Read Sixty days Online

Authors: Glez, Zoe

Sixty days

Advertising Download Read Online


Sixty Days

 

 

Zoe Glez

 

Copyright © 2013 by Zoe Glez

All rights reserved.

ISBN:  1492110337

ISBN-13:  978-1492110330

 

All rights reserved.Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any forms, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, brands, media, places and incidents are either product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademark ownership and status of the various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication and use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by its owners.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

 

“Angels have no philosophy but love.”-  Terri Guillements

 

This one is for you, my angel, my heroine, my one and only grandmother. Without you I wouldn’t be who I am today. I miss you, I love you and you are forever in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

8 YEARS AGO

             

I

was ten years old when I first realizedmy love for Miguel Vega. Here I stand, three years later, watching Miguel and my brother on his porch, my love for him still as strong as ever. My parents, having decided to move us all the way to New York, far away from the only boy I’ve ever loved, were too busy packing our stuff to notice my complete and outright unhappiness over the whole situation.

             I know I’m young. I know he’s five years older than me, but, from the very first day I noticed that dimpled smile of his and the way his eyes shined, I was forever lost. I may be thirteen but I’m not naïve, I know we’ll never get to be together. I can list a number of reasons why, the fact that I’m not the prettiest girl ever being the first. That’s how I know he will never see me as more than his best friend’s little sister.

“Hey, guys! What ya doing?” I ask as I walk towards them, gathering my nerves.

             “Hey, little Torres,” Mickey says giving me the dimpled smile that did me in. The very same smile that makes me get lost in my own fairytale fantasy every time I see it. “Your brother and I are just laying out our summer plans before we say adios to this place for good and head to college.”

“Oh…I thought you were leaving with us today after the graduationceremony?” I ask Kevin, my brother, craning my head to the side and furrowing my brows.

Kevin chuckles at this. “I am, Lai. But, once I’m all settled in, I’ll be coming back here for one last Mickey and Kevin hurrah before the whole reality and seriousness of college finally settles in.”

“That makes sense,I guess…” I mutter, making them both laugh.

“Laylah! I thought I told you to get inside so you can finish packing and getting ready for thegraduation ceremony,” my dad yells from our porch.

“You better go, Lai, before one of dad’s veins pop,” Kev jokes.

Looking down at the ground, I feel embarrassed for being chided by my dad. I head back to our soon-to-no-longer-be house, regretting that this very moment will be the last time I see Mickey.

“Hey, Laylah!” Mickey calls after me by name, something he rarely does, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make the butterflies in my stomach go wild. Looking back at where he is, he says, “Have a nice move to the Big Apple. Don’t let it get to you.” He winks and smiles at me. Just like that, my last image of him becomes one that I’ll forever cherish. I can’t help but smile back, the butterflies in my stomach making a reappearance. I head back to the house practically skipping with a goofy smile planted on my face.

“Laylah,” my dad exhales, calling after me just as I was about to head upstairs. “We need to talk.”

“Sure, daddy, what’s up?” I ask as I sit down next to him on the entryway bench.

“I’m going to say this once, so listen very carefully, baby girl,” he says, lifting my head up so I can look him in the eyes. “Stay away from Miguel Vega, nothing good can ever come from it. I know you have a silly crush on him right now, honey. But, trust me, one day you will grow up and realize that he’s not what’s best for you. He will break your heart without even being with you. He’s done things…things that are not so good. He’s just not good enough for you. Do you get what I’m saying?”

“Yeah, daddy, Iguess I do.” I nod and give my best fake smile.

“Good. You’ll grow up eventually and, before you know it, you will realize how silly this crush you have for him really is. You will be with a guy that is actually worth being with, one who won’t break this,” he says pointing at my heart. “Now, up you go. Finish getting ready.” He smiles and kisses the top of my head.

Just like that, my smile disappears. What hurts the most is knowing how right he is.

“It’s not like any guyis going to ever like me anyway,” I mutter to myself once I reach the top of the stairs.

“Now, why would you ever say that?”Mama, my grandmother, asks as she comes out from the bathroom. Although, much like me, she isn’t happy about the move, she’s been helping us pack our things.

“Come on, vieja. Have you seen me lately? I’m fat, I have braces, my hair is a frizzy mess, and, to top it all off, my face is covered in zits. I’m a certified ugly duckling, a repellent of guys. I’ll be lucky if anyone ever finds me attractive enough to date,” I tell her as I walk to my room with her on my tail.

