Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Four Hundred and Fifty-five : A Golden Canary (part two)


(part two)

“She has a certain … look,” Jeraine said. “Mari, Edie, even Fin. And that other one — the Blue Fairy? They share a look. Your children — Ne Ne and this one — they look like trees or flowers, like they came from the earth itself. Alluring and terrifying at the same time.”

Abi thought for a moment before nodding.

“We’ll raise Zaidi and Zoe like twins,” Abi said. “Tanesha’s already agreed to help us. Will you?”

Jeraine had the desire to fall to one knee like a knight of old. Instead, he simply nodded.

“Zoe?” Jeraine asked.

“I didn’t realize it, but it turns out that no one could pronounce our daughter’s name,” Abi said.

“I couldn’t,” Jeraine said.

Abi smiled.

“We came to see you perform — Fin and I,” Abi said. “Brought Tanesha with us. I hope that’s okay.”

“I …” Jeraine flushed. “Yes, it’s more than okay. Thank you.”

“Good,” Abi said. “We’ll be here until Monday night. Tanesha has to go back to work on Tuesday.”

“Jer!” Tanesha said.

He looked up from Abi to see his wife. Her bright smile heated the very center of him.

“Excuse me,” Jeraine said.

He touched Abi’s sleeve and went to greet Tanesha. In a whoosh of warm air, he was holding her in his arms. His lips brushed hers, and he held her tight until she giggled.

“Jabari?” Jeraine asked when he remembered himself.

“Mom and Dad have him,” Tanesha said. “I told them that you’d want to see him but they thought we could use some time alone.”

“You mean that I have you all to myself for the next two days?” Jeraine asked.

Surprised, Tanesha could only grin at him. He kissed her nose and moved apart from him. Taking her hand in his, he greeted Sandy. Sissy and Ivan came over to say hello. Aden walked through the crowd with a dandy of an elderly man. Jeraine shook Aden’s hand and listened to the introduction of the man. Jeraine raised a hand to wave to Nash and his Nadia. Noelle came over to hug him. He shook Teddy’s hand for good form and said hello to Mike and Valerie. He couldn’t help but smile at this odd collection of people who he called “family.”

“You look like you’ve swallowed a golden canary,” Tanesha said in his ear.

“I feel that way,” Jeraine said. He turned to her. “I know that I need to perform and participate in this thing of Seth’s. I’m sure you want to hang out with your friends. I’m just …”

He lifted a shoulder in a shrug.

“Me, too,” Tanesha said.

“Why didn’t you tell me when I talked to you last night?” Jeraine asked.

“I didn’t know,” Tanesha said. “Fin arrived this morning and told me about their plan. I guess they watched Ivan and Sissy dance via webcam last night. I was supposed to watch but I passed out as soon as I got to the Castle.”

“In that meditation room you like?” Jeraine said.

“Delphie put the most comfortable bed there.” Tanesha nodded. “I slept through the party.”

Jeraine nodded.

“Are you mad that I didn’t tell you?” Tanesha asked.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Four Hundred and Fifty-five : A Golden Canary (part one)


(part one)

Sunday morning — 10:25 a.m.
New York City, New York

“What are you talking about?” Jeraine asked to the roadie who’d come up to him.

Rather than respond, the roadie pointed. Jeraine looked down the young man’s arm and long index finger.

“What does that mean?” Jeraine asked.

“Why don’t you go see for your own self?” the roadie asked.

Jeraine sneered at the young man. Unimpressed, the young man simply shrugged.

“What do you have to lose?” the roadie asked.

Jeraine took a step in the direction he’d pointed.

“She’s beautiful,” the roadie said. “Special.”

Jeraine turned to look at the young man.

“I never really got it, you know, the whole ‘Miss T’ thing,” the roadie said. “But meeting her, I totally get it.”

“Get what?” Jeraine asked.

“How you could love her so deeply and treat her so bad?” the roadie asked. Before Jeraine could respond, the roadie pressed on. “I was always like: ‘Be a man, dude. You want her — go be with her. Stop whining. Stop fucking around.’ But she’s …”

The roadie nodded. Jeraine scowled.

“I’m just saying that she’s the dream woman — funny, smart, beautiful, real,” the roadie said. “I don’t think I’d believe I was good enough for her either.”

Jeraine stared at the young man so intensely that the young man shrugged again.

“She’s right over there,” the roadie said. “With her girlfriend and her … I don’t know what he is — he looks like some kinda royalty and this other woman. Honestly, she only looks normal standing next to Miss T. I’m not exactly sure she’s human. She pulses with power, like the earth itself.”

“Who?” Jeraine asked.

“She said her name was Abi,” the roadie said with a shrug. “She had a couple of infants with her. Made me want to have a couple of boys so that they could spend their lives with her children.”

