Cynthia tells Neil that he’s there to repair their Circle. He confesses to her that he’s always loved her. This time, when they kiss, they don’t stop there. Neil takes her upstairs to her room.
Fair Warning: When Tis Done is more mature than the prior two books. I have toned it down, but it still may not be appropriate for readers under 17.
Neil poured his love into the moment. The girl he’d had a crush on, had grown into a beautiful, desirable woman. The two of them shimmered like a Christmas tree. They made love, reveling in the fact that they were finally together, no longer teenagers, and able to express their desire. Afterward, Neil was tempted to stay the night, but he knew his mother would worry if he didn’t come home. More to the point, Chase would probably be up. With the promise to stay over the next time, he decided to walk home so she wouldn’t have to make the drive back by herself. It was a clear night, cool and breezy with a hint of fall in the air.
Neil thought about cutting through on the swamp road, but after all that had happened to both Circles, he decided not to risk it. Instead, he went the long way, passing by the Barrett’s house, as well as the Casey’s. As he neared his home, he sensed something not right. He’d been a Marine in hostile territory more years than not. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he watched his environment carefully. Wishing he had a weapon, he remembered that he did have keys. He placed them between his fingers, pointing out dangerously.
It rushed him from the bracken near the lane that lead to their house. Something came at him from the dark, jumping the last few feet. Ducking, he turned to follow the movement, but whatever it was, he couldn’t see it. He heard it running, but didn’t dare pursue in the dark. Worried it might return, he dogtrotted to the house. He didn’t hear or see anything else, but the sense of being watched was stronger. Dredging up the St. Michael prayer from some long forgotten memory, he repeated it as he unlocked the front door. Bolting it behind him, he made his way downstairs, turning off lights as he went. As he’d suspected, Chase was up and waiting for him. Neil dropped the keys on an end table near the couch, and slumped in the chair.
Chase cocked his head from side to side, eyeing his uncle with a twinkle in his eyes. “Holy shit, Uncle Neil! Did you and Aunt Cynthia…? Forget it, I don’t wanna know!”
“We had some adult fun. Is that a crime?”
“It is when your aura looks like that. Dude!” Blushing, he looked away.
“I didn’t know you could read auras. What else can you do?”
“All kinds of shit. You’ll have to learn it too, now that you’re taking Mom’s spot….” He blinked hard, his head dropping. “This is weird for me, Uncle Neil.”
“I know, kid. It’s weird for me too.” He sat quietly, staring at the wall, smiling a little. “I miss your dad. We used to meet up once a year and hang out. Even when I was deployed, I’d get a day or two of leave, we’d find a spot where there were no guns and bombs, and just shoot the shit.”
“Did Mom go?”
Neil shook his head. “I saw your mama in my dreams. We talked all the time. Your mom and dad, and Heath, were my best friends. And Cynthia…. No, she wasn’t my friend, she was my other half. I tried to find a woman, came close a few times, but none of them measured up. I gave her her first kiss on her front porch the night she turned fifteen. Broke my heart to leave her.”
“Why did you go? I feel like I never got to know you.”
“I couldn’t stay here. There was too much hurt. We were all close—until Dora joined the Circle. Then it was Dora and the Circle—and me. They shared so much that I didn’t. I couldn’t stand it another second. I’d always hoped that it would be me. When she was chosen, I was jealous.”
“I’m sorry, Uncle Neil. I hate that you felt like that all these years.”
“So, you think you and Aunt Cynthia will get married?”
Neil smiled, remembering the night he’d had. “If you think I’m letting that woman get away a second time, you’re messed up in the head.”
“I was dropped as a child.”
“I’ve heard rumors.”
They laughed quietly, sharing a moment.
“Was Auntie your first?” Chase asked quietly, embarrassed by the question, but wanting to know.
Neil sensed he was leading up to something else, so he answered truthfully. Besides, he’d lost any modesty he’d had when he became a Marine.
“No. That honor fell to a girl with low morals and a large tent.”
“This whole thing—of destiny. Do you believe in it?”
“Like you and Marissa being destined to be together?”
“Until tonight, kid, no. Now, I’m not sure. But give it time. Don’t rush. If the Circle chose you to be together, then you have to believe that it’s done it for a reason.”
“We’re so completely different.”
“Sometimes, opposites attract. And not so different. I see things in you both, where you compliment one another. You need to work out your intimacy issues—and I don’t mean that you need to have sex. But talk about things. Make sure she knows you care. You do, you know. You love that girl, probably more than Brian loves Jordan.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes