Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Seventeen: Cards on the table (part five)

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

(part five)

“Okay,” Steve said. “Since no one’s going to do it, I’m going to. Frankly, I’m sick to vomit of the secrets in this family. Mike and Val invited us here for dinner, and we’re acting like church mice.”

“What secrets?” Candy asked. Her dark eyes blazed a “shut up” to her brother.

Your secrets,” Steve said.

Candy bristled.

“Meg’s secrets.” Megan’s head jerked up to look at Steve.

“Hell, my own secrets,” Steve said. “Fuck, did you know how abusive Trevor was? Anyone?”

Every head shook from side to side.

“Trevor almost raped her and Jill was like same shit different day,” Mike said. “Our baby sister sat in Walgreens praying for her child’s life because that fucker wouldn’t let her go to the hospital. Why? Because she couldn’t afford it. It makes me furious.”

“Me too,” Megan said. “I … I had no idea.”

“We are all we have. Our parents are gone. We don’t have grandparents. No more secrets,” Steve said. “It’s time to put it all out there on the table.”

“We’ll start,” Leslie said. “We can’t get pregnant. I have endometriosis and … we’ll …”

Everyone’s head turned to look at Leslie.

“We’re good candidates for IVF. We’re healthy, don’t drink or smoke. The doctor thinks we’ll be successful but …” Steve stopped talking. He looked at Leslie, and then nodded. “We can’t afford it. We wanted to ask if maybe …”

“We’ll help,” Valerie said. “If you prefer to borrow the money, we can do that as well.”

“I make good commissions on my painting and Val’s contract was extended for another year,” Mike said.

“You’re not driving anymore?” Candy asked.

“I only drove so I could drive Val when she was in town,” Mike said. “See, there’s a secret.”

“We could be together and no one would know,” Valerie said.

“We’d love to help you guys have a baby,” Mike said. “Just if that’s all right with you.”

“Thanks,” Leslie said.

“We’re not married,” Tim said.

Megan’s eyes went wide and she shook her head.

“We got pregnant before we got married, then didn’t want to …” Tim caught Megan’s look and stopped talking. Megan’s face was bright red.

“Ah, shit. Who cares?” Mike asked.

Megan’s red, ashamed face turned to her little brother. Mike’s warm smile brought tears to her eyes.

“You guys were so young, and I got pregnant and …”

“You and Tim raised us,” Steve said. “I don’t give a crap. I can’t imagine Jill cares.”

“Jill knows,” Tim said. “I told her when Trevor divorced her.”

“I’m gay,” Candy spit out in the middle of the conversation.

When everyone turned to look at her, she seemed to dissolve into the chair. Steve kicked her under the table.

“Tell them or I will,” he said.

“I’ve been dating a girl for … a long time.”

“She lives with her girlfriend, Jazmyne,” Steve said. “Has for the last four years. Jazmyne is a firefighter and a terrific person.”

“I’m going to hell.” Candy’s face dropped with sorrow.

“Well, we’ll be there to keep you company,” Tim said. “Are you happy? Do you love her?”

Candy nodded.

“Then we’re very happy for you,” Megan said. “We just wanted you to be happy.”

The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…

Next: Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Seventeen: Cards on the table (part six)

Previous: Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Seventeen: Cards on the table (part four)

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