Loungin with Louie!
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New !!! A New Beginning Chapter 6

Chapter 6

The next morning, Rita woke up to find Freddie still snoring away. His snore was not loud or annoying, but Rita could tell he was still very much out of it. Noiselessly, she made her way into the bathroom to take her shower. On the floor she found the soiled towels Freddie had used to clean himself up the night before. The odor of stomach acid and tequila still lingered in the air. Rita crinkled her nose as she gingerly put the towels in a plastic bag provided by the hotel, then sprayed some of her hazelnut body spray into the air. When the room looked and--more to the point--smelled presentable, she went about her morning routine.

All during her shower she thought about the events of the night before, including her foggy memory of Freddie finally coming to bed. She couldnt imagine what had spurred him on a bout of binge drinking (which she was sure had taken place last night), but she was bound and determined to get to the bottom of it. Of course Rita realized no one was perfect, and was sure she had some habits and behaviors that got on Freddies nerves too. But she had come from a family used to speaking their own minds about things, and she knew she would have to confront Freddie about this. It would be difficult--more than once, Freddie had gotten very defensive when challenged about his bad behavior. She pondered how she could do it and find out the truth without getting Freddie upset--or worse yet, making him feel the need to lie about it.

When she had finished her shower and was standing in front of the mirror blow-drying her hair, Rita thought she heard a faint knock at the door over the drone of the motor. "Come in, mi amor," she called out. She figured she would try to let Freddie know she was not angry with him by using this endearment--and in reality, she was more worried than mad.

Freddie walked in, looking haggard. Rita could see his skin still held a bit of the pallor that comes from overindulgence in alcohol, and his eyes were on the red side as well. He came up behind her, picked up a lock of her already dried hair, and put it to his nostrils. "Mmm you hair smells wonderful," was all he said. Rita knew this was his way of avoiding unpleasant topics--to make over her, try to charm her into forgetfulness. She guess from this that he was still aware of what had happened the previous evening--and that it must have been worse than Rita imagined, if the first thing out of Freddies mouth was this evasive flattery. She bit her lower lip, knowing that a direct assault would be disastrous, and deciding that no response was a better idea. Freddie didnt linger to make any more flattering remarks, much less gestures. He had urgent business elsewhere in the bathroom.

Rita-as she always did when Freddie took care of this while she was present-ignored him and went back to drying her hair. Still, there was something different in the way she turned away this time. Freddie sensed that she wasnt ready to discuss the previous night, but he knew that was coming soon enough. He was fully aware that this silence-the kind which made even the steamy bathroom seem cold--meant she wasnt happy with him right now. He wasnt even sure if he could blame her, although in his mind he was still coming up with legitimate excuses for his behavior. In the end, though, Freddie knew he had to go about putting himself in the best possible light. "Maybe Rita has it right for now," he thought. "Maybe it would be best not to say anything." Taking her cue to be quiet, he stripped off his pajamas and hopped into the shower.

Rita stole a glimpse of her fine looking husband as he did this, sighing inwardly. She hoped that she would find the right words to clear the air so she and Freddie would be on good terms again. She never could handle this kind of silent tension. Her family was never like that, but her best friend Lucys was. Rita remembered the many times she would be over there and Lucy and her mother would be fighting--quietly, under their breath--about something. Very much the opposite of the yelling that took place in the Morelli household when there was a disagreement, Lucy and her mom would not talk to each other for days. Rita hated watching it--at least fights at her house never lasted long. But given her love for Freddie, she loathed getting into a hollering match with him either. "God," she mouthed to herself, "Give me the right words to say to Freddie to have this be over with real soon. I know things cant all be perfect all the time, but I much prefer when they are."

After several minutes in the shower, Freddie peeled back the shower curtain as he shut off the water. He stood in the tub with the water dripping off of his glistening body. Rita could see that the hot water had done more than cleanse him--normal coloring had come back to his face and he looked more like his old beautiful self. Rita always thought that Freddies handsomeness bordered on a beauty that most females would envy. His thick locks dripped with water, and she thought how soft and wavy they were when they were dry. As he looked up just then, she thought for the millionth time that his lashes were unfairly long for a guys.

Freddie asked her for a clean towel, and she handed him one as she left the bathroom. This was not only to give him time to finish what he had to do, but Rita didnt want to be too distracted by his looks until she figured out what to say to him. She didnt want to give him an opportunity to manipulate her away from the approach she was starting to formulate. Freddies beauty and charm not only got him in trouble with his fans, but always worked the same magic on Rita--and she knew that sweeping this under the rug in a moment of ecstasy would not be the right thing to do. She had always suspected this was the reason he fooled so many of his friends and family, when it was so obvious to her that his addictions needed intervention. "Why are you so sure of yourself?," she silently asked Freddie as she quickly went about dressing.

Freddie saw that Rita was completely dressed by the time he exited the bathroom. Knowing that Rita probably did this on purpose to avoid a moment of intimacy, he again took his cue from his wife and proceeded to get dressed himself. Rita went to the phone to order breakfast from room service as Freddie changed. He decided that even if she was dressed, maybe he could make things all better so they would be able to enjoy each others company after breakfast. He would just have to be careful how he told her that he needed certain things from her too, like understanding about the fan situation.

Bristling from the uncomfortable silence, Freddie wondered how Rita could maintain for so long. He knew that she was not used to it, either--they had always been very direct with each other in the past, and she was always that way with her family. He continued to puzzle about her uncharacteristic mood as he put the finishing touches on his outfit, tying a short scarf around his neck. Then he stood at the mirror to admire how the bright colors set off his white cotton dress shirt and black denim jeans. Looking at the pants reminded Freddie of how he had handled a previous touchy subject. Rita had once asked him why he wore his pants so tight, to which he had flippantly replied that God had graced him with these finer attributes, so he felt he should always put them in a nice package. She had laughed at his joke at the time, but now he realized that maybe Rita was feeling he shouldnt advertise as much anymore, since they were her exclusive property now. "Marriage," he thought, "it sure complicates your life sometimes. But if I can smooth this over soon-the way I did that time--maybe I can enjoy it, too." He smiled to himself as he thought Rita next to him in bed.

The breakfast was brought up, the waiters setting the table on the balcony overlooking the pool. When they had departed, Freddie held out a chair for Rita and she accepted his gallant gesture. Freddie always had wonderful manners--another of good his points that she couldnt ignore even as she was being annoyed with him. Taking his seat in the chair opposite Rita at the white wicker table and looking out to the courtyard, Freddie decided to break the stony silence. "It looks like it will be hot today. Would you like to go swimming? Jim Dalton, the studio manager, gave me directions to a private beach not far from here. The movie studio rented it out and we have full use of it. I could hire a car and we could take the day off. The trailer wont be ready till tomorrow. What do you think?"

"That sounds wonderful," Rita answered, not knowing what else to say. This wasnt how she thought things would start. "Good," Freddie nodded, looking pleased with himself, "After breakfast Ill call down to the desk and have them bring a car around. It will be nice, just the two of us and no chance of being disturbed." Freddie managed a wink, but given the lingering coolness of the atmosphere between them, it was a weak attempt at best. Neither the look nor the fact that it was not up to Freddies usual lecherous standard went unnoticed by Rita. If he was already feeling the chill, she decided, this was as good a time as any to present what she had been mulling over as she dressed earlier.

"Freddie, you know I realize you are famous and that a certain part of you belongs to the public. I have never been comfortable with that, and I dont know if I ever will, but I can understand it and I accept it as a part of the man I married." Freddie looked like he was going to say something in response, but Rita put her hand up. "Please let me get all of this out and then you can speak your piece. I love you with all my heart and I cannot help being jealous. You are certainly worth being jealous over."

The self-satisfied look crept back over Freddies face as Rita hurried on, "I am also aware that my emotional state is not the best these days either. Your mom assures me that this is normal for a woman who is going to give birth soon. So when my natural need to guard what is mine is coupled with these hormonal changes, I guess my jealousy is magnified. I am sorry I caused such a scene last night. I hope that it didnt cause you to do something you will regret later. You know what I am talking about..." She paused as Freddie nodded. "I know it is not easy for a person, giving up an addiction. Dr. Ramerez once told me that you could have relapses or substitute other drugs in times of stress. He said that alcohol is a common substitute, because drug addicts dont see alcohol as another drug. I hope you realize I am here for you and you do not have to make excuses if you overindulge once in a while. Please be straight with me and we will work this out together. Never feel you have to hide anything from me. I want to let you know I am not mad about anything that happened last night. But I do worry about you all the time. I cant help it. I love you."

Freddie could tell Rita had worked on that little speech. His eyes moistened with tears as it hit him what he had put Rita through last night. He still wanted to let her know what his needs were, but now he realized he would have to be very careful how he worded it. It was obvious to him that Rita was a bit angry at him, but she was also obviously in love with him and concerned for him. Wiping away the tears, he looked into her beautiful brown eyes and said, "Rita, bebe, I love you too. I guess if the tables were turned, and you were the big star, I would be very jealous if any guy looked at you. Hell, I would be that way even if you werent a star. I should be flattered that you love me enough to be jealous of the attention some of my fans give me. I guess I am, but I dont get why you dont seem to understand it when I am charming to them. It is part of being a star and staying in the limelight--give the adoring fans what they want. You know very well that they cant get all they want, because that belongs to you and I would never betray that."

Freddie lowered his head. "God, Rita, how could I ever repay what you did for me? You brought me back from the brink of death. These fans of mine owe you a great debt tooif they only knew. If it werent for you, they wouldnt have me around to admire anymore. When we are out together, I will try my best to let the fans know how much I love and adore you, OK? I know this might not set too well with some of them, but those are the breaks." Freddie got up and went over to Ritas side of the table. Getting down on his knees, he put his head on her burgeoning belly and said, "I owe you everything, Rita. And I think you are the most beautiful woman in the world, especially now that you are carrying my child. That makes you even more beautiful in my eyes. It is the greatest symbol of our love right now." Freddie started to weep openly and Rita stroked his head.

"Freddie, I love you too, and the baby we have created. I want to let you know that I would never purposely cause you to be so stressed that you would want to go back to the things that brought you to the brink of death, as you put it." She reached her hand around his chin and lifted his head so his large dark eyes were gazing into her own glistening ones. "Please be honest with me. Have I driven you to seek solace in the bottom of a bottle?"

Freddie thought long and hard about his next words. He knew he shouldnt have to answer for that part of his behavior, but he also knew Rita had earned the right to be worried about that. "Maybe I did last night, I dont know. I was a bit upset, but I didnt really drink that much, only a few shots of tequila. I still think it was partly the food. Maybe seafood and tequila dont mix." He looked up and smiled, but Rita didnt look convinced. "I dont think I was really drunk, though. I have been much more drunk in the past. Maybe now that I have been sober a while, I cant hold my liquor like I used to. I swear, though, that I wont abuse alcohol like I did drugs. I never want to be back where I was when I met you. I would never put you through that again. I love you too much to do that. You are vida mia, mi Angel de la guarda. Dulcinea mia, I would never do that to you. You have to believe me."

Rita looked at the pleading in his eyes and said, "I believe you, amante mio." She leaned down and kissed him. Without breaking the kiss, he rose to his feet, picked up his wife, and carried her over to their still unmade bed. Laying her down gently he took off his shirt and pants. Rita started to protest but it was Freddies turn to hold up his hand and stop her. "Dulcinea mia, I need to not only tell you, but I need to show you how much you mean to me. Por favor?" He batted his long lashes at her.

Rita smiled through the tears she had been shedding. "How could any woman refuse those eyes and that request?"

Freddie turned serious as he laid beside her in nothing but his briefs. As he started to undo the buttons on her blouse, he said, "I dont know about any woman, because there is only one woman I would ever make that request of. And I married her!" Rita assisted Freddie in removing the rest of her clothing, and they spent quality time showing each other that the matter was now concluded.

That afternoon, Freddie and Rita approached the front desk with their belongings packed for a day at the beach. Freddie gallantly carried all the heavier bags and put them down by the desk with a plop. He inquired, in Spanish, about the car he had hired. At that moment, Jim Dalton entered the lobby and approached the couple at the desk.

"Freddie, how are you? Fully recovered from last night, I see." Jim winked. Freddie gave him a "Nix on last night" look, but Jim ignored him. Figuring he had better make his star happy, Jim turned his attention to Rita and asked, "And who might this LOVELY lady be? This isnt the missus, is it?" Freddie was so taken aback by Jims uncharacteristically charming demeanor that all he could do was nod his head in assent. "Freddie, you lucky dog. Snagging all the pretty ones for yourself!" Jim leaned across Freddie and kissed Rita on the cheek. "You ever feel like dumping this tall drink of water and going out with a REAL man, give me a call," he whispered in her ear loud enough for Freddie to hear as well. Rita was also dumbstruck and blushed. Freddie barely found his voice, laughing nervously. He grabbed Ritas arm as he remarked, "Rita is perfectly happy with this tall drink of water as you call me."

"I know, I know. I was kidding with you. Rita, forgive me, but I turn into a cad in the presence of a beautiful woman. I am extremely jealous of mi amigos good fortune, is all. I understand you and Freddie are in the family way as well." Rita nodded. "Well it only makes you more beautiful, my dear."

Freddie noticed at that moment that Lizzy Morgan was exiting the elevator and heading for the pool area, judging from her bathing suit and the towel draped around her neck. Freddie could not help pausing momentarily to admire the fan who had accosted them in the restaurant the night before. He was always taken in by a good-looking woman, and Lizzy was definitely good-looking. But Freddie had enough recollection of the events following that unfortunate encounter to bring his thoughts back to reality. Fortunately, Lizzy had not seen them and Ritas back had been to the elevators. "Whew", thought Freddie, realizing he had avoided a potentially volatile scene. Then he remembered his promise to Lizzy and he decided he should take care of that while Jim was available. Not that he really wanted this fan on the set after what had transpired, but he knew he could not renege on such a promise. He couldnt risk the negative publicity. Turning to Jim and Rita, who had continued to exchange pleasantries, he said, " Rita, bebe, would you see about getting our things into the car. Jim, Rita and I decided to take you up on the offer of the private beach for the afternoon. I need to talk to you about some business before we go, though. You mind if I talk to Jim alone for a few minutes, bebe?" Freddie kissed Rita on the lips.

"No, but I dont know if I know enough Spanish to give instructions to the bellhop," Rita answered in a panicky voice.

Freddie explained to Jim. "Rita is learning Spanish and this is her opportunity to practice it." To Rita he added, "Use the dictionary Rosa gave you. I am sure you will do wonderfully. I will only be a minute, I promise." Freddie kissed her again and practically dragged Jim away from Rita, who was left standing at the desk looking like a deer caught in headlights.

When Freddie managed to pull Jim out of earshot of Rita, he said. "Man, I have a favor to ask of you. There was this fan that came up to Rita and me at the restaurant across the street last night. I think I got myself into trouble with Rita. You know what I mean, being too charming. Rita still struggles with the fan thing. Anyway, I promised this fan, Lizzy Morgan, that I would send her a one day pass to the set. She told me she was going to be in Cancun for a month and I thought I was just being nice. Rita didnt see it that way. I cant be the one to give her the pass now, but I cant go back on my promise to her either. Can you see to it that she gets one?"

"Sure, anything for my star. But wont that cause trouble in paradise?" asked Jim as he glanced in Ritas direction.

"Probably, but I have to risk it. I dont want any negative publicity about going back on promises to fans. You understand, dont you?"

Jim smiled and slapped Freddie on the back. "Sure amigo, I understand perfectly. I dont want any negative publicity for the movie either. Ill take care of it. Where is she staying?"

"She is here at this hotel. I didnt ask which room. At least I kept my wits about me there! I am just glad to get Rita away from here for a while today. That deserted beach will be just the place to make up to her for all of this."

