These are the first 2 chapters in my Reyes Family Romances series, about the romances of the various members of a large Hispanic family. Catalina has always been the rebel of the family: she refused to learn to speak Spanish, and she shows no interest in settling down or ever having children. When she gets this assignment, she has no idea it will change her life...for the better, in ways she could never have imagined.
Catalina Reyes sighed as she glanced over her Friday afternoon e-mails. There were the usual back-and-forth e-mails from her colleagues, with some suggesting story lines, and others weighing in with reasons that the suggestions should either be followed up on, or ignored. There were meetings to be attended at least twice a day...long, boring and tedious, they rarely presented any new challenges. Catalina was feeling a serious bout of boredom with her job and with her life in general, starting to take over her state of mind.
She had been working as a reporter for the past thirteen years, since she had graduated from college with honors and an English degree that guaranteed that she was literate, but didn't command any big money, the way the degrees that some of her siblings did. Her oldest sister Rosa, for instance, with her Interior Design degree, had already been earning major money when she married her ex-fiancé, who had become a very rich businessman. They now had three kids, and one was almost a teenager already. It seemed like just yesterday that they got married. Where did the time go?
Idly glancing at the family picture on her desk, taken last Christmas, Catalina thought of her brothers: Enrique was a doctor, living in the area of Mexico that her grandparents had moved here from. He, like most of her siblings, had seen being bi-lingual in Spanish as a real plus. They had taken it in school, to supplement what their parents and grandparents had taught them at home. So when Enrique went with their late grandfather for whom he had been named, for a visit back to the old country, he had fallen in love with the area, and moved there to be the sole health care provider for the surrounding villages. He was married now, with two kids of his own also. Pablo and Miguel were still single, but no one questioned why men would still be single at thirty-nine and thirty-seven.
As for her younger sisters, Teresa had married her high school sweetheart when she unexpectedly (yeah, right!) got pregnant in her second year of nursing school. She had finished her schooling in-between pregnancies, and she and her carpenter husband had four children, one already a teenager as of this year. Susana was only thirty, so no one was pressuring her while she was still busy actively pursuing her career goals. And Amalia, the baby, was only twenty-eight.
Catalina sighed again. To be absolutely fair, she didn't really get much pressure from her parents about getting married. Juanita and Edward had been high school sweethearts themselves, and had celebrated their forty-third wedding anniversary earlier this year with a Caribbean Cruise that all of their children had contributed money for. They were busy with their own lives, and welcomed any chance to see their ever-growing family either in small groups, or all-together. Luckily Edward's oldest brother Alejandro owned the house directly behind his, so whenever they had family gatherings, there were two houses to visit in, and a huge expanse of backyard for spreading out in, to play things like futbol, or volleyball.
Whenever boredom had reared its ugly head in her life before, Catalina's usual solution was to find a new man to entertain herself with. She was currently involved with a man almost ten years younger than her thirty-five years; he was a construction worker she had picked up in a bar earlier this year, when he was out celebrating the beginning of his big season at work. The Chicago area was well-known for having two seasons: winter and construction. One's weather directly influenced the other's length. This year had been a mild winter, so construction season had begun in early April. She had been out with friends, celebrating her birthday. He had caught her eye, and as always, it was only a matter of making him aware that she would be responsive to his overtures, and the rest was easy.
Catalina was proud of her looks and well aware that she was extremely lucky. Her mother, after having eight children, still wore the same size clothing she had worn when she got married. The Reyes women kept their looks as they aged, if Juanita was any indicator, and Catalina was pleased to observe that both Rosa and Teresa also were still slim and attractive, if slightly curvier than they had been before motherhood. With a minimum of effort in the gym, and minimal attention paid to what she ate and drank, Catalina still looked much younger than her age, and used that to full advantage to capture the attention of any man she might desire.