“Don’t make me slap you,” Jordan said. “Because I will. These men here won’t hit you because it’s not polite to smack a woman. But I’m a girl, so I can hit you all I want. It’s gone, so calm down and stop acting like a schizy Barbie doll. I want to wash my face and I really need to pee.”
Mrs. Finley blinked at her and stopped babbling. Her face lost its panicked expression. Heaving a loud sigh, she took Jordan by the shoulders. “Of course. Where are my manners? Come inside, honey, and freshen up.”
Brian and Heath exchanged a shocked look.
“Do you think she’d really hit her?” Brian asked.
“My daughter? Oh, hell, yeah. She’d smack the daylights out of her.” His laugh sounded forced, but it broke the tension between them
They chatted a few minutes on the back porch before following the women into the house. Jordan had convinced Mrs. Finley to make some hot chocolate and stood by the stove, helping her stir the milk with cocoa powder and sugar. Mugs were lined up on the counter. Jordan had been busy.
It amazed Brian how she could make a crazy, frightening situation fade away and seem normal. By the time they left, Mr. and Mrs. Finley acted like nothing strange had transpired. The only one in the family still shaken by the experience, was Chase. Brian made sure to make plans to meet up with him at lunch the following day.
“We’ve got a shit ton to talk about,” Brian told his friend. “Lock up tight and be safe.”
“You bet I will! Thank God I don’t have to ride the bus to school. Dad takes me every morning.”
“See you tomorrow.” Jordan hugged Chase before hopping into her father’s car.
Brian patted his friend on the shoulder and got in, closing the door with a thump.
“That was some bonfire,” Heath said as they drove home. “Hope I never see another one like it.”
“Makes two of us,” Brian said. “Are Mom and Jackie okay?”
“They’re fine as can be,” Heath said. “But you two have some explaining to do.” He sounded stern, but Brian sensed worry underneath. “Tell me what’s going on.”
The two teenagers knew there was no point in denying anything. Heath had been there and seen things he couldn’t logically refute. Something that couldn’t possibly happen, had. Rapidly and rather incoherently, Brian and Jordan told Heath what had happened to them over the last few months.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Heath asked his daughter.
“I did, Daddy. Remember? You took me to a bunch of doctors who tried to tell you I was crazy and wanted drug me and lock me up.”
“I told my mother and we did the doctor thing too. Only they ran tests, just sure I had a brain tumor or something.”
“Well, if you have a brain tumor, then so do I,” Jordan stated.
“Mr. Barrett, I think the reason my dad left had something to do with all this stuff that’s happening. I haven’t even had a chance to tell Jordan this, but Dad left me a message and some computer files to read. He said to read them right away, but I haven’t had time.”
“I’d say now was the perfect time to start. I don’t want you and your mother in that remote house on your own. We’re going to stop and get Maribelle, then take you two home to pack. You’re going to stay with us, at least for tonight. We’ll figure out more permanent arrangements tomorrow.”
Brian didn’t argue. He felt the same way. How could he protect a blind woman all by himself? With Heath around, he had backup. And Jordan. How could he forget her bravery? She held off the fire elemental with two sharp sticks and a lot of moxie.
Heath left Jordan with her mother so they could make up the guest room and den for Brian and his mother. Heath went in the house with the Caseys, checking it carefully before he let them go upstairs to pack. Once they were ready, Maribelle locked up the house and they headed back to the Barrett’s house.
Jacqueline showed Maribelle to the guest room and Jordan led Brian to the den. The futon couch folded out to a comfortable queen sized bed. Warm blankets and a heavy afghan lay on top of the flannel sheets.
“Do you have the files with you? Can we read through some of it now?” Jordan asked him.
“Yes. But we probably should go to bed. We’ve got to get up pretty early.”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes