Hurricane Ch. 01byc8er2u©
Authors note: This story was supposed to just be a one hitter quitter, but it ended up being a bit more than that! It was just one of those stories that would not leave me alone until I wrote it all down. so here it is! Let me know what you think! vote! comment! all that good stuff!
"The hurricane came and took my Louisiana home, and all I got in return was a darn country song." --Weezy .F Baby
"You're mine you know that?"
"Heard you twice the first time."
"And I'm yours."
Sean stirred and re-stirred her pre mixed drink. She stared down into her drug of choice; rum and coke. She could feel his dark eyes staring intensely at her. She didn't want to be here at all. Not with him staring at her like that anyway. Especially not with the direction her thoughts were swirling.
"Did you hear me?"
She swivelled on her bar stool and looked at him; the Spaniard. That's what she called him to everyone else. He was just too good to be true and she was completely taken aback when he'd hit on her a few weeks after Katrina hit. She'd fooled herself into thinking it was love at first sight, which happens to be the absolute scariest thing that ever happened to her. Naturally she ran from him like a bat outta hell but he wore her down with his charm and his Spanish. Not to mention he was the type of gorgeous you couldn't keep to yourself, you had to share him with the world. Maybe that was the problem. He was too much! Too beautiful, too charming, too everything she'd ever wanted in a man.
"Yes Alexander I heard you," she said with as much sarcasm as she could muster.
"I fucking hate when you do that, ay dios mio, my name is Alejandro! How would you feel if I called you... Bob?"
She gave him a face. "And just why would anyone call me Bob?"
He gave her the same look right back. "I don't know Sean!"
Sean turned away again and clenched her jaw angrily.
"Why is everything a fight with you? Since the second we met it's been a constant argument!"
"I ain't gonna apologize to you for who I am!"
Sean grabbed her purse and threw a handful of cash on the bar.
"I ain't changed one bit! I'm still the same damn Creole girl from Shreveport you fell in love with five years ago!"
She was standing now, dressed in her usual black cocktail dress, ready to walk the fuck out of this place and leave his ass there. He reached out for her and held her back.
"Please, don't go," he pleaded. His dark gaze fixed upon her and for a moment she was glued to the hard wood floor beneath her.
"I don't want to fight with you mi amour. I just want whatever this is between us, this thing that has begun to come between us to go. And never come back. I just want you; I want to be with you, without all this animosity between us."
His plea was earnest and so damn true. There definitely was something between them and she was tired of it too. They'd lost a closeness they'd once shared. Their love seemed to grow out of nowhere, the perpetual rose that grew out of swirling wind and rain, floods, waterlines, and mold. He sincerely loved her, and she without a doubt loved him from the very beginning, if only things had stayed that easy.
"Lee I know how you feel; I mean you don't think I feel the same way?"
Sean yawned and grabbed her coat off the back of her bar stool.
"Can we not have this conversation here?" she whispered to him.
Alejandro gave Sean a curt nod and signalled to the bartender to pay his tab. He stood and helped Sean into her jacket and they headed for the door where they bumped into a co-worker of Lee's. One that Sean particularly hated.
"Hey now! Where y'all goin the party's just startin!"
Sean rolled her eyes heavenward at his failed attempt for a Louisiana accent.
"Hey, lemmie ask you a question," he slurred to Sean, and she knew immediately what the question was. The same damn thing he's always asking. She could feel her temples pulsing in time with her clenching jaw.
"Why is it you're always wearin black? You look like a funeral director! Are you gonna embalm somebody?" he laughed.
Sean abruptly walked away and left Alejandro to deal with his 'friend' because she just had zero patience for idiocy. She knew people wondered why she was always dressed in the color of death. Come Christmas or her birthday she could count on her family to buy her beautiful, colorful clothing but she just couldn't bring herself to wear any of it.
