Cristiãn

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Chapter 14: Weekend in Paradise

Cassidy and David had made love four times over the course of the night. By 1 AM the exertion of these acts had them both exhausted and they fell off into a deep sleep. It was the motion of David climbing out of bed that awakened her at shortly past five in the morning. She waited until he came out of the bathroom to ask the question that came into her mind now.

“So, what number am I?”

David was halfway between the bed and the bathroom door when he heard this.

“What do you mean?” David queried back.

“You must have had other women in this bed,” Cassidy challenged while she laid naked and prone beneath the bedspread. “What number am I.”

“You’re the first,” David answered in a soft voice.

Cassidy took a moment to consider this answer as she studied David. She paid no attention to the fact that he was standing nude in the middle of the room. Her interest was in seeing something in his manner that suggested he was lying, but she saw nothing to indicate this.

“Well maybe not this bed then,” Cassidy conceded with a hint of reluctance. “But you have been with other women in other beds?”

“A few,” David agreed with a nod. “But they were different.”

“Different how?” Cassidy asked with a trace of suspicion in her voice.

David took a pause to give the question a smile that bordered on a smirk. He then responded to it from behind a comforting demeanor.

“I didn’t seduce them. I allowed them to seduce me.”

Cassidy thought about this reply for a moment and then responded with a shrug.

“And how is that different?”

“I like you, Detective,” David reported softly. “And I want you to like me.”

This answer did not ease Cassidy’s suspicions. Her defenses were up, and she interpreted subterfuge in everything she heard. The possibility that he was sincere in what he said was not a consideration. The worry that he was being insincere caused her to be overly defensive.

“And how many women have you said that to?” Cassidy questioned with feigned indifference.

David responded to Cassidy’s fear that she was just another conquest with a half turn of his person to face her and a pause. He then moved over to the bed, kneeled onto the floor and looked into her eyes at nearly the same level. He took a second pause, and then he spoke with an endearing intonation and with a gentle shake of his head.

“None. You’re the first.”

Cassidy was touched enough by this response to catch her breath. She pushed her head and shoulders up from the bed with her forearms and took a moment to examine his face. Shortly she found relief in his expression. This prompted her to ask the question that she was most invested in emotionally.

“Can I believe you?”

David took a moment to give Cassidy a smile while he stared into her eyes. He leaned in behind this, gave her a soft kiss on the lips and then whispered an answer to her query behind a snicker.

“When it comes to how I feel, you’re one of the few people who can, Detective Tremaine.”

All resistance fell away behind this answer. Cassidy’s hope that he spoke the truth displaced her worry that he did not. She took a moment to gaze back into his eyes and then gave him a smile and a response.

“Cassidy—call me Cassidy.”

“Cassidy,” David spoke as he reached over, placed his hand on her cheek and softly caressed her lips with his thumb. “I would never deliberately hurt you.”

Cassidy took some solace from this report and faintly smiled despite her worry. She held a hopeful gaze on him as he looked at her. The connection broke when he abruptly leaned forward and took her into a passionate kiss. Cassidy reciprocated the affection by pulling him into her embrace. David pushed up from his kneel and tumbled into the bed with her. They rolled into a tangle of arms and legs. Their kissing quickly turned into sex. Twenty minutes later they were half asleep in each other’s arms.

At shortly past seven-thirty in the morning Cassidy stirred to consciousness while lying nestled atop David’s chest. The sunlight filtering through the curtains was proving to be too much of an annoyance to her. All of Cassidy’s efforts to remain comfortably situated inside David’s embrace were failing. She grumbled at the sight of it and put her hands over her eyes.

“What do you want for breakfast,” David asked.

“Don’t bother,” Cassidy moaned back. “I should be going home.”

“No, you’re not leaving,” David countered with jest in his tone. “I’m not letting you go anywhere.”

“I have to go,” Cassidy disputed with a laugh. “My family is going to be looking for me.”

“I have a phone,” David advised with a mocking inflection.

Cassidy knew that her location was not hampering communication with her relations. Five times she heard the rumble of her cellphone’s vibration late yesterday afternoon and evening. She had little doubt that the caller was either one of her parents or one of her brothers. She suspected that there might have been one or more calls while she was asleep, and she had no doubt there would be more this morning. Her reason for thinking she should go home was David. She was not ready to explain him to her family. She was not sure who she was to him or vice versa.

