Duplicity Ch. 13bypartial2passion©
As the wedding guests awoke they slowly made their way into the kitchen. There they met Sienna's father Frank and his wife Latisha. Curious glances snuck a peak at the pair, but quickly left to enjoy their day. Nicole's cousins of course knew Frank well and wondered what kind of drama the day would unfold.
Dressed in a tailored suit and tie, matching handkerchief and sunglasses; Frank looked like he didn't mind being overdressed. In fact he looked like he rather liked making a big entrance.
Having his own construction company for many years Frank did very well for himself. He was clean cut and had a smooth dark brown complexion and a well-trimmed goatee. And at 6'2" he was lean and muscular.
His wife Latisha was just a couple years older than Sienna. She was stunning to look at and she knew it. She had large sparking brown eyes with long lashes, glowing brown skin and a lean figure.
She carried herself as if she was of old money, but her speech gave her away. She spoke with her hands making sure to flash her jewelry every chance she'd get. Seemingly friendly and approachable, she was eager to chat with anyone who would listen. However conversations with her would quickly steer towards her favorite subject... herself.
On the other hand, Frank grew quiet after observing his ex-wife and ex-best friend for a while. He seemed withdrawn as he stewed in his murky thoughts.
Sharon nervously looked around the room. Not because she was uncomfortable with her ex-husband and his wife. She hadn't really paid them any mind. She worried about her kids. There was so much that plagued her mind. She still couldn't believe Sean was alive. Alive but in danger. And now he was gone... again. It would kill her if anything happened to him again.
If she would've just sat them all down years ago and told them the truth; things would be better. They might have not even been in this situation. But she truly believed she was doing the right thing all those years ago.
Frank observed Sharon. She seemed fidgety and uncomfortable. At first this made him happy because he thought he was the reason. Here he was looking pretty good and doing well for himself and had a gorgeous young wife on his arm. Without a doubt his ex-wife would be jealous or rather should be jealous. However when Sharon was nonchalant about seeing them, it surprised him.
Frank thought Sharon would gossip with Gigi and say some snide remark about him, but nothing. Nothing at all.
In fact what was really surprising was that "megaphone Gigi", who usually could be heard a mile away; had been quiet and reserved all day. It was as if someone finally shot Gigi with the tranquilizer gun he'd wished for throughout the years. Even Jose was somewhat cordial and that never happened. Something was up, they were just too quiet. And it annoyed him. He despised not knowing things when it came to those three.
After dinner Jason and Sienna went out on an errand while the wedding guests socialized in the living room. Sienna hadn't spoken to her mom or anyone else for that matter and she welcomed any excuse to get out of the house. She needed to handle one thing at a time. Sean was first, the rest they would figure out later. Nicole made up some excuse as well and after dinner went straight to her room.
Frank and his wife idly made conversation with the others in a politician-like manner. This involved lots of fake laughter and sarcastic jabs. The alcohol loosened their tongues, especially Latisha's. While Frank was on a mission to find out what was up with the three stooges.
Slowly Latisha's voice got louder and louder and her jokes became a bit more inappropriate. With Frank off trying to investigate, she had been left to her own devices. Steadily she drank more and more until her words slurred.
The groomsmen discretely laughed while she became more and more flirtatious with them. She even offered to give Carlos the best lap dance he'd ever had. At that they tried keep their composure because rumor had it that was where Frank met his wife... while she was working as an exotic dancer.
When she tried to climb a table to give the boys a better view; Frank promptly told her it was time for bed. Yet she snatched her hand away and yelled that she wasn't tired. When her tantrum ended, she slipped out of her heels and promptly curled up on the nearest couch. She said she just needed little nap.
A humiliated Frank looked around and noticed all the pity-filled glances and found himself alone. Oh hell no. Pity was something he would not tolerate. It sparked something nasty in him. He knew whose fault all of this really was. His gaze zeroed in on Jose and stalked towards him like a heat-seeking missile.
"Jose." Frank spat.
Frank couldn't conceal the deep hatred for the man he once considered his best friend.
