Jill bit her lip and nodded. She took a deep breath to calm her. “Okay. I’m okay. What happened with Social Services?”
“They filed a report against Trevor. The hospital social worker said she’d never seen a person so angry and out of control around his hospitalized kid. She felt he was an imminent threat to Katy … and to you. He said he was going to kill you.”
“He went to your apartment to find you. I called the cops, and he was cited but let go. Jill.” Mike put his hand on her shoulder. “Look at me.”
Jill looked up at her brother.
“I left a message for Diane Radman last night. Remember your lawyer? She’s already been to the hospital. She’s going to meet us at the courthouse. Diane was able to get a couple people to testify this morning. She thinks you’ll finally get that restraining order.”
“You don’t think it’s better for Katy to be with Trevor? At least he’s rich now.”
“No.” Mike laughed. “I don’t think that. No one thinks that. Look, Diane’s right there waiting for you. I’ll drop you and park.”
Mike pulled up to the curb, where a fit woman with curly red hair stood. Wiping her eyes, Jill got out of the Bronco. Diane gave Jill a hug and then began preparing her for court.
“We have to be in the courtroom with all the documents and witnesses at 7:30 a.m. to get on the 8:00 a.m. docket,” Diane said. “If we miss the 8:00 a.m., we’ll try to get on the 3:00 p.m. docket.”
Standing in line for security, Jill took a breath to steel herself for another restraining order hearing. Every day — from the moment Trevor asked for a divorce to today — had been like a terrifying roller coaster. She couldn’t remember a more difficult and horrifying seven months.
And yet …
Remembering this morning’s warm, loving conversation with Delphie, Jill smiled.
“I think we’ll get it this time,” Diane said. “Just tell the truth about what he’s really like. Enough people have seen him now that he’s going to have a tough time getting out of it.”
Jill nodded and followed Diane into the courtroom. Sitting in the crowded court, her mind lingered on the “best not to waste time” morning shower with Jacob just a half hour ago. By the time Mike sat next to her, she felt herself again.
Life was terrifying and getting so much better.
“Dad,” Valerie said in quiet exhalation.
“Hi, baby,” her father replied.
They stood in front of each other for the first time in almost ten years. Similar in coloring and feature, their eyes scanned each other’s faces in hesitant longing and mistrust.
“I …” They both started.
Her father smiled at Valerie then nodded. He touched her arm.
“It’s nice to see you, Val.” Turning to Jacob, their father said, “I’ve done my part. I’ll be with your mother.”
“See you later, Dad,” Jacob said.
Jacob and Valerie watched their father walked toward the suite’s exit. At the door, he turned to raise his hand to them then walked out.
“What does he mean be with Mom?”
“He reads Mom the paper every day. Remember he used to do that when we were kids. After the jobsites are up and running, he spends the morning at the cemetery.”
“Guilty conscience,” Valerie sneered.
“Or something,” Jacob said. “You know Val, not everything is as it seems.”
“Thank you, Buddha.” Valerie followed him into a conference room.
“What? What are YOU doing here?” their stepsister asked in horror.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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