“What about the meeting tomorrow?” Mike asked. “Jake said you have a …”
“The meeting got me off my ass yesterday. I’ve wanted to come a million times, a billion times. I’ve wanted to beg you like I did when we were kids. I just never had the courage.”
“I want to see if we can make it work. I mean … if you …”
“There’s nothing in this world I want more than to be your husband every single day,” Mike said. “But Val, what baby? How …?”
He didn’t know how to ask the question. He knew she wasn’t pregnant with his child.
Valerie turned again to look at him. He looked away when her eyes filled with tears.
“We were pregnant — you and me. I didn’t tell you because I wanted to be sure. Remember you asked me if my breasts were bigger or if I’d gained weight?”
Mike nodded. “Your body changed. I could see it in the photos.”
“Couple days after Mom died, I lost the baby.”
“Oh, Val,” Mike said. He gathered her close. She nestled her head on his shoulder. “Oh God …”
For the first time since that awful month in Hollywood, Mike cried. Lying together in the bath, he cried for himself and her. He cried for their baby. Then in jerky unplanned sentences, he told her about the days and nights he was dead to the world.
When the bath water cooled, they migrated to soft blankets in front of the fireplace. With his head on her lap, he told her about the one thing that got him through — the unbreakable love in his heart for Valerie, for her.
When the sun peaked over the horizon, Mike slipped Val’s original wedding ring from her right hand. His eyes held the question, which she answered with a nod. He slipped the ring where it belonged, on her left ring finger.
And they began again.
Jill woke when the early morning light hit her eyes. Stretching in Jacob’s comfortable bed, she smiled. The sheets smelled like Jacob. She turned toward the warm body next to her to find Sarah. Sarah licked her face and Jill laughed. Hearing the odd sound that woke her, she sat up to see what was going on.
She wandered across the open loft toward the sound. Passing the sagging couch, she saw Jacob sitting at his round dining table. Wearing only his white boxer briefs, he spoke quietly into a Bluetooth device connected to a cell phone. He was also texting someone on his Blackberry. The sound that had woken her was his fingers blazing across his Blackberry keys.
Unsure of what to do, she stopped walking. Her eyes darted across his muscular legs, flat belly, and round, muscular shoulders. Her hand moved instinctivey to hold the rising heat in her belly while her eyes settled on the dark line of hair that ran like an arrow from his belly button. In that moment, Jill noticed something she hadn’t allowed herself to see.
Jacob was a hunk!
Embarrassed, she turned to go back to bed when Jacob smiled and winked at her. She smiled at his greeting. She waved her hands to indicate she didn’t want to interrupt. But Jacob walked over to her. Without breaking the conversation, he kissed her lips and hugged her.
“Good morning,” he murmured.
She sighed. She melted into his embrace.
“Okay, you know where to find me if you need me,” Jacob said. “Right. I’ll be there.”
Jill moved to step away from him, but he held her in place.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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