Posts Tagged ‘Carmen Santos’

Claire Tries to Regain Michelle’s Good Graces September 18 20 2001

June 12, 2018

Check out my latest episode guide post.

Tues., Sept. 18, 2001 – Claire stops by to see Danny in his new office and complains that she lost her standing at the mansion in the attempt to get him the job. Alan interrupts and points out that he earned the job in spite of Claire.

We see Danny’s gorgeous Spaulding office for the first time when Michelle brings him his Palm Pilot. (A palm pilot was kind of an early, less powerful, less flexible version of a cross between an iPad and an iPhone.) Michelle comes over to Danny to kiss him.

Danny: “Don’t get me started…I know we have to christen this desk, but not today I’ve got to focus.”

Michelle: “That’s no fun.” 

Danny: “You know I think you’re the bad influence in this relationship.” 

***

Danny: “Does it feel to you that we’ve stepped into a time warp and come out in another dimension?”

Michelle: “It’s a good world. Happy.” 

Alan tells Danny that Phillip disagrees with his proposal to buy a new system to fight off computer viruses from a start up company and asks Danny if he’s up to debating Phillip. Danny says he knows what Spaulding needs and he’s perfectly OK debating Phillip.

Danny: “So it’s me against your son, huh?”

Alan: “Let the best man win.”

After a discussion between the three of them, Alan takes Danny’s side on which product to buy. It really ticks off Phillip.  Michelle agrees to let Claire throw a baby shower for her.

Thurs., Sept. 20, 2001 – At Infierno: Danny comes in to see Tony. He talks about his new job and how great things are going. Danny loves the respect that comes along with his new life and feels powerful. Danny is really happy. Danny tells Tony that it used to be that looking forward 30 years he saw the graveyard or the pathetic way Carlos lives. Tony challenges him so now he thinks he could be the next Alan Spaulding? Danny says he could be. Tony is dismissive thinking they will never really accept Danny. They talk about Michelle and Robbie and Tony tells Danny that Josh was cleared of the bribery charges after Tony arranged for the phony evidence to be revealed. Romeo tells Danny that Tony didn’t take any credit for his part and he isn’t happy about it. Danny wraps things up and tells Tony he is heading home. Romeo makes fun of Danny saying he was so tough and now he carries his wife’s packages, mows the lawn, and changes diapers. Danny smiles at him condescendingly. Danny: “Real men know how to change diapers.” Just as he leaves, Carlos shows up wanting to talk to Danny. Carlos congratulates Danny on his new life but reminds him that he can’t just leave the family.  Carlos about Carmen: “Remarkable woman, more lives than a cat.” Carlos tells Danny he had a deal with him and will honor it, but he didn’t deal with the other families. If he does one more favor, they will leave him alone. He has access to Spaulding’s finances; Carlos wants Danny to relieve them of $25 million. Carlos tells Danny there is a hierarchy higher than the three families that Danny never heard about.

Carlos: “Orders from above.”

Danny: “Above what? Did God send you on this mission?”

At Company: Meta, Claire and Michelle are at Company waiting for the guests to arrive at the baby shower that Claire tried to put together overnight, months after Robbie was born. Meta wonders what time the guests will arrive. Claire thinks they are just being fashionably late. Meta doesn’t think anyone is coming. Meta: “Did anyone actually say they were coming?” Michelle is ready to pack it in and take Aunt Meta and head home. Just then, Maria arrives with gifts, saying her invitation must have been lost in the mail since she is the baby’s great-grandmother. Claire tries to get rid of Maria but she isn’t leaving. Michelle starts to open her gifts. Meta gives her a framed picture of Maureen. Maria gives another customer her camera and asks her to take a picture of all of them. Michelle thinks it is about time to leave and she and Meta start to gather their stuff just as Carmen arrives, with gifts.

My Comments: Danny has a gorgeous office. It throws the broom closet Alan has at the end of the series into sharper focus. 😦 Notice when Danny shows Michelle the brass name plate for his desk (I have one of those. It’s pretty cool.) we get a nice shot of his wedding ring. They haven’t done it a lot lately, but especially early on and again during the next break up Manny focuses on the rings and wearing the rings a lot more than other soap couples. First that bit with Michelle getting Danny “started” and the fact that he doesn’t ask IF they’re going to have sex on the desk, it’s just a matter of when is so awesome and so them. Second, that conversation although we only have a truncated version is important because this is what Alan does to his children. He sets them against each other as Brandon set him and Alex against each other. Alan doesn’t mean it maliciously he thinks it brings out their best. That short exchange says it as blatantly as it can be that’s what he’s doing, treating Danny both as a goad to Phillip and as he would if Danny was his son. I just think it’s clear the whole while Alan sees Manny as his and Hope’s second chance. While being a Spaulding is always the ticket to be first at Spaulding, it doesn’t guarantee your space there and I could totally see an alternative version of Springfield where Danny stays and actually takes over running Spaulding or opens his own legitimate, highly successful security business. I WISH they had let them have a little more perfectly happy before they drop the hammer. This instant party is very like Claire right now. I’m sorry they’ve made her this desperate. I hope I can find some more good Claire sometime. Claire really was great at the beginning. This shower is quite the opportunity to bring people we don’t want together.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Shocking Testimony at Michelle’s Trial on GL

June 7, 2018

McGarry, Mark. “Shocking Testimony at Michelle’s Trial on GL.” Soap Opera Weekly, vol. 11, no. 6, 8 Feb. 2000, p. 4.

It’s one step forward, two steps back for Michelle this week on Guiding Light. On Monday, Drew makes a shocking confession that helps Michelle’s case. Later in the week, however, Rick takes the stand and gives testimony that severely damages Michelle’s cause.

Drew testifies to the jury that she also had a hand in killing Mick, and that both she and Michelle, acted in self-defense. (Last week, Carmen “slipped” on the witness stand and said that Michelle killed Mick.) “Drew is doing the right thing, basically,” Tammy Blanchard (Drew Jacobs) says, “but she’s still on her little theory that it probably was Michelle who killed Ben. I will say that Drew took the stand for her friend regardless of her suspicions about Michelle, which, in a way aren’t even true – they’re just something for her to lean on without wondering who really did kill her father.”

Michelle breathes a temporary sigh of relief, while Carmen shoots Drew a look that could kill. Later, Carmen confront Drew, “and I think she almost calls her a bitch,” Blanchard says. “But then Carmen pretends to forgive her. Carmen uses Ben as the reason why she’s forgiving her, so Drew takes that to heart.”

At week’s end, the prosecusion catches Ross off-guard when they call a surprise witness — Rick. What could he possibly say to hurt Michelle’s case? A lot, which puts a big smile on Carmen’s face and a hopeless look on Michelle’s.

What Today’s Show Means Essay 11

May 30, 2018

Republisher’s Note: We’ve been focused in the last couple of essays have been focused on the scene where Danny is considering following through on his promise and killing Michelle for her betraying him and remaining a threat to the family. This essay bumps on to the immediately following scenes. Watch the episode where Michelle stands up to Carmen about Danny while Carmen gloats and Danny learns the truth about Carmen setting up Michelle over the FBI tip. Apparently there were spoilers out that Danny was going to sleep with Drew. That’s the horrible thing they mention.

From Rustle of the Sheets

“What Today’s Show Means”
(Written after the March 16th episode)

By Kristi — posted on the Mannyac Board.

The writers have accomplished more in today’s show than I could have ever imagined. I hate what’s going to come (yes, it is still happening) but they’re moving in the right direction. I still have a problem with Drew being the one Danny turns to, but for the first time in days I’m thinking that maybe the writers really know what they’re doing and will even make “it” (can’t say it either, Kathy) sensible to me.

Some unforeseen developments in today’s show:

* When I read that Danny would confront his mother about the F.B.I. raid today, I thought maybe he’d make some deductions of his own based on some suspicious facts such as Dietz having pictures of the raid. I never thought he’d learn the whole truth about Carmen’s set-up. He’s now learned the extent she’ll go to have Michelle out of their lives, the extent of her hatred, to the point of betraying her own son, and even though she’ll be proven right in the end (Michelle did inform the F.B.I.), it doesn’t change what she did and that’ll be a huge factor in whatever decision Danny takes regarding his marriage in the future. And he’ll never see his mother in the same way again either. It’s not just his relationship with Michelle that is being re-evaluated this week but the one with his mother as well and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but no wonder he goes over the edge. Translation: the writers are setting it up in a way that makes sense.

* His mother’s betrayal, however, also doesn’t change the fact that he planned to kill his own wife. We’ll never know what would have happened at the last minute, but it’s still an unsettling truth to deal with.

* What is his first instinct upon learning of his mother’s betrayal? Get out of the house and go with Michelle. Translation: he’ll always choose Michelle, place her over his family as long as she chooses to trust him.

* Line of the day: “I’m Danny’s wife, maybe there are a few things about him that I understand better than you.” I doubt the meaning has sunk into Michelle yet but she’s just made a claim on her husband. Against his mother, to boot. And she’s right, she does know him better than his mother, in some way. Carmen is so blinded by her hatred of Michelle, she doesn’t realize she isn’t winning anything, that as a matter of fact she’s losing her son.

* And I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but it’s obvious that on Thursday, Michelle will confess everything, and that in the end can only be good in re-building the relationship. We’ve all been pulling for Michelle to tell him the truth and save her marriage, and isn’t it ironic that she destroys whatever’s left of it by doing what she should have been doing all along.

It also tells something about us, that we didn’t want her to tell the truth for the sake of truth, that there’s a part of us that wishes the marriage could have been saved even if it meant Michelle keeping a lie forever. She could choose to do so, as Danny is now choosing to walk out on his mother (isn’t it what she’s been telling Drew all along, if only he’d get rid of his mother), but it is right that she won’t. And I don’t think she’ll do it because she just wants out. She’ll do it because Danny deserves the truth no matter how it hurts. That is the Michelle Bauer that I know.

kristi

 

Where in the World is Saundra Santiago?

May 7, 2018

O’Neil, Jerry. “Where in the World is Saundra Santiago?: She’s Alive and Well and Making Lots of Trouble in Springfield, USA.” Soap Opera Weekly, vol. 11, no. 6, Feb. 8, 2000, pp. 14-16.

Belying the popular belief, crime clearly IS paying off for Saundra Santiago – in the realm of televised fiction, of course. During the last year, the raven-haired, seasoned trouper has put her stamp on a pair of diameteric roles that have combined to put her back in the viewing spotlight in a manner she hasn’t enjoyed since the heady days of Miami Vice in the 1980s.

On daytimes she’s created quite a stir as Guiding Light‘s Carmen Santos, the “Godmadre,” if you will, of the Santos crime family. Since debuting on the the soap in January 1999 on a recurring basiss (she signed a 3 year contract late last fall), Santiago and her larger than life character have elicited a slew of strong responses. Love her or hate her, it’s virtually impossible and often deadly gaze on a putative Santos enemy.

Meanwhile, at night on HBO, she plays a “normal” woman in the hit series The Sopranos, now in its second season. Santiago portrays an upper-middle class Italian neighbor of the lead character, Tony Soprano. On the day we meet at her West Greenwich Village digs and walk to a neighborhood breakfast nook, she’d recently completed some long days on the set of The Sopranos. Not that she’s complaining mind you.

“I worked 16 hours one day,” says Santiago, ordering a much-desired morning cup of coffee. “They work long hours on that show. I play Jeannie Cusimano and [this season] her twin sister, Joan, as well. What’s funny is that David Chase, the creator and producer, didn’t know about my being on Guiding Light. David and the crew were shooting on location in Naples, Italy, a while back, and were in some villa owned by a detective in town. There were television monitors everywhere, and guns, too, which they found fascinating. They glanced at the TV monitors and all of a sudden realized, “That’s Saundra!’ If figured it had to be some old Miami Vice reruns they saw, but they said it was the soap opera. Of course, Carmen was speaking perfect Italian. They were blown away seeing me on Guiding Light over in Italy.”

Sitting across from Santiago, who looks quite alluring despite an absence of makeup, it’s easy to see why GL co-star Paul Anthony Stewart (Danny) has called her “the antithesis of Carmen.” Laughing heartily, she agrees with the assessment. “It’s true, we are nothing alike. It’s a creative thing. I’m creating this role, and I have the instrument to be able to do it. But just think of it this way: Carmen Santos would never eat in a place like this. This is very much Saundra, especially with the roach and all.” She’s referring to a critter that had crawled on the wall behind her a few minutes beforehand, which she coolly dispatched with a napkin and an absence of fuss. “If I’m anything, I’m a true New Yorker.”

The change of the millennium happens to be a harmonious and happy time in Santiago‘s life, both professionally and personally. She was actually so busy working that she had a difficult time planning and carrying out her November wedding to her mate of almost three years, musician Roger Squirtero. She me the well-regarded percussionist years ago, when both were part of the musical Chronicle of a Death Foretold. “When we first did the workshop of the play, I was happily married, a year later, when we brought the project to Broadway, I was unhappily married,” Santiago says pithily, explaining that her husband of five years was an unsuccessful actor from Greece. “He didn’t work much and that took its toll on our marriage. Also, he was very macho, and I suspect there’s a little insanity in his family. I had the support of some very good friends who helped me throught a very tough time. When the breakup started I was in Los Angeles, but I left immediately for New York. If it’s no fun going through a divorce normally, it’s even less fun going through it in LA.”

Having weathered a stormy marriage, what makes Santiago inclined to give it another go with this particular man? “Roger is very special,” everyone says that about the person they’re with, but if you talk to Roger’s friends you’ll discover they all adore him. My friends would say about me, “Oh, she’s so difficult, she’s so impatient’, they love me despite myself. With Roger, it’s unanimous. Everyone thinks he’s a great guy. He’s done a lot of work on himself, which a lot of men don’t do, and he’s had lots of different experiences. About the only flaw he has is that he can be mean to my dog, Prince. He’s not used to sharing an apartment with a lapdog.”

When told it seemed she had dropped of the TV screen since her days as Detective Gina Calabrese on Miami Vice, Santiago looks amusedly resigned. “I was married to that lunatic, but I was also doing tons of theater and living in New York. The plays I did were very interesting for an actor. I worked a lot of off-Broadway in lots of challenging roles, with talented, interesting actors. I kept active. Once in a while, to makes some money, I’d do occasional television movie of the week, or show pilots.”

When insisting that she fancied being part of an earlier telvision phenomenon, Santiago says she harbored no illustions that Miami Vice would launch her career into the stratosphere. “No, not at all. As a matter of fact, when I was on the show, a lot of opportunties went by the wayside. I couldn’t do much because I was under contract. At the time, I really didn’t want to do a series, but Bonnie Timmerman, who cast the show, sold me on doing it. This was right after I played the ingeue in the early ’80s Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge (which earned Santiago early acclaim). I thought for sure I was going to get into movies, but Bonnie wanted me for this project, which was initially called Gold Coast. It was meant to be During the course of the show’s run. I don’t think I was utilized very well. Like I said, a lot of other opportunities came and went because Michael Mann (Vice‘s creator and producer) wouldn’t let me off to do movies. What are you going to? I’m proud of being on the show, regardless.”

Oddly, one genre within the industry that she failed to take a stab at over the years was daytime. She was once offered an ongoing role on One Life to Live and was faced with a decision: “It was either do the soap or do a play with Kevin Bacon called Spike Heels.” she explains. “Off-Broadway wond out at the time. The call for [Carmen] came from Glenn Daniels (former GL casting director), whom I’ve known since 1981, when he brought me in to read for a movie he was casting. I respect Glenn.”

Intent on maintaining some freedom and career latitude, Santiago was perfectly content with her recurring status and held off signing on as a contract player for many months. But GL was amendable to her continuing to work on The Sopranos, and so she took the plunge. “There’s a sense of security, that’s for sure,” she says. However, “I wish I had more friends at work. I’m used to a more collegial environment, with more camaraderie, in the theater. I think people here are very concerned at all times with their own storyline, whether they admit it or not. More story means more days of work. I don’t blame anyone for that. I’m perfectly happy with two or three days. Your brain is not as fried at the end of the week, and the fans see less of you so they hate you less,” she says with a caustic chortle.

When she discussed the character with GL executive producer Paul Rauch, whom she calls “complex and fascinating,” he used Greek tragedy as a metaphor for Carmen’s life. The notion appealed to Santiago, who says, “This is not a regular family in Springfield: they are not the Bauers or the Spaulding. We really are like a family out of a Greek tragedy. I think now, based on the feedback I’m getting, the Santos family puts off certain people. They just don’t get it. Maybe if fans clicked into that notion” – that this is not your typical soap family – “I think they’d understand us, and Carmen, better.”

Conveying Carmen’s focused intensity is no easy feat, either. “Sometimes I just want to relax, but I can’t with this woman,” she says with a laugh. “That’s why it was so much fun working with Hunt (Block, ex-Ben Warren). We got to a point where we were able to relax with each other, because Carmen could be most relaxed with Ben. Hunt was a lot of fun to work with, and I wish he were still around. He turned into a great friend.”

Make no mistake, Santiago enjoys portraying Mama Santos. “I like the idea of being the boss, though I am getting some flak from people because they think she’s a negative stereotype of Latinos,” she says, “I just think of her as pure villainess. I can understand some of those feelings. I’ve tried to shy away from playing those kinds of characters. I’ve never considered myself as an ethnic actress; I can be anything I want, though because of my looks I’m not going to get to play a Danish woman. I never considered myself a beauty. Even when I was young and an ingenue, I was a character ingenue. As I’ve gotten older I look at myself as a character actor.”

“I do feel a responsibility as a Latina,” she adds, “to work and to let people know that we’re a group to contend with. America is going to have to face up to the fact that we’re out there in huge numbers. We come in all sizes and shapes and colors, and you can’t pigeonhole us. We’re not all fiery.”

Funny thing is, Santiago admits her spoken Spanish is “terrible. I can sing very well in Spanish, but I can’t carry on a conversation.” The daughter of a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother (now deceased), Santiago and her older brother, Jeffery, attended Catholic school in the Bronx, NY, before the family moved to Homestead, Florida when she was 13. “My mom made sure we learned and spoke the best English we could. She was concerned we become Americanized, and she neglected to have us learn Spanish as well. But if I got to a Latin island or country I can get by.”

En route to becoming a special-education teacher, Santiago turned her attention to acting, went on to earn her master’s of fine arts at Southern Methodist University near Dallas, arrived in New York to start her career, and has never looked back. Her father, Louis, always tells people, “With Saundra, what you see is what you get,” while she herself shrugs and says, “I’d like to think that even after all these years of being in the business, and having survived, that the nice girl with confirmation dress still exists.”

Danny’s Manhandling Essay 8

December 13, 2017

Republisher’s Note: I agree with Kristi. It is important that Danny has that dark impulse or overcoming it would be nothing. Watch the episode Kristi is reacting to. Danny thinks Michelle betrayed him and puts his hands on her neck while she is packing to go to the Bauer House so Rick can watch her overnight.

From the Rustle of the Sheets

“Danny’s Manhandling”

By kristi — posted on the Mannyac Board.

Danny’s hands around Michelle’s throat – wasn’t that supposed to spook you? …. I haven’t seen today’s show, but reading some of the comments here and some other place made me wonder if people realize there should be a part of Danny that scares us for this whole storyline to be effective. What is the point of talking of “deadly” decisions if the person taking those kind of actions can’t live up to that threat? (I can’t ever imagine “deadly” going hand in hand with some of the supposedly bad guys on the show, as they are about as fearsome as paper tigers.)

This is an extremely multi-faceted character, the first we’ve had in years, one who can be the gentlest person on this side of the earth one minute and the most ruthless the next, played by an actor who’s more than capable of handling all those complexities. Don’t we owe it to him to try and deal with how his character disturbs us instead of wanting the writers to smooth out the uneasy aspects about him?

I don’t think [anyone] needs to make excuses for not being able to accept [his less than savory actions] or watch them, but I don’t think anyone here is making excuses for what Danny did either. From what I gather, those who watched that scene (including his “fans”) were all spooked more or less. I haven’t watched it but I have watched the March 2nd show and the intro church scene where he shook her by the shoulders spooked me. I knew he wouldn’t hurt her physically, I knew it, but he still frightened me. Do I wish the writers or director or Paul Anthony Stewart had changed that scene and taken that part out? No, and that’s an emphatic no. That’s part of who Danny is and there’s no sugarcoating around that, not after all the time and efforts that have been poured into creating the character.

I doubt anyone (including TPTB) would think what Danny is doing to her, how he threatens her is “right.” Personally however I’d rather deal with the questions and doubts this character raises in me than the predictable behavior of most characters on the show. I like the challenge that is involved here, and I think the writers and actor are not only aware of it, but embracing it as well. And I hope they don’t take the easy way out, i.e. bow to the temptation (or pressure) of turning him completely to the perfect romance hero he was on his wedding day.

That’s an irresistible side of him, the best he can be, but he also has private demons to deal with, serious flaws (I know the word “flaw” doesn’t quite cover his problems), and I’m actually glad the writers weren’t afraid to show this side of him so soon after the wedding. The only real fear I have with this story is whether they’ll always rise to the challenge. I trust whoever has created Danny, but I don’t trust [executive producer, Paul] Rauch very much and I don’t trust the two top headwriters, Esensten and Brown. Based on the material that was aired last year, I just can’t imagine how they could have come up with a character like Danny and I don’t think they did. The subtext that’s being given, the layers we’re seeing, it can’t possibly be by them.

To get back to what you were saying … I am bothered by the same things you are. I just believe that for the first time in years I am bothered by what I am expected to be bothered with instead of what I’m not supposed to (such as Josh believing that cloning Reva was done only, purely out of love, or Dinah thinking she was justified in gaslighting Roger) and that’s why I’m in for this story. Thinking about the character, questioning his motives and actions, questioning the various feelings he evokes in me, that seems worth the effort, and I can’t say the same for most of the less disturbing characters on the show, unfortunate as that is.

kristi

 

I Love Lucy and Ricky Sept 10 2001 AND Sept 17 2001

September 26, 2017

Check out my latest episode guide post.

Black and white screen capture of Danny and Michelle

Danny and Michelle as Ricky and Lucy Ricardo

Mon. Sept. 10, 2001 – Carmen tells Gus that she wants out of jail and she has already signed off on her promises. Gus tells her the feds don’t trust her and she will have to tell him why she changed her mind and what she has on Danny. Carmen tells Gus she learned that Danny has given up on her and that he has chosen Michelle over his family time and again. She loves Danny but he betrayed her and his brother by turning on them in favor of an outsider. Carmen feels that Danny is no longer her son, he sold his soul to the Bauers and that is that. She is sure that baby Robbie will be different and will need her. Gus reminds her that Robbie has a mother. Carmen says Michelle is no match for her and the baby will be raised a Santos. At Company: Danny comes in dressed in his business suit and Buzz is impressed. They talk about Danny’s new job at Spaulding and Buzz congratulates him. He thinks it’s funny when Danny tells him how he got the job. Michelle comes in and they talk about actually having a normal life; Danny working 9 to 5 while Michelle raises their kids. Danny thinks it feels different having all this peace and quiet in their lives. Danny is especially happy at how things started at his new job. So far there hasn’t been much blow back from his being a Santos or having pushed his way in or replaced someone (they never say what happened to the person previously in charge of tech security, but maybe they just spun those responsibilities off another job). People have been welcoming and he had a very good day. Michelle tells Danny that Meta has Robbie so they can celebrate. They take a seat when Ray comes in. Ray tells them that he is on his way to see Carmen in jail. He is determined to save her soul. Michelle hasn’t heard this before and warns Ray that Carmen doesn’t have a soul to save so he’s wasting his time, but Ray insists he has to try. Buzz makes a comment about Michelle and Danny entering the boring couple world. He summarizes all he did to avoid that world in search of adventure, but once he faced his responsibilities and repaired his relationships with his kids and married Jenna (who is now dead) he found that everyday life was a much better than seeking outside adventure and raising kids and sharing a life with someone you love was the greatest adventure of all. Michelle sits back and daydreams about she and Danny turning into Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy in black and white (see comments). It is a daydream with their only problems of ironing and cooking. Back in reality Michelle smiles and tells Danny their life will never be boring.

NOTE: Why this has and between the dates instead of the usual through is discussed in the next post.

My Comments: Buzz originally wasn’t too crazy about Danny. Buzz had been a mentor to Jesse Blue and he didn’t like an outsider stealing Jesse’s girl. He also has a legitimate beef against the Santos family in that Selena Davis (who was his first really serious relationship after his wife Jenna Bradshaw Cooper was killed) had to leave town a step ahead of the mob who gave Buzz a beating when he tried to buy her more time. However, Buzz was known to play rather fast and loose with the law himself and after his experience with Jenna he knew true love when he saw it so he came around relatively quickly to Manny’s side. He was never the serious friend Frank was, but he was a definite pal. The Cooper family had been growing increasingly closer to the Bauer family for awhile and this was a natural extension of that. Buzz also had a long term love-hate relationship with Alan Spaulding dating back to when an amnesiac Reva Shayne returned to town and both Buzz and Alan competed with each other and Josh for her affections (no bet on who won that fight). Over the years and romantic relationships between their various relatives, sometime Buzz and Alan fought each other tooth and nail and sometimes fought together. It really was as pure an example of a love/hate relationship as you’ll find anywhere. Buzz’s story about himself is accurate rather than stay in the family business Buzz ran out on his wife Nadine, who soon followed him out of town, leaving his father & uncle to raise his children, Frank and Harley.

I’m truly sorry that they didn’t take the time to play this beat of Danny settling into normal life more. There was no need to rush back into mob stories even if that was their end game. There were SO many more story beats to play. Danny is meshed into the every day life of Springfield, seeing him struggle with that and no longer being the alpha in the company would be LOADED with story, sadly this is about the only peek we get at that part of their lives. I’ll say this a lot and I’ve said it before, but there is SO much story to be played within the internal politics at Spaulding. After Danny got settled in, they could have played the struggle between Danny and Phillip more. They could even have had him involved in a plan to oust Phillip or Alan could have promoted him over Phillip. If they brought A-M back, he could have been torn between backing Alan-Danny or Phillip, both on the power side and while Phillip was his brother, Danny was married to his favorite cousin. PLENTY of great stuff. Stuff that HAD to be so much better than what they played instead.

I Love Lucy was an amazing and ground-breaking show. Lucille Ball Arnez and Desi Arnez were a real life couple, an actress who had done a little of everything in Hollywood but only caught fire with a radio show and a Cuban-American band leader at a time where being a Latino was a serious drawback in Hollywood. When the network (which was the same network for both radio and TV) wanted to bring her hit radio show to the air, My Favorite Husband, they kept a similar format to the stories, but changed the premise, their socio-economic level, and all of the supporting characters. Desi was touring with his band at the time and with Lucy tied down to a radio show there was stress in the marriage so Lucy refused to do the TV show unless they cast Desi as her husband. There was a huge fight over it, but at last Lucy got her way. In this Manny spoof they are referencing the episodes where Lucy has a domestic problem like the time her loaf of bread came out of the oven pushing her across the room or when she tried to save money by using a freezer. Desi’s real life accent was much thicker than Danny’s (since Paul Anthony Stewart wasn’t actually Hispanic) and he broke into Spanish when he got upset. They never wrote it into the script, but that’s just how he talked. They did write in Lucy gently teasing him by saying back a slightly exaggerated version of what it sounded like when he said. That’s why Danny is saying Michelle so strangely and breaking into Spanish which he hasn’t done in years. They also are calling Robbie, Little Robbie because on the show Lucy and Desi’s son was called Little Ricky to distinguish him from his father as Guiding Light did with Little Billy while he was growing up before they switched to just calling him Bill instead. The backwards hands on hips stance was also pure Desi. Although today many fabrics are designed to be wrinkle resistant back then you had to iron the cotton or linen and often starch it to keep it crisp so they had to be starched and ironed to stay flat. Burning a hole in a shirt was a familiar sitcom trope. Lucy was also known for exaggerated play crying when she was upset on the show.

Lucy and Desi were an amazing team besides the onscreen chemistry and rhythm. They were a power behind the scenes as well  her comic genius and his brilliant problem solving mind that created all sorts of things now taken for granted in television like the 3 camera sitcom and the rerun. Their production company was called Desilu. Watch for their logo on many classic TV shows including Star Trek. They were a very happy couple on screen and off. On screen Ricky was a slightly less successful band leader than Desi and Lucy was always trying to get into show business either through his show or some other way. Off screen their marriage eventually split because apparently Desi never could understand why Lucy got upset about his sleeping with other women since it didn’t have anything to do with THEIR relationship and Lucy couldn’t live with the constant betrayal. Manny’s relationship was a lot more like their on screen relationship and Carmen and Miguel were much more like their off screen relationship.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 4

August 24, 2017
Republisher’s Note: A very nice Christmas with the Santos family.
 Author’s Note: Finally we get to the funny and entertaining section of the twins first Christmas. Christmas has always been a much-anticipated holiday in my youth and older days. Our tree was never decorated until Christmas Eve and the tradition has continued in my family. The activities on Christmas Eve seemed to never finish and this is the background that I have chosen to give the young Santos family. Thank you for all the nice compliments.

Fair Winds and Following Seas Chapter 4 by Phyllis

In his heart, Danny knew how cold the words were to Ray. The words had bounced back to Danny. Michelle and Danny had danced and tipsy toed around Aussie Spencer since Thanksgiving. Less than six hours, he would face the young woman. The christening was the formality for the twins in the Catholic Church, which connected his children to the faith of the Santos family. The 5pm Mass would be filled with children and adults of all ages. They would be eyewitness as Michelle and he dedicated their twins back to God and swore to raise them in the Catholic faith. Instead of Michelle raising Gabby and Bethany Joy outside of the Catholic faith; she was allowing the Catholic Church to become influential in the future twin lives. Strange as it seemed, Danny chuckled at the thought of Aussie being a part of the final push of Gabby and Bethany Joy deeper in the Santos circle.

Danny smirked at the thought of Aussie Spencer being in the room with the very family that if she had had her way would be far today from his grasp. The official christening service had opened a door through which Jimmy and he could monitor Michelle’s communication with Aussie. The hospital with all the staff was the perfect place to hide her communications with Aussie. Michelle maintained her silence with him and never had mentioned the distant medical student till the question of the godparents
had come to be debated in multiple heated discussions.

Starting again with Aussie wasn’t going to happen when Danny heard his name being called from the direction of the end of the snow-covered walkway. “Danny, we are hoping you can use two more sets of hands; we can wrap presents or vacuum.”

Hugging Aunt Meta, then running his hands through his long curls. “I’m so happy to see Ed and you. I promised Michelle to get to the barber shop today and if you can help with the tree, I might be able to make my appointment.”

Taking the metal container from Meta’s hands, “What do you have in the cookie tin?”

“Cookies for Michelle and you. Maureen baked these every Christmas for Michelle and Ed. Today is special with Maureen’s grandbabies being baptized that I thought the cookies might give Michelle the gift of knowing that Maureen is never far from her presence. The distant days are as close as closing her eyes and remembering.”

Kissing Meta’s cheek, “Meta, you are a lady of wisdom.”

Opening the door for the two added visitors, Meta and Ed entered the Santos home. “Merry Christmas Michelle!”

“Daddy and Aunt Meta-I can’t believe you took the time to come here.

“Sweetie, we have another day to finish cooking the famous Bauer Christmas dinner. Rick has taken Abby and Freddie to the mall.” Smiling at Ed, “We were lonely and thought why are we here when we can be with Gabby and Bethany Joy. Plus I baked Maureen’s favorite sugar cookies and,” handing the tin to Michelle,” These are for you.”