Jim hesitated. "I didnt mean to give you the impression the beach was totally deserted. There might be others from the movie company out there too. They have orders to leave the two of you alone, though, and they are very professional. I can guarantee, though, that you will not be pestered by fans."

"Well, that will be OK then. I am sure we can find a little part of the beach away from the rest of the crew."

"Oh I am sure," Jim smiled and winked, nudging Freddies elbow. "That beach is huge. I am sure you and the missus will have plenty of private quality time!"

Freddie grinned, "Allriiight!" he exclaimed in his Chico accent.

Meanwhile, Rita was struggling with the bellhop, trying to get him to show her where the car was parked so he could take their belongings to it. She had her dictionary out and was saying things like carro and llevar encima to the bellhop, demonstrating with pantomime as her voice got louder and louder. Freddie finally sauntered over to rescue her. He said to the bellhop, "Tome por favor nuestras pertenencias a nuestro coche." (Please take our belongings to our car.) He then kissed Rita as she tried to thank him for helping her. As he broke the kiss, she started to cry in frustration. "I will never get the hang of Spanish!"

"Oh, mi amor, you are doing just fine. You will by the end of the summer, trust me. At least you are willing to try. That is more than most people will do. I have seen many tourists just yell in English to these people, thinking they are deaf, not Hispanic." Freddie laughed and was relieved to see Rita joining him. Putting an arm around her, he gestured toward the doors with his other hand. "Lets go enjoy the day at the beach. Jim told me that the place might not be totally deserted, that other movie people might be there, but he promised me there would be NO FANS. And he assured me that the beach was big enough that we should find some privacy." He winked lecherously at Rita, and she forgot all about her frustration with Spanish. She smiled back at him and said, "Allllriiiight!"

Freddie got behind the wheel after helping Rita into the passenger seat and loading their stuff into the trunk. The car wasnt very large, but it was air-conditioned. Rita was having a hard time breathing in the tropical air. "It is awfully humid here." she had commented to Freddie when they arrived. "I dont know why, but I was expecting dry desert heat, not this damp air."

"Not all of Mexico is desert, mi amor," Freddie had explained to her. "Cancun is located on the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula. There are rain forests near some of the beach areas. This area was Mayan, and has a lot of ruins to visit. The movie location is actually on the island of Cozumel. There are old Spanish as well as Mayan ruins on the island. We will be taking a ferry over to it."

"Ooo, that all sounds interesting. I think the first thing we need to do is stop by a bookstore and get some books on the area. I want to bone up on the history and the attractions if we get a chance to go sight-seeing."

Now Rita was asking, "Will we be able to see any sights today?" Freddie thought a moment as he turned the car off of the main highway and on to a small secondary road that followed the coastline. "I didnt ask about that, but I know that we wont be doing much filming on the weekends. I will ask Jim to arrange some private tours of the ruins. How would you like that?"

Rita smiled. "That sounds like a wonderful idea. I would love to see the ruins. I may be a science and math teacher, but history has always interested me."

Having been reminded Ritas desire to read up on their surroundings, Freddie found a little tourist bookstore in a small town nestled on the road to the beach. Besides the bookstore, there were several shops and a small restaurant. Rita decided she was hungry again and asked Freddie if they could spend a few hours in the shops, which were cooled by the breezes coming off the Gulf of Mexico. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day. Rita knew that she wouldnt be comfortable on an open beach at this hour, so the Prinzes spent a few hours eating lunch and browsing the shops. Rita bought several books about the history of the area and the ruins. She also found a darling caftan and matching straw hat to wear to the beach over her suit. Freddie picked up some bottled water and suntan lotion. He told Rita that he didnt want her to burn. Freddies dark complexion was suited for the tropical sun, but Ritas fair skin, that went along with her auburn hair, was subject to some nasty burning. After shopping and eating a leisurely lunch, free of fan interruptions--to Ritas delight and Freddies relief--the couple headed back down the little road in search of the beach.

Freddie finally spotted the sign the movie company had put up advertising the private nature of the beach. As he pulled into the parking area and shut off the engine, he leaned over to Rita. "Looks like we are here, mami." He kissed her passionately. "You ready for some fun in the sun?"