It began when the hurricane hit. They'd lost everything, the house she'd lived in since her family moved to New Orleans at the age of nine. They lost family photographs, heirlooms passed down through generations, and countless other things that were just priceless, but what left a larger mark on her was all the death. After Katrina hit all she had was the clothes on her back; an old pair of faded black jeans and a black tank top. She had nothing else. And she vowed then that she'd wear black every day from then on to honor the dead, family and friends she'd lost to the storm. But she also wore it for New Orleans. The city that had its spirit broken, its heart ripped out by the gnashing winds of a natural disaster and then drowned when the levees broke.
Now some five years later, she had a closet full of black dresses, and black shoes and she just couldn't explain that to someone who'd never seen the destruction, someone who never saw the floating bodies, the homes underwater, the violence, the starvation, the anger. How do you sum that up in a few sentences?
Sean was walking quickly in her three inch heels towards home. She knew her feet would be crying by the time she got home but she just couldn't call a taxi. She was stalling for time. She knew the conversation she had to have when she got home and she was avoiding it. She'd been avoiding it for months now.
Sean turned to find Alejandro running to catch up with her and she realized then the distance she'd walked from the bar. She watched him run to her; watched the easy way the muscles in his thighs flexed as he jogged. He almost looked like some misplaced James Bond, dressed in a three piece Italian suit that was tailored to perfection just for him. His large broad shoulders, full lips, medium length black hair, eyes so dark they could almost be black were what caused the moisture to gather in her panties.
But what made her love him were those intangible things that make up a man. Alejandro Estevan Montez Delgadillo was born and raised in Barcelona. He moved to the U.S. five and a half years ago, to become an actor; his life's dream. He had a natural knack for it too, did a few big auditions in New York, worked on a few commercials, shaving and selling Pepsi, but when the opportunity came up to work on a series in Louisiana he jumped at it.
The auditions themselves were in New Orleans but the show would have been filmed in Jean Lafitte. It was some historical drama about the man himself. But as fate would have it, the auditions were scheduled for the week after the hurricane, and by chance or some strange force of serendipity, Alejandro flew in a week early to prepare.
The day they'd met Sean was wandering the streets trying desperately to find her sister. She saw him first, asking random people questions, holding out a piece of paper to them and Sean wished she had a shower and clean clothes. She turned the opposite direction and walked quickly away from him but he spotted her and ran to catch up.
"Excuse me, could you point me in the direction of the ninth ward?"
She noticed his accent immediately and she found herself watching his lips as he spoke to her. She said nothing and turned to walk away from him when he reached out for her arm. It was that touch that changed her life. She felt his touch spread over her body like wildfire leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake.
Sean stared up into his eyes and began stuttering a response.
"It, it ain't no more Ninth Ward. It's... it's all under water now."
He was still holding her arm just above the elbow, and she pulled herself free of him. She needed to get away from this man. She needed to find her sister.
"Well have you seen this little boy? A friend is trying to find her son and she hasn't seen him since the levees broke. She's very afraid and I am as well. Please, if you could just look at the picture-"
"You know what?" Sean interrupted. "A lot of people are tryna find someone. Shit, I'm tryna find my sister right now and I ain't got time to be lookin fo nobody else's children. I got my own family to worry about! Now how about that? You seen a tall caramel colored woman with hair like mine?"
Sean pointed to the thick curls piled atop her head. A few weeks before the hurricane, she went and got highlights put in her natural mane, in copper auburn and honey. She looked damn good, a few weeks before the hurricane. Now she looked every bit the refugee the six o clock news had portrayed the people of New Orleans to be. Her hair was matted and knotted, dried out and barely contained by the headband she'd stolen from someone. Her honey colored skin which used to be buttery soft and covered in freckles was now ashen, dirty, and dull.
"I, well I mean I don't-"
Sean walked away again and began scanning the crowds for her sister's face.
She looked behind her only to see him jogging towards her and she pulled away from him before he could touch her again.
"Okay, I won't touch you," he said with his hands held up so she could see them. She folded her arms across her chest and watched him.
"Why don't we work together? Two head are better than one no?"
And he smiled at her. Her instincts told her to turn and run; to get away from this handsome stranger that she was quickly developing feelings for before it was too late. But her ever irrational heart kept her there in the middle of that street ready to dive head first into this man. And she did.
