Posts Tagged ‘Manny fanfiction’

Robansuefarm Fanfic Update May 2018

May 23, 2018

I finally had time to go back and update my links to my fanfic. I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to see it so I’m publishing it as a post too.

I started writing Manny fanfic about the time I started this website. I’ve added this page as an added benefit to myself for doing all the work on the index, I decided to add an easy way to just find mine if you’re interested. My philosophy of fanfic is to make the characters as true to what we found on screen as possible.

  • I had a big gap in publishing fanfic last year. I haven’t given up, but I was just too busy. My main Manny New Year’s Resolution is to return to posting fanfic.
  • I know I need Story Index update.  The good news is I’m still finding some stories and chapters I didn’t have located before,  but I’m about out of places to look. I also need to add most of my republished fanfic chapters. I hope to work on this over the winter, but republishing is going to continue to take precedence over it.
  • More good news is that there is still interest in Manny fanfic. WordPress lets you see what search terms people are using to find your blog and I’m getting a hit based on a Manny fanfic search at least every other day and usually more often as new people find the story index and start to follow the links to Manny fanfic. So if there are any writers reading this, there is still a group of people who want to read your stuff even if it isn’t as large or vocal a group as it once was. If anybody is wavering please publish it or republish it, if it isn’t on my Story Index.
  • I’m still working on my original set of Manny New Year’s Resolutions, to write one for each of my categories. If you anybody out there wants to take it as a challenge and try to do a story for each category or even some of the categories, consider the challenge issued. I’d love some company posting fanfic.

Manny in California

My first series were the all stories about Manny’s life in California between when they left the show and when they came back. These are not supposed to be AU in anyway, but to show what we would have seen on screen, if they’d let us.

A Typical House – My very first fanfic offers a peek inside their lives in California.
Listen to the audio version

Just Another Fundraiser – Manny attends a fundraiser for Ed’s clinic during their time in California.

Springfield Bound – A series of lost scenes in and around the Guiding Light Finale

Happiest Place on Earth – The final Manny in California story.
Audio –

Manny in Springfield….and Others

Stories that take place in timeline past the show’s finale.

Springfield Thanksgiving 2009 – As the show came to an end the storyline was clearing progressing to a climax around Thanksgiving 2009. They dropped mentions of it all summer and then…they skipped over it entirely? It inspired me to a fanfic, but sadly I must admit I only got a couple of bit done and unless a miracle happens so I can watch that year this will probably be it. (Background Info) (Chapter 1)

Bauer BBQ 2014 – Although this story is set at the BBQ, it’s primarily a Manny focused story. (Chapter 1) (Chapter 2) (Chapter 3) (Chapter 4)

Bauer BBQ 2017 – My most ambitious attempt at a Bauer BBQ to date, the whole town gathers for a lot of crossing storylines. This is the year that they had an art auction….


Here is as far as I’ve gotten in my attempt to write a Manny fanfic for each one of my categories.

A Season of New Beginnings: A Continuation


Continued Storyline


Dietz – pass

The Lighthouse Princess – A fairytale based on the marvelous story The Light Princess by George MacDonald.

General A.U. -When I got hung up on Have Manny, Will Travel, I started another continuation for this category, The Journal: A Continuation (Chapter 1) (Chapter 2) (Chapter 3) (Chapter 4) (Chapter 5) (Chapter 6) (Chapter 7) (Chapter 8)

High School

Historicals – (Posted on GLManny – Change Links)
A version of Have Gun, Will Travel – Have Manny, Will Travel now being published a chapter on the Mannyac board. (Background) (Theme Song) (Chapter 1) (Chapter 2) (Chapter 3) (Chapter 4) (Chapter 5) (Chapter 6) (Chapter 7) (Chapter 8) (Chapter 9) (Chapter 10) (Chapter 11)

Lost Scenes
Legend of the Water Glass: A Manny Prequel

Having a Ball: A Manny Prequel

Making Love
French Kiss – It seems to open in a French manor house with Lord Daniel and upstairs maid Michelle, but there is a twist.

Solemn Vows – A variation on the set up from Sacred Vows where Danny pretends to be a priest in training, staying at the rectory with novice Michelle Bauer.

Poems and Song Lyrics
She Kissed Me Back: A Poem in Free Verse

Song Fic
In a Different Light – Taken from the words of a song made popular by Doug Stone, it provided a unique opportunity to have Danny and Michelle in a business setting and the song really set up the story by itself with just a little bit of background.

Fourth Wall Breaking
This one really doesn’t fit in any category. It breaks the 4th Wall in a funny Halloween Horror Story.

Last updated: May 22, 2018

Contact me:

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.


The Happiest Place on Earth by Robansuefarm

May 2, 2018

As part of my project of copying over my fanfic into Word I realized that I hadn’t published this story on the blog, I had just linked to it on the Discussion Group page. Time to remedy that.

This story is part of my Manny in California series. It was a brief series of stories that answered the question what did Manny do between the time we saw them leave for Louisiana and they moved back from California. They are mostly day in the life sketches, except for Springfield Bound which filled in some places left very noticeably blank in the show. This particular story involves a weekend when Ed has agreed to take the kids to Disneyland….or is that another story altogether???

The Happiest Place on Earth by Robansuefarm

The young woman stared at herself in the large mirror. Her thoughts ran quickly. It was so large and so clear you could tell it could only be hanging in the emperor’s palace. She was dressed in a short skirted toga and a golden circlet around her head. She looked every inch what she was, a subject of the Roman Empire. She’d been selected by her city-state of Springfield to be a virginal offering, a tribute to serve the needs of the Emperor. Now she was to meet him.

Her heart quickened as she turned the corner and entered the lavish room. Columns ringed the space. Large pieces of overstuffed Romanesque furniture and Roman vases filled the room. To one side was a fountain continually pouring into a large square fountain whose water bubbled. Michelle could see things on the other side, a king size bed with a column on each corner, forming a four poster bed.

But more breathtaking still was the gorgeous man reclining on the overstuffed chaise lounge, crowned by a head of chocolate curls. He was beautiful than she ever imagined a man could be.  Clearly by his regal bearing he was the Emperor. She felt her breath quicken at the thought that he was to take her
virginity. That she was to become physically one with this man took her breath and for the first time with excitement as much as fear.

Then he opened his eyes and he saw her and he smiled. A tingle of excitement ran through her. Those eyes, those eyes seemed to pierce into her very soul. Then he smiled at her and she felt her knees grow weak. She swallowed hard and weakly smiled back.

“Hello, there.” His voice was beautiful. Quite possibly the most beautiful thing she’d ever heard. His smile reflected his own excitement. This time he had been sent an angel. He didn’t want to do anything to frighten her. He reached over and patted the ornate stool right beside his lounge. “Come here.”

Michelle crossed the room that felt somehow as if she was crossing a coliseum it seemed so far. She was tense with fear and anticipation.

He saw the tension in her body and he knew to take it slowly. “Feed me some fruit.” He gestured at a carefully prepared attractive fruit tray. She looked for silverware. He caught her wrist and shook his head. “With your fingers,” he said.

Michelle picked up a piece of pineapple and feed it to him. He let her feed him for awhile as she began to relax. When he decided she’d relaxed enough he began to feed her as well.

“I want some grapes.”

Michelle tried to feed him a grape. He again stopped her. “Peel them.”

“How?” she asked puzzled.

“With your teeth.” He demonstrated and then popped the peeled grape into his mouth. “Now you.”

Michelle did as he had instructed and he seemed captivated by her movements as if he was imagining other things that her pearly white teeth could slide over. His breathing picked up pace and after only a few grapes he again caught her hand as she feed him a grape, but this time he pulled her hand forward into mouth. He gently began to suck on her fingers as his talented tongue caressed her fingers seeking every bit of juice from her fingers.
She involuntarily moved closer to him. She slide over onto the longue. She moved ever closer her mouth approaching his as a wave of anticipation shudder through them both . Closer….closer…..close…so close

Just then a loud chirrup, chirrup like a British phone ripped through the room.  The pair fell apart
and closed eyes for a moment as they both felt frustration. Michelle moved back to sit on the end of lounge as Danny pulled himself into a more upright position.

NOTE: In case you couldn’t figure this out, Danny and Michelle are on a weekend alone. They are at a theme hotel where each suite is decorated to a different theme. This one has a Roman theme. The square fountain is a hot tub, a common feature in many of these suites. I’ll let Danny explain what they are doing there in the next section.

“It’s home,” he said unnecessarily, she knew the ring tone he had programmed into his cell for their home phone as well as he did. He reached over to the covered box on the table near the lounge. He lifted the lid and fished among a handful of 21st century items they’d hidden there to better play the fantasy until he pulled his cell phone out of the hiding place.

“Hello?” he said into the phone. “Good Morning, Mrs. Jenkins. Is something wrong with the kids?”

(Mrs. Jenkins was a mature woman who served as one of their most frequent babysitters.)

“No?” he repeated aloud for Michelle’s benefit.” They’re both good?”  He nodded and the tension eased
back out of Michelle when she realized the children were fine as Danny continued to listen and process Mrs. Jenkin’s information. “Isn’t Ed there yet?”  He took the phone away from his ear and checked the time.

“Not yet? OK, let me talk to Robbie.”  Danny paused as he waited to hear his son’s voice. “Hey, Tiger, what’s the matter?….I’m sure Hope didn’t mean to break your truck. Look, Grandpa Ed will be there soon to take you to Disneyland. If he can’t fix your truck, I’m sure I’ll be able to when your mom and I get back.”
Danny took a moment to bless the wonders of mass production and the miracle that was Ebay that gave him the ability to replace toys with an identical one when they weren’t fixable. “Now take a deep breath and go enjoy your day. Oh, Grandpa Ed is there now? Let me talk to him.”

Again, Danny waited this time for his father-in-law’s voice.
“Ed, Hope broke one of Robbie’s toys. See if you can fix it.”

“OK Danny, I’ll see what I can do.”


“So are you guys enjoying your weekend away?”

“Yeah, we’re having a great time. Thanks again for taking the kids for the day.”

“Taking my favorite grandkids to Disneyland is definitely a hardship. Really I’m glad to get some one on one , well one on two anyway, time with them.”

“Well, I hope you’re still saying that AFTER the weekend.”
Danny had relaxed once Ed got on the phone and Michelle, having realized things were fine with the kids, was quickly growing impatient to continue their game. She innocently kept her eyes on her husband’s face, but slowly she reached out her right hand and started to trace circles on the inner ankle of her husband’s left leg.

Ed was saying, “I hear there are some great antique shops up there.”

“Yeah, Michelle was reading to me all about them out of the guidebook on the drive up. Maybe we’ll find something really unique for the house.”

Michelle slowly began to creep her circles higher up his leg.

Ed continued, “I hear they have some great restaurants, too.”

“Yeah, the food has been great.” Danny thought about the fruit that Michelle had been feeding him earlier and the now empty whipped cream containers out of sight in the bathroom waste basket from a previous game.
Michelle’s fingers had almost reached the hem of his toga and Danny’s need to get off the phone was rapidly increasing before he made a noise that would leave his father-in-law with no doubt to what was happening on this side of the phone. Danny was quickly growing desperate for a graceful way to end the call.

Suddenly Ed broke into his frenzied thoughts. “You two haven’t set foot out of the hotel room yet, have you?”

“Ed, do you seriously want an honest answer to that?”

Ed could almost hear his son-in-law’s eyebrow cock. “I guess not. I’ll see you when you get back.”

Michelle’s hand was now completely under his toga skirt.
“Hmmm-Mmmm” and then a hurried, “See you Ed” was the best he could do before hitting the off button and letting out the moan that had been building up in his throat.

Michelle withdrew her hand and gave him her best innocent smile. “So do you want to pick up where we left off or take it from the top?”

“Take it from the top.”

She smiled at her handsome husband. “All right.” She smiled again got up, went back to the bathroom door, and began to repeat her narration, to begin this particular game again.

While his appreciative eyes never left her form, this time he tuned out her narration.  Each time they
took a theme suite they took turns picking out which theme and coming up with three different scenarios that fit with it. He’d really loved the Indiana Jones inspired archeologist costume Michelle had worn for Scenario #1 this time and he knew whichever theme they picked next time he’d have to find a way to tie an archeologist into it to see that little number on her again. Scenario #3 Michelle had previewed for him was going to have him as a eunuch with Michelle attempting to “cure” him. She told him to practice self-control because if he “healed” too quickly they’d miss out on a lot of good stuff she had planned.

Michelle had reached the edge of the overstuffed chaise lounge and he leaned back as the current game began in earnest.


Ed, Robbie, and Hope were spending their day out at the happiest place on Earth. Robbie had put aside his earlier irritation with his sister over his broken toy, but as the day went on and both children got more tired. It started to come out again. They’d gone through Hope’s choices for rides, “It’s a Small World” and “Peter Pan’s Flight” and Robbie’s favorites “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Haunted Mansion,” and “Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster.”

Hope was walking through one of her favorite places at Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. While Hope was admiring herself in a mirrored surface, she was pretending that she was a princess with ladies in waiting to do her homework. She could see herself in a sparkly tiara and long silken gown. Hope lost herself in fantasy. After all nothing romantic or exciting ever happened to her family.

Ed pulled Robbie back, letting Hope float along in her fantasy. “So what was all this fuss with your sister about this morning, Robbie? It isn’t like you.”

“Nothing.” Robbie muttered, barely audible. Robbie looked down and shuffled non-existent dirt on the spotless Disney-esque floor.

Ed looked over at Hope and smiled, she had lost herself deep into a fantasy world, just as Michelle used to. She looked a lot like Michelle did when she was that age Ed thought. He sent a prayer up that Maureen and Eve were looking down on his family and that their lives would never fall apart as
his had.

A bench had opened up in the hallway and not letting Hope out of his sight, Ed could never be unmindful of who his grandchildren were on both sides of their family. Both families had extraordinary enemies. Ed looked at Hope, but only mindlessly monitored her movements. “Robbie….Robbie your Mom and Dad’s families, the Bauer family and the Santos family were very different when they were growing up in some ways. In other ways they were too much alike.” Ed sighed and Robbie looked up at his grandfather. “Both families have a tendency to keep things bottled up and the histories of both show just how badly that can end up. I’m hoping that you and Hope can learn not to do that. Now, what’s the matter?”

Robbie hesitated and then spoke. “I had a nightmare last night.”

Ed waited for Robbie to continue.

“Mom and Papa weren’t there.” Again Robbie hesitated, “I dreamed Mommy lost her memory again and she didn’t know me. She didn’t know me.” He let out a slight sob. “Tony came back and he was pulling her away and Marina had a hold of me and Papa and she wouldn’t let go and I couldn’t get Hope. I woke up, but it made me afraid it would happen for real. I wanted Mommy and she wasn’t there.” Robbie followed it up with a full sob.

“Robbie…” Ed began tipping his grandson’s face up so their eyes met. “That’s NOT going to happen. I must admit that I wasn’t always so sure about your mom and dad being together, but they’ve convinced me. There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that is going to keep them apart for long. As good of reasons they’ve had to split up they just can’t do it. When they are apart they are missing part of themselves. There is no way they’re going to lose each other or you kids again. I’m 100 percent on that I can’t promise you nothing bad will ever happen to you or our family again, in fact given the history of both your parents, of our whole family, of me, the likelihood is that it will, but we’ll face anything that comes our way TOGETHER as a FAMILY. And the next time something happens like this, I want you to come to me or your mom or your papa or your Uncle Rick. You know my and Uncle Rick’s cell phone number by
heart, don’t you?” Robbie nodded. One of Papa’s rules was that he and Hope have memorized a list of safety numbers to call if anything bad ever happened and he and Mom weren’t available. Papa had
drilled them until even Hope could rattle off all the numbers on the list. “I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re alone because you’re not and you never will be. OK?” Ed hugged his grandson who tightly held him back.

“OK, Grandpa!” Robbie smiled, he felt much better. “I will.”

“Now, I think I know two little monkeys who need a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. Why don’t you go get your sister?”

“You bet!” Even when he’d been upset Robbie had kept a watchful eye on Hope and now he happily ran over to her with the good ice cream news.

Ed watched his grandchildren happily talk to each other. He smiled as he shook his head thinking how amazing it was.  A tragedy had pushed his little Michelle to meet someone she never should have and somehow she had seen through all of what should have sent her running and while they had forced to deal with things no one should, they had fought their way through. Michelle had done what he, his brother Mike, his sister Hillary, his niece Hope, and even ultimately his own parents had failed at, building a strong marriage and raising full siblings in a single family unit with both parents. Michelle had been right and he had been wrong. They were all happy. Ed looked skyward and silently thought “Thank you, Maureen” before he was engulfed by the arms of his returning grandchildren. Taking one child by each hand, Ed said, “Let’s go!” and strangely a new song began to play on the Muzak system.

Everybody wants truth

Everybody wants hope

Everybody clings to sex like soap on a rope

Everybody gets low

Everybody gets high

Everybody’s feet are on the ground and head’s in the sky

Try letting go Try letting go

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

We know

Everybody feels good

Everybody feels bad

Nobody wants to lose what they’ve already had

Take it on faith

Take it on loan

Take it any way you get it

Who wants to be alone

Try letting go Try letting go

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

We know

You’ll never know till you try

Open your heart let your spirit fly

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

Only love can save the world Only love can save the world

Bauer BBQ 2017 by Robansuefarm Part 8

March 11, 2018

Author’s Note: Problems blew up at the Bauer BBQ.

Bauer BBQ 2017 by Robansuefarm Part 8

Scene 29

Jason Marler stood facing the Spaulding pond. He pitched a stone in it, as hard as he could, and then he picked up another, and another, and another….

Molly Spaulding watched from about 50 yards away. Slowly she walked up to Jason. “I saw you take off, what’s wrong?”

Jason gave a hollow laugh. “What isn’t wrong? What isn’t wrong in the entire freaking world?” He threw another stone.

Molly remained silent. So silent that with another person there it got akward. Words poured out of Jason to fill it. “I’m a Poly-Sci major. I really thought I could help save the world. I even had a Congressional internship, you know?” He broke off to throw another stone. “But after this last election, both sides, politics is broken, what can one person do? What’s the use of trying? Am I going to waste my life fighting a battle I can’t win?” Jason threw another rock.

Molly stared out at the pond, too. “You know I never met your dad. He was dead before we moved back here, but I’ve heard about him my whole life. He helped so many people in this town. He really made a difference you know. Michelle and Danny, they were talking right before you took off? He saved both of them from a phony murder charge. Maybe that’s the way to make a difference, not at the national level, but here in one place. Maybe if a whole bunch of people each in their own place make a difference, that’s how you change the whole country?”

“You know you’re pretty smart for a kid.”

Molly frowned. “I’m NOT a kid.”

Jason turned around and looked in her face. He really looked at her as if he hadn’t known her for years, as if he’d just seen for the first time in a class or across a bar. He lifted his hand to cup her cheek. “No, I guess you’re not.”

“Just what THE HELL do you think you’re doing? Get your hands OFF OF MY DAUGHTER!”

The immerative came out of nowhere and both Molly and Jason froze.

“I SAID get your hands off her!” Alan-Michael closed the rest of the distance between them and grabbed Jason’s arm pulling it off Molly and then shoved Jason whose reactions still slowed by shock fell to the ground.

“Daddy! What do you think you’re DOING?”

“Sweetheart, he’s so much older than you. I don’t want to take advantage of you and after what happened with your boyfriend Tom…..”

“God Dad! What part of back off, I’m a grown up now, aren’t you getting? Yes, there was an issue with Tom and I HANDLED IT. It’s what grown ups do! I know what I’m doing! I can make my own decisions and I can HANDLE whatever comes along. I’m so out of here.”

Molly sped off heading back across the Spaulding yard towards the Bauer house she nearly ran into Kat, Dylan, and Lillian on the way. Alan-Michael stared after her until she was almost out of sight. He shook himself, shot Jason a glare for good measure as he picked himself up, and took off after her calling, “Princess!”

Scene 30

Rick was talking on the phone in the Bauer Kitchen, “Yes, Dad. Everybody is missing you and Holly….No, nobody expects you here every year, but I’m glad you called. I hope you call tomorrow so you can talk to the grandkids they’re all scattered right now.” Rick puffed up with pride,”Yep, big success again this year. New record in number of hamburgers served, everyone loves them…..Give Holly my love, Dad, and Dad, don’t forget I love you too.” Rick ended the call.

Phillip walked in carrying a glass of iced tea. “There you are, buddy. I thought you’d be out there taking victory laps. It’s been a GREAT BBQ.”

Rick held up the phone, “I was talking to Dad.”

“How are Ed and Holly doing? I haven’t heard from them lately. The last time I heard they had just taken a cruise on the Queen Mary.”

“They loved it. I don’t know that we’ll ever gt them settled back here, but at least Dad hasn’t disappeared again. He’s sure to check in regularly now.”

“You know, it’s funny, this was so NOT Alan’s thing, but how many years did he’d say he wasn’t coming and then did? It’s almost been 10 years now…and you know…you know I STILL find myself expecting to find him somewhere here. I keep ranging around……all those years I was always trying to get away from him and I, and I’d give almost anything if he was still here.”

Buzz stuck his head in the door. “Rick, we’re out of Bauer Burgers and the crowd is getting restless.”

“OK, Buzz, I’m on it!” Rick opened the refrigerator, grabbed out a tray of prepped Bauer Burgers, and headed out to the patio.

Phillip stayed leaning up against the island and took a drink when suddenly his niece Molly came rushing blindly through. Phillip put down his glass and caught her by the arm. “Hey, what’s the trouble?”

Molly was vibrating with frustration. “Uncle Phillip…URRRGGHHHH! It’s Dad. He’s IMPOSSIBLE! He just totally humilated me in front of Jason Marler and everyone! Why can’t he see he’s a grown-up?”

“Well,” Phillip made a grimace and swallowed. “He can’t because he’s your dad and it’s a horrible thing for a dad to deal with. I’m sure you have every right to be mad, but I was just sitting here thinking that as crazy as my dad always drove me, I’d give just about anything to have him back. Be mad, but forgive him and keep that in mind.”

Alan-Michael came skidding into the kitchen. “Molly, stop let’s talk. I….”

“URRRGGGHH! Just give it a rest, DAD!” Molly pulled away from Phillip.

Lucy came in. “Molly, honey, come here. Dads, right? Come with me, let’s go talk about it.” Lucy put an arm around her shoulders and leading her off towards the living room. Alan-Michael started to follow.

“Hey,” Phillip wave Alan-Michael over, echoing Lucy by putting an arm around Alan-Michael’s shoulders. “Let the girls work on this.”

“Phillip, you just don’t understand, man! How am I supposed to NOT be there to protect her?”

“Peyton and Emma may not be there yet, but I went through all this and worse with Lizzie and Michelle. Look at them now. You WILL get through this. I didn’t handle it particularly well, but we’ll get through this. Together. That’s what family is for right?”

“I guess.” Alan-Michael walked over to the sunporch and stared out over to the garage apartment door where he’d once lived. “I certainly wouldn’t have guessed I’d have lived through all I have since I came back to Springfield at that Bauer BBQ. This is an anniversary of sorts I guess.”

“I know. Parachute into ONE party and people never forget it.”

Alan-Michael turned and found a geniune smile for his brother.

“I liked the piece of your mom’s you bought. How was your visit with Hope?”

Alan-Michael lost his smile and turned back to the window, but didn’t answer Phillip.

“How is she?”

Alan-Michael turned around again looking grim. “Not good. It’s been almost 10 years since Dad died, a lot longer since they were together, and she’s still not dealing with it. You saw that picture, sure it’s a beautiful piece, but it’s back to when they were on the island. All her art is about them. She still owns that island you know, Dad gave it to her as a present, put it in her name. She’s had a little cabin built on the island and she’s been spending time there. It’s dangerous, she’s fixated on it, and it’s so FRUSTRATING I can’t seem to help her move on.”

“You know I owe your mom a lot. Hope was always there to support me and to look out for me. I wouldn’t have known Justin and Jackie at all if it hadn’t been for her standing up for me. I wish I could do something.”

Alan-Michael turned suddenly furious. “Well, there isn’t! Not every thing in life can fall into place just because the GREAT Phillip Spaulding orders it to.”

“Whoa! Turn it down a notch. God if I could, (Phillip makes a click noise with his tongue) I’d change a lot of things. Don’t fall into the same trap I did. Don’t let your fear get control of your life. That cost me years! And it might cost you your daughter. (Click noise) I really meant I’d help if I could I’d be glad to visit Hope or you know, ask her to come and stay here. She can stay in the mansion or I’m sure Rick wouldn’t mind if she stayed here or in the garage apartment or we could buy her a condo. Being around family might be good for her.”

Alan-Michael looked for a minute like he might be willing to talk reasonably with Phillip, but then Danny came trotting in.

Danny asked, “Phillip, can I talk to you a minute?”

Alan-Michael flared up again. “Great! Just what we need. Another one of Dad’s pets. Have fun at your mutual admiration society. I’m out of here.” He stormed out looking for Lucy and Molly.

“What was that?”

“Alan-Michael. He’s all worked up. He just got back from a trip to see his mom, you know her Michelle’s cousin Hope. Apparently she’s not doing very well. She really hasn’t been overly well since Dad broke her heart. I think Alan-Michael is afraid he’ll lose her and he’s holding on too tight to Molly. I hope it works out. But you came in here for something.”

“Yes, I wanted to point out there is a woman here. She’s in a business suit with her hair pulled back. Have you seen her?”

“I’ve been busy, but I saw her a few times. Dressed like she was, she was pretty hard to miss. What about her?:

“Do you know who she is? Have you seen her before?”

“No, but that’s not unusual. You know today is an open house. There’s always people we don’t know.”

“I know, but there was something….off about her. I pointed her out to Frank and Ray, but I wanted to make sure you kept an eye on her, too.”

“OK, Danny. I trust your gut. Let’s take a look.” Phillip lead the way out to the patio.

Scene 31

The rider had one more stop before heading to the Bauers. He hadn’t been there in person since he was a toddler, but from the time Google Earth had come out he’d used it to go past this white church and into this cemetery. The clarity on Google Earth wasn’t good enough to pick out a particular grave, but his brother had told him where it was. He’d spent hours looking at it on various screens and now he was standing here in person. His eyes darted to the right and then he dropped to his knees. “Hello, Mom,” he whisphered.

Commercial Break

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.

Bauer BBQ 2017 by Robansuefarm Part 5

March 8, 2018

Author’s Note: We continue with the Bauer BBQ. There are more people around than I’ve specifically named. Feel free to mentally insert any favorite I’ve skipped. Feel free to write in what your fav is doing.

Bauer BBQ 2017 by Robansuefarm Part 5

Scene 16

“Everybody pay attention!” Lizzie called out, but she only got a few of the large crowd to listen. Despite the fact that Lily, her 3 year old daughter, snapped to attention where she was sitting in the “front row”, most of the crowd seemed unimpressed. In a minute, when nothing exciting happened Lily turned back to Karla, Christine’s 1 year old daughter, who Christine was holding. Lizzie had asked Remy and Christina to keep an eye on Lily while they did the games and asked Lily to help keep Karla entertained. A mission she was taking very seriously.

Bill came up behind Lizzie. “You just have to know how to do it.” He stuck to fingers in his mouth and let out a loud whistle followed by “HEY, LISTEN UP!…There you go, darling, you have the floor.” Bill quirked a smile at her and bowed.

Lizzie rolled her eyes and stepped forward. “OK folks! If you haven’t found them yet, we’ve got game equipment set up on that side of the patio and in the side yard. We’ve got horse shoes, corn hole, badminton, bocce ball, ladder toss, pretty much anything you can think of so try anything you want to….Try not to hit anybody though.”

Lizzie double checked her clipboard. “Today we are starting with a brand new team event! We’re going to have an ice cream race. We have two identical ice cream hand-crank ice cream churns, one with chocolate and one with vanilla, and the first one with solid enough ice cream to suit our judges… Buzz and Lillian raise your hands.”

Buzz grabbed Lillian’s hand he held both their hands up triumphantly and then dropped into an exaggerated bow.

“…the first one with ice cream solid enough to suit our judges wins. This is going to be a long race, hand churning ice cream takes awhile, so we’ll do the other races while this one keeps going on. The rules are simple we have two teams, Team Lewis and Team Bauer.”

She was interrupted here by hoots and cheers from the team members. She gave them her best ‘don’t mess with me I’m a mom look’ and they quieted down.

“Each family and anyone they want to designate as ‘family’ can churn for that team. However, someone has to be churning the entire time until somebody wins. We’re setting the churns up here by the pool so people churning can look out and not miss all the fun. If the churn is abandoned at any time during the race, that side forfeits. People can keep going as long as they want and can quit and have another turn later if they want. However, you can NOT churn for both sides and when somebody wins we all eat! So let’s get churning. Bill, you’re starting for Team Lewis.”

Bill walked over to the church and sat down. “Who’s starting for Team Bauer?”

Danny winked at Michelle. “That will be me. You’re going down, Lewis.”

“Want to bet, Santos?”

Lizzie interrupted. “On your mark, get set, churn!”


Scene 17

When people tired of watching churning, it is after all the type of race that is riveting watching only for so long, Lizzie called out the next event. “Time for the egg toss! Everybody grab a partner!”

Except for one unfortunate year, when they had split up in an ill conceived attempt to get Maureen and Clarissa’s brother Kevin hooked up, Maureen Reardon and Clarissa Marler were all time champions at the egg toss. They were paired up again this year, but always itching for good competition. Rusty grabbed Mindy for a partner, Matt got Vanessa to agree, Bridget and Kat teamed up. All told 10 teams lined up in two rows.

Michelle grabbed her husband, “Come on, Danny. Handling something like it was an egg? You’re in good practice this year.” Danny gave her his hands spread “what?” look, handed over the churning duty to Jude and followed her over.

Little Billy Lewis and Dani Santos got out first, somehow managing to both be covered with egg. Frankie Cooper had insisted her new friend Hamp join her and he showed himself to be a good sport when Frankie accidentally nailed him with an egg. She was so horrified that he may not want to be her friend anymore she grabbed him into the house to clean him up herself…which unfortunately meant that before Kat came looking for him he was a wet soggy mess and there were wet towels all over the kitchen. Luckily, Kat remembered the locations of both the downstairs linen closet and the laundry room, so got the mess cleaned up and new towels out before taking Hamp out to get him in fresh clothes and shooing Frankie back out to her father.

Maureen and Clarissa once again took top place, Bridget and Kat took second, and Michelle and Danny took third.


Scene 18

Leah and Dylan were churning away when Lizzie called time for the potato sack race. It was mostly for the kids, but a few adults raced too. Michelle picked up a potato sack, but Danny took it from her and handed it to Robbie. “I was GOING to hand it to him,” she defended.

Little Billy, Frankie, Hamp, Henry, Peyton, Emma, Sarah, and Hope lined up. A few of the other teenagers from around town joined in Lizzie stood at one end of the race and lined up all the racers and Bill stood at the other end holding one end of a ribbon and James on the other end.

Lizzie held up her hand and called out “On your mark, get set, go!” She dropped her hand and they jumped ahead.

Hope pulled out to an early lead, she was bigger and showed the determination she inherited from both her parents. Sarah and Emma were determined to keep up with her. Henry was determined not to be beat by a girl, but soon fell behind. Some of the teenagers they didn’t know pulled ahead, but then Hope found a burst of extra speed. Sarah stayed on her heels. Hope surged ahead again. Sarah’s bag suddenly got tangled up and she tripped and fell laughing. Emma dropped her bag and hurried over to make sure Sarah was OK. Hope didn’t see her fall and came in first, but people they didn’t know took second and third. With a look with just as much determination as Sarah had worn, Little Billy didn’t give up. He might have been last, but he finished the entire course. He would win another year.

Scene 19

Bridget took over for the Bauer churn from Leah so she could race, which meant Dylan couldn’t quit before she did even though he had been churning longer.

Lizzie called, “Everyone for the three legged race!” This race was more for the adults and they lined up to race.

Phillip and Rick paired up, Danny and Ray, Mel and Leah, and Remy and Cyrus all made teams. LTA decided that since Hope had won the potato sack race that Emma and Sarah would be the team for this one. Clarissa and Maureen teamed up again, but the egg toss was really more their event. The teams were filled out with the college students, including Kevin and Jason.

It was a very close race, but it was too hard to beat two young, muscular twins. Kevin and Jason took the prize with Remy and Cyrus coming next.

“No fair! They get all that practice running chasing criminals!” Rick heckled.

Emma and Sarah took third.

Scene 20

Michelle yelled for everyone’s attention. “Hey everybody! I’m sure you all know Katie Parker Reed, she’s the head nurse in the rehabilitation wing at Cedars. Her husband, John Reed, is the head basketball coach at Springfield U. We just had a great discussion over lunch and she’s had a great idea!”

Katie stepped to the center of attention and with the “I was at one of the early big party versions of the BBQ back in the early 80s. Maureen and Ed had a Hawaiian theme that year and had a fun men versus women contest.” The crowd hooted. “It was a tug of war!” More hoots. “And I just happen to have brought a Tug of War rope!”  She raised it above her head. “Let’s pull over the pool. First one to pull someone from the other group into the pool wins.”

Applause broke out as men and women emptied their pockets of electronics and then rushed over to find a place on the rope.

Michelle called out louder than anyone and moved to take the position closest the pool. “You coming, Lewis?” she called.

Danny sprang out of his chair. “That’s it! THAT IS IT!” He stormed over to Michelle. “You have been pushing it all day today and I have HAD IT!” He swept her up in his arms and carried her back into the house. “We need to talk.”

Scene 21

The rider gunned it past the green Entering Springfield sign. Coming in on the bluffs on one side of town, he pulled over on an overlook. Unbeknownst to him he was very near the former location of Casa Santos on the river bluffs on the other side of the river from Skyline Drive where the Spaulding Mansion and the Bauer House were located. He looked out over the town where he had no memories. “I should know this town, I OUGHT to have memories everywhere here.” He spotted the lights of the football field for the high school. “I SHOULD have gone to school there and I would have, if it hadn’t been for HIM.” He pulled back on to the highway and gunned it on in to town. He’d been seeing him soon.

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.

Bauer BBQ 2017 Prequel Take 3

March 3, 2018

Author’s Note: I told you I got an early start on my Bauer BBQ fanfic and it’s just gorgeous if I do say so myself. I started out with a prequel which I’m republishing below. This includes several bits of information that will be valuable in understanding the Bauer BBQ 2017 fanfic. Can you pick them out?

My general rule is that I try to keep within the end game rules set up by the finale (even if Rusty-Mindy and Abby-Rick are SO much better couples) and not to counterdict anything we last heard about them. I have not included the happily alive Marony that you can find at I Believe in the Mystery, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t around. See the translation notes at the end of the story.

A Certain Night in March 2017 by Robansuefarm

Michelle Bauer Santos quietly slipped into her and Danny’s bedroom. She reached to her right and using the dimmer switch turned on the light in the walk-in closet/dressing room to her left letting a soft, low light spill out its door and into the bedroom. It was enough to easily move, but not as stark if it turned on the overhead. They had carefully designed the room lighting that way. While their schedules were more in sync than they had been when Danny was working in his clubs, there will still times when one or the other needed to be up at odd times and they didn’t want to disrupt the other’s sleep.

Moving quietly not to wake her sleeping husband, she toed off her high heels and flexed her feet and rolled her shoulders with a soft sigh. She padded over to the closet taking off her suit jacket and hanging it up.

A deep breath came from darkened bedroom as her husband woke and sat up. As he raised up the sheet fell away revealing his bare chest. He rubbed his face in his hands and drew up his legs to rest his crossed arms and chin on them.

Michelle stepped back into the bedroom. She reached down and picked up the high heels to put them away. “I’m sorry I woke you up. I was trying to be quiet….since you didn’t see the need to wait up.”

“Hey missy, a father of three has to grab sleep when he can. Besides I’d rather save my being awake for when you are home. Did you lock the garage door and the house door again as you came in? I double checked everything before I came up.”

“Of course I did. Danny, how many years have we done this?”

“Not as many as I want and keeping you and the kids safe is how I’ll get a lot more years. I always have this fear that the time I don’t ask will be the time you forget too and someone gets in.”

“I understand.”

“How did the suicide prevention board meeting go?”

Michelle rolled her eyes. “Alright I guess. If Becca would ever learn to let go of….It was the right decision to fold the hotline we had with Harley’s Angels into the main suicide hotline, but it was nice when it was just Bill and me making decisions. Board meetings can be frustrating.”

Danny grinned. “I know how hard it can be taking a position when you’re used to being in charge…harder than it looks isn’t it?”

Michelle stuck her tongue out at him before ducking back into the changing room to put the shoes away. “I miss working on the phones too. It felt like I was doing more.”

“Michelle, keeping the lights on is even more important. You know you really don’t have the time or emotion to spare right now, but I’m sure you’ll get back to it once we’re empty nesters.”

Michelle stepped back in to the bedroom unbuttoning her skirt and shimming out of it, before picking it up to hang it up too. “I suppose. I hope I’m doing enough to honor Ben.”

Danny got out of bed and clad only in his boxers moved around the bed and wrapped his arms around her from behind. His body protectively spooned around her as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Dropping his lips to her ear. “Ben needed more help than you could have given him, Michelle. You are making sure to make time to stop other people from getting that far gone and pushing them to the help they need. I’m sure Ben is looking down at you and is just as proud of you as I am.” Danny’s hands moved up her torso to unbutton her blouse.

For a minute Michelle burrowed into his arms. “Thank you,” she said and then stepped out of the blouse letting it in his arms. She reached back in picking up the nightgown she’d put on top of the bureau inside the door and crossed the bedroom to their bathroom. “Put that in the dry cleaning bag, will you, please?”

Danny chuckled and went to stick the blouse in the bag. He moved over so he could see Michelle in the bathroom as he leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. He watched Michelle as she went through her nightly ritual getting ready for bed. She cleaned off her makeup, moisturized her face, brushed out her hair, brushed her teeth, etc. As she worked she glanced at Danny.

“So how was your evening con sus ninos?” *

“It was great like it always is with the world’s best dad. I took them out to Little Havana.”

“You got your Arroz y Pollo?” *

“You bet. Robbie got some too. He wants to be just like his old man.”

Michelle paused in her routine to smile at her husband. “He couldn’t do any better. I worry sometimes though. He is our son and I think we were both getting into more trouble than he does at 16.”

“Robbie is more serious and stable than we were. I know we did our best to protect him, but there was a lot of both stability and instability when he was growing up before we moved to California. I think he values stability more than we did. Besides he’s got Jude for a cousin and best friend. He values stability too, they aren’t going to be knocking things over.”

“So you don’t think he’s going to show our spirit and fire?”

“Oh, I’m sure he will, just as soon as he finds the right girl.”

“You don’t think that’s Sarah or Clarissa?”

“Too soon to tell. It could be either or maybe there’s a fireball female out there just waiting to come charging into his life.” Danny grinned at his wife. “I think it’s just a matter of time.”

Michelle rolled her eyes at him. “And how was Hope?”

“She had her usual – a pressed ham sandwich, black beans, and rice.”


“The science club she started with Sarah and Emma met today. They are still working on their energy from algae project over in the Spaulding greenhouse.”

“Any positive results?”

“Not yet, but Sarah had a suggestion and Hope has sketched out a new plan to test it. She’s really excited about it.”

“I hope it works out. And what about Danielle?”

“I got a couple of bites down her of Arroz y Pollo before she absolutely refused to eat anymore and I had to break down and get her a grilled cheese sandwich…. Apparently she and Little Billy wrecked havoc on their play date. It seems they decided to make their own tree-house and instead of getting a ladder they piled up a bunch of chairs and boxes and put an ironing board on top of that. She was halfway up it before Bill caught them.”

Michelle stopped dead. “She’s OK? Neither of them fell?”

“Nope, Bill got them down and we’ve BOTH had a word with them. We’ll help them build a tree-house clubhouse, but NO more improvised ladders.” Danny walked over and shut off the light in the dressing room and then headed back to the bed.

“I should hope not.”

Michelle emerged from the bathroom nightly regiment done wearing one of her favorite silky nightgowns. “Then you over ate on flan?”

“What else is flan for?”

“Giving you a reason to burn off calories.” Standing on tiptoe, Michelle wrapped her arms around her husband to pull him into a steamy kiss.

“Hello, my beautiful wife.”

“Hello, my perfect husband.”

They both laughed as they fell together on the bed.

*con sus ninos = with our children

*rice and chicken

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.

Children of Springfield 2017 Take 2 Again

March 2, 2018

Back in 2014 before I could really dig into my Manny Bauer BBQ fanfic for the year I had to stop and figure out what children would be running around and how old they would be now. Sadly it’s been awhile now since we’ve seen any of them.  I decided to share because I thought this might be helpful for anyone wanting to write a “present day” Springfield story. I’m especially looking for any Bauer BBQ fanfic of any couple, any era and I’m making myself a challenge to at least get the start of one done by July 1st, so I’m challenging you as well. And don’t worry, this year I have the Manny part of the plot figured out so I just have to decide what other people are doing around them. I think it needs to be an annual post to keep us all on the same Guiding Light page. I already did an update for 2017.

However, I worked on this year’s Bauer BBQ fanfic I realized that there either was a dearth of children if I brought back former characters and they didn’t have children since none were mentioned on screen or I had to add some kids to this. I’ve redone the list of kids below. I’ve bolded the names of the children who were actually born on the show. Most of these added characters won’t have much role in this story or developed personalities, but I want them here to at least serve as placeholders and to make sure the population of Springfield doesn’t shrink that much.

In the previous post I shared some of my reasoning and notes to show my work and let it stand for possible addition and corrections. Read the last one for more details on how I came up with this list.

Below you’ll find a list in reverse chronological order with the changes from my 2015 list marked with an *. Please note these are often rough calculations and any of them could be subject to SORAS at any given time. Personally I like to watch kids grow up on screen, so I won’t be SORASing.

There could be any number of other children around, any number of other people that we had lost track of on screen or since 2009. These are children that are reasonable to assume are around. I’ll gladly take suggestions of others. I’ve previously stuck to the ones on screen and they are shown in bold, but I’ve also added  short explanations or reminders who they are.

So here is my list. I’m probably missing people. Let me know who else you think should be included. Whether these children would actually be around town or not is, of course, up to you and how you plot your story.

In reverse chronological order, the current children of Springfield:

Karla Boudreau, 1 – Christine and Remy daughter. They waited until they were settled and I picked the age from Christine’s actress’ The Bold and Beautiful‘s character’s daughter in hopes of getting some usable photos. I named her after Christine’s actress.

Elizabeth Lillian “Lily” Lewis, 3 – the daughter of Bizzie, at the 2014 Bauer BBQ we didn’t know Lizzie was pregnant so she was born after that.

