Double Play XVI

By Cruise

Cass finished dressing and checked her look in the mirror once more.  ‘I hope this isn’t too casual.’  Fretting over the black jeans that sat low on her hips, she smoothed out the white clingy long sleeved shirt that came to the top of her navel.  She adjusted the zipper on the shirt increasing the amount of cleavage it revealed.  ‘It’s going to have to do.  I hope it’s appropriate.’  She ran her hands through her tresses once more and removed the excess lip gloss from the corners of her mouth.  Looking once more at herself in the mirror, she smiled.  ‘What you see is what you get, Dakota.’  She walked to the sliding glass doors to the balcony and stepped outside.  Smiling she inhaled the cool ocean breeze and looked down at the pool, squinting to focus on the two people standing closely talking by the bar that caught her eye.  ‘Dakota.’  She sighed disappointed when she saw her kiss the woman she was talking to.  Anger brewed within her and disillusionment consumed her.  ‘Shit! How is it that she does this all the time? We are supposed to be on a friggin date.’  She inhaled deeply watching Dakota hug the woman.  Jealousy consumed her when she saw the dark haired woman place her hand on Dakota’s face lovingly and smile before walking out of sight.  ‘Why do you always do this?’ Inhaling deeply, she forcibly exhaled when Dakota smiled, blowing a kiss to the woman.  She watched as Dakota walked out of sight towards the hotel.  ‘Okay, maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s not hitting on the woman or maybe I should just haul off and slap some sense into her.’  Jumping when she heard a knock at the door, she heaved a sigh and walked to the door.  Pausing at the door, she swallowed the lump in her throat and sighed heavily before opening the door.  Cass gasped breathless when Dakota glanced up at her.  Her heart raced uncontrollably as she stared into Dakota’s deep blue eyes.  She was stunned by how beautiful Dakota looked with her hair parted on the left side with a portion of it tucked behind her ear and the remainder of her hair flipped to the right side shadowing her right eye.

            Dakota stood in stunned silence staring at Cass, taken by how Cass’ burgundy hair framed her face and how the makeup she wore made her already beautiful features stand out more.  She stood staring with no thoughts; the only sound was that of her thundering heart.

            Cass’ eyes slowly scanned Dakota noting how her chiseled, bronzed arms stood out in her lime green sleeveless shirt with three buttons, which were open showing a hint of her breast.  Her eyes slowly glanced down her sleek body seeing she wore khaki hip hugger pants with a wide black belt decorated with silver circles and black loafers.  She looked back up, fixing her gaze on Dakota.

            Dakota gasped when she realized she wasn’t breathing.  “Wow, aah wow you look absolutely stunning.”  She stammered quietly, she looked Cass up and down once again.

            Cass blushed and smiled.  “So do you.” She mustered in a whisper.  The anger she felt previously was quickly forgotten when the blue eyed beauty made her appearance. 

            They stood staring with an awkward silence.

            Dakota grinned and inhaled deeply, unsure of what to say.  “Aah, umm I’m sorry I was late, but I wanted to talk with my mom before she left with her friends who were having a drink at the bar.”  Dakota looked away, then back to Cass, feeling her heart race faster when she looked at her.

            ‘It was her mother she was hugging.  Man, I was too quick with my judgment again.  You’d think I’d learn after what happened with her cousin.  Yes, it was her mother!’ She smiled excitedly as the realization hit her.  “That’s okay, I’ll forgive you one day.”  Cass chuckled and shifted her weight nervously.

            “Good I was worried.”  Dakota sighed in relief and laughed, relaxing her rigid stance.  “Oh, this is for you. I was so taken with you when you opened the door I nearly forgot.”  She reached to the railing and took the flower, handing the pink rose to her.

            “How sweet, it’s beautiful thank you.”  Cass smiled with a blush and accepted the rose.  Raising it to her nose, she inhaled the scent.

            “Well, are you ready for dinner?”

