Jian is in the office, being reprimanded for attacking Brian. Dora Finley gives Brian holy water, blessed salt and a charm, at his request. He goes in to speak to Jian and the principal, making sure to shake their hands, and the hand of the security officer, before going out.
His phone rang. Millie and the other students frowned at him.
“I swear, it was off.” He glanced at the screen, knowing it was his mother before looking. The phone had been off all day, but it always rang for his mother. He stepped into Dora’s office to answer. “Hi, Mom.”
“Brian, what’s happened?”
He expained quickly. Maribelle listened quietly.
“You’re sure he’s bad?”
“Almost a hundred percent.”
“Why not conclusively?”
“I can’t really talk about this right now, Mom. Mr. Ferris is going to want to talk to me any second.”
“You call your father.”
“We tried. He didn’t answer.”
She sighed. “I’ll call him. You stick close to Dora.”
“Let me talk to her.”
He handed his phone to Dora Finley. “It’s Mom, she wants to talk to you.”
“Sure thing.” She took the phone. After a short chat with his mother, she hung up and handed it back. “You be careful,” she whispered as the door to the office opened.
Brian examined Jian’s arm from a distance. He could see the skin was red and irritated. The salt and holy water had done the job. He might not know what Jian was, but he knew he was bad. Nice people, normal people, didn’t break out in a rash from a little blessed salt and holy water. The black eyed Asian glared at Brian, his lower lip clamped between his teeth. Brian could see Jian’s hand was even more red than his arm. He took a seat by Millie and Brian was taken into Mr. Ferris’ office. He told his side of the story and waited for the hammer to drop. He anticipated that he was going to get into a lot of trouble.
“I don’t know what’s up with you and that Fēng boy,” Mr. Ferris said. “But he’s going to be a problem. I’ve called his father, but I don’t expect to get much support from him. He’s nearly as arrogant as his son.”
“I’m sorry this happened, Mr. Ferris. I didn’t intend to cause trouble, but he swung at me. I had to defend myself.”
“Of course you did. I’m in a quandary how to deal with this. You weren’t technically fighting, but you were involved in a conflict. Is your father coming in?”
“Mom said she’d try to reach him. Mrs. Finley talked to her. You can ask her.”
“I will. I appreciate your coming in to speak up in Jian’s defense. I’m not sure it will make much difference, though.”
“I had to try. Of course, it’s entirely up to you, sir.”
“Officer Wilke is getting witness reports. Once I speak to your father, you’ll be free to go.”
The outer door to the office opened. Raised voices penetrated into the inner office. Mr. Ferris got up and walked out to the front office. He was greeted with the sight of Miles Casey being yelled at by a short, slight Asian man. The fellow wasn’t speaking English, but he was furious and he blamed Miles.
“Sir, I have no arguement with you,” Miles said mildly. “But it’s becoming evident why my son is having trouble with yours.”
The man advanced, poking Miles in the chest.
“Back off,” Miles said, drawing himself up to his full height. He tended to slump, making his six foot two frame seem small. Now, he looked large and angry.
Mr. Fēng didn’t back off, he advanced another step. Miles pressed his lips together, glowering. “I asked you nicely. Don’t make me embarrass you in front of your son.”
“You touch me, it’s assault,” Fēng said with a smirk.
“You touched me already,” Miles replied. “And you’re in my personal space. Do we need to continue and escalate this conflict? Or can you back up and act like a grown man, not a dumb kid?”
“You insult me!” Fēng said and the poking finger descended once more. Seconds later, he was crying out in pain.
Miles stood there calmly, the smaller man’s hand gripped in his. “See what you made me do? I told you politely. Officer Wilke,” he said quietly to the school security officer. “You heard me, correct?”
“I did, Mr. Casey. I also witnessed this gentleman poke you four times.”
“Thank you.” He tilted his head, still holding Fēng’s fingers. “I understand you’re a potter. Let me tell you something, so we’re clear. I can break your hand with very little trouble, effectively putting you out of a job. I don’t want to do that, but you come at me again, and this will get ugly.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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