Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-nine : Afternoon tea (part four)

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE

(part four)

“If I tell you, will you get me one of these biscuits that Ares has talked about?” Hades asked.

“I want to try them as well,” Lucifer said. “My brother Uriel says you have something called ‘pears’? From trees?”

“They are out of season here in Denver,” Jeraine said. “Our trees are dormant right now.”

“What a shame,” Lucifer said.

“We usually have some in the refrigerator,” Jeraine pointed to the refrigerator. “They are grown in warmer climates and shipped here.”

“What a luxury!” Hades said.

“Refrigeration,” Jeraine said lifting a shoulder in a shrug.

“What is a ‘refrigerator’?” Lucifer asked but it was clear that Hades wanted to know.

Jeraine pointed to it. He opened the door.

“It’s cold inside,” Jeraine said. “Ideally 45 degrees. Helps food last longer.”

“Ares is correct,” Hades said. “This really is a world of wonder.”

Lucifer nodded. Jeraine went to the electric pot, filled it with water, and turned it on.

“Please make the tea I like,” Abi said.

“Not the one Miss T drinks,” Jeraine said with his eye on Hades and Lucifer.

“No,” Abi said.

“What is this luxury?” Hades asked at the same time Lucifer said, “Why can’t we have it?”

“It weakens her powers,” Abi said. “Magical and angelic. When she’s not on the tea, she and her mother can catch things on fire with a look or a touch.”

“Good skill to have,” Hades said.

“But not tea you’d like?” Jeraine asked.

“No,” Abi said.

“Very well,” Jeraine said. “I’ll make a pot of English Breakfast because it’s very common for people to drink it.”

“What is this tea the mother likes?” Hades asked.

“She likes Chai tea or a Hot Cinnamon Spice tea,” Jeraine said. “We have it in tea bags, so I’ll give you water and you can make what you like.”

“Most of those words are new to me, young Mr. Smith,” Hades said.

“Me, as well,” Lucifer said. “Please go ahead.”

“Might I watch?” Hades asked.

“Knock yourself out,” Jeraine said. “But I don’t know what would injure you so just keep back.”

“Good thinking,” Lucifer said.

While Abi was rooted in her chair, the men stood together at the end of the kitchen. Jeraine warmed the ceramic tea pot and took out a fine mesh tea strainer. He put a couple of teaspoons of their English Breakfast tea. When the electric kettle clicked off, he picked it up.

“What is that?” Hades asked.

“This boils water very quickly,” Jeraine said.

He opened the top to take off the lid. Hades moved to put his finger in.

“Don’t burn yourself,” Jeraine said.

“Thank you for your concern,” Hades said. He put his finger in. “It is very hot.”

With the God of the Underworld on his shoulder and the creepy Archangel at his side, Jeraine poured out the warm water from the tea pot, placed the tea strainer into the pot, and poured the hot water into the pot. He set it at the end of the counter so that Hades and Lucifer could look inside.

He filled the electric kettle again and turned it on. He set out mugs and got the cream from the refrigerator.

“You have to wait three minutes,” Jeraine said.

The God of the Underworld blinked at Jeraine, and Lucifer shook his head. Jeraine pointed to the digital clock on the stove.

“Hours,” Jeraine said pointed to the hours and then to the minutes. “Minutes.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-nine : Afternoon tea (part three)

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE

(part three)

“While it’s horrifying to meet you both,” Jeraine said, “I am here on a mission for Miss. T. I won’t let you distract me. I just won’t.”

“What does she need?” Abi asked.

“Food, water, blankets,” Jeraine said. “Comfort for her and her girls. They are with Sandy in her room. Everyone except Heather. She’s in Olympia. The other girlfriends are … this thing is … well, it’s very hard on her and the other girlfriends.”

Abi gave a succinct nod of her head.

“It is done,” Abi said.

Jeraine swallowed hard. He looked from Hades to Lucifer and back again.

“Surely, you all aren’t here for me.” Jeraine’s voice came out in a squeak.

“They are not,” Abi said. “But since you are here, you might help me.”

“Uh,” Jeraine said. His eyes went from Hades to Lucifer. “Remind me why I’d like to do that?”

Hades laughed. Lucifer smirked as if he’d predicted Jeraine’s reluctance.

“I have broken an ancient agreement,” Abi said. “When this happens I must make tea for Hades and Lucifer.”

“Wha … uh … what did you do?” Jeraine asked.

“She stole a soul from me,” Hades said.

“I thought every soul was hers,” Jeraine said. “No insult meant.”

“That is correct,” Hades said. “She wanted to live with the little fairy prince, so she asked me to take care of the dead. It was my great honor to be of assistance. Since then there has been an order to things. Stealing a soul might be her right, but she has disrupted the order of things as well as our agreement.”

Jeraine looked from Abi to the God of the Underworld to Lucifer. The archangel as middle aged casual looking man nodded in agreement.

“But Sandy cannot be going to hell,” Jeraine said. “She’s the sweetest, nicest human being in the world. Why would she need to suffer eternal damnation?”

“She would not,” Lucifer said. “But that is not what I do.”

