A Red Leaf & Ten Orchids Ch. 16byTaLtos6©
***More of the twins in this chapter. 0_o
Rita saw the '59 Chevy as it pulled into her driveway. She thanked her mother again for agreeing to baby-sit on such short notice and walked out of the house. Consuela's convertible started again with a low rumble, as Margarita got in and searched for the seat belt.
"You know, this is pretty cool, 'Suela. I think you got the better husband. All Jose can build for me is a faster way to get fat!"
Consuela laughed as she backed out, and dropped the pink flake Chevy into Drive. "Bart's been building my new baby up for over a year. It's finally finished. The ghost flame job was only done a week ago. I haven't gone very far with it, but I just love it to death. It wasn't easy, you know. I had to give him a lot of uh, inspiration to keep him on the job!" They both laughed as the small block eight cylinder thrummed.
Rita admired her sister's style, since every day it was the same, but different and even better. Consuela wore a leopard skin patterned dress in her usual slinky preference. They both maintained their long black hair in a classic Cleopatra cut that really suited them, and gave them a very Aztec princess look overall.
Everything else about Consuela was classic kitsch, right out of the fifties or early sixties, but she leaned way closer to Betty Paige than Marylyn Monroe. Back when they were single, neither of them had ever wanted for male attention. If they strutted their stuff, boys would fall down in the next county.
Rita had fallen for Jose because she admired his strong, quiet character, charming good looks and she knew that he'd never hurt her, so she'd quietly coaxed him into chasing her until she'd caught him. It took longer than she'd have imagined possible, but he was worth it. He was the perfect match for her. To her delight, she found that he was a great cook, and had connections in the wine and beer trades. A match made in heaven.
Consuela had been much harder to bring down. She loved to be chased, and was the classic flirt, but she'd had no interest in any of the multitude of potential suitors in the greater Santa Fe area. She'd clubbed constantly and flitted from the arm of one boyfriend to that of another. Truth be told, she'd never found any of them to have what she was looking for. Her only other problem was that she herself didn't know what exactly appealed to her other than the constant attention.
Back when the twins were both single, they had just started up their cantina, and one of their first customers was a quiet, young man on vacation. He wanted to try their food, but really wanted a coffee first. Both of them had nearly collided in the kitchen getting it for him. They couldn't believe that he'd come in alone.
Since there weren't any other customers, they both sat down at the table after he said he was happy for the company. They were happy to have him, and they spent the evening becoming friends. They learned that he wouldn't be around for long, so they shrugged as the romance possibility flew out of the window, but joked with him that if he ever wanted to see a real honest-to-goodness, knock-down, drag-out Southwestern-style catfight, all that he had to do was to tell both of them at once that he was available.
He looked at them with a smile, "Wow, are you guys that competitive? I mean, I can see that you're twins and all, but..."
Joshua thought they were incredible, so warm and friendly. Once the long-term mating possibilities had been dispensed with, there was no tension between them. As far as he was concerned, he wasn't really looking for that anyway. But he was always open to making a new friend, and here were two lively twins that seemed to actually like him just for his own sake. It was a switch from the girls that he'd normally run across at that point in his life.
His face just put off a lot of folks, and the girls that were strongly attracted to him found the attraction fading when he remained a gentleman and treated them well. Then there were the ones who were REALLY attracted to him, but changed their minds since the "dangerous" mark on his face couldn't be taken off conveniently while they dragged him to social functions and such. After all, what would people think?
"Competitive?" smiled Rita, "No, not really. We usually like completely different types of men. You're just the first one that we BOTH want at the same time."
Josh couldn't believe the way they talked. He felt as though they were including him in their circle, and speaking with the same frankness that they used when talking to their girlfriends, instead of the different speech patterns that women usually adopt when speaking with men. It felt refreshing to him to be allowed the privilege.
"Anyway, if you suddenly do become available within say, 500 miles of here. I'M the one who ought to get first dibs on you, since I'm the oldest, and have more maturity" she giggled.
"Oldest?" Consuela rolled her eyes, "Well, yeah, by 16 minutes, you old cow. You're only the older one because you were closest to the door! I'd have gotten out first if your fat ass hadn't been blocking the exit sign."
She turned to him, adopting a severely glamorous sex-kitten affectation, "And by the way baby?" her voice dripped honey at him, "I'd go 600 miles for you" she purred, "and through the desert, too. What do you say, sugar?"
Josh laughed so hard at the performance that he couldn't catch his breath. At last, he smiled and said "You have no idea how much it hurts me to have to tell you this, but due to the conditions of my employer, it's gonna take more than a thousand miles, and through the opposite of the desert,... I'm from way up North."
"Oh SHIT", Rita moaned, "is that where you're from? Well, you're put together well enough to make the trip almost worthwhile. How many more are there like you?"
They all laughed and his dinner was forgotten for over an hour, until at last the girls shrugged at each other, and closed the cantina early. They all ate together, and Josh and Margarita eventually adjourned to his motel room together because she was the oldest, she said, though to Josh's amazement, it had been settled with a coin toss right in front of him. The next evening, they talked long into the night, before Consuela had her turn.
Since then, they remained the closest of friends. They called him 'the Viking' because of his looks, and the cold climate that their imaginations had enhanced, joking that they couldn't understand why there were so few people up there, since there couldn't be all THAT much to do during the nights. For his part, Josh usually didn't try to mess with anyone's preconceptions about where he was from. It made for better jokes that way.
"What do you mean they like to watch hockey?" Consuela was incredulous, "Why would you want to watch a stupid game when you could be screwing like bunnies?"
"Well, I'm immune to it, but I've often asked myself the same question, "Joshua said, "but after some careful research, I found that mostly just the guys watch hockey, and they only do that because the girls are occupied with something else entirely."
"What?" asked Rita.
"They watch American television programming." Josh said.
"Oh." They both said in unison.
"Well, what do YOU do for relief from the incredible sexual tension in the cold, dark winter while the girls are cuddled up to their TV sets, baby?" Consuela asked.
"Well there's always the Palmer sisters..." smiled Josh.
"No, no, no, I know!" announced Rita. They turned to her.
"He fucks polar bears!" The girls laughed and Josh did his best to look uncomfortable, as though they now knew his darkest secret.
"Shhh!" laughed Joshua, "somebody might hear you, and if wind of it gets back home, well, let's just say that female caribou can get murderously jealous." He winked.
Rita smiled, "Nope. I can just see you trying to hump a polar bear with your pants around your ankles in a blizzard..." she smiled, "And if THAT ain't true romance..."
And with that, a legend was born.
They looked forward to his return every year. By the second year, Rita had just married Jose. Consuela still hadn't found anyone that she really wanted, but she did enjoy Joshua's affections when he visited. For them it was just a couple of dear friends helping each other out. To himself though, Josh could have seen his way toward making it permanent, but there were just his occupational demands, the distance, and their fledgling diner standing in the way. That and the matter of a green card, he chuckled to himself.
Anyway, by then, they all were too set into their friendship for anything long-term to happen, and he wasn't looking for anything but some good friends. And they had become his closest female friends.
Consuela had finally figured out what she really wanted in a man, at least. She complained bitterly to him that the men that she dated the rest of the time all seemed to be variations on the same theme.
"Nobody stands out, Josh," she told him in bed one evening as she traced her fingers over his chest, "I don't want some pencil-dick lady's man that reeks of, I dunno, crappy cologne. I want a man. Period.
A REAL one, too, who can carry me off like it ain't no thing, not even be out of breath. Somebody who would treat me right because he loves me and appreciates me, and what I'd do for him, and I don't mean with money.
God, I NEED a man who can sweep me off my feet and lay me onto my back. I'd kill for one like that. I want to start living my own romance with a man who thinks about me whenever he's not slaying dragons, or killing evil wizards or some shit like that. Can you bring any friends down next time, baby?" she joked.
"Oh, and I can't STAND all the jerks in their Accu-Lexas, and that's all that I see around here, shitty silver ones. Them and fucking' Beemer drivers. What an attitude. Like I'm supposed to get wet when I see them or something because of the shitbucket, mass-produced toy wheels they drive, and offer to blow them if I could just have a ride in it.
Fat chance, boys, keep working the little stick, cause you won't have this Latina.
