CAP Epilogue: The Conclusion
 

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The CAP Epilogue: The Conclusion
Omar posting on behalf of Ladybug...

 

Before I take a quick nap and see the doctor for what I suspect is strep throat, I decided to let you all off the hook and finally give you the end of this enthralling tale. Okay, so I just finally got around to writing it because I had writer's block. The effect is the same.

Hope you enjoy it!

*****************

Rose paused, unsure of how to begin telling the events that happened so quickly yet changed her life dramatically. Jackie put her arm around her, and they sat together for a moment, remembering.

“Do you want me to take it from here?” Jackie asked.

“Just start telling about that night,” she said. “I’ll jump in when I need to.”

“No problem.”

“Thank you.”

Jackie smiled at her and they squeezed each other’s hands. She took a deep breath and continued the story.

********************

It was a typical Friday night at the Blue Parrot. The place was pretty packed, and the entertainment was in full swing. Rose stood backstage watching her girls perform the latest dance she’d taught them, a mix of traditional and contemporary swing. It was quite innovative, really. The crowd loved it.

“I think I could live here forever,” Jackie said to Delphus. He put an arm around her.

“Wherever you are, that’s where I want to be,” he said. “But, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Sure, hon. What’s on your mind?”

He looked a little embarrassed. “Well....I know I’m not a young man...”

Jackie shushed him. “I hate when you say that. You’re as youthful and vital as any boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

“I know you say that, but this is a more serious matter.”

Jackie frowned. “Please don’t talk to me about your will. I don’t want a penny from you, and I refuse to outlive you. We’re going to die together, and that’s all there is to it.”

Delphus laughed. “Well, actually, that’s all taken care of, but I wasn’t thinking about that. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.”

“What do you mean?” Now she was stumped.

“Well...there’s something I want, but I wanted to ask your permission first.”

“You don’t need to ask me permission for anything. I trust your judgment. You can have anything you want.”

“Actually, for this, I do have to have your consent. I was wondering...if...if...you would consider starting a family with me.” He looked at her, a little fearful, as if waiting for a rebuff.

She blinked. And just as the moment when he’d asked her to marry him, she could not think of a single reason to say no. “Delphus,” Jackie said, putting her hand on his, “I can think of no better way for us to express our love for each other. I would love to have your baby!” And she really meant it.

He embraced her fiercely, and kissed her all over her face. “You’ve made me so happy,” he said, almost in tears. “I’ve always wanted a family, but it seemed it just wasn’t meant to be. And then you came along and changed that. You’ve changed everything.” He kissed her again. “Jackie, I adore you. You’re everything to me.”

She laughed and hugged him. “It’s mutual,” she said. “Let’s start trying tonight.” They smiled at each other, thrilled in their decision.

Backstage, Rose was getting ready to go on. “How do I look?” she asked O.M.A.R.

“Spectacular, as always,” he said, handing her the brilliant headdress she wore for her signature hula dance.

“Is this new skirt too low?” she asked, concerned. It was hung around her hips so low down that it almost looked indecent.

“Of course not. It’s hypnotic. It makes the dance that much more effective.” He grasped those hips in his hands. “And it does things to me.”

She smiled, and entered into his arms. “This is the best time I’ve ever had, OMAR.” She kissed him tenderly.

O.M.A.R. closed his eyes, soaking in the feel of her lips on his. He could stay like that for hours. Sometimes he’d tried. When she finally broke away, he sighed. “How long until you go on?”

“Umm...looks like 8 minutes. Why?”

“Time enough,” he growled, and dragged her behind the large prop of the pig-roasting oven.

“Hey!” she squealed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to make love to my beautiful wife,” he said, putting his hands underneath the skirt.

“Right here, behind the stage?” she gasped. He always knew just how to touch her to make her wild for him in an instant.

“Yes. Right here.” He pushed her up against the back of the oven, wrapping her legs around his waist. And he made good on his promise.

With one minute to showtime, Rose put her headdress on and straightened her skirt, looking a little flustered and trying to un-muss her hair and lipstick. “Honestly, babe, you are so incorrigible,” she said.

