Jose arrived just before lunch. Gabe and Luis were with him. All three were filthy, but smiling. He called everyone over. He held something in a dirty towel. Once they gathered around, Gabe held it as Jose opened the folds of the towel. Inside, they saw a smoke stained, beautifully carved stone cross. The girls gasped in unison.
“It was our altar cross,” Gabe said. “We found it buried in the rubble.”
“We got the okay from the fire chief to explore,” Jose said. “There isn’t much left.”
“We’re here if you need us,” Craig offered. “I spoke with Mike last night. He’s willing to let us help with salvage.”
“It’s very dangerous,” Ted cautioned.
“It’s important,” Craig said softly. “Of course, it depends upon you and your fire chief. We don’t want to interfere. But we’re here if you need us.”
“I’ll have to get his okay. It won’t be for a couple days. They have to go through first.”
“I understand. Meanwhile, we’ll work on this.” Craig waved at the torreón.
“At least it survived,” Ted said, touching the cross fondly. “We can have services in the fellowship hall. It will be a little cramped, but we can knock out a wall into the unused west wing. Fix it up some.”
“Already made some calls,” Jose said. “Thank you all. It means a lot that you want to help us.”
“You’re our friends,” Maddie said. “Like family. Of course, we want to help.”
“That means a lot. Gracias, mi cariña,” Jose replied, bowing slightly. “We’d better hose off before we head home. Maria will kill me if we come in her house like this.”
“I’ll help.” Maddie stepped forward. “It’s the least I can do after the shower you gave us our first day.”
Gabe and Luis exchanged a worried look. Jose laughed. “Okay. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
The others dropped what they were doing and followed after them. Jose handed Maddie a nozzle to a fire hose.
“Lean into it and hold tight. It whips around like a crazy rattler if you let go.”
“This is what you sprayed us with?” She was stunned.
“Not full blast, but yeah. Boys.” Jose pointed to the open area in front of the building. “Line up. I’ll turn on the hose.”
The boys smirked, suspecting Jose had a prank in mind. Well known for his practical jokes, they knew he had something up his sleeve. Maddie took her position, holding the hose. She pointed right at Gabe.
The water came on and the hose bucked, nearly knocking Maddie down. Screaming, she jumped back, still clutching the hose. Water went everywhere, spraying everyone in the courtyard. Gabe got a blast full in the face. She caught Luis in the crotch. Jose laughed loudly, sputtering as she turned the hose on him.