            “Absolutely.”  Cass smiled and stepped out into the hall.  “Oops!” Chuckling nervously, she turned back and closed the door.  She stood next to Dakota and both laughed.  “Okay, lead the way.”

            Dakota motioned with her hand and Cass walked in that direction.  They waited at the elevators and both women casually checked out the other.

            Cass looked at Dakota.  “Thank you so much for the lovely baskets.”

            Dakota glanced at her with a grin.  “You’re welcome, I hope you enjoyed them.”  She held the elevator door and waited for Cass to step on.  Following her on, she pushed the lobby button.

            “You knew exactly what I liked.”

            Dakota smiled mischievously.  “I did my homework on you.  Although.   I missed the fact that you don’t eat meat.”  She chuckled and looked up at the elevator numbers.

            “Sorry, I hope it didn’t mess up your dinner plans?”

            Dakota looked at her.  “No not at all.”  She smiled and looked away when the elevator doors opened.  Holding the door, Cass walked through and she stepped off before both women walked towards the exit of the lobby.

            Cass walked next to Dakota across the street towards the marina, surprised by the large yacht they were walking towards.  Dakota walked up the ramp to the luxury yacht and stepped down onto the ship, holding her hand out to help Cass on board.  She felt an electricity course through her when Cass grasped her hand.  Cass stumbled when she stepped down and Dakota caught her, pulling her close to keep her from falling. 

            “Whoa.”  Dakota chuckled and gasped when she was face to face with Cass.

            They were lost in each other’s gaze.  Cass’ heart pounded wildly.  Coming to her senses, she inhaled and smiled, while pushing a strand of hair off her face.  “Thanks.”

            Dakota smiled, reluctantly releasing the hold of her hand and closed her eyes after Cass walked past her.  She inhaled the strong whiff of Cass’ perfume and felt a tingling sensation consume her.  She was instantly transported back in time, experiencing the same feelings she had at sixteen when she smelled Cass’ perfume then.  Turning when Cass touched her arm, she was brought back to the present.

            “Are you okay?” Cass was concerned by how Dakota stared off blankly.

            Dakota focused her blues on Cass and smiled.  “Yeah, I’m fine.  This way.”  She motioned to the cabin and both walked inside.

            “Buenos noches, Señorita.  Cómo está..” The captain greeted cheerfully as he approached.

            “Bien, Capitan Torres.”  Dakota smiled and leaned towards him as he kissed her cheek.  Le presento a la señorita Cassandra Storms.”  She turned to Cass.  “This is Capitan Torres.”

            Cass was caught off guard that Dakota spoke Spanish so eloquently and was snapped into the present when the older distinguished looking man moved to her.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”  Cass smiled and held out her hand.  She chuckled surprised when he pulled her close and greeted her with a kiss to the cheek, while holding her hand.

            “Welcome, Señorita Cassandra.” He stepped back and smiled.

            Cass smiled and giggled inwardly, enjoying how her name sounded with a Spanish accent.

            Captain Torres looked at Dakota.  “Señorita Alejandra, saldremos en diez minutos.”

            Cass looked between the pair trying to figure out what they were saying.  ‘Alejandra? I’m clueless.  I should have taken Spanish in high school.

            “Excelente, muchas gracias.”  Smiling, Dakota watched as he walked away and turned to Cass.  “He said we will be leaving in ten minutes.”

            “Where is my pollita chiquita?”

            Dakota hung her head embarrassed and turned towards the man’s voice as did Cass.  “Tío!” She ran towards him and jumped in his arms, engulfing him in a hug.

            Cass smiled, feeling hear heart skip a beat at the sight of Dakota’s face light up when the man came in.  She watched as they hugged one another, laughing and chuckled when the man put Dakota back down.

            “Mi pollita chiquita está mas hermosa cada vez que la veo!”  He smiled proudly and kissed her on the forehead.

            Dakota chuckled and blushed.  She leaned towards Cass.  “He said I get more beautiful every time he sees me.”  Grinning sheepishly, she turned to the man.  “Tío, I want you to meet Cassandra.”  She motioned toward Cass.

            ‘Okay, I understood Cassandra.  I’m on my way.’

            “Cass, this is my uncle Diego.”

            He released his hold of Dakota and stood before Cass, saying in a low soft tone,  “It’s a pleasure to meet you Cassandra.”

            Cass reached to shake his hand and was surprised by how handsome he looked with his shoulder length wavy dark hair.  He had a muscular build, was slightly taller than Dakota and had a dark, closely cut goatee.  She blushed when he kissed her hand.  “It’s very nice to meet you.”

            Dakota rolled her eyes and walked over to him, taking Cass’ hand.  “She’s my date and I’m sure Tía wouldn’t be very happy to see you flirting.”  She lowered her hand that still held Cass’, looking up at him.

            He laughed loudly.  “You are right pollita.  Speaking of Tía let me find her before you two leave so she can say hello.”

            “Please do.”  Dakota laughed and blushed when he kissed her on the cheek before exiting the room.  Dakota released Cass’ hand and inhaled deeply, slightly embarrassed.

            “I didn’t know you spoke Spanish.”  Cass’ wide eyes reflected her surprise.

            “I’m part Spanish.  Oh, by the way I’m Dakota Alejandra Colby Del Castillo, but you can call me Dakota.”  She grinned and extended her hand to Cass.

            Cass chuckled and blushed when Dakota raised her hand to her mouth.  Dakota’s blues sparkled in the light and Cass’ heart skipped a beat by the way they stared at her as Dakota kissed her hand lightly.  Instantly, a rush of warmth consumed her from the contact and she gasped.  “I had no idea.”  She said softly, still staring into the mesmerizing blues.

            “Yeah, my mother was born in Spain.”

            “Wow, you have a long name.  It’s beautiful, but long.”  Cass giggled lightly and looked away when she realized she was still holding Dakota’s hand.

            “Well, the last portion is my mother’s last name.  My father doesn’t like it.”

            “Why, it’s a beautiful name.”  Cass moved closer to her.

            “Eh, he’s an arrogant jackass.  Fortunately we were all born in Spain, so her name was put on our birth certificates.  He gave us all our first names and she chose our middle names.  He refuses to use our middle names with the Spanish translation and my mom refuses to call us by our first names.  My mom always calls us by our Spanish middle names.  I guess it’s her way of sticking it to my father.” 

            “Sounds like quite a struggle.”

            “Oh, yeah big time.”

            They turned when Dakota’s uncle entered the cabin.

            “Pollita, I’m sorry.  Tu Tía snuck off to spend my money at the shops.  I’m leaving now, so you two have fun.  Nice meeting you Cassandra.”  He walked to Cass and kissed her on the cheek.

            “Same here.”  Cass smiled surprised once again by the kiss. 

            “Bye Tío.”  Dakota smiled and kissed him on the cheek.

            “Adios pollita chiquita.”  He grinned and pinched her cheek before leaving.

            Cass moved closer to Dakota as they watched him leave and glanced over at Dakota, grinning slyly.  “Pollita chiquita?”

            Dakota blushed and laughed looking away.  Rubbing her chin, she looked back at Cass.  “Yeah, it means little chicken.  It’s a name he gave me when I was little after my mom dressed me up like a chicken for Halloween.”  Her face was flushed with embarrassment.

            “Aah, that’s a cute name.”  Cass smiled teasingly and poked her in the ribs.  “I would love to see a picture of you in that chicken outfit.”  She laughed.

            “I think I destroyed the evidence.  Hopefully.”  Dakota chuckled.  “Come on, I’ll give you a tour.”  Dakota smiled and walked forward.

            “Is this your uncle’s yacht?”

            Dakota looked over her shoulder as they walked through the narrow hallway answering, “No it’s my mother’s.  This is the master stateroom.”

            “Wow, this yacht is huge and beautiful.”  Cass looked around in awe at the mahogany woodwork in the master stateroom with a large plasma TV on the wall, white lush carpeting and a large king sized bed.  ‘Her mother was not cheap decorating this yacht, that’s for sure.’  “How many cabins are on board?”

            “Seven, one for each of us and a spare for guests.”  Dakota stood in the middle of the luxurious room, waiting for Cass who was still looking around.

            “I want to see your room.”  Cass walked up to her and grinned.

            “Oh, really?” Dakota teased and laughed when Cass shoved her playfully towards the door.

            They walked down the hall and Dakota opened the door to her room.  Cass stepped inside, noting the large king sized bed with a cream colored comforter and black frame to her right with two matching black end tables on each side.  A window was located above the head board of the bed displaying cream colored blinds.  At the far end of the room a small wood colored love seat sat nestled between two small windows.  To the left and right were large dressers built into the walls, floor to ceiling with white illuminated doors.  A large plasma TV was mounted on the wall that the foot of the bed faced and a bathroom was to the right of that wall.

            “Is it everything you thought it would be?” Dakota smiled playfully.

            “Oh, it’s beautiful and I figured you would have a black themed room, but I expected it to be messier.”  Cass chuckled, walking up closer to her.

            “Messier? Not with me, I always keep my room clean.  Now, if you are talking about my closet than that’s a different story.”  She laughed as did Cass.  “Of course, we have to keep our rooms clean especially on my mom’s yacht or there will be hell to pay.”  Dakota winked and walked towards the door.

            “Parents just love to torment their kids about having a clean room don’t they?” Chuckling, Cass walked out of the room and waited for Dakota in the hallway.

            Dakota closed the door and stood before her in the cramped space.  “So, what made you figure I would have a black themed room?”

             “You give off a dark, mysterious persona so I figured your décor would be the same.  Besides, I saw your bedroom at your house when you had that party and everything was black.”  She giggled.

            Dakota’s brows twitched trying to remember the evening.  “I think I faintly remember you sitting next to me on my bed.”

            “Yeah, you were wicked wasted so I stayed with you until your brother’s came in.”

            “Thanks.”  Dakota smiled and put her hand on Cass’ shoulder, staring into Cass’ eyes trying to remember the evening.  ‘She makes my heart go crazy when I look into her gorgeous green eyes.  I want to feel her lips on my own once again.’

            Cass was lost in her compelling gaze and felt a tingling sensation when Dakota’s hand slowly slid down her arm.  ‘If she kissed me right now, I would be powerless.’  She inhaled and slowly exhaled, hoping it would settle her racing heart.

            Their revere was broken when they heard the horn of the boat blow.

            “Come on.”  Dakota smiled and took her by the hand, leading her out to the main deck. 

            “So, what made you decide to stay in the hotel instead of here?”

            “Trust me; you did not want to stay here with all of my brothers.  It would be entirely too crazy here with them.  I didn’t want to frighten you too much and that would have.”  She chuckled, leading Cass to the railing.

            They stopped near the railing at the front of the yacht, watching as the large vessel moved away from the dock.

            “This is great!” Cass smiled looking at Dakota who smiled back.

            They watched as the yacht slowly motored down the intracoastal waterways passing by the large buildings in the marina as the sun began to set.

            “Señorita Del Castillo.  La cena está lista para servir.  The waiter said and motioned to the back of the boat.

            “Perfecto, gracias.”  Dakota smiled and looked at Cass.  “Dinner is ready.”

            “Sounds good to me.”  Cass grinned and walked beside Dakota as she led the way.

            “Do you know any Spanish?” Dakota asked looking at her as the pair walked.

            Cass gave her a sheepish grin.  “None.”

            “I’m sorry, I’ve been speaking Spanish in front of you, but the staff doesn’t speak English.  I’ll try to translate more so you know what is going on.”

            “Oh, thank you… that’s sweet.”  Cass gasped when she felt a cool breeze wash over her face as they walked along the port side of the yacht.  Looking off in the distance, she noticed they were close to reaching the ocean.  “Wow, the view is beautiful.”

