The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 13

the-man-who-wasnt-thereAfter talking to Dr. Meru, Brian and Jordan share his information with the others. After that, it’s lunch time and they order pizza for a crowd.

The pizza was greeted enthusiastically, the delivery personnel even got scattered thanks from the group. When they had all eaten their fill, there was very little left. It all fit in two boxes. True to their prediction, Brian and Sweet had each eaten the better part of a whole large pizza.

“You know how on TV the mom comes in carrying one pizza box and there are like six people there?” Andre said, suppressing a burp. “I look at that and I think, She’s planning on feeding an entire family with one large pizza? Is she high?

“Apparently not, or she’d have her own pizza and make the family share,” Miles countered.

“And there’s always a piece or two left afterward,” Sweet added. “Six people, one pizza, two slices left.” He shook his head. “Not my kinda math at all.”

“No, in your world, it’s six people, twelve pizzas and everyone gets two,” Ginnifer teased.

“Damn straight, babe.”

“I need a nap,” Miles said. “If we’re going to be up late, I want some rest.”

Agreeing with him, everyone departed, planning to meet up at the Finley’s house at 6:00 for dinner. They would be performing the ritual at the Finley’s. It was the most remote location available. Set on the edge of the swamp, they could offer more privacy than the others.

Brian kissed Jordan before she got in the car with her parents. “See you later,” he murmured. “I have something to tell you before we get involved in everything.”

“We’ll sneak off before dinner,” she promised.

“See you soon.”

They kissed again and he went inside. Brian went to his room and lay down, staring at the ceiling. He was tired, but too wound up to relax. He was anxious, not just because of the ritual, but because he planned to tell Jordan that he loved her. He had no idea how this evening would end. If something went wrong, he could be killed or injured. He had no illusions on that point. His mother had lost her eyesight in casting a spell. Over a year later, she still hadn’t gotten it back fully and probably never would.

What if it doesn’t work? What if I mess up? What if he isn’t real? What if he doesn’t show up?

Brian knew he was making himself crazy with the worrying, but he couldn’t stop it. His mind was in fast gear, moving at a furious speed. To help himself relax, he put on some music. All the songs were things that Jordan liked. He could see her singing along as she danced by herself.

I never dance with her. Why don’t I dance with her?

Because you can’t dance, you moron.

Then I’m going to learn. Jordan loves it so much, she deserves to have a man in her life who can dance.

With Jordan’s face in his mind, he dozed off, waking to a light tapping on his door. He rolled over as it opened.

“Hiya, handsome,” Jordan said as she walked in.

“Hey, babe. Oh, wake up breath!” He excused himself. Coming back minty fresh, he kissed her.

“I thought I’d slip up here before it gets crazy. Dad dropped me off on the way to Chase’s house. He said I can ride over with you.” She sat beside him on the bed, legs crossed in front of her. “What did you want to talk about? The ritual?”

“No.” He took her hands. “I’m not gonna lie, Jordan. I’m nervous, maybe even scared.”

“It’s gonna be okay, Brian….”

“Yeah, I know. It will probably be fine. But I’ve had something on my mind for a couple weeks no—longer. And I have to get this off my chest before we do all this.”

“Okay.” She sat quietly, attentive.

Brian took her hands, kissing them. “I know we’re destined to be together,” he said quickly, almost flippantly. “But I wanted to say, I’d have chosen you anyway, because you’re the most amazing girl I know.”

“Thanks, Brian….”

He stopped her with a shake of his head. “I have to say this fast—all at once, or I’ll chicken out.”

“Okay. You’re kinda freaking me out here, Bri.”

He traced the vein on the back of her hand with the tip of his finger. His gaze fastened on hers. “You mean the world to me, Jordan. I feel like I can do anything when you’re with me. I could leap a tall building or two. Provided one needed leaping. I bet I could even stop a freight train.” He realized he was babbling. He took a deep breath. “I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. Everything could be fine, or it could all go balls up. And if that happens, you need to know something.” He took another deep breath. “I love you, Jordan. More than my own life. You drive me nuts and you keep me on my toes. You scold me when I need it and you help me when I get in over my head.”

Jordan stopped his flow of words by kissing him. They kissed a long time, getting more familiar with their hands than they’d ever been. Jordan pulled away for a moment.

“I love you, too, Brian. Since the first day when you nearly planted your face in my tits.”

“You have very nice tits,” he whispered huskily. His hands moved, of their own accord, to her chest.

There was a sharp tap on the door. Andre poked his head around the door. “Are you f**king crazy, dude?” he whispered angrily. He scooted into the room, shutting the door quietly. “You’re sending off all kinds of bells and whistles,” he motioned in the air. “You’re lucky I’m the one who picked up on it and not someone like—oh, I don’t know—her dad!”

“You’re right,” Brian said. “Sorry, Jordan.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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