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Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Christina, Dellani & Friends

 

Monday, January 14, marks the first Dellani’s Tea Time of 2019. Listen in from 4-6 PM Eastern!

As we to every year, Christina and Dellani save the first show to chat together, and bring in some special guests – the other show hosts on the Red River Radio Network! We’re never entirely sure who will show up, so we’ll just introduce them as they arrive.

Christina Giguere

 

Expect ridiculous behavior, sarcastic comments, jocularity, hilarity, and great excerpts from everyone! You never know where the conversation will go, with this bunch. We’re unpredictable, unavoidable, uninhibited and completely unexpected.

dellani photo dark red

Join us live, or at your leisure!

 

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 32

sidetracked 2Aiden talks to Inez and Fonda about their experiences with Bullock. They decide to go on a road trip to see Eoin, a former exchange student, who now works in Daytona. While this is going on, Vanessa and Scott decide to interrogate Bullock.

“What’s this? Good Cop, Bitchy Cop?” Bullock chuckled. It was an ugly sound.

“I’ll remind you that you’re addressing a female detective of this department,” Scott said calmly. “You’re under arrest for assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, verbal assault, obstruction of justice, and suspicion of murder. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Bullock started cursing. Scott held his hand up to his ear.

“Sorry, can’t hear you, I’m deaf to the sound of profanity. If you’d like to say something else, I’d be happy to listen.”

Bullock snorted and said something so filthy, even Scott was offended. Pinched nostrils turned white, but his neck and ears turned red.

“Detective Weinstein, I’d like you to go now,” he said, giving her a very emphatic look.

Without arguing, she left. Scott didn’t lose his temper often, but he had just passed the line. Turning off the camera, she watched to make sure he didn’t do anything dangerous. He took her welfare seriously, and always had. They had dated years ago, but they had remained friends. Now that she was pregnant, like his wife, he took an even greater interest in her well being.

“You’re going to tell me everything, you sorry sack of shit. You’ll tell me about molesting the girls under your care, of your involvement in the sex pandering and the sleazy drug and f**k parties. You’re going to tell me of your involvement in the death of Wendy Hamilton.”

“Or what?” the coach snarled, his mouth a hard line. “You gonna let her slap me?”

Scott stood, leaning over the seated coach. He was a tall, solidly built man, whose biceps bulged, threatening to rip his jacket. “Or I will tell every male member of this patrol what you said to Detective Weinstein, then I’ll leave the door open and the security camera off.” He let that sink in. “Then, I’m going to round up the fathers of the girls you exploited and molested, and I’ll tell them what a lowlife piece of human excrement you are. You sold those girls off, after you had your way with them. Some of them were virgins.”

“You can’t prove this shit. Lies. All of it.”

“Here’s what I know,” Scott said, sitting down. He signaled her to turn the camera back on, and scooted the folder in front on him. Opening it, he pulled out a picture, turning it to face Bullock. It was a close up of Wendy’s face, battered, bruised, bloody and pale with death. “You knew Wendy was back in town. I believe she came to see you, threatened to expose your little sex market, and probably had enough on you to send you away for a long time. We found a diary in her belongings.”

That was the first Vanessa had heard of it. Scott could be bluffing, or he could be telling the truth.

“You’re lying.”

“Am I? Believe what you will. She threatened you, maybe she asked for money. I imagine you had quite a good racket going. She wanted a cut to keep quiet. Or, maybe she wanted a cut, and threatened to shut you down. Either way, you raped and killed her.” He put a picture of Wendy’s body, torn clothing, pecked at by vultures, in front of Bullock.

The other man gagged, turning his head. Scott slammed his hand on the table, on top of the picture. “You look at this! This is your doing! She was young, innocent, trying hard to get her life on track. She suffered untold horrors at the hands of her father and grandfather—and you! Slobbering old men who took advantage of a pretty, young girl!”

“She wasn’t so innocent!” Bullock yelled, trying to stand. “She took what she wanted. She seduced me! Filmed it, threatened to show it to my wife! The school board! That cheap little c—”

“Not how I heard it. From her diary.” He pulled out a page, holding it where Bullock couldn’t see it.

Vanessa squinted at it. It was covered in handwriting, but she couldn’t tell if it was Scott’s, or really was a copy of a dairy.

