CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-THREE
“And you?” Nelson asked. “What about raising kids that aren’t yours and …”
“I grew up with the children of my older siblings,” Tres said. “I like kids, and they like me. I don’t care if I’m their biological father. There are certainly plenty of Sierras on the planet. I really only care that kids are happy.”
“You know that Tink works for me in the summers, right?’ Tres asked. “She’s started calling me ‘Daddy T’.”
“Yes, you’ll get a name too,” Tres said.
Nelson’s grin grew wider.
“This is really happening,” Nelson said under his breath.
“Yes, lonely boy, you are suddenly going to be a part of a big, loud, weird family,” Tres said. “The weird part is me. Well, certainly, you know Enrique.”
“Have you met Loki yet?” Tres asked.
“Loki?” Nelson gave a confused shake of his head. “From the movies? Thor’s brother?”
“He and Hedone have a ‘thing,’” Tres said with a nod and a grin. “Something for you to look forward to.”
“I guess,” Nelson said.
“Hey, Jake said that they’ve finished the demo on the house,” Tres said. “Can we take a look?”
“Yes,” Nelson cleared his throat. “That is what we’d planned to do this evening.”
Tres drained his beer. He spied that Nelson’s beer bottle was empty. Tres gestured to it.
“It was nice to have a beer,” Nelson said. “You can just leave that here.”
“Is Mari here?” Tres asked.
“No, why?” Nelson asked.
“She was showing me some options for the house,” Tres said.
Mari appeared. She grinned at Tres.
“I was just listening in,” Mari said.
“Yes, who needs an A.I. when you have a nosy fairy?” Nelson asked.
“Exactly,” Mari said. “What is an A. I.?”
Nelson opened his mouth, but Tres continued.
“She can show us different options,” Tres said. “I’ve priced out some of our options. She can show us visually what they would look like — you know, most expensive, medium, cheap. She …”
Nelson looked confused.
“Let’s go into the other house,” Mari said.
With that, they left the carriage house. They went through the backyard and into the main house. The walls were torn down to the studs. The floors were bare wood. The antique wooden stairs had been covered in paper to protect them during the construction.
Tres took a breath and sighed.
“I love a fresh pallet,” Tres said. “Has Jill been through?”
“She told me what she was thinking,” Mari said. “She wanted you to know that it was just preliminary. She would be here but she’s at the hospital.”
“How is Sandy?” Tres asked.
“You were just there,” Mari said.
“I was focused on …” Tres said. “I’m kind of a one-track guy.”
“Ah, yes,” Mari said. “Sandy’s okay. Stronger. They are going to move her tomorrow morning.”
“That’s good,” Nelson said.
“Now, let’s get started boys …” Mari said.
The men followed Mari into the house.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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