Ridge Runner

Ridge Runner

Trees, stumps and boulders that he knew well enough to find in the dark appeared as apparitions then faded behind as he stormed up the slim hollow away from the cabin down on the flat river bend. Boiling clouds of wet morning fog clutched at his feet and pulled at his arms as he worked to climb above them.

Halfway to the ridge he slipped around an outcropping and paused to breathe near the copse of stunted torch pine that seemed to grow right out of the rocks. Later in the day, with the sun high overhead, this was a favorite sunning spot for copperheads but now only golden tendrils of sunlight had begun to tear at the gauzy curtain around him. Through an opening shard of green, the cabin looked like a small car from here. From up top it would be a matchbox.

Flight was more an instinct than a planned strategy. No doubt when she said “GO!” she meant out of the room but by the time he yanked his jeans up and cinched his belt, “OUT!” was all he was thinking.

He heard his name, clear as a crow’s call across the valley. Once. Then again. His heart, settling back into its rhythm, pumped the blood that coursed through the welts that he knew crossed his backside. He felt the burn that had been dulled by the run up the mountain. The searing pain that had forced him to bite the pillow.

But worse than that, he felt the wet spot in the front of his pants, that small drip that came when he was hard in spite of-or because of-his humiliation and pain. How could that be right? The first time she’d laid hands on him he felt it.  Did she know that? Could she tell? Is that why she stopped taking him over her lap and made him lie across the bed?

He wasn’t hard just then, thinking about it. But he wasn’t altogether soft either. With none but the trees to see, he rubbed his hand along the back of his jeans feeling a slight charge from massaging a spot at the top of his leg. Just as he was about to loosen his belt to slip his hand inside, he heard his name again. Sharper this time. Jabbing. Then, “It’ll be twice as bad if you don’t get back here right now!”

His heart beginning to race again, he turned his back downhill and continued to climb.

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Hideaway

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(Continued from Shadows)

More often than not Lori would walk or bike to up to Hideaway, where she worked as a massage therapist. It was a job she had gotten almost by default. Melon, her best friend from high school, managed the spa and recommended the classes and certifications when Lori was struggling with Uncle Red late in his metamorphosis.  Which was how she took to viewing it at the time; he wasn’t dying-but changing. His rugged good looks softening-his strong arms and hands melting away…

The massage studio became her refuge. Warm stone walls, subtle sounds of tumbling water, classical music or white noise of her choosing. She took to the unencumbered physicality of massage; the intimacy with consequence. Windowless and perpetually dusk or dawn, the timelessness of the space gave her a measure of peace – the feeling that she could control the uncontrollable.  In the studio the clatter and clutter in her brain could be dulled. At least for a while.

Of course, this morning being late again added to her noise. A walk would feel good, maybe clear her head, but there was no time for that.  Melon was always there at six to open and prep for the day. Lori was supposed to be there at six thirty to set up for early appointments, but here is was, six thirty-five and she we still standing in her kitchen. Had she been on time at all this week? She headed for the car.

Melanie Patterson let her green tea sit-cooling enough that she’d have to heat it before drinking it. She was small, her hair a strawberry halo of tight ringlets surrounding a face smattered with freckles and a wide smile. To all the clients who came through the spa, Melanie’s personality was like merry go rounds and bubble gum-all fun and laughter. Those who knew her well enough to call her by her nickname, “Melon” knew there were other sides to the charming sprite.

This morning, one of those other sides was bubbling to the surface. She fairly seethed looking at the clock move languidly toward seven. It was the sixth day IN A ROW that Lori had been late. Melanie had worked hard to cover her anger in their day-to-day contacts but away from work, especially at night when she journaled and set up her checklist for the next day, the thought that Lori-one of her best friends-would be late to her job upset her. She covered for her, moved appointments, never let on that her tardiness-as well as her growing lackadaisical attitude-was becoming a chronic problem.

It was six fifty-five when the heavy stained-glass door swung open and Lori strode into the lobby to find Melanie standing in front of the reception desk.

