Monday, December 22, 2014

Chapter 232 New boyfriend



Sophie couldn't believe her eyes, nor her ears. She'd never seen Cassandra acting so wild and saying the craziest things, so completely unlike her usual reserved, shy, decorous self. She looked anxiously from Simon's amused face to Frank's concerned one.

“Are you sure she shouldn't go to the hospital instead of just home?” she asked.

“That's what I said but Mr. Medical school over here said she didn't need it,” Frank said, frowning at Simon and especially the way his little sister was holding onto this complete stranger, still singing her silly Simple Simon song under her breath.

“She's just acting a little goofy, surely not much different than how she usually is,” Simon said.

“You don't know her like we do!” Sophie said. “She's a totally different person now... not sure what she could do to herself if she stays like this.”

Simon frowned. “But she won't. I mean...I'm no expert about this, but...Okay, tell you what. I'll call my mentor at school. He's a world renown psychiatrist so he would know what we should do with her. Sophie, can you hold onto her while I find a quiet place to talk on the phone? She's likely to fall off.”

Sophie nodded and put her arms around her friend.

“The office is the only quiet place around here,” Frank said. “I'll show...”

“Don't touch the papers!” Cassandra suddenly shouted. “Don't you dare mess them up. Took me all...”

“All week to put them in order,” Simon finished for her. “Yes, Cassandra, we know. We won't touch them, okay? We'll be right back.”

“Where's Frankie taking my Simple Simon?” Cassandra said anxiously. “He better not kill my first boyfriend. I'll be pretty pissed!”

“No, Cassie, he wouldn't do that. He just has to make a phone call. We want you to get well again, okay?” Sophie said, biting her lip, trying to keep from crying. Others might think this very funny, but she did not.

“He's great...your brother,” Cassandra said giving Ronnie a goofy smile. “He's my new Greek God boyfriend.”

“He is?” Ronnie said, unable to keep from grinning. “Wonder if he knows that.”

She nodded. “ 'Course he does! Already told him I'm gonna jump his Classic Greek Physique soon as I get him home.”

Ronnie laughed but quickly stopped when he saw tears flowing down Sophie's cheeks. “Hey, what's wrong?”

“What's wrong?” she shrieked. “Cassie's strung out on drugs and it's all my fault. It was supposed to be me...but... I can't believe that either. Antoine was a bully and manipulative and stuff but he would never...”

“Jesus! What about Cindy Harmon and Kelly Fischer and Tina O'Brien? You think they just made it all up then?” he asked angrily.

Sophie wiped at her face. “What about them? Made what up?”

Ronnie gaped at her. Could Sophie truly not know about the rumors, rumors which were nearly proved true if the events of tonight were any proof? Then he remembered all those incidents happened right after Sophie's father died, when she was barely at school and when she did go back to her classes she was little more than a zombie....aware of nothing around her except her own grief.

That explained everything...kind of.

“If you knew he was a manipulative bully why did you go out with...”

“I keep telling you we were never dating!”

“Not what he said... to anyone who would listen.”

“And are ya gonna believe me or him?” she shouted.

“Got me there,” he mumbled. “Point is he's done this before and was about to do it to you...or Cassie...whoever.”

“Oh, Cassie, I'm so sorry!” she said hugging her friend, who had nearly fallen asleep against her shoulder. “It's all my fault.”

“Huh?” Cassandra said, jerking awake.

“We gotta get you home,” she said.

“O—kay...wanna go home....with my Simple Simon,” Cassandra muttered.

Ronnie and Sophie exchanged looks as Cassandra told them in graphic detail all she planned on doing with Simon.

“She's going to be so embarrassed in the morning. Simon won't tease her too much, will he?”

Ronnie opened his mouth, then shut it and blew out a long breath of air. “Don't count on it. He can be a real...dick.”

“You don't think...maybe she'll not remember all this?” Sophie said hopefully.

“It's a good possibility. None of the other girls remembered anything after Antoine...”

“So, it's definite that he did this? It wasn't somebody else?” Sophie said.

Ronnie rolled his eyes. “You are unbelieveable. Your boyfriend can do no wrong, huh? Perfect Antoine!” he said angrily.

“How many time do I gotta say it? He was never my boyfriend and he was hardly perfect,” Sophie said.

