Miles and Heath arrive just as more police do. Between them, they manage to subdue Fēng and Jian. When Jian is knocked out, Mr. Fēng calms down and tells them to make sure he is locked in a more secure place than just the jail. John Curtis, who has connections at Camp Shelby, in Hattiesburg, takes Jian in custody.
“I trust you,” Jordan said. “And I’ll watch her tomorrow. You’ll help me?”
“Of course. That’s what friends and Circle members do.” She shot Brian a look.
“Thank you, Marissa.” Brian gave her a hug. “Sorry about the kiss,” he whispered. “I had to try.”
“I know. I appreciate it. We’ll see….”
He kissed her cheek. “Yes, we’ll see.”
They all went home for the night with the promise to gather Friday night to meet the Texas Circle. Arrangements had been made for places to sleep for the Circle members, but it would be snug. The Texas contingent took rooms at a local bed and breakfast and would spend the long Labor Day weekend in Mississippi.The women of Miracle were already in touch with the women from Beaumont, making plans for meals. It had been decided they would meet at Neil and Cynthia’s house. Since it was the ritual ground, it made sense.
Brian didn’t go to school Thursday. Jordan wanted to stay home with him, but Marissa convinced her to go to school to watch Lien. Between the two of them, they had six of their seven classes with her. The seventh one, Chase was in. Surly, disgruntled, he agreed to keep an eye on her because the girls asked him to. Still furious with Brian, he wanted to ingratiate himself with Jordan and Marissa. At noon, they joined up to report to one another.
“Nothing weird,” Jordan said. “She’s acting dead normal. But you’re right, Riss. Smarmy, suck up. I’m stunned I didn’t notice before.”
“And the Little Miss Helpless thing is an act,” Chase said. “She’s really working it. She tried it on me in Chemistry, but I spilled something on her and she got really pissed when I tried to clean it up.”
“What did you spill?”
“Nothing serious. Gentian violet we were using to stain the slides. She can’t drive, her brother’s not around, her dad’s in jail, so she can’t go home to change. They have a housekeeper, so she’s not alone, but the woman wouldn’t come get her.”
“Pure evil,” Marissa said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “Genius.”
Chase flashed her a surprised look. Marissa never kissed him in public. “Thanks. I try.”
“What about after school?” Jordan asked. “Should we invite her for ice cream or something?”
“I can’t stand to be around her that much,” Marissa admitted. “I can be polite, even friendly, in class, but not after school. I just can’t.”
“Okay, we don’t worry about that,” Jordan said. “I’m tempted to skip drama practice.”
“You need to go,” Chase said. “She’ll be there. Maybe she’ll tip her hand if she feels relaxed.”
Jordan couldn’t think of a good excuse not to go, so she agreed. Getting through the rest of the day was exhausting. By the time she got to drama practice, Jordan was dragging. Once again, Mrs. Joyce asked her to lead the warm up. Normally, she didn’t mind, but today she didn’t feel like it. Pushing herself, she got them started and guided them, but didn’t give it her all. The other students didn’t say anything, but most of them had heard about Lien’s father being arrested for assaulting Brian and a police officer. No one knew what had happened to Jian and they felt it was better not to bring that up, either. All through practice, the atmosphere was super charged. No one could concentrate. Mrs. Joyce wasn’t sure what to do. She had heard from Mr. Ferris about the conflicts the day before, and didn’t want to stir up trouble. Instead, she called rehearsal early.
“Since there is no practice on Friday, and you have a long weekend, I expect lines to be perfect! This isn’t new material. That goes for everyone.”
“Yes, Mrs. Joyce,” they chorused.
“Go. Enjoy!” She waved them off.
Jordan walked to the parent pickup and called her mother. Though Jordan didn’t really want her to, Lien waited with her.
“How is Brian?”
“He’s okay, hurting. Have you seen your dad yet?”
“No. I am not allowed. He told me not to come.”
Jordan nodded. She could understand that. Her father would be the same way. Not that he’d ever do anything to get himself in jail….
“Have you heard from Jian?” Lien asked.
“Where was he taken?”
“I have no idea.”
“I think you know,” Lien said, her tone hardening. “I think you know exactly where he is.”
“I said I don’t know,” Jordan replied. “Don’t make me call the cops on you just like we did on your brother and father.Your dad tried to kill Officer Bertram!”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes