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Cade

Marissa and Cade: The Fishing Date

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Posted (edited)

Saturday Morning

His request had surprised her, at least somewhat.  She was pretty upfront with what she thought he wanted, and it confirmed for him how low her opinion was of him.   That said, he'd not lost his nerve, because he found himself actually wanting to spend time with her.  They needed to get to know each other better, especially if this was going to fool anyone.

He knew well he had had a reputation as an outdoorsman, in addition to his passion for Baseball and Track.  Truth be told, he loved baseball, but Fishing was what calmed him, it was how he found his center, and even the rare day where he caught nothing still gave him a chance to just enjoy some peace and quiet.  He'd done alot for Mr. Bancroft, who was finally able to walk around abit more now, albeit with a cane.   The older man was genial, at least with Cade and his sister, and he'd already gotten permission to fish the pond.

The pond itself covered nearly 4 acres, being about four hundred feet across.   Cade knew it had at least a dozen twenty foot or more holes,   a fair amount of shallows, and many man-made brush-piles made from old christmas trees, old cleaned pallets, and several small copses of trees.  Algae was kept in check by the minnows and shad, and he'd caught some catfish over fifteen pounds from the deep holes.  The bass and bream were all over the lake and bit most anything, though if he wanted to put on a show he'd engage the feeders positioned at the cardinal points on the lake.  Each one also had a small dock by it, with a place to tie up.   There was a rule about no motors on the pond, so both 15 skiffs had paddles in them, and a place for an umbrella  They were carpeted, and like much else there, kept very clean.  Life jackets were in the shed, as well as float cushions.   Personally he liked fishing from the bank, but the bigger fish were all more to the center of the lake, or on the Western edge where the trees were.  That whole bank was fairly overgrown, so you had to take a boat to get there.   Alot of his work included helping change filters in the pumps, and checking the solar panels to make sure everything was running as it was supposed to.  He'd ensured the feeders were full, and should he need to use them to entice a bite, they were ready.   

He'd heard the rumors, and decided to simply say nothing.  Those who were unwise enough to get caught by Marissa saying any of it would die a slow painful social death, which they'd likely never recover from.   In his mind giving any overt response to it would validate them, and more than once he'd overheard something, and the one saying it suddenly saw him and clammed up, trying to stammer some excuse, only to wilt under his Steely gaze.    He'd just smile thinly and move on, having said nothing, but the warning being crystal clear.

It was Saturday morning just before 9, and he'd spent his friday afternoon getting everything ready.   It seemed odd to clean his jeep to take her fishing, but he knew this was nothing like anything she was used to, and the very idea of going in a jeep probably seemed abhorent to her.  He'd detailed it fully, so clean even his Dad looked at him.   "All that to take the Jauntsen girl fishing?  Guess you really are serious."   Cade had smiled at him.  "I'll detail yours if you like sometime, for a fair price."   He dad smiled, Cade was industrious, he was fair in what he asked, and did good work.   He wasn't just going to give it away for free.  Ian himself had instilled that value in his son.   Work for what you want, and know the value of your work.

 Well next time, When he'd ask her to pick their date activity, if she wanted to drive, he'd quietly ride along.   The gear wouldn't fit in her Mercedes, not even factoring in if she'd consent to allow it to even be next to it, let alone within.   He'd come with minimal gear, his rods already there in the locked shed.   He had an ice chest with drinks, some home-made sandwiches, and a few other snacks, like normal.   

He was just pulling up to the Jauntsen home like they'd agreed, and quickly text her that he was there, before cutting off the engine and getting out.  He was dressed far nicer than normal when he went fishing.  He had on Jean shorts, a light blue button-down, made for fishing, and his boots, though that was just till he got there.  He had other shoes for the actual trip, and would change there.

He steeled himself as he walked to the front door, and knocked.   He hoped she'd keep an open mind about this, just as he was prepared to do the same.   He wanted to get to know her, and for her to get to know him.  It was the only way it would work.  This was the first step he'd decided to take, and a part of him was actually quite happy she'd agreed.

Edited by Vivi OOC

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"Hey!"  She said with a beaming smile that lit up his... well, teenage everything.  "Come on in, I'm almost ready."  She waved him in and like Autumn several days ago, Cade was seeing a whole new side to Marissa already.  She seemed less tense than usual and more relaxed like she wasn't 'on the clock' or something.  The Jauntsen home was massive, which he already knew, but this was his first real time actually being in it... it was like a mansion compared to most of the other homes in Shelly.  "Moooom!  Cade's here!" She shouted through the house like the typical teenager does.  Cade processed that, considering she was hardly a typical teenager.

She took his hand and led him up the stairs to her room where he was introduced to the last thing he'd expected from Marissa Jauntsen's bedroom.  It was like a Disney Princesses room in all pinks and whites and the sheer volume of adorable stuffed animals were enough to give him a cavity.  She caught him staring and glared at him.  "What?"

"Nothing, I just, wasn't expecting pink," he shrugged, not really sure what to say.  "You don't seem like a 'pink' girl."

"Really?"  She mused, giving him a questioning look.  "Because that's the collection my underwear was from the other night and you sure didn't seem to mind 'pink' then."

"Also, wasn't expecting it then, either."  He smiled at her.

"Give me a few minutes, I'm just finishing up.  Wander, look about."  She sat at her vanity and continued getting ready.  It was going to be a light makeup day if they were to be out in the sun all day, and they didn't have much more nice days of summer left, so figured she may as well enjoy her time in the clean Montana wilderness.  She was was in a short, denim tiered skirt and a black and white horizontal striped tee and he could see the sea foam green ties of her bikini showing out around her neck in a neat bow.  Surprisingly she wasn't in heels but regular white sneakers.  She continued to clean her pores as her boyfriend wandered about.

"Wow," he said with a laugh as he lifted her laptop up from the bed.  "Fantasy Post?  Sean loves this site.  He reads all the fictions and gets a lot of his story ideas from here.  You read any of the-"  he paused just as Marissa spun about to ask him to put it back down on the bed before he noticed something she didn't want him to see.  When he grew silent she winced, smacking herself in the forehead for leaving it out where he could see it.  In the upper right hand corner he noticed her username.  "Wait, you're Lady Meru?  Sean reads all her stuff!"

"You can not say a word about this to anyone Cade, I'm serious."  She bounced up from her chair and walked over to him, grabbing her laptop and setting it on the bed.

"You're a rules authority for 5th Edition D&D, you've answered Sean's rules questions while we were at the gaming table," he pressed on with absolute disbelief as Marissa covered her face in embarrassment.  "Your Trials of Golthir series of fictions are top read on the site, Sean is gitty with anticipation for the next installment!  Oh.  My.  God.  You're..."

"The next words out of your mouth better be 'the best thing to ever happen to me' or so help me, l will murder you where you stand."  She met his eyes and glared at him with a righteous fury.

The six and a half foot teenager folded his lips in an attempt to suppress the smile but managed to mumble, "The best thing to ever happen to me." If only out of sheer spite and his inner fourth grader getting such a kick out of what he'd just discovered.

"Breathe a word of what you saw," she glared at him.  "And I will whammy you into being my bitch for a month."  She spun about, complete with dramatic hair whip and sat down to finish her priming.

"To be continued."  He raised a finger and smiled at her through the mirror.

"No, to be left alone and never spoken of again," she hissed.

"No, no, we'll be talking about this again.  I'll take that month just to spite you."  He tucked his hands in his pockets and casually strode about her room with a 'I have a secret' grin on his face.

---===[]===---

Twenty minutes later they were in his Jeep and on their way to the lake/pond, whatever... and even in minimal makeup (but always makeup) Marissa looked like a supermodel in the land of the homeless.  Despite the leaked secret in her room and their spat about letting it drop, he seemed to in a rare state of happiness as the wind danced in her hair and she soaked up the sun in the Jeep, it was almost like driving to the beaches back in Malibu.

Still not satisfied with the idea of fishing, she took solace in that maybe she could catch some sun before summer faded away into the Fall.  She leaned her head back and relaxed, resting her hand on her boyfriend's thigh as he drove.  It was almost surreal to be living like an actual teenager, if only for a day.  No Dark, no drama, just her and her boyfriend enjoying a Saturday together.

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It was something utterly unexpected, and one more secret for the growing list he'd be forced to keep.  Actually it was two given the "pinkness" of her room.   He still couldn't believe it, but for the sake of a pleasant day, finally let it rest there.  Besides, no one would EVER believe either to be true.

He he had a feeling he'd been made privy to alot already that no one outside her family knew, and that gave him abit of hope about this.   In her own way she was trusting him, as he was trusting her.   

After Jason's revelation, he had to admit he understood alot more why she was concerned.  Their friend admit to being a functioning Psychopath, in front of government agents.  Super powers or not, no one could be on guard all the time, and there was always more than one way to get somebody. 

Still at least for now, he banished the darker thoughts, intent upon starting this off right.   As he drove he did his best not to react to her hand on his thigh, though it was damnably difficult.  He didn't let himself think it was more than just an act, even after that kiss, which he still remembered even now.  

He passed the drive telling her about the pond, and about Mr. Bancroft, the owner.   "It covers roughly 4 acres or so, and has pretty much everything you could ask for as far as habitat for the fish in it.  We've pulled some really good size and numbers from it."   She looked at him and he could feel her exasperation.  "Mr. Bancroft knows we'll be out today, he said he was feeling abit under the weather, so he'll be staying inside.  Despite the therapy, he's only just able to start walking around again without a walker, so he's takin it easy.  In exchange for coming out here, I've got to keep up with everything."   

"Is that really what you're gonna talk about?"   Marissa asked him quietly.

"Well you already know you look good.  I mean honestly I like how you look now more than normal.  I don't think you could ever find a way to not be pretty, Marissa, but this just seems better.  You always look beautiful and hot, hel it's not like i don't see the other guys in school eye-humping you and trying not to get caught when we're there.You look more relaxed, even if this isn't something you ever thought about doing.  You don't have to put on a show for me, just be you.  That's what i'm doing."

The drive itself wasn't all that long, and as he went silent, wondering if perhaps he'd said too much, they arrived.  Cade reached up to touch the remote to the gate, which opened to admit them, then closed behind them.   he drove over to the shed by the pondparked and sat there a minute.   The sun was already well into the sky, with a gentle breeze keeping the temperature down some.  Few clouds dot the sky, but nothing really to keep it from being a beautiful day.  

He smiled at her, thinking it was going to be a good day.   It wasn't the normal sort of smile the guys wore, hoping to get lucky.   Cade was awkward, and at least when it came to relationships, naively innocent.  It was easy to tell he really had brought her here not for some sort of secluded romp under the sun, but to share a day doing something he loved to do with someone important enough to him to warrant sharing it with.

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Posted (edited)

"I am relaxed, yeah," she smiled and nodded.  "It is weird, for once I do not feel like I have a billion things to do or worry about.  I have not just taken a day to hang and do nothing since, like..." her faced scrunched up in an adorable ball of thought.  "May?  June maybe?  When Courtney, Chet and the rest of us went to the lake to celebrate summer vacation.  Ugh, Court had the most atrocious bathing suit on that day, I could not tell if it was a one piece or a cocktail dress.  It was so bad."

They shared a light laugh before Cade looked to her and asked her, "Do you miss those guys?  Chet and them?  You've sort of been adopted by the Nerd Herd lately-"

"Adopted?"  she laughed as she spoke, squeezing his thigh in playful anger.  "I have not been adopted!  I have adopted you nerds, thankyouverymuch.  You are lucky I let you guys hang out with me.  I make you look good."

"If you say so," he smiled, shaking his head slowly as he kept his eyes on the road.

"I do." She chucked.  "I say so.  Thank you, by the way."

"For what?"  He asked, sparing a moment to give her an inquisitive glance.

"For, in your own round about way, saying I was pretty and looked good, today.  While you are right, I already know, but, Nature Boy, every woman wants to hear once in awhile that they are attractive, even the pretty ones.  Especially from the person they are interested in, it was very sweet of you.  Although 'eye humping' was a new one." She laughed.  "So, when you said you liked how I looked now, more than normal, what did you mean?"

"Oh, no."  Cade shook his head.  "That's a loaded question.  I may not have a lot of hours logged in the dating seat, but I know when I'm being set up.  I also know you well enough, Marissa to know that I'm not gonna survive that path if I choose to walk down it."

"Stop being a bitch," she laughed.  "It is not a loaded question.  I am legit asking you what you meant.  Like, okay, is your type more, let us say, Tawny?  Blonde, perky, all kinds of bubbly with the down on the farm, girl-next-door vibe going for her?  Meanwhile, I'm all Malibu chic with the latest fashion trends and makeup and more city girl than country gal?"

"Alright, truth?"  He glanced again and looked back towards the road.  "I'm more of the country gal type, and by that I mean," he looked at Marissa for a moment as she opened her mouth for swift rebuttable only to meet Cade's raised finger to indicate he hadn't finished yet.  He spoke over her before she had the chance to argue.  "Aaaand by that I mean, a girl doesn't need all kinds of makeup and the latest fashion trends to catch my interest.  All she needs to be is who she is."

"So," Marissa narrowed her eyes.  "You have a thing Tawny, is what I'm hearing?"

"Oh my god."  Cade lowered and shook head.  "I'm just gonna ram us into a tree, make this quick on myself."

Marissa laughed again.  In fact it was the most he'd heard her laugh in the three years since she's arrived in Shelly.  She took his hand and pulled it towards her, gently kissing the back of it.  She didn't claim it, since his Jeep was a manual transmission, but her hand found its place back on his leg afterward.  "I am only messing with you.  Relax.  I am kidding."

"I honestly didn't know you could kid."  Her boyfriend shook his head, trying not to smile.

"There is a lot you do not know about me," she caught a glance of herself in the Jeep's side mirror and her mirth faded slightly.  How could she tell him, tell any of them that she was betraying all of them to a network of enemies all to save herself and her family?  The Nerd Herd had, in recent weeks been more of a family to her than her own parents ever attempted being, and now she was selling them out to survive.  Why did she feel so guilty about it?  This should be an easy thing to do, because at the end of the day you can only rely on yourself, right?  She quickly recovered her smile, putting her game face back on.  "I will have you know I am very complex.  I am fun, when I want to be."

Cade turned off the road and onto the path that lead to the pond,  "Well, let's hope you want to be."

---===[]===---

She hated to admit it to herself, but Cade was right: the pond was beautiful.  It was more like a small lake, and she wasn't quite sure what qualified a pond to be a lake, or a lake to be demoted to a pond, but for all intents and purposes, it was a majestic.  When he ran around the Jeep to get her door she reminded him that it was the a pond, not the red carpet lthought she appreciated his enthusiasm.

They still were enjoying eighty two degree weather in Shelly, which was nice, and thankfully the dreary rains of Autumn hadn't set in yet.  They had nothing but sun and a whole Saturday to enjoy it.  "Hey!" she actually bounced with delight as she looked at her phone.  "I have a signal!"

"Surprise." Cade smiled.  He knew there was a signal out here.  Shelly might have been a small town, but oddly enough there was always a decent signal in most places to go with the oddly high tech hospital and the obscenely well funded schools.  "You're not gonna be on that all day, are you?"

"No," she said with a snooty tone while she stuck her tongue out at him as he unloaded the Jeep.  "But this means I get my Spotify playlists, so we have music."

"Music'll scare the fish."

Mari walked over to him and picked up the tackle box to help him out, even going to so far as to slap his hand when he offered to get it.  She wanted to help, and damn it she was going to help.  "True, but not when the sun goes down and we're not fishing anymore."  She noticed the way he swallowed hard as that seed buried itself in the soil of things that could happen.  He pointed out the docks and gave her a quick safety brief to which she rolled her eyes.

"You can swim, right?" He asked as they walked.

"Swim?"  She scoffed with a snort.  "Dude, I can surf.  Can not surf if you can not swim.  Well, not well, anyways"

"You surf?"  He asked, mildly astonished.  "I can't picture it.  I've always wanted to try it.  Looks hard."

"It sort of is, at first.  I could teach you, if we had waves.  Devin can't do it," she smiled at the memories if her and her brother out on the waves of Malibu's beaches.  "He sucks at surfing, rub that in next time you see him.  He has impeccable balance, a natural gymnast, and he just 'get' surfing.  Can't stay on a board to save his life."

"Where is he, anyway?  I figured I see him at your house."

"Oh, he and Laurie are in New Zealand today.  They left late last night, you know, because time zones, I have not heard from him.  Apparently he found out Lona was moving, and he has been a bit distraught about it lately.  Chances are he's already drowning his sorrows twixt Cassidy's thighs by now, given the radio silence."

"Classy," Cade smiled as he arranged all their equipment and set a few life jackets on the dock.  "I don't figure Sean's too thrilled about that.  He's as protective of Laurie as Devin is of you."  Marissa gave Cade a curled lip and dubious look.  "Right.  Devin.  What does he care what Sean thinks?"

"Exactly."  She chuckled a bit.  "So, what about you and whats-her-name?  New York girl?  Still talking, still sexting?"  She winked salaciously to taunt him and when he gave her another 'loaded question' look she waved her hands as if brushing away his doubts.  "Look, I do not mind if you are.  Seriously.  She is in New York, no matter what you two say to each other, I still have you all to myself.  She doing okay?"

Edited by Dave ST

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Cade winced.  "Cora, and No, nothing like that, nothing at all, honestly.  I tried calling, texting, but there's been no answer to anything."  He figured someone had told her about him and Marissa, snapped a picture, and that was it.  She'd ghosted him, and he couldn't exactly blame her.  He'd thought about going to her parents to check in, but it was a no-go.

"Someone probably told her what's going on, and that's that."  it was an ignoble end to his first relationship, one he knew was likely to happen.  He'd privately promised himself that he'd explain it all to her one day, when he met her again.

After the safety breifing he went to the shed, taking out the key, and opening it, first he pulled out the boat, a flat bottom skiff, and began pulling it to the water.   It actually looked like it was fairly heavy, but Cade moved it with a practiced ease, though  she could see how the muscles in his arms bunched and tightened, finally setting it in the water, and tying it to the dock.   Once it was there, he began loading the rods, ice chest, and everything else.  The giant umbrella was folded neatly one side, and she noted a second ice chest.  "One for drinks, one for fish."  he also had some towels, and Marissa looked at him.  "I get pretty much everything else, but the umbrella?  "It might rain before I can paddle back, but more often than not, in the middle of the summer it gets damn hot.  Having some portable shade is nice, and has helped me catch fish more than once."  

She just looked at him, and once he had everything in the boat, he knelt down, and held it steady. "You can get in if you like, or we can walk around abit.  The best fishing this time of day is gonna be about ten minutes paddle from here, over there."  He pointed with one hand over by a small part of the pond where there were abundant lilly pads, and several stumps.   Once Marissa got into the boat, he untied and with a little push from his foot got in, and moved to the center, where he sat down and took up the oar-like paddles, and began rowing them to the first spot.   

He was thankful for the cool breeze, it was enough to cool him down, but not enough to generate any big waves.    Soon enough he reached where he wanted to be, and slowly lowered the anchor into the water.  All it was was a metal pipe filled with cement, attached to a rope.  They wouldn't move in wind this week, and he smiled. "Have you ever fished before?"   

Marissa gave him a "look" and he nodded.  "yeah, guess not.  What we're looking for here are bream.  They're agressive little buggers, but the bottom of the chain as far as predatory fish."  He pulled up a rod that was in two pieces, and put them together.  there was a small reel at the bottom, and at the tip of the rod was a cork, about 18 inches above a small spinner jighead.  The rubber bait attached had a bright pink body with white tails.   When she looked at him, he just smiled.  "I had no idea."

With that, he took the bait in hand,  pulled down on it and pulled out about 6 foot line, the length of his rod, and then dug in his tackle box.  Pulling out a small jar, he took a single button looking piece of plastic from it, and thread it over the hook atop the bait.  It had a very distinct odor, similar to garlic.   He then washed his hands in the water, and dried them on one of the smaller towels.  "Pretty much everything in the pond hunts by smell, or motion, so this checks all the boxes.  Now, let me demonstrate."

He was amazed that she'd remained quiet, and actually seemed to be paying some attention.  He turned towards the pads, and deftly swung the line back and forth a few times, before "casting" with the bait followed by the cork landing in the same spot, barely a foot from the edge of the pads.  He counted to ten and gently pulled on the rod, making the core move several inches.   Not five seconds later, the cork began to move, and was jerked underwater, hard.  Cade simply lifted up on the rod, which bowed as the fish fought back.   He reeled in the line some and then lift the rod bringing it close, and pulling the nearly one pound bream from the water, and swinging it right to his waiting hand.  he set the butt of the rod on the floor, and took the fish in a toweled hand and unhooked it, before opening the ice chest with only ice in it and depositing it and closing the box.  They could hear it flopping around some and he checked the bait, pulled some line back out, and washed his hands.   

"And that is just how simple this is."  Of course it spoke to how well maintained and stocked the pond was, as well as just how well Cade knew it, and how to fish it that he caught one on his first cast.   Still he was really happy.   This spot always produced fish, which is why he chose it, even if they weren't the biggest in the pond.  

He offered the ready-to-go rod to Marissa, and smiled.  "Want to give it a try?"


 

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"Wait a minute," she raised her sea green taloned hand to stave off taking the reigns just yet.  "So, there is no worms or anything?  I do not have to impale a gross, slimy worm or an insect of some sort onto the end of that thing to catch one of those things?  I thought like, there were worms and other disgusting things I had to handle to bait the rod or whatever."

"Bait the hook," he corrected with a grin.  It was refreshing to Marissa so out of her element and so completely not in control of the situation like she normally was.  she almost seemed human.  "And no.  We're not using live bait today, I didn't think you'd want to go anywhere near a coffee can of slimy earthworms, given your perfect manicure and all."

"Ooohhh," she smiled with wide-eyed radiance.  "That was so sweet of you, you noticed my manicure."  She kept her grin in place as she reached out her hand, opening and closing it like a needy child wanting to play to.  "Yes.  Gimme, I want to try."

He handed her the pole and made sure she had a decent grip before waling back through the instruction.  "Did you just say 'gimme'?" He asked as held her wrist and gently guided her arm back for a practice casting of the reel.  "Not very hard, it'll go on it's own.  Don't expect perfection your first time, it's a practiced skill."

"So?" she cooed.  "What is wrong 'gimme'?"

"You don't even use contractions when speak, I just wasn't expecting 'gimme' is all."  He leaned away from her and motioned to the pond.  "You're up."

The teen fashionista was never one to shirk from a challenge.  If she could conquer a thirty percent off sale at Ulta, she could easily become a fish whisperer.  She murmured to herself the directions, repeated her instructors words and cast the line.  For her first time it was pretty good.  Way off her intended mark, but it was a practiced skill.  "I did not even know you know what a contraction was," she picked up where they'd left off.

"There it is, the dumb jock joke."  He nodded as she offered him a sly smile and a quick flash of her tongue to show she was completely unapologetic.  "Of course I know what one is, and it also make's you sound funny c'mpared to us c'nrty folk." He mocked her with a highly exaggerated accent.  "You're brother uses nothing but contractions, and some of the worst english I think I've ever heard."

"He is not supposed to," she said, glancing out on the water, wondering why her cork wasn't doing anything.  "We are not supposed to use them, but he does it to be defiant and piss our parents off.  We are supposed to talk proper-like," her own voice slipped into a near perfect southern accent.  "As it denotes us as having a certain measure of class and dignification generally afforded to those like us possessed of a higher education and ambitious drive for success."  Cade looked at her with a 'WTF' glare and half grin on his face.  She smiled and used her natural voice.  "I Loki speak: my brother and I are burdened with glorious purpose."

Her cork bobbed and in an instant she went from chatterbox to completely overwhelmed with what to do and the whole moment disolved into the freeway scene from Legally Blonde: nothing but absolute panic and hysteria.  It was her first fish, well it would be if she ever managed to reel it in!  There was so much talking that neither could keep up with the conversation as she reeled and argued she was doing what Cade was saying she should, despite not doing what he was saying at all.  She reeled and moved the rod about, whimpering ans squealing like a five ear old the entire time as the experience of the whole moment overwhelmed her.  Cade couldn't be more thrilled.  He'd not seen a girl this excited over something since Haruka on Christmas day when she was younger.  Whatever composure Marissa kept herself constantly cloaked in she had cast it off in the spirit of the moment to conquer nature and all it had to offer.  She managed to reel in close enough as it splashed water and struggled.

"I got it, I got it... getigetigetit..." she said rapidly as Cade finished up for her and raised it into the boat.  She squee'd like a child and clapped rapidly at her accomplishment.  "Oh, my god.  I caught a fish!"  With bipolar acuity her face went completely deadpan and the Marissa he was used to returned in an eye-blink.  "I am not touching it though."

"Decent size too, not bad at all.  Congratulations, Marissa Jauntsen, you have officially conquered nature.  All of it.  Nothing can stand against you."  He praised her while placing the fish in the ice chest.

"As it should be." She playfully swung her nose into the air like the Queen of Nature that she was and they both shared a laugh.  Cade prepped their lines for the next casting and quietly went about his work.  After a few moments Marissa broke the silence, her tone soft and comforting.  "Hey, Cade?  Look, I know it does not mean a lot coming from me, but, I am sorry about you and Cora," she took special care to actually use her name.  "I know you really liked her and I know it hurts, a lot, to lose someone you care about."

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"Personal experience?  I can't imagine any guy dumb enough to break up with you.  I imagine your wrath to be Total and Terrible. "   It was a joke with a kernel of truth as he saw it.

Cade sighed.  His deal with Marissa had possibly caused this, but at the same time he couldn't be mad at her.  He knew he was being unfair, the fault was  his, because he didn't explain why he'd agreed.  She needed help, he agreed, and had never found the time to call Cora and tell her before whatever happened did.  

"It really isn't something i plan on getting mad at anyone save myself about.  It was always going to be hard, with her on the other side of the country.  I thought it worth trying, but if she's happy without me, well I can live with that I guess."   Marissa could hear the pain, he wasn't hiding it, but he was sincere in his wish for Cora's happiness.   

He felt the vulnerability there, but it passed and he calmed himself, and turned back to the Pond.   "Can't move forward while looking back.  She's made her choice, and that's that.   It just means I'll not feel guilty going forward from here."  It was an admission he was sure she caught, but there was no blame or accusation.  He'd made his own choice in agreeing to help Marissa.

"I wouldn't expect you to give up on something."  she said quietly.

"It's not giving up, it's letting go.   Trying to hold on and  force things to remain as they were, when so much has changed, that's just a bad idea.  We've all changed with what's going on, You, me, everyone, even Devin.   I'm actually abit glad Cora's not here anymore.  She's not in danger like the rest of us."

He made to hand her back the pole, and offered her a smile.  "Now, let's get back to some fishing."  

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He made a good point.  As they cast their lines back in the water, and Marissa seemed to get it a little closer to her intended mark this time, her mind wandered into the space of just how messed up their lives were.  Breaking into prisons, shape changing into various monsters.  Strange alternate dimensions of gloom and death.  It was only a matter time before one of the mended up killed, or worse, being killed because the Dark had ravaged their mind.  Every member of the Fellowship was on borrowed time.

"Chance Carter."  She said suddenly.  The name had passed from her lips before she had the chance to filter it and push it back the darker, and forgotten storage spaces of her mind where she, like most everyone, kept a pantry full of jarred regrets and broken hearts.  "Deej and I had just turned eleven.  The school yer was winding down and if you know nothing about Malibu schools, it's a cesspool of child stars, at least, the ones not being home schooled.  You are either rich and don't need an education, or you are rich and your parents are making sure you succeed in life.  Devin and I were were the latter.  This was back when he didn't use contractions," she offered her company a smile and continued with the story.  "So, I had the biggest crush on Chance Carter."

"Wait, blonde kid?  About our age?"  Cade looked to her and glanced back at the water.  "He's on the Disney Channel.  Haruka, I think has a thing for him."

"That is the guy," she nodded and sucked her teeth in seething spite.  "Tell her she is wasting her time.  He is a dick."  She tugged her line a bit, mostly just emulating Cade, but she was starting understand the subtleties of luring the fish to the hook. "So I told him one day, how I felt.  See, Deej and I, our family had money, but were far from celebrity status.  Chance was and the two cliques did not really get along too well, especially with our mom trying to constantly get us parts in commercials and on television... we looked like try-hards."

"So, you were," he paused for effect.  "Nerds."

"Anyway," she pressed on, ignoring her insolent boyfriends assumptions.  "I told him and he lit me up.  Embarrassed me in front of everyone and turned the whole school against me.  I was bullied constantly, every class was torture.  This was when Deej really started to slide towards the guy you know today.  He was getting beaten up almost everyday because we would come to my rescue and start fights with anyone who was hurting me.  He was my knight."

"Hell of a brother."  Cade solemnly offered.  "I can respect that."

"He is really the best," she smiled.  "So it got worse, even to the point where he and I were both at an audition for, you guessed it, the Disney Channel.  We had to do a song and dance number, Deej aced his, I knew I was going to do fine too until Chance and a couple of the kids and parents from the school were there and he started talking to them and they all started pointing and laughing.  I choked.  All the abuse from school just replayed and froze and stood there."  Her eyes were glossed with the sheen of unpleasant memories.  "Two years, almost.  For two years I was the laughing stock of our school and constantly bullied and picked on.  We hated it, and we swore no one would treat us like that wen we got to Shelly."

She inhaled, trying to force the memory back into its jar for storage.  "So, yeah.  I swore off boyfriends, guys in general, dating, friends, attachments.  All I wanted was power, respect, and the money that a good education could grant me so I could find Chance later in life and crush his skull under a six thousand dollar pair of stiletto heels."

Cade nodded sagely.  "Life goals."

"Screw you," she laughed.  "It was a great plan.  Now I am sitting here in a boat, fishing of all things, if one could believe it.  With a boyfriend.  With barely any makeup on, certainly no heels, and he still somehow finds me attractive."  She glanced and him and offered a flirtatious grin.  "I guess I did not have things as figured out as I thought I did."

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Cade knew Devin wasn't a total dick, nor was Marissa a bitch all the time, he'd seen enough glimpses of that.   Just like he'd already learned there was so much more to Marissa.   Sure the twins had their quirks, but since this all started, he found how he'd seen them changing.   He was getting another glimpse at the truth, and it made him genuinely smile.

"Life's got a funny way of turning all our plans on their head."   He smiled, and caught another bream, this time it was abit on the small side, so he unhooked it and gently released it back into the water.  "I don't think having any of those things will prevent you from having what you want, or achieving your goals.  The right friends will help you achieve them. "

 "My short-term goals for the summer were to hang out with my friends, enjoy being outdoors, and play a little baseball.   Long-term, I want to get into college, play baseball, and go pro.   I figure I can at least get a degree in wildlife management, so if something ever happened I had at least something to fall back on.  I love Baseball though.   Growing up, the only times Dad ever told me he was proud of me came from it."

He shrugged.  "I can't say the appeal of the money pro players make, and I know I can play with the best, one day, I'll be the best, but I really do love the game.  Which of course makes me something of a true oddball here in Montana, where it's damn near all about football.   I can't tell you how many times the coach has tried to get me to play.   I like to watch the game, but playing just isn't as interesting to me."

"Now though, my goals really haven't changed, but there's so much more going on.  Life was really really simple before this past summer.   No super powers, no entities out to kill us or organizations trying to control us.   No girlfriends.  Before Cora, and You, I've never dated anyone, or honestly had all that much interest.   My life was baseball, the outdoors, and my friends.  I had all of that, and thought I couldn't ask for more."

He had cast again and caught another fish, this one was large enough to keep so he put it in the box.  "Six thousand dollar heels? God that's nearly what my Jeep cost."  he said with a little snark.  "The most expensive article of clothing I own are probably the 140 dollar doc martens boots I've got, or the suit I have to wear for Easter and Christmas Service."

He looked at her with a knowing grin.  "Your none of those things in Shelly.   You and your brother Rule the school.  It's a small pond but you've got to start somewhere, right?  I mean hell, even with your association with us, with you dating me, have things really changed?  Has anyone actually been foolish enough to challenge your position?  Over half the guys at school are jealous of me, and all of them want to know how great the sex is.  I've overheard the women pitying me for becoming your boytoy, and others angry because you used your ways to capture and corrupt an innocent like me."

 

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"Oh, they do, do they?"  Marissa raised a brow and was suddenly more interested in the conversation than fishing.  "And what do you tell them, hmm?  Better be the truth: that it is the best damn sex you will ever have in your life and that I have ruined you for other women.  Forever."

Cade looked at her incredulously.  "But we haven't-"

"Pfft," she raspberried.  "It's high school, Cade.  Everyone is lying about how much sex they are having.  Except my brother of course, who is actually pretty spot on because he makes sure everyone knows about it.  Courtney?  I know her number, it is waaay less than she says.  Chet?  Super low.  I'm still a virgin and even I lie about my number.  The guys I have fooled around with is a lot higher than I tell people.  I can even tell you that Laurie is not the sweet little princess she makes herself out to be, and that would ruin Sean."

"Laurie has a number?"  He seemed rather shocked at that idea.

"No, more like a half number?  She's like me, we've not technically gone all the way, but we have a lot of practice running to third base."  A slight flush filled her cheeks and she looked to the water, realizing that perhaps she ha said too much.  "Sorry, I guess you probably do not want to hear my resume of 'other guys'.

"It's okay," he chuckled.  "It's not like you're living in a convent."

"Look, I know how important image is, especially in this part of our lives and doubly so for guys."  She reeled in her bait and didn't catch anything this time around.  She cast it back in, but it was a lay cast, being more wrapped up in talking that paying attention to her line.  "I know you have a lot of pressure on you from those guys.  If you tell them we had sex, I will back you on it.  You stepped up and agreed to this whole dating thing, and let us be honest with each other, I did not exactly ask you, I told you how it was going to be and... you were there for me is what I am trying to say.  Least I can do is be there for you and help you set these guys straight.  Better tell them what I said before: that you are ruined for other women it is so good.  I'll even put in a good word for you with the other girls at school.  We talk, you know.  It could really boost your playboy status.  I would be willing to do that for you."

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His eyes widened for a moment, then narrowed as he turned to look her in the eye.  "I don't care about all of that.  Like I said, before this summer, I'd never even kissed a girl.   I don't care what the others think.  I don't ask about others, and I sure as hell won't tell about my own."

"I told them the truth, as far as that goes.  We've not had sex, and I was more than content to let things happen naturally.   If that changed, I wouldn't tell them even then.   That would torture them even more.  Never knowing if we had or hadn't, and knowing that I won't breath a word about it regardless.

He could read the surprise on her face.   "Though I can't lie and say I haven't thought about it.   Like I said, you're beautiful and attractive.  It'd be nice to think that it'd be wild and and as good for you as it would be for me, but I don't have any experience.  I haven't even made it to Second Base."

"Rather than sounding like an idiot, talking about something I have no experience with, it's best I continue to just smile and say nothing."

 

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"Wow, that is down right devious, I did not know you had it in you to be so ruthless.  That sounds like my brand of evil, I am a little turned on right now."  She was smiling ear to ear as she watched her boyfriend.  "You are so red right now."

He looked away from her trying to hide his smile.  If Cade Allister were ever embarrassed on a level of ten, it was now.  "I am not."

"You are!  Sunburn does not happen that fast, Nature Boy."  She teased, reaching over she rubbed his back, laughing only slightly.  "You are so adorable!  Hey, truth of the matter is, you are not going to sound like an idiot.  I still have not gone all the way, but we learn by doing.  Do not be shy about stuff.  When it happens, it will happen and until then, just try and experience all you can and use it to learn what you like and what you do not like.  When you are interested, of course.  You said you sort of have no real interest in those sorts of things and that is totally fine.  Everyone is ready in their own time.  I'm not judging you, even if you look so cute with your red cheeks," she reached out and tried to pinch his cheek but he shirked away and buried his head far from her hand as she laughed.

"Stop!" he whined like a child at her playground bullying.  "You're horrible, you know that?"  He laughed, trying not to think of how red he actually was.

"I know," she said all perky and pleased with her torment.  "It is kinda my thing."  Her cork bobbed and she gave it a yank, not expecting it to actually work like the several other times she did it and they kept getting away.  Her date the practice and she was just grasping at straws and honestly having more fun just being out in the water with her date than the actual fishing.  Just as she predicted, nothing.  Until it was something.  Like a hellish squeal her reel began unravel its line as whatever was on the end of her hook took off like a bolt of lightning.

Panic set in once again across fer petite frame as she held the rod, but had no clue what to do.  Whatever it was, it was big and very angry.  "Cade!  Cade, it is spinning really fast!  Make it stop!"  In desperation she kept trying to hand the rod to him while making a whining noise a kid might make when they were sure they had broken something.

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Few people could ever have said to have seen him that embarrassed, but he'd never have thought Marissa would ever have been one, or that he wouldn't really mind it.   

He'd been about to say it wasn't like he wasn't interested.   Marissa was attractive, but this wasn't supposed to be anything more than to fool others, to keep her safe.   He definitely didn't want to pressure her into anything, or make it seem like she owed him.   He simply wasn't like that.   Then whatever it was that hit her bait started pulling drag, and his eyes narrowed.  It was either a bass or a catfish.  These small rigs weren't really made for them, but he knew the line itself would hold as it was 15lb braid.

He set his own rod down, having pulled in the line and deftly moved behind her.  "Catch it, this is a good one."  he said refusing to let her hand it off, much as his own father had to him, the first time he caught something big.   Instead he reached around, putting his hands over hers, helping her steady the rod.  "Now just reel.  Those hooks are quite sharp, so it's in him.   Just don't stop reeling, even if it seems like you're not getting any progress.    He won't break the line, though if you give him slack too much he might spit the bait."   

His tone was soothing and calming, as if he'd done this often.   After a few moments, they turned the fish and started actually pulling in line.  Then the fish broke the surface.   It was a monster bass, easily over six, maybe seven pounds.   "Dammmn" he said low in surprise.  "That's a big bass."

another few minutes of tension passed, as he gave her instructions, trying to keep her calm.  He did not want to lose this fish.   Hell he actually wanted to take a picture of it with her.  It wasn't the largest he'd seen caught, but on a perch rig, what a story.

"I'm gonna get the net, just keep reeling."   Marissa just nodded, focusing on the thrill of fighting the massive fish, and Cade got the net ready, while still holding on the rod.  "Alright on 3, pull up on the rod."

"1."  He could see the fish coming up, and had the net just out of the water, still holding the rod handle.  

"2"  it was just under the surface, he could see the bait in the corner of its mouth, sunlight glinting off the spinner.

"3!"  She lifted the rod, pulling back and bringing it to the surface.  With stunning speed Cade shoveled the net into the water, right in front  of the fish, and brought it up. With nowhere to go but the net the fish was caught, even as he pulled it from the water the bait pulled free.  Cade quickly swung the fish into the boat, and onto the floor, still in the net.

He could feel her excitement, and he smiled, still sitting behind her, though he'd released the rod.   "Congratulations on your first Bass Marissa.  That one's a real beauty.  Most people never see a bass like that, let alone catch one on a bream rig."

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She never thought she would be so excited about a fish.  The way Cade refused to take the rod from her and put the chance for success or failure in her hands really showed her a lot about the guy.  He didn't do things for people, he showed her how to do it herself, respecting her desire to keep in control of her life and succeed or fail in her own merit.  Whether he knew it or not, he'd impressed her.

"Beauty?  Cade, fish are gross, that thing is ugly."  She tried to hide the pride she was feeling in knowing that she had caught it on her own with one hell of a coach spewing fishing terms she had no idea what they meant.  "Wow, it is huge."  She admired her catch on the floor of the boat.

"All that's left is to take a picture with it."  He smiled.

"Great, I will hold your phone, because I am not touching that."  She held out her hand for the phone.

Cade wrangled with the net, trying to get a grip on the bass.  "It's your catch."

"This really is your thing, not mine," she moved herself as far from the flailing slime critter as she could.  "I caught it.  We made our point.  I rule, it sucks.  I am okay with knowing that, let us just let it go."

The picture that was taken would stay between Marissa and Cade on their phones.  As the bass swam off, a little dazed by the lack of oxygen but for all intents and purposes okay, Marissa was looking at the image Cade had just text her.  It was him holding up the bass triumphantly while also holding Marissa's phone where 'Marissa caught this.' was brightly scrawled on the screen's notepad.  True to her word, she did not touch it.

"I could have had that mounted for you on a plaque.  A little brass tag that said 'Marissa's first fish' and then the date."  Cade prepared their poles again.

