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, and 15 scroll to the bottom of the blog where it says OLDER POSTS.
When Salazar lit into Greta, her son Freddie was working alongside a tall man wearing a baseball cap. At the sound of Salazar's ranting, both men froze. They'd been hammering wooden supports to a palm tree. In their statue-like positions, they could have been images from one of those Old Florida postcards. Freddie reacted first, setting down his hammer carefully and coming to Greta's aid.
"Furthermore," said Salazar, turning to jab that fat little finger at Freddie. "See this? I don't know where he wandered in from, but he should never have been allowed on these grounds. You've endangered our entire organization by encouraging this handicapped man to work in a dangerous environment. He could have had an accident and sued us! Not only are you fired, but I'll make sure you never get a job in the assisted living community ever again."
The man who'd been working alongside Freddie stepped quietly to the side of the young man. Freddie's face was very round, guileless, but his eyes proved the threats weren't lost on him. "Ma? I can go. I can call a resident advisor and get a ride."
I put an arm around Greta. She trembled against me. "Mr. Salazar? Please...if you look at the plans, we've kept to them. There have been minor modifications, but those were because we were able to make small improvements--"
"You aren't qualified to make those judgments. You know nothing of architecture or of landscaping. Undoing the harm you've done here will cost this company thousands upon thousands of dollars," he started, but this time he was interrupted by Cooper Rivers, my old boyfriend.
"That's patently wrong. I am a registered architect. I personally have supervised this work. There's nothing here that wouldn't be considered within an appropriate--" But Cooper didn't get to finish, because Salazar got up in his face.
"See that? That bird cage? And that one? You added those. Birds carry disease. They are a liability issue. We cannot put our residents in danger like that. And the so-called water feature? It's an attractive nuisance. That's means it might look good but it could potentially endanger our clients. No, you can't buffalo me. I'm here to represent the Boehner Group, and this is on my watch. I'm telling you that I want every bit of this scrapped, immediately. And I want the name of each and every volunteer, because I'm sure our corporate counsel will--"
This time it was Salazar who was interrupted. The tall man in the baseball cap tapped Greta's furious boss on the shoulder. "Jose?"
Salazar whirled around. His jaw dropped. "Uh, Jay, what are you..?"
The other man nodded.
"I've got this under control," said Salazar. "This woman has exceeded her authority. I'm having all this cleared out."
"No," said Jay in a quiet voice. "No, you don't have this under control. And yes, she did exceed her authority, but she didn't exceed her mandate. I'm relieving you of your duties, immediately. I'll have our corporate attorney discuss your severance package with you. Please go."
Salazar sputtered. "You don't understand."
"That's where you've got it all wrong. I do understand. I understand entirely. Now I suggest you leave before I have you thrown off my property." Suddenly the gray eyes that had been shielded by the baseball cap turned cold. Boehner had a nicely chiseled face and broad shoulders. His stance changed, and I had the impression he was ex-military. And he was definitely not happy.
After Salazar stormed off, Greta wiped her eyes and turned toward the man who'd come to her rescue. "Sir? I'm Greta Morgan."
"And I'm James Boehner," he said, shaking with her offered hand solemnly. "CEO of the Boehner Group. Allow me to introduce my good friend, Freddie. Who is an incredibly hard worker. He's been telling me how much his mother loves her job and her new chums here at Martin Gardens. That's the word he used, chums. Seems he loves watching Call the Midwife. I do, too."
"Then, you're the man who owns this place?" I wanted to be sure I understood what was happening. "And you've been working here all day, haven't you? You showed up with donuts at eight."
His chuckle was melodic. "My dad was a great believer in the power of a well-timed bribe. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the number of people I'd be feeding. Now let's get back to work, shall we?"
~ To Be Continued ~
Yes, I know this is hard to read because you have to scroll through other posts. Trust me, I'm going to see what I can do about it. But thank you for taking this journey with me. I wasn't sure how to write this scene--and then I woke up this morning and it popped into my head. Sometimes writing is like that. It's this awesome sort of magic. You do your bit, you let it go, and then the best parts are sent to you via e-mail of the brain! Lots of love-- j