Chase sees the other men around Marissa, and finally decides that he can’t live without her. He declares his love, giving her a big kiss. Brian is very happy that they worked out their issues. Neil greets everyone, and they hand out the necklaces. Marissa explains about the branding.
“Like an invisible tattoo,” Jordan added, seeing that they were somewhat confused by Marissa’s announcement.
“Yes, exactly. It doesn’t use any needles or anything, it’s put there by magic. We need all the fire wielders to do it and we will need at least a day to prepare, but we want to put this on all of us. In fact, once y’all have learned it, you can do it at home for the folks who aren’t here.”
“This sounds fascinating,” Caleb said. “I wield fire. How can I help?”
Of the Texas Inner Circle, two were fire wielders. Many of the Mississippi and Louisiana Circles handled fire. Of these, most were also Casters or Charmers. Although Marissa wasn’t a fire wielder, because it was her idea, she spoke to them about what needed to be done. While they were busy, the others cleaned up. Once that was accomplished, Claude Beauchamps took the doctors and nurses inside to talk about the infertility problems.
Left to their own devices, the others showed one another spells and skills they had learned. The Texas boys showed off for the Mississippi and Louisiana girls. Already paired off, and seeming to be happy about their choices, they were bonding. Parents watched anxiously, relaxing as the young people laughed and got to know one another.
“This could work,” John murmured to Neil. “I wish we’d thought of it before.”
“Our girls wouldn’t have been ready before. It came at the perfect time for Chase and Marissa, I must say. I didn’t think thay boy was going to get his shit together.”
“When will we make this formal?” Roy asked, sidling up to them. His wife was in the fire group.
“We’ll ask the parents,” Neil decided. “I don’t want to push this on anyone. When they feel their kids are ready, we’ll formalize it.”
“I really think we should do it this weekend,” John said.
Neil and Roy frowned.
“Why’s that?” Neil asked.
“Because I think whatever is coming will be coming soon. I think we need to fill the Circle and make it whole, or we might not survive. Caleb agrees with me. So does his grandfather, who is Voice for the Outer Circle.”
“I still say we need to consult the parents, but if you feel that strongly, John, we’ll pass that along.”
The brothers nodded.
Soon after, the fire wielders were finished. Neil and Roy took the parents aside and spoke to them. John joined them, voicing his urgency, and the parents all felt the agreement needed to be finalized as soon as possible. They decided on the following night for that, as well as the branding. When that had been decided, everyone went home.
Brian rode to Jordan’s house with her and her parents. The Inner Circle met there in Jordan’s finished basement, to talk about the Texas youth.
“Seem like nice guys,” Sweet said. “Polite, friendly.”
“Could all be an act to make us think so,” Louisa said.
“No, I think they’re genuinely nice,” Marissa countered. “At least Caleb and Derrick. I spoke to them in the fire group. I feel an urgency with this spell. I’m glad we’re doing it tomorrow.”
“You could do ours tonight,” Sweet suggested.
“No,” Andre cautioned. “It’s a complicated procedure. If it’s done wrong, it can damage, not protect. We’ll be practicing tomorrow.”
“On people?” Chase put his hand over his heart.
“No, silly. On vegetables and fruit. We won’t put our hands on anyone until we’re sure of what we’re doing. If anyone doesn’t feel they are up to snuff, they won’t do the spell.”
“Just so we’re clear. I don’t want you buring a hole in me by mistake,” Chase teased.
“I’ll protect you, honey,” Marissa said, touching his cheek.
“Thank you. I might get myself in trouble just so you can.” He gave her a soft kiss.
Louisa yawned, setting them all yawning in responce. “Where are we staying? I’m exhausted all the time, these days.”
“You’re here, where you were last time,” Jordan said. “Sweet and Ginny, you’re at Brian’s. I don’t know where your folks are staying. I was only given your room assignments.”
“Well, I’m for my bed,” Louisa said. “Night, y’all. See you in the morning.”
“What’s the plan for breakfast?” Brian asked.
“Everyone at their host’s house,” Marissa said. “Lunch will be at our house with practice after at Cynthia and Neil’s.”
“Got it. Goodnight, all,” Brian said, waving.
“I’ll walk you up,” Jordan offered. “Do you want a ride?”
“We’ll take him,” Sweet said.
“Thanks. I hate coming back in the dark alone.”
“I would never make a lady do that,” Sweet replied, giving her a hug. “Sleep well, Small Fry.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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