FINE IS right, Lawson thought as he stood at the door watching Peru and his brother drive away. Those big dark eyes, that smooth tan skin, and those lips. He wondered how old Peru was. He guessed in his early twenties. Please God, let him be in his twenties.

“Señor?” The woman’s little boy tugged on Lawson’s jeans.

“Yes?” he asked, staring down at him.

“Can I have a candy bar?”

“I don’t know.” Lawson met the mother’s eyes. “Can you?”

“No,” his mother said, setting aside a copy of Scientific American. “I have apples for you both. Leave the man alone, Martín.” Lawson shrugged in apology to the little man, and the boy ran over to his mother and demanded his apples. “Say please,” she admonished. He did, and she produced a baggie filled with apple slices for him and patted the plastic chair beside her. He sat there, eating them, his short legs swinging in the air, as he watched Lawson and smiled. His little sister sat quietly now, coloring and no longer underfoot.

Lawson turned back to the door and stared after the young man who’d been dragged out of the laundry. Peru Cabral whispered across his mind.

“They own a few businesses around here,” the woman said, watching him.


“The Cabrals? They have a couple garages and the family restaurant… uh, Cabral Castle on third and Hollywood. You know it?” He didn’t. “Peru is the youngest of five boys.” Lawson waited, but she didn’t continue, just watched him.

“Um… how—”

“Turned nineteen in January.” She smiled a knowing smile, and Lawson blushed. Yikes! That’s young, he thought, that’s too young. He turned to gaze out the glass door again.