Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

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

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

(part four)

Saturday night — 9 p.m.

Sandy leaned her head against the rolled towel Aden slipped behind her head. In the warm safety of the hot tub, he rubbed her feet one at a time. If she weren’t so full, she would be completely limp.

Over the course of the day, her resistance to dating Aden had waned. Of course, a dozen white roses waiting on her doorstep, a large bouquet of spring flowers waiting for her at her station, AND her favorite lunch delivered from Pasquini’s — Caesar salad with chicken and no dressing — helped. He picked her up from work in a Saab sedan, which led to the “Is this your car?” conversation that made him laugh. And after all of that, he made her favorite dinner — cheeseburgers with homemade French fries.

Turns out, Aden had paid attention all those years at the gym.

But for Sandy, the flowers and food wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t been so attentive. He listened to her stories about clients and laughed at her jokes. He charmed her by talking about his worries about taking over Lipson Construction.

And he’d wanted to go out with her almost as long as she had wanted to go out with him. All those years that she thought he wasn’t interested, he was just going to school and raising his kids. In fact, he thought she wasn’t interested.

Just the thought made her smile.

Outside of a little kissing, he hadn’t mauled her or expected some payback for his attention. At least he didn’t act like he wanted payback. He had been a complete gentleman. He even insisted they wear T-shirts and shorts in the hot tub.

When he brought up birth control, they had the most mature conversation Sandy had ever had about birth control. Condoms? He had “no problem” wearing them. Even after he learned she was on the Depo shot! It was up to her.

Only Jill would be crazy enough to think about love. Love was something that happened to people whose hearts weren’t permanently broken. Love didn’t happen to people like Sandy.

Still.

Watching the summer stars, Sandy felt a definite … like for Aden. She nodded at the stars. She definitely liked Aden. When he sat next to her, she rested her head on his shoulder.

“I spend every Saturday night right here,” he said. “The kids go to a sports camp on Saturdays so they’re in bed early. I sit right here. Just me and the stars.”

“What a great way to end the day,” Sandy said.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said.

“Me too,” Sandy said. “Do you know the names of the stars?”

“Names? Yes, Sandy, we’re on first name basis. See that star?”

He pointed to the star right above his head.

“Uh-huh.”

“That’s Frank. He thinks you’re the most beautiful creature he’s ever laid eyes on.”

“Frank’s a little forward.”

“He’s trying to get in your pants,” Aden said.

Sandy giggled.

“You can never trust a star. Take Fred here.”

“Which one’s Fred?” Sandy asked.

“Right over there. He’s a shy guy. Much more discreet than Frank. Still, his girl …”

“Francine?”

“How did you know?!” Aden said. “Francine says Fred’s a bit of a swinger. Likes the boys and the girls. Lots of boys and lots of girls. Even Frank says …”

“Excuse me.”

Two Denver Police officers came in the gate to Aden’s backyard. Aden popped to his feet.

“Are you Aden Norsen?”

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

Next: Denver Cereal, Volume 1, Chapter Twenty-two: The familiar dance (part one)

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

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