Chapter Six Hundred and Forty - A moving day (part three)
Chapter Six Hundred and Forty - A moving day (part five)

Chapter Six Hundred and Forty - A moving day (part four)


(part four)

Thursday morning — 10:02 a.m.

Teddy Jakkman was standing on the Castle’s backyard grass watching the children play when Alex Hargreaves appeared. Instinctively, he let out a yelp and jumped. Then he swore at himself.

“Let’s try it again,” Alex said.

“I know you’re coming now!” Teddy said.

Alex grinned. She helped out with the martial arts classes whenever she was home. Right now, they were working on being calm, but prepared for anything at any time. It was a lot harder than it seemed.

“How long did it take you to get it?” Teddy asked.

“Forever,” Alex said. “And I had two annoying brothers, who kept me on my toes.”

Teddy grinned and then scowled.

“How’s Uncle John?” Teddy asked.

“Good,” Alex said with a grin. “Well, better. He’s starting to act a little bit more like himself again.”

“That’s good,” Teddy said.

“Death is sticky,” Alex said. “Every soul leaves a bit of themselves with you. I don’t understand it enough to explain it, but it just is.”

Teddy nodded in understanding.

“I came to see my children,” Alex said.

“Are you taking them home?” Teddy asked, his voice rising in anxiety.

“If they want to come home,” Alex said. “They seem pretty happy here. They’re having a great time here. Should I take them home?”

“No, I. . .” Looking relieved, Teddy nodded.

“Why?” Alex asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Teddy said with a sheepish grin. “If they go, then I’ll probably have to go.”

“Makes sense,” Alex said. “Unlike you, the kids and I need to have a conversation with our family in Afghanistan.”

“Valerie said something about it,” Teddy said with a nod.

“She said she’d set it up for me,” Alex said. “But I know she just had her baby. It would be okay if. . .”

“I think it’s done,” Teddy said. “Well. . . really, you’re just using Jill’s office. She talks to Mike and Val when they travel. It’s quiet and there’s space for everyone.”

“Sounds great,” Alex said. “Is Jill here?”

“The girlfriends are at Tanesha’s storage facility,” Teddy said. “Val’s waiting for you in the kitchen.”

“Perfect. Thanks for keeping track of everyone,” Alex said. “That’s a real skill, Teddy.”

Teddy blushed and looked away.

“Are my kids upstairs?” Alex asked.

Teddy gestured out on the grass. Máire, Katy, Ivy, and Jackie were with Delphie inside the greenhouses while Joey was running after Paddie with Eddy, Bladen, and Tanner close behind.

Smiling, Alex went to the greenhouse. Teddy watched. Even though Maire and Joey went long periods without seeing their mom, they were super close, almost closer because she was gone sometimes. The children could share their raw need and emotion because they knew that their mom could handle it. It was true for Teddy, his sister, and brother and their dad, too.

Máire looked up when Alex opened the door to the greenhouse. The girl’s face flushed red and she began to cry. Alex walked over to the small girl and picked her up. Alex smiled at Delphie and carried Máire out of the greenhouse. Teddy saw the girl cry and talk to her mother. Alex carried Máire over to the deck. She sat down and held her daughter as she cried and spoke.

Teddy went across the grass to get Joey. He was nearly there when Joey noticed his mom and sister. He raced past Teddy and threw himself on his mother and sister. The three of them were such a joyous sight that everyone stopped to watch.

After a moment, Alex got up. She held a hand out to Máire and a hand to Joey. Máire smoothed her long curly hair before taking her mother’s hand. The three went inside.

When Teddy looked back, the boys were playing again and Delphie was working with the girls in the greenhouse. It was just starting to warm up for the day.

Even with the face masks, handwashing, and social distancing, this was going to be a really great spring.

Teddy just knew it.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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