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 (8 page)

BOOK: Solstice - Of The Heart
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“If that’s the way he wants to play it
then so be it.” I put my sun glasses away and slid off the
wall.

Cherrie came alive. “Where’re you
going?”

“Going to introduce
myself.”

“Not a good idea. Antisocial.
Remember?”

I took the shortest possible route to
the Delmon table as I could. I extended my hand before I got
there.

“Hi,” I said maintaining eye contact
with Aaron. “I’m Julissa Grant.”

Aaron stood. He shook my hand. “I’m
Aaron Delmon.”

I heard music in my ears. His voice
purred, soft and gentle. I barely took note of his cousins as he
introduced them. They shook my hand as well. They were all tall, a
head taller than I and I’m 5’8”.

“You were up on the Crags,” Aaron
said.

Aaron stayed standing while the twins
sat. I hadn’t been invited so I didn’t feel as though I should sit
down at their table—at least not yet. Behind me I heard Cherrie
approaching.

I’ll have to make this fast. She’ll
scare them away.

“Yes, I was.”

Cherrie’s plan of ‘you see them, they
see you, maybe say hi, next time, who knows? They see you downtown
and ask you your name’ was working. I reminded myself Aaron hadn’t
asked my name, but then what plan doesn’t need a bit of fine
tuning?

The twins seemed, by choice,
refraining from entering the conversation. I hoped it was because
they were being courteous and allowing Aaron and I to get
acquainted, but in the back of my mind, Cherrie’s mantra of
‘they’re not sociable’ kept ringing a warning bell.

“Just wanted to thank-you,” I said to
Aaron.

“For what?”

“For Shasta.”

Aaron gave me a blank
stare.

I sensed the twins
stiffening.

I let the words slip out even though I
knew I was treading on hoar frost.

“For saving our lives. For pulling our
car off the mountain side.”

Aaron’s face hardened. The light in
his dark eyes dimmed.

The twins stood.

“We have to go,” one of them
said.

They took Aaron by the arms and herded
him back into the building.

Cherrie, stepping up behind me, said,
“Told you so. Antisocial.”

“You’re right. I don’t think they like
you.”

“They don’t like anybody.”

I didn’t want to believe that about
Aaron. For a minute or two like wasn’t the feeling I felt. I sensed
more. We connected. But my connection paled in comparison to the
twin’s hold on Aaron. They never said a word. But I knew. Aaron
heard the rebuke, loud and clear.

From the bump I saw on the twin’s
foreheads.

 

 

6 KNOWING

 

Cherrie picked me up after school. The
power-steering pump on the Lincoln Continental emitted a high
piercing sound from lack of lubrication. I could tell from
Cherrie’s grunting as she turned corners, if something wasn’t done
soon we were going to become part of some building. No one, not
even Cherrie, could drive the tank without power steering. I looked
for an escape route as we headed into town.

“Where’re we going?” I asked, as
Cherrie turned down a side street.

“Al’s Auto Supplies. He has a sale on
power steering fluid.”

“Why don’t you just get it
fixed?”

“You been to a repair shop
lately?”

Cherrie knew the answer without me
telling her.

“Cost more to replace the steering
pump than what this car is worth, so grandpa says.”

“Might save us from driving over a
cliff again.”

“That was operator error.”

“Yeah. Thanks for the vote of
confidence. So what do you think? Did Aaron pull us off the
cliff?”

“That what he told you at
lunch?”

“No. But I saw the way he looked on
Bunny Flat after we drove back on the road. Spent.”

“He had just climbed a mountain. I’d
think you’d give him some slack. And by the way, I don’t remember
seeing him anywhere near the car when we went off the
embankment.”

“Yes. But I saw him with his arms
raised.”

“And that means what? He’s part
tractor beam?”

I shrugged my shoulders, shook my
head.

“You know,” Cherrie said, “a tractor
beam like the Borg Cube on Star Trek.”

“Sounds like science
fiction.”

“Now you got it.”

“Well then you explain it. How’d the
LC get back on the road?”

Cherrie pointed. “See this letter R
here. Stands for reverse. You take this,” she pulled on the stick
shift, “and put it...”

“You don’t really believe we backed
out of there, do you?”

Cherrie grunted as she cranked the
wheel and turned onto Main Street. “You have a better
idea?”

“No. But I don’t believe this tank
backed out of there without help.”

“You know what? I don’t care how it
happened. I’m just glad we weren’t killed. You know. If you want to
believe the Delmons had something to do with it, fine by
me.”

I sank back in the seat and relaxed.
“Not them. Not the Delmons. Aaron is the only one who reacted. And
now I think he’s in trouble because he helped.”

“Why’s that?”

“You don’t really want to
know.”

“Humor me.”

“Didn’t you see them at
lunch?”

“Yes, I did. Caught a glimpse of their
shirt tails as they ran away.”

“That’s what I’m saying. Aaron and I
were good until I mentioned Shasta.”

Another corner. More
grunting.

“I’ll play along. What’d you say to
piss them off?”

“I thanked Aaron for saving
us.”

“You didn’t.”

“Yes. And he didn’t deny
it.”

“So why’d he run away?”

“Told you. The twins didn’t like us
talking about it.”

“Okay. Think I got it now. Aaron saves
us from certain death. But his buddies would rather see us dead.
Right?”

“Don’t know what they’re thinking.
They didn’t say much.”

“Told you...”

“I know. Antisocial. Didn’t you see
the bumps on their heads?”

