Faith
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What's a beautiful young virgin of strong Catholic faith to do when she meets up with a wealthy, sex-deprived, handsome bachelor? During one of Manolo Guerra's monthly visits to his mother's grave site, finding a beautiful, young and single woman was not on his agenda that day. But that day, out of nowhere, things will change forever for both of them as destiny has finally come full circle. She is of strong Catholic faith and her values have been set high, a total virgin she is and this makes Manolo desire her even more. She is Tatiana Madrigal from San Antonio, Texas and was in Miami for just a short while. Finally, a woman who can love him for who he is and who can bear his child to leave his millions to. It will be eight months of heavenly nights and days with her. He has lost years of sexual lovemaking, and she has never experienced any. They will explore each other countless times each day and night.

 

 

FAITH

 

BONNIE S. MATA

Copyright © 2008

  

 

Chapter 1

Home in San Antonio, Texas

 

Tatiana was outside the flower shop in the back, receiving a shipment of flowers from Federal Express, when her mother called her into the store. As she walked by the workroom, the girls were in a huddle looking at a Playgirl magazine when Mimi called her over. Mimi was one of the floral designers and couldn’t keep her mind off guys.

“Hey, Tatiana check this out!” she said loudly as Tatiana walked by and stopped to see what Mimi had in her hand.

“What’s that you got there, Mimi?” she asked curiously, not knowing what they were looking at.

“Look, he’s this month’s centerfold. Isn’t he gorgeous!” she said as she showed her the magazine, sharing her excitement in the hunk who was spread out on the pages.

Tatiana’s face went red-hot when she saw a big African guy who had his legs wide open wearing only a cowboy hat. She was so embarrassed, but yet so curious and wanted to see the picture a bit longer. His chest was big and full of muscles, with a pelt of black hair that tapered downwards to his enormous, long penis, which had a thick vein running along it as it just hung there. As her eyes widened at such a sight, she continued to stare at his manhood as her hands began to shake. She then quickly handed the magazine over to Mimi, almost dropping it out of her hands.

“Mimi, if my mom or dad were to see you guys with that…” she said as she walked away and lost the words to express herself in finishing her sentence. Mimi and the girls started to laugh at her as she left the work area.

As Tatiana walked away, she thought to herself, How is that big and scary thing supposed to excite a woman? I couldn’t even think of how I would even touch it. Can such a thing really fit inside a woman? Tatiana wondered this since she had never been with a man. She had only heard girl talk around the shop and seen a few pictures such as the one she just saw, but this one had to be the one that took the cake.

Tatiana’s parents owned a flower shop in the downtown area of San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio, home of the Alamo, where Tejanos prepared to defend it during the Texas Revolution in 1836 for independence from Mexico. San Antonio, home of the River Walk, which winds through the heart of the city edged by hotels, art and gift shops, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, scenic riverboat cruises, cabarets, and lots of history. Home of the Spurs, where Tatiana, her sister Blanca, and her brother Marco and his family go to every basketball home game at the SBC. They buy season tickets and are true fans. They never miss a game. Sick like a dog with the flu or not, they are there. Her parents had lived all their lives in San Antonio and had been in business for over 30 years.

Tatiana had grown up in the family business. She knew everything there was to know about flowers and how to arrange them, but Tatiana’s main responsibility was designing and planning for weddings. That was her specialty, and she was well known throughout the city as being the best; so therefore, Tatiana was always very busy. She not only prepared very large, elaborate weddings, with over five hundred or more guests, with Victorian themes, floral wreaths for all the main cars, flowers for the wedding cake, fresh floral garlands for all the entryways at the church and at the reception, floral bouquets for all the bridesmaids and bride, boutonnieres for the groomsmen and groom, floral arrangements for the entire church and reception, floral arrangements for the aisles and floral arrangements for the honeymoon suite, hotel suites for all the guest and, so on, but she also designed for the small, intimate weddings as well, who also wanted the very best, even though they weren’t inviting half of San Antonio. Not only was wedding planning a big responsibility because thousands of dollars were being invested by the bride and groom, but it was very important because Tatiana was well known in San Antonio and her reputation meant everything to her.

“Yes, go to the flower shop on Commerce Street, next to the Rivercenter Mall in downtown, and ask for Tati. She’s the best. She is the one with long brown hair. It’s called The Little Flower Shop on the River,” say all the people who recommend Tatiana.

