Chapter 22: A Day at the Lake

Copyright© 2009 by Jujubees

Jessica woke up early Saturday morning, "It's time to go." She said as she entered her parents' bedroom. She yanked on Cade's arm. "Wake up daddy."

Cade opened his eyes and looked at his six-year-old daughter. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that Saturday mornings were for sleeping in?" He grumbled.

Jessica backed away sheepishly. He looked at her through half-open eyes and her pouty expression made him smile. "Come 'ere," he reached out and yanked her onto the bed, pulling her between him and Callie, and tickling her. "Are you excited about our trip to the lake today?"

Jessica giggled, "Yes!" Cade noticed that she had packed a little bag full of her possessions and she was already dressed and ready to go.

"My God," Callie groaned. "Give her a spanking for waking us up this early, don't encourage her."

Jessica frowned. "No, I don't want a spanking."

Cade laughed. "No spanking this time," and he gave her a peck on the cheek, "But next time I'm getting out the strap," he teased, and then he looked over at the clock. "Seven o'clock," he grumbled. "Jess, we aren't even leaving until around ten; now go find something to do and let us sleep awhile longer." He placed her back on the floor beside the bed and rolled over.

Jessica made it her mission to make sure everyone got up, hollering up the stairs every five minutes, to ask when they planned to get out of bed. Finally, by half past seven, when she refused to be silent, everyone was awake and downstairs for breakfast. Cade was groggy, "You better make that coffee extra-strong," he said to Callie.

"Don't worry," Callie assured him.

"I need a new swimsuit," Jess informed them as they gathered in the kitchen.

Ashley began helping Callie make breakfast. "Well at least you have a swimsuit," Ashley lamented. "I have to wear a pair of old shorts and a tee shirt to the lake."

"Me too," Harley jeered.

"Of course Jess has a swimsuit; she's our little prima donna," Callie joked.

Everyone laughed except Jessica. "What's a pirma dunner?" Jessica demanded.

"Another name for a queen I think," Harley laughed.

"I am NOT," Jessica spat. "That's mean," she glared at her mother.

Callie raised her eyebrows. "Don't give me an attitude young lady or you'll be going to the lake with a pink bum."

Jessica stuck out her lower lip, and Harley and Ashley both smirked.

"Come 'ere," Cade said. He pulled Jessica onto his lap. He was becoming a sucker for her, even when she acted like a brat. "Where do you get all of this orneriness of yours, huh?"

"I'm not ornery," Jessica protested, nearly in tears as she buried her head against him.

Cade smiled down at her. "I see, so you're not ornery," he laughed. "Are you demanding?" She shook her head. "How about spoiled?" She shook her head violently. "Are you a Harrison?" She smiled and quickly nodded. "I thought so," Cade smirked. All of them laughed at her. She was a thorn in their sides, but they all loved her.

After breakfast, they prepared to leave for the lake. Cade found some old inner tubes in the garage and inflated them and Callie packed a picnic lunch. She and Angie were supposed to split the lunch assignments, but Callie threw in extra items just in case Angie forgot something.

They arrived at the lake around ten-thirty, and after five minutes, Lonnie pulled up in his beat-up minivan. The six Jameson children and Cade's children converged on the picnic area near the shore of the lake. This was their first time being together. Harley began talking to Luke, who was a year older than he was, and Jessica instantly connected with Brittany since they already knew each other. Jessica modeled her swimsuit for Brittany and then commenced bossing her around.

"Hey," Lisa said and shyly approached Ashley. Even though they were in the same grade, they had never spoken to one another.

"Hi," Ashley said quietly.

Cade pulled the large inner tubes out of the trunk of the car, "Oh wow!" Lisa said excitedly, turning to Ashley. "Do you think we can use those?'

Cade grinned at the two girls, happy to see that Lisa and Ashley were making a connection. "Here you go," he said and handed the large inner tubes to the two girls.

"No fair!" Harley protested. "Me and Luke want one."

The inner tubes were very large. Cade looked at the two boys. "I guess maybe that's fair, you girls can share one, and the boys can have the other." No one was happy about the idea of sharing, but the kids figured they didn't really have a choice.

"What about me and Brittany?" Jessica demanded when she saw them dividing the inner tubes.

"You can't go out on the lake without an adult, or maybe Ashley with you," Cade informed her. "You're too little; you'll have to wait your turn. Play on the shore for awhile, and then you can have a turn."

