Jacob helped Katy into the warm bubble bath then began undressing Jill. Jill hadn’t said a word since Trevor had been shot. It was almost as if she couldn’t speak. When Mike tried to take Katy, she shook her head and clung to her child. She sobbed when John Drayson suggested she spend the night at the hospital. She leaned into Jacob and held on to Katy. With gentle care, Jacob helped her up into their new loft apartment, where security locks had been installed that afternoon.
This was not the way he hoped to unwrap Jill.
But, he was grateful she was here with him – alive and mostly well. He set the Marlowe diamonds on the counter. Pulling off her dress, he helped her out of a gorgeous lace bra and some kind of a girdle thing. He smiled at her tiny slip of panties and thigh high stockings. They would have had fun tonight.
Through all of this, Jill’s eyes stared at Katy while her child played among the bubbles in the bath.
Under the girdle there was a small, deep cut, probably from tip of the knife. Jacob cleaned the wound and covered it with a Scooby Doo bandage over it. He rolled the stockings from her legs then helped her to stand. She shifted into him when he slipped off the panties. Pulling back to look at her face, her eyes took him in for the first time.
Somewhere behind those big eyes, his Jill was telling him she wished things were different too. He smiled then helped her step into the lavender bubbles. Jill leaned against the back of the tub and sighed.
“She’s having a flashback,” Mike had said. “Just hold her.”
“She needs a bath,” Alex had said. “That will relax her. Then maybe some chocolate. I like chocolate after I have a flashback.”
“She’s going to want… physical relief,” Dr. John Drayson had said in his prim British accent. His eyes and eyebrows told a more lurid story. “As your doctor, I cannot recommend it in your condition. But as your friend? I’d encourage you to get some assistance.”
“Assistance?” Jacob had asked.
“Sildenafil citrate,” John had said.
“Viagra?” Jacob couldn’t fathom what John was saying. Jill was traumatized not horny.
“I’ll see if one of the medics has some. You’d be amazed at what these boys have in their kits.”
Kneeling next to their new large tub, he wondered what Jill needed. When Katy splashed Jill with bubbles, Jill smiled. It was the first real facial expression she had made since she stopped crying.
Leaning forward to cup Katy’s face with her hands, Jill sighed.
“I love you, Katy-baby,” she said.
“MOMMY! You came back!” Katy was so excited she splashed water everywhere. Laughing, Jacob grabbed a few towels from the cabinet to contain the joyful mess. “Oh Mommy, I missed you! Do you know what happened tonight?”
Jill’s eyes welled. She gulped back her sorrow.
“What happened, Katy-baby?”
“A girl kissed Paddie! On the lips! He screamed. The lady Marine that was pretending to be an older kid thought he was hurt. When she found out that Paddie had been kissed, she laughed and laughed. Paddie was upset because she didn’t take him serious but that just made the lady laugh even harder. Then I laughed and finally Paddie laughed too.”
Jill smiled through Katy’s story. Katy’s giggles brought out Jill’s laugh. When Jacob set a few yellow ducks in the water, Katy began an elaborate story of Mommy ducks and Daddy ducks and baby ducks. Under Katy’s instruction, Jill, and Jacob from beside the tub, played roles in her game.
Maybe Katy was all Jill needed. That would be all right too.
“Daddy?” Katy asked when her story reached some random stopping point.
“Yes honey,” Jacob said.
“I wanna go to bed now. It’s waaaay past my bedtime,” Katy yawned. “And I’m tired.”
Jacob helped Katy out of the tub. He let some of the water out of the tub then turned the hot water on to warm the bath. Resting against the tub, Jill smiled at him. He dried Katy in a fluffy bath sheet then helped her into her new pajamas and her new big girl bed. He stayed with Katy until she was asleep. Taking a receiver to her baby monitor with him, he returned to the bathroom.
Only Jill’s eyes peeked above the bubbles. Seeing him, she moved to sit.
“Would you like to join me?” she asked.
“I’d like you to feel all right,” he said. “What do you need?”
“Hmmm….” She slipped all the way under the bubbles. Popping up, she said, “Did Delphie make brownies? Or did I imagine that?”
“Delphie’s at the hospital. Val made the brownies. They’re actually pretty good. I have them,” Jacob said. “She made them for you.”
“Where’s Sandy? I remember Sandy being with me,” Jill said.
“Sandy stayed with you while you talked to the police,” Jacob said. “She wanted to stay tonight but you just seemed to want Katy. She’s with Aden in their apartment. Would you like me to get her?”
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
NEW DENVER CEREAL RETURNS OCTOBER 4, 2020
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