“According to Wendy, you came on to her, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She said, and I quote, He kept touching me, fondling my bottom and rubbing himself against me. He pinched my breast so badly it bruised. He wouldn’t stop! Constantly on me. No one would help. I asked the guys on the team, the other girls. Only Aiden tried to help me, but Coach Bullock knocked him around. I was so scared that he was going to kill Aiden, I agreed. I’m so scared. I felt filthy. Dirtier than I ever thought possible. Even worse than when my father touched me for the first time.” Scott stared at the paper a long time.

Vanessa knew it was genuine, because his hands shook and his neck went red with anger.

“She was barely seventeen when you did that. But that was okay, right? She wasn’t a child, she was a teenager. What you aren’t thinking of is two fold: she was under eighteen,” he held up his left thumb, touching it with his right index finger. “She said no.” He touched his left index finger with his right. “That, under the law, falls into two categories: Statutory Rape and Child Abuse.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 31

sidetracked 2Rather than staying at school, Aiden leaves, going over the the satellite college campus down the road. He intends to see some of the girls from the golf team, who were contemporaries of Wendy’s. He tells the girls about his baby girl.

“Oh, honey!” Fonda and Inez chorused, hugging him.

“You must feel even worse, finding her poor, battered….” Inez gulped, putting her hand over her mouth to stifle a sob.

Fonda’s tears were silent, making them the more moving. She was the one who had aborted Bullock’s baby. She hadn’t wanted to abort it, but her parents had refused to take action. She’d been seventeen at the time. The child’s death had haunted her ever since. Aiden put his arm around her shoulders, taking Inez with the other. They sat in quiet misery for a long time.

“She came back to take on Bullock,” Inez said. “She wanted us to come forward. She had a couple other girls she was talking to.”

“Why didn’t she come see me?”

“I don’t know,” Inez said. “But she spoke about you often. She was still fond….” She gripped his fingers. “But then, you’ve always been a sweetie.” She kissed his cheek. “How do we contact this Weinstein?”

Aiden hugged them both and gave them Vanessa’s number.

“Do you know how to find Jimbo?” he asked as he was standing to leave.

“Why do you want him?” Fonda’s scathing tone wasn’t lost on Aiden.

“I wanna know where he is.” His voice was hard, demanding.

“He went in the Marines,” Inez said. “I remember them saying at the awards ceremony. He got a scholarship. He was good friends with Otto Wren. That weird Austrian dude with the greasy hair?”

Otto was another exchange student, sent by a different company from Eoin. The two had not gotten along, nor had Aiden liked him in the least. Otto was as weird and twisted as Jim Butcher, and not in a fun way like Eoin.

“I remember Otto,” Aiden sneered. “Is he in town?”

“Daytona,” Inez said. “Last I heard, he was working as a bouncer at some club. That biker bar near the cemetery.”

“Yeah? Shit. I can’t get in there, they check IDs at the door.”

“You can’t, we can. And I bet Eoin would too,” Fonda said. “We’re cutting class,” she announced. “Do you know where tall, dark and dreamy lives?”

Puzzled, Aiden frowned. “Who?”

“Eoin,” she heaved an exasperated sigh. “He might be gay, but he’s gorgeous.”

“He’s not gay, he’s does a cross-dresser who does a fantastic drag show. Might be bi, but as far as I know, he likes women only.”

“A straight cross-dresser?” Inez was confused.

“He said there is a lot of money in it. He’s good, he’s snuck me in a few times. And yes, I know where he lives. Why?”

“Because we need backup at the bar, and he can provide it. Road trip.”

“I have to be back to pick up my brothers.”

“No problem. It’s barely eight. Off we go!” Fonda led the way to his car.

“How did you know this was my ride?”

“Your dad has driven this heap for the last seventeen years,” Fonda said. “He and my dad play golf, remember? I’ve seen it more times in the last three years, than I have you. Inez, you take shotgun. She gets carsick in the back.”

They hopped in the car and took off to Daytona.

“I can’t explain the gas use. Dad will notice and I’m tapped.”

“I’ve got it,” Fonda said. “Just put in a good word for me with Eoin.”

Aiden laughed. “You got it!”

She and Inez gave him cash, which he stuffed in the cup holder.

“And what about you, Aiden?” Inez asked. “You on the market?”

He glanced at her, puzzled, nearly running a red light. “Um…not—not taken. Why?”

“Because you’re all kinds of hot,” she said, patting his hand. “Even if you are a kid.”

“Almost nineteen,” he admitted, his ears turning a fiery red. “Next month.”

“Oh, not such a baby as I thought. I’ve never dated a younger man.”

“O—okay….”

Heading up US-1, they drove to Eoin’s home in South Daytona.

Bullock gave every indication of pacing, though Vanessa had left him chained to the table. He hadn’t appreciated that in the least, and had complained, cursed and fussed for the last forty-five minutes. Once he finally ran out of steam, she walked in the room with Scott. They took seats opposite the prisoner, and neither said a word, their expressions impassive.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 30

sidetracked 2Vanessa tries to talk to Coach Bullock, but ends up arresting him, after he gets aggressive. On the way to the station, he won’t stop talking, so she has a lot to enter into evidence against him. Jasper updates her on what he discovered about Wendy’s background.

“When are you going to talk to Bullock?”

“I want to read this file on Wendy first, then I’ll go in. You better back me up. I’m gonna be Bad Cop today, no matter what I do.”

“Bad night?”

Vanessa handed him the picture of Bullock grabbing Wendy.

“I can handle this, Ness, if it’s kicking up…. What’s that?” He pointed to the sticky note. It had come off the picture and stuck inside the folder.

“Dario’s handwriting.” She picked it up. “Oh, my darling man! Look!”

“I think we found a way to nail Bullock’s coffin shut. Thank you, Mr. Escobar!”

Aiden dutifully dropped his brothers at the school, but didn’t plan to stay. He went in with them, bought the car decal as he’d promised, and excused himself for the day. At eighteen, he could do that without his parents’ permission. That accomplished, he fed into the early morning traffic and drove out. The teacher at the gate didn’t even look at him. His father’s vehicle was well known, and they were enough of a size and shape, to look alike at a distance. Driving more cautiously, like his dad, he turned left onto Tenth Street and drove down to the satellite campus of Daytona State College. Taking a spot in the visitor’s section, he wandered over to sit on a bench under a tree.

Other students wandered in and out, milling about smoking cigarettes before class. He knew some of them from school. When they spotted him, they walked over, sitting beside him, or standing. Several were from the golf team, and still followed the matches. They chatted a little while until Fonda, who was team captain just before Wendy, noticed his preoccupation.

“This is about Wendy.”

“Yeah.”

“Inez, you stay. The rest of you, scoot, please. Private talk.”

No one argued. They suspected what the talk was, and didn’t want to be interfere.

“You know,” Fonda said.

“I always suspected,” Aiden said. “But now…. I know it’s horrible, and embarrassing, but you girls have to come forward. He can’t keep getting away with this.”

“We were going to,” Inez said. “Wendy contacted us a few weeks ago, begging us. Fonda was all for it, I took convincing.”

“What he did to us, it wasn’t right,” Fonda said sternly. “My folks convinced me not to pursue it. Dad plays golf with him, he didn’t want to lose his best partner for the club tournament! Can you believe? And Mother?” she rolled her eyes. “Don’t cause a scandal,” she quoted in an airy voice.

“I was too afraid,” Inez said quietly. “I didn’t even tell my parents. My dad would kill him.”

“I know someone who will listen. Her name is Detective Weinstein, and she’s investigating Wendy’s death. Troy’s in jail.” He dropped that bomb in their laps.

“For real? Like—stay there?”

“He assaulted a police officer, Detective Weinstein. And ran away when we tried to talk to him. But he’s in Port Orange, not here. His buddy can twist things here, but not up there.”

“What buddy?” Fonda asked, puzzled.

“He’s got a cop in his pocket, well placed, from what I can tell.”

“How do you know?” Inez asked.

“Because I listen and keep my mouth shut. In fact,” he leaned forward to share a secret. “From what I can find out, Troy is gay and it’s his f**k buddy.”

“What!?” both girls screeched.

Heads turned, but they ignored it.

“You’re serious? How did you find out?”

“Remember Eoin?”

“Yeah, the exchange student from the U.K., the year we graduated,” Fonda explained to Inez.

“He hung around after graduation. He liked the climate—and I don’t mean the balmy summer breezes. He enjoyed a certain, peculiar lifestyle.” The girls frowned, not getting his subtle remarks. “He’s a cross-dresser and liked to visit the drag clubs in Daytona and Orlando. He managed to get a work Visa and he’s been performing at Pocket Pool.” Contrary to the name, the classiest, best drag club in the area.

“How do you know that?” Fonda shuddered.

“Despite his oddity, he’s a good guy. He was really there for me when Wendy took off. As a friend,” he emphasized, lest they get the wrong idea. “And I found out why she left like she did.” He could tell these girls, they would understand. No one else in the world would get it, except maybe his mother. “She had my baby,” he whispered. “A little girl. She named her Rowan.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 29

sidetracked resized

Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

“Hey! You done that on purpose! You bitch! That’s brutality!”

“Yelling at me, cursing less than three feet away, is verbal assault. On a police officer. Which one of us is in more trouble? Hm? One of your rights is to remain silent. Might wanna give that a try.”

He didn’t, though. He yelled and fussed the entire way to the police station. When they arrived, she sent a couple of uniforms out to get him, afraid she’d do too much. They took him to booking, then parked his ass in an interrogation room.

“Who’s the loud mouth?” her friend, Jasper, asked, sidling up to her desk.

Vanessa gave him a rundown.

“He hasn’t stopped talking since he got here.”

“Didn’t stop in the car, either. I need to enter this into evidence,” she said, accessing the app from her phone. She sent it to her official e-mail and logged it while Jasper waited. Smiling, she turned to him when she was done.

“Motherhood is a good look on you, Mrs. Escobar,” he said, grinning down at her.

“Thank you. Did you need something specific?”

He pulled up a nearby chair. “Yeah. I’ve done some digging on our girl. Poor kid.” He shook his head. “She wasn’t an orphan, but might as well be. Her mother had a psychotic break when she was ten. She was molested by her father and his father, before Daddykins went to prison on drug charges, and Grampy died unexpectedly. No one is sure, but they think she might have dosed his morning coffee with anti-freeze.”

“No one helped her?”

“The system fell to pieces for her. I swear, the judges who handle child abuse cases should all be women with children. The cocksucker of a judge said there was no evidence of abuse, although there was quite a laundry list. It’s repulsive and I won’t turn your stomach with details, but there was evidence out the ass. He said it was hearsay and threw it out. She was sent back repeatedly.”

“The system didn’t fail her, the judge did. Why?”

“Pappy, and Grandpappy were both lawyers. Pappy went to school with Judge Asshole. Who was, you’ll be happy to know, finally brought up on pandering charges.”

“He was pimping?”

“He tried to plead Pandering by Compulsion, like he was being forced to do it. The only compulsion, that the judge and jury found, was his own need to make money and get off on watching.”

“That’s beyond disgusting!” she shuddered. “Under age?”

“Do you really want to know?”

He was ready to shut down, if she pushed. Vanessa knew when to stop asking for details.

“No.”

“Good decision. I’ve written a short summary, leaving out the worst details. If you must know, let your imagination run free to the deepest, darkest corners, and you won’t even be close. Please.” He held the folder when she tried to take it. “Don’t. Do not look at the details.”

“I won’t.”

“Promise, Vanessa. It turned my stomach.”

Vanessa stood, giving him a hug. If it upset Jasper that much, she knew she couldn’t handle it. She’d seen a lot in her life as a police officer, but crimes against children were things she’d never been able to handle with any sort of detachment. “I promise. With all my heart.”

“Good.” He gave her a final squeeze and pat on the back. “Love ya like a sister,” he whispered.

“Love ya like a big goombah,” she replied just as quietly.

“No fondling the detective,” Scott said with a laugh. “What brought on this tender moment? And do I get one?” He held out his arms.

Jasper hugged him, pulling him so tightly, Scott gasped.

“Not you, f**kwit!” Scott laughed.

“I needed Scotty Snuggles,” Jasper teased.

“Get to work,” Scott replied.

“That’s the problem working with your best friend,” Vanessa said, giving Scott a hug.

“Yeah, well he’s one of the best cops I know. You’re another. New outfit? I approve.”

“First thing I grabbed when my skirts didn’t fit.”

“You’re not that big yet.”

“Tell my pencil skirts. How’s Cadence?”

“Doing well. Starting month four and still having trouble with nausea.”

“I told you about the wrist bands. You didn’t tell her?”

“Forgot.” He hopped back when she took a swing at him.

