latino_menace: (19 - Confused)
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Meeting her parents had never been on the cards for him. Hell, seeing her more than once had never been on the cards for him but the bitch wouldn’t put out. If it weren’t for that chat his uncle had had with him recently that wouldn’t be an issue, he’d have just helped himself. But it had been pointed out, in no uncertain terms, that the business was shaky and the very last thing any of them needed was for Ramon to have the attention of the authorities turned on him for the sake of a piece of ass. It didn’t matter what he did, as long as he didn't get caught - but Maria's father is a lawyer. It would be too much to hope that he wouldn't cause trouble.

So here he is, knocking on her door. She'd insisted that he pick her up and he'd given in, thinking that if he was nice to her and gave her what she wanted then she'd give him what he wanted and he could be done with her. There are voices coming from inside the modest house, he catches a muffled 'Who is this man?' before footsteps can be heard coming towards the door.

Ah. He didn't know she hadn't told her father who he was. This should be interesting - and might even be fun. He smirks, leans on the doorjamb and cups his hands around a cigarette, lighting it as the door is flung open to reveal a beefy sort of man with a face like thunder.

'She ready?' is all Ramon says.

He does so like it when he doesn't have to introduce himself. Even better when they change colour, like this one is. He doesn't look like he can find words so Ramon just sticks his head around the door and calls her name.

'Coming!'

He winks at her father, looking smug as all hell. 'Getting herself ready for me, obviously.'

'She's sixteen,' says the man, his voice giving away his horror at this turn of events. 'You take anyone you want, can't you leave her alone?'

Ramon looks him over, cool as you like. 'But I want her.' And Maria appears, smiling like a princess and obviously enjoying her father's shock; she gives him a superior sort of glance as she passes him in the doorway. Ramon makes a show of putting his arm around her shoulders and turns her towards the car that has two guys waiting inside, turning to look over his shoulder as they walk away. 'Don't wait up.'

* * * * *
March.


‘Ramon! Come here, I need to talk to you.’

He jerks his head at the guys waiting for him, telling them to get into the cars. ‘Si, papa.

His father is in his study. The place is a mess; things are not going well but Emanuel doesn’t want to talk about that just yet. He never does and it’s been a bone of contention between them for a while now.

'Is something wrong?'

His father eyes him from behind his desk. He's an imposing kind of man and looks much like Ramon will in thirty years time, though he's much bigger, both taller and carrying more weight. Ramon got his mother's build, short and slight, while Hector looks like their mother in the face but has their father's size.

'Yes. Sort of.'

He waves a hand at an armchair in the corner and stands, coming over to join his son. Two glasses of brandy are poured and he hands one to him before sitting. Ramon takes it, puzzled, but waits to hear without pushing.

'One of our doctors came to see me today. It seems that Tulio Sapito Lozano has been looking for some help.'

Maria's father.

'He's sick?'

His father snorts. 'No boy, he's not sick. He wouldn't be skulking around the backstreets and making enquiries about abortionists if he were sick.'

Ramon's face freezes. For a brief moment, he allows himself to hope that the man has just been having some fun on the side and doesn't want to have to explain to his wife. But no. He wouldn't be sitting here if that were the case. And anyway, the man doesn't have it in him to knock some bitch up.

'...oh.'

'Mmmm.'

He studies his father's face. He doesn't seem angry, or resigned, or much of anything really. If anything, he looks like he's making calculations - Ramon may have issue with some of the business decisions his father makes but the man does generally have a good head on his shoulders.

'You must marry her, Ramon.'

'...what?'

'Hear me out. I know that it wouldn't be your first choice of solutions. In fact, I suspect you'd rather pull out that pretty knife you like so much and put it to use once again. But what would that achieve, other than making Senor Sapito create a fuss and bring us attention we don't need?'

Ramon stares at the man, horrified. He can't believe his father is actually suggesting he give up his freedom for the sake of one little puta who can't count the days of the month properly.

'Papa, I don't want to get married.'

'I know. But...' Salazar the elder spreads his hands and now he looks resigned. '...you made your bed, son. And this could be of great advantage to us.'

'How?'

'You have to get married some time. You need sons to carry on your work. Any respectable businessman has a wife by his side to present the right image to the world. And think about it.' Emanuel knows his son quite often doesn't think at all and is frankly surprised that something like this, or worse, hasn't happened sooner. 'Her father is a respectable man who has, in the past, tried cases against people involved in our business. Why do you think he wants...what's her name?'

'Maria.'

'Why do you think he wants Maria to kill her child? Why do you think he is desperate enough to wander the backstreet butchers in order for her to be free of this connection to us? If she's married to you, Ramon, we own him. He will never dare work against any of us again. And there will be one less lawyer in the world, which can only be a good thing.'

He sees the man's point. Hates it, but sees it. Still, he tries one more time.

'But papa, she is nothing. She bores me.' His voice has a desperate note in it. 'And I don't want a child.'

The thought leaves him cold all over.

'You're old enough to be a father. By the Virgin Ramon, you probably have a dozen or more scattered around the city already with the way you live your life. I'm not criticising it. We've all done it. You are your own man and must make your own decisions.'

He lays a paternal hand on the boy's shoulder, looking down at this kid who looks so like him but is so so different. The future of the cartel, they all know it. Emanuel had to do a lot to get started in the business but he did it because he had to and there were many things that made him sick.

Nothing makes Ramon sick. He was born for this life.

'Think about it, filho. No one is saying you can't continue to conduct yourself however you see fit. What is she, or her father, going to do to stop you? But you can have that and still be a husband and father. It is the best of both worlds really - and who knows? You might even find you like it.'

He doesn't believe that. Ramon doesn't believe it. But it's something to say.

'Go on out now. Have fun. We can deal with this tomorrow. But we do have to deal with it and you should keep in mind what I've said.'

'Si, papa.'

He drains his drink and stands, submits to the embrace of his father without rancour. His mind is reeling and there's a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach but he gets the impression, even this soon, that there's an inevitability to this that he can't fight. And maybe he shouldn't.

To hell with it. Right now, he needs to go and get drunk. Like his dad said, it can wait until tomorrow.
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Ramon Salazar

September 2010

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