CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and EIGHTY-NINE
Thursday early-morning — 5:14 a.m.
“Nash,” Bernie whispered over the couch Nash was asleep on.
When Nash didn’t move, Bernie touched the boy’s shoulders. For a very old man, he had a surprisingly tight grip. Nash’s eyes popped open. Nash grabbed Bernie’s hand and put it into a pin. Bernie easily shook it off.
“I need to speak to you,” Bernie said. Looking up to see Noelle and Teddy looking at him, he added, “In private.”
Nash sat up. He rubbed his head and stood up.
“Back to sleep,” Bernie ordered Noelle and Teddy.
They lay back down. Bernie took Nash’s arm and led him toward the large dining room. The light was grey outside the mullioned windows. The dining room table gleamed. The air of the room smelled vaguely like great food and, if at all possible, laughter. Nash pulled out the chair on the end for Bernie and pulled the one out beside it for himself. They sat down.
For a moment, neither said anything. Bernie scanned Nash’s face.
“What can I do for you?” Nash asked. Realizing he might have been impolite, he added, “I’m sorry. It’s early.”
Bernie grinned at Nash.
“Son, I’ve seen a lot of early mornings,” Bernie said. “No offense taken. And you’re right —what is it that I want at this God-forsaken hour?”
Bernie grinned. He leaned forward. Still half-asleep, Nash marveled at how Bernie never smelled like an old man. He didn’t look as old as he was either.
“I wanted to talk to you about Nadia,” Bernie said.
Instantly wide awake, Nash sucked in a breath.
“Whaa…” Nash said.
Bernie put his hand over Nash’s arm. Nash looked up at him.
“I’ve known Nadia for a very long time,” Bernie said. “Since she was a toddler. I knew her father, of course, and her mother. I’m not surprised that she’s a doctor or that she runs the entire show at her Dad’s old business.”
“But me?” Nash asked.
Bernie smiled at the young man.
“You, my boy, make the most sense of all,” Bernie said with a smile. “She and I shared a plane back from Poland.”
“Why was Nadia in Poland?” Nash asked.
“She took an overnight trip to look at the loot from the salt mine,” Bernie said with a nod. “Like her father before her, she is very hands on. She wanted to check everything before most of it is sent back to the heirs.”
Bernie nodded to Nash.
“A good portion of it is coming here,” Bernie said.
“To this house?” Nash asked.
“Why?” Nash asked.
“It belongs to Sandy,” Bernie said.
“That is not why I wanted to talk with you,” Bernie said.
“Okay,” Nash said.
“We talked about you,” Bernie said. “For a long time.”
“Oh?” Nash asked.
“She is very taken by you,” Bernie said. “In a way that I’ve never seen. But she’s embarrassed because…”
“I’m just a stupid kid,” Nash said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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