It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday again.(though apparently pingbacks are not working) Today’s prompt is “ha”, either use it as a word itself or the beginning of a word. And I’m visiting with Carlos again, through a friend’s perspective this time, though.
“Hallie Catarina.” Carlos bounced the infant gently as he said her name, gently as if it was a prayer.
Melanie couldn’t help thinking they made a strange picture. The big man, tattoos up his throat and down his arms, but his scarred hands were gentle against the back of her daughter’s head. Even at barely a month old, frizzy red hair poked out from beneath the hat she wore. Carlos leaned back in the chair in the dining room of his restaurant, and looked as relaxed as he could be.
“You’re good with her,” Melanie said, smiling at the two of them. “Almost better than me sometimes.”
His smile was soft as he looked back up at her, and Jared who stood right behind her, one hand resting on her shoulder. “I’m sure that’s not true. But, yes, I’ve had experience. Three little sisters will do that.”
“And a brother,” Jared murmured.
Carlos nodded, but his gaze had returned to the infant’s face. “But, I was only three when he came along. Nearly ten before Adriane did. Then, there was Analise and Carisa.”
Melanie watched him for a moment then tipped her head up to look at her husband. Carlos never spoke much about his family, not even in the two years she’d known him. But, from the sympathy she saw in Jared’s face, and maybe some of his own sorrow as well, there had to be a lot more to this story. She’d learned not to push too hard. People around here tended to shut down when she did that.
“She’s pretty much a daddy’s girl, since the day she was born. She’ll tolerate me feeding her then wants him again.” That made for a long day when he was at the clinic. She couldn’t wait to get back there herself. She loved her daughter, even if it hurt a little when she seemed to prefer anyone over her, but she missed her patients as well.
Carlos whispered something in the girl’s ear. Melanie couldn’t catch the words, or understand them, but she heard Jared huff out a laugh. Then, Carlos handed the baby back to her. “I should get back to work. I hear the boss likes to crack the whip.”
She laughed but turned her face for the kiss he always brushed over her cheek when they visited. “You are the boss, Carlos.”
He grinned at her and winked. “I may be the one spreading those rumors. Keeps ’em on their toes.”
Melanie just laughed again and shook her head. “Pretty sure anyone who’s worked for you long knows better than that.”
She started buckling Hallie back into her carrier to take her out to the car, but Carlos paused in the kitchen to look back at them. “Don’t doubt for a moment that baby girl loves you, Melanie. You’re her mama, and the best one she could have.”
She tried not to let it get to her, though it had been more of an adjustment than she’d expected becoming a mother, when she thought all she’d ever be was a doctor. But, his words warmed her, and soothed the doubts that she was doing something wrong. “I’m sure you’re right, Carlos.”
“Of course I am,” he said with another grin.