Cara Mia Delgatto and the Protector, Part 2

Author’s Note: Okay, I’m seriously hooked on writing and sharing serialized short stories, but I depend on YOU to give me feedback. So, please comment! To read Part 1, scroll down to OLDER POSTS and click on that.

“That sounds suspiciously like a threat,” said my friend Skye Blue. She twisted a strand of her dishwater blond hair around a finger. Skye was dressed to go across the street and work at Pumpernickel’s, a deli. The stark white blouse and black slacks seemed odd on a person who loves gauzy skirts, loose knit tops, and boots.

“It doesn’t just sound like a threat,” said my other pal, MJ Austin. Today MJ wore a turquoise dress that emphasized her decollete. Matching earrings picked up the color, and a bracelet of the same gave the outfit extra points for style. “It was a threat. Cara, you need to talk to the Jupiter Island police. She can’t get away with this.”

I shrugged. “That would only encourage her. Jodi would know she’s gotten under my skin. Besides, she hasn’t done anything. I didn’t even let her into the house.”

“But you’ve been working so hard on that place.” Honora McAfee is my oldest employee, and a dear nurturing soul. She plucked at her seersucker dress nervously. “What if she decides to splash it with paint. Or take a can of spray paint and write graffiti on the walls. She’s done as much to the windows out front.”

My friends knew I’d moved in when the cottage was a mess. Our newest hire, Jillian, was working with me to We sat around the small table in the back where we take our breaks. Since I love to cook, I’d baked a batch of biscotti for us to have with our coffee and tea. Bits of almond cookie were floating in my hot drink. “I need to talk with Poppy. If he’s giving the property to me, and nothing to her, she’s right. It’s not fair.”

I could see Skye and MJ’s jaws drop. Honora even sputtered and said, “That’s not true. She’s inherited money from her adoptive parents. And her adoptive grandparents. I know that because the Wirekas were friends of friends. From what I’ve heard, they were rather successful in their own right. Furthermore, they probably had life insurance and savings.”

“She can’t have it both ways,” agreed Skye. “She can’t collect whatever the Wirekas left her and also claim whatever your parents and Poppy want you to have, too.”

They had a point. “I swear, she gets me so rattled that I don’t think straight. Each time she shows up, I feel guilty. Logically, it makes no sense. I had nothing to do with the decisions our parents made. I would do anything I could to welcome her into my life. I’ve steered clear of Cooper. I’ve apologized. I didn’t even call the police when she vandalized the store.”

MJ set down her coffee mug so hard that the brown liquid sloshed over the rim. “That’s the problem, Cara. As long as you feel guilty, as you roll over and bare your jugular vein, she’s going to come after you. It’s like two dogs when they meet. When one of them acts submissive, the other takes the dominant role. You’ve shown her that you won’t fight. She knows she has you cowering. Honestly, what do you expect? Open arms and roses?”

“When are they getting married?” Skye had hopped up to grab a paper towel and sop up the mess in front of MJ. Because Skye works as a waitress, she’s fast on her feet like that. “Maybe when they do, and she’s Mrs. Cooper Rivers, she’ll ease up on you. Right now, she’s bound to feel insecure.”

I shook my head. “That’s part of the problem, I think. I ran into Philomena Humberger at Publix. She told me that Cooper and Jodi’s wedding has been postponed again. I guess everyone in town knows he’s dragging his feet.”

“Oh, my. She’s probably blaming you for that,” said Honora.

I nodded. “I think so.”

~ To Be Continued ~

Cara Mia Delgatto and the Protector, Part 1

Author’s Note: Okay, I’m serious hooked on writing and sharing serialized short story. This one will be done by Saturday, so I hope you’ll stick with me and give me feedback as I go along.

The minute I looked across the crowd and noticed my sister, Jodi, staring at me, I realized she’d make trouble for me. Not then. Not in front of all those people who’d gathered to help landscape Martin Gardens. Not while her fiance Cooper Rivers was looking on. But eventually. She’d find a way to punish me for being involved in a project that brought me in contact with Cooper. She’d make me suffer. That’s how she rolls.

My heart hurts a little each time I see her. Only recently have I learned that my parents gave their first child up for adoption. All my life I’ve wanted a sister. While I was wishing for one, Jodi was planning her revenge on me.

I can understand her anger. Her adoptive parents told her early on that she was adopted. They explained that her biological parents loved her very much, but they were young and not married, so they did what they thought was best for her. Jodi might have accepted that explanation, but she decided to search for her biological parents, and when she did, she discovered that they were happily married, successful, and the parents of a second child, me. Next she tracked down my grandfather, Dick Potter.

Poppy has been coy about the details of his relationship with Jodi. He’s provided for her in his will. They’ve met. But she isn’t a part of his life.

I wouldn’t have been a part of HER life either, except that I took a road trip and landed on Poppy’s doorstep in Stuart, Florida, when my car broke down. And that’s how I reconnected with Cooper Rivers, my first boyfriend and Jodi’s soon-to-be-husband, only to find that he was engaged to marry–and his intended was my long lost sister.

Sure enough, five days after the big community event at Martin Gardens, I heard a car crunch gravel in my drive. Jack, my rescue Chihuahua, thinks he’s a pit bull. Ever since I moved into this tiny cottage on Jupiter Island, Jack’s taken on a new personality. He’s my protector. When someone arrives, he barks his tiny head off, and he doesn’t stop until I go and see what’s up. Usually, the sound of tires on the drive signals the arrival of the public works guys, picking up my recycling or my garbage. Since I was folding clothes, I planned to ignore Jack’s antics.

But he didn’t quit. The vehicle didn’t drive off, and soon I heard a tap-tap-tap on my door. I was watching Jack as I opened it, because he’s small and has a tendency to get underfoot. Coming face-to-face with Jodi was a surprise, to put it mildly.

“First you steal my parents. Now you steal my property,” she said. Her dark eyes flashed with anger. As usual, she was dressed to the nines. On her feet were gold kitten-heel sandals that picked up the highlights in her auburn hair. The dress she’d chosen was A-line embellished with stones and shells around the neck. She looked gorgeous.

By contrast, I wore a pair of my son’s cut off jeans and an old tee shirt of

Cara Mia Delgatto and the Bye-Bye Birdie, Part 17

Note: We’ve had so much fun with serialized stories that I’m trying my hand at one again! Here’s the next installment of a new adventure for Cara Mia Delgatto and her friends. To read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 scroll to the bottom of the blog where it says OLDER POSTS.


Before he took off, Salazar made one last attempt to save his bacon. “Mr. Boehner, I was only trying to–“

“To squash the human spirit? To make sure that a woman who took initiative was punished for her ingenuity? For her concern for our customers? Or maybe you were trying to set up your nephew in Ms. Morgan’s job? Whatever you were trying to do, I’m not interested in you doing it on my dime. Now please leave, Jose. I don’t want to have to tell you again.” With that, Jay Boehner put a hand on Freddie’s shoulder and asked, “Are you ready to get back to fixing that palm tree? We have a lot more to do before the sun goes down.”

At five, a food truck showed up. It was white with lettering that announced, “TACOS,” and a zesty, colorful image on one side that beckoned our hungry crew. Later I would learn that Boehner had mysteriously located the owner and asked him to come and serve all the volunteers dinner. Mr. Boehner picked up the tag, but we didn’t know that until we got ready to pay. The fragrant mixture of cumin, peppers, and onions made my mouth water. The tacos and burritos proved themselves as good as their smell had promised. Greta and Freddie made a drinks run and came back with cold cans of soda, lemonade, and bottles of water.

When the sun finally started sinking around seven-thirty, there wasn’t much left to finish. Where once mud stretched on and on, the residents now looked out at a gazebo. In the far right hand corner sat tiny marked rows of a vegetable garden. Fig trees formed a backdrop, as did a few lime, lemon, and orange trees. To the left trickled a water feature that emptied into a shallow basin. If you traced a triangle around the gazebo, you could pinpoint the locations of three huge bird cages. Flight cages, I think they’re called. Kookie’s cage was snuggled up against the window of Helen’s room. Once or twice during the long work day, I saw a pale face rise and stare out at us, as Helen took notice of our efforts. Kookie had been surprisingly quiet throughout the hustle and bustle. Skye went to his cage several times, offering him grapes and tidbits. He took them and promptly dropped them to the floor of his home.

I had to hand it to Cooper, because he’d worked with his landscaping buddies to insure that the majority of the plants were heat, fungus, white fly,and mold resistant. Although a sprinkler system had been installed, most of the plants would be fine without help once they’d put down roots. Cooper had also worked with his people to keep the walkways accessible for those whose mobility was impaired. He’d thoughtfully installed lights along the edges so the space could be enjoyed in the evening.

Our customers had played their part, too. Because Sid had checked with Cooper early on, we’d asked that they bring plants that would flourish such as penta, periwinkles, hibiscus, Mexican heather, and bougainvillea. While I’d given out a healthy number of discount vouchers, I figured that I’d break even because a lot of people were introduced to my store because of our good works. 

James “Jay” Boehner walked up to people, shook their hands, and personally thanked them for their help. He was deep in conversation with Cooper when my employees and I decided we’d had enough for one day. I went to find Greta to tell her we were leaving. She was ready to go home, too. The assistant administrator promised to make sure the grounds were vacated, and all the volunteers were thanked and sent home. Since he’d come in at three, he was still energetic. Greta looked as exhausted as I felt. 

Freddie had proved himself to be a charming young man. He was lavish with his affection for his mother. By the time we were ready to call it a day, he’d worked his backside off–as had we all. “I’m going to drive him back to his residence,” said Greta, giving me a hug. “I can’t thank you and your friends enough for all you’ve done. I’d like to have a public open house next month so I can properly honor you and all the volunteers. Will you promise to attend?”

“Of course. But we want you and Freddie to stand over here, please.” After I arranged them next to us and grabbed a passer-by, we all posed for a photo. Once the mother and son left, MJ, Skye, Poppy, Sid, Honora, EveLynn, and I posed for a selfie that I planned to add to our website. I was sending the picture to my email account when Greta came trotting back. “I forgot to tell you that Helen seems better. It can’t possibly last, but I think her spirits were much cheered by the activity.”

While I was grateful to hear the good news, I was so tired I could barely stand up. So I gave Greta another filthy hug. My friends and I fairly wobbled to our cars. 


~ To Be Continued ~

Well, dear hearts. We’re almost done. But wait…I know you want to hear what happens next. And I want to know too, so there’s ONE more installment. I’m saving it for Mother’s Day! Hugs and kisses– j