Wednesday night — 8:10 P.M.
“Would you like to cut the cake?” Sandy asked Noelle.
“Daddy should cut it! It’s his ‘Happy Day’ cake!” Noelle said. Noelle sat on her knees on a chair at Sandy’s round dining room table. “Don’t you think, Nash?”
“Sure.” Nash mumbled from Sandy’s computer table.
Sandy had baked a delicate white cake with toasted coconut cream layers to celebrate the public announcement of Aden taking over Lipson Construction. Standing with her hand in Aden’s, she had felt Aden shake with anxiety. But when Jacob invited Aden to answer questions, Aden had been every bit the charming, professional leader. She, Noelle and Nash screamed and cheered for him. To avoid the press, the family retreated to Sandy’s condo for a sleep over and cake.
“Daddy has to get out of the bathroom,” Sandy said.
“Hey!” Aden came out of the bathroom in a bathrobe. “You’re the one who told me to wash off my nervous stink.”
Sandy laughed. Aden kissed her.
“Let me get dressed.” Aden scooted into Sandy’s bedroom to change into jeans.
“This week has been really fun,” Noelle said. “I’m glad we didn’t have to stay at Nuala’s house.”
“Milk?” Sandy asked.
“Yes please,” Noelle said.
“How about you, Nash?” Sandy asked.
“Huh,” Nash looked up from Sandy’s laptop. “What did you do to this?”
“It just stopped working.” Sandy shrugged.
“It’s pretty messed up,” Nash said. “Think I can fix it. You have wireless?”
“The building does,” Sandy said.
“Great. I’ll start a virus scan…”
“You’re a life saver. Thanks.” Sandy kissed the top of his head.
“Ew.” Nash bat at her with his hand then leaned back against her.
“What’s this about cake?”
Aden was walking by the front door when there was a knock. He looked through the peep hole, made a puzzled face, and then opened the door. Without warming, the Denver Police Officer attacked Aden. His forearm at Aden’s throat, the police officer pushed Aden all the way back to the wall. The table knocked over shattering a vase filled with flowers. The men stood face to face.
“We can do this hard or we can do this easy,” the Police Officer said. “Your choice.”
Noelle screamed and launched herself across the room. Sandy caught her before she reached the men. Nash came up beside Sandy to hold her hand.
“Let him go,” Sandy said. She wasn’t anxious or angry. She sounded mostly annoyed.
“Sandra,” the police officer said. “This man has a criminal record.”
“Uh huh,” Sandy said. “Your history’s not so hot either. You’re going to pay for the vase you broke.”
The police officer stepped back. He lifted Aden by the shirt and set him away from the wall.
“Aden, I’d like to introduce you to my ridiculous, overbearing, jerk of a Godfather, Seth O’Malley.”
“Now Sandy,” Seth said. “I had to be sure we could have a conversation. He has a violent record.”
“You scared the kids,” Sandy said. “Do you feel like a man by terrifying two small kids?”
“Sandra,” Seth said. He held his arms out for a hug but Sandy shook her head at him.
“You really overstepped your bounds this time,” Sandy said.
“Sandy,” Aden walked up to her and the kids. “I’m Ok.”
He hugged Noelle and Nash then stroked Sandy’s hair.
“We were just about to have some of Sandy’s cake,” Aden said. “Would you like to join us?”
“But Dad!” Nash said. “That’s police brutality. We should…”
“I’m all right,” Aden said. “Ever since Sandy told me that her stepdad and Godfather were police officers, I’ve wondered when I’d get… uh… introduced.”
Sandy nodded then went into the kitchen. She returned with a broom and dust pan which she thrust into Seth’s hands. He raised his eyebrows and laughed. He set about cleaning up the flowers and broken vase. When he finished, he held his arms out and Sandy hugged him.
“May I introduce my friend Aden Norsen?”
The men shook hands.
“Nice to meet you,” Aden said.
“Yeah, sorry about that.” Seth pulled at his collar. “Sandy’s stepdad was my best-friend and the best person I’ve ever known. I saw Sandy’s name on your police report. Well, naturally, I got a little hot about that. Then I saw you and Sandy and the kids on the television tonight… I’m a little protective.”
“She deserves it,” Aden replied.
“This is Noelle and Nash,” Sandy said. “We’re having a celebration for Aden. Is it okay…?”
“Please join us,” Aden said.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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