On the other hand Jose didn't want to deal with Frank right now. He was on edge from this morning's fallout. His face still stung from Abuelita and her damn good aim. But most of all he worried about Sean. He fucked up so bad, he had to fix it. And now this assole? He'd better get out if his way. All he needed was an excuse.
The men sized each other up as if two tigers ready to pounce. Although Jose was definitely taller and packed more muscle, Frank held his own. He took care of his body and it showed. He wasn't intimidated by Jose's menacing stare. Jose had strength but Frank had speed in his favor.
"You gotta a lot of nerve Jose. What, are you gonna claim Sienna as your daughter too? You gonna try to walk her down the isle? I'm... her father. Not you."
"And where have been you Frank? You haven't been a goddamned father to that girl in years. Sienna is your flesh and blood and when have you ever given a fuck?"
Frank was taken aback by his words. That stung deeper than he wanted to admit.
Jose deeply sighed. "You know what? I don't want to do this here Frank."
He was wiling to drop this whole thing. He knew where this would go and didn't want to disrespect Jason's home, but then Frank spoke again.
"You don't wanna do this here? Fuck you Jose. You didn't mind doing this when it came to my wife!"
Jose's eyes widdened in shock. He'd never said the words out loud before, especially not in front of family. Jose looked around and noticed everyone's attention was now on them. And it was exactly what Frank wanted all along.
Jose shook his head in disgust. "After all this time you're still a sad fuck. You know damn well it's not that simple, but if you wanna go there..."
Frank stepped right in Jose's face. "Hell yeah I'm fucking going there. You took me there."
"Frank please! Stop this." A soft voice chimed in from behind.
Rage bubbled up within Frank. "Sharon... I should have known, always defending him. You'll never change. So how does little situation work exactly? Do you switch off days with Gigi or do you just fuck him on the weekends like those sister-wives?"
A soft gasp echoed in the room.
A swift blow landed square on Frank's mouth. It was so quick even Frank was surprised. When he came to, he shook his head and slowly wiped the blood from his lip. His notrils flared and his clenched his teeth.
No one knew who landed the next blow, it was all a blur. They could not distinguish one from the other as arms and legs flew in the scuffle.
Nicole's cousins rolled Latisha's sleeping body to the side and squeezed together on the couch as they watched the spectacle. They calmly chatted as if talking about the weather. Not one of them moved to stop it but instead started taking bets.
John, Carlos and Billy heard the commotion from the terrace and rushed in and started to try to break the men up. Just as they were going to jump in, the cousins stopped them.
"Yo! You guys don't want to get in between that. The only thing you'll get is a black eye or maybe a broken rib. Leave them alone, they'll get tired and stop in a minute. This is how our family works shit out." Roberto calmly explained.
Luis, Ana and Isabella nodded in agreement.
Ana continued, "Oh my gosh the last time they fought was years ago and we tried to break them up. They got so mad when we stopped them, they ate us alive and said we we're a bunch of little shits that had no right messing with grown folk's business. They have history; we always thought they fought about money or something." Ana's gaze landed on Sharon. "But I guess not... If you try to stop them they'll probably just get really mad at you. And believe me you don't want them mad at you. Together those two are scary as hell."
John, Carlos and Billy still wore shocked expressions as they heard the grunts and muffled cries from the fighting men. They collectively cringed when they saw Frank take another blow to the face. They couldn't understand how they could all be so calm in the middle of all this.
"Ya'll in? Fifty on the winner." Luis excitedly said.
The groomsmen continued to stare at the cousins. This was one weird ass family.
Finally John shrugged his shoulders."What the hell..." He said as he pulled the money from his wallet. He might as well try to get in good graces with Nicole's dad.
Billy and Carlos watched as Gigi came up to Sharon and whispered something in her ear. Already fed up, Sharon scoffed in agreement and gestured for them to get out of there. They muttered something about them being a bunch of fools that were too old to act like idiots and they stomped towards the terrace bar.
Shortly after the cousins and now all of the groomsmen were hooting and hollering as they cheered for Jose.
Frank and Jose let out grunts as each tried to get in another hit. Jose quickly secured Frank in a headlock. Frank was breathing heavily as he struggled to get out of his hold. One of the groundskeepers came in from the outside and immediately approached the men to try to pry Jose off of Frank.
