Llanview resident Cristian Vega first laid eyes on teen-ager Lola Montez in Columbia, where Cristian had been locked up at Plato Prison after being kidnapped by Carlo Hesser. Lola's stepmother, Vanessa Montez, arrived at the prison to see her husband Ray Montez. Only Cristian was there instead, wearing Ray's prison jumpsuit. Vanessa bribed off the prison officials to release Cristian, then took him back to her home. There Cristian came face to face with Lola, who was Ray's daughter. Vanessa explained that Ray was in jail for murdering his first wife, Lola's mother, and that Lola had witnessed the incident and testified against her father in court. Cristian agreed to take Vanessa and Lola back to Llanview with him, where they believed they would be safe from Ray. Vanessa even managed to secure fake passports for herself and Lola. Little did they realize, however, that Ray had gone to Llanview to claim his niece Langston Wilde in an attempt by Clint Buchanan to wrest control of Buchanan Enterprises from Dorian Lord.
Just before departing, Cristian managed to call Sarah and tell her that he was alive. Antonio and Talia traced the call to Columbia, and they and Sarah booked a flight to Columbia so they could locate Cristian. Cristian, meanwhile, was on his way to Llanview with Vanessa and Lola. They arrived at the airport and were greeted by a stunned Sarah, Antonio and Talia. Vanessa and Lola, meanwhile, were stunned to come face to face with Ray, who was at the airport awaiting his own flight back to Columbia with his niece Langston. After John McBain thwarted an attempt by a hit man hired by Dorian to shoot Ray, Vanessa grabbed the gun and aimed at Ray. Ray reached out for his daughter, but Vanessa shot him in the chest. Vanessa was charged with attempted murder. Cristian agreed to look after Lola while Vanessa waited her day in court. At the police headquarters, Lola met her cousin Langston and told Langston she didn't care if her father lived or died. The judge allowed Vanessa to post bond after Cristian promised to make sure she didn't leave town before her trial. Cristian told Vanessa that she and Lola could both stay in his loft, much to the chagrin of Sarah. Ray, meanwhile, recovered from his injuries and was sent back to prison in Columbia. Before he left, however, he told police detective Antonio Vega that he was innocent and had been set up by Vanessa.
As Vanessa was facing an immigration hearing, Vega family friend Téa Delgado returned to town and told Vanessa her best shot at avoiding deportation was to marry an American. Vanessa immediately asked Cristian to marry her, but he politely refused because he was dating Sarah. Vanessa said she understood, but Lola was upset and tried to convince Cristian to marry Vanessa, which he eventually did when he believed Vanessa's life was being threatened. Lola was happy to be staying in Llanview and got closer to her cousin Langston and Langston's boyfriend, Markko Rivera. Judging by her longing stares at Markko, however, Lola seemed to want more from him than just friendship.
Téa, meanwhile, was secretly representing Ray and trying to get his murder conviction overturned. She tried to get close to Lola and get her to open up about when her mother was killed. She even had Ray send Lola a note from prison in which he claimed that Vanessa had framed him for her mother's murder and that she was the real killer. Lola shared the note with Vanessa, who burned it before Cristian could find it. Lola eventually admitted to Téa that she wasn't sure that her father had killed her mother. Lola said Vanessa led her to find the knife that had killed her mother, hidden inside a jewelry box, and convinced her that her father must have planted it there.
Téa was getting closer to getting the proof she needed against Vanessa, but Ray got impatient and busted out of the Columbia prison again and made his way to Llanview. He broke into Cristian's loft, knocked Cristian out and cornered Vanessa upstairs. Armed with a knife, Ray threatened to do to her what she had done to his first wife. Cristian came to, however, and a fight ensued between Ray and Cristian. Téa, who had just been told of Ray's escape by authorities, showed up at the loft with Lola just in time. Cristian was shocked to learn Téa had been representing Ray this whole time, but was even more shocked when Vanessa admitted that she had married Ray for his money and had framed Ray for his wife's murder. But Vanessa said she hadn't killed Ray's wife. The authorities arrived and put both Ray and Vanessa in jail. Ray's conviction for murdering his first wife was overturned, and Vanessa was sent back to Columbia.
Lola was relieved to know that her father wasn't guilty of killing her mother, although Vanessa's proclamation that she was innocent too meant that the real killer had gone unpunished. Lola moved into La Boulaie, where Langston was staying, and her father Ray soon joined her there. During a Spring dance at the high school in March 2009, Langston encouraged Markko to dance with Lola because she didn't know anyone and looked lonely. Lola, meanwhile, grabbed her chance and planted a fat kiss on a shocked Markko. Lola said she was sorry and asked Markko not to tell Langston, and he agreed to keep it secret. Later, Lola came up behind Markko at the Buenos Dias diner where he worked and began to kiss on his neck. Markko thought she was Langston, and when he realized it was Lola he threatened to tell Langston. But Lola said she would tell Langston how much he enjoyed her kissing him, which Markko didn't dispute, and Markko said nothing to Langston about what her cousin had done.
Lola confided to her father that she was attracted to Markko and wanted him for herself. Ray told her she needed to respect her cousin's relationship and to break it off with Markko. When Lola went into the kitchen of the diner to do just that, she instead hit on Markko again. Langston again interrupted Lola and Markko but this time Markko admitted that Lola had been hitting on him for weeks. Lola lied and said the attraction was mutual, but Langston sided with Markko and told Lola that she would never come between her and her man. Lola then began listening in on Langston and Markko's conversations. She overheard Markko tell Langston that he had taken a drug test for Cole because Cole had taken drugs following an accident and he would be sent back to jail if he failed the test. Lola went to Cole's counselor, Rachel Gannon, and told her what Markko had done. Later, Lola overheard Langston and Markko planning to have sex for the first time after the prom. On the night of the prom, she stole a gold case of condoms Dorian had given Langston and poked holes in the condoms, hoping Markko would use them and get Langston pregnant. Lola went to the prom with Asher, Cole's drug dealer, and she took a hit of acid from him because he told her it would make her feel better. After the prom, Lola went home and confessed what she had done to the condoms to Ray and Dorian, who promptly called Langston and told her not to use them. Then Lola confessed to Ray that she had killed her own mother, after seeing her in bed with another man! Ray was shocked beyond belief, but clung onto his daughter nonetheless and told her that everything was going to be okay.