Chapter 4.56 – Living Your Life – Part 2

“Is this asshole bothering you?” growled Cris as he put his hands on Cassie’s shoulders. She froze, not expecting that sort of possessiveness from him.

“Geez!” complained Paul, “I was just trying to have a drink with a pretty lady. She was sitting all alone.”

“Well she’s not alone anymore,” barked Cris, “so fuck off.”

“Cris, it’s okay,” said Cassie, bristling at his words, “we were just talking.”

“It’s been a long day and I’m starved,” said Cris, “Cass, can you show me to the food?”

“Fine,” she snapped, as she stood up and walked past Cris. “This way, later Paul.” Truth be told, she was glad to get away from Paul, but she was pissed and confused by Cris’ caveman behavior.

“What the hell was that back there?” she demanded as soon as they were seated.

“Paul’s a good guy, but so damn full of himself,” grumbled Cris, “I don’t trust him when it comes to women, he’s a fucking womanizer.”

Cassie sighed deeply. That’s exactly how I would’ve described you when we first met, she said to herself. “Don’t you think I know better than to buy into his bull shit?” she finally asked, still pissed off.

Cris studied her a minute. “Yes, I suppose I shouldn’t underestimate you. I see you fending off guys like him every single night at the bar. Don’t think I don’t notice.”

He’s been watching me? Of course he has, just like I watch him. It’s time. I need to stop this game we’re playing with each other. She took a big gulp of her wine then ripped off the band-aid. “Cris, when we’re finished eating, there’s something I want to show you.”

“Okay?” he said and chuckled softly, his mood much improved, “now I want to hurry and eat, I’m insanely curious.”

Now that she’d opened this door, she couldn’t close it. All she could do was stare at him until he was finished eating, her leg bouncing more violently with each bite he took. He’s going to think I’m being ridiculous, holding onto Alex for so long, but if there’s any hope for us, even as friends, I have to do this. Even as friends? Ha! I don’t want to be friends. I want more, and based on Cris’ caveman imitation, he’s through waiting on me.

Cris put his fork down and gave her a concerned look. “Cass, why don’t we go for a walk, and you can show me what’s got you all tied up in knots?”

Oh god, this is happening now. “Okay,” she finally said when she could breathe, “let’s go.”

Cassie and led him upstairs to the ground floor where the memorial plaque was hung on the wall. She touched the two names engraved on it. “Both are my relatives. Grace Ramsey was my great grandmother.” She briefly told Cris Grace’s story then touched the second name. “But this name is the one that is most important to me.” She could feel hot tears burning to escape, but managed to sniff them back.

“Alexandra Conner,” said Cris reading the name. “She died fairly recently. Only eight years ago. Same last name. A cousin? Sibling?”

Cassie stopped for a minute and took a deep breath before responding. “Sibling. Alex was my identical twin sister.” As much as she thought she was prepared, her voice was so thick with emotion she could barely speak. “It happened here … a freak accident. We were all here when it happened. God, I miss her so much.”

When she broke down, Cris pulled her into his arms and rubbed her back while she tried to compose herself. “Cassandra,” he spoke softly in her ear, “your heart was shredded and hasn’t fully healed yet, but it will, trust me.”

Finally she pulled herself together and looked up at him. “How? It can’t be as hard as losing a child, my mom barely survived it.”

“But she did. And why do you think?”

“I suppose because my father was there for her,” she whispered, “he never left her side, or gave up on her. And, I guess, she still has me and my brother.”

“Exactly, she was surrounded by love. Love heals. I know, because when I’m with you, my heart doesn’t hurt. Cassandra, you fill the emptiness I’ve had for so long. I look forward to going to the bar each day just so I can see you. Let me help heal your heart.”

She was stunned. Did he just say he loved me? She looked up into his eyes and they were pleading with her to give him some some small glimmer hope that she felt the same. Right now, in his arms, I feel safe and loved. He’s important to me, that’s why I told him about Alex, because I wanted to be open and honest with him about my issues. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see him. Is this what love is? Before she could work up the nerve to say anything, he stepped back and released her. She suddenly felt alone, even though he was right there, she wanted his arms back around her.

“Damn it, I said too much,” huffed Cris, “I was just … I was so sure…”

“Shhh,” said Cassie, and put her fingers over his lips to stop him from talking. She couldn’t bear to see the pain of her perceived rejection in his eyes. “I was … processing.”