“Sure, sure...cuz girls don't go chasing after their boyfriends at the college they want to go to...you chased after him all the way to Florida....hmm....boys chase girls, chase boys chase girls... Sophie you should sing that song with Ronnie. He's a much better boyfriend for ya cuz you can sing together,” Cassandra said, then she giggled and added, “We both have Romanoff boyfriends now. Ronnie's cute and Simple Simon is Beautiful.”

Ronnie ground his back teeth. “I'm not her boyfriend, Cassie, but one of these days I'm gonna be her step-brother and she's just gonna have to live with it.”

Before Sophie could reply, Cassandra grabbed Ronnie's arm. “Ronnie, you'll let me be Sophie's friend, won't you?” Cassandra asked. "You won't be like her shadow."

"Shadow?" he said, lifting her eyebrows to Sophie.

"She means Antoine," Sophie said.

“Hell no! I won't stop you, no way,” Ronnie said.

Just then Frank came back with Simon.

“Okay, the doctor said she needs to be watched, but not necessarily in a hospital. This might kill my dad if I take her to the hospital...it'll seem that much worse to him,” Frank said. “He might have a heart attack when I tell him what happened...what might have happened...”

“He doesn't have to know. She could come home with me,” Sophie said.

“What?” he said.

“Listen, Frankie, my mom loves taking care of people, you know that, especially someone like Cassie who she's known forever,” Sophie said. “We'll care for her, okay? And your dad doesn't have to know. It would just upset him unnecessarily. She'll be fine by tomorrow...right, Simon?”

“She might have a bad headache in the morning and be groggy for a long time afterward—depends how she handles drugs, but a long, deep sleep should fix her up pretty good, make her feel normal again,” Simon said, pushing the hair out of Cassandra's face and smiling at her. “She just needs rest and tender loving care and who does that better than Violet? Our Grandmother is proof of that.”

“What do you mean?” Sophie said, but she was ignored.

“How about that, Cassandra? Would you like a sleepover at Violet's with Sophie?” 
Simon asked. “Just like when you were kids. Remember you told me all about it?”

“Hmmm...I wanna sleepover with my Greek God boyfriend. I'll rock your world!” she said, throwing herself at him.

Frank was looking daggers at him. “You touch her and I'll do worse to you than my men did to Antoine,” he said through clenched teeth. “You sure you can trust these guys, Sophie?”

“Of course we can,” Sophie said, looking from Simon to Ronnie with a funny expression settling on her face. “They're...they're gonna be my step-brothers soon.”

The guys exchanged startled looks, but remained silent, waiting for Frank to make the final decision.

“Okay, take her home with you, but I'm coming over in the morning to see how she's doing,” Frank said, going to his sister and kissing her forehead at the same time watching Simon suspiciously. “You're not going to be staying with Violet, right?”

“Us? No, we're staying at our dad's tonight,” Simon explained. “Does she have a coat? It's really cold outside.”

While Frank went to get Cassandra's coat, Simon and Sophie tried to get her to stand. No good with that notion.

“You're going to have to carry her,” Ronnie said.

“Frank is not going to like that,” Simon replied.

“You want me to do it?” Ronnie asked.

“No, I want my Simple Simon,” Cassandra whined.

Frank came back with the coat and Simon took it from him. Between him and Sophie they got it on her and he scooped her up into his arms.

“My God, you weigh nothing,” Simon said. "I've lifted pillows that weigh more."

“I'm a hundred and two pounds now! I gained five ounces,” she said, as if this was a great accomplishment.

“Maybe Violet will feed you some then, cuz you could sure use it.”

“Can't I have a simple Simon pie?” Cassandra said, giggling in his ear.

He couldn't help laughing too. “Violet gave us some chocolate cake before we came here for Sophie,” he said.

“Oh, I love her chocolate cake! Was it the kind with chocolate mousse in the middle?”

Simon nodded. “It was awesome.”

“I want some!”

“I'm sure she'll save you a slice,” he said.

Much to his consternation, she hugged him tightly around the neck, squealed delightedly in his ear and started singing the Simple Simon song again. He just shook his head and headed for the front doors with Ronnie and Sophie right behind them.

“Oh, crap!” Ronnie said upon opening the doors and seeing the three extra inches of snow which had fallen in the time they were in Danfords.

