Brian’s mother reluctantly agreed to let him go to the bonfire. She didn’t like the idea of him being out at night. After a bit of cajoling, he got her to agree. He’d be surrounded by others, he’d have Jordan and her father with him. After all, hadn’t he fought off the whirlwind by himself? He judiciously left that incident out of his argument. He didn’t think that his mother would like it. He hoped that Jordan’s parents wouldn’t mention it to her, though he was sure that Mrs. Barrett would probably tell her husband.
At 6:50 on the nose, Mr. Barrett drove up. He helped Maribelle into the front seat while Brian hopped into the back. Jordan greeted him when he got in. They drove to Jordan’s house, chatting happily about the weather. Fortunately, Mr. Barrett said nothing about that morning’s encounter.
“Does he know?” Brian asked as he took off his coat in Jordan’s room.
“Yes, but he won’t say anything unless he thinks we’re in trouble. My folks are pretty cool. They won’t narc us, but they do like to know.”
“I will tell her,” Brian promised. “I just couldn’t tell her today. She’d never let me out of the house again.”
“Do you think it’s safe going to the bonfire?”
“I think so. We’ll be surrounded by people. Besides, Chase’s dad is a deacon. Reckon he can handle an icy whirlwind if anyone can.”
“Maybe he knows what’s going on. We should ask him.”
“Not tonight. We can go by the church sometime and see him at the office. I’m also supposed to go visit our priest. I bet he’d have some answers too.”
“You’re Catholic?” Her eyes brightened.
“Yeah. Born and raised. You?”
“Yes. Despite their oddities, Mom and Dad are very traditional in some ways. What’s the priest like?”
“He’s a nice guy, probably about my dad’s age. He married my parents, baptized me, gave me First Communion and was there for Confirmation.”
“Why do you have to go see him? Confession?”
“Nothing like that. Mom’s worried about all this—whatever it is. She thinks he can help.”
“Let’s go see him tomorrow. Maybe see Chase’s dad too. Did you ever call Andre?”
“No.” He pulled his phone out of his pocket.
Andre’s phone went right to voicemail. Brian left a message and called Sweet next, getting the same thing. Frustrated, he called Louisa. She answered absently, as if she were busy with something. When she heard Brian’s voice, she perked up.
“I’ve been checking the e-mail we set up. We got some replies already. I’m reading through them. Unbelievable! We’ll talk about it more when we see you. What’s up?”
He gave her a brief rundown on meeting Jordan and battling the whirlwind. Louisa made all the appropriate noises and promised to talk to the others and set up a meeting for the weekend.
“Thanks, Louisa. I appreciate you passing word along.”
“Not a problem, Brian. I can’t wait to meet Jordan. Bye!”
Brian hung up, feeling better about the situation. At least there were more of them involved than just him and Jordan.
“We should go downstairs and sit with our folks,” Jordan said once he was off the phone. “Mom likes me to help entertain company.”
“Thought that was what you were doing,” Brian replied. He gave Jordan a hand up.
The two of them went downstairs just as Jacqueline appeared at the bottom to call them down.
“Perfect timing, you two. Get washed up. Jordan, can you give me a hand?”
“Can I help with anything?” Brian offered.
“Sure. You can carry in some of the dishes for me. We’re ready to serve.”
A few minutes of bustle and they were seated in the kitchen. Brian sat between his mother and Jordan at the large, circular table.
“Everything smells delicious,” Maribelle said, inhaling deeply. “Do I catch a hint of anise?”
“You do! I made my vegetable lasagna. It has layers of anise cookies in it. Strange as it sounds.”
“Sounds and smells divine,” Maribelle complimented.
Brian took a few minutes to serve his mother’s plate before serving his own. He told her where each food was located, but wasn’t sure what everything was. Laughing, Jacqueline explained.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes