Brian 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.”
“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?”
“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