CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-FIVE
Friday morning — 8:15 a.m.
“Jake?” Delphie called.
Jacob looked up from where he was building the wooden structure for the third greenhouse.
“Here!” Jacob waved.
Delphie came over to where he was working. Having worked alone all morning, Jacob took a clean mask from his pocket and put it on as Delphie approached.
“I… um… well…” Delphie said.
Jacob stood up and hugged Delphie tight.
“You do not owe an apology,” Jacob said, softly. “We’re all at our wits end without dad.”
Delphie cried into Jacob’s shoulder for a moment before she mastered herself. He pulled back to a safe six feet away.
“I am your servant,” Jacob said. He gestured to the garden and the house. “You should know that by now.”
“But you’re married now and have kids and…” Delphie sighed. “I’m out of my mind.”
“Yes, I know,” Jacob said. “Me too.”
They would have hugged again, but they nodded instead.
“Don’t suffer,” Jacob said.
Delphie looked shocked and hurt.
“Please,” Jacob said. “You are so good at suffering that you don’t even notice when you’re doing it. I see it. Val, Mike, Jill, Yvonne, Rodney — we all see you suffering.”
Delphie’s hand went to her heart.
“Just tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen,” Jacob said. “You have to know by now that I will move heaven and earth for you.”
Delphie gave him a slight nod. Her eyes welled with tears and her mouth opened and closed. Jacob gave her a nod in silent communication. To give her some emotional space, he turned his attention to the greenhouses.
“What do you think?” Jacob asked.
“You’ve finished two?” Delphie asked.
“I’ve been saving windows for years,” Jacob said. “The first was mostly done last night, and I put the other one together this morning. I’m just working on the third.”
“Where will everyone park?” Delphie asked, her voice rising with anxiety. “They’ll be so angry with me for taking up all this space and…”
Jacob shook his head so violently that she stopped talking.
“I bought the lot next us,” Jacob said.
“Last year,” Delphie said.
“Nearly three years ago,” Jacob said. “Everyone’s parked there now.”
The land that the Castle sat on was about three feet above the lot just to the south. Long before Delphie and Celia had moved here, someone had laid a thick layer of concrete on the slope between the properties. Delphie looked down to see everyone’s cars.
“When I finish here, I’ll build some stairs down,” Jacob said. “The fence guys will be here today to add onto this one. There’s a couple of ways they can do it. It will be interesting to see what they do.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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