chapter fifteen

I took the scenic route home. I evaded my home for the longest time, until I couldn’t think of anywhere else to drive to.

Once at home, my answering machine was jam-packed with messages. I had turned my cell phone off, so the number of messages wasn’t really a surprise.

“Cassie, care to explain what just happened?” Keri’s angry voice sounded throughout the living room. “I look out the window and see you pulling out of the driveway. Where ARE you?”

Next message. “Cass, I’m sorry. I don’t know what made you leave, but despite everything, I meant what I said.”

Three other messages followed, similar to the last. AJ wasn’t going to leave me alone, I concluded.

“Cassie? Its me, Nick. Hey, are you OK? Where are you? You got me worried, girl. Get back to me as soon as you get this. I’ll be at Howie’s all day.”

Nick left four other messages, asking if I was alright, if I was home, etc. I sighed, and made a mental note to myself to apologize to him later.

“Cass? Charlie here. Hey, I’m still pretty much in the dark here, but I wanted to let you know that I kind of overheard your argument with AJ, accidentally, naturally, and I wanna let you know I’ll be home soon to talk. Maybe I can convince someone to give me a lift.”

Charlie heard. Great, now she’s going to want an explanation from me, and I don’t feel like reliving painful situations. I deleted all the messages and lay on the couch, trying to fall asleep and regain some strength. After a while, I was lost in a deep slumber.


“AJ, we need to talk.”

AJ jumped at the voice. No one had spoken much to him since Cassie had left.

“OK, fine.” he replied.

“Lets go out front.” Keri suggested. “We’re going to have a nice, LONG talk. Just you and me.”

Sighing deeply, AJ rose from his place on the couch and followed Keri outside.


I was woken up by the sound of a car pulling into my driveway. Not sounding at all like my sister’s car, I went to the window to see who it was. Nick’s green Durango displayed itself nicely next to my Silver Explorer. I muttered some relieving profanity under my breath as I walked outside to greet him. Charlie, my ever wonderful step sibling, was with him.

Nick surprised me by engulfing me in a tight hug. When I pulled away form him, I caught traces of worry in his features.

“Nick, whats wrong?” I asked him, leading the two inside.

“I want to ask you the same thing.” he replied, giving me an all over glance, making sure I was OK. “Why’d you just leave like that?”

“I had to,” I admitted. “It was the only thing I could think of doing.”

“Cassie, why’d you and AJ fight like that?” Charlie asked, concerned. “It sounded as if you two had some sort of history together.”

“We have nothing together,” I denied. “Its just some stupid childish thing.”

“You said it.” Nick said softly, sternly.

“What?” Charlie asked him.

“Nothing,” I told her. “We don’t need to talk about that now.”

“Yes we do,” Nick clarified. “I know its not my place, but I sure as hell don’t want to see you like this any more, Cassie. Either you talk, or I do.”

“Fine.” I grumbled. We all sat in my living room and I began relating the long tale. Funny, though, that it wasn’t as painful as it had initially been.

[chapter 14 | chapter index | chapter 16]