He Thought He Saw – Part 11

He Thought He Saw redAt school, Brian nearly does a face plant in Jordan’s chest, and finds out irrefutably, that she’s a girl. Embarrassed, and trying to get over it, he gets to class only to find out they are lab partners. Jordan meets the snooty, straight laced Marissa for the first time.

“So, who’s your girlfriend?”

“Not my girlfriend, Marissa.”

“She seems very chummy.”

“Oh?” he wasn’t sure what to say.

“Yes, she’s hanging on you and practically ravaging you in public.” Not only was Marissa popular, she was highly religious and very judgmental.

“That’s because we’re lovers,” Jordan said as she plunked a beaker on the desk. “Brian just rocks my world! Maybe you wouldn’t be such a super, uptight bitch if you found the right guy.”

Marissa turned red and hurried off. Jordan laughed, watching her rush off to her table. She huddled with her lab partner, pointing at Jordan.

“And that was necessary, why?” Brian asked quietly.

“Cause it’s so much fun to see her look like she just sucked a lemon.”

“You know you’ve just ruined my reputation,” Brian said, trying to sound hurt.

“Oh, the carefully crafted one where you’re a complete tool? Sorry. We’ll see if we can work on that after class.”

Laughing, Brian set up the equipment while Jordan read through the experiment. Together, they measured ingredients and started mixing. Their teacher came by, hands clasped behind his back.

“Good job, Jordan,” the young science teacher complimented.

“Thanks, Mr. Sullivan. Brian helped.”

The teacher, who was staring at her chest, smiled slightly as he passed by.

“Speaking of tools,” Jordan whispered. “Is he a perv or what? My boobs are very popular today.”

Brian shifted slightly. “He’s just a guy, Jordan. We all stare at a woman’s boobs. And I wasn’t staring on purpose.”

Jordan giggled, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. “I forgive you. But I think it’s precious how you try to defend the fact that you nearly had your face down my shirt.”

“Laugh too much, I won’t help with math.”

She sobered immediately. “Fine. I’ll behave.”

They finished their experiment, wrote down their notes and cleaned up before the bell. They had four out of seven classes together, the only differences were PE, which were separate, and their electives Brian had Spanish and shop. Jordan had theatre and chorus.

They met up at their lockers at the end of the day and hurried to the bus stop. The weather had warmed, so Jordan carried her jacket. She hopped onto the bus and the driver didn’t recognize her. It took some fast talk to convince him that she had given him her bus pass the day before. Once Brian vouched for her, he relented.

“Tell you the truth, I thought you was a boy. Big, ol’ coat and a boy’s name. Kinda confusing.”

“Yeah. I get that a lot,” Jordan said in a condescending tone that was totally lost on the driver.

The ride home was just as uncomfortable as the ride that morning. The difference was, that Brian had someone to walk home with. Jordan’s house was only a couple blocks from his, not quite as deep into the woods. He walked her home before heading to his own house.

“If you want, I’ll drop by in the morning and walk with you.”

“Would you? That would be so great! I hate that early morning walk in the dark. I—see things—in the woods. It creeps me out.”

“Yeah. I don’t mind.” He paused, wondering how much he should say. He decided to give it a try. If she thought he was crazy, fine. But if she was having the same experiences he’d had….

“What—uh—what kind of things?” he tried to sound casual, but knew he’d failed when her eyes darted to his face.

“You’ve seen stuff too?” she whispered harshly. “Tell me.”

“I asked first.”

They were at her house. Jordan invited him up to sit on the porch swing.

“Yesterday morning, I was on the way to the bus stop and I swear I saw—things in the woods. Like ghosts, wraiths….”

Brian gasped. “Me too. Did they chase you?”

Jordan didn’t say anything, she merely looked terrified.

“At the risk of sounding completely insane, can I tell you something?” he asked quietly.

“Sure.”

Brian told her about his experiences. He also told her about meeting the group from Louisiana. He left nothing out of his story, even including the bear incident. He still wasn’t convinced that was a coincidence.

“I would have been screaming,” Jordan confessed.

“You think I wasn’t? Screaming like a baby. I thought I was gonna die.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 10

He Thought He Saw redThe next morning, Brian meets a new student at his bus stop. The person’s name is Jordan Barrett. Dressed in a hoodie, jeans and a bulky coat, Brian can’t tell if Jordan is a boy or girl.

The bus arrived a few minutes later. Brian let Jordan walk on ahead of him. He moved down the aisle and took his usual seat. Since no one else sat with him, Jordan joined him. They talked a little bit on the way to school, but the engine noise made conversation difficult, especially once the bus filled up.

