HEY GUYS!!!! Thanks to all the people that reviewed! Oh, and @trustinghim, thanks for reviewing this entire time. I haven't posted in such a long time, and all of the Leo Valdez fanfics that I found were abandoned. So I decided it was more than necessary for me to continue! Thanks to artemishunting4, trustinghim, and cheerfulathena67! As an individual thanks! Cookies for you guys! (::) (::) (::) (If those don't turn out looking like cookies, than I guess you'll have to use your...IMAAGINAAATION!!!! )
As soon as we got off my dad's jet, and stepped outside to get into the limo, we were hit by immense heat, even though it was December.
Leo breathed in the air strangely, like it was good to be home. He didn't look shaken up by the dry heat in the least. But then again, he could step into white-hot flames and not be affected. I probably should've seen it coming. I suddenly had a weird flashback of this one time when I dared him to drink "Super-Intense-Extra-Hot" hot sauce straight from the bottle, and he did it without blinking an eye. He had even eaten an entire, whole jalenpeño once. He told me they were good when he noticed me staring at him.
I hurried into the limo, desperate for air conditioning. When Leo finally got in and sat next to me, I studied his features. Slightly saddened, as if the dryness had only reminded him of something tragic. I was thinking about asking him a question about it, but all that came out was "Leo, how can you live in this heat year round? With no snow?"
He grinned at me. "Piper, there's a heat wave right now. Usually it'd be in the seventies, not the nineties. There was a time when it snowed once, when I was younger, but it only lasted 'till noon."
I nodded slowly, and mouthed an "Oh."
"So, where we staying?" he asked me.
"Um... the Hotel de Lujo. I think it has five stars, or something like that," I told him.
He winced slightly, to my surprise. "Is it, by any chance, next to an apartment complex? And across from a burned down machine shop?"
I suddenly realized what he was talking about. "Um, well... Oh, we're here!"
We came to a slow stop, and the driver started to take out our bags. Leo looked around, noticing the beaten-up apartment complex next to the hotel, and the comepletely incinerated machine shop across from it.
"¿Hablas en serio?" Leo muttered, more to himself than anyone else. He shook his head, picked up his duffle bag, and walked inside after us.
The man at the front desk gave us our room key, but looked oddly wary of Leo.
We took the elevator up to the top floor, the presidential suite. As soon as we walked in, Leo ran up to the king-sized bed by the window, jumped up, and plopped down. He lay there with his hands behind his head.
"I call the window seat!" he exclaimed.
I rolled my eyes, and set my stuff down on the bed directly next to his. My dad did the same on the bed next to mine.
"So, I was thinking you guys could come with me to visit a fan in the apartment complex next to us. She's been sending me letters for two years, and I figured I might as well stop by, right?" my dad told us.
Leo smiled a little uneasily. "Uh, sure. What's...um, her name?"
"Her name's Rosa Valdez."
Leo snickered a bit. "Sending Tristan McLean letters for years? Aunt Rosa's had too much time on her hands," he muttered.
I pretended not to hear that.
As soon as we had unpacked, we left to visit this 'Rosa.' We walked, because it was only next door. It would be stupid to drive a limo to a place that was probably five-hundred yards away.
Leo helped us find the apartment, which my dad was surprised about. In a matter of minutes, he navigated us to Rosa's front door. My dad put on his 'I'm a winner' smile and knocked cautiously, but loudly.
A Mexican woman, who looked about thirty-nine and resembled Leo, opened the door. She nearly screamed, but suddenly her eyes flitted to Leo. She had an expression on her face that showed that she wanted to shriek for two completely different reasons: one for excitement, one for fear.
"Hola, Tîa Rosa. ¿Cómo has estado los últimos siete años?" Leo said, smirking.
Rosa looked immensely worried. "No...no puede ser..."
Leo laughed a bit. "Oh, Aunt Rosa. It can be."
My dad didn't seem to be following any of this. "What... what are they saying, Piper?" he asked me quietly.
"I don't know. I don't speak Spanish," I told him in a low voice. "I understood the 'Hola' part, though."
Suddenly, the woman and Leo stopped arguing with each other, and she took notice of Tristan McLean, the movie star, standing on her doorstep. "I apologize, Mr. McLean. Please, come inside." The woman stepped aside, gesturing her hand to indicate that we should go in.
My dad walked right in, and I followed. The woman glared as Leo walked through the door.
Leo plopped down on a sofa, as if he owned the place. The woman sighed. "Please, sit down."
