“Thanks, Ma,” I say, sitting down on the couch. We are almost done here and will be heading to the shop tomorrow to get it off the ground, but with four shops already open, it’ll be a breeze.
The doorbell rings, and I move to open it, thinking it’s the pizza.
“That was fast,” Mom says. I just barely ordered it.” I pull the door open, but instead of a pizza delivery kid, it’s an older woman holding a pie pan.
“Hello, I’m Loretta. Loretta Lambert, from two doors down,” the woman says.
“Hey, Ma. Door,” I say.
“Oh, hello. I’m Katherine Luna.”
“This is Mrs. Lambert,” I introduce her.
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” Mrs. Lambert says.
“Thank you. My husband is around here somewhere. This is my eldest son, Manuel.”
“Nice to meet you. I had an extra apple pie, so I thought I’d bring it over to you,” she says, handing Ma the pie.
“Thank you so much, Mrs. Lambert,” Mom says.
“Please call me Loretta. I won’t keep you long, but the wives of the neighborhood have a weekly bridge game on Thursday night at my place. Two doors down on the left.”
“Uh, sure. I don’t really know the rules, but it sounds like fun,” Ma says.
“We’ll teach you, just bring a bottle of wine, and we’ll be good to go,” she says, waving as she walks away.
Ma waves and closes the door behind her.
“I don’t think I even knew the neighbors down in Florida, and we’ve only been here a few hours, and I have plans. Crazy.”
“You’re gonna go?” I ask, surprised as hell.
“Yeah. I don’t want to alienate people,” she says, turning back into the house. I close the door.
“So weird, Ma,” I say, chuckling. She doesn’t usually do stuff like this, but this whole move has brought about many changes for the Luna family.
I grab the last of my boxes and move up the stairs to my room. My bed is on one wall, opposite the French doors that lead out to the balcony and the stairs down to the side yard.
By nature, I am a pretty tidy guy, so my room is driving me crazy right now. I don’t have much by choice. I have a bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. I brought my laptop, cell phone, and chargers. I begin to unpack and refold my clothes before putting them away neatly. I hear the doorbell again, and my stomach automatically growls in hunger. I make my way back downstairs and into the kitchen, where the rest of my family is already grabbing at pizza like animals. I grab a slice and take it into the living room. The cable and internet were turned on when my parents were here last week, seeing to the finishing touches on the additions they made to the house.
I grab the remote but don’t actually get a chance to turn the TV on. There are no curtains hung yet, so I can see into the open curtains of the house across the street, where the girl I waved at earlier is sitting down at the dinner table with her family. They are sitting with their heads down, and their hands joined in what can only be prayer. We are not an overly religious family, but I believe in a higher power. The family finishes praying and begins to eat. I can see the father yelling at someone, but it’s unclear which woman at the table he’s yelling at.
I’m still watching them when my girl suddenly stands up, throws her napkin on the table, and storms out of view. Then the front door opens, and she slams it behind her.
Without thinking, I drop my plate on the coffee table and am out the door so fucking fast. Before I know it, I’m across the street and standing in front of her. She’s crying, and it breaks my heart.
“Don’t cry, mi riena. Everything will be alright,” I tell her.
Whoa! Where did he come from? I wonder as my mind races trying to remember my high school Spanish. I was pretty good at it back then but haven’t had much of a chance to use it recently. My queen. I look up into the man’s face and realize that it’s the guy from earlier today. The one I brazenly stared at and fantasized about. Is he really the prince I’ve prayed for? No, this man is no mere prince. He’s a king.
“I’m your queen? Really?” I ask, scoffing. He can’t be serious, though. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know anything about me, not even my name.
“Girl, you have no idea. You haven’t left my mind all damn day,” he says. I feel my face heat at his swear word as my tears dry up and other things get wet.
“Oh, that’s nice,” I say, trying to keep my cool, my distance, something. Anything to keep from jumping this man. I don’t even know his name.