“I’m not expecting a declaration of love,” he continued to say, “or a life long commitment. I know -“

“Cris! Stop it!” she said, interrupting his backpedaling again. He was just being so sweet. She knew, after their dinner date, that he had a heart buried in there, and he’d just handed it to her for safekeeping. Can I trust him with my heart too? God I want to.

“Let’s go back inside,” he said after her crass response and continued silence. “Forget what I said. It was all a mistake.”

NO!” she screamed in her head then realized she said it out loud. “It’s not a mistake,” she whispered. She had to fix this. “I need … I …” She simply couldn’t form the right words. His were so beautiful and eloquent, but her brain was no longer functioning. “Fishsticks!” she finally blurted out. “Just kiss me!”

Instead of doing as she asked, he looked at her like she was insane. “Fishsticks?” he asked clearly biting back a laugh.

“Damn Veronica,” muttered Cassie. “Fuck it Cris, please, just kiss me before I die right here, right now.”

He looked at her a minute, amusement dancing in his eyes, before he finally stepped closer and pulled her back into his arms. Then instead of kissing her, he touched his forehead to hers. “Cass, I’ve wanted to kiss you for so damn long – are you sure this is what you want?”

Why did he have to ask me that? Now I have to think again when all I can do is feel. She pulled back a little so she could look at him and try to put two words together. “Cris … yes and no. I mean, it’s just, if we do this, I’m all in. I can’t do friends with benefits, or a one night stand. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

The corners of his kissable lips formed a warm smile. “I understand, because Cassandra, this means something to me, it’s what I want too.”

He pushed her hair behind her ear making her shiver. Then finally, he pressed his lips to hers. It was chaste, yet erotic at the same time, and she felt herself melting inside.

She needed more, so she pulled him tighter and deepened their kiss. Now she was drowning in Cris. Nothing else mattered except him kissing her.

They finally broke apart to breathe. “I think we need to slow down a little,” she said on a breath. It nearly killed her to say it because she wanted him more than she’d ever wanted anything. “This feels – right, but I’m terrified. If I let you in and …”

“Cassandra, I told you, I don’t plan on running. I thought I made that perfectly clear, but if you need slow, as long as I know we are exclusive, I can give you slow.”

Exclusive? Thought Cassie, as in only dating me? Well, wasn’t that what I just asked for? “Okay, exclusive, so no more caveman imitations. Oh crap, does this mean I’m dating my boss?”

Cris threw back his head and laughed. “I suppose it does. You have a problem with that?”

“What about the other employees?” she asked.

“Damn woman, they probably already think we’re together.”

“Oh…” Why hadn’t she noticed that before?

“Now, since you’re officially dating the boss, I need another kiss before we have to go back inside, or would you prefer we just leave now and continue this conversation at my house?”

She wanted him to kiss her again, more than anything, but another kiss and she’d probably drag him into the bathroom and lock the door. Now who’s the caveman? “I’d love to, but I really do need to get back downstairs.”

Cris sighed softly. “As you wish,” he said, then took her hand in his. Even that little bit of contact felt weirdly intimate, sending a feeling of warmth and contentment throughout her body, a feeling of happiness and belonging. That was it, she felt truly happy for the first time in a very long time. She smiled and gave his hand a squeeze.

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, he put his arm around her and whispered, “After the party, you’re coming to my house. I’m not taking no for an answer.”

“Alrighty then, caveman.” She whispered the last word, and wondered if he could hear her heart pounding in her chest. Screw slow.

********************************

“Veronica beat Tyler at darts, she’s a woman of many talents,” announced Sam when Walker joined them with a plate for himself and Sam.

“Dumb luck,” said Tyler laughing, clearly enjoying himself.

“Skill,” corrected Veronica, “and now he has to go skiing with me.”

“Skiing? Tyler, you don’t know how to ski,” said Sam.

“Veronica’s going to teach me,” he said, “she used to be the number one downhill skier for the school before she hurt her knee.”

The kid really likes crazy ass Veronica, thought Walker and chuckled to himself. “She’s competitive as fuck Tyler, and will talk your ear off, so be afraid, be very afraid.” He laughed, then turned to Veronica, “And Veronica, I know about ‘you know who’ at work, so don’t worry.”

“You do?” she asked, wide-eyed, “how?”

“I have my ways, but for now, it stays between you and me,” he said. He wasn’t sure what possessed him to tell her, but she was going to be a great employee and he didn’t want her to mess things up for herself. He’d seen her crazy, and it made for good imagination, but it could also get her in trouble.