Cassidy knew that her parents and siblings were already aware that she did not go straight home from work yesterday. Her home phone would have been the first number they tried. And they would have likely tried it repeatedly yesterday evening. By going home this morning she believed there was a chance of avoiding any question about where she spent the night. This was not a major concern for her, but it was in her nature to avoid questions about things that she was not inclined to freely communicate.

“I have a life, relatives, friends, waiting for me at home,” Cassidy tossed out evasively. “I should get back to that.”

“You have a weekend that you can use any way you want,” David countered as he pushed himself up onto one arm and turned toward her. “Spend it with me. Your friends and family will still be there when you go home Monday morning. I promise.”

Cassidy was flattered by the invite and expressed this with a wide smile. She did not expect him to be willing to spend his entire weekend with her and away from his club. This was, in her mind, another indication of his affection for her. Shortly she was unable to contain her delight. She giggled briefly and then she sat up and kissed him. She returned to reality when they broke from this embrace.

“I have nothing to wear.”

“Mi armario es tu armario,” (My closet is your closet) David replied with a wide smile.

Cassidy grinned behind this before responding with a one-word reply.

“Really.”

“Absolutely,” David insisted just before grabbing Cassidy by the waist, pulling her down in the bed and commencing to smooch her neck.

For several seconds, Cassidy giggled under the caresses of David’s kisses. She then pushed him back with a grin.

“So, what are we supposed to do here, just the two of us, for the whole weekend?” Cassidy asked behind a barely contained grin.

David took a moment to pretend like he was pondering the question.

“I believe I have a Parcheesi board in my storage closet,” David said with a frown.

Cassidy snickered at this suggestion and then shook her head with a wide smile.

“No?” David questioned with a look of surprise. “Well, I’m sure I have a deck of cards around here somewhere,” he continued from behind a confused expression.

“I don’t think so,” Cassidy declined from behind a restrained grin.

“Are you sure?” David questioned with a confused look. “Gin Rummy is a very diverting game.”

Cassidy shook her head. She was too busy holding in a compulsion to laugh to verbally respond.

“Wow! No cards either,” David complained with fake dismay.

Cassidy lost control and briefly let out her laugh. David returned her laugh with a silent grin and then proceeded to speak with a new thought behind a contrived look of seriousness.

“Well then in that case, we’ll just have to spend the weekend in bed.”

David nestled in on Cassidy’s neck and began to smooch her there. She giggled under his attention there. Seconds later he adjusted his interest down to her breast. Cassidy laughed for a short time more and the spoke to this plan.

“So, your plan is to keep me naked in your bed?”

David stopped his fondling of Cassidy’s breast and moved up to look at her face to face.

“Pretty much, yes,” David concurred with a smile and a nod of his head.

David followed this with a soft kiss on the tip of her nose, her chin and a cheek. He then nestled in on her neck again. Cassidy suppressed a laugh and released a moan under this attention. Seconds later she found his lips with hers and kissed him back. They continued this exchange for several seconds and then David broke the connection so that he could speak.

“Spend the weekend with me, Cassidy,” David whispered into her face from an inch away.

Cassidy gave David a smile and then a soft kiss before responding.

“Okay, but I’m not spending it in bed.”

David returned her smile with a look of elation. He then kissed her on the lips, jumped out of the bed and raced into the bathroom while querying Cassidy for a breakfast selection. Cassidy lounged in the bed while David showered and brushed his teeth. When he finished doing this he put on a clean pair of underpants, slacks and shirt. He then took another kiss from Cassidy and went into the kitchen to prepare her selection.

Cassidy climbed out of bed and took her turn in the bathroom shortly after David left. Twenty-minutes later she came out with a towel wrapped around her torso and her hair. In the bedroom, she noted the smells of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee was wafting in the air, but she paid no special attention to this. Her thoughts were on the question of what clothes to wear. The idea of wearing what she wore yesterday was not unthinkable for Cassidy, but she was only prepared to do this if she was leaving for home. Now that her plan was to stay she wanted to be attired in something comfortable and clean. She targeted David’s wardrobe for a solution to that question.

Cassidy’s cellphone began to vibrate just as she pulled a pair of pajamas out of the bottom dresser drawer. She first turned to the cellphone with a start, and then she went to it in a rush. She anticipated it would be someone in her family and that they were eager to speak with her because of the warehouse fire, her suspension and her absence from home. None of these were subjects that were high on her list of things to talk about, the least of these was her absence from home. But she was eager to dispel any concerns they might have about her wellbeing.

“Hi Mom,” Cassidy answered after hearing her mother’s voice on the phone.

“Are you alright?” A startled Margaret questioned through the phone connection.

“I’m fine, Mom,” Cassidy assured.

“We heard you were in the hospital and the department suspended you,” Margaret commenced to prattle. “And then you didn’t go home. The whole family has been worried sick. We’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday evening.”

“I’m fine,” Cassidy insisted for a second time.

“But where are you?”

Cassidy inferred from that question that her mother knew she was not at home at that moment. She was not surprised by this. She thought it was likely that her parents and one or both of her brothers attempted to call her there this morning. But the question made it clear to Cassidy that there was no need in her pretending to be at home.

“I spent the night with a friend,” Cassidy explained with an air of indifference.

“And you didn’t think to call someone so that we would know that you’re alright,” Margaret challenged with an inflection of disbelief.

“It just happened,” Cassidy retorted defensively. “It wasn’t planned, Mom. I just lost track of the time.”

“Did you lose your phone too?” Margaret continued to dispute with incredulity in the tone of her voice.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” Cassidy insisted with emphatic finality. “I promise the next time I get suspended and decide to spend the night with a friend I will call you.”

“Okay, okay honey, I’m sorry,” Margaret responded in a conciliatory tone. “I was worried. But you’re okay?”

“Yes Mom, I’m fine” Cassidy advised in a passive voice.

“So, why were you in the hospital?” Margaret questioned with an intonation of worry.

“I fell, Mom. That’s all. It’s nothing…”

Before Cassidy could finish her sentence, David popped into the bedroom doorway with a message.

“Your breakfast is going to get cold if you don’t…”

David stopped short when he saw Cassidy put her hand over the mouthpiece of her cellphone.

“Who was that?” Margaret questioned her daughter an instant after hearing David’s voice through the phone connection.

David whispered out an apology as he backed out of the doorway with a mildly stunned expression. Cassidy paid no notice to this. She was too busy being attentive to the question that her mother was putting to her.

“That’s my friend,” Cassidy confessed hesitantly.

“A man,” Margaret declared rather than questioned.

“Yes, Mom. My friend is a man.”

“Oh,” Margaret returned with a smile in her voice.

There was a moment of silence between mother and daughter. During this time, Cassidy braced herself for her mother’s next set of words.

“So, when will you be returning home?” Margaret questioned with a mixture of amusement and interest in her voice.

“I don’t know, Mom,” Cassidy answered with more than a hint in her voice that she was annoyed by the question.

“Well, can I call you at home this evening?” Margaret pried with a pleasing delivery.

“You know, Mom,” Cassidy countered with an inflection of exasperation for the conversation. “I think I should call you.”

There was another moment of silence, and then Margaret responded with a mischievously spoken counter plan.

“You know what, I’ll call anyway. You might forget.”

Cassidy’s exasperation reached a whole new level. At that moment, she knew that trying to conceal her plans from her mother was a waste of time. Armed with this new understanding she elected to tell Margaret as much as she needed know to end this query.

“I won’t forget, Mom. I’m not going to be home until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. I will call you when I get in.”

“Oh,” Margaret responded with a mixture of delight and surprise. “So, you’re going to spend another night with your—friend.”

“Yes Mom,” Cassidy agreed with impatience. “Tell everyone I’m okay. I have to go.”

“Okay Dear, have fun,” Margaret returned while sounding both pleased and amused.

Cassidy disconnected the call after this farewell and then took a deep breath to shake off the effects of her mother’s interrogation. Feeling renewed after this, Cassidy commenced to dress for her day with David. She arrived in the kitchen wearing a pair of his black silk pajamas. When they were both sitting at the table and eating, David inquired about the call, and Cassidy explained it dismissively as a checkup call from her mother. The subject ended with this reply, and a new one came up in its place.

