“And if the father was here,” Carter continued, “I’d buy that sonofabitch a beer.”
The mixture of laughter and bemused glances went through the crowd like a shiver. Patrons sitting below Carter waited for him to laugh, too, in admission of the joke he’d just told. Kak didn’t move her head. She used the corner of her eye to find Liliana, to note the hopeful amusement balanced delicately on her brow. It couldn’t last. It wasn’t a joke. How could Kak already know what Liliana didn’t?
Kak counted down in her mind. She couldn’t help it. Three. Two. And at one, Liliana would know. It came on cue. Kak watched it eclipse Liliana’s radiant face like the shadow of the moon. Now she knew what Kak knew. What Rudy knew. That Carter Bliss, for all his wit and charm, didn’t understand who the father was.
“So let’s end the suspense,” Carter said. “Who is this guy and when do we get to meet him?”
The crowd sat mesmerized, peering from Carter to Liliana and back to Carter. The Dolly Llamas had returned to the band stand but stood silent, their instruments forgotten. The staff paused at their blender buttons and table wiping. From two tables away a lime being shoved into a bottle of Corona plopped into the cerveza inside. It practically echoed. There wasn’t a soul in the place that could tear his or her attention away from the head-on collision being played out in slow motion before them.
Liliana broke the silence.
“You’re the father, you idiot.”
The absolute silence allowed her words to settle into every corner of the bar.
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