Still, she felt good when she was with Jacob. Safe. Warm. He’d held her hand when he walked her to the apartment last night. She was prepared for him to want a kiss or to come in. But he kissed her hand in a funny, shy way, right at the base of her thumb, and then said good night. He waited until she waved from her window before walking down the street. She watched him until he walked out of sight.
With Jacob, she didn’t feel the flash intensity of Trevor. Hot or cold, Trevor was an in-your-face-person who demanded everything he wanted. He wanted Jill morning, noon, and night. As almost a conditioned response, her body leapt to attention when he turned his mind in her direction. For nine years, early Sunday mornings were spent rolling around in bed with Trevor.
Trevor was in bed with someone else this morning.
And Jill was alone.
Stepping from the shower, Jill was gripped with anxiety. What was she going to wear?
And why did she care?
After running stairs, doing a half hour of body-weight exercises, and throwing the ball for Sarah, Jacob was out of time-wasting ideas. Plus he was getting hungry. The lure of the Cap’n drew Jacob and Sarah home. Turning from Sixteenth Avenue onto Race Street, Jacob noticed two things at once — Delphie’s car parked in front of the house, and Jill’s brother Mike sitting on the front steps waiting for him.
Pushing open the metal gate, Sarah ran forward to say ‘hello’ to Mike. With a nod of his head, Mike followed Jacob up the stairs to his apartment.
“You know the front door doesn’t work,” Jacob said.
“Maybe you should install a bench for your waiting visitors,” Mike said.
Jacob unlocked the door at the top of the stairs and Sarah bounded into the apartment.
“Damn, Jake, you stink,” Mike said.
Jacob gave Mike a dark look. Mike had come straight from a night of driving drunks around Denver in the limo. He stank of beer, cigars, and boredom.
“Hey, I just got off work,” Mike said.
“Breakfast?” Jacob asked.
“You know it,” Mike said. Mike went to the cabinet to get Sarah a dog treat. While Mike and Sarah played ‘find the treat,’ Jake pulled out box after box of cereal from the cabinet. Mike grabbed the gallon of Royal Crest milk from the refrigerator.
“You cleaned up a bit,” Mike said. He gestured around the apartment. “Nervous about something?”
“Very funny.” Jacob set two bowls on the table.
“It has been requested of me to ask you to be very nice to my sister,” Mike said. “Where’s the Crunch Berries? I’ve never known you to not have Crunch Berries.”
“Get it yourself.”
“I’m a guest! Sheez.”
Jacob frowned at Mike, and then retrieved another box of cereal from the cabinet.
“How did you find out?” Jacob asked Mike.
“You told Jill that you play hockey. Megan asked me about you after your step-whore’s party.”
“And you said?”
“Jake’s a good guy, plays hockey, eats lots of cereal.” Mike shrugged as if there were nothing else to say about Jacob.
“Candy heard Jill say she’d go somewhere with you. She called Megan … Shit, man, you’d know how this worked if you ever talked to your sister,” Mike said. “What’s it been, two years?”
“Hey, we swap Christmas cards,” Jacob said.
“Yeah,” Mike said. “Like I said, you’d know how this thing worked if you ever dealt with your family.”
“I deal with my father every single day,” Jacob said.
“Yeah, at the company you own. Why did you tell Jill it was ‘your father’s company’?”
“Because it is my father’s company.”
“That you own,” Mike said. “What are you doing today?”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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