Life is a series of new starts, but sometimes it has to end first . . .
College Daze - Chapter 3
Saturday night, and I was in bed early. What a way to spend a weekend, working early on a Sunday morning. The money would help with the bills, though, and it wasn’t like we were rolling in the stuff. Besides, Tandra had said that she wanted some time to herself. After my conversation with one of my college classmates, she was really pissed at me. I almost thought I was going to have to go to our bed by myself.
“I’ve got to be up by six tomorrow, Sis, so I think I’m going to hit the hay early” I let her know. The clock said it was only ten, which made me think she’d probably stay up until at least midnight. But she got up and headed to the bedroom with me, even taking the time to give me a warm, loving hug.
“Mom and Dad have a rule that they never go to bed angry with each other,” she reminded me, “and I think we should, too. I just hope that your friend taking Cassie out doesn’t come back to bite us in the ass. But if it does, I need you, Keith. I’m in this for the long run. I just hope you are, too.”
I had to admit that I really wanted things between Tandra and me to work. Tonight, she had made the first move towards making our relationship a little stronger, and I loved her for it. As my part of it, I slowly undressed her, taking the time to kiss each part of her skin as it revealed itself. By the time we were both naked, I could feel the heat in her, and the desire in myself.
“Get your ass into that bed” I was told. “If I have to give up my Saturday night, I’m going to make this worth my while.” With that, she pushed me back on the bed, and taking my cock in her delicate hands, began to stroke me until I was hard and erect. I could see her begin to slide down the satin sheets until her head was curled up on my lap as she took my cock between her lips. That delicate little tongue swirled around the rim of my purple helmet, tickling that sensitive spot on its underside before snaking down the ridge of my shaft as I watched myself disappear between her lips. The erotic sight elicited a groan of want from my gut. I felt my head roll back as her pleasuring of me swept down my manhood from the spongy tip to the base. What her mouth didn’t capture, her hand did.
As much as I enjoyed her lips on me, I wanted Tandra’s warmth even more, and pulled her mouth off my shaft. She gave me a quizzical look, as though maybe she was doing something wrong.
“Get those luscious lips up here, girl, and let me taste them” I called her.
She moved up into my arms and pressed her lips against mine, our tongues seeking each other as they danced and tangled. As we kissed, she manoeuvered herself so that her sex was laying on ly lower belly, then slowly slid herself down on me. She was already wet, and the saliva shed left on my manhood acted as a further lubricant, allowing me to slowly sink into her. The heat of her pussy seemed to scorch the skin of my cock as I succumbed to the velvety texture of her love channel. Once she had taken every inch of me, we laid there just enjoying the connectedness of our bodies with each other for a minute or two while we held that kiss. Tandra began to rock up and down my shaft slowly and sensuously, gently pleasuring both me and herself. Almost by instinct, I matched her rhythm, to the point where we were pumping ourselves on each other at a steadily-increasing pace. Soon she was almost slamming herself against my pubic bone, her pearl of passion now exposed and rubbing itself against the base of my cock.
“Mmm, you feel good” she murmured in my ear as our lips parted. “When I’m with you like this, I can’t stay mad at you, you know. I feel too close to you to be angry.”
I kissed her once more as our pace sped up until it was almost frenetic, and Tandra started to gasp with exertion, her mewls inspiring me to thrust myself harder and harder into her. Suddenly she inhaled sharply, her body going almost rigid, and her cunt clamped itself to my shaft tightly. I did all I could to send her over the top as waves of pleasure seemed to course through her body, and her juices gushed over me. I held her tightly as she soared to her peak of passion, then slowly drifted back down from her adrenaline-fuelled euphoria. She collapsed in my arms for several moments, then began to lift and hump her hips on me, her drenched cunt sliding up and down on my cock once more.
I lasted for several minutes during which Tandra came for me twice, although neither one was as intense as the first one. But when she raised herself up and began to rock her hips sideways at the bottom of each stroke, I felt my balls lift and my cock’s base fill with my semen, then in a massive burst of pressure, string after string of my spunk exploded from me, coating the insides of her sex with their gooey heat. Every muscle in my body strained as I pushed myself to the full depth of her, with my sister experiencing several more aftershocks as she took every drop of my essence into herself.
It took some time until my breathing slowed down to a manageable rate. We were both coated with the sheen of our sweat as the heat of our bodies kept us warm. That post-coital delight of our lovemaking seemed to have grown a little stronger, with neither one of us in a hurry to break the magic of our coupling until my cock slowly softened and slipped out of her. She remained on my stomach, holding me tightly as she fought to regain her own breath.
“I love you, Keith,” were her first words, “but you need a shower almost as bad as I do. Think you can find the strength to walk that far?”
I kissed her in response, then allowed her to leave the cocoon of our caress and lead the way into the bathroom. After a quick shower and wash, I dried her satiny skin, took a swipe at my own, and led her back to our bed.
“What time are you getting up in the morning?” she asked.
“About six. Why? I thought you were sleeping in.”
“I’ll get up with you and make coffee. Once you’re off to work, I’ll have the whole day to sleep, if I want it. But I do have things to do around here, and I might take a walk in the afternoon if the weather’s decent. Getting up to an apartment full of empty first thing in the morning is damned lonely. I remember what it was like at home when you were gone. I’d rather get up early, then come back to bed later.”
She curled up on my chest, and was breathing gently within minutes, and I wasn’t far behind her.
If felt like mere minutes later that the alarm clock started to scream at the two of us, its insistent caterwauling forcing me into wakefulness. As Tandra was on that side of the bed where the clock stood, she tried to take a couple of swipes at the ringer button, then gave up. I pried myself out from underneath her and shut the damned thing off. Despite my inclination to roll over for just a few minutes more sleep, I knew that I’d be in bed until at least ten if I didn’t get up immediately. But my sister looked so peaceful laying there that I didn’t have the heart to disturb her.
It was only ten minutes that I was in the bathroom, shaving, brushing my teeth, and combing my hair, but by the time I was dressed, my sister was in the kitchen making coffee, and I could smell the aroma of bread toasting.
“Not much of a breakfast, I’m afraid, but hopefully it’ll keep you going until lunch. You are stopping for lunch today, aren’t you?”
“If I have time, I will. But if it gets busy, about the best I’ll be able to do is grab one of those pre-digested sandwiches from a corner store. Yech! Those things are terrible, but I guess they’re better than nothing.”
She poured two coffees, with cream in mine and both cream and sugar in hers. Once the toast was ready, she buttered it, then brought two plates, knives, and the jam with her. I leaned over and kissed her as a show of thanks, my reward a soft humming purr as she nuzzled against my lips.
“I missed this when you went away last year” Tandra started to reminisce. “Remember we’d sit at the table on weekends and just enjoy each other’s company? Mom and Dad were usually sleeping in, especially on Sundays, and I didn’t have a care in the world. That’s what this reminds me of, those days at home.”
“Getting homesick already, Sis?” I quipped at her, the tone of my voice trying to sound like a tease.
“No, not really. Just remembering the way things were when we were kids” she let me know in a far-away voice. “Shit, listen to me! When we were kids? Neither one of us are that old yet, are we?”
“No, but it does seem like a long time ago” I commented
“in a galaxy far, far away?” she added, then giggled as something else popped into her mind.
“What? What’s so funny?” I wanted to know.
“Remember that Sunday when you and I were sitting in the kitchen after that ski party? Both of us had way too much to drink the night before. Anyway, I remember sitting there in my bra and panties, and you were wearing a pair of boxers, I think. Neither one of us were really worried about it until Mom came down. I remember shrieking and trying to cover myself up while you just sat there and blushed. God, how long had we been sitting there before she showed up? Half an hour, maybe? Poor Mom must have thought we’d lost our minds! I know Dad came down those stairs two at a time. I wonder what he expected to find?”
“Yeah, I remember that day. Shit, did I ever get a lecture from Dad! I think he figured I was the biggest pervert in town, too. ‘Your own sister! How could you?’ he screamed at me. I didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. Geez, if he could only see us now, huh? The poor guy would have a heart attack!”
Just then, my phone rang, and as it was on the kitchen counter, Tandra reached over to grab it.
“You know someone by the name of Dale Keirnan?” she wanted to know.
“Yeah, he’s my dispatcher. Wonder what he’s got?”
Dale had four parcels at the university to be picked up, with one going downtown, two going to the airport, and the fourth one heading for the far side of the city. The airport ones were a rush delivery. I told him that I’d have them picked up within fifteen minutes. As I hung up, I couldn’t help but see the trepidation in Tandra’s eyes at the prospect of her first day all by herself, and my heart had a tough time staying rhythmic.
“You going to be okay, Sis? You look a little scared.”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. It’s just that I’m so used to you being here in this place with me all the time. But you’d better get your ass off to work and see if you can make us a buck or two. I’ll try to have something ready for supper when you get home. What time you figure, about three thirty?”
“Something like that. If I’m going to be late, I’ll call you. Just remember to take your phone with you, and turn it on this time. Cell phones don’t work worth a shit when they’re not on. And if anything comes up, or you need to talk, you know where I am. Call me?”
“Mmm, may call you just for the hell of it. Think you can stand your little sister keeping tabs on you?” she teased, then kissed me as I got up on my way out the door. I had to stop and run my hands down her soft young body in appreciation. She crushed herself against me in a show of love and warmth.
“Drive safe” I heard her call to me as I made my way to the elevator.
The drive across the city proved profitable. I dropped the two airport packages off first, then went over to the east side. Dale had a bunch of pick-ups over there that brought me back downtown. Sunday mornings were usually busy because most of the regular drivers took the day off to be with their families. I enjoyed working on Sundays for that reason, and the money was pretty good if you managed to get into a groove. It was about one in the afternoon when I finally had a chance to grab a burger and fries for lunch. Just as I was getting back in the van, my phone rang.
“Hi, Sis” I greeted the caller, knowing who it was from the call display. “What’s up?”
“Keith, do you know a guy by the name of Blair Morrison?” she wanted to know.
“Sure, he’s in some of my architecture classes. We call him Twinkie, because he’s always munching on some kind of junk food. Why? Did you run into him?”
“Yeah. He stopped me down on the Plaza strip and asked if my last name was Hayes. When I told him yes, he asked if I was related to a Keith Hayes. Anyway, he bought me a coffee, and we got yapping about college. Seems like a nice guy, too. He’s got a line on a forty-inch LCD TV, if we want one. He says that for a hundred bucks, it’s ours. You interested?”
“That’s all, a hundred bucks? Is it hot?”
“Don’t think so. Blair says that the people that have it found it too small for their livingroom, bought a bigger one, and want to just get rid of this one. I was going to go over with him and have a look at it first. If it’s as good as he says it is, I’ve got a hundred bucks in my bank account, but I’ll need you to pick it up. What do you think?”
“I say, go for it! Just make sure they’ve still got the original sales receipt, so we don’t get fried if it’s stolen. I should be finished about three, and I can come over and pick it up after work.”
“Awesome! I’ll go over now and see if it’s legitimate, then call you back with an address. Oh, by the way, Blair says hi. He wanted to know if you’re registering tomorrow. I told him I thought so, but to call you if he needed to talk to you first. That okay?”
“Yeah, that’ll work out great, Sis. Bill and I would kind of like to team up with Twinkie for Design 220. I just hope we all get into the same class. Is he still there?”
“No, he said he had an errand to run off, but he’s supposed to meet me at Timmy’s in fifteen or twenty minutes. Want me to have him all you?”
“Nah, I’ll find him tomorrow. Tell him that I’m meeting Hudson at Bird Hall around eight. If he’s in the neighbourhood, maybe we can all get together.”
With that, I hung up, and was immediately bombarded by Dale with enough work to keep me going until the end of the shift. By the time the day was over and the expenses paid, we were up almost three hundred dollars, more than enough to pay for the TV. I knew that Tandra wouldn’t let me pay for all of it, but fifty bucks each was cheap, if the TV was any good. It turned out that not only was it a top of the line set, but the warranty could be transferred for a small price.
We got the set home and upstairs, and while Tandra puttered in the kitchen, I set the TV up in the livingroom. It fit into the entertainment cabinet that we’d bought, but just. Once I got the cablevision connected, even Tandra was impressed by the quality of the picture. Adding the stereo’s sound capacity to it gave us a decent home theatre. Now, in addition to those CDs I had at home, we’d have to grab our collection of DVDs as well. With how much my sister had saved us, we could easily afford a new disk player to complete the system.
Supper was a culinary masterpiece in my opinion. Tandra had cooked a roast beef, complete with browned potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, mixed vegetables, gravy, and a homemade blackberry pie for dessert. I have no idea where she found blackberries, but she knew they were my favourite pie filling, especially when served with both ice cream and whipped cream. I’d be spending days at the gym to burn off the extra calories, but it would be more than worth it.
After cleaning up the kitchen and doing all the dishes for my sister, I sank into the sofa and flipped on our new TV, and Tandra joined me as she curled up under my arm, her head pressed into my shoulder as she tucked her legs so that her heels touched the top of her thigh. We watched for about an hour, and I could feel my eyelids starting to sag as the long day began to catch up with me.
“Why don’t you go to bed, you goof!” my sister admonished. “You’re exhausted, and it’s been a long day for both of us. Besides, we have to be at Bird Hall first thing in the morning. I’m going to take a quick shower, then hit the hay. Want to join me?”
I love it when Tandra makes me one of those unrefusable offers. This was another one. I helped her get up from the sofa and almost had to carry her into the bedroom. While the shower was refreshing, it wasn’t invigorating enough to wake me up fully. I did, however, manage to give my sister one strong orgasm with my fingers, and she tried to reciprocate. But I was too tired to give her all she wanted, and felt guilty for denying her the pleasure of my own climax. I apologized, even though she tried to tell me that it was alright, and that there’d be lots of other nights. I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Monday morning arrived with the shrill ringing of the alarm clock, and the warmth of Tandra’s body laying on my chest in her usual place. Like most mornings, she had an arm over my midriff and a leg draped over my thigh, all of which tried to induce me to sleep for a few minutes more. As she lifted her head and searched for my lips, I knew that idea wasn’t going to happen. I returned her kiss, sensing her tongue trying to get past my own lips as she welcomed me into the day.
My sister was a delight that was too good to pass up, and our usual morning kisses became more and more intense, until I couldn’t stand to be without her any more. Soon I was kissing her perky breats as her nipples hardened to my touches. I wanted to taste her sex, but Tandra wanted me inside her more than she wanted to have me lick and pleasure her.
As my cock slowly expanded her love canal, I found myself lost in the luxurious softness of her femininity, her heat, and her moisture. Our pace quickly went from a slow rhythm to one of wanton and lustful need, and it wasn’t very long before I heard her begin to gasp for air as her walls fluttered on my shaft, then clenched me deep inside her as she began to spasm and tremble from the ecstasy of her orgasm. Those vibrations were all it took to take me to the edge, then sent me soaring to the heights of pleasure, as stream after stream of my seed burst forth like the pressure of a bottle of uncorked champagne. We bathed ourselves in the closeness of our afterglow, drifting back down slowly as our bubble of intimacy cradled and caressed us.
Breakfast broke all the rules. While my sister cooked, I set the table. We had bacon and eggs, hash brown potatoes, and a couple pieces of toast. Unfortunately we were running late, leaving the dishes in the sink. Tandra hated coming home to dirty dishes, and I promised myself that I’d have to get back before her and clean up my oversight.
Registration was a mad-house, but I did manage to find both Bill Hudson and Blair Morrison. We all got the same architectural classes, but Bill couldn’t get his schedule to work with my English Literature class, and Blair’s physics class was full by the time we got there. Three out of five classes together, though, would make things interesting for this term. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out Tandra had the same English class as I did. How she managed to get into a second-year course was beyond me, although she did look rather pleased with herself. Her big brother might have been even more proud of her than she was.
Tuesday was a lot more relaxed, most of the time spent searching out the various extra-curricular clubs we were interested in. Bill and I signed up for the wrestling team, while Blair joined us for flag football. Even Tandra got into the swing of things, joining the volleyball team, and auditioning for the cheerleading squad. Bill offered to buy me that beer he’d promised, and we all made our way over to the campus pub.
They say that time flies when you’re having fun. That day proved it, because by the time we left, it was almost eight o’clock. Blair headed off to his dorm, while Bill tagged along with Tandra and me. His room was just down the street from us, and we both enjoyed his company. I did get a few funny looks from him that took me a while to figure out. Out of habit, Tandra and I were holding hands, our fingers interlaced, and that fact wasn’t lost on Bill, although he didn’t say anything at the time.
As soon as we walked through the door, I remembered that this morning’s dishes still needed to be taken care of, and suggested that my sister relax while I cleaned up for her. The look on her face told me how much she appreciated my efforts, and her kisses afterwards spoke of her thankfulness, both for a clean kitchen, and for not having to tackle a messy chore that late at night. To show me how much she enjoyed the reprieve from housecleaning, she dragged me into the shower, where I more than made up for the night before. By the time we got out, neither one of us could stand for more than a few minutes before our exhausted legs gave out. She’d climaxed at least twice that I knew of, and I’d had one big, massive cum from her fingers, and another deep inside her. Sleep found us easily after our lovemaking that night.
Wednesday was another busy one, and now that we had our book lists, it was time to fight the mobs at the bookstore. Tandra’s list wasn’t too bad, but mine seemed to go on and on. By the time we’d finished, we’d spent a lot of money. I’ve never figured out how a book that only gets used for one year can be worth over a hundred dollars, and I had six like that. Even my sister’s English Composition text ran her one fifty. Being used to high school, where text books are supplied, it was a bit of a shock to her system.
It was as we left te store that Bill caught up to us, greeting us with a cheery smile, and a look that I couldn’t quite decipher. As we headed towards his place on our way home, he gave me a questioning look, then shifted his gaze to Tandra and my hands, once more laced together.
“Can I talk to you, Keith? Privately?” he asked, acting as though he was the student and I the professor.
“Sure, Bill. What’s on your mind?”
“Umm, he said privately, Keith” my sister reminded me. “How about if I meet you two over at the pub? I’m just going to lug this library home first.”
Hers was a good idea, considering the weight involved, and the value of the tomes included. But Bill looked like he couldn’t wait for whatever was on his mind. I sent my sister on her way, promising her a beer when she got back. It was when she was out of earshot that Bill finally opened up.
“She’s your sister, right?” he started.
“Yeah, last time I looked. Why?”
“Because you seem awfully close to her. I’ve been watching both of you and it’s almost like . . . I don’t know. It’s those looks that go between you two, I guess. I mean, if it was anybody but your sister, I’d swear that you were head over . . . Holy shit! You are head over heels for her, aren’t you? Did you break up with Cassie to be with your sister?!”
Panic gripped me like a vise when I realized that Bill had analysed our situation. How the hell was I supposed to explain myself, and Tandra, to a guy that had been one of my best friends? I had no idea, although there was no sense denying the truth.
“Bill, it just happened! I don’t know why, or when, but one day, Tandra was my little sister, and the next, she was . . . well, more than that. Things just kind of clicked between us. Does this mean that you’re going to blab our secret all over campus? Or that you don’t want to be friends with me any more? What?”
