Oak Island Chapter 14: The New Year

Oak Island Chapter 14: The New Year

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
"

The New Year

"

Chapter Fourteen


A few days later found me getting ready for Cheryl and Ted's party. I planned to walk over to Leo's house at 7:30 or so. I dressed in my winter little black dress, with a necklace of many fine strands of amber beads loosely twisted together. When I had my make up and hair just right, it was time to go, so I put on my coat and left.


It was a damp night, but not too cold. The air felt soft and there was a sliver of a moon hiding behind wisps of cloud. It was a nice walk, past other historic homes, some painted white, others painted subdued colors. There were beveled glass doors, stained glass windows, and one house had a gorgeous Christmas tree in front of the large living room window, decorated in gold and red.


Leo was waiting for me on the porch swing. As he came down the porch steps to meet me, he was looking good in stylish layers of gray and charcoal. He really had developed a fashion sense. I never would have guessed he would when we were kids.


Leo greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I had to admit he had not become less attractive with time. His touch still moved me, still felt thrilling. I had time to notice this as he helped me into the truck.


Once settled in the truck cab, Leo entertained me with tales of the many spiders he'd encountered in the course of his work. I never knew spiders were a hazard for an electrician, but apparently they like the small places where circuit boxes and wiring need to go. We were laughing as we mounted the steps to Cheryl and Ted's porch. The party had spilled out onto the porch and the front door was open, so we went in. I never knew Cheryl and Ted knew so many people. Ted saw us enter and offered to take our coats, and then Cheryl was greeting us. At the drinks table there were bottles of red and white wine and champagne to choose from, as well as some microbrewery beers. I poured myself a flute of champagne. Leo had drifted off so I looked around to see who was there. I immediately saw Heather and Janine and went to join them.


Janine was a little exuberant from the wine she was drinking and greeted me enthusiastically. She turned to Heather and said, “See, I told you she would come with Leo.” She then congratulated me on my handsome date.


Flushing, I stammered something about being friends. Janine ignored this and went on, telling Heather, “You were there at our Christmas dinner, you saw how he couldn't keep his eyes off her. I knew it was just a matter of time.” My face was burning now, and I was shaking my head. Thankfully Heather hadn't been drinking as much and leaned over and stopped Janine from continuing in that vein.


Oh, whoops! I'm sorry Cassie.” She was sober enough to look embarrassed. “Well, you both look good tonight. I love your necklace.” We talked a little about jewelry and then I excused myself, having seen Marie across the room.


I continued to circulate, drinking champagne. I met several new people and saw many people I hadn't seen for years. It seemed all of Mantville was here. Close to midnight, I ended up in a corner with Leo, Rudy and Heather. There was a general movement to the porch, to watch Ted and Henry set off some fairly large fireworks when it turned midnight. There was much cheering, hugging and kissing. Leo wrapped me up a hug that lifted me off my feet and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. When he set me down, I had my arms around him and our eyes met. He gently kissed my forehead and let me go.


Not much later, the crowd was thinning and we decided it was time to go. Being a designated driver at large, he offered to give a very drunk friend of Henry's cousin a ride as he was in no shape to drive. Matt was a funny guy full of stories about Henry's large clan. Matt lived way out in the sticks, like Janine and Henry, and we were entertained by him for a good 20 minutes before reaching his house. When we were about 5 minutes from the north end of Mantville, I felt something wet. Oh for heaven's sake, it was my period. Damn. I didn't think it could wait until we got home, so I was forced to tell Leo my problem, which was not the most comfortable thing to do. But he was sympathetic and we stopped at the first gas station we found. Under the bright fluorescent lights, my eyes were dazzled after being in the dark truck for so long. I selected and bought my necessities and asked for the bathroom. Getting that problem under control, I emerged to see Leo outside by the pumps in a defensive posture, trying to placate someone. I didn't like the looks of this, so I paused by the door to see what was going on.


It was Ezra.


I ran out to try to stop them from doing something stupid. Big mistake. When Ezra saw me, he went berserk. He lunged at me and shouted, “You're mine, Cassie. You can't do this. She belongs to me. You can't-- “

Leo grabbed him by the arm. To my horror, Ezra hauled back and punched Leo. Leo was definitely the larger man and more experienced than Ezra. He soon had Ezra up on his toes, his arm twisted up behind his back. They ended up facing me.


I never belonged to you, Ezra. Go away.”


Leo frog marched the cowed Ezra back to his BMW and released him with a shove.


If you bother her or me again, you'll regret it.” To me, Leo said, “We'd better go, before the cashier calls the police.”


When we got back to my house, I insisted Leo come in so I could look at his face. In the bright light of my bathroom, I inspected him. He had a bruised lip, but more serious were the split knuckles on his right hand. When I came back with an ice pack, Leo was checking out his lip in the mirror, gingerly touching it.


Here, put this on your mouth. I'll clean your hand.” He obediently accepted the ice pack and held out his hand. Once his knuckles were clean, I wrapped them in gauze. “We need to get you some knuckle dusters.”


Leo put his arm around my waist and pulled me into a hug. “What we need is for your psycho ex to leave us alone.” I rested my cheek on his chest and hugged him back.


***


Leo decided, and I agreed, that Ezra might be liable to turn up again to bother me. So he volunteered to sack out on the love seat. Luckily I had followed Ted's advice and gotten a sleeper sofa. I unfolded the bed and made it up.


I changed into my most modest pjs and got ready for bed. It felt odd to have someone in my apartment. I had gotten used to being alone. But it felt good to have Leo near me. I contemplated that fact. It always felt good to have Leo near me. In fact, some part of me lit up when Leo was around. I decided this was more than simple sexual attraction. Perhaps my mind and heart were actually following where my body wanted to lead me. The old Leo and the new Leo had been mixing in my mind and he was no longer unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. He was becoming more and more familiar. We had been spending time together only since Christmas, so that happened fast. Seven days, actually.


Too fast. I shouldn't rush into anything while on the rebound. I would keep these thoughts to myself, and check back in after a month. See what February might bring.


***


I woke to the smell of coffee and waffles. Leo had found the waffle iron and all the ingredients necessary. When I stumbled into the kitchen, Leo handed me a cup of coffee, black. I sat on the single stool in my kitchen and sipped my coffee, watching Leo make me a waffle. I had no table or chairs and had been eating everything sitting on the couch. I needed to remedy that situation. Ted's store was a bit pricey, so I thought I might get one of those DIY put together tables and some inexpensive chairs. I could invest in good furniture when I had more money.


My mind was moving slowly and it was when I was halfway through my waffle that I thought to ask Leo to help me put together a table. Further thought brought me to the conclusion that I'd be able to put four chairs into Leo's truck, but definitely not into my Camry.


As it happened, this year New Year's Day fell on a Friday, so we had a whole weekend off in front of us.


Leo, do you think you could give me a hand this weekend? I want to get some furniture.”


I explained my plan.


Don't get one of those rickety little tables. I can take you to Spinner's Lane. They have all kinds of used stuff, some of it very nice.”


I thought that was an antique place.”


No, they have more modern things too. That's where I got that rug in the living room.”


That's a fantastic rug.”


Let's go tomorrow. Want me to pick you up at 11?”


Sure. Thanks a lot.”


No problem. I'll see you in the morning.”


***


The next day I dressed in jeans and rust colored sweater with my suede boots. I added a leather and sheepskin cap. I hated being cold. Leo seemed to trust me to climb into the truck by myself now, and hoisting myself in was easier once I got the hang of it.


Spinner's Lane was a former textile warehouse converted to provide booths for retailers to display their goods. It was sort of like an upscale second hand furniture mall. And as I had suspected, the cavernous structure was cold. I browsed different booths and finally found a very sturdy square butcher block table. It would seat two easily, four in a pinch. While Leo was having that loaded into his truck, I looked around for some chairs that would go with the variegated hard wood of the table.


Cassie!” I heard a female voice call my name. It was Nadine. She and Susan waved to me. I went to join them.


I didn't particularly want to talk to Nadine but I didn't see how I could get out of it. They were looking at some Louis XIV reproductions.


Here she is! Well, Cassie, we haven't seen you in a long time,” Nadine greeted me. Susan smiled and looked strained. Nadine looked absolutely ecstatic. I had a bad feeling about this.


Lowering her voice, Nadine said, “I'm so sorry you and Ezra broke up. He was a real catch.” She looked delighted, though. “I heard you went to that tacky place, Clear Water. Well,” she laughed, “Maybe it didn't seem that bad to you Cassie. You're used to tacky, aren't you?”


Actually, Nadine, I am more accustomed to people who tell the truth and act maturely.” I looked her up and down. “Something you have a hard time with, isn't it?”


Nadine's smile faltered. Susan looked she would rather be anywhere else. I continued, “You're also very short on good manners and basic politeness. But I guess, with your background, that's normal.”


Leo appeared and waved to me to catch my attention.


Oh look! It's your bruiser boyfriend. I understand Ezra sent him to the hospital.” Nadine was beaming again. “Isn't he a handy man or something?”


Ezra seems to be lacking in the truth department too. Leo, my friend, only hurt his knuckles hitting Ezra so hard. I think Ezra was the one who got the worst of that altercation. And he is an electrician. Now I have to go. I hope I never see you again, you two-faced, back-stabbing b***h.” I gave Nadine my sunniest smile and strode off.


I joined Leo, who said, “You look happy. Friends of yours?”


No, Ezra's friends. I just had to tell her something I'd been dying to say for a long time.”


That's nice. Did you find some chairs you like?”


***


I ended up getting four modern ladder back chairs in black metal and cherry wood. I helped Leo carry the table in and it looked nice in the kitchen with two of the chairs. The other two populated the living room, making it less empty. Now I could potentially have five guests if I wanted. Perhaps Cheryl and Ted would like to come for dinner one evening.





© 2018 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading so far into my story. All comments are welcome.

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Featured Review

The period. Oh god, that was perfect, and it makes me glad to know I'm not the only one who occasionally gets surprised by my period. Gorgeous little bit of realism.

The fight was good, and it was a nice excuse to get Leo to stay over, but I am very glad that she's still taking it slow.

What I didn't really like was "Anything for you Cassie." That seems so ... just no. Too love sick and puppy like. The conversation between them up until that line was flawless.

The conversation between Cassie and Nadine was pretty fun, though I winced when she told her Leo was an electrician. "Now I have to go. I hope I never see you again, you two-faced, back-stabbing b***h.” I gave Nadine my sunniest smile and strode off." Made me cackle with glee. That's the sort of thing you always wish you could say/do but never have an opportunity.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Thank you once again, my faithful reader. I took out the soppy puppy dog thing. You were right, and .. read more



Reviews

Oh, I so much enjoy this chapter when she told her off I wish did it sooner and more often. LOL told you I would be back now on to the next chapter to see what have store for me. maybe another fight with Ezara

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love the descriptions; "the sliver of moon behind the clouds" for example was excellent. You are awesome at descriptive words however I feel you could use work in transitioning between parts of the story. It goes a little fast and takes away from something that is otherwise well-written and fun to read. A few words for example between her going from the porch to the truck would add to the story. As well as even (though it may be a little gross) the feeling of it dawning on her that she has gotten her period in this mans truck. Maybe a bit of mortification at having this happen? Also the line "this is too kind" seems out of place. When I write dialogue I read it aloud and I say to myself "is this something that would sound abnormal to be said in real life." Not many people would say "oh this is too kind" maybe "that's really nice of you" or "thank you for the help." You are a great writer though and I loved the story and characters, great work!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Thank you for reading and reviewing. I see what you are saying about transitions and going too fast... read more
The Ink Chapters

2 Years Ago

:) I'm glad you took the constructive criticism without insult because it was still a fantastic and.. read more
I was wondering when Ezra would rear his ugly head again causing problems and telling lies. Cassie will have to tred lightly where he is concerned, because I couldn't help but wonder if he had been stalking her the whole evening or something. Great chapter.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Ezra didn't fail to meet your expectations, lol. Thanks for the encouraging review, my faithful read.. read more
The period. Oh god, that was perfect, and it makes me glad to know I'm not the only one who occasionally gets surprised by my period. Gorgeous little bit of realism.

The fight was good, and it was a nice excuse to get Leo to stay over, but I am very glad that she's still taking it slow.

What I didn't really like was "Anything for you Cassie." That seems so ... just no. Too love sick and puppy like. The conversation between them up until that line was flawless.

The conversation between Cassie and Nadine was pretty fun, though I winced when she told her Leo was an electrician. "Now I have to go. I hope I never see you again, you two-faced, back-stabbing b***h.” I gave Nadine my sunniest smile and strode off." Made me cackle with glee. That's the sort of thing you always wish you could say/do but never have an opportunity.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Thank you once again, my faithful reader. I took out the soppy puppy dog thing. You were right, and .. read more

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Added on July 16, 2017
Last Updated on February 10, 2018


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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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I am back and returning all reviews of "Phoenix." I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) .. more..

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