T-Minus 1,545,264,000 Seconds
Lluvia “Lulu” was born to Roberto and Delores De Soto during one of the most intense storms of the season. Descended from Hernandez De Soto, she inherited an exploring soul.
Never one to back down from a challenge she met each one with a quick wit and a laugh. Beauty sparkled in her eyes as she looked upon the world. As a child she would be found climbing trees – much to the chagrin of mother Delores who tried to teach this girl how to behave like a girl.
But with Lulu, it was an effort in futility.
Once when teased by the boys, Roberto heard screaming and knew, Lulu was beyond angry. The father of eight put down his farming tools, and walked around the house. There, Roberto found that his Lulu of the sonrisas, pushed beyond her limit of temper by her brothers.
She had her four brothers treed!
The four older brothers had pelted Lulu with fruit as she had come home from school in her new dress that her Mama made.
A temper that never broke without reason, this day did. Fury, like the tornadoes that could scour the earth clean of soil and asphalt across the middle of America, she had bloodied the nose of one brother and all had run for the tree they had picked fruit from.
Lulu had pushed the ladder over on its side and now carried an ax, where her brothers sat, trapped in the tree. The girl with the pretty smile, today had tears and murder in her eyes.
The elder De Soto called Lulu over and calmed her. Mother De Soto would be furious when she got into the house, Lulu cried on her papa’s arm
“Mi bebé, I shall take care of that now, your brothers will pay that penalty. Just do not cut down this tree, please? It produces fruit for our crops and it would be years before a new one I would plant to reach a productive age.”
In the weeks that followed, Lulu laughed as the brothers learned how to sew and created for her and her three sisters dresses that matched. Sewn to the exacting standards of Delores De Soto, it took the four boys a year to get it right.
The brutal teasing the brothers got from their friends over the punishment, lasted longer than the year that they learned to sew “Like a girl”.
In years to come, Carlos, the middle brother, became a well-known clothier and influential designer of fashion as he grew up. He incorporated with his name on a building at the age of 630,720,000 seconds, his name was soon a desired label.
Time was t-minus 950,354,000 seconds.
Lulu entered college, the first of the siblings, with some challenges in her grades she did not get into the colleges she wished for. Learning to learn at the local college, she met a girl who would become one of her closest friends. CarlaAnn was an ever dreaming, plan making and rule bending exciting girl who was fun to do things with.
Together they got in occasional trouble but never serious enough for the police to ever press charges. Only once did the girls have to sit in the police station and wait for their parents to come pick them up.
Whispering to Lulu, CarlaAnn laughed quietly.
“That was awesome!”
All Lulu did was laugh, even being grounded for a month, setting the fire alarm off in the town’s hotel, forcing patrons out in various stages of undress was totally worth it.
Lulu and Carla began a business together of rodeo clothing until CarlaAnn met Jack, an older boy who CarlaAnn was in love with, who talked her into buying Lulu out and expanding the business into motorcycle racing instead of just rodeo clothing. CarlaAnn allowed Jack to run the company with CarlaAnn and Lulu being the sales representatives.
Lulu met with many of the racing teams and became successful in promoting her friend’s company.
After several months Jack became the head of the company and would direct all day-to-day operations. Sometimes it seemed the company shorted Lulu or would be very late in paying Lulu her salary, but CarlaAnn would only make excuses. As weeks went by, CarlaAnn had begun to walk with her eyes looking down more often, she stopped looking people in the eyes, especially her best friend, Lulu.
On occasion, CarlaAnn would slip a roll of hundred-dollar bills into Lulu’s purse and whisper.
“Don’t tell Jack. Please.”
Occasionally, a slight discoloring of CarlaAnn’s face that could not be covered by make-up would worry Lulu, but her best friend would never let on what happened.
At one rodeo, Lulu was sitting with a horse owner talking about equipment that the company was seeking to get into. Barrels, saddles. Many saddle-makers had lined up when the rumor (started by Lulu herself to test the waters) that CarlaAnn’s company was moving into distribution of more equipment at a reasonable price.
Lulu met Russell at one autumn car show.
She met and spoke with a race-horse owner, Harold Stepkin, invited a handsome young man and introduced him and Lulu. With sparkling ebony eyes and an exotic look to match his mind, Russell Fletcher attracted Lulu right away. In turn, when he looked at her, the sounds of the world went quiet.
Dark of eye and quick of wit. She enthralled him immediately.
Well on her way to make an impact in alternate power sources for big vehicles. She was promoting her best friend’s company that was expanding into power systems.
Two weeks later Russell bought Lulu dinner and they talked long hours after watching the sun set. The restaurant closed around them and they were the last to leave with the employees.
In the following months, Jack’s mismanagement took a toll on CarlaAnn, no longer did the two women travel together or were known as the party girls to know or buy items from.
Lulu was finally paid in full by CarlaAnn’s company while Jack failed to make other payments required by the government, instead spending the money on other dubious activities.
Quietly, Lulu returned the rolls of hundred-dollar bills from the accumilated pile of rolls to CarlaAnn after Jack went to prison and CarlaAnn’s acquittal. The court found Jack had used the resources of the company and to have a role in corrupt activities in the local community.
After parting ways with CarlaAnn, Lulu and Russell were never apart more than an afternoon in the years that followed.
The following spring, Lulu’s father, Roberto passed away hours after watching his bebé marry the boy with almond eyes and a winning smile. The bittersweet day would be remembered by both families for generations.
Seven years later, Mama Delores married a green-eyed Celt with quick wit and a voice like distant thunder.
Settled in, children were born to the lovers and friends while they started their next generation. Russell moved the family to the high desert area south of Reno. Loving to visit, but not live in, the snows of Tahoe, he took Lulu often to ride his Harley-Davidson around the jewel the mountains.
Time was T-Minus 126,144,000 seconds.