Dr. West finally seems to realize that Kyle is a good man who is not out to hurt Emily. He more or less gives a blessing with an implied threat, but he accepts the relationship. Carmelita tells Kyle that she’s going out for the evening with Dr. West and he tells her to have a good time and make good choices.
“Baby, all Carmelita’s choices are good ones.”
“Except marrying—old what’s his name.”
“Well, even that was a good one as far as it went.”
“Which was how far?”
“The bedroom…. See you in the morning, sugar.”
* * *
The next afternoon, after a brief visit to Emily in the infirmary, Kyle and his family headed down the gangplank. The company rep , an attractive young woman named Vera, was waiting with an SUV and took them to the mission church outside town. It was an old building, but well maintained. The grounds were beautifully landscaped with native flora. The church was small, cramped, but obviously well loved. A man puttered around in the vegetable garden between the church proper and the rectory.
Vera greeted him in Spanish. Smiling, he nodded, waving for them to follow. Carmelita and Kyle walked side by side, the children following, holding hands. The woman from the company stayed with the car.
“Father Michael is expecting you,” the man said in good, but heavily accented English.
“Thank you. We really appreciate him seeing us.”
“Come in. Sit down. Something to drink? I have many bottled beverages, nice and cold.”
They each took a soft drink and waited in the priest’s office. No one felt much like talking. The children were too overwhelmed by the ancient surroundings. Kyle was deep in thought and Carmelita knew better than to tease him at a time like this.
The door opened and the priest walked in. Kyle rose to greet him, stunned to see that the man was white. He was tall, lean muscled and freckled. His close cropped hair was sun bleached to a light reddish blond.
Stumbling slightly, Kyle stepped forward to introduce himself and his family. “Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Father.”
“Not a problem,” the older white man said with a smile. “A priest’s life is full of short notice. The major drawback to my profession is that I’m constantly on call. So, how can I help you? The woman I spoke to last night was somewhat vague.”
“Carmelita, why don’t you take the kids out to the courtyard?”
“Sure. Come on, babies, let’s leave Dad here for a few.”
They followed her out quietly. Left alone, Kyle moved awkwardly in his chair.
“Father Michael, word of the work you’re doing has come to a friend of mine. Her name is Emily Geraci and she’s got cancer.”
The priest steepled his hands, nodding. “I see. She requires healing and prayer, is that it?”
“Yes, sir. The problem is, she’s very weak and her physician is hesitant about bringing her all this way.”
“Is she in Cozumel?”
“Yes, Father, on board a cruise ship.”
“I see. It’s not so far, drive her over for the service.”
“We were hoping you’d agree to come meet her instead.”
“Son, I can’t go on that ship….”
“We could meet you in a hotel in town. It would satisfy the doctor’s conditions and Emily could get the healing and prayer that she needs.”
“I’m familiar with the name Geraci. Her father owns that ship, the entire cruise line. With her money, she can get the best possible medical care. Why is she here?”
“Conventional means have been exhausted. She was in remission, but they just found another tumor last week. She really needs your help, Father.”
“Why are you acting as intermediary? You aren’t married to her.”
“I lost my wife to cancer several months ago. If I had known about you, could have brought her here, maybe she would still be alive. Carmelita believes it was Margo’s time to go.”
“And you don’t?”
“I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s Emily’s time.”
“How can you know that when you’re unsure about your wife?”
Kyle stood, pacing. “Because I’m falling in love with this woman, and she is with me—and my kids love her already. I couldn’t get this help for Margo, but I’m asking for you to help Emily.”
© Dellani Oakes