Reading Between the Lines

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Chapter 14

For once I decided to listen to Samuel and I stayed put in the seat. Mainly because I was still grappling with the fact that Samuel kissed me. He’s my neighbor and my friend! I’m not sure I want more than that, but it is obvious that he does!

I had been sitting in the seat next to Samuel’s desk blankly staring at the wall when it dawned on me. Samuel’s going to pick Ethan up for questioning. The last person to talk to Ethan was most likely me. What if he thinks I am the one that ratted him out. More importantly, what if he’s the KILLER and he thinks I am the one that ratted him out! I’m a dead woman! I have to get out of here!

As I got up from my seat, I began hearing the sounds of two people arguing amongst themselves. As they got closer to me, I could tell that the two voices belonged to Samuel and Ethan. Oh boy.

Ethan’s hands were handcuffed behind his bad as Samuel pulled him by his elbow. The muscles in Samuel’s forearms tensed as he pulled Ethan’s fighting form along the way. Sweat sheened on both their faces and they entered the room I was.

“Don’t you think this is a little much for questioning on a case I have NO connection with?” Ethan yelled, struggling with Samuel every step of the way.

“At first I was bringing you in for questioning. Now I’m bringing you in for questioning AND being an asshole.” Samuel wasted no time firing back as he slowly approached his desk. He briefly glanced at me, winking before turning his attention back to Ethan. “All of this would have gone much smoother if you would have just listened- “

“Why listen when I know I didn’t do anything.” Ethan ground out between his teeth as the vein in the side of his neck popped out.

The two of them stopped as Samuel shoved him in the direction of a beat cop. “Prepare him in Interrogation Room 1 for me, would you? There’s something I’ve got to take care of real quick.” The beat cop nodded before dragging Ethan out of the room.

Samuel came to stand a few feet away from me, sticking his hands in his pocket. Upon closer inspection, I saw that there was a fresh cut that cut across Samuel’s left cheek. “It’s a nice look, Rhodes.”

“Thanks. Perks of the job.” Samuel’s smile faltered as he continued to catch his breath. With his hands still in his pockets, he strolled closer towards me. “About earlier, with what happened between- us, I probably should have given you a heads up. Or at least let you see what I was doing.”

“I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Don’t worry about it.” I shrugged my shoulders, failing to stop the smile from rising on my face. Damn it, Cassandra, do not show him your cards just yet!

Samuel now stood directly in front of me as he took his hands out of his pockets. “Is that so? Well, if that is the case then you wouldn’t mind if I- “My phone ringing in my pocket stopped Samuel from finishing his thought. I managed to pull my phone out of my pocket even with Samuel standing inches away from me. Worry grew in my stomach when I saw that it was the hospital.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, raising a concerned eyebrow as he let his hand rest at my hip.

“It’s the hospital,” I whispered, pulling away slightly to answer the phone. “Cassandra Gilbert speaking.”

“Ms. Gilbert, this is your mothers’ doctor from the hospital. There have been some issues that have come up concerning your mother. I don’t how to put this but- Ms. Gilbert, both of your mother’s kidneys have completely shut down as you know but the process has been accelerated, much faster than any of us ever anticipated.”

“What does that mean?” I choked out as tears spilled out of my eyes. I turned myself so my back was facing Samuel. Just because he’s seen me cry once does not mean he needs to see it again.

There was a long silence on the other end before the doctor cleared his throat. “You’re going to want to come down here Ms. Gilbert and- say any final words you might have.” I felt the phone drop from my hand as I looked up from the ground. I raised a hand to wipe the tears from my eyes but found it useless and they were quickly replaced by new ones.

“Cassandra?” Samuel called out, reaching out to touch my shoulder. The second I felt the tips of his fingers touch the bare skin; I shook his hand off as I abruptly turned towards the entrance.

My vision blurred as I stumbled my way towards the entrance of the department, ignoring the frantic repeated calls from Samuel.

This is it. Goodbye.

