This week we continue with 'Jordan's Second Chance'. Wynter finally has some of his questions answered, however, the answers shock him to his core. How will Jordan handle the unexpected news and will he ever be able to recover from the shocking truth? I hope you enjoy this latest installment.
Jordan’s Second Chance 2.2
“I’ve put Lucas in the spare bedroom upstairs. He’s already asleep,” Nana said as she walked into the kitchen. She went to the cabinets and pulled out items to fix coffee.
“Colombian Roast, please, Nana,” Wynter said when she reached into the cabinet designated specifically for coffee.
Nana nodded. “Jordan would you like a cup?”
“Yes, black,” Jordan replied, rising from the bar stool behind the island.
Nana waved him back to his seat. “Sit down. You’re a guest.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jordan grinned at the tiny woman bustling around the kitchen.
Nana brought over a tray filled with coffee and sat. The room was silent as everyone sipped on their hot beverage. Anxiety infused Wynter as he waited. When no one said anything, Wynter frowned.
“Nana, is it really so hard to talk about? Do you think I’m a disgrace?” Wynter asked, his voice low.
Wynter’s fists clenched. He remembered the first time he’d shifted. He’d been five. He’d been outside playing in the backyard when he’d seen two squirrels chasing each other. Some instinct Wynter didn’t understand had forced him to his knees. He’d heard his bones pop as they stretched. His mom had come out of the house looking for him and then screamed. Scared, Wynter had tried to run to his mom when he’d stumbled. He remembered looking down, his heart thundering at the furry paws in place of his hands.
His mom had rushed over to him and carried him into the house. She’d paced the living room floor for what felt like hours before she said anything. When she’d finally turned to him, the sadness in her eyes had pierced him. Dark, rolling waves of shame had swept over him, making him want to run away. The feeling had intensified as Wynter listened to his mother tell him, he could never shift again and he was never to tell anyone. His mom had told him to never bring it up again and he would understand when he was older. But Wynter didn’t understand. Even now . . .
Wynter blinked, Nana’s voice bringing him back to the present. Wynter shook his head, trying to dislodge the unpleasant memories lingering in his mind. “I’m sorry, Nana, what were you saying?”
Nana huffed and folded her arms across her chest. “You nag us for answers and then tune us out?”
“I’m sorry, Nana. I . . . I was just . . . remembering the first time I shifted.” Wynter sighed, trying to dispel the dark emotions riding him. He’d wanted answers for so long, but now that the time had come, he was no longer sure.
Nana reached across the island and grabbed his fists. Her thumbs rubbed across his knuckles, calming him. “You listen to me and you listen well.” Nana paused.
Wynter’s gaze met hers and Nana gave a satisfied nod. “You have never been a disgrace to this family! You’ve brought nothing but love and joy to us. I love you more than anything and I am so proud of the man you’ve become. So don’t ever let me hear you say you’re a disgrace again!”
Wynter swallowed past the lump in his throat. “I’m sorry, Nana,” he whispered.
“Wynter, you don’t need to apologize. I just want you to understand that no matter what, I will never be ashamed of you. Don’t you know that?”
Wynter sniffled and glanced at their joined hands. “It’s hard to change the way I’ve been feeling all these years, but I’ll try.”
“That’s all I ask.”
Wynter gazed at his grandmother. “I know you said you’re not ashamed of me, but if you weren’t, why was I forbidden from talking about it?”
“Humans do not know of our existence,” Jordan said, chiming in for the first time.
“That’s right. Your parents were afraid that if knowledge of your abilities were to get in the wrong hands, you would be in danger,” Nana added.
Wynter frowned, confused. “It wasn’t like I wanted to announce it to the world. I just wanted to talk to my family about it. I wanted to know what I am and why I’m the only one who can shift!”
“But you weren’t the only one. Your father was a clouded leopard as well.”
Wynter gasped, stunned. He leaned back into his chair and stared. “What do you mean, father could shift? Why was I never told this? Why did everyone make it seem like I was the only one?”
“That wasn’t our intention. Your parents made the decision not to tell you. They believed it would be easier for you to hide your leopard if you didn’t know others existed. There was a man who knew of your father’s existence and hunted him. We just wanted to keep you safe.”
Jordan hissed. Wynter held up a hand. “Wait. What man and why haven’t I heard of this until now?”
“You were too young back then,” Nana said.
“And now?” Wynter asked.
“Now, it doesn’t matter. That man died the same night as your parents.” Nana inhaled before continuing. “You see, Wynter, your parents didn’t die in an accident.”
“What do you mean?”
“The man—Jason Fox—had a picture of your first shift. He threatened to kidnap you and send your picture to the media if your parents didn’t agree to meet with him. They agreed and set up a meeting time. Your father must have known something was off, because he sent us to your aunt Linda’s. ”
Wynter nodded. He remembered that day. “Go on, please.” It was getting hard to breath.
“The meeting with your parents was a set up. Jason never had any intention of giving your photo back to your parents. His real goal was you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Jason wanted to get his hands on you so that he could raise the perfect killing machine. A predatory shifter raised to kill? You would have made him millions. But he knew your parents would never agree, so he had to get rid of them.”
Wynter’s mind screamed with denial, his emotions going numb. “Is there anything else I need to know?” His parents had died because of him. How was he supposed to deal with this? Wynter couldn’t process the devastating news. Standing, Wynter headed out of the kitchen.
“Wynter!” Nana and Jordan called.
Wynter shook his head, still facing the door. “I need to be alone right now. Just . . .” Unable to finish, Wynter ran from the room. What was he supposed to do now?
To be continued . . .
If you enjoyed this latest installment, check out the other flashers!