Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 16

Republisher’s Note: Michelle begins to deal with her pregnancy.

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 16

Michelle left the hospital building to find Danny on the cell phone in what seemed to her to be one of his many business calls. “Just a minute” into the phone, and then “Honey, I promise I will be with you in a minute.” With his free hand, he reached to grab one of Michelle’s and walked over to a bench. He motioned for her to sit down. “Pilar, Mamá will meet you tomorrow in NYC. I know, I can’t wait for you to get here. You and Mamá can catch a show and shop in the city. I do have a surprise for you. Peanut, I love you. Bye,” Danny closed the phone. “How are you feeling?”

“I am tired and emotionally drained from today’s activities.”
“Ready to go home?” Danny wanted Michelle to feel the security of his attention. In the back of his mind the tape of Ray warning him to allow Michelle space to make choices played. If her journey into his family was to be workable, he had to soften up on making the silly mistake that he had made in the doctors office.  Somehow the path of the journey had to be Michelle’s. The family unit was sacred to him. He suspected today that Michelle would always be apart of two worlds. The picture of Michelle in a bathing suit urging a scared little boy to jump into a deep pool of water was a metaphor of the woman sitting next to him. The little guy had to trust that Michelle would be there to save him. He would be there to save Michelle……. or would Michelle save him in the long run. Her answer to his question brought Danny back to the present moment.
    “Yes, I have lots of studying to do and I have to talk with my brother and aunt. This news is going to shock their world. I dread the talk but the sooner I have this little meeting the less anxious I will feel.”
Taking the small delicate hand in his hands to reassure her, “Michelle, do you want me to be there with you?”
“Danny, let me get back to you about this. My family knows that we have been dating but the atmosphere may become heated or uncomfortable. I would hate for you to experience this the first time that you meet them. It just isn’t fair to expose you to them in that light.”
The pain of his own actions struck into his heart. This woman was trying to protect his feelings. He had to stop letting his feelings get in the way of what was ahead. His cousin Ray had been able to read him like a book. Michelle’s innocence had opened an area in his heart. The love for her existed in his heart. How was he able to make such cold calculations and love her with the same intensity?
    “Then to home you shall go. What do you think if we go back to the lake house and have some late lunch? I drive your car home; Jimmy will follow in my car. Carmen’s chauffeur can pick up Jimmy.”
Michelle answered Danny, “It’s a lot of car switching and moving around to get me home. I feel well enough to drive.”
“Trust me, I want to make sure you get home inside the house safe.” Danny pressed the speed dial on his cell phone. “Renaldo, you can bring the car to the ER entrance.”
The sleek black car pulled up to the curb as Fletcher and Benjamin Reade left the hospital. Fletcher saw Michelle get into the car with the young man. The Mercedes license ‘s plate displayed the San Cor-1. Fletcher added this to his small notebook. Michelle had evidently struck gold in this man. He wondered if the man knew how lucky he was to have the opportunity to date Michelle Bauer. Michelle exhibited the best qualities of Maureen and Ed. He knew about the years following Maureen’s death. Her birth mother’s failure to show any love or concern for a fragile and hurt little girl had almost destroyed Michelle. Michelle had seen the results of alcoholism on Ed. The final blow had been when Ed abandoned Rick and Michelle. He rationalized his duty with the Doctor Without Borders as a means to repay society for the guilt of Maureen’s death. Everyone in Springfield wanted the very best for Michelle. He hoped she had found finally the love she deserved.
    The ride back to the lake house was on the pleasant side as Danny and Carmen talked about Pilar’s arrival. Michelle was anxious to meet Danny’s sister even though she didn’t have a clue to how she could be available. The first of July created the normal chaos’s in all medical schools with Residency program’s changing. More work for the already overworked medical students and the additional burden of a pregnancy would have her out of the loop.
    True to Danny’s word, Olga had lunch ready. The fresh baked spinach and cheese quiche was waiting on the island counter. Individual salads had been prepared with mixed greens. Fresh fruit rested on top of the bed of greens with bleu cheese sprinkled over the entire salad. The usual olive oil and sweet vinegar dressing was being given its last shaking to combine the taste for perfection.  Danny picked up the bottle of Sangria and poured three glasses of the wine mixture. Thanking Olga, Danny excused the older lady for her usual afternoon nap. After seating the two ladies in his life, Danny made a toast to Michelle, which embarrassed her. Michelle was uncertain of the drink when she realized it was a type of wine. Michelle asked about the amount of alcohol content. Carmen described the wine mixture as one of fruit juices. The orange juice, lemonade, club soda, grenadine syrup and red wine mixed with slices of apples and oranges produced the drink. It was served everyday at noon, as it was a custom for the Santos family for generations. With Danny’s encouraging words, she tasted the drink to discover the pleasant combination.
“Hum, it is really good and lighter than I thought it would be.”
“ I warn you that you don’t want to drink very much. It can knock you off your feet. I personally think that our forefathers used it for an excuse to take all those afternoon naps in Spain and Puerto Rico.”
    “So tell me some more about your family. Did both families come from Spain and Puerto Rico?”
Carmen spoke first to answer Michelle. “Yes, so the story goes that the first Santos came over with the Christopher Columbus expedition in 1493. He returned five years later and was given a land grant from the king. The person that should give you the family history lesson is Abuelá. She prides herself in all the knowledge she has stored in her mind about the family.”
“That also explains why your daughter attends an university in Spain,” Michelle replied to Carmen.
“Michelle, you are astute to pick up on that association. Speaking of Pilar, I will use the company’s jet tomorrow to go to Newark airport. She and I can shop for some special dresses. Ray will join us in Puerto Rico for only several days.”
Danny understood the message to mean that Ray would attend the wedding then return later to Springfield. “Mamá, I’m taking Michelle back to her house very shortly. I need Renaldo this afternoon. Do you prefer to stay here or go home immediately?”
“Daniel, I have work waiting for me at my desk at home. I will have Renaldo drive me home first. My compliments to Olga and thank you for lunch.  Michelle please take care of my grandchild and yourself. I will speak with Abuelá concerning her family history lesson.”
Danny and Michelle walked Carmen to the door of the car to see her off. “Finally, we are alone” and looking at his watch “and it looks like its time for me to get you home also.”
    Michelle insisted on driving her car home with Danny in the passenger seat. Danny pretended to cover his eyes as Michelle turned her car around in the driveway. Danny was surprised to find that Michelle had a heavy foot on the gas pedal and how well she could handle the car. When she pulled in the driveway and stopped the car, Danny asked if she had ever thought about taking up racecar driving as a profession.
“Funny how you picked up on the driving, it is the only place where I feel free. I love the speed.”
    On the counter were two messages. One was from Aunt Meta; she had gone with a good friend to NYC at the last minute to see some plays. The friend had won a two-week vacation for two. Being fancy free had its advantages; she would see everybody in two weeks. The other message was from Rick. Rick and Abbey had left early in the morning for medical conference in Hawaii. The trip became available when Dr.Andersen had a family emergency. The hospital had paid for the trip and needed to find someone that could fill in. The trip was a kind of payback for all the double shifts of work in the ER. “Well, it looks like I have the whole house to my self for two weeks.”
“You have got to be kidding.”
“Nope, Rick, Abbey and Aunt Meta have all decided to disappear for two weeks. Danny, this may work out for the best anyway. I can get adjusted to the physical affects of the pregnancy without them being around.”
 “Speaking of the physical stuff, why don’t I hang out here for awhile to see how you feel?  I’ll get my briefcase and you can rest.”
“Good idea, I just want to take a nap.” Michelle picked up the portable phone and carried it to the sofa in the day room where she flipped on the radio from habit to help lull her to sleep. Music was like a pacifier whenever she seemed stressed. Danny found her curled up and sleeping on the sofa. The late afternoon sunrays beamed down on his future. He removed the last month’s financial report and began the comparison of the figures. Business was good. Danny returned the papers back to his brief case. This time he chose to look at the travel magazine from Puerto Rico. The article that caught his attention was the one with a subject, which he was familiar. The rain forest had been one of his first memories of Puerto Rico. His mother’s family had come from the region. It was the only place where his mother seemed to relax and enjoy the climate. His father had loved the beach and the fishing. In the end his father had purchased the villa on the cliffs. The villa satisfied both preferences. The water below the villa provided assess to the boat and beach. Carmen was high enough from the water to have a pool and the cooling trade winds. He couldn’t wait to take Michelle to his hideaway. She would love the flowers and wildlife in the forest. He wondered if Michelle would be surprised by all the beauty of the island. The ringing of the telephone startled Danny. The call awakened Michelle from her brief sleep. She answered after a couple of rings. Sitting up on the sofa, Michelle pulled her legs up underneath her chin. “Caitlin, I am alive…..Why don’t you come over with Aussie tonight?…. Well, you did hear correctly…..I bet Grace the nurse in the ER told you that she saw me in the hospital…..Yes today….. OK. Bye, See you later.” Michelle hung up the phone. The unexpected had happened. Michelle had company coming to see her.
    “Two of my best female friends from medical school are coming over to see me. If I can convince them to stay for awhile, you can leave Danny.”
Pretending to be accepting of the idea, Danny pulled his cell phone from his pocket. “Michelle, how are you feeling now?”
“I was feeling better but after sitting up, I feel like I’m going to loose my lunch. Do you mind getting me some ice chips and ginger ale? Change that thought, I have got to run to the bathroom.”
Danny watched as Michelle ran to a room off the hallway. The noise of her emptying her stomach made his stomach roll.
 In the kitchen Danny dialed Jimmy’s number. “What do you know about any friends named Caitlin and Aussie? I don’t know there last names but how many other females are in her class. Jimmy, get on this right now.”
The doorbell rang and the sound of voices indicated the arrival of Michelle’s friends. Before Danny could get off the phone; the door opened. The startled look on their faces was matched by the look on the guy’s face standing in the kitchen. The description of this man matched the one Grace had given the girls in the cafeteria. Michelle’s new beau was a keeper. All three said ‘Hi” at the same time. Looking around to see if Michelle was near by, Aussie introduced herself and Caitlin to Danny.
“I’m Danny Santos. I assume you are hear to see Michelle. She is in the bathroom vomiting as we speak. Michelle wanted some ice and ginger ale. That is before she started vomiting. Maybe you two can help her?”
Caitlin ran to the room where Michelle was sitting on the floor. “Michelle do you need to see a doctor?”
“No, I’ve already done that deed. Did you see Danny?”
“Yes, in the kitchen. He is getting you some ice and ginger ale.”
“Where is Aussie?”
“She must be talking with Danny.”
“Michelle, I’m here. Can we help you with anything?”
Michelle rolled her eyes up to the ceiling. “Oh how I wish you could help me but this is normal so they say.”
“What do you mean by this is normal?”
The voice in the doorway revealed the news. “Michelle is pregnant.”

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