Chapter Six.

“I’m calling the cops.”

“San, hold on,” Nick sighed, grabbing her arm and pulling her back. “You can’t do that.”

“Why not? It’s six in the afternoon, Nick. They haven’t shown up. Oh, man, they’re lying dead somewhere -”

“They are not!” Nick exclaimed. “Sweetie, don’t beat yourself up over this. They’ll walk through that door soon enough, and you can kill them yourself.”

“Is that too much to ask?” she sighed, resting her head against his chest. “I just want to make sure they’re okay.”

She was worried; not so much about AJ as she was about Amanda. AJ pulled stunts like this all the time, she was used to that, but she still worried about him, nevertheless. Amanda, however, was a different story. Since the brightness fled from her eyes the day before when she’d announced she was here to stay, Sandra had been worried. She saw in her friend’s eyes that something was wrong, something had happened, that made her pack up and move to Orlando. What that was, she hadn’t confirmed yet, but it still made her uneasy. If only she’d show up now...

A car pulled into the driveway then, and Sandra broke away from Nick’s embrace and raced to the door. At the sight of AJ and Amanda leaving AJ’s car, she breathed a sigh of relief so strong that it sent her stumbling back against Nick, who’d been right on her heels the entire time.

“What are you guys doing here?” AJ asked them.

Sandra, marveled at the calm cheerfulness in his voice, jumped to her own two feet again. “You’re in NO position to ask questions, McLean! I ask, you answer. Nothing more. Got it?”

AJ grinned. He’d expected nothing less than what he got from Sandra. Somehow, though, even her anger couldn’t bring his good mood down.

“I got it,” he said, giving her a brief hug. “It’s good to see you, San.”

“Won’t be so good in a few minutes, dilweed,” she fumed as he brushed past her. Her gaze flew to Amanda then, and, while she was poised to yell at her, as well, the miserable look in her friend’s face stopped her dead in her tracks.

“Mandarin?” she asked, eyeing her friend curiously. “Are you okay?”

Amanda sighed and nodded. “For what it’s worth, I guess I am.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Sandra asked her as they walked back into the house.

“Funny you should ask,” AJ chimed happily.

“No one asked you, J,” Sandra replied. “Stay out of it.”

“Nope, can’t do that,” he told her, coming up and sliding his arm around Amanda’s shoulders.

“AJ, I’m already going to kill you as it is,” Sandra warned. “Don’t make it worse.”

“San,” Nick began slowly. “I think they have something to tell us.”

Sandra looked at Nick curiously, trying to read the look in his eyes as he studied the pair in front of him. He’d detected something in them, she guessed, and she wanted to know what it was, herself.

“What gives?” she asked her friends. “What do you have to say?”

Amanda sighed. “This wasn’t my fault, San. It was all AJ..”

“What was AJ’s fault?”

“Congratulate us,” AJ grinned. “We’re newlyweds!”

[chapter list | chapter seven]