Danielle “Dani” Meta Santos, 6 – the daughter of Manny, she was previously announced at the end of Springfield Bound and appeared in Bauer BBQ 2014.

H.B. Lewis IV, 7 – Son of Bizzie as announced on show

Francesca Cooper, 7 – Daughter of Frank Cooper and Natalia Aitoro as announced on the show

Hampton “Hamp” Frazier, 7 – Kat Speakes kid, see note under Paul James Frazier, Jr. below.

Henry Cooper Lewis, 8 – Bio child of Shayne Lewis and adopted son of Marina Cooper

Colin O’Neill, 9 – Child of Reva Shayne Lewis O’Neill and Jeffery O’Neill

Peyton Spaulding, 9 – daughter of Beth Raines Spaulding and Alan Spaulding

Emma Spencer Spaulding, 11 – bio daughter of Olivia Spencer and Philip Spaulding, adopted daughter of Natalia Aitoro

Sarah Randall, 11 – daughter of Jonathan Randall and Lizzie Spaulding Lewis.

Hope Maureen Santos, 12 – daughter of Michelle Bauer and Danny Santos

Leah Bauer, 15 – Daughter of Rick Bauer and Mel Boudereau Foley

“Robbie” Robert Frederico Santos, 16 – son of Michelle Bauer and Danny Santos

Jude Bauer, 16 – son of Rick Bauer and Harley Cooper

Clarissa Marler, 17* – daughter of Blake Thorpe and Ross Marler

Paul James Frazier, Jr. , 17 – After my recent discovery of the triad of Veterans from the 1960s, I wanted to involve them in the Bauer BBQ. There wasn’t anybody who really connected with them anymore, but there was a reference to Jim and Martha Frazier having two kids – no mention of which sex. I decided that they’d have named a son after his best friend and army buddy Paul Fletcher, so the son’s name would be Paul James Frazier. I thought somehow Kat Speaks might have married him and they’d name their son as a second.

Zach Spaulding, 18 – son of Phillip Spaulding and Harley Cooper

Molly Spaulding, 18 – Molly is the daughter of Alan-Michael and Lucy Spaulding. I based her on Rick Hearst’s General Hospital character’s daughter, so I can use photos of the two of them.

Rocky Bradshaw Cooper, 19* – son of Jezz

Maureen Reardon, 20 – daughter of Vanessa Chamberlain Lewis and Matt Reardon

Kevin Marler, 21* – son of Blake Thorpe and Ross Marler

Jason Marler, 21* – son of Blake Thorpe and Ross Marler

Placeholder who is big reveal, 23 – Stay tuned

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.

Manny Fanfiction Update Jan 2018

January 31, 2018

So if you’re wondering what’s up with the fanfiction…

When the blog is cooking with gas besides my informational posts I post a chapter of a fanfic. I haven’t been doing that for the last few months because I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the blog. I’ve been putting the time I did have for it in normal posts and in working on my Bauer BBQ.

I’ve also been slowed down because I’ve been trying to do some organizing. I’ve been going through my republished blog posts and creating a landing page with a description of the story and links to all the chapters. The early fanfic chapter I republished I didn’t edit as I went through and I’ve decided I need to fix them. That means I have to edit quite a few chapters before I have a summary post ready to go.

So I hope you’ll continue to be patient as I continue to work on it.

Stories from You

I can can use some help from you. Since Proctor and Gamble aren’t giving us new stories we have to come up with our own. If my example shows anything, it’s that if you’re not writing full time it takes you awhile to write a story. So get started on yours now. I’m looking for Manny, of course, but I’ll also be more than happy to have other Guiding Light fanfic to publish. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a perfect time to do a one-shot, one scene short fanfic for your favorite couple. GO! ♥

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 8

August 29, 2017

Republisher’s Note: We finally reach the very end so far of the story from The Mob’s Cardinal. I’m sorry there isn’t more.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 8

“This house seems bigger than the house plans. Do you think the builder misinterpreted the square footage?”

Sipping on his second cup of coffee, Danny had grown accustomed to listening to Michelle with one ear and responding at the right moment to her question. “Michelle, you saw every stage of the house being built. The house hasn’t changed in size from the pouring of the foundation to the time when the moving van moved us back to Springfield. Don’t tell me that you miss the cozy condo in Philly?”

Smiling at her husband’s intuitiveness, “We did out grow the condo but it was very convenient to the hospitals where I worked. It was home away from home to Gabby, Bethany and Pascal. They had a park close by to provide hours of entertainment, the Schuylkill River outside their windows and the ever convenient corner ice cream shop.” Taking the Saturday morning paper out of Danny’s hand, Michelle sat down on his right leg. Stroking the dark curls with one of her fingers, “I miss the city living. Laurel Falls is farther out from Springfield than I would like for the children to be. Saturdays are crazy with our schedules. We have soccer games for the boys, theater rehearsals for Bethany Joy with dance lessons thrown in addition to getting the right son at the right field for a game. Maybe, we made the wrong decision in building the perfect home. The lake house was where we always came back to when we visited Springfield.”

“Michelle, Michelle! the lake house had been remodeled when you and I met, it wasn’t feasible to alter the house again to suit our growing family; besides it gave Ray a sanctuary to escape to when we were in Philly.”

Looking at the view of the waterfalls from his chair at the kitchen table, “You can’t tell me that this view doesn’t take your breath away in the morning sunrise with the light beams bouncing off the water to create a prism. So what is wrong?”

“Danny, it isn’t anything wrong but what is right. My babies are growing up and I miss having a little one to hold in my arms. I never thought I would consider having another baby after Lance Pascal was born. My residency, private practice as short lived as it was; opened the door for me to do pediatric research.”

Kissing Danny on his forehead, “I have had it all, but the job that I liked the best was being the mother to your children. Danny, you are aware that Father Ray and I meet every Thursday.”

“Ray, God bless his soul has listened to me mumble and grumble over a house. Anyway, last week, Ray being the good Catholic Father told me that I should fill it with Santos children.”

Swallowing another sip of the hot coffee, “Ray has good intentions but how do you feel, Michelle?”

Michelle intertwined her fingers in with Danny’s fingers. “Bethany has begged for a sister to even the count and Lance Pascal has joined in the petition in the past. The house has many rooms that are never used and only see me when I give them a dusting and a promise, but it was built for a time in the future when our children have children.”

“I wanted the house to be big to accommodate their visits and a gathering place. Carmen’s house is a cold museum. She spends more time here and at Pilar and Bill’s home in Chicago than she does at Casa Santos. Abuella is content to stay at the villa in Puerto Rico with her arthritis but when she travels back to the USA, this is where she stays.”

“Honey, we have two preteens and another son that are involved in their specific activity that reflects their talents. Having another baby would please me but we would be starting over with wet diapers, breast feeding and lots of sleepy nights for the next two years.”

The banging noise coming from the laundry room turned their attention to Bethany standing with her ballet shoes in her hand. “Mom, I forgot to tell you but I broke the ribbon off my toe shoes. Can we go downtown early this morning? I apologize for listening in the laundry room but my friends love to come to visit me here at Laurel Falls and please get busy and do what ever it is that you do and make a baby sister or brother. I vote for a sister. Uncle Ray is right, this house laughs when we are all here.”

Slipping off Danny’s legs, “Yes, we can go into the city early to buy new toe shoes or get them repaired. The other subject is up for debate, if I become pregnant and that is a big “IF”. The baby will add joy and stress to our already busy lives.  We are all busy.Your father has his offices in Springfield and San Juan. I have a major research project going on with the NIH in Washington, DC and then the normal life of three active children going in multiple directions.”

“Mom, I know that you can do it because we have Mommy Olga to help us. Please, pretty please with sugar on top.”

“Bethany Joy Santos, can you go back upstairs and make sure that your brothers are up and getting showers. Your Daddy has made his special waffle mix and we have fresh strawberries from the garden.”

Bethany banging on Pascal’s door and the quiet pecking on Gabriel’s door followed the clacking sound of feet running up the steps. “Bethany is respectful of how she approaches Gabriel in the morning but with Pascal, she is always ‘Here I am in your face.'”

Laying the paper on the table, Danny stood and walked to the kitchen counter where he turned the waffle iron setting down to medium. “Honey, Gabby and Bethany still have their own special communication. Gabby is the quiet leader and Bethany, well, she is vivacious and isn’t afraid to speak what is on her mind. And Pascal has been playing catch-up since he was born with the twins. It is purely sibling dynamics at work.”

“Gabriel and Pascal were downstairs in the basement late last night building a model airplane. Bethany isn’t interested in the project but she was down there with a new CD pleading with Gabriel to be her dance partner. Thirty minutes later, she is upstairs in her room making plans to go to the mall with her girl friends to see a new Star Wars movie.”

“Danny, I don’t see anything unusual about BJ’s flitting from dancing in the recreation room with Gabby to meeting up with her girlfriends to see the movie.” Pausing to express her thought carefully, “Bethany is going to be the child that is going to require us to be one step ahead of her.”

“So you are telling me that she is like her mother. Maybe Ray can find her a nice convent to live in for the next several years. I’m not ready for Bethany to move to the full-blown teenage scene. When Bethany got home; she went immediately to Gabriel’s room and they talked for hours about the new space characters and special affects. It seems to me that when it is just the two of them, she is on equal footing and when Pascal is added to their mix; Bethany will compete for Gabriel’s attention.” Michelle placed the plates in the warming oven while pondering Danny’s observation.

“They aren’t identical twins, but it appears to be more of a girl-boy development issues. Gabriel has always liked the toy objects for building and anything with wheels. Bethany preferred Barbie Dolls and crafts with art. They are both musical and the three all love to read.” Leaning her head on Danny’s chest, “They have the same love of books as you do.”

“Danny, why don’t you start the waffles and I’ll pour the Orange juice. I think today is a good day for a little mother and daughter talk. Lance Pascal is so accepting of their behavior, but I can see the boys beginning to want to do their thing and Bethany struggling to understand that her twin brother is growing more independent of her.”

“Michelle, the bond between Gabby and Bethany is stronger than ever. Bethany goes to Gabby quicker than she comes to us. They still operate in unison. Bethany and Gabby welcomed Pascal into their world from the beginning. They are all close, which is good; Mick and I were close once, but we didn’t connect like our three children have done.”

In the background, Danny heard the phone ringing. “Can you pick up, Michelle?”

“Good morning, Dr. Bauer-Santos speaking.” Handing the receiver to Danny, “It is your lawyer, Mr. Stewart in Philadelphia.”

“Is this personal or family business?” Listening and lifting a golden brown waffle from the skillet, Danny smiled. “No, it’s not going to be a problem….Consider it a graduation gift to Paul. Maria stays in the lower level of the villa and I will give her a call to warn her of his visit. Better yet, I can get Abuela to come here for a visit while Paul and his buddies take a vacation there…..Has he decided to move to New York City? It is where the acting action is happening…..I hope that he is successful in finding work…. If he needs help finding a job to support himself, I have connections to a few restaurants where the waiters make great tips……Our family is well. Michelle and I were just hashing over the pro and con benefits of living in the country. Bethany Joy has the cultural interests and we are in the city frequently for ballet lessons and theater rehearsals. Gabby and Pascal have soccer and swim practice, which requires flat fields and indoor swimming pools. Here at Laurel Falls, we are on the low end of having any nearby.” Hanging up the phone and resuming the business at hand, Danny loaded the waffles on the five plates.

Pascal was the first to join his parents at the kitchen table. “I could smell the waffles cooking upstairs.” Pouring the warm Vermont maple syrup from the bluestone pitcher, “We have the best breakfasts on Saturday mornings. May I please have the strawberries?”

“Certainly Pascal, and you have the nicest manners.”

“Oh Mom, you always try to embarrass me.”

Reaching over to ruffle his long curls, “I know two boys that are in great need of a visit to the hair salon.”

“Nay, Gabby and I like our hair longer just like Pap.”

“Is it hot when you play soccer?”

“It’s hot either way but it keeps my head warm in the winter. I hate to wear hats, you get the hat rings on the hair. It isn’t cool to wear hats to school here in Springfield.”

Michelle tapped Pascal on his shoulder. “Do the kids tease a lot at school?”

“No, they don’t bother me. Everyone knows that I am Gabby Santos’s baby brother and he will protect me on the playground.”

Sitting down next to Pascal’s chair, Michelle prodded Pascal for more information. “Have the boys been picking fights with you and Gabby?”

“Oh Mom, it goes with the territory when we first moved back and being the new kids at school. There is always a bully, but Gabby was well liked at the school and it doesn’t hurt to have Father Ray as an uncle.”

Michelle smiled at Pascal’s answer. “So Gabby charmed the bully?”

“Yea Mom, something like that and all the boys have crushes on Bethany Joy.”

“Speaking of Gabby, was Gabby out of the shower before you came down the steps?”

“He was packing the soccer bag for the game today….Mom, can I invite RJ and David to come over after the game today for a sleep over? I checked your calendar before asking and I didn’t see any of Bethany or Gabby’s friends written down.”

Glancing up to meet her husband’s eyes, Michelle winked at Danny. “Pascal, do I need to call their parents to verify that the sleep over is OK? We all go to church at 8AM. Mass.”

“Mom, their parents are cool with RJ and David coming out here to our house. Everybody knows and has heard the rumors about Papa’s business. It is no big deal; I told them that Daddy is a secret agent for Interpol.”

Danny almost choked on the bite of waffle in his mouth after hearing Pascal’s version of the crime syndicate business. “Pascal, I appreciate your support but telling the white lie isn’t good. I’m really a secret FBI agent.”

“Pap, that is what Gabby tells his friends. It makes sense to me and his friends aren’t scared to come here to visit. Bethany Joy and Gabby have lots of friends at the middle school. RJ and David are nice and we all are on the same soccer team. Besides, I told them that my Mom makes the best lasagna in the world. Can we have it tonight for dinner?”

“Hum…I’m sure that we can have the family favorite tonight. Why don’t you go and call the boys and tell them to bring their swimming suits when they come. I know that your father and I are glad that you are making friends in Springfield.”

“Honey, can I get you another cup of coffee?” Michelle poured the hot coffee in the almost empty mug. Danny’s arm wrapped around the tiny waist of his wife and with the free hand, he caught Michelle’s hand in his hand. Bringing the hand up to his lips, “You knew this day was coming.”

“I thought you had talked to Gabriel and Bethany Joy about the La Familia.”

“I have but from what I heard from Pascal; Gabby has a safe story to fall back on at school.”

“Danny, my Pascal is too young to hear the truth. I don’t want him to hear the truth till he is old enough to understand both sides of the business. The family was safe in Philadelphia; our last name wasn’t prejudged there. Did we make a mistake by coming back to live in Springfield? Have I put my children in the crosshairs of a society that can harm them?”

With Michelle’s chin locked in his hands, “I promise you that all the business here in Springfield is legit. That is all you need to know. Our children will prove themselves to Springfield’s society. Gabby is charming and Bethany Joy is the rising new society teen that is doomed to break many young men’s heart.” Kissing Michelle on the tip of her nose, “We couldn’t have written a better chapter in their lives. All of our work has bought us to where we are now.”

“Michelle, Carmen raised her family in a close family unit behind walls of security. Yes, we have bodyguards and security, but it is what anyone would do if they are wealthy. Our children attend Catholic schools and are engaged in public activities. We have given them a normal life if there is such a thing as a normal life. The business has never touched their lives.”

“Michelle, I think it is time for me to take the kids down to San Cristobel for a quick trip to pick up Abuela. Mr. Stewart’s oldest son and a few friends are going to use the villa for a couple of weeks. It might be a good time to see what is going on in their heads away from Springfield. Plus, I want to make sure that Paul Stewart takes care of the villa while my grandmother is away. A little face to face meeting won’t hurt to check out the situation.”

“How long will you stay, Danny?”

“It will be an in and out one day trip.”


Three weeks later, Danny sitting in the pilot sit settled the leer jet wheels down on the tarmac at the International Airport in San Juan. In his heart and mind, he felt the surge of warm memories rising up. He was back where he belonged. The fleet of black Mercedes waiting in the parking lot had increased over the years. The family hotel and casino business had multiplied tenfold. The big spenders received all the niceties after dropping their wealth on the gambling tables thus enriching the bank accountants of the Santos Empire in Puerto Rico. At the bottom of the steps stood the five bodyguards with his aging grandmother. The grand matriarch, Maria still insisted on coming to the airport to meet her grandson and his children.

Resting in her wheelchair, she greeted Pascal, Bethany Joy and finally Gabby. “Gabriel Santos, the oldest great grandson and the heir to the Family. I think the Saints of Santos for allowing me to see my great-grandchildren grow up in my old age.”

Danny squatted down to meet the light dancing in the hard old eyes of a woman that he greatly respected. “Abuela, it is good to see you in good health. Michelle sends her love and is happy that you can visit with us in our home in Springfield. Have the guests arrived at the villa?”

Lifting her hand to point up to an imaginary living space being occupied by the young adults, “They are very quiet and the young man was polite and introduced his friends after they arrived. They bought back many memories of a time when you and Mick were the making of many headaches for Miguel and Carmen.” Raising her eyes to scan the steps and as far as she could observe inside the jet, “Michelle didn’t make the trip? This is a first!”

Pascal stepped forward to answer his great- grandmother. “Mom was coming, but at the last minute she decided it was too much. Mom preferred to stay at home and recuperate.”

Danny wrapped his arm around his younger son’s small shoulders, “Maria, you have your answer.”

Checking his gold wristwatch and making the time adjustment, “Let’s get to the villa and see the young Mr. Stewart. He should be up by now.” The lead bodyguard informed Danny that the college crowd had returned to the villa by 4am. “Abuela did you hear them coming in this morning?”

“No, but you must remember that I take my hearing aids out of my ears when I retire for the night.”

Waiting patiently out of respect for the old woman, Santana spoke in Danny’s ear. “They were quiet as a church mouse.”

“Good, the words that I wanted to hear.”

Danny and Maria watched the next generation run down the rocky steps to the white beach below the marble balcony. “Abuela, everything is changing. It use to be, Michelle and me running down the steps; then it was Michelle and me with Gabby and Bethany Joy. Now, I’m here observing with my grandmother.” Sipping the Sangria, Danny placed his tan hand over the crippled hand of a woman that he loved and adored. “Michelle is expecting again! We haven’t told Pascal. Michelle wants to do it at the right time.”

Turning the tiny wheel in her hearing aid to adjust the volume, “Pascal has always been special to Michelle as you were to Carmen. He is very attached to his mother and Michelle to him. It is for all the right reasons. I’ve observed his mannerisms. Pascal has the right mentality and fortitude to be the next leader of the Santos family. I’ve watched Gabriel and Pascal grow up. Gabby is too sensitive and influenced by Bethany. I tell you, Pascal is a natural born leader.”

Bending down to kiss the tips of her now crippled fingers from the progressing arthritis, Danny ignored Maria’s apparent approval and selection of Pascal. “Pascal’s disposition is more like Michelle than any of our children. The business world that you and my grandfather knew is in constant change. Our business is too big for one to handle. When I’m ready to step aside, I want my sons in an equal partnership; there will be plenty to share.”

“But Danny,” Caressing Danny’s hand in hers, “There has to be a go to man and I’m telling you that it is Pascal.”

Rising back up to the standing position, Danny heard the laughing voices of the three below in the water. “I will see which one is ready for the challenge.”

“I see. Michelle still rules your heart and mind. She has influenced your thinking for a long time. I am an old woman and going to die soon, but before my coffin is lowered down to my final resting place; I want to breathe my last breath with the knowledge that the Santos name is respected here and in the USA.” Requesting her promise in Spanish, “Please do me that honor!”

“Abuela, the child that Michelle is carrying might possess your genes and Carmen’s. I think this conversation is over. I want to catch up with Paul Stewart. I want to re-enforce my presence here with the young man.”

Back inside the villa, Danny took the white marble steps two at a time till reaching the landing on the main level. The aroma from the fresh brewing coffee coming from the coffee maker was a good sign. Someone was up and Danny was betting that it was the young Stewart. Walking to the kitchen cabinet that housed the coffee mugs, Danny selected one and reached for the coffee carafe. After pouring the mug full of the hot caffeine beverage, Danny sat down on the high cushioned stool to await the appearance of a living, moving body. Giving the family room a thorough checking with his observant eyes, he was pleased and satisfied at the neatness.

The quietness of the villa was interrupted with the sound of bare feet walking on squeaking clean marble steps. The cordial greeting followed, “Mr. Santos, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Danny pushed the swivel chair around to face the college graduate. “I’m here on business and to retrieve my grandmother. I thought it might be less stressful for you and your guests if she wasn’t here. Just saying hello and goodbye. We are all leaving by 8PM and the entire villa will be yours to enjoy. Oh, I should warn you that my children are down on the beach taking advantage of the quick trip here. In case you hear the sound of young voices, it will be them.”

Paul smiled a sigh of relief when he comprehended the meaning behind the presence of his father’s boss in the villa. Extending his left hand to Danny, “I want to thank you for your generosity. I promised my father that we would leave the villa cleaner than we found it, but the place was spotless when we arrived. I have a good bunch of my friends here and we are having a blast. We were out late last night in San Juan; so everyone is sleeping in this morning.” Stroking his full head of dark curls, “Where are my manners? Have you had breakfast? I can make a mean cheese omelet.”

For what seemed like an eternity, Paul waited for an answer from his father’s boss. Danny took another long sip of coffee before dumping the remaining coffee in the sink. “Thanks for the coffee, I don’t think that I will see you again before I leave going back to Springfield. Oh to be young again and full of energy. Take care. The young ladies of Puerto Rico are beauties, but you don’t have to wear yourself out in two weeks.”

Paul rolled his head back and chuckled a short giggle, “Yea, I understand there are lots of them from what I have seen out at night at the clubs.” Thanking Danny Santos again for the generosity, Paul walked Danny out the open French doors to the poolside. With the final parting words, Danny Santos left Paul Stewart in charge of the Santos villa.

After Danny left, Paul decided on a quick plunge into the deep end of the pool to refresh his body. Grabbing the suntan lotion, Paul liberally applied the white solution to his body before lying down on the out stretched beach towel. The Caribbean sun beat down on his burning bare chest and face forcing the young college graduate to roll over to the comfort of his stomach. The sound below the pool was the voices of two young boys playing catch with a baseball, the all American summer sport. The splashing sound of someone diving in the pool and the pleasant sudden spray of water falling on his body startled Paul. “What in the hell!” With his startle reflex in high gear, the handsome young man stood up immediately to see which of his college friends had invaded his world. Expecting a male face to surface out of the water, Paul was taken back to see the pretty preteen face of a young girl resurface at the edge of the pool where he stood. “Hey brat, it isn’t cool to scare the sheer-crap out of someone when they are trying to sleep.”

Bethany was shocked at the lecture that she was getting from the young stranger standing above her. Voicing her irritation back, “I’m sorry but I didn’t see anyone before I dove into the pool. I wanted to rinse the salt water off my body before I went inside and took a shower. Besides, this is our villa! Who are you?”

“Ah huh, you are Bethany Joy Santos, I bet. You don’t remember me? We met once about…” counting back the years” years ago in my father’s office in Philly. You and your twin brother had started kindergarten. My father is one of your father’s legal advisers. I’m Paul Stewart.”

Reaching down with both hands, Paul pulled the petite girl from the swimming pool. On the deck of the pool, Paul caught himself staring at the teen girl with the big dark pupils. Bethany felt the intense eyes of the man called Paul resting on her body. “May I use your towel, I can get another one for you out of the laundry closet?”

“Sure”, picking up his towel, Paul handed it to her.

“I’m full of apologizes, but I don’t remember meeting you back then but Pap has mentioned Mr. Stewart often.” Wiping the water from her body, “Pap has loaned the villa to you as a graduation present. He said you are going to be an actor and live in New Your City!”

Smiling at her excitement, “Yes, I’m leaving for NYC after I get back from this trip. I’m going to try my luck in the big apple and see what develops. Are you a young budding actress?”

Taking a deep breath, ” Kind of but my dream is to be a ballet dancer.”

Paul tried to control his eyes while at the same time; his eyes followed the outline of the female figure. The wet turquoise tankini top clearly showed the growth of her youthful breasts with the hardened nipples standing out at full attention. His eyes were drawn to the young face standing innocently in front of him. The picture inside the villa flashed in his mind and he wanted to explain what he felt was inappropriate behavior to Mr. Santos’s daughter. “There is a wedding picture inside the villa of your mother and father. I can’t get over the remarkable resemblance of you to your mother.”

Grinning a broad smile of pride, “I hear that often from Pap and Uncle Bill.”

Bethany handed the wet towel back to Paul. Thank you for the use of the towel but I had better get inside and get a shower. Pap gave us specific instructions to stay in Abuela’s living quarters. I’m the one that has over stepped the boundaries. Good luck in NYC! Maybe I’ll see you someday on Broadway when I finish growing up!”

Clutching the towel in one hand, “I hope it won’t take that long to get a role in a play on Broadway. Keep dancing, I may see you perform with a famous ballet company.”

Unbeknown to either, Danny Santos had watched the entire encounter from the gatehouse security screens. Bethany had handled herself well. What bothered Danny was the new manifestation of watching Bethany Joy with the opposite sex. He uncrossed his arms and walked down the rocky steps to join the two boys on the beach. Halfway down the flight of steps, Danny glanced back up to the lower balcony and swimming pool. Paul wasn’t in sight. The encounter was innocent. Stewart’s twenty-one year old son was only talking to his twelve year old daughter. Danny couldn’t wipe out the image that he saw on the security screen. He saw Paul admiring his daughter’s body.

Stepping off the last step into the sand, Danny signaled the two boys to join him for a swim out to the white anchored sailboat in the cove. “I’ll race you out to the boat and the last one there is a dirty stinking pirate with a bottle of rum.” With a portion of the race completed, Danny felt a hand touching and then tugging at his ankle. Gabby was giving his father a true race, which instantly caused Danny to turn on the afterburners to remain in the lead by less than a half body length. Danny touched the ladder first by edging out Gabby’s hand by inches. Gasping for air to fill his hurting lungs, Danny saw Pascal finish barely a body length behind his father. “Oh Pascal, is the dirty pirate with a bottle of rum! I guess we have to let the dirty pirate go up the ladder first and give us permission to board the “The Santos Cove.” Pascal took the hint and ascended the ladder first followed by Gabby then Danny.

“Don’t tell Michelle that you almost beat your father today! Your mother will be impressed that you have one of her many talents. She is a great swimmer. Did I ever tell you about the night that she was mad at me and wanted to swim across the lake to the lighthouse?”

Pascal laughed at the mention of the night swim. “Mom must have really been mad at you to try swimming that far at night.”

Patting his son on the knee, “Michelle was fit to be tied and I was fortunate enough to remember a hobby of hers. She was a long distant swimmer and if Michelle had gotten away from me that night…our lives would have been…boring to say the least.”

“Gabby, where is your sister?”

“Bethany went back to the villa pool. She preferred meeting the young actor staying at the villa than throwing the baseball with her brothers. It sounded cool to me, she is forever buying the magazines with all the gossip.”

Danny’s voice pitch changed after he heard what he considered a lame excuse from Gabby. “Gabby, how many times do I have to remind you that you must be the voice of reason with Bethany Joy? She reacts and then thinks. Bethany had no business going by herself to evade the privacy of the house guests.”

“But Pap, Bethany dreams of performing on stage one day; it seemed perfectly normal for her to use the occasion to meet “An actor”.

His father’s intense gaze displayed the disappointment. “You and I will talk later in private. Your job now and in the future is to protect your sister until I release you from that obligation. My Bethany isn’t going to get off as easy. We can take a short rest, then we will return to the villa and see precisely how charmed “our princess” is with Mr. Stewart.”

Behind the screen door, Bethany applied the soft lip-gloss to her lips. “Abuela, do you like the shade of lip-gloss with my complexion?”

Pinching her cheeks with her twisted fingers, “You are perfect without the lipstick.”

“Granny, it isn’t lipstick; the term today is lip-gloss. I went shopping with Mom one afternoon and we picked the color out together.”

Holding the young face in her hands, “Are you wearing this with the approval of your father?”

Bethany reached over to kiss Abuela on the cheek, “Pap approves.”

“Approves of what?” came the voice standing inside the villa.

“The lip-gloss.”

“Gabby and Pascal, go ahead and get your showers.”

“The lip-gloss is an approved item but ‘Miss'” interfering with an invited guest isn’t.”

Bethany reacted with stomping her foot. “I have traitors for brothers; my little brother, Pascal ratted on me.”

Lifting his hand to halt Bethany’s tirade, “The problem is a twelve year old pre-teen seeking out a twenty-two year old MAN.” Danny gave the Man a strong pronouncement indicating his displeasure “…because he is a potential actor. Missy, you didn’t respect his privacy and you owe Pascal an apology. I’m going upstairs to get a shower and apologize for your rude behavior. Not that I have to explain but I saw you with my own eyes from the security screen at the gatehouse. Missy, you are the one causing the ruffle in out tranquil trip to Puerto Rico. When we get back home, you and I will be having a “set down” with your mother.”

“Ah, ah…”clearing her throat, Abuela watched the tears forming in Bethany’s eyes. “Stop this, I have an errand for Bethany Joy. My child, can you please go to the gatehouse and ask Ricardo to bring the young potted orchids to the front of the villa?” Removing the lace handkerchief from her pocket, Abeua wiped the tears from her great-granddaughter’s cheeks. “My old mind has a tendency to forget important things. The new orchids will require my attention when I visit your home. The orchids are like you and your beautiful mother.”

Raising her eyes slowly to meet her father’s eyes. “Am I excused?”

Danny motioned with his left hand for her to go ahead with the errand.

“Abuela, I don’t want you interfering when I am correcting my children!”

Shaking her hand at Danny, “Why are you being hard on the girl? She did nothing wrong. I maybe deaf but I can hear with these hearing aids. I heard every word! Bethany is growing into a beautiful young teenager and she was excited with the prospect of seeing the ‘actor on her own turf’. She will go back to Springfield and do a little bragging among her friends. Normal girls do gossip and they love to talk about their favorite subjects-the opposite sex. So Bethany Joy has a temporary crush on your lawyer’s son; they most likely will never meet again.”

Danny shook his head and ran his hand through his thick curly hair. “I need a haircut. After I shower, I’m going into the old city to get a haircut. Tell, Bethany that I want her to accompany me when she returns from your errand.”

“Abuela, the world that you grew up in doesn’t exist anymore. I have an idea of what BJ was doing. She was flirting with Paul and I don’t like it. Bethany started having her periods this spring. Michelle and I aren’t ready to turn her loose on the world.”

“Gee, Daniel, you can’t keep her in a glass house. Flirting isn’t sleeping with a boy.” Mumbling in Spanish to her grandson, Danny smiled at his grandmother’s veracity. “Do you have anything else to add to this conversation?”

“Yes. Be honest Daniel, it isn’t Michelle. You want Bethany Joy to be your little princess forever. A warning Daniel, the day will come when Bethany will choose to fly away from your protective nest. The man that she chooses will most likely be like you. Your harshness will break her spirit.”

Danny left the sunroom without responding to the matriarch.

“I finished moving the pots from back of the Gatehouse.”

“Good, my princess. You remind me of Pilar when she was becoming a young lady. Carmen saw every male as a potential rapist. The last straw that Carmen refused to tolerate from Pilar was climbing out of the windows at night and hitch hiking with her friends into Chicago. The next day, Pilar was packed up and sent to boarding school in Spain.”

Bethany laid her head down on Abuela’s lap where the gentle hands stroked her hair. “Do you think Pap will send me to boarding school in Spain?”

“Never sweet one. You are his only princess and the spitting image of your mother. His great passionate love for Michelle is transferred to you. Your father is fighting a future demon; the man that steals your heart. The day will come when you break his heart for the right reason. God made a man and woman to yearn and desire each other. It is the yeaning that is driving your father crazy. You must save your virginity for the right man; it is the way of the island people. But it will be different for your brothers; they will be encouraged to come to their wedding bed with experience.”

Popping up from the security of Abuela’s lap, “I get it. Pap knew how to make love to my mother and my mother was a virgin when they got married!”

Kissing the top of Bethany’s head, “You ask too many questions. Speak with your mother; she can answer that personal question.” The sparkle in her deep eyes bubbled forth as she hugged Bethany Joy, “Your father is going into the old city of San Juan; he wants you to join him.”

With the small number of bodyguards walking in front of them and behind, Danny clutched his daughter’s hand. They followed the familiar streets where local venders greeted Danny and his daughter. The cobblestone streets still lead to the pastel shops and homes with the many shades of red, purple and yellow flowers blooming in the various sizes of pots sitting on steps and above the wrought iron porches. Danny and Michelle had roamed the same streets in the late afternoon on their way to the San Cristobel Fort to watch the setting sun. Pausing to stop at one of the store windows, Danny saw the tiny reflection of Bethany in the window.

“Pap, what are you looking at in the window? Do you see something that you want to buy for Mom?”

“No, but this is the store that I bought your mother’s pearl necklace and earrings.”

Inside the store, Danny asked to see a pair of pierced cultured pearl earrings. With four pairs displayed on the black velvet tray, Danny held each pair up to Bethany’s ears. “Which pair do you like Bethany?”

Bethany picked the cluster of three tiny pearls. “Are you sure? I’m giving them to you and when you get back to Springfield, you and your mother can make arrangements to do the ear piercing.”

Spontaneously hugging her father’s neck, “I’ll be the first one in my class to have pierced ears. Thank you Pap!”

Holding Bethany tight in his arms, “I overreacted with you today and I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings. It breaks my heart to see you cry. I have to tell you that the next few years are going to be hard on your father. Time is rushing by when I want it to stop. Michelle and I only want the best for all of our children. There is a special bond between fathers and daughters. What I am saying might not make sense to you, but I want to protect and keep you safe. Watching you grow into womanhood will not be easy!”

“Oh Papa, it will be a long time before I fall in love. I don’t like the birds and bees thing.”

Smiling at Bethany’s statement, “Keep it that way for awhile!”

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 7

August 28, 2017

Author’s Note: It has been along time since I posted another chapter. The chapter was almost finished when I left the story for a while. I had several other projects going on at the same time. I designed and stitched a new counted cross-stitch project and in between made two “ABC Quilts” for a church project. This chapter is very long. I wanted to give you a good chapter because it maybe late in the summer before I get back to FWFS. I have a major writing project to finish for my family that will be published.

It was nice to have Danny get caught with his pants down. LOL I didn’t think about the lock on the door but that goes to show that it must be there in my subconscious thoughts. This chapter deals with a loss that I didn’t include in TMC. Reminder that I have the previous chapters archived at my own site and you may find them there. Thanks for your comments and e-mails that I have gotten from the lurkers. I continue to be shocked at the acceptance of TMC.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 7

Michelle stood in the darkness outside of the villa on the balcony. The white cashmere sweater shielded the night chill of the ocean breeze. Pulling the long sleeves down on her arms to cover the chill bumps, Michelle gasped at the brilliant light streaking through the southern sky. The thought of where the shooting star eventually landed briefly occupied her mind. Michelle smiled at the simpler things of life, like enjoying a night sky. The heavens above kept their mysteries of where the particles from outer space landed on earth or danced across the sky to burn out in infinity. Danny had been her faithful instructor of learning the art of watching a night sky.

The quiet time at night that they shared was often spent in her resting in his arms leaning back to see the changing night sky. It became their time that they discussed what was going on at home and in the outside world that affected their home life.

Michelle broke off the saltine cracker in her mouth, which was followed with a sip of ice-cold ginger ale. The old stable ally helped with the late afternoon nausea. Between the sounds of the wafer being chewed in her mouth, Michelle listened to the waves breaking on the nearby rocks below the steep cliff. Wiping the moisture from her hands on the black Capri pants that she wore, she battled her nerves. The courage to pretend had abandoned her once again when she heard Danny’s voice inside the villa speaking to Carmen on the phone.

“They are going to be natural born sailors. It must be their pirate blood.” Danny listened to Carmen while watching Michelle standing alone on the balcony. “Mama, you either love the ocean or you hate it. They wanted to spend the night on the sailboat but we hadn’t made the preparations to do that. Michelle wants to be back on land with Gabby and Bethany Joy before the sun goes down…..Yes, it is a mother thing….Mama, I have to go, but I will be in Springfield on Wednesday and you will have Gabby and Bethany Joy all day while I am at the office.”

Snapping the cell phone shut, Danny stood inside the screen with both hands on his hips. Attentive to his wife staring out in the expanse of the darkness, Danny reflected on the quietness that had slowly increased since they had anchored the sailboat in the protective cove.

The screen door opened allowing Danny to walk out to the balcony. “Hey, your mind seems to be a thousand miles away tonight.”

“You noticed.”

“Yes and you seem more distant tonight.”

“Danny, I miss having Carmen and Abuella here with us in San Juan. They are an important part of Gabby and BJ?s lives. It seems unusual to not having them here watching us.”

“Hum, is this a new attitude change that I am hearing?” With his arms enveloped around Michelle’s upper body, “What can you see out there in the darkness?”

“I can’t see anything but the night sky and hear the soothing sounds of the ocean.”

“I was thinking about our baby.”

Danny’s arms tightened on Michelle’s waist in an effort to protect her from the pain of the loss. “The miscarriage again.”

“Danny, I hate the word-Miscarriage. It was the baby that I wanted. I was so happy to be pregnant.”

“Honey, I know that you wanted the baby, but your body discarded the fetus to correct the malformation of the cells.”

“Danny, you can stop the normal medical spin. Remember, I saw the tiny baby in the specimen jar and the baby looked normal to me. I had made plans with the baby. I was going to do everything with the baby that I didn’t do with Gabby and Bethany. Stay at home and change all the diapers. Shop for her clothes. You know the baby was a girl when I had day dreams. Danny, did you ever have any dreams with the baby?”

Swallowing to cushion his own inner pain, “Yes, I dreamed the baby was a girl. I saw you holding her in a pink blanket and you had a Jack in the Box with a hand on the crank with the music playing from the music box. The baby never had a face that I could see. I never told you because I saw it as a bad omen….Our trip to Hawaii after Thanksgiving was supposed to fix the problem.” Turning Michelle to face him, “Do you have something that you want to share with me? Bethany saw you vomiting this afternoon. And unlike her mother, she tells me everything. How many more pregnancy tests are you going to do before you tell me?”

The tears formed in the corner of her eyes, “I was afraid to display any emotion of happiness, the happiness can turn quickly to grief. There isn’t a guarantee that this baby will make it to full term. My schedule isn’t going to get easier, if anything it will get harder with more responsibility. I’m battling racing thoughts of whether it is a good time to be pregnant along side the yucky side effects of the pregnancy.” The reassuring hug from Danny with his usual kiss on top of her forehead was what she had grown accustomed to in their short marriage.

“Do you want to see a doctor here in San Juan?”

“No, not here. I’ve made an appointment with a doctor in Philadelphia that specializes in difficult pregnancies. The first pregnancy was complicated with toxemia and the second one ended in a spontaneous abortion. I’m a doctor and I know that I have to give this pregnancy the best medical care that I can.” Tapping his hand, “This time, I want to wait until I am through the first trimester before we tell Gabby and Bethany that a sister or brother is coming in the late summer.”

Tucking the always-loose strands of hair back behind her ears, “I have my own secret. After you lost our baby, I arranged to have the remains buried in the family plot in Chicago. Abuella went with Ray and me to the cemetery where the tiny white casket was interred beside my father and Mick. The tiny grave is marked simply with Baby Santos on a white marble stone with an angel holding a butterfly in her hand.”

Michelle gasped at hearing Danny’s secret. “Our baby has a tombstone!”

Sobbing in Danny’s secure arms, Danny held Michelle close to his body pausing for the right time to continue. “Honey, I’m not sure if this is the best time to have this conversation. The stress of reliving the loss of the baby can’t be good for you or this baby. Dr. Sedgwick advised me to wait until you were ready to talk about the loss of our baby. Thanksgiving came and by early December, you wanted to try to have another baby.” Grinning at Michelle, “The long weekend in Hawaii was doctor ordered and we came home with this baby.”

Raising his eyebrows, “The new baby helps to explain your behavior at Christmas in Philly. It wasn’t the quiet Christmas that we wanted with Carmen renting a suite in the Ritz Carlton.”

“Carmen will always be in our lives and I want her to feel free to visit her grandchildren. When Pilar and Bill have a baby, the focus will shift to the grandchild closer to her.”

“Danny, you and I know this baby will draw Carmen even closer to our family.”

“Yes, it will but with scanning pictures and sending e-mails, Carmen has settled down nicely into our new living arrangement. She may not like the separation but she has accepted the thousand miles separating her and the grandchildren.”

“Now, we have Carmen out of the way; what are we going to do to help the expecting mother and father?” With their fingers interlocked, Danny rested his chin on Michelle’s right shoulder. Michelle answered, “Trust God to give us another miracle with a normal delivery.”

Danny added, “Think good thoughts, eat properly Dr. Bauer-Santos, no skipped meals.”

“Danny, I do eat well when I get time to grab a meal at the hospital.”

“Michelle, the key isn’t to grab a meal but make sure that you try to put it first.”

“Danny, I promise to do better this time.”

Biting the saltine cracker in Michelle’s hand, “You ought to add some peanut butter on the crackers.”

“The idea is to soothe the acid in my tummy not add to the acid.”

“Rest is very important and the first sign of spotting, means to bed you go. Right, Michelle?”

“Yes, I will do exactly what my doctor hubby wants. Until then, can I be treated normal?”

“Michelle, when have our lives been normal? Normality would be very boring for people with our disposition.”

“Danny, I would love to have one season of normalcy.”

Lifting her chin up to the sky above, “What type of activity are we having in the sky tonight? This might be as close as we are ever going to get to being a normal couple.”

“There have been a few shooting stars in the northeast, pointing with her finger to the sky off to her right side. Orion’s belt is above us. The Southern Cross is directing us to the two Gemini.”

Danny saw the two bright stars that he knew to be in the winter sky back home. “My wife has become an astronomer!”

Pinching Danny’s cheeks, “I had a very good teacher. Danny, where do the shooters go to after we see them in the sky?”

“Ah, you are asking me?”


“I think the heavens have kept that mystery for a later time to be disclosed.”

“But that is a question for the Jolly Mon as Bethany Joy would say.”

“Bethany Joy loves the book and she is satisfied that the whale is up in the sky taking care of everyone’s problems. We are very lucky to have two healthy kids with great imaginations.”

“Yesterday, it was extremely enjoyable to watch Gabby pretending to read Jimmy Buffet’s Jolly Mon book to Bethany Joy.”

“They have the pages memorized of certain books. If our next baby is a girl; it would be nice to have a Savannah Jane. Another little island girl for Bethany to play Barbie with and setting Gabby free of the Ken and Barbie world.”

Squeezing Michelle’s body closer to his chest, “Do I hear a preference being voiced here?”