“Got it,” she replied, “so Walker, I asked Sam how you guys met. I had no idea you even knew each other.”

He glanced as Sam and she was smiling with her head down, keeping busy pushing food around on her plate. “Yes, of all places, we met in the park,” he replied, “I was actually hoping she’d be here tonight.” Sam looked at him out of the corner of her eye and grinned. Score one for Walker! Game on.

“I think it’s so cute,” said Veronica grinning.

“We’re just friends,” Sam quickly interjected.

Walker reached over and put his hand on hers. She froze so he instantly removed it. Damn, no way I’m losing this point. “Yes, park friends,” he said and gave her his best smile. Sam breathed easier and smiled back. Good save!

“Yes, park friends,” she agreed, but the look she gave him said more than just friends. “And neighbors soon too. His house is the one going up next door. When Paige finds out, she’ll be over there every time she sees your car. I’m pretty sure she has a crush on you.”

Walker chuckled thinking about his pint-sized wingman. He owed that kid big time. “Yeah. I strike out with the ladies, but give me an eight year-old and I’m the cat’s meow.” Sam looked like she just melted. Another point scored. God, he wanted to break through her walls, and let the real Samantha Murdock come out and play.

Sam took a deep breath and turned to her brother. “I’m so proud of you Ty,” she said awkwardly, no doubt diverting the conversation away from her.

Tyler chuckled. “I’ll never make the kinda bank you do Sam. I’ll take over the Gym some day, but until then, I’ll be as poor as a church mouse.”

“I doubt that,” replied Sam, “you’re way too modest.” Just then a squeal that sounded like a small child split the air. “What was that?” she asked as everyone turned in the direction of the sound.

“It’s Blake!” shouted Veronica, “ and Holy Moly, they brought their little boy, Bryce! God he’s soooo cuuute!”

“Hey kid!” said Blake. “The sitter crapped out but I didn’t think you mind if little B joined us. He’s mad as a hornet right now because he wants to swing, but it’s too damn cold outside. He’d freeze his diaper to his butt.”

“Hi Slayer!” chimed in Barb while wrestling the one-year old. “Congratulations! Bryce, say hi to Slayer.”

Walker was watching Sam. He figured she’d coo over the baby, but instead, she got a strange look on her face and began to breathe too fast. “Sam, wanna get some air?” he asked softly.

She nodded. “Yes, please,” she said.

“We’ll be right back guys, carry on,” said Walker brightly, then followed Sam up the stairs.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod,” she panted, leaning over like she’d been running. “I guess I’m not a doing as well as I thought.”

Walker, confused, rubbed her back and coached her to take slow deep breaths until her breathing returned to normal. “Are you okay now? What exactly caused your panic attack?”

“I was afraid she was going to hand me her baby, and I would’ve freaked out. I had to get out of there.”

“Why? There’s babies all over the park and you never freaked out.”

“But I don’t have to hold them,” she blurted out.

Warning bells went off in his head. God, she must’ve lost a child. That shit’s hard as hell to come back from and it’s obviously fresh. Samantha Murdock having a child wasn’t mentioned in any of the stuff he googled about her, but then children of celebs were sometimes hidden away – very well kept secrets. Puzzle pieces were trying to slide into place about this mercurial little actress – perhaps she turned to alcohol or drugs to cope. “Think you’re ready to go back inside now?” he asked after a minute.

“I don’t know, maybe. But, Walker, I owe you for getting me outta there, I’m so embarrassed. They must think I didn’t want to talk to them, and they’re some of Tyler’s very best friends.”

“Sam, everyone has ghosts of some sort, it just means you’ve lived and survived. Some days are simply harder than others. It’s okay. So, here’s our game plan – if she shoves the kid at you, I’ll intercept. Alright?”

“You would do that?” she asked, as if she were shocked he’d try to help her.

“Of course,” he said, whatever it takes to crack those walls, he thought to himself.

Sam gave him a warm smile and put her hand on his arm. “Thank you. I appreciate it more than you know.”

Score three for Walker. Crumble walls, crumble.

“Come on then, let’s go.” He purposely took her hand and threaded their fingers together. “We’re a team, remember that, I got your back and any flying babies that come your way.” When she didn’t pull away, and softly chuckled instead, he knew he’d indeed made a crack. It wasn’t a touchdown, or even a field goal, but maybe a first down.

To Be Continued…..

