Sunday, May 18, 2014

When All the Stars Have Fallen

This story has been on my mind in many formats for a month or more.  Here's the version that finally made it onto paper.

When All the Stars Have Fallen

The worst part,’ Lola typed, ‘is seeing them together on TV.’ She hit ENTER.

A few seconds later: ‘why do you even watch stuff w/him on it?’ popped up in the little chat window.

Half-distracted by what she was watching, Lola shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’

"Wish I did," she said aloud. She sighed, knowing that she was lying to her friend and herself.
‘c’mon, Lo, you know why,’ popped up.

Lola snorted. "Okay, the only person I’m fooling is myself, then."

Mentally rolling up her sleeves, she dared to look away from the newscast that had caught her attention – they would replay it again later, anyway – and foocused on the laptop cradled between her knees.
‘Yes, ok, I do know. Stop badgering me. :p’
‘Looooooola, don’t do this to yourself mija. you’re fine w/o him’

Sighing, Lola typed back, ‘I know, I know. You’ve been telling me that since 3rd grade, Brie.’

‘so! drop him like a hot bag of horse manure. finally!’

Choosing to ignore the remark – and the accompanying visual it inspired – Lola typed, ‘It’s just we’re almost the same person, me & her.’

‘except your his actual kid & she’s the gf’s kid’

‘Yeah, small detail.’ Lola sighed again. ‘I wish you were here, Brielle. With mom gone & my family being my family, I’m starting to go a little cookoo.’

Her fingers hovered the keyboard, unsure how vulnerable she wanted to be, even to her best friend. Brielle saved her but responding before Lola could come to a decision: ‘you still gonna be part of that Sandy rebuilding thing now that you know its your dad backing it?’

‘He’s not the only backer.’

‘don’t you try & make excuses w/me! you know & i know your deadbeat dad is the only backer that matters. he pulls out & ain’t nothing gonna move until the gov’t FINALLY decides to hand some of that Sandy relief money, sometime around next never.’

Lola snorted, lips curling in spite of herself. ‘I hate when you’re right, on all points.’
‘you loooooove me.’

Chuckling, Lola typed, ‘Only because I’ve known you since 3rd grade, lol.’


Lola glanced at the television. The anchors had moved on, probably a long time ago. Anything involving her business tycoon father and his nearly-adopted daughter was usually a fluffy entertainment piece of no real value, news-wise. Still and all, it was an easy way to pull in viewers. The station would run the clip several more times before the news cycle shifted, Lola knew.
‘Do you think I should back out?’ she typed.

There was no answer from Brielle. Whether that was because she was busy elsewhere online or had gotten up from her computer, Lola couldn’t tell. She almost didn’t want to know. Getting up herself, Lola picked up the remnants of her dinner and made her way to the kitchen. By some miracle her two cats, Night and Shade hadn’t gone after the empty bowls, but they eagerly tangled themselves around her legs now. It was more practice than natural grace hat kept her from falling flat on her face – and giving her two little monsters what they wanted most.

"Boys, boys! Chill, guys! You had dinner, greedy beggers." Still, she pulled out their bag of treats as soon as she was done with the dishes. She wasn’t ready to call herself a pet parent yet, if ever, but she loved her feline friends dearly. After her mother died, they’d been the only things...


Lola crouched down to cuddle her boys. They didn’t even mind her ridiculous names for them. "You’re such good guys."

Shade gave her a look, as if to say, Of course we are. Night paid her no mind.

Laughing, Lola stood and made her way back to her laptop. Fixing it on her lap again, she saw that Brielle had responded. ‘you planning on intro’ing yourself?’

Not quite sure what her friend was talking about, Lola scrolled back through their conversation. She scoffed.  
‘No! Heck no!’

‘Why "heck no"? Why not...he’s your bio-dad.’

‘Bri, if he ever wanted to be part of my life he could have found me. He met my grandparents and they never moved. Plus, hello, he’s loaded. If he’d wanted to track me down, he could have.’

‘so now’s your chance, mija! stick it to him where it the public eye.’

Lola shook her head, though she knew her friend couldn’t see it. She could never do that to her mother and her memory. She wasn’t even sure she could put herself through it. ‘Not a chance, ma’am. Besides, who would believe White-him and Black-Dominican me?’

‘DNA tests are your friend."

‘No, Brielle. I don’t care.’

‘Then could you please stop watching this news programs or whatever with him on TV?’

Lola frowned. Brielle rarely, if ever, used proper spelling and punctuation online, favoring speed over strict grammatical correctness.
‘I think you’re more upset than I am, Bri.’
‘i hate how crazy this makes you. i wish youd stop. even you said he pro’ly doesn’t even know/remember he has a kid.’

Night, her first cat, jumped into Lola’s lap. He’d spent many nights as her tear-stained pillow, and apparently knew the signs even before she did; he was head-butting her face as the first tears fell. Well, now Lola knew how vulnerable she wanted to be with her best friend – not very.
‘it just sucks that you ended up in the same field as your drunk old man. esp since he waited until you were fully grown to sober up’

Lola had to reach around Night to type – reach around and nearly hug him. Nuzzling his side, she typed her reply one-handed. ‘Yeah.’


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