The hot sand felt so relaxing on his back muscles. He knew he should have put his beach towel down before he lay down, but he had wanted to feel the hot sand on his aching body. In the back of his mind, came a fleeting thought of the sand and seaweed he was going to find in his hair later, but he didn't care. A chuckle came to his lips as he thought of the look that would have passed across Danny's face if he had heard that thought. Danny was always teasing him about his hair.
They had been touring all summer long, he was tired and just wanted a little peace and quiet. No brothers or sisters. No screaming fans. Nothing, just the sound of the waves, and that nice warm sand caressing his back.
He must have fallen asleep to the sound of seagulls and the waves. Something had woke him up, he sat up and looked around. Then he heard what sounded like a scream. His first thought was that some girls had found his resting spot. He looked around for the source of the sound, but did not see any girls. The only thing he saw on the beach near enough to him, was a girl riding a horse. Then he noticed that the horse was coming at him full speed and the girl screamed at him "Get out of the way, I can't stop him."
Keith stood there trying to decide what he should do, as the horse came closer. In the movies they just waited until the horse got real close and made a grab at the reins. He felt a little silly, thinking that, but what the hey, he could at least try. So he crouched down trying to make sure he didn't startle the horse or get run over. And when the horse came close enough he made a grab for the reins. It worked! He had his hand on the reins, and then his arm felt like it was being pulled out of its socket. The horse just kept going, pulling him along. He was trying to keep from getting his feet stepped on. After a few feet the horse slowed down and finally came to stop. The girl jumped off the horse immediately. Keith still had his hand on the reins.
The girl spun around to glare at him. "Not that I don't appreciate you helping, but do you realize how much you could have been hurt?" Keith couldn't think of anything to say. All he could think of was that she had the biggest, greenish eyes he had ever saw. And that she had an English accent. He still hadn't said anything. Suddenly she looked very concerned. "You aren't hurt, are you?" Looking at his hand on the reins.
"Uh, no, why?" He stuttered.
"I was asking questions, and no answers were being given." She smiled. " I do appreciate your stopping the horse. He's not mine and some little kid just over there thought it would be funny to throw a seashell at him. And he just didn't take to it very well." She gave a little laugh. "By the by, my name is Cassandra, but all my friends call me Cassie, as you just bravely saved my life, I'll consider you a friend." She gave that little laugh again.
"It was my pleasure to save fair damsel in distress." Playing along with her game. "My name is Keith. Is that an English accent that I hear?"
Again he came to bear under those green eyes glaring at him. She reached over and grabbed the reins out of his hand and stalked off without a word.
"Hey, wait, what did I do wrong?" He followed beside her.
"I am Australian. It is an insult to suggest I sound like an English." She kept walking.
"Wait, really, you have to forgive this ignorant American." He was trying not to laugh, because it looked like she was really mad at him. " I mean it's not like you have a sign on you stating that you are Australian. And the two countries do…." He trailed to a stop as she spun around and pointed a finger at him. "I think you need to stop right there, sir knight. And you are right; I am making too big a deal of it. It just gets so tiring hearing all the time and I will plead nerves this time, from being on a runaway horse. I'll make a deal with you, I'll forgive you for saying I'm English, if you will forgive a silly girl for throwing a fit about it."
"Deal" Keith stuck his hand out to seal the deal. Cassie took his hand and gave it a firm shake. "Now that all that is settled, where are you off to, fair maiden?" She laughed. "You are a hard one to stay mad at you know?" He gave her that smile that had melted so many girls' hearts. Little did he know but she felt hers flop around in her chest also. She turned her head so that he couldn't see her blush. Goodness, she just met the guy. She must be more shaken up than she thought.
"Are you okay?" it was his turn to be concerned.
"Yes, why?" She replied.
" Well like you said before 'I was asking questions, and no answers were being given'."
"Sorry, I was thinking of what I needed to do first." She knew she was fibbing but she was not going to admit that he had her heart flopping like a fish out of water 5 minutes after they had met. "I need to return the horse first. Then I think I will go back to my friends house and take a nice long bath to relax."
"Cassie, could I get your phone number? I'd like to call you later, you know, just to make sure you get home all right. You know you could just be in shock, and what kind of knight would I be if I didn't check to make sure the fair maiden made it home in perfect shape?"
She laughed. "I actually don't know their number, as I just arrived for a visit 2 days ago. What if I promise to call you? Are you in the phone book?"
He hesitated just for a second. What was her reaction going to be when he told her that he was one of the Partridges? Oh well it was nice while it lasted. "Yes we're in the phone book, last name of Partridge."
"Partridge? Like the bird? Bet you get teased about that one. And I promise to keep all my Partridge jokes to a minimum. Well maybe. I'd better be taking off or they'll have a search party looking for me. And I promise to call this evening."
"I'll wait for your call." He watched as she got back on the horse. "Should you ride him?"
"Oh definitely, have to make sure he knows I'm boss, or he'll never listen to me."
"He wasn't listening to you before."
"Now Keith that was not his fault, remember? I'll be fine, and you only have to worry until I call." With a laugh floating over her shoulder, she took off in the direction she had came from.
He was standing there watching her ride off, when he felt another presence near him. He turned to see Laurie had walked up beside him. "Who was that? Brother dear"
"An Australian girl that had a little problem with her horse." Keith looked back at Laurie. "She didn't even blink an eye when I said our last name was Partridge."
"Keith, didn't you just say she was Australian? She probably hasn't even heard any of our music."
"That's true. I sure hope she calls tonight, she was very nice." He said wistfully.
"She's supposed to call you?" Laurie was trying to keep a straight face, and having trouble doing so. "Why? You need to check on the horse?"
"Laugh it up, funny girl, but I really think we hit it off and I'd like to ask her out. And she did not know the phone number at her friend's house, so I have to hope she calls me. Anyway, were you ready to go home?" Laurie nodded her head. Keith went to pick up his unused towel. And together they walked to his car.
"Can you believe it's only two weeks until school starts again?" Laurie asked Keith, as they hooked their seatbelts.
"What I'm surprised about, is that Rueben doesn't have us working until the very last minute." Keith stated as he started the car.
"I know how that happened. I overheard Mom telling Rueben that he could set the whole summer full of concerts, interviews or whatever he needed within reason and she would try to go along with everything, but she was putting her foot down and demanding that we had at least two weeks to unwind before starting the school season. I guess she remembers how all of us were last year. So here we are with two weeks to blow."
"I sure hope I get to know Australia a little better in the next two weeks." Keith laughed.
"You are hopeless, brother." Laurie told him.
As Keith pulled into the driveway, he saw Rueben parking up front. "Must be dinnertime." Keith laughingly said and pointed at Rueben, as Laurie looked up in question to what he had said. They both laughed at the family joke of Rueben always knowing what time dinner would be. "I wonder what he is doing here now? I thought he was supposed to be in Los Angeles all week." Laurie said.
Keith was right about it being dinner time, as they walked in the front door, Shirley looked around the kitchen wall to see who was coming in, and said " Go wash up, dinner will be done in a few minutes."
Laurie and Keith went upstairs, Rueben had followed them in, but he went straight to the dining room table and sat down.
"Rueben, I thought you said you'd be in Los Angeles all week? Do you want to stay for dinner? We have plenty." Shirley asked him, not waiting for answers in between questions, as she knew what the answer to staying for dinner would be.
"I was supposed to be in LA all week, but something came up which I need to talk to you about and yes I'd like to stay to dinner."
"Whatever it is Rueben, the answer is NO. I kept my part of our deal all summer and now you have to keep up to yours. So unless you are telling me that whatever you were going to ask will be the only thing that can save the world, I don't even want to hear it."
"But Shirley…." He started and quickly shut up when she glared at him. She turned back to finish up dinner. He was going to have to find another way to bring it up.
Dinner was progressing as well as could be expected in the Partridge Family household. Everyone trying to talk at the same time, lots of laughter and general fun to be to be had by all.
Then the phone rang.
Keith was up and out of his chair before anyone else even thought of moving.
"Wow! Where's the fire?" Rueben said.
"We have a fire?" Tracy wanted to know.
"Never mind, sweetheart, Rueben was just joking." Luckily, Tracy did ask any more questions.
Meanwhile Keith had reached the phone.
"Hello?" He turned to face the table. "Danny, its Punky." He put the phone down and slowly walked back to the table.
"Okay, honey, what's up with the mad dash?" Shirley asked with a laugh.
"I met a girl today on the beach and she is supposed to give me a call this evening. So the faster Danny can get off the phone, the happier I will be." Keith explained to his mother, while giving a hint to Danny.
"I don't know just how long we'll be on the phone, Punky has some real interesting news about…." Danny turned to tell Keith.
"Danny, don't tease your brother." Shirley told Danny.
"Mom, this is a serious conversation, money is involved, Punky and I are raising earthworms. We saw this ad in the back of one of Punky's comic books and we've invested…"
"I know what, why don't you run down to Punky's and you can personally check on them, instead of him telling you on the phone, right mom? Doesn't that sound like a good idea?" Keith suggested hopefully.
"Oh all right, Danny you can go down to Punky's, but back home when the streetlights come on." Shirley gave in to avoid the squabble that she could see coming.
"Thanks mom" Keith and Danny said at the same time. Shirley just smiled and shook her head.
Keith took up sentry on the couch. Not that he was fooling anyone, because they all knew that was the closest position to the phone.
"Shirley, I know you told me no before, but could you at least hear what I was going to say?" Rueben tried again.
"Sure, Rueben, just so that you remember what the terms were that I mentioned before." Shirley said with a sigh. He knew he wasn't going to get a better deal from her.
"Okay, Okay, it's not saving the world, but it will be making the family a really big chunk of change, and I do wish you had not let Danny go off this time before I got to tell you." Rueben could not believe that he had admitted that he would have liked Danny to be there. "And if you tell him I said that I will deny it." Everyone laughed.
Keith started walking back over to the table, "So just how do you expect us to earn this big amount of money? Is it legal?"
"Keith! Rueben has never asked us to do anything that would not be in our best interest." Shirley fussed at him. Then turned to Rueben. "It is legal, right?"
"Shirley, not only legal, but the kids will have the time of their life. I got a call from Jose Reyes Perez." He paused for dramatic effect. Nothing. "I can't believe that I am going to say this again, but I sure wish Danny was here, and I'm serious I will deny that I ever said that. Anyway, Mr. Perez is one of the richest men in this state, and he wants the Partridge Family to sing at his daughters Quinceanera."
"What's a quin…quin…. That word Rueben said?" Chris asked.
"It's a really big birthday party they have for a young girls' 15th birthday." Shirley explained. "If you two kids are through eating you can go play in the back yard." They did not wait for a second offer, running out the back door before she changed her mind.
"When is this show and how much are they paying?" Shirley wanted to know. "Her birthday is this weekend and He is offering $25 THOUSAND dollars." He looked at all the shocked faces surrounding him.
Keith sank down into the chair next to Laurie. "And you're sure it's legal." Rueben smiled at them all. "Yes, Yes it is. All you have to do is sing a set of songs that his daughter has picked out. They are all your own songs, just her favorite ones. It's a three hour drive from here, and he has offered your own suite of rooms, which has its own pool, for the whole weekend. Matter of fact he said you can come up anytime this week and stay until the weekend if you'd like, you know be waited on hand and foot, it'll be like a mini vacation. The only time you have to interact with the guests is when you are playing the music set. He only has the one daughter, and the 15th birthday is very important to his family. " Still silence. He looked closely at Shirley, he could tell she was thinking about it and he was wishing he had Danny here again, as he would definitely be on his side. He decided to stay on the safe side and be quiet until Shirley said something. He didn't have long to wait.
"Keith, call Danny and have him come home, we need a family vote." Shirley told him. Keith reached for the phone just as it rang. He jumped, gave a little laugh, and answered, "Hello?"