“Finally!” Melanie spat, unable to maintain her cool façade but stopped short when seeing her friend’s face. “Holy shit girl. You OK?” She had dropped her well-lacquered spa voice and sounded like the girl from Rake Ridge Road that she was.

“Do I look that bad?” Lori asked bringing the backs of her fingers to her cheek as if feeling for a fever.

“Not if you made up your eyes to look like a racoon on purpose. If that was your intention, I gotta tell you, it works.” The anger was gone, replaced by concern. Melanie stepped toward her friend and took her hands, pausing to look at her nails. “Girl, you gnawed these down to nubs!”

“I haven’t been sleeping too well”, Lori shrugged.

“I guess not”, Melanie answered and reached up to stroke Lori’s head. “You need to tighten up the pony tail. Looks all like a squirrel’s nest.” Lori face split into a wan smile that Melanie took as a bit of a victory. She wrapped her arms around her and pulled her close. “You OK to work today? I can call Shelley in…”

“No, I’m fine”, Lori said just shy of a sniffle. She returned the hug, happy for the contact. “Just let me get back into the studio-I’ll work this out.”

Melanie stepped back slightly and grasped Lori’s arms at the biceps. “Sometimes you make me just want to shake you.”  She yanked her gently once, then back again, until pulling her close, Melanie leaned forward and whispered in her ear. “Maybe I’ll try the Uncle Red method on you”, she said quietly.

Lori recoiled slightly and felt the heat rise in her cheeks. Of course, Melon knew about Uncle Red; they’d been friends for a decade and had talked about a lot of things. She didn’t know everything of course. Lori kept some secrets-but she knew enough. Still, hearing his name coming out of Melon’s mouth set her back. And Melanie saw it-saw her friend’s eyes widen then narrow as she took a sliding step backward. Melanie settled back herself saying nothing, letting her last words echo.

On her heels, cheeks flushed a hot pink, Lori peeled the tongue from the roof of her mouth and croaked almost under her breath, “Maybe you should.”

Now it was Melon’s turn to let the silence bloom between them. But Lori wouldn’t make eye contact. They were interrupted by the phone, humming softly on the desk between them. “Duty calls”, said Melon clearing her throat. “Go, check your schedule for the morning. I moved your seven to seven-thirty.  You’re welcome. Go start the day.”

Still not making eye contact, Lori turned and walked out of her friend’s office shaken by the exchange but somehow slightly relieved. If the weight pressing her down was not completely lifted it seemed to have lessened-a bit. As she watched Lori leave the room Melanie felt a slight quiver in her chest. She picked up the phone, “Good Morning-River’s Spa…” her voice sang.

To be continued…

Danny – Part 2

(Continued from Danny)

We spent the day as we had the one before; fishing, swimming, canoeing and ignoring what had happened. Had someone joined us that day, they wouldn’t have noticed anything in the way we acted toward each other. At least that’s how I remember that day. At the end of it, after dinner and a late swim I was sun-groggy, playing solitaire in the main room and Danny was, I thought, reading in his. I thought nothing of it when he called, “Come here a minute”. When I got to his door, the lamp was dimmed by a red bandana over the shade and he was laying on the bed, naked on his belly, ass pointed right at the door. Right at me.

I thickened immediately-to be eighteen again-and noticed a rubber and a small bottle on the tiny square of table beside the lamp. I picked up the bottle of lube. It was brand new-unopened-bought for the weekend.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had this yesterday?”

He turned his head toward me and without looking up said, “I didn’t want to scare you off…” His face was obscured by a thick sash of dirty blonde hair, but he was smiling.

I undressed quickly and lay beside him, my stiff cock bumping and rubbing against his leg. He smelled like salt, like the river, like the Ivory soap we kept down the on the dock because it floated. There was no question what to do next-this was not the first time I’d been in bed with someone-but certainly the first time with a guy. Also, the first time with someone who reacted as warmly and lively, to every touch-to every caress. Up on my elbow I traced my hand across the wide shoulders and down the smooth muscles of his back bumping along his spine to the dimples where the deep brown of his tan faded into the soft white mounds of his ass. Below, his hamstrings were tight and practically hairless.

I paused my hand on his rear and squeezed gently, loving the feel of it.  He reached back and covered my hand with his. “Smack me”, he said. “On the butt…”

I did, not hard but hard enough to generate a nice jolt against in my shoulder. He moaned and pushed his bottom toward me. “Again.” I did, and he gasped and lifted his bottom for more cocking his leg slightly to accommodate his hardening. The air left the room as I slapped and slapped turning his bottom an all over pink.

“Use my belt”, he croaked lifting his hips.

“What?” I asked, not sure.

“My belt. Use it!” The thick leather was still in his jeans hanging on the back of the door. I pulled it out and doubled it, snapping it once.

“Right across my ass!” he was breathless, on his knees like a charmed cobra, his face in his pillow. The first lash was limp and met with a “come on…” the second better, sound cracking off the walls. By the fifth he was yipping like a coyote with every blow and my cock was bouncing like a conductor’s baton. He signaled he was finished by sliding his legs backward and collapsing on the bed. I whipped him once more as he squeezed his cheeks together like two hard red apples. I dropped the belt and rubbed his hot, dry bottom.

“This has to hurt”, I whispered.

“It burns”, he said. “Burns good…”

I pulled his legs apart and kneeled between them, back by his feet so I could lean forward and continue rubbing his tortured cheeks lightly. He couldn’t have jumped higher had I touched him with a lit cigarette when I kissed his bottom. “Jumpy?”, I said pinching lightly and rubbing my three days stubble over the heat. His movements spoke eloquently without words.

He wriggled at the sound when I tore open the rubber and gasped when I drizzled the cool liquid onto my fingers and rubbed them over and into his tight asshole. Guided by my right hand, my cock leaned against his opening for a moment. Then I pushed slowly, relentlessly until I was deep inside and lying flat atop him filling my lungs with the smell of him. I nibbled lightly and underhooked both arms trying to catch a rhythm with the old bed springs.

Danny tried to free his right arm-to pull it down. I knew what he was going for and grunted, “Here, let me.” We rolled onto our sides spooning and I took his pulsing cock in my right hand. I didn’t think the bed-the same one I was sleeping on now- would survive our thrusting what with him pushing back as I rammed forward-never slowing pumping his cock. We came close enough to the same time to call it even. He growled, and I growled, squeezing him a little harder than I’d meant to. But he took it and pushed back as we went limp together.

The next day, after washing his sleeping bag in the river, we decided to leave. Maybe we feared what might happen that night, maybe we were out of beer. But we left. The ride home was the same as the ride down: cassettes playing loud and talking about people at school. After a silence about an hour into the ride he said without looking at me. “I enjoyed you fucking me. I really liked that.”

“I did too”, I said.

“And I don’t feel weird about it.” I didn’t answer. “I don’t. Doesn’t mean anything except that it’s just something we did.”

“What about the belt?”

“I REALLY liked that…”

I smiled and tried to affect a rakish grin over the steering wheel but when I glanced in the mirror it was more of a Dr. Sardonicus rictus. But that was it-that was our conversation about the weekend. We spoke no more of it. We didn’t see much of each other too much over the summer and it seemed to be by design. Then fall came and I went to school up north and he went to work. As I understand it, he hated the job and after he got laid off Danny surprised everyone and joined the service. It was a gray September day a couple of years later when word came that he’d been blown-up in Afghanistan.

 

A Beautiful Morning…

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She threw one long leg over the crossbar and stood astride the seat working her thick pony tail through the hole in her ball cap, liking the sun on the back of her legs.

“Where you going?” he asked coming onto the porch with a coffee.

“I told you I’m heading over to the cemetery to see if the dump gate is locked. I want to get rid of the cuttings.” They had taken a sumac down and trimmed a dogwood leaving the scraps in a pile behind the garage.

“I thought you’d be taking…the truck”, he said squinting into the sun behind her. She noticed his glance toward her ass.

Shit! She knew how his mind worked. Not that it was any kind of complex machinery. Last night over at The Gardens when he was figuring the tip he’d asked her what was eight plus six. He explained that he had eight n’ eight down, same as eight n’ seven-that was a favorite. But eight n’ six, especially eight n’ five? They were confusing. They both had a little buzz on and he might have been kidding…but really?

Now those gears in that pretty head of his were spinning that if she was OK to ride her bike, he hadn’t spanked her hard enough. Cripes! It hurt. He had a heavy hand and it hurt pretty good. And she yelped in all the right places, but what was she supposed to do? Sit on pillows all day like the women in his stories? Eat standin’ up?  Quickly, while he was watching, she settled onto the seat.

“Ooohhh”, she sighed giving him her best naughty smile. “Still a little tender back there…”

“Uh-huh”, he said returning the smile before turning back toward the house. “Maybe I’ll have to go out to the workshop. Find something that will make a better impression.”

“Really…?” Her smile faded.

“Have a nice ride,” he said, grinning evilly. “See you when you get back.”

Shit! She thought again coasting down the driveway. Would it have killed her to limp a little, or rub her butt when she knew he was watching? She wished she’d a’ taken the truck, but he’d a’ come up with some other excuse. Saturdays were tough around the house. She couldn’t keep up with him! He changed every week. Not changed, exactly, but wanted more, more, more… What would it be now-a paddle? A strap?  A wooden freakin’ spoon? He was wearin’ her out…

She stood on the pedals as the blacktop wound out and let the cool morning air wash over her face. He was so going to beat her ass when she got home, that was for sure. Twitching her backside she could almost feel the burning sting in the softness of her low bottom that he like to attend to so thoroughly. But that was then. Now, the trees opened above and the sunshine washed over her. It was a beautiful morning.

“Come on Mom…Part 3”

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(Continued from “Come on Mom…” Part 2)

Eileen left the room with a purpose that evaporated quickly as she walked back toward her bedroom. She slowed as she passed the laundry room…then Cassie’s room…then stepped into the bathroom to glance in the mirror. The face looking back was calm and clear-eyed reflecting none of the turmoil that was roiling inside of her. She knew that she was stalling. She was stalling because she actually wanted Cassie to leave. Not forever, God knows, but now.

She was waiting to hear the door open and the car start. That would be good-if she drove off. She wouldn’t go far, down to Ivy’s for coffee and a cigarette probably, but it would give them a cool down period after which they both could declare victory. Cassie would say that indeed she was too old for that kind of punishment and even so, she had decided that her behavior had been reckless and appalling and she’d decided to mend her ways. On her side, Eileen would easily maintain that the mere threat of her hairbrush had convinced her to change her ways. Win-win.

Having made it to the bedroom, Eileen picked the hairbrush from her dresser and weighed it in a way she never did when brushing her hair. Then she waited, listening. Nothing. She looked up and saw herself in the mirror-Christ, there were a lot of mirrors in this house! But there she was, holding the brush looking formidable but she felt like she had to pee.

She took a breath and headed back down the hall. Just be gone, was her last thought before striding into the living room to find her daughter sitting on the sofa in her underwear, jeans folded neatly over the arm of the recliner. Her daughter’s long white thighs against the dark cushions didn’t surprise her as much as the folded jeans. Cassie never folded anything. Ever.

Seeing her daughter, downcast and submissive in a way she typically wasn’t, moved Eileen forward. Saying nothing, she walked to the sofa and slid the coffee table out of the way Then she sat next to Cassie, who still hadn’t looked up, and set the hairbrush on the floor. Silence never had a chance to root between the two of them but for the moment neither seemed to want to say anything. They were both nervous-Cassie more so-and neither was looking forward to making the next move.

“Cassie…” Eileen began.

“I know Mom…I know…Don’t, OK?” To emphasize that she wanted no lecture nor conversation, she turned toward her Mom and crawled over her lap planting herself face down into the sofa cushions and her black-pantied bottom positioned just so on her thigh. “Just do it, OK?” She thought she was ready or anything until she felt her mother’s fingers in the elastic of her panties.

“Come on Mom…Not like this”, she whined as Eileen pulled her underwear down. She reached back futilely, her bottom already bared, only to have her hand slapped.

“No, Cassie. This is the way I did it last time, this is the way I’m going to do it now. You gave up all your negotiating rights when you laid across my lap.” To emphasize, Eileen reached high and brought her open palm down solidly on Cassie’s right cheek.

“It’s not like I had a choice. OWWW!”

“Your car keys were here. The door right there. I gave you enough time to make your escape.” She punctuated her words with slaps.

“OWWW! And what would have happened when I came home? OWWW! Jesus!”

Eileen paused, her spanking hand across the back of Cassie’s legs. “I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t. Maybe this. Maybe worse. Maybe nothing. I don’t know.” She watched her hand prints bloom a pleasant pink on Cassie’s pale backside. “But you made a decision to be right here.”

“Can I have a do-over?” Cassie asked then winced as another slap landed before she could get ready for it.

“No do-overs, no tag-backs”, Eileen said a tight smile tracing itself unseen across her face. “Hand me the brush, would you?”

“Oh man…” said Cassie reaching for it and handing it back over her shoulder. “I remember this…”

“You must. The last one held you for ten years.” She felt her daughter tense as she lay the chill wood against her bottom.

“Maybe you won’t want to wait so long for the next one”, Cassie mumbled into the sofa cushions.

“Maybe we’ll see what you think when I’m finished. I’m giving you forty.”

“FORTY! I can’t take forty swats.”

“Then you’re in deep trouble, cause you’re getting forty.”

“Mom! Come on…”

“I’m sure I gave you that many last time.”

“That was twenty-nine.”

“You counted?”

“Of course I counted!” She pushed herself up to look back over her shoulder. “First, I couldn’t believe you chased me to the pond in front of everyone. Then I couldn’t believe you were paddling my bare ass. I was so mad at you. I counted so I could tell the cops how many times you hit me!”

“I still can’t believe it was only twenty-nine.”

“It hurt enough believe me. I couldn’t sit right for three days! Miss Andrews in home room asked me why I was fidgeting so much.”

Eileen coughed a quick laugh. “I didn’t know that.”

“Like I would give you the satisfaction…”

“Must have worked though. As I recall you settled for the rest of the year-no more catfish pond and your grades got better.”

Cassie wasn’t going to answer that one and flopped back down.

“You ready?” Eileen asked.

Cassie squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, “Do what you have to do”, she whispered.

“That’s a good way to put it. Yeah, it’s what I have to do. And not just for me.”

Eileen, all hesitation and trepidation behind her, lifted the brush and brought it down hard. Not as hard as she could have, but hard. The loud CRACK! and the answering cry were satisfying, she’d have to admit. But not satisfying enough yet. She tightened her grip on her daughter’s back and went to work. Cassie was a trooper and stood the first ten with minimal grunting until giving over to yelping and kicking then crying, then sobbing. She lurched and jumped with every burning swat but never reached back nor tried to wriggle her bottom out of harm’s way.

When she was finished-and it was somehow important that she get to forty-Eileen stopped. She let Cassie lie crying across her lap for a few moments then patted her hot bottom. “Go. Go to your room.” The girl pushed herself up and stood wiping her eyes and allowing her panties to slip to the floor. She stepped out of them and went to her room.

Eileen sat not knowing how she felt. The room seemed smaller and her face was hot. She could hear Cassie crying softly in her room and was convinced it wasn’t from the spanking. Eileen left the brush on the sofa and went down the hallway, taking a detour into the bathroom. She dug around in the closet until she found what she wanted. Then she crossed the hall and knocked on her daughter’s open door.

