A/N: Welcome, welcome! So sorry for the delay. Couldn't be helped.
A huge thank you hug to: MissMisc3, XantheXV, dionne dance, TinkerbellxO, Makrciana, KaitlynRose16, Leyshla Gisel and C. M Gate. You all rock!
Disclaimer: I do not own Once upon a Time in Mexico.
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
Hesitant footsteps echo behind him and he quickly whirls around, bringing a cloud of smoke with him. He narrows his eyes and he doesn't bother to hide the irritation once he realizes that it is only her.
"Just me." She whispers in that eerily fragile voice of hers and her hands are already nervously twisting the hem of her pale pajama top.
"No shit." He relaxes and quickly shoots a glance at the large house behind her. His dark eyes narrow at the corners when she follows his example and also turns to look over her shoulder. The lights are out still. It is barely dawn after all.
Turning his eyes back on the blonde standing in front of him, he rakes his eyes over her form. He smirks at the sight of her Looney Tunes pajamas and takes a long drag from the thin joint trapped between his fingers. Exhaling smoke towards her direction he watches with amusement as she steps back and quickly fans her hand in front of her face, trying to push the overwhelming fog away.
"What are you doing?" She whisper-yells and he runs a hand through his dark hair, pushing it out of his face.
"What does it look like I'm doing, Lu?" he waves the joint in the air. "I'm smoking."
Her button nose wrinkles along with her scoff. "That's not a cigarette." She is still whispering.
"Really? And how would you know that?" When he takes another drag she winces and he almost feels bad for doing this in front of her. Almost.
"I'm not stupid, Sheldon."
His eyes study her face, but he can't keep the irritation out of his voice when he corrects her. "It's Jeff, Lulu."
Her long elegant arms move to cross over her chest in annoyance. "Don't call me that."
Barking out a short laugh, he takes one last pull and moves to throw the pot away and out of the fenced yard.
He pauses, arm outstretched and his eyebrows travel high up his forehead as he watches her watching his hand. "Why? You wanna try?"
Her big eyes stare at him. "Jess does the same."
His features bunch up in sudden anger at the comparison and he rolls his eyes, turning and throwing the joint away with a vengeance.
"It's not for you. Go back to bed." He mutters, ready to dismiss her and leave when she speaks again.
"She wouldn't care." Lucy mutters and he looks at her.
"Your parents would. If you want to be adventurous, I can show you other ways. Ones that don't involve a heavy head and jell-o tongues." He snorts.
"There's something wrong with your tongue?"
Laughing, he reaches over and tugs on her low, messy from sleep ponytail.
The flush that blossoms on her cheeks makes her cute. Really cute, but he can't stay. Not right now. He has to get back home.
Tugging one last time on her hair, he turns to leave when she speaks again.
"Jess will be pissed if you leave before she wakes up…again." She mutters and he pauses.
"She'll get over it." He smirks as she shakes her head at him.
"Aren't you hungry?" she asks and he turns to look at her oddly.
She shots a quick glance around and the shade of the tree to their left is casting a shadow over her features, making it difficult for him to see her face as she moves towards it out of reflex.
"I thought…Breakfast?" She is stuttering and he finds it oddly amusing that after all this time she is the only one who has enough interest, or a lucid head, to offer him food.
His stomach growls in response, but he shouldn't stay. He'd be late.
"Are you gonna offer me your Cheerios, Lulu?" he chuckles and she crosses her arms over her blossoming chest. His eyes are inadvertently drawn to it.
"You are a jerk." She accuses and he shrugs.
"Why are you still talking to me? Last time I checked you came out here… Aren't there any pierced, long haired jerks in your school?"
She drops her arms and sighs. "I'm going back inside." She mutters, turning her back on him, effectively hiding the fierce red on her cheeks.
He watches her and bites his lip before he turns his body towards her and whistles.
She stops as if commanded to-like a trained puppy- and a lazy grin makes his brown eyes wrinkle at the corners.
"Forgetting something?" He takes a step towards the tree and leans against it casually, his arm supporting his weight as he waits for her to ask the question. The dim light of dawn illuminates her pout as she turns to look at him. "Excuse me?"
He laughs and she flinches at the condescending tone in it. "Come here."
