Looking for the beginning? Download your free copy of Denver Cereal Volume 1
CHAPTER TWO HUNDRED and NINETY-NINE
Monday afternoon — 4:35 p.m.
“Dr. Wilson!” The doctor stood from his desk to shake Bumpy’s hand.
The nurse had just escorted Jeraine and Bumpy into the pediatric rheumatologist’s office. The doctor was an expert on childhood autoimmune diseases.
“Please have a seat,” the doctor said.
The doctor sat down behind his desk. Jeraine and Bumpy took seats in front of his desk.
“First, I’d like to thank you for all the work you did with the boys in the recent East High School rape case,” the doctor said. “My nephew got caught up in that. He was dumb enough to purchase one of the videotapes. Thought it would be sexy.”
“He’s in counseling on your recommendation,” the doctor said. “Two years, no problems, and it all goes away.”
“That’s a good thing,” Bumpy said. “We don’t need any more boys lost to the justice system.”
“Yes it is,” the doctor said. “He needs the counseling. His father was a brute. My nephew would have never gotten it any other way.”
The man took a breath and put his reading glasses on. He looked down at the file in front of him.
“I’ve reviewed all the records for Jabari Wilson,” the doctor said. “From Atlanta, as well as from our Children’s Hospital. I took the liberty of consulting with the doctors here and spoke with the doctors in Atlanta.”
The pediatrician nodded.
“My staff tells me you have some legal issues in this matter,” the doctor said.
“Custody,” Jeraine said. “We have custody for now, but Jabari’s mother is suing us and the court.”
“Are you looking for a legal opinion?” the doctor asked.
“We’re looking for a course of treatment,” Bumpy said. His voice was firm. “We have lawyers to take care of legal issues. Right now, all we want is to get the boy well.”
“From what I gather, the mother takes a certain medication for her migraines,” the doctor said. “She gave this medication to her son because she thought he was having a migraine. Do we know why she gave this medication to her child?”
“She says that he asks for it,” Jeraine said.
“And the child?”
“He doesn’t know anything about any medication,” Jeraine said. “He thinks of the pills as a treat.”
“Candy?” the doctor asked.
“He doesn’t know,” Jeraine said. “He says he takes what his mother gives him because she gets upset when he doesn’t. He was trying to be a ‘really good boy’ so he could stay here in Denver. That’s what he told my mother-in-law.”
“He doesn’t know why he gets sick,” Bumpy said.
“He doesn’t connect it to the medication?” the doctor asked.
“No, sir,” Jeraine said.
“Well, it’s from the medication,” the doctor said. “All of this.”
“And the lupus?” Jeraine asked.
“We aren’t sure what causes lupus,” the doctor said. “As Dr. Wilson can tell you, there’s a strong family relationship, but not always.”
“Our concern is that he has now developed the disease,” Bumpy said.
“It sure looks that way,” the doctor said.
“And?” Jeraine’s voice rose with his concern.
“We won’t know for a while,” the doctor said. “It’s possible that the child had the predisposition for lupus. He might have developed it anyway. It’s also possible the medicine initiated a cascade. The immune system responds badly to DNA in the blood. We won’t know until he’s through this crisis.”
“And a course of treatment?” Bumpy asked.
“As you know, Dr. Wilson, autoimmune diseases are best treated with quality nutrition, water, exercise, rest …” the doctor looked at Bumpy.
“There are medications,” Bumpy said.
“I’d recommend holding off on the medications for now,” the doctor said. “Let him get through this crisis and see where he is, how his kidneys are doing.”
The doctor looked at Bumpy and then at Jeraine.
“I’d like to see him,” the doctor said. “Get some blood work started and track how he’s doing.”
“That’s fine,” Bumpy said.
“I’m happy to work with you, Dr. Wilson,” the doctor said. He looked at Jeraine and cleared his throat. “My daughter would kill me if I didn’t ask …”
The doctor pressed a CD copy of Jeraine’s latest album across the desk.
“Would you mind?” the doctor asked.
“What’s her name?” Jeraine asked.
He looked around for a Sharpie pen. The doctor gave him one.
“Jessica,” the doctor said.
Jeraine signed the CD to Jessica.
The doctor nodded and then cleared his throat again.
“Our staff … uh … I know it’s a tremendous imposition. I’d understand if you said no.”
“Outside the door?” Bumpy asked.
“The girls on the ward, children, they are very ill and …” the doctor said. “Uh, would you mind …?”
“I’d love to,” Jeraine smiled. “Do you have a guitar? Maybe we can play something.”
Jeraine looked at his father and Bumpy nodded.
“On the ward?” the doctor said.
“You’ll help my son?” Jeraine asked.
“I’ll do my best whether you visit the children or not,” the doctor said.
“Then lead the way,” Jeraine said. “Miss T doesn’t get done for another hour. We’ve got time to burn.”
The doctor stood, shook their hands, and led the way to the children’s ward.
Monday afternoon — 5:55 p.m.
“What do you think?” Yvonne asked. “Spaghetti for the boy in you? Steak for the man in you?”
“What’s Mr. Chesterfield having?” Jabari asked.
While Jabari said he was “one hundred percent better,” his energy had lagged. The child spun around at the counter, and then grabbed a bar stool to keep from falling over. Yvonne caught him. She held him for a moment while he panted. When he was breathing evenly, she kissed his cheek and set him squarely on the bar stool.
“Mr. Chesterfield eats dog food.” Yvonne went to the cabinet and took out a cup of dog food. “I probably wouldn’t feed him this, but it’s what he’s always had. Would you like some?”
“Okay,” Jabari grinned.
Yvonne got a bowl from the cabinet and put in a scoop of dog food. She gave Jabari a spoon. The boy started to giggle. His giggle became a laugh and Yvonne started laughing.
“What’s this?” Rodney asked as he came in the back door. “Did we get a new puppy?”
The idea that he might be a puppy was too much for Jabari. He started screaming and laughing. When the laughter turned to coughing, Rodney lifted the small child from the barstool to hold him.
“Maybe we should let Mr. Chesterfield have his own food,” Yvonne said.
Rodney and Jabari nodded in unison which made Yvonne laugh.
“We were just talking about dinner,” Yvonne said.
With Jabari still in his arms, Rodney kissed Yvonne on the cheek.
“Oh shoot,” Rodney said. “I forgot to remind you.”
“Did I forget something?” Yvonne asked.
“Maybe,” Rodney said. “Miss T’s friend Heather’s mother is having everyone over for dinner.”
“I know Abi and Fin are going,” Yvonne said. “Are we invited too?”
“Did I forget?” Yvonne asked.
“I probably didn’t tell you,” Rodney smiled.
Yvonne laughed and Jabari giggled with her.
“We’re going to a party?” Jabari asked.
“With your Daddy and our girl, Tanesha,” Rodney said. “How does that sound?”
“Good,” Jabari said. “Why is there a party?”
“A couple reasons,” Yvonne said. “My Tannie got custody of the cutest little boy.”
“What boy?” Jabari’s mouth fell open. Tears appeared in his big dark eyes. “What?”
“Oh baby-boy.” Rodney held the boy tight to him. “She means you.”
Jabari rested his head on Rodney’s big shoulder. Because Rodney’s hands were so large, he could hold the child to him with one hand under the boy’s rear.
“I was thinking we’d rest for a while,” Yvonne said.
“We’re not due for a bit,” Rodney said.
“Can we rest all together?” Jabari asked. “In your big bed?”
“You bet,” Rodney looked at Yvonne and she smiled at him.
They carried Jabari upstairs. Yvonne got into her side of the bed. Rodney set Jabari next to her and got in beside him. The child was asleep in a moment.
“Do you think we should bring him?” Yvonne asked. “He’s so fragile.”
“I think he needs to be loved,” Rodney said. “We don’t have to stay long.”
“Just long enough for him to get loved by everybody,” Yvonne said. “That’s a good idea.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rodney said. “I’ll set my watch.”
“Good idea,” Yvonne said.
She lay in the quiet room on their soft, warm bed and listened to Jabari and Rodney breathe. It wasn’t a big moment, or even one she’d necessarily remember forever. It was just one of those moments where she knew her life was really good. She smiled and enjoyed the quiet.
Monday evening — 6:00 p.m.
“Ok, I looked it up,” Jill said to Heather on the phone.
“What did you find?” Heather asked.
Tink was getting ready in the upstairs bathroom, so Heather was giving Mack a quick bath in the bathroom in the basement.
“Hedone means the quest for pleasure that only has good consequences,” Jill said. “But it’s also the root word from Hedonism.”
“Stupid fairies,” Heather said. “That’s totally not me.”
“I know,” Jill said. “It also says that Hedone is the daughter of Cupid or Eros and Psyche.”
Heather snorted a laughed.
“Yeah, my dad’s an immortal cherub,” Heather said. “No wonder I get so soft around the middle.”
“Heather!” Jill said. “You’re beautiful.”
Mack said something and there was a splash.
“Well, I should go,” Heather said. “We’re supposed to be at Psycho’s house …”
“Psyche?” Jill laughed.
“Psycho’s more fitting,” Heather laughed. “Do you think any of this …?”
“Who knows?” Jill asked.
“Yeah, whatever,” Heather said. “I mean you’re a Titan’s child. Tanesha’s a fairy. Sandy’s well … Sandy. And I’m …”
“Hedone!” Jill laughed.
“Doesn’t matter to me,” Heather said. “I yam what I yam, dats all that I yam.”
