“She went blank today,” Jacob said.
“Freaky, isn’t it?” Steve smiled at Jacob’s nod. “She was blank for a while, then wham, she was Jill again. She didn’t remember Mom and Dad were dead, where she had been all that time, nothing.
“I’ll tell you this,” Steve continued. “Mike’s looked for this farmer and can’t find him. He’s looked for the friar and can’t find him either.” Steve shook his head. “It’s like they never existed.”
“Now that IS freaky,” Jacob said.
“I guess I’m telling you all of this so you can understand. We are very protective of Jill. She’s like a special gift from our dead parents. They were great parents … really great.”
“She’s very special.”
“Trevor couldn’t stand us. He used to harass Jill to pick between us and him. He told Mike that he abandoned Jill and Katy because of us! Prick.”
Jacob shrugged his eyebrows at the obvious.
“We couldn’t stop her from being with Trevor, but … We’re always here for Jill.”
“I wouldn’t expect less,” Jacob said.
“Good, then why were you running away?”
Dustin brought three plastic bags filled with calzones, salads, and breadsticks to the table.
“Here’s the tea and the Raspberry Decadence,” Dustin said. He set a separate brown bag down. “Dude, you’ll let me know about Katy?”
Steve and Dustin did a complicated little hand shake that ended in a fist bump. “Yeah, I’ll let you know.”
Dustin grinned at Jacob.
“Thanks,” Jacob said.
“No problem, man. Any friend of Steve’s and such,” Dustin said.
The men began walking back to the hospital with the food.
“Running away?” Steve asked.
“I got overwhelmed. My sister and I are … not close. She does her thing in Hollywood and I do mine here. I guess your parents’ death pulled your family closer, while my mother’s death drove me and Val apart.”
“It’s a lot,” Steve said. “If you stay with Jill, are you going to get rid of us?”
“I don’t have any problem with Jill having a family. I left my life and business in Maine to help my father. I know what it means to have family,” Jacob said. “I … This was our first date … It’s not even a date. We called it a ‘non-date.’ Just the zoo and lunch. The hospital wasn’t planned.”
“My sister’s a pricey date,” Steve laughed.
“I’d rather buy Christian Louboutins,” Jacob said.
Steve laughed. “Lots of guys try to get with Jill. If she’s willing to go on a non-date with you, she must be pretty interested.”
“Or desperate to get to the zoo,” Jacob said.
“I think she likes you,” Steve said.
Approaching the hospital, Jacob saw Jill talking to Dr. Drayson outside the hospital. When she saw Jacob, she beamed. Jacob grinned in response. Even with his hands full of food, he managed to hug her hello.
“Katy’s going to be all right,” Jill said into his chest.
“I’m so glad,” Jacob said. He kissed her cheek.
“Me too,” Jill said.
“We brought dinner,” Steve said. “Your tea and Chocolate-Raspberry Decadence, sir.”
“Thanks,” Dr. Drayson laughed.
“Would you like to eat?” Jacob asked.
Stepping back from Jacob, Jill was about to kiss him when Steve said, “Come on, Jilly. No making out on the sidewalk.”
Jill laughed. She caressed Jacob’s cheek and then followed the men inside for dinner.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow...
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