At the front of the store there was a plump little lady of fair complexion with teased dyed golden light brown hair. She was in her mid-fifties and sat on a Victorian stool behind a wooden cherry counter, it was Tatiana’s mother. She was on the telephone talking to her older sister Chela from Miami. As Tatiana walked inside the store, her mother said, “Just a minute, Chela, Tati just walked in.”

“Yes, Mami?” said Tatiana as she walked up and stood in front of the counter.

“It’s your Tía Chela from Miami. She wants to know if it would be okay if you could go over there to help her out for one or two weeks the most?” Tatiana’s mother whispered as she looked over her reading glasses resting at the tip of her nose and batted her big half-dollar light brown eyes.

Tatiana waited a while as she counted on her fingers and then finally said, “Yes, Mami. I can leave tomorrow right after I finish with the Johnsons’ wedding. And as far as the next wedding for the following weekend, well I have everything ready for that one. The flowers have been ordered, and I have already designed and taken pictures of the centerpieces with a detailed count of how many flowers per arrangement. My sketch is also finished of the church and the reception hall of where each arrangement is to be set. Sketchs are also ready for the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, the grooms’ boutonnier and the groomsmens’ boutonnieres,” she said as she counted on her fingers with her eyes closed as she was visualizing each detail. “Yep, everything is all done for that one,” she said as she opened her eyes and put her hands on her hips. “Blanca has been helping me out and has been doing a good job. I think she can handle it, Mami.”

Tatiana’s mother got back on the phone as she kept her eyes on Tatiana and said, “Okay, Chela. Tatiana will be there Sunday evening. I hope everything works out with your daughter, and don’t worry about your flower shop. It is in good hands with Tati.”

As Tatiana’s mother hung up the telephone, Tatiana asked, “Mami, what’s happening?”

Tatiana knew that there was bad news because for her mother to suggest that Tatiana leave the flower shop for a few weeks, well, that told her a lot.

Tatiana practically managed the entire store and made all the decisions even though it was her parents’ business. Everything had to clear through Tatiana.

As her mother put the tablet down on the counter and looked at the small statue of La Virgen de Guadalupe that was right next to the cash register, she said with a worried look, “Well, your cousin Sally seems to be having complications with her pregnancy. Your Aunt Chela is very worried and will need to leave immediately to be at her side. The doctor still doesn’t know if he will induce her or not, and she also has to help her with the other little one so her husband can be with Sally.”

Her Aunt Chela was Tatiana’s mother’s older sister who lived in Miami, Florida. Her aunt, whom she calls Tía also had a floral shop in the downtown area in Miami. Their mother, who was Tatiana’s grandmother, used to work for a floral shop to support her family, and when her aunt and mother got out of school, they used to go work there too to help ends meet. Times were hard since their father had died during World War II. So now after time had passed and they both had married, they each owned their own businesses and were very successful. The only thing was that her aunt had only one child, a daughter, Sally, who lived in the state of Virginia. So when her aunt needed help, like for emergencies such as this one, well, there was no one that she could count on to help her. Her aunt’s husband had died five years ago, so now she lived alone.

The following day, after the Johnsons’ wedding, Tatiana’s younger sister, Blanca, drove her to the San Antonio airport. Tatiana was scheduled on the next flight out, and during the drive Tatiana was jabbering about the next wedding that was pending, going over every detail that she could remember. Blanca frowned and rolled her eyes as she drove, because she was tired of hearing the same broken record. She had heard the same instructions the day before at the shop, along with the other workers, and again this morning as Tatiana was packing and now again in the car. Then suddenly, Tatiana shouted, “Stop! There’s a parking space right there.” She motioned with her finger.

Finally the sound of different words, thought Blanca before she said, frustrated, “But, there’s one closer over there.”

“Pleeaasee, Blanca! Park right here!” she said as she tapped on the dash of the car and she looked out the window like a happy puppy.

“All right!” shouted Blanca as she turned the black steering wheel of her yellow Volkswagen. “What’s the big deal about this parking space?” she said, making a face.

“Look, Blanca. You see that car?” Tatiana pointed to a red turbo Porsche Carrera 911. It was parked right in front of where Blanca was going to park.

“So!”

“Well, that car is the car of my dreams,” said Tatiana with a dazed look on her face.

Finally some silence, thought Blanca to herself as she turned off the ignition. Yeah, nice car, but what a big deal.

“We got to get moving, Tatiana,” she yelled. “Tatiana. Tatiana!” exclaimed Blanca as she popped opened the little trunk of her car and started taking out the tan-colored luggage.