It was Alejandro's calm voice that brought her out of her reverie in into the here and now.
"Home is this way, did you forget?" he said with a smirk.
She realized she was about to walk clear past the place they shared. He held open the front gate and held back a stray branch from an overgrowing bush for her to come in. As they walked up the eight thousand or so steps to their apartment, Sean felt a heaviness taking up residence in her body. She wanted to blame it on fatigue, but she knew better. It was the guilt of the conversation they had to have, the knowledge that tonight is going to be their last night together and the acceptance that this is the only way for him to truly be happy.
"Ladies first," he said with a smile as he held open the door to their shoebox apartment. She walked into the living room/kitchen and went directly to the bedroom. She stripped off her jacket on the way and kicked off her pumps. She didn't hear him come up behind her, just felt his strong arms slip around her small waist from behind. Sean basked in the feel of him for a moment, running her hands along his forearms, before she spoke.
"We need to talk," she whispered.
"Aren't you tired?" he asked turning her in his arms to face him. "It's been such a long day. I know you're tired."
He stroked along her cheekbones down the line of her jaw taking in the freckles he found dusted across her skin. She stared up at him, her hazel green into his midnight brown eyes and repeated herself.
"We need to talk."
He dropped his arms from her and sat on the large bed.
"Okay, let's talk," he said beginning to untie his shoes in true Mr. Rodgers fashion. It distracted her momentarily until he cleared his throat beckoning her to speak.
"Your father called earlier today," she said walking over to the answering machine and pressing play.
"Son, it's your father. I didn't want to have to say this over the machine but you leave me no choice."
Sean turned back to watch his body stiffen at the sound of his father's voice. The man usually only hollered words in Spanish that Sean couldn't understand but this time he left a message in heavily accented, yet perfect English. That only meant one thing: he wanted her to hear the message too.
"Your mother and I feel as though you've backed us into a corner. You don't return our calls, when you do you yell and scream at us. We're your family!And you've chosen this filthy woman, a swamp rat, over your family!"
Sean watched him visibly flinch at the few choice words his father had for her. He was staring directly at the machine as if he could see his father's expression through it. She walked back over and sat down beside him on their bed. She hesitantly reached out for his hand, not sure if he wanted to be touched by her or not. He welcomed it and laced his fingers through hers.
"So, because you've chosen this woman over us, we're forced to turn our backs on you. We're severing all ties to you and your... girlfriend. We wish you the best and this will be the last time you hear from us. Goodbye my son."
The machine clicked and asked if they wanted to hear the message again. Sean couldn't bear to hear the message a third time. She was at home when his father called. She heard what he'd said as he said it. And twice was definitely enough. She stood again and turned the machine off. She reached for the hidden zipper on the side of her dress and unzipped it. She watched Alejandro closely, watched the expression on his face as he stared into the little black machine which had only moments ago broken his heart.
Sean watched his eyes fill with tears and thought twice about what she had to say. She didn't want to add gasoline to the flames.
"It doesn't matter," he stated suddenly jumping up and advancing on her.
"If they cannot understand my happiness, if they cannot understand us then fuck them. They don't need to be here for us. I make enough money working for the local news station; I haven't needed financial assistance from them since I turned 20. I don't need them. More importantly, we don't need them." He said all of this into the top of Sean's head, clutching her small body to his.
"You know you don't mean that. Besides, who else will keep you draped in designer suits? " Sean asked looking up at his watery eyes.
"If they mean it, then so do I! The only thing I need in this world is in my arms right now."
He tightened his grip on her and she almost just kept her mouth shut and stayed there in his arms but her better judgement kicked in and she pulled back from him.
"Sit down," she said lightly pushing him down into the bed. She began to pace the floor in front of him, chewing nervously on her bottom lip as she walked.
"Okay baby, now I just need you to listen and not interrupt me. I need to get this off my chest and I don't want you to twist my words. Not that you'd twist my words, I just mean that you'll look at me in that way and I can't think straight okay?"
