I don’t believe it. I actually jumped. I actually went to where my heart told me to go. Peter was surprised too. He was sure I was going to say no. He said that as soon as I told him that I was going to need time to think he was sure I was going to say no. As soon as I moved in I told Peter there were going to be some changes. But I also told him to relax. They weren’t going to be major earth-shaking changes. All I said was that he was going to start eating properly and that he was going to get some exercise every day.
“I get plenty of exercise” he protested from the comfort of his favorite chair.
“Stop saying “exercise” like it’s a dirty word. Besides, swatting horseflies and mosquitoes don’t count. I also want to chart your weight. Are your scales in the bathroom?”
He sat up in his chair and started squinting at me. “What’s going on here? Are you Dr. Willowby’s evil twin or something?”
I repeated my question about the scales. He wasn’t pleased. Not one tiny bit.
“Oh, all right! Since you seem to be so hell-bent about knowing about my weight the she-devil from hell took the blasted thing with her. She was a diet freak. If that ding-dong woman gained one single kilo she’d call it a red white and blue emergency. And we’d have rabbit food every blasted day for a month and I am not a damn rabbit!”
Peter started to mutter, mumble, and grumble from his chair. My approach was about as popular as the plague. So I sat beside his chair, held on to my knees and talked from my heart.
“I have feelings for you. I care about you. And I want you around for a long, long time. I’m only trying to do things so we can be together longer.” That got his attention. He got out of the chair, stood in front of me and looked down at me. His hands were in his pockets. Almost as suddenly he sat down in front of me and looked right at me. Those hazel eyes are killers.
“What kind of “exercise” did you have in mind m’lady,” he said softly.
“Nothing strenuous. I was thinking of a walk or a swim every day. But if you swim I swim. If you go for a walk I go with you. I just don’t want to lose you. I simply want you to know I’m here.”
Suddenly he got even closer till our knees were touching.
“I know what you’re trying to do Cassie and I really appreciate it. You have no idea how glad I am that you’re here. I have no plans of dying without giving this bug one damn good fight. I just want you to know there are going to be some days when I just won’t feel like doing anything and there won’t be anything you can do about that. I’ll tell you what. We can drive into Norland, get some bathroom scales, and anything else you might need. And then when we come back we can go for a swim.”
“Can I say something else?” not quite sure how to phrase what I
want, no, needed to say. I stayed seated. I didn’t know if I had the guts to say it standing up and if I made a fool of myself at least I wouldn’t have far to fall.
“You’re about to take a walk through hell. I want to walk with you and keep you company on the journey if you’ll let me.” Peter looked surprised and speechless. He leaned forward, put the palms of his hands on the sides of my face and and pulled me forward till my lips met his. He kissed me so gently, so tenderly for a second, I wasn’t sure if he had kissed me at all. But it was so electrifying it made the hair at the back of my neck stand up. I was so nervous and my heart was beating so quickly I almost passed out. Wow, a hundred times, wow. He stood up, took my hands, raised me up from the floor and I fell into his arms.
“I don’t deserve someone as caring, good looking, and as special as you. But you’re free to come along on the journey if you’re sure you really want to do this. But it’s not going to be a very pleasant trip. Not one you want to put in your scrapbook of memories”
“You’re right. You may not deserve me. But I’ll decide that at the end of the journey. I just want you to know how I feel because I think I love you, Peter James Christopher.”
There is something about men that I just don’t understand. You’re standing nose to nose with him, and you really want him to kiss you. Now, maybe he’s trying to be a gentleman or something but he’s so close you almost want to scream “Kiss me stupid!”. But that didn’t happen. Peter very gently put his the palms of his hands on the sides of my neck, looked into my eyes, and slowly brought his lips closer till my lips were enveloped by his, and his tongue was soon playing tag with mine. It was the perfect kiss. One you never ever want to end. One with smoldering passion. One that makes your toes curl. But it becomes a moment you file away in your memory forever. What a kiss!. What rating would I give it? Never you mind.
He pulled away. I was hoping for a slow-motion repeat of the kiss. Instead, I got way better. He looked into my eyes and after a couple of tries said the full sentence.
“I think I love too Cassandra Carter”
I made a healthy breakfast. Since I assumed the mantel of chief cook and bottle washer I knew that I was going to be doing most of the cooking. But I was determined to put some meat on that mans bones. I wanted some handles to hold on to!
I forgot to mention Peters car is one sweet ride. It’s a racy looking MG. My car wasn’t in the same league. Hell, it wasn’t in the same universe. It barely got me from point A to point B. After breakfast, we drove into Norland. I went up the stairs to the A & P store. Peter stopped in at the gas station beside the store to get a copy of The Globe & Mail. He didn’t have to worry about saying anything there. Once you paid for the paper you were good to go. When I was younger The Globe used to be my newspaper of choice. But its once high standards had slipped a lot in the last few years and my newspaper of choice was now The Toronto Star. Peter joined me at the entrance to the A & P. Mr. Lemay was surprised to see him.
“Well, as I live and breath if it isn’t Mr. Christopher. I haven’t seen you for a couple of years. I’m willing to bet this vision of loveliness has something to do with you being here.” said Mr. Lemay indicating me.
I started to blush and discovered Mr. Lemay is a real chatty Cathy.
“If you don’t mind me saying you don’t look so well. Is something the matter? I hope it’s not serious.”
“Nothing but a touch of throat cancer Mr. Lemay. But with Cassie’s help, I’m going to knock that bug into next week. I start radiation treatments next month. Seven weeks of getting zapped are going to make me pretty weak so I may not be around very often for a few months but you can get your reports from Cassie. We might even email you a progress letter or two.”
Mr. Lemay’s face winced when he heard the word cancer.
“Oh jeez, that’s awful. You take care of that throat and watch out for our young Cassie.” “Watch out for our young Cassie” When the heck did I become community property?
I asked Mr. Lemay where he kept the bathroom scales. I’m not sure but I think Mr. Lemay caught sight of Peter holding on to my pinky. We eventually found the aisle where the bathroom items are kept (it was nowhere near where Mr. Lemay said they were. Apparently Mrs. Lemay has her own system about restocking the shelves and doesn’t care to share with Mr. Lemay).
When Peter and I found one we liked it was located on the top shelf. Neither Peter or I could reach it alone but together we were able to snag it from the jaws of ravenous dust bunnies. Whoever does the dusting clearly missed here. It was nice when Peter lifted me up. I knew he wouldn’t try to tickle me in a store, nor would he try to go for a quick grope when my shirt popped out of my jeans. But it felt soothing when the skin of his hands touched my waist. It was a touch I could trust. When Mr. Lemay poked his head around the corner he nearly frightened me to death.
“Sorry about that Cassie. I guess you two are in the market for a set of scales. I think I better tell you these aren’t your grandparent’s scales. They are a deeply personal item. Each one is tailored to go with a specific kind of person. You have your old school analog scale with the manual calibration dial and the fish-eye glass lens so you can read it without your glasses. But this particular model does not have the automatic leveling device lots of others do. The newer digital ones have automatic calibration and automatic leveling-”
Peter had heard more than enough, and to be perfectly honest I’ve never heard so much baloney about a common household item.
“With all due respect to your vast knowledge of bathroom scales I need one that is error free. I’m going to be weighed at least once every single day for seven weeks and if I have a scale that displays even the tiniest error I’m going to be asked where I got the scales and how old they are. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want anything that could besmirch the name of this fine establishment leaving this building.”
I was really impressed. Peter had just bamboozled the Kawartha King of BS. I was proud just to say I knew him. After an hour passed we were on our way back to the cottage. Things were fine while we were on the highway but as soon as we turned off onto Buller Road it was like we were in a scene from Lawrence Of Arabia. It hadn’t rained in almost a week and the dirt road was bone dry. The road rained down on us. So much so I announced I was going to have a bath when we got home. Peter said he was going to wash the car which was covered in dust, and other wonderful delights. As soon as we got home I ran inside, put the scales on the kitchen counter and ran a bath. Peter and I were now in competition for water pressure. I stripped down and climbed into a wonderfully fluffy bubble bath (something the ex Mrs. C. forgot). I had to use the master bathroom. The one for guests was downstairs and out of commission. The temperature regulator was on the fritz. The master bathroom was like no other on Shadow Lake. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi in it. But for some crazy reason, it had a clock in it as well. Peters ex installed it. I had been soaking for about forty or so minutes when all of a sudden Peter walked in. I immediately dove for the safety of the bubbles and screamed. I think he saw me for only half a second but that was half a second too long.
“Oh Christ!” and Peter slammed the door shut. “Sorry about that Cassie. I’m just not used to a woman being in my bathroom!”
I don’t really remember what I said next very well. I think I was still in shock. I’m just not used to a man sauntering into the bathroom while I’m in the tub. I grabbed the nearest towel, stood up and wrapped it around me. Peter knocked on the door, opened it about an inch and apologized again. He added “I’ll go downstairs” which put me at ease. After the mild heart attack, I surveyed the bathroom for any other doors. Not seeing any I sat back down in the tub. The only thing I found was a small stash of Cosmo magazines at the foot of the tub. They all had subscription labels on them, were addressed to the ex Mrs. C., and they all had trashy articles in them. Every other month or so they printed articles about sexual positions. I was pretty sure I loved Peter and I know he said he thought he loved me. And I know from personal experience that sexual frustration can kill a relationship. I heard Peter puttering about in the kitchen. I stood, wrapped the towel around me again, then called him. My arms were kept firmly at my sides to keep the towel in place. Peter knocked on the door.
“Please don’t scream. This bathroom has a helluva echo and I don’t want Mr.Webb pounding on my door thinking I’m beating a woman.”
I snickered. I couldn’t help it. The thought conjured up an image in my mind that was pretty laughable. “OK, no screaming but I need to talk to you face to face.”
Peter slowly opened the door probably expecting some sort of attack or assault. I wouldn’t blame him either. I was loud!
“Don’t worry. I promise not to scream. I’ve got a towel on so you won’t see anything.” Peter entered looking all over the room. Inspecting the paint job. The ceiling fan. Everywhere except at me.
He looked at the floor and slowly moved towards the toilet. He closed the lid and sat down. He sort of looked like the statue “The Thinker” only he has studying the floor and covering his eyes.
“It’s alright Peter, really. I’m not Medusa, you’re not going to turn to stone plus I’m wearing a towel. I’m not going to bite you.” I could tell my scream really scared him. “Think of the towel as a fluffy dress.” He slowly uncovered his eyes, raised his head, and looked at me.
“This morning I said I thought I loved you. Well, when you were holding onto my pinky “I thought” became fact. I’m madly in love with you. Now I need to know how you feel about me.”
Peter was shuffling his feet. He was obviously nervous. He tried saying something but nothing really came out.
“Do you feel all right?” concerned about his well being.
“Oh, I’m just peachy. I always sit on the toilet in my own bathroom to talk to a naked woman. How do the heck do you think I feel?. This is awkward as hell” he gurgled.
I didn’t care for his tone and I told him so. “Now you’re getting nasty and sarcastic. For the last time, I am not naked!”
“Look down the towel and tell me what you see.” I did.
OK, he had a point. So I decided to grant him his wish. Getting angry I lifted my arms and let the towel drop.
“Jeez, Louise Cassie! I’m not supposed to see you naked. We’re not even engaged!”
“Then why don’t you ask me to marry you!”
“All right I will. Cassie Carter, will you marry me?”
Wait a minute. Stop the music. Did he just do what I think he did?
“You bet your boots I will. Now get over here and seal the deal.”
Peter walked over to the tub and gave me the most passionate, toe-curling kiss I’ve ever had. It made the one from just a few hours earlier pale by comparison. “Now carry me into the bedroom and make mad, sweaty love to me.”
He checked to see if the blinds were closed, then carried me into the bedroom and put me on the bed. After he closed the door I took his hand and placed it on my breast. The warmth of his skin was so intense it was like there was a fire within him. Maybe there was. His touch was so soft that I think he was afraid I might break. I lay on the bed not really knowing what to expect but he knew exactly what to do. And he did it spectacularly well. He pleased me so well I shuddered. For a brief second, I think he thought he had hurt me. After two hours of glorious lovemaking, we were both soaked in sweat. We had a shower together and Peter covered me in soap. He didn’t mind going “down there”. In fact, I was surprised that he asked. It felt wonderfully exciting as if we were doing something taboo. That night we slept together. Simply slept. And the feeling of his arm around my waist felt so right.
…much more to come