“What are you doing today?”
“Zoo, lunch, that’s all,” Jacob repeated his mantra.
“Yeah, right,” Mike smirked. “Well, be nice. She’s really had a tough time of it. I know you saw that slide show. It makes everything look so hunky-dory. But Trevor was a hard person to live with. Jilly’s whole life was consumed by that guy. You know she worked two jobs so he could go to college? Then wham. He’s off screwing your step-whore. And …”
Jacob held his hand in front of Mike’s face. Mike stopped talking. He poured a second bowl of Crunch Berries, finishing the box.
“You heard all of this before,” Mike said.
“When it was happening.” Jacob nodded his head. “I will do my best to be nice to your sister. Scout’s honor.”
“Pfft, you were never a scout,” Mike said. “Shit, college boy, you weren’t even in the military. Hey, can I shower here? I got to get to Mass.”
“Help yourself,” Jacob said.
“Damn, you are nervous,” Mike yelled from the bathroom. “I could eat off this tile.”
Jacob shook his head and returned to the sagging armchair. The sun was up now. Only a couple hours to go.
“When are you meeting him?” Jill’s best friend, Sandy, whispered in Jill’s ear. The music was starting for Mass.
Jill held up ten fingers.
Sandy fanned herself with her hands as if she were hot.
“That man is gorgeous,” Sandy whispered. “And very rich. Did you see February’s 5280? He’s the Bachelor of the Year. Third time! They said it’s rumored he owns that construction company. I’d do anything he wanted just to get a piece of that … change.”
Jill hit Sandy’s leg.
“Church?” Jill said between her teeth. She gave Sandy her “shut up” stare.
“You should have let me do your hair,” Sandy said.
Jill gave Sandy a strong look and then shook her head.
“Oh, right, you don’t care what you look like. It’s not a date,” Sandy whispered. “I bet you’re wearing those sexy undies Tanesha got you.”
“I knew it!” Sandy whispered. “Just do him and cash in for a while. Why not? Not everything is soul-mate love. Plus, you’ve got to be horny. What’s it been? Seven months? I can’t go that long.”
“Have you seen Jake’s hands? Carpenter’s hands. I’d let him hammer on me …”
And the priest began Mass.
“You’re home early,” Jacob said. He stepped aside to allow Delphie to enter his apartment. “How’s Sam?”
“Sam is very fun,” Delphie said. She flushed in her flamboyant way. “Very passionate. Very Aries. They don’t call him ‘Big Sam’ for nothing.”
Jacob dropped his head and held up his hand. He really didn’t want to know about Delphie’s sex life.
“You should try it sometime,” Delphie said.
“Have sex with my father?” Jacob asked.
“Have sex,” Delphie said. “With anyone.”
Delphie moved into the Race Street Castle when his mother was ill and never moved out. When Jacob was in Maine, Delphie hung on as the Castle fell down around her. After four years of Jacob’s Castle refurbish, she lived in a comfortable, safe apartment of her own on the second floor of the house.
“I’m not a virgin, Delphie,” Jacob said.
“Could have fooled me,” Delphie said. Looking in a mirror, she fluffed her bright bottle-red hair. “Some Bachelor of the Year.”
“I didn’t ask for that award. I wouldn’t even let them take my picture. How is it my fault that they stalked me? Fuck.”
Delphie turned from the mirror. Her eyes assessed Jacob.
“Stop psychic-ing me. Just spit it out,” Jacob said. “I have to be somewhere.”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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