She watched him lean back on the bed and prop himself up on his elbows to watch her.
"Okay, so this has been something I been thinkin bout. About why you're here. When you came down to New Orleans, you weren't supposed to stay. You were sposed to go on to California when you were done, you member that? You were sposed to go to Hollywood and become a big time actor and instead, here you are in this shack of an apartment with no money, no family, a few friends and a closet full of designer suits!"
"What exactly are you trying to say to me Sean?" he asked sitting up straight again. Sean threw her hands up in the air and stopped pacing in front of him. She kneeled down on the floor between his thighs and took his large hands in her own.
"What I'm trying to say is you need to spread your wings! New Orleans is too small for you now. You've done all you can do here but you need to go on out into the world again, try again, go to Hollywood! Take the chance!"
He wrenched his hands from hers and stood up.
"Is this a breakup? Is that what you're trying to do here?"
Sean stood again and she could feel the emotion gripping her throat and she reached for him.
"I'm trying to love you!"
"Bullshit!" He said dodging her outstretched arms. "You don't love me, that's what you're really trying to say si? no puedo creer esto! No puedo creerle!"
He was just yelling at her in Spanish now, and this was just about what she expected to happen. She wormed her way into his arms and held on tightly.
"I love you! I love you so much! That's why I'm doing this, why I'm setting you free! So you can realize your potential baby!" she was all out crying now, heart rattling around in her chest.
"If you love me," he said cupping her face in his hands, "then come with me. We'll go to California together. I need you mi amour; I'll never make it without you." He was placing soft kisses where her tears had cascaded down her face. She reached her hand up and wiped away his tears with her thumb, as she studied his face. She studied every slope of his nose, jaw and cheeks. She loved how even at 31 his face still held a boyish quality to it. He will do well in Hollywood; all she had to do was convince him the same.
"Honey, I can't go. New Orleans is my home! And I'll be living with the same regret you would if you stay here in Louisiana. I don't want to go but baby you do. You can't look me in the eyes and say you don't."
She stared and waited. He hung his head and tried to pull away from her. She wouldn't let him go; she tightened her arms around his waist and held him to her.
"I love you Alejandro! You are the love of my life, I will never, ever love any man the way I love you. And that's why you have to go. I would hate myself if you stayed here in this city and were full of unhappiness and regret over what could have been. I'd love for you to stay here with me forever, but not at the cost of your individual success. At the cost of your personal happiness."
"But you make me happy! How can you say you want my happiness and tell me to leave you?"
Sean reached her hands up to stroke the stubble growing along his jaw.
"Because that's what you do when you love someone as deeply as I love you. You sacrifice your own happiness to make them happy. I'm thinking only of you. "
"What about all the plans we've made?" he asked pushing her hands away from his face and backing her against the near wall. "What about the house we were going to buy together? The children we'd have? All that is thrown away for a dream of what? Palm trees and movie stars? No! I won't do it. I won't go. You hear me?" he said shaking her in his arms. "I'm not going anywhere so you can get this nonsense out of your head!"
Sean slipped from him and sunk down onto the bed. She then turned and pulled him down to sit beside her. Her heart was so heavy and she hated being the bad guy in this situation, but she had to do this. She saw his expression those times when he thought he was alone. That longing he felt for something better than a shoebox with no dream. The regret that he'd felt was so palpable; it was becoming another person residing in their already too small apartment.
"You want to go Alejandro-"
"No! I-" Sean held up a hand to quiet him.
"Let me finish," she said. "I know you want to go. I've seen it in your eyes; the what if. What if I had of gotten that part, or what if I hadn't come to Louisiana, what if I'd gone straight to California? I know you're thinking these things because I've been thinking them too."
He looked up at her at that moment and she saw it right then in his eyes. All the fear and uncertainty, stifled dreams, the doubt and the hidden resentment. But what she also saw was five years of love. She watched as tears flowed freely from his eyes and she'd never felt closer to him than in that moment. He scooped her up in his arms and held her so tightly she could barely breathe and yet she wanted more.