Her eyes dart around nervously and he is reminded of a deer caught in headlights. He laughs inwardly although he is openly amused at the sight of her tight features. Taking frightened steps towards him, he cocks his head to the side when she stops a step away from him. Her face is completely bare, her eyes a bit sleepy, but crystal clear. Unlike her sister, she doesn't wear any make up; odd for a teenage girl. Her eyes are framed by thick eyelashes, but other than that natural effect, they are free of any kohl or mascara. Jess fucking loves sleeping in those things… Probably because she's too lazy to remove them.
Or too stoned. His inner voice points out helpfully and he rolls his eyes before lunging forward. Grasping her chin in his fingers, he leans down and kisses her. On the lips. She squeaks in surprise and his height forces her on her tiptoes as he puts pressure under her chin. He isn't sure if she raises her hand to push him or pull him closer, but he catches it swiftly, tightening his fingers around her small wrist like a vice.
She yelps again and he moves in, sliding the tip of his tongue over her bottom lip before breaking the kiss. He releases her as soon as their lips part and takes a step back.
She quickly raises her hand to touch her mouth, but he is already walking backwards.
"Tell your sister not to call me at work again. Savvy?"
Her eyes are wide as she nods and he nods in return. "Good. Now go back to bed."
He walks away and as soon as he is out of the porch, he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and reaches for his pack of smokes.
"Fuck." He curses while battling with the urge to look back.
He realizes that his mouth is open as soon as he wakes up. His tongue is dry as he tries to close it and he curses out loud.
Turning a bit on his side, he can hear footsteps and light murmuring. He is also aware that the window is open and loud commotion can be heard in the distance.
"What the fuck?" He mutters loudly as he swings his legs to the side in an effort to get out of bed.
A gasp and a familiar squeak is his reply before a storm of footsteps dash towards him.
"No, no, wait!" A slap on his ankles causes him to jolt and he is upright in an instant.
"What the fuck is wrong with you, chica?" He barks and then he hears it. A disgusting baby…noise or something went off just near his feet. His mouth curls up in a grimace.
"No. No." He raises a hand and points a finger towards her general direction.
"What?" Lucy asks and he shakes his head.
"Will you stop saying that?" She groans when he raises himself on his hands and knees.
"I never allowed you to bring Jess' kid here." He still has his finger turned towards her.
Lucy pauses with Leila in her arms. The baby lets out a distressed yell, obviously upset that she is cradled when she was so obviously having fun nuzzling sleepily against the sheets.
"Alright, I know."
Sands smirks cruelly. "And yet, you brought her here. Where's the big mama bear today? Making burritos?"
"You can hear, right?" She points out and he pauses.
"My hearing is perfect." He deadpans and she huffs as she opens the window wide.
The chaos from outside pushes through the shatters and Sands winces although his hand goes underneath his pillow for his gun.
"What's going on out there?"
Closing the window and drawing he drapes, she sighs. "There are people in the square. Lots of people." Her voice comes out quiet.
Sands frowns. "Why the fuck is that?"
"Apparently there was a threat against the president…several threats actually. The local newspaper is raving about the cartel."
Sands goes still. "Cartel? Someone took over? Because the Barillo family members are dead. All of them."
"You would know."
"Yes, I fucking do so, if you know something I don't, spill it before it chokes you!"
"How about a cup of coffee to ease your nerves first?" She is walking away and he can't scramble to his feet fast enough.
His bare toes get tangled in the sleeve of his t-shirt and he spits out a curse before he leans down to pick it up. Pulling it over his head, he makes his way down the hall.
"Marcus is in front of the kitchen door." Her voice isn't warning enough because his feet find it difficult to escape the lab's girth.
"That goddamn ass." He mutters as he raises a foot and promptly walks over the dog.
The smell of coffee tantalizes his nostrils, but he has more important things to know first.
"How do you know about the new boss?"
Lucy moves around him to get milk, Leila attached to her hip. "The newspaper, of course."
"And lover boy."
"Don't call him that!"
"Well, I'll be damned. Little Lulu has her own private rat." He snickers and as she moves by him, he catches the back of her shirt.
"You are aware that if it's true, the cartel will make a dynamic comeback." He jerks his head towards the direction of his room, "That out there, will be nothing. That fear is nothing compared to what those bastards can do."
"The cartel never left. It was just laying low." She takes a step back and he releases her. "I can understand criminals and the loss of one leader wouldn't deter them."
"Oh, I bet you don't understand them better than me, sugar." On purpose, he pulls away the blindfold he wears in his sleep and presents her with the cartel's handiwork.
She takes a deep breath and turns away. "I guess we have to wait and see."
He jerkily ties back up the blindfold and cocks his head to the side.
"I am curious though…"
"About what?" A hot cup was pushed gently into his hand and he wraps his fingers around it. He takes a sip. Milk, no sugar. She got it right this time.
"El Debate rarely bothers with cartels and illegal activities even though marijuana and blow thrive in the local bars. It's always about the elite and the president's attempts to bring growth to this little place."
"And how would you know that?" she asks as she pulls out a chair and sits down, bringing Leila on her lap.
Sands takes a sip and grimaces. "How lame can you be?"
He shifts upon his seat. "I have the kid read me the fucking paper. It's better than listening to him gibbering in what he believes is English." He snorts.
"He speaks the language just fine. Not all of us can receive CIA's high education." She pauses and he smirks when she drops the question.
"What other languages you speak?"
Leila finds it wise to grasp the teaspoon in front of her and clank it against Lucy's cup just as he begins to speak.
"Italian…and a little bit of Russian." He answers and when there is a long pause, he raises his finger again. "But don't even think about asking me anything else."
"Anything else about what? You worry that I will ask about your training as a killer with an official badge?" Her voice is quiet and he sneers.
"You're cute." He gestures towards her with his cup.
"Um, no. In fact, you're boring." Standing up, he turns and walks out of the kitchen, once again passing over Marcus' heavy form.
"I think it's time for my pill." He makes his voice obnoxiously loud, but he receives no answer. In fact, the only sound in the room is Leila's jingling toy.
Oh crap. He stands up from the chair near his window and makes his way outside. Marcus' pounding footfalls echo behind him and the lab smoothly sidles up next to his side as they walk towards the living room. Accidentally, Sands' hand brushes up against the dog's head and the affectionate beast misjudges it as a caress. Pushing his muzzle up, he starts licking Sands' hand as if his life depends on it.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" he snatches his hand away and Marcus barks as Sands abandons him in the doorway to make his way towards the couch and the small table in front of it.
Feeling his way around the couch, he frowns. "Lucy?"
Leila jingles her toy and his ears perk up. Turning to his right, he outstretches his hand. A small hand wraps tiny fingers around his pinky and he grimaces.
"Ah, there you are." He pulls his hand back and Leila lets out an excited squeal.
If he had eyes, he would have rolled them. Instead, he parks himself on the couch and reaches underneath a cushion for the remote. Marcus has a habit of chewing on it if it's on plain sight.
"So, where's your aunt? Oh, I forgot that you don't speak. Bummer." His smirk is anything but sympathetic as he turns on the TV. The local channel pops up and as soon as the word presidente leaves the journalist's mouth, Sands is all ears. Turning up the volume high enough to cover Leila's little noises and jingles, he leans forward.
Pressing the remote against his chin, he frowns as the journalist stops talking long enough for the old man to speak.
Sands listens carefully and after a minute or so he groans. "Yes, yes. Peace, common good, honor and all that jazz. Wonder what you'll say when the new boss stops the threats and actually decides to come after you. I wonder if you'll have enough cojones for that." He shuts the speech out by pressing on the silence button.
Adjusting his glasses on his nose, he throws away the remote, just as Leila's toy makes contact with his thigh. Startled, he catches the toy and weighs it in his hand. Leila releases an elated giggle and he sneers.
"You are a little brat, aren't you?" he murmurs out loud and she laughs again, loudly thumping her legs against her seat.
Marcus barks and Sands can hear him moving around the couch. Smirking, he whistles. The lab enthusiastically comes up to him, slapping his tail against the table behind him.
"Sucker." He waves the toy in Leila's general direction and then turns it towards Marcus. "Bad choice, apple pie." He grimaces at the lame pet name, but Marcus doesn't waste time. He grabs the baby's toy from Sands' hand and clutches it between his strong, but extremely slick from saliva jaws.
Sands grins as the dog runs towards the baby with the toy, rejoicing at Leila's loud squeal at the sight of the huge dog.
"What in hell?" Lucy's voice comes out of nowhere.
Sands' turns towards the front door. "Oh, there you are."
"What the hell are you doing? Marcus! No!"
Sands crosses his legs and leans his head against the back of the couch.
