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I was bored. So much so, that I wasn't even enjoying the oral transaction Miguel Duran, the head of Uncle Freddy's farm help, was giving me at the moment. He was older, in his early 30s, and more experienced than the guys and girls I usually slept with. Unfortunately, not even his skillful tongue made me feel the buzz I was looking for. I wasn't a total asshole, so I decided not to fake it this time, and pulled him out from between my legs. He sighed in defeat and stomped his way towards the small bathroom Uncle Freddy had built for me up here in the loft a couple of years back.
While I lit up another joint and took a pull, I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Miguel made his way back to me on the floor mattress and took the joint out of my hand, taking a pull from it as well. I turned to him, wondering why I thought taking the risk to fuck my uncle's most trusted employee within the perimeter of his ranch was a good idea. And then I saw him staring back at me and remembered why. His bedroom eyes were what drew me in first, not to mention how combustible they made me feel when they glowed like honey in the sun on a scorching hot summer day. I also enjoyed how he saw me as his equal and not a kid who had no idea what life was about. Of course, once he'd find out just how old I actually was, he might not look forward to spending an hour a week in bed with me anymore. Which would no doubt be soon since today was my birthday and my uncle insisted on telling the world about it. Miguel had only been hired about three months ago, and he had yet to figure out just how messed up his boss' adopted daughter actually was.
Uncle Freddy thought hiring Miguel had been a good repellent for me considering he was married and thought it would keep me from trying anything. He underestimated me once again. Miguel was as attracted to his wife as I was of guys and girls my own age, and when I noticed he had been looking for an escape from his suffocating life at home, I tempted him into thinking I was his best bet. The fact that I wasn't held no value to me. But we were both too high half the time to care enough to reign our morals back into existence.
"Same time next week?" he purred into my ear, then began sitting up in bed as he pulled his pants up and zipped them. After he was done, he stood up and lifted me up against him, dipping his hands into my hair as he pulled me in for a deep kiss. I felt his affection slowly slipping away from me as the clock kept ticking towards the truth. He'd quit being the hired help just like the others before him when they felt the cracking pressure of seeing me and my uncle in the same room, questioning their own moral compass in the process. I'll never see him again after today. I knew that much. It wasn't a big deal. I never expected anyone to stay and put up with my shit longer than necessary.
"See you next week Miguel," I lied, playing along for his sake and quickly turned to pick up my clothes from the floor when I heard my uncle's voice outside the loft space above the horse stalls. All of his other employees were out in the fields, collecting the fruits and vegetables for the season and Miguel was supposed to be supervising them. I'd taken him away from his duties discreetly of course, but my uncle must've been a blood hound in a past life. He could always sense me fucking up somehow from a mile away and he was as close as he's ever been to catching me in the act instead of after.
"I'll distract him. Stay up here until you hear us walking out," I ordered Miguel in a hushed tone and he nodded as he finished buttoning up his shirt and putting on his work boots. I put on my pants and shirt in a hurry and put on my boots and cap before I blew out my joint and sprayed some Lysol around so the smell of sex and weed wouldn't be as potent. I nodded towards Miguel as I climbed down the latter and jumped onto the dirt floor to meet Freddy by the barn doorway.
"Quit your yelling. I'm right here," I spooked him from behind, causing him to jump and curse simultaneously. I grinned after popping some mints into my mouth and kept his attention away from the barn.
"How does it feel turning 20, babygirl?" My uncle's question only caused the reaction I had expected from Miguel, who had cursed loud enough to capture my uncle's attention as he ran out of the barn and headed straight towards his truck. My uncle only had to take one look at me to know the exact reason why Miguel was now speeding his way out of the farm.
"Jesus fucking Christ, Giselle," his yelling commenced and I sighed, covering my ears as he followed me inside the house. I've heard this speech before, about being irresponsible and reckless, and everything else that came with being a disappointment. He had no idea what it felt like being constantly reminded of it. Everyone around him adored him, even the damn horses. Had he any clue of what it was like to be this free, this inhibited, maybe he'd smile more.
"Can we just focus, please? What was it you were calling me for?" I tried to change the subject as we entered the house, and I completely froze when I saw none other than the woman who had taught me how to be the biggest disappointment I could be in the first place. Rebecca Alvarez was standing in the middle of the living room, pride in her tired gaze as she attempted to reach for me.
"Mom? What the hell Uncle Freddy?" I was highly confused and offended and it could've been the affects of the joint I had smoked earlier, but I wasn't as upset as I should've been at the moment. My head might've been in the clouds, but my mother still looked like the pile of shit she's always been as I pulled back. Her once thick and dark hair had thinned at her hairline, her ponytail only accentuated it, and the hollows of her cheeks did her skinny ass no favors. Her fake tits had deflated along with everything else she had gotten done 15 years ago when she was hauled off to prison, leaving me behind without giving a shit. I wanted her to stay in there and rot. But once again, the justice system fell through with their responsibility to keep monsters like my mother contained.
