Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Five Hundred and Sixty-seven : That thing we call love (part three)


(part three)

“Shower?” Maresol pointed Nadia to her room. “Be quick.”

Nadia nodded and jogged off.

“I’ll get it,” Noelle yelled from the other room.

A few minutes later, Blane appeared.

“You sure you don’t want to stay?” Maresol asked.

“We’re off to have much inferior food,” Blane said.

“Inferior food?” Nelson asked.

Blane looked at Nelson.

“What?” Nelson asked.

Laughing, Ava put her hand on Blane’s arm.

“We’ve been messing with him,” Ava said.

Nash came back in. Holding out pot holders, Maresol nodded to a serving plate of New Mexican style enchiladas. Nash took the pot holders from Maresol, picked up the enchiladas, and left the room.

“Boy that looks good,” Blane said.

“Smells divine,” Nelson said.

“You can stay,” Maresol said.

“You might have to fight for food,” Bernie, Seth’s father, said as he entered the room. “These kids eat more than their weight in food. Hi Blane!”

Bernie held out his arms, and Blane hugged him.

“Where are you off to?” Bernie asked when they stepped back.

“Capital Grill,” Nelson said.

“Is it nice?” Bernie asked.

Blane nodded.

“Shall we?” Blane asked.

Nelson closed his laptop and stuck it into his backpack. Blane picked it up.

“I can carry it myself,” Nelson said irritably.

“See, that’s why we’re not on Team Nelson,” Charlie said in a loud whisper. “So cranky.”

“Team Nelson?” Blane asked.

“Just go,” Maresol said.

Charlie looked at Maresol and asked, “Anything else?”

Maresol nodded to the pitcher of water. Charlie picked it up and went to the dining room.

“Have fun!” Ava said.

Blane nodded and followed Nelson out of room.

“Captial Grill is very nice,” Seth said when they were in the entryway.

At the door, Nelson turned to Blane.

“Did you know they had Team Blane and Team Nelson?” Nelson asked.

From where he stood, Blane could look into the dining room. Nash and Teddy were laughing. Tink was shaking her head, and Noelle looked worried.

“Of course,” Blane said with a straight face. “Everyone’s on Team Blane.”

“What?” Nelson asked, incensed.

Blane laughed. He opened the door, and they left the house.

“You think they’ll work that out?” Bernie asked the laughing kids.

“Nelson’s so gullible,” Nadia said coming into the dining room after her shower.

“What do you mean?” Charlie asked. “There really is a Team Blane and Team Nelson.”

“What?” Nadia asked. “Really?”

She looked at Nash, then Teddy and Noelle. They nodded in unison.

“No, there isn’t,” Ava said when she came into the dining room. She pointed at the teens. “Sit.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and Sixty-seven : That thing we call love (part two)


(part two)

Friday evening — 6:56 p.m.

“You’re not eating?” Noelle asked Nelson.

Nelson had come home with Ava. He was sitting at the bar between the kitchen and the den with his laptop open. Ava was standing in front of him while she made a salad.

“I have a date,” Nelson said, without looking up.

“He has a date with Blane,” Ava said in a sing song voice. “They are going out for fancy dinner.”

Nelson turned in his seat to look at Noelle. His eyebrows pinched with concern.

“You know that Blane and I are together,” Nelson said.

“Really?” Charlie asked as he came through the room. He picked up a stack of plate. “You mean the two of you making out in Arizona wasn’t a fluke?”

Nash and Teddy laughed as they came into the den. Charlie left with the plates.

“When were we making out?” Nelson’s face flushed with color. “You…”

“They’re just giving you shit,” Tink said as she came in from the dining room.

She put her hand on Nelson’s shoulder.

“The only thing you should know is that we are on ‘Team Blane,’” Tink said to Nelson. Looking at Maresol, she said, “Tortillas?”

Maresol pointed to the tortilla holder. Tink picked it up and left for the dining room.

“Says who?” Nash asked. “I’m on Team Templar.”

Nash started slashing at the air with the knives and forks in his right hand.

“Team Blane?” Nelson asked, just a step behind. “There’s a Team Blane?”

“You are not on Team Templar,” Noelle said. “You’re on Team Blane.”

“Says who?” Nash asked.

“Me,” Noelle said.

“You are not the boss of me,” Nash said, pointing at her with the silverware.

“So you think,” Noelle said with a laugh.

Ava set the bowl of salad on the bar and Noelle picked it up.

“Dressing?” Noelle asked.

Ava pointed to the refrigerator.

“I’ll get it,” Teddy said, his hand full of cloth napkins.

“What about Team Nelson?” Nelsom asked.

Maresol opened the refrigerator and took out the dressing. She shook her head at Teddy.

“I’ll come back,” Teddy said.

“Better thinking,” Maresol said.

Teddy left for the dining room. Charlie reappeared, and Maresol gave him the salad dressing.

“I’ll be on your team,” Nadia said.

She came in from the exercise area where she’d been swimming.

“And not Team Blane?” Ava asked with a laugh.

“Oh, there’s a Team Blane?” Nadia asked.

Ava and Nadia laughed while Nelson tried to figure out what was going on. There was a knock at the door.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and Sixty-seven : That thing we call love (part one)


(part one)

“Being in love,” John said. “You may as well settle in and see where it takes you. You can always get out if you need to. But you should stop torturing yourself to try to make it happen. It’s happening.”

Nash nodded.

“Now, I have something serious to talk to you about,” John said.

“This wasn’t serious?” Nash asked.

“Oh it is,” John said with a smile. “Just a little different, I guess.”

“What?” Nash asked with more force than he intended. John raised his eyebrows and Nash laughed.

“Sandy can’t make you feel better,” John said. “Not right now. She’s too sick.”

“What do you mean?” Nash asked.

“She is your mom,” John said. “The most natural thing in the world would be for you to go to her and want her to forgive you or help you with all of this… angst. If she were well, you’d strategize what to do, talking it over, get some yummy baked goods, and eventually feel better. But she cannot do that right now. She’s too sick.”

Nash nodded.

“That’s why you haven’t been able to see her,” John said.

“Oh.” Nash looked down at his hands. “Noelle and Charlie too?”

John nodded.

“You need to be happy and light around her,” John said. “Nash, you must know that she is not mad at you.”

“I do?” Nash asked.

“Of course you do,” John said. “You are mad at you. She’s not mad at you. You know that.”

The silence became heavy and the car filled with pressure. Nash snorted and shook his head.

“She cannot help you with this stuff,” John repeated. “Not right now. Later, maybe, but not now.”

Nash looked at him.

“Did you tell Teddy that?” Nash asked.

“I did,” John said. “Teddy is just as upset as you are, but he’s trying to accept that he made a mistake.”

“I made a mistake,” Nash silently mouthed the words.

After a minute, he nodded.

“I made a mistake,” Nash said. “It’s certainly not the first one.”

Nash sighed. Nodding his head, he added, “I can live with that. I can do it.”

“I know you can,” John said. “And Nadia?”

“I think it’s over,” Nash said. “She doesn’t want to be with an addict.”

“Maybe you should talk to her,” John said. “Share your plan with her. Give her the opportunity to talk to combine her plans with yours. Work it through with her.”

“Trust the magic?” Nash asked.

“Use the magic,” John said. “You didn’t ask for this to come into your life. But it’s here now. So you may as well deal with it because, even if you spend a lifetime with Nadia, it will be over and done with soon enough.”

Nash gave a little grunt. They drove the rest of the way to O’Malley’s house in silence. Nash thanked John and got out of the car. He’d almost reached the door of the house when Nadia came out of the house. Nash smiled at her and held out his hand.

From the stop sign near the house, John watched Nash invite Nadia for a walk. He grinned as they started off down the street.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Five Hundred and Sixty-six : "The plan" (part six)


(part six)

“I don’t have time to be good enough for her!” Nash said. “And now I’m addicted! Game over! I may as well just kill myself!”

Nash angrily shook his head.

“I had a plan!” Nash said, his voice filled with rage. “It was going to work! I was going to be … and now …”

“Alex told me to tell you that she picked me because of me,” John said. “She didn’t know about the plan. When she found out, my plan became our plan. Our plan was so much better, smarter, and more practical. Alex was making a salary so we were able to purchase a home. From there, together, we grew safety and security, and eventually financial freedom, or relative financial freedom.”

“You believe that she picked you for you?” Nash asked.

“Not really, but it is what she says,” John grinned at Nash. “My guess is that Nadia feels the same way. I know that it’s different for the two of you because of your ages and the distance, but …”

John scowled and looked at Nash.

