Title: In Mexico
Disclaimer: No infringement intended
Her tired eyes came open to the harsh yellow of the sun's rays reflecting off the chrome wing mirror. They squeezed shut almost immediately after she'd opened them, and she focussed on something different. She'd slowly come to realise the stabbing pains in her chest when she saw the red blotches on her light shirt, and the dried blood on her fingers.
It was only then that the reality of her nightmare kicked in. Leon was in the front passenger's seat of the black Civic, the driver's seat remained empty. Her eyes landed on Leon's hands. One was clutching the dashboard, the other nervously flipping a corona cap up and down. She saw the expression upon his face; stern, unmoving, unchanging. But his jaw, clenching, unclenching, clenching, unclenching. He looked briefly into the distance and paused in tossing the cap, but after that moment his eyes were back on the cap, watching it glint, watching it land, flip – whatever.
Letty only realised Dom had gotten into the car when the engine shook the car, and strong and innocuous as it was continued to rumble throughout the entire vehicle. She shuffled an inch in her seat and Leon looked back at her. She was awake.
She felt the car beginning to move away and accelerating to what she estimated was around seventy miles an hour. They'd been driving a long time, and even though the heat didn't let up and back down, the sun did, and as it retreated in the sky, the three bodies each nervously wondered in despair.
What would happen to them?
The engine calmed down as Dom pulled the car to a halt and turned it off. And for a moment it was as if he was contemplating their next move. They'd come to a strip of shops on a beach and he rubbed his hand back over his head and forward a couple of times, Leon watched him, wondering if he was going to make a move.
'What now?' he said, his voice deep in his throat, and dry.
Dom cocked his head to the side and got out of the car, and once closed it, leant on the low hood with his hand. 'This is the end of the line for you and Letty,' he said, finding it difficult to get the words out.
Leon shook his head. 'What are you talkin' about?'
'Listen, bro, just do me favour; don't ask any questions, take Letty, get her to a hospital, Jose owes me a favour and he lives just in there.' He nodded towards the building, and Leon took a moment to examine it himself.
When he looked back to Dom he felt a certain degree of anger growing in him. He went to speak but Dom began.
'Look, Leon, if you start asking questions, I'm gonna have to stay, that's gonna waste time-'
'Why have I been spending all of this time telling myself that we're all in this together, when you're about to dump us at the "end of the line" and take off by yourself to do god knows what- wh-where are you goin', man?' He came round to Dom's side of the car, and stood firmly before him, becoming more and more frustrated at Dom's sudden decision to leave them behind.
'It'll just be for a couple of days, I gotta go check stuff out in Mexico see if it's safe for us. I'll be back, I promise, just…you guys need to lay low while I do that.'
Leon watched Dom, licking over his lips and shifting his weight on to his other foot as he listened to his words. He glanced in the car at Letty, who had gone back to sleep. There was a long silence as Leon contemplated this in his mind. He finally looked at Dom. 'And it's just for a couple of days?'
He nodded solemnly, agreeing with his comment. 'C'mon, let's get Letty.'
Leon closed the door after Jose walked away and turned to see Letty sitting upon the bed, in pain and silently crying. She raised a hand to her forehead and pressed it there, and as if it was her breaking point, began to shed tears, and frequent whimpers escaped her lips as Leon absorbed this image before him.
He approached her, calmly and gently, not wanting to invade her space but feeling he needed to explain the situation to her one more time. He knelt down before her, reaching out to her thighs and placing his hands upon them before he looked up into her sore eyes and spoke. 'He said it was just for a couple of days, baby gurl, he's gonna come back.'
She sniffled and looked down at him, his emerald eyes as glazed over as her own felt. It'd been one day and already she'd lost all but one of her family. She knew better than Leon, knew what those words meant. Especially when he'd take off for a few days without a call. He'd always return, but it was the anticipation, the expectation, the WAITING more than anything that pushed her over the edge.
She tore her gaze from his, and rose from the bed, causing him to rise also. She walked towards the window, looking out ahead at the deserted beach and the lack of anything anywhere. 'He's not coming back,' she told him, her own voice raspy and dry from the dehydration she'd suffered the last day.
He approached her once again, not quite sure what she'd said, but going on what he thought she had. 'Dom's not just gonna abandon us, Let. He's checkin' out a safe place for us, he'll be back in a couple of days.'
'No where in freakin' Mexico is safe. Just the same as LA, drugs, guns, whatever. Away from the cops, maybe, but it doesn't matter where we are, we've always been good at hiding from them.'
Leon took a moment to think about this. It all failed to make sense in his mind why he would just dump them and take off. But it didn't make sense why he would wanna work alone in this. They were in it together. He couldn't figure out if he was dumping them for their own safety, or because they couldn't cover their tracks and it would get him discovered.
He sat down upon the bed and rubbed over his mouth with his hand. 'I have no fucking clue where we are.'
'San Antonio del Mar,' she told him quickly, as if she knew the place inside out. She felt Leon turn to look at her and she glanced over her shoulder at him. 'I've…stayed here a couple of times.'
