Read Solstice - Of The Heart Online

Authors: John Blenkush

Tags: #romance, #paranormal, #teen romance, #teen love, #mythical, #vampirism, #mount shasta, #law of one

Solstice - Of The Heart (30 page)

BOOK: Solstice - Of The Heart
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Aaron took another few steps before he
realized I was no longer behind him. He turned around.

“What’s wrong?”

“You aren’t one of those guys...” I
couldn’t quite fathom the idea.

“What guys?”

“...that is much older than he looks,
are you?”

Even in the dim lighting I could see
Aaron grinning.

“How many guys do you know that are
much older than they look?”

I shook my head.

“None.”

“Good,” he said, as he turned and
started walking. “You had me worried there for a
minute.”

Indeed, I had.

I had me worried too. My thoughts were
leaping all over the place. Next thing you know I’m going to be
seeing Leprechauns hiding behind every bush.

I turned to look, just to make sure.
Yep. No Leprechauns. No goblins. No Lemurians. No millennium men
passing themselves off as teenagers.

We were greeted at the parking lot by
a highway patrol officer. He waited for Aaron to step off the trail
before he hailed me.

“Are you Julissa Grant?”

“Yes.”

I hated to ask what I was thinking.
Had Dierdra committed suicide? For an instant I felt the weight of
guilt crush me.

The officer held out a
hand.

“Come with me,” he ordered.

Aaron stepped to move along beside
me.

The officer cut between us and
motioned for Aaron to stay put. He placed his hand on his gun
holster.

“Stay there, son. Keep your hands
where I can see them. And don’t move.”

The officer guided me toward his
black-and-white car.

“Are you okay?”

I nodded.

“Sure. This isn’t about my mother, is
it?”

“You’re to go straight
home.”

“What happened? What’s wrong? Is my
mother okay?”

“All I know is you’re needed at
home.”

“You don’t know why?”

“Did he,” the officer said as he
pointed to Aaron, “hurt you in anyway?”

I looked at Aaron.

How was I to tell? Was I being hurt by
what he told me? Would I be?

Truthfully, I really didn’t know, but
what I did know was Aaron had too good a heart to intentionally put
me in danger.

Or so I thought at the
moment.

“No. We were just out for a hike. Why?
What’s wrong?”

“You’re sure? Cause otherwise I can
have someone pick you up and take you home. I’d do it, but I’m
overdue in Redding.”

“No. He’s fine. I’ll go home with
him.”

The officer waved for Aaron to come on
over.

“Where’s your vehicle?”

Aaron pointed to the Dodge
truck.

“That’s mine.”

“Let me see the registration and your
driver’s license.”

Aaron produced both.

“Stay here,” the officer said. “I’ll
be right back.”

He walked over to his patrol car, sat
down, and typed Aaron’s information into the patrol car
laptop.

“Sorry about this,” I said. “My mom
can be a pain some times.”

“It’s good she worries about
you.”

I looked at my watch.

“Yes, but it’s only seven. I’m not
late.”

“And dark,” Aaron said. “Plus you’re
out with someone she doesn’t know. I can understand her concern.
I’ll apologize when we get back.”

“For what?”

“For keeping you out so
late.”

“It’s seven!”

“You don’t want me to
apologize?”

“No! I don’t.”

The officer walked back and handed
Aaron his license and Bernard’s vehicle registration. He was more
cordial this time around, at least to Aaron.

“You’re Bernard’s kin?”

Aaron nodded.

The officer offered his
hand.

“Glad to meet you. I’ve known Bernard
a long time, Belmont and Beaumont since last year. You up from
below?”

Aaron looked at me with concern on his
face.

“Yes,” he said. “Came up last
summer.”

I could see the officer sensing
Aaron’s unease. He quickly changed the subject.

“Young lady,” he said, as he turned to
me, “it’s a good thing you picked this gentleman to go hiking out
here alone in the woods. I know a few others who would have tried
to take advantage of the situation. You get on home,
now.”

I smiled through my frown and
nodded.

“Okay. I will.”

As we drove home north on I-5, Aaron
kept quiet. I felt the silence growing, forcing a wedge between
us.

“You okay?” I said.

“Yep. Just deep thinking.”

I smiled.

“Do that a lot?”

“Every time I’m with a pretty
girl.”

“So...that’s often, huh?”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the
answer.

“Once in a black moon.”

“You mean blue moon.”

“No. Blue moons happen every two to
three years. A black moon every couple of decades.”

It didn’t take much calculation on my
part to figure since Aaron had just turned sixteen he was saying he
had never been with what he considered a ‘pretty’ girl before. Or
maybe it meant he had never dated a girl at all, pretty or not. It
also meant I was the reason he was doing some serious thinking. I
didn’t want to scare him away, so I kept the conversation on the
light side.

“So what’s a black moon?”

“Means there is no moon in the
month.”

“That really happens?”

“Yes.”

Aaron turned to me and flashed his
mega-watt smile.

“In a black moon.”

Aaron turned the truck onto the side
road that led up to our house.

Up ahead I saw Dierdra’s car parked in
the driveway. I also saw another car, a white car with a blue
stripe, with a light bar and brush bar attached in the front. Even
from our distance I could see the placard on the door, indicating
the vehicle belonged to the sheriff’s department.

Aaron pulled the truck over to the
side of the road.

“What’s the matter?”

He motioned with his head.

“The police are at your
house.”

“I gathered.”

Aaron looked at me, a frown creasing
his face.

“Why do you think they’re
there?”

“I don’t know, Aaron. But I’m afraid
it might have something to do with my mom. She’s been depressed.
She’s seeing a psychologist in Redding.”

“You should go.”

“You’re not coming with
me?”

Aaron looked to the cars in the
driveway.

“No. Best I didn’t. Think I’ve had my
fill of cops with Cen Morten.”

I assumed Aaron was talking about the
highway patrol officer.

“You know his name?”

“Saw it on his name badge.”

“His first name too?”

“Well...maybe not Cen, but, yes,
Morten.”

This piqued my curiosity.

“Then how do you know his first
name?”

Aaron shrugged.

“Think I’ve met him somewhere
before.”

Sounded possible, but it seemed odd
given the exchange between Cen Morten and Aaron. I couldn’t help
but suspect they knew about each other, but had never met until
tonight.

I nodded toward the house.

“You sure you can’t come
in?”

Aaron shook his head.

“You’re not thinking of leaving, are
you?” I said in half-jest. “Going back down below?”

Aaron looked away.

“Bernard’s waiting for me.”

I didn’t know what lay in wait for me
in the house. I thought the least Aaron could do is walk me to the
door.

I so wanted to lay it on
heavy, to tell Aaron what I was thinking; that my mom could be
dead. Overdosed on whiskey and drugs or whatever prescription meds
she was taking these days. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. Not only
would it not be fair, but I didn’t want our first and maybe last
date to end in grief.

I opened the door and stepped
out.

I needed Aaron to be by my
side for support, but I didn’t want him to feel boxed in. I found a
way to give the invite one last try, while keeping our fledging
friendship alive.

“You’re sure you don’t want to come
in? I make a mean fried bologna sandwich.”

Aaron wrinkled up his nose.

“That sounds disgusting.”

His reply gave me reason to laugh,
which helped calm my nerves.

“It does, doesn’t it? But you haven’t
lived until you’ve eaten a hot curled up piece of bologna fried in
butter. It’s a Minnesota delicacy right up there with oatmeal
pancakes and P&Js.”

I figured if I stalled long enough and
kept the conversation going, Aaron might feel sympathy for me,
change his mind, and, at the very least, walk me to the
door.

“Okay,” I said as I closed the truck
door. “You’re loss.”

I meant that in more ways than
one.

As I trudged up the incline toward the
house, I glanced back.

Aaron hadn’t started the truck. I
could see him inside the cab, leaning over to the passenger door,
fiddling with something.

Perhaps in my haste to walk away
before I fell apart I hadn’t gotten the door completely
shut.

As I neared the driveway I smelled
Aaron’s scent, the unmistakable odor of scorched air and light
sweat. Aaron, just like that, stood beside me, the bouquet of weeds
in his hand.

Even in the dim street lighting I
could see the Crag Bellflower bouquet held renewed color. Gone was
the dry, brown look of crushed weeds. In their place lay a healthy
looking head of flowers, not perfect by floral standards but,
nevertheless, the white and blues and greens showed
through.

Aaron held the bouquet up to my
face.

“These are for you.”

I raised my hand and then hesitated in
taking the bouquet from him.

“Please take them,” he said. “They’re
yours.”

I took them, caressing the bouquet
lightly, expecting a surge of energy, a tickling or something, to
run up my arm.

“How’d you get them to
bloom?”

Aaron shrugged.

“A little water goes a long
way.”

I held the stems tight in my hand. I
did not feel moisture. I didn’t expect Aaron to think I would fall
for his white lie. I guessed it was his way of asking me not to
cloud the moment with inquest.

Who could resist the charm of a
demi-god?

I leaned up and in. I gave him a kiss
on his cheek.

“Thank-you,” I said, as I returned and
rested on my heels.

I hoped for so much more
than half-wilted flowers. I hoped he would grab me, pull me close,
kiss me, say he was sorry, take my hand in his, and walk with me
into the house. Anything to let me know he cared. Anything to let
me know he would stand by me in my time of need. Or were the
flowers his way of saying goodbye?

As he turned away, I stood their
stunned, tears in my eyes, my feet frozen in place, my voice
silenced.

The porch light came on.

I looked.

When I turned back I saw Aaron driving
away.

I clutched the wilted bouquet of
flowers, groping to understand as an overwhelming sense of dread
washed over me.

Dread that my mother might be
dead.

Dread I might never see Aaron
again.

Dread I might be alone in the
world.

I felt my heart stand
still, as if in waiting to reverse direction.

 

And then I knew: this is
what love means…SACRIFICE.

 

 

(SOLSTICE-SACRIFICE coming soon to
Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords)

BOOK: Solstice - Of The Heart
2.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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