"You have got to be kidding me," Fuller said.
"Shut up, you loser," Charlie said, slamming the book shut and turning to face him.
"Oh, I'm the loser?" Fuller was trying to keep from laughing. "You do realize you're the one who is agonizing over a girl twice your age."
"Shut up." Charlie was getting irritated.
Seriously, gringo didn't know what he was talking about. Wasn't Plastics the one who had a different novia every week in Los Estados? If anything, that made him the loser.
"No, seriously, Charlie, she's not gonna go for you. You're wasting your time." Fuller didn't mean to be harsh- he just didn't want the little dude to suffer 'cause Brenner wouldn't ever date him. He's like, sixteen. Couldn't he find some Latino girl his own age?
"What do you care? It's not your problem, amigo," Charlie lashed back, clutching the book. "So callate!"
"You're telling me to callate? That's rich, man, coming from the guy who callate-s every time Brenner comes around the corner! Why don't you grow up a bit, and then Brenner might even talk to you. 'Cause that sure as hell isn't happening without a little intervention!"
For a moment the two boys said nothing- because they really were just two young boys having a fight. Then Charlie's face got a little red color rushing under his toffee skin, and his eyebrows furrowed, and at that second Fuller realized what he had done. And Charlie ran.
"Dude, amigo, come on!" he called after the younger boy, but it was too late. He was gone. Fuller looked down and saw that Charlie had dropped his little book.
It was a worn leather book, and Fuller had no earthly idea what was in it- only that "Lirio" was carved into the front cover's leather. It was probably a coffee brown or a black to begin with, but from contact with skin oils the leather binding had worn down to a caramel kind of tan, uneven and splotchy as it was.
For some reason this book, about the size of his large palms, was a comforting sight, not like the stark, unkind leather notebooks his father the lawyer had always used.
"Lirio," Fuller whispered, and opened the cover.
His breath caught in his throat. Page after page was drawings, some of people, some of flowers or animals, but always the same type of flower, the same type of animal, the same person.
Always an orchid, the kind Brenner and Mina would get from guys at the Cantina. They were white as Windy City snow in January, with long pinstripes of deep purple and maroon. Of course, these were pencil and pen drawings, so the stripes were black and grey, but from seeing the flowers, Fuller knew those were the right flowers. At the bottom of the flower pages, it had the same wording on each page- "flor" or "orquídea".
Always a tiger, the kind that would crouch to protect its young, eyes glinting in the sun. The black stripes stuck out against the blank page, and on some drawings there were flames drawn behind the tiger. At the bottom of the tiger pages, it had the same wording- "tigre" or "fuego".
Always it was Brenner. There were pictures of her laughing, thinking, or shouting. In every case, she looked regal and beautiful. Her curls were captured around her ear or swirling in her face. There were dates at the top, so Fuller knew that the one of her shouting was when Keeton had tried to undermine her on her own patient. She dragged his butt out into the hallway and ripped into him. The rainy season was out, so the wind was whipping like she was the sorceress commanding it, and her hair was flying in all directions. He knew the one of her laughing was when Mina had told the story of him falling on his face trying to hike out to the Lago del Luz with her. She had tears coming out of the corners of her eyes, which were squinting as she rocked, laughing so hard. On most people, any of these poses would be frightfully unattractive, but the way she was drawn made her beautiful, and a force to be reckoned with. At the bottom of these pages, it just said, "Lirio".
"Charlie," Fuller whispered, and took off running.
When he reached the rocky crag where they would frequently jump into the ocean, Charlie was sitting there, facing the ocean. He was curled up, knees to his chest, arms wrapped around them, eyes pushed into his kneecaps. His mop of hair was spiraling in the wind.
"Dude," Fuller started, not knowing what else to say.
"Go away, gringo. I don't want to talk."
"Dude," he tried again.
"What? What is so important?" Charlie stood up, and turned to face him.
"Dude, these are good. Why haven't you shown them to me before? I thought we were friends."
"I thought you would laugh at me. I thought you'd be an Americano about it."
"Which I was," Fuller acknowledged. "But seriously, dude, you gotta show these to Brenner. She'd love them. They're beyond great."
"Why?" This Fuller couldn't understand. "They're for her, right? So why don't you give them to her?"
"They're not for her, Fuller. They're for me, when I can't see her face. Then at least I can see what I remember her face to be."
Fuller was stunned. This kind of allegiance was something he had never experienced, and he didn't know what to do with that.
"Show her, Charlie," Fuller nudged. They were sitting at the bar in the Cantina, and Charlie was sitting next to him clutching the book so hard it looked like he might tear through the binding.
"I can't do this, she's freaking guapa."
"Charlie, little man, you can do this." Fuller gave him a bit of a push out of his seat. Charlie stumbled forward, and started to walk toward Brenner and Mina, before turning around.
"Hey, no matter what happens, we're still hermanos, right?" he asked.
"Totally, dude. Hermanos all the way."
(A/N): Hey everybody. This is my first Off the Map fic, and so please be nice. I know that everyone who watches this show isn't a native speaker, or even in a foreign language class, so I'm gonna put in a dictionary down here of all the words so you know what they mean.
gringo: white person (usually offensive, but for Charlie, not so much)
los Estados: The States
amigo: friend (come on, everyone knows this)
callate: shut up
Lago del Luz: Lake of the Light
hope this helps! and please review!