CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FORTY-SEVEN
Two days later
Monday morning — 5:15 a.m.
“Are you going to be okay?” Tanesha asked Jeraine as she came from the shower.
They were living in a small apartment in the basement of the Castle. Jeraine had spent last with his sister at the little yellow house. Tanesha had been asleep when he’d come home. Jabari spent the night at Tanesha’s parents home.
“Sure,” Jeraine said from his perch leaning against the backboard of the bed. “You?”
Tanesha blew out a breath. Her towel dropped. She tugged on underwear and snapped on a bra. She felt his hand on her shoulder. She turned to look into his eyes.
“Are you going to be okay?” Jeraine asked.
“Terrified,” Tanesha said.
“Of school?” Jeraine asked.
“Second year,” Tanesha said. “This is the year that the class starts to separate into the best student and the rest. I need to be in the best students.”
“Then you will be,” Jeraine said evenly.
“It’s not that easy,” Tanesha said.
She shook her head and turned to the closet. He got out of bed, pulled on a T-shirt and some boxer shorts before going to the little kitchenette to make her some tea.
“Tell me about you,” Tanesha said, pulling up her jeans. “You’re going with Jammy to Las Vegas today?”
Jeraine had been offered a long term residency at one of the Las Vegas casinos. It was the first time in the history of Las Vegas that an African-American was going to have a yearlong show. His agent, James Schmidt V, was taking him to Las Vegas to sort out some of the last details.
“We’re going to look at the venue and sign some papers,” Jeraine said. “I’ll be here when you get home.”
Tanesha grunted. She pulled on her blue starched button down shirt that made her skin looked coffee brown.
“How did it go with La Tonya?” Tanesha asked.
“Oh,” Jeraine sighed.
He poured hot water into a travel mug and dropped in a teabag. He tucked two more tea bags into her lunch box and zipped the thermal vinyl closed.
She touched his shoulder, and he looked at her.
“How did it go with La Tonya?” Tanesha asked again.
“It went well, I guess,” Jeraine said. “I mean, she let me in. I made dinner for her and the kids. Got the kids bathed and in bed. We tried to talk but … I mean, I’m the fuck-up, right? Not her. It’s too hard for her.”
“I’m glad you were able to help,” Tanesha said. “Did you leave the money?”
“Three hundred dollars. Cash. Plus the grocery card. On the counter,” Jeraine said. “She told me not to leave the money, but Mom said that it was gone when she got there. Hopefully, La Tonya’ll get some groceries and stuff.”
“I wondered, I mean, I don’t really have a right to ask,” Jeraine said.
Tanesha gave him a puzzled look.
“I wonder if Jill might go by and see if she could, you know, heal La Tonya,” Jeraine said.
“La Tonya’s coming to see Blane this afternoon,” Tanesha said. “Your mom’s bringing her and the kids. They should be here when you get back tonight.”
“And Jill?” Jeraine asked.
“I’ll text her,” Tanesha said. “She’s taking the kids to the orthodontist this morning, but she should be here tonight. I’m sure she’d want to help.”
“It’s really hard to watch someone you love suffer so much over something that seems so trivial,” Tanesha said.
“Even the tiniest thing can be too much if you’re really depressed,” Jeraine said.
“Exactly,” Tanesha said.
She leaned forward and kissed his lips.
“Thanks for last week,” Tanesha said. “It was really nice of you to do all the cooking and making things nice for everyone. I know that Heather is grateful that you helped her friend, our new friend.”
“I hope she settles in,” Jeraine said with a nod.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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