CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-SEVEN
“You’ve worked so hard to get the Marlowe School ready for the students to return,” Delphie said.
“Well, Jake and his guys did the work,” Valerie said.
“You did all of those video meetings with the board,” Delphie said.
“You’re right,” Valerie chuckled. “That’s a lot more work. Assholes.”
Delphie grinned at her.
“I do I miss my other life,” Valerie said. “But, everything is on hold until they figure out what to do next.”
“At least I still have offers,” Valerie said. “Did I tell you that I’m in line for one of those Marvel characters?”
“No!” Delphie said. “That sounds fun.”
Valerie nodded and then shrugged.
“You know how this goes,” Valerie said. “I could get it or not get it; get it and then not get it; or. . .”
“It’s fun to be in the running,” Delphie said.
Smiling, Valerie nodded. A chicken began to squawk and Grace began to laugh. Valerie and Delphie joined in her laugh. They sat out in the grace, eating cookies, and drinking tea until they finally go around to talking about the garden. They chatted so long that the sun started to go down.
“Hey,” Charlie said, coming out into the chicken yard. “We’re having dinner across the street.”
He picked up Grace from Delphie’s lap. Holding the baby in one hand, he grabbed the last cookie off the plate and stuffed it into his mouth in one bite.
“She needs a diaper change,” Charlie said, spitting cookie crumbs.
“We need to go inside anyway,” Delphie said.
“Seems to me that you’re enjoying yourself,” Charlie said.
“We are,” Valerie said.
“We’re plotting the fall and spring,” Delphie said.
“I want to get a Christmas tree again,” Charlie said. “Is that on the list?”
“Of course,” Valerie said.
“Good,” Charlie said. “You mind if I feed the chickens?”
“Not at all,” Valerie said.
Valerie held out her arms, and Charlie put Grace into them. Charlie went through the fast motions of feeding and checking the chickens. He came back with two eggs.
“I thought we got eggs in the mornings,” Valerie said.
“One of the girls likes to lay in the afternoon,” Charlie said.
“Good to know,” Delphie said.
“Hey, I wanted to run something by you,” Charlie said.
Delphie and Valerie looked up at him.
“I’m thinking about maybe becoming a teacher,” Charlie said. He continued in a rush of words, “I know I haven’t been the best student, but I’ve really enjoyed this year where we picked a book and worked through it. I did most of that. I also helped with the math and stuff. I know that I’m behind, but I think I could really do this. Sandy wants me to go to college and I think Aden is thinking that I’ll be a med tech or something like that. But. . .”
Charlie nodded. Embarrassed, he turned in place and went inside.
“You do need a diaper change,” Valerie said to tiny Grace.
“Let’s head in,” Delphie said. “I can change her while you get changed.”
“Oh, I have it,” Valerie said. “I’m sure there will be a million demands on your time. I appreciate you spending so much time with me today.”
“I’m glad to have it,” Delphie said.
After putting back on her facemask, Delphie picked up the plate and the tea pot. She followed Valerie inside.
This had been the strangest, most terrifying and wonderful time in any of their lives. Whatever happened next was likely to be some mix of everything that had happened before.
Delphie felt a wave of foreboding. Shaking her head at herself, she followed Valerie inside the Castle.
Denver Cereal continues on Monday...
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