I rushed to the hospital and I did not stop rushing until I reached foot in my mother’s hospital room. Her skin had lost all color since I had seen her still somehow, as she laid there with her eyes wide open, there seemed to the light that there always was.

“Mom” I choked out, approaching the side of her hospital bed. I blindly sat in one of the chairs pulled up to the side of the bed.

My mother’s eyes drifted toward mine as she gave me a sad smile. “Cassie, you’re here.”

“Of course, ma, I’m always going to be here. You know that.” I rose my hand to rest it against her wrist, desperately trying to not wince at how cold it felt against mine. “I’m sorry if I haven’t been here as much as I should have these past few days- “

“Don’t apologize,” My mother paused long enough to let out a cough. “You have a life, you’re in your twenties. I can’t expect you to spend all of it taking care of me.”

“I never did thank you.”

“What would you need to thank me for?”

“For dropping out of college to come home and take care of me and the shop. I never asked you to, yet the minute you heard my diagnosis- you dropped everything. Cassandra, you’re the best daughter I could have ever asked for, you know that?” My mother raised a weak hand to palm the side of my face.

“Of course. You don’t have to talk like mom- “

“Sweetheart, I know I don’t have much time left. Let me say what I have to say. I am still your mother after all.” We both let a soft chuckle out as my mother’s hand fell from my face.

“You’ve always done so much to help me, the store, hazel just anybody in general. You’ve spent so much time making sure others were happy that you haven’t made sure you were happy. I want you to promise me something, Cassandra- “

My vision once again blurred as I stared down at my mother. “Anything Ma.”

“I want you to promise me that you’ll make sure you’re happy and you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.” I watched something I have only seen my mother do a handful of times since I’ve been alive. I watched her cry.

“Yes, of course.”

“Just remember that I love you Cassandra Gilbert and I always will.”

“I love you too Mom.” And just like that, my mother’s eyes began to slip closed. They had only been closed for a few moments when the flatlining of her machine blared loudly throughout the room.

Resting my head against the hospital bed, I openly wept, the sounds of my crying beating out the sound of the flatlining.


The room had been cleared of her for an hour or so, but I stayed, blankly staring at the wall in front of me as tears streamed down my face. I had already called Hazel and told her to close the business until further notice. There is no way I’d be able to run that business the way it needs to be run right now, not in the condition I am in. Hazel was in the same condition I was in, but she decided to spend time with her family to grieve. I cannot blame her; I know I can’t but part of me is jealous of what Hazel has. She has both her parents. My father’s gone and now is my mother.

I hadn’t realized my phone had been ringing until a nearby nurse looked into the room and glared at me. Shaking my head, I mindlessly grabbed the phone from my pocket and answered it.

“Yeah?” I asked the person on the other end, my voice cracking halfway through.

“Cass? It’s Sam. Is- everything ok?” There was a cautious tone to his voice as he questioned me. Can you blame him? You are a ticking time bomb.

“No, it’s not ok. My mother’s- she’s uh.” I tried wiping the ever-appearing tears from my eyes.

“What about your mother Cassandra? What happened?”

“She’s dead. She died an hour or so ago? I think anyway, I don’t fucking know. All I know is that she’s dead now and I have nothing left, I have nobody!” I cried out, sinking my head into my lap as I continued to sob.

“Jesus Christ Cassandra, I’m so sorry. Listen, you have people ok? You have Hazel and damn it you’ve got me. I am leaving work right now and I’m coming to you. I take it you're still at the hospital?”

“Yeah.”

“Ok, Cassie I want you to grab whatever papers you have to fill out and meet me in the lobby- “

“I don’t think they’re just going to let me walk out the door without finishing it.”

“Right now, I don’t give a shit what the hospital wants. You are more important to me than whatever some bullshit policies this hospital has in place. I will be there as soon as I can, alright? Just hang on, I’m on my way.”

“You know you don’t have to do this Sam.” I managed to call out before he hung up.

There was a brief pause on his end before spoke once more. “I know.”

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