"Keep your panties on. We're just having fun." He grins as she scolds Marcus and sends him away. The lab comes and parks his large body on the couch only to be shooed away by Sands.
"Fun? I was gone for ten minutes." She puts a bag down on the couch and picks up Leila's soiled toy.
"You're a bastard." She mutters and he shrugs.
"I love you too, sugar."
"Here." She thrusts a box of painkillers on his chest and their hands brush as he takes them.
"Aw you shouldn't have." He opens the box and pops a pill in his mouth. "Next time warn me."
"I have low tolerance towards toddlers…or rather, I have zero tolerance when it comes to inarticulate little humans. Savvy?"
Rolling her eyes, she shrugs out of her shoes. "Savvy? Seriously? You still use that ridiculous word?"
"Seriously? You remember anything I used to say?" He mocks right back and she pauses.
"Unlike you, I don't usually erase my memories when it suits me."
He leans forward at that, "Which reminds me. Who is the father?"
Lucy clears her throat. "I need to leave before it gets dark. Andres will come in an hour."
"Dodging my question only proves that you know." He smirks a little and shakes his head. "You were always a bad liar, chica."
"You think Jess told me anything?"
"Come on. You must know who she was fucking. She always came to you for help." He is trying not to be too curious, but for some reason he is failing.
Why do you care? It's just a kid.
"Well what?" Abandoning Leila's toy, she put her hands on her hips. "You know, I am not the same girl who used to do whatever you told her to. Why should I trust you with my family? Especially when I know that you abandoned my sister like she was dirt. When you-…"
"Did I hit a nerve? Do you feel like we had something, little Lulu? Hmm? You think I left you too?"
"This is not about me."
"Trust is something earned. I pay you and I let you around me despite your sister's nutty behavior towards me. I need to get something back. Especially if you plan on bringing her kid here every time there is a gathering in the square."
"I don't trust you. You just happen to have a lock on your door." She snaps and he is amused.
"Wow, that was low. Now I don't feel so bad about letting Marcus drool all over that precious toy."
"Like you ever did."
Sighing, she swallows and runs a hand through her hair. "Elliot Queen."
"You asked me about Leila's father. That's who I think it is. Eliot Queen."
Sands scowls. "Doesn't ring a bell."
"Rich, over six foot tall, gray eyes. Hot as hell. I can't say the same about his issues."
Sands shakes his head. "Wait, wait. How do you know him?"
Deciding to take a seat, she plops down next to him. "They had been seeing each other for a few months. Jess had stayed with me for a while during the beginning of their affair. After she disappeared, he used to call me and ask about her. No matter how many times I told him that I didn't know, he kept asking and he kept calling. He even showed up at my place. Twice. Once I left my apartment, I changed my number and I haven't heard from him since."
Sands points a finger at her. "So he doesn't know about the baby."
She pauses. "I am not sure about that. When Jess gave birth, there was an incident at the hospital. Someone had left a stuffed toy next to her incubator. I hadn't. Jess hadn't. So…"
"So he knows."
"I don't know."
"Charming fellow. What does he do?"
"He owns a tech company…"
Sands whistles and then barks out a laugh. "Wow, now I feel little."
"I don't know about that." When he turns his face towards her.
"Sure you do, sugar. Did I feel little when you groped me in the dark?" He raises his eyebrow and she flushes.
"Funny." She clears her throat, "There had been rumors about illegal activities. It was all over the papers."
They fall into a long stretch of silence until Lucy stands up. "Anyway, I better go. There's food in the kitchen."
He waves her away and as she gets ready to grab her bag, he speaks.
"Hey, can you get me that cell?" Her retreating footsteps alert him of the fact that she left to retrieve the ancient Nokia.
Once the phone is pressed in his palm, he plasters an altogether lazy grin on his face and waves his hand.
"Andres will be here soon."
"Sure. My regards to Senior De Marco."
"Fuck you, Sands." The door closes and he waits for a few seconds before he turns on the phone and dials.
After a few seconds a male voice answers. "Hello?"
Sands grins and reclines back in the couch. "Hey, Mulligan. I think it's time for that favor you owe me."
End of chapter 7
Author's note: Thank you for reading! Comments anyone? Pretty please?
Any ideas who this Elliot is? What did you think of the flashback? Should I write more about their past?
Until next time!