Jeraine looked at Lucifer and blinked. He wondered if he should actually ask the archangel what he meant or if he should just nod and head back to the hospital.

“Would you be willing to help?” Abi asked.

“Uh,” Jeraine said, keeping his eye on the devil. “You?”

“Yes me,” Abi said. “They have asked me for …mmm …”

“Favors,” Hades said.

Hades looked at Jeraine, and Jeraine was surprised at how kind this God seemed.

“I am too full up to do anything else,” Abi said.

“What can I do?” Jeraine asked.

“Could you make some tea?” Abi asked.

“I would love a biscuit,” Hades said. “Ares has been bragging about some kind of biscuit that has chocolate in small form that he called a ‘chip’ inside a salted butter biscuit. I …”

The God of the Underworld stopped talking when he noticed Abi, Lucifer, and Jeraine were looking at him.

“Why are you more afraid of him than me?” Hades asked Jeraine. “I am death.”

“Yeah, but he’s damnation,” Jeraine said.

“Him?” Hades asked.

Hades laughed.

“He’s not?” Jeraine asked.

“That is a common modern interpretation,” Abi said.

“Oh?” Hades asked. “I wasn’t aware of that.”

“What is he if he’s not damnation?” Jeraine asked. “Decades of torment for sins on earth? Retribution on a soul level?”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-nine : Afternoon tea (part two)

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE

(part two)

“Now,” Abi said.

Lucifer looked disappointed, but Abi was firm.

“I am not playing with you,” Abi said. “Do it. Now.”

“Fine,” Lucifer said.

The gorgeous blonde blue eyes white man disappeared and a voluptuous light skinned woman appeared.

“Whoa,” Jeraine said.

A moment later, he transformed into the most alluring dark skinned woman Jeraine had ever seen. Jeraine took a step backward.

Lucifer transformed into a tall strong dark skinned man, and then what looked like an Asian business man from Japan and then China and then Mongolia and then …

“Stop!” Jeraine said holing up his hand to block the site of Lucifer. “I get it! He’s a shape shifter like the cat.”

“The cat?” Hades asked.

“Asteria lives here in cat form,” Abi said.

“That’s a relief to me,” Hades said. He nodded to Abi in thanks. “My wife believes that she ‘lost’ her. She will be greatly relieved to know that she is all right.”

Abi nodded.

“What would you like me to look like?” Lucifer cut in to turn their attention back to him.

Jeraine took his hand away from his eyes and immediately regretted it. Lucifer looked like a unicorn with rainbow emanating from his long horn.

“The devil can take any form,” Jeraine said, closing his eyes.

There was a noise and Jeraine opened his eyes.

The traditional demon shape of the devil stood in front of him. Even though he knew that he shouldn’t be, Jeraine was terrified. He yelped with fear and covered his eyes.

“Knock it off,” Hades said.

He heard a demonic laugh.

“Enough,” Abi said with finality.

“If he’s not a shape shifter, what is he?” Jeraine asked, still not opening his eyes.

“He’s an archangel,” Abi said. “Show him.”

Jeraine opened an eye.

Lucifer gave her a long look before turning back to Jeraine. Lucifer transformed into the brightest, most beautiful light.

“This is what they look like when they aren’t in form,” Abi said. “They take form in which the other being expects them to take. This is the only way they can interact with a physical being. It is a great honor to see an archangel in energetic form.”

“Thanks?” Jeraine said mildly. “Hey, is that why Tanesha and her mom glow?”

“That’s right,” Lucifer as a light said. “You are my brother Uriel’s grandchild’s husband. We are family.”

“No, no, no.” Jeraine shook his head. “I don’t think so.”

Lucifer as the light laughed. It was truly the most beautiful sound Jeraine had ever heard. He looked at Abi but she looked angry.

“Knock it off,” Abi said. “You injure him in anyway, and I cannot predict how this house with respond.”

Lucifer as the light seemed to wince.

“How did you get in here?” Jeraine asked.

“It was not easy or pleasant,” Lucifer said. “I will honor the rules of the house.”

Lucifer gave Abi a little nod. His form became that of an older, medium skinned man in casual clothing. As if he was having trouble keeping up, Jeraine shook his head. Lucifer raised his hands in acquisition, and Hades laughed.

“While it’s horrifying to meet you both,” Jeraine said, “I am here on a mission for Miss. T. I won’t let you distract me. I just won’t.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-nine : Afternoon tea (part one)

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE

(part one)

Wednesday mid-morning — 11:20 a.m.

“Don’t get distracted, Jeraine,” he said to himself as he walked into the Castle. “You just need to grab a tin of cookies, fill some water bottles, get some snacks…”

He repeated his words like mantra.

“Don’t get distracted, Jeraine …” He took a breath to continue.

He stepped into the kitchen.

“What the …?” Jeraine asked.

Abi was sitting at the kitchen table with her back to the kitchen. There was a large man — both thick and tall — with dark hair and medium dark skin. He wore heavy clothing that covered most of his body. His hair was dark and long. He nodded to Jeraine and looked back at Abi. The other man was white skinned and beautiful. His hair was yellow, the color of fresh corn. He had eyes that were the bluest blue, beautiful lips, and a gorgeous smile. He was wearing an expensive business suit and seemed to be about six feet one or maybe six feet two. He smelled like …

“Jasmine on a warm day,” Jeraine whispered. He shook himself. “Don’t get distracted, Jeraine.”

The blonde man gave Jeraine such a seductive look at Jeraine’s entire body responded. Until this moment, Jeraine had never been interested in men.

“Knock it off,” Abi said.

The man shot Jeraine a smirk and looked back at Abi.

“Who …?” Jeraine started. “What?”

His lip curled with disgust.

“Fairies,” Jeraine said with a sniff. “I don’t have time for your nonsense.”

“Mr. Smith doesn’t like the fairies,” the dark skin man said. His voice was low and deep, firm and equally entrancing. “That’s unusual for humans.”

“How do you know my name?” Jeraine asked. His hand pressed against his chest.

The dark skinned man’s dark eyes scanned Jeraine in an assessing look. He did not reply.

“The fairy envoys were here for a long time while the fairy queens were in conference,” Abi said. “They wore out their welcome.”

The one side of the beautiful man’s lips curled in a smile.

“I told you to knock it off,” Abi said to the other man.

He looked back at Abi and gave her a fond grin.

“This is Hades,” Abi said, gesturing to the dark skinned man with the deep voice. “He is the Greek God of the Underworld.”

“Oh?” Jeraine asked. He took a step backward.

“This is Lucifer,” Abi said.

“I knew it!” Jeraine said. He looked up at the ceiling and shook his head. “I fucking knew it!”

“What did you know, Jeraine?” Lucifer said in his seductive voice.

“The Devil was a good looking white man,” Jeraine said with a grin. “I knew it.”

“Now, Jeraine, we’ve had this conversation,” Abi said. “Are there white men?”

“No, but …” Jeraine said.

“There are just men,” Abi said. “One human race. Human men.”

“Yes, but …” As if he were a child, Jeraine pointed at Lucifer. “He’s a white man.”

Jeraine nodded.

“I knew it.”

Abi sighed and looked at Lucifer.

“Show him,” Abi said.

“Oh come on,” Lucifer complained. “You have to admit that this is kind of fun.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Five Hundred and fifty-eight : Necessary conversation (part six)

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-EIGHT

(part six)

“I didn’t think it would be like this,” Nash said.

“Everyone says that,” Delphie said with a nod. “We all think it will be bigger or more consuming, that’s why it’s so dangerous.”

Nash numbly looked away from her.

“You know how the cigarette companies made their cigarettes more attractive to people,” Delphie said.

“They put extra stuff into cigarettes to make them more addictive,” Nash said.

“That’s what the companies who make the phone and social media and apps do,” Delphie said. “They intentionally make it addictive. You know that scroll feature?”

Nash nodded.

“It’s the same motion as using a slot machine,” Delphie said.

“But what am I going to do?” Nash asked. “I can’t… I just…”

Delphie didn’t say anything. She trusted Nash to come up with it himself. He gritted his teeth and looked at her.

“I have now paid a consequence I am unwilling to pay,” Nash said.

“Sandy nearly dying so that you could have your phone?” Delphie asked. Her question was hard but her voice was neutral.

Nash nodded.

“I just… I mean…” Nash said softly. “I’m going to miss it so much.”

“Well,” Delphie said. She leaned over to him and touched his leg. “What will you fill the void with?”

“Fill the…” Nash said. “Oh. Right. The void. I could… uh… I don’t know.”

“We’ll figure it out as we go,” Delphie said. “Are you ready to do the work?”

“I’m not willing to hurt someone else that I love,” Nash said. “I just won’t do it. I won’t.”

“Even if that person is you?” Delphie asked.

“Me?” Nash asked.

“I know that you and your father talked about you living with your mother,” Delphie said. “You told him that you’d rather live with her than lose your phone.”

Nash gasped. With her words, he remembered this situation more clearly. He had told his father that he would love to live with his crazy, stupid mother if it meant he could keep his phone. Nash let out a breath and started to cry again.

Delphie leaned back in her chair and waited.

Nash had finally realized what was going on. Now the work began. It was okay to feel a little sad at the work you have to do to rebuild your life. It was okay to be sad that you’ve hurt people, including yourself. She waited a few more minutes, before she cleared her throat.

“Suck it up, buttercup,” Delphie said in an imitation of Nash.

Nash gasped and looked at her.

“Isn’t that what you usually say to addicts?” Dephie asked. “What else do you say? Something like…”

“No one cares about your regrets,” Nash said, his numb voice still thick with tears. “All that matters is what you do about it.”

Delphie nodded.

“What are you willing to do?” Delphie asked.

She held out her hand and Nash put the phone into it.

“So we start,” Delphie said. She gave Nash a soft smile. “I love you, Nash. I will do everything I can to help.”

Nash threw himself at Delphie. They fell off the chaise loungers and landed in a lump on the floor.

Delphie held onto the boy while he cried for himself and the start of his journey.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…


For full chapters, visit Stories by Claudia