Jordan’s drama practice gets called early. She has an uncomfortable chat with Lien afterward. She and her mother talk on the way to Brian’s house. Jackie tells her about her early relationship with Heath, and Maribelle’s rocky romance with Miles. Thanks to Cliff, they were both set straight. At Brian’s house, Elise has been near her brother all day, fussing if he gets out of sight.
“Lien cornered me after practice to demand to know where Jian is. I told her I don’t know. And I don’t. She didn’t believe me. Then she threatened me and said she’d have big, luscious Brian to herself.” Shuddering, she took a sip of her tea. “It was so skeevy, like she wanted to eat you.”
Brian said nothing. Instead, he sipped his tea and turned red around the ears.
“Oh, ew!” she wanted to punch him, but Elise was too close. “That’s gross, Brian. How could you even think that?”
“I said nothing. That perversion came strictly from you.”
Soon, Elise needed her bath and a diaper change. Maribelle took her up to her room and Jackie went with her.
“What else happened with Lien?”
“I told you everything.”
“Did she really say that about me?”
“Word for creepy word. She got this look in her eye, like she wanted to eat your soul.”
“Well, probably that, too. It was icky.”
“Is the idea of someone else finding me attractive icky, too?”
“No, that makes me jealous,” she admitted softly. “I think you’re ten kinds of sexy, but I don’t want to eat your brains or something. I mean, it was like praying mantis rips off the head of her mate, kind of eat.”
They snuggled close, mindful of Brian’s tender ribs, and talked quietly while they waited for Chase and Marissa. They arrived a few minutes later and Jordan let them in. They seemed somewhat subdued and distant around Brian. Jordan supposed that was normal, considering how they’d parted the night before.They gave Brian and Jordan a full and detailed report about Lien’s actions during the day.
“She cornered me in the restroom after chours and wanted to know where Jian is being held. I told her we didn’t have a clue. She didn’t believe me.”
“She didn’t believe me, either, when I told her the same thing,” Chase said. “She didn’t corner me in the bathroom, but she was waiting when I came out of the locker room. I got the distinct feeling that she wanted to come in when the guys were getting dressed. I got a real weird vibe from her. Like—I dunno, like she wanted to eat my soul, or something. I held my hand over my chest, cause I kept thinking of the creepy chest punch thing they did in Temple of Doom. That shit gave me the creeps for weeks the first time I saw it.”
“Oh, I hated that,” Marissa said, clutching her top to her. “I used to wake up at night, screaming because I was so sure someone was going to sneak in my room and rip out my heart. I still can’t watch that scene.”
Jordan let her eyes glaze over and held out her hand, chanting like they did in the movie. Marissa squeaked, moving away. Chase laughed and stood up, grabbing her hand.
“Yank my heart out, Jordan!”
She snatched her hand back. “Oh, that was so icky!”
“Thanks, touching me is icky.”
“No, Chase, not that! I mean, for a second there, when I touched you, I felt like I could!”
They all got very quiet.
“Do you suppose—we could?” Marissa whispered.
“Would it surprise you?” Brian asked. “Think about all the things we can do. We’ve hardly skimmed the surface. It wouldn’t be on the approved course of study list, but why not?”
“Horrible!” Marrisa replied, shuddering.
“Which begs us to consider, if it’s something we’re worried about, for real, what could we do to prevent it?”
“Not much?” Chase said. “Are you seriously considering that possibility? I’ll be happy to practice on you, Brian. No, wait. I forgot. You’re a heartless bastard.”
“Enough, Chase!” Jordan said. “You keep trying to blame Brian for your problems. This isn’t his fault. You know, whatever. I’m so tired of listening to you whine, I think you should leave.”
“Now you’re ordering me around? Excuse me?”
“You’re being mean,” Marissa added.
“Me? Jesus, you’re unbelievable. Since I obviously can’t do anything to please anyone….”
“Shut up and sit down,” Brian said. “I’m serious about this. Who’s to say that the other side can’t do something like that? How would we counter it? Protect ourselves?”
Chase gaped at him. “I dunno, short of wearing Kevlar.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes