This, her family, it was safe.
"I'm going to beat you!" Jackson cried out across the room.
"No! No! No!" Jeremy called out with frustration, tapping his controller desperately in an attempt to beat his boyfriend. She could've told him there was no way he could win. Not with as much as Jackson "practiced" every day!
Then, the phone rang.
"Hello?" she asked with a smile.
She heard a hiss from the phone, and lifted the receiver back up to her ear. "Lacie?" she asked, relieved to hear the dial tone.
"Is it Lacie?" he asked, worry and strain thickening his voice.
She blew out a shaky breath and massaged the back of her neck. But, still, nobody listened to her...
With a frustrated shudder, she brutally wiped the tears from her eyes.
She was done crying. She was done being helpless.
She only hesitated a moment before selecting the number. She chewed her lip nervously as she waited for him to answer. He answered the phone with a curt greeting.
"Hi.. This is Macy... Macy Black-Wolff..." she stuttered anxiously. She gathered her newly-found confidence around her like a blanket. "Can we talk?"
Jason grimaced playfully. "You're on your own on that one!" he teased.
Macy licked her lips and laughed, her gaze darting towards Jackson, who was watching her carefully. "What?" she asked.
Macy couldn't help but feel like he saw through her. How could he possibly know what she had planned? One word from Jackson and it would all fall apart...
"Come on, Jackson! Let's go get Jeremy!" Moudy called out from the kitchen after shutting the dishwasher. He smiled at Macy as he looped his arm around his son's shoulder.
"Are you sure?" Jason asked again, hesitating a moment before adding, "We'll just be at the Winter Fair. Feel free to meet us there!"
Macy nodded tightly. "I... I did."
His lack of aura still bothered her. Every one else she had run into had some sort of aura surrounding them. Sometimes it was a deep color, indicating strong feelings of some sort. Other times it could be a thin, light color. But, there was usually something.
Macy's mouth abruptly starting watering. She shifted uncomfortably, feeling caught in his sights. "I... it's about Lacie..." she said, reminding herself of the reason she called him over.
She was done being helpless.
She watched him move, likening his body to that of a panther in her mind. He moved with a constrained grace, an economy of movement.
Macy cleared her throat, determined to see this through. Leo could help her. "She called today," she began, trailing off when Leo turned to face her, taunt and ready to pounce.
She shook her head. It must be her imagination. Leo was a private investigator. He'd offered to help.
"It was just her cell phone. She didn't answer when Dad tried to call back," she said apologetically.
Leo nodded, setting the phone back in place. "And you called me because?..." he trailed off.
At this, the first sign of any sort of emotion cracked through. Leo's eyebrow raised and his lip tilted, as if she'd amused him. A light yellow pulse of aura crackled around him for moments before blinking out. Macy's mouth dropped open.
"We can discuss details later," Leo responded, putting her off. "I'll get back to you after I've done a little investigating." He turned to leave without another word.
Leo paused mid-stride and focused on her again. His piercing stare made her stomach flip.
Leo's gaze shot up to her own. He considered her steadily, as though waiting for her to say something more.
Macy felt like a fool. Of course he was going to be careful. He probably thought she was a simpleton! She looked down at her feet, her cheeks heating with embarrassment.
Looking down, she missed the light swirl of green that shimmered around him for just seconds before fading into nothing.
"Yes?" The sound came in crisp and clear over the car stereo, thanks to the miracle of bluetooth technology.
"I have a lead," he replied.
A pause. "Good. Very good."