Esperanza Ch. 01byimagine_that©
Esperanza shook her head in irritation as she sipped on her third latte. Taylor was late. Again. They had agreed to meet there at four and it was now a quarter til five. Taylor was the epitome of fashionably late. One time, she was supposed to pick Esperanza up from the airport and Esperanza had waited two hours before finally calling a cab in frustration. Taylor claimed that she had gotten sidetracked, which translated to I'm with my boyfriend. Taylor regularly forgot about their plans when she was involved with a guy.
So, Esperanza was pissed but not surprised to receive a text message from Taylor saying that she couldn't make it. Looking down at her cell, Esperanza dialed Taylor's number and waited until she answered.
"Hey Ronnie! Did you get my text? Something came up."
Esperanza sighed heavily into the phone. "Would that 'something' happen to be named David?" David was Taylor's current boyfriend. He was a musician and constantly dragged Taylor to his gigs because he was trying to make it big.
Taylor gave a breezy laugh. "Oh my god, you're so paranoid! It has nothing to do with David! Girl, I need to fix you up because you're no fun when I'm dating somebody."
Esperanza rolled her eyes, but then realized that Taylor couldn't see her anyway. She hated when Taylor called her Ronnie. That was a boy's name!
"Well, what's so important that you stand your best friend up?" She smirked and took another sip of her drink as she waited for Taylor to think of a good lie.
"Oh...um...well...you know how my job just relocated me back to the area? Well, I've been looking for a place for a while, and I can't find anything I like, so Mike, erm, I mean Dad, is letting me stay with him until I secure a place."
Esperanza choked on the liquid at Taylor's statement, and the coffee seared her throat as it went down. "Wait...What? You're staying with Mike? Since when?"
"Since an hour ago," Taylor said. "I asked him to let me crash and he graciously said yes. I'm packing up my shit right now so that I can get out of this hotel and move in. See, I have a legitimate excuse this time!
"By the way, he asked about you. You should come by tomorrow and say hi since he hasn't seen either one of us in four years."
Before Esperanza could reply, she heard a crash in the background. Taylor cursed and said, "My laptop just fell! Call me when you come to Mike's house tomorrow, ok? Bye hun!"
Esperanza took a deep breath as she put her phone on the table and thought about how the mere mention of his name affected her. Mike was the most gorgeous man that she had ever met. Even at the age of 53, he had the body and agility of a professional soccer player. She closed her eyes and visualized his tanned skin, dirty blond hair, and those languid green eyes that constantly twinkled.
Esperanza laughed at herself. Here she was, a young woman with a budding career, and great connections that had her meeting men almost every day. Men her own age. But, no, she just had to have a decade-long crush on a guy twice her age. And to top it all off, it had to be her best friend's father!
Ten years was a long time to have a crush. Taylor thought that she had gotten over it when they left home for college, and Esperanza didn't correct her. It was better that way.
Esperanza thought back to how it all started. She had met Taylor in the fifth grade. They seemed to be the most unlikely of pairs. Appearance-wise, they were salt and pepper. Personality -wise, they were night and day. Where Taylor was tall and lanky, with creamy white skin and strawberry-blond hair, Esperanza was short and already showing signs of a curvy body. She was toffee-colored and had big curly hair that refused to be tamed. And where Taylor was social and sometimes obnoxious, Esperanza was shy and didn't mind being in the background. They were total opposites but became fast friends when the other girls teased Esperanza about her massive hair and Taylor stood up for her.
Years later, their bond further increased when Taylor's parents divorced. The girls were fifteen. Surprisingly, Taylor chose to stay and live with her father. Esperanza clearly remembered that day.
She had asked, "Why didn't you with your mom?"
Taylor had looked at her for a long moment and her answer was so low that Esperanza strained to hear. "I lost my family but I can't lose my best friend too."
Esperanza was touched, especially since she knew that Taylor had a closer relationship with her mom.
It was two months after Taylor's mom left when Esperanza realized that she liked Taylor's dad. He was so nice, and he let her stay over on weekends with Taylor. One Saturday morning she woke up early because Taylor's room was hot and she wanted something cool to drink. Halfway down the stairs, she froze. She could easily see the kitchen from her position. Mike was making pancakes and whistling. That was normal, except that he was shirtless. Esperanza's face grew hot as she ogled him. She didn't know that a dad could have a body like that. She could actually count his abs! When he turned to get more batter, she back-pedaled up the stairs before he spotted her. From that day on, her attraction to him manifested itself in her being awkward around him.
That awkwardness had never left, even though she was now twenty-six. Though she hadn't seen him since she and Taylor graduated from college, she was nervous.
Esperanza stood and gathered her things. Tomorrow would be a challenge.