La Cuervo - Chapter 3
She is used to the biker-life, having grown into a woman in the familiar embrace of SAMCRO. A bad decision and a gun-shot later, she gets whisked off to Santo Padre, and put under the protection of another club. What is supposed to be a short stint in the Mayan headquarters just north of the border to Mexico, turns into something more; when la quervo begins to develop feelings for el angel - and he seems to return them in kind...
TW: violence, blood, drug use, alcohol, smut, fluff, angst
In the spirit of "The Crown Princess of Charming", this is a story about O.C. Nina and Angel Reyes. It is obviously non-canon, as characters who have passed on on Mayans M.C. are present in it, and others have been excluded completely. Nina is written as a cis-female, but I have tried to keep her race and looks as ambigous as possible. Should you find any of this story offensive, please let me know, and I will attempt to better my ways.
Bishop was standing outside the clubhouse, smoking a cigarette, when they rolled in. Nina got off the bike, feeling strangely like a teenager caught breaking curfew. She nodded at the president, and was about to move towards the trailer, when Angel grabbed her hand, and leaned in to kiss her cheek.
“Thanks for… last night”, he said.
“You too”, Nina said.
He gave her a crooked smile, and was about to say something else, when Bishop called out for him.
“Angel… Inside. We need to talk”. Angel nodded.
“Daddy’s angry”, he muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
“Yeah”, she replied, and Angel walked off.
“Yo, sweetheart!”, Bishop called after her, as she once again moved towards the trailer. Nina sighed, and turned to look at him. “I made a promise to Chibs. When you pull a stunt like this, you make it really fucking hard to keep that promise”. Angel halted behind his president, a confused look on his face.
“I didn’t leave without a patch”, Nina replied. “Followed your rules”.
Bishop narrowed his eyes at her.
“His patch ain’t the one you should be worried about…”. Nina swallowed hard, and nodded; though slightly confused at his words.
Bishop’s expression softened.
“Look, just… be careful, ok?”. Nina nodded, and he smirked slightly. “You know, you’re lucky I make him get tested every two weeks”. Angel frowned, and Nina chuckled; before finally turning around, and walking over to the trailer, letting herself inside.
She quickly got dressed in clean clothes. The heat hadn’t exactly waned, so Nina decided to switch jeans for shorts and a top. She reminded herself to ask someone about taking her to a laundromat; not having packed a lot. She’d been told to leave her small apartment at home in as normal a state as possible. In case someone did come looking for her, SAMCRO didn’t want to let them know she’d run.
She picked up her jacket to hang it, and a shudder went through her body, as she fished her .38 out of the pocket. It felt heavier than it should, in spite of its smallness, and she felt bile rise in her throat.
A hard knock on the door made her jolt, and she quickly hid the gun under her helmet; before she went over to open. EZ was standing outside, with a friendly smile on his face.
“’Morning”, he said.
“It is”, Nina replied.
“I got breakfast-burritos in the clubhouse”, he offered. Nina shook her head with a smile.
“You didn’t need to do that”.
“I know what’s in my brother’s fridge. I doubt he fed you”, EZ grinned. “Come on”.
She followed the prospect back to the clubhouse, where EZ gestured for her to take a seat by a table. Nina noticed the ginger woman Coco had been spending time with the night before, was seated by the bar; legs crossed and tits pushed out, smiling at the biker, who was trying to ignore her, and focus on his game of pool with Gilly.
EZ put a plate on the table in front of Nina, with a delicious smelling burrito.
“Gabby… She’s a good cook”, he said, his voice adoring. Nina bit in to it, and couldn’t do anything but agree.
“This is delicious. Tell her thanks”, she smiled.
The door to templo opened, and Bishop came out with Taza, Riz and Angel in tow.
“She’s business, Angel. You treat her like any other business we have going on”, Bishop said, and walked over to the bar, accepting a beer from the girl behind it.
“You wouldn’t shove your dick down the barrel of an mk47, would you?”, Taza asked.
Angel stood with his back to Nina, not having noticed her.
“It wouldn’t fit, anyway”, he shrugged.
“Just, don’t complicate things”, Bishop said.
“Bish, it ain’t like that”, Angel said. Bishop looked at him in disbelief. “We fucked, yeah; but…”.
Taza noticed Nina watching them, and patted Angel’s shoulder. He turned around, and locked eyes with her; looking like a handsome deer caught in headlights.
Nina looked down, and chewed her lips. At least they were on the same page, she tried to convince herself. She didn’t know Angel from the next guy; all she did know, was that he was damn good in bed, and liked beers, babes and bikes. They’d had sex, that was it. Still, she couldn’t help but feel his words chafe a bit.
There was a long moment of silence, before Nina decided to put Angel – and herself– out of their misery.
“I was bored, and his shower has good pressure”, she said.
Angel let out an embarrassed laugh, and shrugged, while his friends shook their heads, letting a roaring laughter fill the room.
Everyone went about their biker business, and Nina went back to her breakfast; having lost most of her appetite. She wrapped up the burrito, and pushed away the plate. A mug of coffee was set down in front of her, and she looked up to meet EZ’s apologetic eyes.
“I’m… sorry, about that”, he muttered. “My brother… he’s a good guy, but…”.
“I know how it is. Don’t worry about it”, she smiled in reply.
“How is it, then?”, Angel asked, having walked over to them. EZ left them to it.
“I got an itch scratched, and you got your dick wet. Life goes on”, Nina said.
Angel made a labored sigh, and scratched his bearded chin.
“Look, Nina. I’m…”.
She got on her feet, and put a hand on his arm.
“It’s fine, Angel. We’re good”, she smiled, and got on her toes, to kiss his cheek; doing her best to avoid enjoying his scent. “We had fun”.
He chewed his lip for a moment.
“Yeah, we had fun…”. Taza called for him, and Angel took a step back. “I gotta go take care of something. See you around, Nina”. He went off to talk to the VP.
Nina took a few sips of her coffee, before walking over to get behind the bar. She smiled friendlily at the blonde girl standing there – the same girl, in fact, that Angel had turned down the night before – who looked at her indifferently, and handed her a rag to wipe down the counter. This was familiar territory, and she smiled to herself, as she handed a pair of cold ones to Gilly and Coco; who’d finished their game, and came over to the bar. The redhead immediately pressed up against Coco, who looked like he wanted to dig himself into a deep hole.
“Can I get you anything else, baby?”, she asked, making clear her intentions.
“Nah, I’m good. Let me talk to my brothers for a moment, yeah?”, he replied.
“Sure… I’m just gonna go fix my lipstick”, the woman winked at him, and walked towards the bathroom.
“When’s the wedding?”, Gilly asked.
“Fuck you”, Coco snarled, before nodding at Letty, who’d just walked in the door – looking hungover. “I can’t get her to leave”.
“Who?”, Letty asked, and accepted a coke from Nina.
“Just some chick. I told her the deal, but it’s like she didn’t hear me”, Coco said.
Letty rolled her eyes, and gave the woman a once over, as she came back from the bathroom. When she was once again pressed against Coco – who was looking more and more uncomfortable by the second – Letty took pity on him, and walked over to the pair; putting her head on Coco’s shoulder.
“Are you my new mommy?”, she smiled innocently at the ginger; who froze in place.
Suddenly, it was like she couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
“Sorry, I gotta go”, she muttered, and scuttered of in haste.
Coco smiled crookedly, and shook his head.
“You’re crazy, mija”, he said.
“Nah, I just don’t want a stepmom, who wears that shade of lipstick”, Letty said, and went back to her coke.
Bishop cleared his throat.
“Well, if everyone’s got their dicks back in their pants, we got some business to tend to”, he said.
The Mayans all scattered, and went to their respective jobs around the yard, and wherever else they went, when they did their business.
Nina spent the rest of the day getting her bearings around the scrap-yard, and its office. Chucky’s filing-system might have seemed chaotic to anyone else, but Nina knew it well, and was happy to be occupied with something other than thinking about a certain Mayan and his well-shaped body – especially how it looked naked.
A gorgeous Latina girl showed up in the afternoon, carrying a fantastic smelling bag of Tupperware, and looking for EZ; and Nina was finally introduced to the person who had made her delicious breakfast. She immediately understood why EZ was smitten with Gabby, and couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the two of them dancing around each other like a pair of puppies in love. They took off after an hour or so, so EZ could drive Gabriella home. He returned with the largest smile she’d ever seen on anyone’s face, and went straight to work on a road king in the garage.
During dinner, feasting on Gabby’s delicious tamales with EZ, Nina asked about laundromats.
“There’s one, but there’s only one functioning dryer, and it smells like feet”, EZ said.
“I can wait a few days, but I still need to go at some point”, Nina said. “And I need to get a prescription filled. That’s kind of urgent”. Her inhaler was almost empty, she’d realized that morning.
A roar of bikes came from outside, and Nina got on her feet, taking the plates to wash them behind the bar. EZ followed her, nodding at Bishop, Riz and Angel, as they entered the clubhouse.
“Drug-stores round here are closed at this time of night, but I’ll ask Bishop if I can take you in the morning”, he said.
Nina groaned, and looked out the corner of her eye at the president.
“It’s like needing a fucking hall-pass if I even think about leaving this place”, she muttered. EZ chuckled, and wiped off the plates after she’d washed them.
“Yeah, why is that? Are you on the run from the cops or something?”.
Nina looked down at her hands, suddenly feeling the need to wash them thoroughly. Scrubbing them hard under the tap, she shrugged indifferently.
“Chibs is just protective, I guess. And I hear this area is overrun by outlaw bikers”.
“You know it!”, Riz exclaimed, having arrived at the counter with Angel. “Coffee, please; sweetheart. I’m gonna be spending the night prepping for the run tomorrow”. Nina poured Riz a mug, and looked at Angel.
“Dos Equis”, he said, his demeanor cool. Nina served him the beer, avoiding eye-contact.
“Do you need me for the run tomorrow?”, EZ asked.
“No. Why?”, Riz asked.
“Nina needs to take care of some stuff in town, and I was gonna take her”.
Angel took a sip of his beer, and looked between Nina and EZ.
“What stuff?”, he said with an edge to his voice. EZ scoffed, and shook his head.
“Bro, come on…”, he said.
Riz raised his brows, and backed away from the counter; obviously uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was taking.
“The drug-store, Angel. And then we might go have an orgy; I haven’t decided yet”, Nina said sarcastically.
Angel raised his hands in mock defeat.
“Hey, Bish told us to look out for you. I’m just keeping my eyes on business here”.
“Yeah… I’m gonna turn in. See you tomorrow, EZ”. The prospect looked at her apologetically.
“I’ll talk to Bishop”, he said.
Nina nodded, and walked towards the door.
A strong hand grabbed her lower arm before she could walk outside. Nina scowled up at Angel, who looked remorsefully at her.
“I’m sorry, Nina. That was shitty of me”, he said.
“Don’t worry about it. You should be sorrier about suggesting that your brother would cheat on his girlfriend”, she replied. Angel looked back at EZ, and nodded solemnly.
“Yeah. I know”, he muttered. “Are we good, cuervo?”.
“Of course”, Nina said. “Goodnight, Angel”.
She pulled out of his grasp, and left the clubhouse.
The next day, Taza, Riz, Creeper, Angel and Coco got on their bikes, and in a van, to go north for the SAMCRO-delivery.
“Say hi to Rat and Quinn for me, would you?”, Nina said from the porch, unable to hide the sadness in her voice.
“Will do”, Taza promised, and started his bike. “Let’s not keep reaper waiting”.
Angel sent Nina a slight smile, before Coco patted his shoulder to make him start the van.
EZ had managed to convince Bishop of the urgency of Nina’s drug-store run, and after helping out at the office for a few hours, she got on the back of his bike, to have him take her in to town. Angel had lied about his brother’s ability to ride with a passenger – a fact that didn’t surprise Nina, by the way – because he was probably the safest driver she’d ever ridden with. Overly safe, some might say.
The prospect avoided every bump, and kept well bellow the speed-limit all the way.
After Nina had used her fake ID – No paper trail, luv, Filip had said – to get her new inhaler, EZ asked if she’d be ok with a short stop by his pap’s. Nina couldn’t say no to meeting the elder Reyes; curious to see what kind of man had sired two such different men.
Seeing Gabriella behind the counter of Felipe Reyes’ butcher-shop, Nina understood the prospect’s real reason for wanting to visit his father; though there was no lack of love between him and Felipe, that much was evident by the way they looked at each other.
“She’s playing pop-music again, Ezekiel”, Felipe said, gesturing at a small stereo that was blaring the charts, as he came over to greet his son.
“Amas mi musica”, Gabby grinned. “Hi, Nina”.
“Hey, Gabby. Thanks for all the food!”, Nina replied with a smile.
After EZ had kissed his girlfriend’s cheek, he gestured towards Nina.
“Pap, this is Nina. She’s new in town”.
Felipe shook Nina’s hand.
“Is my boy giving you a tour of the potholes?”, he asked.
“No, he’s the most boring biker I’ve ever ridden with”, she replied with a smile, getting a guffawing laughter from the man.
“See, EZ? I told you!”, Gabby grinned.
“Hey!”, EZ laughed. “I’m just safe”.
“Boring!”, Gabby said.
As EZ and Gabriella went to whisper sweet nothings behind the counter, Nina went to examine the bookcase Felipe had exhibited in his shop.
“Looking for some light reading?”, Felipe asked.
“Always… And, giving the lovebirds some space”, Nina replied, and looked towards the smiling pair behind the counter. She picked up a picture of two smiling boys, each on a bicycle; smiling proudly at the camera. For a second, she felt a sting in her heart.
“That’s EZ”, Felipe said, and pointed at the smaller boy. “And the other one is my eldest”.
“Angel”, Nina said. Felipe chuckled.
“You’ve met him”, he said.
“I’m staying at the scrapyard”, she replied. Felipe raised a brow at her.
“You’re the one who has EZ sleeping on my couch”.
Nina felt her cheeks beginning to burn, and put down the picture again.
“Yeah, I’m… sorry”, she said.
“Don’t be. It’s good to have him home at least some of the time. That… club, takes up a lot of his time”.
Nina chewed her lips for a moment.
“You don’t like the club”, she said. Felipe met her eyes for a second, looking tired suddenly. “Sorry, it’s not my place”, she muttered.
“No… No, it’s alright”, he said, a smile forcing it’s way onto his face. “I suppose all parents have higher hopes for their children, than…”.
“Riding around on motorbikes, and wearing leather in the 100 degrees desert sun?”, Nina said, returning his smile.
“That too”, Felipe said. “Are you what they call a… hangaround?”. Nina’s jaw almost dropped to the floor.
“Pap, that’s rude”, EZ said, having joined them by the bookcase.
“I’m sorry, Nina. I’m not clear on the lingo”, Felipe said.
Nina laughed heartily.
“It’s fine. Really”, she said. “I guess I am. Sort of. It’s a long story”.
EZ put a hand on Nina’s shoulder.
“Angel called. They’re on their way back. We should get back to the yard”.
Nina nodded, and went to follow him to the door.
“Come back some time if you need something to read”, Felipe said. “Or a steak”.
“I might take you up on that”, Nina smiled, and followed EZ out to his bike.
They rode back to the yard; this time with EZ hitting a few bumps on the way there.
The Mayans that had gone on the run returned to the clubhouse shortly after Nina and EZ. She got right to work behind the bar.
It was easy to fall in line as a club hangaround; Nina knew the deal. Serve the beer, keep out of the way, smile, and pretend like you don’t hear or see any of the illegal stuff going on. Her role also made it easier to avoid eye contact with Angel. She was, for lack of a better word, furniture.
It hadn’t been completely the same in Charming, though. There, she’d been far from the regular hangaround, and her status as family made it near impossible for her to be a croweater – god knows, Juice had tried, in his day. The memory of the biker made her frown in sadness for a second, before she shook herself, and served a round of whiskey to a Riz, Creeper and Angel; accepting a shot herself.
“Oh yeah. That scrawny guy, Rat, brought something you forgot at their clubhouse”, Riz said.
He handed her a leather-bound journal. Nina sighed when she took it from him. She hadn’t as much forgotten it, as left it behind; telling herself it was by accident. Opening it was always a strange mix of warm emotions and pain.