"Don't you dare get him off of me!" Frank ground out through clenched teeth still in the headlock. He narrowed his eyes at the innocent man until he backed away slowly.
"I don't need anyone's help."
Jose scoffed at that, sure he didn't... He'd probably be begging to let him go in a minute. Jose's mind slowly drifted to the last time he play wrestled with Sean when he was small. Jose would make Sean believe he had him in a tight hold. Then as Sean struggled, Jose would let him take him down and fall to the ground in surrender. Jose's mouth twitched into a smile as he let those heartfelt memories wash over him.
Unfortunately Jose didn't realize he let up his hold in that moment of distraction. Frank quickly maneuvered his way out of the tight hold, pulled Jose's legs from out of him and slammed him on the floor. Jose let out a curse. Frank wrapped his legs around Jose's neck and trapped his arms. He held him there in some kind of wrestling move.
Several cries of defeat echoed in the room.
"I knew it! Oh shit! His signature move. Pay up bitches..." Luis said in a singsong voice. He jumped up in victory. "I told ya'll Uncle Jose was off his game today."
Everyone groaned and complained about this being some bullshit, but slowly passed their bills to Luis. They argued which one of the men had better chances. Although Jose's headlock was legendary, once Frank had him in his wrestling hold... they knew it was over.
Luis was the only one to go against the grain and bet on Frank and he was so happy he did. He was even happier to rub it in everyone's faces. He joyfully laughed and smelled the bills and then fanned himself with it.
Not that he needed the money; he was quite wealthy. He just loved to win. He'd always been very competitive. He was known for betting on any and everything. Even as a little kid he was usually the one to instigate the others to see who could drink the nastiest concoction the fastest or who could jump the highest or who could hold his breath under water the longest; and then bet on the winner; usually with candy or toys.
As an adult he managed to turn this into a successful career as a professional poker player. Although this just masked his little gambling problem. He didn't see it as a one because he almost always won. Just like now, he managed to rake in everyone's money.
Luis now looked around at the angry faces and smiled. And as if he couldn't help being more annoying; he went one by one bopped everyone on the forehead with the thick wad of bills. He crouched down and even bopped the still sleeping Latisha on the head. However when he got to Isabella, her icy glare stopped him in his tracks.
"Touch me with that shit and we'll all bet to see how fast I can stuff it down your throat..."
Luis's hand stopped mid-air while his mouth hung slightly open. His breath slowly left him like a disinflated balloon.
He let out a nervous chuckle and pointed the wad of bills at her. "Not funny." The memory of what she last did to him was still fresh on his mind.
By this time Frank and Jose were finally tired. Frank could keep him locked for a long time and everything on Jose's body hurt. As if reading his mind, Frank narrowed his eyes at Jose and in response Jose rolled eyes and then nodded. Slowly Frank let up his hold of him and they both let out a sigh of relief.
"Alright people, it looks like the shows over." Roberto announced. And with that they all, except the still sleeping Latisha, made their way to the terrace. Frank and Jose groaned in agony. They weren't as young as they used to be.
Frank's right cheek quickly swelled and turned shades of purple while Jose nursed his right side while he limped. Frank leaned on the wall after accepting an ice pack and towel from Eleni the housekeeper. After giving Jose his, Eleni cringed and shook her head at both of them and left them alone. With the wall as a support Frank and Jose slid to the floor.
After a moment of silence...
Frank took deep pulls of air and his heart beat erratically. "You took everything from me." He whispered bitterly. He was so tired, but still just as hurt as he'd been all those years ago.
Jose's narrowed eyes pinned him as the memories flashed before him. "You know damned well... You took everything from me first." He said through clenched teeth.
Frank's face hardened as he was still in denial, but slowly a stream full of memories flooded into him. He didn't want to admit it, but he shared a large part of the blame. It was his fault he lost his family, over and over again. His face softened and he furrowed his eyebrows. He'd been so busy carrying all that resentment all those years; he never stopped to think what he did.
Jose inhaled and deeply exhaled and winced from the throbbing ache in his ribs. He had to hand it to Frank; he was a still a formidable opponent.
