The girl’s face is filled with longing.
Hating to vanquish her fantasy, Shannon replies, “No, my dear, everyone in the states is not wealthy. Believe me, we have plenty of poverty.”
Yunaisys’ eyes lock on Shannon. “Not like us. Tio says Americans eat three times a day. With La Libreta, you'll be lucky to eat once a day outside this house. If it wasn’t for Tio, most of our family––and a lot of others, too, would be starving––”
Nervously, Yunaisys looks around as if she just said or did the unthinkable. Before Shannon can ask what’s the matter, she stands.
“Um, thanks. I gotta go.”
Yunaisys exits the room, and Carmen lurches into action, a mutually undesired pursuit. Contemplating what could be troubling the girl, Shannon mentally replays what was said. Only one comment stands out to her, and it is surprisingly pleasant.
So, Carlos is a benefactor here in Cuba, too, she paraphrases, unaware of the reticent smile teasing her face as she recalls the award dinner from so long ago.
The growl is unexpected. “You. Out of your room––again!”
As quickly as her smile came, it vanishes. In the doorway is Ocho’s horrifying grimace. Shannon smothers a scream. His glazed over, dilated pupils assault every feminine aspect of her body. He staggers dangerously closer, pinching often at his nose, evidently inebriated and high on drugs. She inches backward, trying to assess the best response.
She looks over at Yoan calmly flipping through a hot rod magazine and wishes she could trust him to come to her aid.
“The boss said I could come down,” she remarks.
Ocho blows up. “The boss!!? I’m the boss. I’M THE BOSS!!” he yells, thumbing his finger at himself while he glares back and forth at Shannon and Yoan.
Looking up in amusement, Yoan tosses his magazine onto the coffee table and uncrosses his legs, twitching with excitement.
“Ha! Hell if you are!” He snickers at Ocho’s self-promotion.
“Shut up, you moron,” Ocho grumbles. He casts a threatening glance at Shannon under the shroud of Yoan’s cackle.
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