Blame it on the Stars (The Blame Game) (10 page)

BOOK: Blame it on the Stars (The Blame Game)
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I’ll go with you,” she informed him. “The four of us are going to have a chat.”

He grinned
. “Get our stories straight, synchronize our watches, so to speak.”

She shook her head.
“Shit. Don’t say that. Don’t grin like that. You look like your father.”


Makes you want to jump me right here, doesn’t it?”

Her eyes flashed, but he laughed.

“Just kidding. Don’t get your knickers in a knot.”

She stood up and poked him in the chest.
“Don’t talk to me like that. You owe me big, remember?”

They both turned as Clint walked into the room.
“Hey,” he said.


You look like hell,” Catlin remarked.


If you mean I look like I didn’t get much sleep, well, hey, so do you.”


That’s a fact.” she nodded. “Did you tell your father?”


Hell no!” Clint told them. “He didn’t really want to know. We’re going with the flooded truck story. It’s a miracle, but it started this morning just fine.”

Catlin frowned at him.
“You are not off the hook that easy, young man. After school, my place with David and Dana. I mean it.”

He smiled.
“You don’t think people will be suspicious if I’m at your place again?”

David laughed, but she shook her head.
“This is not funny, you guys. I’m serious.”


I’ll be there,” Clint reassured her. “You helped me out last night big time. I appreciate it.”

David smirked.
“I’ll be there too, teach.”


Go to class,” she snapped at him, and waved him away.

David laughed, and did as she said.

Catlin was dying to tell Jetta what happened, but she couldn’t get the words out. The Crafts and Steve had become friends, and Catlin just couldn’t risk telling anyone. She kept her misery to herself, and when the school went to holy day mass for All Saint’s Day, Catlin prayed and prayed that she did the right thing.

On her lunch break she called home to check in with Dana.

“How are you feeling?” Catlin asked.


My head is pounding.”


Take some more aspirin, and try to eat something. Maybe some soup.”


Blecch.”


You need to look passable by three o’clock young lady. Take another shower or whatever you need to do. David, Clint and I will be there at three, and we are going to talk.”


Why does Clint have to be here?”


What kind of a stupid question is that?” Catlin answered the question with a question.


I’m so embarrassed,” Dana admitted.


Well, good. It’s a start.” Catlin softened her tone. “You have to face him sometime.”


Catlin,” Dana almost whispered. “I don’t remember everything from last night. But I remember being in a bed and getting groped. I tried to stop it, but my arms felt like rubber, like I couldn’t move. How could Clint do that to me?” She was starting to cry.


Clint said that wasn’t him. He found you that way, and in his words ‘he pounded the jackass’ you were with.”


Oh my God!” she sobbed openly into the phone. “How can I not remember what happened?”


Honey, Clint thought nothing more happened to you. But if you feel strange, like something did, we need to get you to a doctor. Are you having any pain, or bleeding?”


No.” She sobbed. “I feel okay, I guess, just so embarrassed.”


It’s going to be okay.” Catlin looked up as another teacher walked in the lounge. “I have to go. Do what I suggested and I’ll see you later, okay?”


Yeah, thanks.” Dana hung up.

Catlin
’s heart ached for her. The afternoon went by dreadfully slow. Catlin looked at the clock every five minutes, or so it seemed to her. Finally, when the bell rang, she took off for home. She was the first one to arrive.


Hello,” she called, as she walked in.

Dana was sitting on the sofa, wearing her jeans and a t-shirt of Catlin
’s. “Hi,” she looked down. “I hope you don’t mind, I washed my clothes. My shirt is ruined, though...I borrowed this from your drawer.”


That’s fine,” Catlin dropped her books on the table, and slipped off her jacket. She sat down on the sofa next to Dana.


If I had felt better, I would have had fun playing dress up in your closet.”

Catlin laughed. She looked at the sweater bunched in Dana
’s lap. It was Steve’s. “Cold?” she asked.

Dana shook her head, and hugged the sweater to her.
“It smells so good,” she buried her face, and started crying again. “Oh Catlin, you just can’t tell him! He’ll be so disappointed in me!”

Catlin pulled Dana into her arms, and comforted her.
“I know,” she soothed the girl. “You’re right. But he loves you so much. He’ll understand about the spiked punch. That part wasn’t your fault.” She looked Dana in the eye. “You made a lot of mistakes last night, but that part, and what happened after, was not your fault.”

