Soon, Mrs. Rodriguez left for her shift, and Mr. Rodriguez started cooking dinner, which for Cecilia, it was the first time she had ever seen another man for for their family. Each home Cecilia had been to, she was tasked to cook and clean, and in some homes she had to eat separately from everyone else. Cecilia, peeked out of her room, debating about sitting out in the living room or staying in her room until Mr. Rodriguez tells her otherwise.
“So, Cecilia, once I’m done making dinner, we all sit together as a family and the kids will show you the chores they do each night while I’ll be in the garage working on a project.”, Mr. Rodriguez explained as his voice carried through the living room to Cecilia.
“I understand, sir.”, Cecilia jolted and immediately looked down at her dingy white socks. Mr. Rodriguez caught her low gaze and his thick dark brows knitted.
“You know, I understand that you have been in and out of homes, but this is going to be different. We are built on trust here. As long as you are honest, things will go smoothly. The kids will behave appropriately and you are in a safe place. I know it’s a big change, but I hope you grow to like it here.”, Mr. Rodriguez half smiled looking at Cecilia.
Cecilia was puzzled hearing this, no one had ever been this kind to her, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of him wanting more from her. She had an subconscious urge to please and cater to his every whim. But, as the night carried out, there were no demands of her, no expectations. Even Estella and Carlos helped her with the night chores. Before Cecilia realized it she was getting ready for bed, as she was brushing her teeth she kept pondering about how platonic everyone was. Estella even offered her to listen to music on her iPad and to set up Netflix in her room. There was so much love in this home that you can feel it through the walls. A healthy, functional family, Cecilia thought. There must be something wrong with them, Cecilia shook her head at the thought.
After a week, Cecilia slowly began to open up with everyone, she was more playful and talkative with everyone in the home. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were pleased with how Cecilia was adapting to their home, but the nights when Cecilia was having uncontrollable night terrors, no one has been able to calm her.
“Cecilia, we wanted to talk to you about the nightmares, have you been talking to your social worker about them?”, Mrs. Rodriguez solemnly inquired as she sat down at the table. She shifted the chair next to her gesturing Cecilia to sit down.
“Um… I don’t really know what you’re talking about.”, Cecilia sat down avoiding their eyes.
“Look, you know what we’re talking about and we think that if you aren’t comfortable talking about it with us then you need to set something up with Karen.”, Mr. Rodriguez scolded.
“I don’t see why I need to tell you guys anything or Karen, it’s none of your guys’ business.”, Cecilia snapped folding her arms.
“Fix your tone, we are just concerned for your well-being.”, Mr. Rodriguez pointed at Cecilia.
“Well, I didn’t ask you guys to to that! So leave me alone!”, Cecilia stormed into her room slamming the door behind her.
As Mr. Rodriguez stood up to lecture Cecilia, Mrs. Rodriguez held his hand, “Hun, don’t you think you are being a bit too harsh? Maybe we pushed a boundary? We can always call Karen to reach out to her.”
“Maybe you’re right, but still Rosa, she needs to learn how this family functions. It isn’t fair to our children if we just give her special treatment just because she has a rough past. That is not how the world works.”, Mr. Rodriguez sat on the couch rubbing his face.
Rosa sat beside him, and leaned in lay her head on his broad shoulder, “I know Oscar, but if we push too hard she will only pull farther away. These things take time, I’ll call Karen tomorrow and see what she thinks we should do.”
Oscar nodded and kissed Rosa on the forehead, “Should we turn in for the night now?”
Rosa grinned and headed upstairs with Oscar behind her, Cecilia listened for their echoed steps and distant giggles. Her emotions were tearing her apart, she resented them for trying to get involved and yet, she couldn’t understand why they want to. But, tomorrow was a new day, the first day going back to a new school again as a senior. Cecilia’s mind raced with the different scenarios that could happen at school until she fell asleep.