“Tell me.” I said staring at both of them.
“I don’t know,” Cindy said looking scared. “It’s only been a little while since he’s been gone. I doubt he found someone this soon.”
“Mark?” I asked.
“I’ve no idea. The last time I talked to Joe was a few days ago and he never mentioned anyone.” Mark said.
I didn’t like these feelings I was feeling. I was enraged on the inside and cold and calculating in my mind. It was like my heart was on fire and my brain was in business mode. The two were working together and that scared me the most.
“I know where he is now, and I know where he is working, even though I already should have known that, but Mr. Updyke has so many businesses, I just wasn’t sure. The bridal shower is in two weeks, and you promised me two weeks before you left Cindy, correct?”
“Yeah, whatever you need Cassie.” Cindy said looking at me funny.
“I know what I need. I know where to find it. I need you to cover the office next week. I am taking the week off.” I said running through different thoughts in my head.
“Management won’t be happy if you’re gone again.” Cindy said.
“I am taking a week off while my assistant is still there to take over for me. If they don’t like that then they can fire me.” I said coldly.
“Cassie, what are you going to do?” Mark asked.
“What I should have done in the fucking beginning. I’m going to get my man back and do whatever it takes to do that, and if that means running over someone to do it, so be it.” I said.
“Cassie,” Cindy sounded scared.
“I’m not letting someone else have him Cindy without a fight. I was stupid and drove him away. It’s like that Cinderella song, I didn’t know what I had, now it’s gone, well, I want it back.” I said starting to pace.
“Cassie, what if he is happy. What if, whoever she is, makes him happy? Will you ruin it for him?” Mark asked.
“No, I want him to be happy. If he doesn’t want me, then I will leave, but I have to try. I can’t give up without a fight. He won’t come back to me, so I have to go to him. Now are you two going to help me, or not?” I asked.
“Um, Cindy, what are we supposed to do?” Mark asked confused.
“We promised Joe we would take care of her. We also promised we wouldn’t tell her where he went. Well she figured that out one out on her own. The best way to take care of Cassie, is to try to make her happy. We help her.” Cindy said.
“Today is Friday, you can fly out Monday.” Mark sighed dropping his shoulders.
“Why wait? I can be there tonight?” I asked not wanting a single delay.
“You have some bridges to mend. If you want Joe, then you have to fix all the bridges it will take to get to him. You started with Cindy and me, but you have a lot more. Are you ready to pull up your sleeves and work?”
“I am ready to do whatever it takes to get him back.”
“Cassie, I thought you didn’t think of Joe like husband material? You said you weren’t into him in a physical way?” Cindy asked.
“Yeah, I’m an ass. That part has already been covered. I just wanted to fight it, but I can’t. I love his laugh, and the way his eyes search mine to see if I’m ok. I love the way he looks when he knows something before I do, and I love the way he used to look at me like I was the only girl in the world.”
“Is he Brad Pitt or Chris Hemsworth, of course not, He is Joe Miles, and he is the most important man in the world to me, and I want to show him that. By the time I am done showing him, I will have more Miles under me than Ryder truck, and he will enjoy every minute of it.
“I need you to fly to Tampa this weekend.” Thomas said coming into my office.
“I was going to Syracuse to pick up Hersted, and get him back here to take over for Nory. What’s so important in Tampa?” I asked looking up.
“Starvos,” he said, and he had my attention.
Starvos Abreshnikov was the best defender in the league and he had three years left on his contract. There was no way we could afford Starvos, and there was no way they would part with him.
“They can’t be serious. He’s the best defender in the league. What would we have to do, give up every prospect we have. It would strip us bare.” I said.
“Doesn’t matter. I got a call asking if we were interested. I said I would send you out to do an evaluation. I need you to leave tomorrow?”
“So I fly in on Sunday and talk to him, watch a game, and hear their pitch. If we don’t like it, we walk away?” I asked.
“Maybe, but pretend to consider it. Drag your feet there a few days if you have to. If they counter with even better conditions, we will know if something is going on. I need you on this one, you’re the only one with the finesses to pull it off.”
“Fine, guess I’m heading for Tampa. I’ll call Syracuse and arrange for Hersted to fly commercial.” I said reaching for my rolodex.
“Nope, I’ll get Hersted here. You pack and get going. I don’t want this to go cold.” Thomas said getting ready to leave my office.
“You really think we have a chance to sign him?” I asked.
“I’ll tell you this much. I have no idea what is going on. I got a call this morning that could change our lives and I don’t want to miss the opportunity.” He said then he smiled and left.
Fine, Tampa will at least be warmer this time of year.
“Why are you here?” Mamma Jade asked as I knocked on the door Sunday afternoon.
“Because I’m the stupidest woman in the world, and I want to fix it. In order to do that, I need your help. If you will help me. I’ll beg if I have to?”
She looked me over for a few minutes and then she said, “You would wouldn’t you?”
“Whatever it will take to fix what I did and make it better.” I said without even a second thought.
“Whatever it takes?” She asked.