“What’s your first class?” Brian asked Jordan as they got off the bus.

“Chemistry. You?”

“The same. Mr. Sullivan?”

“Yeah. I didn’t see you yesterday.”

“I was sick. Want to walk together? We social pariahs should always travel in pairs.”

Jordan laughed. “Yeah. Thank you. Hey, can you open these lockers? I couldn’t get mine and had to carry all my books home. My shoulders are killing me.”

“Sure. There’s a trick to it. I’ll show you.”

He walked with Jordan to a nearby locker. Brian opened it with ease.

“How did you do that? I tried forever!”

“Gotta spin it twice all the way around to the right before doing the numbers. Also, you have to do the locker dance.”

“Locker dance?” A raised eyebrow showed Jordan’s skepticism.

“Yeah. You don’t know the locker dance?” Brian winked and gave a little shake of his hips as he shuffled in a circle. He even gave it the Saturday Night Fever point.

Jordan laughed loudly, head tossed back. “Oh, that’s a good one. I have to remember that. Help me with these books, would you? I hurt my wrist. Had a fall. It’s all bruised up.”

“No problem.” He took the books and laid them neatly in the locker.

“I hate to ask, but I need help with my jacket too.”

“Sure thing.”

He held the end of one sleeve, pulling it over a wrist brace. He stood close to Jordan, helping to detach the Velcro straps that kept catching on the jacket sleeve. With a mighty tug, he lost his balance, toppling over and knocking Jordan back a step. It was then, face to face and mere inches separating them, that he realized Jordan was a girl.

A snug, red sweater clung to her upper body and the bell bottom jeans fit closely to her thighs and hips. Brian was mortified. Hopping back a step, he lost his balance and would have fallen backward if Jordan hadn’t steadied him. She laughed at his clumsiness as she removed her beanie.

“And I thought I was a klutz!”

“Dumb Velcro,” he muttered, trying not to blush.

“I know I’ve got nice tits, Bri,” she said quietly. “But they aren’t that good.” With a wink, she sashayed away from him, heading toward the chemistry room.

“I wasn’t looking at your tits,” he called after her. “I swear!”

Horribly embarrassed, Brian stopped at his locker, a few down from Jordan’s, and put his things away. He wandered to chemistry only to find Jordan sitting at his table. Groaning inwardly, he sat down.

“Oh, is this your table?” she asked.

“Yeah. My old lab partner moved to Michigan.”

“Bummer. I hope you know what you’re doing. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

“Pretty well.”

“Are you one of those boy geniuses?”

“I do okay.” He actually did very well, but he didn’t want to sound like he was bragging.

“Will you help me get caught up?”

“Sure. Any subjects we’ve got in common, I’ll help you with.”

“Thanks! You’re wonderful!” She hugged him enthusiastically. “I’m so glad you go to my bus stop.”

“Uh, me too.”

During lab, when Jordan went to the supply cupboard for equipment, one of the popular girls in the class stopped by.

“So, who’s your girlfriend?”

“Not my girlfriend, Marissa.”

“She seems very chummy.”

“Oh?” he wasn’t sure what to say.

“Yes, she’s hanging on you and practically ravaging you in public.” Not only was Marissa popular, she was highly religious and very judgmental.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Indian Summer Revisited

first meetingI am a big fan of first meetings, or the Meet Cute as they are called in romantic comedies. These often set the tone for the relationship, and tell us a lot about how the couple will interact with one another later in the story. Although they get off to a somewhat rough start, Malin Dimas and Carina Enriques-Deza find that they are mutually interested. Carina is an art student who loves photography. She’s so absorbed in her projects, she doesn’t always pay attention where she’s going, particularly if she’s in a rush.

Class ended, but Carina hardly noticed. She had another class, then she had to work. Her less than glamorous job was waiting tables at a small outdoor restaurant on Hypolita Street.

Rushing to her class, she neatly avoided running into anyone until she got to the staircase. Going from the bright sun to the sudden shade, she was still wearing her sunglasses. She ran headlong into a tall, broad shouldered body. Her bag went one way, her body the other, while the strong male hardly moved. He did grunt, her elbow having caught him inadvertently in the midsection.

Carina sprawled on the ground, cursing in Spanish and English as the man tried to help her up. Hardly looking at him, she was trying to find the things that had fallen out of her bag.

Her phone had landed in a shallow puddle. Her pens and lip gloss were nowhere to be found. A well calloused, long fingered hand helped her up, brushing her off as a pleasant tenor voice apologized for running her down.

