Monday, November 20, 2017

Chapter 338 Take it Back

Cassandra clung to Simon as if she were in danger of drowning and he was the last life raft left in the world, the letter from Morris Kramers  Foundation For The Future of American still clutched in her hand. She could barely believe it! She now had the power to go to college, any one she chose and she wouldnt have to worry about money. To hell with her selfish family and what wanted for her. She now had the freedom to do what she wanted.

Emotions overwhelming her senses, she burst out with it before she could stop herself.

I love you, Simon, she whispered.

Damn it, Simon said.

She pushed out of his arms blushing crimson. I Im sorry. I just I mean, this is so amazing and I got carried away and...stuff."

You better not be taking it back, he said. I heard you clearly say you love me, so Im holding you to it!  I love you, too. I just wanted to be the first to say it. Can't believe you beat me to it, damn it.

Cassandra gaped. Seriously, Simon? Youre upset because I said it first?

He shrugged. Im pretty sure I fell in love first, so I should have said it firstjust saying.

She shook her head, incredulous. Maybe Sophies right. We are a bit too competitive.

Nothing wrong in that, he said. So where will you go? Now that you have a full scholarship to any place you want to go…” He made a show of crossing his fingers and loudly whispering, Please let her pick somewhere near meplease please!

She laughed, but it slowly changed to a frown. How can Mr. Kramer I mean, did you ask him to do it? You must've.

Of course, but in my defense he always is looking for worthy people to award these scholarships, Simon explained. His foundation gives out dozens each year, so if it wasnt you it wouldve been someone else probably someone not nearly as worthy nor as pretty.

Something tells me I should be mad at you, but I dont care! she said, hugging him again. Im going to college, Simon, and then, with a bit of luck, maybe medical school and nobodys gonna stop me! This is the absolute best present ever!

Waitwhat just happened? Ronnie had just walked into Simons room with Sophie in tow and for a change, it was Simon startled at the abrupt interruption.

Thought you were gonna wait for us to tell us the good news, Sophie whined. "O'course, I didn't think it was gonna be good news, so this is good!"

Oh what I have to tell you has nothing to do with this, Cassandra said, waving her precious letter.

Sophie took the letter from Cassandras hands, read it and gasped. Holy shit! Is this for reals? she asked.

Yup, Cassandra said, unable to stop grinning. Awesome, huh?

Da-yam, your grandfather is something else, Sophie said. First Ronnie gets an awesome car and the amazing ski weekend in Vale for everybody, then my piano and now…”

Wait Grampa gave you a piano? Simon asked. Ya gotta be kidding me!

Baby grand, mahogany. Its gorgeous! Sophie said, smugly. "All I need is somebody to teach me how to play." She winked at Ronnie and elbowed him in the ribs. "Come on, say you will."

He rolled his eyes. "We'll see."

Whos going on the ski weekend? Cassandra said, but no one listened to her.

Ronnie read the letter over Sophies shoulder and grinned. How cool is that? But will your dad let ya go?

Cassandras face hardened. He has no say in thisnone of them donot anymore, she said taking a deep breath in and slowly exhaling. I left homefor good.

What??? both Sophie and Ronnie shouted.

Guess I gotta start there, Cassandra said.

Ronnie and Sophie exchanged curious looks then sat down on the floor in front of Simons bed. They stared expectantly up at Cassandra, silent and oddly nervous for no apparent reason, except that neither one ever saw her looking simultaneously so determined and unaccountably angry.

What happened today, Cassie? Sophie asked, softly. Did you have a fight with your dad?

Ronnie gave her a stern look. Let her tell it, will ya? he said through clenched teeth. Go on, Cassie. Were listening.

She took another deep breath. Today I discovered my world, the only truth Ive ever known, was all lies. Everything, my very existence, completely fell apart, Cassandra said, biting her bottom lip to keep from crying again. Simon took hold of her hand and gave her an encouraging smile to help her continue. Theyve been lying to me all my life, so that what I knew isnt real, and what is real is unbelievable.

Huh? Sophie said, completely lost.

The man I thought was my father isnt, Cassandra said. And Frankie is not my brother.

Youre adopted? Ronnie said.

She shook her head. Frankie told me his father is actually my grandfather and that...Frankie is my real father. They lied about it all these years cuz well, it was convenient, I suppose.

Stunned silence followed this pronouncement, each person before her wearing a distinctly different expression. Cassandra could see Sophie was dumbstruck, her mouth hanging open in shock. Simon was furious, so much so he had to release her hand to keep from crushing it. Ronnie, however, his expression was inscrutable.

How in Gods name Why would they Where the hell…” In his anger, Simon couldnt seem to finish one question before starting another.

Eeww, eeww, eeww! Sophie said, looking as if she were sucking on mud covered lemons. Do you mean all this time it was your prevvy father and not your brother flirting with me??? Eeww, eeww, eeww!

Simon rolled his eyes. Seriously, Sophie, does everything have to revolve around you?

Ronnie, Cassandra said. What do you have to say about this?

He stared up at her and slowly shook his head. It makes sense, Cassie. Now it all makes sense, he said.

It does? she said, surprised.

I always wondered why your dad was so old, ya know? Now it makes sensehes actually your grandfather, he said. “While I was working with Frankie, and talking to him about you and seeing you two together and how you were and stuff Im telling you, Cassie, I shoulda known he was your dad cuz he always acted like a father, not just a brotherat least when I was around.

Simon nodded. Hes right. We should have known, he said. :He must've been very young when you were born..."

"Oh, he was... fifteen he told me," Cassandra said bitterly."

But why did he have to lie to you all these years? Why didnt he just tell you the truth?"Simon asked.

Its horrible that they lied to you, Cassie, Sophie said.

“Brace yourself. It gets worse, Cassandra said.

Worse??? all three said together.

Cassandra nodded. My fatherI mean, grandfather, told me a long time ago that my mother had died when I was four, but then Frankie told me she died when I was born. They lied about that too... couldn't get their stories straight though... big mistake.

Which ones the lie? Ronnie asked.

Both, she said. My mom didnt die at allat least not when they said she did. It was my grandmother that was taking care of me, sorta like a mom.

OMG…” Sophie muttered, her eyes wide.

They never told you your mom was alive? Ronnie said, shaking his head again. Why???

Did Frankie tell you where she is? Simon asked cautiously.

Or if shes alive still, Ronnie said.

Cassandra shrugged. He doesnt know one way or the other. He hasnt seen her since they took me from her and came to Catalpa Valley to live.

WaitI thought you were born here just like me, Sophie said.

I thought so too, but apparently not. I was born in Queens, Cassandra said. “I told you everything was a lie. My mothers parents made her give me up, so my grandparents took me from her and moved here.

OMG…” Sophie said again. Could she still be there in Queensya think?

Not likely, Simon scoffed. Who in their right mind would want to stay in Queens all their life?

Cassiedo you want toI mean, if you could find herwould you want tomeet your mom? Ronnie asked.

Everyone stared at Cassandra, barely breathing, waiting for her answer.

How could I find her? she said, wiping away the tears slipping down her cheek. I dont know anything about herexcept her name. Donna Makowski.

Well, thats a good start! Sophie said, encouraged. How many Donna Makowskis can there be in New York?

Approximately forty one, Simon said, looking at his phone. But she could be anywherenot in New York at all after all these years.

Mind blown, Ronnie mumbled, looking as if hed just had an epiphany.

What? Cassandra said.

What we need is Uncle Tommy, Ronnie said looking at Simon.

My God, youre right. Uncle Tommy, Simon said. Why didnt I think of that?

Who who is Uncle Tommy? Sophie said. Didnt you say your father was an only child?

He is, but Uncle Tommy was a childhood friend of his, like kindergarten or something, Ronnie said. So we always called him uncle.

Imagine knowing someone all the way from kindergarten, Sophie said smiling at Cassandra who also 
remembered their first day of school and how they became fast friends.

 Betcha he could help find your mom, Cassie, Ronnie said. That is, if you want to.

"I'm not sure that's a great idea..." Simon said, but was ignored.

But how? Cassandra asked eagerly.

Hes like the best private investigator ever, Ronnie said.

Simon made a sound of derision.

He is! Ronnie said. He can find people who dont want to be found. He works for Dads law firm, ya know, and Dad says hes the best. He found Georgianas real father and discovered that Peteruhnever mind that. Hes good, is all.

Hes a flake, Ronnie, Simon said. Barely can find his own shoes at times.

Sophie laughed. So which is it? Hes a flake or is he Sherlock Holmes?

More important, Cassandra said. How much would he cost?

Hell do it just cause I ask him, Ronnie said. "He can help you find your mom, Cassie. I know he can!"

You have him on speed-dial I suppose? Simon said.

Ronnie smirked and pulled out his cell phone. Matter o fact, I do.

That shut him up!

©2017 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved  

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