They receive information about the Peddler from their friend, Dwight, who lives in Australia. His father is a holy man and has researched the Peddler extensively, since he’s also appeared there. Brian is delighted to find out that he won’t have to dance the ritual naked after all. Heath tells them that they must see all the patterns and that each person weaves their own. He mentions that Miles can see them.
“Is that a skill that’s inherited?” Brian called after him.
Heath simply laughed and closed the door at the top of the stairs.
“And here I was feeling so good about myself,” Brian said with a sigh.
Jordan put her arms around him, pulling him close. “Look at the bright side,” she said with a grin. “Not naked!”
Brian laughed, giving her a quick kiss. “Thanks.”
“I’ll make you a loin cloth,” she promised. “I’ve got some linen and some cotton thread. I’ll get it done by tomorrow night.”
“Tomorrow? I thought we were waiting until Halloween,” Brian gasped.
“We’re expecting trouble on Halloween,” Chase reminded him. “So the ritual takes place as soon as possible. It has to be done on, or very near, a full moon, that’s tomorrow.”
“Meanwhile, it’s late,” Ginnifer said. “And I’ve been up since six o’clock. I’m wiped. We can meet up tomorrow and talk more.”
“Mom said we’re meeting at Brian’s for breakfast at eight,” Jordan said. “I agree, it’s time for bed.”
Andre and Louisa were staying with Brian’s family, so they waited in his car while Brian and Jordan said goodnight. Brian was a little intimidated by the older couple being right there as he kissed Jordan, but her presence soon made him forget. They kissed for several minutes until Jordan shivered.
“I’ll make sure that your loin cloth is good and warm,” she promised. “I’m going to start on it tonight.”
“Get some sleep. You can work on it tomorrow.” He kissed her once more, holding her close. “Jordan, don’t ever think that I’m not happy we’re together,” he whispered. “Because even if we weren’t destined to be together, I would have picked you.”
He kissed her one last time before getting in the car. He didn’t give her a chance to respond. It had taken every ounce of courage he had to come that close to telling her he loved her. He was determined to tell her the following day, before the ritual. Because, who knew how that would turn out? He didn’t want to die before he told her she held his heart in her hands.
Louisa sat in the seat next to him. Her warm hand patted his knee. “You’re a good guy, Brian. Soon, you’re going to be a great man. Jordan is a very lucky girl to have you.”
He flashed a smile at the beautiful, poised Latina. “Thank you. I think Andre’s pretty damn lucky to have a woman like you.”
“I sure am,” his friend agreed. “I like to hope she’s lucky to have me, as well.”
Louisa laughed. “I am, indeed. I tell myself that every night and every morning.”
Brian drove the couple of blocks to his house. “When is the wedding?”
“We’re planning on December. We both graduate from school then and we’ve both got jobs lined up.”
“Part of that network that Heath mentioned,” Andre said. “Natural medicinal research for the company Jordan’s mom works for.”
“Exciting! That’s great.”
Brian led his guests in and showed them where they would be sleeping. Louisa’s parents were in the guest room, so that left the basement for the young couple. It suited them fine, far from everyone else. Brian envied their relationship. He knew that he and Jordan were too young for the same intimacy, but he couldn’t help being jealous. He longed to show Jordan how much he loved her. He hoped she loved him too, but neither of them had ever said it. Determined to rectify that issue as soon as he could, Brian went to bed.
Sunday was crisp and bright, unusually chilly for this time of year. Normally, it was still hot, with cooler nights, towards the end of October. It was supposed to duck into the forties and Brian wasn’t anticipating that fact with great enthusiasm. He perked up when his father told him that there would be a bonfire as part of the event.
Louisa and her mother helped Maribelle fix a huge breakfast for everyone. Brian was pleased to see that his mother was cooking bacon and sausage. Even if Jordan’s family were vegetarians, the other families weren’t. In fact, Jordan and her father weren’t strict about it. Only Jackie adhered to it faithfully.
The other families pulled up and parked in the driveway or along the street, arriving almost en masse. Brian had been given the job of serving beverages. He had multiple pots of coffee and tea. Jordan and Andre helped him get everyone settled with places to sit. The children were at one long table, the adults were in the dining room. The teenagers were relegated to the basement, which suited them fine. None of the older siblings particularly liked taking care of the younger ones.
Once the food was ready, they stood around for a quick blessing offered by Marissa’s father. Afterward, they served themselves buffet style and found places to sit. The teenagers trooped down the basement stairs and sat around the ping pong table to eat. When they’d finished, they rinsed their plates and put them in the dishwasher before going back downstairs.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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