C H A P T E R     T W E L V E
YOU BELIEVE ME BABY?*

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       Isaac gently shook Cassandra awake. “Cassandra its already seven o’clock. We have to go get your stuff.” Isaac’s legs had already fallen asleep and were now tingling unbelievably.

       “I’m up.”

       Isaac wiggled underneath her and she sat up. “Come on we have to go ask if we can use the car.” Isaac stood up balancing himself with Cassandra’s shoulder. He shook his legs a couple times and then put his full weight on them. He couldn’t feel his feet at all and when he took a step he almost fell over. “Whoo.” He exclaimed.

       “Are you falling head over feet for me?” Cassandra stabled him.

       “Yeah, my feet, oww!” Cassandra stepped on his foot. “Don’t do that, that hurts.”

       “Okay, sorry, it was just so tempting.” She threatened to do it again.

       “Don’t, if you do it again your not staying here with me.”

       Cassandra put her foot down really quick. “I won’t.”

       “I was just playing with you, Cassandra.” He stated after her quick shape up.

       “Uh huh.” She lead the way out of Isaac’s room. She didn’t like his joke at all.

       “Wait, you stay here. I’ll go find my mom and ask her if we can use the car.”

       Cassandra lingered in the empty white hall way. Her eyes falling to the dark shaggy rug. The base boards were banged up showing their true brown wooden color under the stark white paint. She scooted her feet over the carpet feeling the softness of it. In her house she didn’t have carpet. The hardwood floors and tile were always cold and hard. Isaac started towards her as she lifted her eyes to the acoustic ceiling. After checking out the light that had a burned out bulb she heard something jingling. She looked down to see a set of keys in Isaac’s hand.

       “Got them.” He dangled them, making them clang together.

       “So you did.” Cassandra whispered smiling. She remembered Mr. Hanson in the next room and decided to keep quite. Little did she know that was not an issue. Mr. Hanson had been passed out for the last hour. There was no waking him.

       “So lets get it a movin’.” He lightly gave her a push all the way to the door and they leaped down the steps of the porch. Isaac unlocked the passenger door and directed Cassandra in. He went around and hopped in himself.

       “It might get a little breezy. This car doesn’t have a heater and its kinda drafty.” Isaac pointed to where the doors didn’t meet the car frame.

       “I think I’ll live.” She had lived through this much she could definitely stand a breeze.

       Isaac turned the car on. It roared with power yet sounded like it was a dying wild animal. “It does that.” Isaac stated as he saw Cassandra’s eyes widened not sure of what to think.

       “Oh.” Cassandra reached for the seat belt.

       “Oh, and there’s no seat belts either. You’ll just have to trust me.” Trusting in him wasn’t a problem it was all the other crazy people on the street. Cassandra placed her hands in her lap and nodded.

       Isaac was right, it was definitely an airy ride. Cassandra’s knees banged together and her teeth chattered. They pulled into Cassandra’s driveway. The security lights flashed on as their detectors caught sight of them.

       “What if he’s up?” Cassandra saw the light in the living room on.

       “He’s not up. If anyone knows drunks it’s me. I’ve lived with one for, well since I can remember. He’ll be out like a light.” Isaac got out of the car. “I’m even going to come in with you.”

       Cassandra didn’t move much just sat in the car pondering over the possibilities.

       “Come on now, no dilly dallying.” Isaac opened the passenger door and took her hand pulling her out. He shut the door with a slam and they headed to the front door.

       “Are you sure you should go in?” Cassandra placed her hand on the door knob ready to turn it.

       Isaac put his hand over hers and turned the knob. “Yep.” They both stepped in.

       The house was illuminated by its many light fixtures. They walked into the living room and were greeted by a comatose Dale. He was laying halfway on the couch and half on the wooden floor.

       “Was I right or was I right?” Isaac ventured over to Dale prying the large empty booze bottle from his hand and placing in on the end table. He then lifted Dale’s legs onto the couch.

       “Don’t touch him.” Cassandra was afraid he would wake him.

       “All right.” Isaac said stepping away from Dale. “Well, lets get what we came here for.”

       They both went to Cassandra’s room and got her back pack and clothes for that night and the next day.

       “I just want to check something real fast.” Cassandra descended the stairs.

       “Well hurry up, he might wake up soon.” Isaac followed her to the kitchen.

       “I thought you said he wasn’t going to wake?”

       “Well, I don’t know how much he drank and how long he’s been passed out. He could wake up in a couple of minutes or hours.”

       “Oh.” Cassandra flicked on the light to the kitchen. “Just as I thought.” She whispered to herself. The mess from the dinner was still present. “I just need to clean this up. Just one second.” Cassandra bent down picking up the food.

       “Cassandra we don’t have time for this.”

       “I have to.”

       “Fine.” Isaac bent down with her hurrying to clean it up.

       A few minutes later the kitchen was clean and they headed out the front door and back to Isaac’s house.

       “I wonder what he’s going to do when I don’t come down to get a ride to school tomorrow morning?” Cassandra sat on Isaac’s bedroom floor doing her homework. Isaac sat above her on his bed doing his.

       “Maybe he’ll think you got up early and got a friend to drive you or walked.” Isaac looked up from his math book.

       “Maybe.” Cassandra breathed. “Okay, finally I’m done.” Cassandra put her school work back into her back pack. She saw that Isaac still had his face stuck in a book so she rested her head back on to the bed. After a few minutes Cassandra broke the silence. “You know what else he did?” She said out of nowhere.

       “What?” Isaac was becoming paranoid.

       “Well, Dale has this detective friend, Wallace, and he got him to check your background.”

       “He did what?”

       “He looked you up.”

       “Your dad is something, you know that?” Isaac was somewhat flabbergasted.

       “Yeah, I know.”

       “So what did he find on me? Anything I should know about?”

       “Not much, just that you got fired from your job.”

       “Yeah?”

       “For stealing.”

       “Oh great, now I have that on my record.” Isaac dropped his head.

       “It’s true? I didn’t think it was true.”

       “Of course it’s not true. I didn’t steal from Shawn. He’s a big liar. But that’s the reason he fired me. He thought that I stole from him but I didn’t. And when he confronted me about it I blew up on him.”

       “I knew it wasn’t.”

       By the second Isaac was becoming more and more irritated with Dale.

       “Yeah well, your just special.” Isaac brushed his hand over Cassandra’s hair.

       “I know it.” Isaac bent down and kissed her. “Are you done with your homework?” Cassandra asked.

       “Nope.”

       “Mmm, what time is it?” Cassandra was feeling tired.

       “Its about ten. You about ready to hit the sack?”

       “Yeah.” Cassandra yawned. “I’ll just take the floor.”

       “No, you won’t. You’ll take me bed and I’ll take the living room couch.” Isaac protested.

       “Really, its all right. I like the floor.”

       “Nope, da da da da da. I’m not listening.” Isaac sang.

       “Your pathetic.” Cassandra laughed at his childish antics.

       “I can’t hear you.” Isaac said as he stood up. “I’ll just take this and,” He took his work and walked over to his dresser pulling out some clothes. “this and,” He went back to his bed and snatched one of his pillows. “this and one more thing.” He went to his closet and grabbed a blanket that was on the top shelf. “I’ll be going now. Get dressed and go to bed.” He walked over to her with his arms full. “Night.” He kissed her lips.

       “Night.”

       Isaac left the room and closed the door behind him. Cassandra took her night gown out and started to get dress when she heard a knock on the door.

       “Cassandra are you decent?” She heard outside the door. It was Isaac.

       She hurried with her clothes. “Ahh, just a second.”

       Isaac waited outside until he heard Cassandra’s “Okay”. Isaac opened the door with his hands still piled with the blanket, pillow, and clothes.

       “It just so happens that the couch is already taken.” He looked at Cassandra plopping his belongings onto the floor. Cassandra wore an over-sized shirt that went to her knees and a pair of white socks. “So I’ll have to share the room with you, of course on the floor, that is.”

       “Fine with me.” Cassandra lowered herself into Isaac’s bed and covered herself.

       “Alrighty, just throw something at me if I snore or something.” He laughed.

       “Will do.” Cassandra watched him lay down his blanket and pillow. When he started pulling at his shirt she laid down facing the other way.

       Isaac walked over to the lamp and clicked it off which made the room pitch black. “Night Cassandra.” Isaac said as he laid down and pulled the blankets over his tank top and boxer covered body.

       “Actually, I have to go the bathroom.” Cassandra sat up. She carefully stood up dragging her feet along the floor so she wouldn’t step on Isaac or anything painful.

       “It’s the door straight across the hall.” Isaac told her.

       “Thanks. I’ll be right back.”

       “Uh huh.”

       When Cassandra was done she ventured back to bed. “Night Isaac.”

       “Night Cass.”

       “Thank you for letting me stay and understanding.”

       “That’s what I’m here for.”

       The both fell asleep in deep reflection of the days events.

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© 1999 Alana Gustafson