C H A P T E R     S E V E N T E E N
SUDDENLY I’M FALLING*

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      The next day early in the morning Cassandra was waiting for her father to drive her to school. He came down the spiral staircase with a smile on his clean shaven face. He wore his navy blue suit with his matching shoes and tie. “Good morning sweetie.” He skipped down the stairs.

      Cassandra looked up at him warily. “Morning.” She spoke.

      “You ready to go to school?” Dale picked up his brief case.

      “Yeah, just a sec.” She stuffed her lunch into her back pack. “Okay now I’m ready.”

      “Well lets go.” He ushered her out with the palm of his hand to her back. He was definitely bright and cheery this morning. He hopped down the two porch steps after Cassandra and they both loaded into his black BMW.

      “See you after school, Cassandra.” Dale leaned his face over to her, waiting for a kiss. Cassandra cautiously leaned the rest of the way over and met him with a small kiss. “Bye.”

      “See ya later.” Cassandra stepped out of the car and waved to her father. She shook her head in confusion as she walked into ‘Freedom High’s’ entrance.

      Isaac walked up to her stringing an arm around her shoulders. “How ya doin’?” He asked.

      “I’m all right I guess. Dale was just a totally new person this morning. Its so strange.”

      “They have their good days and bad days.” Isaac remarked. “In my case its always the bad days though.” He stifled laughed.

      Cassandra looked at him with sympathy. He had lived with his alcoholic father longer that she had, but somehow hers became more important or more critical.

      They reached Cassandra’s locker and Isaac took it upon himself to open it without her asking like she always did. “You didn’t call me last night. I didn’t know what to think.” Isaac sounded a little disturbed.

      “Oh, sorry about that. I didn’t know what time you got home and I didn’t want to call to late either.” Cassandra replied. “How was the first day of work?” She slipped out her two books from her locker and closed it back up.

      “I got home around eight-thirty. It was all right. Actually kind of fun, if you like getting paper cuts from the stupid brown paper bags.” Isaac chuckled along with Cassandra. “Its pretty cool. I know a few other people that work there too. Plus the girl I bag with, Lucy is cool. She’s so small that I ended up helping out all the people that want help out.”

      “You’re weird.” Cassandra elbowed him in the ribs.

      “I know it.” Isaac whispered in her ear as she squirmed away from his hot breath.

      “Don’t do that.” She cocked her head away from him.

      “What’s this?” He blew in her ear harder, over and over.

      “Stop it!” Cassandra squeaked and stepped away from him. “I’ll do it to you if you don’t stop.” She warned.

      They both looked at each other as the bell rang. “Awe, to bad.” Isaac whined. He held her chin, lifting her face up and lowered his lips to hers.

      “TTFN.” She mumbled as she walked off.

*****

      “Da da da da DAAAA!” Isaac yelled as he ran up to Cassandra at lunch time. “I thought I’d never find you.” He added drama. He placed his hands on either side of her face and touched his nose to hers.

      She flared her nose and raised her eyebrows. “You mean my evil scheme of running way from you didn’t work as I planned?” Sarcasm dripped from her voice.

      “Oh, so your plotting against me?” Isaac pulled away looking at Cassandra’s friends that were sitting at the lunch table they were standing in front of. “Did you hear that girls? Are you all in on it too?” His eyes darted from one girls eyes to the next.

      “I’m so sorry Sir Isaac, we are.” Tasha cast her head downwards.

      “Your all turning against me.” Isaac backed away, a smile pleading to be realized. “Its a conspiracy theory. Is the whole world planning against me?”

      Cassandra walked up to him and blew in his ear which made him unleash all his pent up laugher with everyone else’s. “Ahh hahahaha.”

      “That’s what I thought.” Isaac collected himself.

      Cassandra went to sit down with her friends when Isaac tapped her shoulder. “Can we go eat somewhere...alone?” He proposed.

      Cassandra looked at her friends they all gave her a nod signaling that it was fine with them. “Go do what you guys do all alone.” Tasha snorted.

      “Yeah, go get your grove on.” Lindsay bellowed.

      Cassandra looked at them with evil eyes. “Be quiet.” She lisped. “We only do that at home.” She teased.

      Cassandra and Isaac walked off passing the basket ball hoops. “Hey Isaac, Cassandra!” Someone called.

      They both turned around to see John. “Hey John!” Cassandra and Isaac spoke in unison.

      “I have another party this weekend. You’re both invited.”

      “Really? After last weeks incident?” Cassandra looked at him shocked.

      “Are you kidding that just so happened to be the hit of the party.” John marveled.

      Isaac raised his shoulders and looked down at Cassandra. Cassandra looked up at him her eyes telling him that she would like to come. “Okay, we’ll be there. Thanks.”

      “See ya guys later.” John jumped back into his game of B-ball.

      “Hopefully we won’t make a scene this time.” Cassandra walked with Isaac to ‘their tree’.

      Isaac just nodded taking a seat and pulling Cassandra down into his lap. He circled his arms around her waist and just sat there looking at his surroundings.

      “I wonder if Dale is going to be totally smashed when he comes to get me today.” Cassandra fiddled with Isaac’s fingers.

      “Do you have to bring him up? I was having such a peaceful moment with you.” Isaac pulled his arms off of her as he grabbed her lunch in her back pack.

      “I was just wondering. He was so much the ‘good old’ Dale this morning.”

      “People don’t change over night.” Was Isaac’s comeback. He invaded Cassandra’s lunch biting at the turkey sandwich she made.

      “Maybe they can.”

      “They don’t, trust me.”

      “Well I wish he did. It seemed as though he changed into the bad guy over night, why not change back over night?” Cassandra muttered.

      “I know babe, but it doesn’t happen like that.” Isaac rubbed her back.

      “Last night I had a dream with my mother again. She said that it was going to be okay.” Cassandra turned around facing Isaac and picking up her mini bag of chips.

      “She’s right.” Isaac smiled as he snatched a chip from her.

      “Lets hope. So are you going to be home the same time tonight?”

      “Should be. Call me this time.”

      “I will.”

      “I didn’t see you after school yesterday.” Cassandra grumbled.

      “Mr. Henry let us out early so I just got a head start walking to work.” He lied. He felt it come out choppy like he would accidentally say the wrong thing and she would figure out what he tried to do to her father.

      “Well that’s good.”

      “Yep.”

      They continued to share lunch with each other and bond.

*****

      Cassandra walked up to her fathers car. She opened the door to be greeted by Dale’s warm smile.

      “Hey sweetie.” He greeted.

      “Hi.” Cassandra got in.

      “I have a lot of apologizing to do.” Dale started as he drove out of the parking lot. Cassandra looked at him with hopeful eyes. “I know the past few days have been so terrible. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

      Cassandra remembered her talk with Isaac. “No one can change over night. It doesn’t happen.” This was definitely contradicting his words.

      “I’m so so so so sorry.” Dale went on apologizing.

      “Its okay. I knew you would return to your regular self one day.” Cassandra smiled as she twisted him her seat staring at her father wanting to wrap her arms around him and squeeze tighter than she had ever.

      “And to make up for my behavior I’m taking us both to Oklahoma City for the weekend.” Dale pointed to the suit cases in the back. “I already packed for us were going to take off right now.”

      Cassandra smiled even more, but one thing bothered her. Isaac. “Um, Dale can you just drop me off at Tasha’s house really quick. I was supposed to drive her some where. I have to tell her to get another ride. Its right down on July street.”

      “Sure sweetie.” Dale made a correction in his driving as he turned right. “Is she going to be home already?”

      “I’ll leave a note in the mail box if she’s not.” Cassandra hopped out of the car as they parked in front of Tasha’s house. She brought her note book and pen in case no one was home. She knew no one would be home. She sat on the porch and wrote a note sticking it in the mail box and ran back to her fathers car.

      “Was she home?” Dale asked.

       “Nope.” Cassandra sighed. She hoped Tasha would get the note and give it to Isaac.

      “Oklahoma city here we come!” Dale roared as he turned on the radio and merged onto the freeway.

*****

       Tasha got a ride home from her boyfriend Jake.

       “You want to come in? Everybody’s at work now.” Tasha asked Jake as he opened the car door for her.

       “Sure.” Jake followed her to the door where she unlocked her front door. “Want me to get your mail?” Jake opened the flap to her mail box.

       “Yeah, thanks.” Tasha lead the way into her spacious house.

       “Here you got a note from.. it looks like Cassandra.” Jake handed her the folded, white lined paper.

       “Huh.” She took the note and read the first fold.

