“Dad,” Evelyn said coming up beside William. “I want you to meet Shon’s brother, Mark.”
“Hi Mark,” William greeted warmly shaking hands with the boy. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“It’s good to meet you too sir,” Mark replied.
“Son you can call me Grandpa since you’ve been adopted by my daughter or William but not sir,” William smiled trying to put the boy at ease.
“Sorry sir I mean Will uh Grandpa” Mark stuttered unsure what was more appropriate.
William smiled at him, “we’ll take it slow until your used to us. It’s a bit overwhelming I’m sure to be thrown into such a large family.”
Snorting in relief Mark smiled “it is. I’m not sure what to do.” He looked away then back towards William. “I’ve never met anyone who looked like me before until Evelyn. Now I belong to a whole family of part alien part human hybrids.” Mark fell silent unsure what or how to express himself. “I was adopted by an older couple who were desperate to adopt because of their age they were denied until they found me. The social workers wanted to get rid of me. It seemed the perfect solution.”
“I’m sorry about your parents,” William said sincerely.
Sucking on his lip rings Mark sighed “I know in my head it’s not my fault for what happened but I still feel responsible.”
Clasping his shoulder William felt empathy for the boy “son you have a good heart. You aren’t responsible for the hatred or the actions of someone else. It’s going to hurt and your going to miss your parents but it will get better. If you ever need someone to talk to I’m just a phone call away,” William offered.
Smiling Mark nodded “I might take you up on that. I have so many questions about what I am that my parents never could explain …” he broke off in mid sentence. His attention riveted to a dark-haired man with strange alien eyes “what is that?” he asked aloud.
Chuckling a little William said flippantly “that’s my second shadow.” Mark cost him a curious look. “Sorry it’s a long story and one I might tell you someday. Suffice it to say he’s an alien who was genetically altered to look human.”
“But his eyes…” Mark began “they aren’t human.”
“No they’re not,” William agreed “it’s kind of reassuring that the aliens can’t genetically alter themselves to look exactly like humans isn’t? come on I’ll introduce you to Erik. He’s the one best qualified to answer your questions anyway. He’s helped my son Bryan immensely.”
Mark hesitated staring at the man not completely sure if he trusted him or not. “If it’s alright with you I don’t think I’m ready to meet an actual alien yet.”
“No one ever is,” William said with meaning. “If you change your mind just find me; otherwise don’t worry about it.”
“You don’t like him, do you?” Mark asked.
“Your very perceptive.” William mumbled “I told you it’s a long story and you’re right I don’t like him.”
Mark stared across at the man who stared back at them. It felt like he could see right through them “if you don’t like him, why is he here?”
“He saved my life,” William laughed at the confused look on Mark’s face. “He’s also Bryan’s father,” William added as his face darkened with the memory. “We have some sort of weird bond to each other. I don’t understand it but evidently it can’t be broken and we can’t be separated for any length of time.” William shook his head wishing things were different.
Mark took his gaze away from the man to look at William “I don’t think he can be trusted.”
Gazing intently at Mark then across at Erik a chill of foreboding ran up William’s spine. “Why do you say that?”
Shrugging Mark shook his head “I don’t know. Just a feeling I have …”
“Do you get a lot of feelings like that?” William asked concerned.
Nodding Mark said “it’s like I get anxious that something bad is going to happen. I never know when, where or who but something always happens.”
“Do you feel like that now?” William asked his anxiety rising as he spoke.
“Yes,” Mark replied “I hate this feeling. It went away after David went to prison … but …”
“You’ve been feeling anxious all day, haven’t you?” Mark nodded “so have I.” William admitted “it’s an unfortunate side effect from being all the experiments the aliens performed on me.”
“What are we going to do about it?” Mark asked seeking guidance and reassurance.
“There’s nothing we can do,” William told him “except prepare ourselves mentally that something is going to happen sooner or later to someone close to us.”
“I don’t think I like the sound of that,” Mark mumbled.
Smirking “neither do I” William agreed with him. Turning he found Amelia Vera walking towards him “have you met my grandson Mark?”
“I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure,” she remarked pleasantly. After talking for a moment with Mark she turned to William “I was hoping you would like to dance with me.”
“I’d love to,” William flashed her a grin as he escorted her to the dance floor.
