Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA Fan Fiction: Aftermath

EoA Fan Fiction: Aftermath

Here’s another set of vignettes in the saga of Cal Jordan’s life, this time entirely as seen through Deborah’s eyes.

~~~~~

Warnings: None.

– * –

The drive back from New York to the exclusive prep school in Connecticut was only marginally less uncomfortable than that late-night drive to the penthouse condo in New York City. Cal sat sullenly in the back seat with Deborah. Most of the way he was looking out the window with a melancholy expression.

Mom and Dad talked to each other in low voices, but didn’t bring Deborah or Cal into the conversation. For her part, Deborah wished she could get Cal alone and make sure he was okay. She chewed her thumbnail, kicking herself for not trying to tell Cal beforehand what she was going to do. It wasn’t fair to him and she had to make it right.

She checked her watch and looked out the window again. Was that the spire of the school’s church in the distance? She squinted. Yes, it was! That meant only ten more minutes of this agonizing drive.

After they all piled out of the car, Deborah hugged Mom and then lightly hugged Dad, finishing with a firm handshake, provoking a small grin from him.

Cal reluctantly hugged Mom, and then exchanged the briefest of glances and handshakes with Dad.

“Now, remember, son. We’re counting on you.” With those parting words, Dad escorted Mom back to the car.

Cal snorted and dragged his suitcase back to the residence hall, Deborah bringing up the rear. Outside the boy’s hall, Cal swallowed and locked eyes with Deborah. He half-heartedly smiled; her heart went out to him and she reached out, touching his arm briefly. “I’ll see you at the Quad tomorrow after classes. Promise.”

Cal nodded jerkily and rushed inside the boy’s hall. Deborah made her way back to the girl’s hall and breathed a sigh of relief when she finally let her bag fall to the floor in her room. Tricia, her roommate, looked up from her homework at her desk and said, “Rough weekend?”

Deborah laughed bitterly. “Does it show that much?”

“Debbie, you look like you had to go to a funeral.” Tricia’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, God. That was so rude of me. Did you really—?”

“No, no funeral,” said Deborah reassuringly. “Just… a family emergency.”

“But things are okay now, right?”

Deborah collapsed onto her bed and sprawled out, looking up at the ceiling. “I guess. Anyway, we’ve got classes tomorrow. I’m wiped out.”

Sleep came uneasily, and Deborah woke up the next morning wondering if the gnawing feeling at her insides was anything close to how Cal probably felt.

– * –

As promised, Deborah met Cal at the tree-lined Quadrangle. They sat on a bench, shaded by a tree, their backs to the afternoon sun. Cal clasped his hands and looked at the ground. She said, “Hey. Your day go okay?”

“I guess.”

Deborah leaned forward, her elbows on her knees. She said, “Oh, any trouble with whatshisname? Big sis’ll give him a piece of her mind.”

Cal’s face twitched. He mumbled, “Nah. Forget it, okay?”

“Your call. Algebra was a pain. Graphing polynomials and all that. How about your classes?”

Cal shrugged. “Fine, I guess. Look, I just want to get through it day by day right now.”

Gently, Deborah replied, “We don’t have to talk… not if you don’t want to. Is it okay if we just sit here for a while, then?”

Cal wordlessly pulled his English book out of his backpack and began reading it. Deborah rubbed her forehead, feeling suddenly tired. She desultorily began reading through her Chemistry book and making notes on the problem sets.

– * –

The early autumn days went by like this: sporadic conversation, followed by an hour or so of academic studies. Any questions Cal asked of her were strictly academically-related.

One day, though, the ice finally broke.

Normally Cal and Deborah sat a few feet away from each other on the bench, but today they had to both do review out of his science textbook because Deb’s biology teacher had warned students to bone up on the tenth-grade material for the upcoming quiz. So they were seated side by side, occasionally conferring over diagrams in the book. Deborah happened to look up and unbidden, her jaw dropped a fraction as Brad Rustiger, the school’s top basketball player, walked across the Quad in his uniform, obviously on his way to practice. Before she realized what she had done, she nudged Cal as though he were Tricia, and she pointed discreetly, saying, “Get a load of Brad, would you?!”

Deborah flushed as she realized who she said that to, but before she could apologize Cal looked back at her, his eyes wide. He whispered, “Whoa.”

They both broke up laughing at the same time, the absurdity of checking out guys with her own brother suddenly overwhelming Deborah as she struggled to breathe. Just as Cal managed to get his laughter under control, Deb let out a fresh gale of laughter, clinging to Cal’s shoulder for support.