      

Tasha please give this to Isaac its very important. He works at the new Von’s on Vista Way. He’s a bagger. It shouldn’t be hard to find him. Please do it as soon as you can, its very important. Thank you so much.
Love, Cassandra

       “Jake do you mind driving me to the new Von’s on Vista way?” Tasha asked with pleading eyes.

       “No problem.” Jake grabbed Tasha’s hand and they walked out back to his car.

       Tasha told him that she had to give the note to Isaac, Cassandra’s boyfriend.

       “Read the letter.” Jake asked as they drove to Von’s.

       “I can’t do that its not to me.” Tasha looked down at the folded paper in her hand. “She apparently trusted me with it.”

       “Enough for her to give it to you without an envelope and read it.” Jake stopped at a red light.

       “Nuh uh.” Tasha shook her head. Her curiosity getting the better of her. “I’ll just ask Isaac.”

       “All right.” Jake smiled as he looked at Tasha as she fiddled with the paper wanting so bad to read it.

       They finally parked in Von’s parking lot. “Okay, I’ll be right back unless you want to come?”

       “I’ll come.” They both hopped out of the car and walked into Von’s.

       Tasha spotted Isaac standing at the end of a cash register bagging groceries. “There he is.” She pointed to him and they swiftly walked up to him. “Isaac.”

       Isaac turned around. “Tasha?”

       “Cassandra left this in my mail box to give to you.” Tasha handed him the note.

       “Oh, thanks.” Isaac opened the paper.

Isaac,
Guess what? Dale apologized. He said that he was really sorry for everything he did. Can you believe it? You said it couldn’t happen, but it did. He changed over night. And to show me how sorry he is he’s taking me to Oklahoma city. So I won’t be home for the weekend or longer, I don’t know for sure. I just wanted to tell you every thing is going to be all right. Mom and you were right. I’ll see you when I get home.
Love,
Cassandra

       “Oh, no.” Isaac said out loud.

       “What is it?” Tasha asked worried.

       “Huh? Oh nothing, just Cassandra’s going to Oklahoma city with her father for the weekend. I hope she’s all right.”

       “What? Its only Oklahoma city? I thought it was something more important.” Tasha walked off with Jake behind.

       “Thanks!” Isaac yelled after them. “Dang it.” He whispered. He quickly threw off his working apron and padded down his pockets for Cassandra’s car keys. He pulled them out and ran out the door to Cassandra’s house to get her car.

*****

       Dale and Cassandra had been driving for quite some time now. The sun light had some what dimmed and the street lights beamed above them. They still had a long drive in front of them.

       “Soon everything will be better, Cassandra.” Dale’s face was plastered with a big goofy smile.

       “We left in such a hurry, did you pack my stuff?” Cassandra looked in the back seat.

       “Yep, everything is packed up in the trunk. Bathing suit, clothes, toothbrush, everything.”

       “Cool.”

       “You’re not seeing that boy anymore are you?” Dale asked.

       “Oh no Dale, lets not talk about that right now. Were having fun.”

       Dale wipped at his perspiring forehead.

       “Where are we going to stay?”

       “I made reservations at the Hyatt Regency.” Dale answered.

       “Oh, that’s supposed to be a nice one.” Cassandra looked over at her father. “Why are you sweating so much? Its not that hot in here.”

       “Its from not drinking. I just feel a little shaky, but I’m okay. Don’t worry honey. Everything is going be just like it was when your mother was alive. You’ll never feel any pain again.”

       Cassandra stared out the window at the sights and pretty sunset.

       “You know I love you, Cassandra. You and your mother are the only people I’ve loved on this planet.

       “I know Dale.” Cassandra continued to watch out the window.

       “I’m not feeling to good.” Dale whipped at the sweat that was dripping from his forehead.

       Cassandra looked at her father worried. “You want to stop somewhere?”

       “No, no its fine.” He reassured.

       “Are you okay?” Cassandra watched him. He squinted his eyes and clasped the steering wheel like it was his life line.

       “I... I’m just going to end our pain.” Before they new it Dale had passed out.

       “Dale!” Cassandra screamed. “Dale, oh my gosh!” She grabbed the steering wheel too late. The road was up high and winding. The car went barreling passed the barrier and over the cliff. It crashed down to the wooded area surrounded by foliage. There they laid, both out cold.

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[Chapter 18] [Index] [My Stories]
[Green Eggs And Hanson]


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© 1999 Alana Gustafson