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"A fetch, yes. You remember the stories about those, right? Oh, you probably have gone and forgotten all your heritage in your fun-loving party girl ways..."
"Mom!" We both laughed nervously at the little moment of humour amidst the darkness, and I paused to wipe my eyes clean. "Look, I have to go, but you can fill me in on all that some other time, ok? I do want to hear about it, believe me."
"All right, dear. Your da sends his love. Take care, and we're both so sorry about poor Heather. Let us know if you hear anything, all right?"
I nodded, a nervous habit of mine even when I was on the phone with people and they asked me a question, I would nod. "Yeah, mum. I'll definitely let you know. I'll see you soon, and tell da I said hi."
With a beep, the phone was off, and already leaving my hand as I got up from my chair, moving with a surety of purpose and clarity that I had seemingly inherited from Jay, his ability passing on to me as he had left this world.
I moved around the table and James, scooping up my jacket from hook it was hanging on. I promptly gave out a yelp as the sudden and forgotten weight of the drowned fabric yanked me almost off my feet and down onto the floor.
The weight tugged me sideways, and dragged me back, my feet nearly shooting out from underneath me on the linoleum of the kitchen as they continued to move forward despite the anchor that was then in my arm.
I dropped the trenchcoat with a swift motion, flipping it from my arm as best I could, and pulling the hand away and to my side. The coat landed on the tiled floor with a thump, not quite sounding as soggy as it once did just a little while ago, but it still had a wet quality to it as the fabric squished together.
My arms wheeled in the air, wrists making small circles as I regained my balance, and planted both feet on the ground again. Turning, there standing right behind me was James, his hands ready to catch me if I had fallen. I tried not to smile, but it snuck out anyways.
"What was that all about," he questioned, looking down at me curiously.
I blushed and felt my cheeks flush with blood rushing through them, glancing down nervously. "Well, that didn't go exactly as planned."
"No kidding," James said, trying to interrupt.
Not paying him any attention, I continued on. "I was going to try and pull off one of those cool scenes you see on tv all the time. I had it perfectly pictured in my head. Drop the phone, calmly and cooly head for the door, grabbing the hero's coat without even stopping, and shrugging it on, all without giving any pause, purpose in mind, and knowing exactly what I was doing. Stupid coat had to go and scuttle my moment of coolness. Stupid, stupid coat." I shot a glare at the offending garment, at it lay there on the ground, mocking me.
"So, you mean you actually know what you're doing now?"
My gaze shifted from the coat to James, but became no less og a glare. "I didn't say that, now did I? I just said I was acting like I had a clue. And I do. In fact, I have better than that."
James smiled a little, not fazed by the glare at all, and crossed his arms. "Oh really? And just what do you have?"
I straightened up, and adjusted my sweater, tugging at the hem and stood tall, with my head held high and said, "I have a plan."
With that, I sharply turned on the heel of one foot, grabbed a brown leather coat that was similar to a flight jacket, but not quite as flashy, and shook it out as I moved forward towards the doorway James had burst through just a little while ago.
I through the coat over my shoulders, swinging it with a flourish in an arc behind my head, and pulled the sleeves over my arms in a more or less smooth motion, tugging it down over my shoulders and adjusting it as I grabbed the doorknob and yanked the door open. As I shifted the jacket a little bit more, I continued walking, heading down the hallway, making a straight line fot the stairwell.
The door closed behind me, and I could hear footfalls as James hurried to keep up with me. As I strode proudly down the hallway, I felt confident and strong, and while I didn't exactly have a solid plan beyond a few moves, I was at least, finally, moving with purpose again.
"Damn," I cursed and stopped suddenly, and James bumped into me from behind, almost pushing me over he was moving so fast to catch up, and keep up. I made an oofing noise as I jostled on my feet, but didn't topple, or even start to lose my balance this time.
James made a similar noise when he hit me, and then took a few steps back, leaving me to have my personal space. After the kneecapping, he likely didn't want to make it seem like he was touching me too intentionally ever again.
"What," he asked. At the question, my head sunk, and bent sharply at the neck, as I looked down at my feet, chin touching my chest. I let out a little whimper, followed by the slightest of uncomfortable laughs.
My body shook as I stood there and laughed quietly, and I wiped again at my eyes.
"What??" He asked a little louder this time, but didn't come any closer. He was probably thinking I had snapped.
"I forgot my keys."
I heard a smack, likely his hand hitting his forehead in frustration. "You're not very good at this whole confident hero thing, are you?"
"Hey, I'm new at it, ok?! I was doing pretty good on the second time around." I turned and sighed, still fighting to hold my head high, and not fall into pathetic, helpless laughter. I started back to my apartment, and looked back over my shoulder, and gestured with my hand, urging James to continue on. "Go, get your own coat, and stuff. Meet me in the garage downstairs. I'll only be a second."