“Thanks”, she muttered.
“Is it a diary, or something?”, Creeper asked.
“It’s… yeah, something like that”.
“Yours? Like; dear diary. Today I drank too much tequila, and lost my panties…”, he jeered. Getting a little tired of Creepers attitude, she smirked at him.
“More like; dear diary. Today, a stupid ass biker kept bringing up an embarrassing drunk-story; so, I shot him in the head…”. Her heart dropped as she said the final words, and she cleared her throat. Riz and Creeper laughed at what they found to be a great come-back, while Angel seemed less amused, as he examined her face. She gave them all a strained smile. “I’m gonna go get some air. Leave you gentlemen to it”, she said, grabbed the journal, a cigarette and a lighter, and hurried out of the clubhouse.
Once outside, she went over to the cage she’d been told the club settled their internal arguments in. It was cooler now, and the sky was full of stars.
She went inside the cage, and sat down on the ground; lighting her cigarette, before opening the journal. For a long moment, she just sat there, looking at the picture fastened to the inside of it; of two young boys, smiling. The youngest one was sitting on the back of a pony, that the older one was holding the reins of.
“You want me to kick Creep’s ass for you?”. Nina looked up at Angel, who’d followed her outside. He stepped inside the cage, and leaned against the fence. “I’ll fuck him up. I don’t care if he is a brother”.
“No, it’s fine. He was just joking around”, Nina replied.
Angel sauntered towards her slowly.
“He’s trying to get in your pants, querida”, he said.
“Well, add enough tequila to the equation, maybe he’s got a shot”. She raised a brow at the tall biker.
“Ouch… Moving on so soon, cuervo?”, Angel said with a slight smile.
“Jealous?”, she teased.
“Always”, he replied – exactly as she’d hoped – and sat down next to her.
For a long moment, all that could be heard was the sound of cicadas. Angel ran a finger over the picture of Abel and Thomas.
“These your kids?”, he asked quietly.
“No… But, they’re family. Sort of”, Nina replied. “You got kids?”.
“I fucking hope not”, Angel grinned. “I’d just screw them up”.
“You’re not so bad”, she said, and nudged him with her shoulder.
“Mind telling my pap that?”. Nina raised a brow at him, not wanting to push him to talk about something he wasn’t comfortable with. He took the journal out of her hands, and looked at the two smiling boys in the picture. “Family, you know. Shit… My old man looks at EZ like he’s the sun and moon combined. Me… I’m the fuckup. Even more now, that I dragged his golden boy in to the club”.
“EZ’s a big boy. He makes his own decisions… we all do, at the end of the day”, Nina said, and took back the journal. She took a few huffs of her cigarette. “You look at him that way too, you know”.
“I do?”, Angel frowned. “Fuck, I hope he hasn’t noticed”.
“It’s not wrong to be proud of someone worthy of it. And in spite of your… bad-boy demeanor, he seems to be proud of you as well”.
Angel pondered her words for a moment, before looking at her
“Sorry, I was supposed to make you feel better. That’s why I came out here. I saw how you looked when Creeper was talking about that thing”, he said, and nodded towards the journal.
“It’s ok”, Nina said, and closed it; hugging it against her chest. “I’m just protective of it, is all”.
“Like with the helmet?”, he asked. Nina nodded. “You wanna tell me about it?”.
“What?”, she whispered.
“Those kids… Whoever you got that helmet from… Why we’re sitting on you here, like you’re under witness protection or something…?”. He nudged her shoulder like she had his, and smiled a little. His expression was warm, like he actually cared about what she had to say. The closeness between them felt dangerous, at the same time as it felt perfectly safe, and right.
Nina took a breath, and was about to shrug him of – give him some half story, about being friendly with SAMCRO – when she met Angel’s eyes. His gaze was earnest; trustworthy, even.
“The helmet used to belong to my… someone I used to be really close to. Those are his kids in the picture…”, she said. “I’m holding on to this until they get older. He asked me to give it to them when they're old enough to read it”.
“And he died?”, Angel said.
“Crashed his bike into an oncoming truck…”, she said.
“Shit… I’m sorry. Who was he to you?”.
