Double Play V
Cass waited outside the O’ Connell center pacing back and forth nervously. ‘Wow, I have a date. I’m so nervous.’ She inhaled deeply, then exhaled and looked up when she heard the door open.
“Hey!” Mary greeted cheerfully when she approached her.
“How was practice?” Cass wasn’t sure how to start off the conversation. ‘I suppose hello would have been a good start.’ She shook her head slyly at her absentmindedness and walked in the same direction as Mary.
“It was invigorating.” She smiled and gave Cass a lingering look.
“So, where are we going?”
“I was thinking we could go to Farahs for dinner. It’s within walking distance and they have free chicken wings when you buy a pitcher of beer.”
“Well, I’m a vegetarian so the wings are out for me and beer doesn’t like me especially the next morning.” Cass chuckled and looked at Mary, then looked ahead to see where she was walking. She was too nervous to maintain much eye contact with her.
“That’s cool. I completely understand. We don’t have to get the beer. I’m sure they will have plenty of food to satisfy your veggie diet.”
“Sounds good to me.” Cass smiled, relieved.
“What’s up with the backpack?” Mary pointed in the direction they needed to go.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I forgot to tell you that I have to meet my tutor at the anatomy lab at nine tonight. I found out after we made plans that she was available this evening to help me.” Cass had turned to look at her with a regretful look, hoping the woman wouldn’t be too upset.
“Okay, well at least I have you for a couple of hours.” Mary smiled slightly, disappointed.
“If I wasn’t doing so horribly in this class it wouldn’t be a problem, but I need all the extra help I can get and my tutor is very busy so when I get an opportunity to meet with her I have to take it.” Cass rambled breathless, hoping she would understand.
Mary chuckled and put her hand on Cass’ shoulder. “Its fine, I understand.”
“Whew, I’m glad, thanks.” Cass smiled reassured and stopped when Mary did in front of the restaurant.
Cass passed through the door as Mary held it open for her and looked around the small, quaint restaurant.
“Take a spot wherever you like ladies.” One of the waiters told them when he walked past.
“How about if we sit out here? It’s nicer.” Mary suggested and pointed towards a table in the corner.
“It’s perfect.” Cass smiled and walked to the table, then sat down. She looked up and saw winding tree branches covering the veranda above, allowing a glimpse of the night sky above. Small white lights were intertwined with the branches, and soft jazz music added to the romantic ambiance. “This place is adorable.” Cass chuckled and looked at Mary when she sat next to her.
“Isn’t it?” Mary smiled and looked around the restaurant, then back to Cass.
Cass looked down at the menu and was surprised by the variety of goods. “I’m going for the cheese enchilada.” Cass smiled when she looked up at Mary.
“That sounds good.” Mary smiled and closed her menu.
The waiter approached. “What’s it going to be ladies?”
“I’m going to have a small order of Teriyaki chicken wings and a basket of fries.”
“I’ll have the cheese enchilada.”
“I’ll have iced tea.” Cass responded.
“Okay, I’ll put the order in and the food should be out in no time.” The waiter smiled and walked away.
“Thanks.” The pair said in unison and laughed.
“So, Cass where are you from?”
‘She doesn’t waste any time does she?’ Cass sat back in her chair and smiled slightly. “I’m from Ogunquit, Maine.”
“Ooh, I bet it gets really cold there in the winter.”
“Wicked cold!” Cass laughed, thinking back on the winters she has faced.
“Wicked?” Mary wasn’t sure what that meant.
Cass chuckled. “Oh, that is a saying we use up there to emphasize something. Like if your chicken wings are really good you can say they are wicked good.”
“I got it.” Mary laughed. “Does your family still live there?”
Cass fidgeted in her seat nervously from the questions and leaned forward. “Aah, yes they do.” She wanted to change the subject. “So, where are you from?”
“I’m from sunny Miami.”
“I bet it’s beautiful down there.”
“Oh, yeah and warm.” Both laughed.
They smiled at the waiter when he dropped off their drinks.
Cass put sugar in her tea. “What are you majoring in?” She pulled the straw to her lips and took a sip.
“Track.” Mary laughed as did Cass.
“That’s not a bad major. I would love to major in softball. I might be doing a lot better in my classes.” Cass teased and leaned back in her chair.
“As much time as I have to spend on the track it seems like that’s my major. I’m majoring in education so I can be an instructor.”
“Oh, that’s awesome. What grade would you like to teach?”
“I would like to teach at the college level once I finish with my masters. I’ll probably go for my doctorate later.”
“You wouldn’t like to work with kids?”
“No way. They are too rough for me. Plus, teaching in college would be a better fit for my lifestyle, if you know what I mean?” She smiled and looked at the waiter who brought their food.
“Let me know if there is anything else I can get you.” He said and walked away.
“Thanks.” Mary pulled her plate close. “Are you going to get your bachelor’s or master’s in athletic training?” She picked up a chicken wing and looked at Cass.
“I’m just hoping to make it through this semester, and then I’ll decide where I’ll go from there. It’s a lot different from being at the community college level.” Cass chuckled and put a portion of the enchilada in her mouth.
Mary laughed. “I understand how overwhelming it can be the first semester you’re here with classes and practice. I’ve been doing it for four years, so let me know if I can help.”
“Thanks, that’s very sweet. I really appreciate it. I think I’ll be alright once I can get a balance between my classes, athletic training duties and softball practice. We can only have a few softball practices in the fall according to NCAA rules and we are coming close to finishing them so that will help alleviate some of my angst. I can focus more of my time on my studies then.” Cass smiled and inhaled deeply, thinking of how nice it will be to not have so many things on her plate at one time.
“The offer stands no matter what.” Mary smiled and picked up another chicken wing.
The pair finished their dinner and Cass looked at her watch. “Oh, man I’ve got to get moving. I’m really sorry I have to cut it short, but I can’t be late.” She frowned that she had to leave and lifted her backpack onto her lap. She opened the small pouch in the front and reached in for her wallet.
“No, I am covering the bill.” Mary put her hand on Cass’ to stop her from pulling out her money.
Cass slouched in the chair. “Please let me help pay for the bill.”
“I insist that I pay. I asked you here so it’s my responsibility.”
“At least let me cover the tip then.” Cass smiled hopeful.
“Okay, if you really feel the need to.” Mary conceded, knowing from the look on Cass’ face she wouldn’t win the battle. She laughed as did Cass.
Cass laid money on the table and stood up. She threw her backpack over her shoulder and stepped away from the table.
Mary left the money for the bill and followed behind Cass as she walked towards the door.
They crossed the busy boulevard and walked towards the university. Cass stopped at the corner of Thirteenth Street.
“This is the street I need to take to get to the hospital. Thank you so much for dinner. I had a great time.” She smiled as she looked at Mary.
“Me too and I hope we can do it again.” Mary smiled hopeful, gazing into Cass’ warm green eyes.
“I’d like that.” Cass smiled and wasn’t sure what to do next.
“Would you like me to walk with you?”
“No, it’s going to be out of your way, but thank you. I’ll see you in the training room tomorrow right?”
“Yep, right before practice so you can work on my ankle again.” Mary smiled and moved closer. “Good night.” She said softly and kissed Cass on the cheek.
Cass blushed and smiled when she looked at Mary. “Thanks aah good night.” She chuckled nervously and turned to walk away. She looked back and waved when she saw Mary still standing there. She looked forward and picked up her pace breathing heavily to calm the nervousness she felt. ‘She’s so sweet. I can’t get over it. I had a wonderful time and she kissed me! She wants to see me again! She chuckled and felt full of energy from the wonderful sensation she had felt. She began to jog towards the hospital. “Yes!” She voiced in excitement.
Dakota hurried back to the room, hoping Cass would be there. She had been placed in a different group that day for camp and was disappointed that she didn’t get to see her all day. She was saddened when she didn’t find Cass in the room. She closed the door and sighed. ‘She drives me crazy.’ She walked to Cass’ side of the room and saw the perfume bottle sitting on the desk. She looked around the room as if someone might be watching her then lifted it to her nose and inhaled the strong, flowery scent. She smiled mischievously as she thought of how good it smelled on Cass. She looked down at the bottle and read, ‘Touch.’ She hurriedly put the bottle back down when she heard the door knob turn. She walked towards the door and smiled when she saw Cass.
“Hey! I’m glad you’re here!” She smiled excitedly and entered the room.
Dakota smiled happily and walked closer to her. “I’m happy you’re here.” She felt a nervous tingle in her stomach.
Dakota was brought back to the present after hearing students chatting when they walked by as she sat leaning against the wall waiting for Cass outside the hospital. She felt nervousness inside, that she would soon see her. ‘I’m so taken with her. I was so mad at her before, but everyday that I’m around her I see something new that makes me like her so much more. This is not like me to be so smitten with someone. It’s usually the other way around.’ She looked at her watch and noted it was five minutes to nine. She fumbled with the dial to wind it.
