Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.

Denver Cereal : Chapter Fifty-Six : All that Captain Crunch and chocolate.


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

“I thought they’d never crash,” Valerie whispered. “They’ve been spinning in circles for at least an hour.”

She set Paddie Hargreaves down on their bed and began changing him.

“Too much sugar and chocolate,” Mike whispered.

He set Katy down on the other side of their bed. He took off her pretty shoes.

“What do you think about the dress?” Mike asked in his soft voice.

“See if you can take it off,” Valerie replied in the same tone. “Katy will cry if something happens to her wedding dress. Colin gave me some extra clothes for Paddie. Do we have PJs for Katy?”

“I didn’t think to get some,” Mike said. “She can wear one of my t-shirts.”

Valerie slipped Paddie under the covers. He opened his eyes for a moment to say, “Katy?”

“I’m sleeping,” Katy said. Mike helped her under the covers.

“I’m so glad,” Paddie said. His eyes drooped.

Mike beckoned Valerie out of the room. Before they were out the door, Katy and Paddie were sound asleep. They left the hall light on.

“What would you like to….” Valerie started.

Mike lifted her from her feet. His lips devoured her mouth. With her legs wrapped around his hips, he carried her into their sitting area.

“Bath?” He asked.

“Kiss me,” she said. “Just kiss me.”

“What about your fancy dress?” Mike asked.

With a flip of her hand, Valerie unzipped her Marchesa gown. Her dress dropped to her waist. Mike continued his exploration of her mouth. When his mouth strayed from hers to kiss her neck or shoulders, she begged him to return.

“I don’t know what it is….” Valerie’s mouth was less than an inch from his.

“Sugar and chocolate?” He asked.

“Makes me very hot….”

Mike fingers worked her nipples. His mouth pulled at her lips.


Mike moved to pull the rest of the dress from her.

“My body aches for slow, easy… hot.”

Mike laughed.

“Do you think they spiced the Captain Crunch with Viagra?”

She laughed. Holding his chin in her hand, she kissed his lips.

“You’ve never needed….”

And she was lost.


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

Delphie was showering in his bathroom when Sam came in. He went into the bathroom to say ‘hello’ then began changing out of his tux. He was exhausted, worn out and charged up at the same time. He’d ever seen a more beautiful wedding or enjoyed a reception more.

“Can you believe they fed each other Captain Crunch instead of cake?” Delphie laughed from the bathroom. “The pictures are going to be fun.”

“Very Jacob,” Sam said. “Very Jill.”

“Do you think Candy was offended? She really worked her butt of making that gorgeous Crunch Berry cake.”

“She didn’t seem to be,” Sam said. He pulled off his tie. “You were truly wonderful.”

Delphie came out of the bathroom wrapped in a lime green towel. She wore in another towel in a turban around her hair.

“Thanks,” Delphie said.

“Would you….” Sam started.

He furrowed his brow at her then went into his walk in closet to hang his suit. Puzzled, she followed him to the closet.

“What’s up, Sam?” Delphie asked. “A moment ago, you seemed so happy. Now…?”

“Would you ever want to do this?”

“Do what?”

“Get married,” Sam said.

Delphie laughed.

“I’m serious.”

“I know,” Delphie said.

“I don’t ever want you to feel… second best or taken advantage of… when….”

Delphie put her arms around his neck. She held him close.

“Do you love me?” Delphie asked.

“Yes,” Sam said. “I do.”

“And Celia?”

“I love her too,” Sam said. “Miss her. I….”

“Shh,” Delphie said. “When it’s all said and done, she and I will have split your life. How do you feel about that?”

“There are a few years when I didn’t know either of you.” Sam smiled.

“Yeah? How many?”

“Ten glorious years.” Sam laughed.

“You and Celia met when you were ten years old,” Delphie said. “I met Celia when I was twelve years old. She rescued me when I was sixteen.”

“You had Celia for….”

“Thirty-seven years,” Sam said.

“I’ll marry you on our thirty-seventh year,” Delphie said.

“What if I die before that?”

“What if I die before that?” Delphie shrugged.

“I don’t want you to feel taken advantage of or be alone in your old age or….”

“I have no family. At least any I’ve seen in almost fifty years,” Delphie said. “You, Celia, the kids have always been my family.”

“The kids think of you as family,” Sam said.

“Isn’t that wonderful?” Delphie asked. “It’s like a dream come true for me. If you die before I do, I’ll have our family. But I’ll miss you desperately.”

Sam held her to him.

“Do you feel second best?” He said in her ear.

“To Celia?”


“I am second best to Celia,” Delphie said.

Sam shifted away from her to look into her face.

“Celia was….” Delphie shook her head. Tears sprung to her eyes. “The best person I’ve ever met. I owe her my life. I’m second best to Celia because everyone is.”

Sam held her close again.

“I miss her too, Sam,” Delphie said. “And I love you. Both things are true for me.”

“I just don’t want….”

“What do you want, Big Sam?” Delphie asked. “Because I have everything I want – home, love, family, friends, good work, gardens, bees….”

“Thirty-four more years?” Sam asked.

Delphie laughed.

“I’ll tell you what, Mr. Lipson.” Delphie helped him out of his shirt. “When I want to get married, I’ll tell you. I will ask you for what I need. Will you promise me the same?”

Sam nodded.

“There is something….”

Delphie dropped her towel.


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

“Big day,” Jazmyne said.

Candy Roper rolled on to her side in their bed. She stroked Jazmyne’s bare shoulder.

“Your fabulous cake got you a real job at a bakery,” Jazmyne held up one finger.

“Colin Hargreaves offered me the job,” Candy said. “I have to meet the other owners. He said they would set up a baking interview this week. This time next week, I could have a real paying job.”

“Yes,” Jazmyne kissed Candy’s hand.

“We went to our first family function.” Jazmyne held up a second finger.

“Together,” Candy added. “And no one thought a thing about it.”

“We even danced together,” Jazymyne said.

“A lot,” Candy said. “Hey doesn’t that get a finger?”

“Sure,” Jazmyne held up a third finger.

“You spent the day with your mother.”

“Yesterday,” Candy said. “And you met her and liked her.”

“She’s a gorgeous, amazing person,” Jazmyne said. “Like her daughter.”

“And I was right that she wouldn’t care,” Candy said.

“She wants you to be happy.”

“Yeah,” Candy said. She moved Jazmyne’s forth finger up.

Jazmyne’s hand popped open to five.

“What’s the fifth?” Candy asked.

“Mike said he would father a child,” Jazmyne said.

“YOU ASKED HIM?” Candy blushed to the edges of her hair. “What did the beautiful wife say?”

“She said it was a great idea. Candy, we could be pregnant by the end of the year!”

“Wow,” Candy said.

“You need to get over your Valerie complex,” Jazmyne said. “She’s not the person they say she is on Entertainment Tonight. She adores your brother. She’s quite friendly. And so gorgeous. Plus, she paid for your Chef school and never asked for anything in return.”

Jazmyne turned onto her side to look at Candy. Candy seemed lost in thought.

“Are you mad? Say something!” Jazmyne said.

“We’re going to be Mommies!”


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

“Kids asleep?” Sandy asked from his living room couch.

“Finally,” Aden said.

He held his hands out to her. She took his hands then let him pull her into his embrace.

“It’s all that Captain Crunch,” Sandy said. “Was that their first wedding?”

“The first one where they know the people,” Aden said. “Jake’s been such a big part of our lives. Jill is your best friend. She has special status. God, Noelle went on and on.”

“About what?”

“Everything.” Aden kissed her lips. He squinted his eyes.


“I’m wondering how I can get you into bed,” he said.

Sandy laughed.

“How asleep are the kids?”

“Nash is completely out,” Aden said. “Noelle was just dropping off. You know how she talks until she’s asleep. What did you have in mind?”

“Hot tub. We’ve never….”

“It’s snowing.”

“No nosey neighbors.” Sandy kissed him.

“I love the way you think.”

Undressing as they went, he dragged her through the kitchen. Naked, he wrapped her in a bath sheet. He was reaching for a towel when he dropped to his knees.

“ADEN!” Sandy screamed.

He looked up at her and took her hand.

“Promise me, you’ll think about marrying me,” he said.

“You really scared me!” Sandy said. She swatted at his head.

“Promise me. Please.”

“I will.”

“You will what?”

“Marry you.”


“I’ll marry you,” Sandy repeated.

“Today? Because I bet Delphie….”

“Soon,” Sandy said.

“I have to work tomorrow….”

“I’m working fourteen hour days until Christmas,” Sandy said.

“You’ve given this a lot of thought!”

Aden hopped to his feet. He pulled her into his arms. Sandy nodded.

“I don’t have a ring,” Aden said. “Oh crap, Sandy, I’m sorry.”

“No rings,” Sandy said. “Let’s just play it cool.”

“Cool. I can play it cool,” he said. “Are we telling people?”

“Oh, do you want to?”

“Yes, I want to tell everyone! I want to shout it to the world! I want ….”

Sandy kissed him.

“Slowly,” she said. “For me. Ok?”

Aden nodded. He opened the door and the wind blew a blast of cold onto them. Sandy shivered. With his arm on her shoulder, he led her to the hot tub.


“Yes, Sandy?”

“You’re naked and it’s snowing.”

He jumped into the hot tub. In a flash, he stretched his arm out and snatched Sandy’s towel off. She squealed and ran to get in the hot tub.

“You’re the very best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Aden said.

“Prove it.”

As the snow fell into the hot water, he rose to her challenge.


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

MJ held Honey’s hair while she threw up in the toilet.

“Are you sick from all that Captain Crunch?” MJ asked.

“I don’t think so,” Honey said. “I think I’m pregnant.”

“WHAT?” MJ said. “How is that possible?”

“The egg is released from the ovary. It travels down the fallopian tube where it meets the sperm….”

“But I thought we couldn’t. You couldn’t. I….”

“They said six months,” Honey said. “It’s been about five months since I was injured.”

“Wow.” MJ leaned against the sink.

“Could you get me a wash cloth? I can’t really get it myself.”

“Oh. Yeah. Sure.” MJ wet a hand towel and gave it to her.

Honey wiped her face and hands.

“You seem lost in thought,” Honey said.

“You’re sure? I mean about a baby. You’re sure.”

“No, I’m not at all sure,” Honey said. “It could a combination of the Crohn’s and three bowls of cereal.”

“Oh,” MJ said.


“Let’s make sure.”

MJ carried her back to bed.


Saturday afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

“What do you mean?” Blane asked. “What did he say?”

He was laying with his head on Heather’s lap. Heather was sitting against the headboard on her queen sized bed.

“I don’t care if he is the Lipson CFO, he’s very rude,” Heather said. “Someone should teach him some manners.”

“What did he say?”

“He said that I couldn’t be married to you because you’re gay. Then he, kind of, went on and on. I got so mad. He implied that you weren’t good enough to be my husband.”

“I am gay,” Blane said. “You’re straight. And we are married.”

“We were arguing when Tanesha told him to shut his pie hole. She told him that only a real asshole would get a pregnant woman so angry. She dragged me away from him.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to do the same.”

“What’s his problem?” Heather asked. “Is he like the marriage police?”

Blane shrugged.


“I used to date his brother.” Blane’s face dropped with sorrow.

“What did his asshole brother do?”

“I thought…. Anyway, it didn’t work out.”

“You thought what?”

Tres Sierra had pushed Heather’s loyalty button. She was mad.

“I thought he was the ‘one’. You know, like Sam and Celia, Val and Mike….”

“Jill and Jacob,” Heather said.


Blane’s face set hard as stone.

“We were together for a few years… three I think. Dated off and on, then seriously for a while. We lived together for nine or ten months.”

“What happened?” Heather asked.

“He found out about me.”

“He found out you were gay?” Heather asked.

Blane laughed.

“I would think he would know you were gay,” Heather said.

“He found out about how I…. You know….”

“I don’t,” Heather said.

“Promise you won’t divorce me if you find out? Our family, strange as it is, is the best thing I’ve ever….”

“I don’t care what you did in the past,” Heather said. “You’re a good husband, Blane. Now in the present. Honest, loving, kind. You just give me your checks so I can run out household. You even buy me little presents or things for the baby. I’d be a fool to divorce you for something you USED to do.”

“You’re a good wife, Heather,” Blane said. “You’ve really made a home, not just for you but for us. I have space for myself, my studies, and space to hang out with you. I wouldn’t be able to get through this medication stuff if you weren’t taking care of me. You’ve taken the chaos of my life and made everything work. I’m really happy.”

“It works for us,” Heather smiled. “What did jerk-off find out about you?”

“When I was twelve or so, I got addicted to drugs,” Blane said. “It’s like one of those after school movies. I’d been in foster care all of my life. Abused. Used. I mean in foster care, everybody uses you for something – sex, money from the state, vent their anger, whatever. Drugs were a great escape.”

“What kind of drugs?”

“Everything. I didn’t like hallucinogens – LSD, XTC – but… everything else.”

“What did you get addicted to?”

“Heroin. In the end, it was only heroin. That’s how I got interested in acupuncture. It helped me kick it.”

“That’s why you have so much pain,” Heather said. “And won’t take pain pills.”


Blane was silent for a while.

“You were telling me about something, but I’m not sure what,” Heather said.

“I used to work Cheesman servicing the men on their way home to their wives,” Blane said.

“As a prostitute?”

“Yeah, hooker, whore, whatever. I worked Cheesman, the bathhouses, and the bookstores. I never did in call work because… well, I was just a kid.”

“Is that how you got sick?”

“Yeah,” Blane said. “Or dirty needles. I didn’t care. I didn’t really expect to live very long. Kids like me usually only make it three or four years.”

“How awful,” Heather said. “I mean, I thought about doing that. You know, we were really poor. I wanted nice clothes or whatever. But Sandy? Jill? Tanesha? They talked me out of it. We were all in the same place. Over the years, we all thought about it. Well, except for Sandy. She was always going to do hair. But hooking? It seems… easy, you know?”

“It’s not,” Blane said.

“Yeah, I can see that now. But at twelve, I don’t know what I would have done,” Heather said. “So what did the jerk do?”

“It’s my fault too,” Blane said. “I should have told him. He found out at a party. Someone made a joke about it. He was so horrified that….”

“That what?” Heather asked.

“He threw me out, called me awful names, threw my things in the street. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I went to the Castle. Jake was just back from Maine. It was like three in the morning and he took me in, found me a bed, then stayed with me while I cried. He got my things, dealt with the guy…. His name is Enrique. Ric.

“What I didn’t realize was that Ric told everyone we knew. I was the butt of every joke. I lost my job. My friends. I wanted to die. How do you overcome something you did so many years ago?”

“What did you do?”

“Jake was like a rock. He hired me as his assistant. He believed in me, like Celia did. When they hired Tres, I had the final say. Jake wouldn’t have it any other way. They helped me buy this house about six months later. Family. Jake and Sam really came through for me like real family.”

“Well, screw Enrique,” Heather said. “And his brother too. They suck. Oof.”

Blane’s head jerked as the baby kicked him in the head.

“Hey! Did you feel that?”

Blane sat up to put his hand on Heather’s belly.

“Yes. Our boy has a kicking leg on him,” Heather said.

“I wonder if he’ll do it….”

The baby’s kicked again.

“That’s so cool!”

“I think he agrees,” Heather said.

“With what?” Blane asked. “Come on baby, do it again!”

“That those Sierra brother’s suck.”

“The problem is….”


“They are very hot.”

“Tres is hot,” Heather said. “We have to think of them like the pretty gardens on the side of highways. Beautiful, but you just drive on by. We won’t deal with either of them ever again. They’re just cute garbage on our journey to real husbands.”

“Highway gardens,” Blane nodded. “I like that.”

The baby kicked his agreement.


Saturday Afternoon – 1:05 P.M.

“I have to get some sleep,” Jacob said. He rolled from Jill to rest against the fluffy pillows. “Tomorrow is a big day.”

“You’ve said that. Twice. Then you’ve made love to me.”


“Not a chance,” Jill said.

“Dance with me.” Jacob hopped out of bed.

“I thought you had to sleep.” Jill rolled onto her stomach.

“I’m too happy to sleep. Dance with me.”

Naked, Jill stood to meet his naked form. Following his steps, they waltzed around the thousand square foot Executive Suite at the Grand Hyatt. Jacob picked up strawberries from a tray as they went by. He put the strawberry between his lips. She nibbled strawberry until her lips locked onto his lips. Beaming with joy, they kissed and danced their way back to the bed.

“I have to get some sleep,” Jacob said.

“Tomorrow is a big day,” Jill giggled.

Laughing, Jacob made love to her again.

Denver Cereal continues next week….



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