There was a long pause as we both walked slowly towards the pub, Bill deep in thought, and me sweating bullets. I had no idea what to do, or how to protect what my sister and I had, and had become, from the rest of the world.
“No,” he finally let me know, “I won’t blab. Shit, Hayes, you should know me better than that. But it’s weird for a guy to be going with his own sister! I still can’t believe you broke up with Cassie! And now this? What other secrets are you keeping hidden?”
“That’s about it, my friend” I breathed a sigh of relief. For now, my incestuous relationship with Tandra was safe, at least as far as Bill Hudson went. And miracle of miracles, he was still talking to me, still my friend.
“Hayes, if you want to sleep with your . . . it’s okay by me. But I still think you’re an asshole for breaking up with Cassie. I like her, a lot. You think she’d go out with me?”
“I dunno. You might think about asking her, instead of me. I don’t run her social calendar. Why not give her a call and see? What’s the worst she can say? No, maybe?”
That was the end of it. When Tandra arrived at the pub, Bill was his usual charming self, even going so far as to flirt with her a bit, and my sister soaked up the attention like a sponge. But as the afternoon progressed, it was clear who she was going home with, and it wasn’t Bill Hudson.
It was on the elevator that Tandra sprung her understanding on me, right out of the clear blue, and I was instantly in shock as her perceptiveness.
“He knows, doesn’t he?” she asked. “Bill, I mean. He knows about you and me.”
“Yeah, he’s figured it out, Sis. But I trust Bill. He told me he’d keep our secret, and when he says he’ll keep it quiet, you can take that to the bank. I just hope not many other people figure it out, or we’re going to be in shit up to our eyeballs.”
“How’d he figure it out?”
“Little things. The fact that you and I are always holding hands, the way we look at each other, the way you’re always right there beside me, and the fact that Cassie and I broke up. Bill might be a lot of things, but he’s not stupid, and he’s not a blabbermouth. I really think we can trust him, Sis.”
I hope so, Keith,” she let out with a sigh, “I sure hope so.”
Classes started the next day, and it was the usual whirlwind of activity, with new students trying to figure out where they were supposed to be, while returning students like myself spent half the day re-uniting with old friends. A lot of the faces from last year were back, although there were a few that hadn’t returned. A couple of them I missed, while I made note of the new faces in each class. There were two girls in my math class that spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get my attention. One was a perky brunette with all the right bumps and curves in exactly the right locations. Her friend was a little on the heavy side, and yet her few extra pounds only added to her appeal instead of detracting from it. I’d have to make their acquaintance, I told myself.
On the way out of class, I managed to catch up with the brunette, who immediately acted shy and withdrawn, a complete opposite of her demeanor in class. But I introduced myself, and she let me know her name was Beckie something-or-other. Her friend was Tanya Hilliard, and proved to be a non-stop chatterbox. Despite that, I found both of them fun to be with. Beckie was an English major, while Tanya was pursuing a degree in historical art. We spent the time between classes getting to know each other, and I almost hated to part ways with them.
I met up with my sister in one of the cafeterias for lunch, and we chattered about every mundane subject on the planet. Tandra had a two o’clock Composition class, while I had the afternoon off. As I was heading back towards the apartment, Bill came around the corner of the Bird Hall, and almost collided head-on.
“Keith!” he exclaimed, and any hint of animosity was well-hidden. “You going to the football game this weekend? I think we’re playing the Saints. Should be a good game, if I ever learn to read that freaking schedule.”
“Hadn’t thought about it. When is it, Saturday? I have to work Sunday. Need all the coin I can scrape up this year.”
“Yeah. Two o’clock, I think they said was kick-off. If you can make it maybe I’ll see you and Tandra there? If she’s the love interest of my best friend, I guess I’d better get to know her, huh?”
“Umm, you’re alright with Tandra and me, Bill?”
“Yeah, I am. Except for the fact that she’s your sister, she’s a sweetheart. It’s a good thing you found her before I did, or I’d chase her pretty little ass all over this campus.” He blushed a bit at the forthrightness of his comment, which made me chuckle as his discomfort.
“Keith, I was thinking of inviting Cassie to the game, but if you and Tandra are . . . “ Bill left his question unasked, although it didn’t take rocket science to figure out what he wanted to know.
“They used to be good friends, Bill, but after last week? I don’t know. Eventually they’ll both be fine, but not yet. Tell you what. If you can get Cassie to go with you, Tandra and I will make ourselves scarce. That way you don’t get caught in the middle. I’ll keep an eye out for you, and if I see Cassie . . . Well, you know what I mean, right?”
“Yeah, okay” he conceded, his enthusiasm lagging at the thought of having to avoid Tandra and me. Maybe one day, all four of us would be comfortable together again, but that day was a long way down the road.
That evening, I guess my mind was on Cassie, and Bill, and Tandra and me, because it sure wasn’t on the food my sister had taken the time and trouble to prepare. I could tell hers was somewhere else, too, because she spent most of the time just twirling her fork in her food, looking up at me every now and then with dark, sad eyes. She asked what was on my mind, and I told her.
“I’ve been thinking of her, too,” Tandra let me know, “and I miss her, Keith. Cassie’s been my best friend since forever. Now she won’t even give me the fucking time of day! I hate this! Dammit, why does it have to be like this?”
“Because you and I stepped over a line, Sis, and Cassie got hurt when we did. There’s no way to fix it either, unless you want us to call it quits, and hope she’ll take me back. Is that what you want?”
“No, and don’t be an asshole. She won’t take you back any time soon, and we both know it. It’ll be a while before she forgives you, and even longer before she forgives me. I guess we weren’t ready for the fan to get hit, but it still doesn’t make this any easier. God, you have no idea how badly I want to run over to her place and beg her to forgive me!”
With that, Tandra threw down her fork, then went over to the sofa and curled up in a fetal position. I could hear her sobs, and each one ripped another chunk out of me. I left the table and tried to console my little sister. All I could do was hold her in my arms, for there were no words that would make her angst any easier to handle.
We tried to console each other by making love, but that magical spark wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was me or Tandra, and I doubt it really mattered. All I knew was that we were about as far apart from each other as I was from Cassie. I thought about going to bed early, and as I crawled in, my sister was right behind me.
“Remember we made a deal about not going to bed angry?” she reminded me. “This is what I’m talking about. I’m not angry with you, and I don’t think you’re angry with me. But we’re both pissed off. I can’t sleep, and I doubt you’ll be able to, either. Can we talk for a while? Please, Keith, because this is rotting my guts out. I still feel like it’s all my fault.”
“How can it be your fault, Sis. Yeah, maybe if we hadn’t taken that shower together, you and I would be like any other normal brother and sister. We’d fight, we’d argue, and we’d get on with our lives. But in this case, you and I aren’t normal. And don’t go telling me that it’s all your fault. I could have just as easily refused that shower as you could. And none of that changes the fact that Cassie and I were headed for a split-up anyway. If you look at it from that point of view, I’m more at fault than anyone else.”
“Yeah, but I’m the one that fell in love with my brother, not you. And I’m the one that took him away from his girlfriend. I could have left well enough alone, and waited until you two had broken up. But oh no, not me. I just had to get my claws into you the second we were alone. And who got hurt because of it? Shit, all of us. So don’t try to take all the rap, or even most of it. This is still my fault, and we both know it.”
“No it’s not. I can’t emphasize that strong enough, Tandra. It’s not your fault. We’re in this together, and if you really want to assign blame, I’ll go fifty-fifty, at best. The bottom line still reads the same. We can assess blame from now until hell freezes over, and it won’t change a damned thing. This is where we’re at, and this is what we have to work with. Let’s just go with what we have, because everything has to start somewhere. For you and I, it’s called ‘Today’. Understand?”
I was greeted by the sight of a very upset and unhappy sister who was trying her best to sort out the mess we’d created. All I could do at this point was to take her in my arms, hold her tight, and tell her some lies that everything would be fine. But I wasn’t buying it, and neither was she. We settled for a night of restless sleep, and the hope of a brighter day in the morning.
Again the alarm clock jangled every nerve in my body, leaving me tempted to reduce it to its component pieces. My sister looked like she could use another week in bed, and I eased myself out as gently as I could, then went in to the kitchen to get the coffee started. It was just as I switched on the pot that I felt a warm and wonderful body press itself against me.
“I’ll go with fifty-fifty,” I heard a soft, familiar feminine voice behind me, “but I still say it’s my fault.”
“Yeah, well, whatever. It doesn’t change the fact that you and I made a choice, and now we’re stuck with the consequences.” I swivelled around and wrapped my arms around my sister’s naked body, holding her tight in an effort to shield her from her own pain and anguish. “Tandra, I love you, and I want to be here with you. For some stupid, unexplainable reason, I can’t get you out of my system, and even if I could, I don’t want to. If you’re in the same place, then we belong together. If not, I’m out to lunch for taking you as my lover. So which is it?”
I could feel two eyes burrowing into my brain as my sister looked up into my eyes.
“At the end of the day, where I want to be is right here, in your arms, loving you, and being loved by you. Oh, and don’t bother asking me if I’m sure, because it’s all I thought about all night. I just haven’t figured out why a guy like you would want a bratty little twerp like me hanging around.”
“No particular reason, except maybe for the fact that I love you, that you’re the girl that makes the sun come up and go down for me, or that there aren’t many minutes in a day that go by when I don’t think about you. Stuff like that. And what’s this shit about a bratty little twerp? I’m the big brother here. I get to call you that, be default, especially if I have to be the asshole of the house.”
I had more to tell her, but those pouty lips of hers shut me up instantly as they pressed against mine, her tongue diving into me as she showed me as much passion as I could handle before I’d had my first cup of coffee.
“Would you mind cereal for breakfast this morning?” she asked when we broke our kiss. “I really don’t feel like cooking today. Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“Cereal’s fine, Sis, and you don’t owe me anything, okay? Maybe I’ll treat you to breakfast at The Fox instead. Would you like that?”
“Mmm, that sounds like a plan. God, here I am, wrecking my big brother’s love life, and he’s spoiling me rotten!”
“I’m not spoiling you rotten, Tandra Hayes. You were that way already when we fell in love. You’re just being the same rotten girl I’ve know for the last eighteen years!” I got a good smack for that one, and not only did I love the attention, but it broke some of the gloom that was trying to permeate our little apartment again.
My morning was packed with back-to-back classes from eight until one. By the time I got to the cafeteria, it was jammed, although Tandra had saved me a seat in one of the quieter corners, if there is such a thing in a school lunchroom. I grabbed a sandwich from the cooler, a cup of coffee, and went to join my sister.
“That’s it? That’s all you’re eating?” she interrogated my choices.
“Yeah, that’s it. I have this weird roommate that keeps feeding me huge portions of delicious food. This is the price I have to pay for my indulgence. You got a problem with that, young lady?” I teased her. She started to move towards me, her eyes telling me that I was about to be kissed, until she remembered where we were. In many ways, I was disappointed, although I could quite easily do without another day like yesterday, and the guilt we’d put each other through.
“You’re finished for the day, aren’t you?” Tandra wanted me to confirm. I told her I was, but that I had to go through the term project that Professor Jaffer had thrown at us that morning. We’d also been assigned to our project teams, and I’d been lucky enough to be paired up with Bill again. In a way, I was pleasantly surprised, because Jaffer had almost made a point of switching partners from the previous term. The only other team that consisted of the same two people was Blair Morrison and Brian Hobson. Those two would be tough competition for Bill and me.
“You got something in mind for the afternoon, Sis? You have Composition at two thirty, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but that one should be a piece of cake. You know me and writing. Once I get a decent storyline in my head, the words usually just start to flow out. But I was wondering if you and I could go into town this evening, and get away from campus for a while? Maybe go see a movie or something? With all the shit coming down around here, I’ve just got to get away for a while.”
“You know what, Sis? I think I like that idea. Tell you what. I’ll see you at home about four, and we can spend the evening downtown. I might even be able to spring for supper, if I can figure out where my rotten little sister hid my piggy bank.” That’s when she did kiss me, but only on the cheek. She did hold it for longer than I had expected, though.
“Aw geez, would you two get a room or something?” Bill Hudson’s voice broke in. Neither of us had seen him coming up, and I almost felt embarrassed. If it had been anyone but Bill, I probably would have, not for me, but for Tandra. I slid over enough to give him some room to sit, and we started a friendly conversation that I noted Bill made sure that my sister was a part of.
“Holy shit, is it really two fifteen?” Tandra exclaimed. “I have a class to be in. I gotta fly!”
As she got up, she leaned over to give me a kiss, then stopped when she remembered that Bill was there.
“Oh for chrissake, kiss him already, girl!” Bill commanded. “If you don’t then I’ll have to, and he’s just not my type!”
Tandra gave me a quick peck on the cheek, stood up to leave, and gave Bill a quick kiss on the forehead.
“That’s for being a good guy” she let him know. Then she was gone as we both watched her swaying hips disappear in the crowded lunchroom.
“I can see why you find her so attractive” Bill commented. “She’s quite a girl, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, she is” I agreed with him. “Changing the subject, did you have time to look at Jaffer’s project? That one’s going to be a bugger to put together. We’ve got our work cut out for us if we’re going to get through his class this term.”
“I had a quick glance at it. And you’re right. It will be a sweetheart, knowing how much detail he demands. The guys that we’ll have to keep an eye on are Twinkie and Hobson. Those two are good.”
There was a long pause as Bill seemed to be searching for the courage to bring up a subject that he wasn’t comfortable with. I left him alone as he rolled his thoughts around in his head. It was a good minute before he found that courage.
“Keith, I need a number out of you” was his sole question.
“Umm, how about seven? Or fifty-one? Either of those any good to you?” I quipped to him. But I knew what number he wanted, and was quite prepared to pass it on.
“Asshole. You know what number I want. Any chance?”
I flipped my phone open and scrolled through the saved phone numbers until I found the one he was looking for, then wrote it down for him on a napkin. It was Cassie’s.
“Thanks, man. I owe you one.”
“You owe me more than that, but I’ll settle for a beer instead, next time we’re down at the pub. Deal?”
Bill slapped my shoulder, grabbed the napkin, then was gone, just like Tandra had been. I had the afternoon to myself, and headed for the Design lab to go over our term assignment. If our course last year was any indication, Bill and I would be spending a lot of nights burning the midnight oil. I wondered if Tandra would mind us working at our place.
I was late getting home, having lost myself in the preliminaries of the project. It was just after five as I opened the door. My sister greeted me warmly, kissing me deeply as she held herself to my exhausted body. We were interrupted by the ringing of my phone. Annoyed, I looked at the call display, fully intending to let the call go to voice mail. But this one I just had to answer.
“Hey Kitten!” I greeted Cassie.
“Keith, don’t call me that any more, okay? It used to be something I loved to hear, but now it just brings tears to my eyes. So stop it.”
“Sure, Cassie, if that’s what you want. But old habits die slow, so please forgive me when I slip, because I will, sure as shooting. What’s up?”
“I just wanted to call you and tell you that you’re an asshole! How the fuck could you do it? Getting some friend of yours to ask me out on a sympathy date? Shit, that’s about as low as it gets, isn’t it?”
“What? What the hell are you talking about? I haven’t asked anyone to call you for any reason! The only guy that even knows you and I broke up is . . . Bill Hudson called you, didn’t he?”
“Yeah, and I thought that was pretty cheesy of you! Getting him to ask me to the football game tomorrow! Are you trying to say that I can’t get a date any other way?”
“Cassie, if Bill phoned you, it was his idea, not mine. He likes you, and has for as long as he’s known you. Like me, he thinks you’re a pretty special girl. I hope you didn’t crush him too hard.”
“You didn’t set this up?” she wanted to know, the realization now seeping into her voice. “Shit, now I really feel like a bitch. I called him every name in the book! Even made up a few new ones. God, he’ll never speak to me again!”
“Slow down, Cassie. Slow down. If you want, I’ll call him myself and explain things, but I think that if you call him up yourself and apologize, he’ll quite happily forgive you. Bill’s a nice guy, and he knows that you’re probably going through hell right now. I’ll lay odds that he’ll just forget the whole thing and ask you out again, if you let him. Shit, you might even get to like him, if you give yourself half a chance.”
“No, I’ll call him back. I owe him that much, and I do like Bill. Like you say, he’s a nice guy, unlike someone I know that sleeps with his sister!”
Ouch! That one hurt, not because it was true, but because Cassie had loaded the statement with all the venom she could muster. I could see that it was going to be even longer than I expected before either Tandra or myself were forgiven our transgressions.
“Call him, Cassie. And if you go to the game with him tomorrow, Tandra and I will keep our distance, so you two can get to know each other a little better. The last thing either of you need are old war wounds showing up on your doorstep. Will that make it easier for you?”
“Probably, but if you’re at the game, please don’t make a point of avoiding me. I still care, Keith. Forgiving you two isn’t going to be any easier if you both hide on me. And if we do run into each other, I’ll try to keep a civil tongue in my head, for old time’s sake. Deal?”
“Deal. And just so you don’t forget, I do love you Kit . . . Cassie. We just don’t work together any more, that’s all. That has nothing to do with Tandra, and we both know it. Keep it in mind?”
“I’ll try. Say hi to her for me? I miss her, but I still haven’t forgiven her. It’ll come, but not as quickly as she might want. And I still love you too, although for the life of me, I have no idea why. See you tomorrow at the game?”
“Yeah, maybe. Let’s just take it one day at a time, okay? I’ll let Tandra know you called.”
I hung up, then passed Cassie’s message on to my sister, who looked a little relieved, but still not her usual cheery self. Maybe Bill would be able to help Cassie forget some of her pain. I really hoped so.
The game was a rout, and we cleaned the Saints by a score of thirty-one to seven. Feelings were running pretty high as the stadium emptied, and even though we did run into Bill and Cassie, those feelings helped us get through what could have been a difficult situation. I even took Bill aside and thanked him for accepting Cassie’s apologies. I had to admit that she looked happier than I’d seen her for months, even before we went on summer vacation.
Thanksgiving came and went, with Tandra and I making the three hundred mile journey home for the weekend. It was good to see our folks again, although sleeping in separate rooms was something that neither one of us were used to, nor comfortable doing. But it was our parent’s house, and their rules. Maybe Mom had an inkling that Tandra and I were closer than we had been, but Dad seemed oblivious. If she did suspect, nothing was said about it. We did manage to get out of the house a couple of times, just to be alone with each other. That was the only saving grace to the whole weekend.
By Hallowe’en, Bill and Cassie had become an item, as she liked to call it, and I swear Bill floated ten feet off the ground for half of November. Even Cassie seemed to have forgiven me a bit, and Tandra too. By month’s end, the two girls were talking to each other again, and even had a couple of “girl’s night out” evenings. The change in my sister was like night and day. She was the bratty little twerp that I’d come to love over the months, and our lovemaking became more intimate and beautiful because of her new attitudes.
It was the first Sunday of December, and it had been one hell of a long shift. I didn’t get home until almost six. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew something was wrong. Tandra was dressed, something she didn’t do unless we had company. Then I saw Bill sitting on the sofa, his head in his hands, and the tracks of tears obvious on his face.
“Keith, we’ve got a problem” was all my sister told me, then handed me a stiff drink, which I rarely imbibed in. “You might need that. I know I did.”
On the coffee table was a half-finished glass of rye that looked like Bill had been sipping on. That was another hint, as the strongest drink I’d ever seen him take was beer. As he looked up at me, his eyes seemed to lack focus, and I’m not even sure he really recognized me at first. My heart sank into my shoes.
“Somebody want to fill me in please?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted an answer.
“It’s Cassie. I think she might be using” was all that Bill was willing to volunteer.
Cassie? Using drugs? That wasn’t the girl I knew, that I had gone to high school with, that I had been in love with. She was adamant that drugs were the root of all evil! But now, she might be using them herself? I couldn’t believe my ears!
“Bill, what are you talking about? Cassie and drugs are about as opposite as two magnetic poles, for chrissake! What makes you think she might be?”
“I was over there last night,” he started to explain, “and she was . . . well, for lack of a better word, hornier than a toad. I couldn’t satisfy her, no matter how hard I tried. God, Keith, she was insatiable! She made me cum eight times in four hours, and lord knows how many times she begged and pleaded with me to go down on her. Cassie’s never been into oral, not like that. I passed out about midnight, and I think she was up until at least three. Don’t ask me what she was doing for those three hours, but she ran out two sets of batteries, and God knows what else she was doing. When I woke up this morning, she was passed out, and I couldn’t wake her for love nor money. By noon, I just had to get out of there, so I put her to bed and let myself out. I’ve been going crazy ever since.”
“Okay, she was horny. She gets that way just before her period. But that’s no reason to think she’s on drugs, is it?”
“No, not in and of itself. But her eyes wouldn’t focus. It’s like I wasn’t there, and all she was interested in was sexual satisfaction. Fuck, it could have been anybody screwing her last night! Even the pizza delivery boy! Keith, I’m scared for her. I saw kids in my high school that turned to drugs, and it wasted them until they were not much more than vegetables! If Cassie’s going down that same road, and won’t get help, I can’t follow her. I just can’t! What the fuck am I supposed to do?”
With that, he picked up his glass and downed the whole thing, then held it out for another refill. Tandra took the glass, but the look on her face told me that she thought he’d had more than enough.
“How many’s that, Sis?” I asked her.
“That was his third since he’s been here,” she let me know in a quiet voice, “and he’d had something before he arrived.
“May as well let him have one more. He’ll hate himself in the morning, but for tonight, he’s entitled. If it was me, I’d be so fucking wasted right now that I’d have passed out.”
With that, I gulped down my own drink, which my sister had mixed on the strong side, then held out my glass for another. Tandra was back with all three glasses full in a few minutes.
“Don’t you go getting all sloppy drunk on me, Keith. I think Bill’s going to end up on the sofa tonight, and I’ll be in the spare bed. This thing is getting out of hand, and I’m as scared shitless as you two guys.”
“You really want to use the spare bed, Sis? That’s not the way we’ve done it, ever. Not since the day we moved in, and I’m not too keen on starting now. If I pour this down the drain, would you reconsider? I need you, Tandra Hayes, maybe more tonight than I’ve ever needed anyone before in my life.”
“Yeah, I know. I need you too, but with Bill over here for the night, it seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe I’ll give it a good think before we turn in.”
The three of us spent the rest of the evening talking, trying to understand what was really going on in my ex-girlfriend’s life that would take her down a path she had sworn she’d never pursue. By eleven o’clock, Bill was as drunk as a skunk, and neither Tandra nor I were feeling any pain. We also hadn’t come to any conclusions. All I could suggest was that Bill do whatever he could to redirect Cassie’s trip away from that road of self-destruction.
Things seemed to get better for the next couple of weeks, although I had to almost scream at Bill to get him to concentrate enough to study for term finals. There was less that two weeks left until we broke for Christmas vacation. Mom and Dad had made plans to fly to Hawaii for the week between Christmas and New Years, and Tandra and I had decided to stay at the apartment instead of going all the way home only to celebrate in an empty house. In a way, we were looking forward to spending our first Christmas together, just the two of us. It would also be the first time we hadn’t been with our family, and that fact left us feeling both united as a couple and alone as the holiday season kept bringing up the idea that we would be isolated from all we’d ever known a festive occasion to be.
Bill spent most of his spare time with Cassie in his attempt to help her get past whatever had sent her down that scary road. When he wasn’t at her place, or in class, he seemed to gravitate to ours. After the first couple of nights, even Tandra was getting used to his being around when we went to bed. She’d gotten herself to sleep in our big bed, although there were a couple of mornings that I woke without her laying beside me. Those were not good days for me. I’d gotten used to waking to her soft face, her warm body, and the closeness of her head resting on my chest. When they weren’t there, it felt like I’d lost a part of myself.
Christmas day finally arrived, and Tandra had put together a complete turkey dinner, inviting both Bill and Cassie to join us. Amazingly, they both showed up, and I thought the afternoon had been an amiable success. It was almost as if Cassie had finally forgiven both my sister and myself, and we spent a lot of time laughing, singing Christmas carols, and enjoying being together as good friends once again. Even Boxing Day was a lot of fun as all four of us headed downtown for some of the winter festival activities that started on the day after Christmas. I could see a connection forming between Bill and Cassie that did my heart good. He’s certainly gone out of his way to let her know that he definitely cared for her, maybe more than he let on. She, in turn, seemed to allow herself to get closer to him, and the sparks between them began to fly as they formed their own little alliance. It was on that day after Christmas that Cassie had gone so far as to ask Tandra if it was alright for her to kiss me, and when she was told yes, had given me a passionate kiss that felt warmer than anything I’d received in the four years we’d gone together. In retaliation, my sister had kissed Bill, but the heat of Cassie’s affections wasn’t there in my sister’s kiss. It was just a show of caring and affection between two close friends.
As we lingered over a rum-laced egg nog, I was beginning to think that the budding love between Bill and Cassie would see the two of them as an item, Cassie’s phrase for going steady, sometime before we went for Spring Break in late March. It did my heart good to see my ex-girlfriend her old and cheerful self again.
