The last thing any of them expected was to see Dolph and his brother ride into the ranch, tie their horses to a post, and greet the group of friends with a familiarity that made the boys move to the front of the girls. Demetrius knew he was supposed to consider the man his enemy. Yet, his presence elicited the feeling of relief one feels when gathering with family over the holidays. In a different time and different place, Demetrius was certain they’d get along.
Dan extended his hand in greeting. “Nice to finally meet you, Dolph. What brings you this way?”
Dolph looked over at the group and momentarily stopped on Demetrius. He cast a quizzical glance as if he was trying to process something. “Does he feel it too?” Demetrius wondered to himself.
Seeing Caitlin beside Demetrius, his smile returned. “We came by to make sure everything was going alright with Caitlin. From what we can see it’s going well.”
Damien stepped to the front of the group. “You’ve seen she’s fine, you can go about your business kidnapper man.”
Dan lowered his voice thus removing any traces of emotion. “We treat everyone who comes to our home with respect.”
When Damien opened his mouth to argue, Dan placed his hand on his shoulder. “People make mistakes and we have to give them the chance to right them.”
“On that note,” Dolph began, “We wanted Caitlin to know if she ever changed her mind and wanted to come back with us, we’d be ever so happy.” He signaled towards his brother who changed his facial expression on cue from uninterested to penitent.
Caitlin’s face reflected the battle within her. She was torn between staying and wanting to make Dolph happy. It was clear she didn’t know what to say.
At the time when Eugene disregarded Marjorie’s advice and told Caitlin the consequences of staying behind, everyone questioned his wisdom. Her face stiffened reflecting the pressure she felt from the responsibility of impacting their future. Seeing the effect Dolph had on her Demetrius was forced to agree with his friend’s action. The only thing keeping her with them was the pressure from the consequences.
She searched the air for the right words as if they would appear magically. Her eyes focused on something in the distance heading towards the ranch. The intensity of the gaze compelled her friends to follow her eyes. In the distance, a trail of dust marked the path from where a long rider came.
Dolph and his brother turned around too. “Were you expecting company? We didn’t mean to interrupt. We can come back another time to finish this discussion.”
The conversation ended with the approach of the rider nobody claimed to know or expect. Dan took his position by the post to wait for the newest visitor and the group scattered into their individual activities of choice.
Caitlin waved her goodbye to Dolph and turned to leave.
“Please think about what we asked,” he pleaded.
“I don’t understand, that last time you said if I left I could never go back.”
For a moment their eyes connected. In that brief amount of time his eyes flashed and he said, “Those were angry words. I didn’t mean them. I’d think by now, you know how important you are to me.”
Caitlin’s demeanor transformed in front of Demetrius’s eyes. She breathed deeper and she couldn’t take her eyes off Dolph. It was as though the worries faded and she was in a place that only the two of them could see.
Witnessing Dolph use the skill, Demetrius finally grasped the power granted him. Pretending his glasses were dirty, he removed them and said, “It’s time for us to go in and get lunch ready.” Grateful that she was the type of person who made eye contact when she spoke, Demetrius fought to remain calm. It was a battle of the wills and they finally had something to level the playing field. He thought, “You belong with us not Dolph.”
Caitlin nodded her head in agreement. “We don’t want Andrea sabotaging Selene’s cooking.”
She smiled her goodbyes and headed toward the house.
Dolph rushed to grab her hand. “I know it is in your heart to forgive me and come back. People say things they don’t mean when they’re hurt. And I’m a big enough person to say I was wrong. After all, you forgave them.”
A sultry voice said, “Dolphino Suertino. I should have known you’d be here.”
Dolph didn’t have to turn around. He knew the woman by her voice. “Persephone, I see your husband let you loose again.” He tried masking the bite in his voice with a fake smile.
“He always does, it’s part of the agreement,” she cooed and blew Dolph a kiss.
Author’s notes: I love that feeling when you struggle with what you’re “supposed” to know and all of a sudden–it hits and a world is opened in your mind. Make sure to leave me a comment to let me know what you think of the story or to ask any questions.
Until the next posting
Categories: Strangers in a Strange Land