Dana clung to her and cried for a few more minutes, until the doorbell rang.

Catlin wiped Dana’s face with a tissue. “You ready for this?” She squeezed her shoulders.

Dana nodded, and continued to wipe her face.

Catlin stood up to answer the door. David and Clint were both there. “Come in,” she motioned to the living room.


Hey sis,” David sat next to Dana “Feeling any better?”

She nodded, and gave her brother a little smile. But she couldn
’t look Clint in the face.

Clint didn
’t speak.

Catlin did.
“Sit down. I have a few things to say.”

Clint sat.

Catlin started, “Last night was one disaster on top of another. And I can’t see how it’s not all going to come crashing down on my head. I’ve given this a lot of thought. We have to tell your dad.”


No!”
The three teenagers shouted in unison.

Catlin raised her hand.
“Listen, he’s going to find out. And it’s going to be worse later than sooner. I really think—”

“No!”
Dana jumped up and grabbed Catlin’s arm. “Please! Catlin, I’m begging you. Please don’t tell him anything.”

David said
, “I don’t see how he’s going to find out. You can, shall we say, distract him when he gets back on Friday night.”

Catlin
’s eyes flashed at David for the second time that day. “For someone who wants a favor from me, you sure are being a jerk.”

David
’s smirk slipped off his face. “I’m sorry, Catlin. I was just teasing you. But please, you can’t tell dad. Just let some time go by, and you’ll see. Everything will be fine.”

Catlin was shaking her head, but she knew she was going to give in. How could she go against these kids that she had been trying to win over for the past two months? If she ratted them out, it would put the seal of doom on any chance they had for a relationship. She looked at Clint.
“Your parents don’t know? They aren’t going to say anything?”

He shook his head.
“They don’t know.” He looked around. “Only the members of the secret society in this room know.”

Catlin retorted
, “Yeah, us and about fifty other party-goers. We’ll be lucky if someone doesn’t spill it somehow.”

Dana asked quietly
, “Then you’re not going to tell?”

Catlin looked from one face to the next.
“I get best behavior from all of you for the rest of your lives for this.”

Dana squealed and hugged Catlin tightly. David stood up and hugged Catlin next. Catlin looked at Clint, and said
“Com’ere,” she held her arms out, and gave him a hug.

He smiled sheepishly.
“Thanks,
Catlin
.”

She cleared her throat.
“That’s the Divine Miss M., to you.”

He laughed, and turned to Dana.
“We need to talk.”

Catlin stepped in
. “Not today. Dana needs to go home and get her act together. Give her a little more time, Clint.”

Dana handed the sweater back to Catlin.
“Thanks for everything.”

Catlin took the sweater and nodded.
She watched Dana gather up her things, and leave with David. Clint left immediately after. Catlin shut the door, locked it, and looked around. She picked up a few things, and made sure there was no evidence of Dana anywhere. There was a heavy feeling in the pit of Catlin’s stomach. She feared it would be there for a long, long time.

 

Chapter Eight

 

 

Catlin thought about not answering the phone when Steve called that night.
But she had to try to get back to normal somehow. “Hello.”


Well, hi. No snappy remarks tonight?”


Sorry, it’s been a long day. I’m beat.”


I hope you’re not coming down with anything. I just talked to the kids. Dave is still coughing, and Dana isn’t feeling well, either.”


Yeah,” Catlin agreed “She didn’t look good today.”


I told her she could stay home tomorrow if she still feels bad. We may have to put our weekend plans on hold if you all get sick.”


Weekend plans?” Catlin had forgotten what Steve had arranged for the weekend. “Oh yeah, Topeka.”

He chuckled
. “Trying to forget, are you? Well, I’ll let you off the hook if you’re sick.”


I’m not sick,” she insisted. “I’m just really tired. Maybe we can talk more tomorrow night.”


Oh, okay then.” He sounded surprised.

Catlin felt bad.
“I love you so much, you know that?”


I do know that. Are we still on for the toe thing in the hot tub?”

She laughed.
“We are. I’m looking forward to it. Goodnight.”


Goodnight, love.”

 

Dana was not in school Thursday or Friday. Catlin never ran into David, and she and Clint did not bring up the subject of Halloween again. By Friday afternoon, the rock in Catlin’s stomach had settled into a smaller, more manageable lump. She and Jetta were in the teacher’s lounge after school when the secretary paged her with a phone call.

She smiled at Jetta, and answered the phone
. “Hello?”


