The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 2

the-man-who-wasnt-thereOctober 2013

Flames dripped from his fingers, spilling down his arm and onto the floor. A dribble of fire worked its way up to his armpit, setting fire to his shirt. Brian slapped at the flames, burning his hand.

“Ouch! Dammit! Ow!”

“Brian!” Maribelle Casey’s voice floated down the basement steps from the kitchen

“Sorry, Mom. I burned myself.” He stuck his fingers in his mouth, pulling them out immediately when he tasted the bitter herbs that covered them. “Gak! Blerg! Gross!” He rushed to the utility sink and rinsed his mouth. Running water over his hand, he hissed as the singed digits met the cold.

Soft footsteps trotted down the stairs. “What did you do to yourself now?” Jordan’s voice interrupted his pity party.

Brian held out his hand to her. Jordan took his damp fingers, whispered a couple of words and the pain stopped.

“Quit being such a klutz, Casey,” she said as she sat on the couch.

“Yeah. Fire isn’t my thing,” he replied, sitting next to her.

Jordan giggled. “Says my pyromaniac boyfriend.” She gave him a quick kiss.

Her lips on his stopped any further protest. She was right. Fire was his second best element, which he could summon at will. Controlling it, however, wasn’t as easy. The scorch marks on the cement floor and singed carpet, paid testimony to that.

“Your mom doesn’t mind you playing with fire in the house?”

He whirled his injured finger in a circle. “Protection spells all around. I might set fire to myself, but not the house.”

“That makes it so much better.” She gave him another kiss. Jordan pulled away when he started getting fresh. “Cool it, cowboy! Mom’s upstairs.”

“Sorry.”

The change of status of their relationship was new and neither of them were exactly sure what to do with it. Their experiences a year ago had shown them that they were destined to be together, but it didn’t make it any easier to deal with the fact. Constantly in one another’s company, working on their fighting skills, spell casting and charm making had brought them closer together. It was inevitable that they would take the next step in their relationship—that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

“What are you working on today?” Jordan asked, looking over the mess he’d made on the ping pong table, which served as his practice space.

“Summoning fire and controlling it—emphasis on control. I can summon fire just great, getting it to do what I want—that’s something else.”

Jordan flicked her wrist, twirling her fingers. Flames appeared over the table, dancing merrily. She made walking motions with her fingers and they strutted around the surface. No scorch marks or ember trails for her. The flames danced a few more minutes and quietly sank to nothing. Brian watched with envy and disgust.

“You’re trying too hard,” she said. “Not only that, you’re so concerned about not setting the house on fire, you’re not channeling your attention properly. We’ll go over to Chase’s and work in the swamp.”

“Trees catch fire, you know.”

“Shall we go to the old Winn-Dixie parking lot? No trees there. I don’t think that even you could set asphalt on fire,” she replied with disgust.

“No public places, you know that.”

“Kidding!” She hopped up, reaching for his hand. “Come.”

“What? Where?”

“We’re taking a break. You need to get out of the house and I need ice cream.”

Brian laughed, standing up. He pulled her close, towering over her. He’d put on a growth spurt over the last year and shot up to six foot three. Jordan had eeked out another half inch and stopped growing. It was no end of annoyance to her that she was still nearly a foot shorter than he.

“You can have ice cream, but I want something else first.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

Brian leaned over, grinning. Jordan stood on tiptoe. Their lips met and they exchanged a short kiss.

“Another reason to get out of the house,” he murmured.

They trotted up the stairs hand in hand, bursting into the kitchen. Their mothers sat at the table, talking and drinking tea. Brian smelled jasmine and ginger.

“We’re going for ice cream,” Jordan said. “Can we bring you anything?”

“Nothing for me, thanks,” Maribelle said. “Jackie?”

“No. I’m trying to be good, with the holidays coming. I always eat too much.”

Jordan smirked, tilting her head to one side. “I dunno, Mom. I think you could stand to gain a couple pounds.”

Her mother smacked her hand playfully. “Go get your ice cream. Are you taking my car?” She reached for her keys.

“They can take mine,” Maribelle said. “I still don’t feel comfortable driving, so it’s mostly Brian’s now.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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