Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Twenty: He said, “No matter what” (part five)


(part five)

He hadn’t meant to kiss her. But she leaned in, and … Aden could barely breathe. Desire pumped through him like he was fifteen again. With effort, he stepped back. Jill said go slow, but oh my God …

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Tomorrow is a very big day for me. And …”

“What is it?” Sandy said.

“I can’t have anything in my life right now that’s not one hundred percent,” Aden said.

He took her hand and led her from under the bright porch light to the porch steps.

“What do you mean?” Sandy asked. She sat next to him on the step.

“There’s not one thing I’d like more than to.. be.. with you … tonight.” Aden fumbled for words. “That kiss was … incredible.”

Sandy blushed. She took a few slow breaths to slow her panic-filled heart.

“Why don’t we go inside?”

“Because … I … I can’t,” he said.

“We don’t have to do anything. I mean, Jill and Jacob just slept in the same bed. We could …”

“I don’t have that kind of self-control,” Aden said. “No, Sandy. I can’t do that.”

“Why is tomorrow such a big day?” Sandy asked.

“Tomorrow is the first day I will act as the head of Lipson Construction. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Jacob set this up to get me out there.”

“Head of Lipson Construction? I thought you were an assistant.”

“I’m supposed to take over the running of Lipson Construction in January,” Aden said.

“Oh,” Sandy said. Her heart sank. He was saying she wasn’t good enough for him. “I can see why you don’t want to …”

“I want to. You have no idea how much I want to.”

Sandy turned so she could look at his face. Her eyes reviewed the shape of his brow, his eyes, and the set of his mouth. There was no lie in Aden Norsen’s face.

“What’s going on?” Sandy asked.

“I’d like to date you, see if we work — you and I — and go slow. As much as I wish I did, I don’t have Jacob’s skill at figuring the future. I have to go one tiny step at a time.”


“Yeah. Date … exclusively. Like, I hoped you might be my date to Valerie’s party next week,” Aden said. “And I wondered if you were available for dinner tomorrow night.”

“You want to date,” Sandy said. “Me?”

“I’m not much of a catch,” Aden said. “I have two small kids and I work a lot. You’re young. You should enjoy your unfettered time.”

“Porn? Prostitutes?”

“I got over porn decades ago,” Aden said. “I’ve never paid any woman for sex. Before you ask, I’m only attracted to women.”


“They check us every year at Employee Health. I’m clean. No diabetes, either. You?”

Sandy shook her head. She didn’t make her usual “just boy crazy” joke.

“Other girlfriends?”

“Not in years,” Aden said. “I have two small kids. I’m their only parent. And I work a lot.”




“Yes, Sandy.” Aden flushed. Humiliated, he was about to get up when, for no reason at all, he said, “Dinner tomorrow? I’ll be exhausted. It’s my long day.”

“Saturday is my long day too,” Sandy said. “I’d like to see your house. Before I decide, I’d like to see your house.”

“I’ll make dinner. Can I pick you up?”

“I get off at six,” Sandy said.

“I’ll pick you up at work.”


Smiling and blushing, they stood in front of each other. Aden kissed Sandy’s cheek and went to his car. Sandy stood on the porch waving until he was out of sight. Turning into her building, she took the stairs two at a time to her apartment. When her black-and-white cat, Cleo, gave her a scolding, she started laughing. She laughed as she fed Cleo and changed for bed. Staring at the ceiling, she absolutely beamed.

Aden wanted to date … her … exclusively!

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

Next: Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Twenty-one: Where you belong (part one)

Previous: Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Twenty: He said, “No matter what” (part four)

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