"Nah," she offered up quietly as she looked at her phone.  "I did that.  You helped me.  No plaque or image on a phone or picture in a frame could ever possibly mean more to me than the experience itself.  I will always have that.  We will always have that."  The smile on her face was intoxicating as she just admired the image on her phone.  Maybe there was something to all this out doorsy stuff.  If not, then why was she enjoying herself so much.

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Cade was impressed.  Most people he knew wouldn't have released such a fish, or in this case, had him release it.  After washing his hands and taking the seat he'd begun the trip in, he smiled  "Yeah, that was a beauty, turning it loose to get bigger was the call I'd have made too.   A good fight deserves a reward."  

The picture of her was great, and that smile.  "Not the most beautiful thing I've seen today.   That smile you've got though, that is."


Once he was ready, they were both back at it again.   After another twenty minutes though, it had slowed considerably.   "Yeah, I figured it'd slack off.  This spot's best till around 10:30, then the water gets too warm, and they head for shade or deeper water."

"We'll move to the next spot then."  With that, he broke down his rod, then hers, and took up the oars again.   It took him another twenty minutes to get to the next spot, all the while listening to music on Marissa's phone.    The next spot was in the southwest corner of the lake.   There were several stumps, and trees at the water's edge.   More Lillypads were on the shore, and he nodded, drawing near.   He dropped the anchor, which seemingly indicated they were in over 6 feet of water and the boat swung around. "If you fish out the back you can do what you've been doing.  cast towards the bank, just like you have been  It's abit deeper than the first spot, but going up to two feet depth on the cork should be enough.  The perch here are abit bigger on average, but they won't bite quite as often.   If you want to try fishing out the front it will be abit more involved, but Those stumps about 30 feet away are where I've caught alot of bass before.  The water's deeper so fishing with the cork setup isn't as good there.

He left the choice to her.  "If you'd like to take a little break, that's fine too."

Edited by Cade

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She was astonished to realize how quickly time had gone by while they had been out on the water.  She bobbed her head to the music as Cade rowed them to their next spot and as she selected the playlist she'd noticed that it was almost lunch time.  Was it really a quarter after noon already?  She sprayed on a little more sun block as they made their way across the water.

The oars hitting the reflective surface made a continuous rhythmic splash as the droplets trickled off in the the repetitive cycle of finding their way back in the water.  The birds were still out in a few spots, she could hear their constant calls and songs over all around, even she couldn't see them.  The pond and the lillypads really were something out of one of her numerous fantasy novels, in fact this whole scene seemed like something from her books where her prince charming would take her out on a boat and it would be romantic, all it was missing was a Jamaican crab... and her prince charming to not smell like fish.  Still though, she was content.  She was enjoying herself despite believing that she wouldn't.

"You can keep fishing," she replied to her date.  She began rumageing around the ice chest for some waters and twisted the cap off one she'd retrieved and handed to him.  After collecting one for herself she enjoyed a drink and set about collecting things from her big 'beach bag' that she'd brought and after a few moments she'd arranged a paper plate with a sandwich a banana and poured a bag of corn chips out into one of the three little indents they made in them so their food didn't touch.  "Here.  Lunch is served."

Her beau accepted the offered plate, trying not to look too excited as he his teenage metabolism was already screaming at him this was starving.  "I thought you didn't cook?"

"I can handle sandwiches," she retorted pleasantly.  "Now, was not sure exactly how to make them, but Deej said they were impossible to screw up.  I could not decide between peanut butter and jelly or salami and roast beef, but you can't go wrong with sandwiches, so I just slapped them together!  A bit of mayo and mustard too, because I didn't want it to be too sweet."

Sure enough Cade looked at his sandwich and several sliced of neatly folded roast beef and few slices of salami stuck neatly between a layer of what appeared t be strawberry jelly on the top and peanut butter on the bottom.  Crunchy peanut butter.  Yellow stained mayo seeped from between the meat adding that final touch that screamed culinary nightmare.  "You've got to be kidding," his brain forced past his lips before he could filter it.

"What," Marissa's seemed to snap to attention, looking positively wounded already that the meal she'd prepared for their special day wasn't perfect.  "You hate it, right?  I messed it up?"

"You've got to be kidding me because..."  He forced a smile.  His head slowly panned back an forth as the words in his formed into something he hoped would save him.  "These were like, my favorite growing up."

"Really?"  That one word she spoke with such elation that Cade's heart sank at the thought of lying to her, but the girl had no talent for food preparation.  He just nodded and folded the sandwich in half then tore it down the center to make it like it was easier to hold while still managing to fish.  She spun back around and rummaged some more for her meal and the half soared it's way into the weeds and lilly pads.  She set out her plate and a cup cup of chilled yogurt she'd been cooling and noticed her man chugging his water to obviously wash down the first half of the sandwich he'd inhaled.  "Jesus, slow down.  We have all day."

He offered her a smile, trying not to feel bad, but that would have made him sick and didn't want to break her heart.  Did he feel bad?  Of course.  Was he going to spend the rest of the day being sick and miss this time alone with her?  Not a chance.  Let the fish brave that abomination she called food.  "Oh!"  She spun back about and rummaged through the bag.  "I have extra chips in here too, grabbed like six of seven bags, plus a few pudding cups for desert."  She seemed to be trying so hard that he almost didn't want to...

"Ah, dang it," ...but he did.   There was a plop in the water and Marissa spun to face him.

"What?"  She asked like something might be seriously wrong.  "What happened?"

"Juggling the dang rod and my sandwich... I just lost it."  He looked so disappointed with himself.  He brushed a few crumbs from his shorts as he sigh as a sign of a self reprimand.  He knew some where out there Devin was laughing with Laurie: '...so I said, just make sandwiches!  There's no way to mess them up!' and him and Laurie were bursting out into exaggerated laughter while he starved.

"Hey, it is okay, no big deal," she seemed to totally believe him.  She offered him a sympathetic smile and tore her sandwich in half.  "Here.  Peanut butter and banana.  You can half of mine, you have all the muscle, you need more food.  It may not be your favorite, but it should last us until dinner."  Politely he accepted and the two silently ate their half of the PB&B, sipping water and enjoying their time in the peace and serenity that only a pond in Montana could bring.

"Feel safe with you," she said suddenly breaking the calm silence that set over them.  The outdoors and nature had a way of doing that, of silencing all the day-to-day noise around you and forcing to listen, feel and smell new things that you never seemed to realize were under your nose the whole time and were simply beautiful.  "That is why I came to you, you know?  You are noble and protective and altruistic.  I did not honestly think Jason would be a problem, Cade," she admitted.  He spoon stirred her yogurt and tap a few times on the swiftly emptying plastic cup.  "Jason does creep me out, yes, but I also have a bit of a crush on him too, and I was less concerned about him coming after me, than I was just interested in making him jealous that you had me and he does not."

She'd never sounded more sincere, though she hadn't taken her eyes off the water to look at him.  The still reflections on the pond held her attention and seemed as if as long she continued to look away and at the water, her admissions might embarrass her less.  "I am just using you, Cade.  You are so sweet to smile and accept when I say 'you were there for me', but I know you are smart enough to know better, you've even said a few times that this is 'just for show'.  The truth?  I'm lonely, Cade.  I am not sure if it is love or lust or my hormones going nuts inside my body but not dating has been driving me mad.  Seeing all those other couples at school, Sophia and Charlie, Deej and Avalon.  It was tearing me up inside.  You were the safe choice.  You are all the above, plus sweet and naive and completely clueless about women," she chuckled, trying not to show signs that she was getting emotional.  "I could remain in control.  I could control you and when it came to being safe, your arms are where I knew I would feel the safest.  Safe, comforting, loving, that is what it feels like to be held by you.  You are really great, you deserve someone better than me.  Someone who can actually love you and is not just using you and giving you something fake when you are so wonderful of a guy you deserve the real thing.  All of this is just to make Jason jealous.  That is it.  I am sorry, I did not know how great of a guy you actually were, even in a fake relationship I'm ruining everything around me."

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He listened quietly to her confession.  It was a doozy, that was true, and it surprised him.  Still that didn't change the way he felt.

"I don't feel ruined."   He looked at her and held reached out to take her hands in his.   "Do you regret making this agreement?   Even after hearing everything you've said, I can accept all of it, and don't regret my choice."   

"You came to me, the safe choice.   That makes me happy in a way, that you could trust me enough to consider me safe.   That I make you feel safe.   I'm doing what I'm supposed to then, and hopefully you've felt less lonely since we began.  I know I have."

Cade gave her hands a squeeze.  "As for us, Marissa, regardless of who you think I deserve or not, right now, I have you.  When this began, you told me it wasn't real.  I'll admit at the beginning, it wasn't for me, either.  It was the show you wanted."

"It doesn't feel that way to me now."   He brought her hands to his lips, giving her knuckle a gentle kiss, and then lowered them.  

He smiled at her, knowing what his admission meant.   He cared for her, knowing perhaps he shouldn't, she did admit to having not been upfront fully, to using him, and having a crush on the very person she'd come to him seeking protection from.   They were very different people, but even knowing that, his feelings remained the same.  It happened without him really knowing, but all the same, he felt how he felt.  There were probably so many better ways to explain this., but all he knew was to just be honest.   The truth was the truth, whether it made him sound like an idiot, or naive.
 

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Her face scrunched up like Cade had just grown a massive pimple sudden;y and she wasn't sure how to not tell him, but not look at it either.  Still she listened.  "Cade," she finally said he was done.  Her voice a whiny falsetto of grossed out.  "Hands.  Fish."

"Oh," he let go suddenly, seriously breaking the the romantic moment.  "I've been washing th-"

She was already globs deep in hand sanitizer, scrubbing the alcohol solution into ever nook on her fingers and palms, even places he hadn't touched.  As she scrubbed laced her hands into her hands to let the solution do its job she spoke.  "You, Cade Allister are horrible with women.  You are awkward, you have no respect for a ninety dollar manicure, and you..." she glared at him, her narrowing into the daggers he was used to getting from her.  "Are also very sweet.  A bit naive and too forgiving," she corrected herself, giving him a matronly look as if he needed to learn something from her brand of evil.  "I would be drowning you in this lake right now were our roles reversed."

"That's fortunate," he said with a relieved sigh and pointed to her shirt.  "I'd look horrible in those stripes."

She laughed, her tongue pressing the inside of her cheek as she tried not to let his infections way of blowing her threats off get to her.  "I promise nothing," she said flatly.  "I am not sure how this whole 'dating' thing it supposed to work when it is real, but I know and can tell you that at this particular moment, it, nor you, suck.  So, I guess, now that the truth is aired and you are not dead for trying to kill me for lying to you, we can," she rolled her eyes and sighed she spun her finger to signify things moving forward.  "You can, keep being seen with me."  She smiled that hypnotic, gorgeous smile of her at him.  "I guess."

Her knees hit the floor of the boat, getting her closer to him.  "Now," she cooed, her hand slid up his chest then snaked around to the back of his neck.  "What are we going to do about making you a better kisser, hmm?"

"Practice?" he asked in anticipation, his lips quivering into a hopeful smile.

"Hm, definitely practice," she cooed seductively, her lips just maybe an inch from his own.  With a push of her other hand that she snapped away and recoiled back into her own seat with the agility of a jaguar.  Her legs swiftly crossed and she smiled cheerfully at him.  "Just as soon as you shower and no longer smell like fish, and nature, and sweat."

Edited by Dave ST

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He sighed at her fanatical devotion to cleanliness, or at least against physically interacting even indirectly with fish or the water.   Still, she hadn't actually rejected him, or how he felt.  That made it a win in his book.

Of coure her teasing him, that smile, and the way she retook her distance, he gave her his own grin.   "There is a shower stall back behind the shed."   Well it could be used that way, but it was only cold water, damn cold.  "You could even supervise, to ensure I meet your satisfaction."

It was about the bravest thing he'd said to her, after the confession of course.  "That might be worth the cold water."   

"Might?"   Marissa looked at him, and Cade just smiled.   "Okay, I could definitely see it being worth it."

Cade looked to where he was set to fish, and shook his head.   "Abit longer, then if you're still up for it, I'll get us back to the landing, get cleaned up, and we can see about some practice."
 

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"A bit longer," she said in agreement.  Her brother was right, making things about other people was honestly easier than she thought.  She was honestly having an amazing time and while she was almost certain Cade was only agreeing and being as nice as he was in the hopes of getting under skirt, he was only a guy after all, so she couldn't fault him that.  "I do not need to fish to enjoy myself out here.  It is nice and quiet, I like that.  Besides, I caught that bass," she hesitated only slightly as she recalled what Cade had called it.  "I have totally won this pond."  She stuck up her nose with aristocratic snobbery.  "Bring me giants."

They shared a laugh and several more.  A 'bit longer' turned into a few more hours as Cade talked about all kinds of fishing and bait and why certain fish only went after particular colors or appearances.  She talked some more, mostly about people at school and some of the frustrations she had about her mom, and Haruka which, whom she positively adored and swore she would corrupt her properly .  It was nearly after four before the boat was pulled back to the dock, everything was put away and Cade was hitting the spigot behind the shed for a good scrubbing.  Marissa didn't peek (much) as he tore off his shirt to get a clean one, she maintained some propriety, although him with his shirt off certainly made a tempting argument.  Her certainly didn't need a whole shower, but certainly a good hand scrubbing.  While he was making himself smell less like gross and ew after adding even more fish the ice chest, see set out laying out a blanket on the shores of the pond in the hopes of capturing what was left of the day's sun.

When Cade returned he tossed his shirt in the Jeep and Marissa had his extra, clean one hanging on the spare tire.  The way she was lying out in the sun in her sea green and white striped bikini (that seemed to match the horizontal pattern of her black and white striped shirt she wore out today, did she really make sure her bathing suit matched her outfit?) seemed a test more than anything to see if he was going to put it back on and cover himself up.  It wasn't like he'd not seen her in the bikini before.  One thing about Marissa was certain, she had it, and she loved to flaunt it.  He'd seen her plenty of times at the lake in the summers where all the school kids would have their parties and get-togethers on the water away from the parents.  He;d seen her there plenty of times, sunbathing with Courtney while Chet flexed on anyone who approached and bothered her.  This was the first time he was ever this close to her and... well, it was a bit intimidating.

"Still smell like gross?"  She asked, propping herself up on her elbows.  If there was a flaw in her design, Cade couldn't find it anywhere, and he was certainly looking.  A half smile curled her lips as she noticed he didn't bother with his shirt.  "Come here.  Sit.  I don't bite.  Well, much."

"You bite, huh?" he asked as he sat down on the blanket next to her, stretching out and relaxing to come to rest propped up on his elbow facing her.

"Only when I am kissing," she teased.  "Biting is more fun than kissing, plus, there is a winner."

He laughed, shaking his head.  "You are so competitive.  There doesn't always have to be a winner, especially in kissing.  At least, I don't think so."

"Show me," she said.  He looked at her as she rested in the sunlight, soaking up the last rays Summer had to offer them before the bitter Montana cold set in.  When he didn't move fast enough she sighed.  "Cade, you really need to loosen up."

"What?" he asked, shrugging.  "You meant like, show you, show you?"

Marissa rolled her eyes and sighed.  "Okay, stop thinking so damn much.  Hear the music?"  Her phones was playing an artist he didn't recognize but it was a female and the tempo was a sort of electronic, dance club hip-hop.  "Listen to the music and let your brain shut off for a bit, for fucks sake."

"I'm trying but, it's weird being here, with you of all people.  Do I touch you, do I not, what if you were just kidding and I look dumb?  What you don't want to be touched and I do and you get mad and this whole day is shot?"  It was the most emotion he'd seen out of him in a single breath in all the time she'd known him.  "This is why I fish and why animals are easier than people.  They're simple.  They want to be petted, the bump you with their head, they want food, the nose their bowl around until you notice.  When they want a kiss, they just lick your face."

"Oookay," she looked at him a bit awkwardly.  "How about we curb the licking for another lesson, we are still on week one and kissing seems to be going slowly.  We have to work you up to that."  She collected his unoccupied hand and rest in on her stomach.  His fingers traced the softness of her skin tautness of her athletic frame.  "Look, we are seeing each other, so, if you want to put a label on it, you are technically my boyfriend.  At least until I am done with you and cast you aside so I can watch you beg to have me back."  She had made non-committal and art form, that much was certain.  "You have certain privileges, like, you can touch me.  I am not got going to get mad at you.  I mean, propriety not withstanding.  Please do not go trying to make out with me in English, or blow raspberries on my tummy in the hallways," they shared a smile amongst themselves and she continued.  "So, yes, Cade, you can touch me.  You can kiss me, and until I say otherwise you have carte blanche to touch, kiss and explore until your heart is content.  Part of the deal was access to the ladies whenever you wanted, remember?"  She glanced down at her chest, barely concealed in the three corners and string of her bikini top.  "Just, not here though, I do not want some random stranger creeping up on us with my top off."