After Deborah subsided, Cal grinned and said, “Thanks, Deb. I needed that. But try not to do that too much, huh? Checking out guys with you is sorta… weird.”

“Same here. Anyway, now I’ve completely lost my train of thought. Look, can I borrow your biology book tonight to study from? I can give it back tomorrow.”

Cal nodded. “Sure. I want to grab a drink from the cafeteria anyway. Seeya.”

Deborah waved, then packed up her backpack and headed for her dorm room.

– * –

AFter that, conversation seemed to flow more easily. On the next day, which was Saturday, Deborah said, “Cal? You remember the time we went out on Hallowe’en back in Colorado?”

“Wasn’t that the time I cut the holes in the wrong spot on the sheet and looked like a ghost with one eye and a mouth?”

Deborah nudged Cal’s shoulder saying, “Yeah! That was! I remember now. And I was a princess or something stupid like that. Anyway, you remember the really spooky sounds you heard at the end of the block which made you run all the way home?”

Cal shivered. “God, that was so freaky! I mean, I know it was probably someone making those noises– waaaait a minute!”

Deborah blushed and traced the wooden grain on the bench. “That was me. I’m sorry, Cal. I saw my friends up the street and I wanted to join them, and I thought it’d be cool to scare you.”

Cal smirked. “Hey, it’s okay. Remember the time you couldn’t find your bedsheets?”

Deborah gasped. She pointed and said, “That was you? Mom and I were going nuts trying to figure out how on Earth bedsheets go missing, and now I find out you were grinning your stupid head off about it.” She smacked the bench. “Okay, that’s it; we’re even.”

Cal smacked the bench in response. “We are so even!”

Deborah squinted. “Why do I suddenly get the feeling we’re both trying to make like we have halos on our heads?”

Cal affected a mock indignant pose. “And how dare you suggest we are anything but the fine upstanding Jordan siblings?”

She rolled her eyes. “We probably have enough blackmail material on each other to make anyone blush. All I have to do is tell someone about the time you actually sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ in the shower when Mom and Dad weren’t home.”

“Oh my God.” Cal put his hand to his forehead in embarrassment. “You heard that? Ugh. I was terrible!”

“You belted it out loud enough to give Elvis a run for his money. You’re lucky I was laughing too hard to run over and bang on the door.”

Cal’s face suddenly became very devious. “Hmmm… and how about if I mention that big sister still occasionally goes to bed with the Barney the dinosaur plushie doll from ten years ago?”

Deb’s jaw dropped in shock. “You did not just say that! I thought nobody knew about that!”

It was Cal’s turn to blush and look at the bench. “Actually, it was by accident. Mom made me go get some stupid makeup kit thing you’d borrowed from her; you weren’t home. Well, I noticed the Barney the dinosaur thing sticking out from under your bed.”

Chuckling, Deborah held out her hand. “Okay. Truce?”

Cal laughed. “Truce.” He shook her hand mock-solemnly, but didn’t release it. His face lost all trace of his humorous expression as he clasped her hand with both of his and said, “Deborah? You know I’d never really do that to you, right? What we know about each other stays between us. That’s for sure.”

She nodded and put her other hand on top of his. “I understand, Cal. And anything you say to me – I’ll keep it a secret. Even if you’ve, like, stolen a million dollars or something.”

Cal released her hands, saying, “If I had that much I’d cut you in for a share. Anyway, seriously, thanks for putting up with me.”

Deborah said, “I made a promise, Cal. I’m keeping it.” She stood up, stretching. “Now c’mon, let’s go get something to eat. I’m starving!”

Cal jumped up off the bench and said, “Right with ya. Let’s go!”

Deborah thought to herself, my brother’s back. Thank God for big favors.

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10 thoughts on “EoA Fan Fiction: Aftermath

  1. Very, very good! Again, I very much like how Deborah isn’t one of the bad guys in the Jordan Family Dysfunction. I really hope that Deebs isn’t complicit in Parshall’s continuing deconstruction of the Fourth Jordan.

    This does bring up an interesting thought: I wonder what Deborah thinks of the Karen? Joshua already dislikes her, Abby seems locked away in her own prison of emotions to express anything (to anyone) other than the Josh Party Line…. But other than a few lines, she’s been a bit player. To say nothing of the Fourth Jordan being almost completely absent in thought, word, deed, and spirit for what we’ve seen so far! Oh, well. I’m sure Parshall and LaHaye will correct that problem. T_T

    Can Cal even bear to see her in her JROTC uniform?

  2. Fine!

    I think these two can work it out – it’s not as though Deb is getting the life Cal wanted, as much as she’s the sacrifice so that Josh and Abby will stop riding both of them. (And she gets to do something a bit more interesting than going straight from high school to marriage and motherhood.) Everybody wins.

  3. Nicely done.

    Though in my personal fanon Cal finally decided to quit the Liberty University engineering program because he got fed up with the professors saying that Pi = 3…

  4. I didn’t like the idea of Cal as gay (or bi) largely because it feels like it doesn’t fit with JJ not liking Cal’s girlfriend. After Cal being with another guy I’d imagine JJ would would be happy that Cal was with any girl*. So I was somewhat reistant to the entire premise of this and the previous one when I started reading them.

    That said, I definitely liked this. Brilliant. I’d definitely like to see more of this relationship from you.

    And will anyone read this, considering how late I’ve come to the post?

    * Not that I have a better option. The only other think I can think of that would have the same impact is if JJ found his son cross dressing, which JJ would be unlikely to see as at all different from being gay, thus we come back to the same problem: JJ should be happy about Karen because it is a sign Cal isn’t embarrassing him by being gay anymore.

    Can anyone think of something Cal could do to set off JJ that doesn’t involve sex or gender?

    • Not being utterly in favour of military action at all times and in all circumstances?

      (Yeah, reading this on the email feed…)

      • I can see that working for Cal being out of favor, and if it happened multiple times I can see it having him out of favor enough to be The Other Jordan About Whom We Do Not Speak, as he is in cannon. But I don’t see it pulling that off as a single action.*

        The idea of Cal’s downfall as a single event thing is what I was focusing on.

        It was my understanding that the basis for this fiction was the speculation that the Jordan family being reduced to “All three of us” was due to a single action. That one event alone made Cal into the non-entity his family thinks of him as when not specifically discussing him. I don’t think saying Cal saying, “I’m not sure that the 7th battalion was completely justified in their actions last Wednesday,” would have quite that dramatic of an effect. Even for JJ.

        Then again, JJ does appear to be a total ass.

        Also, if it was something like that, you can certainly see why Deb would be terrified she might do the same** which was, if I understood correctly, also part of the theory.

        * Though maybe, maybe, it might work if JJ saw Cal holding up a sign at an anti-war protest. Or worse, an anti defense spending protest. Cal’s there holding a sign that says teachers are more important than weapons, JJ sees it out the window of his limo as he is on his way to convince someone to give him funding for a weapons system. I assume he made weapons at some point because I doubt they’d let someone with no experience in that kind of thing take over our nuclear defense strategy.

        I mean, I suppose it could have gone like this:

        This man is going to make it so that missiles moving two and a half miles per second will flip 180 degrees and proceed to go back where they came from without breaking up or falling from the sky, all in American airspace. And, by the way, the missiles in question will be holding nuclear warheads at the time.
        What experience does he have with missiles?
        None. Why do you ask?

        But I deem it likely.

        ** If it’s something you could do without really noticing during a casual conversation then it’s always looming over her. Any time she opens her mouth she’s at risk. She can never feel safe knowing that she hasn’t done anything to set of JJ because she still might say something if she isn’t always on guard.

        She’s the perfect child for JJ because every time she opens her mouth in his presence she has to first make sure he would approve of every word that is going to come out.

        The more involved in the military she gets, the more confusing the minefield, “Ok, I don’t want to say anything negative about the military, so I’ve got to take a complementary tone when I describe these people, but if I do that will dad get pissed off at me for being nice to the Navy? He hates the Navy, but he loves the military as a whole. What do I do to avoid getting the Cal treatment? I wouldn’t talk about it at all, but he asked. I have to say something. O God, please help.”

        Or something like that.

        Grammar question, when directly addressing God is it “O God,” or, “Oh God”?

    • Oh, I see him as, like, 2 on the Kinsey scale. Not 100% heterosexual, but open to experimentation. However he’s obviously going to repress that because of the bad reaction he got from his father.

      A commenter on an older post said that it could come down to JJ being down on Cal because his girlfriend didn’t like him because she could see what a controlling jerk he was being. 🙂

  5. Grammar question, when directly addressing God is it “O God,” or, “Oh God”?

    Technically, it’s the same thing, but “O, God” is what you’re going to see, mostly…

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