Chapter Twenty-Seven

"Hi John! Where's your bike? I thought you hadn't come as we drove up."

"I parked it in the back," I said as I came around the corner of the house. I had waited until they had pulled into the driveway and were already getting out of the car before I showed myself. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I wanted to make sure Dr. James hadn't followed them here.

"This is my father, Ted. Dad, this is John, the one that saved my life."

"Glad to meet you, Mr. Brogan," I said, holding out my hand to shake. I was fairly confident by then that if I didn't want to see any numbers, I didn't have to. I wasn't wrong. I simply didn't open up. It was becoming as easy as Randi had said it should be.

"I guess we owe you some sincere thanks for what you did for our daughter," he said in a gravelly voice. "And call me Dusty. Everyone does."

"Thank you, Dusty," I said, releasing his strong grip.

Ted "Dusty" Brogan was a tall man, well rounded in the middle. His skin had a permanent tan from working the land all his life. His face was etched with more lines than one could count but he still had a pleasant look about him and smiling blue eyes that made him instantly likable. His silver hair was thinning on the top but he still stood straight and used every inch of his 6'3" frame. Looking at him and Abby Brogan side by side, both in old worn blue jeans and different colored lumberjack shirts, you knew it was a match made in heaven.

"And this is Faith," Katelynn said, pointing to the little girl with long blonde curls staring up at me from behind her grandmother's leg with the bluest eyes I had ever seen. She was wearing blue jean overalls with a red apple on the bib, over a red blouse with white polka dots and a little ruffle around the neck. Her tiny arms were wrapped around her grandmother's left leg as she bashfully took in the stranger standing before her.

"Hi, Faith," I said, bending over just a hair in her direction.

She slid a little farther behind the protection of the leg.

"She's a little shy with new people," Abby said, looking down at her granddaughter.

"She sure wasn't shy when meeting Benny," Katelynn said. "You guys didn't see it because you were waiting in the hallway, but as soon as those two met, she hopped right up on the side of his bed and said hi. I couldn't believe it."

"Was Harry there?" I asked.

"No. Benny said he had gone out to get a pizza to smuggle in for lunch. I wanted him to meet Faith, too, and to thank him for the phone number to reach you with, but I had to ask Benny to thank him for me." Katelynn paused and looked to be running something over again in her mind. I looked down not wanting to be tempted to take a peak at what was obviously puzzling her. "But it was weird," she finally continued. "Benny asked me to get his water from the window sill and when I turned around, Faith was standing on his bed, facing him. She was giggling like he had just told her a joke but I was right there. He hadn't said a word. And both her hands were on his head. Benny was laughing, too. It was really weird," she said, looking down at her daughter. "Are you going to say hi to John, Faith?"

Faith returned to her original position, only partially protected by her grandmother's leg and smiled bashfully. "Hi, John."

She was the definition of cute.

"Hi, Faith," I said again, putting on the smile we reserve for children. "I'm happy to meet you."

"Me, too," she said, and then scurried back behind the leg with a smile.

"You going to stay for lunch with us?" Abby asked me.

"Sure, I can do that," I replied.

"So, have my daughter's numbers changed?" Dusty asked out of the blue before we had even started for the front door. Straight to the point. No beating around the bush. I was sure he had probably spoken whatever was on his mind all his life and he wasn't about to change in his autumn years.

"I haven't looked yet," I confessed.

"Well I am sure everyone of us is very anxious for you to do your thing and put all this behind us," he said, essentially giving me no choice but to do it right then and there. So I did.

I looked at Katelynn. She again started to hold out her hand for me out of habit and I again waved her off. "I don't need the touch anymore I've discovered," I told her. "But I think I do still need the eyes to reach the subconscious."

She took a step to better face me squarely and I looked into her blue eyes, wishing silently that it wouldn't be the last time I got the opportunity. She smiled and I wondered if I had accidentally sent that thought. Or maybe it wasn't an accident. I'm not sure. At any rate, I narrowed my focus and instantly the numbers appeared. This time, finally, Katelynn read the relief in my eyes instead of the disappointment and before I was able to inform her family that, at least as far as my talents could tell, Katelynn had a long life to live in front of her, she threw her arms around me kissing my cheek and squeezing hard. I returned the hug, not wanting to let go. When she backed away, she was crying again, but this time they were tears of joy.

"Your daughter is fine," I told them, not taking my eyes off the happy vision in front of me, never wanting to forget that face. "The numbers have changed to something any of us would be pleased with, though that is all I am going to say so don't ask me to be more specific than that."

Her father again stepped forward, this time shaking my hand much more vigorously than before. "Glad to hear it," he said with a smile. "Now let's go inside and eat."

* * * * *

Despite the celebratory mood that Abby and Dusty Brogan had been in through the lunch made up of cold ham and cheese sandwiches and chips, Katelynn's mood was more sullen. She had barely touched her food. She kept catching my eye, inviting me to peak into her head, but I refrained. I knew what she was trying to convey to me without opening up. She wanted to know where I was going, how long I was going to be gone, and if we would ever see each other again. I couldn't answer any of those questions for her and tried to focus on my food.

Finally, Abby picking up on the mood of her daughter, who should have been the happiest person at the table knowing she would now live to see her own daughter grow up, had also noticed that Katelynn had been eyeing me, the questions written plainly on her face.

"So what are you going to do now?" Abby asked me for her daughter.

"I'm not sure," I confessed. I had no idea how much Katelynn had told them of my plans to leave. Abby answered that much for me as she continued.

"Katelynn says you are going to try to disappear for a while. Any idea where you are going to go?"

"Come with us to the farm," Katelynn again suggested.

"You are welcome to stay with us until you figure things out," Abby said, confirming her approval should I agree. "We've got plenty of room."

"Thank you," I said. "I really do appreciate the offer but I think I need to get away for a little while, alone. I need to figure out what I am going to do about this new ability I have acquired. And I need to be somewhere that Dr. James won't find me. He's tried to call quite a few times and I think he even came to my house once."

"Why don't you just tell him to leave you alone?" Katelynn asked.

"Because he wouldn't do it," I said. I hadn't gotten into his head to confirm that, but I hadn't needed to. His professional curiosity had obviously gotten the best of him. It had been all over his face when I had informed him of what his physical on Katelynn had confirmed the next morning. He hadn't wanted to believe me when I had told him about her appendix, and I hadn't yet actually seen him since, but even the constant ringing of the phone on the day of Katelynn's surgery had had an obsessive sound to it. The answering machine had been turned off.

Thankfully, Faith had then spilled her milk on the table and the subject had been changed.

As I told everyone good bye when they were climbing into their car, while I was sitting on my bike waiting to follow them out of the driveway, Katelynn got back out of the car, still walking a bit gingerly from the surgery, and gave me a slip of paper with a few phone numbers on it.

"Call me when you can," she said, knowing my mind was made up to go. "Let me know where you are and how you're doing. I won't tell anyone, John."

I nodded, wished her well, and then watched the only person I had dared to have any truly strong feelings for since the death of my parents drive off before starting my bike and heading back to 14 Crimson Lane.

* * * * *

Chapter Twenty-Eight


Front Desk

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The Master Plan

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Tweny-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine