How Soon is Now

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I stand in the kitchen at Rafa's rental house and peer into two pots on the stove

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I stand in the kitchen at Rafa's rental house and peer into two pots on the stove. One holds tomato sauce and the other, boiling water. It's the fifth time I've checked the pots. He's late, and it's making me nervous.

I stir a pot with a wooden spoon, losing myself in dark thoughts as I look at the bubbles. Why am I stirring water? Where is he? The interview should have only lasted for an hour or two, and he's been gone much longer. I pick up my phone. It's been closer to four hours. I start to call, then hang up.

No. He doesn't need me checking up on him. I scroll through my emails on my iPhone, and a call pops up. It's Diana, who doesn't even bother saying hello.

"I think our new owner has quite the reporting talent." She's out of breath.

"Um. What do you mean by that?" I turn to the pasta sauce and run a spoon through it, scowling into the pot.

"I ran into Ethan on the way out of the building. Apparently Rafa and the reporter wanted to stay longer to talk to the kids. He spent hours talking to everyone in Spanish. Made them feel really comfortable, Ethan said. Apparently they got some great details for a story about how the kids are working in the fields illegally. Rafa went back to the newsroom to discuss the story with everyone and ended up buying barbecue for the night desk."

"Really? That's...wonderful." I don't mean to sound so surprised, but this floors me. Rafa? Excited about a news story? Buying BBQ? Who is this man who bought my newspaper?

"What are you up to?" Diana asks.

"Uh, making pasta sauce." I try to sound casual. I don't want to tell Diana yet that I'm sleeping with Rafa again and staying at his house.

"Wait, what? From scratch?"

The water boils over and onto the sleek, expensive gas stove. I scramble to move the pot aside, trying not to burn myself. "Uh, yeah."

"What? You don't make sauce from scratch. You usually have your juicer going at this time of night. Hold on. Are you cooking for Rafael? Are you at home?"

I sigh. "I'm at Rafael's rental house."

"WHAAAAT?"

I move away from the stove and hold my cell a foot from my ear at the sound of Diana's screech. "Calm down. You're getting more dramatic as you get closer to giving birth. It's fine. We're hanging out."

Diana snorts. "You and Rafael are incapable of hanging out. If you're at his house on a Friday night, cooking dinner, then you're certainly fucking him. I knew it! I saw him staring at your ass the other day."

I sigh while Diana whoops. "Girl, for selfish reasons, I'm glad he's helping the paper. And truly, I'd like for you to resolve your issues with him. You loved him. Tell him how you feel. Don't hold back. Remember, it's better to be happy than right. Don't hold grudges."

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