“Come here,” she says, pointing to where she’s standing in front of the mirror in my room.

Knowing fully well to never argue with her, I reluctantly do as I’m told. Once I’m standing in front of her she turns me around so I can face the mirror. Grabbing my chin, she lifts my head up so I can see my own reflection in the mirror. When our gazes lock, she says, “You know what I see? I see the most beautiful girl God could’ve ever created. I see a girl who is not only gorgeous on the outside but also on the inside. A selfless girl who, at only thirteen, has a heart as big as the one she claims her dear old grandmother has.” She then turns me around so I can now face her.

              “Don’t you ever degrade yourself like that again. You possess the greatest beauty of all. It’s who we are on the inside that truly matters. Outer beauty can rot and disappear in the blink of an eye, but the beauty we have on the inside never does. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. You are beautiful, mi niña hermosa.” And, with a kiss on my forehead, she’s gone.

Leaving me all alone in my room to contemplate on the words she just told me. Words that I will always cherish and carry with me. I turn around and look at myself in the mirroragain.

I was thirteen years old when I realized that Miguel Vega wasn’t the guy for me. It was also the day I realized I will never let anyone else tear me down.Only I could ever do that to myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

“T

he whole familia is coming!” Mama, my dearest, sweet grandmother, exclaims with the biggest and most joyful smile in her face, just as she finishes her last secretive call of the night. Calls she had started making after we had finished with supper.

I guessI no longer have to wonder what the whole thing was about.

“What?” Iscreech, dropping the last ceramic plate that I was about to store in the kitchen cabinet. I cringe from the sound it makes, as it smashes to smithereens all over the floor. Needless to say, her news does not come as a joyful thing for me.

“No te preocupes, mi niña, todo saldra bien.” Mama tells me not to worry, trying to calm me. She reaches for the broom and starts to help me with the mess I just made on the floor.

How can I not worry? As far as the entire family knows, especially my parents, I’m still in California studying business. For two years I’ve managed to keep this lie, this secret. Now when everything is more perfect than ever, it seems to crumble down and bite me in the ass.

“Hay, mi niña…I told you, don’t worry about it, everything will be fine. I have a plan. That is, if you still want to keep this whole thing a secret,” Mama says, reading my mind like always. That’s what I love about her. She always has this special way of making everything work out. This seventy-two year old woman always manages to come to the rescue when her family needs her the most.

“They are coming for Thanksgiving.  Two days before everyone arrives, you are going to pack your things and stay in some hotel. When you eventually get here on Thanksgiving day, everyone will think you’ve been driving all the way from California. Hecho?” she continues, interrupting my wave of thoughts. I can’t help but smile in agreement.

“Deal,” I say letting out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. This is exactly what I’m talking about. This woman is a master at deception. Though she is not the biggest fan of lies, she stills respects our secrets and will move heaven on earth to keep them, if it’s what makes us happy.

“I’m not saying I’m happy about it. But until you’re willing to tell your parents, I’ll always have your back,” she huffs.

“So…it’s only for Thanksgiving, right? After that they are all going back home and everything goes back to normal?” I ask her, hopeful that everything is going to be back to normal sooner rather than later.

“Al respecto con eso…it’s going to be a Puerto Rican Christmas celebration,” Mama says calmly, masking her visible excitement.

Shit!

This is just what I needed. A Puerto Rican Christmas, the longest holiday of them all, starting on Thanksgiving and ending on January 6th, sometimes even longer. Two whole months with the family, keeping a lie, a secret. “Mama…”

“Lo se, lo se, no me lo tienes que decir, everything will be alright. We can do this,” she says, interrupting me. Once again she assures me with those big blue eyes of hers that our plan is going to work.

“Are Lola and Mickey also going to be at this big celebration?” I ask with a shy half smile. I just can’t help it. Every time I think of him or hear his name, the smile comes out automatically.

“Claro, mi niña, they are family too.”

“Good.”

Good, good, good, good, good.

At least with Lola and Mickey here we’ll have their support in hiding this whole situation. Then again, it means another thing to hide.

“Habla con Miguel, tell him what’s going to happen and decide if you’re ready to tell your parentsabout the two of you. You know I hate the idea, but, if it means so much para ustedes dos, pues…I’m going to let it pass and keep your secret,” Mama blurts out her opinion on the matter. God! I hate it when she’s right. I just nod at her, silently telling her that I know she’s right and that I’m truly considering her advice.

