Strangers in a Strange Land

Chapter Two-Catching Up

“It’s been a long time since she’s had dessert,” Brian mused. In his description of Dolph’s farm Eugene mentioned that Caitlin was the only girl on the ranch. The evidence of the absence of female presence was witnessing her lick the last bits of pie off her fingers while listening to what happened while she was gone.

The most recent accomplishment was meeting people from town and maintaining the ruse of being cousins from Oklahoma.

“It’s an interesting experience to talk to someone whose building, let alone business, won’t be around by the time we’re born,” Nicholas said.

“Seriously, it took everything in me to not tell the banker he may want to get a different job,” Peter added.

In response to confused stares, he sighed at his inability to explain. “You need to pay better attention in history class.”

He quickly changed the subject to something they all would enjoy. “You should have been there when Brian soaked Damien’s with a perfectly aimed blast of water. It was better than watching superhero cartoons.” Pointing at Damien and laughing he said, “I thought Damien was going to spontaneously combust.”

He proceeded to tell her how they fought a den of Snakes. Selene made sure to mention how badly they smelled after returning from that adventure.
Nicholas joined the story, “Then Damien wouldn’t listen to Eugen when it came time to fix the bus.”

Shrugging, Damien said, “I felt bad about telling him to go help Alex the first time.“

Peter used his thumb to point at Eugene. “It took a while, but we finally figured out this guy knows how to fix about anything.”

“He’s working on something in Dan’s barn.” Damien nodded his agreement. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell Caitlin what it is.”

With hitched breaths, everyone anticipated hearing what Eugene kept behind closed doors for hours on end. Caitlin’s eyes took on a curious twinkle. She said, “You never mentioned you were working on a project.”

Eugene jumped up from his chair. “It’s my turn to make sure the gates are shut. I should get to it.” He smiled at Ella, thanked her for the cookies and hustled ahead of everyone’s objections.

Out of the corner of his eye, Brian noticed a pale looking Demetrius sitting quietly in the corner of the room. He was the only one who hadn’t tried persuading Eugene to share his secret.

“You okay D-?”

Brian’s question changed the mood in the room. It was as though he found something they were looking for, but couldn’t quite place their finger on it. When he asked his question, they collectively thought, “Aha, that’s what it was.”

“I’m good. I just have a headache.” He stretched his neck to relieve the tension. When he straightened his neck, he said, “And stop doing that.”

“What?” Their confused faces punctuated the statement.

“That thing where you look at each other and try to decide what to do next. That’s why he tried to separate us. So he can’t figure out their strategy.”

“Who is he?”

“Who are they?”

“What strategy?”

“What are you talking about?” Demetrius placed his thumb and fingers on his temples.

Even though Demetrius had no clue of what Demetrius was talking about, the impact of his statement sank in. They are trying to separate us. Damien and Brian turned to each other at the same time. “Eugene is out there alone.”

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