By the 27th, both Tandra and I needed a day to recuperate from the merriment of the holiday. It had been fun, especially spending it with Bill and Cassie. I was beginning to feel like maybe the world wasn’t such a rotten place to be any more. I had friends, a warm and cozy place to live, a full belly, and we’d managed to pass another term at school. But mostly, I had the love of my sister, my lover, the woman I was beginning to want to spend the rest of time with, and she with me. In those few days between the end of exams and now, we’d connected with each other in a way that was closer than anything I could remember sharing. We seemed to make love at the drop of a hat, and Tandra took me in ways that I had never heard about before Life was good.
I was lounging on the sofa, my sister curled up against me after having made love, when the phone rang. When I looked at the call display, it was Bill, and I anticipated him trying to make arrangements for the four of us for New Years.
“Hey, Bud,” I answered, “What’s up?”
“Keith, get your ass down here to Emergency, would you?” His voice was tight and sombre, not the Bill Hudson I’d spent the last three days around.
“What’s going on Bill?”
“Don’t argue with me, Hayes. Just get down here. Might want to bring Tandra with you, too. I think she’ll want to be here.”
That was all he’d tell me, no matter how much I tried to pump some answers out of him. The only time I’d ever seem Bill clam up like this was when something terrible had happened. In his case, it had been the death of his grandmother, whom he had always been close to.
“We’ll be down in about fifteen minutes. You’re not going to give me a hint, are you?”
“No” was all he said, then cut the connection.
“Come on, Sis. Bill’s down in Emergency, and it sounds ugly. He wants you there as well. God, I hope everything’s alright.”
Without a word, my sister got dressed quickly, not even worrying about make-up, then grabbed her coat as we headed out the door, our holiday spirit now in tatters. I don’t even remember the drive to the hospital, which for me should have been a hint that I was almost in a state of shock. As soon as we walked into the building, I spotted Bill.
“Speak to me, Buddy” I pleaded, and Tandra was hugging him in a show of support.
“Christ, Keith, I don’t know what the fuck’s happening. I went over to her apartment, and she was passed out on the floor. I couldn’t wake her, no matter how hard I tried! She was breathing, but barely. That fucking ambulance must have been a good half hour getting there, God damned them! I’m scared, Keith. Really scared.”
God, I felt helpless, standing there in the middle of the Emergency waiting room. What the hell had Cassie done? She had to be alright. She just had to!
A guy in a medical operating outfit came out, his face still behind that sterile mask that hides emotions, and I felt my heart skip several beats.
“Mr. Hobson?” he addressed us, and Bill turned to hear what the doctor had to say.
“I’m Bill Hobson. How is she, Doc?”
I heard those three words of finality, and my world shattered. Again.
“I’m so sorry.” That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. But those three words told us more than we ever wanted to know.
Tandra was immediately in my arms, hers almost squeezing the breath out of me as she let her tears flow unchecked. Bill was as white as a sheet, and God only knows what I looked like. If I’d have been run over by a truck, it couldn’t have hurt any more than those three words did.
She was gone. The first girl I’d ever loved, and someone that meant as much to me as I’d ever known could matter. I tried so desperately to remember her face in my mind, and found I couldn’t. I wanted to scream, to hit something, to let this pain that was crushing me flow out of my system. But as much as I needed to escape the reality of Cassie’s death, my sister needed me more. She was the one person that kept me anchored to the situation, the one person that could possibly understand just how much I missed Cassandra Mansden. As much as he loved her, even Bill couldn’t relate to my loss, or get into my head to feel my pain. But then, I couldn’t get into his, either, and that made me feel even more helpless.
Somehow I managed to get all three of us back to the apartment without killing anyone, and there probably haven’t been three more wretched souls on this earth than we were. Tandra threw caution to the wind and broke out a full bottle of rye, pouring us a stiff shot each. By the time the night was becoming a new day, we’d killed that bottle and two more. I was completely smashed, as were Bill and my sister, and it still wasn’t enough to dull the pain.
The rest of the year was a blur as we tried to deal with our grief and loss. Every time I turned around, there’d be something else that reminded me of Cassie, and I’d start bawling again. We all did, with none of us caring who thought what of our state of distress. Bill was all set to drop out of school for the next term, until he could find the inner strength to go on. It took me two full days to convince him that his plan wasn’t what Cassie would have wanted.
But we did move on, picked up the pieces of our shattered lives, and helped each other to limp through the next term of school. At times, Bill became a madman as he poured himself into his studies, and a part of that made me a better architect, I swear. He drove me to lengths that even I didn’t know I had in me. And Tandra kept her nose buried in her books deep enough to make the Dean’s list for four terms in a row. For me, she was another inspiration.
The people in Architecture were always there to support Bill and me, and even Professor Jaffer backed off us for a couple of weeks, then came down hard as he pushed us to heights we’d never even knew existed before Cassie’s death. At the time, I thought he was a fucking asshole slave driver, but in his own way, he was an integral part of the healing process. I still hear from him on occasion, and he still tells me that my work is “adequate, but in need of improvement”. I’ve called him a few nasty names, and once or twice to his face. He just scowls at me, but that twinkle in his eye tells me all I need to know about the man.
When Bill finally let himself put our tragedy behind him, he and Beckie Something-or-other started to see more of each other. It turned out that her last name was Sommers, and even though she was till shy when Bill first met her, she’s been the best thing that’s happened to him since the T-square. They’ve been married for a couple of years now, and I think Beckie’s expecting their first child. It’s funny how some things in your business partner’s life become lost in the shuffle. Mind you, if she is pregnant, it’s only been a few weeks.
And Tandra? She’s teaching here in town at the university, pursuing her first loves, English Literature and Composition. We’ve talked about starting a family, but there’s still so many other things in life that we want to experience. If we ever get the chance, I’d really like to do some world travelling with her, and she’d like to, as well. But our business is booming, so now’s not a good time to make any plans.
Mom and Dad have accepted our relationship, although they’re not too happy about it. But we haven’t been cut out of the will, or so I’m told. Tandra and I have invited them to fly down to Cuba with us next Christmas, and if Bill and Beckie can make it too, maybe we’ll finally get to spend a holiday together away from the shop. Mom’s agreed to come along, and she’ll convince Dad, whether he wants to or not. The Hudsons will be dependant on whether Beckie really is with child, and how her pregnancy goes. By the time we’re ready to leave, she should have given birth, because she’s due at the end of November or early December.
And on the 27th of December, the three of us will spend the day remembering Cassandra Mansden. We have every other year for the last six, and probably will for the rest of our lives together. And despite the years that have passed since her death, I still miss her. So does my sister. We loved her so very much.