Denver Cereal -- Chapter 700 (entire chapter)
14 min read

Denver Cereal -- Chapter 700 (entire chapter)

Denver Cereal -- Chapter 700 (entire chapter)

Return to normal?

“Now what should I do?” Delphie asked as she looked up from the computer.

“Write an update,” Jacob said.

“About what?” Delphie asked.

“About us,” Jacob said, his voice rising in frustration. “You always do this!”

“I always do what?” Delphie asked with a mischievous grin.

Jacob glared at her. Delphie grinned back. If she’d been standing, she would have annoyed him by twirling back and forth. Jacob gave a soft chuckle.

“Do you want to do this thing?” Jacob asked. “You’re not the only psychic in the family. If you feel like you’re too tired. . .”

Delphie burst out laughing. She pointed at him, and he laughed. Jacob leaned over and kissed her cheek.

“Take your time,” Jacob said. “We’ll go through it together when you’re done.”

Jacob started out of Delphie’s apartment. He stopped at the door.

“Do you know how to type?” Jacob asked.

“I’ve been typing since I was a young child,” Delphie said, indignantly.

Jacob smirked at her and left the apartment.

Now seething, Delphie stared at the door he’d disappeared behind for a long moment. The apparition of her best friend appeared.

“He’s trying to encourage you,” Celia said.

Delphie sniffed with anger, which caused Celia to laugh.

“Why are you struggling here?” Celia asked.

“I don’t know what people want to hear,” Delphie said. “I’ve never written anything. I mean, do people want to hear about the movement of the planets? The Tarot? Or. . .?”

Heaving a sigh, Delphie collapsed into herself.

“They want to know about the people you spend your life with,” Celia said. “You’re at the heart of everything that happens here. Tell the people about what’s going on.”

“You think so?” Delphie asked.

“I do,” Celia said.

“But that’s easy,” Delphie said.

“It’s all easy for you,” Celia said.

Delphie thought for a long moment before nodding.

“You’re right,” Delphie said. “I can do this.”

“Of course, you can,” Celia said.

Delphie smiled at her best friend and settled into the chair. She looked at the computer that Jacob had set up.

“Now, what do people want to hear about?” Delphie asked. “Katy and Paddie? Jill? The girlfriends? Tanesha was in the middle of. . . Charlie? Noelle? Blane? Me?”

Delphie sighed.

“Here goes nothing,” Delphie said to herself.

She began to write.


Sunday morning — 10:07 a.m.

The Castle, Denver, Colorado

“Hi, everyone! It’s Delphie! Jacob asked me to write a kind of ‘catch up’ post to get you caught up with everything that’s gone on in the last few months.

“There are some big things. Probably the first is that Lipson Construction is up and running at full capacity. They haven’t had a single outbreak of Covid-19. Not one! That’s mostly due to their 100% compliance with vaccines and masks, of course. Well, that and being an underground utility company, everyone is pretty careful to wash their hands and that kind of thing, anyway. Overall, the company has been a tremendous success. They’ve even hired new people to fill in where people have left or moved to be with family during this time.

“One thing that I’ll tell is this — most people tell me that they like wearing the masks. Underground utility work is better done with a mask on. Or at least that’s what Aden’s second-in-command, Bambi, says. It’s highly possible that the owners will vote to keep the masks even after this pandemic is over.

“The Marlowe School continues to require masks. The increased HVAC, UV lights, and all of that has been more expensive, especially during the winter, but it’s kept the kids free from illness. When this last wave happened, the school instituted temperature readings for the kids. But not one kid got sick. It’s kind of amazing, really.”

Wondering if this was too boring, Delphie stopped writing.

“Jake said that he would go through it,” Delphie said out loud. Shrugging, she added, “It’s pretty amazing to me that no one has gotten sick.”

Delphie started writing again.

“As you know, we’ve had a lot of sick people here at the Castle,” Delphie said. “Ivan’s treatment for blood cancer continues. Much to his surprise, his energy is starting to return. Of course, he’s had twice-daily treatments from Blane. He’s completed his first round of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. He might still need another round of treatments or even a bone-marrow transplant, but for now, he’s holding his own. He’s fought with his demons in psychotherapy. He’s shockingly different — brighter, happier, better. We’re all shocked by his transformation. He even returned to dancing about six weeks ago. Whenever Jeraine or his crew are not in the ballroom, Ivan is down there — stretching, doing barre work, and even some dancing. He’s there nearly every day now. His strength increases every time he practices. It’s beautiful to see.

“You probably remember that Paddie’s mommy, Julie, had Long Covid. She’s doing much better, too. She changed her diet to an anti-inflammatory diet, and, to all of our surprise, her inflammation is decreasing. She will likely have some symptoms, maybe forever, but, overall, she’s doing really well.

“Burt Matchel? You remember the son of our neighbor Mr. Matchel? You won’t believe it, but Mr. Matchel moved in with his girlfriend — you know, the neighbor who lives in the house next to the Castle? His son, Burt, moved into Mr. Matchel’s house. Mike and Jake are helping him fix up the old house. Burt’s found a job here in Denver. He’s hung in there with therapy and also acupuncture. Honestly, seeing Ivan transform helped Burt feel like it was possible for him.

“And. . . Hmm. . .”

Staring off into the near distance, Delphie wondered what she should write about next.


Sunday morning — 10:17 a.m.

“You know what’s weird?” Paddie asked.

They were coloring on a big sheet of butcher paper at the kitchen table in the main Castle kitchen. Mike was making something “amazing” for lunch. This usually meant that any minute now, Mike would give up on cooking and get them French fries and burgers. Not wanting to miss even one fry, Katy and Paddie were right there for when Mike gave up.

“We’re not in Sunday school?” Katy asked.

Paddie chuckled.

“That is weird,” Paddie said. “But Mommy’s not feeling good, and your mommy went with the girlfriends and. . .”

“I’m not sad,” Katy said. “About not going to Sunday school, I mean.”

“Are you sad about something else?” Paddie asked.

Katy shook her head.

“Should I be sad about something?” Katy asked.

“No,” Paddie said. His face pinched with worry. “Don’t be sad, Katy.”

Katy hugged him.

“Shit,” Mike said.

Katy and Paddie pulled away from each other. They looked at Mike with hope.

“Are you okay, Uncle Mike?” Katy asked.

“I hate cooking,” Mike said.

Katy nodded.

“I don’t know why I get myself in these situations,” Mike said.

Paddie giggled and clamped his hand over his mouth. Mike turned in place to look at them. His eyes went from Paddie to Katy. Mike opened his hand and threw a jolt of power at Paddie, but Katy held up the Vanquisher in front of Paddie. The energy rebounded to Mike.

The energy hit Mike in the chest, and he flew backward, across the kitchen.

“Nicely done,” Mike said, rubbing his chest.

Mike had been practicing this very thing with Katy since Paddie and Katy had returned from their adventure with Uncle Nelson.

Mike pointed at Katy.

“You put this idea in my head,” Mike said.

“You had the idea,” Katy said with a shrug. “I just made it seem possible.”

“Why?” Mike asked.

Katy gave him her most wide-eyed innocent look. Mike laughed like it was the funniest thing that he’d ever heard. Katy chuckled.

“We should go get some squid soup,” Mike said.

“No!” Paddie and Katy groaned.

“You aren’t in Sunday school,” Mike said.

“Neither are you!” Katy said.

“I am an adult,” Mike said.

“Uh huh,” Paddie said.

Mike laughed like he’d never heard anything funnier.

“How about some burgers and fries?” Mike asked.

“Uncle Mike, are you sure?” Katy asked.

Mike burst out laughing again.

“Come on,” Mike said.

Mike, Paddie, and Katy started out the back door.

“You know, Delphie’s updating people on how everyone is doing,” Mike said, taking his keys out of his pocket. “What would you say about your trip with Uncle Nelson?”

“We went. We fought bad guys. . .” Paddie said.