“You sure you can’t come?” Heather asked.
“I’m spending the night with Katy,” Jill said. “Girls’ night. Jake’s with Blane and the boys are with Meg.”
“I wish you were here to sort this fairy crap out,” Heather said.
“Me too,” Jill said. “Katy just needs a little one on one time. But if you need me, we can always come over. Just call.”
“Ok,” Heather pulled Mack from the bath.
“Plus, Tanesha’s going to be there,” Jill said. “You know she made Fin tell her everything.”
“Crazy,” Heather said. She wrapped Mack in a towel. “Her super-hot lab-partner is her great-great grandfather, and he’s a fairy prince – a fairy prince.”
‘I know,” Jill said. “Of course Tanesha’s like ‘none of this is going to help me become a doctor, is it?’”
“You know about the tea, right?” Heather asked while she dried off Mack.
“She told me,” Jill said. “She’s pissed.”
“Mostly for her mom,” Heather said.
“I wish I could be there just to see the big fairy confrontation,” Jill said.
“I doubt it will happen tonight,” Heather said.
“Why?” Jill asked.
“I think Psycho’s going to be the center of attention.” Heather’s voice was bitter. “As always.”
“Oh honey, I’m sorry,” Jill said.
“It’s okay,” Heather said, as she was putting a diaper on Mack. “I just wish …”
Heather closed her mouth as the well of sadness rose up inside.
“Blane’s really good with your mother,” Jill said.
“Mm-hm,” Heather said.
“Heather!” Tink yelled from upstairs. “Blane’s on the computer!”
“Gotta go,” Heather said with a sigh.
“Remember our deal,” Jill said. “You need us, you call. We’ll kick some fairy ass.”
“And the Greek Goddess?” Heather asked about her mother.
“Hey, my Katy can kick anyone’s ass,” Jill said.
Heather laughed at the idea.
“Love you,” Heather said and hung up.
Jill looked at her cellphone. While she no longer had any of those “stupid” powers, she tried to figure out what might happen. She looked up to see Katy and Keenan, Delphie’s adopted son, in the doorway. Their round dark eyes glistened in the dim light of her office.
“Yes?” Jill asked.
Keenan looked at Katy
“He wants me to say that a ‘great injustice will be resolved,’” Katy looked at Keenan and he shrugged. “But mostly it’s going to be a lot of yelling and stuff.”
“Drama,” Jill said.
Katy giggled. Keenan’s eyebrows worked for a moment before he laughed. Katy ran out into the loft and Keenan followed.
“Mommy!” Katy yelled.
Shaking her head, Jill jogged after her daughter.
Monday evening — 6:23 p.m.
“And Jeraine Wilson is back in the news again today,” the female news announcer said.
Jeraine’s face came up on the television.
“As questions of Jeraine’s sobriety continue to be raised, he visited Children’s Hospital cancer ward,” the male news announcer said.
The screen filled with what looked like a video taken with a cell phone. The video showed Jeraine and Bumpy chatting with children on the cancer ward, and playing a song with the kids all around.
“His ex, the reality television star Annette, responded,” the woman announcer said.
“Our son lies on his death bed and his father couldn’t give a damn,” Annette said. “Not one damn. He’s out promoting his music, singing his songs of love of the fabulous Miss T. After he paid off the court to get custody. You’d think he’d care enough about his own child to …”
“Do we have to listen to more?” Jacob asked.
Blane shut off the video on his laptop.
“I just thought you’d like to know,” Blane said.
“You want me to tell Jill rather than you tell Heather,” Jacob said.
“Is it that obvious?” Blane laughed.
Jacob nodded. He was sitting in a little alcove chamber in Blane’s room. There was a wall of glass between him and Blane. The wall gave Blane a chance to see visitors, but not come in contact with them. Blane had held up his laptop for Jacob to see.
“That woman is crazy,” Jacob said.
“Indeed,” Blane said in the creepy voice of LoPan from their favorite movie, “Big Trouble in Little China.” Jacob laughed. “You can see the scar …”
Blane pointed to the plastic surgery scar just under Annette’s chin. Jacob nodded.
“Tanesha says she’s been completely redone,” Blane said.
“Better her than me,” Jacob said.
Blane laughed. Jacob smiled.
“You think Jeraine is using?” Blane asked.
“I think Tanesha would flat out kill him if he was,” Jacob said.
“That’s right,” Blane said.
“Should I call him? Have sexy Jeraine play a song for the infirmed Blane?” Jacob asked.
“No,” Blane laughed. “I couldn’t stand the throng that would appear.”
“Shall we deal?” Blane asked.
“Sure,” Jacob said. “No cheating.”
Each dealt out a game of solitaire with their own pack of cards.
“Whoever wins first gets …?” Jacob asked.
“We’ve always played for who makes dinner,” Blane said. “No reason to stop now.”
“You’re on!” Jacob said.
“Ready?” Blane asked.
“Go!” Blane said.
And the ferocious game of competitive solitaire began.
Monday evening — 6:30 p.m.
“Oh look, there’s Heather,” Abi said.
She pointed to Heather’s car pulling up to her mother’s house. Abi and Fin had arrived early. Rather than being the first guests, they’d decided to wait in the car. Abi was feeling nauseous anyway.
“That’s her adopted daughter,” Abi said. “They call her Tink, but she’s not an actual fairy. I introduced her to Tinkerbell, but she doesn’t remember it.”
“And the boy?” Fin asked.
“They call him Mack,” Abi said. “His name is Sam, after Sam Lipson.”
“Yvonne and Rodney,” Abi said. She pointed to Rodney’s truck. Rodney got out and helped Jabari out of his car seat. “They still have Jabari.”
“Yes,” Fin said. “Did Jeraine finish the transition plan with the social worker?”
“I think so,” Abi nodded.
“You mean, you weren’t there meddling?” Fin grinned at her.
“Maybe,” Abi smiled. She’d spent much of the day in tiny Fairy Corps form “helping” Jeraine with the transition arrangement.
“What are we doing here?” Fin asked.
“We’re here to wake up Heather’s mother,” Abi said.
“You know only her husband’s kiss can do that,” Fin said.
“I know, but …” Abi turned to look at Fin.
“What are we doing here?” Fin asked again.
“I …” Abi sighed. “I feel bad for Heather.”
“Why?” Fin asked. “She’s loved and happy. By all measures, her Blane will recover.”
Abi nodded, but didn’t look at him.
“There’s our girl,” Abi said.
Jeraine and Tanesha pulled up to Heather’s mother’s house in his Dart.
“Shouldn’t we …” Abi moved to get out of the car.
Fin grabbed her arm. She turned to look at him.
“What’s going on?” Fin asked.
“Prince Finegal, I …” Abi looked down.
“Prince Finegal?” Fin’s lips moved over the words. “What has happened?”
“I …” Abi started.
“Abigail?” Fin asked. “I have always enjoyed your honesty and you have enjoyed my trust.”
“Yes, my Prince,” Abi wouldn’t meet his eyes.
“Speak!” Fin’s voice rose with frustration.
She jerked at the command.
“What is it?” Fin said in a lower tone.
“I …” Abi nodded but didn’t meet his eyes. “I didn’t mean to and it just kinda happened. I mean the end of the war and your mother back on the throne and your father back and we moved here and everything that’s gone on here … I mean, even you’ve said that these people in Denver lead almost a soap opera life and I’m just here to help and we’ve been really active … I mean I’m teaching all these classes and you’re … so … sexy … and we … well, we’ve been … a lot.”
Abi took a deep breath. She nodded to herself.
“I just want you to know that I didn’t plan it,” Abi said. She held up a finger. “I’d never go behind your back. Ever.”
“What are we talking about?” Fin asked.
“We’re going to have a baby,” Abi said. She winced and hid her head.
“And you’re like this because …”
“The girls said that you’d be mad and we don’t have a lot of money and we agreed we’d wait …”
“Until you could have another child,” Fin said. “I agreed to wait to have another child until you were ready. That was the agreement we made. You and I would be partners and have children together. Clearly, you’re ready to have another child.”
“Oh,” Abi said.
They sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment.
“You’re not mad?” Abi asked.
“Not in the slightest,” Fin said. “I love Nee Nee and Yvonne. Tanesha is my best friend here, quite possibly the best friend I’ve ever had. Another child will be lovely.”
“But we’ll have to go back,” Abi said.
“Why?” Fin asked.
“I don’t know,” Abi said. “That’s what everyone said.”
“There’s no war to fight,” Fin shrugged. “Mother’s on the throne again. What would we do there?”
“Nothing,” Abi mumbled.
“So, what’s the problem?” Fin asked.
“I thought you’d be mad,” Abi said.
“I’m not,” Fin said.
“Why is that?” Abi asked.
“Was I mad the last time?” Fin asked.
“Yes,” Abi said. “You yelled and screamed about how your progeny dies and …”
Fin hugged Abi and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“But why …?” Abi asked.
“I was scared,” Fin said.
“And now?” Abi asked.
“We have all of these nice people to share our good news with,” Fin said.
“Really?” Abi asked.
“Of course,” Fin said. “Shall we?”
Abi nodded. Fin got out of the driver’s seat and went around the car to Abi’s door. He opened her door and held her when she got out of the car. Holding hands, they went to the door of Heather’s mother’s home. Abi knocked and Heather answered.
“Come in!” Heather said.
She stepped back and they went inside.
Denver Cereal continues next week…
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.