“No, I don’t think that I have any preference; transference of my thoughts of a child lost to one belonging to the future.”

“Michelle, what do you think of us waiting until the baby is born to know the sex? With the number of sonograms done to follow the development of the baby, it takes the surprise out of the gender of the baby.”

“So you want to wait until the moment that the lower extremity is delivered to know the sex of this baby.”

Nodding his head indicating “yes”, “It will protect us from developing an attachment to a specific sex and God forbid if an awful tragedy occurred again.” Shifting his feet to support Michelle’s body weight and his weight, “I don’t want to ever have you go through the pain that you did last spring.”

“Never, never.”

Danny’s eyes roamed to the downtown San Juan. “I will always ascertain that the FBI agents constant harassment was the fundamental cause of the stress, which resulted in the miscarriage.”

“Danny, the FBI are never going away. They see me as the outsider with the information to solve a murder.”

“Mick is dead but his contribution to the family still haunts the future of my family.”

“Well at least, they haven’t visited me in Philadelphia.”


Danny blocked out the part of hearing Philadelphia and inserted a spring day in Springfield. The day had been unusually busy with one phone call after another, which prevented the concentration that he desired to review the monthly reports. Listening to the concern in Rick’s voice, Danny shoved the reports off the desk to the floor. The immeasurable anguish burned immediately inside his stomach. The unfolding event happening at the hospital was out of his control. Once more, he was in a place that he felt exposed to One with an authority and power over him.

“Danny, you have to come immediately to the hospital. Michelle had a spontaneous abortion a few minutes ago. Dr. Sedgwick wants to do a D&C as soon as possible. I know that you want to be here for Michelle.”

“I’m on my way!”

Yelling for Olga while picking up the reports off the floor, “Olga, I have to leave the house. It’s Michelle and the baby. I want you to call my mother You know the evening routine with Gabby and Bethany Joy. I might be away for the night. If they ask questions; tell them that I’ll be home after they go to sleep.”

“Se Danny, the baby is OK?”

“No, the baby isn’t OK. The baby is no more.”

Grabbing the man that she served, “Why did this happen? This will break Michelle’s heart. She wanted this baby so very much.”

Jimmy’s arrival in the house switched the focus to Danny. “Why the buzzer?”

“I’ll tell you on the way to Cedars Hospital.”

Jimmy sat in the passenger’s seat watching the speedometer of the black Porsche reach a speed above the 90-miles/per hour on the beltway with barely a reduction in speed on the downtown street exit close to the Cedars Hospital. The siren from the police car followed close to the barely visible black dot that grew to the size of a car in front of the Emergency Room. Leaving the engine running in the car, Danny told Jimmy to “take care of business”.

The automatic door opened to Danny where one of the nurses in the ER recognized Michelle’s husband. “Mr. Santos, Dr. Bauer was transferred to the OB-GYN unit.” Writing the number 301 on the note pad, she pressed the piece of yellow paper in his hand. “I’m very sorry.”

Danny acknowledged her words with a small nod of his head. “When was Michelle transferred?”

“Approximately 15 minutes ago. Dr. Sedgwick wanted Michelle to have some privacy to grieve. She is devastated.”

At the busy unit, Danny saw the room numbers listed on the plate on the wall, to his right the rooms went to the delivery room and well baby nursery and to his left was the room where Michelle laid in a hospital bed. Standing at the door for a quick moment to gather his thoughts and strength, Danny heard the voices of Rick and Michelle speaking with Dr. Sedgwick

“Danny will be here soon. I’m not going up to the OR until I see him. I have to tell him. He will blame me for not taking care of myself.” The sadness stirred in Danny’s heart with hearing Michelle’s assessment of the miscarriage.

Tapping on the door, Danny turned the metal door handle. “I’m here, honey.”

The pale color of Michelle’s face contrasted with the two bloodshot eyes. The two physicians reasoned with Michelle to explain the loss alongside giving the words of comfort to a fellow colleague. Dr. Sedgwick clutched Michelle’s hand in her own. “Danny isn’t going to blame you. This was out of our control. For a reason unknown to us, the uterus decided to expel the fetus.”

Michelle listened to the words of her trusted physician. “Did you save the fetus?”

“Yes, it is in a specimen container. As you know, the fetus can be sent to the laboratory for diagnostic studies or we can……”

Danny stepped inside the door, “Michelle- Michelle and I will make the decision together. Can I speak with Michelle in private?”

Dr. Sedgwick left the room and waited for Rick outside the door. Rick paused at the foot of the hospital bed where he patted Danny on the shoulder. “Take as long as you need.”

Danny’s warm tears merged with Michelle’s tears when his cheek brushed her cheek where his hands held her face to his face. “I wish, I had the words to heal your broken heart. Dr. Sedgwick is right. The medical reason isn’t important why the uterus expelled the baby. It can’t bring the baby back to us. Let me tell Dr. Sedgwick that I will take care of the remains.”

Danny left Michelle’s bed and opened the door to find Rick leaning on the wall. “Michelle is ready to go to surgery. There won’t be any diagnostic studies done on the baby. After Michelle leaves the room, I will call a funeral home.”

“OK Danny. If you need a burial plot, I know there are several next to Maureen.”

The orderly with the stretcher arrived and several minutes later, Danny walked alongside the stretcher to the double doors of the OR Suite. Rick pushed the round knob on the wall for the doors to open. “Danny, the procedure will take less than 5 minutes and Michelle will be in the Recovery room for at least one hour before she is brought back to the floor.  If all goes well, she will be discharged to go home tonight.”

Smiling down on Michelle, Danny leaned down to kiss Michelle one more time. “Remember I love you.”

“Danny, I love you.” The whimper of the hushed sob was the last sound that Danny heard after the doors closed.

At the end of the hallway in a solarium by himself, Danny dialed the phone to summon his cousin. “I need you to perform a service for the family. Michelle lost the baby late this afternoon. I want you to take the remains to Rundle’s Funeral Home tonight.”

Ray made the sign of the cross before he entered the room where Danny stood looking out the window. The early spring thunderstorm raged outside the window. “Danny, did Michelle have any symptoms indicating there was a problem?”

“None that she ever expressed to me.” Danny handed the paper bag to his cousin, “The funeral home is waiting for you to bring this to them. The director has a tiny casket ready for the baby. He will transfer the contents in the container to the casket. Tomorrow, you and I are driving to Chicago to bury Baby Santos with my father and Mick.”

Taking the bag from his cousin, “Is this OK with the hospital? They might be able to discover what went wrong.”

“Ray open the bag and look at the fetus in the container. The fetus isn’t a damaged goods. I want the baby buried intact and definitely not dissected baby parts. Also, I do not want Michelle seeing you leave here with the remains.”

“You are right, Danny, but how are you?”

“I haven’t had time to digest the consequences. I was the one fighting Michelle having another baby so soon after the birth of the twins with her entering a residency program in Philly. When she found out that she was pregnant in February, she was as happy as I have ever seen her. Michelle is the type of woman born to be a mother. I personally think that motherhood keeps her connected to Maureen.”

“Strange as it seems God takes what is good and gives what is good.”

Turning to his cousin, “I want you to explain the mystery to me one day.”


Eighteen months later, while shaving Danny thought of the turbulent day in spring and to the day in January when Michelle announced that God was back in the giving business.

Danny rechecked the two backpacks next to the door. Inside the backpacks were the new items purchased at the Toys R Us when he and the twins had made the trip to shop for their morning sessions at the Child Care Center at the Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Michelle had given him the list and he had chuckled at the list: large bath towel for naps, crayons, finger grippers for pencils and writing pad with lines.

Michelle was two weeks overdue and the visit yesterday to her specialist had been discouraging. The baby was in the right position for delivery but he wanted to wait another week before inducing labor. Last night, Danny and Michelle had listened to the heartbeat of their baby and watched the baby stretch the arms and legs in her expanded abdomen. The baby’s name was undecided and many trial names had been written on the note pad on the bedside stand in Michelle’s fine script.

Danny closed the backpacks and went to get his morning shower. Out of the shower, Danny toweled his wet body off while he listened to the early morning messages on the answering machine. The burning question of the day was from two women in Springfield. “How much longer was the doctor going to let Michelle go before medically inducing labor?” Danny pushed the conference call button and dialed the two telephone numbers. “Good morning Carmen and Aunt Meta. Michelle went to work this morning. The baby is fine and the head is in the downward position, which is causing a lot of pressure on Michelle’s bladder. The doctor wants to wait one more week before inducing labor. He thinks the baby will come before Michelle’s next scheduled visit.”

“Yes, today Gabby and Bethany are starting preschool. They are cautiously excited….. I’ll hang around until I see that they are settled in for the morning…… They have visited the school with Michelle a couple of times…..Mama, we have been over these questions too many times to count……They are only spending the morning at the preschool. Michelle and I felt that with the new baby, they might get a bit jealous if they are suddenly out of the house all day and the baby is here at home.”

Sitting down to dry his feet, Danny saw the red numbers changing on the clock next to the bed. “They keep asking when the baby is going to come out of Michelle’s abdomen. Michelle is great with letting them listen to the baby’s heart beat and then they listen to their own hearts with Michelle’s stethoscope……I promise that as soon as I hear the word, I will call……Bye to both of you.”

Outside in the hallway, the noise of Bethany and Gabby running from their room to the nursery bought Danny’s immediate concerns back to the twins. “Hey, what are you two doing in here?” Raising his eyebrows at the two beaming faces staring up at him, “We have got to eat our oatmeal and get dressed for preschool.”

“Pap, whas tha babe?”

“Your Mommy still has the baby growing in her abdomen….Remember the baby has to be able to eat and breathe on its own before its ready to leave Michelle’s body.”

Danny had seen how their inquiring minds seemed satisfied with the simple truth. Michelle had used the stages of her pregnancy to teach Gabby and Bethany about the impending birth of their sibling. The concept of time was impossible to explain to the twins but they did understand eating and breathing in air into their lungs.

At the hospital, Michelle pulled her patient’s chart from the carousel and flopped down in her chair. On the back desk was the clear glass fish bowl with money that continued to grow with the baby pool. Each day another person lost their money when Michelle’s light was turned on signaling that she was back for another day of duty.

The staff on the Pediatric unit had given her a baby shower the first of August with many expecting an early delivery. The first of September came and went with the middle of the month finding Michelle’s pregnancy two weeks overdue. The prospect of having a medical induced labor was an unpleasant idea so much that Michelle had begged her specialist to let her go one more week.

With the new pen in her hand, Michelle began her chore of writing new orders on the stack of charts. Flipping the pages in her faithful notebook, she placed a check beside the young patients name and crossed through the note before handing the chart to the nurse. The sharp pain came out of the blue and the “Oouch!” was out of her mouth before Michelle realized the significance.

“Dr. Bauer-Santos? Is this what I think?”

Rubbing the top of her abdomen while waiting for another indication that the pain had a rhythm, “I believe the labor has finally begun. I’ll finish writing the orders and charting on the progress notes for my patients. Dr.Graham will be covering the few patients that I have. Danny has his hands full today. The twins start preschool. They are possibly on their way to preschool as we speak.” Michelle signed the last order on the chart and then extracted the cell phone from her white lab coat.

“Hi. Where are you?…..Hmm, you are still at the center…..Are you planning on spending the entire morning observing Bethany Joy and Gabby’s interaction with the other children? ”

“No, Michelle but they keep looking around to see if I am still here.”

“Danny, why don’t you tell them bye once more and walk out the door. After you do that; then come and have a cup of coffee with me.”

“Michelle, you have time to have an leisure cup of coffee with me this morning! Have they finally kicked your pregnant butt home? ”

“No, but I might be in need of my handsome husband to hold my hand this afternoon.”

After hearing Michelle’s speculation of the pending birth, “You are in labor!”

“Yes, yes, our baby is finally coming.”

“Michelle, where do you want me to meet you?”

“I’m preregistered at the admitting office. All I have to do is show up at the labor and delivery unit. I’ll wait here in the doctor’s lounge for you.”

Michelle heard the swear words in Spanish. “Of all the days for this to happen, this baby decides to make his or her entrance into the world. Gabby and Bethany are expecting me to come and get them after lunch….Well, it is going to have to be Olga and Jimmy doing what I can’t. Carmen and Aunt Meta can be here in 3 hours after I call them. The jet is on stand-by waiting for Carmen’s call. Michelle, you stay put where you are until I get to the hospital.”

Meta Bauer sat the suitcase and package down on the bench outside of the Bauer kitchen door. Abbey waited with her while she watched Freddie playing with his fleet of matchbox cars in the sandbox. “Aunt Meta, please tell Michelle that Rick and I will be coming to see her and the new baby the next weekend that Rick has off. I put a new matchbox car in the bag for Gabby and I knitted a Barbie doll sweater for Bethany’s Barbie. The baby quilt is for the new Baby Santos. Michelle has always been so appreciative of hand made presents.”

Meta smiled at Abbey, “She will love it. Michelle is surrounded with wealth but the girl has her priorities straight.”

“It was nice of Carmen to offer you a seat on the Santos jet.”

With her usual dry humor, “The two legged spider has her decent moments. Danny has made a honest effort to keep the spider in her own web and away from Michelle. Michelle living in Philadelphia with those sweet children of hers has been hard on the Bauers. I try not to think what it would be like if we had all stayed home that summer and not taken vacations leaving Michelle alone in this house. It is almost like yesterday that we came home to find Michelle gone and married to the young handsome man connected to what they call “The Family Business”. I block out the thoughts of the twins being raised under the influence of that ruthless woman.”

“Meta, Danny loves Michelle and their children with the passion that we all wanted for her.” Making a silly face with wiggling her nose, Abbey said, “Danny wasn’t Bill Lewis.”

“No, he wasn’t and now Bill Lewis is married to Pilar. I think Vanessa and Maureen gave Michelle and Bill a special gift to see the best in other people. Abbey, take care of my little buddy while I am away. I see the black spider’s car coming.”

“Aunt Meta, you have got to watch what you say. Freddie might start calling Carmen, the black spider lady. ”

“Abbey, please don’t make her into a lady.”

“How long are you going to stay with Michelle and Danny?”

“As long as she will have me.”

“Oh my, I see the duel of an aunt and grandmother on the horizon. ”

“No, both of us are well passed that stage. I want to help where I can until things settle down for Michelle. Carmen has Pilar’s daughter back in Chicago to dote on these days.”

“It saddened my heart when I saw Michelle struggling to move on with her life after the miscarriage. The sadness was with her and she put up a brave front to hide the loss. The support was here for her but they withdrew from all of us to take their love to a higher plain where they found the healing balm, which repaired the wound in their hearts.”

“Aunt Meta, the baby was a cure for Michelle’s depression.”

“I totally agree, Abbey. This baby will do wonders for Michelle. It has already erased the doubts that she would never be able to carry a child to full term.  Everyday, Michelle deals with sick babies; many suffer from complications of being born too early. When she finally holds a well full term baby, she will be free of her own guilt.”


In the doctor’s lounge, Michelle made a list to give Danny. She smiled at the items on the list for Danny to accomplish in the next twenty-four hours.
1.Call and reassure Gabby and Bethany
2.Do not fill the hospital room with flowers
3.ASAP bring Gabby and Bethany to hospital to see the baby
4.Be patient with me as I adjust my schedule
5.Please no supplement bottles “Yet”
6.Be a nice host to Aunt Meta and Carmen

Michelle heard Danny’s voice long before she saw his excited face. “What type of hospital is this that you don’t have an adult wheelchair?”

“Mr. Santos, this building has only infants and children to 10 years old. May I remind you that we have chairs that fit the size of our patients. Dr. Bauer is perfectly capable of walking to the elevator and riding down to the ground level where she can walk across the quad to the Adult Services Hospital.”

Danny’s voice raised another decibel. “Get this straight -Michelle’s name is Dr. Bauer- Santos! Santos!”

Michelle took another sip of her caffeine free tea before she pushed her chair back from the table. She dropped the Styrofoam cup in the wastebasket. Draping the strap from the tote bag on her shoulder, Michelle joined her husband at the Nursing station. Speaking in a stern tone, “Danny, I’m ready.”

Danny anxiously questioned Michelle. “Ready for what? Are you ready to have the baby here?”

Stomping her swollen foot on the floor, “To walk to the Labor and Delivery Unit. You did call Aunt Meta and Carmen?”

Raising one of his eyebrows at Michelle’s question, “Yes, I did.” Danny placed his hands on his hips where he locked his thumb inside his black pants. “Ah, I hum honey, I asked a simple question.”

Michelle put her finger up to his lips. “Shhh! You got an answer from the nurse.” Michelle folded the paper in half and tucked it in Danny’s shirt pocket. “This is a list to keep you busy while I read all the medical articles that I am behind in reading.”

“OK, I get your point. I admit to being hyper but don’t you think it is a little strange that they don’t have an adult size wheel chair?”

“Danny, give it up!” Rubbing the top of her abdomen where she felt the baby’s foot kick, “Now apologize to Martha and we can go.”

Counting to ten before he responded and biting the top of his bottom lip, “Martha, I’m sorry to question the service of this fine institution….Michelle hand me your bag. It weighs a ton!” Danny walked to the elevator where he pushed the down button. Danny and Michelle rode down in silence. Walking across the quad, Danny was struck with the poignant idea that if all went well; by dinner, they would know the sex of the baby. Neither had openly expressed a preference during the pregnancy. For the first time, Danny wished for another son. The reason was simple. He wanted the infant buried in Chicago to maintain her special place in his heart.

Danny paced the imaginary circle outside the bathroom door while Michelle finished the last details of the preparations for the labor stage. “Michelle, are you sure that you are OK?”

“Danny, I maybe a little green but believe me; it is much better this way. Have you heard from our families?”

Talking through the door, “Yes, they will be landing in Philly in thirty minutes. Justina went with Olga to the preschool. Bethany and Gabby are making cookies for Carmen and Aunt Meta.”

“Danny, the contractions are getting close to five minutes apart. The labor is moving quicker than I thought it would.”

“Michelle, what do you want me to do?”

“I think the nurse might want to know and call the doctor. Dr. Marcello is in the hospital.”

“Are we going to have to go to another room for the delivery?”

“No Danny, the room is a faade. Don’t you remember the tour that we had after the birthing classes? It is a new concept with making the rooms appear more like home.”

At the hospital bed, Danny pressed the call button. “My wife’s contractions are close to five minutes apart.” The door opened from the outer core before Danny had finished telling the nurse that the doctor should be called. “The enema must have increased all the abdominal activity. We have to get Michelle hooked up to the internal baby monitor.”

In what seemed like a short time, the room was filled with a resident, intern and another nurse. Michelle was positioned on a bed with the foot dropping down at the same time that the resident started an IV. The nurse watched the intern position the probe in the opening in the uterus. The fast heartbeat sound from the monitor satisfied the staff that the probe was in the right place. “The labor is moving light speed into the final stage.”

The resident rattled off the patient’s information to the intern.”Dr. Bauer- Santos has what many describe as a silent labor. The uterus has been contracting for a while with what many feel are Braxton Hicks contractions. Her history presents with multiple preemie birth and a miscarriage in the fourth month. The expected due date is questionable but the last sonogram shows a baby with a normal six and half- seven pound weight. She is a good eight centimeters dilated. Dr. Marcello is on his way down from the OR. He wants to be here to deliver the baby.”

“Dr Santos, how are you doing? Are you still committed to a natural delivery? This is the last call for an epidural if you have changed your mind.”

“Yes, I am committed to the natural delivery and I want a local for the episiotomy.”

Patting her on the knee, “Gotcha” The nurse dropped the disposable medication on the table holding the sterile instruments. “Okay, we wait for the tiger.”

Dr. Marcello entered the room with his hands and arms scrubbed up to the elbows. “Michelle, you pulled a fast one on me. I didn’t think that we would meet this soon.” With the doctor dressed in his sterile gown and gloves, he inserted the needle into Michelle’s stretched skin to insert the xylocaine. Danny turned his head away from the overhead mirror. Next Dr. Marcello lifted the scissors to cut the skin, which would allow the baby’s head easy passage. “Mr. Santos, how would you like to catch the baby? After we have the head and shoulders out the rest will follow easy.”

“Michelle has done her part.” Danny shook his head. “I’ll cut the cord but the delivery is in your hands.”

“Danny, I want you to take the baby from my body. You can tell me the sex of our baby.”

Ten minutes later, Danny held Michelle’s hand as she screamed and pushed the head from her body. “Oh God, this hurts so bad.”

“Baby, you are doing great.”

“Michelle, we need you to really concentrate.  This is going to hurt but the baby must have some help to make one more effort to push the shoulders through the birth canal.”

“I don’t think I can do it, Danny.”

“Michelle, you can do it. Listen to me. The baby is exhausted and you have got to find the strength to push with all your might or they are going to have to use the forceps. Focus on the breathing.” With one final push, Michelle pushed with all her might to deliver the baby.

Resting in the green surgical towel was the baby that they had waited nine months for to be born. Dr. Marcello placed the baby on Michelle’s abdomen. “You have a fine baby boy.”

The scissors almost slipped out of Danny’s hand as he cut the slippery umbilical cord. His son’s movements began with the kicking of his feet and putting his thumb in his mouth to suck. The flickering long eyelashes with the white substance opened to see the bright light shining. The big dark pupils matched the eyes of Michelle, his mother. The nurse lifted the baby from Michelle to wrap the baby in the warm white baby blanket. “Little one, there is a mommy that is waiting to see you.” She held the baby boy down so that Michelle could get a closer observation of her son.

Michelle softly touched the baby’s face and kissed his forehead. “He is so big…..Danny, we have another son and he is hungry already.” Michelle guided the baby’s mouth to the nipple of her enlarged breast. With the nursing connection established between the baby and the nipple, the baby rested in Michelle’s arms, content for the first minutes of his early life.

Dr. Marcello asked the new parents, “Have you settled on a name for your son?”

Danny listened while Michelle answered the question. “No, I wanted to wait and judge the baby’s disposition. With our family being bilingual, it is important for the name to fit both families. I toyed with the idea of naming the baby after the gender of the grandparent’s names. He doesn’t look like a Miguel or Edward.”

The news of the baby’s arrival reached the Santos’s condo shortly after Olga had served the lunch to the two ladies. The business phone started ringing then the private home line when Olga picked up the phone in the kitchen.

“Se Danny.Beb est aqui!” Meta chewed a bite of chicken salad as she listened to the housekeeper.

“I don’t know many words of Spanish but I did hear the word baby.”

“Cuando? Ah ten after twelve.”

Carmen laid her napkin on the table. “Let me speak to my son!…..Daniel….Un Muchacho…I’m repeating your words to Meta…..7Ibs. 22 in. ….We will finish our lunch and walk to the hospital…..I understand. Michelle wants to tell the twins the sex of the baby herself….How is my daughter-in-law? Tell her that she did good.”

Hanging up the phone, Carmen threw an imaginary kiss up to her husband in heaven. “Olga, what florist does Danny use here in Philadelphia?”

“I’m not sure but it has the words Blue Gates. There is a card from the florist in the drawer beside the refrigerator.”

“Hum, I want to order Michelle’s favorite flowers and dinner from the Italian Restaurant for them to have at the hospital tonight. Michelle can eat fettuccini and a white cheese sauce. Daniel was fond of the salmon with rose sauce and penne noodles. Meta, we are going to eat out tonight to celebrate my new grandson.”

Danny held his son and rocked the sleeping baby while Michelle ate the light lunch. “The gang is on their way here. Where do you think the baby should be when Bethany and Gabby arrive?”

Contemplating the question, “The bassinet is a neutral ground.”

Michelle closed her eyes to catch a few minutes of rest while she waited for her twins to make their appearances. Danny kissed her forehead and slipped out of the room to place the call to the downtown florist. “I want to place an order for three dozen red roses…..First quality only. To be delivered by 11am tomorrow. On second thought, change the order to four dozen roses.” Danny choked back the words to be written on the card. “From the four little Santos Hearts.”

The elevator door opened with Gabby and Bethany arriving with their plastic zip lock bags filled with oatmeal cookies. “Pap, wee have wookies for Mommee.”

Danny scooped up the two in his arms. “Do I get a kiss and a cookie?”

Smothering Danny’s cheeks with wet kisses, both answered “Wes”

“Your mommy has somebody to show you. The baby was born today. Inside the room, your mommy and the baby are resting. Now when you touch the baby, you touch very softly. What I am telling you is important to remember; do not touch the top of the baby’s head. Do you understand?” Nodding their heads to indicate that they understood their father’s instructions.

Danny carried the two in his arms back inside to Michelle’s room. “Honey, we have visitors. Aunt Meta, Carmen and these two were hunting for the room with a new Baby Santos.” Michelle patted the two spots on the bed for the twins to sit. Her arms extended to receive their hugs and kisses. “Come here and tell me about your day at school.”

“I wade wriends and had snacke” was the first response given by Gabby.

“Bethany, did you make new friends?”

“No, Gabbyee, my wriend. Thay don’t play Barbees. Gabbyee plays Barbee whiff me. Wee play outside.”

“Hum School is a fun place to go and learn how to play with other children your age. I have someone very special in the room. Your baby brother is a sleep in the bassinet. Do you want to see him?”

“Wes.” Taping Michelle’s hand to get her attention, “Can I weed tha babee?”

“Only a mommy can feed the baby now but when he gets older, you will be able to share your yogurt and cookies with him. Your Papa is going to bring the baby here and you can hold him briefly.” With the twins resting on their knees, Danny lifted the baby’s head and torso from the bassinet and carefully laid the blanket wrapped bundle in Michelle’s arms.

Gabby touched his lips to the baby’s red cheek. “Mommy, tha babee has a wenis?”

Bethany turned Michelle’s chin to face her for a moment to ask the next question. “Tha babee made like my bratha.”

“Yes Bethany Joy, the baby is made like your brother.”

“Can my bratha kry?”

“Yes but he is resting and isn’t talking to us yet. Babies cry when they want to get our attention.”

Meta and Carmen stood at the door watching the baby’s introduction to the two three-year-olds. Meta busied her time catching the precious moments on the digital camera in her hand.

Carmen kissed Danny’s cheek, “I have to say that this is as good as it can get. Abuella would be here if she could travel but her hip surgery has kept her mobility to a minimum.”

“I know Mama; we will get her out here soon.”

Gabby’s fingers pulled the white closure back to open the carefully packed plastic bag of cookies with the intention of sharing one with his brother. “Sweetie, it is a nice gesture to share your cookies but the baby can’t bite and chew cookies yet. He doesn’t have any teeth. I see that you have brought two special people to the hospital. ”

“Mommie, Gwan mommie and Weta whur at home wheen wee got home from schykuly. Thay ahre steying fer a wong tyme.”

Combing Gabriel’s curls with her fingers, “Isn’t it nice that your grandmother and Aunt Meta could come to see us?”


“Honey, why don’t you get Carmen settled in the rocker so that she can be properly introduced to her new grandson….Carmen, can you stand the thought of having another grandchild?” With his hands, he outlined the shapely figure of his young attractive mother. “You are too attractive to be the Abuella to four grandchildren.”

Reaching out to pinch her son’s cheek, “Thank you Daniel, I’m glad that you noticed.” Snuggling the baby against her body, Carmen drifted back to the time when she had held Mick, Danny and Pilar in her arms for the first time. Her smiling husband beaming with great pride at what they had created from their own love.

Carmen’s silence and far off distance stare lasted until Danny called her name. “I wish that Miguel was here to enjoy the births of all of his grandchildren. He would have been a good grandfather. Thank goodness, Abuella is still alive. She is going to love this little fellow.”

Meta bent down to see the baby’s facial features. “Michelle, I hate to tell you what my old eyes are seeing and I don’t know if I should say what I see but the baby is a replica of one of my old beaus from New York City.”

“Aunt Meta, you must be talking about the financial adviser. What was his name?”

“I’m not sure that I ever did tell you his name. Lancelot Shakespeare. With a name like that you might expect that he came from a family of frustrated entertainers. Lance and I spent many a cold night in the city walking from the financial district up to the theater district.”

“Why didn’t you marry the mysterious Lance?”

“There were many reasons but the outstanding reason and the one that I prefer to discuss; he was a east coast man and I was a Midwest gal. In my day, it was unheard of for a couple to be married and live in separate cities.”

“Your love story is sad, but if you had decided to stay in New York City; all of Springfield might have missed your lectures on what is really important in life. My brother Rick and Phillip Spaulding certainly benefited from your wisdom and guidance.”

Winking at her niece, “They were two tough cookies to crack. Rick and Phillip didn’t have mothers and it was easy to step into the role of a substitute mother. Speaking of your brother, Abbey and Rick sent a present for the little charmer….Danny, if you like, I can take Gabby and Bethany Joy back to your home. It is an easy walk.”

Shaking his head, “No Aunt Meta, I will walk everyone back to the condo. I think the excitement of the day’s events might be getting to two young kiddos.”

“Michelle, it is important that you get the needed rest while you can. Do you have everything here?”

“My bag is packed at home with my nursing bras and pads. Inside the bag are a mint green baby gown and a white flannel blanket for the baby to wear home tomorrow. You might want to take the time and put the baby carseats in both of our cars. Are you coming back tonight?”

“Yes, I plan on spending the night here at the hospital with you and our new son.”

“On the top of my bedside stand is a book for baby names. Please bring it back tonight.”

Kissing Michelle on her lips, “Sure, but can the baby leave the hospital without a name?”

“Yes. I can’t wait to be home with the baby but I want him to leave the hospital with a name. Baby Santos isn’t very charismatic sounding. If I have one regret in my life; I didn’t give our last baby a name.”

Tucking her loose curls back behind her ears, “I hear what you are saying. We will take care of the naming business tonight.”

“Okay, Gabby and Bethany Joy, it is time to hug and kiss Mommy goodbye.” Planting their kisses on Michelle’s cheek and hugging her neck, they sled down the bed to go and get a last glance at the baby that was getting a lot of attention in their grandmother’s arms.

Tapping Carmen’s arm, “Granney, you hav to gibe the babey back to Mommie.”

“I know. I was getting properly introduced to my grandson. Do you want me to put the baby in the bassinet?”


“Hum, do I sense a bit of jealousy here?”

“Carmen, let us get going before the “J” word really starts.”

The late summer afternoon was beginning to show the change coming soon in the weather with the cool refreshing air hitting their faces as they exited the hospital door. The Santos family strolled home walking through the park where Gabby and Bethany ran to the vacant seesaw. The seesaw lost its fascination for the swing sets standing unused. The request from Bethany of “Push me higher” highlighted the adventuresome spirit of one twin. Gabby was content to pump with his own legs to push his swing higher. The promise of an ice cream cone at the corner ice cream shop stopped the play in the park.

The older shop owner smiled down at his two young customers. “What flavor are we eating tonight?”

“The usual for me, Sammy, and my mother and Meta will have the lemon sorbet.” Danny lifted the twins to see inside the glass-cased freezer where all the 52 flavors of ice cream sat in the large round cardboard containers.

“Banilla pleeasz”

“Jocolate for mee”

“Where is the Doctor this afternoon? I haven’t seen her in the store since she came in and got the two gallons of hand packed chocolate ripple ice cream.”

“Michelle had our new son today! The only food item that she craved during the two pregnancies was chocolate ripple ice cream. She didn’t like running out of the item at home.”

Handing the small cones to Gabby and Bethany, “Now, I know why you two like vanilla and chocolate ice cream.”

Sitting at the round table, Carmen and Aunt Meta watched the twins licking their cones with their dark pink tongues. At a certain point, Gabby and Bethany exchanged the cones. “Hum, I don’t know how hygienic it is for them to continue to share their cones but it is so sweet and cute to watch.”

“I agree with Meta. Danny, why don’t you ask for the two flavors on one cone.”

Lifting his left eyebrow, “We tried that once, but Gabby doesn’t like the flavors mixed. Michelle has taught them to share and they share everything including switching ice cream cones.”

A half-hour later, Danny sat at the computer desk and connected the digital camera cable to the tower and sent the new images of his family to computer screens at Rick Bauer and Pilar Lewis’s home.

Michelle and I have another living extension of our love. I know our love will go on forever. D&M.

Down the hallway, Meta placed the wrapped package from Abbey on the rocker in the Nursery. The soft yellow walls with the abstract white and blue sky and clouds dabbed over top of the base paint resonated with joy and peace. The room reflected the inner emotions of her niece. On top of the dresser was a family picture of Michelle in the early stage of the last pregnancy with Danny, Bethany Joy and Gabby taken on the beach in San Cristobel. Michelle’s life had come circle. In the past two years, all of Meta’s doubts had been erased. The tormented teen years had been replaced with the peace and joy that a woman discovers in motherhood.

Opening each of the four drawers, Meta saw the neat organized baby clothes, which was evidence of Danny’s skills. The flashback to the clutter in Michelle’s closet then and to the neatness now in her home showed how Danny ran his home with the help of Olga. Olga had done what she had failed to do with Michelle. Taking a baby gown and another undershirt from the drawer, Meta added the two items to the white baby shawl and infant white socks.

“Meta, you didn’t have to do this chore!”

Smiling back at the man with his folded arms, “I wanted to help where I could. Michelle is known for traveling light and I added the extras for the baby in case the baby spits up on his coming home clothes. Carmen is reading to Gabby and Bethany Joy in their room. It only takes one to read and I got the hint pretty quickly that is her domain.”

Rolling his eyes and smiling, “My mother can do that to people. She does it with Abuella also.”

“Michelle described the Nursery to me over the phone. She did a good job!”

Danny unfolded his arms to touch the baby bed, which Mick had made. “Everything in the room is new except The Pirate Bed. Michelle and the twins use to love climbing in the bed to read. Your niece taught them how to jump up and down on the bed. We had a hard time getting Bethany and Gabby to accept twin beds; the Pirate Bed has been their only bed that they could recall. Michelle finally told them a little white lie that the baby had to have the bed to sleep in at night.”

“So the Santoses didn’t have funds to purchase another bed! Business must be bad back in Springfield.”

“Meta, business couldn’t be better, but I’m sure that your ears don’t want to hear details.”

Astonished at Danny’s honesty, “You have got that right. I think we should move on to a safer subject, food. Your mother ordered dinner for Michelle and you from a restaurant, which both of you like.”

“Carmen told me.”

“Danny, I might be overstepping our set boundaries but I often wondered what happened to Dr. Heidi Rasmussen after she left Springfield?”

Leaning back against the wall, Danny answered Meta’s question. “Heidi has a new job back in New York City.” Pausing for a moment before giving out additional information, “You didn’t have any personal knowledge of Dr. Rasmussen but she was unable to have children. Regardless of your personal opinion, Heidi was an advocate for Michelle and I admit to my own interest. She identified with Michelle and the female doctor issues. At the time, Michelle was in need of a mentor. Michelle was a young mother of twins struggling with a mother’s guilt of not being picture perfect to Gabriel and Bethany Joy. Michelle was close to walking away from her professional dream. If I had to, I would have made a pact with the devil to make Michelle’s dream come true.”

The sudden angst of the night came rushing out of the place that stored the unpleasant memories of his life. Stepping closer to Meta, the tone and flow of Danny’s voice changed to frighten the older woman. “I don’t know if Michelle shared with you, but I gave her the chance to walk clear away from me. I offered Michelle the freedom of flying out of my life and release from what I am sure the Bauers saw as an imprisonment.”

Speaking in a calming voice, “My niece never bought her married life to me, maybe to Abbey. It is obvious to everyone that was concerned that she chose to stay in the Santos family. The Nursery, in itself is a message of her lifetime commitment to you. I may have celebrated many birthdays but my old eyeballs can see the endearing behavior and actions, which Michelle and you share. Love can soften the hardest of hearts. The love that both of you have is the purest kind of love.”

“The Bauers are pretty strong headed and have been known to make a few mistakes. Abbey made a quilt for the baby and I was to inform you of their impending visit later this fall. Possibly about the time of the peak color changes in the fall.”

Danny smiled at how far Meta and he had come in their relationship. “Uncle Rick’s antics are entertaining to Gabby and BJ. Freddie Bauer is their only Bauer cousin and I want the twins to connect to that side of the family, also. I do have to get back to the hospital.” Clutching the small book of baby names in his hand, “I’ll add this to what you have gathered. Thank God that Michelle has room in her heart for all of us.”

The catered dinner was in the process of being set-up when Danny slowly opened the door to Michelle’s hospital room. “I smelled the aroma of the seasonings outside in the hallway. Can you believe all of this food? There has to be enough to fed the staff.”

“Honey, I’m starving. After you and I eat then we can open it up to the staff. How is my son doing?”

“Your son was starving, same as you. He is a quick learner and has down pat the breast feeding.”

“A son after the ole man huh!” Peeking at his sleeping son in the wooden cradle, “He has already started to change since I last saw him. Can I serve a plate for you, Michelle?”

“Please but go light on the salad dressing.”

“You might like to know that Meta and I had a civil discussion earlier this evening.”

“Hum now what does that mean?”

“Exactly what I said, we kept our attack dogs in the kennel.”

Carefully gauging Danny’s comment, “Aunt Meta has always treated you with respect; she will speak her mind when pushed.”

“Honey, I’m specifically talking from the time of the Christmas night dinner at the Bauers till today. Your Aunt has had an attitude adjustment or has an accommodating new vision of your life with me.”

“Oh how I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to have heard this conversation. I can see it now! You had your arms folded with your eyebrows arching depending on how the conversation was going.”

“Stop making fun of my idiosyncrasies! You do know me.”

“Well, to tell you the truth, I have seen you react with the folded arms, arching eyebrows and hurt puppy dog look on several occasions.”

With the two filled plates in his hands, Danny approached the bed. “I’m the luckiest man in the world.” Softly kissing Michelle on the cheek, “Maybe, we should try and do this again next year.”

Michelle wrinkled her nose at Danny. “The way my bottom feels at this moment, I have no intentions of being a mother again.” Their eyes connected for the brief time and the spell was broken when Michelle spoke, “I am the lucky lady for I walked into a college night club with few expectations and left with a very handsome man that was going to take me on a life altering journey.”

The flashing snippets of their brief history emerged in her mind. Her sassy conversation with a mysterious man, the smell of his cologne, dancing in the security of his arms, the whirlwind courtship, a wedding chapel at night, the camping trip to El Yunque, their first road trip around the exotic island, the raging hurricane and birth of the twins on New Year’s Day, a tiny white grave marker in Chicago and now a new healthy son sleeping a few feet from her.

“Danny, I am the fortunate one….All the many years that Aunt Meta has been in my life, she seldom talked of the time, which she spent in New York City. There was a tiny rumor of leaving her heart in the city. Today, for the first time, I can understand her sacrifice. Aunt Meta was there for me when my father wasn’t. What I am going to ask is totally unplanned. I want to give our son a name, which reflects our heritages. Lance gives off nice vibes with a touch of mystery. In the Spanish section of the baby names, I saw Pascal and it keeps popping up in my mind. The name just seems to fit our son. I like the sound of Pascal Santos.”

“Michelle, are you sure of the names? We don’t have to rush into naming our son. Why don’t we try out the names and see if they fit his personality. He is different from Gabby and Bethany. They were demanding of everyone’s attention for months. This baby is quiet and very content to be with you.”

Danny set his plate aside on the table. Lifting the sleeping baby boy from the cradle, “Honey, I forgot how tiny and light a baby was until I held our second son in my arms.” Repeating the name out loud, “Lance Pascal Santos.” The eyes of the baby blinked with the long black eyelashes opening and the baby stretching his arms and legs to the full body length. The beaming smile on Danny’s face spoke the words, which Michelle shared with her husband.

When I heard the news, there’ll be baby shoes in your near future.
I waited and wondered if they would be pink or blue.
No one had to tell me what a heart beat means. It was a heart beating with a bit of you and me.
The words can’t describe what I see. It was going to be a little of you and me. Words can’t describe how I feel inside; life is such a wonder.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 6

August 27, 2017

Republisher’s Note: Manny and the twins celebrate New Year’s.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis – Chapter 6

Danny washed Gabby and Bethany’s hands once more before he allowed the two to add the plain M&Ms to the two cakes with the foamy seven-minute frosting. In front of Gabby and Bethany Joy sat a plastic white bowl filled with M&M candies. Unable to resist the multi-colored candies, the fingers went into the bowl picking out their favorite color.

“Honey, you have got to accept the fact that the cakes aren’t even but they will serve their purpose. Please let Gabby and Bethany go ahead and stick the M&Ms in the frosting. They can’t resist eating the candy. Next year, Aunt Meta is coming with us to San Juan to help you make the birthday cakes.”

“Why is it that everyone cringes when I insist on baking the cakes? It must have something to do with the moisture or the altitude down here and adjusting the oven temperature.”

“Michelle, I think that it is the way that you put the batter in the pans and then again it might be the fact that you don’t make a cake but once a year.”  Hugging his arms around her waist, “But I love your determination to do this for our children.” Pointing to the refrigerator, “It looks like the cakes will have to be kept in the refrigerator to keep them from sliding off the plates.”

“Well, Abuella told me that she had used the refrigerator once for the same purpose when she first got married.”

“When are we going to celebrate the big number two birthdays?”

“Dr. Pasteur said that he could come after 5PM for drinks and Carmen and I are going to decorate the patio during nap time.”

“Good, we will have the birthday party early. I made reservations at a restaurant for 11pm tonight to ring in the New Year with my sexy wife. Carmen and Abuella have agreed to baby-sit tonight if we get back before 6AM.”

“Hum, we haven’t stayed out that late since Gabby and Bethany were born. Do you think that we can make it till 6AM?”

Rubbing his hands over Michelle’s derrire, “We can use our imagination to last the night away.”

Finally the last M&Ms rested in the foamy frosting with each cake having its share of the candy. Climbing down off the padded stool, Bethany Joy ran to the nearest bathroom to her potty chair where Gabby followed to watch his sister take the next step in her growth and development. The confusing and challenging time had him frustrated. Danny had demonstrated the male urinating stand up position repeatedly and it worked if Gabby was outside but watching Bethany inside bolstered the confusion of deciding when did you sit and when did you stand.

If one had to go, then the other twin tried to copy the other twin’s behavior. Gabby had many accidents with his toilet training falling quickly behind that of his sister. The fear of sitting on the large commode and the noise of the flushing water was more than his young body could handle. Their individual personalities had been seen from the beginning days after their birth but after two years; it had become evident that they preferred certain toys and Bethany was ready to be toilet trained. Gabby struggled with the toilet training because his body wasn’t ready for the process. He curiously watched the process with making attempts to copy his sister by removing his disposable training pants. His excitement came in the unwinding of rolls of toilet paper and running through the house with the paper. The discovery of the unwinding paper provided the comical relief that his parents needed with him. Danny and Michelle finally had to confiscate the rolls of paper and put them in the cabinet underneath the sink with kid-proof locks to ensure having tightly wrapped toilet paper.