“Good night, Mama, love you and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Buenas noches, mi niña. Remember they will find out eventually. All of our secrets, no matter how hard we try, always come to light. And, this one…this one needs to be told soon. It will do you both some good. The sooner the better, I say.”

“I know, vieja. Trust me, I know.”

As I leave to head home, which just happens to be next door, I can’t help but think about her plan and if it’s ever going to work. More specifically, what the hell is Mickey going to think of the whole thing? Will he be willing to come out with our relationship to my family? Right now we have the perfect relationship but that’s only because my family, aside from my grandmother and my uncle, Luke, don’t know about us.

I’ve known Mickey all my life,and, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a crush on him. I can only imagine that I had never been more than his best friend’s dorky-fat-brace-face baby sister. When, on a whim, I left school and came to Mama’s place feeling confused and lost with my life decisions, I saw him again for the first time in six years.

I remember his eyes and the surprise written all overhis face when he saw me for the first time. I had changed, was no longer the image he had in his head. But, that’s puberty for you. Sometimes it works for the good, other times for the worst. I have to say that it agreed with both of us. But, he saw more than that and so did I.

 

“Look who’s finally here!” Mama exclaims as we enter the house. As soon as she saw me arrive, she ran outside to greet me.

“Ay Dios mio! Laylah, look at you! You’re all grown up. You truly are your mother’s daughter. Just look at you! You look as pretty as ever,” Lola says, coming out of the kitchen and extending her arms to give me a hug.

“Thanks, Lola, you haven’t changed a bit. So, what are you two crazy girls up to today?” I ask, looking between the both of them.

“What do you think? Tuabuela over here decided to make your favorite dinner. I hope you’re ready to eat all three meals in one,” Lola says, a bright smile on her face.

“Are you kidding? I’ve been missing Mama’s food like crazy. Plus, I’m so hungry that I could eat a cow,” I say, a full grin plastered on my face. “I have to go get my things.”

“Oh, nonsense,” Mama says at the same time Lola says, “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure Miguel will be glad to help you.”

I would have been lying if I said that my heart didn’t skip a beat, or two, or two thousand. Seriously, I was on the verge of a tachycardia attack. I was so nervous that I had suddenly lost my appetite and a sense of who I was. I wanted to see him, I wanted to see if he was still the guy I remembered him being. I wanted to see for myself if those rumors where true.  A really big part of me also wanted to show him how much I had changed, show him that I wasn’t that little girl anymore.

“Miguel, mijo, come help this poor girlwith her things. She has been driving for hours and doesn’t deserve to lift another finger,” Lola calls for him to help.

“Oh,Lola that really isn’t necessary. I’m fine, really. Plus, I’m sure he’s busy.” I tell her, waving my hand to dismissively.

“Nonsense, mi niña, Miguel will beglad to help. Besides, I’m sure he could use a break from all that studying he’s been doing,” Mama says while walking us to the living room.

I was about to ask Mama and Lola about the whole studying thing when he came through the dining room door. “Who needs…” he starts, his eyes connecting with mine, “…my help?” he finishes, exhaling with a small smile.

It seemed like time stood still. It was as if we were the onlyin the room and it scared the crap out of me.

“Little T, is that you?” he finally asks, breaking the painfully long and awkward silence between us.

“In the flesh,” I say, letting out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I bite my lower lip in an attempt to stop myself from grinning.

Way to keep it cool, Lai! I think to myself. Sheesh! Get your act together!

“Isn’t she pretty, Mickey? Our little Laylah is all grown up,” Lola says, pulling me in for a side hug.

“She is, always has been,” he mutters under his breath, smiling at his mom. “So…ummm…you wanted help getting your things?” he awkwardly asks.

I blush, “Well, not really. Your mom and Mama sort of insisted. But, I don’t want to be a burden, I can do it myself and you can go back to your work.”

“Trust me, you’re not a burden,” he mutters again. This boy really needs some lesson on muttering to himself if he doesn’t want everyone to hear what he’s saying. “Don’t be crazy, I’m glad to help. I need a break anyway.  You can come with if you want,” he says before walking outside. I look over at Mama and Lola and find them looking at me like a couple of school girls. I can’t help but roll my eyes at them.