 Meanwhile, Tatiana moved slowly at a snails pace as she stared at the car as she walked on over to Blanca.   Blanca then quickly handed her the roller suitcase and the small travel bag as she carried the heavy carry-on one. “You are going to be late for your flight!” Blanca said in a firm and loud motherly voice.

“Coming,” said Tatiana as she passed by the car with her mouth partially opened.

As they entered the airport, there were lots of people there since it was the weekend of Labor Day. Many people were flying as a family and others were flying as groups of college friends. They were all trying to take a last-minute vacation so they could say that they had been somewhere over the summer.

After the girls had checked-in the luggage, they continued walking through the airport, headed for the boarding gate. When they reached the gate, Blanca turned to Tatiana and said, “Don’t worry about this next wedding, Tati. I’ve got it covered. I’ve been trained by the best. You’ll see. I’m going to make you proud.” Blanca smiled and hugged Tatiana.

“I know you will. I have all the faith in you girl,” she said as she hugged her back.

Blanca was Tatiana’s younger sister by five years and the baby of the family.  She looked up to Tatiana and wanted to be just like her in the aspect of floral designing and have people say she was the best too, just like a child looks up to his or her favorite pop singer and wants to dress and act like they do.

“That’s just what I told Mami! Well, I got to go. I’ll call you when I get there. Take care of Mom and Dad, Little Sis.” Tatiana hugged her sister again and started walking towards the gate.

Blanca then waved and said, “God bless you, Tati!”

Tatiana boarded the plane and found her window seat. As the plane took off, Tatiana got herself comfortable and put her seat belt on. The plane was full, and the conversations were loud. People talking about hotel reservations, resorts, sailing, and hanging out at the beach and asking each other questions, if they had turned off irons, lights, and if they had set house alarms. It seemed that most of the passengers were traveling for pleasure because of the Labor Day holiday. And as for her, it was all about work, but in a different state, doing the same thing.

Once the plane got off the ground, Tatiana took her rosary out of her purse and out of the velvet purple pouch and began to pray. It was a pretty rosary of light purple cut crystal that was given to her by her mother when she turned fifteen years old and was presented to society with a big party called a Quinceañera in Spanish. Tatiana was of Hispanic descent and was a practicing Catholic who believed in Guardian angels, saints, the Virgin, and having faith. Their mother, Flora, made them attend Sunday Mass since they were little, regardless if they wanted to go or not. They would attend the noon Mass and all sit together, filling one pew with Marco, Tatiana, Blanca, and both her parents. Afterwards, they would all go out to eat for lunch at a nice restaurant. This had been a family tradition since the beginning of time for each and every single one of them, since they had opened their eyes and could remember. Tatiana’s parents would always get compliments on how they had done a wonderful job in raising their children and, oh, how pretty the girls were and how handsome Marco was. Tatiana was the second oldest with her older brother Marco being the oldest by three years and her sister Blanca being the baby of the family. Tatiana had attended college and received her bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in history from Saint Mary’s University, a Catholic and Marianist university in San Antonio, but had never worked for anybody other than the family business.

Now, Tatiana really didn’t have any friends because she was always working at the family business. Occasionally, every once in a blue moon, she would hang out with the girls that worked at their floral shop to celebrate a birthday or a holiday. Or she would go to her brother’s house for a carne asada (barbeque cookout) where several bike riders would get together after a motorcycle run, since she and her brother Marco were both riders. But other than that, it was strictly work and work.

Tatiana once read in a survey that working at a floral shop was the most relaxing job anyone could have, when in reality, it was one of the most stressful jobs anyone could ever have. The product you’re working with is a perishable product that if you’re thinking about sending quality out, has a life span of maybe one week. Now a flower could last longer, but you want to get it to your customer as fresh as possible. That’s what you call customer service, and that’s what Tatiana’s family believed in and made them as successful as they were. And holidays! Boy, that’s another story. The phones are ringing with customers wanting to place an order and with others asking if their order has already been delivered.

Tatiana didn’t mind that she really didn’t have any friends, because her family was very united. Her brother, Marco, was the only one out of the three who was married. His wife, Alejandriana, was just like another sister. She was sweet, always very helpful, and was also a loving mother to their only child who was seven years old, Laura, whom they called Laurita.

Many hours later, the plane, which had been on a non-stop flight, finally landed. Her aunt was already waiting impatiently for her, pacing back and forth as she talked to herself, because she had so many things to go over with Tatiana. She herself was also taking a late flight out in the next hours.

“Tatiana, over here,” said her aunt, waving to her.

Tatiana turned and saw a short, stocky lady waving to her. Both Tatiana’s mother and her aunt were not very tall, at most maybe five two. As she walked closer, she could see that her aunt’s short hair was dyed an ash blonde color, which was an odd color for a Mexican woman who normally is dark-complected. But for some reason, most Mexican woman usually dyed their hair that particular color, even though they weren’t Anglos.

“Tatiana, how was your flight?” asked her aunt as she gave her a big hug and kiss on her check.

“Long, boring, and tiring,” she responded. “But I did get some sleep,” she said, smiling.

“Tatiana, it’s so good to see you,” said her aunt with her lips of bright red lipstick and a smile stretching as long as a mile.

“It’s good to see you too! I’m so happy that you thought of me, Tía Chela, to help you out. It makes me feel real good,” said Tatiana as they hugged each other in a rocking way.

“Well, your mama talks about you all the time. She says you are practically running the store on your own,” said Chela as they walked over to the conveyer belt to pick up her luggage.

“Aye, Mami is too much!” said Tatiana as she blushed.

As the luggage came onto the black conveyer belt, she spotted them coming her way and as each one came to her, she quickly got them. She had two large pieces of luggage, and a small carry-on type which had all her makeup, creams, and shampoos.

When she had all her luggage, she said, “That’s it, Tía. I’m ready to go!”

“Good! Let’s put these bags in the van and go to the shop so I can go over some things with you and show you around the shop before I leave,” said her aunt as she helped her with the roller bag.

“Okay!” said Tatiana.

After they arrived at the store in the delivery van, Chela introduced her to Julie and Pepe, who were already waiting to meet her. She had already told them about Tatiana and how dedicated she was to her work in the flower business.

“Tatiana, this is Julie, and this is Pepe. They have been with me for many years and are full-time employees.”

“Hello!” said Tatiana as she extended her hand to shake theirs.

Pepe was in his late twenties, tall and very skinny and was standing behind a work table.  As Julie stood next to him smiling at Tatiana as she cleaned her eye glasses with a paper napkin.

“I also have a delivery driver who has gone for the day, and his name is Juan Carlos. He will be in tomorrow morning,” said Chela.

Chela started walking around the shop and showing her where things were. She had been in business for over twenty-five years, not as long as her parents, but had developed a reputation of delivering on time and as promised. Her shop basically catered to everyday occasions and stayed away from weddings and big parties. She knew that they were too much work and that the commitment was too great, so she would refer her clients to other florists. She didn’t need the money and the worries, because her condominium and the business were already paid for. When her husband died, he had left her with a big lump sum of money from his life insurance policy. Tatiana’s uncle had been in the Navy, and her aunt was also receiving his pension from the military service. So therefore, the only reason she still had the store was to give her something to do.

 “As you can see, the store is pretty stocked up right now because we received several shipments just a few days ago, but if you need to reorder something, Pepe can tell you who the suppliers are,” said her aunt as she walked quickly moving her short legs.

Her aunt’s store looked and sold merchandise that most floral shops have. The typical stuffed animals, plants, balloons, gift baskets, small gifts, and floral arrangements. She had three four-door floral coolers in the front of the store and a big size walk-in cooler in the back where all the flowers were stored.

 Her aunt then proceeded to go over a list of things.

“Tatiana, I’m not sure how long I’m going to be away. But as soon as your cousin Sally is better, I promise, I promise I will hurry and come home,” said Chela as she sat down in her in chair in her office and began to cry.

“Tía Chela, don’t cry,” said Tatiana as she gave her a big hug. “You’ll see. Everything is going to be all right. Sally and the baby are going to come out of this, and you’re going to be there to make sure of that. Remember what Abuelita”—grandmother—“used to say, ‘You need to have faith, because if you believe, all that you ask for will come true.’”

“Yes, mi hija”—my daughter—“You’re right!” she replied with a smile as she remembered her mother.

 “And as for your flower shop…well, Tía, you know you don’t have to worry. I’m very good at what I do. Hey, I’ve been doing this since I was a baby. This is all I know how to do!” she said as she gave her another hug.

Her aunt stood up and said, “I know the store will be in good hands, Tati. That’s why I asked your mother if she could send me you.” Chela then gave her a big hug.

“You take your time, and don’t feel rushed. This trip here to Miami will also do me good, Tía Chela. Do you know that I have never been anywhere out of the state of Texas?” Of course, Tatiana was just saying that, because she really didn’t have any plans of turning this trip into a vacation.

“Really, Tati?” she said as she looked up with her big, wet brown eyes to see Tatiana. Yes, her aunt’s eyes were bigger than her mom’s. They were the size of lemons and bulged out like fire-ant eyes.

“Yes, Tía. All I know is just to work and work. So you are doing me a favor too,” said Tatiana with a smile.

“Tati, your mother should be proud to have a daughter like you. God bless you, and if you need anything, you can reach me through my cell number that is listed on this sheet of paper, along with all these other numbers that I have written down for you. I will be flying out in a few hours, so Pepe is going to drive me to the airport. Oh, Pepe can you please put Tatiana’s bags in Julie’s car?”

“Sure!” he said with a smile as he was ready to leave.

Julie pulled out her car keys and hit the button on the key chain to deactivate the car alarm and unlock the doors.

“See you ladies tomorrow,” he said as he left the shop through the back door.

“Okay,” said Tatiana, smiling as she waved.

“Julie will then drive you to my house and show you around. You make yourself at home, Tati,” she said, shaking her finger in the air.

“Yes, Tía Chela, I will. Give my best to Sally, and don’t worry. We’re going to be okay here at the shop.”

Her aunt left the shop through the back door as Pepe waited for her in his car and Julie and Tatiana stayed behind. Since it was Sunday, the shop was closed with the exception of the driver who did do deliveries on Sundays, and the only reason Pepe and Julie were there was to meet Tatiana.

“Okay, Julie, shall we lock up and leave?” asked Tatiana.

“Yes, let me secure the shop,” responded Julie as she walked over to the back workroom to get her purse. She then walked over to the security alarm and activated it.

Julie drove Tatiana to her aunt’s condominium, which was just a few blocks away from the floral shop. As Julie opened the door, she gave Tatiana the security number to the alarm and showed her how to work it. Next, she introduced Tatiana to Chela’s dog, Scottie, and walked her around the condo. It was a small two-bedroom with a terrace and a view of the common area and pool.

“Well, Tatiana, this is it. She just asked if you could feed the fish and her dog, Scottie. Here are the keys to the store and to the condo, and her car is parked downstairs. It’s that black Lincoln.” Julie pointed to the car in the parking lot as she clicked on the car keys to sound the alarm. The lights turned on and off, and the car made a beeping sound.

“Thanks, Julie,” said Tatiana. “And I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

“In case you need anything, my number and Pepe’s number are on the fridge. So if you need anything, just call us,” said Julie as she opened the front door. She then smiled and closed the door as she said, “Good night, Tatiana. See you tomorrow morning.”

Tatiana locked the door and then walked into the guest bedroom with one of her suitcases and put it on the bed. She opened it and started to take out all of her toiletries and took them to the bathroom. Next, she started to unpack and hang her clothes in the closet, while her aunt’s dog, Scottie, who was a black Scottish terrier, sat on the bed and just watched her. He had short legs and a black shiny coat. He was a playful little dog who never stopped wagging his tail and would follow Tatiana faithfully. Scottie was very curious of the new human in the house, for he was smelling everything that Tatiana was unpacking.

“Hey, boy, are you keeping me company?” she asked him as she pat the dog on the head. He just looked at her with his dark, almond-shaped eyes, and sharply pricked his ears as he heard her speak.

She then went into the living room and got the last piece of luggage and emptied it out. Now that she was all situated, she was going to call home and tell her family that she had arrived all right.

She dialed the number and waited for a while, then said, “Hey Blanca, is that you?”

“Yes,” said Blanca on the other line. “So how is it over there in Florida?”

“It’s beautiful! It looks like there is so much to do here. You should have seen the plane, Blanca. It was full, with no empty seats. Lots of the passengers were talking about where they were going and what they were going to do. It sounded so exciting that I wished that I was a part of their group,” said Tatiana as she sat on a love seat, surrounded by tons of decorative pillows.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” said Blanca. “I wish I could have gone with you.”

“Yeah, me too! Well, is Mom home?” she asked her sister as she took her black leather open-toe slide sandals off, which were about three-and-a-half inches high.

“No, her and Dad went out.”

“Okay, just tell them that I called and that I got here okay. I’m going to take a shower, so I’ll give you guys a call tomorrow if I get a chance.  Good-bye,” said Tatiana as she hung up. She sat there for a moment, looking around the room and resting her head on the pillows. She then spotted a small sound system, so she walked on over and turned it on. She then started going over her aunt’s collection of CD’s.

“Umm, all oldies,” she said as she reached for Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits. She opened the CD player, put in the CD, and cranked up the volume.

She then went back into the guest room and got ready to take a shower. It had been a long day, and the hot water would help her relax.

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