tagMatureLeft Behind Ch. 02

Left Behind Ch. 02

byHypoxia©

Author's note: This fictional romance includes mature, bisexual, and multiracial elements. Nobody under age 18 engages in sex here. For readers' convenience, most non-Anglish language communications are presented in loose Anglish translation.

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LEFT BEHIND ch.02
(the calm before the shitstorm)

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SATURDAY

Rosa awoke naked and alone in another strange bed, slightly hungover and pot-buzzed, and rather bladder-full and hungry. Her brain took a few million instants to retrieve memories and awareness. Oh yes, she was in her cousin Serena's extra bedroom. In Petaluma, California. Nowhere near Guadalajara, or Bobo, or anything else in her past.

She crawled from under the covers and stumbled, nude and cold, to the bathroom down the hall. A long piss, a quick hot shower and dry-off, and back to the room to dress casually for a warm autumn day: bright blouse over knee-shorts and sandals, an amber bracelet, a ruby star on a gold chain around her neck.

She checked herself in the mirror. Not bad for an old broad, she thought. Tight ass; toned legs; flat tummy; tempting tits. She pursed her lips. Face is not too bad, either.

Serena's kitchen was empty. Rosa heard raspy snores echoing in the hallway. She smiled and poured boiling water in the French coffee press. Her little cousin must have imbibed a bit more than her last night.

Rosa carried the coffeepot and cup and a couple day-old pan dulces to a redwood chaise on the deck. She sipped her Chiapas coffee -- Serena got the good stuff! -- and nibbled the sweet pastries. Her drowsy eyes took in the vivid view of dawn-lit oak woodlands beyond a rolling pasture scattered with longhorned, longhaired Highland cattle.

She thought about the present and, inevitably, the future. So much to do, yes, but not on a Saturday. The documentation would wait till Monday -- the I.D.s, money cards, birth-control pill prescription, job application, all that stuff.

But, she COULD do start three things today: finding an apartment, yes, and a vehicle -- those would wait till Serena was up -- and the divorce process. She pulled out her Android phone, fully-charged this time, and punched-in a Guadalajara number.

"Bueno," an older woman's voice grated a greeting.

"Cici, is that you? It's Rosa here."

"Rosa! Where the hell are you, girl? Word's out that you were kidnapped or something! You okay?"

"I'm fine, I'm great. Just don't tell anyone I called, claro?"

"Sure, I can keep secrets, you know that! So where are you, and why?"

"I can't tell you much, just that I'm up in El Norte, in California. And I need your help. Professional lawyer-type help. Put on your abogado hat for a minute, okay?"

" ¡Claro! My office is officially open. Go ahead."

"Cici, I'm through with Bobo. I'm going to divorce that pendejo. I'll need a sly lawyer and a cheap judge to get rid of the jerk fast, right? And you're pretty sly. You know any easy judges?"

"Ha! So, you've finally come to your senses. It's about time you dumped his ass! Sure, I'll help. I should be able to swing it, and it won't cost too much. I have some cheap and easy judges in hand. You in a big hurry, yeah?"

"Soon is good. Sooner is better. Soonest is best."

Cici giggled. Her smoke-roughened voice made it sound ominous. "Don't I know! For a small bonus, I can probably have you free by Tuesday, maybe Wednesday. Will that be fast enough?"

"Beautiful! You can email me the papers to sign, right?"

"Sí, we can do a lot of this electronically. I'll need a physical address to send to final decree."

"I'll have an address in a couple days, I hope. Wait, just send anything to me at poste restante, what they call General Delivery here, yeah, to the main post office in... let's see, Sacramento."

"So you're somewhere around there?"

"Sort of. Lo siento, I'm sorry I must be secretive, but Bobo has a defective, I mean a detective looking for me. He might send others around. So I need to be careful."

"Comprendo, I understand. I can't reveal what I don't know, for sure. Okay, I'll put some paper and money together in front of the right eyes. We'll have you cut loose from Bobo in just a couple days."

"You're a goddess, Cici! I can't thank you enough!"

"Oh, sure you can, heh heh. You can start by telling me what happened."

Rosa related a much-censored story of being abandoned and forgotten, LEFT BEHIND in a roadside diner by family who did not notice her absence till the next day. She told of making her way from Texas to California. She did not mention the night with LaVonne, coerced blowjobs, the attempted carjacking, or loot. Even if Cici was a good friend and an officer of the court in Mexico, there were things she did not Need To Know, not just now.

"Hmmm girl, there's lots more to it than that; I can tell. But that's all I'm going to get now, isn't it? Okay, that's enough for the moment. But next time we're together, you ARE going to tell me EVERYTHING! That's part of my price."

"I promise you, you'll get the whole story at the right time." Rosa heard sounds from inside the condo. "Hey, I've got to go. You have my number and email. Contact me anytime."

"You be careful, girl. Bobo's an asshole. You watch out for him."

"You know it! Adios, mija,, I'll talk to you soon."

Serena stumbled barefoot to the deck wearing tight jeans and a glaring LADY GAGA tee. Turquoise studs glittered at her ears. Wraparound polarized shades shielded her bloodshot eyes.

Rosa almost laughed. "Light's a little bright, hey?"

Serena moaned. "You got any coffee left there? Oh shit, all gone -- okay, I'll make myself a pot." She shakily grabbed the French press and staggered back inside.

She emerged a few minutes later with coffee, cup, cinnamon-sugar cookies, and a banana. "Got my treatment right here. Usually it works." She settled into her chaise beside Rosa. "Umm, good morning, some shit like that." She grimaced and sipped her coffee. "Almost too much fun..."

"It was finishing the cheap mezcal gusano that got you," Rosa observed. "You shouldn't have swallowed the worm."

"Oh no, I've GOT to get the worm! I need the protein." She shook her head. "Ouch. And now I need rejuvenation. I'm thirty already! I'm getting old!"

"Hey kid, I've got five years on you, and I don't feel near as bad as you look. And that little worm... what we both need are big juicy worms, right? Big juicy warm worms, attached to big juicy guys. So where's your guy?"

"That bastard! Nguyen is such a child sometimes. He's five years younger than me and has enough energy to keep it up most of the night. But I bet he's keeping it up for some puta right now! We're going to have a little chat, oh yes we are." Another slug of coffee. "After I catch him."

"Maybe it's time you got a new boy?" Rosa challenged her cousin.

Serena sighed. "I'm thinking on that. I'll see. I mean, he's... hung. And skillful." She giggled shrilly. "He really is fun. When he's here, anyway."

"Well, maybe you should hunt-up some more reliable fun. Just saying. And after you feel somewhat human today, let's go hunting for a place for me, and some wheels, okay?"

"What else we got to do today? Sure, give me a few minutes. My head's almost clear and I don't feel too barfy any more. We can hit the manager's office, see if they've got any little vacancies."

They did, and they did. Rosa soon held the keys to quarters in an adjacent building. Nothing fancy, only an eight-yard-square furnished studio with bath and kitchen, but its small deck overlooked the same expansive rural view as Serena's.

Rosa's motor needs were just as simple, and quickly fulfilled. Serena's mulberry Toyota Celica trailed behind Rosa's used demon-red Husqvarna dual-sport motorbike (with panniers and matching leathers, boots, and helmet) as they twisted over winding grades and through the Valley of the Moon to downtown Sonoma for a late lunch.

They took a sidewalk table just down the block from Sonoma's old Spanish mission and munched gourmet sandwiches washed down with flavored sparkling water. Children played noisily in the tree-covered town plaza across the road.

"You going to see what Nguyen's up to?" Rosa toyed with her new helmet.

The younger woman sighed. "I guess I'd better." She texted a message. "He better answer soon." She laid her phone on the table. "I'm a sucker."

They basked in the balmy afternoon and the feel of the old Spanish village Sonoma used to be. Completely gringo-ized now, of course, but the roots were still evident. This was definitely not a New England-style town square.

Rosa and Selena were beautiful, curvy, mature Latinas wearing tight, provocative garb. They attracted the attention of passersby of all genders, but Western civility left them unmolested.

Serena's phone eventually buzzed a Habañera rhythm. "Aha, so he's finally replied. Let's see... 'ALL CLRD UP, CYA SOON, -N.' Well, that was... succinct. Let's head back home." She did not seem enthusiastic.

They took an easier route westward across rolling hills and up the wide Petaluma River valley, past agricultural acreage, old warehouses, newer industrial parks, and the big-box data centers of Silicon Valley North.

Rosa stood her bike next to the Corolla in the sub-level parking area.

"I'll just come up for my stuff and get moved into my studio."

"Sure, I'll help you carry it over." They climbed the stairway together.

Serena's door was open. "What's this?" Music flowed from inside. Serena skipped ahead.

When Rosa caught up, she saw a younger threesome grind-dancing in the living room to fast Syrian pop music. Two Tonkinese men in black jeans, tees and sneakers bumpily sandwiched a gyrating Tamil girl wearing sandals, a long orange singlet, and not much else. Serena stood with her hands on her hips, glaring.

"Nguyen!" she yelled. The shorter, older-looking man detached his groin from the girl's bubbly butt and strutted toward Serena.

"Baby! Hi there!" he crooned. "About time you got home! Gimmee a kiss!"

Serena looked reluctant but allowed his approach. She turned her head so his lips landed on her cheek. He ran his hands over her shoulders and sides.

"Hey baby, how ya doing?" He glanced at Rosa, then returned his attention to Serena. "So your cousin got here, huh? Phat! Sorry I wasn't here yesterday. Just thought I'd give you two some time together. But what you say we ditch this bunch, have some private time, y'know? It's been a couple days. Damn, I missed you!" He was stroking her arms now.

Serena seemed to melt a little. Oho, Rosa thought, so she's crushing on this flaky pissant? Dame chanza, gimmee a break! Well hell, she's a grown woman -- she gets to make whatever mistakes she wants. Rosa shook her head.

"Uhh yeah, Guy, I missed you too? What happened yesterday?"

"Oh well, it was nothing, really, just minor shit. But forget that..."

Nguyen almost dragged Serena down the hallway to the larger bedroom. The young couple kept dancing till one track faded into the next. The sweaty girl pirouetted away and thumbed a phone on a side table; the music stopped. She twirled back and took the young man's arm.

"Hey Sammy, you going to introduce us? Is this that cousin of Serena's we've heard so little about?"

"Looks like the snapshot of her, sure. Ummm, hi. Did Serena mention me? I'm Guy's little brother, Sang Trinh, but everyone knows me as Sammy. This is my girlfriend Ellilisai Prabakar; we call her Lily. You're Rosa, right?"

"Yes, I'm Rosa Cortés, or I will be again in a couple days, after my divorce goes through. Do you kids know Serena well? She hasn't mentioned you to me."

"We see Serena when she's with Guy sometimes," Lily said. "We party a little, y'know, now and then."

Hijole, Rosa thought, these chicos must be half my age. Is my cousin really hanging with children? But Serena didn't seem too happy with their dance thing. I wonder what's going on...

"Anyway, I just got a place here. Serena was going to help me haul my stuff over but I think she's busy now."

Entertaining noises drifted down the hallway. Thumping; moaning; et cetera.

Sammy had the grace to look embarrassed. "Uh yeah, sounds like. Say, we'll help if you want. You got much?"

"No, just a few bags, but a little more than I can carry at once. Thanks!"

The three retrieved Rosa's belongings. She closed the door behind them as they left; Serena doesn't need any walk-in surprises, she thought.

They chatted as they walked to Rosa's new studio apartment. Or rather, the kids blabbed and chattered, volunteering more information than Rosa really needed to know. Yes, they were half her age. Both recently graduated from Petaluma High School and were in their first term at Frisbee University.

"Huh?" Rosa asked.

Lily laughed. "Sonoma State U, just up the road. Long time ago, they had a world frisbee championship or something, so everyone started calling it Frisbee U."

Both were majoring in Physical Therapy and concentrating on sports work. "Long as there's teams, athletes will get hurt, they'll need expert PT, so it's a good, solid career move," Sammy said. "And it's sort of a way to atone for our families."

"Atone?" Rosa was only allowed time for one-word questions.

"Yeah, we both work in our families' businesses," Lily explained. "Guy and Sammy's family are petty scuzzy; they run a chain of smoke shops, cigarette stores. My people are high-rent in comparison -- we have liquor stores. So our families live by helping people ruin themselves."

"And we're going to help put folks back together. It's like a calling or something. We're, like, giving back what we can. Not like Guy -- he's happy with just pushing product and making money," Sammy sighed and frowned. "Maybe he'll grow up someday."

"Or maybe not," Lily said. "Not our problem. He'll be the brother-in-law I'll ignore as much as possible. Like when he's bumping up against me."

"Dancing...?" Rosa managed to inject.

"Oh, that!" Lily laughed. "Yeah, he's a real perv. I was grinding nice with Sammy, and Guy came up and slammed me, and that's about the time you and Serena got here. Good thing! Guy thinks he's hot shit but to me, he'll always be a loser."

"Hey, that's my big bro you're talking about!" Sammy feigned indignation, and then laughed along. "And you're absolutely right. He's a user and a loser -- he can use people for only so long before they get tired of his shit. He's been with Serena for, what? A few months, like since the start of summer. That's been, like, about the longest relationship he's ever had."

And it is not going to last much longer, Rosa thought; she had felt Serena's vibes. Still, she had to admit he showed a flash of animal magnetism or something, something disturbing. She pushed that thought from her mind.

"Rosa, what are you gonna do here?" Lily asked. "You got your own place, so I guess you're staying awhile, right? Serena didn't tell Guy much and he hasn't told us fuck-all, only that you're her Mexican cousin or something. You have real good English -- better than Guy's, and he was born here."

"So was I, muchacha." Rosa considered how much to reveal. "I'm from Tucson originally. Spent half my life there and half in Guadalajara. I'll just say that I'm through with life in Jalisco. Serena thinks I can get a job here easily, so I'll see what happens."

The three reached Rosa's studio entry. She unlocked the door and led the youngsters inside. "Just throw my stuff on the bed. I'll unpack and move in later. Thank you both so much for helping me! I'm sorry I can't offer you anything. I haven't had a chance to stock up."

"S'okay. And we've got to get going." Sammy glanced at his smartwatch. "Yeah, just enough time." He looked back up. "You're a pretty classy lady, Rosa. Hope you do well here. We'll see you again, for sure."

Sammy stuck out his hand. Rosa leaned into his lean, black-clad form for a quick hug, then turned to Lily to lightly squeeze her thinly-covered curvy body. Pretty nice kids, Rosa admitted to herself.

Rosa unpacked quickly and efficiently. Not much here, and that's good, she thought. I won't be tied down. She already had a mental list of what her kitchenette and bathroom needed. She retrieved her Husqvarna, spun-out to the nearest Safeway market, and bought just enough to fill the bike's panniers. Then back for another load, and her shopping was done.

She had settled into her new home by dusk. She wondered, now what? Saturday night and nothing to do. Well, there's always the fall-back: get drunk. She mixed an iced spritzer pitcher of cheap red wine disguised by citrus soda, grabbed her ThinkPad, and eased into the chaise on her small rear deck.

She keyed in her inquiries. The family store's accounts looked good. Her name was not in any news feeds, but Ally the carjacker's was -- she still had not talked. Her legal-aid lawyer was proclaiming entrapment. Bobo's tonto (moron) of a detective, one Tomás Echiverria, was busy chasing leads in Florida. Rosa smiled. So, her spoofed emails had worked VERY well.

Rosa switched-off her computer and her mind. Refill her glass with wine spritzer. Gaze over the darkening orchards and pastures. Try to see stars through the light marine-layer overcast. Don't think about the past or any improbable future. Be here now. Ommm...

She only spilled a little wine on herself when she fell asleep.

*****


Rosa did not usually pass out past siesta hours. She woke around midnight, chilled, stiff, ache-y, dry-mouthed, slightly hungover -- nothing a sweater and a little more spritzer would not fix. Hungry, too. How lazy was she?

Just lazy enough, she decided. She checked the TripAdvisor and Yelp listings on local late-night home-delivery eateries. Hmmm, the choices were Italian, Eritrean, Nepalese, and Korean. No Mexican; no mamacita wanted to be working this late. She decided on Korean -- but no Kim Chee! ¡Jesús y María! What that stuff did to her guts!

Rosa flicked her room's TV on to a premium channel, nicely provided by management. Dinner theatre: Korean Bar-B-Que, sangria spritzer, and a Game of Thrones episode. The Thrones story might have been lifted straight from the doings of Mexico's cartels, almost a costume docudrama. Rosa was amused.

And after the show, she mused. Not that she looked forward to an all-night what-to-do session -- but she needed to get some things clear in her fuzzy head. Might as well make a list.

A roof and transportation: got them. Food and clothes: got those, too. Local identification and money cards, including banking account, and necessary prescriptions: coming right up. Other cards and papers: ask Serena. Job and income: also coming right up, according to Serena.

Okay, the basics are in, or will be soon. What DIDN'T she have yet? Most important: a divorce. She made a note to check with Cici on Monday.

Next most important: friends. Not quite so easy to arrange, but she would see what could be done. So far, she had been here just a couple days, and only knew Serena, Nguyen, Sammy, and Lily. She would need to greatly enlarge that circle of acquaintances. She would meet co-workers (or what some gringos called cow-orkers) and tradespeople, sure. She made a note to find social groups to infiltrate.

Next most immediate: sex. But no pricks inside her till after the divorce. She was an honest, faithful woman; she kept her vows, even if her pig of a husband Bobo did not. She did not cheat. Well, oral-genital with a man or woman was not really cheating, was it?

A little more wine spritzer. A few more puffs on the hash pipe Serena had left her. A lonely session in bed with her active fingers. Oops, make another note: buy toys.

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