Day 21 – Chapter 12 – Marin – 09

            The left hook caught Phelan in the jaw and he went sprawling, landing with an oof against his heavy backpack, beached like a turtle stuck on its back.
            “J.T.!  Holy shit, what did you do that for?”  I pushed past him, moving toward Phelan to help him up.  J.T. grabbed my arm and held me back.
            “Believe me,” he growled, “he deserved it.”
            “He’s right, I probably did.”  Phelan managed to crane his neck to get a good view of us before he flipped the medallion to J.T.  “Take it.  You guys can rock, paper, scissors for it.  Most of you are from that bloodline, I think.”
            Rory came over to help him up but hesitated a second before grasping Phelan’s arm and pulling him back to his feet.  “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
            “Just what it sounds like.”  Phelan looked at me and at J.T. for a moment, then looked at Rory and grinned.  “I sound like I’m crazy, don’t I?  You’re all looking at me like I’m completely batshit.”
            Rory waggled his hand in a ‘sort of’ gesture, a brow arched quizzically.  My mind was still reeling.
            “How old are you?”  I finally managed to ask, though my voice sounded a little strangled as it came out.
            “Oh,” he said with a wry smile.  “That’s complicated.  A little older than Teague, younger than his late, lamented brother.”
            J.T. tensed up next to me and I touched his arm, squeezing hard.  He looked at me sidelong and exhaled, relaxing a fraction.
            “We’re being incredibly inhospitable,” Carolyn said archly.  “And it’s not right for us to be that way, not with him.”  She offered Phelan her hand.  “I’m Carolyn.  Would you like something hot to drink?”
            “I’d love it,” he said, taking Carolyn’s hand.  He either didn’t notice or ignored J.T. bristling as Carolyn headed for the fire, tugging Phelan along in her wake.
            Rory shook his hand and joined us in watching them walk.
            “He made my hand tingle,” he said in a low voice.
            “Now isn’t the time to be sharing that kind of shit, Rory,” J.T. snapped quietly before he marched off to flank Carolyn.
            “That was uncalled for,” Rory said with a frown.  He glanced at me.  “You knew what I was talking about, right?”
            “Yeah,” I said softly, slowly.  “Yeah.  Tingle in a bad way or a good way?”
            Rory squirmed.  “Now it really sounds like what J.T. thought I was talking about.”
            “Rory.”
            “All right, all right.  No, I think he’s in good people.  It was weird, though, I don’t usually get that kind of feeling from folks.”
            I nodded slowly, watching the three as they headed for the tents and the cookfire, where I could see a figure in a blue windbreaker tending to the fire.  I thought it was probably Tala.  “A good feeling about someone for once, huh?”
            “Well, he’s not all cute and fuzzy, if that’s what you mean,” Rory murmured, shaking his head a little.  “But we’re not talking fire and brimstone here, either.  Just…feels okay.  Feels right, like he’s where he’s supposed to be.”  He glanced at me.  “The Kira he was talking about—that’s Thom’s sister or something, right?”
            “His cousin,” I said.  “He’s closer to her than anyone else in his family.  Sometimes I think he loves her more than he loves me.”
            Rory shook his head.  “That’s not possible, Mar.  He doesn’t love anyone more than he loves you.”
            I smiled wryly.  “Thanks, Rory.”
            “Don’t mention it.”
            We joined Tala, Carolyn, J.T., and Phelan by the fire a minute later.  Tala was handing Phelan a cup of something steaming and grinned when she saw me.
            “Matt said you were up, but I told him I’d believe it when I saw it.  You okay?”
            “I’m okay, though if you’ve got an ounce of mercy in you, you’ll feed me before I eat the teakettle.”  I tottered a little as I dropped down into a sitting position on the other side of Phelan.
            Tala laughed and nodded.  “Give me a minute and I’ll get you fed.”
            I nodded back and turned my attention to Phelan.  “So Kira and her boyfriend sent you, huh?”
            “Kira and her husband,” he corrected absently, taking a long swallow from his mug.  “Yes, they sent me.”
            She got married?  Interesting.  Very interesting.  I shunted those thoughts aside.  “Why?”
            “They were afraid you wouldn’t know what to do when everything began to happen.”  Phelan stared at me for a moment, then grinned boyishly.  “Looks like you’re doing just fine to me.”


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One Response to Day 21 – Chapter 12 – Marin – 09

  1. Happy Cyber Monday! Hope everyone’s survived the first shopping weekend of the holiday season intact. I know my body hates me. Here’s to hoping yours doesn’t hate you, too.

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