The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 48

the man who wasnt thereSomething is seriously wrong with Brian. After nearly killing Marissa’s father, he runs off, only to disappear. Dwight finds him perched in a tree like an angry jungle cat. He climbs up after Brian.

“Can’t sit up here all night, my friend. Your lady will be waiting.”

Brian didn’t answer, but his eyes flickered.

“She loves you and you love her. Don’t piss her off by missing your first major date. This is a big one, Brian. Almost as important as prom. If you screw this up, you’ll be still be a virgin at forty.”

Brian didn’t say anything, but he focused on Dwight.

“I know there’s a lot going on inside, mate. More shit than we can possibly imagine, is spinning around in your head. I’d be out of my mind by now. But you’re not out of your mind, you’ve got that spooky shit Rider on your shoulder. And chaotic and weird as your behavior is right at this moment, we need you. So at the risk of getting my lights punched out by a crazy fella in a tree, who seems to think he’s freaking Tarzan, get down. Pull up your boxers and twirl them in a knot because we don’t have time for this shit.”

Shaking his head, Brian gazed at Dwight. Recognition was slow, but eventually dawned. “Why am I in this tree?” he asked as he watched Dwight jump.

“No idea, mate. Come down. You need to get ready to go. And don’t worry, I’ll be there along with your lady love.”

“Thank you,” Brian sighed as he got down. The Caseys stood on the porch, watching the events unfold. “If I get this messed up at the dance, do me a favor.”

“Anything for you, my friend.”

“Punch me,” Brian said. “Right here.” He pointed to his right shoulder. “As hard as you can hit me, just smack the ever loving shit out of me.”

“You sure?”

“Absolutely, undeniably sure. I may try to take your head off,” he cautioned. “But hit me anyway.”

“I will do my best. Do you want me to knock you out?”

Brian thought about that for a moment. “I don’t think you’ll be able to. One hit should do, but feel free to hit me twice if you think the situation warrants it.”

“I shall do as you ask.”

Smirking, Brian shook Dwight’s hand. “Excellent.”

Dressed and ready for the ball, Brian waited for his parents and their guests. He and Dwight were riding with Andre and Louisa. Jordan was catching a ride with her parents and the others were car pooling as well. They parked close together and headed into the community center in pairs.

Chase was already there with Marissa and her family. They met up, trying to be casual, giving the place a subtle recon.

“Everything looks all right,” Jordan said. “How does it feel?”

“Fine, so far,” Brian replied. “Let’s just try to relax and have a good time. How often do I get to take my girl out and show her off?” He winked, spinning Jordan under his arm. “You look beautiful, by the way. In fact, I’d say that you bypass beautiful and go right to stunning.”

Jordan wore a sparkling royal blue halter topped dress with an open back. The skirt circled her ankles, pooling like water. Her shoes were strappy silver sandals with a three inch heel. Even with the extra height, she barely came to Brian’s shoulder. Her thick, walnut colored hair was in a sleek French twist, decorated with four spangled sticks. She told her friends they were really cleverly concealed stilettos. Brian laughed, nuzzling her neck.

“Trust my woman to come armed to a dance.”

“Two are iron, two silver. I thought I should have my bases covered. The sparkles are chips of clear quartz. My necklace and earrings are lapis lazuli.”

“You prepared better than I did,” he confessed. “I’ve just got pockets full of salt and holy water.”

“And a knife strapped to your back as well as your baton,” she replied, feeling under his coat.

Brian laughed, spinning her in a circle. “God, I love you. Don’t make me wait much longer, Jordan.” He buried his face in the curve of her throat.

Dwight clapped him on the shoulder, hard. It wasn’t a punch, but it was designed to get his attention. “Don’t make me hit you, mate.”

“Thanks.”

Jordan and Marissa met up, gushing about the other’s outfit. Louisa and Ginnifer joined in, leaving the boys to their own devices.

“She looks stunning,” Dwight said. “Pity Kiersten couldn’t be here.”

“Yeah, I thought she was coming?”

Dwight hung his head. “I called and asked her not to. Selfish of me, but I can’t let her come. She’s pregnant,” he whispered. “Mum and Dad don’t know. I would never have agreed if I’d had any idea just how formidable a foe we’re fighting.”

“No, man. I get it. Protect your woman.” Brian nodded. “I wish Luminous had, had that choice.”

“Did he say what happened? How Mr. D. possessed him?”

“No. It’s got me worried, Dwight. What if I lose it like he did?”

“You won’t,” Dwight promised. “You’ve got a beautiful woman by your side.”

“So did he.”

“Yeah, but you’ve got me to punch your lights out if you go off.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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