            Dakota stood next to her, staring.  “I agree and the view of the water is pretty good too.”

            Cass looked at her and blushed from the compliment.  She giggled and looked down shyly.  Peering back up at Dakota she said softly, “thank you.”

            Dakota smiled and motioned to the table that was situated in the center of the rear deck, draped with a white linen table cloth. 

            Cass smiled, looking at the table that was elegantly prepared with a small bouquet of various colored roses and flower shaped lighted candles within glass bowls floating in water.  ‘She is certainly romantic.’ Cass walked to the table.

            Dakota nodded to the waiter who was standing off to the side and watched as he pushed the button to the stereo system.  She smiled when she heard the song, ‘Lady’ By Lenny Kravitz, flow from the speakers.           

            Cass reached for the chair, but was thwarted from doing so when Dakota grabbed it from her.  “Allow me.”  She said softly with a grin and pulled out the chair.

            “Thank you.”  Cass smiled shyly and sat in the chair.

            Dakota helped push the chair closer to the table and once Cass was settled, she took her seat.  She looked up at the waiter when he approached with their drinks.  He served one to Cass and then one to Dakota.

            Cass looked at Dakota, whispering, “How do you say thank you in Spanish?”

            Dakota grinned and leaned closer to her, softly answering, “Gracias.”

            Cass looked up at the waiter who stood between her and Dakota.  “Gracias.”

            De nada Señorita.”  He smiled and placed Dakota’s drink before her.

            Cass looked at Dakota with a sheepish grin and leaned closer to her.  “What did he say?”

Dakota smiled widely.  “He said you’re welcome.”

Cass took a sip of her fruity drink and looked at Dakota surprised.  “How did he know the kind of drink that I like?” She laughed and shook her head.  “Never mind I know you filled him in.”

            Dakota leaned forward, closer to Cass.  “Believe it or not I can be very romantic even if I am a jock.”  Laughing, she sat back in her chair, flashing a grin as she sipped her bourbon and coke.

            “For a jock you are doing a very good job.”  Cass smiled and held up her drink.  She nodded at Dakota who tapped her glass as a toast and both sipped their drinks.

            Dakota put her drink down and placed her napkin in her lap.  “Well, in light of your revelation of being a vegetarian the menu was changed from Filet Mignon and Maine lobster to vegetarian lasagna.  I hope you are cool with that.”

            “It sounds delicious, but go ahead and eat the steak and lobster please. Don’t change your dietary habits because of me.”

            “I’m sure I can tolerate one night of not having meat.”  Dakota grinned and lifted the basket of rolls, holding them out for Cass.

            “Ooh, yummy.  Thanks.”  Cass reached in and took a roll, placing it on her plate.  “So, what else do you have planned for us this weekend?”

            “Well, my mother is hosting a brunch with pretty much my entire family tomorrow around eleven.”

            ‘Family? I get to meet her entire family?’ Cass’ eyes widened in a moment of panic and she swallowed the bread hard.

            Dakota saw the look on her face and chuckled.  She put her hand on Cass’ and patted it comfortingly.  “Don’t worry it’s not a big deal.  Besides, Chad, Owen and Michelle will be here too so you don’t need to worry.”  She smiled reassuringly.

            Cass felt warmth from the contact and calmed slightly.  “Sorry, I just didn’t bring too many nice things to wear and I’m going to meet your mother.”  She sighed worried.  ‘Damn she moves fast, she’s already got me meeting her mother.’

            “Trust me it’s really casual don’t worry about it.  My mom is really cool.”  Dakota smiled supportively and looked over her shoulder when the waiter approached with their salads.

            “This looks delicious.”  Cass looked at the salad and smiled before starting to eat it.  “So, do you go all out like this with your other dates?” Cass looked at Dakota surprised that the question fell from her lips.

