chapter thirty

“I need a chair!” I heard Nick exclaim. Typical, he hadn’t been here two minutes and already he was looking to pick on someone. That someone turned out to be Charlie, and she wasn’t at all pleased.

“I got here first, Nick, go find another chair.” she told him.

“But I want THAT one. The one you’re sitting on. So move.”

“No.”

“Listen girlie, I have authority, in case you didn’t know. So get out of the chair before I take you out of it myself!”

“Well, Mr. Backstreet Boy, this is MY house, and I am the one with authority here, not you. So get out of my face and park your keester somewhere else, before I bust this chair over your head. Kapish?”

“Someone’s been watching too much wrestling,” I joked, coming between the two before they had a chance to shed blood. “Nick, can you tell me who’s on their way over?”

“Kevin and Brian can’t make it, but they said they’d be around later in the week. I couldn’t get a hold of AJ, and Howie said he’d be here in a few.”

I thanked Nick and excused myself. I went upstairs to my room, where Marissa was going through my video collection.

“Are you ready?” she asked when she heard me walk in.

“Not really,” I admitted, plopping down on my bed. “At least I don’t have to explain this to my mother at the same time. That would be hell.”

I had told my mother the minute I had gotten home, Marissa in tow. I called her up at her house and explained everything. Everything I wouldn’t tell her during her visits to the hospital, what I had done at Marissa’s house, and everything the doctor had told me that morning. After a bout of tears on both ends of the line, she told me she trusted me, she’d support me in everything, and that she knew her little girl would be all right. That gave me the confidence I was lacking, and then some.

*~*~*

I hadn’t counted on the radio station crew leaving before I came back downstairs. They left with a variety of excuses, ranging from headaches to previous engagements. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to know, but I was thankful the lot of them were gone. It took a weight off my shoulders. Temporarily. They’d have to find out soon enough, and I’d endure hours of questions and explanations later.

But that wasn’t important right now. What mattered was the task at hand, the explaining I’d have to do in about five minutes. Downstairs, I was greeted with an unexpected surprise. AJ had made it after all.

It was somewhat unpleasant. Forget ‘somewhat,’ actually. It was more like ‘very’ unpleasant. I had put him through a lot lately, the assault that caused this reunion being the worst. I didn’t want him to hear what I had to say tonight; he didn’t deserve hearing any more bad news from me.

What he did deserve from me, I thought, was an apology. That would come before anything else. I made my way over to where he was standing and managed a small smile.

“Hey you. long time, no see,” he greeted, his gaze questioning my very presence.

“Likewise,” I replied. Slowly, I began. “Listen, I wanted to apologize to you for my behavior this past month and a half. You didn’t deserve to be at the end of my attacks.”

“I knew I hadn’t done anything to deserve that!” he exclaimed, a smile lighting up his features. “But don’t apologize. We both went through enough that night, and I’m guessing that’s where all the hostility came from.”

“Yeah, that’s basically where it began,” I admitted. “And I’ve a plan to have it end tonight.”

“How so?” he asked, eyebrow raised questioningly.

“That’s something you’ll have to wait and hear along with everyone else,” I told him. “I don’t think I can explain the situation more than once in the same night.”

“Explain the situation? What are you talking about, Cass?”

“You’ll see,” I assured him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Marissa motion for me to get it over with. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go meet with my advisor right now. Please be patient, AJ.” I gave him a quick, warm hug before adding, “And understanding.”

[chapter 29 | chapter index | chapter 31]