“Oh how generous to share with the Santos clan.” Opening the green and red plaid metal tin container, Michelle chose the blue frosted angel cookie. Taking a bite of the soft cookie, “This will be Gabby and Bethany’s first Christmas to eat one of the best ever cookies.”

“I see where my hands can be put to quick use. Meta, you can use your careful interior decorator eye to guide my placement of the light bulbs.” Ed picked up the first set of colored lights and started stringing the lights from the top of the tree. Meta carried the untangled lights from Danny to Ed on the stepladder and pointed to spots on the tree where the lights might be placed. The trio finished the light-stringing job when the knocking of a foot on the outside door alerted the decorating crew that the twins were returning with Father Ray. Michelle ran to the porch door, “I cant wait to see how they react to the tree. Danny grab the cam recorder!”

Michelle opened the frosted glass door and extended her arms to take the twins from Ray. Rubbing her nose into their cheeks, “You have cold faces. Thanks Ray, we are almost ready to add the ornaments and I shopped wisely this year. We have gold mesh ribbon to wrap as garland on the tree and then we can add the two new boxes of non-breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree.”

First removing his winter coat and gloves, Ray untied the hats and zipped the snowsuits on Gabby and Bethany Joy. “These two really enjoy being out in the cold and today a female cardinal ate seeds from Bethany’s hand. Do you know how unusual that is for a bird to come near an active small child?”

“Oh Ray, the birds know that you are the one bringing the seed.”

“True Michelle but the female cardinal is easily scared; she took a risk and landed on Bethany’s hand.
Michelle, there is a bucket of three eggs outside from the chicken house. While outside, we had to make the rounds and check the chickens. Mr. Rooster and Hinny are safe and cozy in the straw after I raided the nest.”

“Good, I can use them in my egg and cheese casserole for tomorrow morning.”

With one child on each hip, Gabby and Bethany Joy look at the Christmas tree with the lights. Michelle watched the Christmas lights being reflected in their dark glassy eyes. “See the pretty lights. But do not touch!”

Ed came down the stepladder. “Come to Grandpa.”

Switching from their mother’s arms to their grandfather’s large arms, “We are decorating the tree because a magical man dressed in a red suit is coming tonight to bring you presents. By the way are you two going to go along and teach about the Santa Claus myth?”

Danny and Michelle turned to each other. “Ed, I hadn’t thought much either way. I grew up with the idea of Santa existing until my older brother Mick told me otherwise. Michelle, how did your family handle Christmas?”

“We had presents and Dad dressed up in a Santa suit and passed out the presents. I knew Santa was Daddy. Well, I guess we will have to make a decision next year when the twins are older about Santa.”

Michelle broke a cookie in half. Placing the sweet sugar cookie in their left hands. “Hum, a good cookie and Aunt Meta made the cookies for us.”

Taking a bite of the cookie, Bethany moved her cookie to her right hand. The cookie lost its charm to the glowing lights on the tree with her leaning out to touch the tree with her hand. Crying in a sharp squeal from the pain inflicted on her fingers, Bethany Joy laid her head down on Ed’s shoulders and started whimpering.

“No, no Bethany Joy, do not touch the sharp tree needles.” Ed patted her back and kissed her fingers.

“I hope Bethany has learned her lesson and babbles to Gabby to stay away from the tree.” Danny moved immediately to Ed’s side, “Come to Daddy.”

Bethany raised her head from Ed’s shoulders and stretched her hurt fingers to Danny.

“You want Daddy to kiss your fingers and make the boo-boo go away?”

“Danny, I didn’t mean for her to get so close to the tree; it happened too fast to stop her.”

“Ed, it wasn’t your fault, the princess has a reputation of exploring. Bethany likes to check out her surroundings….Bethany, do you want to play with the pots and pans with your wooden spoon in the cabinet drawer?” Sitting Bethany in front of the open drawer, Danny watched his daughter hit the pot with her spoon. Next Bethany was busy trying to fit all the misfit tops on the pans and taking the plastic blocks out of one pan and putting them in the next pot. Michelle placed Gabby in front of his drawer and watched him pull the cabinet door open to gain access to his set of pots. “This is the best toys, they love to spend time with the one cabinet door and drawers where they can open and play with the metal pots and pans. Olga went to a yard sale and came home with various sizes of pans and misfit lids. They are charmed by the noise and the big spoons. The only time that we have trouble with the pots is when one of the twins takes both spoons. They haven’t figured out that you can take it back from the other twin yet but I guess that is good for now.”

Ray was the first to leave the lake house after the ornaments found their special place on the green tree boughs. Ed and Meta followed his exit. The Bauer and Santos family would next meet at the church parish where they would enter the church as a unit.

Bethany Joy and Gabby sat in their highchairs with the warm vegetable soup being spooned into their opened mouths. In between swallowing the soup, they ate the cheese fish crackers on the tray of the highchair. For dessert, they had an individual cup of fruit yogurt. Wiping their faces and hands with the warm washcloth, Michelle removed the bibs, “It is time for a nap and Daddy can run to the barber shop.”

“Oh yea baby, I almost forgot the haircut with Bethany hurting her fingers on the tree. Do you think I really need to get it cut today?”

Kissing her husband on the cheek and running her fingers at the nap of his neck, “Yes but a small trim, I like the curls. The back of your neck needs the haircut more than anything.”

“Michelle, you could do that for me.”

Shaking her head at his newest suggestion, “I don’t think so unless you want it to look like I put a bowl on your head.”

Smacking at her butt with the dishtowel, “I’ll help you put the twins down and then run to the barber shop.”

At 2:30, Michelle had the twins in the bathtub giving them their Christmas Eve baths. “Am I confusing you today by giving you your baths this early? We are going to get dressed up in our pretty new outfits and go to church where the man dressed in red will pour warm water over your hair just like we have been practicing here at home. There will be lots of children in the church with us today and my friend Aussie will be there.”

The four o’clock chime was ringing after Michelle had finished dressing Gabby and Bethany Joy in their white velveteen outfits. Gabby’s white John-Boy pants fastened on the shoulders with single S shaped buttons. The white jacket covered the long sleeve white turtleneck with a monogrammed S on the portion of the turned down collar. Rubbing baby oil in her hands, Michelle applied the oil to the short thick hair curls on her son’s head. “You smell perfect Gabriel Santos and I’m turning you over to your father to finish getting you dressed with the white leather shoes…. Honey, Gabby might keep the shoes on his feet if you put them on today.”

Standing back to admire Gabby, “I love our son with his black curls against the white suit.”

“Well, he finally did get some hair and when it came; it came in a hurry. Michelle, he took after his old man with the color but the curls are yours.”

Switching Bethany Joy back to Michelle’s arms, “Do you think Bethany will keep the hair pins in her hair with the tiny white rosettes?”

“Honey, your guess is as good as mine. I think all the white streamers on the rosettes are going to be the problem. Pull her hair back further with the hairpins and maybe she won’t feel them dangling on her neck or the side of her face.

Michelle brushed the thick long curls around her finger creating rows of curls with the white rosettes holding the curls in place. With a quick squirt of hair spray to the back of the curls, Michelle announced, “I’m finished. Your little daughter is radiant in her first white long dress. The large satin bow tied in the back with the pointed lace on the border makes the dress like a tiny gown. Carmen insisted on the white ballet slippers for Bethany. The dress is a tiny replica of a wedding dress.”

“Michelle, please do not say the words, the time will come too soon for me to give her to another man. Bethany is my little princess and going to be my girl for along time. The guy hasn’t been born that is good enough for my princess. Bethany, your granny has started you out wearing designer dresses early in your life.”

The Santos family started gathering at the Parish house at 4:30 pm. Carmen and Abuella had arrived with their large yellow manilla envelopes for their annual contribution to Father Ray’s church. Inside they sat waiting for Bill Lewis and Pilar to arrive with the gold crosses.

“Carmen, you did tell Pilar to close the shop early today?”

“Yes, for the last time Maria, Pilar is on her way with the crosses.”

The door opened and two young women with wrapped gifts came into the living room. Speaking in Spanish to Carmen, “One must be Aussie Spencer. Do you know which one is the trouble maker?”

Carmen whispered back to Maria, “The one with the Australian accent.”

Ray saw the young women entering the house. Smiling as he approached the two with the gifts, “I’m Father Ray Santos and one of you must be Aussie Spencer, Michelle’s friend.”

The young woman with the green wool suit extended her hand to Ray. “I’m Dr. Aussie Spencer, the Godmother.”

“This is a neat way to meet. I’m the Godfather to the twins. Michelle and Danny should be arriving any minute with Gabriel and Bethany Joy. I believe this will be your first time to see the two in person.”

“Actually, Michelle and I had dinner at Caitlin’s apartment a couple of days ago. I saw Gabby and BJ that night. We watched a lot of videos of the twins and I feel that I’m pretty much caught up with the toddlers. Michelle has done wonders with her career and raising the preemies till now.”

“Carmen, did you hear what that girl said to Ray, she is giving Michelle all the credit for raising Gabby and Bethany Joy! What is this BJ thing?”

“Maria, the letters are Bethany Joy’s initials. Evidently, Michelle calls Bethany Joy BJ.”

Ed Bauer, Aunt Meta and Rick with Abbey rushed inside the house. “There is a wreck at the nearest light and we had to almost bribe the police to let us get here on time. Where are Danny and Michelle?”

“They must be stuck in the traffic.”

Carmen had the cell phone in her hand and dialed the number, which she had on speed dial. “Where are you?”

“I’m parking the car in front of the parish house. We had to go back over the Nickel Bridge but it looks like we made it with a few minutes to spare.”

Carmen closed the phone down to its compact size.” Danny has saved the day again, the Santos family will be entering momentarily.”

Michelle came in holding Gabby and the traveling diaper bag followed by Danny with Bethany Joy. Father Ray gathered the group in a circle. “This is a copy of the service and where the baptism is listed in the program. The Godparents and family will approach the altar where the Cardinal Monahan will perform the baptism.” Ray immediately lined the family up to enter the church. “I forgot to mention it but this service has the young Christmas pageant and if history holds true it can be very entertaining.”

The loud organ music struggled to overcome the sounds of the joyful voices singing “Joy To the World” with the procession of the cross and Bible followed by the small children dressed as shepherds, sheep and angels with wings made of every imaginable material. The littlest angel with stars in her basket stole the show as she dropped gold stars on the floor. When she reached the front of the church, she spotted the two toddlers. Pulling a star from her basket, she handed one of her stars to Bethany Joy. Looking at her empty basket, she ran back down the aisle and picked up a star from the floor. Running back to where she left her last star, she handed the star to Gabby. Gabby and Bethany held the stars in their hands and cautiously watched the strangely dressed children. Michelle whispered in each of her children’s ears, “The angel is the star bringer angel and she is sharing her stars with you.”

Tapping Carmen’s shoulder, “Mam, I’m here with the crosses. The stupid police finally let us through the intersection with the wreck. Michelle and Danny are striking with Gabby and Bethany Joy. The white and black theme is clean and fashion forward. Bethany Joy is going to turn some eyes in the future.”

The Cardinal served as the Celebrant:
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The people responded: And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen

With the normal responses read until Pilar stood to read the lesson and closing with: The Words of the Lord and the people responding: Thanks be to God. Then, all standing, Ray began the reading of the Christmas birth of Jesus Christ. After the conclusion of his reading, The Gospel of the Lord. The people: Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Standing, the Cardinal motioned for Danny and Michelle to come forward with Gabby and Bethany Joy.

Celebrant: The Candidates for Holy Baptism will now be presented.

Danny and Michelle together said: I present Daniel Gabriel to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. I present Bethany Joy to receive the Sacrament of Baptism.

Celebrant: Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?

Danny and Michelle: I will, with God’s help.

Father Ray and Aussie: I will, with God’s help.

After reading the list of renouncing Satan, all spiritual forces of wickedness and the evil powers of this world, Danny and Michelle answered on behalf of their children.

Next the Celebrant moved to the vessel containing the warm water.
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.
We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Pouring the water in the basin and touching the water:
Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin and born again may continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.
Leaning over to whisper to Danny, Please give me Daniel Gabriel. Handing Gabby to the Cardinal, Danny wrapped his arm around Michelle’s waist. The Cardinal held Gabby up for the audience to see and laid the toddler in his arms with his head over the basin. With the ocean shell, he poured the water onto the dark curls. “Daniel Gabriel, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Wiping off the excess water, Gabby was returned to Danny’s arms. Turning his attention to Bethany, the priest took Bethany in his arms. Bethany reached back to Danny and called “Dada.” Puckering her lips to cry after she was lifted up for the audience to see. Bethany cried as the warm water touched her scalp. Drying the excess off quickly, the Priest smiled at the bundle in his arms. “Bethany is mad at me for messing up her curls.” Back in the safety of Michelle’s arms, Bethany cuddled into her mothers neck.

“Bethany Joy, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christs own forever. Amen.” Marking a cross on the forehead of Gabby, “Daniel Gabriel, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christs own forever. Amen.”

“Let us welcome the newly baptized.”

Carmen and Maria stepped forward and placed a gold cross on the necks of Gabby and Bethany.

The priest waited until the families had returned to their seats. “What a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season. We are here to celebrate the birth of a young child over 2000 years ago in a tiny village in a country suffering under the occupation of a foreign nation. It wasn’t until the time when the child was a grown man that we had to learn to deal with our relationship with God’s son. My homily is short tonight and in your program; you will find a poem, which I am giving to you as a present.”

The Word is born this very night:
Hail, Mary, full of grace!
A hanging lantern sheds its light
On Joseph’s anxious face.
The Word must come in human form,
In God’s redemption plan.
A Babe takes every heart by storm,
But who will heed the Man?
The Word is born this very night,
And humble is the place;
The world is dark, but hope is bright
And sinners look for grace.
The Word has come to end the war
Which Adam first began.
O bless the Babe who sleeps on straw.
And listen to the Man!

Words: Fred Pratt Green

The first Adam gave us the bondage of sin, the second Adam offers us freedom from darkness. I ask that each of you listen to the Man. Listen to what he is saying to your hardened hearts and follow the words of the Man.

The final blast from the organ pipes signaled the end of the 5pm. Service. At the different pews, the members greeted each other and many approached the young Santos family. “Mrs. Santos, I remember you reading at the Midnight Mass last year. And to see your children being baptized this year brought tears to my eyes.”

Michelle took the older woman’s hand with her one available hand. “Thank you Bethany Joy is at that stage where she won’t go to strangers. Did you hear her calling for her Daddy?”

“Yes and that was what made it special. It is evident that she is very close to her father.”

Danny spoke with many of the members after Carmen had relieved him of holding Gabby. Reaching down to pick up the diaper bag, Danny spotted Jimmy standing at the door with Aussie and Michelle. “Excuse me but I see a person that I need to speak with this evening.”

Aussie gave the two wrapped presents to Michelle. “The gifts are two Children’s Bible Stories books.”

“Aussie, you didn’t have to buy Gabby and Bethany a gift. But you can come to our home for dinner. You did promise to help bring them up in the Christian faith and life, which includes regular visits.”

“Michelle, we both know that your husband isn’t exactly crazy about me. I think we have tested his endurance.”

“Aussie, there will be a crowd at the house and I’m sure Danny and you can manage to avoid each other.”

Jimmy placed his hand on Michelles white coat. “It is time to wrap up the conversation, the Boss is ready to leave the church.”

Michelle pushed Jimmy’s hand away. “I’ll leave when I’m ready to leave. I’m having a private conversation with my friend.”

“Well Michelle, you can tell it to your husband personally. He is heading in your direction.”

Aussie hugged Michelle goodbye. “I don’t want to get you into trouble with the Boss on Christmas Eve. Caitlin and I are having dinner with her family tonight. ‘Ill see you tomorrow at the hospital when you do your shift. Go before the man in black explodes in church. Bye.”

Michelle dabbed at her eyes with the handkerchief that Jimmy gave her. “Don’t you have something else to do tonight?”

“I just saved your butt from Daniel Santos. He had that evil eye from across the room and you and I know how he can get. Aussie did the right thing by refusing to come to the house. Let’s go.”

“Michelle, we will have hungry guest appearing at the house expecting to be fed and we want be there to greet them.”

Stomping her foot, “You always have an answer and dance around the elephant in the room but I hate the way you have treated my friend Aussie. The priest should give you the poem written in stone that he read to us and make you wear it around your neck. You listen to the man inside the evil side of your heart.”

“Michelle, we aren’t going to get into this tonight. But it is time to deal with the elephant in our lives.”

The ride back to the lake house was silent with Gabby and Bethany sleeping in their car seats. Michelle watched the snowy road through teary eyes and Danny listened to a Spanish Christmas CD. Several of the guest cars had arrived before Danny parked the car in the warm garage. Michelle unsnapped the car seat on her side and carried Bethany Joy up the steps to the back hallway. From the front of the house, the sounds of the music played and the aroma of the mixed spices boiling in a saucepan greeted all entering the house.

The catering service had placed red and white poinsettias on the floor and tables with the bayberry scented candles. Carmen hurried with the help removing the poinsettias from the floor where Gabby and Bethany might crawl and pick up a poison berry.

“Who ordered the poinsettias?”

Danny answered his mother, “I did.”

“Oh Daniel, the flowers are dangerous with toddlers crawling and putting any new fascinating object in their mouths.”

“I’ll have the catering service take the flowers out to the garage. We can let all the guests take one home to add to their decorations.”

“Oh Michelle, your white woolen pant suit went well with Bethany and Gabby’s outfits.”

“Carmen, the suit was another unexpected gift from you. You have to stop all this gift giving.”

Carmen exchanged glances with Danny. “Michelle, the suit isn’t from me.”

“Honey, I had the designer in NYC work up the pant suit. It was one of your Christmas gifts from Gabby and Bethany. You evidently didn’t check the label very closely.”

Clutching Bethany tighter in her arms, “I didn’t. I assumed it was from Carmen since it came with the Christening outfits.”

“Why don’t you help Carmen with the poinsettias and I’ll get Gabby and Bethany in their pajamas.” Taking Gabby in her other arm, Michelle carried the twins into the nursery.

“OK Daniel, what is wrong with your wife? Why is Michelle so bitchy tonight? Can I guess?”

“Mam, Michelle is angry because I didn’t invite Aussie to the dinner tonight or fall at Aussie’s feet. Then again she might be having PMS.”

“Daniel, speak with Michelle in private, her behavior is out of order for tonight. The Sandovals and Machedos are here.”

At the laundry room door, Meta Bauer stood listening to the end of the conversation between Carmen and Danny.

“Where is my niece?”

“Aunt Meta, Michelle is changing the kidos in the nursery.”

“I’ll see if I can help Michelle.” Meta walked down the hallway to the nursery.

Leaving the two Santos in the laundry room, “How much did she hear, Daniel?”

“Meta isn’t the kind of lady that stands and listens for information. Carmen make sure the booze is flowing generously with the guest. Michelle and I are going to talk briefly in the nursery.”

Meta had left with the twins and Michelle was in the closet hanging up the new clothes. “Hey sweetie, you have had a lot on your mind lately. I was wrong to accuse you of not taking the time to check the label.”

“Danny, it isn’t the suit that baffles me, but how easy it is for you to apologize to me when you can’t apologize to Aussie for completely disrupting her life. You had a golden opportunity to offer her a token of peace by inviting her to dinner. Just for your information, Aussie and Caitlin had other plans for dinner and they wouldn’t have soiled your precious house or gangster buddies.”

Turning to leave the nursery, Michelle’s body was suddenly blocked by Danny’s forearm. “No Michelle, you aren’t getting off that easy. I gave you what you requested. You wanted Aussie to be their Godmother. The damn dinner wasn’t included in the deal. It maybe petty to you but it isn’t to me. If she had gotten to you in some other place besides here; I wouldn’t have a wife and two children. It is no doubt in my mind that she and her buddies would have convinced you to have an abortion.” Holding his wifes face tight in his hand, “Do you understand my contempt for Aussie?”

The voice in the room was Meta’s voice speaking, “What is going on in here? Daniel, take your hand off of Michelle’s face. I’m normally not a busybody but I have heard quite enough tonight. You both should be ashamed. This is a dinner in celebration of your children’s Christening and you are choosing to fight over water that has spilled over the dam. Michelle, you are asking Danny to do what he isn’t able to do yet in his heart. Danny, you are asking Michelle to choose you constantly over her friendship with Aussie. Aussie was right to have other plans for dinner even though it is highly irregular. You have guest waiting to see the entire family together not in shifts. I suggest that you attend to that matter.”

At the door, Gabby and Bethany crawled into their nursery to hunt for their parents. “I see Bethany and Gabriel have found their parents and want attention. And Danny, I do not ever want to see you manhandling Michelle again.”

Squatting down to their eye level, “Everything I do, I do for Gabby, Bethany and you.”

Resting her body against the door of the closet waiting to regain her public composure, “Danny, I believe you think you are always right. This is where our worlds collide and clash but it doesn’t have to be a struggle of Bauer power against Santos power. This is how I see my world today; I go to the hospital and play doctor and in our home, Carmen and you make all the major decisions with our children. I find out after when you are ready for Michelle to know even down to buying my clothes. The suit is gorgeous but white would have been the last color that I would have chosen.”

“The designer suggested the color scheme with me dressed in black turtle neck and suit and you in a white sweater and suit. Honey, you have been hunting for a fight since your talk with Aussie at the church. We have had two fights and it is interesting that Aussie has been the root of both. Michelle, what message are you sending me?”

“Danny, I don’t have any message. All I want is for you to treat her as a human being. She isn’t exactly crazy about you either.” Swallowing hard, “I admit that I did get pissed off at the church but I wasn’t hunting for a fight.”

Handing Gabby to Michelle, “Michelle, Carmen and Meta both picked up on your vibes. It was your Aunt Meta that had the nerve to approach you. I rest my case.”

Leaning to kiss Michelle’s forehead, “I don’t know how many times do I have to tell you that I’m sorry.” Checking his watch, “It is time to give Gabby and Bethany Joy solid food before they go to bed. Do you want to breast feed them before or after they eat?”

“After.”

In the kitchen, Danny pulled the highchairs to the counter while Michelle pulled the frozen packages of vegetables from the freezer. Most of the attention went to the guest watching the twins eat and their ability to handle the water in their cups. Alternating between the pureed vegetables and applesauce, Danny shoved the food in their tiny mouths as fast as they opened their mouths. In between the pauses, Bethany and Gabby held the spill proof cups up their mouths for sips of water. With their small plates empty, Danny gave them their spoons to play with and watched how they mimicked eating.

Ed picked up a silver fork and hit the tongs on a crystal glass. “I hate to interrupt my grandchildren’s show but many of you here know that Gabby and Bethany will celebrate their first birthday a week from tomorrow. Danny and Michelle will be in Puerto Rico on their birthday, which makes it impossible to share the special day with Bethany Joy and Gabby. Aunt Meta has made a birthday cake for Gabby and Bethany to share with everyone here tonight.”

Meta and Abbey carried the cakes with a lighted single candle toward the two highchairs. “Everyone with cameras and video equipment get ready! This is a moment to save on film. The cake is chocolate and the icing is a seven minute frosting, which is perfect to make a mess on their faces.”

“Oh Dad and Aunt Meta, I love the cakes and I bet Gabby and Bethany will like the frosting and cake. I don’t think they have ever had cake before tonight.” All joined in singing Happy Birthday to Gabby and then repeated the chorus for Bethany. Michelle made a wish for Bethany and blew out her candle and then Gabby’s candle. Slicing thin servings of the devil food cake, Meta placed the cake on the tray of the highchairs. The tiny fingers touched the new texture of the cake and frosting. With small segments of the cake and frosting in between her thumb and fingers, Bethany tasted the sweet delicacy. Gabby’s two hands mashed the cake into mush before tasting the cake and rubbing his frosted covered hands in his hair.

Laughing at the mess and the chocolate covered faces, Danny and Michelle watched with a lighter weighted spirit and mind. The children had done what had seemed impossible; they had cleared the air of the anger and hurting words. They were back on track with what meant the most to both parents.

The music playing in the background was from a Kenny Rogers CD The Gift. Michelle hummed along with the tunes while wrapping the books that she had carefully selected at the Corner Bookstore. Pressing the edge of the paper down with her fingers, the memories came rushing fast from the past. The special books had always been included in her Christmas gifts from Ed and Maureen. The book covers were removed when Maureen and Michelle curled up in front of the fireplace on a snowy afternoon with hot chocolate and the famous soft sugar cookies. Maureen read the magical words to Michelle and they traveled to distant real and make believe countries.

Today had been nearly perfect in an imperfect world. The empty space in her torn heart reserved for Maureen was slowly healing. The gifts of the cookies from Aunt Meta gave Michelle’s new family a piece of the Maureen history.
Danny sat the glass of red wine down on the counter in front of Michelle. “A penny for what you are thinking.”

Wrinkling her nose at Danny, “How do you know that I was in the process of thinking?”

“You have a distant look in your eyes.”

Letting the past slip back into the past, “I was with Maureen in front of the fireplace with a book. Danny, do you think that I went overboard and bought too may books for Gabby and Bethany Joy?”

Tightening his hold on her body,” You tell me how many books do you have to have to have too many books? The way, which you read to Gabby and Bethany, I would have to say the stack of books will take care of next month.”

Snuggling closer to the area behind Michelle’s ear where Danny hinted his true intentions. “If I was Santa, I would throw all the books in one big box. This year, Gabby and Bethany aren’t going to be counting presents. You can see how I handled the wrapping. I didnt wrap anything at all.”

“Danny, I think Santa purchased the right amount of toys for Gabby and BJ. You bought the action toys and I took care of the intellectual side.”

“Honey, where did you get the idea of the pull sleds with runners and wheels?”

“I saw a young father in the park pulling his son. The two Good Humor trucks were added at the last minute. I saw them at Toys R Us. I wanted to give the twins their first riding wheel toy. They can push the truck with their feet until they learn to peddle with their feet. The storage portion of the truck has make believe ice cream and I bet in the future we might find other toys stored in there. When I was young, Mick and I use to get money from Maria to buy ice cream from the Good Humor man.” Biting the edge of Michelle’s ear, “It is a wonder how we got all the aspects of Santa covered.”

“Michelle, I probably need to give you a heads up alert with Carmen’s gift to Gabby and Bethany Joy. I saw the gift being delivered last week.”

Smiling one of her OK what has the master manipulator done this time looks? “Are you ready to think big?”

“How big?”

“Carmen bought a miniature carousel. You know one of the ones that you see outside of a K-Mart or grocery store where you drop quarters in a box and ride two or three minutes.”

Turning her head to meet Danny’s dark eyes, “You have got to be kidding! Carmen is never going to sit and drop money in a machine.”

“Michelle, you do know Carmen better than I thought. Carmen had it jerry-rigged and the carousel is now Push Button operational.”

“And what is Carmen giving our children for their first birthday? Live ponies with a cart!”

“No, my mother was actually sensible with her birthday gift. An outdoor gym and swing set, which she is having installed in her backyard.”

With the last gift resting in front of her, Michelle held the bright red paper with Santas down on the box for Danny to apply the scotch tape. Pulling a large section of tape from the dispenser, Danny intentionally taped Michelle’s hand with the gift. “I couldn’t resist being a naughty Santa’s helper.”

“Interesting, I have a naughty surprise myself from Santa.”

The cry of mommy from the baby monitor moved Michelle quickly in the direction of the nursery. “It is Bethany Joy calling me. I wonder what is wrong?”

Inside the nursery, Michelle checked her daughter and found her soundly sleeping. Tracing her fingers on Bethany’s hair, Michelle waited to see if the toddler opened her eyes or if there was any indication that Bethany wasn’t feeling well. The monitors were working quietly while the toddlers traveled with the Sandman to sleepy time land.
Satisfied that all was well in the nursery, Michelle turned up the volume on the hand unit of the monitor and returned to the living room where the roaring fire burned perfect in the last minutes of the Christmas Eve.

“Was Bethany awake?”

“No, she and Gabby were sound asleep. It must be a new stage in their growth and development. Dreaming.”

“Bethany did eat a lot of the cake tonight and I’m wondering if the chocolate has affected her. Come sit with me in front of the fire before it burns down for the night.”

Lying on the floor with her feet resting on Danny’s lap, Michelle continued to ponder the mystery call from Bethany. “Danny, it did sound like Bethany and Gabby put most of his cake in his hair.”

“Honey, that is why we have the monitor and it hasn’t failed us yet.”

Danny began to massage Michelle’s feet. “How long have you been wearing the 3 in. heels?”

“Oh, I didn’t take the time to change but my feet are tired and I’m ready for bed myself. Have you ever wondered why the fire glows the best right before you have to go to bed?”

“I haven’t a clue but it is essential to be in the right place at the right time to see the burning logs. Also having good dry maple wood.”

“Danny, I am going to get dressed for bed. Our growing toddlers will be up in less than five hours and we have a busy morning to still face with the Santos family coming for breakfast.”

From behind his back, Danny pulled out an oblong box with a big red bow tied to keep the valuable gift secure until it found its home in Michelle’s jewelry box. “Then, this is the best time to give you my Christmas present.”

“You have got to stop buying me expensive jewelry but I do love the thought of you caring for me to buy them for me.”

The red ribbon fell to the floor when Michelle saw the blue sapphires and green emerald in a heart shaped setting on a gold band bracelet. “Hubby, you never cease to amaze me but my present is one of a more practical sense. I hope that you won’t be disappointed. Do you remember that next semester, I am studying alternative medicine. The use of body massages is highly recommended and I signed you up for free body massages.”

Smiling at the news, Danny winked at Michelle. “Are you going to be my masseur?”

“Certainly, I’m not crazy to allow another woman to touch the gorgeous parts that only my eyes get to enjoy.”

“I might have to classify this Christmas as my best. Actually, I’m ready for bed also.”

Kissing her husband’s wet lips, “I have another present but I have to go get dressed for bed.”

“Michelle, I get your drift. We are moving the action from here to the bedroom.”

“Maybe but Santa’s elf has to take care of business.”

After brushing his teeth, Danny waited in bed underneath the white down comforter for the young woman that increased his heart beat whenever he saw her. Michelle reappeared wearing a new short red robe, which had been tied especially tight. Michelle smiled the sexy smile to Danny. “I’m embarrassed that I thought and even bought this present for you.”

“Oh Michelle, I think we are far from being embarrassed with one another.”

Promise me that you want ever tell anyone that straight Michelle Bauer did this for you.”

Patting the bed with his left hand. “Let me see what you are hiding under the robe.”

Michelle untied the robe and watched Danny’s dark eyes grow larger. “Yea baby, this stays in the family. Where did you buy the red bra and throng?”

“It was a special at Victoria’s Secrets in the downtown mall. I thought you might enjoy seeing what Santa’s reindeer are giving Santa for Christmas. Michelle crawled in the bed beside her nude husband with the red lace bra and tiny reindeer with small buckets on each nipple with the sign Food for Santa. Embroidered on her red throng was the simple message Santa’s toys.”

Smiling with total glee, “Mrs. Santos, you have been bad and a very naughty tonight.”

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 3

August 23, 2017

Republisher’s Note: This is a sequel to Mob’s Cardinal, but takes the form of dropping in scene and stories that fit within the original stories.

