As hard as they hoped for a storm to save them from attending Dolph’s party, it never happened. In the meantime, they practiced looking at each other’s mouths when they spoke. This way if forced into a conversation with Dolph, they’d have a chance.
“I don’t think he’s going to do anything,” Caitlin encouraged and offered an alternative reason for the party. “Maybe he wants to introduce his fiancee.”
“Did you see him around any women when you were there?” Selene asked.
“Well, no,” Caitlin admitted.
“Why did the boys get most of the powers?” Selene moaned.
Her sisters raised eyebrows contradicted her statement.
“The ability to talk to dead people is not a power. And if you think about it, in the end, everybody gets that.”
Her tone was so matter of fact it struck her sisters as being quite humorous. They fell into a fit of soft giggles until the contagious mirth had everyone in the back of the wagon laughing.
One time when Angelica was worried about a disagreement between Selene and Marjorie damaging their relationship, their mother chose to let the girls pursue their own resolution and offered Angelica some wisdom. She said, “Ninety percent of the things we worry about never come true.” Instead of allaying her fears, Angelica worried about what she overlooked.
When they arrived at the party, she found that all of their worries were unfounded. Several wagons and horses hitched to the front gate of the farm hinted at the enormity of the party. Further in, they saw more than 100 people milling around the farm. Several women wore what could best be described as pantaloons or puffy pants with legs that ballooned out from the seams. Others had their hair up in bows and wore variations of gingham and calico longer dresses. While the girls looked down at their steampunk outfits, Selene stated the obvious. “I think we won’t have any problems with people bothering us.”
“I feel better,” Peter exhaled the breath he didn’t know he was holding. “I mean not that you don’t fit in.” He waved his hands in front of him. “Erase that comment from the record. I mean to say, I feel better with all these people here. It means we may not run into Dolph.”
As if mentioning his name summoned his presence, Dolph appeared from the middle of a group of men dressed in long sleeve shirts and black leather vests.
Peter’s eyed hardened, and he growled under his breath, “How does he do that?”
Selene pushed to the front of the group and as they practiced. She thanked Dolph for the invitation and showed him the biscuits. “Where can I put these?”
Dolph pointed to a buffet table inside the entrance of his barn. He said, “I’ll walk with you,” and led the group of friends to the barn stopping every couple feet to introduce them to the nearest person. Every time any of them tried to sneak away, Dolph ushered them back into the group.
“He’s trying to make it hard on Dan,” Demetrius whispered to Eugene. “When we leave people are going to ask Dan about us.”
After that, Demetrius tucked his glasses into his pocket and added bits of information that hinted they were visiting cousins from out of state to whoever heard the introduction.
One of the girls cooed at him, “You have the most amazing green eyes.”
Caught off guard by the compliment Demetrius thanked her. She was wearing beige pantaloons and the headband meant to keep her hair in place matched the bow on the front of her blouse. “If you aren’t going to be here long, and my father isn’t here to hear me be so bold, I’m going to spend as much time with you as I can. She nodded her head in the opposite direction. “If you want I can show you something from around the garden.” Demetrius swallowed hard, squeaked a response of ”Yeah, sure,” and allowed himself to be led away from the group by her.
“That was disgusting,” Selene whispered in Brian’s ear. Except he didn’t hear her because a girl wearing a blue gingham dress waved at him. She rewarded his wave back to her with a shy smile and slowly turned to walk in another direction while looking back occasionally to see if Brian was following her. He left without mentioning to anyone else where he was headed.
Caitlin remembered watching shark week on the Discovery Channel. The fish huddled into a circle while the sharks swam into the group and picked off fish like they were taking a bite out of an apple. Like the fish in the video, they helplessly awaited the fate certain to come. She grabbed hold of Eugene’s hand. “You stay with me. Do you understand?”
He forcefully pulled his hand away from her and said, “I’m not a baby, you don’t have to hold my hand.” In the instant he let go of her, a girl with wavy red hair approached him. Waving a pair of pliers in front of her, she said, “I heard you’re the one who can help me.”
