I guess many of you know I’m doing some different type of writing these days that’s taking way too much of my time – yet, I’m quite proud of the books. I’ll put up a link at the bottom of this. But for today I just wanted to share another story with you. I am not going to give up my writing here any time soon.
As for what I’m writing about today – this was Allie’s idea. She thinks I should share all my old stories. I think some should remain in the closet with the other skeletons. But she’s badgered me so here goes. One day this past summer Tom, Andy, Steve and Ryan were golfing so we girls had gathered at my house. The weather had been so warm lately, but it had rained that morning and that had brought in a cool front. We girl were on the deck watching the river and talking.
Allie was complaining mildly. Stretching her long legs out she told us, “ Look at these scars,” she fussed, pointing to her knees. Daddy used to tell me I’d never be a rockette just because I use to beat the heck out of my knees when I was little – skating, biking, just running around, it seemed I kept them beat up. I’ve got a scar in my arm, too where I caught it on a snag when I fell skiing.”
I glance over and rolled my eyes, “You’re hideous.” I told her without emotion. “You look just like the bride of Frankenstein. Girl, do you really want to compare scars with three old broads like us?”
“Where do you have scars?” she asked.
We all three started laughing. “My tummy looks like a road map.” Annie said sounding pitiful. “Back when I had my gallbladder out and a hysterectomy they had to cut you opened. But Andy doesn’t seem to mind so I don’t.”
“And of course Cassie has her bullet hole scar from when she shot herself that woman.” Sue started.
“Shut up.” I snapped I’ve told you a million times, she shot me, and you know it.” I glared at Sue. But as I stared I began grinning, “I do have this scar on my cheek bone.” I said, lightly stroking the spot, although the scar could barely be seen these days. I continued, staring at Sue, “And I have a scar on my earlobe too.”
He eyes narrowed, “Too many damn wrinkles to see the one on your face any more.” She growled. “And how about the scar I have on my shoulder and my ear nearly got torn off. And it was your damn fault.”
“You started it!” I snapped.
“I did not!” Sue said her voice rising.
“Law, what you’ll fussin’ bout now?” We hadn’t heard Lily come in through the garage door.
“Nothing.” Sue and I answered in unison.
“They were too. Lily come on out I think we’ve got another story coming.” Allie called laughing. “And it sounds like a good one.”
“I have nothing to tell.” I said primly.
“Me either.” Sue agreed.
Sue and I sat stubbornly silent as Allie looked crestfallen.
“I’ll tell it,” Annie jumped in. “I probably tell it wrong and I’ll put my own spin on it. But I think I remember most of it. Of course, you tell things best Cassie.” She added grinning.
“I guarantee she’ll tell it wrong.” Sue said icily.
“If I’m going to tell this I need something to drink.” I told them.
“I’ll get us some ice tea,” Lily said heading back inside.
“No Lily, I need something stronger than that. How about a little wine?”
“Me too,” Sue chimed in.
“You don’t need no wine. You know you’ll have some at supper.” She fussed.
“Fine, if you don’t want to hear it,” I said smugly.
“Oh, come on Lily, give in.” Allie said jumping up and heading inside with Lily.
They were soon back with three ice teas and two glasses of wine. Taking my wine I looked over at Sue with a small questioning grin. She shrugged, and then gave me a slight nod.
I laughed as I looked back to Allie and Lily, they looked like they were waiting for a movie to start. “This is a girls only story.” I told them firmly. “I don’t want any of the men to know we’ve even told you about it. Deal?” They nodded and I began.
This was way, way back. Tom and I had only been married a few years. I think it was the same year as the cruise. We were all at one of the conventions and Sue had spent the day before ‘the incident’ getting me in trouble.
“Stop right there, you big liar.” Sue growl at me.
“Just hush, I’m telling this.”
“Fine,” she snapped, “I’ll tell them the truth later.”
Sue and I spent the day together getting ourselves in trouble, I amended. Annie was there too, but she wasn’t feeling well or something. I know she stayed in her room. We’d planned to hang around the pool all day, but it was raining so we made the tour of all the hospitality rooms. There were always tons and I guess we drank pretty steadily from before noon until I headed back to the room to meet Tom and get dresses for the cocktail party.
“You two been bad girls all your life.” Lily interjected.
I ignored her and continued on with my story. “I’ve always been pretty good at hiding how much I’m drinking from Tom, as long as I keep my mouth shut. And he didn’t expect as we headed out. But the more I had to drink the more my old habits began to resurface. Tom told me later that it was bad. He said the first noticed something when he heard me laugh and cursing with a bunch of men. When he got me away from them he said I was coming on to him, um… loudly and somewhat less than discretely.”
Allie’s eyes were wide and I grinned at her. “You can just imagine how that went over with Tom. He whisked me out of there pretty quickly and put me to bed.”
“Didn’t he whip your butt?” Lily wanted to know. “He sure should have.”
“Whose side are you on, Lily?” I asked.
“I ain’t never gonna be on yours when you’re drinking like a fish. That’s for sure.”
I continued, to answer your question, no, not that night, however, the next morning when I’d sobered up some the man flat wore me out. He wasn’t angry, but he was a man on a missions and that mission was to convince me of the evils of drinking. Tom doesn’t exactly spank gently these days, but I know it was worse back then. He spanked long and hard and I was sore as a boil when he finally felt he’s gotten his point across.
But we talked a long time too, I expect I cried more from the talking than the spanking. I knew I’d embarrassed Tom, though he never said that. But I so wanted to make him proud and I felt guilty. He was so sweet, he put lotion on me and he joined me on the bed and held me and eventually made me feel like the most perfect wife in the world. I still don’t know how he managed to do that.
Later, after another little nap, Tom told me, “I’ve ordered room service to bring up lunch got you and Sue and Annie. Steve, Andy and I have to get our presentation ready for tomorrow morning. I’ve ordered ice tea for you all – that’s it, no more drinking on this trip. Are we clear?” I agreed with no argument.
Tom headed to Andy’s room and the girl joined me. Sue looked a little worse for wear, as I’m sure I did. Annie was kind enough not to ask how we were feeling. Sue seemed to be in a foul mood almost the moment she walked through the door. She was mad as hell about something, but I had no idea what.
Lunch came and, somewhat reluctantly, I sat with the other. It hurt. Tom had spanked me thoroughly and I’m sure I winced as I sat, I couldn’t help it.
Annie kept up a little small talk, neither Sue or I helped much. We had barely gotten started when Sue simply explode. “That sorry son-of-a-bitch! I’m gonna kick his ass!”
Annie and I were completely taken off guard by how vehemently she spoke. I was at a total loss. What in the world had Steve done to her? He certainly didn’t spank at that time. I’d shrunk back in my chair from her unexpected anger. Looking at her almost in panic I asked, “What in the hell did he do?”
Sue had jumped to her feet, too agitated to sit. “That bastard beat you and I’m not putting up with it this time.” She shouted.
I knew I was a little hung-over, and my brain might not have been following as fast as it could have been, but I was lost. I stood too, I wanted to help her – she was so distraught, but she wasn’t making any sense.
Looking at me with fire in her eyes she spat out, “I know that asshole Tom beat the shit out of you, but you don’t even tell us? You just take it? We’re supposed to ignore the fact you’ve been crying? That you wince every time you move? You need to leave the bastard until he gets his temper under control. I can’t go though this shit again.”
I finally realized what she was saying. Actually she was saying two things – one was crazy and the other… the other, I couldn’t even let myself begin think where she was going with that.
Poor Annie sat staring not knowing how far this was going. But I’d heard all I was going to listen to, trying my best to rein in my anger I said, “That’s a lie and you can shut your damn mouth. Tom did not beat me. That’s absurd and you know it.”
“He didn’t beat you? Sit down!” she shouted. “I want to see you plop down in that chair.”
“Get out.” My voice was menacing. We were both so angry, breathing hard and staring each other down.
“Cassie you know I love you. Can’t you see he’s hurting you? I can’t ignore that.”
“Tom doesn’t beat me. Our marriage is different. We do things our own way. I’m fine with it. You know we’re happy. Why are you doing this?
“I can’t stand to see you take up for him like you’re some little door mat. He’s convinced you that he has the right to beat you and you’re such an idiot that you’ve bought into it. I can’t stand by and watch this again. Tom’s no better than _______________.”
And then she did it.
She said my first husband’s name.
It’s not a common name. I never hear it and I never want to. I’ve never mentioned his name here and I won’t. But she didn’t just say the name, she said it in the same breath as my wonderful Tom. She had actually said that Tom was the same as … him.
I don’t know if she expected me to take a swing at her – the fool certainly should have. She should have run like hell. My fist caught her right below the eye and she staggered back in shock. But she didn’t stay shocked long. She came at me her first punch split my lip and then, boy howdy, it was on. It was your typical girl fight after those first few blows. We’d knocked the cart with the food on it completely over. We were on the floor rolling, kicking, scratching, biting, hair pulling. Part of me wishes I had a video of the whole thing. I know we were a sight to behold.
Poor Annie was terrified. She realized there was no way she could possibly get us apart and she ran down the hall shouting for the men. They heard her cries and were all ready coming. Andy grabbed her, but Tom and Steve were heading for the noise we were making. I guess you can just picture what then walked, or rather ran in on. Each fellow tried to grab his own wife, but we weren’t quite ready to give up the fight.
I’d been in my share of brawls during my time on my own. I’d learned quickly, don’t stop fighting until your opponent wasn’t moving. When Tom tried to pull me away the only thing that registered in my mind was someone was trying to stop me, and that meant it was an enemy. That’s why I head butted him – I had no idea at the moment it was Tom. That was how, unfortunately, I managed to give him a bloody nose in the process.
Finally Tom got me locked in a bear hug, and by saying my name over and over I finally stopped struggling. Steve was helping Sue to her feet. She looked rough. Her blouse was ripped nearly off, blood was running down from her shoulder and dripping from the back of her ear. Her face was also bleeding from her lip and her nose.
I had faired little better. My cheek was split open over my cheekbone, and my mouth and nose also dripped blood. One earring had been torn through my ear, which added to the bloodletting.
Even Tom was bleeding as we stood there all of us in shock. It seemed quiet for a moment, all you could hear was Sue and I breathing heavily.
Then into the quiet I heard Steve ask, “What the hell?” Tom seemed at a loss for words.
“Andy, get some wet cloths,” Annie told him taking command. “Sit, both of you,” she barked at us.
Responding to the authority in her voice we both sat side by side on the sofa as she and the fellow huddled around. Annie and Andy were the one cleaning the wounds and pressing the cool cloths to our faces. They worked for a few minutes before Andy spoke, “We need to get them to the ER.”
Sue and I both looked at him, startled. Then we turned and looked at one another. Sue and I said a lot with that look. Sue and I love one another, it’s deeper than a friendship, it always has been. She stood by me and tried her best to protect me during the first marriage. That marriage wounded her as well as me. After that she had Annie had probably kept me alive for those five years before I met Tom. The fury was spent. The look we shared was only love. And gently, because of our wounds, we hugged briefly.
“What, what … what caused this?” Steve asked in bewilderment.
Sue and I immediately turned to Annie each of us gave a slight shake of the head. This didn’t need to be discussed with the men. This was just between us.
“No,” Tom snapped, “You have to tell us what in the world happened here.”
“Tom, we need to get them to a doctor, some of these places are going to need some stitches.” Andy insisted.
He was right. Once we got to the emergency room my cheek and ear were stitched. Sue got a few stitches to make sure the ear I tried to rip off would stay and they cleaned the bite wound on her shoulder.
Back at the hotel we all gathered in Annie and Andy’s room – neutral territory, I suppose. “Should we just head home?” Steve asked.
“Why?” Sue and I asked together. “We can’t go, you all have a presentation in the morning,” Sue continued.
“Presentation? You two just tried to kill one another and you’re worried about our presentation?” Tom asked in bewilderment. “Tell us what happened. I want to know and I want to know now.”
I looked Tom straight in the eye, “I’m not going to tell you.” I said simply. Sue reached over and took my hand.
“I’m not telling either,” Sue said quietly. “Annie?” Sue reached out to take her hand also, “Will you promise.”
Annie turned a troubled look toward Andy, and then agreed. “I promise.”
When I came out of reverie my, I realized I was again holding Sue and Annie’s hands. I gave them each a squeeze. I had to laugh as I looked to Allie and Lily, their eyes were big as saucers. They had obviously been enthralled.
Allie found her voice first, “Mom, I cannot believe you an Sue could fight like that. I…” The child truly seemed dumbfounded. Lily still sat with her mouth opened, saying nothing.
“How long did Tom let you get away with not telling him the reason?” Allie wanted to know.
I smiled at her. “I’ve never told him. None of us have,” I glanced at the girls and got a nod of conformation. “They rarely ask anymore. I can understand their curiosity. One minute we were best friends, the next enemies in vicious combat, then with not one word spoken, back to loving one another. Yes, they have to have been bewildered. I suppose we could tell them now, it wouldn’t matter anymore, but somehow I like the bond of just girls knowing. I’m not even sure why we told you all. I guess it’s just that we’re all family and I trust you both not to tell the boys. Don’t even tell them you heard the story.”
“Law it’s a wonder Mr. Tom let you get away with not telling. If I’d walked in and see something like that, I’d had to know what got you to fightin’ one another,” Lily finally spoke up. “How could you to make up without talking?”
Sue laughed, “We just seemed to understand one another at that moment. I think we both felt in our minds then that the other one had actually started the fight. I think we feel that way still,” Sue told them, looking over at me. I nodded.
“I think we both felt we’d been justified in the fight and that it was over.” I added. “Of course the irony of the whole thing wasn’t lost on us either. I mean, Sue beating the crap out of me for not leaving a man she was worried was beating the crap out of me. If that’s not irony, nothing is.”
“Sue was scared for me – I guess she had worried a bit ever since the cruise and that day, being hung over, realizing that she had been at least part of the reason I’d been in trouble with Tom in the first place, she just let her fear take over. Sue always gets mad when she’s worried or scared.”
“I was scared.” Sue agreed, “I didn’t like it for years after, but that day… I don’t now maybe it was because I was hung over. I knew how bad I was feeling and then to see Cassie hurting when she sat – I lost it. I calmed down over the years. I suppose Tom does have his good points.” She admitted grudgingly.
“Ya think?” I laughed
Story time was over. Allie got came over to me and gave me a kiss. “Love you Mom. I can’t wait until they make a movie of your life. I hope they pick someone amazing to play your daughter-in-law.”