“I’m so sorry. I got sun dazzled I guess,” he said quietly, handing her the lip gloss and pens. “I got in this dark and I couldn’t see a damn thing. Sorry about that.” His soft Southern accent was warm and welcoming.

Carina looked up at him. He had black hair and dark brown eyes. Her own jade green eyes locked with his for a moment and she smiled.

“It’s okay. I couldn’t see either. Environmental hazard living in Florida.”

“Beg pardon?” He looked confused.

“Sunshine,” she pointed skyward.

“Well, it is the Sunshine State, right?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I really need to run. I’ve got class.”

“Oh, sure. Sorry again.”

“No problem. Sorry I elbowed your gut.”

“Missed the nuts,” he said with a grin.

Carina giggled as she trotted up the stairs. The young man walked with her, taking the steps two at a time.

“I bet your girlfriend will be grateful for that,” she said as he opened the stairwell door for her.

“Don’t have one, but I’m mighty happy you missed ’em. I’ve grown a bit attached to them over the years.”

With a sidelong glance, she eased past him as he held the door for her. He stood by it, leaning on the edge, gazing down at her. There was barely enough room to slip through, but she did because she was in a hurry. Waving to him, she dodged in her classroom as the instructor was about to close the door.

“Carina, nice you could join us.”

“Sorry. I fell,” she explained as she walked past him.

“You okay?” Those were the last words that made their way into the hallway.

Malin Dimas shouldered his backpack and walked downstairs. He would have used any excuse to walk that girl to her class. He didn’t have another class until eleven, so he headed to the nearest coffee shop, got a large double shot and wandered to the Plaza in front of Government House. Sitting on the steps of the Slave Market, he gazed out over the town.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 9

He Thought He Saw redHome once more, Brian helps his mother fix dinner. She reminds him that he missed his appointment with the parish priest, but is happy that he’s out with friends. Brian doesn’t dare tell her what is really going on.

They had fun over dinner. Brian hadn’t realized how subdued he’d been the last few weeks. He couldn’t say he was exactly depressed, but he was certainly stressed by the recent events. Having someone else to talk to about it, who understood and didn’t think he was crazy, had made a world of difference.

Brian went to bed early that night, determined to get a better night’s sleep than he had the night before. Fortunately, his rest wasn’t interrupted by nightmares or bears. He woke the next day feeling rested and ready for whatever the world handed him.

The sky was cloudy as he headed for the bus stop. It looked like it would rain again. The temperature had dropped during the night. He could see his breath in the early morning air. He was usually the only one at his bus stop, but today there was a new kid sitting on the bench under the awning.

Brian walked up warily. He didn’t know the person and wasn’t sure if he could trust them or not. Being so far out of town, they got tramps and transients. Just because the person sat at a school bus stop didn’t mean he or she was a student.

The person didn’t look up when Brian stepped under the awning. Instead the stranger fiddled with an iPod which apparently wasn’t working right. A few muttered curse words confirmed that assumption. The person smacked the iPod with a flattened palm, cursed again and shoved the device into a pocket.

A baggy, navy blue, hoodie concealed a short, slight frame. Straight, brown hair stuck out from under a multicolored beanie, concealing most of the face. Jeans and boots completed the anonymous outfit.

“Trouble?” Brian asked quietly.

The person gasped, looking up at him. “I think I managed to delete all my music,” the gruff voice complained. “Either that, or something else is wrong with the damn thing. It won’t work.”

“Man, that sucks. Mind if I sit?”

“Help yourself. Not my bench.”

“I’m Brian Casey.”

“Jordan Barrett.” The name and voice did nothing to clarify the gender issue.

“You must be new around here. I’ve never seen you before.”

“My folks wanted a quieter, simpler life. So, instead of living in the suburbs, they picked his tiny town in BFE. I can’t even get cell service unless I’m standing in the center of town. So much for keeping up with my friends back home.”

“Guess you’ll have to make some new ones,” Brian said quietly. He wasn’t sure what to think of the mouthy, disgruntled teen. He dearly wished that either the name or the clothing was different so he’d have a clue if he was speaking to a boy or girl. He still couldn’t tell and he didn’t think it was polite to ask.

“Yeah. Not like I had so many, ya know? Not one to be popular.”

“Me either. Gotta work too hard to be popular. Besides, I prefer being anonymous.”

“Whatever works, right? Of course, my parents are upset that I’m a social pariah. They were head cheerleader and captain of the football team. They went Greek in college and belong to the alumni association of their high school and college. Mom was also Miss Teen Spirit when she was in high school. I told her I wasn’t interested in being named after a deodorant—or a song. She so didn’t get it.”

Brian chuckled, nodding. “I’m lucky. My mom couldn’t care less if I’m popular. She wants good grades. Can do that standing on my head.”

“You any good at math?”

“Yeah, pretty good. Why?”

“Because I suck ten kinds of suckage at math. I need someone to help me. Dad said he would, but he’s about as patient as a wet cat. Mom’s blonde.” Jordan said that as if it meant something special.

Brian, who was also blond, looked confused.

“Dumb blonde?” Jordan snickered. “I guess it’s contagious.”

“I may be blond, but at least I’m good at math.” He tried not to sound offended, but didn’t conceal it well.

“Oh, touchy! If you can help my math grade, I forgive you for being blond and promote you to honorary brunette.”

Brian chuckled. “Mighty kind of you.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents Mark David, Maria and Dan

Wednesday, August 24 What’s Write for Me

 

Wednesday, August 24 at 4:00 PM EDT (3 CDT, 2 MDT, 1 PDT), Dellani and Christina welcome back two guests and greet a new one.

Distinguished as being one of Dellani’s first guests, we are pleased to have Mark David Gerson on the show again. He is the author of Sara’s Year, Moonquest Series, Acts of Surrender, Birthing Your Book and many more. Mark will join us from 4:00 – 5:00

Also returning is Maria DeVivo , author of Coal Elf and The Rise of Sturd. Maria will join us 5:00 – 6:00

New to the show is Dan O’Brien, author of Sixth Prime, Lauren Westlake Mystery series, Society of Dawn series and many more. Dan will talk with us and the others from 4:00 – 6:00.

Join us in chatting with these three amazing guests LIVE or via PODCAST at your convenience.

He Thought He Saw – Part 8

He Thought He Saw redFinding a young man in Louisiana, who has reported experiences like his, Brian feels compelled to write him an e-mail asking Andre to call him. He does, and they make plans to meet.

“What I want to know, is what’s going on,” Sweet said. “I mean, it was freaky enough when it was me—then Andre. After that, we found the girls and now you.”

“I saw a website for a girl in Washington state who had experienced similar things,” Brian contributed. There were more, but when I saw Andre’s site, I decided to contact him cause y’all are so close.”

“How much more?” Ginnifer asked, her green eyes wide and circled with kohl.

“I don’t know. But I brought my laptop with me.” Brian unslung the bag he carried. He booted up his system and waited for the internet hookup. Tapping in the commands, he showed them the sites he’d seen. The list went on for 30 pages.

“This is crazy! It’s all over the country!” Sweet said.

“There’s one form Peru and another from Australia,” Louisa pointed out. “This is world wide.”

“I’m freaking out here,” Ginnifer said, hugging herself. “It’s like the whole world is going crazy!”

“But you notice, the people seeing and reporting this stuff are all between fifteen and nineteen? There’s no one over twenty on any of these pages,” Andre commented, opening one window after another. “And we all start out almost the exact same way, My name is…. and I’m X years old. Almost like a template. The things we describe, really similar and we use the same words—wraiths, ghost in the fog, swamp creatures…. It’s freaky. How likely is it that we’d all write the same way?”

“Not very,” Brian admitted. “I was calling them wraiths in my head, and I barely know what that means.”

“We should contact more of these people,” Ginnifer said in a matter of fact tone. “We need to find out everything we can.”

They went into the main part of the library and each of the others signed up for a computer. Andre set up a Yahoo e-mail account for them to use as a contact and they wrote out a basic e-mail and divided up the sites. Each of them cut and pasted the message to the site owners asking for them to reply via the e-mail address.

It was nearly 6:00 when they finished. Brian had to get home to help his mother with dinner. Andre gave him a ride. On the way, they stopped and picked up his bike from the ditch where he’d dropped it.

Before they left, the five of them exchanged phone numbers with the assurance that the next time something freaky happened, they would call as soon as possible.

“Stay safe,” Ginnifer said, hugging Brian. “You should ask around town and see if anyone you know has been having stuff happen.”

Brian shook his head adamantly. “Nope, not gonna happen. They’ll think I’m stone cold crazy.”

She pouted prettily. “Just a suggestion.”

Louisa didn’t hug Brian, but she did shake his hand, followed by a knuckle bump. “Cajones of pure steel,” she said with a grin. “Be careful.”

They made plans to get together weekly to report on incidents and connect. Brian watched them drive away, feeling suddenly alone. He walked in the door, closing it quietly behind him.

“That you?”

“No, it’s a perfect stranger.”

“Okay. Well, come introduce yourself and help me with this blasted jar.”

Laughing, Brian walked in the kitchen. His mother handed him a jar of spaghetti sauce and another of minced garlic. He opened both. She gave him a kiss.

“Wash up. You’re just in time to check the meat and drain it for me.”

“You got it, Chef!”

“You missed your appointment with Father Ramsey.”

“Oh, crap!” He slapped his forehead. “I’m sorry. I forgot.”

“It’s all right. I’m glad you were out with friends. You spend too much time with me,” she commented quietly. “You need to be around young people.”

“I like being here, Mom. Most of the kids here aren’t that interesting. I mean, we get along okay….”

She stopped him, putting her hand on his cheek. “I know, honey. I understand that probably better than most parents. I was always the outsider, the loner. It’s not easy. But at least you learn how to be strong and rely on yourself.”

Brian smiled and nodded. His mother patted his cheek.

“Can’t hear a smile, kiddo.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from On the Fairway

first meetingHeath Otts works at a local, very posh and exclusive, golf course as a greens keeper. After work one afternoon, his boss asks him to drop off some bags of pink gravel, which were delivered to them by mistake. He takes them up to the club house as instructed, and looks for someone to give them to.

There was a flurry of activity in one of the private dining rooms. He wandered over, hands in his pockets, shoulders hunched, trying not to look as big and dirty as he was. It wasn’t easy making a man his size inconspicuous. At six foot four, he was broad shouldered, narrow hipped and handsome. Even with a day’s worth of dirt on him, he was eye catching. His wavy brown hair came to the collar of his shirt. His brilliant blue eyes surveyed the room looking for someone in charge.

A tall, well built brunette with shoulder length hair and killer legs stood a few feet away. She wore a bright blue dress that clung invitingly to her tasty curves. Heath watched her ass for several seconds before clearing his throat.

“Excuse me, miss?”

She spun around, her smile faltering when she saw his shabby attire.

“I’ve got the gravel y’all ordered.”

“Oh, of course. Thank you!”

“Where would you like me to stow it?”

She cast about for a moment, then motioned to a table near the door. “Right there is perfect. That will save you a few steps.”

“You got it!” He turned away.

“What’s your name?” she called after him.

“Heath Otts.”

“Essa Jaymes. Nice to meet you. I’m the events planner here.”

“I work greens maintenance. Pardon my stank. I just got off work.”

She reached out the shake his hand. He started to take her hand, realized he was still dirty, even after washing, and jerked it away instead.

“Sorry. I’m real dirty, Miss Jaymes. Nice to meet you, though.”

She grabbed his hand anyway, shaking firmly. “I can always wash. Nice to meet you, Heath.”

“You too. Lemme get that gravel in for ya.” He walked backward, pointing over his shoulder at the back door.

“Sure. Great. Thank you.” She looked baffled by his behavior, but smiled anyway.

So damn outta her league. . . .I’m not even in the same galaxy as her league. Fuck, I’m not even in her universe. God damn that’s a pretty woman!

His unloading went quickly. He had to carry everything in by hand, but he was strong and able to lift two bags at a time. Soon, all ten bags were stacked neatly on the table. He’d been given a paper for someone to sign, so he went looking for Miss Jaymes again. He found her on the far side of the room counting place settings.

“Just need your John Hancock,” he said, handing her a clipboard.

“Thanks again,” she said, scribbling her name. She handed it back to him. Next to it, she’d written her number. Her smile flashed. “Do they let you accept tips?”

“Ma’am?”

“Your boss. Are you allowed to take a tip?”

“I dunno. Only been working two months and no one tried to tip me before.”

She grinned, handing him a folded bill on the sly. “Shh,” she whispered. “Qviet!”

Heath took it from her furtively, turning his body so no one would see the bill exchange hands. “I feel like I’m doing a drug deal,” he murmured.

Essa laughed. “Nothing so sordid, I promise. I know the kitchen staff aren’t allowed to accept tips. It’s built into the bill. I really appreciate you doing that for me. I don’t suppose I could trouble you further? I don’t have scissors and I don’t think I can open those bags with my hands.”

“I’ll slit ’em for ya. Enough you can get your fingers in. Any more than a slit, you’ll be up to your ears in pink gravel.”

She giggled at his lame joke. “That would be super awesome! Thank you.” Essa beamed at him.

“Happy to help a lady in distress.” Heath flipped open his pocket knife and attacked the corner of each bag and stood them upright against the wall, so they wouldn’t spill.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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