|The Case of the Missing Heart
Author: QueenOfAces PM
Cass and Frankie work on a case together and learn more about one another in the process.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,088 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-16-06 - Published: 03-27-06 - id: 2863789
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Finding the waitress in question proved to be an easy task. As Cass and Frankie entered the park, they saw a woman matching her description sitting on a nearby bench.
"Excuse me, but are you Jennifer Davis?" Frankie inquired.
"Yes, I am," the young woman answered, clearly surprised by the question.
"We're sorry to bother you, Jennifer, but we're looking for a friend of yours, Mary Cassidy."
"Who are you, and why are you looking for her?" she asked, concern evident in her eyes.
"I'm sorry…I should have explained," Frankie said apologetically, producing identification. "I'm Frankie Frame and this is Cass Winthrop," she said, gesturing to Cass.
"Hello," Cass added, as the girl nodded in his direction.
"Mary's fiancée came into our law firm this morning terribly concerned about her disappearance. We're simply trying to make sure that she's safe."
"I can't believe she hasn't contacted Mark. She's fine…just a little scared, that's all."
"Scared of what? She's not in any danger is she?" Cass asked with concern.
"Oh, no, no," Jennifer reassured them. "I think she's just afraid of marrying into that wealthy family. She hasn't been willing to talk about it much."
"It's not unusual for brides to be nervous before taking such a major step," Frankie said reassuringly. "Listen, we'll contact Mr. Franklin and let him know that she's safe."
"Good. He deserves to know."
"Is there any way we could talk to her as well?"
"I don't know about that."
"We won't reveal her whereabouts to Mr. Franklin unless she gives us permission," Cass added.
"I…," she began, clearly still hesitant.
Frankie interrupted gently, "If you're worried about us, your new boss will be happy to give a character reference. Cass is one of her closest friends."
"Oh, you're that Cass," Jennifer said, her mind making a connection.
"What do you mean that Cass?" he asked.
"Well, she was talking about you, and…," she began, faltering as she took a glance at Frankie.
"And what?" Frankie asked, her curiosity piqued.
"It's not important…she was just saying what a great guy he is. Look, if you want to reach Mary, she's staying at my apartment. The address is 1255 Front Street, Apartment 210."
"Thank you, Ms. Davis. We'll go check on her right away."
Shaking her head, she replied, "She won't be there for another hour or so. She said she had some errands to run."
"Oh, well thanks for letting us know."
"You're welcome. I really hope she goes back to Mark. He's good for her."
"He seems like a terrific young man."
"He is. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to return to work."
"Of course. Thanks again."
After she left, Frankie raised her eyebrow and asked, "What was that all about?"
"I don't know. I really hope Felicia hasn't been telling my secrets to complete strangers."
"And what secrets are those, my love?" she asked, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"Are you always so suspicious?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close.
"I'm a P.I., Cass," she replied, winding her arms around his neck. "It's my job to be suspicious."
"And I'm a lawyer," he said, kissing her neck. "It's my job to be obscure."
"So you are hiding something," she managed, closing her eyes as she felt his lips brush against her skin once more.
"You're the professional investigator," he murmured, his lips meeting hers in a slow, sultry kiss. Pulling back abruptly, he smirked, "I'll leave it for you to figure out."
"Cass…," she replied, laughing through her mild frustration. "Don't think that I won't."
"Oh, I have faith in you," he said, chuckling along with her. "Listen, since we've got some time to kill, why don't I go call our client, and you get us some lunch. I see your favorite hot dog vendor over there."
"Oooh, sounds good. What do you want on your hot dog?"
"Everything…including the hot dog."
Laughing, she replied, "I'll see you in a few minutes."
"Count on it."
"How did it go?" she asked.
"Mr. Franklin was quite relieved, as you can imagine. I told him that you were going to talk to Mary."
"Me? You aren't coming?"
Shaking his head sadly, Cass said, "No. I called Stacey and found out that I have a client coming in later this afternoon."
"And you couldn't reschedule?"
"Unfortunately not. I've still got time, though, so we can have a nice picnic before we both have to leave."
"I'd like that."
"So, hand over the dog. I'm starving."
"Here you go," she replied, their hands lingering as they touched.
They ate together in companionable silence, his arm holding her close and her head resting on his shoulder. They reveled in the warmth of the sun and in the simple joy of being together after denying their feelings for so long.
"Cass, do you remember the last time we were in this park together?"
"How could I forget it? I kissed you for the first time right over there."
"Well, as I recall, counselor, you weren't all that impressed with my kissing abilities."
"Maybe I just wanted to give you a reason to practice."
"Cass…," she said with mild exasperation, slapping him lightly on the arm for good measure.
"I'm sorry, Frankie. The truth is that I was trying to hide how much that kiss affected me."
"You didn't notice that my hands were shaking?"
"No. It took all my energy just to make a sarcastic comment and walk away."
"Oh, Frankie…we were both fighting it so hard, especially me," he said, reaching out to touch her hair.
Cupping his cheek and smiling, she replied, "You said you'd never kiss me again."
