Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

Cara Mia Delgatto and the Protector, Part 3

A few days later, I was scrubbing down the windows when another car pulled up. This one brought a smile to my face. Jay Boehner jumped out and gave me a hug. Jack pranced around on his two hind legs until Jay reached down and patted him on the head.

“MJ said you were slaving away. I thought I’d drop by with food. I know you like coconut shrimp.”

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’d add that it’s also a way to get any healthy woman’s attention, too.

“MJ was right. These windows haven’t been washed in months. Maybe even a year. I have no idea how I’ll get the tall one over the second bedroom.” I pointed to the octagonal window that serves as a beacon at night when I turn on the light in the hallway to the second floor studio.

“I can do that for you. But first, let’s eat. I brought iced tea. Let me get that out of the car.”

Before I could grab his collar, Jack jumped into the white Mercedes sedan. His tiny wet feet left damp marks on the leather. “Oh, no! Let me grab a towel! I’m so sorry. I’ve got one in the garage.”

But when I found the towel on a shelf, I heard a skittering noise. “Jay? Would you come here?”

“What’s up?” he asked.

“There’s something in my garage. Something alive.”

We stood there and listened. The scraping noise began again. Jay followed the sound around my parked Camry. Squatting down, he peered under a set of metal storage shelves. “It’s a blue land crab. He must have found his way inside while you were working with the garage door open. Want me to get him out?”

I laughed. “No. He’s welcome to make this his home. Especially now that I know he’s here. The noise just startled me.”

But Jack wasn’t convinced. He had followed Jay to the shelves. Now he began to bark at the crab, but he couldn’t get to the shelled creature, so I didn’t worry about the dog or the crustacean.

Jay and I both laughed. He said, “Such a big bark for such a small fellow. Honestly, Cara, I’d feel better about you living here alone if you owned a bigger dog. Have you thought about getting a companion for Jack? Something bigger? More fearsome?”

Actually, I’d thought a lot about that, but I felt disloyal when I did. Jack only weighs two pounds when he’s soaking wet, but you’d never know that to hear him carry on. “Yes, I have. Then I remind myself that Jupiter Island has more police per capita than any city in the US. This place is covered with security cameras, too. I’m safer here than I was in downtown Stuart.”

Jay shook his head. “That assumes you get to a phone and make a call. I’m talking about a protector to run off anyone who intrudes on your privacy. Could be an unwanted neighbor. Or someone wandering down from the public beach.”

“Let’s sit under the sea grapes,” I suggested, as I nodded toward the winding trunks and large fan-like leaves that formed a cool bower on the seaside of my house. I’d set up inexpensive plastic chairs and a cheap table so I could picnic out-of-doors. One day I would buy nice furnishings, but for now, these would do.

“I heard you’ve already had an unwelcome visitor,” said Jay. His eyes crinkled at the corners. As a young man, he spent a lot of time on the water, so he has this sort of perma-tan that adds character to his craggy features. MJ thinks he looks like Harrison Ford, only younger. But not by a lot. Jay has a good ten years on me. Maybe fifteen. I can’t be bothered to ask.

“My sister Jodi dropped by to say that I’d stolen this property from her.”

~ To Be Continued ~

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