You felt exhausted staying in this building all night finishing work that’s been put off for weeks. It was only you and your boss in the office tonight, besides the janitors and security.
Skimming over the last of the document, you signed your initials on the bottom page bottom page placing it with the rest of the papers you’ve been signing for the past two hours.
You walk over with the stack over the Mr. Hemmings office which was a couple doors down. You press your back against the glass pane doors stepping into his office. Mr. Hemmings was slouched in his lounge chair with heavy eyes, relaxed hair, and his black tie undone.
“I’m done with this, you just have to approve.” setting the documents next to his computer. Mr Hemmings nods, leaning forward as he flips through the papers sighing at the amount of effort.
You awkwardly stood watching him stand from his chair overlooking the grand view of the East side of L.A. from the top floor. He shoves his hands into his pockets walking towards you, passing by you to leave.
“I’ll see you Wednesday y/n.” running his fingers through the ends of your hair down to your lower back, nearly going down further but stopped.
What you and Hemmings have is just mutual business partners. You barely knew him, he was a good boss. He kept everything strictly about business with you, but you knew it wasnt the case. Hemmings would go out of his way to be with you as much as possible.
“Goodnight Luke.” you whisper, walking opposite directions to your office. You organized a bit before leaving for the night. Bent over from under the desk you grab your purse, bumping back into Luke as you stood up he held your from behind making you nearly scream.
“Sorry to scared you.” he snickers.
“I-didnt know you were here.” you stutter embarrassingly. “Is there something you need sir?”
Luke hums resting his head on your shoulder, pepper kissing the side of your neck wrapping his arms tighter around your waist. You push away realizing what he was trying to do and how wrong this was to do this. “No-Luke.”
He nearly moans, “Please, I need you. I always did.”
You stood for a couple seconds shocked to what he just admitted, “We cant do this, ever.”
Luke’s face flushed red in anger and embarrassment. “Why? Because it’s ‘unprofessional.’ ”he snaps.
“Because I’m already seeing someone!”
The room fell quiet, Luke glanced down at the floor hiding his expression. You wanted to say something to him, anything to at least cheer him up.
“See you Wednesday y/n.” he mumbles walking back to his office he shuts the door staring at the amount of paper work that was on his desk.
Something was off about Luke when you came in, he was taking his anger out on everyone. If someone didnt do a simple thing right he would yell at them in front of everyone, threatening to fire them and he watched over everyone making sure they were doing their job.
The room suddenly fell quiet as soon as Luke stomped in the break room while everyone was there eating lunch, people avoided his gaze in fear of getting yelled at again. He grabs his drink from the fridge glaring at you. “In my office, now.” you look around everyone else seeing if he was talking about you.
“You y/n, in my office.” he points out, coworkers gave a worried look, hoping it wasnt serious.
You follow behind Luke to his office letting you go in first, he slams the door shut causing you to wince and watching him closes the blinds from the glass windows so that no one could see into his space.
“Sir-I-” needing to explain but he interrupts telling you to be quiet. You mumble ‘sorry’ as Mr. Hemmings walks towards you. His tall figure ghosting over you holding your side.
“Seriously-dont.” you push back, “Why am I here.”
“Because I need you and I wont take no for an answer.” he implies walking away from you to grab something from his desk.
“And you think I’m going to consider saying yes?” you scoff, crossing your arms.
He playfully rolls his eyes thinking of reasons, tapping at his desk. “Well for one, I’m more successful, richer than your boyfriend. Maybe even more handsome.”
“You really think I care about that?” laughing at his cockiness, his face burns red with his fist balled. “My answer is still no.”
“Okay.” Luke taunted, “Fine. I’ll make you choose.”
You watch Luke as he walks around his desk, leaning against it, causally fixing his suit. “I’ll give you an option. One, you break up with Logan and come live with me.”
Your mouth fell open knowing Luke knows his name. “How-”
“Two.” he interrupts. “ I kill Logan so you have to be with me. Or three, if you still dont want to be with me after I kill him. I will just kill you, or maybe take you in myself.”
“I doubt you will do something like that.” you nod not believing any of this.
Luke shrugs reaching from behind him, “Have it your way.” placing a small silver handgun next to him. You immediately scream into your hands running for the door but Luke catches you, making you face him. The gun pointing right above your belly button he whispers in your ear, “Oh, and if you decide to tell anyone about this, I will kill you.”
The gun clicks as his finger barely pulls on the trigger, “You have three days.”
You begin crying and shaking thinking you were going to die. Luke puts away the gun in his side jean, wiping the tears away, kissing your cheek.
“You should go back to work. Tell me when you decide.” He lets you out of his office innocently smiling as he holds the door. You hesitantly walk back to your desk, unable to comprehend anything.
“I live in East L.A., and I speak Spanish,” she says. “The girls who work in the club in the video are my friends, people I knew before I became a little more well known. Like, I’ve always spoken Spanish in all my songs the past few years.”
“He’s crazy y Cubano como yo my love.”
“I can speak Spanish, You can sing for the neighbors,”
“Yo soy la princesa, comprende mis white lines.”
“Papi is a gangster, I’m his little dolly.”
“I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba - ‘Lana Del Rey’ reminded us of the glamour of the seaside.”
“Wow, so is this where you take all the girls on a first date?” Daisy asked, shutting her door to the Charger before walking a few steps closer to the cliff’s edge.
After treating her to dinner at a local East L.A. food truck, Robbie had insisted on showing her something outside the city. They drove for what honestly seemed like forever down small streets then up hillside roads until Robbie pulled them off on to a dark dirt trail. Just when Daisy had been beginning to think this was all some grand ruse so he could murder her and no one would find her body (she honestly needed to stop watching horror movies on Netflix with FitzSimmons), the dark hills had given way to a shimmering cliffside that Robbie had ended up parking his car facing away from.
Daisy peered out over the steep edge and her shrimp taco from earlier squirmed uneasily in her stomach. Thousands of feet below her sat all of Los Angeles in all its glory. It was a chaotic marvel of colors and lights, but from way up here, with only the sounds of chirping crickets and rustling foliage, it was actually kind of peaceful. As if the whole cityscape were like the twinkling stars they outshone up above. She never imagined such a grungy, old city could look so beautiful.
“Nah,” Robbie admitted as he walked up next to her. “Just the ones who are special to me.”
Her stomach did somersaults, but this time it wasn’t because of height vertigo. “Gee, Reyes,” Daisy muttered as heat began to fill her cheeks. “You better watch yourself. Almost sounds like Mr. Broody McBadass cares.”
Ofelia Esparza, 85, is a master altar maker and lifelong resident of East Los Angeles. As an artist and educator, she has dedicated her life to her community and to continuing traditions she learned from her mother. She is well-known for the public ofrendas she creates each year in celebration of El Día de Los Muertos. She was photographed at Tonalli Studio, an art space she runs with her daughter, Rosanna, in Old Town Maravilla, in East L.A.