He nodded slowly, his gaze falling to the floor. It rose again when she joined him on the bed. 'What are we supposed to do?' he asked her, seeming as if now he was going to break down.
She licked over her lips slightly, and reached down into her trouser pocket, and as she grabbed hold of the object, looked Leon in the eye. She pulled out a roll of money, had to be at least four thousand. She twirled it between her fingers.
His eyes looked at the money, confused, then back at her, even more so.
She tilted her head a little and looked at it. 'The race I won. It's gotta be able to keep us for a while, at least until we figure out what we can do.'
Leon's fingers took hold of the money, surprised as he was, annoyed that they'd have to live off of it. 'Letty, there's gotta be at least…' he shook his head trying to think of the amount of money.
'It's actually four large.' She reached down into her back pocket and retrieved even more money. 'Plus the two I "borrowed" from Dom. He doesn't know.'
He looked into her eyes, trying to keep a straight face.
'Every time we pull one of those heists I take a little insurance. Call it my wages, even,' she told him as she unfolded the money. Yet another couple of thousands sat between them and Leon wondered why he didn't think to keep some money on him, himself.
He contemplated the cash before them for a moment, then cleared his throat. 'Have you…got any more pockets I should know about?' he said, breaking into a little smile.
She shrugged and reached down into her boot. Again, she pulled out a roll of money and threw it onto the bed space between them. 'Lucky thousand. First race I won, I always keep it on me.' She waved her hand in front of it as she explained, thinking Leon would wonder why the hell she carried so much money on her. 'So that's seven.'
She looked up into his eyes, a little startled at his tone. She shrugged and dismissed it. 'It's not the first time I've had to leave at a moment's notice. And last time I wasn't so lucky. Had a couple of notes and like one quarter. Was staying down here for three months. At least this'll keep us fed.'
He wanted to say something but struggled to find the words. He looked into her eyes and watched her explaining to him, then a silence filled the air as he gazed down upon the money once again.
He scoffed and put down the four thousand on the bed, and lay back, pulling a foot up to rest on the comforter. He sighed loudly and rested his head in his upturned hands. He was dumbfounded.
She rose from the bed and collected the money together, putting it back where it had come from.
She felt a shooting pain stab through her chest as she bent over to shove the money back in her shoe, and her hand to her chest as she cried out. 'Shit,' she cursed beneath her breath as she straightened out. The pain was really bad, and she'd forgotten that it was hurting her there before.
Leon sat immediately, alerted by her whimper and rose from the bed, hurrying to her side. 'Whoa, take it easy,' he said as she leant back against the wall. 'Is it your chest?' he asked, knowing it had been hurting her before from the way she'd been holding it in the car.
She nodded her head, trying to get through the waves of pain as she clamped her eyes shut and clenched her jaw. She slid to the floor and sighed out a heavy breath, a little happier the pain had subsided.
'We should get you to a doctor,' he decided quickly as he knelt down beside her.
She shook her head almost immediately and raised a hand to him as he made a move to check it out. 'Don't worry about it man, I'm gonna be fine.'
'Nah, it's too risky, you could'a broken somethin', we gotta find you a doctor.'
'No! Leon, I'm not gonna go to a fuckin' hospital, I told you I'll be fine; would you fuckin' well drop it?' she snapped, almost yelling at him.
He backed down reluctantly and sighed. 'There's shops all along this stretch there's bound to be a place I can pick up some painkillers or something,' he mumbled incoherently. He got up from the floor and headed straight out of the room, without another word's exchange.
She watched him leave quickly, silently, as if sorry to have said anything and upset by her brutal harshness. She let her head roll back and rest upon the wall, and raised a hand to her forehead, and let it drop again. 'I'm a fuckin' asshole.'
Her gorgeous black curls splayed over the comforter, as did the rest of her tired body, a mesh of pains and numbs, a tired compilation, an overheated girl. Even as the sun disappeared behind the sapphire ocean, the heat never failed to scorch.
She'd found herself removing materials from her body in a half slumber, all the while unaware that she was alone. She'd swallowed a couple of pills prior to her state of sleep, and hadn't noticed Leon leave for a second time.
He wandered out onto the beach, the granules of sand absorbing each footstep he placed more than it needed to. It was warm, and he was warmed by it. And as he gazed up ahead he wondered what was in store for him. Of all the things, he'd never imagined Dom would disappear. Strange as it sounded, common as it was for him to do so, he still never thought he'd do it. Not now.
The heat hit him at a thousand stabs per second, every inch of him perspiring to defend it. Even as his body became covered in a glistening sheen of sweat he found himself boiling at a thousand degrees.
His feet sank into the sand each step he took, and his hair caught the gentle breeze that felt like a fan blowing warm air.
He couldn't stop questioning the sequence of events of this day. Dom disappearing into a building for a long period of time, and returning, only to tell them nothing. His silence, the entire drive down to Mexico. Then leaving them, at a moment's notice, as if they'd straight away understand.