“Come on Mom…” Part 2

(Continued from “Come on Mom…” Part 1)

“You’ll know soon enough. I’m getting my hairbrush.”

Wait. What? Cassie was stunned into silence for a moment. “Your…your…Mom. There is no way I’m going to let you…I don’t want…Just no way.” She paused, sputtering. “I’m twenty-three years old for Christ’s sake!”

Her daughter’s words resounded. ‘There is no way I’m going to let you…’ she’d said. Truth be told, she was a grown woman, a bit taller than she and probably stronger. Setting aside the ‘my house, my rules’ bullshit which neither of them ascribed to, Eileen didn’t kid herself that she’d be able to wrestle Cassie over her lap. So she stayed calm and spoke as clearly and logically as she could manage.

“I don’t know what age has to do with anything. This is about behavior, right? About you continually doing things that you know-that we both especially know”, she paused for effect, “can have ruinous consequences.” Cassie dropped her head, her eyes smarting a bit. Not that lecture, please, she thought. “Do you remember the last time I had to spank you?” Cassie’s heart fluttered; not at the memory so much though that was bad, but at the way her mother just said ‘The last time I HAD TO spank you’. Jesus! Was this really going to happen?

“Do you remember?” Eileen prodded wanting an answer.

“Yes”, she said softly, not looking up.

From the time she entered middle school, Cassie always looked older than she was. And that night, a decade before, back by the pavilion at the catfish pond, she was passing for sixteen with a motley collection of high-school ne’er do wells and footballers. Definitely forbidden territory. Eileen was only seventeen when she’d had Cassie and was not too far removed from the revolving gangs at catfish pond and what went on there. A half mile trail from any paved road, skirting fields and the golf course, it was a supposed safe haven from prying parents and bored cops.

So the dozen or so kids froze when Eileen had stalked off the path into the glow of the barrel fire that night. Everyone had backed away, out of the range of a mother’s hot rage. Poor Cassie had nowhere to back away to and was too late in dropping the beer can beside her feet.  She opted to stand quietly mortified as her mother seethed, “Get your butt home NOW!” They walked the trail home in the moonlight quickly, not because Cassie was in a hurry-far from it- but her mother six paces behind her matching her stride for stride prevented her from slowing. She had tried a quick “I’m sorry” over her shoulder but her mother’s “You’ll be plenty sorry when you get home”, shut her up.

DAMMIT! Eileen thought as she stormed at Cassie’s heels-pissed at the long white legs and the too short shorts she was wearing. Why couldn’t the girl just do as she was told? Eileen had lived through exactly what Cassie was going through. Hell, she knew what Cassie was going to do before she did it. She had good advice to pass on. Why didn’t the girl just follow it? Why did she have to push all the time like it was a contest?

Eileen was not a disciplinarian. Wasn’t interested in it. She’d rather sit around and chat-tell stories with points and morals-that Cassie listened to well enough when she was little, but not anymore. She knew she let Cassie get away with a little too much. Then she had to reign her in. With Cassie’s father out of the picture, out of the house, and out of their lives, all of Cassie, good and bad, was solely on her desk. Dammit girl!

Cassie took the porch stairs two at a time and slowed when she pushed the door open. “To your room”, he mother ordered shoving her firmly between the shoulder blades. “I’m getting my hairbrush!”

“No, Mom!” Cassie had cried.

When her mother had stormed into her room, Cassie was backed into a corner hoping to protect herself, but Eileen never slowed, grabbing her arm roughly and pulling her toward the bed.

“Lay on the bed!” she ordered.

“No Mom, please!”

Her mother leaned in close to her face and, squeezing her arm, whispered hoarsely. “You lay down on that bed or I promise, I will lay you down.”

Acquiescing to her mother’s rage Cassie crawled reluctantly onto the bed and flattened out bottom up. She was almost ready for whatever was coming until her mother’s fingers snatched at the waistband of her shorts.

