Brian and Jordan are talking with Heath about what happened with Jian, when he happens to call Jordan my woman. She takes offense and gets angry with him. Having had enough confrontation, he walks out and heads home, just as his parents are arriving.
“Honey, that was harsh,” Heath said as he watched Brian leave.
“What? You think I’m his possession, too?”
“That isn’t what he meant. You’re promised. And even if you weren’t, he’s crazy about you.”
“But he’s all about owning me! That’s not the first time he’s said it.”
Her father hugged her, kissing her on top of the head. “You have to understand how a man thinks. It’s not ownership, but love that makes him talk like that. You own that boy, body and soul. Think about that before you take offense.” He went to the door to greet Miles and Maribelle.
“Was that my only son who just ran past like his tail was on fire?” Miles asked, giving Jackie a hug.
“It sure was. He’s had a bit of a day,” Jackie replied. “Tender ego day,” she murmured to Miles.
He nodded, taking his daughter from Jackie. The toddler cuddled up on her father’s shoulder, nearly asleep. They bid good night and headed home. Brian wasn’t there. Maribelle was worried until she got a call from Cynthia.
“Brian’s here talking to Neil. He’s pretty upset, so I thought I’d better let you know where he is.”
“Is something wrong?” Maribelle asked.
“Nothing that not being seventeen won’t fix.”
Maribelle laughed. “Thanks for letting me know. I’ll leave the lights on for him. We’re turning in early.”
“I’ll tell him. Goodnight.”
Neil offered Brian a beer. Normally, he wouldn’t have, but he could see the same swirling red that David had seen. Brian was in turmoil, and he was worried about him. Brian declined the beer, but did take the herb tea that Cynthia gave him. She’d made her own blend, using things that would help him calm down. Once she’d served it, she went upstairs, leaving the men alone.
“So, talk,” Neil said. “This is a judgment free zone.” He settled back on the couch, relaxed and open.
Brian hunched over his cup, warming his hands. “Am I doing anything right? I told my best friend that I’d split up him and his girlfriend, if they don’t work out their problems. How’s that nice?”
Neil didn’t reply. He sensed that Brian needed to vent. He let the boy speak.
“And she’s really pissed! I’ve seen Marissa mad, but wow. And she’s yelling at me instead of talking to Chase, which is what she needs to do. I’m not in that dysfunctional equation.” He held up one hand, waving something away. “Then—then I meet this new guy at debate who’s a complete tool!” He explained what happened with Jian in great detail.
“Sounds like you threatened his mojo,” Neil said calmly. “Guys like that, they wanna show they’re boss.”
“I don’t care if he’s boss, that’s the thing. I don’t give a shit.”
“See, with a kid like that, it’s a matter of mileage.”
Brian shook his head, waiting.
“Mileage,” Neil said, dropping his hand to his zipper, extending it into the air in front of him.
“Oooh,” Brian finally caught on. “Yeah. A dick swinging contest.”
“Exactly. He wants to win, but you’re a big guy. He figures, all things proportional, yours is bigger.”
Brian laughed, shaking his head. “I’m sure that’s metaphorical somehow.”
Neil shook his head. “Nope. Pure and simple, who’s got the bigger dick. He’s probably used to being the alpha.”
“That’s what he called me.”
“Well, kid, you are.”
“Maybe in the Circle, not anywhere else. I’m not the star quarterback MVP. I’m just a smart kid who likes to debate.”
“Who happens to have defeated evil a time or two. That sort of experience shows. People pick up on it. Doesn’t matter how big you are, how smart, how strong or how big your schlong is, folks feel that energy. I’ve met a lot of guys like that—big and small. They’ve lived through hell and you can tell just by being near them.”
“You’ve been through your own hell, Neil,” Brian said quietly. “I would never mention it, but….”
“I brought it up. It’s okay. I don’t mind talking about it.”
“I can’t even imagine what you’ve seen. But it’s in your eyes and written on your soul.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes