Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 27

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 27

Dressed in a checkered black and white sundress, the crinkled stretch fabric was slightly shaped in the bodice with crossed straps in the back, Michelle selected the dress with the deep u neck neckline and long skirt with side slits to match Danny’s black coat and pants. Walking across the hotel’s foyer, the attractiveness of the couple turned the heads of all in the foyer. Outside, they walked hand in hand wandering aimlessly down the streets admiring the architectural beauties, which gives Ponce its reputation as one of the most Spanish of Puerto Rican cities on the south coast.

Following other couples enjoying the peace and quiet, Danny purchased a bouquet of mixed color orchids for Michelle. Searching for the right restaurant, Danny chose one near the Art Museum. The outdoor restaurant was still open for dinner when the violinist moved from his previous position to stand near Danny and Michelle’s table. The selection was an old Irish song, which bought a smile to their lips when they heard the tune, “Oh Danny Boy.” The hurricane lamp and the music flowing from violin continued to enhance the romantic setting. Their waiter returned to the table with a bucket of ice with a bottle of champagne. Danny checked the year on the bottle and knew the cost of the bottle to be valued at several thousands of dollars. “I didn’t order this bottle of champagne.” The waiter paused briefly before continuing to open the bottle. “Sir, the bottle is a gift from the Ponce Museum of Art. The two gentlemen at the bar purchased the bottle for you and Mrs. Santos.”

“In that case, I would like to invite the two gentlemen to enjoy the taste of the vintage bottle of champagne.”

The waiter returned with two additional champagne glasses; followed by the two men that Danny didn’t recognize. “Mr. Santos and Mrs. Santos, it is our pleasure to meet you here in Ponce. I am Fernando Salazar and this is Roberto Sanchez, we are on the board of the Museum of Art. I recognized you both from the picture in the San Juan paper. Your recent gift to the museum was greatly appreciated. It enabled us to purchase the painting, which was on loan to us from the artist. The bottle of champagne was the least we could do for you while you visit Ponce.”

Lifting his eyebrows in recognition of the gift, “It is very generous and thank you but it wasn’t necessary.”

With the champagne poured, Danny spoke the words to toast his beautiful wife. The taste was distinct and smooth with the bubbles disappearing as the bottle was consumed by the four sitting at the table.

“Mrs. Santos, do you detect any differences in Ponce and San Juan?”

“Your question is a loaded question but I’ve only been here for several hours. I like what I see and it appears more peaceful perhaps. I did notice the people in general have lighter skin than many of the Puerto Ricans that I have seen.”

“Very observant, Mrs. Santos.”

“The people have high cheek bones, sharp features and natural red or blonde hair.”

Mr. Salazar approved of Michelle’s detailed description of the local people. “If you have spent some time in eastern Spain, you may recognize the genetic foot print of the south’s Catholic ancestors of which your husband is descended.” Observing Danny’s features, “There is some resemblance.”

“My wife isn’t aware of the history of Ponce and Ponce’s claim of being more or less a kingdom unto itself for more than 450 years. Perhaps, you can explain to her the animosity between your city and the governor of the island in San Juan.”

“Mr. Sanchez is better able to do that since he is more political than me.”

Turning to Michelle, Mr. Sanchez spoke of the feuding between the two cites and fighting over funds promised to Ponce but spent in San Juan. “You are likely to detect a sort of ‘them and us’ distinction between the north and south; almost like the stereotype between the north and south in the USA. Typically, sanjuaneros describe poncenos and other southerners as ‘romantics’ according to the island stereotype. Southerners are traditionalists preoccupied with religious mysticism, social class and old colonial conventions of civility that favors excessive friendliness and familiarity. The poncenos do the same with the sanjuaneros, calling them rude, arrogant, materialistic and slaves to current American fashions. Besides we have the best weather on the island, the afternoon storms which harass the north coast are stopped dead by the peaks of the Cordillera. You can see the rain from Ponce, but you’re not going to feel any of it.”

“Mr. Salazar, your friend Mr. Sanchez is a definite pro-Poncenos.” Understanding the sense of pride and love, which the two men conveyed to her of Ponce. Michelle preferred Ponce indicating her desire to consider spending an additional day in the city. “We will have to spend more time here.”

“Surely a visit to the Art Museum is on your must do list while here in Ponce and the time alone requires a good day.” Waving his hands in the air to emphasize the importance of experiencing a walk on the nice side of the city to the young couple. “There’s no better way to take in all the beauty of the city than to stroll north of Plaza Central to El Vigia. The hilly neighborhood is so beloved of the natives. From the winding road to the top you can see the mansions of Ponce’s great families, the roofs of its 17th and 18th coral and white townhouses with the turquoise water of its Caribbean harbor in the background.”

Danny saw the pleading in Michelle’s eyes. “We will stay longer in Ponce but it will cut into our time for the Carnival in Loiza.”

