I have a real treat for you today. Instead of one of my stories, this is a chapter from PK Corey's Cassie's River Living. Cassie has been keeping us entertained for years and now PK has expanded these adventures into a series of books. This is the fourth in the series, yet each one is a stand alone volume. If you are not familiar with Cassie, you are in for a surprise. This is one special gal that keeps life interesting for husband Tom and her friends. Expect the unexpected with Cassie, her antics will keep you on the edge of your seat. Enjoy.
Summer was upon us and it was beginning beautifully. I was especially happy to have the children off school for the summer. I just loved hearing their voices around the neighborhood. Sue and I weren’t together consistently, but we often had coffee together in the morning. We’re working to turn Allie into a coffee drinker, but she insisted on her Dr. Pepper. We continued to try to convert her.
Much of our time is spent on the water. My skiing skills are returning in full force. The children are teaching me to kneeboard, and I’ve been pestering Tom for a jet ski. He insists I’ll soon be growing gills. I sometimes felt like my life has become one long vacation and I loved it. Sue and Steve’s being here has been amazing. We often join together with them and Kate and Chris for large cookouts, and as icing on the cake, Ryan’s here for the summer too. His skills as a landscaper, rather than just someone to mow lawns, have many of the neighbors here clamoring for his help. He decided staying here would be better than driving back and forth every day. He was more than welcomed to stay at our house, but having just turned twenty, he jumped at a chance to have a place of his own. Sue and Steve have a guesthouse, a tiny little thing that is just perfect for Ryan, with a kitchen/living room combination and a small bedroom and bath.
I was delighted that he was to be here with us, and I wasn’t the only one. Allie was thrilled, even thought there continues a strict – you and Ryan may not be alone in his house – policy in effect. The only down side, I realized, for Ryan being here, has been my having to deal with two watchdogs around me. Oh well, I suppose there are worse problems to have.
I’ve done a pretty good job of staying out of trouble, that is until the other afternoon. Sue and I were having a peaceful glass of wine as we watched the river. Allie had just headed off to her new job as a waitress, and Tom and Steve were at a meeting with the town planners, something that often stretched into hours.
One afternoon as Sue and I visited over a glass of wine, were sitting in our rocking chairs like two little old ladies when I kept hearing a strange cry. I thought it sounded like our oldest cat, Maco, but she rarely meowed. I was afraid she was hurt, but I couldn’t find her. One more cry and I spotted her, my baby was up a tree and couldn’t seem to get down. I had no idea how long she’d been up there.
Sue stood with me as I called to her, but it was clear she was stuck.
Sue, who is no help with animals, suggested, “We could throw rocks at her ‘till we knock her out of the tree.”
I won’t repeat my reply, suffice to say Tom would not have approved. I called Ryan, but he didn’t answer. Kate and Chris weren’t home, and I was growing concerned.
“Just leave her, Cassie. She got herself up there, she’ll get herself down. She’s a cat.”
“She could have been up there all night for all we know. She needs food and water. She’s old and scared. I’m going to get her.”
“Look, if I go out on the upper deck, I can almost reach the tree.”
“So? You still can’t get her,” Sue pointed out.
I stared a bit longer. “Okay, I’ve got a plan.” I hurried to the garage and returned dragging the aluminum ladder.
“What the hell?” Sue started. “You can’t climb that thing.”
“I can too,” I assured her. “Now hold it while I run upstairs.” I came out on the upper deck and with Sue’s help from below, I hauled the ladder up. Now it easily reached up into the tree. “Come up here and hold it steady for me,” I called to Sue.
Sue commented, “If you don’t fall and break your neck, Tom is going to break your butt. Just leave her until one of the fellows gets back.”
“Tom might not be home for hours, and you’re going to keep your mouth shut about it, so he won’t know. Now come hold this ladder,” I repeated.
With a huge sigh, Sue put down her drink and came upstairs to steady my climb. I wasn’t worried about the climb. I’m in pretty good shape from swimming and biking and such, but it was a little scary as I reached the tree and drew myself into it. Maco, however, was not cooperating and the commotion caused her to climb higher. Cursing under my breath, I tried to follow.