            “I don’t go on dates.  This is my first one.”  Dakota said simply, staring at her and leaned forward with a smile.  “Should I be offended by your question?”              Cass stared at her momentarily, caught off guard by Dakota’s admission.

 “Oh, aah no don’t be offended.  I’m just surprised that someone like you with a…” she paused trying to form her words and regretted she had taken the conversation in that direction.

            “A what? Reputation as being a player?”

            Cass chuckled nervously.  “Well, yes.  It’s astonishing that you don’t go out on dates.”

            Dakota leaned back in her chair and sighed, disappointed by her reputation for once.

            “You aren’t upset that I asked you that, are you?” Cass placed her hand on Dakota’s and patted it comfortingly.

            Dakota looked up at her.  “No, it’s just that for the first time in my life I feel embarrassed by my reputation.”

            Cass was shocked by the revelation and stared at her, unsure of what to say next.

            “I’ve never wanted to go on dates with the women I’ve been with because then it implies something more than a one night stand might happen. I didn’t want anything more than that with them.”

            “What about Leila?” Cass inhaled, feeling angry with the sound of the women’s name.

            “With her it was aah…” Dakota looked away shyly.  “It was purely sexual.”  She said honestly and looked back at Cass.  “Let’s just say she was a friend with benefits.”  Growing uncomfortable with the conversation, she shifted in her seat nervously.

            “I like the, was, comment.”  Cass stared at her and smiled.

            Dakota smiled at her, feeling more at ease.  “Me too.” 

            They stared at one another silently as if they were trying to read the other’s mind for the truth.  They broke the look when the waiter delivered the entrée.  He placed the dishes in front of them and lifted the lid off of Cass’, then Dakota’s.

            “Thank you.”  They said in unison and smiled at one another.

            Cass put a fork full of food in her mouth and moaned at the taste.  She swallowed and smiled.  “This is delicious!”

            Dakota smiled and chuckled.  “Yeah, Chef Luis makes incredible dishes.”

            “This is so scrumptious.”  Cass smiled and ate more.

            The pair became silent as they ate their meal.

            “How long has the chef been working for your mom?” Cass asked after wiping her mouth with the napkin.

            “For about five years.”  Dakota chuckled and filled her mouth with food.

            “Is there any way we could pry him away from your mom and have him cook the food in the cafeteria?” Cass laughed, finishing her food.

            “I wish, good luck trying to get him away from my mom though.”  Dakota laughed harder and wiped her mouth on the cloth napkin.  “Oh, man I’m full.  I need to save room for dessert.”  Dakota placed her napkin on the table.

            “My favorite portion of the meal, dessert.”  Cass chuckled and wiped her mouth.

            “Mine too.  Actually, I think dessert should be eaten first.”

            “I agree!” Cass giggled and pushed her chair away from the table.

            Dakota pushed her chair back and stood up, smiling.  “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”

            “Okay.”  Cass returned Dakota’s smile and watched her walk into the inner cabin before disappearing.  Cass stood up and walked to the front of the yacht.  Looking from one side of the boat to the other, she enjoyed the cool refreshing ocean breeze caress her face and smiled as the lights of the city off in the distance flickered.  She sat down on the cushioned bench and leaned back, staring up at the brightly shining stars.  Smiling contentedly, she looked to her right when she heard Dakota approach.

            “They’re beautiful out here aren’t they?” Dakota smiled and sat next to her, then looked upwards.

            “Absolutely, it’s so peaceful too.”  She sighed cheerfully and turned, looking at Dakota whose face shone in the moonlight.  “You still didn’t tell me what else was planned for the weekend.

            Dakota looked at her and smiled.  “You are impatient huh?”

            “I’m just excited.”  Cass giggled.

            “Well tomorrow we’ll have brunch then have fun frolicking on the water.  We can check out the city if you want to, we’ll have some dinner and then the whole gang will go out club hopping together.”

            “Ooh, that sounds like a lot of fun and what do you have planned for Sunday?”  Cass grinned, nudging Dakota.