Nina sighed, and smiled softly.
“The sun and moon combined”, she said.
“Your brother?”, Angel asked confusedly.
“Not biologically”, Nina chuckled. “But he took care of me. Treated me like a sister. After he died, the club still kept me close, like family”.
“So, you have a whole club of family back in Charming. Why leave?”, Angel asked. Nina’s throat instantly went dry, and she looked at the ground.
“A bad break-up”, she replied, her voice breaking. “I needed a fresh start”.
Angel didn’t question her; merely seemed to accept her words for truth, and moved on.
They sat in silence for a moment longer, before he suddenly looked like he was beginning to put two and two together.
“Your… brother. He was SAMCRO…”. She nodded. “And he crashed headfirst into a truck”.
“Yeah…”, Nina whispered, the air thick with the truth being exposed.
“Holy shit… I fucked Jackson Teller’s baby sis!”, Angel exclaimed. Nina felt her stomach churn at his words. “That’s like… royalty! I should get my dick silvered or something”.
Nina stubbed out her cigarette.
“If he was still around, he’d probably do it himself; while it was still attached to you”. Angel winced.
“Shit, yeah. That man had a reputation. He was like the boogeyman to Mayan prospects in my day. I heard that one time, he shot a guy in both legs for pinching some hangaround chick’s ass”.
“He didn’t shoot him, he just broke all his fingers”, Nina muttered.
Angel’s eyes widened.
“That was your ass, huh…”, he said, more as a statement, than a question. “It wasn’t Chucky, was it? Is that why he’s got those…”. He wiggled his fingers in the air.
“No… That was something else…”, Nina replied. “Jax wasn’t just that, though. He was a good man”. Angel nodded.
“Yeah, I heard that, too”. He studied her face for a long moment. “You loved him”, he said, finally. “Like, loved him”.
Nina looked confusedly at him, before she caught his meaning.
“What? No…! He was family. Just that”, she replied truthfully. Angel smiled crookedly.
“Good. It ain’t easy fighting a ghost over a girl”, he said.
Nina felt a smile tug at her lips, but wasn’t ready to be sweet-talked by the guy who’d openly admitted she was a one-night stand, just the day before.
“I thought we agreed what this was…”, she said.
“Did we? I didn’t agree to anything”. He raised his brows at her, and smiled wryly. “What happened to consent?”.
“That’s not how that works”, Nina laughed.
“Let’s agree to disagree about that, ma'”, Angel said.
Nina sighed deeply.
“You told Bishop; we fucked, yeah. But… “. Angel looked taken aback.
“Are you like my brother or something? Do you remember everything?”.
“I remember that”, Nina said, a slight edge to her voice.
Angel frowned at her.
“You never considered maybe I was about to say; we fucked, yeah. But I like this girl? Or; this girl is different?”.
“You were probably about to say; she gives good head”, Nina scoffed. “You don’t know me well enough to like me, or think I’m special”.
“We could change that”, Angel said. “Spend some time together… I get that you’re just passing through, and that you kind of belong to another club, because of this thing with Teller, but…”.
Nina felt a sudden rage bubble through her.
“I’m not a goddamn trophy!”, she hissed. “You don’t get to use me like some big fuck you to SAMCRO, for tapping one of their girls. Fuck that!”
“That’s not what I’m saying", Angel said.
Nina got to her feet and backed away from him. Her breath was catching, and she felt an oncoming asthma-attack. She often got them when got upset, but couldn’t find it in herself to calm down.
“Don’t try to bullshit me. I know guys like you; measuring your pride in the amount of pussy you can get to climb on the back of your bike”.
She didn’t realize the harshness of her words, before she saw Angel’s expression. He got on his feet himself, and looked at her with hard eyes.
“You should be careful sitting out here, Nina" he said, and looked at the cage-fence surrounding them. “Someone might thing you’re gunning for a fight".
While Nina stood frozen in place, he walked out of the cage, and got on his bike; driving out of the lot.
“Fuck!”, she growled at herself, and stumbled towards the trailer. Once inside, she scrambled to find her inhaler, and took a hit; feeling her lungs return to normal function. “Fuck…”, she repeated, and collapsed on the cot; clutching the journal in her arms.
