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Sea of Destiny – Part 34 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. 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

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Sea of Destiny – Part 33 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West isn’t convinced that Kyle is legitimately interested in Emily. He fears that Kyle is just after her money, much like her ex-husband was.

“Mr. Scott, you’ve convinced me and I don’t convince easily. Maybe you are the right one to go. I’ll set it up.”

“Can you reach someone at this hour?”

“Watch me.” He grinned. “I’ll call your cabin when it’s done. And do me a favor, will you ask Carmelita to meet me for drinks?”

“Ask her yourself when you call. She’ll think I’m being a smart ass.”

Conceding the point with a nod, the doctor picked up the phone. Kyle waved and left. A different nurse was on duty than the one he had danced with. She stopped him as he headed toward the door.

“You’re Ms. Geraci’s friend, aren’t you? The dancer?”

Kyle chuckled, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Well, I dance, but I’m not a dancer by profession.”

“You made quite an impression on Becky this morning.”

“Oh, yeah?” He chuckled. “See what being light on your feet can do for a guy?”

“I wish my boyfriend could dance. Do you give lessons?”

“I live in Orlando. Might be a bit of a trek for one of us.”

“Oh, no. I live in Winter Park. I’m just here as a favor to Dr. West. Do you give lessons?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Maybe you should. Emily said you taught her to dance and it would be so much fun if Matt could take me dancing. He’d rather watch sports.” She wrinkled her nose.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Thanks!” She kissed his cheek. “Here’s my number. Call when you get home and let me know.” She handed him a piece of paper with her number and the caption ‘dance lessons for two’. “So you know I’m not just hitting on you.” She blushed.

“I’ll let you know, but don’t get your hopes up.”

Back at the cabin, he poured himself a JD and Coke, sipping it while he waited. True to his word, Dr. West called a few minutes later.

“It’s set. The priest was incredibly easy to reach. He’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at 2:00. One of our reps will be waiting for you to take you there.”

“That’s about the time the sightseeing tour leaves, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how you can manage both.”

“No, the point is I don’t want Emily to think I’m sneaking around behind her back. I’ll get off the ship with everyone else. My family will understand, at least I hope they will.”

“Take them with you. The rep can give you a private tour when you’re done. And having your family with you will give credence to your request.”

“Thank you, Dr. West.”

“Mr. Scott, I want Emily well as much as you do. If this helps her….”

“Yeah.” Kyle’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. He wanted to get off the phone before he started bawling like a baby. “Did you talk to Carmelita?”

“My next call. Goodnight, Mr. Scott.”

“Call me Kyle.”

“And I am Thad.”

They hung up. Kyle had the momentary qualm wondering if he was doing the right thing. Closing his eyes, Emily’s pain ravaged face floated past and he knew he had to do whatever it took to bring back the flush of health he saw in her picture.

Carmelita tapped on the suite door before opening it a crack.

“You decent?”

“As much as I ever get. I’m dressed.”

She poked her head around the door. “I’m going out for a bit. With Thaddeus.”

“Go have fun, Lita.”

“Shall I leave the suite door open so you’ll hear Mindy?”

“Yes. Let Cindy know you’re leaving.”

“She’s asleep already.”

“No she’s not, she’s faking. Probably reading some torrid romance novel with a flashlight.”

“I’ll tell her or leave her a note. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.”

“Enjoy yourself. How often do you get to have drinks with a handsome doctor? Have fun, but make good choices.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 11

sea of destiny coverKyle and Carmelita are chatting as they board the ship. He compliments her by saying she looks like an Amazon Queen. Carmelita isn’t sure at first if he’s giving her a compliment.

“Believe me, it is. The Amazon women were formidable warriors as well as being great beauties.”

“And you would know this because?”

“It’s from having a totally useless degree in liberal arts. About the only thing it’s good for is winning at Trivial Pursuit.”

“Mm hm. And annoying your housekeeper when she’s trying to tan.”

“Here I am trying to compliment you and you’re shooting me down.”

“I’m an Amazon Queen, after all. That’s my job.” She giggled, closing her eyes against the sun.

“Daddy! Daddy! Look at me!” Mindy called from the pool.

