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   Chapter 35 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 17226

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:08

Chapter 35

Jim leaned forward as Jamie listened to House. Jamie noticed something different about the house. It seemed more aware than it had before Burr had repaired the damage, and a little bit more protective.

"He is peering into my windows, " House told him. The somewhat drifty tone had been replaced by something that would not be out of place coming from a maiden aunt of yore discovering a peeping tom outside of her window.

"I suppose it's the same thing, " Jamie muttered to himself.

"What's the same thing?" Jim asked. Jamie blushed.

"Sorry, I forgot I wasn't alone, " Jamie told his friend. "House sounds offended that Michael is peering into the windows."

"Like a peeping Tom?" Jim asked. Jamie smiled.

"Exactly like, " Jamie replied. "House doesn't care for it."

"Blood all over my nice clean porch, " House interjected.

"What?" Jamie asked.

"Del scrubbed my porch quite thoroughly so I would look my best for company."

"I see, " Jamie said trying not to be irked by House's limitations. No matter how talkative House was it was not human and would have different sensibilities. "I meant the part about my brother bleeding." Jim's face dropped the amused anticipation and he stared intently at Jamie.

"It's not your brother bleeding."

"It's not Michael bleeding?"

"It is."

"So Michael is bleeding, but he is not my brother?" Jamie asked confused.

"Yes, " House replied, seemingly pleased that he had understood her. Jamie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. House let out a shocked gasp.

"What is it?" Jamie asked hurriedly.

"He tried to break my window." Jamie could almost see the pursed lips in his mind's eye. He shook his head and stood up. Jim followed, setting his glass down on the table with a click.

"Apparently Michael tried to break a window, " Jamie said, realizing Jim had not had the benefit of hearing the entire conversation.

"Is he alone?" Jim asked.

"I don't know. House thinks that someone is bleeding and that Michael is not my brother."

"Really?" Jim said a lilt in his voice. "I always suspected he was an alien dropped from space for the sole purpose of tormenting us poor earthlings."

"I'm not sure House is equipped to determine alien genetics, " Jamie said with a grin. "It's also not really predisposed to like Michael, and I'm sure tonight won't help." They descended the main stairs and walked along the main hallway towards the front door. Del peeked through the open kitchen doorway.

"I figured you'd be wanting to deal with him yourself, " Del said. "So I left him be. Just so's you know. He tried to break one of the front windows when he found the door was locked." Del sounded nearly as affronted as House had been.

"So I'm told, " Jamie said. "Do we have a basic first aid kit?"

"I'm sure we do, " Del replied his eyes scanning Jamie for any sign of injury.

"Not for me, " he said. "House said someone was bleeding on its porch. I don't really want to let Michael inside but I don't want to send him back to his car bleeding."

"That might attract some of the nastier set who came for the hearing tonight, " Del said nodding thoughtfully.

"I had been thinking more along the lines of basic common decency, but nasty is best avoided as well."

"I'll bring the kit to the porch."

"Thanks, " Jamie replied. He turned and with Jim still following, went towards the front door.

"What exactly does he think is still in the woods?" Jim asked. His voice was mostly steady, but held a hint of concern and Jamie remembered Jim still had to walk to his car in order to get home.

"We'll find out once we get Michael sorted, " Jamie said. "If all else fails, we do have several guest rooms for you to choose from."

"Appreciate it, " Jim replied dryly.

"You don't think I'd let the boogey man eat my favorite lawyer do you?" Jamie said with a grin. They reached the front door and Jamie twisted the knob. It opened easily and silently. He heard a huff of breath.

"Well it is about time, " Michael said. Jamie and Jim stepped onto the porch. Jim pulled the door shut behind him. Michael stood hands on his hips, looking exasperated. He was dressed head to toe in black, from his black running shoes, black jeans, long sleeved black shirt, black gloves and black cap.

"Let me guess, " Jamie said trying to tamp down his anger. "This Halloween you plan to go as an amateur burglar and you wanted me to see your costume before mom sent you out trick-or-treating?" Jim snorted a small laugh. Michael swallowed the comment he was going to make and narrowed his eyes, darting his gaze between Jamie and Jim. He had clearly not been expecting the lawyer's presence.

'Won't take him long to adapt though, " Jamie thought, knowing his brother. Sure enough after a few seconds, Michael's facial expression changed, his suspicion and anger slipping and molding itself into a hurt and wounded pose.

"How could you joke like that?" Michael said. His voice was filled with mock pain that would no doubt be the envy of any actor. "I came out here out of the goodness of my heart to see how my baby brother wa

he house and returned with the first aid kit he had left by the door.

"He wouldn't let us look at the cuts earlier, Sherriff, " Jamie said when the man raised an eyebrow at the nearness of the first aid kit.

"Ah, " he replied rather noncommittally. "There is a car parked near the gate as well."

"That would be mine, " Jim said. "Jamie didn't know exactly when I was coming and didn't want to leave the gate unlocked in the event someone else happened by. As I was expected, and it was still daylight, I hopped the gate and came up."

"And you were planning on walking back in the dark?" the sheriff asked.

"He was going to use one of my guest rooms Sherriff as we had been drinking."

"Ah, " came the noncommittal response once again.

"All checked Sherriff, " Billy said stepping away from Michael and the first aid kit. "Just a few scratches, maybe from trees or something. small like a coon. As long as he keeps it clean he should be all right. Maybe get a rabies shot on the off chance of infection."

"It was dogs, " Michael said defiantly when he saw the Sherriff smile. "Big ones. He set his dogs on me."

"I don't have any dogs, " Jamie repeated tiredly.

"Release the dachshunds, " Jim said.

"Could have been Chihuahuas, " Jamie said. The Sherriff chuckled and even Billy relaxed enough to smile.

"So you drove up in your car and hopped the gate and were planning on driving home in the morning, " the Sherriff asked Jim. Jim nodded.

"That's right."

"Huh, " the Sherriff said. "You might want to re think that plan."

"Oh?" Jim asked.

"I doubt your vehicle is going anywhere without the aid of a tow truck."

"What, " Jamie and Jim said in unison. Only Michael did not look surprised.

"Car's busted up pretty bad. Windows. Tires. There's also a big dent in the hood I'd have checked out before trying to drive it." Billy glanced towards the woods again and Jamie wondered if it had been supernatural mischief. "As we spotted a large pair of bolt cutters in the back of the van we figured the two were connected, " the Sherriff said, assuaging Jamie's fears and causing him to look at Michael in surprise.

"You busted up Jim's car?" he asked.

"There is no proof of that, " Michael said smugly. "It was like that when I got there."

Jamie continued to stare at Michael in what he hoped was a believable way as he listened to the comments House was making. Jamie turned back towards the Sherriff.

"Albe installed a surveillance camera at the gate. I'm not sure if it was running, but we can check the tapes."

"That would make things a lot easier, " the sheriff said.

"I don't want Michael inside, " Jamie told him. "But you and your deputy are welcome."

"Sounds reasonable, " the Sherriff said. "Under the circumstances, I can't say as I blame you either. Billy Please help Michael into the car."

"Excuse me?" Michael said stiffly.

"Well we wouldn't want you sitting out here alone with a pack of wild dogs on the loose, Billy why don't you go ahead and read him his rights while you're at it. Regardless of the tape we'll still be bringing him in for trespassing." Billy escorted Michael to the car and did all the necessary stuff needed to make the arrest legal. Jamie was surprised at how relieved he felt once the door closed behind Michael.

"Well, won't you come inside, " Jamie said. "It's a bit chilly tonight. Would anyone care for coffee?"

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