No, Leon thought to himself. It didn't add up. What was he doing in that building? Who was he talking to? Why did he just drop them off and promise his return a couple of days in the future?
His pace slowed to an eventual halt as the questions flooded him continuously. He couldn't stop thinking about it. And it still didn't make sense.
The rich smell of Mexican food wafted at him as he pulled back the café door. Jose was a friend of Dominic's who'd been living out in San Antonio del Mar for as long as he could remember. Leon had never heard of him before. Letty had stayed with him once or twice before. Either way, the young man had been here for what seemed like forever.
Leon glanced at him from across the café floor, flipping buffalo wings and dancing to the mellow salsa music. He was a good looking man, toffee coloured, bronzing from the sun's rays, slim, toned as his arms displayed. He wore a presentable red and white uniform and a small, shiny, silver hoop in his right ear, that moved every time he swayed his head to the upbeat music.
On first glance he seemed like someone everyone could get along with, but Leon knew better. It was best not to get involved, not to ask questions. Dom told him he could trust the guy, but again, Leon knew better. He headed for the back, leading up to the stairs, but was stopped by Jose calling out his name, and continuing to sing along to his Spanish rhythms.
He stopped at the door, peeking his head back through. 'Yep?' he said alerted, though displayed a look of nonchalance.
'Come and have a drink, have some food, cheer up a little!' he said cheerfully, seeming to want the company. Although the restaurant was practically empty except for an old balding guy in the corner reading a paper, and Leon inwardly wanted to interact with this guy a little more. He resisted the offer, and shook his head a little.
'It's been a long day, man, I'm just gonna try and catch some rest,' he told him.
Jose examined him for a second, seeming to lose the happiness from his cheeks for a moment, but he waved his hand and raised it to him. 'No problem, but Leon…' he told him, stopping him from leaving again. '…I know…what your goin' through right now is, tough. You need anything, give me a shout, eh?'
Leon nodded his head in response, pressing his lips together into a smile before he headed upstairs to the room he'd given Letty and himself to share.
Entering and closing the door behind him was a chore to his tired arm and he exhaled a relieved breath as he realised he could now get some rest. It hadn't occurred to him that they'd been travelling in a car for nearly a whole day and that he hadn't closed his eyes once.
Now was his chance.
He pulled the basketball shirt up over his head and threw it to the floor as he approached the bed. Again, it hadn't occurred to him he hadn't rested, and so when his body hit the comforter, the rush of ache washed over him and he inhaled against the soft mesh of the pillow.
It took him a moment to realise Letty had mumbled something to him, and he turned his head slow, planning on asking her to repeat what she'd said. But when his body turned to face her, he became aware of her slumbering form. She didn't look great. In fact, she looked terrible. Blood-stained clothes, her face was bruised and a little swelled. But somehow she was sleeping through the pain.
'Where've you been?' she mumbled, Leon watching as her eyes stayed shut and her lips moved.
He sighed slow and rolled onto his back. 'Walkin.'
He listened to her heavy breathing as she woke and shuffled on the comforter. Her arm moved slow over to his, and though it took him some time to realise, the comfort from her hand slipping into his softened his facial features.
'I'm sorry,' she uttered, her voice low and raspy.
He took a moment to absorb her works, the conversation they'd had coming back to him as her words from moments ago circled in his mind.
'You're stressed; it's okay.'
'I always just push you away, you know. And I realised the more I keep doin' it, the less good it's gonna do me in the long run. I gotta just, suck it up, like a tough guy.' She took a long breath. 'Like you.'
His eyes remained on the ceiling, again, her words drifting through him and in some was consoling him as he listened to each and every one. Like him; a tough guy.
He himself took a deep breath, in and out. And though he intended to say something to her, his words were lost in his teeming brain. There was way too much on his mind for him to say anything. He couldn't stop thinking about Dom. The argument he'd had with Letty had past, and he wanted to keep it in the past. He sighed and turned his gaze to focus upon her saddened brown eyes, and the pain bursting from them.
Of course she was hurt, he thought to himself. 'Sleep do you some good, huh?' he mumbled, trying to change the subject.
She watched his emerald gaze for a good long moment before replying with a gentle and timid nod against the pillow.
It became apparent to him that she had intentions on her mind as she moved her hand further into his, so that now he was feeling her arm, and her hand drifted slowly over the contours of his stomach. She moved in gently, all the while keeping her eyes locked on his, and came to rest her chin upon his shoulder, their eyes still deep within each other's gaze. He felt her inhale against his skin smoothly, taking in his natural scent of whatever that may have been to her. Sweat, the ocean, oil, his cologne. Then her fingers, and the palm of her hand resting upon his stomach, as if they would stay there for the rest of the night, gently, warmly. And it was warm to him, she was warm, to him.
He watched as her eyes fell shut and she buried her head deeper within his shoulder, then he himself, let his eyes fall, and took in a deep breath, taking in all the scents of Letty.