Tonight is her night, and everyone should feel relaxed right now, including Draco, which is why I don’t bring up Ronaldo anymore. The guilt is eating me alive though. I promised, but I was too late. I couldn’t help. Now he’s probably gone.
The party is just starting when we enter the room. The dining room has been cleared out. The table has been taken somewhere else for the night and the room has been filled with small, round tables. It’s like a ballroom now.
Latin music spills out of the speakers, loud enough to cover up even the nearest of conversations. Even with the music, though, there is still a lot of laughing and chattering.
Laughter is good. This night should be fun and simple.
Most of the tables are surrounded by guests—people that I don’t know, and not so sure I want to meet. I know Draco won’t make me meet them either. I assume the people here work for him in some sort of way or he has a claim on them, but it doesn’t mean he trusts them. He just knows they aren’t foolish enough to betray him.
He isn’t a people person. He doesn’t care about crowds, but this is what Mrs. Molina wanted. A big 60th birthday bash. And she got it. It’s not huge—I don’t think there are more than fifty guests—but I admit, it’s a great feeling to walk into a room and not feel like everyone wants to hold a gun to your head.
The guards are still around, dressed in different clothing. Black button downs and black dress pants. Their guns are still on display though, but I’m sure it was requested by Mrs. Molina to not have them so visible that people become uncomfortable.
It’s hard to feel festive with a gun in your face.
Patanza is wearing a pair of black pants and a black pinstriped vest, scoping the room with a drink in her hand. Of course she has skin showing. It just wouldn’t be Patanza if she didn’t.
I look to my left at the table closest to us, and I’m surprised to see Morales is here. I get a kick out of that. He’s the heavyset man whose expensive car I completely destroyed when I tried to escape this place.
He sees me strolling in with Draco, arm-in-arm, and turns his nose up at me, but comes in our direction anyway.
I guess he’s still pissed and blaming me for having Draco draw that gun on him that day. I don’t care. I still don’t like him. He carries himself like he’s better or smarter somehow, but I’m sure the whole room knows he’s far from it.
“Jefe!” he yells when he gets closer, holding out his arms and expecting a brotherly hug.
Draco swipes a hand across the tip of his nose. “The fuck are you doing in my house, Morales?” he bites out.
“I was invited, Jefe,” he says in a placating voice. “By your beautiful mother. She wanted me here.”
Draco stares at him. Hard. Morales presses his lips and looks at me, knowing he can’t battle his glare. “And you . . . the lovely woman who wrecked my beautiful Mercedes. You know I miss that car, don’t you?” His accent is thick.
“No me importa,” I return, shrugging. I don’t care. His eyes stretch wide, as if he wasn’t expecting me to know any Spanish. Yeah, I’m not just some stupid American bitch that wrecked his car. And he knows it. He focuses on Draco’s grip on my hand and then brings his eyes back up.
“Well, I’m going to get a drink,” he continues in Spanish. “You two have a good night, huh?” He claps Draco’s shoulder but Draco growls at him, a deep, throaty, feral one.
Morales’ eyes stretch and he backs off in an instant, spinning around and rushing to the bar set up by the window.
“What’s up with him?” I ask.
“He’s an ungrateful son of a bitch,” he grumbles, leading the way through the crowd. “Got him a car that cost more than the worthless shit he brought here, and he complains about the color to me. If he didn’t have such a large connection to my cartel, I would have spooned his fucking eyeballs out, that way he’d cherish the fucking values of life, not gripe over material shit.”
“I guess I should take partial blame for that. I am the one who completely destroyed that car.” I laugh and his mouth twitches, fighting a smile. “Come on. Let’s go get a drink and find your mother.”
Two hours have passed and Draco is much more relaxed than he was when we first entered the room. I guess I can give credit for that to Mrs. Molina. She kept bringing drinks to him, probably knowing how much more lenient her son is while under the influence.