“I’m beginning to think you’ve got a
bump on your head.”

“Maybe, but not like
theirs.”

“Like the Klingons on Star
Trek.”

“Course not. These are small. The size
of a walnut. I read it’s an organ which allows the Lemurians to
communicate with each other through extra-sensory
perception.”

“Ahh, here we go. And you think the
Delmons are Lemurians.”

“They fit the description.”

“There are more than a few people in
this world who would fit the description of having a bump on their
head and lifting cars. They’re called drug addicts jacked up on the
latest mind bender.”

“They don’t seem the type who would do
drugs.”

“How would you know? I told you the
Delmons are a strange family, weird in many ways.”

Cherrie cranked the LC into Al’s Auto
Supplies’ parking lot.

I looked down the street. There were a
number of SHS students walking through downtown. One in particular
caught my eye.

“There’s Aaron.”

Cherrie looked as we got out of the
car. “Yeah. He works at the Fifth Season.”

“And you didn’t tell me!”

“What’s there to tell? He’s got a
life, something you should seriously think about
getting.”

I watched as Aaron strode along the
sidewalk. It wasn’t as though he were without purpose as I was sure
he was a punctual employee, but the way he moved reminded me of
someone who had not a care in the world.

His was a natural gait and a rhythmic
sway as though he were a fine tuned machine. The air around him
seemed to glow, as though denser and able to capture more sunlight.
Things not grounded moved in waves ahead of Aaron, the same way
leaves do when the wind blows. Boy’s shirt tails, flags hanging
overhead, dog hair, and girl’s skirts fluttered in the unnatural
breeze.

One could only see this from a
distance and only when looking hard in study.

I looked around to see if anyone else
noticed. If they did, they didn’t indicate so. In his presence, I
imagined, the movement could be passed off as drafts pushing
through an alley or air pressure from an opened door.

I knew better.

“What’s the Fifth Season?”

“Sports equipment. Mountaineering
gear. Stuff like that.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“I can’t wait for you. Grandpa needs
the car.”

“Then don’t,” I said. “I’ll walk
home.” Probably safer crept into the back of my mind.

“Stop by later,” Cherrie said, as she
entered Al’s.

I could hear disappointment in her
voice. She was acting overly clingy this afternoon. Not her
style.

I stopped inside the door of the Fifth
Season to allow my eyes to adjust to the lighting and to see where
Aaron had gone. The smell struck me first. Although there were
other tantalizing flavors in the mix, such as new clothing, the
smell of soap, and ski wax, I picked up the distinctive smell of
scorched air.

A glass counter sat to the right,
clothing racks to the left. Down on the far end, another counter
lay buried under rows and rows of skis, boots, and a host of other
climbing gear. Because of my father’s recreational mountain
climbing hobby, I recognized the ice axes and crampons.

Dad had done most of his climbing as a
young man. In later years he would make annual trips out to
California, to mountaineer with Uncle Mickey. It felt strange
standing in a store I knew my father had frequented. I looked up
from my thoughts to be greeted with a “can I help you?”

I saw an older gentleman, gray haired,
caring eyes, bushy beard, probably, if my guess was right, the
owner or manager of the store.

“No, I’m just browsing,” I
said.

“Have you been in here before? You
look familiar.”

I hesitated, thought about it, and
spit it out. “I think my dad came here.”

I saw the man searching with his eyes.
Recognition set in.

“You’re Mickey’s niece, Simon Grant’s
daughter.”

“That’s me,” I said with some
shyness.

It made me a bit queasy to be talking
about two dead people, especially with them having been so dear to
my heart. But I also thought the quickest route to Aaron lay
through this man, so I didn’t put him off.

He stuck out his hand.

“I’m Carson Gruen. I—we, the whole
town miss the Grant boys. They were always welcome
here.”

I nodded. I didn’t say
anything. What could I say? I missed them too. At the same time if
Dad and Uncle Mickey hadn’t died I wouldn’t be standing in this
store talking to this man and angling for a peek at Aaron. Life, as
I learned, is a twisting road with confusing sign posts.

Carson interrupted my
thought.

“I’m the owner so you just let me know
how we can help you and I’ll see it gets done. Are you looking for
anything in particular?”

Some time alone with Aaron
Delmon.

Not that I could say it out loud, but
the thought brought a smile to my face.

“No, just browsing.” I moved over to
the clothing racks.

“Okay. Let me know if we can be of
help. And you know,” Carson said, “I always gave Simon and Mickey
ten percent off so whatever you buy, consider it
discounted.”

I wandered through the clothing racks,
wading through the maze like a mouse through a labyrinth. Walls cut
me off. Clothing racks and shelves blocked my vision to the
counters. I poked around while keeping my eyes peeled for a glimpse
of Aaron.

The smell filtered to my nose. I
expected him to be across the room, yet when I turned around, there
he stood, inches from me.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi Julissa.”

Nice start. He remembered my
name.

“Are you finding what you
need?”

“I am now. So you work
here?”

“Yes. Part time after
school.”

I looked around. “Seems like a nice
place to work.”

“It is. Carson treats us
good.”

Us?

“Your cousins work here,
too?”

I saw Aaron stiffen.

I wanted to take back the
question.

“No. I meant myself and the other
employees.”

“Pretty big place,” I said, trying to
keep the conversation going. “You must keep busy.”

“We do. But there are off
seasons.”

BOOK: Solstice - Of The Heart
8.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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