The two men excused themselves from the table after expressing their thanksgiving for the painting again.

“What a beginning to our visit to Ponce. If our picture has been seen by everyone in the country; I could break the jerk’s neck for selling the picture to the paper. We cannot travel anywhere in this country without security. Our anonymity is lost.”

“Danny, what is going to change; we were having fun being a normal married couple.”

Leaning over the table to reassure Michelle, “My sweet wife…honey, we can still have fun but the shadows will have to be near. I’m calling Jimmy.”

“Danny, I’m going to the restroom while you talk with Jimmy.”

“OK, I’ll wait here for you here.”

“Hey, this is Danny.” Without waiting for Jimmy to answer, Danny explained how they had been recognized in Ponce. “We are staying in the Ponce Plaza tonight. In the morning, we can move into a suite with adjoining bedrooms.”

“Danny, I’ll grab my bag and we will be in Ponce in an hour and a half. Boss, when you called I thought it was about the call to Springfield.”

“What is the scoop on that issue?”

“Twenty-seven minutes and thirteen seconds.”

“Damn it!”

“Danny, Michelle may have been placed on hold from the switchboard.”

“True, I’ll see if she is forthcoming with the information. Jimmy, Michelle is returning to the table. Call the hotel and get a room as close as you can tonight.”

“We are on our way Boss.”

“Danny, can we order dinner, I am feeling squeeze and light headed from the champagne.”

Turning to the direction of the waiter, Danny motioned for the young man to return to the table. Michelle ordered a Caesar salad and the cold cucumber soup with the homemade croutons. Requesting a rare steak with a baked potato and side salad with the house dressing, Danny finished pouring the expensive liquid in his glass. “Jimmy and the troops will be here in a hour or more.”

“Danny, are you suspicious of Mr. Salazar and Mr. Sanchez?”

“No, Michelle. I relaxed too much here on the island and let my guard down in trying to give you what should have been in our past, a courting period of time. The front page picture of our wedding alerted a lot of dangerous people that we are here. Kidnapping in this part of the world isn’t uncommon. I won’t put you in a situation that can be prevented by using common sense.”

Holding his hand in both of her small petite hands, “It is sad that our time alone has been lost.”

“Honey, we are still going to do what I planned but with our security.”

“I hate to bring the word up again but what am I going to expect when I am back in school? I do not want anyone tagging after me in the school and hospital.”

Taken back with Michelle’s forward approach to a subject that annoyed her, “It will be minimal back in Springfield.”

“Why does it have to be any period?”

“Because I said it will be minimal.”

Sighing in a frustrated gesture and sending Danny one of her irritated glares, “This subject is far from being over. I understand the precautions here but I managed perfectly before in Springfield!”

Grinning with his charming white teeth being fully exposed, “I say you did very well; even managing to meet and leave Y2K with a MOB BOSS.”

“Danny, you took advantage of my rushing to the club and…oh forget my last statement.” Their dinner arrived in time to slow the escalating discussion.

The cell phone rang in Danny’s pocket breaking the silence between the two. “Santos speaking, we are at a restaurant across from the Art Museum on Las Americas. We will stay put here. I’ll tell her.” Returning his attention to Michelle, Danny reported, “Jimmy says he will see you soon and please keep your anger under control in public.”

Smiling at Danny, “I’m sure Jimmy said hello but you added the extra part concerning my anger.”

The waiter carried the dessert tray around the table to allow Michelle a better view. She selected the chocolate mouse and ordered a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Danny chose the chocolate cake and a coffee liqueur to finish his dinner.

Jimmy strolled into the restaurant after the three other men waited outside casing their surroundings. “Nice place. Sorry, I didn’t get here in time to order dessert. But I think you were both wise to have some extra nourishment. The vice squad is busy down the street raiding one of Ponce’s sex clubs.”

Jimmy had Michelle’s attention with the raiding of the sex club because she had seen the city as genteel.

“Honey, the clubs migrate around the city, and as soon as the vice squad stamps one out, another appears someplace else.”

“Boss, the Mercedes is parked across the street and when you and Michelle are ready to leave; the boys and I will be waiting outside.”

“Michelle are you ready to go back to the hotel or we can check out the boardwalk and the city’s yacht harbor and the club nautico. The club often has great live salsa dancing.”

Michelle’s choice was simple,”Why not see the harbor at night and I can practice my salsa steps.”

The drive to the harbor was less than fifteen minutes with most people at home or inside for the night. True to its reputation, the club was alive with the salsa music. Danny and Michelle danced while the shadows ate gyro sandwiches and drank cold beers.

“Michelle, you are getting very good at dancing the salsa.”

“Well, I did take ten years of dance. I did learn a little something in the classes, but the music is contagious. Plus, I have a good dance partner.”

