The story so far:
"Hola, chicas!" Andreina exclaimed to Myrtle, Jacqueline, and Desiree. They were all in the cafeteria at Bella Rosa University on a beautiful Monday in June.
"Hi, Andi," said Myrtle. Jacqueline and Desiree waved.
Andreina smiled, just like her cousin Ondrea did. (That's right--they were related. Ondrea's mother Elisabeth and Andreina's mother Sheila were related.) She was a tall Cuban-African-American with long black hair and always smiled that toothy smile of hers. Plus, she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when she was five years old. (She was 22 years old now.) Sometimes she would go into small violent rages and throwing things without even realizing it, and some people have actually told Sheila that Andreina's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was an excuse. Sheila, however, would prove them wrong by saying that Andreina had a right on Planet Earth, just like everyone else. Andreina had a talent for helping people cope with Asperger's Syndrome, and during her spare time, she liked to draw all kinds of circles and color them in fancy colors like Electric Blue and Hot Pink. She was into sports, including baseball, basketball, and soccer. And she was dating a 33-year-old man named Manuel (seriously!), who happened to be Ondrea's sister Jocelyn's brother.
"I'm so glad all of you are here," said Andreina with a smile. "I wanted to have lunch with you guys. That's why I invited you at the school."
Myrtle grinned. "Thank you, Andi. Are we going to eat lunch for the cafeteria? I heard the food was pretty disgusting!"
Desiree made a face. Jacqueline chuckled and said to Myrtle, "That's not true at all, Myrtle. Not every food is disgusting."
Andreina chuckled herself. "No, no. Even though we're all here at the cafeteria, The Pink Rug is going to deliver us some pizza, french fries, chicken caesar salad, and mozzarella sticks."
Desiree raised an eyebrow. "And who is paying for this, Andi? Uncle Sam?"
"No, Desi. Hector Rivera already paid. I told him that he didn't have to, but he insisted. You know he's one of the nicest guys around, and he'll do anything for anybody. That's because he has the love of Christ in him."
Jacqueline nodded. "Raquelita is blessed to have a guy just like Hector in her life."
"Hey, I agree with that," Myrtle added. "Hector and Raquelle are made for each other. I wish I could say the same for me and Hector's older brother Daniel." Myrtle had a crush on Daniel for about two years, but Daniel wasn't that interested in her.
Desiree said to Myrtle sarcastically, "Daniel doesn't like you, Myrtle! Look at the way you're dressed!" Myrtle was wearing a red tee-shirt and blue shorts (boy shorts, as Desiree referred to them). She had white sneakers on her feet.
Myrtle ignored Desiree's sarcasm. "So what? I don't care if he doesn't like me. I want to get him to pay attention to me."
Jacqueline said gently, "Myrtle, I don't think that will work, although some girls try to get some guys' attention. The right one will come along when you're not even looking."
Myrtle smiled. Maybe she was going to wait to see if Daniel would be interested in her after all and stop chasing him. She wanted to stick out her tongue at Desiree in a I-told-you-so manner, but she decided against it.
Meanwhile, Andreina noticed that Jacqueline had curled her black (with brown streaks) hair. "Jacqueline, you look nice with your hair like that!"
"Thank you, Andreina. Gracias," replied Jacqueline. "I used one of my mom's curling irons while I was visiting with her on Friday evening. I decided to give my hair a new look, since I was tired of my hair being straight."
"Do you want to live with Bertica?"
Jacqueline had a few tears in her eyes when she answered Andreina, who received a dirty look from Desiree. (Andreina ignored the look.) "Yes, I do, because I don't want to live with Gladis anymore. All she and Michelle does is give me trouble, and I'm so tired of that! Jose Alexander, Isabel, and Flora want what's the best for me, and they know that I'm frustrated. Being adopted is not easy. I want to be Jacqueline Aida Heinrich Aguirre again, because being Jacqueline Aida Villanueva Lozano is wearing me out." Andreina, Myrtle, and Desiree gathered around her and gave her a hug.
"We love you, Jacqui," said Myrtle with a smile. "You do what you have to do, and please don't let nobody stop you."
"That's right," Desiree added. "I don't think there's a law where you have to live with your adopted family all your life. If you want to go back to live with Bertica to help out your two younger sisters Alexis and Aida, go right ahead. La bruja de Gladis can't stop you."
Andreina put her two cents in. "If you need a friend, please call on us. That's what we're here for!"
Jacqueline managed to wipe her tears and thanked all of them. She knew she had friends that she could count on for support.
Moments later, the food was delivered to the cafeteria. Hector was the one who delivered the food. Although he didn't want the ten-dollar tip Andreina gave him, he accepted anyway. When Hector left, Andreina was the one who blessed the food. Then the girls helped themselves! All of them really enjoyed themselves by being in each other's company, and they thanked Andreina for inviting them to the cafeteria.