“Don’t roll your eyes at us unless you want que un juey te los pique,” Mama says scowling and pointing her finger at me. I laugh and head outside.

As soon asI get outside, I let out a deep breath. There he was near the jeep, waiting. “Ummm…. It’s locked,” he says pointing to the car as I walk towards him.

“Oh! Right, yeah. I totally forgot I locked it,” I tell him feeling completely embarrassed. I give him a weak smile, looking up at him. Our eyes meet and time stops. In this moment there is only us, nothing else exists.

He chuckles and shakes his head, breaking our connection “So…” He points to the car once again.

“Oh, God, right.” I blush and hit the unlock button on the key fob. We both head to the car to get the things out of the trunk and back seats of the jeep. For the first couple of minutes, we work in awkward silence. We drop the bags near the stairs since I still have no clue were the heck I’m going to be sleeping.

“Mama tells methat you decided to quit school,” he says, breaking the silence, as we head back to the car to collect more bags.

“Yeah…” I say with asigh.

“Mind if I askwhy?” he asks, stopping near the car.

I smile and look at him. “Business school just isn’t my thing, it’s my dad’s. I have other hopes and dreams and business ain’t it,” I reply.

“You are justlike you’re brother in that way,” he chuckles.

“Huh, Iguess I am,” I tell him as I shake my head and turn toward the car.

“Why do I feellike there is more to the story?” He gently grips my forearm, pulling me back toward him and meets my gaze.

I sigh once again and head to the trunkof the jeep where I take a seat. He joins me a moment later. I stare out at the empty road for a few moments, gathering my strength. “It was hell for me,” I confess. I turn toward him before continuing.

“The pressure from the college and my parentswas too much. On top of that, I had no one there; no friends, no family…nothing. I started failing classes. I stopped eating. Being able to sleep became harder and harder each day.  I called Mama about a year ago and she told me to get some help. So, I did. The psychologist said I suffered from anxiety and that if I continued on without learning to control it, it would eventually evolve into depression. I worked really hard to get better. I joined a gym, started doing yoga, but it still didn’t help. I wasn’t getting better.

“I’m a fucking outcast. I’ve never had friends to make me feel worth it or distract me from it, and my family is hundreds of miles away. So, I told myself that the only way to make myself better is by doing something I love and risking the chance of disappointing my parents,” I finish, no longer able to hold the tears back.

“Laylah…” he starts to say. He grips my chin and tilts my face up so I’m looking into his eyes. In this moment, I can see something in his eyes. Something that looks a lot like love, or is it pity?

“Oh, God! I can’t believe I just said that. I— I have to go, this was a mistake,” I tell him as I dry my stupid tears and run inside the house. He calls after me, but I just continue on. I’d rather walk away than have him feel sorry for me.

Thefollowing weeks were full of complete awkwardness. I tried to evade him every chance I got, but he tried harder and harder to speak to me each time I did so. He just wouldn’t give up and I wouldn’t let him in, I couldn’t. If I did, I would get my heart broken, like my dad had once said.

But boy was I wrong. This guy turned out to be the best thing to ever happen.That much I now know.

What I love about him, aside from the way he treats me, is those beautiful hazel eyes that agree with his tanned skin and his cute, yet, hot dimples that form on his handsome face when he smiles. It gives me hope. Every time I see his gorgeous smile, he brings hope into my life.

On top of everythingelse, Mickey is not only my brother’s best friend, he is also Lola’s son, who happens to be Mama’s long time best friend. She’s a few years younger than her, but they’ve been friends ever since Lola’s husband, Felix, and my grandfather went into a business partnership together on a local bodega back in New York. Lola and Mama have been through everything together. I admire Lola for the strong woman she is regardless of everything she’s been through. Mickey is the youngest of three sons. The eldest one died in a drive by shooting back in El Barrio when he was twenty seven. He was my mom’s age at the time. The middle son, Chino, is thirty now and helps take care of the original bodega back in New York along with one of my uncles.

My grandparents moved from Puerto Rico to New York while Mama was pregnant with my mom. My uncles, Junior and Angel, where twelve and six at the time. By the time my uncle Lucas was born they were building their life in the States and my grandfather had already passed away. This led my Uncle Junior in charge of the family business along with Felix, until he, too, passed away.