Twirling her around and dipping her backwards and pulling Michelle close to his body, “You are so sexy in this dress. The deep u neckline shows off your assets. Certain parts of your anatomy are screaming for attention.” Kissing the area in between her neck and shoulder blades, Danny inhaled her perfumed scent skin.

“Danny, please don’t be so bold in here. People are watching.”

“I hope they are watching, Michelle, but I’m the one that enjoys your body. Time to say nighty night to the people of Ponce.”

Placing the card into the door, Danny removed his coat and threw it over the back of the chair. With one hand, he pulled Michelle to the sofa. Sitting down on the overstuffed sofa, Danny motioned for Michelle to sit on his lap. He rested his face in between the deep valley of Michelle’s bosom. The moisten tongue and nibbling of the teeth on her skin enhanced by his hand rubbing her knee and thighs energized Michelle’s desire for Danny. The thin fingers created imaginary paths through Danny’s dark curls. Michelle sucked the skin behind his earlobe before biting the lips of her passionate lover.

Underneath the long skirt, Danny maneuvered his fingers under the silk panties to the tight curls with moisture seeping on the tips of his fingers. “I know you are sexy in this dress but I enjoy you more without anything covering my treasures. How do I get you out of this dress without ruining the back?”

“The dress has a hidden zipper in the back.” After reaching behind her back to unfasten the dress, Michelle locked her arms around her husband’s neck and waited to be carried to the bed. Resting on her knees on the edge of the bed, the feminine fingers unbuttoned his shirt and pushed the shirt off his shoulders to reveal the muscled back and chest. Their eyes locked into their own world creating the intensity of exploding passion. The shifting angles of their heads placed the lips at sensual nerves stimulating the hunger for a man and a woman created by God.

The friction from the skin rubbing against skin mounted to energy driven from an internal source to actions exploding on the external surface. Michelle’s hands wrapped around the back of Danny’s neck and held his head in close to her lips expressing her hunger and desire for his body. His hands on her waist moving up to the opened back of her dress. Lifting the sides of the material caught in his grasp up to remove the obstacle from Michelle’s body. They fell back to the bed with their heads pointed in the direction of the foot of the bed. Resting above Michelle on his knees and hands, Danny took in Michelle’s body waiting for Michelle to finish removing his belt from his black dress pants. He felt the feather like fingers unbuttoning his pants and the zipper tab moving down to the direction of his erection. The sharp nails slipped in between the elastic of his boxers and his skin. The cool air from the air condition vent blowing on his derriere kept him focused long enough to finish removing the pants and boxers hanging from his knees.

“This is going to be so good tonight. You are perfect and the most beautiful woman in the world in my eyes.”

Pulling her leg up to rest on his thigh, Danny slowly entered Michelle before turning over in the bed where Michelle was straddling his body. Their hands intertwined and rested on her hips during the rocking motion. The view from Danny’s position looking up to the tanned body, but focusing on Michelle’s creamy white breast with the brownish tips extended to round points. He wrapped his hands up under the area below her breast to give the aroused breast the attention they deserved.

The time outside past quickly in the night but inside the hotel room time didn’t exist in their world. Their endurance and strength produced a marathon of sexual pleasure and enjoyment through the night and early morning hours.

The irritating noise of the buzzing phone finally awakened Danny. “Yea, I’m here.”

“How long are you going to sleep today?”

“What time is it?”

“Lunch time.”

“The hotel can move you two in a suite down the hall but I wanted to check to see if you still wanted us next door.”

Looking at his sleepy wife, “No forget it. We are going to be here for only one more night. Jimmy order breakfast for us and have it delivered to our room. We will be ready to go to the Art Museum for the afternoon by one pm. This might be a good time to get lunch if you want to since we are running behind on our schedule.”

Replacing the phone in its cradle, Danny slowly sat up and watched Michelle sleep. Her long hair nestled down her back covering her shoulders as she slept on her stomach. Lifting the sheet to cuddle against her backside, Danny whispered words in Spanish into Michelle’s ear. Waiting for Michelle’s response, he saw her turn her head in the direction of the sound.

“When are you going to tell me what you are saying to me in Spanish? It isn’t fair when you wake me up and I’ve been dreaming about last night in my sleep.”

Massaging her back with the fingers pushing deep into her flesh, “Breakfast is on the way up courtesy of Jimmy.”

“What time is it?”

“Close to noon.” Moaning in disappointment to sleeping in late, “We won’t have time to see the art at the museum.”

“If we lived here on the island, we could come down anytime.”

The knock at the door interrupted Michelle’s answer. Danny jumped from the bed and pulled on his boxers and pants. Picking up Michelle’s dress and bikini pants, he lifted the sheet and threw them under the sheet to hide the articles of clothes. “Stay covered.”