Rita grinned and nodded. "YOU GOT IT!" she answered, imitating his character from television. She put her hand to her eyes to shield them from the glaring sun coming in the windshield. Even with sunglasses and her new straw hat, the sun gleamed very brightly off the blue water of the Gulf and partially blinded her. "Mmm, the beach looks wonderful. And I see there are plenty of umbrellas set up with lounge chairs under them." She saw that there were a few people swimming and lounging around. "Not too crowded, I see. And there are a few more private places over there." She pointed to an area to the right of the parking lot.

"Looks like that is where we should head." Freddie also had on sunglasses, but shaded his eyes with his hand as well. Looking in the opposite direction, he spied a small building, a hut of sorts. "Jim told me something about a place to get refreshments. I guess that little shack is the place."

"Well lets get our things set up and we can see what they have to offer. I could go for some ice cream about now."

Freddie grinned, and with a gleam in his eye asked, "With a pickle on the side?"

Rita playfully hit him on the forearm. "OOooo, you are incorrigible!"

"Encourage-able? Sure, you can encourage me all you want, bebe!" Freddie laughed his sonorous laugh as Rita groaned. "Sorry, bebe, but I cant resist it when you leave yourself open for those lines. Besides, how would you know I loved you if I didnt pick on you?"

Rita grinned knowingly. "Oh, I can think of other, more persuasive ways to show me you love me."

"All in good time, all in good time." Freddie got out of the car and came around to help Rita out. He then went into the trunk and got their things out. Rita managed to carry most of the light bags, leaving Freddie with the cooler full of ice, water and beer. They strolled onto the white sand and made their way to a deserted umbrella a good distance from the other bathers. When Freddie was convinced they were far enough away from the crowds, he put down the cooler and spread out the beach blanket near the lounge chairs. The area was secluded by some low-lying shrubs which blocked their view of the rest of the beach on both sides. The only opening was in front of them and the beach all the way to the waters edge was pristine and free from people.

"This is perfect!", exclaimed Freddie. Setting the cooler in a shady spot, he watched as Rita set the bags of towels and other personal items on one of the lounges.

"Yes it is. Lets go explore first and then we can retreat here for the rest of the afternoon. I want to go swimming, but not for a while. The shoreline looks too hot yet." Rita pointed in the direction from where they had just walked. "Lets head back to the refreshment shack and see what they have and then we will be set for the afternoon."

Freddie answered, "Sounds good." And they left their belongings and headed for the shack, hand in hand. Rita had put her new caftan on over her suit, feeling much cooler with the breeze blowing through it. Freddie asked her if she was too hot, concerned for her and the baby. She said she was fine for now, but would need some of the water they had brought when she got back to the blanket. Other people greeted the couple as they made their way toward the refreshment shack. The movie company had provided it for the crew, and there was a large selection of treats and drinks. Rita got herself a banana split and Freddie settled on a hot fudge sundae. They took their treats out to the veranda that was set up in front of the shack. Sitting under a brightly colored umbrella, they chatted and ate. Many of the movie people came by and conversed with Freddie and Rita. Freddie knew a few of them, but most had to introduce themselves to the couple.

Of all the people who came over, one person was one Rita recognized without an introduction. But Freddie was ever the gentleman and went through the formalities with Rita after he rose and gave the newcomer an affectionate hug. "Rita, I would like to introduce to you Miss Raquel Welch. Raquel, this is mi esposa bonita, Rita Prinze."

Rita got up and put her hand out to the star. "Oh, myMiss Welch, it is an honor to meet you. Forgive me for acting a bit like a fan, but I have enjoyed many of your movies. I am so glad you agreed to do this movie with my husband. I know you two will make this movie a big hit!"

Freddie grinned sheepishly and shrugged as Rita pumped Raquels hand with much enthusiasm. Raquel took the star treatment all in stride and grinned back at Freddie. Sensing that he was about to apologize for his wifes enthusiastic behavior, Raquel cut Freddie off. "It is nice to meet you, Rita, and please call me Raquel. I understand this is your first experience with movie making. We are just like a big family when we make movies. Please treat me like everyone else."

