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Thursday, August 2, 2012

           She hated packing.  Especially the here today-gone tomorrow type packing she seemed to find herself doing way too often.  Cassie McKreedy moved through the house on a singular mission.  She was allowing herself only three pieces of luggage.  More than that, and it would be obvious to those  watching that she wasn't coming back anytime soon.  She could always replace things as needed when she got to Tampa, but she had come to love the big, quiet house, and the thought of leaving it made her sweat.  This was all Lizzie's fault.  A month or two more, and they could have been both been set for a long time. The therapy had started working, and there was enough cash to stay worry free for a few years. They would have had plenty of time to set up their next mark.  Now, everything had turned to shit.  Not in a million years would she have thought that Liz would pull a "runner" on her, but damn it, she'd be sorry when Cassie caught up with her.

          The land phone rang again, and went directly to the answering machine like it had been doing since yesterday afternoon.  She was sure it was probably either Tessa Peppers or the bank, and she had no intention of talking to either of them.  Teddy had phoned her cell several times, and she had answered, not wanting him to make his way back to the house.  But she had finally convinced him that she was going to be working on her therapy with Dr. Patterson, and couldn't be distracted.  Hopefully, that would keep him off her ass for awhile.

          She laid out the clothes for the large suitcase on the bed, and had just begun to sort through her shoes, when the cell phone buzzed on the nightstand.   Seeing it was Dr. Patterson, Cassie took a deep breath and answered.  "Good morning, Doctor.  Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.  Well, as a matter of fact, I'm feeling terrible today.  Yes, I'm following the treatment, but I received some terrible news last night, and it's caused me a great deal of anxiety"  Cassie thought to herself that the statement wasn't much of lie.  She really was totally freaked out. "No, it's not me.  It's my Tampa.  He's been in a serious car accident, and I need to go and be with him.  Uh huh.  Oh thank you, I really appreciate it.  No, my flight's not until tomorrow afternoon.  It was all I was able to get with such short notice.  Yes, that would be great.  And if you could refill the prescription for the Xanax I'd be ever so grateful.  Well, I'm not sure how long I'll be there.  It all depends on how injured he is.  I might have to stay a while...until he can get back on his feet.  Tomorrow morning?  That would be perfect.  Thanks so much, Dr. Patterson.  I'll see you around 10 AM, then.  Bye bye.

          Cassie clicked off the phone, and smiled.  That was easy enough.  It was a shame she'd probably have to stiff Dr. Patterson on the bill.  The woman had helped her make tremendous progress, and truly seemed to care about her welfare.  But it couldn't be helped.  There was no turning back now, and if Dr. Patterson was left with hurt feelings, well, then she could thank Lizzie for that.  None of this was Cassie's fault.  They had amassed that half a million over eighteen months, bit by bit, and no one had missed a penny.  Both unsuspecting and trusting, her "clients" had accepted it as an increase in taxes, loss of revenue, or just bad financial luck.  And twice a month, Lizzie would withdraw small amounts from a set up bogus account, so that no one would be the wiser.  That had always been the corner stone of their success.  "Slow and steady makes one ready. Getting greedy makes you needy."  She smiled at the memory of her dad's lessons.  If he were here now, he'd be pissed at her lack of judgement.  Cleaning out that memorial fund had been a mistake born out of desperation, but it was too late to fix it now.

          She pulled the make up case out of the armoire, and sorted out $1,200.  She was just about to
pack the remaining cash in a black fanny pack, when she heard the chiming of the front door bell.  "Please let it not be Teddy" she thought.  "I'd never be able to explain all this."  The overhang prevented her from seeing who was standing on the porch from the bedroom window, so she headed down the stairs toward the parlor, while heavy pounding was added to the chimes of the door bell.

           "Cassandra McKreedy!  You open this door immediately, do you hear me!  I'm tired of you ignoring my phone calls.  I damn well know you're in there!  Open up now!  We need to talk"

            Cassie froze at the sound of the woman's voice.  Fearing the worse, she peeked around the front window's drapes, only to draw back in shock.  There on her front porch, in living color, stood a very red faced Tessa Peppers.

Copyright 2012 Victoria Rocus

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