Karen is used by an anonymous stranger in her own home.
I tried talking to Mandy about it, but she didn't understand why I'd dumped him (so to speak). She figured that even if I didn't tell him, I should keep fucking him, saying that I should take what I could get. She didn't understand how much it hurt every time I had to play nonchalant with him, pretending it was all just fun and games.
It wasn't just us though. Everyone was tense, and no one really knew why. Mel hadn't piped up since snapping at Matt at the party, and Matty had taken to avoiding any contact beyond 'Please pass the salt.' Poor Tommy and Luis were stuck in the middle of everything, and the whole family dynamic was askew. All the laughing and joking felt hollow, and everyone had a sense that something was wrong, but only Gabriel and I really knew what.
The Friday after the party was when things really started to change. The boys had decided to go out and have some fun, hoping that a night spent drinking and partying would get them back to normal. They'd even invited Melosa and I, but she'd politely declined saying that she was tired and the idea of watching Gabriel flirt with some other girl hadn't sounded like fun to me, so I'd lied about having to work the next day.
Mel and I were left alone to fend for ourselves, deciding that a girls night in might give us a chance to get to know each other. She'd been staying with us for over two weeks and all I knew about her was what Rico had told me. I figured it was time we did some female bonding and hopefully become friends. I had the feeling that, like me, she didn't have a whole lot of them, but unlike me, she didn't have a triad of brothers to look out for her, just Rico.
Which was why one movie, two buckets of popcorn and several virgin strawberry daiquiri's later, we were playing the rather uninspired game of 'who would you rather?'
"Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom?" she asked quietly, taking another handful of popcorn.
"Depends," I answered, pleased she was finally getting into the swing of things. "Are we talking from Pirates? 'Cause if it's not, Bloom was hot as Legolas, but I'd pick Jack Sparrow over Will Turner any day."
"Same here," she answered, smiling and ducking her head shyly.
"Good answer," I grinned.
Suddenly she jumped and grabbed my hand, placing it to her belly. "It's kicking, can you feel?"
"Wow," I murmured, feeling the baby moving under my hand. She smiled, rubbing her hand over her swollen belly fondly. "What was Felix like? How did you meet?" I asked. She looked up at me in shock, then quickly looked away. She was quiet for so long I thought she wasn't going to answer. "I'm sorry, you don't have to answer, I shouldn't have—"
"No, it's okay. I'm just not used to people asking. No one ever asks." She paused for a moment, a far away look in her eyes. "We met at the bakery I worked. He was a little like Rico, always flirting, but he didn't try to hide the good man he was. I loved him, and I know he loved me." She shrugged, as though it didn't matter, but I knew it did. "We always figured we'd be together, but we didn't think about the future much. When we found out that I was pregnant, he was so happy. We were going to get married when he came home, but…"
She sighed. "When my father found out, he was so angry, he called me a puta just because I didn't wait for marriage. Mrs. Ortega wasn't much different. No one cared that Felix and I were in love, just that we weren't married. Except Rico." She smiled. "He's been so good to me, his mama won't even talk to him anymore, but he looks out for us. I don't know what I'd do without him. I hate having to rely on him like I do, but I don't make enough for rent on my own, and it's not about me anymore. I don't know what would have happened if you guys hadn't let me crash here."
"Well don't worry about it.