CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-FOUR
“What’s going on?” Tanesha asked. “We saw you crying and then hug Jeraine. That’s so unlike you.”
“I know,” Quanshay said with a nod.
Tanesha gestured for Jeraine and Jacob to leave. They slipped out the back. Tanesha She turned on the pot and grabbed a tin of cookies. She guided Quanshay to the picnic table on the deck overlooking the Castle backyard. She made sure to sit six feet away from Quanshay.
“You’re wearing scrubs,” Quanshay said.
“Fin and I are working at the hospitals,” Tanesha said. “They just need help getting through this wave.”
“Stupid virus,” Quanshay said, adjusting her mask. “Can you believe these fools?”
“I cannot,” Tanesha said. “If you saw what the hospitals are like now… It’s just tomfoolery.”
“What happened today?” Tanesha asked.
Tanesha looked up to see Valerie bring out a pot of tea. Valerie set the pot and two mugs down before returning to the house.
“That was Valerie Lipson,” Quanshay said, quietly. “She lives here too?”
“She’s here for now,” Tanesha said. “She’s due in a month or so. After she has the baby, she may leave for a film or whatever. I guess it depends on what happens with the virus.”
Quanshay nodded. Tanesha opened the tin of cookies.
“Cookies!” Nash said appearing from nowhere.
“You don’t like these,” Tanesha said. “Ginger molasses.”
Nash stopped for a moment and then shrugged. He grabbed a handful and disappeared.
“Teenage boys like locusts,” Tanesha said in soft tones to Quanshay. “Please. Have a cookie before the teens multiply.”
Quanshay took out a cookie. Tanesha poured the tea. For a moment, they ate cookies and drank their tea. Quanshay sighed.
“The kids wanted to come here,” Quanshay said. “You know, their friends are here. I…” Royce has been home a lot this year. When he’s home, everything works. It’s easy. I sleep well. The kids are happy. We have great days. But he’s been gone a long time this time. I…”
Quanshay’s husband, Chief Petty Officer Royce Putnam, was a member of the Fey Team.
“It’s exhausting to hold the line by yourself,” Tanesha said.
“With teens?” Quanshay asked.
“Parents,” Tanesha said. “You were talking about parents, right?”
“That, too.” Quanshay said with a rueful laugh.
“What happened today?” Tanesha asked again.
“I talking to them when we drove up,” Quanshay said. “You know how it is — wear your mask, don’t show your ass, follow the house rules, don’t break anything, these are still white people… You know.”
“I sure do,” Tanesha nodded.
“Then I look over and I see Jeraine standing there with his shirt off,” Quanshay said. “I… I had that poster when I was in high school. You know the one with his thumb in the front of his shorts pulling them down just low enough to see a little hair; looking so fine. I looked over and saw him standing next to that greenhouse. I remembered all the hope and joy of that time in my life and now with everything and… I just lost it.”
Quanshay snuck a glance at Tanesha and saw only compassion in her eyes.
Denver Cereal continues on Monday…
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