“That reminds me, I don’t have a power cord for my phone,” Cassidy pondered out to David and herself.

“That’s not a problem,” David returned with a shrug of his shoulders. “Forward your calls to my home phone.

Cassidy considered this with an expression of skepticism. After a moment of thought she began vocalizing what she was thinking.

“Well, I have to be able to make outgoing calls,” Cassidy explained from behind a pondering expression.

“My phones can do that too,” David advised with a hint of sarcasm.

“I know that,” Cassidy returned with a wide smile. “But I need to be able to call out on my cellphone.”

“Detective Tremaine, are you trying to hide me from your family?” David questioned in a mocking tone of voice.

“It’s not that,” Cassidy immediately countered.

Cassidy took a quick pause behind this to consider what she just said, and then she began again.

“Well, it’s mostly not that.”

David gave Cassidy a look that said he was confused by this answer, and for a moment she resisted the temptation to explain what she meant. When the moment passed, she commenced to explain with a smile and a shrug.

“My cellphone is my link to the precinct. I wouldn’t feel comfortable disconnected from it.”

“My phone is registered with 9-1-1.” David reported with a look of dismay.

“No, it’s just a police protocol thing,” Cassidy was quick to explain. “In an emergency, all I have to do is dial into my precinct. Because they know my number, they won’t ask a lot of question. It saves time.”

“So, detective, are you saying that you’re afraid to be alone with me without backup on standby?” David questioned with a smirk.

“No,” Cassidy answered from behind a playful scowl. “Just forget I said anything. I’ll turn the phone off and check for message every few hours.”

“That sounds like a plan,” David retorted with a laugh.

Cassidy turned to the task of eating her breakfast behind this remark and said nothing more about her cellphone. After breakfast, she and David spent the day lounging, watching movies, cooking, cleaning and making love. When they finished eating dinner they spent a few hours strolling through Central Park under a cloudless star filled night. They got back to the condo after 9 PM and made love for the third time that day. After that they noshed on pizza and wine as they slowly fell asleep in front of the television.

For Cassidy, this was the end of one of the better days of her life, and the best day she had lived for several years. She had not given any thought to her job or the Greenbelt Nine for the entirety of the day. This had become a day that she never wanted to end. All her reservations and fears were gone. He was the man of her dreams and she had no reluctance in showing him this. Her favorite place to be was nestled in his arms. She had no desire to go anywhere or see anything that would require them to behave in a manner different from how they were when they were alone. She was at the height of her passion for David. While she was with him the rest of the world did not exist.

It was shortly past 7 AM Sunday morning when Cassidy and David climbed out of bed. They had been awake for more than an hour before that, but frolicking and sex delayed their departure from it. Their love play did not end when they were out of the bed. Anything they could do together was preferable to the alternative. They showered together. They prepared breakfast together, and they washed the dishes together. Everything that was chore two days ago was an opportunity for the two of them to interact with each other.

When the preliminaries of the morning were behind them Cassidy and David moved into the mid-day with no plans for it. They followed their instincts and made decisions on the fly, and they rarely chose to do anything that took them into the company of others. Because of these drives and impulses their activities over the course of this portion of the day mirrored the day before. It was shortly past 4 PM when this progression deviated from the pattern. It was at this time that Cassidy made her third check for messages on her cellphone. She found three messages waiting, but it was the one from Lt. Graham that altered the course of her day.

“Cassidy, this is Lt. Graham. Andrew Lantz’s body was found in Dutchess County a couple of hours ago. He’s the owner of the warehouse. It looks like suicide, but the locals are still investigating that. The cause of death is a gunshot wound to the head. I’m told that a handgun was found at the sight, along with a handwritten note confessing to the Greenbelt Nine murders. So, if this plays out the way it looks then you may be up for another commendation. Either way you’re off suspension. Your shield and your ID will be waiting for you tomorrow.”

“What’s wrong?” David asked after noting the change of expression on Cassidy’s face.

“I’m off suspension,” Cassidy answered with an amazed inflection.

“Already?” David questioned with a look of surprise.

“Yeah. I think it’s over.”

