A Thing as Pure as Love – Chapter Nine

October 16, 2008

A Thing as Pure as Love – Chapter Nine
By
Alex Hawk

Pain…

Every part of me hurt. My head hurt. My legs hurt. My EYEBROWS hurt.

Then I began to slowly realize that I shouldn’t be feeling any pain at all. I should be dead. What was going on?

I was aware that I was laying down. I tried to sit up and felt the world spin around me.

“Whoa, there, son,” I heard a gentle voice say and felt hands guiding me back onto what I realized was a bed.

Aware that my eyes were shut, I tried to open them, then slammed them shut again as the light nearly blinded me. I worked my mouth and tried to speak.

“Oh, you’re probably thirsty. Here, take a sip.” I felt a straw at my mouth. I sucked on it gently, feeling cool water flood into my mouth. Before I knew it I had drank the entire glass.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

“You’re welcome,” came the voice again.

I slowly opened my eyes, feeling them adjust to the light. Soon they were open entirely and I realized I was in a hospital bed. Sitting near me, on a small chair, was a man, probably about fifty years old-or-thereabouts.

“Where am…” I started to ask, then stopped. “Where’s Cassie?” I asked in a slightly panicked voice.

The man held up a hand. “Don’t worry. Your girlfriend is just fine. She’s in the next room over.”

“Oh, thank god,” I whispered and laid back.

“I’m sure He’d say you’re welcome,” the man said with a smile in his voice.

I sat up again and looked at him. “Thank you, too, doctor.”

He laughed. “Oh, I’m not a doctor. I’m a minister. My name is Thomas Johansen.” He held out his hand. I shook it, the movement sending pain through my arm. “My wife and I found you and your girlfriend out on the street the other night.”

I blinked. “Oh. Well, then, REALLY thank you.” I swallowed a little. “I think we nearly… nearly died out there.”

“You nearly did,” he said with a nod.

I closed my eyes and shuddered. Then I opened them in a slight panic. “The baby…”

Mr Johansen smiled. “Don’t worry. Cassie, you said her name was?” I nodded. “Her baby, and I presume yours?” I nodded again. “The baby is fine.”

“Oh, good,” I whispered.

The room was quiet for a few minutes and then Mr Johansen said, “May I ask your name?”

“Huh? Oh. Hunter.”

“If you don’t mind, Hunter, may I ask how you and Cassie came to be out on the streets on a night like that?”

The question was innocuous, but I knew I had to answer it carefully. I certainly couldn’t tell him the full truth, so I settled for an abbreviated version. That Cassie and I were from far away, that she was trying to find her mother and I was along to help her. I mentioned nothing of our father, beyond saying that both my father and hers were dead. I didn’t go into a lot of detail, of course. I hoped he’d just figure I was too tired out to do so, which wasn’t far from the truth.

Mr Johansen seemed to accept my explanation and didn’t really push me any further. At some point after that I drifted off to a sound sleep.

When I woke up I saw Mr Johansen talking quietly to a woman who looked about his age. She looked almost like everyone’s grandmother. Grey hair, not exactly thin, obviously a woman who was used to smiling a lot.

She seemed to notice I was awake. “Thomas?” she said, and pointed at me.

Mr Johansen looked at me. “Oh. Hunter. How are you feeling?”

“A little hungry,” I ventured.

“I’ll go get you something dear,” the woman, his wife I assumed, said as she left the room.

“That was my wife, Elizabeth. She’s been keeping an eye on Cassie.”

“Cassie…” I closed my eyes a little, trying to banish the image of Cassie freezing out on the streets. I sat up. “I want to go see her.”

“Alright,” Mr Johansen said calmly. “But why don’t you eat something first?”

I was about to argue, but then my stomach rumbled. I hadn’t really eaten anything before we’d wound up on the street, and now was really hungry. “Ok.”

Mrs Johansen returned with the food only a couple moments later. I scarfed it down quickly, even though it was quite bland and tasteless. I’d had enough experience with hospitals in the past (thanks to my dad), to know that was what was to be expected.

Mrs Johansen made small talk with me while I ate. She seemed like a very nice lady, and reported that Cassie was awake and doing well and looking very forward to seeing me. That made me eat all the faster.

After I was done eating, Mr and Mrs Johansen helped me stand up. She left the room while I got some clothes on, and then the three of us walked down the hall. Once we were outside Cassie’s room, they told me they’d wait outside. I nodded, took a deep breath and opened the door.

Cassie was laying on a bed. She looked like she was sleeping. I walked slowly over to her and brushed a little hair out of her face. “Cassie?” I whispered.

Her head turned towards me and her eyes opened. My sister’s smile was like a glimpse into heaven.

“Hello, Hunter.”

Cassie and I checked out of the hospital the next day and immediately went home with Mr and Mrs Johansen. We’d both initially declined their offer of a place to live, but in the end we saw the logic.

They offered to let us live with them for as long as we needed. Until the baby was born and then well past then. They’d help us get enrolled into school and take care of us. It was a chance for us to get our lives back into order after months of chaos. We couldn’t possibly refuse.

Over the next few days, we found out that they’d lost their only son back in 1969 when he’d died in Vietnam. They missed him terribly, and I think they basically viewed us as replacement children.

Cassie gave birth during the first week of June. We named our new son Luke, after a certain movie we’d seen the week before. His middle name was Thomas. He was just amazing. I couldn’t believe Cassie and I had made something so wonderful together.

The night after Luke was born, I went to Mr Johansen and finally confessed everything. I told him about our father. I told him about our mother. I told him about our relationship. I told him everything. I had to. I couldn’t keep living a lie.

Mr Johansen took it surprisingly well. It turned out he’d actually already suspected something like this. He wasn’t angry or anything. He was a little sad at our story and what we’d gone through, but he was also very understanding.

So it was because of him that I ended up with a lawyer and in August went back to New York to answer questions about the death of our dad. The authorities there briefly considered charging me with murder, but eventually decided there was no way they’d get a conviction, so I walked out free.

When I came back to Portland, I got an even bigger burst of happiness. Mr Johansen had tracked down our mother, and brought her to Portland. Turned out she’d been living in San Francisco, and hadn’t been in LA for two years. She’d written to us all the time, but our dad had always destroyed her letters.

As time went by the memories of those months on the road began to fade away. We both went back to school, and I eventually went to college where I majored in theology. I was determined to follow in the steps of Mr Johansen and become a minister.

Cassie also wound up going to college and ended up being a kindergarten teacher. She was very good with kids, as she proved by doing most of the work with raising Luke, who ended up being a wonderful child.

And now, all these years later, I look back at our lives and what we’ve done. Luke is married now and has kids of his own, making us the proud grandparents in the world. We’d raised him right, too. Never so much as spanked him.

He was also the only child we had. We’d not had sex with each other since before we wound up in the hospital. Once we were stable and in a home, well, we still loved each other, but no longer made love. Even now I’m not sure why we stopped. It wasn’t ever something we talked about. We just didn’t do it anymore.

We also never wound up being romantically involved with anyone else. I’m pretty sure she had sex with at least a couple other people in her life. I know I did. But there wasn’t anymore romance there. And that was ok.

I still regret how things had gone with our father. I’ve long since forgiven him, but it’s been harder to forgive myself, even though I know I did the right thing. Still, because of him, Cassie and I managed to find a thing as pure as love, and that, in a way, made all of life worth living.

END

Copyright 2006 by Alex Hawk. Love is a many splendored
thing!
Ok, did any of you REALLY think I was going to let Chapter 8 be the last one? Come now. Those who paid attention would realize that whenever I end a chapter, it’s “END OF CHAPTER X” , but when I end a story it’s just “END”.

I hope you all enjoyed the story of Cassie and Hunter!

If you want to contact me, check out the various options on the website! Hope to hear from you soon!

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