CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-EIGHT
Sunday morning — 6:04 a.m.
Mike jogged down the stairs from the second floor and into the main Castle kitchen. The kitchen was dark and quiet. No one had made coffee. No pot of tea sat under the tea cozy. Everything was exactly the same as he’d left it when he’d cleaned up last night.
“Oh Jake, when will you return to breathe life into this house?” Mike asked out loud.
He laughed at his joke. He switched on the drip coffee maker and set the kettle on the stove. No electric kettle for Mike Roper. He wanted his water slowly heated over a natural gas fire. Nodding to himself, he turned to go back upstairs. His kids were sleeping over with MJ and Honey’s daughter, Maggie. Valerie was sleeping in.
He looked at the kettle on the stove and wondered if he could hear the squeal from the kettle from upstairs. He did not want Jake to come home and find that Mike had burned down the Castle.
“Electric kettle it is,” Mike said.
He grinned at his brilliant pre-thinking, he turned off the stove, and clicked on the electric kettle. He was walking away when he realized that he’d forgotten to check to see if the electric kettle had water inside. He jogged back to the kettle and opened the lid.
“Oh shit,” Mike said.
The kettle was empty.
He filled the electric kettle with water and started back toward the stairs. He could cuddle with Valerie for at least another hour before the kids came back. Passing the windows to the garden, he glanced out the window into the backyard.
Delphie was pacing off the grass strip between the flagstone path and the fruit trees with one straight leg and then the other. She looked like a toy soldier or something out of the Christmas parade. Mike glanced up the stairs and then out the window again.
“Valerie’s asleep anyway,” Mike said.
He squinted as Delphie turned around on the grass. Delphie stopped short and stared at the grass. He looked up at the ceiling and groaned.
He couldn’t resist. He had to know what Delphie was doing.
He walked out of the kitchen and into the backyard. He was almost to Delphie before she looked up at him.
“What are you doing?” Mike asked.
“Nothing,” Delphie said.
“Nothing?” Mike asked.
“Standing here?” Delphie shrugged.
Mike stuck his leg straight out and did a straight legged marched along the stretch of grass.
“What’s it to you?” Delphie said, saucily with a hand on her hip.
Her attitude was simply too much for Mike. He laughed out loud. Delphie grinned with satisfaction.
Valerie opened the window from their apartment.
“Hey!” Valerie yelled. “Keep it down out there! Some people are trying to sleep.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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