Go Back to Chapter 4.55

36 thoughts on “Chapter 4.56 – Living Your Life – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Chapter 4.55 – Living Your Life – Part 1 | New Beginnings

  2. Cris and Cass are finally a thing! Whoop!

    Lol! Cris wants to waste no time in getting in the sack either. Bahahahaaaa! Such a man. 😝

    Tyler and Veronica are so cute here! Love that ship!

    And Walker is trying to break down Sam’s walls. Looks like she’ll give him the ice pick! Hee! Love how all of this is heating up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! This party caused lots of things to heat up! And I think both Cassie and Cris are hungry for each other… we’ll see next chapter how that goes! 🔥

      Tyler and Veronica are really cute together. That ship probably needs to set sail, but I wonder if it either of them see the other as more than friends.

      And Walker is probably gonna get shut down. Poor guy, might be the first challenge he loses. I hope he doesn’t give up on her. She needs someone like him in her life to help keep her grounded.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha, ha, ha, oh noooo, Cassie, now the word “Fishsticks” will always be associated with the first kiss with your man. 🤣🤣 But aaaw, she finally shared – so happy she finally broke that wall down.
    Walker’s being a tad quick there. I know they only have a few months, but dude. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was time. She and Cris would’ve wound up hating each other if she hadn’t been open with him and now…. and yes, fishticks and a first kiss. Yuck.

      Walker’s working with a very short timeline. He sees her as a challenge but I think she’s gotten under his skin more than he wants to admit. We shall see how close he can get to getting her to open up before she goes back.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A magical plague! Stand by it with your crush and – BAM! Months of idling change to LUUV! 😉

    How sweet, finally we got some couples here. Love Cris and Cassie, obviously ship Ty and Vero and hope Walker and Sam can make it work despite the distance that will soon be between them again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sooooooo glad Chris and Cassie are finally a thing. She deserves to be happy but I wonder will it be that easy. As he said – it will take a long time for her heart to heal but this is a great start

    Walker is a bit too cocky for my liking but I do like his relationship with Sam. He had better stand by her or else I’ll come after him hahahaha

    Veronica and you know who………… interesting.

    Excited as always for more

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes, Cris & Cassie. Will it indeed be that easy? Probably not. But yes, a great start.

      Walker is a bit cocky. 🤣. But I have a feeling Sam is getting under his skin even if he sees this as a challenge. However, I don’t think Sam will cave to his ‘charms’ that easy. She’s still pretty bruised. But they are cute together and like to needle each other.

      Does Veronica only think of him as a friend. I think so. I think they need to get to know each other better before he’s going to be ready for another relationship. But a ski trip is a great step in that direction. Veronica is very aware of his needs. Something that Keira seemed to lack a big. She was aware of his sexual needs, lol, but not much more than that. She was trying to make him into what she wanted. I don’t think Veronica would ever do that. But we’ll see if there is a spark there or not.

      Like

    • Aussie and Cris! Finally. And poor Sam. She needs more than six weeks. That’s for sure. And Walker doesn’t really know her story. He’s just guessing. But she seems to be getting under his skin.

      Like

  6. Sam and Walker: Sam talking with Walker re Bryce the baby, is exactly what the therapist would reccommend. Talking with others and having them help her deal with the loss. Baby steps but important to move on.
    Tyler and Veronica: Glad she is operating at Tyler’s level playing darts, planning ski trips. But am curious about You Know Who. Does Veronica already have a boyfriend?
    Cassie and Cris: big breakthrough at Alex’s memorial plaque. But will Cris finally let her know about his past?
    Blake and Barb: Glad to see them and little Bryce. They were an important part of Tyler’s past life.
    Thank you for the combination story and pictures chapter. Score one light for AudreyFLD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe! Score!

      Yes, Walker being there was good for her. Although I don’t know how much she’s going to open up to him. But at least he was able to be there and give her the unconditional help she needed with no judgement.

      Veronica doesn’t have a boyfriend at this time. And yes, she is operating at Tyler’s level which she is doing without even thinking about it. They just seem to fit better. “You know who” was the person Veronica was ranting to Cassie about about a few chapters ago. He stole her idea at work and she couldn’t do anything about it. Walker is part of management there and is aware of it. He was afraid she’d say something that would reflect negatively on her so he let her k is he was aware and not to worry.

      Cris has let Cassie know about his past already when he took her to dinner. With so much going on with so many couples it’s sometimes hard to keep them straight. 😬 Sorry about that. That’s why she felt compelled to tell him about her issues.

      It was good to see Blake and Barb again. They had a huge impact on Tyler’s life for sure. ❤️

      Like

  7. I think Walker might be the one whom Sam tells everything too. Like how she feels responsible for one of her cousins’ (the Alex that Cassie mentioned in this chapter)’ death, the pressure of being a star, and her addiction to stuff and how she lost the baby. But there is only 6 weeks before Sam back in DL)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with everyone above. So nice to see all the new love interests and super happy for Chris and Cassie. I also feel that Tyler and Veronica mesh well together and hope that things will progress between them. Absolutely love Walker, nothing sexier than a confident man 😉 Sure he does not know everything regarding Sam yet but pretty sure he will rise with any challenge. She deserves a real man and true love is always worth fighting for.

    Lovely chapter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww. I love this! Very happy for Cassie and Cris too! Tyler and a Veronica are cute together. I hope something comes out of it. He’s been through a lot. As has Sam.😔 Walker is so sexy. I think he’s taken with her, but he doesn’t know all of her issues. But you’re right, the more he gets to know her the more likely he is to rise to any challenges she presents him with. ❤️ I think he’d be good for her.

      Like

  9. Cris and Cassie finally stop circling each other like a pair of sharks and take the next step!!! 🎊
    Probably.
    I mean, it seems like it.
    U guys butter not mess this up for me 😤

    I’m glad to see Walker and Sam have a more normal conversation, lol
    The flirting and dancing around is cute ofc, but now we’re getting our toes wet in the pool!
    Jump in guys, the water is warrrrrm 😎

    I hope you enjoy the bunny hill Tyler 😏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cass and Cris just might finally take the next step. And Sam and Walker…yes a little more normal conversation for sure and now they can probably maybe jump in the nice warm water. And Tyler, yep, slide down the bunny hill! Lol.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Chapter 4.57 – Are You Sure? | New Beginnings

  11. Wat, Cris, leave the caveman in the cave please!
    I thought he was friends with Paul? Why the sudden hostility?

    Cassie around her friends & strangers is soooo different from her inner self. She’s cheerful, social, and lovely and has no issues to speak her mind. But inside she’s so insecure it’s crazy. It’s like her inside and her outside persons are two different people. Sam could take some extra acting lessons from her 😏

    “Fuck it Cris, please, just kiss me before I die right here, right now.”
    whoops, now that is what I call straight forward 😏
    /likes
    more of outside persona Cassie please!

    Dang Tyler, you can’t even admit if a woman beat you fair and with skill? 😏 He’s such a neck beard. He just misses the actual neck beard.

    “God, she must’ve lost a child.” Eh Walker, are you a clearvoyant? 😏 Has it not occured to him that maybe she just doesn’t *like* toddlers, or holding them? People like that exist lol
    ANYWAY, bonds were formed, confessions (almost) made, goals achieved!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m living in a cave. I never heard the term neckbeard and had to look it up! Poor Tyler. He does need to grow up. Anyway, Cris was super jealous of Paul. He likes him okay and they are friends, but not friends like he is with Walker. More of friends by association. Cassie is fine as long as it isn’t about her. Then she closes up. And Cris has let her in and now she is letting her defenses down. The real Cassie shines through here and there…
      She reacted a little too strongly to just dislike kids. I know there are people like that, unless they have real phobia about kids… whatever, he’s guessing and knows it.

      Bonds, were formed, some confessions — maybe not perfect but…. 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Gaaaaaah! My goosebumps are so prominent I can’t see my own skin.
    Orite so, everyone has a type. And Walker is so not my type. I’m so creeped out. Dude, do you know what personal space is? Do you know what slow down is? Can you stop writing on that mental scoreboard in your head? I can almost picture him writing in his book all the women he scored with then hanging it in his bedroom wall like an honorary plague. But Sam does have a type. I can see why you say she might’ve never liked Levon, just the stability he gave her. Ok. Here’s hoping Walker is not going to become a second Dax then. And Sam reins in enough to stand on her own feet. She could become dependent on Walker. Can imagine Walker now. Score 1 when that happens. *eyerolls* 🙄

    Yay to Cassie and Chris! Thanks Paul for being a catalyst to this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Walker is a bit obsessed with getting her to open up – so true. Too bad it seems a game to him because she could use a real friend. And you’re right she could easily become dependent on him. I’m not sure he really understands yet just how fragile she is and he is used to getting what he wants.

      And yes! Yay to Cassie and Cris! This was forever coming. Paul is such an ass and doesn’t try to hide it. So thank you Paul! Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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