Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Beginning or The End? (Ch 12)

"Can you find me Teresa?" Andres yells out. "No, Teresa can you find me, don't listen to Andres!" yells Miguel. Teresa giggles as she is looking behind doors and plants in the patio. Teresa follows the voices around the parlor and looks behind the curtain and finds Andres. Andres scoops her up and gives her a lollipop. Miguel runs out rubbing his knees and says, "I'm glad she found you first, I did not think I would last another minute crouched under the table. I think we're too big to be playing las escondidas (hide and seek) with her." Andres nods and says, "I couldn't agree more, but if it keeps her entertained for a while, I'll do it. Would you rather play with dolls?" Miguel smacks Andres on the back and says, "alright, you've made your point."

Mauricia and Maria del Carmen are in the kitchen putting up clean dishes when Andres and Miguel walk in. "Mauricia can you show your daughter another game, please?" Miguel exclaims, "all Teresa wants to do is play las escondidas." Mauricia responds, "There is no other choice, that is the only way I could keep her entertained for hours while I cleaned the house. Teresa would hide, while I counted aloud, and spent some time cleaning, then ran out to find her. We would start over as soon as I found her. The problem with you men is that you are playing it backwards." "Backwards?"asked Andres. "Yes, backwards." answered Mauricia. "Teresa is the one that needs to hide and you count out loud. Of course, you show her the easy hiding spots in the house. She will only hide in the designated spots and Teresa will be easy to find." Miguel lets out an intense laugh and points at Andres. "We have been playing las escondidas backwards with a three year old!"

Don Leopoldo walks into the kitchen carrying a bag full of groceries and places it on the table. "What is all the laughter about?" asked Don Leopoldo. Andres looks at his father while laughing and says, "Miguel and I have a lot to learn about children, father." Miguel and Andres leave the kitchen cackling down the hall. Mauricia and Ma. del Carmen look at each other smiling when Don Leopoldo says, "Well, Licensiado Tomas turned over the certified documents stating your a Delgado, Mauricia. Everything is now official." "That's wonderful father." says Ma. del Carmen.

Someone rang the bell at the front door. "I'll go see who it is," Ma. del Carmen states. In the meantime, Don Leopoldo takes advantage of the moment to whisper to Mauricia, "Tomas helped me redo my will and both you and Teresa are included. I want to make sure you are taken care of if something happens to me." Mauricia puts her hand on his mouth and tells him, "Do not say such things. I have lost too many loved ones and do not want to lose you too." Don Leopoldo gives Mauricia a hug as Ma. del Carmen comes in the kitchen. "Father, do you have a moment to come to the parlor with me?" Don Leopoldo responds, "Yes I do, I left Juanito tending the store, I have a couple of minutes."

Don Leopoldo walks down to the parlor, and upon entering the room Mario stands up to greet him. Ma. del Carmen introduces her father to Mario, "Father, I would like you to meet Mario Acevedo." Mario extends his hand to greet Don Leopoldo and firmly shakes his hand. Don Leopoldo is immediately impressed at his grip and asks him to sit down. "What can I help you with Mr. Acevedo?" asks Don Leopoldo. "Well, Sir, I have come to your home to request to socialize with your daughter, Ma. del Carmen. I have come over to talk to her on occasion and I would like to take her to the park or any event that may come up. I felt the need to formally request this from you as I am very interested in your daughter, and have the upmost respect for her." Don Leopoldo sits back further in his seat and examines Mario and looks over at Ma. del Carmen. Don Leopoldo waits a couple of seconds and sits upright with his arms crossed and says, "Mr. Acevedo, thank you for being responsible enough to ask me as a gentleman. I see no problem in you socializing with my daughter, just remember, she has two older brothers, eh?" "Of course, I am aware of that." Mario immediately thanks Don Leopoldo and shakes his hand again in nervousness. Don Leopoldo says, "Your welcome Mr. Acevedo, but remember to respect my daughter. On another note, I would like to invite you to dinner this Friday with the family, please come, we can get to know each other at that time." "Of course Don Leopoldo, thank you. If you will excuse me I need to go back to my house to tend to family matters and I will come back on Friday." Don Leopoldo accompanies Mario to the front door with Ma. del Carmen following shortly behind. Mario waves to Ma. del Carmen as he is leaving and she waves in return while closing the front door.

Maria del Carmen hurries back to the kitchen to tell Mauricia what just occurred. Before Ma. del Carmen is able to start the re-enactment, Don Leopoldo pops his head in the door and tells Ma. del Carmen, "I like that young man, I really do. I have a good feeling about him." Ma. del Carmen blushes and tells him, "Thank you father, I do too." Don Leopoldo tells them he is going back to tend to the store and restock. In excitement, Mauricia jumps up and down and hugs Ma. del Carmen almost knocking the table over. "I smell a wedding, I smell a wedding!" Mauricia sings. "Shhhh! Don't say that too loud." Ma. del Carmen whispers. "Why do you want me to be quiet?" asked Mauricia. "You promise not to tell Mauricia?" Ma. del Carmen looks in Mauricia's eyes with a serious stare. Mauricia assures Ma. del Carmen, "Of course, what is the matter?" Ma. del Carmen informs her, "Mario has secretly proposed to me and he ordered my wedding dress under a false name." Mauricia's eyes almost bulge out of her head and says, "Really? Ma. del Carmen! You sneaky thing!" and slaps her arm with the washcloth. Mauricia hugs her again and says, "I cannot be happier for anyone else in the world at this moment. You deserve it." Both ladies decide they must start preparations for dinner and stop the conversation in case Carmela comes home or one of the boys overhears them.

Several hours later at dinner. "The chicken soup was wonderful! My compliments to the chef!" Andres wipes his mouth with a napkin and pats his belly. Miguel is working on his second helping of soup while Ma. del Carmen, Mauricia, and Teresa are eating. "We're glad you enjoyed it" Ma. del Carmen responds. "Mauricia and I make a great team as cooks. Mauricia, we need to watch the boys and make sure they leave enough for mother and father."

The bell for the front door begins to ring over and over. Miguel exclaims, "Let me see who that is!" and runs to the door. A loud scream is heard in the distance and then the heavy pounding of footsteps can be heard in the distance and become louder as they get closer to the kitchen. Juanito, instead of Miguel, runs in and yells, "Help! Don Leopoldo has collapsed in the store and we need a doctor! He's unconscious!" Everyone immediately runs to the store to their father's aid.

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