The breakfast was wheeled in through the door with the aroma of the coffee filling the room. Danny poured a cup of the hot beverage in a cup and took a long sip before passing it to Michelle. Michelle drank several sips before she remembered that the coffee was caffeinated. “My mistake, I forgot and gave you the coffee. The OJ will perk you up. I’ll brew the decaff while you take a shower.”

In an hour, they had eaten breakfast, showered, dressed and were walking out the hotel door. The entourage arrived at the museum with out drawing the undesired attention. In front of the modern designed building was a marble plaque that stated the museum’s purpose “To broaden the understanding of our own and other cultures through the contact with and appreciation of the visual arts, thus to enhance the quality of life in Puerto Rico.” Jimmy opened the door to the entrance for Danny and Michelle. Manuel followed the couple inside leaving the two other bodyguards with the Mercedes. Walking inside the museum, the atrium opened up to a honeycomb of sky lit hexagonal rooms. Its interior high light is the modernistic, scalloped-shaped, wooden central staircase, which led to a magnificent cluster of Renaissance paintings. At the information desk, Danny signed the donor’s registration book that allowed their free admission and provided a curator to guide the couple through the building.

The curator appeared from the well-concealed inner office. The bohemian appearances of the elderly man with his long curly hair pulled back in a pony tail and wire rimmed glasses influenced the couple to accept the intended academic tour.

“Señor and Señora Santos, this is a pleasure to have you with us today. We have been expecting you to visit us today. May I suggest appreciating the museum fully, visiting the galleries in chronological order. The best way is to start in the lobby surrounding the unusual staircase. The museum opened in 1966 with 71 paintings; today we have 1,800 registered works, many of them are European masterpieces. The oldest paintings in the collection, 14th century works Madonna and the child by Luca di Tommē and A Hebrew Prophet by Giovanni del Bionde and Leandro Rosanno’s 16th-century master piece, The Flood. Upstairs in the Spanish School gallery are masterpieces like Alonso Sáńchez Coello’s Lady with a Pink, then to the Flemish School gallery. And an thru adjoining galleries dedicated solely to Italian art. Next the Dutch School gallery contains both Peter Verelst’s The Philosopher and the Vanitas still life of 1678 by Pieter Roestraeten. The last gallery on the second floor is the French School- The Origin of Painting by Louis-Jean-Francis Cagrene and Greek Lady at the Bath by Joseph Marie Vien. Downstairs behind glass in the British School is Sir Frederick Leighton’s Flaming June. Above it hangs Sleeping Beauty by Sir Edward Burne Jones and on the entire far wall is Burne-Jones’s masterpiece, The Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon. The two final galleries on the other side are dedicated to the Puerto Rican School. In the gallery is a recent purchased painting, which will be of particular interest to you. The painting has a new plate under it with the donor listed as Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Santos-July 1998.”

“Now, do you prefer to walk around the museum at your leisure with your own audio-tape, which is activated by standing in front of the sensor light or with me.”

“Michelle, what do you want to do?”

“I prefer to do it at my own pace but I am dying to start in the Puerto Rican room for obvious reasons.”

“Very well, I’ll get the audio and earphones for how many?”

Danny answered, “Two only.”

On the back wall in the local artist room was the 3ft x 5ft sunset painting with a lone lighthouse guiding a sailboat in stormy waters through the rocky seacoast. Under the painting, the brass plate listed their name as the donor. Standing next to Michelle to enjoy the maximum response of her excitement of seeing the painting, “Oh my god, Danny when did you do this?”

“Hum, about the time when you was busy saving Mr. Rooster. The pharmaceutical company was contacted about making a donation. I wanted the painting to stay in Puerto Rico and decided to buy it and donate it to the Museum. As you may recall, Carmen has several masterpieces at her home. Carmen collects art work and when the opportunity came to save this oil painting; I decided it was a classy wedding present to give you, but it is shared in a public arena. Isn’t this the Bauer way of serving the human mankind?”

“Yes, it is. The painting has an interesting theme, don’t you think Danny?”

“The sunset is typical of the island’s usual sunset.”

“Danny look more carefully at the painting! See the all white sailboat with the white sails in the dark stormy water and the light house guiding the lonely boat away from the rocks.”

“So that is your interpretation but I see the sunset first.”

“Come on let’s finish down here, then we can go upstairs.”

Five hours later, Danny and Jimmy waited for Michelle and Manuel in the Museum cafeteria.

“Have you had any more thoughts about Michelle meeting with Fletcher?”

In deep thought for a few minutes, “We are going to wait and see where and when they meet. You are going to take over Michelle’s detail and Manuel will monitor our family home.”

“Dr. Andersen has made the arrangements at the medical school. An extra bonus, he has the roaming cleaning lady to be responsible for the ER and cafeteria, which covers the usual meeting places.”

“Good, Jimmy.”

“Where do we go from here today?”

“The El Vigia drive and Observation Tower.”