“NO!” she yelled and reached, but by the time she got her hands back her shorts, along with her panties, had already been yanked off her butt. She tried to roll onto her side and pull her legs up, but Eileen’s heavy hand in the small of her back foiled her. Plus any struggling and rolling would reveal more of herself to her mother’s eyes than she cared to reveal. She submitted and lay still, not struggling as Eileen pulled everything down to her knees and pushed her shirt up her back.

The spanking itself only lasted minutes, but left Cassie wailing on her bed in equal parts anger, frustration, humiliation and not a little pain. When Eileen finally stayed her hand and looked at her daughter’s well-colored bottom (Cassie would watch the bruises bloom and fade in her mirror for a week) she would admit to a little satisfaction at delivering a strong message, but it was colored with fear of what she’d been capable of. And overlaid with the fear of what would come next: tomorrow, then the next day then next week. Did she really have to do this?

Watching her daughter’s shoulders quiver as she sobbed, Eileen softened and patted her back then straightened her shirt. “You stay in here till I tell you to come out”, she said softly. Cassie nodded through her sniffles. Eileen didn’t exactly regret what she’d done but didn’t feel good about it. She thought that she might not want to do it again. And she hadn’t.

“Mom…I don’t want…” Cassie coughed and trailed off. Eileen stopped and turned-not content to leave anything unsaid.

“Don’t want what, dear?” she asked making her say the word.

“I don’t want a…spanking,” she said embarrassed just being made to say it. “I don’t.” She looked up then and their eyes met-Eileen saw fear and pleading there that she wanted to give in to. The kind of pleading and apologies that she’d accepted for years which had brought them to where they were.

“You don’t want one? Or you wish you hadn’t done anything to deserve one?”

Cassie had no answer to that. There was no answer to that question.

“Take your jeans off Cassie. I’m going to get my hairbrush.”

“Off? Why do I have to take them…”

“Because you’re not a kid and I’m not going to wrestle with you to take your pants down. Take them off.”

“Mom. Wait…you don’t have to do this. We don’t have to do this.”

“I think we do.

(Continuing…)

“Come on Mom…” Part 1

“CASSIE!”

Oh, Jesus, thought Cassie. She reached through the curtain and turned the shower on. The hissing stream echoed off the tub, so she could logically pretend she hadn’t heard her mother calling.

“CASSIE!!”, came the call, louder this time.

“IN THE SHOWER!” she yelled back standing in front of the sink dressed in the clothes she’d slept in. A quick glimpse at the matted hair, puffy face and red eyes in the mirror made her look away. Not smart, she thought-now I have to take a shower. She peeled her jeans down noticing dirt on her hip-she must have fallen.  Sure enough, there were faint scratches and a red bruise. “Shit…” she whispered running a finger over the marks trying hard to remember.

Then, she quickly, albeit a bit reluctantly, reached between her legs and felt around. Her bush was soft and dry; she reached further and felt around. Nope, nothing. With a relieved sigh, she found no evidence that anything untoward had happened down there. Where was her life headed if she had to inspect her snatch to see if she’d had any sex she didn’t remember?

She sighed and pushed her jeans all the way down. They went, along with underwear and t-shirt into the hamper. She stepped into the steam and let the water pound the back of her neck. “Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck” was all she was interested in hearing from herself right now.

Her drinking was a problem-she knew that. Had been for a while and the last thing she needed was to give her mother another reason to remind her. She really was doing better-no drinking (much anyway) during the week and counting-actually paying attention to how much she was drinking; until, of course, she got too drunk to keep track. But the drinking and driving…”fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck!”

She dried quickly and opened the bathroom door a crack. Nothing. She was alone in the house. Cassie took a dry towel and tip-toed to her room. She had to figure out what had gone wrong or what Eileen had found out-or thought she’d found out-before facing her.

