Chapter Six Hundred and Seventy-six - Ready, steady, go! (part three)
Chapter Six Hundred and Seventy-six - Ready, steady, go! (part five)

Chapter Six Hundred and Seventy-six - Ready, steady, go! (part four)


(part four)

Thursday evening — 7:45 p.m.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jill said after entering the main area of Tanesha and Heather’s house. “I had to get Katy and Paddie off and then the twins had a melt down.”

Tanesha hugged Jill.

“What’s up with the twins?” Tanesha asked.

“They wanted to go with Katy,” Jill said. “At least that’s what I think they were saying. When they get upset, it’s hard to tell. It always surprises me how close they are with Katy, even though they fight all the time.”

Tanesha gestured to the play area where Jabari was playing with two other boys.

“Since he’s lived here, Jabari has only seen his brothers a few times,” Tanesha said. “But there they are.”

“Like best friends,” Jill said.

“I’m sure they’ll be best enemies soon enough,” Heather said with a laugh.

Heather and Jill hugged. Heather had Wyn on her hip. Jill ruffled his hair and he giggled.

“You okay?” Heather asked Jill.

“Not in the slightest,” Jill said. “I won’t be until Katy’s home again.”

“Understood,” Heather said, and hugged Jill again.

“I don’t know anything about the whole ‘friendly enemy’ thing,” Tanesha said. Pointing to herself, she added, “Only child. Jeraine and his sister were so different that they are basically only children. So we’re kind of out of our depth.”

“Well,” Jill said with a shrug. “You’ve had us for a long time. We’re like family.”

“But never my enemy,” Tanesha said.

“Fair enough,” Heather said.

“Where’s Sandy?” Jill asked.

Heather pointed to the kitchen. Jill turned to see Sandy with a tray of cookies. Heather’s son, Mack, was helping her put them on the cooling rack.

“Would you like to meet them?” Tanesha asked.

“Of course,” Jill said.

“But remember, this is really new and. . .” Tanesha leaned in and whispered. “. . . they don’t like me very much. I’m the evil other woman.”

Jill rolled her eyes.

“Of course you are,” Jill said. “They will make up their own minds.”

“Remember Sissy and Charlie?” Sandy asked. “No matter what our mother said, they knew that I was there for them.”

Tanesha shot Sandy a worried look but nodded. Jill and Tanesha walked over to the area where Jabari was playing. The boys were all wearing facemasks and pretending to be pirates.

“Jabari?” Tanesha asked.

“Mama?” Jabari looked up at her.

Tanesha smiled at his precious face.

“Auntie Jill just came from showing Katy and Paddie off,” Tanesha said.

Jabari jumped up and hugged Jill.

“We had to say ‘bye-bye’ to Uncle Nelson,” Jabari said. “I cried.”

“I cried too,” Jill said.

Jabari hugged her again.

“Do you want to meet my brothers?” Jabari asked. “They are coming to live with us and Granma Dionne and Grampa Bumpy and Nana Yvonne and Papa Rodney. Our littlest brother is with Nana Yvonne so he can get strong again.”

“They’re at Children’s with him,” Tanesha said in a low voice.

“I absolutely want to meet your brothers,” Jill said.

She dropped to her knees so that she would be at the children’s level.

“Okay,” Jabari said. “This is Trey. He’s called that because he’s the third person to have his name. He doesn’t like being called ‘Trey’ so Mama said we could change it to his real name.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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