Carmen came home from the club meeting and all she wanted to do was hug her baby son Rodrigo. She had so much to do around the house, and now that she’d been gone for most of the night at the Counsel Council meeting, she wasn’t going get it done by tomorrow.
She texted Gavin to ask if they could rain check meeting Hugo until later in the week. He texted back a one word reply, confirming for Carmen that he was upset she hadn’t told him about Bo being an alien.
Carmen went into the baby’s room and picked him up, inhaling that amazing baby smell.
After Carmen put Rodrigo down for the night, she got ready for bed herself. Her thoughts of other things she used to do at this time of night were interrupted by another text.
Carmen had to say no. She had too much work around the house to do the next day. Plus it was hard to get a baby sitter this late, and she didn’t want to drag Hugo out of his bed this time of night simply to go sing karaoke. Also, she didn’t want to hear him remind her yet again how much easier things would be if they were a family all under one roof.
The next day, Carmen was greeted by an early morning visitor. It was Hope Chong. Carmen met her at Luca’s wedding to her daughter Liz, and they’d really hit it off.
“Hey! You’re here early,” said Carmen, “I haven’t started breakfast yet.”
“That’s fine. I’m an early riser,” said Hope. “I figured you’d be up since you have an infant. Sorry if I’m here too early.”
“it’s not a problem,” said Carmen. “Rodrigo is finally sleeping through the night, but I was just up late last night over at Bo Blank’s house. you remember him from the wedding?”
“Ugh, don’t bring up that wedding!”
“Oh sugar, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to–”
“No, I’m sorry,” said Hope. “I don’t mean to yell. I’m just still flabbergasted as to how my daughter thought it was a good idea to marry a man she’d just met! I know Luca is your friend, so I’m sure he’s a nice guy. I just don’t know if he’s a good match for my daughter.”
“None of us are sure either,” said Carmen, “but we’re trying to be supportive of our friend.”
“I hear you,” said Hope. “You know what, Carmen? I hate to be a wet blanket, but I’m not in the mood for breakfast anymore. Rain check?”
“Of course,” said Carmen. “Another time. I’ve got plenty to do around here, so I’ll just get started a little earlier. I’ll see you soon?”
“Sure,” said Hope. “Talk to you soon.”
Once Hope left, Carmen started on her housework. Rodrigo was still thankfully asleep.
First up was washing dishes. While she washed, Carmen considered how she always used to break dishes when she washed them.
Clumsy Carmen was so afraid of becoming a mother because she figured she’d drop her baby too, but luckily she’d never dropped Rodrigo. That beautiful baby boy was helping her overcome her clumsiness.
Spoke too soon.
Next up was fixing the stereo. Carmen was trying to save money, so she’d stopped hiring repairmen when things broke. Carmen felt confident she could handle it on her own. She just wasn’t so sure she really wanted to continue having to handle things on her own.
Carmen pulled out her tools and got to work. Soon she was done and on to the next task.
Her cooking had improved so much since she’d moved to Willow Creek. Her food still wasn’t as tasty as the food made by Laurel or Gavin’s grandfather Cristian, but she hadn’t made dish of poor quality in a very long time.
While Rodrigo was still asleep, Carmen took advantage of the opportunity to whip up food for later in the day. She decided to make spaghetti because it used so many fresh ingredients from her garden.
First she chopped the onions.
Then, with a bit of flair, she chopped the tomatoes.
Carmen felt so proud of herself as she stirred the pot of home-made tomato sauce. Even though she was doing this alone, she was doing it well.
Carmen served up the spaghetti, then put it into the fridge for later.
She had dressed for gardening since that was her eventual destination, but first she checked on Rodrigo. He was awake, but just hanging out in his bassinet. She fed him then headed out to the garden.
Carmen hadn’t finished her work in the garden, but she found a good reason to take a break when Hugo stopped by. He told her he needed to talk and asked her to take a break to chat with him in the house after he had a moment with the baby.
Carmen figured he wanted to talk about their relationship status again, so she greeted Hugo with a kiss, wanting to distract him. It worked.
“Now what did you want to talk to me about? I’m all ears,” said Carmen.
“Mmmm, I forget,” said Hugo.
“Haha, well then let me tell you something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” said Carmen.
“Sure,” said Hugo, “I’m listening.”
He leaned in to pull her close and kissed her neck.
“How can you listen to me when you’re distracting us both? Oooh, that feels nice,” murmured Carmen.
“Wait, no stop,” said Carmen. “I probably taste like dirt, or worse, like fertilizer!”
“You taste great,” said Hugo, “but I’ll stop so you can talk. Seriously, baby, I’m listening for real now.”
Carmen told him how she’d gone to visit his other baby. Hugo looked briefly alarmed. Carmen had shown up unannounced to his sister Luna’s house, but she hadn’t minded. Hugo looked relieved, so Carmen continued her story.
This all happened back before Carmen’s club went on their expedition to Forgotten Hollow. Carmen wasn’t trying to hide it from Hugo, but she didn’t know how he’d take it. She just felt that she didn’t want any secrets between them. She was falling for him more and more each day, and wanted nothing to impede their progress.
She told him Luna had welcomed her into her home. She knew who Carmen was because Hugo had mentioned her often all through high school. She was thrilled Carmen had given her a nephew for baby Cade to grow up with.
Luna took Carmen up to their bedroom, which was still in need of being redecorated, so she could meet Cade.
To Be Continued…