Author’s Note: The fun part of adding the more detailed story of the Santos Clan has to be giving time to the characters, which the TV writers didn’t adequately cover. I have taken creative liberties with the characters, which I hope have made them more fun to read. I love all the comments. This chapter is long but what is new! I worked on it before Christmas but I didn’t have the time to get it up before the big day. My son arrived and it became time to play. The next chapter deals with the rest of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Santos home with the twins.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 3

Danny held the baby-drinking cup up to Gabby’s lips and watched his son struggling with the sips of milk. “Gabby, you can do this for your Mommy. Mommy will be proud of her big boy and you don’t want your sister to get all the glory. Bethany Joy hasn’t had a bottle in three days. This is much easier than sucking the rubber nipples.” The small hands reached up to grab the cup at his lips. Sitting on his father’s lap, Gabby’s legs were kicking in excitement of getting to taste the breast milk.

Danny smiled at his six-month-old son, “This is more fun than going over to the Childcare Center, isn’t it? You can stay home with me and we can play together with Bethany. Your Mommy is one busy lady and this helps with her schedule at the hospital.” Near his legs, Bethany Joy sat in the baby swing listening to her father’s voice. Clapping her hands when hearing her name, Bethany reached out her arms to her father. “Olga, can you hold Bethany Joy? She wants some attention until I finish with Gabby and his training cup.”

“Senor Danny, you are so patient with the babies. You are Mommy and Daddy to them.”

“Olga, you deserve an award yourself. Michelle and I are very appreciative for all that you do for all of us. We have come along way haven’t we since the last of January.”

Nodding her head and speaking more words of praise to her boss, “Senora Michelle misses out on a lot but when she is home; she spoils them more than we do in the daytime.”

Danny asked, “Is that why they have never slept through the night?”

“See, Michelle is determined to spend her time here with them when they are awake. They have adjusted to her schedule. Senor, their little faces light up when they see Michelle.”

“True, Olga.”

The noise from the porch was heard before Danny saw Meta Bauer. “Who’s there?”

“Just me, Danny I was in the neighborhood and had a few minutes. Hope I’m not interrupting you I haven’t been here as often as I would like with Abbey giving birth to Rick’s son. I’m busier than ever and loving every minute. How is Gabriel and Bethany today?” Reaching her arms to take Bethany from Olga, “They are constantly changing Michelle stopped by to see little Freddie yesterday and she said the babies have caught up with their growth charts.”

Smiling at the news, Danny raised both hands. “It is true and in the waiting room at the pediatricians office, Gabby and Bethany Joy are two of the most popular babies there. The way that they interact with each other has been noticed.”

“In other words Danny, they are Santoses genius already!”

“Meta, your niece has them learning the alphabet and counting their toes.”

Pausing for a moment and wiping a tear from her eye, “When I heard that Michelle was pregnant last summer, I want you to know that I cried and they were not tears of joy. Now I’m crying tears because her mother would have given anything to see these two bundles of joy. I never doubted what type of Mother Michelle would be because Maureen was the perfect example to copy. Now can I take Gabby and Bethany Joy out in their carriage for a ride in the backyard? They chatter in their own language at the trees, the bushes, the lake and the squirrels. The last time when I was here, Father Ray took Gabby and Bethany Joy to the birdfeeders where they watched the birds flying and landing at the feeders to eat.” Pointing her finger at each twin, “They do not miss a thing.”

“Oh Aunt Meta, you are sweet. I’ve noticed that they like being outside and the fresh air is good for them. I’ll get the stroller out of the closet.” Opening the closet door in the hallway, Danny pulled and unfolded the double stroller with one hand. “OK Gabby, you and your sister are going for a ride outside in the yard.” Next he placed Bethany in the space next to Gabby. “Aunt Meta, I’ll carry the stroller outside for you. This will give me time to catch up on some business from the office.”

“Michelle did mention that you had moved your office back home and took the twins out of the childcare center.”

Winking at Meta, “I did it to keep Gabby and Bethany out of the germ infected place.”

At the bottom of the steps, Danny watched Meta pushing the twins in the yard and stopping to pause at the rose bushes to smell the fragrance of the blooming buds. Running back up the steps, Danny immediately was on the phone to Carmen. “Hey Carmen, I got a call from Dr. Heidi Rasmussen, she got the last Pollack painting yesterday. This was easier than what I thought it would be. With Dr. Rasmussen keeping her maiden name, she hides her connection to La Familia……. Carmen, we have to be double sure that Dr. Rasmussen’s secret is kept between you and me. We need her for the remaining two years of Michelle’s medical school then she can go back to New York City.”

“Daniel, I told you that Heidi was worth the Pollack painting. The painting was one of Pollacks worst creations and must have been done when he was drunk as a bat. It was easy to pick up on the black market but it had what she wanted. It was signed and now she owns an original Pollack. Heidi got what she wanted and our family got what we needed; we have complete control of Michelle’s career here in Springfield.”

“Now how are my sweet babies doing this morning? Great, Meta is here and is giving them a buggy ride outside. I’m leaving for the downtown office. I have some business with a lawyer from Philadelphia. He has flown into town with some new contracts, which I have to sign. I’ll be back home in less than two hours. Let’s have a late lunch together at the house to celebrate. Michelle and I want eat dinner till late tonight and I’ve pushed my lunch back later in the day to compensate.”

Six hours later, Michelle raced up the porch steps entering the house that she called home. Sitting in their high chairs were the faces that she greeted first before planting a short kiss on Danny’s lips. “I know I’m late but I got caught up in a rather promising case at the hospital and the time passed quickly before I realized how late I was leaving.”

Raising his eyebrows to indicate his understanding, “I figured as much and we went ahead with our back up plan. Gabby and Bethany are almost finished dinner but they are ready for the final course and desert. Are you going to breast feed them on our bed or sofa?”

Michelle unstrapped Bethany first from the highchair while answering Danny. “Our bed is the site tonight. I’m going to feed them both using the u shaped nursing pillow. That way I can put up my feet and rest while spending time with my sweeties.” Bethany smiled when she heard the familiar voice of her Mom and started licking her tongue in the area next to Michelle’s bosom. Michelle lifted the edge of her short sleeve pink sweater and unsnapped the nursing bra where Bethany latched on to her nipple. Danny lowered Gabby down to the other side of the pillow and Gabby was soon receiving his favorite source of nourishment.

Danny knelled beside the edge of the bed and watched the three people that he loved the most. “Michelle, you amaze me more everyday. I should never have doubted that you might master the double feeding feat. This is one time when it is worth seeing to appreciate your talents. I’m going to pour a glass of Sangria for myself and a glass of caffeine free mint tea for you. Dinner is in the warming oven and after you have given the babies their baths and read to them, we can eat out on the porch.

Nodding her head in agreement, “I won’t be long honey.”

An hour and half latter, Michelle appeared in a two piece turquoise bathing suit with a large white scarf wrapped over her hips beside the swimming pool where Danny sat with his tanned legs dangling in the water.

“Did you give up on me?”

Patting the cement with his hand, “Sit with me here for a minute. No, but I wondered if you had started reading a new classic to Bethany and Gabby!”

Kneeling on her knees, Michelle reached out to hug Danny’s head next to her face. Swaying for a moment, “Only if you think The Three Little Bears is a classic. Gabby and Bethany Joy pat the pages and rub their fingers over the brown plush material and I admit to reading the story twice to them. Finally, I laid them down in the pirate bed and they fell asleep without a fuss.”

“Michelle, I want to remind you that the family vacation starts in two weeks and we will celebrate our first anniversary in Puerto Rico.”

“I can’t believe it is a year. I started my third year in medical school and have many responsibilities. I haven’t asked for the time off yet. I missed so much time last fall with the pregnancy that I don’t feel comfortable asking for a vacation. To tell you the truth, I haven’t even looked at my schedule past next week. At this moment, I am more interested in food; I missed lunch today.”

Leaning into Michelle’s face closer, Danny kissed two feather- like kisses on Michelle’s forehead. “Dinner is ready We have Olga’s Spaghetti sauce with noodles tonight, Caesar salad and homemade French bread.”

Lifting his legs out of the pool water, Danny stood up and pulled Michelle to her feet before pretending to loose his balance. The two fell in the pool with a big splash of water hitting the pool deck. Resurfacing to the edge of the pool, Danny encircled his arms around Michelle’s upper body. “I want us to be in San Juan in two weeks. All work and no play make a dull marriage. We deserve a break. We need time to be alone and have some fun. I want to give you nights of making love all night long. Gabby and Bethany have finally gotten to the stage where they can be easily cared for by others and we can go off by ourselves for a romantic rendezvous. We can take the jet and fly to Majorca for a long weekend. Stay in bed for as long as we want and make love without waiting to hear a crying noise in the background. What do you say?”

“Danny, it sounds wonderful and I promise to check my schedule soon.”

“Michelle, soon isn’t good enough, I want you to do it tomorrow.” Ending his words with a kiss where his tongue touched the wetness of Michelle’s tongue. “We can hurry and eat then spend the rest of the evening in the pool or in bed.”

Looking at the nursery monitor, “You are being pretty positive that Gabby and Bethany are going to sleep through the night.”

Danny lit the candles while Michelle gathered the food from the warming oven. Carrying the tray with two bowls of Spaghetti and the Caesar Salad, Michelle sat the tray on the wicker cart near the table. “It is so nice to hear the sound of quietness here at home. I never imagined being able to identify the sound.”

Clicking his glass of Sangria with Michelle’s tea glass, “To quietness May the Sleep Fairy sprinkle Gabby and Bethany Joy with a hefty dose tonight.”

Twirling her fork with the noodles, Michelle lifted her fork to Danny’s mouth. “Thank you for giving me the twins. My world certainly hasn’t been boring since I met you.” Looking out at the lake from her chair, “I haven’t tried to swim across the lake anytime recently.”

Throwing his head back slightly, “What made you think of that night?”

“Oh I don’t know, I think from the moment when I saw you waiting for my appearance outside the bedroom door; I knew to the depths that you would go to keep me in your world. I resented you very much then but I am beginning to understand your world. All of this abundance comes with a price. I haven’t forgotten your position in La Familia.”

“Why are we having this conversation, Michelle?”

“Tonight when I was bathing the babies, I noticed new clothes for Gabby and Bethany Joy. Do you realize that I have never shopped for my own children? Everything is done by Carmen and Abuell. This Saturday, I am going to Kids R Us and shop to my heart’s content.”

Taking Michelle’s hand in his hands, “My mother and grandmother saw what Gabby and Bethany required when you hardly had the time to check their dressers. Their clothes are washed frequently and they have out grown their 6 months size a long time ago. Michelle, do you even know what size they wear?”

“NO!”

“Baby, go shopping and spend whatever but I appreciate Carmen and Abuella taking care of the shopping for the twins; it relieves me or Mrs. Martinez from doing the task. Baby, what is really bothering you tonight?”

Choking on her words, “I almost missed feeding Gabby and Bethany tonight. I’m a horrible mother by putting my profession ahead of their care. I’m missing all the special moments with Gabby and Bethany and evidently I’m even failing on the marriage side of things.”

Wiping her tears with his napkin, “Michelle, you are far from failing. You are incredible but the human body can only accomplish so much in one day. Yes, you are going to miss special moments but there are many that you will see with your own eyes. Gabby and Bethany Joy are going to reserve the best for you.”

Danny and Michelle finished their dinner in the quietness of the summer evening. Clearing the table, Michelle carried the nursery monitor back inside to the kitchen where the music of Ricky Martin played. Danny rinsed the dishes while Michelle rechecked the nursery. Gabby slept on his back with his left hand extended out to Bethany’s right hand. Bethany had scooted close to Gabby and had fallen asleep with her knees drawn up under her body. Covering their bodies with the summer lightweight blanket, Michelle bent over and kissed both goodnight again. Feeling the presence of Danny standing behind her, “I think Bethany is trying to learn to crawl. Look how she has scooted to be near Gabby. I love to stand outside of the door before the Sandman or Sleep Fairy comes and hear then cooing and talking to each other. They make sounds that I have never heard. I don’t know if it is Spanish or a combination of Spanish and English.”

Resting his head on Michelle’s shoulder, “I bet it is a combination. They hear Spanish all day and when you get home the English classes begin. They are the combination of two nationalities and I expect them to be bi-lingual. Come on Mrs. Santos, the music of the Latino culture awaits us. Ready to dance?”

Giggling her answer, “Oh yes Mr. Santos.”

In the morning, Michelle checked her E-mail and quickly viewed what she determined important. The one from Dr. Rasmussen’s office caught her attention. Opening the e-mail, the note from her superior was short. Please stop by my office ASAP. Sighing at the thought of the pending interruption in her schedule for the day, Michelle walked the long hallway to the administration offices. Knocking on Dr. Rasmussen’s open door, Michelle entered after the doctor raised her head acknowledging her knock.

“Good morning Dr. Bauer-Santos. You must have got my message right after I posted it on the Internet. I’ve been wondering how we are going to resolve your leave of absences last year. You exceeded expectations with your class work but the hours of practice falls short. It has been brought to my attention that you volunteer at a church mission downtown and practice your medical skills. After the review of this good news, I am pleased to inform you that the Board of the Medical School has seen to credit those hours to your second year of medical school. You, Dr. Santos, are up to date and on schedule with the rest of your classmates. Matter of fact, the clinic has identified your medical talents as being exceptional in the field of Pediatrics. Have you given much thought of considering the field of pediatrics as a specialty?”

Smiling with the gift of the good news of her standing at the medical school, “Honestly the answer is no; I am interested in research and helping my father find a cure for AIDS. I will give your suggestion some consideration.”
Swallowing before asking the question, which she dreaded. “I know this is highly inappropriate, but I was wondering if I could request one week of vacation in July; I promise to continue working in the clinic to make up for the time away from the hospital.”

“Dr. Santos, I believe all the doctors get a month of leave during the year and you just have to submit the request for vacation. I suggest you check your schedule for July and then put in the request.”

“Thank you Dr. Rasmussen, I will do that and get my request signed today.”

“Good day, doctor.” Waiting for Michelle to leave her office, Dr. Heidi Rasmussen turned her chair around to admire her new painting on her wall. Pulling the cell phone from her white lab coat, she dialed Carmen Santos’s number. “The task is complete and I had the complete support of the entire Medical School. The Pollack painting is worth being in this backward city for two more years. The ground work has been laid for Michelle to continue her studies in Philadelphia; if she chooses to pursue additional studies. This is an easy assignment. My ex- husband sends his respect to the Santos matria.” And in the house on High Ridge Road, Carmen laid the headpiece of her telephone in the cradle. Silently saying to herself, “Give my regards to Miguel’s distant cousin.”

Michelle walked in the hospital cafeteria to grab a large cup of coffee. This was one item, which she still allowed herself to enjoy. Sipping the hot beverage, Michelle chose hot oatmeal with cinnamon toast for breakfast. The day was already looking better. Seeing her favorite table was empty, Michelle carried her small tray to the table. Her thoughts returned to last night and Danny’s suggestion of celebrating their first anniversary in Majorca. Last night, the trip seemed impossible but at this moment it was possible.

Rechecking her watch, Michelle called the lake house number.

“Santos residence.”

“Olga, can I speak to Danny?”

“Senora Michelle, Danny isn’t home. He is having breakfast at Carmen’s house this morning.”

“How are the twins?”

“They are with their father.”

“I guess they are having breakfast with Carmen and Maria also.”

“Oh Michelle, they always go on Wednesday to Carmen’s house.”

“Thanks Olga, I’ll call Danny on his cell phone.”

Dialing the speed dial number, Michelle sat in astonishment. Danny hadn’t shared this part of his schedule with her. She waited for the usual three rings before expecting to hear her husband’s voice.

“Santos.”

“Danny, I called home to give you some exciting news. I spoke with Dr. Rasmussen this morning and because of my volunteering at the clinic; I have received credit and am now an official third year medical student. This is the best news, it looks like we can have the first anniversary in Majorca if you are still interested. I haven’t checked my schedule but I think I can get at least a week off in July.”

“Baby, the news is the greatest! Do you want to say hello to Bethany Joy and Gabby? We are having breakfast with both Grannies.”