He nodded. I may not have the role I'd been put into for this little game quite down just yet, but he had fallen quite easily into the role of obedient sidekick. I was taken aback at this, as it didn't seem like him at all, from what I'd seen so far. At least he wasn't going to be much trouble, so that was good.
I hurried back to my apartment, no longer striding along, but having shifted into a brisk run to get this over with. I had that nagging feeling that being alone right now, or leaving James alone, would be a bad thing, from here on out, so I wanted to lessen those instances as much as I could.
My door opened up easily, and I didn't even step inside. The keys were still on the small endtable just inside the door, and I easily reached through the threshold and scopped them up with a little jingle. I reached around behind the door, and clicked the look on, then grabbed the outside knob, yanking the door closed until I heard the click of the lock closing home.
I continued my increased pace to the stairs, and down them, skipping and jumping over almost every stair, if not more, until I got down to the bottom, and exited into the green glow of the concrete walls, and waited for James to get down there to me.
He was almost right behind me, and my wait wasn't long. The door had only shut behind me for about half a minute before it was shoved open again, and James came bursting out, dressed in a heavy, dark blue jean jacket with a grey sweatshirt material hood attached to the neck, and flopping behind his head.
"Do you care to tell me what this brilliant plan of yours is, or should I just keep following you blindly?"
I considered for a moment. "If I asked you to just follow blindly, would you?"
This time, it was James' turn to consider a response, and he appeared to give it some thought for awhile. "No," he eventually said. "I'd much rather only follow half-blidnly, with at least some idea what we're doing."
"Half-blindly? I can do that." I held up my keys and gave the dangling pile of metal a hard shake. "We're going for a drive!" I flashed a playful smile, filled with glee, and skipped to my car.
"Hey! Where are we going? How about just giving me that much too?"
I just jingled my keys again, and opened my door. "Nope! That's a surprise!"
"It's not nice to keep things like that secret, you know." James was standing by his own car. "Do we need both cars?"
"No, but we may need to split up at some point, so better safe than sorry. C'mon, I want to introduce you to my parents."
The look on James face was worth it. I had become quite good at surprising or flustering him, sometimes both, in such a short period of time. At least I had found some amusement, and kept my black humour throughout all of this.
James kept his car close behind mine, almost too close. I didn't even like leaving him alone in this fashion, but it did seem like a smart idea, in case we did have to go our seperate ways, for whatever reason. Most likely the police, with the way my day had been going so far.
The headlights from the old car shone through the back of my window like they were attached to my trunk. He probably had his low beams on, but the closeness to the car, and the difference in sizes of the two vehicles, made it seem like his lights were two twin high beams blasting through my rear window.
My parents lived outside of the city, and about a half hour under normal conditions from Boston in the city of Waltham. It was a fairly industrialized town back on the day, but in the last twenty years or so, things had closed down left and right, and while many homes still remained, the downtown sometimes resembled a ghost town, until other businesses moved in, and brought renewed life to it for a time, but these things came in cycles, and the cycles of life had seemed to be dwindling. Which was a shame, because otherwise, the city was quite beautiful.
They had moved in to an area on the outskirts of town, the homes spread more far apart, with a few acres of land to themselves. Possibly not even part of the federated pieces of Waltham, but my geography was admittedly not the best, even if I had lived in these areas all my life. I pulled into the driveway, almost fishtailing the back end of my car around as I almost drove past it. The rainstorm had made the roads slick, and I was in a hurry.
I heard James car screech as he did drive past, and my car was already parked and off when I heard his tires seeking purchase on the gravel coating the driveway, and the small stones scattering around the tires, and pinging off the undercarriage as he blasted with a little too much force up the slightly hilly driveway, coming to a stop just short of rear-ending my car.
My feet were on the ground and running as I heard the door of James classic car, which had kept up quite well as I pushed the speed limit to its breaking point. I heard his feet scuffing behind me, but he was keeping behind me at pace, not trying to rush and catch up with me as I ran for the front door.
The front door was unlocked, as my parents almost always left it, and I burst through, feeling very much like I suspected James did when he had pushed through the door to my apartment earlier, but he was less frantic then.
However, the sight in front of me was very similar to what he had come across.
Standing there in the middle of the living room was my doppleganger, dressed exactly as I was, even down to the different jacket I had grabbed in my haste, and my parents sitting in their respective chairs, likely believing this thing to be me.
I heard James come up right behind me, his feet clumping on the wooden floorboards, and he screeched to a halt when he saw the creature for the second time in his life.
"So glad you could joing us, Siobhan," the doppleganger said, in a pleasing, friendly voice. "You're just in time for the festivities."
End of Chapter Five.