CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-ONE
Monday evening — 8:45 p.m.
“Finally,” Noelle said when Tanesha closed the door.
The kids laughed.
“What are you doing here, freak?” Nash asked.
“You need my help, jerk-face,” Katy said.
“Whoa,” Teddy said. “When did you start called Katy ‘freak’ and she calling you ‘jerk-face’?”
Nash and Katy turned to look at him.
“He started it,” Katy said.
“That is not very nice,” Teddy said to Nash.
Nash shook his head.
“He’s just mad because Nadia lives so far away,” Noelle said.
The kids looked at Nash and he shrugged.
“Leave me alone,” Nash said with a sneer.
Katy ran across the room and hugged him. The other kids got up to hug him as well. They stayed up for a few minutes before falling over. They laughed.
When Nash finally got free, he pointed to Katy.
“Why are you here?” Nash asked.
“You can’t make a plan without me,” Katy said.
“I can too,” Nash said with a sneer.
“You need me to tell you where the booby traps are,” Katy said very slowly as if she were talking to her younger brothers.
Nash swallowed hard. He sneered at Katy.
“You know, Nadia misses you too,” Katy said. “You could say that it’s harder for her because she’s so beautiful. There are lots of men who want to be her beloved. She wants you.”
Nash blinked at the six year old girl.
“Sometimes, you really freak me out,” Nash said.
“Good,” Katy said with a grin. “Now, let’s get to work.”
Tink pulled the country map from her backpack. Nash and Teddy set up their computers. Charlie got out the topographical map for the region.
“Don’t we think that Auntie Alex will have all this worked out?” Ivy asked.
“She doesn’t have me,” Katy said with a nod. She pointed to Ivy. “Or you.”
Ivy’s hand instinctively went to her chest in a gesture of “Me?”
“Are you ready to stop pretending?” Katy asked.
The other kids watched in the interaction with intense interest. Ivy looked terrified. She looked around the room.
“It’s just us, Ivy,” Charlie said. “Why would you be afraid to be yourself around us?”
Ivy looked at him for a long moment.
“Okay, Pan,” Ivy said.
“Come sit by me,” Tink said.
Ivy crossed the room. Tink made space on the couch for the small girl.
“Ready now?” Nash said with a return of his irritability.
“Go through it,” Charlie said. “Start at the beginning.”
Nash nodded to Teddy. He got up and went to the board to explain the plane. For the next half hour, no one said anything. When Teddy stopped talking, he looked at Katy.
“Well?” Teddy asked.
“Let’s get to work,” Katy said.
“She scares the fuck out of me,” Nash said under his breath.
Katy grinned at him.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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