Like a moth to the flame, Eugene went forward. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I can help you.” He threw Caitlin a cross look. “Some people around here know I’m smart.”
A stunned Caitlin stood there with her mouth agape as Peter was dragged away by a muscular girl.
Selene pat Caitlin on the shoulder. “You should be used to this by now. It’s going to happen a lot.” Caitlin tried to walk away, and Selene pulled her back by the arm. “Oh no, you don’t. You’re not leaving us alone with the stalker.”
“I thought I should get used to being alone,” Caitlin sniped back. Expecting the situation to escalate, she was surprised when Selene’s temper softened. “I meant that as a word from the wise, not to you personally. They say we are fickle, but it’s the boys who are that way.” She rolled her eyes and pointed at Damien who was following a girl like she had him on a leash. “Look at how easily our heroes left us to fend for ourselves. Penelope told me we girls were going to have to stick together. I didn’t realize she meant this week.”
With the agreement that they were not to go anywhere alone, the girls broke up into groups of two and three. First, they sampled the variety of foods on the buffet table. Andrea commented that the only difference between the party they were attending and a party from their time was the clothes. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same. People nibbled on sandwiches and sweets while a band played country songs their fourth-grade teacher taught them. If people weren’t talking, they were singing along with the band. In the corner, a small group of people danced a two step. Scattered around the barn people talked, drank and made merry.
Not knowing anyone made enjoying the party difficult. After a short amount of time, they were ready to go home. As if he sensed their disinterest, Dolph’s brother tried to engage them in a game of horseshoes. They played three rounds and Andrea won all three. After that, Duane grew disinterested in the girls and went off to be with somebody who was more fair competition.
Dolph tried enlisting their help with cleanup. Selene and Andrea responded to his attempts with icy glares that were so intense he stepped away from the group. Speaking like he was a rodent trying to escape the jaws of the lion, he said, “You know where to find me if you need something.” Before they had time to ask anything he bolted into the crowd of people.
“I thought we weren’t supposed to look him in the eye,” Caitlin cautioned her friend’s boldness.
To which Selene winked and said, “Apparently, like a lot of people, he doesn’t know how to handle angry eyes.” Her broad smile assured her friends she hadn’t been enchanted by Dolph.
Deciding for the group it was time to go home, Selene went after the first boy in the group she could find. Nicholas was off in a corner with a girl discussing a book. Since she hadn’t seen the book, Selene guessed it belonged to the girl. She stood beside Nicholas for a couple of minutes and waited for his attention. When that didn’t work, she used her nice voice and whispered in his ear, “We’d like to leave.”
Without turning to look at her, Nicholas said, “Okay, I’ll catch a ride home with somebody else.”
Selene’s face dropped. Changing tack she tried her mean voice. “Nicholas, it is time to go now.”
Waving her away like she was a fly, Nicholas said, “Fine then go.”
“Really, go without me.” Nicholas, who seemed annoyed with the conversation added, “It’s not like we don’t know where we live.”
“But it’s going to be dark soon,” Selene whined.
“Then we’ll head out in the morning.” He shifted his position so Selene was looking at the back of his neck.
Caitlin opened her mouth to joke and repeat what Selene said to her earlier when Eugene left her stranded.
Selene held her finger in the air as a warning. “Don’t even think about saying it.”
The girls tried to hide their bemused smiles which resulted in the five of them laughing.
They found Dan and Ella who seemed ready to go home too. Dan speaking with paternal wisdom said that enticing the unwilling boys to return with them to the farm would cause an unwanted scene and the best strategy was to let them return home on their own.
“Look at it this way,” Ella consoled. “This might be our last chance for girl time before you leave. I say let’s take it.”
Author Note: Dolph’s plan of divide and conquer seems to work every time. It’ll be interesting to see how the girls try to gain the upper hand.
Thank you for reading this chapter and let me know what you think of the story.