“What the hell are you doing now?” Sue asks somewhat alarmed for the first time.
“I just need to get a tiny bit higher,” I answered as I tested each branch.
“Cassie, get your butt down here. You’ll break your neck and Tom’s going to blame me. GET DOWN!”
“Oh hush!” I told her. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
Meanwhile, I was getting close to Maco, she hadn’t climbed any further. Now the tree was a very safe one – good stout branches well spaced. By climbing up no more than a couple of feet from where the ladder stood against the tree, I could finally touch her, and I quietly stroked her cheek. But as I reached to grab the scruff of her neck, she tried to leap over me, scratching my neck and arm in her dive toward the ladder. She landed solidly on the top rung, surprising Sue who let go. Maco’s leap caused the ladder to slide sideways and fall down onto the stone patio beneath. In one graceful leap Maco landed on the lower deck rail, calmly leaping into the very chair I had vacated and curled up contentedly.
Blood dripped from my wounds and I spent the next few minutes remembering and practicing all the bad language Tom won’t let me use. Sue, listening to my diatribe and seeing that I had a firm grip, grinned up at me.
“Can I throw a rock at her now?” She wanted to know.
I didn’t have a free hand to flip her off, though it did cross my mind. I assessed my situation. It wasn’t very good, and I suddenly wasn’t feeling very secure. I’m not a tree climber by nature, and I was now afraid to let go. I was going to need some assistance and I was going to need it in a hurry. Tom would be home eventually.
“Can you get the ladder back up here?”
Sue went to the ladder. “Cassie, it’s messed up,” she called up to me. “I don’t think it’s safe.”
“Try Ryan again,” I called down.
Praise God, he answered. “Ryan you have to get right over to Cassie’s. She’s really got herself up a tree this time.” She paused to listen and then shouted, “I just told you – she has herself up a tree. Now get over here and help us.”
It seemed to take forever, but I suppose it was only minutes before Ryan pulled up and came around back. He looked questioningly at Sue, who simply pointed up at me.
“Cassie, good grief! What in the world…”
“Ryan, hush and get me down from here. Tom is going to be home any minute and he can’t find me up here or he’ll kill me,” I commanded. Ryan didn’t look happy at all.
He stalked to the garage only to return asking, “Where’s the ladder?”
Sue, actually seemed to be enjoying herself, waved her glass of wine toward the patio and announced, “She broke it.”
Ryan saw the bent brace and just shook his head. Without so much as another word to me, that boy took out his phone and called the rescue squad. I know now he was worried about getting me down safely by himself, but at that moment I could have shot him.
“Why did you do that?” I flared.
“I could ask you the same thing,” he shot back. I told you he was getting more like Tom every day.
Ryan did ask them to come without lights and sirens, and they complied, but in a small town everyone and their brother seem to follow a fire truck, even a small one.
Can you imagine how foolish I felt sitting in a tree with the whole neighborhood staring up at me laughing?
But of course, with my luck holding true to form, it was only moments later that someone joined the crowd who was not at all amused by my predicament. From my perch I could see Tom pull in and my heart sank. I had the distinct feeling that sitting on that small hard branch was the most comfortable my rear was likely to be for a while.
Ryan had had one eye on me and the other watching for Tom to get home. The minute Tom rounded the house, Ryan was headed his way saying, “She’s fine, just fine.”
“What’s going on?” Tom’s question was quickly answered as the firemen got the ladder placed and one began rapidly climbing toward me. My rescuer was very professional, but still had a hard time suppressing a grin as he guided me carefully onto the ladder and assisted me in my decent. I thanked him quickly, but sincerely, and turned to Tom.
“Don’t worry, honey, Maco’s just fine. Me too,” I added as I saw his serious look.
“You’re bleeding,” he observed, his eyes narrowing. He hugged me and I felt him sigh. “Cassie Jane, what am I going to do with you?”
I didn’t like the ‘Cassie Jane’, but he said no more.
