Friday, February 27, 2015

Chapter 244 In grave danger



With each passing moment spent in Cassandra's company, Simon was becoming increasingly convinced that he might be in grave danger. Danger, that is, of falling irrevocably in love with her, which would be most inconvenient at the present time. Medical school and the pressures inherent with it do not leave much time for romance. He honestly couldn't say, however, he'd ever known anyone he liked so well on so little acquaintance as he did this funny little girl, who was an odd and delightful mixture of wit, intelligence, naivete and childish resignation.

Cassandra reminded him of someone...someone sweet and delicate, yet strong in character, infinitely amusing and...holy crap! He gazed at her as the realization hit him like a force of nature. She reminded him of Violet! He was more like his father than he thought, but did that follow that Simon was also in danger of ending up a lovelorn fool like his father? God help him!


This is the most fun I've had in...forever,” Cassandra said, holding the string of lights while Simon wrapped them around the uppermost branches of the Balsam fir his grandmother had sent him and Ronnie to bring for Violet.

Simon gave her a pitying look. “Seriously, Cassandra, you need to get out more,” he said.

Try telling that to my father,” she said with a sigh. “I mean it. Please tell him! Not that he'll listen to you, but if enough people tell him that I'm kind of grown up now and that he needs to let go of me and let me live a little, he might at least consider it... some time...like hopefully before I'm fifty or something.”

I'll do what I can,” he said, smirking. “I expected your brother to already be here to check on you. That's what he said he'd do last night.”

Did he? He didn't say anything when I called him,” she said.

You already talked to him today?”

Uh-huh, right before I took the shower. He said he wouldn't worry about me since I would be here with Sophie,” she said.

"Did he tell your dad what happened to you last night?" Simon asked.

She shook her head. "Believe me, it's just better that way. He would freak out and ... I... it's just better."

He watched her as she fitted hooks onto pretty glass globes and hung them on the tree-- where she could reach anyway-- while he did the taller, out of her reach places. She was not telling him something, he could tell, and he suspected what it was.

Your brother's not much better than your father when it comes to seeing you as an adult, is he?'”

Don't have to tell me that,” she said, bitterly. “I can barely breathe without his permission.”

Good thing your lungs don't take orders from him then,” Simon said, giving her an oblong ornament to hang. “Did you mention to him me and Ronnie being here and Violet going to work?”

She clamped her lips together, and avoiding his eyes, shook her head.

Why not?” he asked.

She sighed. "Because if I had he'd have been here to get me in two minutes and I would be back home doing the same thing I always do, twiddling my thumbs while life passes me by,” she said.

Not much fun, huh?”

Don't make fun!”

I'm not, Cassandra. I'm trying to understand why they do this,” he said.

Because...they're old-fashioned, I suppose,” she said. “My father probably wishes I'd become a nun.”

What a waste,” Simon muttered to himself, but in a louder voice he added, “So, you didn't tell them about shopping and the concert tonight or anything?”

Yes, I did,” she said, doing her best to sound defiant and willful, but she only managed to sound like a frightened little girl with a secret. “I'll be with Sophie so my father thinks it's okay.”

Simon nodded absently. That explained how these two rather different girls could be friends. it was more for convenience sake than anything else. "So, your father thinks you're going with Sophie?”

Yes.”

But you didn't say anything about me being your date tonight, did you?”

Yes...I mean...no,” she said, casting a sidelong glance at his disapproving expression. “Don't look at me like that, Simon. You don't know what it's like!”

No, I don't,” he agreed, handing her a star-shaped ornament on a satin ribbon and he pointing to the spot where it ought to go. “I just wish things could be different for you and the only way to do that is to talk to your dad.”

I have til I'm blue in the face,” she whined.

Not you...me,” he said.

Why you?”

Like you said, if enough people talk to your father...”

I was kidding, Simon. He won't listen to you, especially not to you. He'll just see you as the guy trying to corrupt me,” she said.

I'm not Antoine, you know,” Simon said, slightly annoyed.

