Cristiãn

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Chapter 13: Food for Thought

“What the hell did you think you were doing?”

Lt. Graham’s boisterous query was ignored by Cassidy. Her mind was too busy formulating the words for what she wanted to say to hear what was being said to her.

“I found it,” Cassidy stressed with a point towards the world beyond the two of them. “The Greenbelt Nine were killed in that warehouse.”

“You mean the warehouse you burned down?” Lt. Graham challenged with a scowl.

“I was attacked,” Cassidy returned defensively. “The fire was set to destroy the evidence.”

“That argument doesn’t help you. If there was evidence in there, it’s gone now, and all I have is your word that it ever existed.”

“So, my report isn’t enough anymore,” Cassidy argued back with an expression of disbelief. “I’m telling you there was a man and a woman inside that warehouse. I didn’t see the woman, but the man had to be six feet tall and strong. He threw me up against the wall like I weighed next to nothing. When I woke up the warehouse was on fire.”

“I can’t prove any of that, Cassidy,” Lt. Graham responded with a look of incredulity. “You know this.”

Cassidy tried to interject a response to this statement but was cut off by Lt. Graham’s continuing rebuke.

“You broke into a warehouse without a warrant. You brought a civilian with you. The building catches fire, started by someone else, you say. And because you don’t have evidence of a crime or probable cause, the owner of the building will undoubtedly be suing the city. How am I supposed to see anything good in that?”

“That back door was open,” Cassidy insisted with ferocity.

Lt. Graham ignored this report and continued with his thought.

“The Captain of the 90th wants to arrest you. Captain Skiles is calling me for answers that he can give to the Commissioner. And I hear he’s on the phone with the Mayor. Damn it, Tremaine, do you have any idea how much of a mess you made?”

Cassidy had no response to this question. She knew that Lt. Graham was not expecting one, and she was not interested in providing one. The complications and legalities associated with this fire was not the thought that was most on her mind. The fact that she had found the site where the Greenbelt Nine had died, the glowing eyes of the man who attacked her and the discovery that his name is Christian were the things that she wanted to talk about.

Cassidy was in a hospital emergency room and seated on an examination table during this berating from Lt. Graham. Her head had incurred a small bump, but the skin did not break. The rest of her person was undamaged. The doctor was keeping her there temporarily as a precaution. He wanted to observe her for a short time. She was more than an hour into this short time when Lt. Graham arrived to voice his dissatisfaction with her.

“So, am I under arrest?” Cassidy questioned after a moment of silence.

“No,” Lt. Graham answered sternly. “But you are suspended. I need your badge and your ID Card.”

Lt. Graham extended his hand, palm up, and waited for Cassidy to surrender what he asked for.

“What?” Cassidy responded with an intonation of shock.

“Suspended,” Lt. Graham repeated with finality. “There’ll be an investigation. And when we find out what we’re dealing with, we’ll let you know when you can come back in, or if.”

Cassidy was stunned by this report. By her thinking, she had just given the department a big clue regarding the deaths of the Greenbelt Nine. Her priority at this moment was to find the owner of the building, and anyone else connected with it, and then interrogate them for answers. It was this thinking that motivated her response.

“What about the Greenbelt Nine?” Cassidy questioned with an astonished look. “We now know where they died. We should be investigating the people connected with that building.”

“How do you know they were in there?” Lt. Graham questioned with a look of bewilderment.

“I saw blood stains,” Cassidy retorted without hesitation.

Lt. Graham gave Cassidy a look of astonishment before responding to her statement.

“How do you know it was the victim’s blood? How do you know it was blood at all?”

“The forensic report said that the victims had strands of mohair on them,” Cassidy commenced to explain with an expression of astonishment. “The bed I saw in that warehouse had a mohair throw blanket on top of it.”

“How do you know it was mohair?” Lt. Graham challenged with a so what expression. “Did you test it?”

“I didn’t have to,” Cassidy returned with a look of annoyance. “They killed them in that warehouse. Albert Haynes didn’t act alone,” she finished with a scowl and with an emphatic intonation.

Lt. Graham gave Cassidy a momentary study, and then he responded to her declaration with a more conciliatory delivery.

“We’ll look into it. But you, Detective Tremaine, you need to go home and leave the rest to us.”

“But this is my case,” Cassidy complained. “I know it; I understand it better than anyone. You need me to put the pieces together.”

“I need you to stay away,” Lt. Graham softly insisted.

Cassidy was just about to repeat her objection when Lt. Graham cut her off.

“Go home. We’ll figure it out. Go home.”

Cassidy took in a deep breath and exhaled it with a look of resignation. She then nodded her intention to comply with the Lieutenant’s instruction, pulled her badge and ID card out of her blazer’s inner pocket and put it in Lt. Graham’s hand. He accepted them both with a nod of his head and a look of regret.

“I’ll get someone to drive you home.”

After giving this notice, Lt. Graham turned to walk away. At that moment, a thought came to Cassidy, and she quickly commenced to communicate it.

“Christian. Look for someone named Christian. I think he may be one of the suspects I listed in the case file. If he is then Christian may be a nickname or an alias.”

Lt. Graham had taken two steps when he stopped and turned around to hear this. When Cassidy finished speaking he asked a parting a question.

“Anything else?”

Cassidy gave the question a momentary thought. She was tempted to tell him about the eyes of the man that attacked her. She paused to consider how that answer would be received. She weighed the possibility that the bump to the head affected her eyesight. Shortly she concluded that the answer was best left unsaid.

“No, nothing else.”

Lt. Graham accepted this answer and walked away. Another ten minutes passed and the doctor came in and gave Cassidy’s eyes a quick exam and asked a few questions. He quickly became satisfied with what he saw and heard and dismissed her to go home. In turn, Cassidy took no delay in making her exit. She was striding out the emergency room entrance within a minute of her release. But she encountered an impediment waiting at her car.

“How are you feeling?” David questioned as Cassidy moved within ten feet of him.

David Burrell was leaning against Cassidy’s car when she approached it. Cassidy first saw him at thirty yards distant, but this had no effect in the gate of her approach. She stopped in front of him a moment after he spoke.

“I’m okay,” Cassidy returned behind a kind demeanor. “The doctor said I suffered a mild brain trauma. I think that’s code for I bumped my head.”

“So, you’re okay, no dizziness, no headaches?”

“I have a slight tender spot,” Cassidy reported with a smile and while touching the back of her head. “But other than that, I’m fine. What are you doing here?”

“I’m waiting for you,” David answered with a carefree inflection.

David had spent a brief time on the examination table too. The doctor’s concern was for possible damage to his lungs from smoke inhalation. He was quickly convinced that David had endured the fumes without any ill effects and was fit to leave. After the doctor finished with him the police spent more than half an hour questioning David about the fire and his role in the incident. He soon convinced them that he was just a bystander and not a participant and was released to go his way. From the end of this questioning by the police to this moment he did nothing but wait for Cassidy.

“You could have left,” Cassidy returned with a flare of exasperation. “There was no reason for you stay.”

“I wanted to be sure that you were okay,” David returned with a look of concern. “And I also promised a Lt. Graham that I would drive you home.”

Cassidy’s good humor fell away behind the last part of this report. She could see David’s concern for her in his expression, but this plan for him to drive her home was the last thing she expected to hear.

“I’m fine,” Cassidy countered with a mild look of annoyance. “I can drive myself.”

“You were unconscious,” David disputed with a smile. “Are you sure you should be driving?”

“I’m fine,” Cassidy replied with an emphatic intonation.

Cassidy ignored David after giving this answer and commenced to unlock her car door. David stepped back from the car and watched as she did this. After opening the door, she stopped to look back at him and voice a question.