            Dakota looked at her, chuckling and shook her head.  “I take it you don’t like surprises?”

            Cass giggled.  “Well, sometimes.”

            “Okay, miss nosey.”  Dakota laughed looking at her.  “We’ll have breakfast and head to the stadium for Rex’s game.”

            “Wow, I will finally attend an NFL game.”  Cass smiled excitedly.

            “You’ve never been to a game?”

            “Never, can you believe it?”

            “You know, I’ve heard of people like you, but I never thought I would ever meet one.”  Dakota teased with a laugh that was shared by Cass.  “One thing in regards to Sunday that I have to warn you about is we may see my father.”

            “Oh, I thought we would see him tomorrow.”

            “Oh, hell no.  If he stepped on this boat he would be thrown overboard and drowned by my uncle.”  Dakota chuckled and sat up.  She leaned forward and rested her elbows on her legs.

            “I take it he’s not popular around here?”

            “Not at all.  My mom and the rest of us went through hell with that man for years.  Actually, he still torments us.”  Dakota looked out to the darkened ocean feeling anger brew within.

            “I’m sorry to hear that.  If you don’t mind me asking, why was he so bad?” Cass sat up and turned to face Dakota.

            Dakota glanced over at her and looked down at her hands, absently playing with her three strand leather bracelet with rainbow colored beads on her left wrist.  “He used to cheat on my mom all the time and totally disrespected her.  He would become physical with her…and me.”  She said the latter quietly.

            “Oh, Dakota.  Wow, was he abusive to your brothers too?”

            “Occasionally, but not as much as with my mom and me.  The boys are his favorites, his pride and joy.  Me on the other hand, I am his failure.”  She glanced at Cass sadly then looked down to her bracelet, circling it around her wrist.

            “You’re not a failure.  Look at everything you have accomplished.”  Cass saw the hurt in her blues and felt a pang in her heart.

            “My accomplishments have nothing to do with it.  It’s because I was born a girl.”

            “What?” Cass was shocked.  “I don’t understand.”

            “Yeah, well it’s hard to understand the mind of that inconsiderate monster.  He had our lives planned out for us before we were born.”  She inhaled deeply; trying to quell the sick feeling she had in the pit of her stomach and walked to the railing.

            Cass stood up and moved next to her.

            Dakota looked at her.  “He wanted five boys with three years between each of us.”

            Cass curled up her lip; feeling disgusted by the logic of the man who had put so much pain into Dakota’s blue eyes.  “Why?”

            “He had this grand plan of being a football dynasty family, for all of his boys to follow in his footsteps into the NFL.  Of course, we were all supposed to be quarterbacks and with three years between each of us, once one graduated the other would take over the other’s starting position for high school and college.  His next plan was that we would all leave college early for the draft and be the number one draft choice, but his plan was foiled especially when I was born a girl, two years after Rex.  He wasn’t pleased when the twins were born, but at least they were boys.  Of course, with me being a girl, the two years between Rex and I as well as the twins being born were my mother’s fault, according to him.”  She felt sadness speaking of her father and sat down.

            “Well, a little karma came back to bite him huh?” Cass smiled trying to lighten the mood as she walked over and sat next to Dakota.

            “I suppose.”  Looking down at the bracelet, she fidgeted with it and inhaled deeply to calm her emotions.  “I used to idolize that man.  I loved watching him play football and I wanted to be just like him.  We would go to his games and I would get so excited after the game when he would come over, but he would always grab my brother’s first to go on the field.  I had to wait for my chance.  I don’t know why I was so stupid to get excited every game when he always did that.”

“You weren’t stupid you were hopeful.”  Cass rubbed her back and smiled comfortingly.

            Dakota smiled, staring at her.  “Maybe.”  She looked away and inhaled.  “He was always really strict with me more so than with my brothers and shortly after I returned from cam…” she stopped and looked at Cass realizing she made a promise to not speak of camp.  “After I returned from a summer trip he got worse and he began to hit us more frequently.  He was worse with his cheating then too and very blatant about it.”

            “I am so sorry.”  Cass rubbed Dakota’s leg comfortingly.

            “Thanks.”  Dakota glanced at her and smiled slightly.

            “How is he now?”

            “Controlling.  He tries to manipulate us still and one way or another he usually gets his way.  I try to avoid him as much as possible and usually I do the complete opposite of what he wants me to do, sort of as a payback for the shitty way he treated me my entire life.  My brothers try to do the same, but he is really ruthless when it comes to controlling them especially with football.  It’s the worst feeling in the world having a parent that just despises you.  Ya know?” She looked at Cass with sorrow in her eyes.

            “Oh, I know.  My parents were similar too with…” she paused and looked at her.  Her heart beat faster, “well, it was basically the same thing in my house.”

            “Both of your parents?”

            “Yeah, they were really strict and wouldn’t let aah, me do hardly anything.  They were majorly homophobic so I had to hide who I truly was.  They didn’t physically abuse me, but they emotionally did.  I guess we didn’t have very good parents.”

            “Well, my mom excluded.”

            “Yeah…” Cass’ voice trailed off, thinking back at her parents and shuddered remembering the horrible feelings they instilled.  Cass looked at her glumly.  “They disowned aah, me.”  She fought the tears that welled in her eyes.

            “What?” Dakota was shocked.

            “Yeah, I went to live with my aunt Maymo and uncle Herb, her brother, who took very good care of me.  But it’s fine because they don’t deserve to have a great daughter like me.”  Cass smiled weakly, sounding as if she were trying to convince herself of that rather than Dakota.

            “That is very true.”  Dakota smiled and looked off in the distance, staring silently, and thinking.  “If I were a guy my life would be so completely different in so many ways.”

            “How would it have been so different?”

            “Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a guy.  I always felt more comfortable playing with my brother’s toys, wearing boy’s clothes, and playing sports with the boys.  I’m just like a guy in so many ways.  I just don’t have the same anatomical features.  Had I been one, my father would have accepted and loved me more, that would have been a huge difference in my life.”  She frowned and looked away, turning back when Cass touched her arm.

            “You are a stunning, successful woman and you should be proud of that, but keep in mind you were made a girl for a reason.  There must be something in this life time that you have to learn about being a woman.  Maybe you were a guy in another life and you were an asshole to women, so in this life you are supposed to learn from your mistakes.”  Cass chuckled.

            “Hmmm, if that’s the case I think there might be a long list of women who think I’m an asshole to women.  So, I don’t think I’m doing so well in this lifetime either.”

            “Well, possibly, but it’s not too late to try and make a start at learning what you need to from this life.  Besides, if you were a man you and I would not have met.”  Cass smiled warmly.

            “What makes you think we wouldn’t have met?” Dakota grinned mischievously.

            “Because I wouldn’t have given you the time of day if you were a man.”  Cass winked with a smile.

            “It looks like I found one good purpose in this lifetime for being a female.”  Dakota chuckled as did Cass.

            “You’re on your way!” Cass punched her in the arm playfully and both laughed harder.  Her facial expression grew serious.  “Listen; try not to be so hard on yourself in regards to your father.  It sounds like he’s the one with the problem.  One of these days he’s going to realize what he’s done and hate himself for it.  It has always amazed me how some parents seem to have a knack for messing up their kid’s lives with their selfishness and idiosyncrasies.  They have no idea the impact they have on other’s lives with their ridiculous actions.”  She shook her head in disbelief thinking of her own parents.

“That is so very true.  I say fuck em, we don’t need them.”  Dakota chuckled.

            “You’re right, let’s not waste any more time or emotions worrying about them.”  Cass giggled and kicked her feet front to back.

            Dakota inhaled deeply, feeling a weight lifted from her.  She had Cass to thank for her lighter mood.  “Ooh, I like this song, will you dance with me?” Dakota stood up smiling and held her hand out to Cass.

To Be Continued...


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April 2005

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