Michelle watched as her husband sat on the floor with Gabby and Bethany Joy building the two buildings with the large plastic snapping blocks. Gabby excelled in the finger dexterity and was easily entertained with the various shapes that Danny built. He always added on where Bethany usually spent her time taking the shapes apart and trying to put it back together.

With the beach bag prepared for the morning beach trip, Michelle grabbed her nylon briefcase to look over the final applications to submit to hospitals in Philadelphia. The choices would be decided by the national placement system but she had limited the applications to only hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Danny’s visit in the fall had secured the Santoses safety. Unknowingly Michelle had met the mob leader at Danny’s Homecoming football game at the luncheon held at the Yellow Britches Restaurant overlooking the Schuylkill River. The men in the fraternity had arranged Michelle’s sitting beside the well-spoken Italian man with a specific intention in mind. At the end of the luncheon, Michelle’s classy behavior had wrapped the deal and won the future protection of her family.

What she wanted the most hadn’t happened. Michelle wanted another baby, but Danny had insisted that it was either a new baby or the residence program but not both. The decision had been hard especially after she had weaned the toddlers from nursing. She missed the closeness and quiet time that only she could give Gabby and Bethany Joy when they nursed at her breast. Danny had promised her that there were going to be more children in the future but the immediate future was out of the question. Weighing the yellow manila envelopes, she checked the postage stamp cost and unrolled the roll of stamps and began counting the stamps for each envelope. With the wet paper towel, Michelle applied the stamps and returned the applications back to her briefcase refocusing her attention to the three people on the floor.

Kneeling down on her knees to be near her husband and her two children. “Can I play with your Legos?”

“Wes, Mommie.”

“Bethany Joy, what are you making?”

“Ah pish”

Gabby joined the triangle piece to the tall stack of Legos, “My tiehower.”

Snapping several of the soft pastel colored Legos together to form a kite, Michelle showed her creation to the busy and contented children.

“Honey, did you take the red wagons back down to the boat shed after Carmen and Abuella used the wagons yesterday at the coffee plantation?”

“I didn’t, but Dietz took the wagons down to the shed when they got back last night. Are you ready to go down to the beach?”

“Yes. Today is spectacular and I want to swim in the warm water with Gabby and BJ this morning. I promised both of them before they went to sleep last night that we would build a giant sand castle this morning with their new sand castle making toys from Carmen’s sister. It was nice of her to remember their birthdays.”

“Yesterday, Mama and Abuella had a special outing with Gabby and Bethany Joy at the plantation. They got to show off their great and grandchildren to the family that lives on the plantation. You know Carmen was proud of the fact that Gabby and Bethany Joy spoke only Spanish while they were visiting Carmen’s family.”

“Oh yes, that remains a sticking point with Carmen and me; she gave me a tape of Spanish phrases in my Christmas stocking this year.”

Smiling with the grin of killer grins to Michelle, “I think I remember telling you to learn a little more Spanish in your spare time once before myself!”

“Yes, you did tell me to learn Spanish but you were really mad at me that day. I didn’t take it as a serious challenge then, but my children can speak and understand the Spanish language better than I can.”

“Well baby, the bar has been set by your own children; you are going to have to get serious and learn the language.” Leaning over to Michelle’s lips, “You are out numbered!”

“I know.”


“So we are building an official Santos Castle where the prince and princess lives with the king and queen on an island far out in the ocean.”

“Mommie, Gabbee the preence, Daddee the keeng, mee the preencenzes.”

“Yes, sweetie but we are going to build the castle on the beach this morning.”

“Gabbee twook my sphoon.”

“Bethany, you switched shovels with Gabby….Gabby, what do you want to eat for lunch?”

Continuing to play with the Legos, Gabby reguested, “Wrapes, cookey, peewutputter.”

“And Bethany, what would you like to eat for lunch?”

“Galley, peewutputter and gewce.”

“Funny, but I packed all the right goodies. Danny, do you want your usual lunch?”

Reaching to touch Michelle’s thigh underneath the khaki shorts to briefly massage her upper thigh, “The usual is fine but can I have a nookie for my midday reward?”

“I think you need to start watching where you are putting your hands when the kiddos are alert and watching our every move. To answer your last question, it all depends on how quickly Gabby and Bethany go down for their afternoon naps. They usually collapse in their bed at home after the workout that Olga and Justina give them in the mornings but Bethany has been fighting her afternoon nap here. ”

“Michelle, Bethany Joy is testing your patience. She isn’t use to having you home in the middle of the day and Bethany knows how to pull at your heart strings.”

Packing away the Legos in the fishnet storage bag and admiring the almost finished products, Danny and Michelle each started undressing a twin and redressing in a swimsuit with a generous supply of suntan lotion. Bethany’s bright lime green swimsuit with colored frogs contrasted to Gabby’s navy blue swimsuit. Bethany squirmed from Michelle’s lap when she started to brush her daughters thick curls up into a ponytail Danny snapped Bethany into his arms. “Bethany Joy, don’t you want to wear your hair like Mommy today?”

“No, it whurts.”

“Bethany, if you didn’t wiggle all over the place; Mommy wouldn’t pull your hair and it wouldn’t hurt as much. If you are going to play and swim in the water, you have to keep your hair out of your eyes. Will you let me put your hair in a ponytail?”


Michelle smiled at her daughter’s answer. “Oh yea I’m the only sucker that Bethany pulls the heart strings deal on down here in San Juan. Danny, Bethany’s hair is thick and she has tight curls even with the hair conditioner. The ponytail isn’t worth the fight.”

“Michelle, you are letting the princess off the hook to easy. At home, she allows Olga and Carmen to brush her hair.”

Reaching for Bethany, “Well, that is in Springfield and right now she is with me. Besides Gabby has been known to raise hell at the hair dresser when he goes with you to get a haircut.”

“But Gabby sat in the chair and did get his hair cut.”

“Danny, he sat in the chair on your lap and you had his arms and hands locked in a vice grip with your hands.”

“Gabby and Bethany know when I mean business.”

“Oh yea Danny, obedience by force.”

“Honey, you are the doc but you need to read the next chapter in your growth and development book, Gabby and Bethany Joy are going into the Terrible Twos.”

“Danny, I refuse to agree with you all the time. I want to explain to them why I want them to react in a behavior that is acceptable. The Terrible Twos don’t have to be terrible.”

“Oh the Bauer think tank is issuing a decree to the Mean Santos think tank.”

“Indeed not, I’m just saying that there are other options to lead the young ones through the Terrible Twos and survive with our minds intact. ”


“It is time to get the soon to be twos down to the beach. I’ll walk down to the lower level to let Carmen know that we’re out of the house and I’ll join you on the terrace where the steps go down to the rocky shoreline. I have to change into my bikini before I can meet you at the steps. Did you call the guardhouse to tell them that we are going to be on the beach?”

“Yes.” Danny lifted Gabby and Bethany Joy from the white marble floor and quickly went to the lower level in search of Carmen.

With the large beach bag hung over her left shoulder, Michelle grabbed the small cooler in the other hand and exited the screened French doors. At the top of the steps, Danny waited with Carmen and the twins for Michelle.

“Good morning, Michelle. You look gorgeous this morning and with a figure that flatters the bikini. Don’t you think so, Danny?”

Glancing at his wife’s body from the top of her head, he paused with his eyes resting on her breasts and the hourglass figure. “Michelle doesn’t have one stretch mark which I can attest to but the bikini isn’t bad on my eyes either.”

“Danny can take some credit for that. He did help with applying the cocoa butter lotion to my expanded abdomen. Carmen, are you joining us down on the beach?”

“No, I have to sort and wrap the birthday presents for Bethany Joy and Gabby. Maria ordered certain items and I added onto her order. Dietz is putting together the tricycles in the basement. Maria has cooked the ice cream custard and is busy making homemade ice cream for our party. Oh Michelle, I did bring a package of the tofu hot dogs for the children to eat at the party. It is beyond me how they eat the tofu dogs!”

“Carmen, the tofu takes on the taste of the seasonings. They haven’t been exposed to the junk food hotdogs or at least I don’t think they have.”

Avoiding the question, “You young people must get going down to the beach. I may join you later after I finish wrapping the gifts. Daniel, do you want me to carry one of my grandchildren down the steps?”

“No, Michelle and I can handle everything. You go and do your grandmother thing.”

The sandcastle grew with Danny and Michelle building the base and digging out the mote around the castle. Outside the castle, Gabby and Bethany kept busy filling the plastic red buckets with ocean water and carrying the buckets to the castle where they filled the mote with water. The dry white sand absorbed the vanishing water, which puzzled the twins. With the walls of the castle two feet tall, Danny lifted Gabby over the inside walls of the castle where Bethany Joy soon joined him.

“Gabby and Bethany are prisoners in the Santos castle. Michelle, shall we feed the prisoners peanut butter sandwiches, grapes and cookies or give them water to drink?”

“They look hungry to me so I vote to feed the prisoners after we swim in the water to remove the sand covering everybody’s bodies.”

Michelle extracted the two toddlers and ran toward the water running from Danny. The splashing water of the three jumping in the water was caught on the video camera with Danny directing Michelle to swim away from Gabby and Bethany in hopes of catching the twins swimming to Michelle. In seconds, Danny was smiling at the scene that he had on the screen. “Perfect, Michelle!” Gabby and Bethany hadn’t hesitated at all to swimming in the ocean. Stopping the recording, Danny laid the recorder down on the blanket and ran to join his family in the water.

With the water up to his waist, he dived under the water and came up with Bethany in his arms. “Honey, the water is great and did you see how Gabby went under the water first instead of Bethany?” Danny’s smile revealed his beautiful white teeth. “They are both comfortable in the water. Thanks to you. I knew they were OK with a pool but now they seem OK with the ocean. How do you feel about taking them out sailing tomorrow?”

Michelle gazed beyond Danny’s face to the Santos sailing boat. “Only if Jimmy and Justina can go out with us; Gabby and Bethany are so active that I don’t think that I could handle them both if we got into high winds with the boat leaning on the sides. I know that you tether them to the boat with lines but it is scary.”

“The new book that you gave them about the seahorse and the pearl has become their favorite. I thought being out on the sail boat might give them the chance to experience the ocean where the animals live. Gabby wanted to know where did the seahorse sleep. It gave me an idea. Pilar and Bill are arranging for a salt water aquarium to be set up at our house with sea horses and bright colored tropical fish. Gabby and Bethany can feed the fish and help take care of the tank.”

“Danny, you never fail to surprise me with your generosity with our children. I tend to think of the simple gifts. It has to be the difference in the way that we were raised.”

Bethany held onto Michelle’s arm, “Mommy, I wungree.”

“OK, it is time to eat, we came out to rinse the sand from our suits and skin. I’ll give you a shove back toward the beach.” Pushing Bethany’s body across the water, Bethany kicked with all her might to reach the beach with her Mom following her to the shoreline. Behind the ladies, Danny had Gabby on his back as he did a modified breaststroke to the shore. Danny with Gabby reached the shallow water first where Danny lifted Gabby out of the water and threw him up in the air. “Good job swimming, Gabby!”

Michelle emerged from the water adjusting the tiny straps on the bikini top with the outline of her hardened nipples showing through the turquoise swimsuit fabric.

“Do you know how sexy you are in a wet bathing suit?”

“Danny, you are a man and men get erections with visual excitement of seeing female anatomy.”

“Michelle, I like what I see and we haven’t had sex for five days with you having your period. After the kids eat, I can take them up to Carmen for their baths. The beach will be ours to do as we please if you get my drift.”

“Honey, I’m very aware that Carmen knows that we catch up on our sexlife here, but I still feel uncomfortable watching Carmen watching our every move. I prefer to make love in the privacy of our bedroom this afternoon so keep your engine running.”

“Hmm, it is running and I can’t wait to make love to you this afternoon and all night.”

Michelle gave a quarter of the peanut butter sandwich to Gabby and Bethany with a box of apple juice with a straw. Danny opened the plastic bowl of cold grapes for the four to eat with their sandwiches and unwrapped his tuna on rye bread sandwich with the slices of sweet pickles. Biting into the sandwich, Danny winked at Michelle. This sandwich is very good. I can’t understand how you can make a decent tuna sandwich and never taste the final product.”

“Maria showed me exactly how to mix the tuna with mayonnaise and horseradish when I was pregnant. It was one thing that I could do to learn to prepare your favorite sandwich.” Michelle licked the spoon clean of the peach yogurt then chose a piece of celery with peanut butter and raisins to eat in between the mixture of red and white grapes.

Danny and Michelle slowly sipped the Sangria while watching Gabby and Bethany eating the second quarter of their sandwiches. Gabby finished first and was rewarded with a soft oatmeal cookie that peeked Bethany’s interest. Bethany slowly chewed the unfinished sandwich before finally offering the wheat bread with the sticky ingredients to her Daddy.

“Bethany, Daddy isn’t eating your sandwich. If you want the cookie then you have to eat the sandwich or have a half of a cookie.”

“Wookee bleease.”

Michelle tore the cookie in half and gave the one piece to her daughter. “She still has a small appetite at mealtime that matches her petite body.”

“Honey, she is following your example and Carmen’s.” Lifting Bethany up to sit on his lap, “Bethany Joy is Daddy’s princess. And Gabby is going to always take care of his sister. Right Gabby?”

“Si, pah-pah.”

Hugging Gabby, Michelle smothered Gabby’s face with kisses. “You are the best brother. It is time to pack up, go get a shower and take a nap. We are having a birthday party this afternoon for Gabby and Bethany Joy.”

Standing under the outside showers, the warm water rinsed the shampoo and soapsuds down and off the four nude bodies. With the baths finished, Danny and Michelle dried their bodies and quickly got dressed while the twins jumped up and down with their feet splattering the water as it ran down the drain. The soft white towels surrounded each twin after they were wrapped in the security of the arms of a parent. Giggling with joy and hugging the parent dressing them, Gabby and Bethany with the appropriate blue and pink pull up training pants and San Juan tee shirts are whisked up into Danny’s arms and carried up the steps in the villa to the bedroom that they share.

Depositing Gabby and Bethany on the queen size bed across from the bedroom where he hoped to soon join his wife, Danny started the daily afternoon routine of preparing the twins for their naps. The two paper cups of water were set down on the bedside table after Gabby and Bethany took their sips of water that followed the activity of using their bed for a trampoline.

“OK, you have had enough jumping on the bed. Here are your blankets and teddy bears.”

“Wead wook Mommee wead wook.”

“No Mommy and Daddy are going to take a nap. I want you to stay in the bed and get your nap. This is quiet time just like what we do everyday when we are home.”

“Pah-pah wark?”

“No Gabby, Pap is resting with Mommy in our bedroom. I have theBeauty and the Beast tape in the tape player and you can listen to the story and music until you fall asleep. I love both of you very, very much.” After starting the tape player, Danny closed the wooden blinds completing the napping preparations.

Pausing outside the bedroom, Danny waited a minute to see if the two stayed in the bed. The quietness was good so far; the only noise was the tape player. Walking softly a few steps, Danny stopped to see if the noise level was still the same. This time, he heard the voice of Bethany and the sound of feet walking on the hardwood floors. Turning in the hallway, Danny caught Bethany and Gabby standing on the floor with books in their hands. Trying to keep from smiling, Danny stood with both hands on his hips. Raising his eye brows, “What are you two doing out of bed? Get back in the bed and you can keep the books to look at the pictures. If I catch you out of the bed again, I will spank your bottom. I can hear you in the hallway making noise in here.”

The noise coming from their bathroom was Michelle brushing her teeth. “Hey baby, I think the troops are settled. They have both gotten out of the bed once and I caught them in the act getting a book to read.”

Grinning at his wife with the mouth full of toothpaste,”I’ll brush my teeth to get rid of the tuna taste and we can begin our nap.”

“Did you tell a little fib to Gabby and Bethany?”

Spitting the contents of his mouth in the sink, “You bet that I did! I am looking forward to the day when we can have a vacation by ourselves.”

“Danny, you are saying that at this minute, but I know that you can’t stand being away from Gabby and Bethany Joy.”

“True, but we have got to rethink these family vacations with the grandmothers. Sometime this year, I want us to go to Hawaii by ourselves. In the mean time, we can have some fun here in our villa on the bed in our bedroom.”

Backing Michelle against the shower door, “Let the fun begin.”

Giggling at Danny’s suggestion, “Your engine is roaring.”

Michelle’s hair covered Danny’s fingers on the side of her head where he leaned down to kiss the space in between her left ear and shoulder blade. The slow intentional movements of Danny’s tongue up Michelle’s neck to the exposed ear stirred the moaning of a woman desiring to be close to the man as only a woman can be with a man.

Danny whispered, “What is it with us making love in the bathroom when we have a comfortable bed less than twenty feet away?”

The voice purring answered, “It is the adventure of being risque. ”

“We don’t need your blouse anymore.” Placing a kiss on her lips after he unbuttoned the small white pearly buttons on her blouse. “The khaki shorts can go.” The disappearance of each item of clothes from their bodies went quickly until they both stood naked in the bathroom. Swallowing the room air in his nostrils, “The feeling of your skin next to my skin is the best sensation next to screwing.”

“Danny, you are the romantic one. You have the magic fingers and your kisses aren’t bad. What position are you up for this afternoon?”

“How about doing the Clan of the Cave Bear?”

“Hum, I left the bedroom door open.”

“It is only you and me upstairs with Gabby and Bethany sleeping across the hallway.”

With her hand in his, they walked to the bedroom where Danny mounted Michelle from behind. The rocking motion finished with Michelle resting on her knees and elbows with Danny plunging in deep into her vagina. The warm natural vaginal fluids lubricated Danny’s full erection where he waited until her vagina adjusted to his penis. His upper body held Michelle’s hips against his lower body pushing with all the strength that he could muster into the narrow space that provided Michelle an orgasm. Danny fell forward with the final thrust expelling his semen fluid in Michelle. The two collapsed in a prone position with Danny resting on top of Michelle. Their wet bodies sticking to each other from the energy exhausted in the sex act.

“Michelle, I love banging you from the rear but damn it is exhausting. You are great at moving and lifting up your bottom, which gives me better and deeper plunging motion. Tonight, we do your favorite position in celebrating Gabby and Bethany’s birthday.” The feather touch on his big toe startled Danny. Danny lifted his head to look at the four dark brown eyes starring at his nude body. “Michelle, we have company at the foot of the bed. Shit, I don’t know how long they have been here.”

“Dam it Danny, they have seen you screwing me.”

“Michelle, be still and I’ll take care of them.”

“Why are you out of the bed again?”

Bethany showed her father the book in her hand. “Mommee wead wook.”

Evaluating the situation that he was in with the twins, “OK, Mommy will read the book; then you are going to take a nap this afternoon.” Positioning his body to hide Michelle’s nakedness, “Scoot under the sheet. Bethany, what book do you want Mommy to read to you?”

“Cee whorse and purl.”

“I think Mommy has read this book to you every night since Christmas Day.”

Danny pulled each twin up on the king-size bed with Michelle piling the pillows behind her back making a cozy nest for Gabby and Bethany to snuggle beside her in the bed.

“Pay-pah nayked.”

Smiling at Danny, “Yes, Daddy is naked and cold without his clothes. I think Daddy should go to the bathroom and get dressed.”

“Pah-pah wurt Mommee.”

“Michelle don’t try and explain this to Gabby and Bethany. It is evident that their young eyes saw us doing the deed.”

“No, Daddy didn’t hurt Mommy, but we made each other feel good. Daddy put you in bed to take a nap and you disobeyed Daddy. You came in our bedroom when we wanted to spend time by ourselves.”

Michelle opened the thin gray-blue covered book with the picture of the sea creatures and a bright star in the night sky. The Seahorse and Pearl written by Mischa Damian.” Do you see the seahorse, Gabby?”

Gabby pointed with his fingers at the greenish creature.

“Bethany, what does the seahorse have wrapped in his tail?” Pointing at the white object, “Purl!”

Michelle waited for the twins to look at the pictures on both pages.

Look up above! Cried the little seahorse Why is it so bright tonight? The puffer fish didn’t know, so the little seahorse swam to the top of the ocean to investigate. What a surprise was waiting for him! Countless fishing boats sailed by, but no nets were cast. Hundreds of birds flew across the shy, and above shone a star, brighter than any star he had ever seen.

Michelle read the last three pages to the two sleeping toddlers with Danny repeating the lines from memory.

The star is no longer moving, the dolphin announced. Its stopped over the land, said the seahorse sadly. We can’t get there. The little king will never see our pearl. At that moment, the dove flew by. Come little seahorse, he called. I’ll take you with me! Swift as an arrow they flew, and soon they saw the stable. The star was directly overhead. The dove, with the seahorse on his back, flew down, and into the stable they went. The little seahorse looked at the little King for a long time. I bring you all the best wishes from the undersea creatures, he said quietly, sliding the pearl into the Child’s hand. The Child smiled at him. And from that night on, whenever the little seahorse remembered the Child’s smile, his heart filled with peace and joy.

“Shall I move them?”

“No, their last memories will be of the seahorse getting the pearl from the oyster and traveling with the lantern fish to the whale and to the dolphins. The birthday party will be a further distraction and hopefully they will forget what they saw this afternoon. I am going to get a shower and go down to help Carmen put up the balloons.”

Dr. Henri Pasteur’s arrival with his native born French wife had become a New Year’s Eve tradition in the Santos family. It gave the doctor that delivered Gabby and Bethany Joy a chance to see the growth and development of the Santos twins. The first party, Dr. Pasteur saw the two twins attempting to make steps in the process of learning to walk but preferring the crawling motion to getting around on the villa floors. When he saw Michelle coming down the steps holding the hand of the toddlers, he clapped his hands and turned to salute Danny. “They are no longer babies. You would never know that they were preemies.”

“Michelle, your beauty and elegance radiates when I see you in the mother role. I saw your strength the night we met two years ago. There is nothing better to see than a vibrant mother with children.”

“Dr. Pasteur, you are kind but I still struggle with the role and medical school. Did Danny tell you that I am going to do a residency in pediatrics?”

“No I thought you might have decided to have another baby.”

Glancing to Danny, “I would tomorrow but my husband is less than enthusiastic.”

Danny gave the glass of white wine to Michelle; “I want Gabby and Bethany out of training pants before we dive back in the diaper routine. Maybe next year.”

“Gabriel and Bethany, this is Dr. Pasteur. He took you out of Mommy’s abdomen when you were born. The party is to celebrate your birthday.”

Gabby held onto Michelle’s leg, “Mommee tummee.”

“My mother and grandmother are out on the terrace with hors doeuvres. They will be delighted to see Mrs. Pasteur and talk with her about the latest French fashions.”

“Oh Mr. Santos, your mother is a striking lady.”

“Mrs. Pasteur must join my mother on one of her European shopping trips.”

“Danny, did you pour ginger ale for Gabby and Bethany Joy?”

“Honey, their cups are ready on the counter. Michelle, when you were dressing them for the party did they mention our afternoon activities?”

“They seemed tired and wanted to rest on the bed. The party with the gifts and cake will keep them busy. Carmen actually showed some restraint this time with the planning. Next year, I want Gabby and Bethany Joy to have other children at their party. If and when we move to Philadelphia, it is important for our children to interact with other children. Except for Freddie, they don’t know other kids.”

“Well, that isn’t completely true, they have met my lawyer’s children in Philadelphia.”

“Danny, that isn’t exactly what I want. Mr. Stewart’s children are too old except for their youngest son. The middle boy is always showing off and entertaining their oldest son with the cerebral palsy.”

“Michelle, I know what you are talking about. We can get Gabby and Bethany enrolled in child care program with children their age.”

Carmen sorted through the two piles of presents and recounted to make sure they were equal. The noise from inside indicated the guests had arrived. “Mrs. Pasteur must have been a model in France. Her facial features are exquisite.”

“Carmen, she is too European for me.”

“Stiff and formal Dr. Pasteur has become a close confidant of Daniel’s. He is a good older male friend. The past year, I have sensed that Daniel has withdrawn from me. Our discussions have certainly taken on a superficial involvement in his life.”

“Carmen, Gabriel and Bethany Joy don’t require our assistance as much as in their early days. Michelle’s career has settled down and Danny and Michelle have their way of doing their own thing. Michelle will always be a Bauer and she has begun to use her influences with Danny.”

“Michelle has been vocal about wanting another baby, which hasn’t happened yet. Daniel and I did discuss this briefly and I advised him against the baby with all the new changes coming in their lives. The move to Philadelphia is bad enough, my grandchildren will be over a thousand miles away. I hate the day that Heidi Rasmussen suggested the city. Shhh, they are coming!”

“Mama and Abuella, you remember Dr. Pasteur and his wife.”

“Why certainly! It is nice that you both could join us at the villa for our party. I see that Daniel has gotten a drink for you and your wife.”

“Daniel, where is Michelle and my beautiful grandchildren?”

“They are coming. Michelle is giving them a snack of ginger ale and animal crackers since dinner is being served later this evening.”

“Senora Santos, the views are spectacular from your terrace. I never realized how isolated your home is out on this ridge.”

“My husband Miguel bought the property. He loved the beach and to fish. The property was given to Daniel and Michelle as a wedding gift so the villa is theirs now. It doesn’t get used as much as it use to when Daniel was single and my son Mick was living. In the future, I hope Danny and Michelle will choose to live here.”

“Did I hear my name?” Michelle walked over to Danny. “Have I missed anything?”

“No. We were talking about the villa.” Danny wrapped both arms on the waist of Michelle and automatically began to give Michelle a tummy rub.

“Your pink dress is a shade of the sky in the east.” Mrs. Pasteur admired the silk dress with the high front bodice and open back with the one button closure creating an O opening. “Michelle can certainly wear any designer clothes in France. She has all the assets shall I say.”

Blushing at the remarks, “I can assure you that I have a few physical flaws. Your husband saw my expanded abdomen two years ago.”

“Michelle, I told you this morning that your figure flattered the bikini but your short hair cut agrees with your soft facial features.”

“Thank you Carmen but yours aren’t too bad. Gabby and Bethany have gifts for Dr. Pasteur. I’m not sure they understand the gift giving procedure. They have cried when I tried to get them to exchange their own birthday presents. They have identical presents of Play Dough that are wrapped in different paper.” Smiling at Gabby sitting on Carmen’s lap and Bethany with her arms hugging Abuella’s neck, “Tomorrow, I’ll open the Play Dough for them.”

Maria spoke quickly with the suggestion, “Daniel, switch the presents. Gabby and BJ are too young to grasp giving a gift. What they have in their possession is theirs. Don’t you remember Mick’s six birthday party? You had chosen the red race car and when the time came for you to give Mick the present; you cried and refused to part with the car in your hand. The car was yours in your heart and mind.”

“Abuella, Mick and I had more fights over that red car. It was my father that made me give the car to Mick. Mama took me to the store to buy another red race car but they didn’t have anymore in stock.”

“What is the lesson here, Maria?”

“Your children are growing-up. Don’t expect them to easily do something that you yourself struggled with in the past. We have treated them as one unit, but now we are seeing the individual spirits developing. S est bueno.”

Danny released his hold on Michelle. “Gabby, you are the first born and its time to give Dr. Pasteur a thank you present for taking care of Michelle. Henri, Gabby and Bethany Joy spent yesterday up at the coffee plantation and bought you back several pounds of fresh coffee beans. Excuse Gabby and me but we have to go inside to get another gift.” Danny returned with Gabby holding a box of Cuban cigars. “Gabby, give the box to Dr. Pasteur.” Stretching the box to the gray haired man, Gabby said the words that his daddy whispered in his ear. “Whank wou.”

“When I see these two children, I recall the late hurricane season that year. The storm had the potential to destroy the island. The night was dark and stormy but gave way to the morning light and the birth of Gabby and then the namesake of the storm. We came so close to loosing Bethany Joy. I predict that she will be the fighter with a wild spirit and will break your heart one day. You can see it in her eyes. She has the spirit of a strong willed hurricane much like that of Michelle. I saw it in Michelle that night; she was willing to suffer incredible pain to protect the life within her body.”

Wiping the tears from her cheeks, “Danny and I are the fortunate ones. We have Gabby and Bethany Joy. It is time to celebrate their births. Carmen, how do you want Gabby and Bethany Joy to open the presents?”

Carmen wiped her tears and reached down to pick up Bethany Joy. “Sweet Bethany Joy. Dietz has their tricycles downstairs. Maria and I wrapped their new clothes in four boxes, two for each child. They have a box of bathing suits and beach wear clothes for summer wear at your pool and here before you move away from us. Maria bought camp shorts, polo shirts and a backpack for Gabby. Maria picked out the cutest smock front pants and jumpers for Bethany with matching sweaters. I vote that we open them after dinner.”

Maria raised her hand. “I bought a backpack for Bethany Joy with her name monogrammed on the bag. Carmen, what is the name of the beach shoes that everyone likes?”

“Tevas. Michelle, they are the cutest. Bethany Joy has bumblebees on hers and Gabby has butterflies.”

Michelle picked up one of the boxes, “This weighs a ton. LL Bean must be happy that you are one of their good customers. I saw the packages from Fed X being delivered.”

“Michelle, it is hard to find new gifts with Gabby and Bethany having their birthdays so close to Christmas. Surely, you won’t take this small joy away from me. I love to shop for my grandchildren’s clothes.”

“I know that you do and that is why I only bought artistic materials for Gabby and Bethany Joy. Paint smocks and finger paints.”

Olga opened the screen door to announce that dinner was ready. The subject changed to a safer subject while Maria led the way to the dining room. At the dinning room table, the twins sat in their booster chairs with the cloth napkins tucked under their chins to protect Gabby’s white polo shirt and khaki shorts and Bethany’s navy blue sailor dress with red and white braid on the wide collar. Olga offered the platter of raw vegetables to Michelle. “Thank you, Olga, for preparing these for Gabby. Gabby, we have raw carrots and cauliflower. How many do you want to eat?” Gabby held up one finger. Placing one carrot and one cauliflower on his plate with the sliced tofu hotdogs and mashed potatoes, Michelle switched the spoon and fork from Gabby’s left hand. “The fork is easier to use than the spoon with the hotdogs.”

To her right, Danny prepared Bethany’s plate. On her plate were the cooked carrots casserole, rice pilaf and the sliced tofu. “Do you want mashed potatoes?”

Shaking her head, “No, pah-pah.”

“Are you sure? The potatoes have sour cream and cheddar cheese.”

“Sorry to bore you Henri and Mrs. Pasteur, but as you have probably noticed; they both have food preferences. Gabby doesn’t like cooked carrots and Bethany will eat any kind of vegetables but potatoes. The soup tureen has corn chowder and the Lobster Newberg is one of my favorites and more pleasing to an adults taste.”

“The dinner is very appropriate with having your twins join us at the dinning room table. It is nice to see that you are training Gabby and Bethany to eat in a formal atmosphere.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Pasteur They do pretty good.”

The main course was finished with Michelle helping Olga to clear the table in preparation for the two birthday cakes. The dessert plates were placed with the silver cake knife in front of Carmen. At the buffet, Maria poured the fresh brewed coffee into cups for the adults. Dimming the overhead light above the dining room table, Danny and Michelle entered with the cakes and the two candles burning.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Gabby and Bethany,
Happy Birthday to you.

“Gabby, tell everybody how old you are going to be tomorrow.” Arranging his two fingers and showing Danny to see if had it right, “That’s right ….Now, Bethany Joy it is your turn.”



“May I take your pictures?” offered Dr. Pasteur. “That would be nice,” said Danny. “We can have family pictures with parents and two generations of grandmothers. A great picture to send to Michelle’s father in Africa.”

“Michelle, this is one of your best cakes that you have made even if you did put small dowels in to hold the two layers together.”

“Maria, the layers of the cakes are never level. They all have little mounds on the top after they are cooked with hard crust on the edges. Danny made sure that Gabby and Bethany’s hands were clean when they stuck the M&Ms in the frosting. I don’t think the cake is contaminated with their germs!”

“Daniel, I wish Miguel was here to see his grandchildren! He would have taken Gabby out fishing on the yacht.”

“Mam, Michelle and I are taking Gabby and Bethany out tomorrow sailing. Justina and Jimmy are going along to help, so don’t worry! We won’t lose them overboard.”

“I know that you prefer the sailboat, but it is so dangerous. Please be careful.”

“Now to the gifts.” On the floor, Michelle sat with Gabby and Bethany unwrapping the four boxes of clothes. In the beach wear box for Gabby were two bathing suits with a tribal red-orange and black fish motif and one, a tropical surfer with a turquoise background with white palm trees. The three pairs of cropped clam-digger length shorts of red; royal and navy matched the three solid colored t-shirts of white, navy and chili. In his sky blue soccer backpack was a yellow terry beach cover with a dog embroidered on the hood and a pair of tevas. The second box had three pairs of camp shorts, navy, khaki and stone with three Polo shirts, one a nautical red stripe, another one navy, green and white stripe and the last one a red stripe with white and blue and a pair of navy blue sneakers.

Bethany waited patiently with her two boxes until Michelle was ready to give her the undivided attention that she wanted to spend with each child. The beach box had two new O back tank swimsuits with wide stay up straps. The turquoise and pink suit matched the pink beach cover with a cats face embroidered on the hood. The purple backpack had a ladybug design. In side the bag was her tevas and three sunhats that matched the three-smock front pants with a yellow flowerpots motif, a pink crocus picnic theme and a blue flower print. Bethany’s second box was filled with three jumpers with a three-button back and tie. The jumpers were made of a gingham print with the pink, light blue and blue iris being selected by Carmen. The white, yellow and pink pointelle shirts with the swing shape had a stretch picot-edge neckline with cap sleeve and lettuce edge hem that could be worn under the bibed pants. At the bottom of the box were three cardigan sweaters, white, and soft yellow and pink to match the pink canvas sneakers.

“Gabby and Bethany Joy, you must give Carmen and Abuella big hugs and kisses for your birthday presents. All I can say is that I appreciate your generosity and the clothes are beautiful and practical. If you don’t mind, I would like to wait until tomorrow to open our presents for Bethany and Gabby.”

“Honey, I think it is good idea to wait. The tricycles are downstairs and I don’t want them up here on this level.”

Danny stooped down to pick up Bethany and Gabby. “It is time to say goodnight to our guests and way past your bedtime.”

The two said “Goodnight” and threw kisses at everyone in the room. “Honey, you stay down with our guest while I put these two to bed. I don’t want a repeat performance from this afternoon.”

Danny skipped down the steps to join the guests. “They both fell asleep before I had read three pages in the Jack and the Beanstalk book.” Pouring the brandy in the small glasses, Danny served the brandy and sat down in a chair facing the ocean.

“It is heaven here.”

“Henri, Michelle and I should move here and raise Gabby and Bethany. Get out of the rat race in Springfield!” The smoke from the Cuban cigars rose from the burning crimson ends, while the two men puffed the sweet rolled tobacco. “The Cubans do know how to make a good cigar.”

“The island is a good place to raise children. Mrs. Pasteur had her reservations with the education system. Our children went back to France to a boarding school for high school and attended universities in Europe. When the time comes and Michelle is ready to practice; perhaps she will consider San Juan. The island looses more of the best people every year. They all dream of leaving the island and living in the USA.”

Dr. Pasteur pulled the gold chain from his pants pocket to check the time on the sentimental watch. “The time has gone very quickly this evening. I’m due to be at the hospital in an hour. There is a young doctor waiting anxiously for my arrival. Do you and Michelle have plans for tonight?”

“Yes, we are going to a nightclub to dance in the New Year. Michelle can dance a mean salsa with the best. She gets the rhythm and the beat.”

“Thank you for inviting Mrs. Pasteur and me to share in this special occasion. They will be grown before you blink your eyes.”

“Hum that quick?”

“Our lifestyles have changed drastically. Mine more than Michelle’s. With Michelle being in medical school, my business and raising the twins, we don’t get out socially as much as I would prefer. When I want to go out, Michelle wants to stay in with Gabby and Bethany. We struggle to balance the scale. Thank you for coming tonight and Gabby and Bethany will open your presents tomorrow. My mother and grandmother have a tendency to overbuy, which irritates Michelle.”

After seeing the couple to the door, Danny punched in the speed dial number to the guardhouse. “Did the florist deliver the flowers?”

“Boss, they are here. Are you ready for the delivery?”

“No, don’t bring them over until after we leave tonight. Carmen will be expecting you to bring the flowers to the house. By the way, what condition are they in right now?”

“Perfect buds with no spots I checked them myself.”


The clicking noise of the black heels on the marble floors and the twirling red skirt produced the reaction that Michelle wanted from Danny. “Um, You changed.”

“Do you like my red dress?”

Eying the dress from the shoulder down to the deep U front and back bodice to the hem length above the knees. “Ah ya ya! Did you wear the dress for me or the other men that you are hoping to see tonight?”

“I refuse to answer because I might not get out of the house tonight.”

Touching the chin of her husband and starring in his dark eyes, “When are we leaving?”

“Your carriage awaits, Madame.”

The black car speed out of the gate with the second car following close behind the Mercedes with the two bodyguards. Inside the car, Danny spoke with Jimmy. “Bring Hugo in the club tonight. I want to observe him. Carmen wants to bring him back to Springfield. Do you think Hugo is ready for primetime?”

“He is anxious to please.”

Kissing Michelle’s hand, “We have to beef up the soldiers with our pending move to Philadelphia.”

The maitre’d greeted the Santos party. “Mr. Santos, do you want to be above the dance floor as usual or something more private.”

After looking at Michelle, “Michelle, the mezzanine or the private table?”

“Private please.”

“Follow me.”

At the table, Danny pulled the chair out for Michelle. “Give us a few minutes. I’ll signal you when we are ready to order.”

“Certainly. Mr. Santos.”

Michelle waited until the waiter was out of hearing range. “Is this club one of your old hangouts?”

“I did visit the nightclub frequently. The atmosphere is one of the best. Good mixture of local and European tourist traffic in the club with beautiful single women hunting for men willing to spend money. It is a great place to showcase your dancing skills and have fun when the sun goes down on the island.”

“Danny, isn’t it strange that you would bring me here tonight? I don’t fit the quote single European beautiful woman category.”

“No, but that isn’t why we are here tonight. I have a cardinal rule: Don’t mix pleasure with business. Never left the club with a customer. I might have seen them later at another club and enjoyed their sexual attributes. It was the part of growing into manhood thing. A smart man doesn’t carry that kind of woman home.”

Almost choking on hearing the words, “Isn’t that how you and I connected?”

Raising his eyebrows at Michelle’s question, “I’m in deep sh**! A smitten man carried you home. I knew when I first saw you that you were a one of a kind young beautiful woman. I had seen many here and in Europe. You didn’t know it but I watched you inside the Y2K. The bartender told me that you were the one and only Michelle Bauer, which meant nothing to me at that time. The more that I watched you with your friends; I knew that clubbing wasn’t your scene. The smart mouth attitude was a turn on and when we danced I knew that we had connected on a spiritual level. I didn’t know until later when I wanted to take you home that I had found the woman that I wanted to spend my life with. Everything here at the club is superficial but you were the real thing.”

“I knew the family business was going to be a problem, but I thought hell, we can date and when the right time comes I will tell her, but it all got out of control. The Santos battling the Bauer crept in and I was faced with kidnapping you and disappearing. Instead we have come to an unorthodox family agreement with two beautiful children. When I come here, I see what was and what I have now.” Lifting her hands to his lips, “I would do it again in a minute.”

“Danny, you love with such passion. You were the experienced one that taught me how to love with passion and dignity. Our relationship seems like a myth even though I know it is real. When we are here in San Juan, it is like we live in a magical world. It seems like I have always know you. Maybe, I knew your soul in another life. You were the Spanish pirate and I was the island maiden that he fell in love with and married against the will of his Spaniard family. Our spirits wondered for generations searching the world until we met in Springfield once more to love with all the energy that our hearts can muster.”

“Abuella and her Voodoo dolls would tell you that is what happened. I want my son and daughter to share the same intensity with someone in their generation. They will use our love as the standard to measure their feelings and love. I know that we got it right, Michelle.”

“Have you decided what you want to drink?”

“Pina Colada.”

With his finger, he motioned for the waiter waiting patiently in the corner. “I’ll have my usual and Mrs. Santos will have a Island drink-Pina Colada. I want an order of fried mushrooms and cheese sticks.”

“Yes sir.”

“We have spent three New Years Eve together. The first two where worth remembering. The birth of our children and last year Gabby and Bethany both had middle ear infections and were teething. We took turns walking and rocking the night away with two sick babies. Finally this year, they are healthy. We can dance the night away and welcome in the New Year.”

“Let’s show the singles what a married couple can do on the dance floor.” Danny led Michelle to the lower level where the salsa music played from a DJ’s booth. Waiting for the music to end and a new selection to begin, Danny whispered in Michelle’s ear. “Remember that you are a married woman. No flirting with the tourists.”

Danny faced Michelle and held her in the standard partner position. Tapping the beat with his foot, Danny stepped forward with his left foot on the sixth beat and Michelle stepped back with her right foot. On the 7th beat, Danny and Michelle changed direction with Danny rocking back onto his right foot and Michelle rocked forward with her left foot turning into multiple swivels. Michelle turned back into Danny’s waiting arms with a neck wrap cuddle of her husband’s neck to the outside turn and back into hip pull by Danny. Winking at Michelle, Danny moved to one of their personal favorite dance positions, the cuddle sweetheart. Danny lifted his left arm over Michelle’s head then lowered his hands down to Michelles waist where she shimmed in front of him where he waited for her in a squatting position. Returning to the standing position, Danny wrapped his left leg behind Michelle’s right leg where they locked in the grinding motion moving up and down finishing with an overhead hand swipe and moving into more complicated steps of swivels.

Unaware that people had rushed up to the Mezzanine to watch the entertaining couple execute the flawless dance moves, Danny twirled Michelle off the wooden dance floor to a thunderous applause. The manager approached his boss. “Everyone wants to know if they are going to have to compete against you tonight?”

Smacking Michelle’s butt to move her back on the dance floor, “Our nightly dance paid off tonight. Let’s dance until five minutes before midnight, then we can have our drinks and go for a walk down on the pebble walkway to old San Juan.”

The movement of the red skirt dazzled the eyes of the men and women watching Michelle with her temptress and flirtatious moves. They moved in and out of the dance with moves difficult for the trained eyes to follow. Danny and Michelle moved as one on the dance floor with their own sexual chemistry radiating out to the crowd.

At midnight, Danny and Michelle left the club to watch the faithful locals begin walking backwards from the Catholic Cathedral to the ocean. Walking out to the old San Cristobel fort in the early morning hours, they watched the pitch-black sky with the occasional shooting star and the marching of the planets across the horizon from the east to the west.

At three am, Michelle climbed up the steps with her husband to their bedroom. On the bed were two pieces of paper with the handprints of Gabby and Bethany. The bouquet of red roses rested on her pillow. The card attached to the bouquet was signed with the print like writing of Danny.

I started to live the day that I met you.
Love, Danny

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