Read Fairplay, Denver Cereal Volume 6 Online

Authors: Claudia Hall Christian

Tags: #love, #hope, #relationships, #family, #strong female character, #denver cereal

Fairplay, Denver Cereal Volume 6 (2 page)

BOOK: Fairplay, Denver Cereal Volume 6
2.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

How about this?” Sandy
asked. “Why don’t we figure out what
like to do today? We can fit
Mom in after she calls.”

But what if Mom calls
while we’re out?” Sissy’s eyes were huge orbs of

We can have the room
phone forwarded to our cell phones,” Sandy said. “That way Mom can
get us at the pool or horseback riding or whatever
decide to

I don’t understand it,”
Sissy said. “She called every night last week and
me we should come
to see her as soon as we get here. Then…”

She bailed,” Charlie
glared. “What a surprise.”

Listen,” Sandy said. “I
know the whole thing sucks. I know that. But we…” She put her hand
on her chest, then Sissy’s and finally Charlie’s chest. “We have
each other. We love each other. We have friends and family and work
we like and everything that matters. We can afford to be generous
with Mom.”

I can’t,” Charlie

Charlie!” Sissy gave a
teary plea to her brother.

Fine,” Charlie said.
“What do you want to do?”

The boys are going on a
horseback ride in a half hour,” Sandy said. “Aden, Nash, Jacob,
Mike, Teddy – all of the boys. MJ came in this morning. You and MJ
always have a great time, Charlie. Why don’t you go with

But what if Mom calls?”
Sissy asked.

We’ll make a plan to meet
her,” Sandy said.

What will I do?” Sissy
asked. “I don’t want to be alone.”

Noelle, Valerie, Jill and
I are going to get our nails done,” Sandy said. “Honey picked up MJ
on the Navajo reservation last night. She’s coming with us

Honey too?” Sissy smiled.
“She makes everything fun.”

She didn’t tell you they
were coming to surprise you,” Sandy said. “Have you ever been
anywhere with Valerie?”

No but Noelle told me
about it,” Sissy said. “It’s pretty wild.”

And very fun,” Sandy

Aden came out of the bedroom with Rachel.
The baby’s entire body was bright red and her face wet with tears.
She fussed until Aden gave her to Sandy. Aden pointed toward the
door. Sandy nodded. He left to get the kids from the pool.

What’s wrong with
Rachel?” Charlie asked.

She can feel everyone’s
anxiety,” Sandy said. “I can too. We have to get on with our lives.
For all of our sakes.”

Charlie picked up Rachel from Sandy. He
nuzzled her face and blew on her stomach. She giggled and patted
his face. He set Rachel back in Sandy’s arms.

I think we should wait
for Mom,” Sissy said.

I don’t,” Charlie said.
“I’m going horseback riding. Jake said we were going to see some
cool old Indian caves today and tomorrow we’re going to hot
springs. You should go with the girls, Sis. When will you ever have
a chance to hang out with a real movie star?”

Go clean up,” Sandy

Undecided, Sissy stood for a moment. Charlie
turned her around by her shoulders. Sissy gave a woeful sigh and
slunk off to the bathroom. With Sissy gone, tears welled in
Charlie’s eyes.

Mrs. Anjelika is here,”
Sandy said. “She said she’d go horseback riding with you if you

She can go with you,”
Charlie said. “I’m supposed to study with her this afternoon. If
Mom wants to see us this afternoon, I can’t go.”

Sandy nodded.

What do you think she’s
up to?” Charlie asked.

I don’t know,” Sandy
said. “In the last year, I’ve been so happy. You’ve been pretty
happy in the last few months. I think she can’t ever be happy.
She’s kind of broken in that way. She sees our happiness and it
makes her mad.”

That’s not right!”
Charlie’s voice was indignant.

It’s not,” Sandy said. “I
can’t help but feel sorry for her. Who could want better kids than
you and Sissy?”

And you.”

And yet she feels like
she has nothing,” Sandy said. “I tell you this all the time, but
when you spend your time focusing on what you give, you miss the
love that surrounds you.”

Charlie reached his finger over to stroke a
renegade tear off Rachel’s cheek and nodded.

She only sees herself,”
Sandy said. “So she only has herself. When I’m feeling sad or blue,
I can talk to you or Aden or Jill or Sissy or play with the dogs or
cuddle Rachel or… I have so many options.”

She doesn’t have any,”
Charlie said.

She doesn’t,” Sandy

Did we take it away from
her?” Charlie’s eyes blinked at his mother’s cruel words that
lingered in his heart.

No,” Sandy said. “I’ve
known her a long time, longer than you or Sissy. She’s always been
like this. I think Dad thought he could help her, make her better

Sandy shrugged.

Dad was really great,”
Charlie said.

He was amazing,” Sandy
said. “The kids look up to you like everyone looked up to

That’s ‘cuz I’m tall,”
Charlie smiled.

No,” Sandy said. “It’s
because you have the same strength and brightness. Everyone has had
a tough week. We killed a serial killer, two evil

And all those baby
creatures,” Charlie nodded. “Noelle has nightmares about

I need you to be a leader
today,” Sandy said. “Help me by being stable and strong for me and
the kids. I want Mom to be all right too.”

I’ll try,” Charlie

Good,” Sandy said. “Now
go get dressed.”

Do we have time to eat
before we go?” Charlie asked on his way to the boy’s

You just ate!”

I know but…” Charlie
rubbed his stomach.

Go! Get dressed!” Shaking
her head, Sandy laughed.

Thanks,” Charlie gave
Sandy a nod and disappeared.

Sandy sat down on the couch to feed Rachel.
The baby grabbed her breast but couldn’t seem to clamp on.

I don’t know, Rachel,”
Sandy said. “Are you worried too?”

Rachel looked up at Sandy and blinked her
beautiful eyes. Sandy smiled. She offered Rachel the other breast
and she began to nurse. Sandy sighed.

We’ll find out soon
enough,” she said.

The door burst open with a whirl of noise
and excitement as Noelle, Nash and Teddy rushed in from the

EW!” Nash gave his usual
response to Sandy breast feeding.

Teddy dragged him into their bedroom to
change. Noelle stopped to say hi to Rachel and went to change. Aden
came to sit next to her.

You okay?” Aden

Not really,” Sandy said.
“Makes me furious to see the kids upset. Again. By the same
bullshit from the same woman. I feel like an idiot for dragging
everyone here.”

I thought you a good job
taking care of Sissy and Charlie,” Aden said.

Sandy shrugged.

Do you have another
plan?” Aden asked.

While you guys are out,
I’m going to that treatment center to put an end to this once and
for all,” Sandy said.

I won’t let you go
alone,” Aden said.

Thanks,” Sandy gave him a
vague smile.

And Rachel?” Aden

I was going to ask
Anjelika or Delphie if they could sit her,” Sandy said. “They plan
to hang out together and gossip. Or that’s what they

Have you pumped milk?”
Aden asked.

I brought some frozen.
It’s in the hotel freezer downstairs,” Sandy said. “Rachel doesn’t
seem to mind the substitute.”

I’ll go ask Delphie and
get the milk,” Aden got up from the couch. “What will you tell
Charlie and Sissy?”

The truth,” Sandy said.
“They’ll probably be relieved.”

Why don’t I tell them?”
Aden said. “I can be the bad guy.”

Sandy’s eyes scanned his face to see if she
could determine his motivation. He gave her a soft smile.

I love you,” Aden said.
“That’s why I’m doing it.”

Nodding, Sandy gave him a worried look.

You’re a great mother,
Sandy,” Aden said. “To them all. We’ll mother your mother

He bent, kissed her cheek, and went into the
boys’ room. Sandy settled back to Rachel.

I don’t know, Rachel,”
Sandy said. “This isn’t going to end well. I just know


Saturday morning – 8:15 A.M.


What the hell is that?”
Maresol asked.

She’d been in a downstairs bedroom getting
ready for Seth’s homecoming when she heard something. Something
definitely barky was going on in the hallway.

Oh no, you are not
bringing that thing into my house!” Maresol pointed to the
chocolate Labrador puppy Dale and Ava were playing with.

It was a present,” Ava
said. “For Seth.”

I don’t care,” Maresol
said. “It’s a peeing, pooping, and chewing nightmare.”

She’s so cute,” Dale
said. “How can you not love this face?”

I do not like…” Maresol
started. Ava was holding the puppy up so that it was near Maresol’s
eyes. “Hrmph.”

Maresol turned away from Ava and the

Why don’t you hold her?”
Before Maresol could react, Ava set the puppy in the woman’s arms.
The puppy started licking Maresol’s chin. She let out a little

I knew you didn’t hate
dogs,” Ava said.

Maresol gave Ava a sad smile and kissed the

So what’s the story?”
Dale asked.

My Bonita had dogs,”
Maresol said. “She loved those dogs like she loved her children –
with fierce laughing love. After the children were killed, we had
the dog for five more years, maybe more. Seth and I… We were both
destroyed when he died. It was almost like losing the boys and
Bonita all over again. I don’t think I can go through

Maresol’s hand went automatically to rub the
puppy’s ears.

She is very cute,”
Maresol said. “Where did she come from?”

One of the families of
the kids,” Ava said. “They wanted to thank Seth for finding the man
who killed their son and bringing him to justice. They breed
Labradors and I guess she’s some prize.”

The pick of the litter,”
Dale said. “That’s what they said. They gave us a crate, bowls,
food and stuff. ”

Well, pick of the
litter,” Maresol said. “Do you have a name?”

Ava and Dale shook their heads.

What were your other dogs
called?” Ava asked.

Seth named them after
composers,” Maresol said. “The one we had after Bonita and the boys
were killed was called Mozart.”

How about Clara?” Dale

Clara?” Ava

Clara Schumann, the
greatest pianist of the nineteenth century,” Dale said.

How…?” Ava shook her head
in wonderment that he came up with something so fast.

I looked up composers
before they dropped her off,” Dale blushed. “And I like the name
Clara. Plus, it seems to fit her.”

I like it,” Ava

Hello, Clarita,” Maresol
set down the puppy and brought up her index finger. “You two will
clean up the yard and the house after this thing. You will potty
train her immediately. You will obedience train her and walk her at
least once a day until Seth is better. And you will not let the
puppy eat any, and I mean not a single piece, of my

Yes ma’am,” Ava

Dale was so surprised at Maresol’s change in
demeanor, he just stared at her. Ava knocked his shoulder with the
back of her hand.

Yes ma’am,” Dale

Good,” Maresol said. “Now
put Clara in her crate and help me finish Seth’s room. He will be
home in a few hours.”

Yes ma’am,” Dale

She smiled at him and he laughed. Ava put
Clara in her tiny puppy crate and went to help.


Saturday mid-day – 11:45 A.M.


Okay,” Sandy stopped her
pacing in front of Aden. “I was mad, but now I’m really

After being told that Sandy’s mother would
be right out, they had been waiting in the lobby for nearly two

She gets fifteen more
minutes, then I’m leaving,” Sandy said. “And not coming back. No
matter what.”

Aden tried to hug Sandy but she shrugged him
off. She continued pacing.

I can see why Charlie was
mad,” Aden said.

BOOK: Fairplay, Denver Cereal Volume 6
2.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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