As they walked off Mark glanced up in time to see the scowl that flashed across Erik’s face as he watched William and Amelia walk away together. As Mark watched Erik walked towards the crowded dance floor, taking up a spot where he could watch the couple dance. Shaking his head Mark had an uneasy feeling that something wasn’t quite right with the alien and it didn’t bode well for William.
Four little boys sat huddled together whispering in an out-of-the-way corner of the yard. “You saw your dad and Lynn bed together?” Don asked “wasn’t that embarrassing?”
“Why should it be?” Eddie asked innocently.
“Don’t you know where babies come from?” Heath asked launching into an explanation he had read in one of his grandpa’s science journals.
“Eew that’s gross,” Robbie interjected and Eddie nodded his head in agreement.
“It’s a fact of life. What’s so gross about it?” Heath asked.
“I don’t know,” Don said looking at his friend “it just is.”
“Dad said I wouldn’t find it gross when I got older.” Eddie confided to them.
“Your dad’s probably right,” Heath said “a lot of adults seem to enjoy it.”
“Your dad and Aunt Beverly must have,” Don snickered causing Heath to blush. “Are they going to get married now?”
Shrugging “I don’t know,” Heath admitted “probably after the baby’s born.” Learning about the baby caused Heath to become curious about where babies came from and wanting to know more than what his dad or grandpa told instigated his own research into the subject. Sometimes being a genius had its drawback.
“It’ll be soon,” Robbie chimed in “she’s as big as a house. Whenever mama said she was as big as a house the baby same soon afterwards. He preferred to believe babies came from the hospital instead of what Heath had told him, it was less gross.
“There you are,” a girl’s voice rang clear in the night air causing the boys to groan.
“Dana leave us alone,” Don scowled at her. She had been acting nice ever since that man broke into their house and tried to kill them but she was still annoying. She was still obsessed with Heath for reasons he didn’t understand.
Heath looked at Don whispering “what do I do?”
Dana ignored Don as she looked at Heath holding her hand out to him “I want to dance with you.”
Standing Heath wiped the dirt from his knees “I don’t dance.”
“I’ll show you how,” Dana said undaunted.
Shaking his head Heath tried again “I don’t want to.” Heath didn’t want to be mean but he didn’t know what else he could do to make her go away.
“Dana why don’t you leave us alone,” Don said again standing up beside Heath. The two younger boys followed suit, standing slightly behind the older boys watching with wary eyes.
Scowling Dana put her hands on her hips “why don’t you mind your own business,” she demanded. Turning back to Heath she grabbed his hand “you’re dancing with me.”
Short of yanking his hand free and causing a scene Heath had no choice but to follow her. He glanced back towards the other boys. He stuck his tongue out as they laughed at him.
Smiling Dana turned to Heath beaming with her victory.
Sighing Heath took her in his arms as he had seen his dad do with Beverly from time to time at home. He tried not to step on her toes while he avoided looking at her.
“I knew you could dance,” she said “you’re the best dancer out here.”
“Am not,” Heath disagreed “my dad knows how to dance better than me.” He looked around the dance floor hoping to see his dad in the crowd. Only to have his face firmly gripped by Dana and yanked towards her.
“You’re supposed to be looking at me.” she said an edge to her voice.
“Why?” Heath demanded “I didn’t even want to dance with you. Now I have to look at you too?” He eyed Dana warily as her blue eyes developed an almost wild menacing look to them. He dropped his arms from around her and stepped backwards “I’m done.” He attempted to walk away.
“You’re done when I say you are,” Dana said stepping in front of him. “Why do boys pretend they don’t like girls? I know you like me.”
Shaking his head Heath took a step backwards “you’re crazy.”
“Crazy in love with you,” she said grabbing his hands and pulling him towards her.
“Hey what are you … ” Heath spluttered as Dana tried to kiss him. He felt a firm hand come done on his shoulder as another pried Dana away from him. “Dad” he cried in relief.
“Heath didn’t I tell you you were not to play with Dana?” Adam asked sternly.
Heath nodded looking down “I’m sorry but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“It’s alright son,” Adam told him keeping his hand on Heath’s shoulder squeezing it a little to let him know he wasn’t mad. “It’s getting late and Beverly is tired. We’re going back to the hotel. Why don’t you go up to the care and wait for us?” Adam instructed.
“Can I tell Don, Robbie and Eddie goodbye first?” Heath asked seeing his friends standing nearby.
