With the Americans now finishing up their Thanksgiving (we Canadians had ours in October), the Christmas trees and decorations are going up and the carols are being played in the stores. (Although truthfully some of the local stores started putting up their decorations in September!) So today’s theme is all about the holidays. I pulled out a snippet from Perfect Proposal since it’s a double celebration for the Ramos family — they’re not only celebrating Thanksgiving with their traditional Puerto Rican dishes, but they’re also celebrating Mrs. Ramos’ birthday. And Sam’s about to give them another celebration…if he can get Rosie to himself for a minute.
copyright 2012 Leah Braemel
[B]y the time their taxi stopped in front of her parents’ home in the Bronx, every inch of her skin tingled as if he’d touched everywhere with his fingers instead of his gaze. The places he had touched her—the small of her back when escorting her from their room to the lobby, the sensitive skin by her ear when he’d toyed with her hair earlier, the inside of her wrist, where even now his thumb stroked while he held her hand—ramped up the need until her insides threatened to spontaneously combust.
The moment the limo stopped in front of her parents’ house, the front door opened. Teresa Ramos hurried down the porch steps to meet them, the fat snowflakes liberally coating her dark hair.
Without waiting for the driver to round the car, Rosie flung open the door, dashed up the sidewalk and hugged her mother. “Mama, you should put a coat on. It’s chilly. You’ll catch a cold.”
“I am happy, Mama.”
At that pronouncement, her mother beamed and turned to Sam. “How are you, Oso? Thank you for bringing my Rosie home for my birthday.”
Grinning at the nickname her mother had given him the first time they’d met, Sam leaned down to engulf the tiny woman in a hug. “I’m good, Mama Ramos. And nothing would have kept Rosie from her family.”
“Ah, what are we doing standing out here on the street? Come inside. Everyone’s waiting for you. I left Emilio’s newest girlfriend to slice the plaintains for the platanutres.” Mrs. Ramos shook her head and tsked. “I don’t know about this girl—I hope he’s not serious about her.”
They’d scarcely made it through the front door before her family swarmed around her, each member intent on imparting the latest news in the Ramos household. Her
two-month-old niece, Isabel, found her way into Rosie’s arms while Isabel’s older brother, Rafael, with his thumb stuck firmly in his mouth, eyed them suspiciously. Greetings and the latest updates in the plans for dinner and shopping the next day whirled around her in a miasma of sound.
By the time she’d managed to hand Isabel back to her sister-in-law, Rosie found her eldest brother, Jose, at the near end of the couch, his son in his lap, occupied by one of their inevitable football discussions with their younger brother, Emilio. At the far end of the couch, Sam responded in fluent Spanish to her father’s discussion of the latest trouble down at his precinct.
“He fits right in, doesn’t he?” Jose’s wife, Elba, whispered.
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