Rita finally realized her mistake and blushed. "I am so sorry. I, of anyone, should be more aware of fan behavior. Freddie and I have to deal with it all the time. Forgive me for coming on too strong."

Raquel gave her a big smile. "No problem. I never really get tired of being admired." With a laugh, she turned to Freddie and said. "Married life seems to be agreeing with you, mi amigo. Your wife is charming and pretty. I can see why you married her."

Freddie beamed as it was Ritas turn to be embarrassed. "Well you dont know the half of it. Rita saved my life. I owe her a lot, the least of which is my love."

"Well then, you have a special lady indeed. And I understand you are going to have a baby."

Rita found her voice. "Yes, in February. Is it that obvious?"

Raquel shook her head and smiled again at Rita. "No, you dont look it a bit. It is just general knowledge around here. I told you we are one big family, and one of the drawbacks to that is that not too much remains a secret!"

Freddie laughed and Rita smiled back. "Well, that is news that we would shout to the world, so we have no secrets here," said Rita.

"Good. And I must say pregnancy certainly becomes you." Raquel got thoughtful for a moment and then added, "Oh, I just had a wonderful idea, if it is OK with the two of you."

"What," asked Freddie and Rita in unison.

"Well there are plenty of parts for extras in the movie. Maybe we can talk John into letting Rita have one."

Ritas eyes lit up, but Freddie looked apprehensive. "I dunno, I dont want Rita overexerting herself."

Raquel playfully elbowed Freddie. "Oh, Freddie, women arent fragile china dolls when they are pregnant, you know! I am sure she could handle a little extra work. And she will be able to rest whenever she needs to."

Rita rolled her eyes and said, "That is the way he is, always worried about how fragile I am. I keep telling him that I can handle more than he lets me, but he insists I should just lie around. I would love to have a small part in this movie!" Turning to Freddie, Rita pleaded with him, "Por favor, amor mio?"

Freddie looked at Rita and said, "How can I resist you when you speak to me in such romantic Spanish?"

"Ooo," Rita was about to chide him for picking on her in front of Raquel, but then thought better of it. She figured she might lose the approval he had just given her if she did. "Gracias, Freddie. I know I will be OK, and it will give me something to do while you are working, too."

"Sounds like a great plan," Raquel said. "I need to get back to my friends. It was great meeting you Rita, and as always, wonderful to see you again, Freddie." She gave him a peck on the cheek stood up and turned, waving goodbye to the couple.

"Oh, she is soooo nice, Freddie. I can see why you wanted to date her."

"Oh that," Freddie said, with embarrassment in his voice. "It was only a couple of times. She is a nice lady, but I guess I am a bit too young for her."

"I doubt that. Famous and gorgeous older women seem to go for the younger, handsome types. And you are certainly young and handsome!" Rita winked. "I bet if you werent married, you and she would be an item by the end of this movie."

"Well I am married, and you have nothing to worry about in that department."

Rita smiled. "Oh I know. I wouldnt blame you though. She is a beautiful woman and a big star."

Freddie shook his head. "I will never figure you out, Rita Prinze. One minute you can be all jealous over a piddling little fan, but have no reservations about a beautiful star....What gives?"

Rita realized how she had sounded and said, "Oh, dont get me wrongI would be very jealous, but there is a big difference being admired by fans and being admired by a star."

"So in your eyes there is a double standard?" Freddie said quizzically.

"No...wellyes...well.... I DONT KNOW.... " Rita was flustered by the turn of the conversation. "Lets just leave it, OK? I am sorry, I guess I am acting like a fan now..." She turned her eyes downward and formed her mouth into a penitent pout.

Freddie placed his large hand on her chin, gently lifting it so his dark eyes would make contact with her equally large eyes. "Rita, I love you no matter what. I dont want you to be jealous of any woman--fan or star. You are mi vida," He paused and kissed her gently. "Lets go back to our spot and enjoy the afternoon together, OK?"

"Si, mi amor," answered Rita. Freddie took her by the arm, and they returned to their secluded place on the beach. The couple spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, sunning and enjoying the amenities of married life.

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