The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 23

the-man-who-wasnt-thereFeeling better, Brian sits down to dinner with his family, Jordan’s and the Beauchamps’.

“Still got the rest of this week to get through,” Brian said with a sigh.

“Meru wants to talk to you,” Miles said quietly. “Do you feel up to it?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“I’ll set it up after dinner,” Andre said.

“Thanks.”

Dr. Meru’s smile had dimmed since Brian last spoke to him. He eyed the younger man critically, desperately wanting more nuance. He’d spoken to Andre and Claude, but he wished he could make his own hands on assessment. At least the boy looked well, though he was slightly pale.

“Tell me, in your own words, what you experienced.”

Brian gave him a detailed account. Dr. Meru nodded, making notes as Brian spoke. He asked very pointed questions, clarifying details the way that Jordan and the others had.

“This is fascinating, Brian. You’ve been somewhere and seen something that no one else I know, has ever seen. This is absolutely unprecedented!” He couldn’t control his enthusiasm any longer. “Do you realize how special an honor you’ve been awarded? You’ve been to another realm. You brought back a Rider!”

“So far, it’s been a rare treat,” Brian replied, somewhat sarcastically. “I could have done without the pounding headache, the vomiting, the vertigo…. The enhanced senses are kind of cool, but I have to say,” he leaned toward the computer, lowering his voice. “The jacked up sex drive is awkward.”

Meru leaned forward too. “Increased libido? That is interesting. Disconcerting, to be sure, at this stage of your life.” He nodded, considering a few moments before replying. “You have noticed a marked increase? This isn’t just, forgive my belittling it, teenage hormones?”

“Trust me, Doc, there’s a huge difference. Teenage hormones heat things up, no doubt. But I feel as if I have a tendency to start fires.”

Dr. Meru caught the song reference and laughed. “Indeed. I wish I had a solution for that, my young friend. Sadly, other than the usual remedies, I have none.”

“I’ll have to make sure Jordan and I aren’t alone,” Brian said. “I can’t keep Andre around as a watch dog.”

“To be sure. I might have an additional aid.” He flipped through a book and landed on a page. “This is a chant—not a spell, no tedious ritual, no special ingredients, merely a meditation aid.” He rattled off a few words in a language that Brian didn’t know. “Repeat it.”

Brian did. Strangely, it helped. He felt less burdened.

“Completely reusable and non-addictive. Say it whenever you have need of it. If I come up with anything else, I’ll contact you.”

“Thank you, Doc. You’ve been a huge help.”

“I fear not as big a help as I’d like, but I’ll keep looking. I have my colleagues world wide, searching through their files as well. Perhaps we’ll find a solution before Halloween.”

“Thanks.”

They bid farewell and disconnected.

Brian and his parents headed home a short time later. Andre and Claude went with them. Brian had been very careful how long he kissed Jordan when they said goodnight. He made sure that Andre was nearby and kept a slight distance between them. He didn’t dare risk her safety again.

School the next day, was predictably boring. If he hadn’t had Jordan, Chase or Marissa in most of his classes, Brian would have gone out of his mind. He waited for Jordan to finish with play practice after school, since he was giving her a ride home. They were doing an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that the speech teacher and the senior English teacher had written. Jordan, to her surprise, had been chosen for Juliet, although she’d tried out for the part of the Nurse.

Brian sat in the semi-dark theatre, watching the party scene unfold. The boy playing Romeo wasn’t bad. He carried himself well and spoke distinctly. Brian couldn’t help but be impressed. He wasn’t really paying attention until it came time for the kiss. Throwing himself into the scene, Romeo got a little too familiar with Juliet. Whether it was scripted or not, he decidedly slipped her some tongue.

Jordan, taken by surprise, rabbit punched him in the gut. With a yelp, Romeo jumped back. Jordan dropped into a fighting crouch, fists raised.

“Come on, I was in character,” he whined, stumbling back a couple of steps.

Jordan shook back her hair, color high in her cheeks. “Because you’re so damn irresistible, is that it? I’m supposed to excuse you because you say you’re in character?”

“You know you wanted it.”

Jordan screeched, lunging at the hapless boy. He staggered back another couple of steps, tripping over his own feet. He landed hard on his butt. One of the girls jumped forward, grabbing Jordan before she flailed him.

Brian stood angrily, not moving right away. He watched, fury pooling in his belly. The floor quivered under foot. No one seemed to notice at first.

“I have a boyfriend,” Jordan reminded him.

“So?”

“So, he’s here,” she explained, pointing to Brian.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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