Keeping Faith by Cindy Bradford (serial 51)
Chapter 19 Part I
Fredrico and Marc arrived two days prior to the wedding, their car filled with boxes and boxes.
“What is all of this?” Carol asked after she hugged and kissed each of her friends.
“You cannot look at anything, Darling,” Fredrico said.
“First, I must see Peri before I lift anything,” Marc told Fredrico, as he scurried into the house.
“Before either of you unpack, please come in and have something cold to drink and unwind.”
“Okay sweetie,” Fredrico said, putting his arm around her waist and walking with her.
They all sat on the veranda overlooking the water below, drinking lemonade, while Peri took turns curling around first Marc’s and then Fredrico’s legs as they took turns stroking his back.
“Peri the purrer!”
“It is more like Peri the chirper. Do you not just love that little noise he makes?”
“Oh, I just noticed your solarium. You did add a great deal of space. It’s charming, except of course, for that dreadful treadmill,” he teased.
Carol knew that Fredrico had never exercised anything but his mouth in his thirty-something years, although she decided to forego putting that into words. Fredrico could always come up with a better line.
“I know dear, but it had to go somewhere and the sunroom is certainly better than the living room.”
“That’s what happens when you fall in love, suddenly you are sharing something that you would never believe, right Marc?”
“Tell Carol what that is.”
“When I first began learning to cook, my mother returned from London and brought me the most charming little tea set and table. I cherish it, but Fredrico thinks it is rubbage. I admit it is a little childish looking, but I love it.”
“I’ve never seen it. Why is that?”
“I just could not part with it, so now it is in a closet.”
“Maybe someday it can come out too,” Fredrico laughed. He was obviously proud of his play on words.
“Fredrico, I wish we could have a cat,” Marc said as he put Peri in his lap.
“I know, so do I, but I just cannot abide those disgusting litter boxes.”
Carol added, “I agree. I’m fortunate that the only time I have to leave one out is when I am gone overnight. Otherwise, Peri is a man of the yard. Bless his heart; lately he has been so confused, since I have been gone so much. And of course he has lost his place on my bed. The worst has yet to come I am afraid. Now this is a secret! Patrick doesn’t know about it yet, but I am getting him an Irish setter puppy as a wedding present!”
“Carol! Have you lost your mind?” Fredrico shrilled, wildly waving his arms. “Your beautiful flowers; the flora and the fauna will never be the same.”
“Believe me I have thought about that. Peri was so easy to train. I am a little worried, but Patrick will have to teach him quickly.”
“As they say, a man’s best friend…I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Fredrico said, intertwining his index and center finger and holding them in the air.
“Where is the big guy?”
Carol smiled and thought to herself, wait until I tell Patrick that line.
“He has gone to Bangor to pick up Carmella and Stefano. They were going to rent a car but Patrick insisted on going for them. They have been so wonderful to him. He’s going to let them use his car while they are here and then they’ll ride with us to Portland, when we leave for our honeymoon. Their flight leaves a couple of hours after ours.”
“Where are they staying?”
“At the Hilton Harbor. Actually just about everyone who is coming for the wedding is staying there. We reserved a block of rooms. Nancy, David and little Hannah will be in later today and two of Patrick’s brothers and his dad will be here tomorrow as will my mother and dad. It is going to get very busy around here. Tonight we are taking you and everyone else to dinner at Harbor Docks. Now, make yourselves at home; you know where your room is.”
“Marc, we must take the coolers out of the car. Carol, we prepared some before we came and froze what we could. We have it all on dry ice. We didn’t want to be in the kitchen the entire time. This is too nice,” he said, looking out at the lobster boats.
“You will not move as much as a little finger. You might chip a nail before the wedding.”
Carol looked at her hands and said, “That reminds me. I should get a manicure. My herb garden takes a toll on my nails. I’ll call now. It may already be too late.”
While the two men unloaded the car, Carol called the salon.
“Right now? Okay, I am on my way.”
“Freddy, Marc, Roxie can do my nails if I go now. I’ll be back shortly. The house is yours. I’ll make sandwiches when I return. Bye.”
When Carol returned Fredrico and Marc had put everything away and had a chicken and avocado salad waiting for her.
“You two are too much. I was going to make lunch.”
“And we didn’t want you to harm your nails, plus we were afraid it would be boxed macaroni and cheese.”
“Shush, I told you I am much better now that I’m getting married.”
“I’ll ask Patrick about that,” Marc said, smiling.
They took their lunch outside and visited until Carol saw Patrick drive up in her car.
“That must be Carmella and Stefano. I am so ready to meet them.”
Carmella stepped out of the car talking.
“This must be the lovely Carol,” Carmella said, as she reached to give Carol a hug.
“I am so happy to finally meet you. I feel as though I know you both,” Carol gushed.
Before Patrick could introduce Stefano, he too rushed forward with a hug for Carol.
“How was your flight?” she asked when he had released her from his giant arms.
Carol quickly continued, “Please let me introduce everyone else. Patrick, these are my wonderful friends, Fredrico and Marc.”
“Hello, it’s my pleasure,” he said, shaking hands then, “Please meet Carmella and Stefano, my Roman parents.”
Within minutes, Carol, Carmella, Fredrico and Marc were talking so fast Patrick said, “Come on Stefano; I’ll show you around.”
“Wait love, have you had lunch?” Carol asked.
“Yes, we stopped,” his voice trailing off as he and Stefano headed down the hill.
After about thirty minutes Patrick said, “Do you think it is safe to go back? We won’t be able to get a word in, do you think?”
Stefano smiled, “Doubtful, but we can try.”
The others were still sitting and chatting when Patrick and Stefano walked up. Patrick smiled and put his hands up to call for a time-out.
“We want in on this conversation,” as he reached down to kiss Carol on the cheek.
“Then you better talk fast,” Carmella offered. “Patrico, she is as delightful as you promised and these two are so much fun,” turning to Fredrico and Marc. “We are planning the reception except Carol gets no say.”
“Wait until Nancy gets here. She’ll help me with these three.”
“Is it time for wine yet?” Patrick asked.
“It is always time for wine,” Stefano volunteered.
“I’ll drink to that,” said Fredrico.
“You’ll drink to anything,” added Marc.
“Guess what Stefano brought?” as Patrick returned with a large case, wrapped and packed for travel. “Wine from the wine master himself,” Patrick continued, pointing to Stefano.
“I have heard how delicious it is. I’ll get the glasses,” Carol said.
“Wait, there is something else,” Carmella said. “Will you get the other package Stef?”
He placed a large wrapped box in front of Carol, as Carmella said, “this is just something to go with the wine. Patrico, are you watching?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
Carol carefully removed the wrapping and began taking out glasses.
“Oh, Riedels,” Fredrico exclaimed, clapping his hands together, “People after my own heart.”
“These are so nice,” Carol said.
“I am a true believer that all wines do taste better in those,” Stefano offered.
“I see. Thank you both so much.”
“There is more,” Carol said as she continued to take out glasses.
“These are different love,” Carmella explained. “These are champagne flutes from Murano. I doubt seriously if Patrico bought any while he was in Venice,” she teased. “They probably would not have fared too well in his duffle bag,” she said, remembering his bags from his trip when she had first met him.
“You’re correct, Carmella. The only person who benefited from that trip was Alexia because it was easy to put a lace bonnet in my duffle. Then what happens? Elisabette has twins and I had nothing for Alex.”