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Road home, deleted scene - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Road home, deleted scene
Okay, I got distracted on a tangent that doesn't belong in this particular story, about Miguel's first crush, so I'm going to re-start Chapter 17 and stay on task better. But I liked Enrique and Luisa's little conversation, and I figured I'd share it anyway, even though it is not actually in the story. :D


“I do love a man with a baby on his chest,” Luisa said, coming into the bedroom with a grin. “The perfect accessory for all occasions.”

Enrique smiled at her over Socorro’s head. “Coco and I are having a long conversation about how she will need to stay no older than ten for… oh, fifty years or so. There is to be no traveling among realms, and no handsome new friends from other countries.”

She laughed and sat down in her sewing chair, picking up the tie she’d been embroidering for Papá’s birthday. “Noticed, did you?”

“Hard to miss. It turns out that our Miguelito is not a subtle flirt.”

“And here I thought you’d noticed Bridget.” She fluttered her eyelashes playfully and adopted a high voice with a Yankee accent. “’Oh, I don’t speak Spanish very well, you’ll have to tell me what that song means!’”

Enrique dropped his voice and adopted the most macho pose he could manage with a baby in his arms. “’Oh, I don’t speak English at all, but music is a universal language!’”

“’I know exactly what you mean, I’ve always thought so!’” Luisa broke character and laughed. “Oh, we are terrible. Were we any better at flirting at thirteen?”

“You were one year old when I was thirteen.”

“And if I asked the ladies of your school year, they would all tell me, I’m sure, that you were always the suave and charming gentleman I see before me?”

“Of course they would.”

“How lucky I am, then. I was wretched at the whole business. Why do you think I was eyeing a convent? It seemed much easier.”

“I can’t imagine you’d have ever needed to flirt. The boys must have just fallen at your feet with no effort.”

She rolled her eyes. “You are not a subtle flirt either, mi amor.”

“Have they come down from the roof yet?”

“The roof, yes. The moon, no.”

Enrique laughed. “I’ll settle for the roof. She’s going back to the city as soon as Calles catches his bad actor, and then she’ll be three thousand miles away.”

“Twenty-seven hundred and forty-three,” Luisa said. “A simple forty-six hour drive straight north. We even know which highways. We’ve been checking on the computer.”

“He can’t have a car for a few years.”

She put down her sewing and came over to the bed, nestling beside him and tickling Socorro’s nose. “This will blow over, Enrique,” she said. “But I think we may need to resign ourselves to having a teenage son. Next week, there will be someone else.”

“Do you know, he swore to me that he’s not flirting with her? ‘Oh, no, Papá, I’m just being friendly! She’s just dancing while I play!’”

“He may even believe it.” Luisa sighed. “But what will we tell Calles? We said we’d keep an eye on her while he was chasing the evildoers, and now she may well elope with our son!”

“I don’t think we need to worry. But let’s lock the gate.” Enrique grinned. “All right, all right. We are too worried.”

You are too worried. I am too amused.”

“I miss him.”

“He’s in the courtyard with Rosa and Bridget, inventing Mexirlandesicano dancing."

“You know what I mean.”

She kissed his cheek. “Yes. But growing up is inevitable. I’ve decided to look forward to the man he will become. I think he will be like you, and I like you quite a lot, so I will be glad.”

Enrique kissed her head and let himself relax into her a little bit, then sighed. “I wonder who Coco will be like. She seems to like it in here with us instead of in the noise outside. I think she likes the quiet.”

“You know, I think she really does.” Luisa looked at the baby. “She’s starting to be herself. She likes the quiet in here with you. She thinks Miguel is some kind of minor deity. And I think her favorite color is purple. She always grabs for purple things.”

“I noticed. And she may dance. I’ve watched her feet when Miguel plays. She’s got them in a good rhythm. When she can walk, maybe some dance lessons?”

“If she wants them.”

“Of course.”

“I look forward to seeing what kind of little girl she will be as well. Ribbons and fashion magazines, or tree climbing and baseball? Or Irish step dancing, since she’ll obviously have a sister-in-law…”

“Very funny.” He sighed. “I’m going to go check on them.”

“If you must.”

“I just want to see if she’s heard from Calles,” Enrique lied.

“Mm-hmm.”

Enrique transferred the baby over to her and got up. He went outside, where the night was quiet and so hot it felt like the stars were giving off heat. There was some preliminary work on the expansion of the wall. Abel had taken to the job so eagerly after he’d finished school last month that he’d forgotten his goal of moving into an apartment in town.

Beyond it, the courtyard behind the workshop was unchanged, as it had been for years. Miguel had his practice guitar, the one that Enrique had decorated like a shoe, slung over his shoulder. He was sitting on the edge of the well. Rosa was sitting on the ground and looking up at the stars. The girl Bridget was on her phone in the shadow of the wall, speaking English.

Enrique went and sat down beside Miguel. “Taking a break from inventing a new dance style?”

He shrugged. “Calles called.”

“Oh. Is he coming back soon?”

“I don’t know. They’re still on the phone.”

“It doesn’t sound like it,” Rosa said. “She was asking, and then she kept saying ‘Yes, I get it.’”

“I should learn English,” Miguel said.

“You promised your Tía Meche that you’d learn Zapoteco.”

“I can’t learn both?”

“Right now, you haven’t put any effort into learning the first one you promised.”

He shrugged. “But there’s a lot of business to be done in English…”

“Mm-hmm.” Enrique ruffled his hair. “I may send you up to San Pedro after all.”

“Maybe we could go up tomorrow. Bridget said she wanted to see it.”

Enrique fought a desire to roll his eyes. Twenty-four hours ago, Miguel had been working on a new song about the land of the dead. Then Calles had arrived with his cousin, planning to spend the weekend, and anything that was not a redheaded fourteen-year-old with dancing shoes had vanished. It was normal, and it was good, but it was also a terrible reminder that years were about to start flying by.

“Señor Rivera?”

He looked up. Bridget was holding out the phone. “What is it?”

“My cousin wants to talk to you. He’s…” She closed her eyes and searched for a word. Her Spanish was actually quite good, if slow and accented. “He’s a little embarrassed, but…” She shrugged.

Enrique took the phone, which was pink, in a case bedazzled with rhinestones and featuring Cinderella’s glass slipper. “Denny?”

“Hey,” Calles said. “Just to get it over with, this may take another day.”

“It’s all right. Your cousin is fine here.”

“I promise she’ll be safe and happy, and I get myself a violent stalker case.” He sighed. “Tina didn’t know it would be so long, or she wouldn’t have called me. That’s Carlos’s wife—”

“I know who Tina is.”

“Yes, well. Her client is up for shooting her boyfriend, but it was because the boyfriend broke in after she kicked him out, and now that he’s out of the hospital, he’s been harassing her again, and the police aren’t doing enough. I just need to track him down and have… a meaningful conversation with him about how a gentleman should behave with a lady.”

“Do you need help with that? I hate men who do that.”

“No, I just need Bridget to stay there.” He made a kind of tutting sound. “This guy’s not a master criminal. He’s not even in a gang to protect him. So I can’t see this taking long. I’m sorry—to both you and Bridie. This should have been a one-hour job, but the idiot got on a bus, and I have to track him a little further.”

“It’s fine with us. I’m pretty sure Miguel will be thrilled, actually.”

Miguel made a face at him, as though he’d been deeply betrayed. Enrique ruffled his hair again.

There was a pause on the other side of the conversation, then Calles laughed. “Uh-oh. My Aunt Meg will break a finger clutching at her pearls over that. She may have to disown Tío Kevin now, too.”

Bridget was watching this with frustration, so Enrique just said, “You’re staying a few days longer, it’s fine.”

But she looked pained. Enrique gave the phone back to her, and she started speaking English again, with great passion, walking off toward the kitchen.

“She says he’s not being careful enough,” Rosa translated. “Stalkers are dangerous and he thinks it’s a lark and he’s going to get himself shot if he’s not careful.”

“He won’t, will he?” Miguel asked, suddenly worried. “He’s not being careless, is he?”

“Calles is a soldier. He knows what he’s doing.” Enrique sighed. Now, they were back to murder. It wasn’t where he wanted to be. “So, how is the great dance coming along?”

Miguel gave him a narrow, suspicious look, then said, “The music and the steps don’t fit quite right. It’s a different rhythm. I have to learn it. I watched a little bit online. It’s like… it’s either rhythm or melody, not both. I mean, of course, there is some melody with the tap, and the lyrical stuff has a regular downbeat, but it’s not as integrated. And it’s better with Rosa’s violin. They don’t really play the guitar. I should learn the violin. Carlos says it would be a good idea to start adding more instruments that I can write for.”

“Okay. So, violin, along with Zapoteco and English.”

“And he needs to take flamenco classes,” Rosa said, grinning. “He’s very bad at flamenco dancing.” She stood up and did an exaggerated few steps of a man’s flamenco routine, then deliberately tripped over a stone.

Miguel stuck his tongue out at her. “I can dance well enough for a guitar player. At least I always land on my feet.” He thought about it. “Papá Héctor could dance, though. Not quite flamenco, but he could keep a beat on the boards. Maybe I’ll make myself tap shoes.”

“Let Tío Berto do it,” Enrique said. “He’s been dying to try all the dance shoes. He’s got Bridget’s old ghillies dissected on the workbench already.”
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Comments
sonetka From: sonetka Date: August 9th, 2018 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, that's adorable -- especially the punchline (Bridget's going to learn a lot more about shoes than she ever expected on this trip, isn't she?) And speaking as someone with a newly-turned thirteen son, Miguel's flirting sounds exactly right -- all the subtlety of throwing a brick through a window, but at that age, that's what makes it charming.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 9th, 2018 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww this is adorable (and a nice chaser after... that last chapter).
I got a kick out of Enrique and Luisa acting things out. Interesting that Enrique seems to be getting hit with empty nest a lot harder. At the same time, as he notes, it is a nice grounding moment for Miguel.

It would be good for Miguel to learn both English (which I hope won't hinge on his crush) and Zapoteco; starting at a young age should help. And considering resources, while both can be done, Zapoteco should take priority right now. Plenty of sources for English.
When Miguel grows up, he'll appreciate it.
What is the perception of Yankee-accented Spanish?

On one hand, yeah Calles is skilled. On the other, it's precisely that he's experienced while young that "minor" cases like this has a risk of catching up to him. "I can't see this taking long," is about as tempting fate as he can get.
So those concerned have full grounds to be.

---FFR
princesselwen From: princesselwen Date: August 9th, 2018 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
If Miguel ends up learning the fiddle and stumbling into bluegrass as well as Celtic music, I'm sure everyone will hope he sticks with the fiddle (or maybe a mandolin), and not a banjo. :P (Banjos can be rather overwhelming.)
This is cute. :)
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