“I bet you thought I would be late.” Cass smiled when she approached and stopped before Dakota.
“Nah, I was just winding my watch.” Dakota smiled up at her.
“How’s your knee?” Cass held out her hand to help her up.
“Sore and stiff.” Dakota smirked when she clasped her hand and stood up, face to face with her. They gazed into one another’s eyes, captivated. There was silence until the sound of the door broke their concentration. “Thanks.” Dakota said softly and smiled, her heart pounded wildly.
Cass smiled and looked down at her hand that Dakota still held. She chuckled nervously and moved her hand back to break the contact. “Okay, shall we get this over with?” She exhaled nervously and stepped to the side of Dakota.
Dakota was disappointed that Cass didn’t seem very interested in her. ‘How can that be?’ She was baffled by Cass’ reaction considering other women would have just fallen at her feet. She remembered how forward Cass had been when they met at softball camp and the way she held her hand then expressed how much she was interested in her. She was confused even more by the way Cass was acting now.
Her thoughts were interrupted when Cass mentioned her name. “Oh, sorry I was just thinking about something. Yes, let’s get moving.” She cleared her throat and turned towards the door. She held it open for Cass and followed her through.
They walked through the large hospital to the elevators. They waited and stepped on when the elevator arrived. Dakota pushed the button for the basement and looked over at Cass who inhaled deeply, then blew out the breath.
The elevators opened and Dakota stepped off. She turned towards the car and looked at Cass who was reluctant to get off. Dakota held her hand out to her. “Come on, you’re going to be fine. I promise.” She smiled warmly.
Cass exhaled forcefully and stepped off without taking Dakota’s hand.
‘Okay, fine.’ Dakota was disappointed. She turned and faced her. “Listen, I was thinking that I would just take you to the lab room and we’ll stand outside the door until you feel comfortable to go in.”
“I’m willing to try anything to get through this class.”
“Let’s give it a whirl.” Dakota smiled and walked down the hall towards the lab room followed by Cass.
They turned and stood at the door. Cass’ breathing was rapid as she stood looking at the door, knowing what was behind it. She inhaled deeply and pursed her lips each time she exhaled to calm her racing heart.
Dakota frowned when she saw the distress on Cass’ face. She put her hand on her back. “It’s okay. The cadaver is not on the table in the room.” She said softly and gently rubbed Cass’ back.
Cass looked up at Dakota and felt a calmness sweep over her. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, finally feeling her heart beat level off. She opened her eyes and looked at Dakota who had a soothing smile on her face.
“Are you ready for me to open the door?”
Cass inhaled and exhaled then nodded yes.
Dakota opened the door slowly and both stepped to the threshold. She looked at Cass to see her reaction and kept her hand on her back. She stepped inside as did Cass.
“So far, yes. Thanks.” Cass wouldn’t look anywhere else but at Dakota. It was safer that way. ‘I don’t think I can do this. She is so sweet to help, but I am terrified. You can do it. Dakota is here and she won’t leave you alone.’ She attempted to calm herself and tried desperately to be brave so she could get through this situation.
“Cass, you’re doing great. Now, just look around the room.” Dakota smiled encouragingly as she stared at Cass.
Cass took a quick glance and then looked back at Dakota.
Dakota smiled. “How about a longer look?” She chuckled softly.
Cass smiled slightly and looked around the room longer.
“Excellent. Let’s just walk around now.” Dakota took a hold of Cass’ hand and led her around the room slowly. They stopped at the table and Dakota felt Cass squeeze her hand tighter. Her heart raced from the contact.
Cass inhaled deeply and fought hard to keep fear from consuming her. Dakota smiled warmly and led her towards the large silver refrigerator doors. She felt a tug on her arm when Cass had stopped, as she continued to walk.
She stopped and looked back. “It’s okay, you’re doing great.” Dakota encouraged and led her closer. She reached for the handle and began to open the door slowly.
Cass’s heart felt like it was beating uncontrollably in her throat, she began to sweat and fear consumed her. “No, No! I can’t!” She cried out.
Dakota slammed the door shut and moved closer to Cass who began to sob harder. “It’s okay.” She said softly and rubbed her upper arm comfortingly.
Cass looked down at the ground crying and moved closer to Dakota. She was terrified and was desperate for comfort. She wrapped her arms around Dakota tightly and tucked her head against Dakota’s chest.
Dakota was caught off guard by the hug and momentarily was at a loss for what she should say or do. She wrapped her arms around Cass and held her tightly, her heart fluttering in response. She gently rubbed Cass’ back and leaned her chin against her head. “It will be okay.” Her tone was soft and calming. ‘She feels incredible in my arms, better than I’ve ever remembered. I don’t want to let her go. This is where I’ve always wanted her to be from the moment I saw her.’ She held her until she felt her stop crying.
“Can we please leave?” Cass asked softly when she looked up at Dakota.
“Sure.” Dakota was saddened that she couldn’t hold her longer, but smiled as a façade to hide her disappointment. She put her arm around Cass and walked her out of the lab. She closed the door and stood in front of her.
They paused looking at each other. Dakota smiled and walked towards the elevator with Cass beside her.
They walked through the hospital without a word being spoken. Cass was in a daze and had no thoughts in her head, only relief that she was out of that situation. They stepped outside and Cass stopped to inhale the fresh clean air.
“You okay?” Dakota was concerned by her silence and from the paleness her face showed.
“I will be.” Cass smiled slightly when she looked at her.
“I’ll walk you to your room.” She smiled and put her arm on Cass’ back nudging her along.
“You don’t have to, but thanks.” Cass walked beside her.
“I really don’t mind.” Dakota smiled when she looked at her.
“I’m sure there is something else you would rather be doing than babysitting me.” Cass chuckled and glanced over at Dakota then back in front of her.
“Hey, you’re fun to baby-sit.” Dakota looked at her and smiled with a laugh.
Cass laughed and looked ahead to watch where she was going.
Cass and Dakota entered the front door to the dorm and walked down the long hallway towards her room.
“Cass, I want to…” Dakota was interrupted when Cass grabbed her by the hand and pulled her to the door.
“Come on, I need you.” She chuckled and led her out the door.
“Okay, cool.” Dakota was happy and intrigued by what Cass had planned for them.
“I’m sure you are going to love it.” Cass giggled and held her hand as she led her down the hall.
‘If I’m with you, I know I will.’
She stopped and followed Cass into another dorm room. She pulled Dakota inside and quickly closed the door behind them, giggling. She moved face to face with her.
Dakota’s heart raced in anticipation. ‘Oh, wow I think she’s going to kiss me.’ She felt the butterflies in her stomach do swan dives.
Cass moved towards her ear. “We are going to play a trick on the counselors with some of the other girls, but we have to hurry before they return.”
Dakota’s heart dropped after learning Cass had other plans. She sighed disappointedly and glanced over at her. She caught a whiff of her perfume and deeply inhaled the scent memorizing it. She liked how being so close to Cass made her feel, she wanted to be much closer. “Aah, okay. Are we going to get in trouble though because if we do I’m in deep shit with my father?” She became anxious at the thought of getting into trouble and facing the wrath of her father.
“I seriously doubt it even if we do get caught. Don’t worry.” Cass smiled and lightly patted Dakota on the cheek to reassure her.
Dakota smiled timidly and sighed when Cass turned to the door when she heard a light knock.
She watched as Cass opened the door and let two more players in. “So, what are we going to do?” The girls smiled mischievously and rubbed their hands together, eager to get to work.
Cass was the ring leader of the group. “You two are going to short sheet the beds, while Dakota and I prepare a very special trick on them. Get to it!” She laughed as did the other girls. She grabbed Dakota by the hand and led her into the bathroom.
Dakota felt warmth consume her when Cass touched her hand and sighed, to calm her racing heart as she followed her.
She watched as Cass pulled out a tube of toothpaste from her pocket. “Just what are we going to do with that?”
“I’m going to rub it on the toilet seat so when they sit down they are going to get the shock of their lives.” Cass laughed heartily and leaned over the toilet.
“How is that going to do anything?”
Cass looked up at Dakota, inches from her face. “Try this and you’ll get the picture.” She smiled and squirted some on her finger. She gently touched Dakota’s face with her hand and slowly rubbed some of the toothpaste on her lips as she stared into her blue eyes.
Dakota was fixed on the alluring eyes before her and felt a tingling sensation between her legs when she felt Cass’ finger on her lips. She was snapped out of the gaze when she felt a burning on her lips and licked the toothpaste off. “Cinnamon?”
Cass licked the remainder off her finger and smiled. “It’s my favorite kind and the only toothpaste I use. It’s burning your lips right?” She laughed.
Dakota continued to lick the toothpaste from her lips. “Oh yeah.” She chuckled as did Cass.
“Well, imagine how it’s going to feel on their butts when they sit down and the best part is they won’t be able to see it once we rub it in.” She giggled and squeezed the toothpaste out on the toilet seat.
“You are an evil woman.” Dakota chuckled and helped her rub the toothpaste in.
Cass gave her a sideways glance. “I like to think of myself as being naughty.” She smiled and winked, then looked back down.
‘I wonder if she’s going to be naughty with me.’ Dakota’s heart raced at the thought and stared at her admiringly. She smiled when she looked at Cass, and then helped rub the toothpaste in, hoping Cass didn’t catch her staring.
An attractive woman passed by and Cass was shocked that Dakota didn’t even give her a glance.
‘What is up with her? She didn’t even take one look.’ Cass looked at her skeptically as they approached her room.
Dakota looked at Cass who had touched her arm. “What?”
“Oh, aah nothing. I was just thinking about how nice it is of you to walk me back to my room and for being so patient with me.” Cass looked away and pulled out her keys.
“That’s what friends are for, right?” Dakota smiled when Cass looked back at her and stopped next to her room when Cass did.
Cass looked at her, staring into her eyes to see if Dakota was just toying with her or whether she was being genuine. ‘I think she’s being genuine.’ Dakota’s concern surprised her. “That’s right.” Cass smiled gratefully. She sighed as she thought about her class and leaned against the wall. “What am I going to do about gross anatomy?”
“I have some connections. Let me talk with them and with coach to see if there is anyway you can get out of doing the lab portion of the class for now. Maybe all you need is a little more time to get used to the idea of it. Don’t worry about it I’ll see what I can do to help.” Dakota grinned optimistically.
“Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say.” Cass was appreciative and smiled.
“You already said it with your smile. It’s very beautiful.” Dakota smiled adoringly and placed her hand on the wall next to Cass, staring at her. They looked at one another, unsure of what to do or say next. ‘I feel so unsure of myself when I’m with her. I never know whether I should kiss her or just walk away. I know what I would like to do, kiss her and take her in my arms and make all the pain in her eyes go away. The more I’m with her the more I learn about her. She’s shyer than she was at softball camp.’
‘I know she wants to kiss me, I can see it in her eyes, but I just can’t go down that road with her. I don’t want to be her conquest even if I am attracted to her. I have to go the safe route and keep my distance when she’s so near, I can’t give in to my urges with her. Oh, she’s so beautiful, sweet Mary. Shit, Mary! I did it again! I forgot all about her.’ She inhaled deeply and snapped out of her thoughts. “Well, I suppose I’ll get to bed. Thank you so much for everything. I really appreciate your help.” Cass smiled and moved away from her.
“No problem. Will you be okay? Would you like me to stay?” Dakota was reluctant to leave.
“No!” Cass’ voice shrieked and she looked away nervously, then back at Dakota. “Aah, no, Brooke is here, but thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow, thanks again.” She opened the door hurriedly and walked through it. She smiled at Dakota just before the door closed. She leaned against the door and tilted her head back. She inhaled and sighed, trying to calm the feelings Dakota managed to constantly bring out in her. ‘Dakota, you are no good for me. I need to forget about you.’ She sighed frustrated and walked to her side of the room.
‘Cass, what’s up with you? You are so serious and reserved now. I know you have feelings for me. I can see it in your eyes. I feel it. Why are you trying so hard to stay away from me considering our past? We have a chance to continue what we started, why are you fighting it? Why won’t you acknowledge what happened at camp? Maybe I should bring it back up. Maybe she doesn’t want to remember camp. Oh, there are so many why’s and maybes with her. You drive me crazy!’ Dakota stood outside the door absently rubbing her finger under Cass’ name written on the board as if she could feel her. ‘I won’t give up on you. I’ll have to try harder.’ She sighed and walked away.
Cass dressed in her pajamas and brushed her teeth quietly to keep from waking Brooke. She walked to the window and looked out into the darkness. ‘Dakota I can’t do this with you. I keep saying it, but when I’m with you I lose all control of my senses. I have to forget about being with you. Maybe Mary is the person whose supposed to help me do that.’ She sighed and lay on her bed. ‘Oh, she felt so wonderful holding me. Stop it! Please leave my thoughts. I need to think of Mary.’ She closed her eyes, instantly seeing Dakota’s face and felt her strong arms wrapped around her. She tried to picture Mary, but Dakota’s face would not leave her until she fell asleep.
To Be Continued...
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