The second my spirit drifted into that house, I had never felt air more tense. It was as if all of the air had solidified into one angry presence. It was not at all a nice feeling. I can't imagine what it was like for Jericho Chase, but whatever was in that house had some pretty big stakes in the spirit world.
A broad shouldered man in a black suit, was standing in the foyer beyond the door. He had his arms crossed over his formidable chest, and he looked mad. As in "I'm gonna kill you" mad. Jericho stopped looking deflated. He looked downright determined. If I'd been in that situation, that is, if I were alive, I would have probably broken down under that glare in about three seconds. I have to admit I admire his courage, even if he is a love-sick teenager.
"Hello Father," he said.
"Where have you been?" the big man asked, striding forwards and slapping him across the face. Jericho took it without wincing. I suddenly wondered how often this had happened to him.
"Around," he answered through gritted teeth.
"You will give me a proper answer when I ask you a question," the man growled. They were nearly nose to nose now.Jericho just crossed his arms calmly and glared into the man's eyes.
They stayed that way for a couple of seconds, neither willing to back down. Finally the man turned away. "You've had your mother worried sick," he said angrilly.
"Since when have you cared?"
Jericho's Father's shoulders tensed and then he relaxed. "Since you disappear for a week without any reason or any word, and make me think some group has kidnapped you and is holding you for ransom."
Disappointment flashed behind Jericho's eyes. "You only care about your money," he said.
"Do you not care that I've invested nearly half of it into your future education, so you can take over my business?" he said angrilly, turning around and glaring at his son. Jericho just shook his head.
"When did I even say I wanted to take over your business?" he said. His eyes were sad. Even I felt a bit of compassion. Something behind his father's eyes wavered. He stayed silent for a moment and regarded the teenager.
"You'll see my way eventually," he said matter-of-factly, as if his opinion was all that mattered. Jericho sighed.
"You're wrong," he whispered, and his father looked up sharply.
"What did you say?" he asked, and the anger was back.
Jericho straightened and looked his father straight in the eye. "I said, 'You're wrong.'"
The big man's face contorted in a snarl, and he advanced forward menacingly.
Suddenly a sweet voice came down the staircase, and both men turned, imediately assuming smiles.
"Mark? Are you there? I thought I heard..."
A delicate looking woman in a silvery blue dress was descending the staircase. "Jericho!" she exclaimed, and ran forward. She enveloped the teenager in a hug and kissed him on the forehead. "Oh, I was so worried," she whispered. "Where have you been?" Jericho just shrugged. She didn't even seem to notice. "Oh, it doesn't matter. You're safe. Come along, let's get you cleaned up."She took a hold of the boy's arm and pulled him away, sending Mark, the father, a bright smile. It faltered when she saw anger behind his eyes, but he hid it a millisecond later, and smiled back, and she seemed to forget.
I was beginning to think the only reason Jericho came back was because of his mother. She looked as if she absolutely adored him. She led him up the stairs and through a bunch of corridors to one of the most spacious bedrooms I had ever seen, and that's saying a lot. There was a massive emperor sized bed in one corner, covered by a bright green comforter, one entire wall was covered in books, there was a large corner desk, and in the other corner, a beautiful grand piano. The floor was covered in a soft green carpet, and there were massive widows with window-seats and padded cushions. A bunch of CDs and DVDs littered the floor by a loudspeaker system and large screen TV.
An open door led to a tiled bathroom with a hot tub sized bath and a huge glassed-in shower besides. And beyond that was a walk in closet practically completely full of designers clothes. I bet every teenager in the world would have killed to have that room.
Jericho's mother fussed over him and told him to wash up and come down to have something to eat, and chattered on and on about how much she'd worried and to never do that again, and blah blah blah. I think she calmed down by talking. Jericho didn't seem to mind. As she left the room, he called after her.
She looked back at him curiously and smiled. "I knew you'd come back," she said, and closed the door behind her. Jericho walked into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. He ran a hand through his hair and blew out a breath and then turned around with a mischevious grin. This guy just kept getting stranger and stranger.
"I know you're there," he said loudly. For a second I thought he was talking to me, but instead, a hidden pannel in his bedroom wall opened and a young teenage guy stepped into the room. He was wearing an informal suit and his hair was ruffled every which way. Another guy followed him. They looked like twins.
"Where have you been?" they asked in unison, coming up on either side of him.
Jericho laughed. "If one more person asks that I'm going to hit them." The guy on his right pretended to look offended.
"You'd hit your own servant? The one who so willingly brings your meals every morning and cleans your room for you?"
The teenager on the left let out a bark of laughter. "Willingly? I for one was glad you ran off. We've had practicly double the free time as normal."
Jericho grabbed thier arms and dragged to the wall and pushed them against it. "Did you tell anyone?" He looked dead serious. The twins immediatly stopped joking around.
"Of course not!"
"Don't you trust us?"
Jericho glared at them. "If anyone finds out about Angelina, you're dead." He was serious about that too, but he let go of them. The two rubbed thier arms grumpilly.
"No need to get so uptight about it," said the one.
Jericho turned and sat down on the window-seat, looking like his every nerve was on edge. "You don't know my father, James," he said quietly. I wondered how he told them apart. The two sat down on either side of him.
"Oh, we know, mate," they said in unison. "We were watching when you came in."
Jericho looked surprised. "You were?"
"We found another passageway. It has a one-way mirror in the front corridor," said the twin who wasn't James.
"I thought he was going to hit you before your mom came in," said James.
Jericho laughed humourlessly. "So did I." He looked out the window. I could see he was looking straight at the constellation of the swan.