Excerpt 2: Fate

Pulling himself up on his elbow, Vince turned to his brother Lorenzo who lay in the other bed. Lorenzo turned over closing his eyes and making himself comfortable again.

“How come you don’t have to go to this shit?”

Without even opening his eyes Lorenzo mumbled, “Because I’m not grounded like you, remember?”

Vince let his head hang back with a groan. God he hated these family functions with his perfect cousins who were just another reminder to his parents of what he was not. Normally he’d have a choice to stay home and clean or come along of which he happily chose the former. Now he had no choice. As his mother put it so bluntly, since he couldn’t be trusted to behave without parental supervision, he’d be treated like the irresponsible punk he’d proven himself to be. He’d now be taken along everywhere with mommy and daddy.

Even a simple trip like this to a family party was digging deep into his parents pockets. Gas wasn’t cheap and his cousins didn’t live close. They’d also have to buy a gift. But this added expense—one they might’ve ducked out of, was necessary—necessary because of Vince.

After a shower and grabbing what was left of the chorizo with eggs, he got dressed. He now sat grudgingly in the back seat of his dad’s old cutlass; ready to make the two hour drive to La Jolla. At his mother’s request he’d worn something suitable for a baby shower. Not just any baby shower either. His aunt was notorious for going all out and this would no doubt be huge especially since the shower was for their first granddaughters—twins to boot!

His mother had allowed the jeans and his newer dark sneakers he’d chosen but he was forced to wear one of his dad’s polo shirts.

As they walked into the backyard Vince frowned at how these parties seemed to get bigger and bigger every time. The huge canopy covered almost the entire backyard. There were balloons everywhere and the tables were as professionally decorated as they had been every time he’d attended one of these functions. He’d gotten out of attending most but the bigger ones like all the weddings and wedding showers he and Lorenzo had been dragged along.

They stood there near the gate. His dad was already intermingling with some of the relatives they hadn’t seen since the last one of these parties. His oldest cousin Sal made his way through the crowd and to Vince’s surprise he was introducing what appeared to be a girlfriend to everyone.

Vince laughed to himself and was about to nudge his mom to let her in on how her theory about Sal holding out on love had to do with putting his career first and to get more restaurants going, was a bust. Bringing a chick to a family party of this size could mean only one thing—it was serious. Then he spotted the young girl with them.

Curious, Vince continued to watch as Sal introduced them to the next table they came to. Had cupid not only nailed Sal finally but he did so with an insta-family?

As they came around giving Vince a clearer view he thought better of it. The girl whose hand Sal held was way too young to be the other girl’s mom. They were probably sisters. There was a definite resemblance. The younger girl came around the table also. Vince’s eyes were immediately on her long tanned legs. She wore a short denim skirt that showed off the muscle along the side of her upper thigh and calves nicely—an athlete.

Vince smiled remembering the senior on the cross country team he’d hooked up with a few times. He loved running his hands up and down those soft but very firm legs. The young girl with Sal and his girl looked up meeting his eyes for just an instant until her attention was called back to the older lady she was being introduced to. Cute.

Maybe this party wouldn’t be such a drag after all. She looked to be about Vince’s age maybe a tad younger. Even at sixteen Vince was used to older girls but he’d had his share of younger ones, too. Like most the kids in his neighborhood even the girls weren’t immune to growing up too fast.

Something his mother reminded him and Lorenzo of often and warned they could barely afford the cell phones and internet service at their place. Grandbabies were nowhere in their budget so they better keep it in their pants. Thankfully, their dad being more realistic had provided him and his brother with a longer talk. The talk had ended with a box of condoms and made them promise that if they needed more they’d come to him no questions asked.

He watched as Sal, his girl and the younger girl continued to zigzag their way through the crowded backyard, stopping at just about every table.

“Let’s get a table before there are none left.” His mother hurried in the same direction Sal and his girlfriend headed.

Just as Sal, his girl and the younger girl got to one of the last empty tables available, Vince’s mom reached and claimed the remaining seats at the same table. Perfect.