"Happy birthday," was all that came out of her mouth and I scoffed as I looked up at my uncle, wondering why he thought this was the ideal present to give a ticking time bomb such as myself. Here's your piece of shit of a mother, happy birthday Giselle! God, I wanted to punch something.
"Okay, well I'm out. You two have fun," I excused myself, heading straight for the front door despite their protests, but I was stopped by none other than Daniel Carter, otherwise known to me as Uncle Danny. He opened the screen door and allowed me to walk passed him the moment he took one like inside and witnessed the same shit show I'd been previously dealing with.
Uncle Danny didn't say much when he caught up to me, and I guess he knew I didn't need him to. If anyone knew how annoying it was to be the black sheep of the family, it was him. But I did need to get away. Do something, anything to keep my mind off the real reason why I was such a mess today. My mother was here and my Dad wasn’t and none of it was either fair nor something that could be fixed with a limitless amount of booze and joints.
"Come on, let's go for a drive," he offered and I nodded, wiping the tears away from my cheeks as he led me towards my car.
We sat in silence while the old radio in my car came in and out frequency as we made our way towards the cemetery where my father was buried. I haven't stopped by to visit in a long time and I found it highly suspicious Uncle Danny knew this was something I'd planned on doing today anyway. Maybe 16 years worth of being a Dad had made him more intuitive.
Once we stepped up to my father's grave, I leaned in to touch the old picture of him his ex-wife had imprinted into the tombstone the day of his funeral. He'd been 27 at the time. Living fast and dying young apparently since he'd been driving like a maniac until he lost control and died.
"Why aren't you with Zach, Zander, and Thea? And where's Aunt Serena?" I questioned as soon as the fog began to wear off and I could finally think more clearly. Uncle Danny took off his sunglasses and placed them on top of my Dad's tombstone, a substitute for the fresh flowers neither one of us thought to bring.
"She thought I might need some time alone with my best friend for a bit. And there's just no arguing with that woman anymore," he explained, sighing in surrender, and I smirked, remembering just how dysfunctional he and his wife used to be. Their love story was one for the books considering they actually managed to stay together this time. Everyone had been shocked to hear they'd gotten remarried and have been together ever since. Not me, though. I've always known Daniel Carter and Serena Vasquez would end up together.
"Getting too old to keep up with her huh, Uncle Danny?" I teased him and he looked at me, shaking his head as he smiled while scratching at the trimmed beard framing his chin. He looked just as handsome, if not more so since the last time I saw him through the video chats he joined in on while I kept in contact with my cousins. He looked like he put on some healthy weight since his heart attack, and had put all that fat into the right places, giving him more muscle than anything else. Good looks ran in the family apparently. Even at 42.
"You know who else I couldn't keep up with? Your dad. He was always on the go. Anything to keep from standing still," he added, looking down at the tomb once again as he crouched down, staring at my father's picture with a stern expression on his face.
"Is that why you two stopped being friends?" I asked him and he closed his eyes as the sun burned bright in our direction, preparing itself to make way for the moon as soon it finished setting for the day.
"Always," I answered, knowing if anyone would stop sugar coating things for me, it was Uncle Danny.
"He scared the shit out of me," he replied, his gaze settling on my father's picture again, then turned to look at me, "and trust me, its not the kind of life you want to keep living up to, Chiquita," he finished, as he stood up and I blinked away the tears as I turned away, kicking the grass beneath my feet. I guess Uncle Freddy had been telling him about my erratic behavior after all. I had my doubts since he never mentioned it over the phone. Maybe this time was different. Maybe Freddy really did care enough to call in the cavalry to pull me back towards sanity.
"I don't know how to stop," I admitted underneath my breath, biting my cheek to keep from crying, hoping he didn't hear me. He did, of course. But he simply nodded and pulled me into his side as we made our way back to my car.
We sat in silence again as we drove back to Uncle Freddy's place, enjoying the scenery while we breezed by the grassy fields and open country along the way. School was just two days away. And as much as I dreaded going back to the same halls my parents had once walked through, I knew one thing was for sure; I wanted to leave my own legacy behind. Prying away from the stigma my parents left for me to pay for. And in order for me to achieve that, I had to trust that I wasn't a lost cause floating about in the wind, waiting to be dragged into the ground next to my father.
Uncle Danny took my hand in his then, and the gesture itself was enough to give me hope. If someone like him, who hit rock bottom more times than I could count could overcome his demons, then maybe I could, too.