"Yeah, well…I was an idiot."
"You were an idiot," she agreed.
"Will you let me make it up to you?" he asked, leaning in to kiss her.
"I'll think about it," she replied, wrapping her arms around him.
Just as their lips were about to meet, Cass felt a small hand tugging on his pants' leg. Turning his head abruptly, he saw a small boy with dark hair and dark eyes looking up at him.
"Hi there, little guy," he said gently. "What's the matter?"
"I can't find my mommy," the little boy said, his voice quivering and tears forming in his eyes.
"Oh, sweetheart," Frankie said reassuringly, touching his head to comfort him. "We'll help you find her. Don't worry."
The little boy responded by hugging their legs tightly. Cass reached down and pulled the child into his arms, stroking his back lightly. Frankie began visually scanning the park, looking for the child's mother.
Just as they were about to begin their search, they heard a woman on a nearby path frantically calling, "Brian, Brian."
The little boy lifted his head from Cass' shoulder and said, "Mommy."
"Over here," Frankie called out loudly.
The woman approached them rapidly, holding her arms out for her child. Cass stood up and gently passed the boy to his mother, saying "We told you we'd find her, little guy."
Hugging her child to her tightly, she kissed his head again and again, saying,
"Oh, baby. I was so worried about you. Don't ever run off like that again."
Turning then to Cass and Frankie, she said gratefully, "I can't thank you enough. I just turned my back for a second, and he was gone."
"We're so glad we could help," Frankie replied. "He's a beautiful little boy."
"Thank you again," the woman responded, smiling warmly at both of them. "Come on, Brian. We have to go and find your daddy. He was so worried about you."
"Bye," the little boy said softly, waving his small hand at them.
Cass watched intently as the boy and his mother disappeared into the trees.
"Are you all right, Cass?" Frankie asked.
"Yeah…," he said, suddenly distracted.
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure," he said, turning to look in her eyes. "Frankie, we've never talked about this, but do you want to have children one day?"
"You mean like that sweet little boy?"
"Mmm hmm. Or a little girl who looks just like you."
Nodding, she replied, "Someday."
"So, you're up for dirty diapers, and temper tantrums, and soccer practice…."
"And hugs and kisses, and rocking my child to sleep, and watching him or her grow. It terrifies me, but, yeah, I think I'll be up for it."
"What are you worried about, Frankie? You're a natural."
"I don't know about that, Cass."
"I do. You have the most loving, generous heart I've ever encountered. Any child would be lucky to have you for a mother."
Blushing in response, Frankie paused a moment before asking, "What about you?"
"You know, I used to think that I didn't want kids. My parents weren't such great role models, and I didn't think I was cut out for it."
He paused for a moment, and then smiled, looking directly into her eyes. "Falling in love has a way of changing your perspective."
"In what way?"
"Um…I don't know quite how to explain it. You start thinking about the future, and you find that you want to share that love, expand it somehow. Does that make any sense?"
"Yeah, it does."
Noticing a hint of sadness in his voice, she continued, "Did you and Kathleen plan on having kids?"
"We talked about it, but it was always something for the distant future. She had her career, and I was still too self-centered."
"I'm sorry, Cass," she said, taking his hand in hers.
"It wasn't meant to be."
"Oh, Cass," she said, hugging him tightly.
"It's probably for the best, anyway."
"Why do you say that?" she asked, pulling back to look into his eyes.
"Because after she died, I was emotionally bankrupt. I had nothing left to give to anybody, much less a child."
"You have more strength than you realize, Cass. You would have found a way to care for your child, even through the pain."
"You have more confidence in me than I do."
"You'd be a great father, you know," she replied, running the back of her hand gently down his jaw line.
"Of course I do. Look how much you've done for Reuben."
"That was mostly your doing, Frankie."
"I may have given you some encouragement, but you are the one he listened to."
"So, we make a good team."
"Yes, we do."
"Still, being a mentor isn't the same as being a father."
"Cass, you know how to love, and you'll learn how to take care of a child…that is, if you want one."
"Um, maybe we can work on that project together someday."
"Maybe," she answered, her eyes lighting up as she gently kissed him.
After a few moments, they hugged tightly, sealing an unspoken promise between them.
Glancing at his watch, Cass reluctantly pulled away from her. "Frankie, I have to go."
"So soon?" she asked, disappointed.
Nodding, he asked, "I'll see you tonight?"
"Come by the office after you're done. We'll make plans from there."
"Oh, I've already got plans for you," Frankie said suggestively.
"Have you now?" he asked, raising his eyebrow in response.
"Mmm hmm," she replied.
"I see. Well, I look forward to hearing all the details later," he responded.
"Oh, no," she began with a wicked smile. "This will involve a personal demonstration."
"Even better," he purred, pulling her tightly to him and kissing her passionately. "Now, go before we forget all about work."
"Yes, boss," she said, wiping her lipstick from his face with her thumb. "I'll see you later."
"I can hardly wait," he said, bringing a smile to her face. "Oh, and Frankie…,"
"I love you."
"I love you, too."