I know it and you know it, but to my father all boys are Antoine,” she said. “Seriously, he does! He's from the old country and that's how he sees it, how he thinks it is. To him girls do nothing until they get married and then all they do is cook and have kids.”

Simon made a face. “You can't be serious.”

And yet I am,” she said with a sigh. “I'm lucky I get to go to...wonder if Frankie will even let me do that anymore...not after last night and what happened, or nearly happened.”

What do you mean?”

I went to community college at Meridale and took an accounting course. It was like pulling teeth from an alligator to get my father to let me, but I managed it. It was little more than grade thirteen...so pathetic. But anyway, it was enough to convince Frankie I could help him. I've been doing the books for him for a while now, cuz he's horrible with numbers, and they're practically my best friends so...I had some fun there at least....got to hang with some friends from school at night and I love the nights we have live bands...like last night with Ronnie and Sophie singing. It was amazing! But...but I doubt he'll let me anywhere near Danfords now.” She sighed and looked ready to cry. “Might as well slit my wrists and be done with it.”

I hope you don't mean that,” Simon said, very seriously.

She shook her head. “I'm not that dumb,” she said forcing a half smiled. “I'd run away first...and jump off a bridge...when I grow a pair, that is.”

Simon didn't laughed. They were silent for a few minutes. “By old country you mean Italy?”

Of course. Do I look Chinese?” she said.

He smiled. “Suppose not.”

He put down the ornaments he had been about to hang on the tree and took one out of her hand, then he led her to the sofa.

What?” she said. “What are you doing?”

Let's talk, okay?”

After they sat down, she stared at him with a curious expression on her face.

First, may I?” he said, then before she could give an answer, he reached up and released her hair out of that dreadfully tight knot at the top of her head. He shook her hair loose allowing her curls to tumble all around her face. “That's so much better.”

He stared at her and she at him. “Violet told me something about you that I found fascinating and curious,” he started.

What?” she said, her eyes large in her small face.

She said you want to be a doctor,” he said, watching her carefully. “Is this true?”

She looked down at her hands and shrugged. “What difference does it make? Never gonna happen.”

But do you want that? Is that your dream?” he asked.

She shrugged again, but said nothing.

I guess you and Ronnie, while in your science classes, never talked about it and he never told you.”

Told me what?”

No reason why he should I suppose, but I'm in medical school,” he said.

Her eyes lit up. “Oh...how awesome!” she said breathlessly. “Have you a chosen field of study yet? I mean... do you like internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, hematology, neurology, oncology? You could specialize in surgery of the spine, heart or brain, or...oh, so much to choose from!”

He smiled. She had given him his answer. “Although my parents both thought I should become a cardio-vascular surgeon like my grandfather, it's looking more and more like psychiatry is for me... I'm thinking.”

She stared at him for a long time, then nodded. “Yes, I can see it. You're very intuitive,” she said. “You'll be awesome.”

You think so?” he said.

She nodded. “You're so lucky...I mean... I know it's not just luck. It's hard work, a lot of hard work, but I bet you'll do great,” she said.

I imagine you would too, given the chance,” he said.

She shook her head. “Papa won't let me do anything like that. Too unseemly for a female, he says.”

He really does live in the stone age, huh?” Simon said, idly playing with her hair, moving it away from her face, letting his fingers caress her cheek.

Kinda, yeah,” she whispered, hypnotized by his stare, liking his touch a bit too much. 

On autopilot, she leaned toward him without knowing what she did and at the very same time he leaned forward.

They kissed...slowly...softly...

Simon ended the kiss before Cassandra wanted it to. He stared into her dark eyes and smiled. “I think there's only one thing we can do then,” he said.

Really? she thought, she could imagine far more than just one. “What?” she asked.

I'll have to marry you,” he said, and before she could let the words sink in he kissed her again...which left no time for thinking.

At the entrance to the family room, Ronnie and Sophie gaped open-mouthed, then slowly exchanged looks and backed away as soundlessly as they had come.


©2015 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved 

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