My dad smiled, being genuinely nice, but was obviously confused as to why Leo was treating a "stranger" the way he was. He sat down next to Leo's kicked-up feet. "Um, may I ask what connection there is with you two?" he asked, gesturing toward Leo and the Rosa.
"Oh, um... he's my... nephew," she said with a bitter tone. Her expression made it seem as if she just drank milk that had expired three weeks ago, with a disgusted look on her face as she looked at Leo.
"Oh... oh, now I get it. Valdez...and Valdez... That makes sense," my dad exclaimed, obviously understanding now that it was clarified.
However, I didn't get it. "But... Leo, I thought you were in the foster program? Why would you be in the foster program if you have relatives that are still alive?"
Leo shrugged. "Ask her," he said indifferently, pointing to his aunt.
Everyone turned their attention to Leo's aunt. She seemed at loss for words. "Well, Leo was...Leo is...he's a public menace. He can't stay put, he always ends up breaking something valuable when he's at my house, and he's...well, he's just done some things that nobody can seem to explain."
Leo frowned. He got up from his couch and stepped over the coffee table, positioning himself so that the only obstacle separating him and his aunt was a small loveseat. "You explained that without blowing up. Well done. First time it's ever happened, I think!" He snorted and turned back around, forgetting that a coffee table was there. He bumped into it, knocking over the expensive-looking vase sitting on it. The vase crashed to the floor before Leo could catch it, and it shattered to pieces.
His aunt winced as we heard it crack and eventually become nothing more than a couple pieces of broken glass.
Leo stepped over the coffee table again, picking up the pieces and placing them on the table. He lifted his foot and picked up some trampled, muddy daffodils. He handed them to his aunt, biting his lip. "You know, you really shouldn't put vases of flowers on coffee tables. Maybe kitchen tables, where it would be harder to break them. Or maybe you could put them on the-" His hand flung to indicate the bookshelves before he realized what he was doing. Directly behind him was not bookshelves, but a china cabinet. His hand smashed through the glass, making over half of the china plates and cups to fall to the floor, shattering into itty bitty pieces.
He started to try to pick the pieces up. "Where should I put the-" he started, but didn't finish. The hand holding the small pieces accidentally brushed the cabinet again, causing the remaining plates to lose balance on their stands. They crashed to the floor, breaking. "Oh...sorry," said Leo.
It was all his aunt could do to not explode into a fit of rage. Just when she was about to blow, she looked at my dad and immediately calmed down. "It's..it's all," she nearly choked on her words in mid-sentence. "It's all right, Leo. Just please... Leave."
Leo seemed to lose his confidence, which I had only seen him do maybe three times in my life. "Oh. Okay," he said, trudging out the door.
I looked around and saw the mess my best friend had made in under sixty seconds. Honestly, I would've understood if she had blown up. I probably would've too, if it had been my house. But I still followed Leo out the door. I stopped just as I reached the doorhenge, and said, "Thank you for your hospitality," to Leo's aunt.
As I looked around for Leo, I saw that he had gone over to the old, wooden picnic table. He seemed to be placing his hand in a chink in the wood. I suddenly realized it's sinifigance and bounded over to him.
He looked slightly saddened by his aunt's reaction. He hadn't meant to break anything, but of course he did break almost everything of some value in that apartment. I squatted next to Leo. "What are you doing?" I asked.
His eyes were focused intensely on the the inch-deep print of a five-year-olds hands in the wood. The prints looked as if they had been seared into the solid wood, and they had long, bony-ish fingers. "Nothing..." he muttered. His eyes flitted up to one of the apartments--number 103--and lingered there for a few moments. "Just remembering..." he whispered. He sighed deeply, looking defeated.
As my dad finally came out of the apartment, I said, "Well, we better get back to the hotel, now."
He nodded and followed me over to my dad.
So, how was it? Please keep me updated on my writing quality, because I do tend to make typos every now and then. (I noticed in the last chapter, the starting Author's Note, I spelled opinions wrong. XD) Oh, by the way, feel free to read my other latest post! It called, "Hey guys! It's LEO VALDEZ!!!" and it's basically a post in the P.O.V. of Leo. There, you can ask him questions or pretend to be another character or do whatever you want! I noticed that cheerfulathena67 (or at least I think it was her, the last time I saw the post. It was a couple hours ago. Correct me if I'm wrong!) has posted on it! Feel free to ask me any questions about particularly confusing parts in the chapters (because there may be some. I'm not always the most clear person.) I really love to focus on becoming a better writer, because there's always room for improvement when it comes to me! Thanks again for reviewing!