"No is around here for a long way," Cade reassured her, getting  bit bolder.

"Perhaps, but do not want to press our luck," she narrowed her eyes at him.  "Now are you going to kiss me, or are we trying for a record for the most dates had while not being able to make out without someone bothering us, award?"  He leaned in and kissed her, and she sighed with content.

"That'd be one heck of an engraving." He mumbled through their passion.  She slapped his cheek playfully, half smiling and finally, finally, Marissa got to make out with her boyfriend (if you wanted to put a label on it).

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It annoyed him, just how inexperienced he was.  Still it didn't show, and once he got the hang of it, things went well enough.   He knew she was humoring him, and was thankful for her patience.

He abided by her wishes, though he had to admit she was breathtakingly beautiful.   Not just physically, but here  like this with him, relaxing, coaxing him out of the tension and tentativeness of inexperience, and coaching him in her own unique teasing manner, she was bewitching and amazing.   She was his girlfriend, and he her boyfriend.   

He lost track of time, and as much as he loved fishing, Just spending this time with Marissa, especially once she turn the tables, having had enough of his tentative explorations and turning it back on him, pushing him onto his back as she took her own turn.   Deftly her nimble fingers danced over his skin.   He'd never had someone do anything like this to him, and once she was done, they laid together on the blanket, and he sighed.  

He looked over at her, and idly traced her jawline and smiled.  "One hell of a day."

"What was your favorite part?" She asked.

He knew that was a loaded question, and didn't know the right answer.   So he did what he always did, told the truth as he saw it.  

"When you said we'd give this a try for real."  It was the happiest moment of the day, beating out seeing her smile after she caught that bass, and narrowly the make-out session that had largely just concluded.   Cheesy perhaps, but looking back on it all, that was the best moment of the day for him.   "Yours?"

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She said something, but was looking at her phone, distracting herself with that instead of talking to him.  He leaned in asking "What?" with a slight grin since she seemed to be being deliberately evasive.  She mumbled it again while swiping through a playlist, only to get a 'Huh?' from her 'boyfriend'.

"You!  Okay?  Geez."  Cade was witness to the one the very few moments when Marissa's titanic composure was broken and she nothing like a twenty-five year old making power moves to secure a financial future and everything like the mildly embarrassed sixteen year old young woman she really who just said some considerate to the guy she sort of liked.

"See?  How hard was that?"  He laughed.

She sighed and rolled of to face him.  Her cheeks just a bit flushed with the moment still.  "I have not had a day to myself in so long,  and I could not have imagined it going any better with anyone other than you, okay?  There, I said it.  Happy?"

"Only if you are," he smiled warmly.

Her eyes narrowed and she smiled a mischievous smile.  She cooed, "Now you are learning."  She kissed him once and rested her head on his chest.  Why did she feel so okay with this?  Why did just lying in the sun, relaxing and taking her time to enjoy the kissing feel so right?  She could hear the rhythmic thumping of her heart and wondered of the cold, dead thing in the center of her chest sounded the same.  Her mind was at war with itself as she half listened to what Cade was saying.  By the way, I'm so wrapped up in my own guilt over selling you and everyone out to the bad guys, that I figured you deserved a girlfriend before my actions end you up a lab table getting cut to pieces to figure out your powers work.  Blowjob?  She was pretty sure a side of oral gratification was not going to make up for betraying him or the others so as Cade talked she thought about all the possibilities and ways it would all blow up in her face while she kissed his chest and traced her tongue along the outline of his nipple.

"You are incredibly distracting," he laughed shirking his chest away from her mouth because it tickled.

She returned from her thoughts and realized what she'd been doing just offered him a salacious grin.  "Sorry.  You know what?" She slapped her palm flat on his broad chest.  "Let us get out here and get some burgers, I am famished already.  On me."  She pushed off of him and stood up.  She spun about towards the Jeep to get her shirt and skirt and Cade didn't took a moment to admire the view, especially where her bikini bottoms had climbed up her bottom as they made out.  With a swipe of her fingers everything was back the way it was supposed to be and she stepped into her skirt and pulled her shirt back over her body.

It was getting dark and Cade collected his things as the sky turned shades of purple in the distance.  The weather was still great, but the sun was going down earlier and earlier every night.  As Marissa waited she stood looking at the water while finished rigging everything to leave until after several long minutes she could hear him approaching.

"Hey," was all he said and she tilted her head to look back at him.  His phone flashed and he snapped an image of her to remember the trip by.  "I'm wondering which one is more beautiful."

"Me or the sunset?"  She asked softly, hardly able to break here eyes away from it.

"Sunset?  I was thinking you or your smile."  He kissed her shoulder.  "As if I could notice anything but you."

She rolled her eyes and walked away, "Oh my god that was cheesy."

"What?"  He followed her, taking the left side and parting her company to get into the Jeep.  "That was pretty good.  Come on, give me some credit!"

"Nooope!"  She laughed as she hopped in the passenger side.  "Just for that I am taking Haruka mini-skirt shopping."  She held her finger and thumb to her lip and rubbed them together.  Cade looked at her strangely.

"What are you doing?"  he asked shaking his head in the hopes of rattling loose a clue.

"I am twisting my handlebar mustache, because corrupting your sister is evil."  His date replied in a tone that suggested it should have been obvious.

Cade rolled his and started the Jeep.  "You are such a nerd."

As the brake lights lit up the darkening clearing and the Jeep drove off into the Summer evening the wailing of his girlfriend demanding he take that back, echoed among the trees.

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Posted (edited)

They head into town to the diner, and of course dinner was nice, even if it was just hamburgers at the diner and Cade admit the food just taste better.  Cade had always believed that the company one ate in could affect the meal, and this was no different.   Of course Cade ate like a ravenous wolf, though he'd always ordered big.   He never took back his comment, instead it was nice for him to tease her just a little.  At the end of their night she got her own back, teasing him, not with a final kiss, but the promise of one, Teasing him a final time for the night, but the smile curling her lips as she pulled away at the last minute, the look in her eyes, that was a worthy parting gift.

Leaving her place, he returned to Mr. Bancroft's, finding the fish still on ice, he got to work.   It was the actual nasty part of the job, one he'd left for now, without her there.   It took him an hour to clean the fish, bag the fillets, and then clean off the station and the ice chest.   he took abit of ice, and putt half in the chest to take it home and the other half he brought up to the house, putting it in the outside Freezer.  "So you had a good day then?"  Cade turned as Michael Bancroft looked at him, his canes holding him up.  

Cade nodded.  "Yes sir, we did.  Thanks for letting us come out."  

"She's a pretty one, that's Marissa Jauntsen though." The older man looked as if there was more to say.

"She is."  Cade didn't seem guarded, or fazed by it.

"So long as you're happy Cade, so long you're happy.  How was the fishing?"

"About forty all in all, and we turned loose a seven pound bass."  Cade smiled.

"The young lady caught it?"  

"Her first bass, and it was on our perch gear."  Cade said with pride.   

"Hell of a first."  Michael chuckled.  "Hell of a first.  You coulda kept it and mounted it. I'd not have minded."

"It took some convincing just to get her to come along, I don't think she's the sort to allow any sort of mounted wildlife near her."   Cade answered with his own chuckle.  

"Well, I'm not too surprised.   Still, you're welcome to come back, you and your friends.  Maybe one day just have a big fish fry.  You can invite your families too.   It's been too quiet around here."

It was a big offer, as Michael Bancroft valued his privacy.  

"I'll float it by them, but one day for sure, at least my friends."   Cade answered with a smile.

Mr.Bancroft smiled as Cade bid him goodbye and left, wondering just how much Cade knew about this town, about how special he was, that they all were.

Edited by Cade

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Posted (edited)
Spoiler

Side Fic wrapped.  Overall a charming collaboration, liked the writing and dialogue, showed some development and emotional texture from both parties.  +2 XP

Marissa:  +1 XP for Short Term Aspiration: Date with Cade

 

Edited by GDP_ST

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