She dried quickly in her room and pulled on clean panties and a pair of jeans. With her body, a bra was optional equipment, so she opted out and pulled a black Creed T-shirt over her head. Hearing something outside she peeked through the blinds and saw her mother in her weekend gardening uniform of khaki shorts and a light-blue sun shirt. She was at that moment ignoring her dahlia garden, her butterfly bushes, all the Shasta daisies and poking around the front of Cassie’s car which was parked quite squarely in the middle of Eileen’s Hosta bed. She’d only missed the driveway by a car width. “Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck…”

What would be better? She wondered. Go out and help? Survey the damage and apologize profusely? Just wait till Eileen came in? She didn’t know. Things had been so pissy between them the last couple of months after a pretty good stretch she didn’t want to make things worse. Too late for that, she thought rubbing her temple.

Outside, Eileen circled around the front of the old Subaru then dropped to all fours to look under. The soil in the bed had been mulched, manured and carefully tilled for years so it was soft enough that the front tires had sunken to the axles. The rear still sat out on the grass. She stood and tucked a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear with a sigh. She stopped shaking her head; something she did for effect-like her studied eye roll-but there was no one to see it. What a mess.

She had to do something. This girl was going to kill herself or someone else. She looked through the open window and saw a red Solo cup in the holder on the console. “Don’t tell me…” she grumbled. She reached in. The cup wasn’t empty. One tentative sniff and her stomach lurched. Even when she drank, which she didn’t anymore save for the odd glass of Chardonnay when she joined Shannon at her club, tequila had never been her thing. “Christ!” she groused, unable to keep the words in her head, “Drinking and driving was one thing. Drinking WHILE driving?” That was her father all over. The bastard might be gone, but he’d never be gone. She had to do something. She couldn’t throw her out-that would make it worse. She tossed the Solo cup aside, disgusted and stepped onto the porch. Something. She thought.

Cassie was still stuck in her room trying to decide what to do when she heard the screen door clatter and her name, again, from the living room.

“CASSIE!”

“Coming Mom…” she called back trying to sound calm and for whatever reason, young. Eileen was standing, hands on hips, in the middle of the living room, when Cassie dragged her feet in. She endured what felt like a miserable hour of silence until she had to speak up.

“I’m…I’m sorry about the Hosta’s Mom…”

“I don’t give a fuck about the Hosta’s you idiot!” Eileen shot back.

Cassie bit her lip and her heart took a flip. Her mother NEVER used ‘fuck’ and NEVER-NEVER called her names. This was bad.

“Where were you last night?” she demanded.

“The Mill…” Cassie said naming a bar on the outskirts of the other side of town.

“You drove home in that condition all the way from The Mill?!”

“I wasn’t that bad…”

“That’s over 10 miles! You drove the river road-all the way through town-then out to here? So drunk that you couldn’t even hit a lighted driveway?” Cassie said nothing. “Drunk and still drinking on the way?” Is that you now?”

Cassie didn’t want to answer but the question hung like a smell. “No-that’s not me. You know it’s not me. Something happened last night…”

“Something that happens EVERY WEEKEND Cass. Every weekend now. Which could be bad enough but now Thursday is a part of your weekend and Monday too.”

“I’m doing better.”

“Last night was better?” She waved toward the yard. “This is better?”

Cassie lifted her hands as if to say something, then let them drop. What was the use? It was no good arguing with her when she got like this. She didn’t care, she WAS doing better. Last night was a slip-she’d figure it out. The last thing she needed was a lecture from her mother. Eileen wasn’t particularly enjoying it either. She had thought this shit was behind her. They had been more like peers up till recently. Physically they could pass for sisters and they got along well enough until Cassie had lost her job and had to move back in. It had been a tough summer though and was getting worse.

Again the silence tightened around them, but this time Eileen was going to be the one to break it. She had decided what she was going to do but it wouldn’t be easy.

“You know what I’m going to do, Cassie?”

“No mom, I’m dying to know.” The switch from contrition to sarcasm was jarring and Cassie wished she could take it back. Eileen, on the other hand, accepted it as fuel.

“You’ll know soon enough. I’m getting my hairbrush.”

(Continuing...)