Juan Jr., or JJ as Carlos called him, was hunched over the keyboard, intent on the screen, supporting communications work Carlos owned. This young man of 22 was the spitting image of his father, Carlos’s brother, with his dark complexion and thick black hair that reflected his Mexican heritage, but with blue eyes that he shared with his twin sister Gracie, who favored their fair mother. JJ possessed a great sense of humor, ready smile, and gallant mannerisms which made him the target of flirtatious exchanges from the models who worked for Lara. Carlos innocently asked, "JJ, have you had a chance to speak with Zara? If so, may I know your thoughts?"
Juan Jr. pushed back from his computer keyboard. He blinked to help crystalize his thoughts. "She’s not what I expected. When you cautioned me about her, I half expected some aging woman heavily done up with female war paint looking for her next victim. But she came across as unpretentious, polite, quite reserved, and a little melancholy. She didn't seem mean, but she didn't seem kind either. Is that what you wanted to know?"
Before Carlos could comment, Juan Jr. hastily added, "You didn't tell me everything about her, did you?"
With a twinkle in his eye Carlos offered, "Juan, I haven't told you everything about her for the same reason I haven't told you everything about me. You must make up your own mind about the people you meet. But sometimes it is fair to provide a little heads up.
“Zara is an attractive, smart lady, with a harsh past. Sometimes people like that unintentionally eviscerate inexperienced young pups without even being aware of their actions. Of course, you're old enough to make up your own mind. I just didn't want to see you unfairly ambushed."
Juan Jr. frowned. "That's twice we've had the father/son talk about women. I can only hope I do better at this remedial training on women you provide."
Carlos studied Juan Jr. a moment. "I’m sorry about Jo. Please don't think I was picking on you. Jo was a good first romance that had very little chance of success. If I were you, I wouldn't give up completely on that one, even though I would suggest you move on."
"Do you think it was a mistake to bring Zara into this play? In my estimation, we could have done it without her or Leroy at ground zero."
Carlos grinned slightly. "Plans within plans, my boy. If nothing goes right, then we have people to take the hit while we say, ‘Oh darn’. If they work as directed and all goes well, then we have two new operatives that can be re-deployed in the next phase. I admit it sounds a little harsh, but always maintain a buffer zone between you and the front line."
"Nice! So, these are our fall guys? Alright, I get it but I don't like it. Doesn't seem honorable."
Carlos’s eyes darkened a bit. "Oh, I didn't say it was honorable. I said this is how this game must be played. Just so you know, both Zara and Leroy understand how this playing field is structured, because I told them all the risks. Not telling them the risks before deploying them into the fire, that would be thoroughly dishonorable."
Juan Jr. almost grinned. "Yes, Uncle Carlos, point taken."
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish