Reading Between the Lines

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Chapter 16

My tears had finally stopped when Samuel came back an hour later. I knew at the slightest thing I would start crying again but hey, at least it stopped!

“Sorry, it took me so long to get back. Things are crazy back at the station right now. Not to mention I got my ass chewed out by my superiors for something that’s out of my control, fucking assholes. Anyways- here’s the coffee you asked for.” Samuel’s arm leaned over the back of the couch to hand me a Styrofoam cup.

“Thanks. What do you mean things are crazy? You brought Ethan in for questioning?” Once I accepted the coffee, Samuel proceeded to walk around the couch to take a seat on it. He swung his legs up on the sofa, stretching them out towards me.

“After they questioned him, they realized they didn’t have enough to hold him let alone charge him. They had to let him go.”

“But he was outside Crenshaw’s house an hour before his murder! That’s got to count for something.” Samuel smiled at my eagerness before running a hand through his hair.

“It’s all circumstantial Cassie. He could have been on that street for a million reasons. If I knew the guy who took the video, maybe I could get something to nail this Ethan guy on something even if it’s not murder.” He gave me a knowing look as his hand came to rest on my ankle. Come on Cassandra, it’s the least you can give him considering you are bullshit lying to his face!

I sighed before bringing the cup to my lips. “His name’s Michael Abernathy. He was working on Crenshaw’s street the day of the murder when he took the video.”

“Thank you, I’ll see if I can track him down later today.” After finishing his sentence, Samuel continued staring at me. I tried detecting the emotion behind his eyes but was unable to do so. A small smile graced his lips as he his eyes seemed lasered in on me.

“Any particular reason you’re staring at me? It’s kind of creepy.” His cheeks brightened as he shook his head, refusing to take his eyes off of me.

“There’s uh- something I want to tell you, Cassandra.” Though his gaze never wavered, Samuel’s voice did as he removed his hand from my ankle.

“I realize that this probably the absolute worst timing for me to mention this and for that I’m sorry. This is probably the last thing you need to deal with after your mother, but I can’t not tell you if that makes any sense?”

“Not really but go ahead.” I did my best to give him an encouraging smile, even as the butterflies increased their speed in my chest.

“I’ve never been great with words as you can probably tell but- I will do whatever it takes Cassandra to make you happy again and get you through this because you do that for me and so much more every single day.” Just like that, the light butterflies turned into heavy knives of guilt as they stabbed at my stomach. Samuel essentially just admitted that he has major feelings for me and what am I doing? I am lying to him.

The guilt continued gnawing at my stomach until it made me physically nauseous. I suddenly stood up from the couch, turning my back on Samuel as I stared out the window.

“Cassie, what’s wrong?” Samuel’s concerned voice spoke up from the couch.

“There’s something I have to tell you and- you’re not going to want to be around me after I tell you. I wouldn’t blame you if that’s the case because I fucking- hate myself for not telling you sooner.” With my back still turned towards Samuel, I heard him get off the couch and cautiously make his way towards me.

“I promise you that I’m not going anywhere just tell me what’s going on.” His voice held a caring yet closed off-tone as he continued walking towards me.

“Since Crenshaw’s death, Hazel and I have been- secretly investigating his death. That is how I got the video. I knew Michael because we went to high school and I reached out to him, knowing he had the video. I was the one who called the cable company impersonating Sara, I got her killed and I’m so sorry- “I stopped as sobs overtook me, my shoulders shaking in the process. I had only been crying for a few minutes when I felt Samuel’s hand land on my shoulder, roughly turning me around to face.

There was now a vacant stare in his eyes as the muscle in Samuel’s jaw clenched. The vein in the side of his neck bulged as he finally opened his mouth. “You’ve been lying to me this entire time?”

“Well yes but- “

“No Cassandra, there are no buts here! You have interfered with a police investigation! You have gotten a detective killed because of your reckless and idiotic actions! Do you not realize the gravity of this situation?! Do you even realize how many times you almost got yourself killed and for what? To live out some fucking fantasy of yours to solve a crime?! News flash Cassandra, there’s fucking professionals for that!” At this point, Samuel’s voice had risen to the point of where he was nearly screaming.

“Since you seem to be in an honest mood, tell me something. Was whatever this was, the keyword was, between us an act to you? Was this just sick fucking ploy of yours to get information on the case?” He didn’t wait for me to respond as he continued on his rant. “I fell right into. I cannot believe I was stupid enough to believe that after all this time of you hating my guts that you just magically changed your mind. God how could I be so stupid!” Without looking back at me, Samuel began walking towards the front door.

“Sam- “

“For your own good- just shut up. You are already putting me in a corner by telling me all of this. I don’t want to make it worse by arresting you.” Samuel stormed outside, bumping into Ethan as he took a few steps inside.

Ethan looked at Samuel for a few moments before shaking his head and turning his attention on me. An almost sinister smile curled his lips upwards as he began approaching me.

“I think it’s time we had a nice talk, Cassie.”

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