“It's just a bit of snow,” Simon said stepping outside. “We have four-wheel drive.”

“It's not that. Have you seen what Sophie's wearing?” Ronnie said.

“What?” Simon said turning to see what Ronnie was talking about.

“Look at her shoes,” Ronnie said pointing to the strappy sandals she wore—most unsuitable for this weather although extremely sexy and perfect for a night out dancing.

Simon shook his head in disgust. “Girls are so damn stup...”

“I don't think you wanna finish that statement...big brother,” Sophie said glaring at him.

“Fine then, you're a genius for wearing your Florida club clothes to a hick town bar in the boonies of Upstate New York in the dead of winter. I don't care if you catch pneumonia. Come on! We gotta get Cassandra home,” Simon said and he started toward the truck which was parked at the very edge of the large parking area, as far from the door as they could be.

“She's gonna get frostbite if she walks in all that snow!” Ronnie shouted.

“Then carry her if you're so concerned. I've got my arms full in case you didn't know,” Simon said.

Sophie, grinning wide tossed her arms around his neck and jumped into his arms. “My hero!” she said laughing. “I hope I'm not too heavy for you.”

“I've been hauling Christmas trees all night. I think I can handle one skinny girl,” he said, decidedly uncomfortable having her so close. If he didn't know better, he'd say she was brushing her delectable lips against his neck on purpose.

“I was wondering about that,” she said, nuzzling closer still and loving the weightless feeling of being in his arms. “Why would your grandmother send a Christmas tree to my mom? Does she know my mom?”

“Of course she does. Violet came with us when grandma had a heart attack. She was the one that convinced her to come live with my dad...only...”

“Is your grandmother all right?”

“Oh, yeah...it was nothing too serious, but it sure scared us. Violet was really good though. That was when we discovered my dad and Violet were together.”

“What do you mean?”

“We knew Dad was in love with someone, but he wouldn't tell us who she was. That day when my mother told us to hurry home cuz Grandma was sick, they were coming back from a weekend at a bed and breakfast up near Niagara Falls,” Ronnie explained.

“My....my mother went away with your dad? When was this?” Sophie asked, stunned.

“Oh...August...no, September when the leaves were turning.”

Sophie was silent, taking this all in. Her mother was such a liar and not nearly as old fashioned and prudish as Sophie had suspected all these years. She didn't know her mother at all anymore!

“We were all thrilled Violet and my dad were together and she was great with Grandma. Hell, she even introduced her to her husband... well, not really introduced, cuz they knew each other.”

“Who are you talking about?”

“My grandmother's first love...Mr. Kramer. They got together like two minutes after Violet had them both over for dinner. We ended up moving all my grandma's thing to my dad's house for nothing cuz they ran off to Vegas and got married.”

“Seriously?”

Ronnie laughed. “Totally! It was awesome. I've never seen Grandma so happy.”

“Seems my mom can make loads of people happy...everybody except me,” Sophie grumbled.

“Your mom's awesome. I wish she were my mother,” Ronnie said bitterly.

They reached the truck just then and found Simon trying to convince Cassandra to stay by herself in the backseat, but she would not have that.

“Stay with me, Simon! Don't leave me alone,” she whined and cried...with real tears.

“You can sit with Sophie back here. I have to drive,” he reasoned with her...or rather he tried.

“I'm not going then!” she said and she wiggled to the edge of the seat and was about to jump down.

“Hey, stop that! Stay there!” Simon said.

“What's up?” Ronnie said.

“She's being difficult,” Simon said through clenched teeth. “She won't sit back here unless I stay with her, but I have to drive.”

“I don't wanna sit with Sophie. I want my Simple Simon,” Cassandra pouted.

“I wish she would stop calling me Simple Simon,” he muttered through clenched teeth, pushing her back into the truck.

“Oh, for God's sake,” Sophie said. “Give the keys to Ronnie. Let him drive us home and you go sit with her.”

“I can drive, you know,” Ronnie said, placing Sophie into the front seat then holding out his hand for the keys. “Besides, Cassie wants her Simple Simon close to her and we should humor her.”

Simon wanted to strangle his brother, but instead he tossed him the keys, slid into the backseat and promptly had Cassandra snuggling up to him, warm and cozy, her hands roaming his chest.

Actually, he didn't know why he was fighting this.


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