"God dammit!" Jessica stomped her feet in anger. Then she clamped her hand over her mouth when she realized what she had said. She looked up at her dad with fear in her eyes.

"Jessica Marie," Callie scolded.

"I'm sorry daddy, I didn't mean to swear," Jessie said nervously.

Her swearing did not amuse Cade. "If I hear those words out of your mouth again, you and I are going to have a little talk, do you understand?" Cade asked sternly.

Jessica's face flushed red, "Yes sir." She was trembling. Cade did not think it wise to embarrass her by swatting her bottom in front of Lonnie and his family. He knew her slip-up had been accidental, and he could tell she was sorry. "Apologize to Lonnie and his family for swearing in front of them," Cade said. "That's no way for a six-year-old to talk."

Jessica cast her eyes downward, "I'm sorry," she said.

"Oh it's OK sweetheart," Angie said, and she took hold of Jessie's chin and smiled down at her. "All is forgiven."

Jessica smiled up at Angie, and then she looked up at Cade. When he winked at her, she knew it was OK, and she hurried and ran off before something else bad happened. Brittany wasn't far behind.

Angie laughed when Jessie was gone, "She's a lively one."

"You have no idea," Cade rolled his eyes.

"I bet," Angie smiled.

Cade scratched his head and looked over at Callie, "I have no idea where she gets her spunk."

"Don't look at me!" Callie protested. Callie gave him an evil grin, "She's just like her father."

Hearing those words made him feel warm inside. He wanted to protest, but somehow thinking of Jessica being just like him, after he had worried so much that she was even his child, made him happy. "Well I hate to admit it, but you might be right." He grinned back at his wife.

Angie appreciated the way Cade had handled Jessica, stern and yet reasonable. She wished Lonnie would be like that with their children, but Lonnie couldn't bring himself to discipline anyone, even if his life depended on it. Angie either had to dish out the discipline, or it didn't happen, and since Angie didn't enjoy that role, the discipline at their house mostly didn't happen. There was a lot of yelling, but no real discipline.

Callie rubbed suntan lotion all over her exposed skin. She was dressed in very short shorts and a skimpy tank top. She leaned back as she sat on the blanket and attempted to soak up some rays from the sun. Lonnie couldn't seem to take his eyes off Callie, but now that Cade knew how harmless Lonnie was, it didn't bother him. Angie instructed her kids where they could and couldn't run, and they proceeded to do pretty much whatever they wanted.

The inner tubes that Cade brought provided entertainment for the older kids. Lisa and Ashley pitted themselves against Luke and Harley for a battle in the water. The kids splashed each other and attempted to knock each other off the inner tubes. The tubes were so big that two kids could easily fit on one. It was obvious that they were enjoying themselves. Ashley couldn't remember a time in her life when she had enjoyed herself quite this much, and she was growing fond of Lisa.

It was a perfect day for an outing, and the fresh air and sunshine felt great. When they gathered to eat lunch, Callie was correct in her assumption that Angie would forget a few things, so she was happy she packed some extras. Lonnie drank one beer after another while Angie had to keep corralling her youngest three children, finally commanding that Lisa watch them for a while. "Aww mom," Lisa moaned. "We were having fun."

"I don't care," Angie said in exasperation, "Watch the twins and your little sister, I need a break." It was an eye opening experience for Cade when Lisa flatly refused, and Angie continued yelling at her, with few results. Lonnie finally joined in the argument between his wife and daughter by threatening drunkenly, "Lisa, mind what your mom tells you or I'll whup your butt."

Angie rolled her eyes, "Oh that would be the day."

"I'll do it," Lonnie insisted and then he proceeded to lie back down on the blanket and doze off in the warm sunshine.

Angie rolled her eyes and sighing heavily. Cade could tell Angie was frustrated and tired.

Lisa finally stomped over and agreed to watch the kids with the condition that her help be time limited. "I'm only doing this for an hour, and then its Luke's turn," Lisa informed her mother and she gave Luke a scathing look. Luke and Harley took over both inner tubes now that the girls were babysitting the young kids, and they pitted themselves against each other.

"I hate babysitting," Lisa complained to Ashley. "I get stuck doing this all the time. Those two," she motioned toward her parents, "should have never have had this many kids since they can't even be bothered to take care of them," she lamented.

Ashley thought of how different her life was. Cade didn't tolerate certain things, and whenever he told her to do something, she obeyed. Lonnie's threat of a whipping was all blustering and nonsense, but if Cade had made that same threat, it would not have been nonsense.

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