Ryan approached me with a truly guilty look on his face. “I’m really sorry, Cassie. I just wasn’t comfortable getting you down by myself. I had to call them.”
There was no way I could ever stay mad at my boy. I hugged him and told him, “I know.”
“You did exactly the right thing, son. I appreciate the way you handled this.” Tom was telling him. “And now would you mind driving Sue home, please?”
“Oh that’s all right, I think I’ll stay a while longer,” Sue answered with a grin. Bless her heart, she was trying to help me out.
“Oh, fine! I’ll go,” she snapped at Tom, after a pointed stare from him. “But for once could you not be yourself?”
Ryan gave me another hug and said, “I love you, Cassie. Please keep both feet on the ground, okay?” As Tom shook his hand, Ryan grinned at him and said, “I think I’m beginning to understand.” Now what the heck did he mean by that?
Tom took my hand and led me to the bedroom. “Take off your blouse,” he told me. Well I supposed that was better than my slacks. He carefully washed my neck and arm – that stung, but I knew better than to complain. He bandaged the place on my neck, which did look bad. He frowned as he did it. He does not like seeing bandages on me – to him it’s proof of unladylike activities.
He took my hand again and led me out into the bedroom where he sat on the bed and asked me, “Cassie, would you care to tell me what in heaven’s name possessed you to climb up in that tree?”
I gave him a quick kiss and said, “No, honey, not really. I would rather forget the whole thing. I’m hungry. Let’s go out tonight.” I turned to leave the room, but he grabbed my hand.
“Huh-uh!” Tom said, holding me firmly. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“I did too!” I said, looking at him sternly. “You asked me if I cared to tell you, and I said no. Now can we go eat?”
All right, I knew it wouldn’t work, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. Tom pulled me over his lap and began, once again, to prove that he is a master at the hand spanking. He was making quite an impression already, but yet he stopped to take my pants down. He didn’t make a move toward the ivory brush and I was grateful – for a moment. He continued with his hand, but bare bottomed it was stinging like crazy. He finally started talking.
“You know how dangerous that was. Maco could have gotten down by herself or someone would have helped her without you climbing up there after drinking all afternoon with Sue.”
Now that wasn’t fair. We hadn’t ‘been drinking all afternoon’ we had had a glass of wine or two, but I made the mistake of saying this to Tom. Owww! That didn’t lighten his hand one bit.
“I don’t like you drinking at all when I’m not with you and you know it. I haven’t said anything since you haven’t been going out in the car or the boat. I didn’t realize I had to add ‘no ladders or tree climbing’ to your list of don’ts when you and Sue have your afternoon drink.”
Tom is so good at multi-tasking, talking doesn’t slow him. I was beginning to worry that the radiant heat might cause his hand to burst into flame.
“Stop! Please, Tom, that’s enough!” I begged.
Tom paused and rubbed a bit. His voice was softer and more serious when he started talking again. “Cassie, you are not invincible. And you are not thirty any more. You are going to keep tempting fate until something happens to you unless I can get your attention somehow.” He proceeded with the spanking, but not quite as hard.
“Stop! I know exactly how old I am,” I insisted. “You have my attention and my promise. I won’t climb any more trees.” I had actually been a little scared up there, but I didn’t intend to share that information with Tom. “Now let me up.”
Tom helped me to my feet and continued with some aftercare rubbing. I slipped on a skirt and blouse feeling that might have a cooling effect – it didn’t. Tom gave me a hug. “You know I don’t want anything to happen to you, don’t you? You have got to use your common sense. I’m assuming you have some.”
I often wonder how he can think of my rear as being made of cast iron and the rest of me as fine china - delicate and easily broken. This can be so annyoing, he can't have it both ways. I vowed to work to stay on Tom's good side for the rest of the summer. As controlling and bossy as Tom can be, I still love him better than life, and he loves me back just as much. That's all that counts. But I still need to find out what Ryan meant by, "I think I'm beginning to understand. I thought I probably knew, but I hope I was wrong.
I know you want to know what happens next, so click here or here and the book will be on your Kindle or E-reader in seconds.
See you later for more Aimless Ramblings.