Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chapter 20


“I do not need to see a doctor,” Emi growled. 

“Maybe I need to explain how this marriage thing works,” Nate growled back.  “I’m the husband.  I take care of you.  I say you need to see a doc for that arm so that’s the way it is going to happen.” 

“That’s so not what I agreed to Gringo.  I agreed to help you with your house and kids, not to have you run my life like I have no sense.” 

“Don’t even get me started Emi because …” 

“Dad!” 

A slight, tow-headed boy was weaving his way quickly through the crowd on the dock heading straight for Nate as fast as he could.  Unfortunately he was being forced to travel around many of the adults milling about.  Just then someone stepped backwards knocking him off balance.  Nate and Emi shot forward and grabbed him at the same time before he could actually fall into the water between the boats that were moored there.  Nate grabbed him up and Emi took further action by putting her boot into the butt of the woman that had done it and snapped, “Watch where you’re going!” 

The woman turned around in shock but took several steps back after getting a look at Emi.  Blood splattered and definitely showing her mother’s heritage she was absolutely no one to mess with at that moment. 

“Watch your big caboose!  You nearly knocked that kid into the water.  And in case you ain’t got your quota of gossip yet the boat crew took those gator skins only around the bend so there is a good chance there are still DV infected gators swimming around.” 

“DV Gators?!” 

It wasn’t exactly a stampede but the dock did clear out considerably and at a rate of speed not even the town’s security patrol had been able to achieve.  Emi nodded in satisfaction then turned to find Nate and the boy both staring at her with their mouths open. 

“What?” 

“Uh … that … that was the mayor’s sister.” 

“So?” 

“You just kicked her in the butt.” 

“And I’ll do it again if need be, and to anyone else who knocks your kid over like that.  People need to watch where they’re going. And use more sense.  There aren’t that many little kids in the world they can just toss them around like they ain’t worth nuthin’.” 

The boy being held in Nate’s arms leaned over and whispered, “Who is she?” 

Nate’s face blanked and Emi answered for him.  “He got me so that your Aunt Arden can fulfill her calling and not have to worry that she is leaving with no one to look after you.” 

A woman’s voice behind her said, “That is certainly one way to look at it.” 

Emi turned and a thin, horse-faced, woman was giving her the same look she remembered getting from the teachers at the school her parents had sent her to.  She almost laughed thinking that this woman was just as unlikely to be able to tame her as those women had been.  

“Hello.  I’m Arden Rivera.” 

Emi nodded and replied, “And seeking to be Sister Arden as I understand it.” 

“Yes.  And you must be …?” 

“I’ll leave Nate to explain it.”  Turning to Nate who was quickly developing an extremely outraged look when he realized she was going to leave him to explain by himself she told him, “I’ll grab the gear and bring it off the boat.”  To the boy she asked, “Do you prefer Sebastian or Bastian.” 

“Bastian,” he said quickly. 

“OK, Bastian.  Let’s go get your father’s things while he answers your aunt’s questions.” 

“You aren’t getting out of it that easy Emi,” Nate complained as she walked away with his son. 

“I’m just trying to help Gringo,” Emi said with a wicked grin. 

What Nate would have said to that was interrupted by Arden stepping up, crossing her arms, and giving him a disapproving look.   

Bastian said, “Aunt Arden is worried she isn’t going to be able to be a nun.” 

“Why not?” 

“She thinks she is going to have to stay and look after things.” 

“Well if she’s worried that I can’t take care of things then she needs to stop worrying about it.” 

“Can you cook?” 

“Eh … I don’t burn water if that’s what you’re thinking.” 

Bastian gave her a strange look, or maybe it was just that he thought her strange.  “Have you really killed people?” 

Without thinking Emi answered, “Yeah and I’ll do it again as necessary if someone tries to hurt you or your sister or your dad.” 

“Aunt Arden says you have to be some kind of loose woman.  That it is the only kind that would have agreed to go with Uncle Kiko.  What’s a loose woman?” 

That did give Emi pause.  “Maybe that’s a question you should ask your dad when you get a little older.  For now you don’t need to worry about it ‘cause that’s not what I am.” 

“You sure because Aunt Dora said the same thing.” 

“Sure I’m sure.  Besides, even if I had been before I wouldn’t be now because I promised your dad in front of a priest that I wouldn’t be disloyal to him.  You don’t promise things in front of a priest if you mean to break them or you wind up with bad trouble.  I don’t want no bad trouble.” 

Ignoring most of what she’d said he asked, “So a loose woman is someone that isn’t loyal?” 

“Uh … that’s … that’s pretty much … hmmmm.  Look, a loose woman is … is … yeah, yeah I guess bottom line that is exactly what a loose woman is.  But like I said, I made promises to your dad in front of a priest so you don't have to worry about me being disloyal to your dad.  I keep my promises.” 

“You do?” 

“Yep.  See I’ve been on the other side of people breaking promises and it is chupa mal … do you know any Spanish?” 

“Uh uh.” 

Emi thought that might not be a bad thing if her mouth started running away before she could catch it.  “Well I do.  If I ever say something you don’t understand you ask me … don’t just repeat me.  OK?” 

“Why?” 

“Because … well because you might mispronounce something and say a word you shouldn’t.” 

“Oh.  I better tell Darla that.  She repeats everything.” 

“Er … she does?”.

“Aunt Arden says she is a parrot.” 

“Oh … er …” 

“She also bites.” 

“Well … hmmm … that’s not good.  She could put something dirty in her mouth and get sick.” 

“She could also bite your finger off so don’t use nothing but a spoon if you feed her.” 

“Thanks for the warning.” 

“You’re welcome.” 

Bastian was such a serious kid that Emi was having a hard time not smiling.  “Let’s load this stuff in that wagon down the gang plank rather than just trying to carry it around like a sack of salvage.  That way it is off the boat but not just piled higgledy piggledy all over the place for people to trip over.” 

“What’s higgledy piggledy?” 

“Something … something my father used to say when stuff would get messy and unorganized.  Dad liked things to be organized and put away where they belong.” 

“Oh.”  Bastian nodded like that was agreeable to him and they were bringing down the last of it when Arden let out a scandalized, “Eighteen?!!  Nathaniel what can you be thinking!” 

“Wow.  Aunt Arden sure is mad about something.” 

“Don’t worry about it.  You aren’t the one in trouble.  And it isn’t your dad’s fault that I’m 18 either.  Looks like I’m going to have to go rescue him again.” 

Emi started over and Bastian followed just in time for everyone around to hear him ask, “What do you mean rescue dad again?  Did Aunt Dora change her mind and catch up with him already?  She said she was going to get him tonight after everyone else had already said their piece and she’d chew up what was left.” 

Emi started coughing and had to look away.  Nate for his part looked outraged and said, “Hey now.  None of that.  No one is chewing me up.” 

“Aunt Arden is.” 

Emi for her part couldn’t stop laughing for some reason.  Nate’s gaze turned from quarrelsome to curious and then he shook his head and started smiling as well.  “Hah.  Keep that up and I will make you see the doc.  You’ve obviously got a fever if you find this that funny.” 

Emi snickered and had to lean against one of the dock posts because she was suddenly feeling weak but not the kind most people would have thought.  “I ain’t seeing a doc, it’s a waste of money.  You’ve done just fine and if people would stop hitting my arm it would stop bleeding.  And it’s funny because I don’t know why.  It just is.”  She turned to Arden and said, “Please don’t pick on him ‘cause of me.  He didn’t know how old I was until it came out with the priest.  I don’t mind.  He doesn’t mind … well, not much.  And it isn’t anyone else’s business.  It doesn’t really mean anything anyway.”  To prevent further discussion she asked, “Now I’ve met Bastian here and we are getting along just fine.  Where is the little girl?  Darla?” 

Arden stiffened up, “Until I approve …” 

Bastian interrupted and said, “It’s ok Aunt Arden.  She isn’t a loose woman like you and Aunt Dora thought.  She said she said promises to Dad in front of a priest and that she’s loyal to him and I think she is because she said she’d kill anyone that tried to hurt me and Darla and Dad and I believe her.  Check out all the blood on her clothes.  I bet that is where she shot all them crazies and those pirates just like Uncle Kiko told everyone about this morning.” 

Emi almost stopped breathing and the look on her face must have been something else because this time it was Nate who started laughing and couldn’t seem to stop.

4 comments:

  1. I am really loving this story! Thanks Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Always busy bodies horning in, thank you

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great story I am loving it.
    Wayne

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