. He use to walk up to girls talking about ”I’m Romeo Castillo, the sexiest man you’ll ever know,” like that meant something. Romeo was always somewhere in a crowd of girls, for ever trying to get his Mac on. I didn’t even know he was Mario’s brother, until we started kicking it. Mario and I ran into him at the mall and Romeo covered for me, but I guess he wasn’t just covering for me; considering he had a girlfriend back then too. Now he was married with kids and that was a trip to see, who would’ve guessed the player was the settling down type.
The evening was going great, as long as I avoided Rita and Lorena and the highlight of my evening was meeting Mario’s older brother. Carlo were pretty fly, he had an old school gangster vibe about him and he was casket sharp. He was a successful business man and he owned several businesses, at least that’s what I was told. I met his maternal grandparents King and Aretha, they were really down to earth people and very welcoming. His grandmoma looked like an older version of his mom and the way she went on about him, I could tell he was her favorite grandson. I also met Carmen’s parents, Héctor and Silva and they seemed weirdly nice. Lorena and Carmen were their only children.
As the day went on, I became more relaxed and comfortable. Nobody seemed to care that I was there, except for Rita and Lorena and they let me know too. Lorena was more voicetress with her opinion of me and she called me out every chance she got, but Rita was more settled. She came into the kitchen while I was straightening up and asked what I was doing there. Of course I knew what she was talking about, but I decided to be sarcastic and said cleaning up. She looked at me and rolled her eyes, apparently she wasn’t a big on sarcasm. Rita told me that I was in way over my head and I needed to give myself more time to grow up. She also told me despite Mario’s qualities and charm, he battles a lot of demons. I felt like she was warning me, not telling me and I got concerned. I asked her what she was talking about and before she could answer, Mario walked in. Rita looked at him and asked if he had really giving me a fair opportunity to make a sound decision. He looked at her and said “Please don’t start momma” with an annoyed tone. She suggested that we sit down and have a real conversation without all his bullshit attached, then without another word she walked out of the kitchen. I asked Mario what his mom was talking about and he shrugged his shoulders as if he had no idea. He walked closer to me and said we had plenty of time talk about whatever I wanted to later, then he kissed me on forehead. He seemed very distracted and anxious, for whatever reason. He kissed me again, grabbed some foil and disappeared upstairs.