Jose exhaled. "If I could change the past I would. Believe me... I would. But I can't. All we can do now is move on. It is possible. You have people that love you Frank... that want you in their lives. Your daughter needs you. Just be there for her."
Frank let out a grunt. He pursed his lips and shook his head. He really didn't think Sienna could possibly need someone like him. For so long he'd convince himself she'd been better off without him.
Jose observed him as he mulled it over. He knew him well and knew where his mind was going. Frank's long history of self sabotage had everything to do with the way he was raised. It was long and painful past, one that long ago Frank confided in Jose about.
"Shit, if you weren't such an asshole most of the time, we all might need you too. You just get so stuck on what people did to you that you don't look at the bigger picture. Once upon a time we were friends for a reason. We were like brothers man... we were brothers."
Frank silently reflected on his words.
Jose sighed and slowly got up and limped towards his room leaving Frank alone with his thoughts.
It was a couple minutes before 8 p.m. and Sean waited in a cabana bar not too far away from where he would meet Layla.
Earlier he'd found a little shop and bought some tourist clothes to try to blend in with the crowds. He changed into a short sleeved shirt and lightweight pants topped with a fedora straw hat. He oozed sex appeal. The shirt hugged his strong arms and his tattoos peeked from underneath and made onlookers do a double take in curiosity. It was odd not being in disguise, he'd gotten used to being Merle.
As he sipped his drink by the bar as he discretely surveyed the area. A couple of young flirty women tried to buy him drinks and engage him conversation, but he respectfully declined.
One of the women, pretending to blame it on the alcohol, brazenly started unbuttoning her shirt to try and make him change his mind.
She was a beautiful redhead who no doubt always got what she wanted. She was so confident she'd succeed; she didn't mind drawing attention to herself. However Sean looked right through her, completely ignoring her. She was so offended; she cursed him out saying he was obviously gay before promptly storming off and yanking her friends with her.
Sean rolled his eyes. The bartender observed him and was surprised he turned her down; she was a stunner.
"Another drink sir?"
"We'll see." He said and then promptly got up and walked towards the beach.
Layla arrived and walked barefoot on the soft warm sand. The sun was setting and the cool breeze gently caressed her brown skin. Her peach floral maxi dress flowed with the gentle wind. She stared into the sparkling sea absorbed in her thoughts.
Sean cautiously approached her from behind. She was so beautiful; it as if God thought of her while making this small piece of paradise. Her delectable long neck looked soft and inviting. Sean took his fill as he observed her.
This is how he wanted to remember her. Beautiful, happy and waiting for him.
Layla enjoyed the sea breeze as her thoughts were filled with only one man. She wondered what he possible had to tell her. As if sensing he was close by, she smiled. But before she turned to see him, two strong hands gently covered her eyes.
Her smile widened and she felt herself relax into him. She leaned into his strong chest relishing his scent and embrace. It felt so good to be with him. He was perfect for her. The salty smell of sea and Merle made her happy.
With his hands covering her eyes, it made her remember their first time together... with that damn blindfold. She cleared her throat as she felt herself grow hot. In her distraction she didn't realize his body felt different behind her.
"What's so important that you had to drag me out all the way out here to tell me?" Layla coyly asked.
Sean kissed the back of her neck and ear. He took advantage as he knew everything would forever change after this moment. God she smelled so good. He didn't want this to end.
He whispered in her ear. "Close your eyes for a minute. There are some things I need to tell you."
Layla let out a soft laugh, "Oh man of mystery, alright. What is it?"
Sean kissed the top of her head as if trying to preemptively heal her of what he was about to say.
"You remember the first time we were here and I stole a kiss from you? Back then I knew you didn't like me and I didn't really like you either. But something drew me to you. I mean I tried... I tried to stay away from you because my life is... complicated. I tried to fight it, but I couldn't help it."
"I'm in love with you Layla. I've known for a while now. You make me... forget my past, just by being you. I know I can tell you everything."
Layla smiled while warmth coursed through her. She loved him too, if there was anything she was sure of it was that. However before she could voice her mutual feelings he continued...