“Bad ghosts,” Katy introjected.

“We came home,” Paddie said with a shrug.

Mike stopped walking and turned to look at him.

“Your dad told you to say that?” Mike asked.

Paddie and Katy nodded.

“It’s what my dad says about his work,” Paddie said with a nod.

“What are you to say, Katy?” Mike said as they took the stairs down to Mike’s old Bronco.

“It was so hard, Uncle Mike,” Katy said with an exaggerated sniff. “I can’t possibly speak of it.”

Shocked, Mike stopped walking. Katy gave him a very exaggerated wink. He smiled at her.

“Your mom taught you to wink?” Mike asked.

“Uh huh,” Katy said.

“You look just like her when you wink,” Mike said.

Katy smiled as if Mike had given her a compliment. Chuckling at Katy’s response, Mike opened the back door of the Bronco. Paddie was tall enough not to need a booster, and, finally, Katy was heavy enough not to need a booster, either. Mike helped them with their seat belts and got into the front seat.

“Should we bring something home for the other kids?” Mike asked.

“Nah,” Katy said.

Paddie laughed, which caused Mike to laugh.

“Val would kill me,” Mike said. “I was supposed to make lunch.”

“Auntie Valerie doesn’t think that you’re making lunch,” Katy said.

“What does she want to eat, then?” Mike asked.

“She wants a chicken sandwich,” Katy said.

“Glad I asked,” Mike said, turning on the Bronco. Looking in the rearview mirror, he asked, “Any idea what everyone else wants?”

Katy nodded vehemently.

“Let me guess,” Mike said. “You’ll tell me only if I get you extra fries.”

“For Paddie,” Katy said.

Paddie squealed with laughter at her manipulation.

“Is that so?” Mike asked. “That’s very generous of you.”

Katy gave him a sincere nod. A moment later, they both started laughing.

“Sounds like we have a big order,” Mike said.

“It’s okay, Uncle Mike,” Katy said. “The place isn’t very busy. They want us to go inside.”

“So you can eat fries while they make our meals?” Mike asked.

“You think of everything,” Paddie said.

Katy howled with laughter. She was laughing so hard that Paddie and Mike joined her. Mike drove up to their favorite fast-food restaurant and parked. He let the children out, and they went inside.

**Paddie and Katy’s adventure with Nelson and the Templar Hoard will become a three book trilogy due out either in 2022 or 2023**


Sunday morning — 12:07 p.m.

“I see what you mean,” Sam said.

“It’s too dry!” Delphie said. “I don’t know why Jacob thought that I could do this. He’s really better at this kind of thing, but. . .”

Delphie gave such a deep sigh that Sam looked up from the sheet of paper and smiled at her.

“If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to,” Sam said.

“I want to do it!” Delphie said. “I just want to do it better!”

Scowling at the sheet, Sam nodded.

“What if we do it together?” Sam said after a moment. “Would you like that?”

Delphie nodded.

“Okay, well, who have people asked about?” Sam asked.

“You,” Delphie said. “Noelle. Jill. Oh, Sam, I can’t do this! I keep forgetting who people want to hear about!”

“You are doing it,” Sam said. “What would you say about me?”

“I’d say that you’re doing okay,” Delphie said. “You’ve mostly recovered from Covid except that sometimes, when you’re tired or stressed, you get brain fog and migraines.”

Sam nodded.

“I stepped back from Lipson again,” Sam said.

“What would you say that you’re doing now?” Delphie asked.

“Annoying you?” Sam asked with a grin.

Delphie was too frustrated to respond in kind. She just looked at him.

“Fine,” Sam said. “What am I doing? I’m helping Jake and Jill with their remodel projects. Since the pandemic, many people want work on their homes. Jake has three teams. I’m running two teams.”

“Jill hired an assistant,” Delphie said, nodding. “Someone from her school.”

“They are doing even more work than we are,” Sam said. He shook his head. “It’s like people came home to work and realized that they hate their houses. Jill’s doing updates on new homes and for people who’ve owned their homes for decades. She has had to subcontract to a bunch of painters because there’s so much work.”

“Jill graduated from school,” Delphie said.

“With honors,” Sam said. “That’s right. Her final project was updating the Governor’s Mansion. It was so good that the Governor had her redecorate his private home.”

“The Governor got married, too,” Delphie said.

“I bet no one cares about the Governor,” Sam said.

Delphie nodded.

“Let’s run down the kids,” Sam said. “Everyone loves kids.”

“Paddie and Katy are doing good,” Delphie said.

“After their trip,” Sam said. “That Gorgon is still around.”

“She babysits sometimes,” Delphie said, nodding. “I think she’s happy to have a more normal life.”

“Who wouldn’t be?” Sam shrugged. “Kids?”

“Tanner and Bladen are doing good,” Delphie said. “Jake’s been working with them to do less psychokinesis and more actual work. Tanner’s better at it than Bladen.”

“But it’s harder for Bladen because his abilities are so strong,” Sam said, nodding. “Jake has them working on tiny pieces of carpentry. It’s good because they can really see the difference between psychokinesis and actual hands-on work.”

“It’s what you did with Jake,” Delphie said.

Sam nodded.

“They are such sweet boys,” Sam said.

“They were holy terrors as toddlers,” Delphie said. “I think they changed when all of those other kids were here. They had to be more responsible, more grown up. They couldn’t just be little babies anymore.”

“I think it’s hard with twins,” Sam said. “They have a built-in best friend in their twin. They don’t have to learn to be friends with other people. I think you’re right that having other people here helped. They made friends outside of each other.”

Delphie nodded.

“Valerie’s been working a lot,” Delphie said.

“She signed onto three mini-series?” Sam asked.

“Three,” Delphie said. “Because of Covid, they’re filming all at the same time, so she just goes from set to set. She says that she’s having fun.”

“Mike and Val’s kids are doing really well, too,” Sam said.

“They’re at the Marlowe School rather than traveling with their parents,” Delphie said.

Nodding, Sam added, “That’s something Jill’s doing.”

“Taking care of Val’s kids?” Delphie asked.

“They live in the loft with Jill and Jake when Val and Mike are gone,” Sam said.

Delphie nodded.

“Sandy’s finally one hundred percent,” Sam said.

“That’s been a really long road,” Delphie said. “I’ve been amazed at how she’s just taken it one step at a time.”

“She and Aden are back to working out every morning,” Sam said. “Aden’s still sober.”

“Miraculously,” Delphie said. “Charlie and Tink are, too.”

“Charlie and Tink got into college,” Sam said.

“They’ll start in the fall,” Delphie said. “It’s really hard to believe how far they’ve come. Charlie is so handsome. Sometimes, I catch him coming down the hall or the stairs, and I can’t believe he’s the same surly young man that Sandy brought home.”

“Sissy’s still enjoying the Opera de Paris,” Sam said.

“Dancing in the chorus,” Delphie said. “She’s going to be in their next production. The first since the pandemic started!”

“Amazing.” Sam said.

“Amazing,” Delphie said.

“Jeraine’s doing shows in Vegas,” Sam said. “And downstairs in the ballroom.”

“There’s a show here this weekend,” Delphie said nodding. “Tanesha’s finished her third year of medical school. She’s applying to residencies.”

“She’s done really well,” Sam said. “I have breakfast with Rodney every week to catch up. He’s so proud of her. I am, too. I mean, I know that I shouldn’t be proud of her because I’ve just been on the sidelines. . .”

“I’m proud of her, too,” Delphie said. “She’s a great person. She’s handled all of Annette’s kids, made them her own, gone to school, managed being ‘Miss T’ to Jeraine’s adoring fans. It’s a lot, and she’s thrived.”

Sam nodded.

“Noelle and Nash?” Delphie asked.

“They are at a tough age,” Sam said. “It’s hard to know what’s going on with them.”

Delphie nodded.

“Nash is driving,” Delphie said. “Noelle and Teddy are still dating.”

“Noelle’s been showing some of her art pieces,” Sam said.

“Selling everything she shows,” Delphie said.

“Still working with Mike,” Sam said.

Delphie nodded.

“We have an overwhelming number of great kids,” Sam said.

“We do,” Delphie said.

“How’s Ivy doing?” Sam asked.

“Oh,” Delphie said with a sigh. “She got really triggered when she started having periods. Is that too much information?”

“Not for people who love her,” Sam said.

“She’s in therapy again,” Delphie said. “EMDR and stuff. Her aunt’s been working so much that we never see her. Ivy’s been with us the entire pandemic.”

“We’ve been the lucky recipients of her aunt’s workload,” Sam said.

“I think that it’s too much for Ivy’s aunt, honestly,” Delphie said. “She’s working a lot. It’s tough to raise a kid when you’re in the military.”

Sam nodded.

“I love Ivy,” Delphie said.

“She’s never going to be an Oracle,” Sam said.

“Most of that went away when she started her menses,” Delphie said.

“As you said it would,” Sam said.

Delphie nodded.

“She’s okay with that,” Delphie said. “I think it was too much for her.”

“I agree,” Sam said. “Especially since she was so traumatized.”

“We’ll see,” Delphie said. “Some of it might come back as she ages. I will say that she’s an excellent Tarot reader. She can always read cards for a living. So the rest of it doesn’t matter much.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sam said.

“No, it really doesn’t,” Delphie said.

“Abi? Fin?” Sam asked. “Heather?”

“Edie finished uniting the Fairy Realms,” Delphie said.

“That was a lot of work,” Sam said.

“It was, but it’s done now,” Delphie said. “Fin is also applying for residencies. He’s confident that he and Tanesha will go to the same place, but Tanesha’s less sure. Of course, Abi is Abi.”

“Their ‘twins’ are in Queen Fand’s realm,” Sam said.

“The realm of Fand,” Delphie corrected.

“You’re right. No more ‘Queens,’” Sam said. “Rachel Ann?”

“She and Ivy are still fast friends,” Delphie said. “She’s growing up.”

“Being around all of these people with extra powers is a little weird for her,” Sam said.

“Everyone loves Rachel Ann, though,” Delphie said. “Maggie, too. It wouldn’t surprise me if ten or fifteen years from now, we see Rachel and Maggie marry one of the kids in the house.”

“Whoa, slow down,” Sam said. “We’re just updating for now.”

Delphie nodded. She thought for a moment.

“Heather is doing well,” Delphie said. “She and Blane are happy. Blane and Nelson are still an item. Tres is happy. It’s kind of amazing what they’ve been able to do. They’re raising the kids together. It’s so beautiful.”

Sam nodded.

“Did we miss anyone?” Delphie asked.

“Wyn and Mack?” Sam asked.

Delphie shrugged.

“They are weirdly normal,” Delphie said. “It kind of freaks me out.”

“Why?” Sam asked.

“Because they’re so powerful,” Delphie said. “So strong. Yet, they act and look like normal kids.”

“Not Greek gods,” Sam said.

“Who would ever know?” Delphie asked.

They fell silent. After a long moment, Sam sighed.

“That’s everyone, except you,” Sam said.

“You know me, Sam,” Delphie said. “I’m just myself. I’m not good or bad, just me.”

“How will you feel when this family you built starts moving out to live their lives?” Sam asked.

“You mean Tink and Charlie?” Delphie asked.

“They are the first,” Sam said. “Although, aren’t they living here while they go to school?”

They were silent for a moment.

“We’re not losing a thing,” Delphie said.

“Not one thing,” Sam said. “Come on. I’ll take you out for lunch. Do you have your mask?”

Delphie nodded. She got up, gave Sam a peck on the lips, and went to use the bathroom. When she returned, they walked to Pete’s, where they ordered food, which they carried back to eat at the Castle.

**Delphie has agreed to do a quarterly update on how everyone is doing. This chapter is free and available for everyone.**

Denver Cereal continues next week...

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