Gilberto Rides Again: Chapter 5
by Stephen Halpert
A weary Gilberto came home early. Between his cancer diagnosis and Ramon’s revelation, the world suddenly felt overwhelming. He yawned, took a beer from the fridge, and stretched out on the couch.
Maria joined him. She put her iced tea on the coffee table next to his beer. “I can hear you thinking,” she smiled. ”Why don’t you tell me?”
He looked at her and thought how special she was. “Tell you what?” he asked.
She sipped her iced tea. “Something’s bothering you. I can always hear you thinking.”
Gilberto shrugged. “If you can hear my thoughts, then I don’t have to say what they are. Nothing we can do about it anyway.”
She cuddled next to him and started kissing his neck. “You are such a sexy gentleman.”
Her kisses tickled. He giggled. “Anyway, I’m bound to secrecy. I promised.”
She ran her hand over his chest. “Promised who?”
“If you must know, Ramon.”
Maria looked pensive. “My guess is one of the sweet young things at Atlas is on the make for him.”
His eyes widened. “Not exactly a young thing. More like a cougar.”
Maria raised her eyebrows. “Ramon? Isn’t he a little, ummm, old for your average cougar?”
Gilberto shrugged. “You never can tell these days. Besides, Ramon has continental flavoring. Some women find him adorable; others say he’s hot and sophisticated. He’s the perfect Latin lover, exciting a woman’s fantasies.”
Maria laughed. “And some cougar has the hots for him.”
Gilberto took a swallow of his beer and kissed Maria. He nodded, then, offhandedly, “I guess you could say that.”
She finished unbuttoning his shirt, and started loosening his belt.
Surprised, he asked. “What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m getting you out of your office uniform.”
“Here? Now? What if our daughter wanders in?”
“Relax. She’s visiting a friend from school and won’t be home until after supper. And Joey’s at his friend David’s. This is a rare opportunity. I have you all to myself.”
He giggled and took another sip of beer. “I know what you’re up to. You’re seducing me so I’ll blurt out more about Ramon. You can’t fool me!” Then he pulled her closer and kissed her. He slid his hand against her skin.
Her arms around his neck now, Maria breathed heavily. Finally she said. “We don’t have to stay here on the couch. We have a perfectly wonderful bed.”
Gilberto laughed. “I thought you’d never ask.” He stood and scooped her up in his arms. “You’re getting me all confused.”
“Is that a new word for arousal?” She kissed him, nuzzling her face in his neck. “So big deal, Ramon’s on an ego trip.”
He carried his wife down the hall into their bedroom, carefully setting her on their bed. He lay down beside her. “No problem if that was all it was. But if you must know, she wants to meet Rosa. Told him she wants to check out her ‘competition’. Says she wants him all for herself. From what Ramon says, this woman is a shark.”
“Oh my,” Maria commiserated. “Poor Ramon.”
“But you’re not supposed to know. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. You seduced me and wormed all this out of me.”
She sounded indignant. “Please Gilberto. I’d never worm anything out of you. What a terrible thing to say.”
“I promised not to say anything.”
“Gilberto, I can hear your mind churning. You’re concerned for Ramon and it’s leaking out all over the bed. You needn’t worry. I won’t tell a soul.”
He propped himself up on his elbow. “He’s worried, doesn’t know which way to turn.”
“How could he? He’s in love with Rosa and still craves cougar excitement. I’d say that’s pretty typical of the average, longtime married male.”
He squinched his eyes. “You think?”
“Yes, I think. You know as well as I do that after so many years many married guys are hungry for exactly the affection, whoever this cougar is, is throwing at him.”
Gilberto looked dismayed. “So you mean he’s trapped? It’s nobody’s fault? Just human nature?”
She frowned. “I didn’t say that.”
The front door to the condo opened. Joey called out. “Hi mom, I’m home! Did I miss supper?”
Gilberto sat up abruptly. “Maybe next time we don’t mix Ramon with our love life.”
Maria nodded. “Or anyone else for that matter.” She kissed him on the forehead.
“Hi, Joey!” she called. “Not to worry, there’s plenty to eat.” Lowering her voice, she looked into her husband’s eyes and said, “Please Gilberto, I don’t worm.” She kissed him again, got off the bed, and rearranged herself.
That made him grin. “Ok, what would you call it?”
Her eyes danced playfully. “Mmmm…. cross examination? Much more to the point. Didn’t you ever watch Perry Mason?”
He grinned and stood up. “So you had me on the witness stand.”
“No. I had you on our bed, where I like having you as frequently as possible.” She smoothed her hair. “That, sir, has become a rare treat.”
Gilberto followed Maria into the kitchen. Joey was perusing at the sports section of the paper. He smiled at his father. “Guess what? Our soccer coach is leaving Houndstooth. How would you like to be our new coach?”
Gilberto shook his head. “I wish, but who’s got the time. Why is he leaving?”
“I guess he and his wife are breaking up, and he’s going back home to Ohio where he went to college.”
“That’s too bad. He’s a good coach.”
“When did you find out?” Maria asked.
“Today at practice. He said we’d be getting a new coach, but didn’t say when.”
Maria looked at Gilberto. “Good soccer coaches aren’t easy to find.”
He nodded in agreement. “Especially experienced ones.”
“Do you think Ramon might be interested?” Maria wondered aloud. “He’s been on many all-star teams.”
“Maybe,” Gilberto replied. “I’ll run it past him.” He shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows. “You never know.”
Joey’s eyes widened and he brightened. “Oh! Mr. Gomez would be great! I’ll tell our coach tomorrow at practice.”
(To be continued.)
MORE ABOUT STEPHEN HALPERT AND HIS WIFE AUTHOR TASHA HALPERT…
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This heartwarming book brings a breath of sunshine against the cold of any day and kindly and gently reveals a deeper level of understanding for all. It provides a helpful path for anyone concerned with personal self-development to follow. Sharing a lifetime of comforting knowledge gleaned from living and loving life, the emotionally intelligent author leads readers on an introspective journey to a greater sense of realization, joy, and inner peace. Her poetry is moving, and a poem follows each thought-provoking essay.
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The recipes are author favorites, and are both sweet and sour, cleansing and therapeutic. This book will bring comfort and insight on turning life’s lemons into lemonade. The poems that follow each essay form an enjoyable adjunct to the wisdom and insight this book brings the reader.
Each book is $15.00 postpaid autographed by the author. Write to Tasha Halpert at P.O. Box 171, North Grafton, MA, 01536 and include a check to receive a copy of any of these entertaining and even perhaps helpful books.
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