The roadie nodded, turned in place, and walked away. Jeraine watched him go for a moment before shrugging. He turned toward the direction the young man had pointed and went to find Tanesha. He heard her laugh before he saw her. Tanesha was standing between Sandy and Fin. Tanesha was wearing a gorgeous form fitting brown skirt, silk blouse, and black leather jacket. Clearly, Fin had dressed her before they’d arrived. She’d finally gotten rid of those Sister Dreads and was wearing her hear in a small afro. As always, Tanesha took his breath away. Abi spotted Jeraine first. Abi turned and walked toward him.

“Please meet our new charge,” Abi said. “We’ve named her ‘Zaidi.’”

Abi set the child in Jeraine’s arms.

“Zaidi, this is our dear friend Jeraine,” Abi said.

The child reached up to touch Jeraine’s face.

“This is the Queen’s child,” Jeraine said.

“How could you tell?” Abi nodded.

“She has a certain … look,” Jeraine said. “Mari, Edie, even Fin. And that other one — the Blue Fairy? They share a look. Your children — Ne Ne and this one — they look like trees or flowers, like they came from the earth itself. Alluring and terrifying at the same time.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Four Hundred and Fifty-four : Break fast (part six)


(part six)

Aden gave a slight nod as he didn’t know how he felt about Nash and Nadia either.

“I am surprised to say, I like you as well,” Allister said.

“Oh?” Aden asked. “Thanks. I like you, too.”

Aden glanced at the building and the entire thing came back to him — Nuala’s rage and criminal tendencies and his need to fix it right now.

“Come now,” Allister said. “It can’t be that bad,”

“You don’t know her,” Aden said.

“Yes, well,” Allister said. “While that may be the case, I am familiar with the effects of money on the criminally inclined.”

Shocked, Aden turned to look the man in the face.

“You’re saying that Nuala showed up out of the blue because of money?” Aden asked.

“What has she ever used her children for?” Allister asked.

“Oh God.” Aden felt his knees go weak. “I don’t have any money. I mean my wife just got some amount of money from the sale of her mother’s… I bet Nuala saw that in the paper and … Oh crap. I can’t. I just can’t take money from Sandy, or really Sandy’s mother, and give it to Nuala. We have five kids! College is coming and … Not to mention braces for every single child and all of Charlie’s medical … I mean even though Sissy’s here in New York, we still support her needs … and Nash … God knows that Noelle won’t make a living anytime soon …”

“She is thirteen,” Allister said.

“What?” Aden asked.

“Noelle,” Allister said.

Aden realized what he’d just said and he laughed.

“That’s why I am here, dear boy,” Allister said. The lawyer patted Aden’s arm with a gloved hand. “Now, before we go in …”

Aden raised his eyebrows.

“Do you have access to backstage passes for today’s event?” Allister asked.

“For Nuala?” Aden asked.

“No,” Allister said. “I’m a bit embarrassed to say but I have quite a thing for Seth O’Malley. He’s simply beautiful — inside and out. Do you know him?”

“He’s my wife’s father,” Aden said. Before the man asked again, he added, “But you should know that Seth’s not gay. Not even a little bit.”

“Oh,” Allister sighed. “I know. I’m not exactly single either.”

Aden grinned.

“I can get you as many backstage passes as you need,” Aden said with a nod. “Worst case, you can get in with me. Sandy will be so grateful that you’re helped me that she’ll make sure you get in.”

“Sandy holds the key?” Allister asked.

“You probably know this, but Seth has a bad drug problem,” Aden said. “Sandy controls his money so that if he relapses he can’t do too much damage.”

“Was this her idea?” Allister asked.

“No,” Aden said. “Seth set it up. He’s given away almost everything he owns so he’s not tempted to cash in.”

“Does it work?” Allister asked.

“He’s sober,” Aden said. “Has been for a while. Of course, Mitch died so he’s not tempted very often.”

“Brilliant,” Allister said. “Makes me admire the man a little bit more.”

Allister looked up the short flight of stairs.

“Shall we?” Allister asked.

Sighing, Aden nodded.

“Let me do the talking,” Allister said as they walked up the steps. “It’s my job. I happen to be good at it.”

Aden nodded. Nuala opened the door to the apartment building and they stepped inside.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

Chapter Four Hundred and Fifty-four : Break fast (part five)


(part five)

“I just have to do something …” Aden said.

“It is always hard to do things we have to do,” the man said.

“I’m pretty good at doing things I have to do,” Aden said. “I like the cool precision of filling out forms, even taxes. I run a construction company. There’s a ridiculous amount of things we have to do to get any work started.”

“I see,” the man said. “That being the case, don’t you think we should head inside? Face the music, as it were.”

Aden startled. He looked at the man again.