“I’ll send her a text. I should never have trusted you. My sisters swear by them. I’ve been lucky with that, just—smells.” She put her hand over her nose. Just thinking about foul odors made her ill.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Frank Wharton’s Merry Christmas as Read on Tales from the Pages

Frank Wharton

Frank Wharton dashed under the portico out of the bone chilling drizzle of rain that was turning to snow. He stuffed $5.00 in the bell ringer’s bucket before heading toward the coffee shop door.

“Thank you, sir. God Bless and Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, I don’t celebrate Christmas.”

“Are you Jewish? Same God, sir.”

“I don’t really believe in God.”

“Well, I’ll pray for you anyway.” The young man flashed a cold tinged smile. “If you aren’t a believer, why do you give?” He asked, his cheeks cherry red, his lips blueberry.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Frank replied. “Say, you look mighty cold, kid. Don’t you have a coat?”

The young man shook his head. Frank paused.

“Hold on a second. I was on my way to drop off some boxes…. Be right back.” He walked over to his car, wondering what the hell he was doing.

All the wanted was his morning coffee and to drop his father’s clothing at the Salvation Army. But the kid looked like he was freezing. Dad’s old Pea-coat, leather gloves and Adirondack cap would fit the boy well—perfectly, in fact. His father would want them to go to a good cause. Frank couldn’t think of a better one than a young man chilled to the bone. Picking out the items, he put them in a grocery bag, adding warm socks, wool jacket and pants and an old scarf.

The scarf held memories. He’d given it to his father when he was 10. He hesitated a moment, wanting to keep it, but heard his father’s voice in his head.

“It kept me warm even in the coldest weather. Your love drove off the chill. He needs it more than we do, Son.”

Adding it to the bag with tears in his eyes, Frank walked back to the door. Handing over the bag, he accepted the young man’s thanks with a slightly sad smile.

“Dad wants you to have them.”

“Is he here? May I thank him too?” He craned his neck expectantly, looking.

“In a manner of speaking,” Frank replied. “Dad died a week ago. I’m giving his things away.”

The young man grinned. “That makes it an even more special gift,” he replied. “God Bless.”

“I don’t believe….”

“I know, but I do. Thank you.”

They shook hands and Frank went in for his coffee. While there, he impulsively bought hot chocolate and a bagel for the boy outside. Handing it to him earned another “God Bless.” Frank nodded, turned up his collar to the cold and headed to his car.

Before dropping the clothing at the Salvation Army, he went through the bags again and found more clothing to fit the slender young man. In one pocket, he stuffed a $20.00 bill.

“So he can have a good meal,” he thought.

He set those things aside and took the rest to the clerk. She went through them all, smiling.

“So sorry to hear about your dad, Mr. Wharton. He was a good man. He used to volunteer in our soup kitchen.”

“I know. I used to drive him down. I knew he’d want his things to come here where they can do some good.”

“Here’s your receipt. Merry Christmas!”

“Thanks, you too.”

The next morning, the young man was again at the coffee shop door, this time wrapped in his warm clothes. He smiled and said, “God Bless. Merry Christmas,” when Frank gave him another $5.00.

“I’ve got a few more things for you. When are you done here?”

“Six.”

“I’ll bring them by then.”

“That would be great. Thanks.”

“You hungry?”

“A little.”

“Bagel or muffins?”

“Surprise me.”

Frank got him another bagel and a coffee. The parting “God Bless” left him smiling. Once he got home, he went through more of the closets, looking for things the young man could wear. He hated to see his father’s clothing go to waste and he couldn’t stand seeing a man suffer because he was obviously down on his luck.

When Frank went back to see the young man at 6:00, he had two bags of clothing, as well as a bag of non-perishable food from his father’s pantry. Frank had enough food at home, he didn’t need all this too. He pulled up and parked at the curb.

“Hi there. I’ve got those bags I promised.” Seeing the young man struggle with his tripod and bucket, he paused. “Can I give you a lift?” he asked conversationally.

“I need a ride to the office,” the young man said. “Usually, someone comes to pick up, but today she’s sick.”

“Hop in. I’ll take you there. Frank Wharton,” he introduced himself, holding out his hand.

“Gabriel St. Peter,” he replied, taking Frank’s hand in a firm grip.

Frank dropped him and his bags at the Salvation Army office downtown. Gabriel wouldn’t accept a ride home, but thanked Frank for his help.

“Not a problem. Here’s my number. If you ever need a ride, you let me know.”

“Thank you.”

They parted with Gabriel’s heart felt “God Bless” in the air between them.

Almost two weeks passed and Frank saw Gabriel nearly every day. From time to time he gave the younger man a ride and always bought him something to eat. One cold, blustery day, Gabriel wasn’t alone. A delicate young woman with fair hair and vivid blue eyes was with him. She sat in a battered camp chair. Her red, chapped cheeks stood out in her pale face. She wore the pea-coat, not buttoned quite all the way down, because of her very pregnant belly. She also wore the scarf and gloves. Gabriel wore the wool jacket and pants with the hat. Frank stopped to drop his $5.00 in the bucket and spoke to Gabriel.

“Who is this lovely young lady with you?”

“My wife, Marie. Honey, this is Frank. She’s been wanting to meet you,” he admitted shyly.

The pretty blonde stood awkwardly, holding out her arms to Frank. He accepted her hug with a grin.

“When is your baby due?”

“Christmas,” she said, beaming.

“A Christmas baby! I was born on Christmas too. My father always made a big deal about it, making the day special in two ways.”

“What about your mother?” Marie asked.

“She died having me,” Frank replied. “A rare disorder….”

“I’m so sorry. Any brothers and sisters?”

“Just me and – and Dad.” He gulped, fighting tears in earnest.

“So you’re alone? Honey, he can’t be alone at Christmas,” Marie appealed to her spouse.

“I was gonna serve at the Salvation Army kitchen,” Frank replied.

“Us too,” Marie said joyfully. “After, you can come for a visit. No one should be alone at Christmas.”

“What if you’ve had your baby?”

“Then you celebrate with us at the hospital.”

“Are you sure? You hardly know me.”

Marie touched the scarf tenderly. “We know you very well. It would mean so much.”

Frank allowed himself to be talked into it. Honestly, he didn’t want to say no. It was the first Christmas in his 47 years that he’d be spending alone. It had always been him and Dad. For awhile, there’d been Nancy, but she’d never understood why he and his father were so close. She had a huge family, she didn’t know what it was like to be the only one the other person had. She’d left him after five years of marriage.

Two nights later, it was Christmas Eve. Frank hadn’t made it by the coffee shop that morning, having been tied up with his father’s lawyer. He was now, officially, owner of everything his father had owned. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his father’s house. He had his townhouse, so close to work, he could walk. The house was in an old neighborhood. It wasn’t rich, but it wasn’t a ghetto. He had no idea if he could sell the house or if he should rent it out.

With much on his mind, he went to Christmas Eve Mass at the nearby Catholic church. It wasn’t that he was religious, but it was the thing to do. He and his father had always gone to the early Mass on Christmas Eve.

Stopping in the corner bar on his way home, he had a drink of homemade eggnog and went home. He watched some TV, finding “It’s a Wonderful Life” too much to take on such a sad occasion. He missed his father horribly and didn’t know what to do with himself. He thought about a drink, but that would lead to many, and his father wouldn’t have approved of him drowning his sorrow that way. He was sitting down to a microwave meal when his cellphone rang. It was Gabriel’s number.

“Hello?”

“It’s Gabe. Frank, I’m worried about Marie. She’s not feeling well. I think she’s in labor, but I don’t have a car. I can’t get her to the hospital.”

“I’ll be right over. Keep her comfortable and warm. I’ll be right there.” He hung up and grabbed his coat and keys.

Driving over to the tiny one room apartment, Frank found himself muttering prayers. He wasn’t a religious man, but he was worried about Marie. When he arrived at their door, he grew even more concerned. Marie’s face was pale and pinched, her breathing shallow. Her hands trembled and she’d been vomiting. He and Gabriel bundled her in blankets and put her in the back seat of Frank’s car. He drove as fast as he dared to the hospital emergency entrance. Parking the car, he ran in to get someone with a gurney.

When he got back, Marie was unconscious, bleeding profusely. The staff rushed her into the emergency room and did their best to stabilize her. All Frank could do was pace and try to calm down the horrified Gabriel.

“I should have called you earlier,” he kept saying. “She’s been bad all day. I didn’t even go to work.”

“You did just fine. She’s okay. You have to have faith.” Meanwhile, his mind did frightened flipflops. This was exactly how his mother died, bleeding to death as she gave birth. “She’ll be fine.”

Hours later, the doctor came out. He wasn’t smiling, but he looked slightly hopeful.

“Mr. St. Peter, your wife and son would like to see you now.”

“Aw, Doc, I was supposed to be in there!”

“I know, son, but it was very tricky. We weren’t sure…. We thought we might lose them. I couldn’t have you see your wife and child die….”

“But they’re alive?”

“Yes. Marie’s weak, but she’s stable. And your son has the finest set of lungs this side of the Mississippi.”

“He’s crying? Is he hurt?”

“No, he sounds like he’s saying Da over and over. Never heard a baby so young vocalize. You the grandfather?”

Gabriel answered in the affirmative before Frank could even open his mouth. The two men followed the doctor to Marie’s room. She lay in bed, pale but smiling. She gave Gabriel a kiss and held out a hand to Frank. Gabriel kissed her and Frank held her hand.

Beside her in the clear plastic bassinet lay their son. He was red faced, blue eyed and had a shock of black hair that put Frank in mind of his own baby pictures.

“Nearly nine pounds,” she said. “Would you like to hold him?” she asked her husband.

Gabriel picked him up, holding him carefully. The baby gazed up at him and touched his father’s chin. Gurgling, crosseyed, he smiled and cooed, “Da”.

“He knows me! How can he know me already?”

“Some babies are exceptional,” the doctor said. “I’ll leave you alone now. You call if you need me.”

“Thank you, saving them, Doctor,” Gabriel said, gazing at his son.

“Modern medicine’s a wonderful thing. Fifty years ago, I’d have lost one or the other or both. Merry Christmas,” he said.

Frank glanced the clock. It was 12:15 on Christmas morning.

“Want to hold him?” Gabriel asked.

“I’d love to, if you don’t mind. I haven’t held a baby in years.”

Gabriel handed the child to him. It gazed up at him and smiled, but didn’t speak.

“What’s his name?”

“We wanted something old fashioned,”Gabriel said. “We named him Josiah.”

Frank gasped, nearly bursting into tears. “That was my father’s name,” he replied. “I’m honored. Though you didn’t know. I thank you.”

“His middle name is Frank,” Marie said.

“I never had a namesake before. But wouldn’t you like to name him after your fathers instead?”

The young couple exchanged a look. Marie nodded at Gabriel.

“I was raised in foster care,” Gabriel replied. “Marie’s mother took me in. I think we loved each other as soon as we could walk. Marie never knew her father, he was nothing but a name on a birth certificate. Her mom divorced him without even telling the poor guy she was pregnant.”

“All that time and he never knew?” Frank’s tears fell and he nuzzled the baby’s head. “I can’t imagine growing up without my father. He was my best friend.”

“And a child should know his grandfather, don’t you think?” Marie asked expectantly.

“Absolutely. My grandfather was the greatest.”

“We thought the same thing, Frank.” Marie continued, bursting into tears. “So when we found you like that, just out of the clear blue, it seemed so perfect.”

“What do you mean? I don’t understand.”

Gabriel took Josiah from him. “Marie’s your daughter,” he replied. “Her mother’s name is Nancy.”

Frank nearly fell down. “My daughter?” He burst into tears, hugging the beautiful young woman in the bed.

They clung to one another, crying until their chests ached.

“Why didn’t she tell me?”

“I don’t know,” Marie said, wiping her eyes. “She never said. But why don’t you ask her yourself? She should be here soon. She had to take a cab from the airport because Gabe couldn’t go get her.”

“Nancy? Is coming here?”

He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Over 20 years had passed since he’d last seen her smiling, pretty face. When he looked into Marie’s eyes, she saw shades of her mother. Nancy’s smile twitched her daughter’s lips, the same little line creased her forehead when she was thinking.

“Does she know? About me?”

“She does now,” Gabriel said with a smirk as he nodded at the door.

Frank turned to see an elegant, slightly older version of his ex-wife standing at the door, her hand to her throat. Her blue eyes brimmed with tears as she advanced into the room.

“Frank? Is it really you?”

“Nancy?”

They embraced, kissing as if two decades hadn’t passed.

“I missed you so. Why did you leave me?”

“I didn’t understand about you and your father. I always thought I was intruding.”

“No, never! You were the other part of me! Life was never the same without you. Why didn’t you ever tell me about Marie?”

“I was angry and hurt. We had that huge fight and I walked out. I didn’t know at the time I was pregnant. When I found out, I was even angrier and couldn’t bring myself to tell you. By the time she was born, I was so ashamed about keeping her from you, I couldn’t say anything. It was wrong. I should never have kept her from you. After seeing other children and their fathers, I finally understood. But by then it was too late.”

“It’s not too late,” Frank assured her. “It’s never too late.”

“Just think,” Gabriel said. “If we hadn’t met by accident that day, we wouldn’t be here now.”

“Yes,” Marie said. “We would. Because God would have seen to it.”

“You’re right,” Frank agreed, taking her hand. “I think He did.”

“You said you weren’t a believer,” Gabriel said.

Frank touched the baby’s head, smiling happily for the first time in years. “I’m a believer now.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 28

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

“What can I do for you, Detective?” He had a smarmy, Southern drawl. Louisiana, she remembered from her research. His voice was higher than his bulk would indicate, and grated on her nerves.

“I’m looking into the murder of Wendy Hamilton. I believe she was women’s golf team captain for two years?”

“Two and a half. The other captain got sick mid-season and had to drop out. Wendy stepped up. She was good, best team captain I ever had.”

Was it her own interpretation of his relationship with Wendy, which shaded those words to sound like more? Perhaps, but the lascivious expression was on his face as he gazed at her. She didn’t miss the evidence of his lust in his pants.

“We can go in my office,” he suggested, holding out an inviting hand.

“No, thank you. I’m fine here. How well did you know Wendy?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. “Little bit better than the other players, why?”

“I think you knew here really well. I think, maybe, you knew her in the Biblical sense.”

“Excuse me? What are you saying?”

His attitude and body position changed abruptly. Vanessa saw rage in his eyes, but refused to back down.

“I’m saying that you were having an affair with Wendy Hamilton.”

“You bitch!” His right hand twitched. “You’re twisting my words!” His hand came up, ready to backhand her.

The door behind him burst open and Mendez was there, grabbing the offending hand. Pulling Bullock’s arm around his back him, he slammed the coach’s face into the nearby metal table.

“Got your cuffs?”

“Always.” She pulled them out of her jacket pocket and snapped them on Bullock’s wrists as she read him his rights. “Sorry about this, Officer Mendez.”

“No problem, ma’am. Lemme get coverage for the kids, and I’ll walk this piece of human shit out to your car.”

“I can wait.”

He made a call to the office. A very harassed looking principal hustled out of a nearby building.

“I’ve got this,” he panted. “Go. Jesus!” Closing the doors quickly behind him, he called out to the students, “Nothing to see here! Back to what you were doing!”

“Where’s your car?”

“Right out there.” She pointed to the parking lot. Her car was about three spots away from the door.

Mendez perp walked Bullock toward it.

“Won’t the alarm go off?”

“Nope.” He held up a security card. Sliding it in a card reader, he waited for it to beep and opened the door. “Resets automatically. That was dumb, Bullock. Even for you. You philandering slime.”

“You can’t talk to me like that! I have a witness!”

“I don’t hear anything,” Vanessa said, clicking her remote on the car. “Thank you, Mendez. Call me or come by later?”

“You bet. Word of this gets out, we might catch a break.”

“Let’s hope so!” Calling her station, she headed in with her prisoner.

“You can’t do this to me. I’m a pillar of the community!”

“Which is probably why you’ve gotten away with it so long.” Vanessa had swiped the record app on her phone. Placing the phone on the seat beside her, she waited to see if he’d incriminate himself.

“I didn’t do anything with those girls, that they didn’t want!”

Suppressing the impulse to slam on the brakes, making him rocket into the cage, she kept driving. Her best bet was to say nothing, or she would say something she’d regret.

“You don’t know a thing about me! You think you got something. You got nothing! I didn’t do nothing!”

It amazed Vanessa how much a Louisiana accent sounded like the Bronx. Her horrible ex, whose name she preferred to forget, had a similar accent, but his was Yankee born. Shadron was from New York City, Hell’s Kitchen, to be specific. The noise of the coach’s tirade flipped a switch to inner bitch and she did slam the brakes when she got to the light at US-1. Bullock smacked the cage behind her seat.

“Hey! You done that on purpose! You bitch! That’s brutality!”

“Yelling at me, cursing less than three feet away, is verbal assault. On a police officer. Which one of us is in more trouble? Hm? One of your rights is to remain silent. Might wanna give that a try.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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