Saturday morning, 3:30 a.m.
Jill spun the empty ceramic mug on the table in the main Castle kitchen. Not wanting to bother anyone, she sat alone in the dark. Without work or Katy, Jill felt lost. Mike and Valerie had even taken Sarah and Scooter to the fishing cabin overnight.
And Jacob was out of the picture. The nurse caught him working yesterday afternoon and called the doctor. They sedated him until Sunday just to keep him still long enough to heal.
For the first time in her life, Jill just had Jill to think about.
“But Jill is so boring,” she said.
“Is she?” a male voice said from behind her.
Jill turned to see a man come into the kitchen. He retrieved a mug from the cabinet and poured himself a cup of coffee.
“You’re Celia’s hot boyfriend. That’s what she called you. Her ‘hot boyfriend,’” Jill said. “I used to see you guys walking when I got off work.”
“We walked you home a number of times,” he said. “I’m Sam. Sam Lipson. We passed in the hospital, but with emotions high, I imagine you don’t remember much.”
He held his hand out for her to shake. Jill shook his hand.
“You’re Jacob’s father.”
“Valerie’s too,” he said. “It’s nice to see you again. Celia was in so much pain those last months. The only thing that helped was walking. We’d walk for hours. Celia was always excited to walk you home. You brought her a lot of joy that year.”
He held up the coffee pot and Jill nodded. He filled her cup and then sat down next to her.
“You don’t seem very happy,” he said. “I can explain all the complications, but my guess is that you aren’t sitting in the dark here wondering about my life.”
“Oh.” Jill nodded. “Yeah.”
“What’s wrong, Jill?”
Jill looked at the man sitting next to her. His eyes held the same patient, receptive quality she found so attractive in Jacob.
“It’s been a tough week,” she said.
“You mean your normal doesn’t include your child almost dying, losing your job, injuring yourself, and seeing your boyfriend attacked?” Sam laughed.
“What boyfriend?” Jill asked.
“Well, that too,” Sam said. “I bet last week at this time you were in a very different place.”
Jill nodded. She glanced at Sam. He easily summed up how she felt.
“I’m not working. And have no idea when I’ll work again. Katy’s gone. I don’t cook or clean for myself here. I can’t go home because Trevor’s stalking the apartment until he gets married to some other girl and leaves for his honeymoon tomorrow. I’m supposedly engaged to this guy that I don’t even know. My best friend is appropriately caught up in her own world.” Jill stopped talking as abruptly as she started. After a few moments of silence, she took a breath. “I can’t even work out!”
“Why don’t you come with me today?” Sam asked.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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