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CHAPTER TWO HUNDRED and EIGHTY-NINE
Thursday mid-morning—10:53 a.m.
Heather pulled into the parking lot on the old Lowry Air Force Base. She drove past Wings over the Rockies to a nondescript two story building labeled “Lowry Air Force Base.” She waited for a car to pull out before parking in front of Qi Fitness Extreme. The spin class was just finishing up so she waited in the car.
She and Blane had seen his doctor early this morning. The doctor had gone over the risks of Blane’s procedure again. When they agreed, again, to do the procedure, he had them sign all of the waiverforms. The process had begun. They had left the office and were standing next to her car in the parking lot when the doctor’s assistant had tracked them down.
There was an immediate opening at the hospital.
Blane could start the procedure on Saturday or wait at least a month to get in. They’d both nodded, smiled, and bravely agreed to start on Saturday.
Blane would go into the hospital tomorrow night.
Blane would be in the hospital for a month starting tomorrow night.
Heather’s mind repeated these statements over and over again. He’d held onto her hand for dear life the entire drive out to Lipson Construction. She’d kissed him goodbye and watched him walk to the building.
He was going to be in the hospital tomorrow night.
He’d stopped at the doorway to Lipson Construction and turned to look at her. She’d raised her hand to wave goodbye. He’d smiled and gone inside.
“He’s being brave for me,” Heather had said out loud. “I’ll be brave for him.”
She’d put a smile on her face and driven out here.
The spin class was over and gloriously fit women spilled out of the building. They laughed with each other in sweaty bliss. Someday, Heather would take a class like that. Someday, she would laugh in the same kind of sweaty bliss.
“Maybe when Blane was better.”
Her mind repeated her usual rationale for not doing things. After all, she had a toddler, a baby on the way, a new teenage daughter, a house, a job, not to mention Blane’s acupuncture practice. She had plenty to do without …
Blane was going into the hospital in thirty-one hours.
Her heart seized with panic. She lowered her head to take a few deep breaths.
“Anxiety is the worst thing for the baby.”
She heard Blane’s voice. He’d repeated this like a mantra when she was pregnant with Mack. This time, they just laughed about it. They were old pros at babies now. She smiled and got out of the car.
She waited for another sweaty woman to leave the building and went inside. Turning left, she went into the room filled with spin bikes.
Abi, the fairy, Fin’s partner, and Tanesha’s thirty year old looking great-grandmother, was talking to a couple of women at the front of the room. Heather waited in the doorway until Abi was free.
“Heather!” Abi said. The tall, fit woman with milk chocolate skin waved to Heather. “If you’ll excuse me, my friend Heather is here. We’re going to lunch.”
The women gave Heather a big smile and left the room together. Abi gave Heather a quick, sweaty hug.
“How are you?” Abi asked.
“Blane … um …” Heather started.
Abi nodded. Her hand touched Heather’s arm and Heather knew Abi understood everything.
“I need to clean up a bit,” Abi said. “Do you mind? It will just take a sec.”
“What do you think of Jabari?” Abi asked.
She went down the row of exercise bikes. She sprayed them with cleaning spray and quickly wiped them down with a towel.
“He’s adorable,” Heather said. “If he wasn’t Tanesha’s, I’d probably keep him for my own.”
“I know!” Abi said. “I can’t understand what’s wrong with his mother, but then I’m kind of glad she’s so awful.”
Abi moved to the next row of bikes.
“I know,” Heather said. “If she was normal, he wouldn’t be here. Tanesha says her mother is over the moon with him.”
“Yvonne?” Abi smiled at the mention of her granddaughter. “Yes, Jabari is just what Yvonne needs. He’s a lost puppy in need of lots of love. What do you think will happen?”
“Why don’t you …?” Heather waved her hand around.
Abi laughed and pointed to the floor to ceiling windows.
“I’d rather the world didn’t see me,” Abi said. “Plus, it’s nice to use my hands a bit. Now tell me …”
“About Jabari?” Heather asked. “Oh, I think he’ll move in with Jeraine and Tanesha, and be very happy. Tanesha is so strong. It’s what he needs, really. He’ll become strong like she is, and soft of heart. My guess is that he’ll forgive his mother someday. But I doubt if he will ever live in Atlanta again.”
Abi looked up from the last row of bikes, and nodded.
“But I’m no … uh … What is it you call Delphie?” Heather asked.
“Delphie is a powerful oracle,” Abi said. “I’ve never met an oracle with that kind of power. Liban says that she remembers one, but it was a long time ago—ancient Greece or something like that. We are lucky to know her, and she is lucky to be so protected. It’s amazing really what the Marlowe-Lipsons have done for her. I’m glad.”
Abi tossed her hand towel into the laundry bag and set the spray on the floor. She picked up the bag and carried it out of the room. Heather stood in place. Abi’s head leaned back in the door.
“Come on,” Abi said. “We can talk privately and then we’ll go to lunch.”
“Lunch?” Heather felt dumbfounded that Abi would spend time with her.
“You’re my great-granddaughter’s best friend,” Abi said. “Of course we’re going to lunch.”
Abi flashed Heather a smile so similar to Tanesha’s that she followed her out of the room. They went into the back where Abi started throwing towels into the machine.
“I love these machines,” Abi said. “Just adore them. I do the towels at every location I work at just so I can play with the machines.”
“You have no idea how lucky you are,” Abi said.
Abi closed the door to the washing machine and stood up.
“You’re worried about Blane,” Abi said.
“I came to ask you if you can help … uh … his procedure,” Heather said. “You know, like Jill fixed his liver.”
Abi looked confused. She shook her head.
“Jill didn’t fix Blane’s liver,” Abi said.
“Well, Liban,” Heather said. “You know, Jill got wishes and …”
“Did Jill say she healed Blane’s liver?” Abi asked.
“No, but …”
“Jill didn’t heal Blane’s liver,” Abi said.
“Who did?” Heather said.
“You did,” Abi said.
“What?” Heather asked.
“You really don’t know?” Abi asked. “Fin said you had no idea, but I was sure you had to know. I mean, how could you not know? Huh.”
Abi gave a slight shrug and walked out of the back room. Heather had to trot to catch up with her. Abi picked up her purse and phone from behind the desk and they left the building. Abi locked the door.
“I can drive,” Heather said.
“Great,” Abi said. “I just had Fin drop me off this morning before he went to school.”
“Why?” Heather asked.
“I don’t like the whole driving thing,” Abi said. “Fin loves it but I …”
Heather opened the passenger side of her Subaru and went around to the driver’s side.
“I’d rather fly,” Abi said. “Plus, I knew you were coming.”
“How?” Heather asked. “I thought future prediction wasn’t something fairies were very good at.”
“Oh, we’re not,” Abi said. “Delphie told me you were coming last night after dinner.”
“She did?” Heather asked.
“Of course she did,” Abi said. The fairy put on her seat belt after Heather pointed to it. “Thanks I always forget about these restraints. Modern life has odd complications.”
“Can you help Blane?” Heather asked. “He’s going to go in tomorrow night and …”
“I can,” Abi said in a vague tone. “What do you think he needs help with?”
“He could die,” Heather said. “I mean, he could have died of liver problems or Hep C or AIDS, but now the doctors are killing off his bone marrow. If Tanner’s blood doesn’t reseed his bone marrow, he will die.”
“I see,” Abi said. “What are you going to do about that?”
“Me?” Heather asked. “What are you talking about? You’re always so straight forward and cool. Today you’re acting like … Mari.”
Abi gasped as if Heather has said something horrible. Heather glanced at Abi and the fairy laughed.
“I guess I am,” Abi smiled at Heather. “I find riding in cars a little unsettling. Could we pull over and walk a bit? Then we’ll eat something super yummy like one of those great salads or …”
Heather pulled over next to Crestmoor Park, and they got out.
“What did you mean that Jill didn’t heal Blane?” Heather asked. “I mean, I know about the wishes and Liban and …”
“When fairies affect a human being in any way, there’s a kind of sparkle or dust around the human for the rest of their life,” Abi said. “Take your Tiffanie, for example. Jill asked Liban to heal her seizures. Tiffanie will have a kind of sparkle around her head for the rest of her life. Have you seen it?”
Heather shook her head.
“Some humans can,” Abi said. “Blane doesn’t have that kind of sparkle around him.”
“Who healed his liver then?” Heather asked.
“Why you did,” Abi said.
“I did …” Heather scowled. “What? I’m not healer like Jill or able to move things with my mind like Jake or fairy-kind like Tanesha or a warm earth mother like Sandy. I’m just Heather, just Heather.”
“Mmm,” Abi said.
“Will you tell me what you mean?” Heather asked.
“Of course,” Abi said. “Do you want to know?”
“You have a great power to love,” Abi said.
“To love?” Heather asked.
“Blane’s liver was healed with love,” Abi said. “Your love protects him, strengthens him. Every medical interaction has been enhanced a hundred-fold by your love.”
“My love?” Heather asked. “Then what did Jill ask Liban to do for Blane?”
“I wasn’t there,” Abi said. “If I were to harbor a guess, I’d say that she asked Liban to protect Blane in this process, keep him safe.”
“Why didn’t she heal him?”
“Because Liban would have told her what I’m trying to tell you,” Abi said.
“What are you trying to tell me?” Heather asked.
“That you wield the most powerful force in this world,” Abi said. “More powerful than fairy magic, more powerful than an oracle, more powerful than all of the forces of this world combined.”
“I do?” Heather asked.
“What force to I wield?” Heather ask.
“Your love,” Abi said.
Heather gave her a doubtful look and they walked in silence for a moment. Heather stopped walking
“What are you talking about?” Heather asked.
“You’re friends with some amazing women,” Abi said.
“Jill is the daughter of a Titan and a great human healer from a long line of healers going back to the ancient land of Rus,” Abi said. “Sandy is the child of a music prodigy, a man able translate God himself into sounds we can enjoy, and the incredible human Andy Mendy. Tanesha is the daughter of a full blooded fairy and a powerful human. And then there’s you.”