“Do you need a lift back to your car?”

Cassidy recalled that he left his car at the precinct.

“It’s already been taken care of,” David answered nonchalantly. “My assistant manager at the club is collecting it as we speak.”

“Is he bringing it here?” Cassidy questioned with a look of concern.

“No, he’s taking it to the club,” David answered with a smirk. “Are you going my way?”

Cassidy did not have to think about this request. In her mind, David was her responsibility. Driving him to his club felt like the very least that she could do for him.

“Get in.”

They were more than three minutes into their trip when the first word between them was spoken.

“You want to talk about it?”

Cassidy’s first acknowledgement of the question came in the form of an inquisitive look to her right. After that she responded with a question.

“About what?”

“It looked like something inside that warehouse shook you up rather badly,” David countered with a concerned look.

“I’m over it,” Cassidy answered with a distant look and a slight shake of her head.

There was a brief silence between them. David waited on Cassidy’s far off look to produce an addendum to her response. Cassidy awakened from her revelry with a blink of her eyelids and a pronounced inhale, and then she spoke.

“I was suspended,” Cassidy reported with a succinct delivery.

“How can they do that?” David questioned with a surprise. “You were attacked.”

Cassidy gave his reply a smile and a shake of her head before responding to it.

“Well, it doesn’t look good when you’re caught in the field working a case while you’re on desk duty. And to make matters worse, you enter a building illegally, it catches fire and you have nothing to show for it.”

“So, the bump on your head doesn’t count for anything?” David questioned behind a mildly astonished expression.

“I’m afraid not,” Cassidy answered behind a chuckle and a shake of her head.

David gave this answer a moment of thought and then asked the question that came to mind.

“So, what are you going to do?”

“There’s nothing I can do,” Cassidy replied without hesitation. “Two other detectives will look into the owner of the warehouse, and hopefully they’ll find answers.”

“Well, that sucks,” David responded with a smile and a shrug.

“Yeah,” Cassidy agreed behind a return smile. “It sucks a lot.”

Their mutual smiles suddenly turned into brief laughter. They relaxed into wide smiles behind this and then into a prolonged silence. It was the most comfortable that Cassidy had ever felt in David’s company. For her it felt like she had a partner again. The fact that he was a civilian was the only thing constraining her from speaking about what she saw in the warehouse.

The possible connections between the name she heard in the warehouse, the writing in the Romanian cave and the glowing eyes was not a thought that Cassidy immediately entertained. Her mind continued to have trouble seriously considering the idea of vampires existing. In the past, all her thoughts along this line came back to the same conclusion, this is ridiculous. Her mind began pondering this notion again when the levity between her and David passed. It was not a serious consideration, and she stopped thinking about it when David started talking again.

“Can we have our lunch now, Detective Tremaine,” David asked behind a placid demeanor and a fixed stare.

Cassidy was caught off guard by the question. She anticipated that they would separate and that she would see or hear nothing of him for several days to come, at the earliest. The idea that he wanted to complete their lunch date was the last thing she expected. But the fact that he was asking her after all that had happened amused her enough to generate a smile.

“I think it’s a little late for lunch,” Cassidy deflected with a smile.

“Not if you haven’t eaten one,” David suggested without hesitation.

Cassidy had hoped that her comment on the time would put him off this idea. His challenge to it frightened her even more.

“I don’t have time,” Cassidy answered with a smile and slight shake of her head.

“It sounds to me like you have plenty of time,” David disputed without hesitation.

Cassidy released a brief chuckle behind hearing this. She knew that David was pointing out that the suspension had cleared her calendar. But this fact did not stop her from wanting to evade the invitation. A sensation of fear began to well up within her. The idea of being alone with David, without police business between them, made her feel uneasy. And she knew this feeling arose from the fact that she was very much attracted to him.

“I need to get home,” Cassidy deflected while looking away. “I have the children and…”

“No you don’t,” David interjected casually.

“Excuse me,” Cassidy retorted with a sharp look towards David.

“Today is the start of the first full weekend of the month,” David explained behind a placid expression. “If I remember correctly their father has custody starting this evening.”

Cassidy was aware of this even before she declined David’s invite, but she was more than a little surprised that he was aware of it. It took her a moment of thought to remember that she mentioned this to him when they met last. For a moment, she was angered by the temerity of his challenge, but this feeling quickly subsided into resignation.

“I have house work I can be doing,” Cassidy proffered as an alternative to caring for her kids.

David gave this report a smile and then responded to it behind a restrained grin.

“So, your plan is to go home to an empty house?”

“My plans are my own, Mr. Burrell,” Cassidy countered with a flash of temper.

David took a pause while maintaining a calm deportment. At the end of this he spoke to Cassidy in a manner that suggested he was worried for her.

“Are you afraid of me, Detective Tremaine?”

Cassidy took immediate offense to the idea she was afraid of him. She found the question even more demeaning because of the way it was asked. Despite this feeling, she was determined not to let her composure slip again.

“Why would I be afraid of you?” Cassidy asked behind an almost smug expression.

“Because you’re attracted to me and…”

Cassidy quickly cut in before David could finish his thought.

“I have found men attractive before, Mr. Burrell,” Cassidy countered with a flare of defiance. “They didn’t frighten me and neither do you.”

David paused to give Cassidy a thoughtful study. After this he inhaled and exhaled with a hint of a sigh, and then he spoke with all the warmth that he could express.

“Have lunch with me, Detective?”

With some loss of resolve in her expression, Cassidy gave the request a thought while taking a deep breath in and letting it out. David took advantage of this moment to clarify his intention.

“It’s just lunch.”

At that moment, Cassidy could not bring herself to say no. The thought of doing so just to avoid being alone with this man seemed to gall her somehow.

“Okay,” Cassidy answered with an inflection of decisive finality.

Her acceptance was the result of feeling rushed to say something and a desire to not look like a frightened little girl. An instant after saying it she began to feel regret. Becoming a victim of this man’s charms was the one thing that she did not want to happen. She could not help but feel that it was beneath the dignity of her position as an NYPD Detective to swoon to the attention of a good looking and prosperous man. This resistance to losing her detachment for want of a man’s affection was operating at full blast when it came to David. And she knew this was so because of a feeling inside that was screaming at her to say yes to whatever he asked.

“Good,” David responded with a pleasant smile and a nod.

Cassidy pushed away her confusion with a deep breath, accepted that this lunch date was going to happen and then turned her attention to the here and now.

“So, where are we going?”

“Well,” David began with a pondering expression. “My reservation with Nobu has probably expired. So…”

David paused his answer so that he could give the question a little more thought and then spoke with a smile.

“You like fish?”

“Yeah, why?” Cassidy questioned with a look of curiosity.

David dismissed her question in favor of what he needed to say.

“Take a left up here.”

“Where are we going?” Cassidy asked as she negotiated the turn.

“We need to make a stop,” David explained while looking pleased with himself.

Cassidy was sure that she did not care for where this was going. But this was the feeling that she had from the start, and she gave little thought to this small addition. She quietly followed his instructions for another five minutes. At the end of this time they were at Union Square and David told her to park. Cassidy noted the Whole Foods Market sign before she parked the car. Her first comment came when they stepped onto the sidewalk.

“Are we eating here?”

“No,” David returned with a smile. “We’re going shopping.”

“Shopping?” Cassidy challenged with an expression of surprise.

“I recall you not having much faith in my cooking,” David hinted out with a smile.

Cassidy gave the remark a moment of thought before speaking to it with a shake of her head.

“I never said that.”

“I want to impress you, Detective Tremaine,” David explained with a smile. “Please let me.”

Cassidy gave the request a moment of thought, and then she started speaking her reply.

“Mr. Burrell, I don’t…”

David interrupted Cassidy’s thought just as she started to speak it.

“David, you promised to call me by my first name on our lunch date.”

Cassidy paused behind this correction so that she could smile and shake her head with bewilderment.

“How long is this going take, David?” Cassidy continued along a different tack.

“Trust me, it will be worth the wait,” David assured,

Cassidy had given a brief thought to disputing this plan because she needed to get home for her children’s handoff to their father. She quickly rationalized that it was easier to just go along with the plan. This decision was supported by her understanding that time was in truth not a problem, and by a growing reluctance to say no to David.

Anticipating that her time with David was going to last well past the 4 o’clock hour, Cassidy stopped outside of the store and made calls to James and Sarah; her neighbor. Within a few minutes’ time she had arranged for James to pick up John and Cynthia at her neighbor’s home. David waited on her to finish these calls before commencing his guide through the store. The number of people inside the store was less than half of the weekend crowd, but this was still enough to make the market a busy place. With a shopping basket in one hand David regaled Cassidy on the various produces and provisions within the market. He strolled through the store at a leisurely pace, stopping many times to identify something and to talk a little about its origin and history.

In the beginning, Cassidy was not particularly interested in the store, but this quickly changed. David’s colorful, and at times amusing, telling of the market’s history and its contents became a source of entertainment. She followed him from site to site as he stopped for samples of fruits and vegetables, fresh baked breads, mustards, sauces and cheeses. He always insisted that she try a sample, and invariably she did.

“This is the cheapest date I’ve ever been on,” Cassidy slyly commented behind a wide smile.

“Oh, this isn’t lunch,” David disputed with a feigned look of shock. “This is an adventure.”

“You could have fooled me,” Cassidy returned with a chuckle.

She had no sooner said this when David’s attention quickly turned to something new that caught his eye.

“Come over here, let’s try the homemade guacamole.”

Cassidy followed his lead with a look of amusement for David’s passion for the foods and the flavors. She was soon enthralled by the whole experience. The energy of the crowd of people and the smell of the victuals soon mingled with David’s enthusiastic descriptions and narratives. Half way through their time in the store her reserve fell away. Her enjoyment with their exploration of the store replaced all her discomfort at being there with David. She began to ask questions and point out locations that she wanted to explore. She became as committed as he with their expedition inside the Whole Foods Store.

In little more than half an hour’s time David completed his shopping. During their time in the market he acquired two halibut steaks, a pineapple, limes, asparagus spears and a baguette of French bread. When they returned to the car Cassidy did not wait for instructions before moving it. She assumed that David would be preparing this meal at his club. When he directed her to turn in a direction that went away from there, she discovered that this assumption was a wrong.

“Where are we going?” Cassidy questioned with a glance to her right.

“I’m going to cook for you, Detective.”

“Yes, but I thought we were going to your club.” Cassidy challenged with a mixed expression of confusion and suspicion.

“No, I would just be in the way there,” David explained casually. “And that’s not my kitchen.”

“You know; I really think we should call it an afternoon. The market was fun and filling, and it’s too late for lunch anyway.”

“Then we’ll call it dinner,” David quickly countered. “It’ll take me an hour to prepare it. Your appetite should return by then, and I promise not to make you eat all of your vegetables.”

Cassidy had no immediate reply to this, but it was clear to David that her mind was pondering one. After a pause to note this he spoke again with a smirk.

“Relax, Detective Tremaine, I promise not to bite.”

David’s teasing remark made Cassidy feel like a little girl again. This was the effect on her that he alone had at this time in her life. This was the thing about him that she found most annoying. In reaction to his jibe her resolved stiffened, and she spoke back with an impudent retort.

“What about your club?”

“It can function for one night without me,” David answered with barely a thought given to the reply.

Cassidy was irritated by the ease of his response, but she kept the expression of this mostly contained. She did this out of a need to avoid looking as if she was afraid of him and to prove this to herself. For the next five minutes Cassidy followed his lead to the underground parking of a fifteen-floor condominium complex on 5th Avenue. She did this in silence up until the moment they stepped out of the car.

“Wow! We do live well,” Cassidy commented smugly.

“I try to,” David returned as he led Cassidy to the elevator.

The building was built in the 1930s. The interior was well maintained and upgraded to the standards of the day. This included an upgrade from a manual to an automatic elevator. David stepped out of the elevator at the eighth floor. Cassidy followed his lead. After a short walk, David arrived at his condominium door and opened it. He invited Cassidy in and stepped through behind her.

“Let me take your coat,” David offered after closing the door.

Cassidy peeled off her trench coat and then her blazer. In doing this she unveiled the tan, long sleeved pullover blouse with the high scoop neckline that she was wearing beneath it. The blouse was tucked into her pants, and her holster minus the pistol was clipped to her belt at the backside of her right hip. David took Cassidy’s coats and laid them in a chair in the hall. After doing this he guided Cassidy into the living room.

“Make yourself at home,” David invited.

Cassidy walked into a large spacious room that was sparsely decorated with elegant furniture. She slowly wandered across the living-room and towards the large bay windows as though she was compelled. When she reached the window the view of Central Park on the other side of it held her captivated. As she did this David took the groceries into the kitchen. He then went into the master bedroom, removed his suitcoat and tie and unfastened the top button to his shirt. After this he went back into the kitchen, opened a chardonnay, partially filled a wine glass with it and conveyed it into the living room.

“Do you like the view?” David asked as he presented the glass of wine to Cassidy.

“Your home is very attractive, Mr. . . . David,” Cassidy reported in a conciliatory tone.

David accepted the compliment with a brief smile and a nod of his head. He then turned about, went to his stereo system and started a digital mix of music from an assortment of artists. A few of the names in this list were Spandau Ballet, Stevie Wonder, Duran-Duran, Elton John, the Eurythmics, Celine Dion and Whitney Huston.

“Fill free to explore,” David suggested with a slight head and shoulder bow. “Our lunch slash dinner will be ready in about an hour.”

Cassidy agreed to this with a nod and then watched as David went back into the kitchen. She then took him up on his offer and began trailing through the condominium at her leisure.

The condo was meticulously clean and devoid of clutter. The style of the décor was Art Deco and the colors were light and bright. The condo had two bedrooms and three bathrooms.

“Did you choose the furnishings?” Cassidy called out as she examined the master bedroom.

“No,” David returned from the kitchen. “I hired an interior decorator. Why? Is there a problem with the décor?”

“No, no problem,” Cassidy answered in a casual voice. “I was just curious.”

Cassidy continued to look around. After a few minutes, she came to linger in front of family photos hanging in the hall. She noted several people who looked to be twenty or more years older than David in one or more of the pictures.

“Are these pictures of your family?” Cassidy asked.

“Yes,” David called out.

“No sisters or brothers…?” Cassidy questioned back.

“No just me, I’m an only child.”

Cassidy wandered into the kitchen after hearing this. She stopped there with her glass of wine in hand before voicing her response to his answer.

“That explains it.”

“Explains what,” David questioned with a look towards Cassidy.

“You’re the only child of a wealthy family,” Cassidy explained with a smug little smile. “I bet they pampered you, sent you to best schools and tried to give you every advantage.”

David continued with his work preparing the meal as he gave his response from behind a smile.

“Is that a bad thing?”

“I don’t know,” Cassidy returned while giving David a studied look. “I suppose that depends on the person he grows up to be.”

David paused for several seconds to give thought to Cassidy’s words. At the end of this he smiled without looking at her and responded in a self-deprecating tone.

“I fear I won’t measure out well when you consider me that way.”

“Why is that?” Cassidy questioned with an inquisitive inflection.

“I think my parents had grand ambitions for me. I doubt my decision to become an entrepreneur businessman solely devoted to expanding my financial portfolio was what they had in mind.”

“I was talking about who you are inside,” Cassidy explained softly.

“I know,” David returned along with a smile and a look her way. “But who you are inside is a decision you make every day. It’s the past that you can’t change.”

“Do you have a past that you want to change?” Cassidy asked behind a look of curiosity.

“If only I could,” David responded with a look of reflection.

The sincerity in David’s voice interested Cassidy more than his words. Despite this she chose not to pry into the motivation behind it. After taking a moment to come to this decision she changed the subject to the meal, its ingredients and its preparation. David reveled in this conversation and explained the process of preparing it every step along the way.

It was half past six in the evening when Cassidy and David sat down for their lunch/dinner. They faced each other from the far ends of a six-seat table. It was situated in the dining area to the left of the bay windows. Outside of the condo the sun was low in the sky and the streets of the city were shrouded with shadows from the buildings that bordered them. Cassidy was uncomfortable with the intimacy of the event. Being alone with any date was enough to make her uneasy. David brought her unease to a whole new height, and she knew this was because of her intense attraction to him.

There was little talk between them as they ate. On one occasion David inquired about the taste of the meal, and Cassidy returned that it was delicious. They spoke on the disposition of Cassidy’s job and her aspirations for the future. She reciprocated by inquiring into David’s long term goals. An hour after sitting down at the table they were out of food and conversation.

“I should go,” Cassidy hesitantly declared after a moment of silence.

“Okay,” David concurred politely.

David rose from his chair and stepped away from the table. His demeanor was calm, and there was no evidence in his expression that he was opposed to this decision. But this appearance did nothing to relieve Cassidy’s anxiety over the moment of their parting. She knew that this dread was not emblematic of a reluctance to go. Her fear had everything to do with a concern that he might ask her to stay, and she had no idea what her response would be to that.

“Uh, thank you for the dinner slash lunch,” Cassidy announced as she got up from her chair.

“My pleasure,” David responded with a serene stance.

Cassidy hesitated for a moment with an indecisive stare. Her breathing went shallow and her heart thumped in her chest as she weighed and measured every nuance of David’s manner. Scenarios and machinations raced through her mind. What does this mean? What is he suggesting? After an awkward moment of silence, she turned and started for the door. David followed a step behind and to the left.

“Let me get that for you,” David instructed as he stepped forward of her and gathered up her coats.

David held up the blazer so that Cassidy could slip into it, and this she did. When she turned around they were inches apart and Cassidy froze. Her eyes locked in on his, and she caught her breath.

“So, Detective Tremaine, did I pass the audition?” David questioned with a faint smile.

The nearness of David befuddled Cassidy. She failed to understand the question let alone produce an answer for it. The best she could do is repeat it with a look of confusion.

“Audition?”

“Do I get a second date?” David asked with a more pronounced smile.

“Oh,” Cassidy gushed with a sudden awareness. “I—I, you don’t want to date me, Mr. Burrell. We…”

“David,” he interjected before Cassidy could finish.

Cassidy was addled by David’s sudden correction. Shortly her mind recovered and went into a frantic search for an excuse to say no. But she had trouble finding a reason that could bring her to say the word. Suddenly the act of rejecting David’s attentions was more terrifying to her than the act of giving in to them. This confusion held her in a state of indecision. She stared into David’s eyes while he stood a foot away. At this moment, she felt weak. Her mind and body felt as if they were powerless to stop him from taking her then and there. Her breathing came out in soft pants. Shortly her mind began to reason out an excuse, a lie, a deception to convince him to set her free. She thought that he might retract his request if he believed her to be gay. She took a deep breath to fortify herself to deliver this subterfuge, and then she froze. The decision to say it failed to be of sufficient conviction to enable her to speak the words.

“Stay.” David whispered into the silence between them.

This word ignited a flare-up of terror inside Cassidy. She took a step back with a look of shock on her face, and then she spoke without thinking.

“I—I have to go.”

As she said these words, Cassidy turned around towards the door with her trench coat in hand. She immediately reached for the knob.

“No, you don’t,” David countered as he reached past her and secured the door shut with his hand.

Cassidy leaned against the door, breathless and terrified across the span of a short pause. At the end of this time she dropped her trench coat, spun around, threw her arms about David’s neck and kissed him on the lips with all the passion that she could deliver. He, in turn, reached his arms around Cassidy’s waist and pulled her off the floor and into a bear hug and then pinned her against the door. After a couple of seconds Cassidy pulled back from her kiss, tilted her head the opposite way and hungrily renewed the connection. An instant after this David turned around and walked them both back into the living room. Cassidy’s kissing grew more frenetic as they went on. Time and again she kissed and released and then kissed again. There were no more words between them. The nature of their association was all about physical gratification. There was no thinking to be voiced or words to be said. What they wanted to do to each other commanded the whole of their mental faculties.

David set Cassidy down on her feet, grasped the collar of her blazer and began to peel it off her. Cassidy quickly dropped her arms to assist in this effort while desperately trying to keep her lips onto his. She wiggled out of the blazer in just over two seconds and then threw her arms back around David’s neck. For half a minute, they stood in the middle of the living room kissing and re-kissing, grabbing and clutching. The pace of their love-play showed no signs of decreasing as they tangled and re-tangled their embrace. At the end of this time David unbuckled Cassidy’s belt and then her pants. He pulled her blouse out of her trousers and then reached beneath it to caress her bare skin. Shortly after that he reached up and cupped her head between his hands. As he did this Cassidy brought her hands down to his chest and began to rip his shirt open a button at a time. When she came to the last exposed button she started unbuckling his belt and then his pants. Shortly into this David scooped her up into his arms and hurried away towards the master bedroom. Cassidy feverishly kissed and caressed his neck with her lips as they went.

In the master bedroom David tossed Cassidy onto the bed and then began to peel off his shirt, popping off the remaining two buttons as he did. Cassidy matched his effort by pushing herself up into a kneel atop the bed, pulling her blouse up over her head and then off. She threw it on the floor beside the bed. An instant behind this she unclipped her holster and threw it on the floor. As she did this David began pulling his shoes and socks off in haste. He did this while balancing himself on one foot and then the other. Cassidy followed his lead. She laid back on the bed, brought her left foot up over her and started untying the ankle high boot she was wearing. David joined in on this several seconds into the effort. He grabbed Cassidy’s left boot and pulled it off her foot. He then grabbed the right boot and began untying it. Cassidy pulled off the sock on her left foot and then reached over to assist David with her right boot. A few seconds later the right boot was off Cassidy’s foot. She followed that with the quick removal of the sock. An instant behind this David pulled down his pants and underwear in one motion and stepped clear of them. Cassidy noted this with a look of surprise that froze her for an instant. She then began to wiggle out of her own pants. David grabbed the bottom of her trousers and pulled them off her in one tug. As he threw the pants onto the floor, Cassidy scurried up into a kneel at the head of the bed and then froze again. She took a second to fixate on David, and then she unfastened her bra, slipped it off and tossed it to the floor. She stopped again behind a bewildered look. As she did this David began to crawl up onto the bed. She followed him with her eyes and watched as he grabbed her by the legs and pulled them out from under her. Cassidy fell back onto the bed. Her eyes stayed fixed on David, and her breath came out in deep pants. After another short pause to exchange stares, David reached down and slid Cassidy’s panties down from her hips and along the length of her legs while raising her feet up toward the ceiling. When she was free of them he threw them to the floor. He hesitated a moment to assess her, and then he leaned down between her legs until he was straddled over her with his arms. Cassidy moaned at the feel of his erection. She moaned louder when he put it in her. Over the next hour, they made love twice, and through it all they did not exchange a word between them.

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