Cassidy gave this reply from behind an expression of bewilderment. The investigation that had been her preoccupation a few days earlier felt like a distant memory at this moment. She remembered how important this investigation was to her, but her effort to rekindle the obsession was not working. Somehow the case had deteriorated into a small event in her life that had come to an end. She shortly concluded that her passionate feelings for David had dismissed the investigation to the back of her mind.

“They got him?” David asked in connection to the owner of the warehouse.

“He’s dead,” Cassidy answered with a perplexed expression. “The case is over. He confessed.”

“So, you go back to work tomorrow?” David questioned after a pause.

“Yeah.”

There was an inflection of sorrow in Cassidy’s voice when she gave this reply. She had already made it her plan to leave for home at 6 PM. James had called earlier and left a message that he would deliver Cynthia and John to her at 8 PM. She had every intention of delaying the time of her departure for as long as she could. This news gave her reason to move this time forward. She wanted to be in a position to hear more news as it came in.

“I have to go,” Cassidy confessed to David after a moment of thought.

“Okay,” David agreed from behind a soft smile.

Cassidy took a moment to stare at David a placid look with a hint of a smile. She then spoke to him about the concern that was most on her mind at that moment.

“Will I see you again?”

“Yes,” David insisted energetically. “You’re not rid of me, Detective Tremaine.”

Cassidy’s smile broadened substantially after hearing this report. She stepped in, wrapped her arms around his torso and grasped him into an embrace. They kissed passionately.

“So, I’ll call you tomorrow,” Cassidy advised when their lips parted.

“I’ll be out of town tomorrow,” David returned without a moment’s hesitation. “I have some affairs to deal with in London. But I’ll be back on Thursday and we’ll make plans then, if that’s alright with you.”

“Yes, that’s alright with me,” Cassidy agreed with a smile that was followed with a kiss.

After this exchange, they began to kiss again, and their kissing quickly transitioned into an hour of sex. At the end of this lovemaking Cassidy gathered her things and left. During the ride back to Staten Island, she made three calls. She kept her cellphone plugged into her car’s auxiliary power outlet so that she could complete them. The first call she made was to James.

“Where the hell have you been?” James barked through the phone connection.

Cassidy ignored the question and the temperament attached to its delivery, and she submitted the query that was the reason for her call.

“Are the kids okay?”

“Yeah, the kids are fine,” James insisted with an annoyed inflection. “What’s going on with you? First, I hear that you’re hurt. Then I hear you burned down a warehouse in Brooklyn and you’re suspended from the force. And now there’s a rumor that the suspension is off. And why haven’t you been answering your phone?”

Once again Cassidy ignored James’ raucous speech and spoke to the subject that was the reason behind her call.

“I got your message about bringing Cynthia and John home at 8 o’clock. I’m just calling to make sure you’re not coming sooner because I’m out of the house right now.”

“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” James roared back at Cassidy.

“Ask Aaron, like you usually do,” Cassidy returned with a hint of irritation. “He’ll know everything soon enough. What about the kids.”

Aaron’s continued association with her ex-husband was a source of testiness between Cassidy and her older brother. She understood that Aaron and James had been good friends for many months before her first meeting with James. But she had a hard time trying to stop herself from being peeved with her brother for continuing this association with the man that broke her heart.

“You want me to keep them until eight,” James responded with infuriation in his voice. “Fine, message received and understood.”

This answer was all that Cassidy needed to know and wanted to hear. She jumped at the opportunity to disconnect from the call and initiated the end of the conversation with her next five words.

“Good. I have to go.”

Cassidy’s second call went to Lt. Graham. She called him to inquire about Andrew Lantz and his death.

“The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office believes Lantz’s death was a suicide,” Lt. Graham reported to Cassidy over the phone. “But that’s not the official report yet. The suicide note looks to be a match for his handwriting, and the weapon he used is yours.”

Cassidy was surprised to hear that Lantz used her gun to kill himself. She hesitated to speak while she processed this. A moment later Lt. Graham filled in the silence.

“Needless to say, that puts Lantz inside the warehouse, with you, when the fire started. And it supports your claim that he attacked you.”

A slight smile formed on Cassidy’s face after hearing this. Shortly a new thought came to her mind, and her expression changed to a look of curiosity.

“Did the note explain how he killed the Greenbelt Nine or why?” Cassidy asked with the sound of curiosity in her voice.

“No,” Lt. Graham answered in a word, “But he does confess to the killings, attacking you and to setting fire to his warehouse.”

Cassidy response to this answer was to ask another question with the same intonation.

“Was there anything else in the note?”

“He also confessed to being a distributor of Ecstasy,” Lt. Graham returned with barely a thought to the question. “The fire department confirmed that a couple of accelerants in the warehouse fire were chemicals that could be used for the manufacture of Ecstasy.”

Cassidy paused to consider this report, and then she asked another question.

“Is that it?”

“Isn’t that enough?” Lt. Graham questioned back with astonishment in his tone. “It clears you and the city of any responsibility for the fire.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Cassidy returned without conviction.

“What’s wrong?”

Lt. Graham’s question motivated Cassidy to produce a response. But her effort to procure this felt like it was just beyond the reach of her memory. After a moment of thought she gave the only reply that she could.

“I just have this feeling that some pieces are missing.”

“What pieces?” Lt. Graham quickly asked back.

Cassidy paused to consider the question before answering with, “I don’t know.”

Cassidy thought about it a little more and then gave what she thought was a better answer.

“I guess I’m just trying to make sure there’s no loose ends.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Lt. Graham assured. “We’re going to sift through this guy’s life from top to bottom.”

“Okay,” Cassidy responded after taking a moment to reflect upon what she just heard.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Lt. Graham spoke in closing.

“Yeah, Lieutenant, I’ll be there,” Cassidy returned in kind.

When Cassidy disconnected the call, she was still confused about something, but she could not put her finger on what that was. She gave several seconds of thought to this, but the feeling quickly passed. Her thoughts then went to her family and specifically her parents. She knew that they had to be waiting for her with multiple questions. And she believed now was the time to entertain them.

“Are you at home, honey?” Margaret Tremaine questioned Cassidy over the phone.

“I’m on my way,” Cassidy answered as she drove. “How are you and dad doing?”

“We’re fine besides being concerned for you,” Margaret returned in an astonished tone of voice. “Is it true that your suspension has been lifted?”

“Yeah, I get my shield and ID back tomorrow.”

Margaret heard this answer, but the sound of the vehicle traffic in the background interested her more. She promptly asked the question that this information provoked.

“So where are you right now?”

“I’m just coming in to Staten Island,” Cassidy reported as she steered her way over the last quarter of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

“Then come by the house,” Margaret insisted. “I’m sure your father has some questions for you.”

“That’ll be a first,” Cassidy retorted with a mixture of humor and sarcasm.

Margaret took note of the sarcasm more than the humor and quickly reinforced her request with a personal appeal.

“I want to see you.”

Cassidy had already anticipated a visit to her parents’ home. She suspected that they were worried for her and had questions, and she was happy to give them answers regarding her job and the investigation. This elation had nothing to do with the end of her suspension. It had everything to do with the slowly waning feeling of euphoria she was still experiencing from her time with David.

“Okay, Mom, I’ll stop by but I can’t stay long.”

“Good, we’ll be waiting for you,” Margaret cheerfully acknowledged.

It took Cassidy a little more than five minutes to get to her parents’ home. Margaret gave her a big hug the instant she walked through the front door. Daniel waited further back. He, uncharacteristically, stood up in the middle of the living-room to greet his daughter.

“Are you hurt?” Daniel challenged as he examined his daughter with a look of concern.

It was Daniel’s fear that Cassidy had been injured inside the Brooklyn warehouse, and that this was the reason why she stayed away from them.

“I’m fine, Dad.”

Cassidy noted her father’s worry and responded to it with a smile and a hug as she said this. Daniel enjoyed this embrace for a moment, and then clasped Cassidy by the shoulders and held her out from him at arm’s length.

“Then why the hell didn’t you come home?” Daniel questioned with a flash of temper.

“I’m sorry, Dad,” Cassidy returned with a smile that bordered on a grin.

Cassidy patted her father’s arm after this and walked out of his grasp. This type of response to one of her father’s angry outbursts was uncharacteristic of Cassidy, and this fact did not go unnoticed by Margaret. The propensity for verbal clashes between Daniel and Cassidy was no secret to anyone within the family. Now that she was an adult it was common for Cassidy to respond to Daniel’s temper with her own.

“I was just a little upset, and I needed some time alone,” Cassidy explained as she slipped out of her coat and sat down on the couch.

Daniel took a seat in his lounge chair as Cassidy said this.

“Did you ever stop to think that your mother and I might be worried?” Daniel returned with a tinge of anger.

“I was planning on calling, but mom beat me to it,” Cassidy explained as she crossed her legs and reclined into the couch.

“Are you going to stay for dinner, honey?” Margaret asked hopefully.

“No Mom,” Cassidy responded with a shake of her head. “I just wanted to stop by, show my face and fill you in on what’s going on.”

“Okay,” Margaret agreed with a smile. “I have to get back into the kitchen. Don’t leave without talking to me.”

Margaret turned about and set off for the kitchen. The smell of food cooking was wafting through the house, and Cassidy knew that her mother was going to the kitchen to attend to it.

“So, what is going on?” Daniel questioned from behind a ruffled brow.

Cassidy responded to that question by giving an account of the events that lead to her going to the Brooklyn warehouse, what happened when she got there, the repercussions of the fire and the news about Andrew Lantz. Daniel listened to it all without question or comment. At the end of Cassidy’s narration, he shook his head and spoke.

“You really need to quit this job.”

A broad smile spread across Cassidy’s face in reaction to this. While holding it, she pushed herself up off the sofa and commenced to walk over to her father.

“I’m sorry, Dad, but that’s not going to happen.”

Cassidy gave her father a kiss on the cheek after speaking these words and then started walking towards the kitchen. Daniel shook his head in resignation as she left.

“I’m going to take off now, Mom,” Cassidy announced as she walked into the kitchen.

After saying this Cassidy gave her mother a kiss on the cheek with a smile. Margaret was in the middle of cleaning cookware that she had recently used. She paused to accept her daughter’s peck on the cheek and spoke on a new subject before Cassidy could walk away.

“You seem to be in a good mood today.”

Cassidy knew where this was going and nearly grinned despite her desire to hide it. She stopped and leaned up against the counter a foot away from her mother.

“I’m off suspension,” Cassidy explained with a shrug and a look of contentment. “I’m happy about that.”

“Oh, is that it?” Margaret questioned from behind a sly smile.

“Yes Mom, that’s it.”

Cassidy took a pause to give weight to that statement, and then she spoke again.

“But I do have to go.”

Cassidy had just taken a step toward the kitchen’s exit when Margaret spoke again.

“What’s your friend’s name?”

Cassidy stopped and turned to look at her mother with a mixture of exasperation and amusement before giving her reply.

“He’s not anyone you know,” she reported defensively.

“What difference does that make?”

No sooner had Margaret said this did Cassidy resign herself to the idea that she was going to tell her in the end.

“His name is David,” Cassidy stated with a vexed intonation.

“Just David,” Margaret inquired with an air of apathy.

“Just David for now,” Cassidy retorted.

“Oh, okay,” Margaret returned with a smile and a nod.

“Is the interrogation over with?” Cassidy questioned with a palm up gesture of her hands.

“Honey, I hope you don’t think I’m prying. I’m just interested in knowing who your new friend is.”

Cassidy watched her mother’s feigned expression of sincerity from behind a look of incredulity. She then emulated her mother with her own feigned expression of sincerity.

“Oh, course not, I would never accuse you of prying.”

Mother and daughter took a moment to give each other silent grins.

“I’m going to take off now, Mom.”

Cassidy turned to leave once again. And once again she was stopped by the sound of her mother’s voice.

“So, how long have you been in love with him?”

Cassidy turned to face her mother once again. She dropped her head and gave it a shake as she pondered out the appropriate response.

“What makes you think I’m in love with him?”

Margaret turned around from the kitchen sink while she dried her hands with a towel. She gave her daughter a moment of study and then responded to her query.

“The last time I saw you this happy you were wrapped around James’ arm.”

Cassidy took a moment to give her mother a squint, and then she spoke.

“You think you’re so clever.”

Margaret said nothing from behind a self-satisfied look and a smile.

“I got to go, Mom,” Cassidy spoke as she turned for the kitchen exit while holding a smile of her own. “Bye.”

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