Hello, beautiful. I am back,” Steve’s warm voice washed over her.


I’m happy to hear that. What are you doing?”


Unloading about five pounds of paperwork from the briefcase on to my desk. What are you doing?”


Going home and stripping naked. I trust I’ll see you soon?”

Jetta cracked up, and Steve laughed out loud.
“I thought you were coming to my place and spending the night?”


I am,” Catlin said softly. “But I really want to see you this afternoon. I
need
to see you this afternoon. Punt the paperwork, and get over to my place.”


I’ll beat you there.”


No, you won’t. I’ve got one foot out the door.”


But I’ve got the Jaguar. See you in a few minutes.”

They hung up, and Catlin grabbed her purse and some paperwork.

“You little devil...” Jetta teased her.


Out of my way, I’ve got someplace to be.” Catlin winked at Jetta, and raced home.

She and Steve arrived at the same time. She pulled into the garage, and looked behind her as she started running for the door.

He grinned, and ran after her. Catlin dropped her purse on the table, and turned to face him.

Steve slammed the back door behind him. They looked into each other
’s eyes, and came together quickly. Catlin pressed herself against him and their mouths found each other. Her hands roamed over his chest and peeled back his suit jacket. She was yanking at his tie, never moving her mouth from his. Her fingers deftly unbuttoned his shirt, and he groaned as she ripped it off and ran her hands over his bare chest.

Steve interrupted their kiss long enough to pull her sweater over her head and toss it on to the floor in one motion. His mouth traveled down her neck as his hands removed her bra and cupped her bare breasts.

Catlin moaned and yanked at his belt, then fumbled with the button on his slacks. She could see his desire was as great as her need. They finally freed each other of the last of the clothing and Catlin pushed everything off her kitchen table. Steve laid her back, and she moaned again as his tongue teased her nipples. She was in no mood for teasing, though, and reached for him. She guided him inside her, and threw her head back as he thrust again and again. She offered her breasts to him, and when his mouth found her again, she exploded. Her shuddering caused an explosion in him, and they landed sprawled out on the kitchen table.

Steve slowly
rose and looked at her. “Miss me?”

 

Saturday was a crisp and sunny November day. They were all cheerful as they headed to Topeka in Catlin’s car. Steve was happy everyone seemed to be feeling better. Catlin was happy to have Steve home, and to have things feeling normal again. Dana and David were pleasant, and it promised to be a nice day.

They stopped by the Topeka Capital Newspaper office, and Steve and David loaded the things they needed into the trunk. Then Steve took them for a nice lunch before they dropped the kids off.

As they headed to the hotel to meet Barbara, Steve said, “I was thinking about Thanksgiving. How would you feel about going to Kansas City for the weekend, and getting a suite at Crown Center?”


Ooh!” Dana squealed “We could watch them turn on the Christmas lights at the Plaza! That’s so cool the first night.”


Yep,” Steve agreed. “We could see a show, go shopping, whatever you all wanted to do.”


Shopping! Sounds fun.” Catlin smiled.


Uh oh.” Steve grinned. “Better break out my credit card.”


Darn right!” Dana piped up.

Steve and Catlin laughed.

He glanced over at her. “You sure there’s no family you want to spend the holiday with? I know your folks are gone, but is there anybody else?”

She thought about that. Her mother died when she was a girl, and her father
had passed on a few years back. She no longer had ties to Kincaid, Kansas. As for her brother, she had no idea where he lived these days, and didn’t care to find out. “No family but this one.”

H
e smiled.

They pulled in the Hilton parking lot.
“Grab your stuff, guys. We’re here.” Steve looked at Catlin “I’ll be right back.”


Sure.” She turned to the kids. “Have fun you two. See you tomorrow.”

Dana reached up and gave her a hug.
“See you.”


Bye,” David said, and they left.

A few minutes later, Steve returned alone.

“Safely delivered?” She reached over and squeezed his hand.


Yes.” He refastened his seat belt, and glanced over at her. “It’s just you and me now.”


Woo hoo!” She leaned back. “Let’s go home.”

 

Sunday, Catlin packed her things and Steve put them in her car. It was still early, but she thought about leaving.


Stay,” he prodded her. “I’ll let you pick any movie you want. Any goofy chick flick I own. I’ll watch it with you, and I’ll be quiet.”


Why, will you be asleep?”

He nodded.
“Maybe, but we’ll be together.”

She shook her head.
“I don’t want a scene when Barbara gets here.”


There won’t be a scene. I promise.”


It’s not you I’m worried about.”


Oh come on.” He pulled her over to the movie cabinet, and she gave in. She picked ‘Bridesmaids’, and he popped it in the player. Catlin sat on the couch, and Steve lay down with his head in her lap.


If you took these jeans off, I could lick your thighs,” he commented.

She laughed out loud.
“Wouldn’t David enjoy walking in on that? Go to sleep.”

He dozed as she watched the movie. When she heard the front door open, she jostled him slightly.
“Steve, they’re home.”

He opened his eyes.
“Hello.” He smiled at her.

She ran a finger over his cheek
. “The kids are home.”


Oh.” He rubbed his face, and sat up.

Both
kids hurried past them into the kitchen. Catlin looked at them, startled that they hadn’t stopped to say hello.

Barbara stepped into the family room.
“Steven, we need to talk.”

He rubbed his face again, and yawned.
“Give me a second.”


Steven!” Her voice was sharp “This is important.” She turned and went back into the foyer.

Catlin looked at Steve as he stood up.

He shrugged. “Stay here. I promise to tell you all about it later.”

She
nodded nervously, and as he went to the foyer, she went to the kitchen. “What’s going on?” she asked the kids.

Dana turned around. It was obvious she had been crying.
“Oh Catlin!” The girl fell into her arms.


What?” Catlin searched David’s face as she held Dana.


Mom knows,” he said. “Dingbat forgot there was a holy day happening while she was home sleeping it off. When mom caught her in a slip, she spilled her guts.”

Dana shook her head
. “I couldn’t help it! I didn’t mean to!”


It’s okay.” Catlin hugged her.
I’m dead.

Steve stuck his head in the kitchen.
“You all want to come out here? We need to talk.”


Shit!” Catlin muttered. She grabbed a tissue and wiped Dana’s face. Dana clung to her as they slowly walked back into the family room.

Steve and Barbara were standing
together, unsmiling. “I assume you know what this is about?” Steve looked at each of them. “Sit down.”

Catlin said
, “Steve, can we talk alone for a minute?”

He looked down, then up at her.
“I don’t think so. This is a family matter, so we might as well get it all out in the open.”


If it’s a family matter, then you don’t need me here,” she challenged him.

Barbara said
, “You’re staying. How in the world did you think you could keep something like this from us?”

Catlin faced Barbara
. “If you think you and Steve are an
‘us’,
then you’re sadly mistaken.”

The woman
smirked. “Steve and I were an
‘us’
when you were still toddling around in diapers.”


Oh?” Catlin couldn’t contain herself, and she got in Barbara’s face “Funny, it wasn’t your name Steve was calling out over and over last night. Oh, and a couple times this morning.”


Catlin!”
Steve grabbed her by the shoulders, and backed her up. “That was embarrassingly inappropriate. Please, just sit down. I want everyone to remain calm. Obviously Dana is okay now, but we really need to talk about what happened.” He looked in her eyes “Okay? Calm?”

She
was not happy, but plopped down on the couch between Dana and David.

David
grinned at her. “Good one,” he whispered.


David,” Steve spoke up “enough. Now Dana, I think we need to hear from you exactly what happened on Halloween. And Dana, I want the truth.”

The girl
looked at her hands. “Clint invited me to a party. I knew Teresa wouldn’t let me go. So, I lied to her, and said I was going to a girlfriend’s house.”

Steve shook his head.
“Have you ever lied to us about going out before?”


No.” Her eyes were wide. She was obviously frightened.

He
studied her face for a moment. “Continue.”


We went to a party. There were lots of kids from school there, plus some who used to go to St. Joseph’s.”


Where was the party?” Steve asked.

Dana shook her head.
“I don’t remember.”

Steve looked at David.

“Don’t ask me,” the boy said. “I was home all night.”

Steve
turned his stare to Catlin.

She stared back at him.

“O-kay,” he went on. “So what happened when you got there?”

Dana said
, “Clint started playing video games with some guys. They were drinking beer, but I didn’t have any. Most of the girls were upstairs in the living room, watching videos and drinking punch. I had a glass, maybe two.”


And?” Steve asked.


I don’t remember much after that.”

He turned to
Catlin and David. “Can one of you fill me in on the rest of the story?”

BOOK: Blame it on the Stars (The Blame Game)
11.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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