“We?” Aden asked. His stomach sank. “I suppose you work for Nuala.”

The man simply looked at him.

“God damn it,” Aden said. “I didn’t even think of having a lawyer here.”

“Yes, I am aware of that,” the man said.

“I suppose you work for Nuala,” Aden repeated.

“You may suppose whatever you wish, sir,” the man said.

Aden squinted as he ran through their entire conversation. He stuck out his hand.

“Aden Norsen,” he said.

“I assumed,” the man said with a twinkle in his eye. He shook Aden’s hand and said, “I am Wooster.”

The man took a breath to continue but Aden interrupted.

“Bertie?” Aden asked quickly without thinking. “You sound like Jeevs.”

He was treated with a wide grin.

“Fortunately not,” the man said. “I am Allister. Allister Wooster. Thank God my parents had better sense than to name me Bertram or even Bertie.”

Aden grinned at the man.

“You can see why I had to leave Britain,” Allister said.

“Yes, I can see that,” Aden said.

“You may call me, Allister,” the man said. He gave Aden an assessing look before adding, “No one reads P.G. Wodehouse these days.”

“The stories are funny,” Aden said. “I like to listen to books on my way between job sites. We have a policy that the CEO must be on every work site at least once a week. It’s a lot of driving.”

“I imagine that is so,” Allister said. He smiled. “Before you suppose I work for your ex-wife again, I am employed by Ms. Kerminoff.”

“Nadia,” Aden said. The man nodded.

“Actually, I worked for her father, mostly,” Allister said. “Her mother needed me much less and I can say that this is the first time I’ve had to actually do anything other than review papers in years. It’s kind of exhilarating.”

“I imagine that’s true,” Aden said with a smile.

“I will say that I had the dubious honor of procuring Nadia’s mother,” Allister said.

“Oh?” Aden asked.

“She was fifteen,” Allister said. “Not a day older than your Nash.”

Aden wasn’t sure why but he felt flush of embarrassment.

“I’m not selling Nash,” Aden said. “He’s not for sale!”

One look at Allister’s face, and Aden felt immediately ridiculous. Allister smiled at Aden until Aden laughed.

“Come now,” Allister said. “I told you that to make you feel more comfortable. I like your Nash. He’s smart and funny, surprisingly handsome. I wouldn’t have picked him for Nadia — and I’m not above having judgements about the entire torrid affair — but somehow, Nash and Nadia just fit.”

Aden gave a slight nod as he didn’t know how he felt about Nash and Nadia either.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Four Hundred and Fifty-four : Break fast (part four)


(part four)

Sunday morning — 8:01 a.m.

New York City, New York

Aden stepped out of the taxi at the address where Nuala said she was staying staying. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting. With five steps up to the front door, the apartment building looked like any other apartment building in Queens. He knew from the Internet that Nuala was staying in a living community where she had a nice apartment and one roommate. The living community had buildings all over the city and throughout the country. Her only restriction was that she had to stay sober and she couldn’t break the law.

Aden had scowled when she’d told him last night.

Her very presence put her within one hundred feet of Nash and Noelle. She was, right at that moment, breaking the law. She was furious when he brought it up. Standing there on the sidewalk in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen, Nuala had called Aden every name in the book. The less he reacted, the more she screamed. When a New York Police Cruiser pulled over, Aden was afraid they’d arrest her. He managed to get her into a cab with the promise of meeting her here this morning at eight o’clock.

Now he stood outside this building, on another sidewalk, staring up the five steps up to the front door, in another part of a city that he didn’t live in. He sighed and wished he’d had gone to breakfast. Would Sandy think he was weak if he just went back to Seth’s or better yet, Vancouver? He scowled and looked down at the sidewalk.

There was no way he could leave this for Nash and Noelle to work out. He was the dumbass who picked an insane woman to be the mother of his children. This was his problem. He had to deal with it now before it got out of hand, and it always got out of hand. His mind flashed on scenes where Nuala had endangered their children. Rage pulsed through him. He would not let that happen again. As fast as his rage appeared, it drained away, and was replaced by resignation. Nuala was who she was. This was what she did, what she always did. He had no one to blame but himself. He sighed and looked up at the door again.

“Just have to get through the door,” Aden said.

Feeling movement, and prepared for the worst, Aden turned abruptly to find an aged man in an expensive three piece brown tweed suit carrying a briefcase. He wore a bowler hat, brown leather gloves, and a deep purple silk handkerchief in his suit pocket.

“That bad, eh?” the man asked with a smile.

His jovial tone caused Aden to relax. His accent was somewhere between P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeevs and the Scottish guy who used to have a late night talk show. Aden squinted to see if he’d remember the talk show host’s name. The man gave him an expectant grin.

“I just have to do something …” Aden said.

“It is always hard to do things we have to do,” the man said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

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