“What would Tanesha and Heather say?”
“They’ll say what they always say,” Jill said.
Together they said, “How big is his dick?” They laughed.
Sandy picked up her purse and then impulsively hugged Jill.
“Thanks,” Sandy said.
“Just go for it,” Jill said. “You’ve always been really happy around him. You seem really happy today. Why not just enjoy that?”
Watching Sandy greet Aden, Jill smiled to herself. Her little plan worked.
Sandy let Aden hold her hand when they walked through the mall. Sandy even did something unheard of — she let him buy them coffee at Starbucks. Sandy never let a man buy something for her. Period.
When Aden dropped them at Denver Health, Sandy asked if he might take her to work. While Jill waved, Sandy made funny faces out the passenger window of his SUV. Smiling, Jill went into the hospital to see if Jacob was out of surgery.
Maybe both Sandy and Jill could find love. Jill beamed with delight.
Mike was in a complete panic. Pacing back and forth in the Castle kitchen, his mind worked overtime to convince him that he was not right for Val. He was too ugly! Not Hollywood enough! Too hairy! Those stylists knew the truth. Valerie couldn’t be seen in public with him. Sure, they’d spent a lot of time together over the years. But it was always in private, away from the camera. Who wanted to be married to someone they couldn’t be seen in public with?
With his panic, his rage grew.
Why had he even tried? How could he ever believe she would be his partner? His wife? Who did he think he was? He wasn’t famous! He wasn’t a star or a producer or a model or anything but a fucked up traumatized asshole. Jerking open the liquor cabinet, he reached for a bottle of whiskey. With his hand on the bottle, he saw the phone number he had written on the cabinet for moments just like these.
“I need …”
“Where are you?” she asked.
“Castle,” Mike said.
“We just got back. Meet us at the workshop. We can’t deal with the photographers,” she said. “Get going, Michael. We’re going to lunch.”
Alex Hargreaves’s voice always meant freedom and safety. Help was on the way. He wasn’t alone. Mike’s panic seeped from his pores. Alex would save him.
Mike almost skipped through the tunnels. He paced the workshop for five full minutes before Alex Hargreaves’s Jeep CJ screeched to a stop on Detroit Street. Alex, John Drayson, and a couple other guys piled out of the Jeep.
“Annie’s for lunch?” Alex asked. She hugged him and kissed his cheek. “How’s Jake?”
“He’s in surgery. He should be out in an hour or so,” Mike said. He pulled the workshop door closed. “But he should be home in a couple days.”
“That’s great news,” John said.
The men greeted him with hugs and pats on the back. Mike fell in beside them for the short walk to Annie’s Café.
He was going to be all right.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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