“I know,” Heather said. “I’m lucky they’re friends with me.”
“My mother is no Anjelika or Yvonne,” Heather said.
“Your mother is very normal,” Abi said. “That’s true. She’s human, like Rodney, or Andy Mendy.”
“Ever wonder about your father?” Abi asked.
“Only every day,” Heather said. “Especially now that we have Mack and …”
Heather touched her pregnant belly.
“What does your mother say about your father?” Abi asked.
“He was a prince-like man who swept her off her feet,” Heather said. “They were married in secret. When his mother found out, she made him abandon her and me.”
“It’s a sad story,” Abi nodded.
“Is it true?” Heather asked.
“More or less,” Abi said. “Your mother was cast out and forced to wander. This is where she wandered to.”
“Was my Dad a fairy like Fin?” Heather asked.
“No,” Abi said. “You are not fairy-kind, not even a little bit.”
“Oh,” Heather said.
“Let’s get some lunch,” Abi said.
They walked back to her car.
“Will you tell me about my father?” Heather asked.
“Your mother will have to tell you,” Abi said.
“She won’t,” Heather said. “She’s changed the story so many times that I don’t think she really remembers.”
“That’s possible,” Abi said. “I’ll tell you what.”
“What?” Heather asked.
“How ’bout we go talk to your mother together?” Abi asked.
“This is one of those moments when I should say no,” Heather said. “Fairies always have their own agenda, that’s what everybody says. I don’t know what your agenda is so, I should say no. But … I want to know and …Will it help Blane?”
“I will help you,” Abi said. “That will help Blane.”
“I guess so,” Heather said.
“Good,” Abi said. “And don’t worry. You can trust me.”
“Yeah sure,” Heather said. “You’re sure this will help Blane?”
“Blane doesn’t need help,” Abi said. “He has you. There is no stronger magic than your love.”
Heather gave Abi a skeptical look and Abi laughed.
“Don’t worry, Heather,” Abi said. “Your husband is going to be fine. I promise you. It will be a challenging month for you. When it’s over, and he’s well, you will return to your loving partnership. He will not get lost along the way. You and he belong together. I’d guess that thirty years from now, when all of your children are grown, you’ll still belong together.”
Heather smiled at the idea.
“You will make all that happen with your love,” Abi said.
Heather rolled her eyes and pulled into the parking lot behind Udi’s restaurant.
“How did you know that I love this place?” Abi asked.
“I loved us here,” Heather said as an attempt to make a joke.
“Yes, you did,” Abi smiled.
Heather shook her head and followed Abi into the restaurant.
Thursday early afternoon—1:30 p.m.
“Hey!” Ava said as she came into the kitchen.
Seth was sitting on a bar stool at the kitchen bar. He was staring off into space. He held his cellphone in his right hand. He looked like he’d just pulled the phone from his ear.
“You okay?” Ava asked. She leaned down to kiss him. “You look a little … peaked.”
He kissed her hard and she giggled.
“I guess not that peaked,” Ava said. “What’s going on?”
“Bob just called,” Seth said.
“Bob?” Ava asked.
“Your Bob,” Seth said. “Blood splatter Bob.”
“What did he say?” Ava asked.
“He said that the DNA is a match,” Seth said.
“What?” Ava asked.
“Detective Ben Red Bear’s DNA was all over Andy’s house,” Seth said. “Even in her bed.”
Unsure of how to respond, Ava watched his face.
“He killed Andy,” Seth said. “Sandy’s mother … My …”
Seth swallowed hard. Ava hugged him to her.
“I don’t know what to do,” Seth said into her chest. “Bob asked me what he should do and I …”
“I don’t have any idea,” Seth said. “Nothing will bring Andy back. Not to me, not to our daughter, not to her fans, not to her awful record label that she hated so much. She’s gone, and he …”
“We’ll go and get him,” Ava said. “We’ll make him confess.”
He pulled back and looked at her face. He smiled at the determination he saw there.
“No,” Seth said.
“Why?” Ava asked. “This man is no better than my father. He manipulated your lifelong love to living with him. He took advantage of her and of Sandy and …”
Ava’s voice rose with anger. Seth smiled.
“You really are wonderful,” Seth said. “I can’t believe you’d be so personally angry over this.”
“I’m furious,” Ava said. “He can’t get away with this. He stole Andy from you and from Sandy and … from me too! I would have loved to know her.”
“You’re amazing,” Seth hugged her again.
“You have to do something,” Ava said. “Now is not the time to be the cool cat, Seth.”
“He’s the key to so many things,” Seth said. “If we act too quickly, we’ll lose him.”
“He killed Andy,” Seth said. His hand instinctively went to his heart and said,“I know that in my soul. He was involved in what happened to Sandy—either the distribution of videos or setting it up or sales, something. I know that in my soul.”
“Which means he’s connected to this current rape case,” Ava said.
Seth touched his heart.
“We have to get him,” Ava said.
“We have to be smart,” Seth said. “Right now, he thinks he’s gotten away with it.”
“We’ve got to be smart,” he repeated.
Denver Cereal continues next week…
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