This is a continuation of this Chapter 3 excerpt where nine year-old Sera Fletcher endures Gio's presence in the new sanctuary of her booth at the Red Hare: http://novel-yotr.blogspot.com/2010/12/red-hare-family-restaurant.html
August 8th is Sera's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sera!
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He stirred, stirred and stirred, gently tapped the spoon on the edge of the cup then placed it on the saucer. His pudgy hand took the cup’s handle and raised it to his mouth for a sip.
“So,” Gio asked as he set it back down, “What are you reading then?”
He breathed in sharply and then out slowly, “A book about…?”
“The Chinese Zodiac.”
“Ah, well, then that makes sense. Are you familiar with the other Zodiac?”
"Yep, a little. Dela and Gwen have a book on it too."
"So," Father Gio pondered, "Since your birthday is August 8th, that makes you a Leo. Leo the Lion. An early Lion I am told."
"Yep," She lifted her gaze, impressed that he knew her birthday was coming up in a month but slightly creeped out, "How do you know that, Gio?"
"Because it's in the Baptism registry."
"Oh, yeah. That."
Father Gio sipped his coffee, "You know, Sera. In a few years it will be time for your Confirmation."
"So I've heard," she sipped her pop and leaned slightly to the left to look over at her parent's table. Marie smiled back at her and waved.
Sera rolled her eyes and let a sigh puff out from her lips, "Did she tell you to come and talk to me about that again?"
"She may have. Your father and Father O'Reilly also want you to be prepared... to grow within the Church."
"No offence, Father but I don't like church. It’s boring. It’s creepy. I keep hearing stories about an embarrassing event with a pigeon and dropping my bible into the Seguin River. Besides, I learn enough from Mrs. Johnson."
"I learn about the bible stories from Mrs. Johnson, and sometimes Mr. Johnson when he is — was — feeling up to it. I used to read to him too."
"Yes, Gio. I do know about some of the stories, although they don't always make much sense logically."
"I...I did not know the Johnson's were Catholic." Gio said quizzically.
"They're not. They're Coptic — from her home country ... in Egypt."
Gio raised his eyebrows, impressed to hear this report from his precocious child.
She continued, "Well, she’s Coptic but he isn't. Wasn't. I think he was Catholic — or maybe it's Baptist."
Gio let out a loud roar of a laugh. "Well, there IS a difference, Sera."
"Whatever. They both believed in a God, read their bibles and didn't get into big arguments about the differences."
He sobered his tone, "Yes. Yes. That is important to keep in mind."
"Plus, Mr. Johnson told me that he'd rather see her less sad when he's gone than push for ... what was it .. 'geological differences'."
"You mean 'ideological differences'?”
"That's very big of him. Very ... Christian. And I think it was very compassionate, very Christian of you to read to him and play cards."
Sera's eyes widened, "Wha... no, I was just doing it to be nice, to help him feel better."
"Well, we can call it what we want but caring for others and easing their pain are Christian goals, Sera." He frowned and lowered his voice, "Are you embarrassed by your religion, by your Church?"
"I didn't get to choose, now did I?"
Their debate was interrupted by a loud male voice from the front of the restaurant. "Hey, Carl! What do I have to do to get a coffee around here?"
It was Daryl MacDonald, Victoria's father. A chill went up Sera's spine. She scowled in his direction, retreated into the corner of the booth, dragging the book and soda glass with her.
- End excerpt -