The teenagers went downstairs and rummaged around in the kitchen. They gathered matches, candles and cans of Sterno. When they got back, they found that Heath had blocked the base of the windows with towels and blankets. Jordan placed the Sterno cans and candles in foil pie pans scattered about the room. Brian lit them and they gathered in the center of the room, waiting.
After a few minutes, they noticed the ice melting and evaporating. Slowly at first, it got faster when they moved the Sterno closer. Mindful of the towels, they waited and hoped that no fire elementals decided to come to call. The ice retreated and the wind died down.
“Do you think it will be all right now, Dad?”
“I don’t know, sweet pea. It’s okay for now. Why don’t you kids go back to bed? I’ll keep an eye on things.”
“I can’t sleep in here, Daddy. I’m too scared.”
“Crawl in with your mother.”
“Why don’t you go sleep in my bed,” Brian suggested. “I’ll stay up her with your dad.”
“I don’t want to be alone!”
The men exchanged a look. “I’ll hit the recliner,” Brian said manfully. “You take the bed.”
Jordan hugged him. She grabbed her duvet from the bed and wrapped it around herself as they went downstairs. Jordan hopped in the bed, pulling the blankets over her head, the duvet still around her.
“Don’t just stand there,” she said, her voice muffled. “Get in here and warm up the bed.”
“Jordan, your dad will kill me….”
“No, he won’t. Nothing’s going to happen.”
“Pretty sure he won’t see it that way.”
Her angry face popped out from under the blankets. “You get in this bed this second or I’ll start screaming.”
“Jordan….” Brian knew he was defeated. There was no arguing with her. Nothing would happen between them, but would her father believe that? “If your father kills me, you have to take care of my mom for life.”
She flashed a satisfied grin. “Done. Now get in this bed and warm it up.”
Brian lay down on the edge of the bed, as far from Jordan as he could get. She had other ideas. Shivering, she snuggled close, putting her head on his shoulder and her arm across his chest. She pulled his arm around her as she cuddled closer. With a contented sign, she fell asleep. The extra warmth of her body did feel good. Brian’s eyes closed and he fell into a deep sleep.
Morning sun filtered in around the drapes, piercing Brian’s sleepy eyes. He tried to sit up, but an unexpected weight on his chest kept him pinned to the bed. Jordan lay with her head over his heart, her arm around his waist. One of his arms cradled her shoulders and the other held her hand that rested on his belly. He dearly hoped her father wouldn’t see them, or he was a dead man. Carefully, he disentangled himself and got out of bed. Quietly, he wrapped the duvet around himself and got in the recliner. A few minutes later, Heath poked his head around the door.
Acting like he’d been in a deep sleep, Brian sat up, stretching. “Yes, sir?”
“Come see.” He motioned excitedly.
Brian got up and followed Jordan’s father to the living room. The landscape was concealed under a thin layer of snow. Frost decorated the windows, creating a delicate filigree design on every pane.
“Ever seen snow before?”
“Once or twice. It’s sure pretty.”
“It is indeed.”
“How are things upstairs?”
“Seem to be okay. I camped out in Jordan’s room and checked on the women a few times. Not a damn thing wrong. The power came back on a couple hours ago. Should warm up nicely soon. I’m glad I’ve got firewood.”
“Do we really want fire in the house after last night?”
Heath paused. “I hadn’t considered that. Why do you suppose the Sterno wasn’t a problem?”
“I’ve got a weird theory about that,” Brian said as he followed Heath to the kitchen. “I got to thinking—all these things are natural elements. The fog, that’s water and air. The swamp creatures Andre saw, that’s earth. The ice is water. The fire was burning wood.”
“I see where you’re going. Maybe because the Sterno and candles are petroleum based, they aren’t attracted the same way.”
“Yeah. We can hope, right?”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes