Rio looked over his Auntie Haley's shoulder towards his sleeping mom. "Mama?" he echoed questioningly, not as softly as Haley.
Haley winced. "Sh...." she told him again.
Rio grabbed at the bottle eagerly, drinking it down in full gulps.
Maritza walked by on her way to the refrigerator. "Good morning," she told Haley. "How's Rachel doing this morning?"
Haley frowned, grabbing a bowl to join her friend for cereal.
"She's fine, Maritza. She just needs some time!"
Rachel rolled her eyes. "It's just a Leisure Day party!"
"Yeah, but it was 'getting to know your coworkers' the night before and 'payday splurge' the night before that," Haley argued. She nibbled her bottom lip, "We're worried about you Rach!"
Rachel rolled her eyes. "I'm fine!" she argued. "I just want to live a little! Get off my back!"
"Okay! I'm sorry!" Haley said, lifting her hands up, giving up.
Grinning, she'd jumped into the pool, smiling as everyone cheered and laughed.
Life didn't get better than this, she thought as she jumped out of the water.
"Then you're going to love me!" Rachel laughed. "Come on, I need a drink!"
Btu Rachel's attention had wandered to a nicer-looking chest. So many choices, so little time, she thought.
"Are you kidding?" Leann said with a light laugh, "You throw the best parties!"
So many people came up to greet her and talk to her. There was a blur of faces and conversations.
"Another round for my friends!" Rachel called out to the bartender as she teetered on her heels, following along after Mack with a giggle.
Mack grunted. "I told you I love a girl that knows how to have fun," he said, leaning over to whisper in her ear. Placing his hands on her hips, he gently steered her towards a corner off in a corner of the room.
Haley hung up the phone and wrung her hands worriedly. Well, at least she knew why Rachel hadn't come home this evening.
Nibbling her lower lip, she called the first person she could think of... "Hello?" she asked nervously when he answered. "Are you busy?"
She wrapped her arms around Mack's neck and roughly kissed him back, rising on her tip toes to press up against him. "Take me home," she whispered.
Mack ran his hands down her dress. "I have a better idea," he suggested breathlessly. "Let's go back to your place."
Rachel shook her head. "Can't. Roommates," she responded, nibbling on his ear.
Mack groaned. "Let's get a room somewhere. I know a motel."
Rachel was on the verge of agreeing rather enthusiastically when she thought she heard her brother calling her name. Her world spun as she looked up suddenly... making direct eye contact with Johnny.
"Get your hands off my sister!" Johnny said angrily.
Rachel's gaze shot between her brother and Mack, still reeling with confusion.
"Get. Your. Hands. Off. My. Sister," Johnny said through gritted teeth. He was pissed to find his sister glassy-eyed, two-sheets-the-wind, with this guy pawing all over her. Just give me an excuse to pummel you, Johnny dared him with his eyes.
Johnny looked over his shoulder and glared at the jerk. He stuck his finger in his sister's face. "You are not calling him later," he demanded.
Rachel just sighed dreamily, "But I love him, Johnny!"as she fell against him, unable to stand up straight now that the bookshelf and Mack's body weren't supporting her.
Johnny swore under his breath. "Let's get you home."
He narrowly avoided dropping Rachel as she started to slump over, pulling her against his side. "I know, Rach. I love you, too. Take another step this way," he urged her.
Haley opened the door and rushed out to greet them. "You found her!" she said, clearly anxious and worried. "Let me help."
Haley felt tears prick her eyes. "I know, Rach. I love you, too."
Haley nibbled her lower lip, not noticing when Johnny's eyes trailed down to watch. "Since your dad's funeral," she said sadly. "She's been out partying with some of her new co-workers. I've been worried about her, but kept thinking it would blow over."
Johnny nodded. "I'm just glad I was still in town." The whole family was still reeling from their dad's death. But, Rachel had always been more emotional than all of them. He should've known that their dad's death would hit her harder.
Johnny blinked owlishly, reeling his thoughts back from the gutter. He wanted to pull her into his arms and release all this pent-up sexual frustration. He hadn't been on a date since he'd run into her again. But she'd never given him any indication that she'd welcome any advances from him... not a come-hither look, or a suggestive comment.. nothing.
"There's no 'we'," Johnny said a little more harshly than he'd intended. "I'll talk to Sonja. She can talk some sense into her daughter. It's what you should've done before it got to this point," he said.
Johnny cursed under his breath when he saw Haley disengage after he'd snapped at her. "I'm sorry, Haley. I didn't... I just..." he stammered. "Hell! I'm sorry. I've got to go!"
He strode from the room before he made a bigger fool of himself.