The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 24

the-man-who-wasnt-thereAt school the next day, Brian waits for Jordan at play practice, nearly losing his cool when Romeo slips Jordan some tongue during rehearsal.

“I have a boyfriend,” Jordan reminded him.

“So?”

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

Brian squared his shoulders. He was considerably taller and more muscular than Romeo. His anger made him even more formidable.

Romeo glanced at Brian, face going slightly pale, but he’d come too far to back off. “Big whoop. It’s for the play, Jordan. Get over it.”

“Nowhere in the script does it say, Romeo slipped her some tongue,” Jordan explained. “Don’t do it again or I’ll bite you.”

“She threatened me, Mrs. Faust,” the boy appealed to the teacher.

“I didn’t hear anything,” she replied. “And if you do it again, I’ll replace you. You’ve got an understudy.” She stood with her hands on her hips. “Just because the scene calls for a kiss, doesn’t mean you can take advantage. Apologize.”

The boy mumbled something unintelligible.

The floor shook again, this time the director and her assistant took note. Jordan’s frown deepened.

“What was that?” Mrs. Faust asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe a train?” the girl replied.

Mrs. Faust glanced at her watch. “Not time for one.”

There was another shudder. Jordan’s horrified gaze met Brian’s.

“Excuse me, Mrs. Faust. I want to wash the taste of his tongue out of my mouth. He tastes like cigarettes and fruity Mentos.” She hurried off the stage.

“Sure. Take ten, kids.”

There was another rumble. Jordan rushed up the aisle to where Brian stood. Grabbing him by the arm, she dragged him out of the theatre.

“Stop that right now! It’s over. He’s just an idiot who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”

“You don’t know how bad I want to punch him,” Brian growled. His hands balled into fists and the windows rattled.

“Yeah, I do. You have to calm down,” she cautioned. “Please, Brian. Go splash water on your face or something.”

Brian wouldn’t move, so Jordan dragged him to the men’s room. It was empty, so she shoved him inside, following him. Jordan wet a paper towel and tried to mop Brian’s face with it. He blocked her hands, breathing rapidly, his anger still strong. The mirrors and sinks shivered. Bits of plaster fell from the ceiling.

Pointing her finger at him, Jordan concentrated a spurt of frigid water at his face. Sputtering, Brian looked at himself in the mirror. Red in the face, he was covered in water and tiny ice crystals. His shirt was wet and the slush was dripping on his pants. A warm wind dried him.

“Better?” Jordan glared up at him. “Because this is stupid. He’s just some dumb boy who thinks he’s way hotter than he is. He got fresh, I took care of it. I don’t need you to protect me, Brian. I’m pretty good at doing that myself.”

Sighing, he hung his head. “You’re right. I’m sorry. And I deserved that.”

“You deserved way more, but I don’t want you bringing the school down on my head because you’re angry.”

“You’re right. I’ll wait outside for you.”

“Okay. Good plan.” She kissed his cheek and went back to the stage.

Brian shuffled outside and flopped on the grass. His phone rang. “Yeah, Chase.”

“Dude, was that you?”

“Was what me?”

“We had tremors at football practice. Coach is freaking. He was gonna call the fire department or something, but it stopped.”

“Romeo dove for Jordan’s tonsils. I got pissed.”

“That’s it? Jeesh, Brian. What’s up with you?”

“Not much, Chase, except I’ve got a psychic Rider on my shoulder.” Stopping himself before he lost his temper again, he took a deep breath and repeated Meru’s mantra. “Sorry, man. I’m edgy and I don’t know why. I feel like there are icy spiders running up my spine.”

“Bhhhg,” Chase shuddered. “Great, now I feel that way. I’m on my way.”

“You’ve got football.”

“Things are such chaos right now, Coach won’t notice. Where are you?”

“Outside the theatre.”

“Stay put. I’m coming. I need to tell Marissa and Mom. Hang tight.” He hung up.

Brian didn’t want to go against Chase’s instruction to stay put, but he was worried about Jordan. Phones weren’t allowed during practice, so hers was off and in her backpack. If something was about to happen, she needed to know. He’d headed toward the door when Chase called to him.

“Where are you going?”

“Jordan.”

“Marissa’s on her way. She’s at chorus. Mom’s coming.”

Mrs. Finley joined them a few minutes later. “What’s happening?”

“No clue. Brian said something about icy spiders and I realized I’ve felt like that the past couple hours.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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