Open Season Chapter 10: My Dinner With Ferretti

Story by Rick Coona on SoFurry

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#10 of Open Season

Chapter 10

Mike and Casssy have Dinner together and revelations are made

Chapter 10

My Dinner With Ferretti

Mike lived on the third floor of the Belltown Apartments, a stately brick building above the Pier of the same name. The unit consisted of a bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen and dinning nook.

As Mike had said, it wasn't fancy but it was airy, well lit, homey, and comfortable.

_And_it did have a nice view of Puget Sound.

"Not bad for four hundred a month." Mike said in total deadpan. Cassy was drawn to a modest painting of a Villa on a hill surrounded by olive trees. It was peaceful and idyllic; Cassy felt she could almost walk right into the painting.

"Oh Mikey, what's this?" Cassy asked, almost mesmerized by the artwork.

"Eh?" Mike asked from the kitchen. Seeing her admiring the painting he replied, "Oh--that's the ancestral villa outside Palermo, Sicily. My uncle still lives there, they make olive oil that's known all over the Mediterranean."

"Now, I'm impressed." Cassy smiled at him. Mike shrugged.

"Eh, it's no big deal. I've only been there once, after high school. I was learning about my family history, My mother insisted." Mike struck a pose, an imitation of an old Italian woman placing his hand on his hip and wagging his finger...

"Michael Ferretti, you musta learna you roots! Ifa you gonna be a stronga family man. A Furson with no roots blows around lika tumbleweed inna da wind!" he threw up his hands in mock resignation. "So they shipped me off to Sicily for the summer!"

Cassy tried not to laugh, but it was so funny! "So, what did you learn?" she asked, following him into the kitchen.

"That my family has a bloody and damn scary history. Did you know that my family were the enforcers for the Italian monarchy?" Cassy shook her head.

"Our family crest has two crossed stilettos, those are assassins daggers, Here--look," he said as he took down a large can of Ferretti olive oil. Emblazoned on the label was the crest. Surmounting a kite shield with a capital "F" at the bottom were two long thin daggers crossing. There was an open paw severed below the wrist between them and a scroll across the top.

"What does that say?" Cassy asked pointing at the scroll.

"That's our family motto; Illegitimati-Non-Carbonum. It means Don't let the bastards burn you." Mike grinned wickedly.

"Wow." was all Cassy could manage.

"Anyway, I promised you dinner my love, so I'd better get to it." Mike puttered about the small kitchen, Cassy sat at the small dinning table in the breakfast nook, a perfect size for two...

"Care for some wine? I've got some of the family Chianti, if you'd like to give it a try?"

"Really? Sure. That would be cool." Cassy smiled demurely. She watched fascinated and listened to his running commentary as to the similarities and differences between Sicilian verses Neapolitan cuisine. The wine turned out to be light and fruity, she rather liked it. A half an hour of prep time and Mike slid the pan of Manicotti into the oven, setting the timer.

"There, while that bakes, would you care for a tour of Casa Mike?" he grinned, and in response she nodded. "But shouldn't that be Casa Michael De Ferretti?" Cassy smiled, her high school Spanish actually coming in handy for once.

"Oh very good, I didn't know you knew Spanish?" Mike asked taking her in a hug.

"Just blurry old high school Spanish," she giggled. "I'm not very good with languages." She admitted.

"Oh, I don't know, I think you are a very talented...linguist." he said with a wickedly lecherous grin on his muzzle.

"Are you saying I have a talented tongue?" Cassy swatted playfully.

"I like it." he chuckled, drawing her into a kiss.

They ended their tour in the bedroom, where Cassy gasped--a look of horrific shock on her face. "Oh my god, Mikey," she asked in a voice barely above a whisper. Ah, Mike thought, she must have seen 'the picture.'

"Oh, that. Yeah, that's me. It was taken at a real low point in my life..." Mike said ruefully.

"God honey--W-what happened?" Cassy asked frightened by the idea that her beloved could everlook that devastated.

Heaving a great sigh Mike sat heavily on the bed "That's...ah long story. But since you asked, I shall tell you...It's not pretty. That picture was taken eight years ago, by the woman who was to be my wife, Lenora Marten at our engagement party." Mike paused as the memories came flooding back.

"It was one of the happiest days of my young life, I was twenty six, and Lenora Marten had agreed to be my wife...we threw a huge engagement party with all our friends, family and well-wishers. Lenora stood, tapping her glass to get everyone's attention--I thought she was going to make a toast-- with a sardonic smile slipped off her ring, dropped it into my glass of champagne and said the wedding was the shocked silence that followed, she proceeded to rip out my heart." Mike paused, his swallowing clearly audible.

"It seems it was all a ruse. A prank...a bet, to see if she could con me into proposing to her." His voice was hard as flint.

"B-but who would do such a thing?" Cassy asked.

"My nemesis, A Badger named Zander Cothose..."

"Oh, my God." Cassy whispered at the venom in his voice.

"He had put her up to it. She neverloved me; it was all an act. She faked it all, it was nothing but a con game and I fell for it! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. She then dumped a pile of shredded papers on the table in front of me. It was every love letter and poem I'd written to her. She grabbed a camera off one of the tables and snapped that picture, then ran out of the reception hall laughing her head off to a waiting car. She and Zander drove off...I received thatpicture two weeks later, postmarked from Austria."

Mike fell silent, dealing with the emotional turmoil, Sighing he once more continued, Cassy held him.

"If it weren't for Rick, I probably would have done something stupid. It absolutely destroyedme. And with Rick's help, I was able to pull the shattered remains of my life back into some semblance of order..." Cassy buried her head in Mike's shoulder and burst into tears. Mike just rocked her gently as he finished his tale.

"I kept that photo taped to the Mirror there for the past eight years to remind myself every day of the price I paid for falling in love."

"Oh gods Mike!" Cassy wailed. "No wonder you were cynical, I'm so sorry, Mikey. I-I didn't know...I'm _sooo_sorry." She wept at the pain he had to endure.

"Yeah, Now you know why I said that I felt like I'd never love again." Mike's voice was heavy with resignation.

"But..." he said more optimistically, drawing her from his chest to look into her eyes.

"That was before we spent that wonderful night together..." His smile was so radiant Cassy melted under its warm glow.

=sniff= "...Really?" a small voice escaped her lips.

"You better believe it love...the next morning, waking up in your arms. I realized that heavy weight--that dull ache in my chest...was gone. I love you Cassandra."

With her eyes bright with tears, she sobbed. "Oh Michael, I can't tell you how grateful I am to you for that, you showed me what it meant to truly make love. I was floating on a cloud all the next day. You are so special to me--no one's ever ignited my passions before, _ever._You sent me sailing over the edge for the first time in my life...I felt that if I were to die right at that instant, I would be content, for I'd know what it was to be loved."

"Wait a minute," Mike said realizing exactly what it was that Cassy was saying to him. "Are you trying to tell me that you, never?" Much to his surprise she shook her head. "Not even close, hunny bunny?"

"Nope...not even close, Ever. I mean it was always _pleasant_enough, I guess. I had no _idea_what you could bring out in me..." Cassy confessed. Just then the kitchen timer went off. Wow, Mike thought. No wonder it felt like her first time, it was! Amazing. He stood smiling at his sweetie and led her into the kitchen to pull dinner from the smelled wonderful, he thought.

As Mike sat across from his lover, watching her eat, his mind wandered a little voice spoke up 'Could she be...the future Mrs. Ferretti?' Cassandra Ferretti, it did roll off the tongue like liquid silk. Mike smiled at his lover, content for the first time in what seemed like ages. Her red carnation sat in a vase between the candles. Cassy set her fork down and pushed herself away from the table a bit. "Stick a fork in me Junior, I'm done! That was the most incredible..."

Cassy seemed at a loss for words, which was rare. Mike just chuckled.

Sitting on the couch in the living room, Cassy cuddled in his arms. "Beloved." Mike said softly, Cassy smiled at that. "I'm sorry if what I said earlier upset you, I said it wasn't pretty..." Cassy squeezed his paw. "...Yeah, I want you to understand just how happy you have made me. Now that you have an idea of w_hy_I was acting that way...Your love has helped me break the cycle and I feel I can finally move on with my life. And I'd like you to be part of that life, a big part...I love you, Cassandra." She nuzzled his neck, trilling softly.

"You know, that a Promise ring is more than just a symbol of going steady, right?" Mike paused.

"Well sort of, I've never gone steady before, but I like to think it's a special symbol of the special bond we have formed. That we are more than just casually dating..." Cassy searched his face hoping she wasn't misreading this. His reassuring smile was comforting. He nodded.

"Traditionally." He clasped her paw in both of his. "A Promise Ring is given to your betrothed, someone very special to you...And while a young couple could not become engaged to be married, generally that took years to work out between families. It was a pledge, a promise...that the future held hope for the couple. A couple that's serious about each other...Sorry, I'm not explaining this very well." Mike stammered.

"I just don't want to lose you, or frighten you off..."he paused.

Cassy looked deeply into Mike's eyes, "No way. There is no way that you can get rid of me that easily, Mr. Ferretti." Cassy declared. "You're _MY_steady, and if that leads to...well, if that leads to a more serious commitment, then you can expect me to step up to the plate on this one. I don't mind telling you, I hatethat bitch who caused you so much pain. And if I could, I'd track her down and give you her bloody heart in a candy box!" Vexation blazing in her eyes flashing him a quick smile.

"Kel said we've been given a second chance at life, and when I found out you--you liked me, I _wanted_you...I guess we both know what happened that night." Cassy laughed despite her best efforts to remain serious.

"All I'm saying, love is...when and if that time comes, my answer is yes!"

A dispassionate part of Mike's mind marveled at Cassy's ability to utterly floor him. His beautiful, sweet, innocent cuddle bunny just offered to hunt down Lenora and rip her heart out with her bear hands and present it to him in a candy box! Knowing what he did of his family history, Cassandra would fit in quite well with the Ferretti family's penchant for revenge...

"I love you," Mike said around a muzzle splitting grin. "You know, I think you'd actually make good on your threat."

"Damn straight. That snow-furred bitch hurt you bad; nobody hurts my friends like that. Now that you are my steady, I'd give you her head on a silver platter if it would in any way ease your pain. ."

Cassy melted into a comforting hug...that led to kissing...that led to a string of cast off clothing all the way down the hall to the bedroom...

Mike awoke around midnight, Cassy snuggled up against him her arm over his chest. He couldn't for the life of him tell where he ended and she began. Bodies, souls and hearts entwined. Her vehemence shocked him. He knew that she was the one he wanted to grow old with. . Mrs. Cassandra Ferretti. Yup, it had a great ring to it.


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