“Yeah be quick about it though,” Adam agreed. As his son walked away he eyed the girl standing in front of him.
“Maybe not,” Adam frowned at her “but you should take a hint. If you have to drag a boy to dance with you that he really doesn’t like you.”
Her eyes narrowed “it was all an act for the boys. He had to save face. But he loves me like I love him.”
“You’re a bit young to declare you’re in love with someone,” Adam told her unsettled by the wild gleam in her eyes. Seeing Heath finish saying goodbye, Adam decided to call it a night. He began to walk away only to be chilled to the bone by Dana’s next comment.
“You won’t live forever and if you continue to get in my way you won’t live at all,” she stomped her foot and glared at him before whirling around and running away.
It was one thing to be threatened by an adult it was entirely different to be threatened by a child. Was he to take her seriously? He moved to follow his son when a han gripped his shoulder. He looked up into the concerned blue eyes his good friend Shon. Adam attempted to smile but it froze and faded as Shon said “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault,” Adam said “besides how much danger can I be in? She’s just a little girl.”
“More than you can imagine,” Shon told him “I’ve seen her fire a gun at someone without hesitation. She knows more than the average twelve-year-old.”
Adam felt like he had been punched in the stomach. “I’m ah you mean I could actually be in danger. Is that what you’re telling me? She really is that crazy and I’m standing in her way from what she wants.” Adam stared at Shon wanting, hoping, needing him to contradict him. To tell him he was wrong, crazy for even thinking like that.
Shon slowly nodded “I’m sorry. I was hoping she was getting better. She’s been docile at home. Helping around the house and with the little ones. Nice to her brother. Accepting Mark.” He looked at Adam “I forgot her obsession with Heath. I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault,” Adam repeated “It does alter our plans though. We won’t be joining you on that family picnic. I know the boys will be disappointed but maybe I can have Don and Robbie for a weekend before we have to go back to Oasis Landing. I won’t subject my son to her obsessive nature. What I witnessed tonight is worrisome. Knowing she’s dangerous is another thing entirely.”
“No I understand,” Shon smiled “you have to do what makes sense to you to protect yourself and family. Trust me I’d be doing the same thing in your shoes.”
“Do me a favor Shon,” Adam waited until Shon acknowledged him by nodding “don’t let your guard down around her. If she perceives me as a threat she can easily see you as one too.”
“I know,” Shon said quietly as he turned worried eyes towards his friend. It was surreal to be having this conversation about his own daughter but he couldn’t ignore it either. As Adam walked away Shon felt arms wrap around him from behind.
“Is everything alright?” Evelyn asked moving to face him.
“No,” Shon sighed “I over heard Dana threatening Adam.”
“Oh no,” Evelyn leaned into him “she was doing so well. I was hoping. Are you sure? Maybe it wasn’t ….”
“No I heard it,” Shon hung his head “I felt the intent behind the words. I’m the one who had to convince Adam to take the threat seriously. How can we not? We know what she’s capable of. She knows too much. Until she fired the gun I didn’t even know she knew how. Who knows what else she’s been taught by her mother and grandfather.”
Sighing Evelyn asked “they won’t be coming on the picnic tomorrow will they?”
Shaking his head “afraid not. Dana’s psychiatrist did advise we keep her away from Heath as much as possible. I didn’t know how true that would be. I hadn’t realized the extent of her obsession. It’s more than just a crush.”
Evelyn looked into Shon’s clear blue eyes and read the concern and worry in them. “Are we safe? Are the kids? How much of a threat does she pose?”
Shaking his at a loss as to how to answer her questions “I don’t know. Hopefully none. As long as he doesn’t perceive us as a threat we should be fine.” They both looked out across the darkening yard wondering where their frightening little girls ran off to.
From the corner of the house Dana sat watching as first Adam then Evelyn spoke with here dad. No doubt discussing her. She felt powerful knowing everyone was concerned with her threat. Her brow furrowed, was it a threat? Did she mean what she said? It went against everything she was trying to be. Good people didn’t threaten people. But Adam shouldn’t have gotten in her way. It was his fault she said it. It would be his fault if she had follow through on her threat, wouldn’t it?
Shaking her head she continued to stare at her dad. He coud be a problem. She could handle Evelyn but her dad? He heard her threat. Knew she coud be dangerous. Did she want to be dangerous? Why did Adam have to get in the way? All she wanted was one dance. One kiss under the stars …