At the meeting, Brian bemoans the fact that he’s the Dreamer, and wishes he could simply be normal. All the others tell him of the challenges they face. No one tries to belittle his feelings, they simply want to let him know that he’s not alone.
Brian nodded. “Thanks, Andre. That helps.”
They talked long into the night. Jackie brought out a few books and Heath got his laptop. The adults were engrossed in their research, so the teens took the younger children inside and got them set up with a movie and snacks. Once the movie was over, the host families and their charges went home, leaving the teenagers at Jordan’s house.
Jordan’s mother took Elise and Maribelle home. Janus rode with them and stayed when Jackie returned. The teenagers brought the books and laptops to the basement, continuing the research. Their findings were extensive, but nothing confirmed or refuted doing the ritual naked.
“I’m at least wearing a tube sock,” Brian said defiantly after their parents went upstairs. “I’m not freezing my nuts off just because Marissa says so.”
“Lighten up,” Chase said. “It’s not her saying it, she’s just delivering the message. She doesn’t wanna see your junk any more than I do. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that no one, besides you and possibly Jordan, have any interest in seeing you in the buff.”
Jordan hit him squarely in the face with a throw pillow. “Excuse me? Do I poke my pert little nose into your wants and desires? Is it your business if I want to see Brian naked, or not?” She hit him again.
Andre chuckled, pressing his lips together. He glanced away from Jordan, shoulders shaking. He felt a cold shiver run down his spine, like icy fingers walked on his skin. It took a second to realize that something cold was walking up and down his back. Jumping up, he swatted at his jacket, yanking it off. His shirt followed, scattering frosty icicles.
“Get ’em off me!” he screeched. “What the hell, Jordan!”
“Do I tell your secrets?” Jordan asked, eyes narrowed. “No. So keep your snickers and snorts to yourself. I read auras too, Mr. Beauchamps. Don’t you forget that.”
Andre shook out his shirt and put it back on. His jacket lay on the floor with a few fallen icicles on it. Louisa shook it out and handed it to him, but he wouldn’t put it back on.
“Sorry,” he muttered. “Occupational hazard.”
“Watch it, or the next time it’s fire. In you pants.”
Louisa giggled, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Already got that, don’t you, baby?” She and Andre were the two oldest in the group. They had been together for several years. Now that they were in college, they were living together. She kissed him in a loving, lingering way.
“No more!” Chase commanded. “Those of us not as lucky as our friend here, would prefer you keep your lust to yourself.”
“You’ll be here in time,” Louisa said, leaning her head on Andre’s arm. “It’s not like I gave into Dre’s charm right away.”
“No, she made me suffer,” he confirmed.
“I wonder why this whole destined to be together thing,” Ginnifer said, rather acidly. “It’s not like I’d ever have chosen Sweet in a million years.”
“Ditto,” he replied acerbically.
No one had really paid attention to the fact they weren’t sitting next to each other. They often sat apart, but there was more in the air than usual. Obviously both angry, they wouldn’t even look at one another.
“Y’all need to lighten up,” Andre said. “This isn’t doing anyone any good. I know you’re pissed off about all this, Sweet, but Gin’s your woman. Suck it up and accept it, man.”
“You can say that, Mr. Happy Pants. Some of us ain’t so happy.”
“Don’t you dare, Sweet! Don’t you sit there and tell our personal business! I’ll kill you!” Flames shot from Ginnifer’s fingers, narrowly missing Andre, who sat next to her.
Louisa leaned back and the flames hit Sweet’s arm. They climbed up from his elbow to his shoulder. He summoned water and put them out.
“Enough!” Brian bellowed. “Are you f**king kidding? Stow it, Marissa,” he said before she even spoke up. “We’re facing who knows what and we’re squabbling with one another because we’re not happy with the fact we’re destined to marry someone we aren’t sure we even like? Jesus!” Another glare at Marissa quelled her before she could protest. “You think any of us are happy about having no choice? Not that I’m unhappy with Jordan, cause she’s awesome, but I would have liked the illusion that it was my idea. You’re pissed off—why? She won’t put out? He’s being a douche? What? Let’s get this aired out, because we need all of you for this ritual. And since I’m the one whose dong is on display, I’d just as soon know it’s going to run smoothly.”
Sweet shook his head, shrugging his shoulders.
“I think he’s kinky,” Ginnifer supplied. She stared at Brian, cheeks flaming.
“And how do you respond to that?” Jordan directed at Sweet. “Are you kinky?”
“No! Wanting to make love to my girlfriend, is that kinky?”
“Depends on how, dude,” Andre replied. He was the oldest and had more experience than the others. Sweet and Ginnifer were next, both nineteen.
Brian was glad to turn the focus of the discussion on Andre. He had no experience at all and he had no answers. He dearly hoped Andre did.
Sweet wouldn’t look up. He sat on the floor with his head down, arms propped on his knees. “It’s not kinky,” he whined.
Ginnifer shuddered and told them what she objected to.
Louisa threw back her head, laughing. “You think that’s kinky? Girl! Let him!”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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