Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 12

Republisher’s Note: Michelle deals with her first experience with the extended Santos family.

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 12

Michelle’s first concept of the Santos family was a united and close family unit. They were proud of their ethnic heritage and maintained their own language as the primary spoken word in family interactions. A family that actually took the time to spend a Saturday morning together and even having a private mass. Considering the Bauer family routine this was going beyond the call of duty. The two Santos women were intriguing to watch. She wondered about the little animosity that existed between Danny’s grandmother and mother. Carmen was all business and cool in her initial dealings with Michelle. The grandmother “Abuela” was warm and from Michelle’s perception had rescued her concerning Michelle’s lack of ability to converse in Spanish. The idea of speaking only Spanish in family gatherings would complicate her life. Matter of fact, she was never going to let it cross her mind again. If anything, learning to speak the language was at the bottom of her to do list.

Now cousin Ray was an eyeful for her eyes. He was charming and enticing to Michelle. He was so much like Danny that it was hard to believe that they weren’t brothers. A man of God lost to the women of the world but in a strange sense he belonged to all the women. She was very interested in how a man like Ray had made the choice to become a priest. His deep-set eyes revealed warmth and mystery. Michelle’s first impression had seen Ray as a debonair guy with a close relationship to his cousin Danny. The same friendship that her brother Rick and Phillip Spaulding shared. It was evident that Danny saw Ray as a cousin and friend first and a priest second. Michelle also knew that in another circumstance, she would have been attracted to Father Ray.

Michelle’s silent thoughts transmitted to an oral form when Ray’s name slipped unexpectedly from her mouth.

“What did you say about Ray?” Danny asked Michelle.

“I must have been thinking out loud. I’m just getting over the shock of your cousin being a priest. I assumed he was a regular type of guy and he lived here at the lake with you.”

“Ray is around a lot and we grew up together. My cousin is a man of many talents. He comes here to relax and write. He serves a community of people that don’t always have it easy and the pressure is intense. Here he can revitalize his physical body and spiritual soul. Ray has a hobby of bird watching and the property provides a good environment for him to sit back and watch his little feather friends. He has built all kinds of feeding stations for the birds. If you look around the yard, you will see his handy work. Ray comes out several times a week to refill the bird feeders. His favorite feeder if you look next to the screen porch is the open feeder. He built the feeder so that all kinds of birds can come to eat at the same table. Ray’s analogy of life as he sees it is that birds and humans mimic each other. Ray even has a favorite Cardinal bird couple and according to Ray the cardinals mate for life. Did you know that, Michelle?”

Looking back at the feeder, Michelle answered, “No.” She did see the comparison of birds and humans. The little birds of the fields are free to fly and don’t have to worry about their food. She pictured in her mind the eagle, osprey and humming bird. Turning to face Danny, she mentioned these birds, “Which would you prefer to be if you had a choice?”

Danny never answered the question aloud, but in his mind he was the eagle and she was a humming bird.

Back in the Corvette, Michelle felt the queasiness returning and casually mentioned about feeling lousy to Danny. Her first thought was she had picked up one of the stomach virus going around at the hospital. The movement of the car increased her nausea and she was sure she was going to vomit. This certainly wasn’t how she envisioned the ending of their first real date.

In the driveway, Michelle thanked Danny for the concert and the perfect trip to NYC. It had been a date she would remember for a long time, a very long time. Danny walked Michelle to the door where they kept clinging to each other and giving one more last kiss. Danny held her head against his chest memorizing the scent of her hair and the feel of her skin against his skin. Kissing her on the forehead, he said goodbye. Michelle opened the kitchen door and turned to blow a last kiss to Danny when she heard the phone ring. Running to pick up the phone, the call was a recorded message reminding Michelle to have the hormone level done in the hospital lab. She couldn’t believe two weeks had passed since first meeting Danny. He was older than she had first expected and he had somehow obtained information about her likes and dislikes. The vegetarian food preference had been her choosing only recently. Someone had to be providing information about her.

Michelle called the hospital lab and asked if she could have her lab work done as soon as possible explaining that Dr. Sedgwick needed the levels for her medication dosage. She replaced the phone in the cradle and pulled the car keys from the handbag leaving to go immediately to the hospital.

At the lab, the technician drew her blood and told Michelle that the results would be placed in Dr. Sedgwick’s box in the am. Placing the band-aid across the needle site, the technician noticed Michelle’s pale color in her face. “Michelle, do you need to lie down before you faint?”

“I don’t think so, but I do feel queasy. I‘m going to stop by the ER and see if anybody can check me out.”

In the ER, Michelle saw Rick was involved in a trauma case. From a distance she admired how her brother worked with such ease in a crisis and wondered if she would ever feel that secure as a doctor. Rick liked the excitement of the ER and the staff that he worked with as they prioritized the patients’ needs. She certainly didn’t have an emergency and left to go home to take care of her own need.

“Hey Sis, why don’t you stay and help out here. I don’t recall seeing you at breakfast this morning. Am I to assume my little sister has a new guy in her life?”

Smiling Michelle said, “Oh, the love of my life and he even flies this girl to a RICKY MARTIN CONCERT.”

“What did you say, Michelle? And does this guy have a name?”

“Yea this guy does have a name. His name is Danny San…” Rick’s pager went off before he heard the last name.

By the time Michelle had returned home, she felt better than ever and called Aussie from the study group to let her know that she would be joining the group in the medical library. Preparing a thermos bottle with ice chips and ginger ale, Michelle left a note for Rick saying that she was in the library for most of the night and to awaken her for breakfast in the morning if his schedule suited. She wanted to talk with him about some changes that she was considering. Specifically she had Danny at the top of her list and hoped that Phillip Spaulding could snoop around and help her find out exactly who was Danny Santos.

The note on the table was from Rick saying that he had an early morning shift at the hospital and he would catch her later in the day for lunch. Abby and Aunt Meta had decided to stay at the cabin a little longer since the Marler family had joined them for a long weekend. The phone ringing beside her bed awakened Michelle from a deep sleep. Feeling confused at first when she had difficulty identifying the voice then reality set in when Dr. Sedgwick repeated the same words to Michelle. “Michelle this is Dr. Sedgwick and the hormone level is elevated which suggests that you are pregnant. Please call my office in the morning to set up an appointment. Please don’t panic!”

“Pregnant or did she say the test suggested that I may be pregnant? Oh God, I am pregnant!” The nausea and the light headiness were confirming symptoms of her pregnancy. As she went through the symptoms in her mind; she tried to remember when the nausea started. It was late in the morning and left later in the day. Michelle tried to rationalize how much better she felt last night and the test was wrong. The next words out of her mouth was; “Damn you, Danny Santos. You have screwed me the last time and now I’m pregnant with your baby.”

Michelle found her purse and poured the contents on the bed looking for the piece of paper with his cell phone number. The phone rang three times before she heard, “Santos speaking.”

Michelle spoke so fast that Danny had difficulty making out just what she was talking about except he did hear that she wanted to see him right away or tonight. Danny liked the sound of her suggestion and also picked up on the stress in her voice. He told Michelle he would be leaving his mother’s house shortly. They had the option of meeting at his house or he could come to her home. Michelle quickly reviewed the choices and agreed to meet at his home. She was going back to the scene of the crime to confront Danny.

Danny closed his cell phone and told his mother that he needed to leave soon. The call was from Michelle and she was meeting him at his home. He dialed the automatic gate to unlock and open the gate giving Michelle access onto the property. He then kissed his mother on the cheek and they each took a copy of the plan that they had outlined. In his coat pocket was the master plan of removing Michelle from medical school. Jimmy dropped off the envelope with five one hundred dollar bills in the hospital lab that morning.

Carmen summoned Abuela to the greenhouse to discuss the role she would play in bringing Michelle Bauer into the Santos family. Abuela would be responsible for teaching her the family heritage and traditions. The Spanish language had to be shared by all until Michelle was fluent enough to speak with the other families. Jimmy one of Danny’s street lieutenants had discovered a wealth of information and people who were willing to co-operate with the family for money. Professors willing to gain money in exchange for the information that would eventually place Michelle permanently in the Santos family. With Michelle’s placement in medical school, Danny and Carmen had decided that she would be allowed to finish medical school and pursue her career after the birth of the baby. The head of the medical school had agreed to see that Michelle’s instructors guided her interest to suit those of Danny. This secret would never be revealed to Michelle.

Carmen had resisted Danny’s plan at first but the news from the lab had persuaded Carmen over to Danny’s side. The technician in the lab notified Jimmy of the results of the test. In reality the Santos family knew of the pregnancy before Michelle. Michelle’s phone had been tapped for over a week and they knew about the pending lab work. Michelle’s innocent world made their work easy. Carmen loved Danny and had watched him grow up in the family to assume the role of leadership from his father. He had the right type of disposition to lead. She was surprise to see how slow he was in finding a bride. There had been girlfriends but never any long relationships. He tended to be introverted. Olga had spoken about Michelle to her the next day after she had changed the sheets on Danny’s bed. Michelle was the first woman that Danny had at his house. Michelle was younger than Danny but this was to the family’s advantage. She was viral and able to produce the next leader for the Santos family.

So much had happened yesterday at the meeting. When Danny arrived at Casa Santos, Carmen was in her usual chair at the desk looking over the old worn business books. “Daniel, I’m so glad that you got here before Jimmy. I want you to tell me about this Bauer girl.”

Danny poured the whiskey over the ice cubes and placed the drink in front of Carmen and he saluted his mother “To business.”

“Daniel, you are evading the subject the Bauer girl.”

“Mother, that is business as we all know that family is business. I’m going to marry her! She doesn’t know it yet but Jimmy has been doing the background work. When he arrives, you and I will map out the direction of securing Michelle for the family.”

“Danny, you are serious about Michelle?”

“Indeed, Carmen, I am very serious.”

“Daniel, how can you consider marrying out of our families! It hasn’t been done before with a head of a Family. What will the Families say?”

“They will say nothing. They may question the move behind my back but not to my face. I make them lots of money from the internet on line trading. The Santos family is respected for our power and money that we make. We’re almost in the 21st century and this marriage will be accepted because I will have your support. Now can I pour you another drink, Carmen?”

Carmen passed the glass back and said, “Make it a double. Daniel, if Michelle Bauer is your final choice then you may as well know that Abuela approves of the girl. I have my reservations for many reasons. What is she going to do when she discovers the TRUTH?”

Danny answered Carmen, “The truth as we see the business or the truth as it will be presented to her.”

The buzzer from the gate rang announcing Jimmy’s arrival. “Sorry I’m late boss but you are going to be a happy man.”

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