But I do know the kind of man I want does exist though, I sometimes get a glance at this HUNK in a tricked out, late 50's Chevy Apache pickup, red flake paint with flames. He looks smokin' hot to me, but in a very relaxed way, y'know? Like he's just happy he's alive another day, and doesn't give a flying fuck about stock options. I never get a chance to catch his eye, though.
His big, handsome face, he looks like he doesn't have a care in the world. I bet he could eat walnuts like I eat grapes. Arms like my waist and a forty acre chest. Baby, just drive me off someplace and do me right there in the back, I won't give a shit, just as long as those arms are around me so I can't get away.
Not that I'd want to," she chuckled, "but I just like the thought, you know?
Jesus, I bet he doesn't even need a jack to change a tire. Probably just sits on the ground, lifts the car with his knee and spins off the lug nuts between his thumb and index finger. No way a side of prime beef like him is single though," she sighed wistfully.
The girls always welcomed him into their homes or the diner. He became a part of their social network, but they always looked out for his interests, waving off anyone that they knew was just looking at him for the "rough" appeal that they'd read into him. They knew it wasn't there.
At the same time, they longed for his happiness. They couldn't understand why he'd never found anyone for himself. Josh himself just wasn't looking. He'd given up long before.
Josh met Bart Smith when his bike had died in front of Bart's speed & paint shop. The fuel filter had clogged completely, choking on some garbage gas. Bart drove him to the closest dealership and they returned with a new filter. Together, they cleaned the tank and replaced the fuel lines, striking up a friendship as they went. The conversation turned to women, Josh mentioning that he found the girls in the Southwest to be very lovely, and mostly pretty friendly, well those that weren't outright afraid of him.
Bart couldn't agree.
"I see what yer sayin', Josh," he said looking at Joshua's face, "but I ain't found one who wants a big mule like me. I'm pretty shy around 'em. Never could get past that. Guys with slick and expensive rides have to peel 'em out off the doors. They seem to be attracted to money for some reason, "he grinned, shaking his head.
"There is this one girl that I've seen around, though. Looks like a Mexican goddess. Man, eyes like - what's that stuff called,... onyx. Beautiful as anything, and cute as a button when she smiles or laughs. Seen her by herself sometimes in a copper-colored '69 big-block Nova. Sounds like it'd rip up a drag strip if it only had some tweakin'.
I'd love to meet her, but she's always with a fella in a Mercedes or somethin', so I don't imagine I'd have much of a chance with her. She's probably married anyhow.
I'll stick to what I know; cars. Girls are a mystery to me." He shrugged. "Sure do like the way she looks, though," he smiled a little self-consciously, "if I could only flag her down, and knew what to say to her."
A light bulb went on in Josh's skull right then. He was pretty certain he knew who his new friend was talking about. When they were done, Bart refused any payment for the work, saying that he'd enjoyed doing it for Josh, and he was just poking around, getting his garage ready to open the following week. Josh insisted that they go for a beer, and asked Bart to follow him, since he knew the perfect place.
Riding down the road, Josh smiled when he remembered Consuela's words as he glanced in his mirrors. "...HUNK in a tricked out, late 50's Chevy Apache pickup, Red flake paint with flames."
He began to chuckle. "Suela, darlin', you forgot to mention the honkin' big triple chromed grille!" he laughed.
Consuela was idly looking out the front window when she heard a bike like Josh's slowing down. She saw him pull up to park in front of the next shop and smiled, they always had fun together. Damn, he was such a nice guy, what would it take to find him a really good woman to sit behind him on that thing?
Then she heard the rumble of a large V8 through headers, and saw the flames on the side as it slowed to pull up behind Josh.
She couldn't believe it. She was trying to quickly come up with a pretense to come out of the cantina's door and speak to Josh, maybe she could think up a reason to talk to the gorgeous rock crusher who owned that truck. Just as she was headed to the door, she froze. Josh was talking to him!
And they were coming to her cantina!
She shot back toward the kitchen. Rita looked at her with raised eyebrows. As she passed Rita, Consuela squeaked "OH MY GOD!" and dashed to the employee's washroom to check herself out.
Rita looked curiously toward the door as it opened and Josh came in with a BIG guy. She looked at the truck parked out front, and laughed. How many times had she heard her twin gush whenever she'd seen that truck and the guy in it? She was beginning to think 'Suela had made him up.
She had no idea how Josh had worked this, but she just knew this wasn't an accident. She hustled into the kitchen and grabbed Jose. Explaining very briefly, she grabbed a piece of paper and wrote on it, as Jose looked toward Josh, and smiled as they sat at a booth.
Joshua never sat at a booth.
He walked over to them and took their order, passing him the note and his pen. Bart was admiring the cantina. He'd seen the place before in passing, and had wanted to look in, but had never done it. This looked like a place where he could relax. He liked it immediately. While Bart was looking around, Josh turned over the note.
It read: "She's seen you come in, and she's freaking in the bathroom. How do you want to handle this? – Rita"
He quickly wrote his reply: "Wave at me when you've pried her out of it. I'll do the rest. – J." He folded the note, and handed it to Jose. He looked up into Bart's' questioning eyes. "I know the folks who own this place. Just wanted to say hi, that's all."
A few minutes later, Rita waved frantically. Josh excused himself and walked back to grab the beer. He came back holding the bottles by the neck, with one of the girls on each of his arms. Consuela, who'd never been at a loss for words since learning to speak, was for the first time since high school, actually nervous about meeting a man.
Josh whispered to her "'Suela, get a grip. You look like you're about to piss your pants. Now come on, he didn't know we were coming here, but sweetheart, I do know he'd love to meet you."
Bart was wondering what had happened to Josh and their beer. He turned to look over his shoulder and his mouth fell open as they arrived at the table. There were TWO of them! He blinked twice.
"Bart, I'd like very much for you to meet Consuela, and her sister Margarita. They're the founders of this place. Margarita here is married to Jose, who took our order a few minutes ago. They're the ones with the Mercedes."
Bart's eyebrows rose as he registered the thought. "Consuela drives the Nova." Bart and 'Suela smiled self-consciously at each other, as each of the girls shook his paw.
Josh put the bottles down, and grabbing Consuela's shoulders, he guided her to the side of the booth opposite Bart. She offered no resistance as she stood on shaking knees. Once she was seated, he slid in beside her to block her only escape route. Then he winked at Rita, who smiled back delightedly.
Bart looked at him every few seconds, unsure of himself. Since neither of them appeared to be capable of speech, Josh took a sip of his beer, and smiled at Bart. "Hey, I'm not kidding here, before you and I met, she told me that she'd seen you, but couldn't catch your eye. When I broke down at your place, I had no clue that you were who she was talking about. But when I saw your truck, I just knew." They turned toward each other and smiled shyly.
Josh looked at Rita and shrugged.
She chuckled. "She's never been quiet this long in her whole life."
Josh looked back at them. "Ok, let's try this, 'Suela, I think you'll recall that you told me what a killer Apache you'd been admiring whenever you saw it around, but had never gotten a chance to see it close up. Bart, you told me that there was a certain '69 Nova that you'd like to get a look at. It seems to me that you're both car freaks. I think that's something that you have in common, so that would be the logical place to start your conversation."
He smiled at them both. "If you'll excuse me, I think I'll need to help Rita this evening, right Bart?"
He stood up and clapped his hand on Bart's shoulder. Bart didn't take his gaze off the dark eyes in front of him. He just nodded. Josh grabbed his beer and walked back to the kitchen with Rita. She put her arm around him, and hugged him as they walked. "She's such a romantic fool, and this is like a fairy tale. You are a sly dog, and I love you for it."
They didn't really need Josh to help out, but he washed some dishes, and tried to pitch in anyway. Jose and Rita watched as discreetly as possible as Bart and Consuela began to relax with each other. After twenty minutes, Consuela came back to get them each a beer. Her eyes were shining and she hugged Josh. "Thanks, baby, thank you so much! He's fantastic! Can I keep him?"
Josh grinned, "Sure. As far as I know, he's even housebroken. 'Suela, he feels a bit awkward around beautiful women. I do know that he's wanted to meet you for a long time, but he saw Rita with Jose, and thought you were married. Try to help him over any rough spots, and you should be fine. He looks like his folks just gave him a shiny new red wagon for his birthday. Good luck."