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drunk dialing | writer wednesday
Pairing: Angel Reyes x BlackF!Reader
Summary: Angel's ex-girlfriend gives him a call one night when she has too much to drink.
Tags: Angst, Toxic!Angel, Unresolved Feelings, Alcohol Consumption.
Word Count: 1.5k
“She doesn’t need anymore.”
The words barely register over the hustle and bustle of the packed sports bar. Basketball reruns play on the television, old school r&b blaring over the loudspeakers. The bartender takes one look at Summer and the way her frame is slumped over just slightly, the way her dark brown eyes have glazed over, and nods his agreement. From their places on barstools, her friends thank him, not-so-subtly sneaking glances at Summer from the corners of their eyes. She can’t bring herself to care. They don’t understand. She’s drowning in the liquor but also an ocean of misery. The waves steadily pull her down further at each turn.
No one understands, so she takes special care to savor the dark amber liquid as it burns her from the inside out.
Last call in the state of California is 1:30 am for any establishment that sells alcohol. Businesses like the bar that so graciously hosts Summer and her friends can stay open later, and they usually do. Most patrons abide by state law, using the time to sober up by stuffing themselves with greasy foods-- pizza, fries, chicken wings. Instead of drinking, they make plans to come back and meet up with the strangers they have become fast friends with or say goodbye to their college buddies in town for the weekend.
If You Think You’re Lonely Now plays as patrons began to shuffle out. Summer hums along.
If you think you’re lonely now, huh
Wait until tonight, girl (If you think you’re lonely now)
I’ll be long gone (You just wait until tonight girl)
And you’ll never find another man that’ll treat ya’ right
And then there are the lonely.
The ones at the bar every evening without fail, using it as home in place of the one they lack. They slide the servers bribes, crisp and crumpled twenty dollar bills across the bar top. She watches with tired eyes as they slide shot glasses back in exchange. Summer thinks she would try her luck if it weren’t for the mother hens watching over her with careful eyes. Her friends-- Aliyah, Jasmine, and Nia already think she’s a ticking time bomb. The last thing she needs to do is give them the ammunition they need to call her an alcoholic.
It takes a while for the bar to clear out. Nia has to use the bathroom at the last minute, complaining about it being filthy when she returns. Jasmine mutters an obviously while Summer pitifully sips the last remnants of her drink. The melted ice cubes ruin it, she can’t taste the bourbon at all, but every little drop counts, right?
Summer refuses the hand offered to her by Aliyah as they stumble out into the parking lot. Aliyah hovers with her arms poised to catch her just in case. Nia absentmindedly plays a card game on her phone behind them, and Jasmine heads up the group, her keys noisily jingling as she swings them back and forth. She’s the designated driver and the only one sober enough to drive.
It’s a typical summer night in California, dry but cold and windy, so they quicken their pace. With every step, Bobby Womack’s crooning is stuck on replay in Summer’s mind. The lyrics resonate with her…
When it’s cold outside who are you holding?
...and she’s about to voice her thoughts when she sees it.
“Is that a phone booth?!” The words come out more hysterical than probably they should. Sure, it’s been like ten years since she’s seen one in person, and she didn’t know they still existed, so she’s a little excited and a lot drunk, but it’s just a phone booth. One that’s narrow and brightly lit in the midnight blue of the night. Aliyah, who forgot her glasses at home, squints at the white blob until she can make out its shape.
“I think it is.” She sounds a little mystified herself, and that’s all the encouragement Summer needs in her state. One minute she’s cheesing wide, and the next, she’s sprinting across the street towards the phone booth, giggling and tugging her short dress down the whole way.
The girls yell after her, but she tunes them out, snatching the ice cold phone off the hook. She’s even more enamored when she pulls the heavy metal to her ear and hears the dial tone.
High heels click loudly behind her. Summer turns just in time to see the girls come to a stop behind her, out of breath and unamused. Jasmine leans over and rests her forearms on her knees. “What the hell?” She hisses, glaring daggers at her friend. Summer ignores her, punching the chunky silver buttons like she’s in a trance. Even inebriated, she knows them by heart. One number after the other, she dials the one person she knows she shouldn’t.
She vaguely registers her friends telling her to put the phone down. She knows that she’s making a mistake, but the armor she wears to protect herself from the world is too heavy. She strips it away, her inhibitions lowered. All she wants is him.
“She’s been drinking. We should do something.” Sweet Aliyah is always the voice of reason. Nia sounds bored and over the situation. “This is so dumb.” Jasmine tugs on her arm. “Come on. You’re drunk.”
“There’s no harm in a phone call, right?” Aliyah says, but her voice is shaky. She’s wrong, and they all know it.
“Hello?” The reception is shitty, and the volume in the earpiece low, but with one word, Summer’s hooked all over again. She doesn’t say anything for several moments, the sound of her harsh breathing the only thing that transmits. There’s a long, tense moment where Summer tries to convince herself to hang up, but then Angel says, “Baby, is this you?” She hates the sob she releases into the phone from the simple words. She draws her bottom lip into her mouth to quiet the sound. Her girlfriends freeze, unsure of what to do.
“Y-yeah, it’s me.”
“You been drinking, mami?”
“Maybe.” Summer sways, and Aliyah is there, using her arm to prop her best friend up. It’s a silent act of support, a reminder that Angel isn’t and shouldn’t be the center of her universe. She has supportive friends, a loving family. She doesn’t need him.
“Where you at? I’ll come get you.” She doesn’t need him, but she’s tempted to tell him to meet her back at Jasmine’s place. It’s only a ten-minute ride from his place, five minutes if he speeds the way she knows he does.
Speeds the way he did when she caught him at Vicki’s with Adelita. He had been acting shady for months, whispering on the phone, keeping odd hours. She had felt like a crazy woman when she put the tracker on his bike, but her intuition was validated when she saw his location. She followed him, expecting to find him with one of Vicki’s girls. Instead, she found him there with Adelita and her protruding belly, rubbing it with his large, ringed hands like a doting father. Like they were some happy fucking family.
Summer had nearly lost her mind, knocking over furniture, breaking bottles from behind the bar. Luckily for them, EZ caught her wrist and restrained her. The sight of Angel shielding that woman, protecting her when he hadn’t protected her feelings, was ingrained in her mind. Realizing that all the men she regarded highly and looked up to as older brothers and uncles had been lying, and helping Angel hide his cheating, was something she would never forget.
Being betrayed like that should have been enough to make her stop loving him, but... it just wasn’t. Summer often found herself wondering what was wrong with her. Why did she pine after a man that hurt her so badly? Sure, Angel’s handsome, and funny, and sweet, and really, really good in bed, but he’s not good. Not for Summer.
She sniffles into the phone, “I don’t want you to. I don’t want you.” She tries to will the words to be true, but the tears gliding down her face tell a different story.
“Why call me then?”
“Too much liquor.”
He snorts out a laugh but then pauses as if considering something. “Yeah, me too.” Summer swears she can make out the sound of Gilly shouting something in the background, but maybe she’s so drunk that she’s imagining things. Maybe she’s making it all up in her head because she longs for their relationship back. She always finds herself back at square one when it comes to Angel, wishing things could go back to how they were, that she could erase all the bad and keep all the good.
You see the night's the time when the needs come out
When your needs come out to breathe
And the jonesing starts and there ain't no way you can sleep, ooh
“You hurt me.” Summer doesn’t bother to hide her bitterness. She knows Angel won’t acknowledge the words because the only pain he can recognize is his own.
“Summer, why are you calling?” His voice has an edge to it this time. He’s daring her to make a decision, pick a side. Either she wants to be with him, or she doesn’t. His gruff tone, the callousness with which he says the words should make her want to turn away from him.
Instead, it makes her heart lurch.
She feels desperate to hold onto him, so she says, “'Cause I-I...I love you.”
Notes: The prompt is from @autumnleaves1991-blog Weekly Writing Challenge. Summer Walker - Drunk Dialing...LODT & Bobby Womack - If You Think You’re Lonely Now inspired this fic. Let's all pretend you don't have to pay to use a pay phone lol. Do you like to see moodboards/covers for fics? Please let me know. Hope you all enjoy!
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