Brian 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?”
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