After a bracing sip from her drink, Laurel decided how to handle the news that Luca was in the Criminal Career. She decided to try and be positive about it.
“Okay, I can’t say this comes as a complete surprise,” said Laurel. “I noticed your reluctance to talk about your job, but I just thought you were private. That sounds silly now. Why would someone who never wears a shirt have privacy issues?”
“Oh, don’t let appearances fool you,” said Luca, “I do prefer my privacy. Why do you think I live where I do? No one but you and my sister make that trek out to visit.”
“Good point,” said Laurel. “okay, Mr. Privacy, does that mean you don’t want the club to know about your career?”
“Not just yet,” answered Luca. “I’ll tell them on my own, in due time. My only real concern is Gavin. He’s a politician. I don’t want to end up ruining his career or getting thrown in jail at his request.”
“Awww, you do care! I don’t know where his career is headed, or how your careers may come into conflict one day,” said Laurel. “All I know is he joined this club without asking for credentials of the other members first. I’m going to assume he doesn’t need to vet us all, and you should too.”
“Cool, I’ll stop worrying about it then. Thanks for keeping my secret.”
“That’s what friends–and family– are for, right? I need to finish my drink, and you need to change back into your club clothes. Meet you upstairs?”
Luca left to change while Laurel finished her drink.
Luca: Wow, that went way better than expected. I guess I do have a place in this club after all.
Laurel: What the hell kind of family is my son trying to marry into? Gah, I hope I did the right thing by convincing Luca to stay around.
Laurel found most of the club gathered around the TV in the game room on the first floor of the building.
“Hey everyone, let’s check out the swimming pool,” said Laurel.
“So you got Luca back? That’s great,” said Carmen.
“I sure did,” said Laurel.
“That is too bad,” said Bo, “Dominic would be a great addition to the club, but I am satisfied with Luca continuing his membership, I suppose.”
“It’s probably for the best,” said Carmen, “he’s so chocolate-y and y’all know I have a terrible track record with married men, haha.”
No one else laughed.
Laurel finally laughed, but chose not respond. Come on, you guys, the pool is just through these double doors.”
“Already ahead of you,” said Carmen.
“This is wonderful,” said Bo, “I have never swam in water before. I like it very much.”
“I can see that,” said Carmen, “you’re glowing bright green. You’re like our own little night light. Hopefully no one looks in here.”
“Nah, we’re fine,” said Laurel. No one is on the deck, and all the chairs for the movie screen face away from us. If you swim up to the glass, you could even watch the movie in here if you can tread water long enough.”
After swimming, everyone gathered in the kitchen for snacks. Laurel went into a frenzy. She made ice cream, lemonade, popcorn, tea, and filled the buffet table and punch bowl. Every person in the building could eat twice and they wouldn’t run out.
Carmen grabbed a bowl of popcorn and joined Gavin at the picnic bench in the corner of the kitchen. “This is so nice, right? I love our hangout room, but it’s also cool to come up here and be around all the people. I think it’s Knight Night at the bar downstairs. I love guessing who’s in the costumes, don’t you?”
“I don’t know as many people as you, so no,” said Gavin. “But I don’t want to talk about the knights, I want to talk about you, how are you?”
“It’s been difficult. Hugo still comes around all the time, under the guise of seeing Rodrigo,” said Carmen. “But once we’re around each other, and I hate to admit this, I can’t resist him. I just can’t believe he married that vampire woman. It’s so complicated.”
“Woman, It’s not that complicated. You’re still sleeping with him?!”
“I’m such a mess, I know! I miss my mama and papa. You know what we should do? We should have parent day! That way we can meet everyone’s family. My parents could spend time with Rodrigo. Luca’s could meet his new wife, since they weren’t at the wedding, you noticed that right? Laurel’s parents could spend time with their great-grandchildren. I don’t know if Bo has parents, did he ever talk about how aliens reproduce? And your parents could meet Akira!”
“Slow down, we should not have parent day.”
“Why not? Don’t you want to meet my parents?”
“Sure I do,” said Gavin, “I just don’t want my parents around. They hate children.”
“You’re not a child anymore,” said Carmen.
“I know, but I’m sure they’ll still think I’m a ‘sissy,’ even more now that Akira is in my life.”
“Say what? Your parents said that to you? What kind of a mom and dad–”
“Just drop it, okay? And it’s mom and step-dad. But let’s just talk about it another time.”
“Okay, sure, I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m just missing my family is all. I don’t have to turn it into a club thing to see them.”
“Thanks,” said Gavin, “and for the record, I’d love to meet them if they come visit.”
“I’d like to meet them too,” said Luca, joining back in as if he hadn’t just quit the club earlier that night. “It’d be nice to see what a functional family looks like.”
“You too? Well, then I’m glad we’re all in the club together,” said Carmen. “we’ll be each other’s functional family. Luca, do you know if Bo has parents?”
“No, how do aliens even reproduce? The Sims around here that have alien babies have no memory of how they got pregnant.”
“Yeah, never mind,” said Carmen, “I was just wondering. So what’s up?
“I overheard you all talking about your problems,” said Luca. “You let me know if you want me to fix it.”
“Fix it? I can’t imagine what you mean by that,” said Gavin.
“I’m just saying,” said Luca, “I’m in a position to help certain problems go away. I don’t need to say more than that, just let me know. I’m headed back out to the pool, catch you all later.”
“Oh that’s nice of him to offer to help,” said Carmen, “I wonder what he thinks he can do to help us though.”
“Yeah, I think I’d rather not know,” said Gavin.
Luca: Oh boy, if I’m really going all in with these people, I’ll have to let the boss know I’ll find him new targets. I can’t let the crew rob the homes of my friends and family.
Gavin: That Luca is one to watch. And I really hope Carmen let’s the parent day idea go. That would be a disaster.
Carmen: Luca is so mysterious, definitely crispy around the edges. As long as he’s good to us though, I say what the hell, live your life. And Gavin and I are definitely not done talking about his parents.