C H A P T E R     F I V E
MESSAGE MACHINE*

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      The next day Cassandra stayed at school for lunch accompanied by Isaac. They sat on a dark wooden bench surrounded by different teenage cliques. Isaac sat with his arms crossed laying on the table. Cassandra sat next to him digging through a small paper bag that rested on the bench table top. Isaac rarely brought lunch and Cassandra took it upon herself to provide for him.

      “Here ya go.” Cassandra handed Isaac half of a turkey and cheese sandwich.

      “Thanks.” Isaac unfolded his hands and scooped up the over loaded sandwich. “So how was your business dinner last night?” Isaac gulped down the sandwich in five seconds flat.

      “It was painful but I’m still alive.” Cassandra handed her bitten half of a sandwich to Isaac. She wasn’t that hungry. “We had Chinese food, which my father can’t eat so they made him something else.”

      “Really?”

      “Yeah, he’s allergic to MSG. They put it in everything. The chef had to make him a plate of plain rice.”

      “Well at least he had something to eat.” Isaac looked at all the people around him. Their nice expensive name brand clothing.

      “What’s that supposed to mean?”

      “My mom doesn’t get her pay check until the end of next week so we shared a loaf of white bread.”

      “Oh, Isaac.” Cassandra put her arm around his shoulders and leaned against him closing her eyes for a second. “You should have told me. I can always help you.”

      “It’s not your problem Cassandra. Its my families and mine.”

      “Isaac if it’s a problem for you its a problem for me too.” Isaac cocked his head to look at her and her eye filling beauty.

      “And you know that dinner we’re supposed to have tonight?”

      “Yeah.”

      “Well you know how my temper is and I lose it sometimes?”

      “Yeah...”

      “Well I yelled at my boss last week and he fired me. So I can’t take you out tonight.”

      “Aw, Ike. I thought you were going to play the game and do what he tells you?”

      “That was what I was planning to do, but you try working for him. He’s too demanding and fussy.”

      “Well then what are you going to do tonight?” Cassandra balled up the brown paper bag and threw it into the garbage can that was at the end of the table.

      “Sit at home locked in my room watching the paint peel.”

      “No your not. Your going shopping with me.”

      “Shopping? Shopping’s no fun.”

      “Grocery shopping on me and nothing’s fun unless you make it fun.”

      “No, that’s okay. You don’t have to.”

      “I want to. You know how much money I got from Dale for my birthday. It’s burning a hole in my pocket and I want to spend it on you.” Cassandra placed her index finger on Isaac’s chest.

      “Nothing like a girlfriend buying her boyfriend's family groceries.”

      “So I’ll pick you up at your place around six tonight?”

      “And having her pick you up and drive you around. Yeah, sure, but I’m going to pay you back.”

      “Whatever you say but you don’t have to. And I don’t expect you to either.”

      Suddenly Cassandra was pushed from behind and her stomach plummeted into the lunch table. Isaac turned around and shoved the guy that fell on Cassandra. “Watch where your going freak!” He exclaimed starting to get up and start a fight.

      Cassandra turned around facing Isaac and the guy that bumped her. “Oh, Cassandra, I’m sorry.” The guy recognized her from his word processing class. He continued to stare at Isaac who was giving him the evil eye.

      “Oh, hey Tim. It’s okay.” She placed her hand on his forearm telling them both that she was fine and it was no big deal.

      Isaac clenched his hands making large fists. He hated seeing Cassandra touch another guy. It made him fill with anger and discontent. Before he knew it Tim had turned back around talking to his group of friends and Cassandra stood up.

      “Ike are you coming?” Cassandra placed her hand on Isaac’s shoulder.

      He shook off his anger and looked down at Cassandra. “Oh, yeah.” His hands slowly relaxed and he joined Cassandra walking away from the quad.

*****

      Cassandra was picked up by her father and drove home that afternoon. He made no motion to say he was sorry for his behavior the night before, so Cassandra decided to forget about it.

      “How was school?” Dale asked.

      “Boring.”

      They stopped at a red light and something hit Cassandra’s foot. She bent down to see what it was. It was a booze bottle. She picked up the large empty bottle and held it up. “What’s this?” She questioned Dale.

      Dale looked over at it with round eyes. “Umm, oh I drove Dave home from work. Its his.”

       “Oh.” Cassandra put it back down kicking it out of her way. She watched it the rest of the ride home rolling around.

*****

       “Hey dad your answering machine is beeping in your office.” Cassandra passed by the double doored room that Dale used to do his business work in.

       “Could you go listen to it and write down whoever it is and their number?”

       “Sure.” Cassandra entered the room. There were cherry wood book shelves surrounding the entire room filled with thick books. A desk stood at the end of the room with a special made chair behind it and a bulky square chair in the front. The desk was neatly organized with all of Dales work papers nicely alphabetized into filing cabinets that stood to the side.

       Cassandra sighed as she plopped into the chair behind the desk. On the arm of the chair she pushed a button and the chair began to pummel her with it’s soft messaging hands. She then pushed the play button on the answering machine and relaxed into the chair with a pad of paper and pen in hand.

       “You have one new message.” The machine started.

       “Hey Dale, it’s Wallace. I have some info that you might be interested in about the boy you wanted me to investigate, Clarke Isaac Hanson. Well, give me a call. Bye.”

       “End of message.” The machine ended.

       Cassandra sat straight in her chair and stared down at the answering machine as if it were going to say something more. She stood up and exited the room in a huff.

       “How could you?” She found her father in the kitchen.

       “What?”

       “What? You know what you did.” Cassandra reached for her car keys that hung on the wall beside the kitchen cupboards.

       “Don’t you talk to me like that, Cassandra. And where do you think your going?”

       “How could you send Detective Wallace after Isaac?” Cassandra stared straight at her father.

       “I didn’t send the Detective after Isaac. I’m just checking up on Isaac and watching out for you.”

       “I don’t need your watchful eyes Dale. I can figure things out for myself.” Cassandra walked out of the room followed by Dale.

       “Where are you going?”

       “To a friends house.”

       “When are you going to be back? In time for dinner?”

       “No, I’ll stay over there for dinner.”

       Cassandra opened the heavy front door and stepped out slamming it behind her. She walked to her brand maroon Eclipse and unlocked the door sitting down and starting the engine. The car still smelled new having not been used much. The manual still sat in the middle of the driver and passengers tan leather seats. The seats creaked as she made herself comfortable. She then backed out of the drive way and headed to Isaac’s house across town.

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[Chapter 6] [Index] [My Stories]
[Green Eggs And Hanson]