Chapter 27: Another day
Almost two hours passed before Jacob and Mark arrived at Cassie’s dark home. Inside, they found Margo sitting in the living room, the pillar candles Cassie had lit much earlier still burning.
“How is she?” Jacob asked.
“She was still pretty upset when we got here. I finally persuaded her to take a sedative. She’s been asleep for a while. Hopefully, she’ll stay that way through the night. Bless her heart. Tara meant so much to her. It’s heartbreaking.”
“I know,” Jacob said, his voice solemn. “You guys go on home, I’ll stay with her. Hopefully, the power will come back on soon.”
“Yeah. Cassie left here in a hurry. Candles were still burning. It’s a wonder she didn’t burn this place down, too.”
After they left, Jacob went into the garage, where he pulled the door down and latched it. Back inside, he locked the front door, then blew out all the candles but one, which he carried to Cassie’s bedroom. He pulled her covers up over her, kissed her forehead, blew out the candle, then settled in the comfortable chair next to her bed, propping his feet on the ottoman in front of it.
When he woke the next morning, still in the chair, he found himself covered with the small quilt from Cassie’s bed, and Cassie’s bed empty.
“I thought I’d find you here. Are you okay?”
Cassie stood in front of what was once Tara, staring into the ashes.
Glancing up at Jacob, she replied, “Well, since my dream is little more than a pile of smoldering ashes this morning, I guess you could say I’ve had better days.”
“I’m sorry, Cassie. But as soon as the ashes cool enough to be safe, we’ll clear it out and start over.”
“No,” she said, shaking her head.
“What do you mean no? So, that’s it? You’re just going to give up on your dream? Just like that? That doesn’t sound like the Cassie I know. And what about us? Are you going to give up on us as well?”
“No! I’m not going to give up! Especially not on us. I love you, Jacob. I would never give up on us.”
“Well, that’s good to hear, cause I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I want that, too. And I’m not giving up on my dream of a Bed and Breakfast, but I don’t want to start over with Tara. Tara is gone. There are plenty of other abandoned mansions around, just like this one was, that need to be saved. I want to find another one and save it. I want us to find another one and save it, together.”
“I like that, especially the 'us' part.” Jacob stepped closer to Cassie, taking her in his arms and kissing her.
She pushed away from him, walked a few steps away, then turned back to face him.
“Jacob, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“What?” he asked, his facial expression instantly turned from delight to concern.
“I’m going to have a baby, Jacob; we’re going to have a baby.”
Shocked by the news, Jason replied, “Are you kidding? Seriously? Are you sure?”
“Well, it’s not confirmed yet. I have a doctor’s appointment next week. But according to four different home pregnancy tests, I am.”
“Cassie, that’s great! That’s fantastic!”
“Is it?” Her voice was soft, unsure.
“Well, I certainly think so! You took me by surprise. I had no idea. But I couldn’t be more thrilled, Cassie. You and I starting a family together—how could I not be happy about that? You’re not?”
“Yes, I am. But—”
“But what?” he asked as he took a couple of steps toward her, removing the distance between them she had created moments before.
“I have two grown kids. I could be a grandmother at any time.”
“I’m forty years old, and you’re forty-five—”
“So. We’ll be older parents. So what? We won’t be the first.”
“Jacob, there’s a lot of health risks involved with a pregnancy at my age. I might not even be able to carry the baby to full term, and then there’s the possibility of congenital disabilities, Down Syndrome—”
“If any of those things happen, we’ll deal with them, together. Do you want to have this baby, Cassie, or not?”
“Of course I do. It’s your baby. Our baby. Yes, I want it. It’s just not that simple.”
“Seems pretty simple to me.”
He put his arms around her once again and kissed her. They remained in each other’s arms for several minutes, their kisses passionate.
Finally, Jacob asked, “So, this other abandoned mansion we’re going to save. When do you want to start looking for it? Today? Tomorrow? When?”
“Not today,” Cassie said. “Tomorrow will be fine.” Then she paused, a huge grin taking over her face. “After all, tomorrow is—”
Jacob planted his lips on hers once again before she had a chance to finish.