Junior was leftalone with the business. Once Angel decided to become involved, things got better. My father, after meeting and marrying my mother joined into the business as well. The bodega has since transformed from the tiny family business into a chain of supermarkets in the main Hispanic states. The original one still remains and is run by family, just as our ancestors had created it.

             “Mickey?” I call as soon as I get home through the back door.

             “In the living room, babe,” he calls back. “Hey! I was thinking we should call John this week and set up a meeting with him or maybe just talk to him when we go back there. That is, if we are still sure about this. It’s a big step, kind of overwhelming, don’t ya think?” he says still looking at the TV.

“Yeah…that’s fine. Sure,” I absentmindedly tell him.             

My behavior catches his attention andhe quickly turns toward me to see what’s up. “What’s wrong? Is it Mama? Is she okay, did she—”

“No, no. Mama is great. She’s more than great, actually. She’s wonderful. She’s a rock,” I interrupt him mid-sentence.

“Okay…so what is it that has my lovely lady in such a mood?” he asks, signaling for me to sit on his lap.

I let out a deep breath. This is home, he is my home, my safe haven and I’m afraid these days to come will destroy it. “The whole family is coming for the holidays,” I whisper.

He kisses my cheek. “We can handle one day with them here. We could tell them, if you’re ready to do so. If not, we can still wait until you feel comfortable with the idea of telling them.”

“That’s the thing, Mickey. It won’t be just oneday. It will be for sixty days,” I say, feeling exasperated.

“What do you mean?” He’s confused now.

“Mama managed topull off the whole Puerto Rican style Christmas thing she has always wanted to do. Starting from Thanksgiving ‘til mid-January they will all be staying here,”

“So, we tell them. I know—”

“We can’t just tell them, Miguel,” I yell and stand up. Letting fear control my feelings.

“Then what, Laylah? Theywill find out eventually, we have to tell them. We can’t just keep pretending there is nothing between us. It will kill us,” he yells back.

“I thought you said nothing could kill us,” I say in a small voice, reeling in my frayed emotions.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Come here,” he says, pointing back to where I was. I reclaim my spot on his lap. He kisses my temple and says, “Nothing can, baby. We’ve been through worse things and we’re still as strong as ever. Talk to me, Lai. No censors, remember? What’s bothering you? What’s circling that pretty little head of yours?”

“I’m afraid,” I state in a small voice, yet again. I can feel the knot beginning to form in my throat.

“Of what?” he encourages softly, close to my ear.

“I don’t know…that they will take you away from me?” I respond more as a question than a statement.

“That’s impossible. Never going to happen. You’re stuck with me. What else?” he asks pulling me closer to him.

“I’m afraid thatsomehow I will disappoint them…our relationship is not the only thing I’m keeping from them. No matter how old we are, no matter how sure we are of the decisions we have made in our lives, there is always going to be that part of us that is looking for our parent’s approval. For them to just be proud of us, you know?” I say, turning my head to look him in the eyes. He lowers his forehead to mine and nods. “My dad told me once that I should stay away from you, that the only thing you could ever offer me is a broken heart,” I whisper close to his mouth.

“He couldn’t be any more wrong about me. I would never do thatto you.” he whispers back.

“I know…you’ve done nothing but fix my broken heart. You saved me, Mickey. Besides, the man I know and love isn’t capable of fixing that broken heart just so he can then shatter it into tinier pieces. That’s not you, it’s just not who you are. You’ve proven that to me time after time after time.” He places his hand on the nape of my neck and closes the distance between our lips, joining them for a kiss.

“We saved each other,” he breathlessly adds, momentarily stopping the kiss. It feels like we spend hours kissing, my pulse running wild. Finally breaking apart, we look into each other’s eyes with our foreheads pressed together, a content smile on our faces. He then kisses the tip of my nose and asks, “What’s our plan?”

I laugh. Letting out a sigh, I answer him, “I don’t know…I seriously don’t know. I mean, my brother is going to kill you, Mickey. When he finds out, he’s going to go ballistic and who knows how my dad is going to react. It’s going to be a double whammy for him. I just— I just don’t know.”

“I get it, I really do. Let’s just take a few days to think about it before making any decisions, okay?”

             I nod. “Mama already has a plan laid out for us,” I inform him.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me at all?” he asks sarcastically.

“Yeah…” I respond. Getting comfortable in his arms, I tell him Mama’s plan.