Chapter 27: The Fourth

Copyright© 2009 by Jujubees

The children never quite understood what happened between Cade and Callie. All they knew was that after the night their dad dropped them off at the Jameson's, Callie no longer went to work at the diner.

For the next several days, Callie was docile and clung to Cade whenever he was around. Cade soothed and comforted her, and more importantly, he forgave her. She never went back to the diner after that night, not even to pick up her paycheck, and it eventually arrived by mail. Although Callie maintained contact with Rhonelle, her life at Beatrice's Diner was over.

Cade never asked Callie the identity of the man she slept with. It ultimately didn't matter to him, because the issue was between him and Callie, and he figured it was probably best if he didn't know. He wasn't sure what he might do to the man, if he knew.

The morning of the Fourth of July arrived. Callie donned her shorts in preparation for their outing to the lake and soon realized that the marks on the backs of her thighs were still visible. She frowned. She would have to wear a pair of Capri pants to cover them. She looked over at Cade and frowned, "I'm going to look like an old woman dressed in these fucking Capri pants."

Cade walked up behind her and put his arms around her, "Well maybe you'll think twice next time before sneaking off to cheat on me." He reached down and rubbed her bottom, and held her against him. Her bottom was still a bit sore, so his caresses felt good. Tears welled up in her eyes. She was always crying lately. "I'm sorry I cheated Cade."

He gently caressed her. "I don't know what I'm going to do with you Cal," he sighed and then he looking at their reflection in the mirror. She was beautiful. He gently kissed her on the neck. "Be good from now on," he whispered and lightly swatted her bottom.

She smiled as she watched him leave the room. Cade had devoted a lot more time and attention to her now, and she loved it. Whenever he was around, she latched onto him. His body felt good. No other man would have put up with her cheating, but Cade was different and his willingness to forgive her made her feel wanted, a feeling she seldom experienced.

The children were as impatient as always. "When are we leaving?" Jessica asked anxiously when her dad entered the kitchen.

Cade noticed that she was already dressed in her swimming suit, and holding a bag of her prized possessions. He walked over and scooped her up into his arms. "You need to learn patience."

"You always say that, what does that mean?" Jessica demanded.

"It means that you don't come in here asking every five minutes when we are going to leave. You sit quietly and wait until we are ready," Cade said, "without complaining." He set her back on her feet and lightly swatted her bottom.

"Don't," Jessica's forehead wrinkled when he lightly swatted her.

Cade shook his head, "Don't get ornery with me, or I'll swat your bottom for real."

Jessica stuck out her lower lip and turned away from him.

"Will we be taking the inner tubes again?" Harley asked.

Ashley noticed when Callie entered the kitchen that she was wearing Capri pants. Callie never wore Capri pants to a place like the lake, and during the last few days, Ashley had noticed Callie slightly limping and sulking. She wondered if her suspicions were correct, and that her dad had whipped Callie the night they stayed with the Jameson's, but she kept her thoughts to herself. It was none of her business, but this wasn't the first time she wondered.

"Did you and Lisa make up yet?" Callie asked Ashley as they sat down to eat breakfast.

"Not yet," Ashley responded, and she couldn't help notice Callie wince a little when she sat down.

Cade had been too busy to realize what had happened between Ashley and Lisa, or why they were fighting. "Well maybe it's time you made up with her." He said. It bothered him that Ashley and Lisa were fighting. He had no idea that fights between girls Ashley's age were common.

Ashley's face flushed red. "But it was her..." Ashley was so nervous she couldn't finish her sentence. Cade's sternness always made her nervous.

Cade noticed her red face, and he leaned over and smiled at her to reassure her. "I know it might have been Lisa who started the fight, but you can end it." He touched her lightly on the nose. "It's not good to fight."

Ashley nodded, "Yes sir," she said dully. She didn't see why she had to be the one to make amends when Lisa started it.

Harley was thinking about all the fun he would have at the lake. "I can't wait to see Luke," he said as he began eating his eggs. "We are going to build a fort." He had been making plans for days. There was a crumpled piece of paper with some cryptic drawings on the table next to him.

Cade smiled and ruffled Harley's hair. He recalled a few carefree moments from his own youth, even though most of the time he was either in trouble with the law or dodging Seth's blows. When he wasn't doing either of those things, he was usually taking care of his younger siblings. Some of his best memories were when the neighborhood played stickball or he and his friends hung around Mr. O'Grady's dime store stealing penny candy. He realized now that Mr. O'Grady knew they were stealing the candy, but he always let them sneak two or three pieces before he chased them away.

When they arrived at the lake, Lonnie and his family were already there. Jessica made no qualms about rushing over to boss Brittany and the twins around. Cade shook his head, wishing Jessica would calm down a little. Harley and Luke made an instant connection, but Ashley hung back, standing near her dad. Cade looked down at her and her eyes fell to the ground. He put his hand on her shoulder, "Go ask Lisa how she is doing," he coaxed. He nudged her forward.

Ashley slowly began walking toward Lisa, "Hi," she said softly, as she approached.

Lisa was relieved. "What's up?" she asked casually.

Ashley looked at the ground nervously, "Not much."

That was all it took to get things back on track between them. Lisa began chattering away. "Did you hear that Crystal Adams is going out with..." Their voices faded as they moved away from the grownups. Cade and Angie exchanged smiles.

"It's nice to see them getting along again." Callie observed. Cade pulled her into his arms and kissed her. "Life is too short for grudges," he said softly, and she was grateful he felt that way.

"Listen to all that wisdom," Angie grinned. "When did you manage to get so smart, Cade?"

Cade wasn't sure if she was being sarcastic or not, he assumed she was. "I was born smart," he jeered. "I had to fend for myself from the minute I left my mother's womb."

Angie rolled her eyes, "Oh, poor you."

Callie laughed, "If you knew Cade's mother, you wouldn't doubt it for a second."

"Is your family still living in the city?" Angie asked. Lonnie was busy setting up the grill with his two-year-old daughter perched atop his shoulders.

"I don't know what happened to most of my siblings. The only ones left in the city when I went home last were my mother, her husband Seth, and their son Quinn." Cade sighed. "And to be honest, I wouldn't care if I never saw them again."

"Well don't count on that," Angie snorted. "Family is like a bad penny, always turning up when you least expect."

Cade walked over to help Lonnie set up the grill and then they each opened a beer. Angie and Callie sat side by side on a blanket, watching the kids play. They would have a light lunch and later barbecue some steaks and hamburgers for dinner. It would be a very full day for all of them. "It was smart of you to dress in Capri's," Angie said admiring Callie's pants. "I have a feeling it's going to cool off this evening."

"Yeah," Callie sighed, wishing she could tell Angie the real reason she was wearing the Capri pants, but she knew there was no way she could explain the welts on the backs of her thighs. Callie was sure that Angie would not understand a husband who whipped his wife. "Thanks for watching the kids the other night," Callie smiled.

"Oh you're welcome," Angie grinned. "I hope you and Cade got everything straightened out." Angie was dying to know what happened, but she was afraid to ask.

Callie thought of the strapping Cade had administered and her face flushed. "Yeah, we worked things out. I decided to quit my job, it's easier that way."

Angie was surprised. "I'm sorry to hear that. I know how much you loved that job." She reached out and touched Callie on the arm with sympathy. Angie hadn't been sure what she thought of Callie at first, but she had grown very fond of her, and they often talked on the phone. Angie could tell Callie had not had many friendships with women. Callie rarely confided in Angie, but it was Angie's hope that they would someday become good friends and that Callie would grow to trust her.

Callie smiled at Angie, "Quitting my job is for the best, even though I enjoyed it." The tears welled up in Callie's eyes. She was already missing Rhonelle, Lionel, and the customers.

"Honey," Angie said sympathetically, "I know it's none of my business, but did Cade make you quit that job?"

Callie could no longer hold back her tears, they gushed out, and she nervously brushed them away. She hated that she was crying. "God, I'm such a baby," she sobbed.

Angie grabbed a paper napkin and handed it to Callie so that she could dry her tears, "You're not a baby, and I'm sorry about the job." Angie hated how domineering Cade could be. She was used to Lonnie who didn't have a domineering bone in his body.

Callie dabbed her eyes, "Don't be sorry Anj, it's for the best."

Angie thought about giving Cade a piece of her mind. He had no business making Callie quit her job. "I've a good mind to tell Cade what I think of him."

Callie reached out and grabbed Angie's arm, "No," she said with a worried look. "There are good reasons why Cade made me quit." She cast her eyes downward.

Angie couldn't imagine what those reasons were. "OK if you say so," she said.

Callie looked away, "God, I'm so ashamed."

"It's alright," Angie said softly.

Callie turned and looked into Angie's eyes, "I'm a terrible person. I have been that way all of my life. No one ever cared about me except Cade," Callie sobbed, "and I-I, well, I ... I cheated on him." She blurted out.

Surprised by her confession, Angie had long ago learned to keep a cool head at times like these. She leaned over and hugged Callie. "It's OK, things like that happen sometimes," she reassured softly.

"Has it ever happened to you?" Callie asked, looking anxiously at Angie.

Angie shook her head, "No, but it happens to other couples, I know it does."

"Most women would not cheat on their husband," Callie sobbed in anguish, "Especially if they were the only person to ever be kind to them."

"We all make mistakes," Angie whispered softly, though somewhere deep down inside, she was having trouble understanding why Callie cheated. Cade took good care of her and the children, and she could tell he loved them.

Callie wiped her tears away. "I've been wild all my life, and I'm nothing but an ungrateful whore."

"Oh Callie," Angie sympathized. "That's not true. Cade wouldn't stay with you if you were a whore, and besides, I've seen you with your kids, and you're a good mother."

Callie continued to wipe her tears away. "Thanks Anj," she said.

Cade walked over when he noticed Callie crying. "Are you OK?"

Callie nodded, ashamed that she was crying and drawing attention to herself. During the past few days, she was always crying.

Angie looked at Cade, "She's fine, we were just having some girl talk, that's all."

Callie looked away, afraid to make eye contact with him.

Cade knelt down and placed his finger beneath Callie's chin, forcing her to look at him. "Well enough girl talk. C'mon, let's go take a little walk before lunch." He pulled Callie up before she could protest and soon they were walking side by side along the shore of the lake. Callie dried her tears.

As they walked along, Callie confessed to Cade that she had told Angie about her affair. It was obvious that he was not happy. "Did you tell her I used the strap on you too?" He asked in irritation.

Callie stopped mid-stride and looked at him, "Of course not. Angie wouldn't understand. That's something private between you and me. Don't you think I know that?"

Cade pulled her close. He hated that he was still such a brute, but he couldn't help it. "I know I'm harsh, but I'm trying my best."

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