Michelle and Manuel entered the cafeteria from an entrance on the opposite side. Manuel laughed at Michelle’s private joke about the power meeting going on in the corner with her husband and Manuel’s brother. “See how serious they look, you would think that it was life or death for someone. Thank you Manuel for enduring all of the boring art galleries.”

Walking up behind Danny’s chair, Danny got a whiff of her perfume before he saw Michelle. Covering his eyes with her hands, “Manuel and I finally finished seeing each picture on display here and we are ready for something cold to drink.”

Reaching for one of her hands, Danny pulled her around and sat her in his lap. “I have been waiting for you Missy for hours. Order you drink and get it to go. We have one more tourist stop for you to see today.”

Michelle ordered six large lemonades to go. Distributing the drinks to all the bodyguards and the final two to Danny and herself, they drove up the road to El Vigia. At the top of the hill north of the town, the Spanish Crown had posted lookouts on the hill to watch for smuggling activities in the port and off the coast. Today, the El Vigia Observation Tower or Cruz del Vigia (Virgin’s Cross) is still a lookout site and you can ascend the concrete cross by elevator.

At the intersection of the cross, the elevator opened to the view of Ponce, the coastal plain and the blue-green waters of the Caribbean. Hugging Michelle from behind, while they stood looking over the rooftops of the stately homes and the changing hue of the early night sky. “Danny, the cross is inspiring from a spiritual point of view.”

“I agree but I see it totally different with you here in my arms. I have been here for the Carnaval in February and its seven days of serious partying with masked balls, series of parades. The first night introduces, El Rey Momo, the festivals lord of misrule. The place is anything but inspirational, more like dancing with the devil.”

Turning to place her finger under his chin, “My husband did some serious partying here with no doubt available pretty women.”

Blushing at being caught in his partying days, “There were many and there was one with the best Latino features. We didn’t leave the bedroom in the hotel for days. But I spent the best night here last night with a woman with honey blonde curly hair. Matter of fact, she has a perfect body.”

“You tell me that all the time. What is so perfect with her body?”

“Michelle, do you want a list?”

Nodding her head yes.

“At the top of the list are her big brown eyes, the delicate nose, the soft lips with perfect white teeth and a tongue with angel like sand paper.” Touching her bright orange dress and unbuttoning a button on the bodice, “The skin underneath the dress is exquisite. The breasts are the next thing that you see after you see her eyes. She is more than well endowed and a waist that is tiny. The tiny navel is interesting but her hips expand to the right size. The best part is her virginal anatomy. The thighs and knees connect to her tiny ankles and feet, which are extremely ticklish. The curvature of her body from underneath her armpits, down her sides to her waist and back to her butt, which is firm to grab a hold of when we are making love. Have I left anything out, Michelle?”

“You are pretty observant.”

“And you Missy have made me get an erection on here. We will have to stay here until it goes down, then we can go back to the hotel to finish the night finding something new to do.”

“Like watching TV! We can watch a repeat of The Sopranos.”

“I don’t think we have to watch a fiction family for entertainment. My family can be entertaining at times. Abuellá is interesting enough with her island and spiritualism tales. Tomorrow, in Loiza, you will see all of the factions in action with their Carnaval.”

“Mr. Santos, the package was delivered from the specialty shop and left at the desk for you.”

Taking the brown wrapped box from the desk clerk, “Thank you.” Asking the clerk, “I would like reservations for dinner at 9pm in the revolving restaurant tonight for two. Can you arrange the reservations and delay all calls coming into the room until after 6am.”

“Yes, sir. The computer has you locked in for dinner at 9pm.”

Dropping two bills of money for a tip, Danny and Michelle caught the private elevator up to their room.

Assuming the package was for her, Michelle hinted to what was in the box. “Baby, this isn’t for you. I saw the item while you and Manuel was taking the grand tour of the Art Museum. I first ordered one but decided that two was better.”

“Danny, the item in the box isn’t for me?”

“Nope, unless you like to kick and exercise your feet and arms reaching for it above your bed.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Pleading with her eyes, “Can I least take a peep?”

Enjoying the begging tone, “What do I get if I let you see what is in the box? I will let you shake the box for nothing. Michelle, if you guess correctly, I’ll even let you hang it up in here over the bed tonight.”

Taking the box and shaking as hard as she could, “There isn’t anything in here but stuffing.”

Smiling as he gave Michelle another clue, “There is soft stuffing.”

“Is it for Olga or your grandmother?”

“They are beyond using the item but it might work when they are senile.”

“I give up, Danny.”

“What are you willing to give up for the intimate knowledge of knowing what is in the box?”

“A long backrub after I open the box.”

“Open the box.”

The brown paper tore easily. The box was sealed with tape. Michelle opened her purse to pull the small knife blade out to run under the edges of the tape. Lifting the top off, she saw the two mobiles with the half-moon and angel dangling on the edge of the moon and stars hanging from the moon with a big yellow sun in the center.

“Oh my gosh, they are for the babies.”

“Their first gift from their old man.”

“Honey, they are perfect.” Hooking the mobile on the backboard of the bed, Danny wound the mobile up to hear the sound Fly Me To The Moon. “Put the other one up to make sure that it works!”

With both mobiles up on the bed, they lay on the bed together and watched the mobiles turn with the music playing until they stopped. “Michelle, we have enjoyed the mobiles, so why don’t you let the babies see their present.”

“Oh, this was a ruse to get to bed early and eat late.”


“I have an idea. How about a bubble bath to begin the night’s activities? How long do we have for this adventure in the sunken bath tub?”

Danny glanced at the clock on the bedside table, “One hour and forty-six minutes.”

“Danny, you wait here while I run the water and prepare the room. I have some ideas but I have to call room service first. I’ll use the phone in the bathroom and you wait here until I call you to come.”

Adjusting the water temperature for the water, Michelle poured the vanilla bubble bath solution in the tub and watched the bubbles fill the tub. Stepping out of her orange mini dress, Michelle removed her black lace bra and bikini pants. Grabbing her short kimono short pink robe, Michelle tied the robe shut with the single belt when she heard the knock on the door.

“Michelle, there is a delivery for you from the shop downstairs.”

Michelle opened the door and quickly ran to sign the delivery slip when the bottle of champagne arrived from the kitchen. The young delivery boy had seen many unusual sights in his job but the two baby mobiles mounted on the king size bed was the first. He stood and stared briefly at what was obviously going to be a beginning of a love nest. Michelle finally caught on to what had the bellboy’s attention. “My husband bought them for our twins.” Aware that he seemed more confused by that statement, “I’m pregnant with twins, we tested the mobiles to see if they worked.”

“OH!  Now I get it. Two for two babies. I’m sorry for starring but they seemed so out of place with this being listed as one of the honeymoon suites.”

“I can understand how you would be confused.” After thinking to herself, the picture of the baby mobiles and her in the skimpy robe in the honeymoon suite.

Back in the bathroom, Michelle placed the candles on the edges of the sunken tub and lit each one. Beside the tub, she put the ice bucket with the champagne and glasses. The final touch was completed when she turned the lights off. Finished and satisfied with the scene, which had been created in less than fifteen minutes, Michelle opened the door to invite Danny in for the special bath.

“Baby, you have out done yourself.” Untying her belt to the kimono, Danny pulled the sides of the robe back to her shoulders and arms; where the material fell to the tile floor. Michelle stepped in the warm water and watched Danny undress and step down in the water and bubbles across from her.

“We have a room of bubbles.”

“Honey, you look like you coming up out a bed of clouds.”

“I was thinking the same thing about you. The light from the candles gives off the neatest glow with the bubbles.”

“Come on closer and sit on my legs, I have a surprise waiting for you.” Spreading the bubbles over his chest and shoulders with her hands, Michelle pressed close to his chest until her breast rested against Danny’s skin. Their arms wrapped around each other’s body, their lips opening and closing to grasp air in between long wet kisses. Danny lowered his body in the water and bubbles pulling Michelle under the water with him. Emerging up out of the water to refill their lungs with air, “I want you now, Michelle.”

“I want you, Danny.” Danny leaned back against the porcelain tube. Resting on her knees on the bottom of the tub, Michelle’s final position came over the enlarged blood filled penis. The groans of joyful satisfaction came from Danny. The ejection of the warm fluid in Michelle’s treasure exhausted Danny’s shaking body.

An hour later, they rested and sipped a glass of champagne. Michelle rested her back against Danny’s chest and abdomen with his legs locked over legs. Placing his hand over her lower abdomen, Danny noticed the change in Michelle’s firm abdomen. Leaving this special part of her body, Danny hugged Michelle tightly. “How much water do you think we have put on the floor tonight?”

“Well, I filled the tub and it is less than half-filled.”

“Honey, this is great but we have got to get some food in you and the twins need nutrition.”

Danny was up early the next morning with the decaffeinated coffee brewing for Michelle when their breakfast arrived from the kitchen downstairs. He decided to get his shower before attempting to awake Michelle. Michelle moved in the bed to the sound of the knocking. Lifting her body to an upright position, the gown was wrapped tight under her hip slowing her from extracting her body from the bed to answer the door. Where was Danny when she needed him? Looking in the peephole, Jimmy stood in the hall waiting for an answer to his knock. Michelle opened the door slowly, “I’m not dressed and Danny isn’t here now.”

“Michelle, I apologize but the switchboard refused to put my call through and Danny’s cell phone is off. Tell Danny to call me. Carmen is leaving San Juan today.”

“Thanks, Jimmy.”

Seeing the coffee was already made, Michelle poured a cup and crawled back in bed to drink the hot liquid. In three mornings, she would be getting up early to report back to her old routine. Sleeping late was out of the question. The door from the bathroom opened with a towel wrapped around Danny’s waist. “What happened that you finally got out of bed?”

“Jimmy came by to tell you that Carmen is going back to Springfield today. The telephone is off and he wants you to call him.”

“I will after I eat breakfast. I want to get to Loiza before 9am. The crowds come from all over the island. Most are descendants of Spaniards and of slaves. They come to hear and feel the fiesta and drink a lot of rum and beer.”

“Danny, Jimmy is waiting for you to call. While you are doing the calling thing, I will get showered and dressed.”

“Yea Jimmy, what is so pressing?”

“Carmen is using the jet to return to Springfield. It has something to do with what Dietz was doing down here.”

“It has to be urgent with her leaving early. Carmen and I haven’t talked in several days. Did she say if everybody is leaving?”

“Maria and Pilar are staying and coming back with us.”

“Where is Dr. Bauer?”

“He is going with your mother and Dietz. Evidently, he has talked with his son Rick and is anxious to see his new daughter-in-law.” Danny smiled at that news. “Jimmy, we are leaving in an hour. Michelle and I are going in the jeep to Loiza. After we all arrive there, one of the guys can take the jeep back to the villa since Loiza is only six miles from San Juan. It will eliminate watching two cars. Michelle is going to experience her first fiesta. This is going to be wild for her to see with all the true African culture on display. I will explain it driving over to the town.”

In the jeep, Danny told Michelle that her father had connected to Rick by phone at the plantation. He had left with Carmen and Dietz to return to Springfield.

“I have been wondering how Daddy was doing. This sounds good. This morning, I was thinking of my schedule and getting back in the groove with work and school. I have spent twenty four hours a day with you for almost three weeks. The time isn’t going to be there for us to be by ourselves.”

“Oh, Michelle, we will make the time. But I am worried that you may be taking on a busy year. You will have to see how it goes. I control my schedule and I will work around yours. This is your final cultural lesson for this trip. Loiza was settled in the past by black slaves. They learned Spanish and became Catholic but after the fusion of the African culture with Spanish and Indian, the African certainly won out. The fiesta de Santiago is the celebration we are attending today. It is the place to go if you want to see how Puerto Ricans of African descent keep their ties to Africa alive. They have parades everyday, fabulous drum ensembles, masks and costumes, which revive saints such as Santiago, who according to the traditions of Santeria are incarnations of West African gods.”

“Is this similar to the carnaval in Ponce?”

“It is. Every Puerto Rican town honors its patron saint annually. These fiestas occur through out the year and generally begin on a Friday, ten days before the Saint’s day. The fiestas take place in the town’s central plaza and have the carnival atmosphere typical with salsa bands and more traditional music that stirs people out watching the other people. Gambling stalls attract the crowds. The air fills with the scent of roast pork and the sky pops with fireworks at night. Traffic is impossible. I’m sending the jeep back to the villa. We won’t see this but on the Sunday nearest the saint’s day; the fiesta climax with a parade. Parishioners of various churches carry large wooden effigies of the saint through the streets. The whole celebration of music, dance, and rituals associated with the parade blends some African, Taino Indian traditions with the Roman Catholic protocol. We missed the one in San Juan. It was June 21 and it is the Fiesta de San Juan Bautista Day. Lots of party animals. At midnight, throngs of people walk backwards into the sea or sometimes into fountains, recalling doing that himself, three times to demonstrate their loyalty to the saint of Christian baptism and gain his blessing for the coming year.”
“And you really think we will be able to find Pilar in the plaza?”

“Sure and we can buy a hammock for Rick and Abbey from the crafters.”

True to Danny’s predictions, the traffic came to a crawl outside of the town. Danny pulled over to the side of the road to switch cars. Sending the jeep to the villa, the Mercedes crept to an alley where the paid parking was available. The plaza was beginning to fill with fresh pork roasting in fifty-gallon containers. Danny moved Michelle over to a stand where an artist was making a grotesque colorful mask that is a highlight of the islands many festivals. The unusual-popular form of folk art was the mask with the horned, spike-toothed speckled paper mâché created for centuries. Michelle urged Danny to buy one for her. The information tag provided additional history of the mask. Some historians believe the practice dates back to ancient Tainos, others link it to medieval Spain or to tribal Africa. Traditionally, the masks were black, red and yellow-symbolic of hellfire and damnation. Brightly costumed vigilantes don the masks and roam the streets at carnaval time, in an attempt to scare sinners back into the church. Michelle held the mask up to her face, “This is my tool to keep Olga away from Mr. Rooster and Hinny.”

After twelve, Pilar appeared in the plaza with some of her island friends. The sound of the word Peanut caught her attention. “Hey, we did hook up here at the plaza.”

Hugging and kissing her brother, Pilar thanked Michelle for the use of the outfit. “How are the newlyweds? Abuellá and Mamá spent every waking minute talking about the wedding and the twins. They have already named the babies and they are horrible names.”

“Danny bought two baby mobiles in Ponce and I’m getting the idea the twins are on all of our minds.”

“Michelle, I can’t wait to see what else my brother will do before they are born. How long are you staying today?”

“Michelle and I are going to close the fiesta down tonight. Ricky Martin is coming and Michelle wants to see him shake his bon-bons.”

“She isn’t the only one and I hope he plays the drums. He is so sexy.”

“Pilar, I think you need to plan on coming back with your friends tonight.”

“Of course, I do not want to hang out with a ole married couple. Today is your first anniversary-one week.”

“Bye Pillar.”

The plaza took on another life after the sun set. The fireworks continuously kept the sky lit and the individual fireworks popped off in alleys and rooftops. The beer and rum lubricated the throats of all desiring to drink. The party atmosphere was in full swing with serious salsa dancing. At different streets, there were dancing contest where old and young participated. Danny and Michelle, at the encouragement of Jimmy, took part in the contest and received a standing ovation from the watching crowd.

When the Mercedes drove in the garage, the clock in the car showed 3am. The light was on in the living room and Abuellá sat in her chair knitting a yellow baby shawl. “My goodness, I wasn’t sure if you were coming back tonight to the villa. Now that you are both home; I will retire to bed.”

“Goodnight, Maria.”

“We will see you tomorrow morning.”

Carmen’s phone rang at her desk in front of the fireplace in the living room. “Santos residence. Oh Daniel, I have been waiting for your call. I assume the honeymoon went well. I remember mine with your father. It seems like it was only yesterday.”

“Mamá, I hope you aren’t asking for details.”

“Certainly not, it was just a flashback to a time when I was happy.”

“Jimmy, told me about your fast exit from Puerto Rico.”

“I had an item that needed to be exported quickly from Puerto Rico. When you get back and we meet face to face, I will share the reason. The jet should be back in San Juan by 1pm.”

“Good. I’ll give the pilots some time to rest. If we leave by 6pm, we will be back in Springfield by 10pm with the time changes.”

“Danny, how is Michelle?”

“Physically, she is sleeping and seems to require more sleep. We were out late at the carnaval in Loiza. I wish I could convince her to give up the medical school until after the pregnancy is over. I have to support her decision even though it is half-hearted support.”

“Danny, Michelle is aware of what she can do and as the pregnancy continues; she might opt to have her life easier.”

“Don’t bet on that Carmen. Michelle is a petite, refined woman but underneath the gentle, well bred surface is a determined woman with the energy of a volcano spitting out hot lava.”

“Hum, was this a picture of your honeymoon?”

“Bye Carmen.”

Checking the refrigerator for what needed to be thrown out because it would perish before their December visit, Danny discarded most of the contents. Sitting the milk out on the counter, he put three bowls out for cold cereal. Danny had invited his grandmother to have breakfast with them and was expecting her arrival when Michelle appeared in the kitchen.

“Danny, what is going with the noise down here?”

“I’m doing the chores to close down the villa. Pilar hasn’t made it back from Loiza. Which means I have got to get as much done as I can.”

“What do you want me to do to help?”

“Bring the sheets and dirty towels down to the laundry room. Pack and leave out what you want to wear home. Then we can have some time on the beach before we leave. I have to bring up the artificial Christmas tree for the house sitter to put up in December for our next return.”

“Danny, Christmas is along time away.”

“Carmen likes to have the tree here since we leave the real one back at home. Besides, by then, you will be waddling around with the twins.”

“Thanks for the pretty picture.”

“You are the one that told me that your size 7 shorts didn’t fasten anymore.”

With the chores finished, Danny and Michelle spent the remaining day on their private beach. Michelle swam her laps and Danny used his diving and snorkeling equipment. Using the remaining time, they worked on their tans and made love one more time behind the rugged rocks. The sudden afternoon shower sent the couple back up the steps to the villa and into the shower to remove the sand and salt water.

Dressed in a navy blue linen mandarin collar dress, Michelle moved effortless up the steps to the jet. Danny watched the slits in her short dress expose the tan she was leaving Puerto Rico with and her indoctrination into the family had only begun. The jet taxied over to the runway. The increase in the sound of the engines notified the passengers that their departure was imminent. Michelle leaned up as close to the small window to see the last scenes of Puerto Rico disappear under the clouds. The jet turned northwest over the Atlantic Ocean to her new life in Springfield.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I hope everyone enjoyed the honeymoon on the island and experienced some of the fun and adventures, which our Manny never had described to us. If anything I wanted Danny and Michelle to connect in doing normal activities. The Art Museum was written in because of my many family members that are connected to the art field. Plus it helps to explain why Carmen had nice art displayed in her house. Ahead is life in SF, the births of their children and Fletcher’s story.


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