While Brian is chatting with Mr. Ferris, his father and Jian’s arrive. Mr. Fēng poked his finger at Miles several times. After warning him to back off, he grabbed the Asian man’s hand, telling him he could break it easily.
“You’re threatening me!”
“No, sir. I’m promising you.” His eyes met Fēng’s and the shorter man dwindled slightly. “Now, can we talk about this politely? Or do I have to send you to the hospital?”
“Miles, I have to ask you to let him go,” Wilke said.
“Sure, Steve.” He released Mr.Fēng’s hand.
“I don’t want to have to involve the police,” Wilke said. “But I will, if we can’t discuss this politely. No yelling, no Aikido holds, no broken bones, punching, biting, spitting or other offensive maneuvers. Are we clear, gentlemen?”
“Perfectly, Steve. I apologize for my behavior.” Miles glanced at Fēng, waiting.
“My apologies, gentlemen,” he said, shrugging as he rubbed his hand. “I lost my temper. We had trouble at the last school with students being hateful because we are Chinese. Jian got in many fights. I am sure that he thought Brian was trying to provoke him and took the wrong approach to protect himself.”
“I’m sure,” Miles said, though he didn’t sound it. “Steve, are we about done? My wife’s at home and very worried. She’s disabled,” he cast over his shoulder at Fēng. “Legally blind. The doctor said that getting upset like this isn’t good for her condition.”
“Sure, Miles. We’re good. You can take your boy home.”
He motioned to Brian, who picked up his backpack and followed his father out. The door shut behind them and they walked down the corridor toward the door.
“Her mother is coming. Let’s get out of here. I feel like I’ve got worms up and down my spine.”
Brian hadn’t thought of it that way, but he felt that too. It had been bad enough with Jian around, it was far worse once Mr. Fēng arrived.
“You think he’s our bad guy?”
“Mr. Fēng?” Miles shrugged. “Not sure. He’s touched by evil, but you want bad guy, I’d lay even money on his kid. He ain’t right.”
Brian whole heartedly agreed. He got in his car and followed his father home. Maribelle Casey met them at the door, clearly upset. Elise reached out for her brother, hugging him tightly around the neck.
“She hasn’t stopped crying since we talked,” Maribelle said to Brian.
“Hey, Princess. What’s wrong?” Brian asked his little sister. “You scared of the nasty, mean boy?”
“She woke up screaming,” Maribelle told Miles. “Like when she got colic. It was horrible. I’ve been so worried.”
“We’re home and it’s all right,” Miles said. “We do need to get ourselves together to get over to Cynthia and Neil’s. I talked to him a little while ago and there’s something big going on.”
“Like what? Bigger than this?”
“He’ll explain when we get there. Do we still have that pasta salad we didn’t eat last night?”
“Potluck.” Miles went to the kitchen and got the covered bowl of salad, along with a big serving spoon. He picked up Elise’s diaper bag and took his daughter to the car.
Brian helped his mother down the steps and to the car before going back and locking up the house. “Should I bring my own car?”
“We’ll go as a family.”
“Can we have a clue?”
“Neil will explain.”
“I deserve to know what’s going on.”
“Yes, you do. And Neil will explain. He didn’t give me details. I’m not trying to be deceptive, son. I don’t know.”
Satisfied for the moment, Brian hopped in the front seat with his father. His mother preferred to ride in the back with Elise. They arrived at the old Finley place as Jordan’s family pulled up. Brian helped his mother out as his father got the baby. Brian grabbed the bowl and spoon and carried them as he walked over to see Jordan.
“What’s going on, Brian?”
“What happened at school?”
He explained about the conflict with Fēng Jian and his father.
“Your dad could have gotten in a lot of trouble for that!”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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