O.M.A.R. smiled. “It’s you who does it to me. I can’t help it. Your sexy curves, your eyes, your smile... You are the epitome of womanhood.”

Rose just looked at him for a second. She threw her arms around him and kissed him long and hard. “I love you,” she sighed.

“I love you too,” he said. And then the music started and it was time for her to go on. With a smile she turned and put on her stage presence, hips wiggling in time to the drums, poi balls flying.

Everyone watched her, entranced by her movements. Her coordination was flawless, with her feet and arms and hips and hands all in harmony together. She had such poise and made it seem so easy.

Jackie, sitting in the back, thought she smelled something funny. Perhaps one of the tiki torches was low on oil again. She’d have to see about getting it filled.

But when she turned to look, she saw something that shocked her. The torch had been knocked over and was burning the thatch on the walls!

“Fire!” Jackie yelled. “FIRE! Help!!”

At first only a few people heard her over the drums and the music. The bartender gave her a pitcher of water, frantically filling more, and a couple of patrons tried to stamp it out or beat it out with their coats. But it kept growing.

Finally Rose stopped, seeing what was happening. She signalled for the music to stop. “I need everybody to get out of here right now,” she said. “Please walk outside the club in an orderly fashion!”

But people panicked. And there were so many of them that it became utter chaos. O.M.A.R. jumped down and tried to get people to calm down and make their way toward the doors without hurting anyone. Meanwhile, Jackie and Delphus tried desperately to throw enough water on the fire to keep in under control. Smoke began to fill the club, and people were screaming and running.

Rose hurried backstage. There was a group of kids in the dressing rooms that was supposed to perform after her. She had to get them out. She threw open the door, where they were huddled together in fear, having heard the screams and not knowing what was happening.

“Here!” she said, grabbing robes and throwing them over the children’s heads. “Get down and follow me!” She got on her hands and knees and led them out to the back door. They made it in time, and the children ran to safety. “Go get help!” she told them, and headed back inside, staying low with a robe over her head to keep from breathing the smoke. She went to all the dressing rooms, checking for anyone that may have gotten stranded or left behind.

O.M.A.R. was starting to get the crowd under control, but the fire was far from it. The whole west wall was ablaze now, and it was too hot to get close to. The water was ineffective, and Jackie and Delphus tried to evacuate.

“Go, go!” Delphus yelled over the din. He pushed her ahead of him and she held his hand, running for the door. Somehow in the crowd she lost his hand, but kept going, knowing he was right behind her.

Then the fire reached the bar, and the bottles of alcohol began to explode, popping and spraying glass everywhere. Jackie pushed her way out with the rest of the crowd, and stood by the door waiting for Delphus to emerge.

But he didn’t. Jackie panicked. O.M.A.R. came out, face black with smoke. He looked around. “Where is Ladybug?” he said. “Have you seen her?”

“No! She’s not here! And Delphus is still inside!” Jackie was terrified.

O.M.A.R. turned to go back inside, but she grabbed his arm. “You can’t go in there!” she said. “You’ll die!”

“They’ll die if I don’t,” he said with a steely voice, and went back into the burning building.

Jackie was hysterical. What was she to do? To follow him inside would be foolish. But to live without Delphus would be a worse fate. She decided to go and find him, and if she must die, she would die in his arms.

But as she moved toward the door, Delphus came out, staggering. He carried the bartender over his shoulders. Rescue workers had arrived by then, and they took the man from his shoulders. Delphus dropped to the ground, and others attended to him.

“He’s not breathing,” said one, and his partner helped try to revive him.They worked feverishly as Jackie stood by, trembling from head to toe, watching her husband fight for his life.

Delphus coughed, and the men leaned back. They looked at each other, knowing that though he was breathing now, it still wasn’t a good prognosis.

Jackie pushed them aside and took his hand. “Delphus,” she said. “Delphus! Speak to me, darling!”

He opened his eyes and looked at her. “Jackie,” he said weakly.

“Yes! Yes, I’m here,” she said, crying for joy that he was alive.

“I had to say goodbye,” he said.

“Don’t say that! You’re fine, you’ll be fine. You’re a hero. You saved that man’s life. And I’m going to throw you the bigge