Cindy held her hand and together they jumped into the six foot deep water. With very little help, Mindy swam to the side with her sister right behind her. Laughing and dripping, they did it again and again, the little one never tiring of it.

“Dad!” It was Randy this time. He did a perfect dive off the board, barely splashing as he went in.

“Good one, son!” He called when Randy’s head came above the water. “Excellent form!” He turned to Carmelita. “Kid’s gonna make swim team his freshman year.”

“Takin’ after his daddy for sure,” she grinned. “I haven’t seen them this happy in ages.” She wiped a tear.

“I didn’t realize how bad it was until now. We’re like a normal family again.”

“Oh, what’s that on your face?” She reached over, wiping her thumb on his cheek. “Dear God, boy, you’re smiling! I might fall out!”

He chuckled, hopping up. “Want to see the perfect dive?”

“You gonna get that sexy Olympic swimmer out here? I’d pay to see that!”

“Brat.” He chuckled, walking quickly to the diving board.

Taking a deep breath, he did a perfect swan dive into the pool. Feeling the water slip past him, he scissored his legs, rising rapidly to the top. He spent the next hour swimming with his children, teaching Mindy how to jump off the board, and correcting Randy’s swan dive. Carmelita joined Cindy in the shallow end where they examined every attractive man who went by, evaluating them on some esoteric scale they seemed to be making up as they went along.

After showers and naps, it was nearly dinner time. They dressed for dinner and went to the dining room in a quiet, solemn procession. The large, circular tables were laid with fine linen table cloths and beautiful centerpieces of tropical flowers. They were seated with an elderly couple from Minot, North Dakota and a honeymoon couple from Great Falls, Montana. One place was empty. The name on the card gave them nothing, bearing the name, ‘E. Geraci.”

The first course had already been served by the time a solitary person entered. Dressed rather like a gypsy in brightly colored, flowing skirts, blouse and shawl, she walked slowly to the table taking the empty seat next to Kyle. The waiter brought her food as well as a glass of iced tea with mint without even asking her. She accepted each with a stately inclination of her head.

She wore a multicolored scarf tied tightly over her head. No hair escaped and her scalp looked smooth beneath it. Her eyebrows were just growing in, her complexion pale, almost pallid. Kyle knew that look well. This was a woman who had been through chemo.

She was much taller than she looked walking in. Kyle guessed her to be around five nine. What had once been a strong, athletic body was ravaged by her disease and treatments. However, she was still broad shouldered with the build of a swimmer. Her eyes held a spark of determination as she smiled at him, extending her hand.

“Emily Geraci,” she said quietly, her voice slightly hoarse.

“Kyle Scott.” He took her hand gingerly. “This is Carmelita Porter, my housekeeper.

And my three children, biggest to smallest; Cindy, Randy and Mindy. Kids, Ms. Geraci.”

© Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 7

Even though he’s moving on after his wife’s death, Kyle keeps a part of her with him. Some might think him crazy for talking to his dead wife, but it helps him process her death.

 He made his nightly rounds checking all the doors and windows before setting the alarm. He picked up some more in the living room, smiling for the first time in ages. Even though shades and shadows of Margo lurked in every corner of each room, for once it didn’t hurt to see them.

“I’m trying,” he whispered. “For the kids, I’m trying.”

“For yourself. Try for yourself, Scotty.” He thought he heard Margo’s voice inside his head.

She always called him Scotty.

“I will, darling. I promise. Forgive me—for moving on?”

“Always….”

Fighting tears, he headed to his room. Mindy had sneaked into his king sized bed at some point. She was curled up on her mother’s side of the bed, clutching her pillow and her teddy bear. He tucked the covers around her and climbed in on his side. Lying on his back, he stared at the ceiling after turning off the light.

“Am I really doing the right thing?” He asked anyone who would answer him.

“Follow your heart,” came the enigmatic reply.

“I’ve never been too good at that, sweetheart. I’m more a fly by the seat of my pants kind of a guy.”

She would have laughed at him for that one and told him that he followed his pants all right, what was in them. He’d made mistakes in his life, and most of them were because he’d disregarded what his mind was saying, doing his thinking with something a lot further down.

“But thinking with my buddy dick did one good thing for me,” he amended, though one was around to hear. “It brought me you,” he blew her a kiss.

Rolling on his side, facing away from his daughter, he fell into a light sleep. Every movement Mindy made seemed to transfer itself along the surface of the supposedly unmovable surface of the bed. Whoever designed the bed didn’t count on restless five year olds. She must be having another bad dream. She kept wiggling and kicking. Kyle was glad it was a big bed.

An hour or so later, he still wasn’t sleeping well. He picked up Mindy, taking her to her room. He turned a small lamp on low. With a kiss, he left her in her own bed. Fortunately, she snuggled down and relaxed once she was tightly tucked in.

Kyle went back to his big, lonely bed, curled up hugging Margo’s pillow and fell asleep. His alarm went off in time for him to get up and see his children off. Each rode a different bus, leaving at odd times.

“I’ll pick you up after school,” he told Cindy.

“As if! Dad, I don’t need you picking me up. I’m fine on the bus.”

“But the bus is hot and crowded.”

“It’s not a big deal, Dad.”

“Steve’s dad is picking him up in a limo,” Randy added excitedly. “He said he’d drop us all off—that’s if it’s okay with you.”

“A limo?” Cindy was incredulous. “So not fair! If you pick me up in a limo, Dad, you can come get me.”

“Why would I rent a limo for that? There’s time for a limo ride with prom or your wedding. I haven’t even been in a limo.”
“Steve’s dad owns a whole fleet of limos,” Randy looked smug.

“I’m pretty sure a fleet means more than three,” Cindy countered.

“No more squabbling,” Carmelita interjected. “Get your lunches. Buses will begin arriving in ten minutes. Is everyone ready?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the children chorused.

“Line up. Kisses for Lita and your daddy.”

Each child gave her a kiss. The girls kissed their father. Randy thumped him on the shoulder, tapping his knuckles.

“Later, dude.” He headed toward the door.

“I’m not ‘dude’,” Kyle called after him. “Pull up your pants!”

His twelve year old son shot him an ugly look, tugging his pants down a notch before hitching them back up where they’d been

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Sea of Destiny – Part 6

Their trip plans made, Kyle feels better about his vacation. He knows he’s been distant, grieving over his wife’s death. Now, before it’s too late, it’s time to show his children that he’s something more than an automaton they call Dad.

  They finished their movie marathon around 10:30. The older two children went to get ready for bed while Kyle and Carmelita cleaned up the paper plates and napkins from the living room.

“I’ve got a question for you, Lita.”

“I’m not marrying you, Mr. Scott.”

“No, it’s not that. However, it would entail your moving in here.”

“I beg your pardon?” She looked like she wanted to bury him alive.

“I need you to move into the apartment, Lita. I need more help around here, full time. My boss gave me a raise and told me to hire a nanny, but I can’t think of a single person I trust with my family but you. Would you be interested?”

“Be here full time with my babies?” Her eyes filled with tears. “Oh, you precious man! I can’t think of a thing I’d rather do!” She kissed his cheeks.

“How about we move you in this weekend then? Save you next month’s rent?”

“Really?”

“We’ll get those big, buff neighbors of yours to help. The Simmons brothers. I can give them all a few bucks to help.”

“They’d do it for food, if I’m cooking. You lay in the stuff for a barbecue, I guarantee the work force.”

“Great! Set it up and let me know what you’re cooking and I’ll leave cash for it. Oh, do you like ships?”

“What are you talking about now? I swear, Kyle, you’ve done gone crazy all of a sudden.”

“We’re going on a cruise, Lita. A family cruise. The kids are going to be occupied so you and I can work on our tans.”

“Am I expected to sun with the redheaded step child?” She raised a curious eyebrow.

“You can sun wherever and with whomever you want. I don’t expect you to babysit unless you want to and I won’t cramp your style if I can help it. I realized a little while ago, you’re a part of this family too and I couldn’t see going on vacation without you.”

“Where are we going?”

“No idea. I told the travel agent, ‘kid friendly’ leaving sometime after Monday.”

“You don’t give a girl much notice.”

“I didn’t get much myself. Forced leave, remember?” He pursed his lips. “I’m gonna have fun if it cripples me.”

“I’d love to go.” She patted his cheek again. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go to bed. I don’t much feel like making that drive.”

“Take the guest room. The beds in the apartment aren’t made up right now. Since Margo’s mom left, everything is covered up.”

“I still don’t understand why that woman came down, lived here three months and left. That made no sense at all. What was she thinking?”

“She wanted to be around Margo.” He shrugged. “But she left us in the lurch, you and me.”

“That she did, the selfish bitch. Has she even called you since she left?”

“Once. She forgot something and asked me to send it.”

“Please tell me you didn’t.”

“I can’t even remember what it was and she hasn’t called back.”

Carmelita yawned loudly. “I’m goin’ to bed, sugar. I’ll cook us a nice breakfast after the kids head out. You gettin’ up with ’em?”

“That’s my plan. Thanks, Lita. You’re the best.”

“I know.” She winked. “Too bad my ex-husband didn’t figure that out.”

“I always told you he was an idiot. If I had a woman like you, I’d never let her go.”

“She called over her shoulder. “G’night, Kyle. Sleep well, baby.”

“Night, Lita. You too.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 5

On forced vacation, Kyle decides to make the best of it. It’s time to reconnect with his family. Instead of rushing to ballet lessons, he decides to have movie and pizza night with his children. He announces it to his eldest daughter.

 “Really?” Cindy bounced on her toes. “We haven’t done that in ages. What movies did you get?”

“Guess. I got three of our favorites.”

Pretty Woman?”

“Correct.” He laid the movie on the counter.

“Um… Princess Bride?”

“Correct again.” The second movie joined the first.

“You had to get something for Randy, cause he’d kill you if you didn’t.”

“Maybe—guess….”

“Something action packed. Maybe some hot chicks, fast cars…. Transporter 3?”

“Close. Fast and Furious.”

“How’s that close? One’s Vin Diesel, the other is Jason Statham.”

“Buff guys who drive fast. They didn’t have Transporter 3 in.”

“I knew you’d thought of it first. I can always read you.”

“Just like your mother.” He smiled, brushing her chestnut hair from her cheek. “I’m gonna go for a swim. Want to join me?”

“Yeah. If I’m not gonna go sweat it off in ballet, I need a few laps.”

“Go change. I’ll be out in ten minutes. I need to make a call.”

He called Angie once more. “Hey, Ang, I’ve got an addition to that list. Can you book an extra adult? My housekeeper, Carmelita.”

“Same room?”

He laughed loudly. “Nooo, not for Lita and me. I’ll share with Randy. She can share with the girls.”

“Great. I’ll add her. I had a rush right after I talked to you. I’m looking at ships now.”

“Thanks, Angie.”

For the first time in months, Kyle enjoyed a swim with is daughter. He hadn’t realized quite how out of shape he was getting until she beat him across the pool, leaving him breathless. After a shower, he called for the pizza and set up the first movie. Princess Bride was Mindy’s favorite, so they watched it first. Once she was in bed, they could put in the other two. He invited Carmelita to stay and the five of them sat on pillows on the floor eating pizza and drinking root beer.

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“Take a Bite Outta Crime” is Over!

Thanks to all my loyal readers who faithfully looked for “Take a Bite Outta Crime”. I’ve enjoyed posting it and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I recently took a vote, and a few wonderful people gave me input, on what my next story should be. I decided, based on their votes, to share a novella length story with you called “Sea of Destiny”.

Kyle Scott is a young widower with three children. He’s not dealing well with his wife’s death, so his boss and friend, Web, insists he take a vacation and tells him to book a cruise. Kyle, his children and their housekeeper, Carmelita, embark on a voyage to Mexico. On board, Kyle meets the lovely and frail Emily Geraci. Having just watched his wife wither away from cancer, he knows an ill woman when he sees one. There’s a priest who claims that he can take away any disease and Emily is on her way to see him. Unfortunately, meeting the priest wakes old monsters for Kyle. Can their new blooming love survive?

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