She humpfed and then opened the door for me to enter. I walked in and the whole family was sitting in the family room. Well, I was going to have to face them sometime. I didn’t dare try to be nice or say hi, I just followed Mamma Jade to a seat next to her and waited.
“Why did you even let her in?” Rhapsody screamed and her father put a hand on her arm and she quieted immediately.
“We will let her explain,” Mamma said and then everyone was looking at me.
“I messed up bad. He was trying so hard, too hard, and it made me mad. I overreacted and did something that I don’t know if he can even forgive me for. I know it’s a long shot, but I have to try. The only way I think I can do it is to get as much help as I can. You are Joe’s family, and when I hurt him I hurt you too. I need him in my life, we all do, so I am here to ask forgiveness and help in order to get him back.” I concluded.
“Why should we help you?” Mamma asked.
I looked her square in the eye and then said. “Because I screwed up before, but I love the pain in the ass with every ounce of my being, and I will spend the rest of my life proving it to him, and you.”
“Why did you hurt him? How could you?” Rhapsody asked.
“Because sometimes adults don’t react any better than kids do when they feel someone trying to understand them, and adults can hurt each other even worse. He just wanted to be more than I thought I wanted to be, and well, I messed up. Then when he left, so did my heart. I learned the hardest lesson in the world, and even if it’s for nothing, I have to try. Will you help me Rhapsody?”
“I don’t know. He was so hurt when he left. I miss him.” She said wiping tears from her eyes.
“Me too,” I said letting mine freely fall.
“Why do girls cry so much?” Tiny asked
“Because they are girls,” Charles said. “In fact; I think it’s time for the boys to leave the room.” He said and he led the procession of male testosterone from the room.
I was crying, Rhapsody was crying, but Mamma Jade was stone faced. I looked at her and cried even harder. She wasn’t going to help me. I needed her help if I was going to get Joe back. I needed all of these people to help me.
“It’s hard to learn from mistakes. Maybe this is what you needed to be able to move on with your life.” She said.
“No, I need Joe. I want Joe in my life forever. I am going after him with or without your help. A smart man told me I needed to fix all the broken bridges before crossing over to Joe, but If I have to jump over the last and biggest chasm to get him back I will.” I said wiping tears from my face.
I started to get up and she motioned me to sit back down. “What other bridges did you have to mend?”
“I started with Cindy and Mark, and then I went and apologized to the team for driving him away. I didn’t tell them what happened, but I told them I would do all I could to fix it. My last stop was here.” I explained.
“Not your last stop, but maybe the most important. If I tell you to call someone, would you do it without any questions?” She asked me looking at me hard.
“Yes,” I said. I would do whatever it took to when her trust and get her help.
“Trust me, for the one time in my life, this is going to hurt me as much as it is you.”
“Charles Updyke,” the voice said and I just about dropped the phone.
“Um, Mr. Updyke, this is Cassie, Cassie Lewis, we met at the tailwinds game. I was the guest of Joe Miles in the box.” I said feeling like I was going to fold.
“I remember you Cassie. What can I do for you?” He asked.
“I, um, made a mistake. Joe left because of me. I need to see him to tell him how sorry I am and to tell him I was wrong. I love him Mr. Updyke.”
“I’m sorry Cassie, Joe isn’t here. I sent him on a mission for me. I’m not sure how long it will take.” He said and I just about dropped the phone.
“I see,” I said and my heart was breaking.
Mamma Jade must not have been happy with the way the conversation was going because she took the phone from hand. She listened for a moment and then a smile came across her face.
“Sorry, I took the phone away from Cassie. How are you Thomas?” She asked with an evil glint in her eyes.
She listened to something for a while and then I heard her say. “No Thomas.”
Again she listened and when the time came she answered again. “No Thomas.”
“I want what is best for him too, and don’t con me old man. You are as big a schemer as I am and we both know it. What is it you want out of this?” She asked.
I could not believe she was talking to one of the most influential men in the country like he was a college boy who got caught sneaking out of a girls’ dorm room
“Just a second,” she said holding the phone away from her mouth. “Rhapsody, show Cassie your room. I’ll be up in a moment.”
Rhapsody was dragging me by the hand as we left I heard mamma Jade say one last thing. “All right you old coot, what are you up too?”
“Starvos, if you are happy here, why am I here?” I asked confused as hell.
“I don’t know. Mr. Johnson asked me to talk with you and that is what I’m doing. Maybe he is just trying to see if I’m happy or not. I am. My kids are doing well in school and my wife is an aid there. Even if for some reason I was traded, even though I have a no trade clause, I wouldn’t move them.” He said and I was more confused for the moment.
It was Monday, and it seemed like I was getting the run around and now this. I couldn’t get a plane ride home till Tuesday and this was a dead end. I wanted to know who called Thomas and led him to believe this was a possibility.
“Well, thanks for your time. I think they’re must have been a miscommunication or something.” I said standing.
“I’m sorry you had to come all the way here for nothing. Not to be vain or anything, but what was I worth?” Starvos said smiling.
“The farm, as far as we were concerned.” I said smiling back and shaking his hand.