CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY-ONE
Ignoring Ben, Patrick continued, “That man knows more about what actually happened in the last hundred years that anyone alive.”
Patrick looked at Seth.
“His mind is still clear?” Patrick asked.
“Planning on recruiting him?” Seth asked. He shook his head. “No. Whatever you’re thinking, no. He’s an old man who gave everything he had to his country. He’s here for fun, not as some lab rat for your Intelligence bullshit.”
Patrick opened his mouth.
“No,” Seth said with a shake of his head.
“I wasn’t going to recruit him,” Patrick said.
“Bullshit,” Seth said.
“Okay, I was going to recruit him,” Patrick said.
“I can hear you,” Bernie said. “As you well know, the last thing I was recruited for left me locked in a room with ricen.”
“What?” Leena asked. Every eye turned to Bernie.
“I apologize,” Bernie said. “It’s not my intention to cause an issue.”
“It was my father’s,” Alex said with a laugh. “Dad, chill out. Get some wine.”
Patrick gave her a hard look. She pointed toward the kitchen.
“I’ll go with you,” Margaret said.
Alex sat down next to Bernie.
“Dinner is ready,” their cook said. “I’m afraid it’s a little of this and that. I wasn’t sure when you’d get in. I thought we could just line it up here and you could get what you wanted.”
“That’s perfect,” Vince said. “Thank you.”
“I’ll help carry things,” Seth said. He looked at his father. Bernie nodded.
Taking his cue, the rest of the team went into the kitchen leaving Alex, Ben, and Bernie on the couch. Alex looked at Ben, and he got up.
“I’ll go help Patrick with the wine,” Ben said.
Alex threaded her hand through Bernie’s elbow. He turned to look at her. She gave him a soft smile.
“I want to make sure that you are as comfortable as you can be,” Alex said.
“Why is Patrick here?” Bernie asked.
“He wanted to come,” Alex said. “If you’d like him to leave, I will tell him to go.”
“Just like that?” Bernie asked.
“Just like that,” Alex said. “He and I tell each other the truth. We’ve …” Alex sighed. “We’ve had a lot of hard truths in the last few years.”
“How’s your PTSD?” Alex asked.
“How’s yours?” Bernie asked.
Alex grinned at him.
“I can always see it on people,” Alex said. “You?”
“Does Seth …?” Alex asked.
“I don’t think so,” Bernie said. “He’s been through hell but it doesn’t seem to cling to him.”
“Piano?” Alex asked.
“Maybe,” Bernie said. “I was a prodigy as well.”
“I know,” Alex said with a grin. “I’m a prodigy, too. Ciphers. My brother and I figured all kinds of things out.”
“Including mine?” Bernie asked.
“Including yours,” Alex said. “Listen.”
Bernie turned to look at her directly.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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