“Not much,” John said. “We had a lot of obstacles that you wouldn’t understand. Lots. They might have been bigger than yours or smaller than yours or easier or harder. We also had our plan.”

John looked at the boy and Nash nodded.

“One thing I think …” John said.

John pressed his key fob and his car unlocked. Nash got in the passenger seat.

“One thing I think,” John repeated as he turned on the vehicle. “Love is … magic. Plain and simple. I don’t know about past lives. I’ve had dreams about Alex and I in different situations and different times. She has too. Maybe we’ve loved many lifetimes or maybe this is it. What I know is that it’s sheer magic.”

John started driving down the street.

“Everything I wanted happened because I knew Alex,” John said. “Things I didn’t even know I wanted happened because Alex loved me.”

“What do you mean?” Nash asked.

“If you’d asked me when I was twenty years old if I would want my life partner, my beloved, to have a work partner who was smoking hot, smart, intelligent, and someone she loves deeply,” John shook his head. “I’d say that was crazy. But you know Raz? He’s amazing. He’s been such a great friend to me and to Alex. A real brother when I had none. More than that, he loved Alex so much that he found her and saved her life.”

John nodded to Nash.

“Love has a wisdom of its own,” John said. “I’m not going to tell you to trust it because you’re never going to do that. People like us don’t trust anyone or anything. We know life is not a romance novel. What I’m saying is that this thing has happened to you.”

“Sandy being injured?” Nash asked.

“Being in love,” John said. “You may as well settle in and see where it takes you. You can always get out if you need to. But you should stop torturing yourself to try to make it happen. It’s happening.”

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

Chapter Five Hundred and Sixty-six : "The plan" (part five)


(part six)

“But when she was shot …” John sighed. “I don’t know. I guess I just got over it. She lost her team. I lost these men who were … You never met them but they were truly the best human beings I had ever met. Funny. Friendly. So smart. They were such a great support to me in my schooling and in my life. Me. The husband. They were family. My family. And then they were gone. Alex was so broken that …”

John shook his head.

“That’s the problem with a plan,” John said, so softly that Nash had to strain to listen. “It makes you lose focus on what’s real and all that’s real is very transient.”

He fell silent and they walked so more.

“I was so focused on getting somewhere, that I didn’t really value where I was,” John said. “I didn’t realize that I had been there the entire time until I almost lost everything. I couldn’t have survived Alex dying. I couldn’t survive it now and we have children! I have the career the plan built! Money! Friends! Status! Everything the plan got me!”

John shrugged.

“It wouldn’t matter one lick if Alex wasn’t there,” John said.

They walked in silence for a while. The day was getting cold and daylight was beginning to wain.

“Fin says that I have to become a better person,” Nash said. “Because she’s a better person than I am.”

“Fin?” John asked with a snort. “The Prince?”

Nash smiled at John’s derision.

“Last I checked, you were no prince,” John said.

“He was talking about becoming good enough to be with Abi,” Nash said.

“In your opinion — is he good enough to be with Abi?” John asked.

Nash burst out laughing. John nodded.

“They pick us,” John said. “That’s how it is. We’ll never be as good as them. I will never, ever be as amazing as Alex is. She loves me anyway.”

John shrugged.

“That doesn’t mean that I stop trying to be fit, smart, educated, and the best person I can be,” John said. “I do that for her and for myself.”

Nash nodded.

“Bernie tells me that you’re trying to learn a bunch of languages,” John said.

“How do you …?” Nash asked.

“He lived on campus at the University while I went to school there, residency, fellowship,” John said. “He used to clean the floors in building 500. I was there late one day; Alex was who knows where in the world and he started talking to me. We’re sort of friends, if you can be friends with someone as unique and brilliant as that.”

“Small world,” Nash said.

“You have no idea,” John said. “So languages?”

“Nadia speaks at least five languages,” Nash said. “She easily jumps back and forth between English and Spanish. She speaks Arabic and Ukrainian and I don’t know what else.”

“Hmm,” John said.

“I should be able to speak with her!” Nash said. “At the barest minimum.”

“You have to do one thing at a time, Nash,” John said. “Learn one language. Then another. I was twenty when I met Alex. If I’d learned one language every five years, I’d be close to what you’re talking about. You have time!”

“I don’t have time to be good enough for her!” Nash said. “And now I’m addicted! Game over! I may as well just kill myself!”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

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