Ch. 17 Paciencia y Fe

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Chloe couldn't sleep. Everytime she closed her eyes, she saw Lyla's lifeless body on the ground, the blood pooling under her head. It could've been her. It should've been her. She looked over at Dia who wasn't sleeping either; she was plucking at a hole in her jeans. They were back in whatever shitty garage they'd started in, chained to the wall. "What happened to Lupe?" Chloe finally asked, just to start conversation.

"Dead," Dia answered on a shrug as if it were nothing.

Her breath caught in her throat, tears pricking at her eyes. "Shit," she gasped out. With Lyla and Lupe gone, it meant she was next. She raked her hands through her hair, letting out a shaky breath before a sob escaped her hold. She'd tried her best to be strong, but enough was enough. Her cheek was throbbing and her friend was dead and she just wanted to go home.

She heard the chain around Dia's ankle shift before she felt a soft touch brushing her hair away from her face. "I'm so sorry, mija," Dia murmured, her voice warm and soothing. "But you have to think about something else. Anything else. Mira, how about you tell me about your man? He has a lot of tattoos, no? How about you tell me your favorite? Dale, I know you have one. Close your eyes and picture them." (Look...Go...)

"I can't. I close them, and I see her and the blood," Chloe said, shaking her head.

"Close them," Dia insisted, grabbing her hand in hers. "Tell me about him. What's his name? He's Angelita's cousin, no? Did you know I've never met him? I've known her since she was fourteen, and I never met him."

Chloe nodded slowly, closing her eyes and trying to picture Happy, picture the way his skin looked illuminated by the sun peeking in through her bedroom window. A beautiful mixture of the caramel color of his skintone and the colors of his tattoos. So many colors. Blacks and reds, greens and blues. The snake on the center of his chest so bold and beautiful. She could spend hours tracing the curving lines of the animal's body, the feel of Happy's skin impossibly soft, a sharp contrast to the hard man it belonged to. "Happy," she breathed, feeling a little calmer.

"He's a strong man, no? Angela always spoke very highly of him."

"Yeah. They're really close," she agreed on a nod.

Diana smiled, squeezing Chloe's hand. "I know. My son, Esai, he hated Happy. Was scared to death of him."

Chloe sniffled a bit, wiping at her eyes. "He scares everyone."

"But not you."

She shook her head slowly. "I didn't know much about him when I met him. He was...he came to the hospital after Ang got shot, and he looked more like an overprotective big brother than a big, bad scary biker. I don't even know how or when it happened. He just showed up on my doorstep and never left."

"Like a dog," Dia mused on a laugh.

Chloe laughed too. "Kind of." She tilted her head back against the wall, staring at the ceiling for a moment. "Loyal like one too."

"That means he's a good man. Like mine. Marcus has done very many bad things, and he's not perfect pero I love him. He has always treated me well," she explained softly. "We met in high school and oh, how he chased me. I didn't want to give in pero he was relentless, and he caught me. We've been together since I was sixteen. Something my son tried to do with Angelita, but he couldn't. He wasn't right for her."

She smiled a little at the mention of her best friend. "Pretty sure Ang and Juice are soulmates. Never seen two people who are as meant for each other as they are."

"I know. I didn't want to accept it at first. I wanted Angelita to find another Mayan and come back to us. Selfish, I know, pero I wanted that," she explained on a sad smile. "But then I saw how happy she was. Happier than ever before, and then I met Juan y es tan bueno. Such a good man. The kind of man she should be with." (He's so good.)

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