CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-SEVEN
Wednesday morning — 6:15 a.m.
For the last several hours, Nash had been staring at the ceiling of Seth O’Malley’s den.
He knew that it was his fault that Sandy had fallen down the stairs. No, it was his fault that she’d nearly died! He sighed.
How can you love someone and hurt them so badly?
And the way his father had looked at him?
A tear ran down the boy’s face.
The last time they’d fought over his phone, his father had told him that if he didn’t like their rules, he could go live with his mother. His mother was dying to have him come to live with her — and get her hands on child support for him.
He swallowed hard.
He’d argued that Sandy was his mother. His dad had said: “If that’s the case, then why don’t you follow Sandy’s rules? Why don’t you trust that she’s doing this for your own good?”
Why? Why? Why?
He had no answer to any of the “Why’s”.
Why hadn’t he just left his phone and gone to dinner?
He heard movement in the kitchen. Using his nose, he tried to do what his martial arts teacher told him to do — identify the person through his senses.
He had no idea who was there.
He was drawn out of his blankets by the idea that there was someone to keep him from his dark, desperate thoughts. He crept passed Teddy, who was sleeping on the floor next to him. A lighter sleeper than even Nash, Noelle opened her eyes and leaned up on her elbows.
Nash put his finger to his lips and whispered, “It’s early. Go back to sleep.”
“Any news?” Noelle asked.
Nash shook his head. Noelle nodded and lay back on the couch.
“I’ll come and get you if I hear anything,” Nash said.
Noelle nodded. Nash went past the couch and across the ten feet or so between the den and the kitchen.
No one seemed to be in the kitchen.
He was so disappointed that he nearly cried. Then Delphie stood up. She closed a low cabinet and set the electric teapot on the counter. She lifted the kettle and turned to fill it with water from the filter.
“Sorry,” Nash said in a low whisper.
His mood continued its plunge.
“I didn’t see you. That’s all,” Delphie said with a smile. “Would you like some tea?”
Nash gave a slow nod. Delphie filled the pot from the filtered water tap in the sink and turned it on. She took a few quick steps and hugged Nash tight. Nash gasped a breath but she held on. After a few minutes, she stepped away. She set out two cups and placed tea bags in them. When the pot clicked off, she poured the water into the cups.
Seth’s father, Bernie, appeared with a stained mug that looked like it had been made by a child. He held it out, and Delphie filled it with warm water and a tea bag. He set the mug on the cabinet and took half-and-half from the refrigerator. He set the cream on the counter.
Nash was sure that Bernie hadn’t seen him. Certainly, the elderly man had never spoken to him. The man turned to look at Nash.
“You must feel horrible,” Bernie said, mildly.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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