Archive | February 2018

When Tis Done – Part 38

When Tis Done coverBrian has a conversation with his grandfather, who tells him that he did the right thing with Chase and Marissa. It makes him feel better about the decision. After they hang up, his grandfather decides that he and his wife need to go for a visit.

Jordan answered the door, smiling up at him. Going on tiptoe, she planted a kiss on his lips and pulled the door to her house shut. “Sleep okay?” she asked when they were both in the car.

“Better than I have in a long time. Had a late night chat with Granddad. Gave me some perspective.”

“Good.” She touched his cheek tenderly. “You look better. I worry about you.”

He kissed her palm, closing his eyes. “I worry about you, too.” He put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.

“I had a long talk with Marissa last night. I hope I said the right things—what she needed to hear. It wasn’t an easy conversation. Apparently, Chase dropped your bombshell. He tried to be kind, but there’s not an easy way to say any of that.”

“No, but maybe it will shake them up enough to make them try.”

The first drops of rain started falling. Jordan swiped the windshield clear, using her powers. Brian winked at her and started the wipers.

“Won’t it look weird if we’re the only car with a dry windshield?”

“We tell people you use that rain ban stuff. Besides, no one’s around. I’ll let it gather when we get near school.”

“Gross misuse of powers, Miss Barrett.”

“Like you don’t ever.”

He chuckled, nodding. “I had an hour long shower with constant hot water last night. Needed to think.”

“Water always calms you down.”

He silently agreed. His needs and habits weren’t what was most on his mind, however. “Tell me about Marissa.”

“She’s furious with you.”

He shrugged. “I’m a big boy, I can take it.”

“I tried to tell her that she needed to channel her energy into working things out with Chase. They both seem to think the only way to do that is to have sex, and she’s unbending on that point.”

“They need to communicate,” Brian said. “Honest to God, Jordan. I don’t want to throw her out, but I will.”

“Hurricane Marissa on the starboard bow,” she said as they pulled into the high school lot.

Marissa stood between her car and Brian’s, arms crossed, brow lowered in fury. Her blonde hair whipped around her in the wind, though the heavy rain hadn’t soaked her. Brian had cautioned his friends about that sort of thing, but he figured she was so angry, she hadn’t thought about it. Prepared for an attack, he got slowly out of the car, keeping the vehicle between him and the angry girl.

Jordan let herself out, closer to Marissa than she cared to be. At least none of the anger was directed at her. However, the wind picked up and the rain grew sharp, when Brian appeared. She stepped forward, catching the other girl’s arm.

“Not here,” she scolded. “What are you, five, having a temper tantrum? Do you want everyone to know?”

“I don’t care if anyone finds out. How could you, Brian? How could you say that? I was up half the night, just fussing at you!”

“You should have been up half the night trying to figure out how to make it work with Chase, not mad at me. I’m not in this equation. It’s you and him, but you’re too damn stubborn to figure that out. It’s someone elses fault, it always has been. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get to inside. If you haven’t noticed, it’s pissing rain.”

Air slammed into Brian, knocking him back as Marissa faced him, an angry snarl twisting her lips. Jordan got between the two of them, pushing Marissa back with her hand, breaking the other girl’s concentration.

“Stop that! I won’t have you endanger the rest of us by having a snit. Go inside and dry off—the old fashioned way. And stop acting like a spoiled, self-centered brat! Think about what he said and why he said it, not about anything else. You’ve used up half a day being angry with the wrong person.”

“And who’s the right person? Hm?”

“Got a mirror?” Jordan crossed her arms, tilting her chin. Marissa was a few inches taller, but Jordan managed to make herself seem bigger and more intimidating.

Grabbing Brian’s arm, Jordan shoved past Marissa, who was now soaked. Jordan and Brian remained remarkably dry, only mildly damp when they got inside. Stamping and shaking off the moisture, they walked to their lockers.

“Thank you. I’ve never hit a girl, but I was about to.”

“I begin to see what you mean. Not that I disagreed…. Just, wow.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio What’s Write for Me Invites You to the Tirgearr Birthday Bash!

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Join us LIVE on Wednesday, February 28 from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog TalkRadio, or listen to the recording at your convenience.

It’s that time of year again, when we gather to celebrate the birthday of Tirgearr Publishing! The Ireland based company began on February 29 – since we don’t have those very often, we get as close as we may.

Join Christina and Dellani when they welcome Publisher Kemberlee Shortland to the show. Also on will be authors Sue Coletta, Susan Clayton-Goldner and Tegon Maus.

Authors will chat, and read from one (or possibly more) of their books. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to persuade Kemberlee to read, too!

Be sure to tune in for this fun filled show, and hear more about the Tirgearr Birthday Bash Celebration in March!

Hard to believe that it’s been six years since Tirgearr Publishing opened its doors. Brainchild of author Kemberlee Shortland, Tirgearr is an Irish press which produces predominantly e-books. I’ve been a happy member of Tirgearr since the fall of 2012 and am proud to still be part of this wonderful company. Guests on the show will be Author and Publisher Kemberlee Shortland, and authors.

kemberlee shortland

Kemberlee Shortland is the publisher as well as author of The Irish Pride Series, A B Cs of S-E-X, The Carmel Charmers Series and more. She will be on the show from start to finish and will be announcing the fun filled events for the Tirgearr Publishing, a Birthday Bash to remember!

Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is the author of the mystery novels, Marred, and Cleaved. She will be on the show from 4:20 – 4:40 Eastern time.

susan clayton goldner

Susan Clayton-Goldner is the author of murder mysteries, Redemption Lake, A River of Silence, When Time is a River and A Bend in the Willow. She will be on the show from 4:40 – 5:00 Eastern time.

Tegon Maus

Tegon Maus author of fantasy novels, The Gift, Machines of the Little People, The Wishing Stone, Service Before Self, Bob, and My Grandfather’s Pants. He will be on the show from 5:00 to 5:20 Eastern time.

Join us LIVE on Wednesday, February 28 from 4-6 PM Eastern on Blog TalkRadio, or listen to the recording at your convenience.

When Tis Done – Part 37

When Tis Done coverBrian heads home, upset with what he’s had to tell Chase. Mulling it over, he is overwhelmed with emotion, knowing what he’s asked of his friend. But he knows that the words came from the Powers That Be, and he had no choice. As he lies in bed, his phone, which he thought was off, rings.

“Granddad?”

“Brian.” The gruff, bass voice was full of concern. “You’re on my mind, son. What’s got you out of sorts?”

With a sob, Brian told his grandfather everything. He wasn’t sure how coherent he was, but he had to unload everything that was on his mind.

“So, you’ve given your friend the worst ultimatum in the world.”

“Yes.”

“Did it kill him?”

Brian paused, unsure where the conversation was going. “No, sir. But….”

“Yes, it hurt like hell. Did it make an impression?”

“I hope so.”

“Son, you did what you had to. In our Circle, it was David with the dirty jobs. Before he was chosen to be the Voice, I had the job for awhile. It’s the worst job in the Circle, having to be the boss. Everyone looks at you for guidance, everyone blames you when things go wrong. Which they do—a lot. I didn’t want the job, and I was just as glad he took it from me a couple years later. He wanted to give it back, but I couldn’t. I’ve been in those shoes and they pinch. But you did and said what had to be. No fun being the bad guy, is it?”

“No, sir.”

“It’s worse than being a parent, and that’s the toughest job in the world.”

“Granddad, if you’d had to give up the Circle, and lost Grandmom, could you have done it?”

The old man paused, considering his words with care. This wasn’t just an idle speculation. Brian knew, his grandfather had heard the leaders speak, too.

“It would have torn out my heart to leave, to lose her. Comes a time, the woman you’re intended for, becomes a part of you. I don’t mean because of the sex—don’t lie and tell me that’s not on your mind. I mean your spirit and hers merge and you become part of each other in ways that other people will never experience. To lose that would have damn near killed me. What you’ve asked of your friends, it would tear them up plenty, but right now, they’d survive. They aren’t married yet. They aren’t fooling around. It would be hard, but it wouldn’t be impossible. Once you make love the first time, that’s pretty much it. When you marry, it’s a done deal. Can’t separate a married pair unless death takes one.”

“Do you think they can do it? Can they pull it together?”

“Given the alternative, to lose one another or to make it work, I think they’ll make it work. I’ve known Chase his entire life. Marissa, less so, but a good long time. Yes.”

“You’re only saying that because I need to hear it,” Brian stated, knowing it was true.

“Boy, you’re too damn perceptive. But I do believe they will try.”

“Why would the Circle put two people together who are so completely different?”

“That, I don’t know. I wish I had an answer. Might as well ask the sun why it shines.”

“I was just thinking that….”

“Get some sleep, Brian. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

“I do? What do you know that I don’t?”

“Go to sleep,” his grandfather repeated.

Brian felt his eyes grow heavy. His thumb disconnected the call and his phone bounced on the bed as he lay down, falling into a deep sleep.

Vaughn Casey held the phone to his lips, thinking. Rising with determination, he walked into the living room from his study. His wife looked up, concerned.

“What’s wrong?”

“Brian needs our help.”

She looked at her watch and got up. “Well, don’t just stand there, Old Man. Let’s pack.”

Smiling, he followed her to their room, admiring the way she moved so spryly around the room, folding shirts and socks for packing. He pulled out the luggage, helping her gather what they needed. Once they were packed, he grabbed the car keys and they were on the road within the hour. Setting out at 10:00 on a weeknight seemed a bit odd to them both, but they felt compelled to go. Relaxing behind the wheel, Vaughn pushed a CD into the player. The strains of Echoes by Pink Floyd, filled the car.

Brian’s alarm woke him at 6:00. He rolled over, turning it off. His body felt well rested and relaxed. He got up and dressed, going down to breakfast with a smile on his face. He was alone in the kitchen, since his parents slept in until 7:00, unless Elise woke them. Moving about as quietly as he could, he prepared his breakfast and went to pick up Jordan. It was unusually dark that morning, the sky overcast. Thunder rumbled and he saw lightning playing in the clouds. Sending out feelers, he determined that it was simply a late summer storm and not an attack by the dark. Having been attacked by the elements more than once, every time they got a storm, he worried.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 36

When Tis Done coverBrian tells his and Jordan’s parents, as well as Neil and Cynthia, about his ultimatum to Chase. Their parents are accepting of it, Neil and Cynthia aren’t.

“That’s harsh,” Neil said.

“That’s tough,” Brian countered. “Good night, Jordan,” he said, giving her a kiss. Waving to the others, he left the rest of them in the living room.

“You’re just going to let him do that?” Neil appealed to Jordan.

“He’s made up his mind. If I interfere, he’ll just resent me. Putting aside emotion and looking at it logically, he’s right. As much as I love Chase and admire Marissa, it’s the right decision. I’d hate to see it happen now. So would Brian. He believes that by making the threat, it will force them to work together.” She paused, listening as Brian drove away. “I hope he’s right.”

Brian walked into an empty house. Elise was with his parents at Jordan’s, so he had the place to himself. Heading to his room, he tried not to think about everything the day had held. It made him sick when he thought about how he’d spoken to Chase. The anguish in his friend’s face had wrenched at his soul, but Brian knew he’d done and said the right thing. It was his hope that out of desperation, Chase and Marissa would make more of an effort. As much as he liked and admired his friends, he knew they were both shallow and stubborn, wanting what they desired at the expense of the other. Jordan wasn’t like that, and neither was he. At least he hoped not.

He had a long shower, standing under the water until it ran cold. With a flicker of his fingers, he warmed it up in the pipes. Nearly an hour later, he dried himself with blasts of warm air and pulled on his boxers. He started music playing on the stereo, an old album of his grandfather’s, Meddle by Pink Floyd. The strange, trippy music washed over him as he lay in the dark. Brian closed his eyes, not to sleep, but to let Echoes fill him. To him, really good tunes were like magic. He could get pumped up or mellowed out by the right melody. Right now, he needed to relax and let his spirit heal. He’d hurt Chase terribly and he felt his friend’s pain. He couldn’t afford distractions either.

His mind’s eye filled with swirls of color, playing across his vision like an internal kaleidoscope—shifting and changing every few seconds, in time with the music. His breathing deepened as he entered a trance-like state. Voices filled the music, which weren’t normally there. He felt himself floating, buoyed by the air around him. Dozens of voices spoke to him at once, none more compelling or louder than the others, all on the same level. Though he didn’t focus on any single message, he heard and comprehended them all. These were the spirits of the other Circle leaders, giving him their knowledge. He wondered, fleetingly, if they had spoken to David this way. Would they also speak to Neil?

“Why me?” he asked them. But he received no answer.

Though he’d hoped, he hadn’t expected one. It was like asking the sun why it continued to blaze, or the moon why it rotated around the Earth. Because. Because someone had to, and he had the genetic fortune, or misfortune, to be chosen for the job. He didn’t want it. Most days, he’d have given it all away to have a normal life with every day teenage problems. He’d love to be completely oblivious to spiritual things and think about his chemistry exam or how to ask a pretty girl on a date. Instead, he was thrust into something he couldn’t even begin to comprehend, with powers that most people would consider freakish, if not evil.

“If you had to, could you give it up?” One voice said louder than the others. “If you had to, could you give up the girl?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered.

The voices all picked up the words, speaking them over and over. He felt them closing on him, coming nearer with each repetition. First, they spoke in unison, then in a cacophony of chaotic disunity, circling and nudging him.

Could you give up the girl? Could you give up the girl?” Over and over, with different emphasis each time.

“No!” Brian bellowed, sitting up in bed. “No! I couldn’t give up the girl. I couldn’t. I couldn’t.” Weeping, he curled over, holding his head. “I know what I asked him to do,” he whispered. “I know. I only said what you told me to say. Help him. Don’t force him to choose. Don’t make me choose. Help us all.”

He’d never considered himself particularly religious, though he’d grown more spiritual over the last couple of years. Impossible not to, given what he did. But he found himself praying, without knowing who the prayers were directed at. Was it God? Was it another omnipotent being, whose name he didn’t know? He and the others spoke of the Powers That Be. What were they, exactly?

“I don’t know anymore,” he whispered to the night. “Show me the way. Please.”

His phone rang, startling him. He’d thought he’d turned it off. It wasn’t his mother, but his grandfather on his father’s side. Thumbing the screen, he answered.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 35

When Tis Done coverBrian and Jordan have a very frank talk about Marissa and Chase. He also tells her that he feels the position of The Voice is a shared one. Even if he was claimed by the Powers That Be, he sees it as including her.

“Who’s the Voice for the Center Circle? Your dad? Mine?”

“I don’t know if it’s ever been chosen. But I think Neil.”

“Why? Because David is for his group?”

“No, or it would be Chase for ours. I think which ever one the Circle perceives as having the qualities needed to guide the group.”

“And it’s always a guy?”

“Babe, I don’t know. I feel like it’s shared. I don’t want to do this job without you.”

“You decided about Marissa without me.”

“Fine! How would you handle that? We’ve all tried talking to them. They keep seeming like they’re okay, then they get all wonky again. I can’t handle the drama anymore. I have enough on my plate without them. I can’t do it alone anymore.” He wanted to cry. Instead, he pounded the steering wheel. The ground around the car shivered.

Jordan laid her hand over his, squeezing his fingers. “You don’t have to do it alone. What ever made you think you did? What am I here for, eye candy?”

He chuckled softly, kissing her hand. “You make some good eye candy.” Brian allowed himself a brief leer at her breasts.

Jordan smacked him. “Would you stop that? I don’t go eyeing your zipper and drooling.”

“I won’t stop. I’m a man. As to that, you’re welcome to anytime. I don’t happen to mind.”

“You’re an idiot and I love you.”

“Thank you. You’re short and I love you.”

Jordan burst out laughing. “I have no control over that.”

“I have no control over being an idiot, so we’re even. Only I’m a foot taller than you.”

“Are you going to kiss me good night?”

“That was more or less the plan.”

“Good. Porch swing?”

“Sounds good.”

They walked to the porch hand in hand. The side where the swing hung was shaded by the rose trellis. As they stepped on the porch, the door opened and Jackie poked her head out.

“Good. I’ve been expecting you. We need to talk about a few things.”

Sighing with disappointment, the teenagers followed her inside. Neil and Cynthia sat in the living room with Heath, Miles and Maribelle.

Miles saw his son and his face clouded. “What’s wrong?”

“I gave Chase three days to square things with Marissa or I’m going to throw her out.”

The adults sat in silence.

Neil cleared his throat, looking at Miles. “Are you going to let him?”

“I have no control over his Circle. Neither do you.”

“So, he can arbitrarily decide to get rid of a member?”

“Not often, but it does happen. In times of extreme need.”

“That’s entirely unfair,” Neil said.

“I’ll do for my Circle what I think is best,” Brian said. “I gave him three days. If it can’t be resolved by then, she’s gone. I can’t afford to put the rest of us at jeopardy.”

“And if it were your dad, or Jordan’s mom, would you still throw one of them out?” Neil continued.

“They’re married couples. No. And I have no control over your Circle. That’s on you.”

“What do you mean, on me? What is?”

“Control,” Miles said quietly. “The Circle is yours. Well, more like you’re its Voice. It tells you what it needs and you do it. You and Cynthia lead.”

“Why me? Why not you?”

Miles shrugged. “We did it for awhile, so did Heath and Jackie. It kind of switched around because it was waiting for you.”

“But I wasn’t the one chosen. I’m confused.”

“The Powers That Be have their own way of doing and their own time frames,” Heath added. “I’ve found it easier to roll with it and not ask too many uncomfortable questions. Because I don’t get answers more often than not.”

“I can’t operate that way,” Neil countered. “So, what will you do with Chase if he can’t patch it up with Marissa?”

“I just said. She’s out.”

“That seems awfully callous,” Cynthia said quietly. “What if someone decided to throw you out instead?”

“If they were the Voice, I’d accept it. It would damn near kill me to see Jordan with someone else, but I’d go for the good of the Circle. I’m hoping that Chase’s feelings for Marissa, and hers for him, will prompt them to work things out. My Circle needs to be strong, that means having all the members at a hundred percent. Right now, we don’t have that. I can’t afford to be patient and coddling. There’s a war coming.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 34

When Tis Done coverBrian has been claimed by the Circle to be The Voice, its leader. In that capacity, he tells Chase that he and Marissa have three days to resolve their problems, or Brian will throw Marissa out of the Circle, and replace her with Sweet’s sister. He and Chase get into a fight. Brian knocks his friend down with a blast of air, and leaves before it gets ugly.

“So, with Chase and Marissa fighting, things aren’t running smoothly. I told him that he has three days to solve things with Marissa or I’m throwing her out.”

“What? What!” Jordan punched him, hard. “You can’t do that! Can you? Don’t they have a choice? Don’t we have to vote on it?”

“In extreme circumstances, the Voice can make that happen. I need Chase. I don’t need Marissa. They have to set their issues aside for the good of the Circle.”

“So, if you and I had issues like they have, would you throw me out, too?”

“No. If you and I were the ones having issues, someone else would be the Voice, and they would throw you out.”

“Not you?”

“I’m the Dreamer. No one would throw me out of the Circle.”

“Arrogant at all?”

“Honest. If it weren’t me, I wouldn’t throw the Dreamer out of the Circle. And neither would you. It would weaken us too much to lose either you or me.”

“But you can toss Marissa out like she’s nothing?”

“Yes.”

“And would you?”

He paused, not wanting to get punched again. “Yes.”

She hauled back to hit him, but he caught her hand, gently, but firmly. “I don’t want to. Weird as it may seem, I like her. She saved my life, and for that I’m eternally grateful, but the Circle needs Chase more than it does her. I gave them three days to work things out.”

“That’s not long.”

“That may be too long, if things go the way I think they are.”

“You’re scaring me, Brian.”

His eyes met hers, holding her gaze for nearly a minute. “Good.” He got out of the car.

For the first time in their relationship, he didn’t open her door for her, but walked inside, spinning his keys on his finger. Jordan followed him, not sure whether she should be angry at his callous attitude, or afraid.

Brian was morose, eating his ice cream sundae in silence. Jordan licked her cone, watching the people around them with interest. She marveled at how at ease they were, not cautiously watching the doors and windows for trouble. Jordan couldn’t sit comfortably in public anymore, not after all that they’d been through. For a long time after the Halloween Ball, she’d been wary of eating food prepared in an anonymous kitchen. It took Brian adding blessed salt to her food every time they ate out, before she got over it. Now, she carried the salt with her wherever she went and added a pinch to everything before eating.

“Do you think they can?” she asked as they were leaving, as if twenty, uncomfortable minutes hadn’t intervened.

“I hope so. I would hate to replace Marissa at this stage. We’re a unit. We’ve fought several battles together and we know what to expect. Nothing against Sweets’ sister, but we don’t really know her.”

“Wouldn’t it be hard on the balance to have two siblings in the group?”

“Yes. But it would do until we found a different replacement.”

“You make it sound like we’re all interchangeable parts.”

“To a degree, we are. You’ve seen it first hand. One of us dies, there is someone else to fill in and take his or her place. It happened with Cliff. It could happen with one of us.”

“How awful for the one left behind. I can’t even imagine being without you. We’ve known each other two years, and it feels like a lifetime.”

Brian nodded, swallowing hard. He couldn’t imagine his life without Jordan. If something were to happen to her, he’d rather die. Kind of like losing my balls.

“Hm?” Jordan asked. “Did you say something?”

“If I did, it wasn’t intentional. I was thinking about us. If anything happened to you, I’d want to die.”

“And wouldn’t that be the selfish thing? What if we had kids? What would happen to them? And the Circle? We might have people who step in to take our places here, but what about children? If they lost both of us, it would be horrible. Better one parent than none.”

They pulled up in her driveway.

Brian hadn’t thought of it that way. “That’s why I need you, Jordan. You help me keep my balance.”

“Is a woman ever the Voice?”

“I don’t know. I kind of assumed we both took that role, since we’re a mated pair. I know that I was called, but I figured it meant you, too. David doesn’t do stuff without Myra.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Al, Elaine and Eric

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Join Us Live Monday, February 12 from 4-6 PM EST time on Blog Talk Radio.

Well, the Ground Hog saw his shadow, so that means six more weeks of winter. Brrr! We’re going to keep warm chatting with our three fantastic guests! Dellani and Christina are delighted to welcome back two guests, and welcome a new one!

al jendrasik

First, is Alfred Jendrasik author of I Met God at the Beach, Mysterious Tales of Colton Trane and The Other Side of Life series. Welcome back, Al!

Elaine Dodge

Second, is my fellow Tirgearr author, Elaine Dodge author of Harcourt’s Mountain (Historical Romance). Bloody Parchment: Blue Honey and the Valley of Shadow (Horror Anthology in which her short story ‘The Man with a House on His Back’ was featured. Welcome back, Elaine!

Eric Klein

Third, is new to the show, and currently waiting for his first book to be released, Eric Klein author of The One; A Cruise Through the Solar System. Welcome to the show, Eric! We know you’ll have a great time!

Grab your favorite beverage, put up our feet, and enjoy the show. As always, a lot of laughs will ensue!

Or Listen to the Podcast at Your Convenience!

To Pre-Order Eric’s Book, Click Here

 

When Tis Done – Part 33

When Tis Done coverBrian gives Chase an ultimatum. Get his relationship worked out, or Brian will remove Marissa from the Circle.

“Who? Just who will you get?”

“Sweet has a sister our age.”

“You could throw me out and find someone else for Marissa,” Chase suggested, taking a step toward his friend. “Louisa has a brother our age.”

“I need you. I don’t need Marissa.”

You need? Since when is any of this yours? We’re all in this shit together.”

“And I claimed the Circle. Or, I should say, it claimed me. Someone has to be the Voice of the Circle and that’s me. And I’m telling you to resolve this problem immediately, or I’ll solve it for you. I’ll toss Marissa out on her shapely ass and initiate Sweet’s sister in a heartbeat. Don’t think I won’t. And you’ll be stuck with her instead of Marissa. Is that what you want?”

“You can’t do that! It has to be our choice.”

Brain pursed his lips, shaking his head. “Nope. It really doesn’t. It’s nice if you choose, but for the good of the Circle, the Voice can throw out a member.”

“That’s what you’re calling yourself now? The Voice?”

“That’s what the Powers That Be call me.”

“How are you so sure that you’re the Voice? Could be I am.”

“You’re too intent on fucking things up. The Voice has to be calm and reasonable, not wingeing about his balls all the time. Get a grip, dude. Do you think it’s easy for any of us? I want Jordan so damn bad, I can hardly breathe, sometimes. But I’m not badgering her to get laid. I’m really sorry Marissa’s like she is. God knows I’ve heard enough about it from both of you to last me a lifetime. But you get this resolved, put it behind you, or she’s out.”

“I love her!” Chase stepped aggressively forward, nearly toe to toe with Brian.

“Prove it!” Brian roared. The ground trembled slightly and the wind picked up. “Prove it by working it out. I don’t care what you have to do, or what it takes. You have three days. If it’s not solved by then, I’m replacing Marissa. Tell her that.”

“You tell her! You’re the fucking Voice.”

“Fine. I’ll tell her she has three days to get her act together, or she’s gone.”

“You can’t say it like that! You’ll break her heart.”

Turning sharply, Brian headed back to the house.

“Brian!” Chase called to his friend. “You can’t do that!”

Brian spun around, walking backwards. “Watch me.” Arms out, he sent a challenge Chase’s way.

Growling, Chase lowered his head and ran at Brian. He was fast and agile, but no match for Brian’s blast of wind. It knocked him off his feet, setting him on the ground. Gasping for breath, Chase glared at his friend. Strands of air solidified and wrapped around Brian’s legs and arms, pinning him in place. Calmly, with a flicker of his fingers, Brian freed himself. Another slight movement and the ground at Chase’s feet rose around his legs, anchoring him. Brian advanced, pointing at his friend.

“You will solve this. You have three days.”

“If you throw her out, I’m leaving too. You can put Sweet’s sister and Louisa’s brother in instead. I’m not doing this without Marissa.”

Brian cocked his head, shrugging. “You can’t leave. If Marissa is the source of your problem, she’s gone. Problem solved. Sweet’s sister is hot. Another blonde. You like those, right?” He turned toward the house, releasing Chase’s legs as he went.

A ball of solid air hit him in the back, making him stagger. Since he’d anticipated an attack, Brian wasn’t surprised. He didn’t want to take on his friend, but Chase wasn’t backing down. Another whoosh of wind, he knocked the air from Chase’s lungs, making him stagger and fall. Instead of speaking, he flashed three fingers.

Hopping in the car, he sent a text to Jordan. “We’re leaving.”

She dashed down the steps and got in the car, the door barely closed before she was settled. She saw Chase in the rearview mirror, picking himself up and dusting off.

“What did you do?”

“Made a point,” Brian sighed. “I need ice cream.”

“Okay.”

They rode in silence most of the way to the ice cream parlor.

“Are you going to tell me?”

Brian flashed a glance her way. “Taking care of Circle business.”

“Could you be anymore enigmatic?”

He turned into a parking place and shut off the car. “You know when I told you a couple weeks ago, that the Circle claimed me?”

“Yeah. The Voice thing. What about it?”

“Part of my job is to make sure things run smoothly in the Circle. Interpersonal relationships, and so on.”

“Yeah, like the Circle HR. So?”

“So, with Chase and Marissa fighting, things aren’t running smoothly. I told him that he has three days to solve things with Marissa or I’m throwing her out.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 32

When Tis Done coverAt the Braxton house, Brian and David have a very honest chat about being part of the Circle.

David didn’t say anything. He reached out, taking Brian’s hand in his. His knuckles were swollen with age and gnarled by hard work. He wasn’t much over sixty, but his illness had aged him. He projected peace and contentment at Brian and watched as the red maelstrom eased and subsided.

“You’re right. I let my boy down. I honestly thought he’d be the one. He was always so much stronger than his sister, not just physically, but emotionally. Cool as a cucumber even in the worst circumstances. Grace under fire, I guess you could call it. He’s come round the hard way, but here he is, full circle. And I do believe you’re right about Chase. Next to you, he’s the strongest member you’ve got. Boy doesn’t know his own abilities fully. And he needs to get a grip on his libido.”

Brian chuckled, nodding. “Yeah. We all have that problem though, right? Swear ta God, he keeps it up, I’m gonna have to flatten him.”

“Then do.”

“Excuse me?” Brian couldn’t believe David condoned him fighting Chase.

“The boy has to learn not to let it distract him. If that means you give him a smack down, do it. This is your Circle and you have to know your people will do what needs doing. If he’s too busy worrying about his willie to take care of business, he needs an attention grabber. A puff of air would be the thing. Don’t wanna bruise him too bad.”

Brian chuckled. “Did you ever have to do that?”

“To your grandfather, as a matter of fact. Maribelle’s daddy. That man is the stubbornest fella in three states, and that’s including me—and you. You got a lot of his better qualities. You’ll make a hell of a leader, Brian. You have the skills and the confidence. Just keep your temper.”

“Not always easy.”

“No. Don’t let it get to the point that you get angry. Take care of it before you lose control, or you’ll end up hurting someone by accident.”

Brian nodded. “Thanks for asking us over tonight. I know the invitation came from you.”

“Yep. You and I needed our chat. Now we’re on the same page. You do me a favor, though.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Straighten out my grandson if you must, but try not to humiliate him too bad. Do it in private.”

“I’ll do my best, sir. I’d never intentionally embarrass him like that.”

David nodded, shaking Brian’s hand. “Good man. Now, tell me what you found out at the archives.”

Brian told the old man about listening to Evangeline’s diary and viewing the portrait. “I need to ask Chase for the disc so I can listen to it. I should listen to them all.”

“Tell you what. Cliff and Dora gave me a full set for Christmas. He had them made up and ready before….” He batted away a tear. “See that black box up there?” He pointed to a high shelf. “They’re in there. You take ’em and have a listen. Bring ’em back when you’re done.”

“Thank you.” Brian put the discs in his car and came back in just as Chase and Marissa arrived.

She looked flushed and flustered, he looked cross. Neither of them spoke to one another all through the meal. David gave Brian a pointed look after dinner and asked Jordan if she would play the piano for him while the others cleaned up.

“Brian, you help Chase put the trash and recyclers out, if you would. I’m sure he’d like the help.”

“Happy to, sir.” Brian plucked at Chase’s sleeve.

They walked to the trash cans at the side of the house. Since they were rural, the county only picked up once a week. The heavy duty plastic bins were packed full and several bags sat on the ground beside them. Brian tugged a can while Chase lugged a couple of bags. They made two trips just for garbage. The recycling took only one. When they were done, Brian dusted his hands on his jeans. Chase stood still, shuffling his feet.

“Thanks. Takes forever when I do it by myself.”

“Oh, I know. I’m the trash guy at my house, too.” Brian eyed his friend. “You and Marissa have to stop this fighting, Chase. It’s bad for the Circle.”

“I know, Brian. But….”

“No pathetic excuses. I’m done with that. Get it solved. We have no idea what we’re up against or when it’s coming. If you’re not able to work in a unit, I’ll throw Marissa out and get someone else.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 31

When Tis Done coverA discussion follows about Luminous and Opal. Luminous was unhappy for many years with her, but she used a compulsion spell to get pregnant with her last baby. Brian tells them she had her husband under a spell in order to keep him with her. Once again, Chase annoys Brian by talking about the sex he’s not having with Marissa.

“I told you to jack off. It’s not ideal, but it helps. Trust me on that, okay?”

“Brian!” Marissa screeched.

“Oh, shut up. I’ve got you both whining on your various troubles and I don’t care. Either fuck or shut the fuck up. Those are your options.” Turning abruptly, he strode from the room.

Jordan followed quickly, leaving Chase and Marissa in stunned silence. Skipping and hopping, Jordan caught up with him in the parking lot, only because he halted.

“Sorry,” he said without turning around. “I’m sick of their bitching. I’m just as hot for you as Chase is for Marissa, and you don’t hear me complaining about it all the time.”

Jordan touched his shoulder, leaning her head against his arm. “No. Of course, I’m not as big a cock tease as Marissa.”

“Thank you for that. I know it’s not the time yet. I can feel that, too. But it doesn’t make me want you less. Sometimes, when we’re at school, I see you walking down the hall ahead of me and I drag my feet, watching you, thinking, One day, that girl will be all mine. It excites the hell out of me knowing that.”

“Do you really—a lot?” She made distinctive hand gestures which were readily understandable.

Brian blushed. “Yeah, well…. I’m a guy….”

“Must have a hell of a porn stash, Casey.”

Brian pulled her close, lifting her by the elbows as he kissed her. “I don’t use porn,” he whispered. “I think about you and that’s enough.”

Shocked to silence, Jordan tried to catch her breath. Brian set her down on the ground, kissing the top of her head. Strangely flattered, she followed him to the car. She could hear Marissa and Chase arguing and was just as glad to get away from there. The idea of having dinner with them was really more than she could handle. If it weren’t that they were expected by Dora and Myra, she’d beg off.

Brian drove aimlessly, finally going to the park. Jordan hopped on a swing and he pushed her, watching her smile and laugh in the late afternoon sunshine. Her dark hair fluttered around her like satin ribbons. Her jeans fit just right and her top clung to her curves. It was almost more than he could bear, but he smiled and comforted himself with the fact that she was his. One day they would be together, and he had to be grateful for that.

The sun was sinking low as they pulled into the driveway at the Braxton house. Katie and Lucy answered the door, grinning.

“I lost a tooth,” Lucy told them.

Jordan made a big deal of it, talking to Lucy about the Tooth Fairy and how much money she would make. Brian went to the family room to chat with David before dinner. Chase and Marissa weren’t there yet, and he felt compelled to speak to the older man. He found Chase’s grandfather sitting in his recliner, TV on, but muted. He looked up, smiling.

“Been expecting you,” he grinned, pointing to the chair nearby. “How’s my son?”

“Better. He’s got a long way to go, sir, but I think he’ll be okay if we give him a little time.”

“Boy, we may not have that time.”

“He’ll step up. He has to find his balance. This isn’t easy for him. I know how he feels, having so much responsibility thrown at him all at once.”

“We all go through that, Brian.”

“Respectfully, David, no you don’t. He wasn’t the chosen one for his Circle. For whatever reason, Dora was the one. I think that it wasn’t so much for her and Cliff, but because the Powers That Be knew my Circle would need Chase.”

Your Circle?” The old man’s face pulled into lines of deep disquiet. “You’ve been claimed by it?”

Brian nodded. “By virtue of who and what I am, it’s mine as sure as the Center Circle is Neil’s and the Outer Circle is yours. But you didn’t have the shit handed to you that I did. I’m a Dreamer who had no idea what that meant. My folks could have prepared me. I was their only child, their heir, yet they didn’t. You prepared your children, Cliff taught Chase, but I got it thrown at me and it’s damn near killed me more than once. I had another person possess me. I tried to kill the girl I love.”

David sat quietly watching the young man work through what troubled him. He could see the anger and frustration inside him, swirling like a dark red cloud.

“You can bet when Jordan and I have kids, we’ll teach them all and even those who aren’t chosen will know enough to protect themselves. And I won’t allow the others to be cast off and ignored like Neil was. You could have done something about that, but you didn’t. Not because your callous or unfeeling, but because none of us knows how he feels. We aren’t the ones on the outside. I can’t even imagine. But in my darker moments, I think he was the lucky one, because this is a horrible responsibility that’s thrust on us. If I had a choice, I might have said no. But no one asked. A quirk of the universe decided that this is my life.” He laughed harshly, shaking his head. “Some cosmic joke, huh?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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