“Danny, I didn’t know that you did this with the twins.”

“We started doing this months ago. I used to have breakfast with Carmen and Abuella every Wednesday before I got married to a sexy doc.”

Holding the phone to their ears, Danny heard Michelle’s voice speaking to the babies. He watched the twins reaction to her voice. “Hey Michelle, I wish you could see their response. Carmen is recording Gabby and Bethany listening to the phone. You will love it.”

“Danny, I have to go, I wanted you to hear the good news. Bye sweetie.”

Closing the cell phone shut, “Michelle called to tell me about her good news. Heidi Rasmussen used your information with the clinic to our advantage.” Clicking their cups of coffee together, “Salute.”

Throwing her thick head of hair back against the dining room chair, “Daniel, I was very careful this time. The trail back to Dr. Rasmussen is impossible to trace. The doctor was once married to your father’s distant cousin. Being the professional woman that she is, Heidi Rasmussen never changed her name. There isn’t a name trail. I hit a homerun with this one Daniel, I think I did OK.”

Warning his mother again, “Be careful.”

Refocusing her attention to her two grandchildren, Carmen placed the spoon of baby cereal in Gabby’s mouth, “Sweet Gabby, you are just like your father when he was your age and Bethany, you look like Michelle but you are a Santos to the core. Danny, you are free to leave anytime. Maria and I are going to enjoy the rest of our day with Gabby and Bethany Joy. We have lots of family pictures to look at in the albums and Maria will tell the stories of the Santoses coming to settle in San Juan. Maria bought a new pirate book yesterday with lots of pull out pictures.”

Kissing Carmen on the cheek, “Mam, I trust you are telling only the colorful side of the Santos history.”

“My goodness, it is only the Santos heritage that your children are hearing. Get out of the house, I want to enjoy my grandchildren.”

“Dr. Bauer-Santos can I join you?”

Glancing up to the voice that she recognized, “Dr. Forest Richards I thought you had left Springfield.”

“I’m here to finish the last of my senior residence duties. Tying up unfinished business.”

“I can’t wait till the day comes and I can say those words.”

“Michelle, the time will go faster than you think!”

“My children will be two and a half when I graduate.”

“Michelle, are you still having doubts?”

“I have my moments. Last night wasn’t a good night and Danny was peeved.”

“Michelle, remember I told you that only other doctors that have been in the trenches understand what we give up to become a doctor. I take it that Mr. Bauer-Santos isn’t getting enough action in the bed.”

Michelle’s face turned crimson red. “You hit the hammer on the head of the nail. Truthfully, I give most of my attention to Gabby and Bethany when I am home. By the time I fall in bed, I’m asleep and they still wake up at least once during the night. In the morning, I don’t have the time to have sex before I leave home. Forest, what am I going to do without having you listen to my whoes?”

Pulling his new business card out of his jacket, “This is where I can be reached.”

“You are starting your practice in Seattle, Washington!”

“Yeah The Northwest is a good place to raise children. Oh, I almost forgot. Aussie Spencer sent a letter on my e-mail for you. This will brighten your day. The medical school is allowing me the professional courtesy of keeping my e-mail address here for one year. This is my password and user name; you can continue to communicate with Aussie without your husband ever discovering our secret. My goodbye present to you. I’ll see you before I leave but I know you have to get going for morning rounds.”

Quickly reading the letter from her friend Aussie, Michelle patted her male friend on the top of his hand. “Thank you, I wouldn’t have made it this far if you hadn’t covered for me so many times.”

Dear Michelle,
The pictures of Gabriel and Bethany Joy are so cute. They have grown since the last ones that you sent via the good old scanner. Bethany Joy is the spitting image of you and the olive skin tone shows the Santos blood runs in her veins. Gabriel sounds like a handful and very spoiled. A characteristic, which he inherited from your husband to say the least, because there is no way that a child with Bauer genes, would refuse to drink from a bottle. All Bauers love to eat.
Chelle, I like the medical school here in Australia and what Danny meant as a punishment has benefited me. It will look good on my resume. I do plan on returning to the USA in two years whether Mr. Santos likes it or not. He will surely be over his rage by then; don’t you think? He has the twins and you but we still have our friendship, which he can’t take away.
I talked with Caitlin last week. She says that you are still leading the class. The Bauer power still reigns. I’m tired most of the time myself and there is a hot senior resident here in surgery that keeps my heart pumping. We have had a couple dates but both of us are too busy to get serious. It still amazes me how you managed to find the time to meet Danny, get pregnant, have two weddings and give birth to my godchildren. By the way, when are you going to have the official baptism service? Have you told Danny that his arch enemy was granted this honor?
I miss seeing your happy smile and hearing your contagious giggle but I know others are enjoying your features. We have two more years of this terror from hell. I have to say that being in Medical School isn’t what I would encourage anyone in their right mind to pursue. We must have been crazy to commit to this torture!
Please hug and kiss my godchildren. I have their pictures in my locker at the hospital along side the picture of their mother and yours truly.
Friends Forever,
Aussie

Michelle kissed the letter and placed it inside of her white lab coat. Yes, we are friends forever.

Saturday morning came finally and Michelle was up preparing breakfast for Danny and herself. In one arm, she carried Gabby at her side. He was being extremely fussy and biting the cold teething ring. Michelle had rubbed his red and swollen gums with the topical medication. Gabby’s nose was running and the low grade temperature showed why he was being more demanding than usual. Gabby dropped the teething ring from his mouth and moved his head down to the area where he usually nursed. “Oh Gabby, you will have to wait. Your Daddy and I are hungry.”

From the baby monitor came the cooing noise of Bethany. Michelle lifted her eyes toward the ceiling. God, please give me patience. The knock at the door and the sight of her father and Aunt Meta gave Michelle the assurance of God sending angels to help her. “I’m so glad to see both of you. I can’t seem to calm Gabby down and Bethany is awake now.”

Aunt Meta saw the confusion on Michelle’s face, “Michelle, I’ll get Bethany Joy and Ed can check Gabby. By the way, where is Danny?”

Michelle pointed in the direction of the bedroom, I heard the water from the shower running a few minutes ago; he must be getting dressed.

Ed gently lifted his grandson from Michelle’s arms. “Gabby, will you allow your Grandpa to look in your mouth and see what all this fuss is about today?” Pulling a tongue blade from his coat pocket, he pried Gabby’s mouth open. “I see the problem; Gabby is cutting two bottom teeth. See and one has barely broken the skin surface.” Leaning the baby’s head down to Michelle level, “Can you see the tiny white tooth? Gabby, you win the prize because you beat your sister.”

“What’s going on here? What happened?” Danny stood in the room dressed only in his white boxer shorts.

“Danny, I panicked and called my father a few minutes ago. Gabby was acting strange and I wanted some reassurance. Aunt Meta and Dad came immediately.”

“Is Gabby OK?”

“Yes Danny, his first tooth finally broke the skin surface. Gabby is displaying the symptoms of having a good case of teething. After the first ones are in, you have a better sense of what is going to happen. The Tempra will relieve the low grade fever.”

Gabby reached his arms out for Danny. “Hey little guy! You are lucky to have a Grandfather that is a doctor. Thanks Ed for coming. Why don’t you stay for breakfast?”

“No Danny, Meta and I had breakfast earlier but a hot cup of coffee sounds nice. Meta was going shopping with Michelle this morning anyway. Ladies, is the shopping trip still on?”

Meta waited for Michelle’s reaction. “Aunt Meta, I’ve decided to cancel the trip to Kids R Us. I can go another day. I want to spend the time with Gabby and Bethany; Bethany can’t be far from experiencing the pain.”

An hour later, Meta and Ed were on their way back home. In the Santos house, Michelle had showered, dressed and was resting in her husband’s arms with Gabby and Bethany down in the crib for their morning nap.

“Do we dare think of the Majorca trip?”

Danny thought the consequences of the question over in his mind. “It isn’t fair to Bethany or Gabby. We can go another time or year but the time isn’t right. We can have fun in San Juan and slip away for day trips to have our own sexy rendezvous. Truthfully, I hadn’t considered the twins getting sick. The time is vacation for Carmen and Abuella and I do not want to rain on their parade. They both grew up on the island and they visit old friends. I want them to have the freedom to go and come as they please. Are you disappointed Michelle?”

“Never with you, Danny.”

The jet wheels burned the rubber of the tarmac as it landed in San Juan. At the gate, the tanned skin men waited for their boss and his family to arrive. Danny had increased the security detail with the growth of his family. Everyone knew the rules; the men were to be available and discreet. Low profile at all times especially when Michelle was out with the children. Inside the house, the maid and cook doubled as part of the security. Even in Puerto Rico, the South American wildcard gangsters werent above kidnapping. Danny wanted the word out on the street to be as truthfully as possible. His compound was guarded with the best men in the business. Jimmy still managed the security but his cousin had the responsibility for the Santos villa.

Jimmy emerged first from the plane. Raising his hand, the two black limousines pulled up to the bottom steps of the jet. Danny carried one twin down with a blanket over his head and Michelle came down the steps following the same procedure. The babies’ faces had been hid from the general public. The darkened windows hid their faces inside the car. Outside the gate, the head security car pulled ahead of the two cars and two other cars joined in the convoy behind the black limousines. Michelle had recently been told of Danny’s fear of the twins being kidnapped after the failed kidnapping of their famous music friend. This time Michelle had accepted the hardcore fact that her children were worth millions to those outside of the family.

With everyone settled in the villa, Gabby and Bethany Joy crawled on the marble and tile floors to search out their new surroundings. The fascination of steps occupied their time with Maria and Carmen chasing down the two speedy crawlers. One would move to a different area in the villa and the other twin followed. Any object coming within their grasp was examined and immediately went in the direction of the mouth. Their new favorite toy became their great grandmothers knitting bag where the unraveling balls of different colored yarns magically moved away from their small hands. Their double activity was a challenge to the caretakers and the placement of the twins in the playpen brought out the tears and sad faces. New toys were summoned to take on the challenge of providing a diversion to the limited space in the playpen until their babbles called for Mommy or Daddy.

Outside on the terraced garden, the swimming pool became the playground for Danny and Michelle. They swam in the pool and lounged on the plastic white recliners. Two days passed and Danny’s body was taking on the appearance of a rested man. On day three, Danny watched Michelle swimming in the pool and the twins sleeping under the blue awning. Danny walked over to the portable crib where the two babies dressed in only a diaper slept with their thumbs in their mouths. Michelle’s hand inched up Danny’s back.

“Would you think that I was crazy if I told you that I want to have another baby soon?”

Reaching for her hand on his back, “Crazy isn’t the exact choice of words that I would choose. It isn’t going to happen this year but maybe next year.”

Pressing her body closer to Danny’s chest, “I loved all the attention that I got from you when I was pregnant.”

“Baby, you are lying through your teeth. You were sick! You are not going to have another baby this year. We have two reasons in front of us.”

Tracing her finger down his chest to his belly button, “When next year?”

“Michelle, I don’t know when next year.” Lifting her up in his arms, “But we can practice the act over and over until we make another perfect baby. Speaking of perfection, Ray asked if we wanted to have the twins official baptized here at the church where we were married.”

Breaking suddenly away from Danny. “No never, I considered the baptism at the hospital to be official. If Father Ray wants to do another baptism, it will be done in Springfield where my family and friends can attend.”

Scooping up Michelle in his arms, “I love your feisty attitude. Choose the date and I will tell Ray.”

Out of the blue, the date of December 24 was flashed in her mind. “The date may be problematic but Christmas Eve at the children’s 5pm service at Father Ray’s church is my choice.”

Snuggling in the space between Michelle’s neck and shoulder, “The date is December 24 and I don’t want to hear later on how I pushed this upon you.”

“Have you any ideas of who you would like to ask to be the Godparents?” Danny placed Bill and Pilar’s names on the possible list.

With her sexiest voice, Michelle whispered the name of Aussie Spencer in Danny’s ear. “Wrong name and choice Michelle, you are going to have to come up with another friend!”

“If you have to know in my heart, Aussie Spencer is the twins’s Godmother and I’m not changing my mind.”

Smacking Michelle’s butt for added attention, “We have 5 months to agree to disagree. Aussie will never be welcomed by me to a family event.”

“I didn’t say that you had to welcome her but you can learn to be civil and lay down the hatchet for a evening.”

“After a year Michelle, you still don’t get it. The possibility of me loosing you was there and Aussie Spencer was attempting to get you far from me.”

The five months went fast and each month, Michelle hassled Danny with the Godmother decision. By early fall, Michelle detected a slight softening with Danny’s latest rendition of his refusal to her request. At Thanksgiving, Michelle dropped the news that Aussie was visiting Caitlin at Christmas and the church was a perfect neutral place for Danny and Aussie to meet. The maximum amount of time that the two would encounter each other was two hours. A week later, Michelle heard the words of compliance from Danny. Aussie Spencer was being accepted as the Godmother only because none of the Santos money was paying for her travel to Springfield.

Christmas Eve morning started with the usual activity with the added new tradition of decorating a fresh cut tree from the tree farm. Danny’s day had started with getting the large tree in the stand. Ray had chosen to check in on his cousin with a live appearance and fresh baked cinnamon buns from Sister Rock’s warm oven. “Where are my favorite Godchildren?”

At one end of the dining room table, Danny sat attempting to unwind the strands of lights and checking the bulbs. Michelle moved the boxes of new Christmas decorations from the sofa to an empty space on the kitchen counter after Bethany Joy had spotted the enchanting new toys.

When Gabby heard Father Ray’s voice, he pulled his body up from the knelling position to the standing position at the sofa. Holding onto the edge of the sofa, Gabby walked to the spot occupied by his sister. He stood and stared at Bethany. His movement temporary stalled until he dropped to his knees and crawled to the other side of Bethany. Full speed ahead, Gabby got to the dark pants leg. Ray reached down to lift the littlest male Santos in the air. “Hey buddy, you want an airplane ride? Michelle, did you see how Gabby got around Bethany? He went back to his old form of transportation. Cousin, it looks like I made it here in time to be of some use this morning. Are you two up to having a family dinner here tonight?”

Pouring another mug of coffee for Ray, “How did you know that you were our back up plan? The dinner has been taken care of since it is being catered as a family gift from my Dad. Sweet Olga has the day off. The monstrosity of a tree has to be decorated. Gabby and Bethany Joy resent the playpen with a passion. Aunt Meta is tied up with preparing food for the Bauer Christmas dinner tomorrow night. Abby has last minute shopping and my old friend Bill Lewis is unavailable. That takes care of my family. Carmen and Abuella are wrapping gifts. Yes, we need a spare set of hands to either watch the troops or decorate the tree.”

Ray kissed Michelles cheek and took a sip of coffee. Next Ray bent down and picked up Bethany in his empty arm. “This is what Christmas is all about- Family. I think Christmas Eve is my favorite time of year. Spending time with those that you love. Having strangers meet your eyes on a busy street and wish other strangers Merry Christmas Last minute decorating and singing familiar carols. The tree isn’t as challenging as these two will be. I’ll baby-sit and you two can decorate. Gabby and Bethany can go with me to refill the birdfeeders.”

Danny jumped up from his seat. “The tangled lights can wait. The blanket is the laundry room that I’ve been using to keep them warm.”

Walking from the closet, Michelle held one pink snowsuit in one hand and a dark blue suit in the other hand. “Father Ray is taking you outside to see the birds in the wheel barrel.” Sitting on the sofa, Michelle lifted one of Bethany’s legs and then the other in the snowsuit. Next the mittens tied on with yarn finally covered the two hands and the hands went into the armholes with the zipping completing the task. Kissing Bethany on both cheeks, “You are cute as you can be and you look like a fat Eskimo.”

Michelle carefully placed the white fleece hat on Bethany’s hair, “I know you hate the hat but it will keep your ears warm outside.”

Across the room on the kitchen counter, Danny repeated the same steps with Gabby.

Michelle handed the bundled Bethany to Ray, “Please watch this one. She has managed recently to remove her hat by pulling her mittens off with her teeth.”

With Bethany in Father Ray’s arms, Danny followed his cousin down the steps with Gabby. Inside the shed, Ray set the blanket over the cold plastic surface. In one corner, he placed Bethany Joy and Gabby in the other corner. Danny pulled the jar of white face cream from his coat pocket and applied the cream in generous amounts on the cheeks of his children’s faces. “OK, you are set to be outside with Ray. The peanuts are for the squirrels and the sunflowers for the red cardinals.”

“Hey cuz, where did all the large bags of birdseed come from?”

“Santa made an early delivery this morning and dropped these out of his sleigh for you. A priest is very hard to buy a Christmas present for these days and your dresser has to be full of those ugly sweaters that you wear at the parish house. It was Michelle’s idea.”

“Speaking of Michelle and today, how are you with Aussie Spencer being at the church this afternoon?”

Breathing hard before answering, “Today is Christmas Eve and I’m in the Christmas spirit. I’ll stay clear of Aussie for Michelle’s sake. Aussie will be in your territory today.”

Listening to Danny, “I may be pushing the envelope but are you inviting Aussie here for the reception following the baptism?”

“Ray, I don’t have that much spirit. You are babysitting and the troops can get restless and bored quickly. Danny, you and I have got to discuss Aussie and the reception.”

Danny held the shed door open for Ray and the wheel barrel. “Ray, the subject of Aussie is between Michelle and me. I gave Michelle what she wanted. Two hours of Aussie at the christening service.”

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 1

August 22, 2017

Republisher’s Note: This is a sequel – sort of – to The Mob’s Cardinal. It isn’t a story that comes after though, it goes back and fills in scenes that take place during the original timeline.

Author’s Note: From the beginning of The Mob Cardinal, I saw God’s hand in the story and his guidance of where the story was to travel. I wanted to end the story with chapter 36 but it ended with 37. The numbers mean a lot to me, three-The Holy Trinity and seven- perfection. The Lord created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.

We are picking up the journey with Danny and Michelle at the hospital after the birth of the twins. In between here and Benjamin meeting Maggie, we can journey out of our ports of travel to explore the building relationship of all the members of the Santos family. Our ship will be a journal. There is a phrase said when sailors move out to sea, which gives the title of this story. “Fair Winds- Following Seas,” this is my wish for all of us as this journey begins.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 1

Running with a new strength from the Delivery Room to the Waiting Room, Danny’s face showed the answer that Carmen and Abuellá had waited to hear. “We have a boy and a little girl!” Carmen’s eyes showed the disappointment of hearing the words of only one boy. “I was sure the twins would be both boys.”

Mumbling some curse word in Spanish to her daughter in law, Abuellá touched the stubby growth of hair on Danny’s chin. “You look exhausted and tired. Do they look like Santoses or Bauers?”

Smirking at his grandmother’s remarks, “You Spanish women never give up do you? They look like small babies, very tiny with bald heads and wrinkled red skin. They are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and we can see them anytime. The next hours and days are critical and I’ll be spending most of my time here with my children and Michelle. You might as well learn now that Michelle is determined to breast feed the babies. Michelle with the nurses help extracted milk from Michelle’s breast with the milk pump. The milk from mothers of preemies is quite different from that of mothers of full term babies. The premies need the mother’s milk for nutritional and prevention. Please give Michelle some space to handle the breast feeding, she doesn’t want them to use a bottle until they have adjusted to sucking her nipples.”

Carmen waited for Maria to speak. Maria threw up her hands in the air, “How does she expect us to help her?”

Placing his arms over both of their shoulders, “Let us go to the preemie nursery.”

Outside the nursery door, the nurse’s aid helped the three generations get properly attired in the yellow paper gowns and mask to enter the near sterile environment. The clear glass isolette shielded the two babies dressed in the white preemie tee shirt and disposable diaper and when the twins had been dressed, the nurses had placed a pink and blue cap on the baby representing the sex of the baby.

Danny stood in between the great grandmother and grandmother. Carmen rubbed the glass of the two isolettes and asked the nurse caring for the twins, “How are they doing?”

“Pretty good so far, the male infant is bigger and stronger because he was born first but the female is a fighter. The vital signs are stable and they have been given nourishment with an eyedropper from the mother’s breast milk. They both have a sucking reflex, which is very important. If they can’t suck and swallow, we will have to put down a feeding tube until they can function on their own.”

Abuellá bent down to get a good view of the two babies. “I knitted their sweaters too big. They will be a year old before they fit their tiny bodies.”

The nurse laughed at the statement. “They will grow faster than you think and catch up. The male preemie weighed five pounds and the female, four pounds and ten ounces. Don’t be afraid to touch and hold them because they are a smaller version of what you expected. I’ll open the side ports and you can pick them up and hold each infant in your hands. You might want to rub their backs and let them hold your finger. We like to keep the preemies in the warm isolette with oxygen and room air mixed for a couple of days. The babies will gradually be weaned from the isolettes and then transferred to the big baby nursery.”

Danny asked the question, which he was most concerned, “How long will they be in here?”

“It can be weeks, you do not want to take sick babies home. The preemies require lots of attention. It depends on their weight gain and how well they continue to breathe on their own. They may go home with breathing monitors. You and the mommy are going to be very busy this year.”

“That reminds me, I have to call Michelle’s family. They will want to help and Aunt Meta has already volunteered to stay with us. We will have to set up a schedule with our family helpers.”

The two Santos women smiled with glee at the thought of being included in the baby care.

Sliding his hands through the side ports, Danny quickly placed his hand on his son’s head before lifting the baby with one hand supporting the head and the limp tiny body. In his hands, the tiny body stretched out the arms and legs. The dark eyes opened for a few moments. “Hey little guy, I’m your Dad. You must be surprised how much room there is out here.”

He laid the baby back down and moved to the next isolette. Danny smiled down on his daughter’s petite body. Magically, a finger of his hand touched her tiny hand and Danny watched the tiny fingers grasp his finger. “Hey little princess, I’m your Daddy. Your big brother is sleeping close by in another isolette.”

Carmen wiped the tears from her eyes. Hugging Danny, “They are cut from the Santos cloth. Little Danny looks exactly like you when you were born and your princess looks like Pilar.”

“Carmen, why is it that you see what you want to see? The princess is a spitting image of Michelle, the button nose, eyes and chin. I thought the twins were identically when I first saw them in the delivery room. He is longer by a couple of inches and she has tiny curls on her head.”

Abuellá waited for the right moment to insert her final thoughts. “An old woman has waited a long time to have great-grandchildren, I want the boy to have a strong name, a good Spanish name-nothing Anglo. Miguel is a good name; the boy is your father’s first grandson.”

“Michelle and I will give the name consideration. For now, Little Danny and Princess will have to do.”

Carrying an extra large cup of coffee in one hand and a dozen yellow roses, Danny’s shoulder pushed the door open in Michelle’s private room. Standing next to her bed, Danny placed the flowers and coffee on the bedside table. Pulling the chair up close to the hospital bed, he sat and watched the restful state of Michelle’s body. The redness in her cheeks had replaced the pale swollen face. Covering her thinner body was the flowered printed gown with several blankets to keep her post partum body warm. The large masses of long curls from Michelle’s head covered the pillow. Danny laid his face in her curls to smell the scent of her favorite shampoo. Back on her left hand was the wide gold wedding band. Wrapping his hand over the hand with the band, Danny lifted her hand to his lips watching for a response from his wife. The smile formed on Michelle’s lips. Whispering the word, “Danny.”

“Baby, I’m here.”

“Have you been here very long?”

“Oh” looking at his watch “about an half-hour. Abuellá and Carmen came by to see you but you were napping and I stopped them from awakening you.”

“What do they think about the babies?”

“Their usual typical Santos agendas, our son looks like me and our daughter looks like Pilar.”

Sitting up in the bed on her sore bottom, Michelle swore briefly from the pain. “If our little girl resembles Pilar, then she has to be a keeper. Pilar is a pretty young woman and Bill Lewis is madly in love with her. What do you think of the idea of naming our little girl after her Aunt Pilar?”

“Honey, it is a nice gesture but Father Ray suggested a name for the princess. Ray will never have any children and if anyone knows how much he has helped us to stay together; it has to be you and me.”

“Tell me, what is Ray’s preference?”

“Bethany. It is the name of the place where Jesus ascended to heaven.”

“It is a different name and not commonly heard.”

“Oh gosh before I forget, I have your first cup of major caffeine coffee and today’s newspaper.”

“And who are the flowers from?”

Leaning to touch his lips next to Michelle’s lips, “Some dirty mob guy.”

The kiss lasted longer as their wet tongues played on the surface of the other’s lip and tongue. “How long are you going to have to stay in the hospital?”

Whispering softly in his ear, “I’ll be home before the babies are able to come and I will be hanging out here.”

“Honey, I will make arrangements for you to have a room to stay here and rest.”

For the first time, Michelle spoke of her lack of confidence in taking care of two preemies and continuing her professional pursuits.

“Michelle, we will have all the help necessary but you will have to relinquish some of your involvement and requirements. You can’t be super mom and super medical student. We have to work to keep our relationship growing. There is so much that you and I don’t know about each other. Abuellá and Carmen want to help and you are going to have to accept them being around as not threatening your role of being a working mother.”

“Danny, we haven’t spoken lately of our “agreement” but those two women are determined to have our son in the family business.”

“Michelle, I promise you on my father’s grave it will never happen. How many times and ways do I have to tell you this “agreement” is ours?”

“I’m afraid that they want ever agree.”

“Michelle, please don’t openly challenged my mother or grandmother. Time is on our side and we will guide our son away from the Familia. Let’s talk about naming our son. The consensus name is Little Danny but two Dannys can be confusing. So will it be Daniel what or what Daniel?”

“Danny, do you remember when I read the reading on Christmas Eve at Father Ray’s church?”

“Yes, I was sick as a dog that night with the flu.”

Lifting her hair off her neck and wrapping the long hair in a knot, Michelle spoke of how special the Christmas Eve activities had been for her. “I spent time with my father and my new family. The angel announcing the birth of Jesus was named Gabriel. I felt an attachment to that name and it has popped in my mind many times. I want to name our son Daniel Gabriel and call him Gabriel. What do you think?”

Danny caught the connection quickly. “It suits our son perfectly; an angel’s name with a saint Santos.”

“Gabriel and Bethany’s names are a nice mixture of their heritage. I guess we will stumble across another middle name for Bethany.”

“Will it be Bethany Michelle or Michelle Bethany?”

Shaking her head in disagreement, “There will come a time in the near future when you will be angry at your daughter and I can hear the tone in your voice when you are yelling my name with her name. No, no, no, we have to do better than my name. Please give me the newspaper, I want to read the headlines and save it for their album.”

The front-page headline read, “Fickle Hurricane Joy” saves the island by turning out to sea and allowing the islanders and tourist to savage the celebration of the New Year’s Day. “Sweetie, do you think your Princess Bethany’s character is of a hurricane status?”

“Why would you want to name our daughter after a hurricane?”

“Danny, we have been caught in two hurricanes here on the island. One on our honeymoon and this one has a woman’s name. It is like following a family tradition. In the Bible it says, Jesus’ followers ‘returned to Jerusalem with great joy’. I want to name our bundle of joy, Bethany Joy.”

Danny wrote the two names down on a piece of paper and tucked the paper in his pocket.

“I’ll call Ray and inform him that his name has been accepted. Are you ready to walk down to the nursery to write our children’s name on the ID cards?”

“Sure, it will be a nice change to actual have names identifying our children.”

“Where is your robe?”

“It is still in the small suitcase inside the closet.”

Danny opened the door to see the robe hanging on the hanger. “Babe, someone has unpacked your suitcase.”

“It must have been done by one of the nurses when I was napping.”

“Have you been out of the bed since the delivery?”

Danny pushed the button to call the nurse’s station. “Mrs. Santos do you need someone?”

Danny answered, “This Mr. Santos, I want to take my wife down to the NICU to see our babies and I was wondering if Michelle should walk or go by wheel chair?”

“I’ll send a nurse right down with a wheel chair.”

“Danny, I maybe a little tender and sore but I know it is important to be up and walking as soon as possible.”

Michelle had barely finished uttering the last words when the nurse came in with the blood pressure cup and stethoscope to check Michelle’s BP.

“Mrs. Santos, I need to get one more BP reading to see if you can walk to the NICU.” Satisfied with her reading, the nurse gave her ok for Danny to walk Michelle to the nursery. “Your BP has come down nicely, if you need any assistance when you are ready to come back, just ask the nurse to call the unit. When you get back, it will be time to give your sore bottom the warm heating lamp and perineal care. It is important to have a happy and well mother when the time comes for you to take those two precious bundles home.”

Michelle reached for one armhole of the robe while Danny held out the robe and waited for his wife to stand and put the robe on her greatly reduced size body. “Looks like this robe will have to be replaced today. It is big enough for two Michelles. I forgot how big and swollen your body had gotten with the twins.”

“Danny, I have plenty of robes at home. This will have to do for now.”

Shaking his head to indicate that he wanted another one for Michelle, “Carmen can have one delivered here in an hour even though it is New Years Day. We do a lot of business here and the right people owe the family. What color do you want?”

Michelle decided on a rose color and requested an above the knee kimono style. Dialing the phone in Michelle’s room, Danny gave Carmen her instructions.

“We won’t be available for at least an hour. Michelle and I are going down to visit our son and daughter and you maybe interested to know that they have names…..Well Father Ray did have some influence in naming our daughter. It has a biblical connotation and island reference. Her name is Bethany Joy Santos and his name is Daniel Gabriel Santos…..I agree with you Mamá that they are strong names….Yes, I will tell Michelle that you both send her your love.” Placing the phone in the cradle, “You heard that they are pleased with you and I am very pleased with our names.”

Holding Michelle’s face in both of his hands, Danny kissed Michelle passionate with pulling her body close to his tired body.

“What away to start the year! I have a wife and two children.”

Michelle stared into the dark eyes of her husband’s handsome face. “And I have my own family. I won’t ever be lonely again. I lost two important people in my early years and I felt different from my friends. Maureen, my mom with the accident and dad was alive but physically and emotionally absent from Rick and me. I will never understand why God chose for me to walk down the most outrageous path to find what I have always wanted. It goes against the normal life, which I wanted.”

“Michelle, Ray says that God uses the foolish and least expected to show power and wisdom to people that serve him. In all of my imaginations and expectations, I would never have dreamed of having a woman like you to share my life with. I promise you that the twins will never be in the Family business. I made a deal with God and every time that I say or hear Bethany Joy’s name; I will remember who is in control. The hurricane Joy was a class 4 hurricane and it could have destroyed the island but at the last moment it turned out to sea.” Danny wiped the tears from Michelle’s cheek, “Your son and daughter are waiting for you to come and see them.”

Walking hand in hand, Danny and Michelle entered the NICU. Danny guided Michelle to the two isolettes with the pink and blue caps near the two oversized rockers. The nurse joined the couple standing in the space between the two twins. “Are you ready to hold your babies, Mrs. Santos? They each have small monitors connecting to the EKG and respiration monitor. You may hold the preemies for as long as you want. It is time for them to be fed if you are willing to try and see if they are ready to latch onto your breast. What we have been doing since their birth is to give them your breast milk with the medicine dropper. They both like to suck their fingers so we are assuming that the nursing will be easy for them to adapt. We will place one on one breast then the other twin can nurse from the other breast.”

Showing Danny and Michelle the clipboard with the form to indicate, which twin had last nursed from the breast. Patting Michelle on the hand, “It is best that they nurse from both breasts to prevent the preemies from favoring one side over the other side.”

Danny whispered in Michelle’s ear so the nurse wouldn’t hear his remark. “I have been a good husband because I like both of your breasts.”

Smacking at his cheek in a playful manner, Michelle put both of her hands through the open ports of her son’s isolette. Holding his tiny body as he stretched out his limbs, Daniel Gabriel slowly moved his thumb up to his mouth. “Gabriel must be hungry. I’ll feed him after I hold Bethany Joy.” Leaving her son to be held by Danny, Michelle slowly picked up her daughter. Peeking under the pink cap, Michelle saw the tiny curls. “Honey, she has our curls. I wonder will she hate us or love us for giving her the curls one day!”

“Babe, on humid days, she might be a little mad, but we are going to brainwash her into thinking how great it is to have natural curly hair.”

The nurse returned with the U shaped pillow and a cloth diaper. “Mrs. Santos, you will never forget this time when you start the nursing. You offer the tip of the nipple to the roof of the baby’s mouth. He will latch on and start sucking. At first, the sucking is only going to be for a few minutes and gradually they will increase up to twenty minutes. Until then, you will have to use the pump on your breast to provide us the supplement feedings. For now, I want you to do only one baby at a time but later on you will be able to do both to save time. Are you ready?”

Michelle looked at Danny while the nurse placed her son at her right breast with the cords attached to his body. Holding Gabriel’s head close to her nipple and putting the pointed tip in his mouth, Michelle felt the gentle suction action on her anatomy. The warm liquid began to flow in her son’s mouth. Gabriel slowed the sucking action to rest and then began to suck again before falling a sleep. Gentle the nurse lifted the baby from Michelle’s arms and replaced him in the warm isolette. “You are a natural at this.”

Returning with the preemie wearing the pink cap, the nurse repeated the process. “Your daughter is a picky eater and she might not nurse as well as the baby boy.”

Michelle watched the sucking action and true to the nurse’s words; Bethany Joy sucked once or twice then stopped before nodding back to sleep. The nurse rubbed and tapped Bethany’s feet to keep her awake. Reassuring Michelle that the baby would improve with time, she took the baby and placed her back in her nesting place.

After pumping her breast, Michelle and Danny watched their babies sleep in the contentment of being warm and fed. Back in the room, Michelle rested in her husband’s arms and cried because she felt overwhelmed.

“Honey, why are you crying?”

“I don’t think I can do this twenty-four hours a day. I’m barely back from feeding the babies and pumping my breast and it is almost time to do it again!”

“Baby, we will hire nurses and use my mother and grandmother to help. Don’t worry, we will get through all this activity.”

Shortly afterwards, Michelle fell a sleep. Danny pulled his cell phone out and called Meta. “How soon can you come to Puerto Rico? Michelle needs some reassurance from someone that she trusts.”

Danny smiled when he heard the comforting words from a lady that he had grown to respect in a short time. Meta would be in San Juan on the next flight. When the nurse came to get Michelle for the next feeding, Danny refused to let her awaken Michelle. Instead he called the chief of a nice restaurant and asked him to send a nice meal over for them to share when Michelle awakened.

Stepping out of the shower at the villa, Danny dried the water from his rejuvenated body. He replayed the last moments of last night when he and Michelle had finally shared a good meal. Michelle had picked at her food, mostly eating the salad and rice with the island tomato and spice sauce. After 2AM, he had left the hospital. The warm breezes blowing across his naked body was the first indication that he was alone in the king-size bed. His eyes struggled to see the time on the greenish numbers on the bedside clock.

Next to the clock was a picture of Michelle and him. It had been taken in Ponce. The picture had been one of his favorites of the newly married couple. Michelle’s was dressed in a dark brown topless sundress with a wide band folded down across the top of the bodice of her dress. He was standing behind her with his arms wrapped around her tiny waist. The memories of sharing their intimate moments sent warm electrical charges to his already full erection.

Choosing a cold shower to resolve the erection, Danny heard his mother calling his name from the bedroom. “Daniel, Meta Bauer just called. She said you asked her to come to San Juan. Why invite her down here now?”

“Mamá, Michelle is very close to Meta and I wanted her here for Michelle. I’m sure Michelle and Meta will allow you to touch and care for the babies but Michelle is in dire need of positive build-up.”

“Last night at the hospital, the truth hit home for Michelle. She realized caring for the preemies and being the perfect Mother and continue her medical career is a far reach. Meta is for Michelle and Meta is a smart woman. She will direct Michelle to accept assistance, which will open the door for you and Abuellá to be more active in the twins lives. This is what you want isn’t it Carmen?”

“Yes but having Meta nearby is going to cause problems when I have business to conduct here.”

Raising his eyebrows at his mother, “Carmen, when has it ever been a problem when you want to conduct business?”

“Danny, how long are we going to be down here in San Juan?”

“I’m guessing several weeks until the preemies are out of danger. I’ve made arrangements for Michelle to have a room to stay at the hospital to rest in between breast feeding the babies. Right now, I want Michelle to put her motherhood ahead of her medical career. I know being a Mother is most important to her and doing it right.”

Kissing Carmen on the cheek, “Thanks for shopping for the kimono; it was perfect. Michelle looks beautiful in rose and pink clothes. Now, I have another job for you. We have all the baby items in Springfield; it seems we are going to need a few items here to transport Gabriel and Bethany Joy back to Springfield.”

“Maria and I can shop today.”

“Pick up the combination baby seat and carrier and what ever preemies might need.”

*******

Two and a half weeks later, the aid brought in the final vase of fresh flowers with the customary signature of Gabriel and Bethany Joy. “Mrs. Santos, the staff is going to miss having you and your husband here at the hospital. I have never seen a mother get flowers everyday from her babies.”

Michelle smelled the flowers and placed the card in her purse. “Danny has lost his mind as you probably have decided for yourself. He is generous but he knows that I send the flowers onto other patients. The twins have been in the regular nursery for three days and we are taking them home tomorrow at least to the villa here in San Juan. My Aunt Meta has gone home to get everything ready for our return to Springfield. She was a calming influence on me the past two weeks. I’m going to miss this room and all the staff. It became home away from home.”

At the door stood Danny, Michelle closed the suitcase with the final items being carefully placed inside. “Honey, are you sure that I should give up this room today?”

Walking inside the room and closing the door, “Yes, I want us to have tonight alone before our growing babies completely take over our lives.”

“I’ve missed having you in bed with me at night.”

“Danny, you are aware that we can’t have sex for at least three more weeks.”

“We can’t have or do everything but we can still have some fun tonight.” “I promise to have you back here before 6am to feed our son and daughter.”

Smiling the innocent grin to her husband, “Fun …um we do deserve a night of Fun. Just what does my husband have in mind for tonight?”

Biting the edge of her left ear, “You will have to wait and see!”

Before leaving the hospital, they walked back to say good night to their son and daughter. For the past three days, Gabriel and Bethany Joy had shared one crib. Even with their weight gain, there was plenty of room in the nursery crib. Danny handed the nurse his cell number where they could be reached if there was an emergency. Both Gabriel and Bethany were sound a sleep with their thumbs resting near their tiny mouths. Kissing their heads, Michelle paused to count their respirations before leaving the unit. Satisfied that they were medically OK, she left with Danny for their adventure.

Danny parked the green jeep at the mariner near the Santos yacht. “You haven’t had the opportunity to go out on my father’s prized possession. He used to take Mick and me out to go fishing and it was a great time to bond with him here alone. It was our special place and I wanted to share it with you. The crew is going to take the yacht out beyond the outer harbor where we can look back at San Juan and the old San Crystabol fortifications. I promise that we want be more than an hour from the shore.”

Danny helped Michelle out of the passenger side of the jeep. Taking her left hand in his right hand, he guided Michelle up the steps to meet the boat captain. Giving the final instructions to the boat captain, Danny and Michelle walked to the front of the boat and sat on the bow as the boat backed out of the mooring. Heading out to the dark ocean waters, Danny held Michelle in his arms as the wind blew through their hair with the yacht picking up speed. Then the boat made a wide turn to face the night-lights of San Juan. Danny pointed out the villa on the left side of the horizon and the center of San Juan where their babies hopefully were sleeping. The noise of the engine shut down so the only sound that Danny and Michelle heard was the water hitting against the side of the boat.

“Danny, this is wonderful and I can see why your father loved the boat and I’m astonished that he would spend so much money to have a boat to go fishing to find peace and quiet.”

Rubbing Michelle’s inner thigh, “it was the only place that he was away from the business and a regular Joe. When our children get bigger, I want to bring them out here. It is the one good place where he was allowed to have fun. He loved to fish. And this is where I’m going to teach Gabriel and Bethany Joy to fish.”

Snuggling into Danny’s arms, “Suppose they don’t want to learn to fish.”

“Oh I see you think I don’t know how to fish!”

Pushing her fingers in the curls of his dark hair, “I think you can do anything that you set your mind to do.”

“For a young woman, you are learning well. Come with me down the steps to the living quarters, I want to show you the very comfortable bed.”

Giggling at the suggestion, Danny opened the door to the bedroom with the bottle of cold champagne sitting in the bucket of ice. “I want to celebrate the birth of our twins. Have a seat on the bed and I’ll pour a glass of bubbly.”

Michelle kicked off her sandals and climbed onto the bed. The liquid started bubbling as the cold hit the side of the glasses. Passing a glass to Michelle, “To Daniel Gabriel and Bethany Joy, may we do right by them.” Clicking their glasses together, Danny and Michelle sipped the cold liquid. Taking the glass from her hand, “Now we have that out of the way, we can get down to why we are here.”

Leaning into kiss Michelle, Danny gently pushed her body back down on the bed. “Your body is so sexy and I want to make love to you but I know that we can’t.” Unbuttoning the coral stretch blouse, Danny pushed his face deep in between Michelle’s full breasts. “You don’t even look like a woman that gave birth almost three weeks ago.”

“Danny, it hasn’t quite been three weeks.” Nibbling the outer edge of one ear then the other, Danny slid his hand behind Michelle’s back and unfastened her bra. Moving his hand down to the zipper in her coral Capri pants, Danny unzipped the pants and with both hands pushed them down Michelle’s hips, thighs and legs. Danny pulled his shirt over his head to reveal the tanned chest before unzipping his own pants.

The two stared at each other until Michelle nodded her head for Danny to continue. “Are you sure, Michelle?” Gasping for the words that they both understood in Spanish, Michelle’s fingernails dug into Danny’s side and back. Kissing the sides of her neck, Danny’s lips moved down her shoulders to rest with one nipple in his mouth. Danny felt Michelle’s warm milk oozing from her breast to touch his skin. Licking the secretion, Danny moved his tongue down to Michelle’s navel. Breathing hard over Michelle’s body, Danny’s finger went under Michelle’s bikini panties to feel the warm moist body secretion flowing in between her legs.

Suddenly Michelle sat up in front of Danny, “I want to stop now. We are getting close and ready to have unprotected sex. I’m scared of getting pregnant again. I don’t trust a condom because I know we will make love all night. I’m sorry but I can’t do it tonight.”

Danny fell onto his back and gasped for air. “Michelle, I’m sorry that I pushed you too hard tonight. I will have to wait until the doctor gives the ok for us to have sex. I definitely don’t want you to get pregnant again any time soon. We can be physically close tonight in the bed and dream of making love.”

“Have you discussed with Dr. Sedgwick the birth control issue?”

“Yes, she suggested a diaphragm and spermicidal foam.”

“When do you get the diaphragm?”

“At the six week check up, which is February 14, the date when the twins were due.”

Danny whispered in Michelle’s ear, “I will have a special Valentine present for you, Mrs. Santos.”

 

 

Mama’s Boy The March 8th Episode Essay 7

August 17, 2017

Republisher’s Note: I think Jennifer is entirely right in this. For the first half of the Manny story is definitely Danny being torn between Michelle and his family, particularly Carmen. Watch the episode Jennifer is reacting too. It’s when Michelle plays blind.

 

From the Rustle of the Sheets

“Mama’s Boy” (The March 8th Episode)

By Jennifer Hallmark — posted on the Mannyac Board.

Danny and Michelle Santos are involved in a triangle on Guiding Light, but Jesse Blue is not the third corner and neither is Drew Jacobs. Instead of the typical, tawdry triumvirate of young lust and betrayal, the players in this particular game involve a man, his wife and his mother.

Yes, in the beginning of the Manny storyline, Jesse was a factor in their relationship, but as time has passed, he has become an afterthought. It took an extreme situation and his actual presence to even remind Michelle that she loves the guy. When it has been just her and Danny, Jesse has not even crossed her mind — definitely not an indication that Jesse Blue is the love of her life (as she once naively claimed.) In fact, I would say, her biggest connection to him is not Jesse himself or the love that they shared, but instead is her mother’s heart which now beats inside of him. And her growing feelings for Danny are already beginning to overpower that pull.

As for Drew, although I haven’t seen Danny and Drew’s, oh, let’s call it a plot twist, I do believe that it is safe to surmise (based on Tammy Blanchard’s comments in the “Soap Opera Weekly” and the relationships of all involved) that this event will be nothing more than a one-night stand. While admittedly, Drew thinks that Danny is attractive (she’s not blind after all), she is not attracted to him. If she were, we would have seen some sign of it before now.

Likewise, Danny hasn’t exactly been hot-to-trot for Drew either. In fact, when he first came to town, he rebuffed her manipulated advances (she was trying to get him off their — Drew, Jesse, Michelle and Bill’s — trail about Mick’s murder.) and showed an interest only in Michelle. The simple truth of the matter is that Drew loves Jesse (why? I have no clue. To each their own.) and Danny loves Michelle. The “plot twist” between the two is just that . . . a plot twist.

The actual third figure in the triangle is mama Santos. She loves Danny. Danny loves her. Danny also loves Michelle who is starting to fall for him. Meanwhile, Michelle hates Carmen and vice versa. So here we have the basics of a true triangle — two people (in this case, Michelle and Carmen) fighting over the affections of one person (Danny). Now honestly, does anybody really think that Danny considered Jesse a threat? Of course not. However, Carmen truly does see Michelle as one … and she is.

Based on conversations between mother and son, it is perfectly clear that Danny was and is “mama’s boy.” He is her baby (I think this will continue, despite the soon-to-be-seen younger sister) and, again based on previous comments, we know that Carmen has never had a rival for her son’s affections and devotion.

Danny was a ladies’ man with probably a different woman on his arm every week — no threat to the allegiance he showed Carmen. And then along comes Michelle and suddenly, Danny is putting another woman before mama. Now, he is cold and sharp to her, and he threatens to leave her if she doesn’t accord “his wife” the proper respect.

On Monday, March 8th’s episode, after Danny said, “you don’t run me. You got that? When are you gonna get that through that head of yours?,” Carmen cried out that he’d never spoke to her like that before she came into his life. And the hurt in her voice and on her face was evident, as was the obvious relief and contentment when he admitted that he had set a trap for Michelle as Carmen had suggested. It was during this scene that I realized that Carmen’s animosity towards Michelle ran deeper than vengeance for Mick’s death. She wants Michelle out of Danny’s life simply because Danny loves her.

And now we’ve come to an interesting point, anyone who reads spoilers knows that it is Michelle’s betrayal that drives Danny away, sets up the “plot twist” and leads to Danny’s ‘deadly decision.’ While Michelle truly did betray him, the knowledge of that betrayal is in fact false and planted by Carmen herself. Like in any true triangle, one member always plays dirty and this is Carmen’s role. Nothing Jesse did and I doubt that anything Drew does (even the “plot twist”) will drive a wedge between Danny and Michelle the way Carmen’s machinations will.

Now, once Danny and Michelle have found their way back to each other (and they will), it will be interesting to see what lengths Carmen will go to to separate them — interesting provided that true love wins out in the end of course … and if Carmen is still in the picture (and I believe she will be.) I doubt that Carmen will ever truly accept Michelle and once Michelle begins to admit and act upon her true feelings for Danny, she will fight back.

I can only hope that TPTB follow through on the promise of the rapier-sharp points of this triangle because it will be quite a ride. Of course, this all depends on whether I am even remotely correct in any of my assumptions and predictions.

Jennifer H.

 


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