The Face In The Mirror – Chapter 3
Woohoo! Third chapter! Thanks so much for reading and for all your reviews! I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint. This story turned out to be a bit shorter than I thought, but this just seemed the right way to end it. Hope you enjoyed!
"So, do you come to this place often?"
Cassie and Mr. Cross were now sitting in the corner of a quaint, downtown cafe that served about the best breakfast Cassie had ever eaten. The morning was crisp and beautiful, and they took their time to enjoy it.
"A man of habit, huh?" Cassie smiled at him, her smile quite a bit brighter now that she had a full stomach. "I don't blame you when they serve a breakfast like that. Beats Shane's scrambled eggs any day."
Mr. Cross smiled. "What about DD's cooking?"
"DD makes pancakes and uses cherries, whip cream, and chocolate sauce to make happy faces on them."
They sipped their coffee quietly, enjoying the atmosphere of the place for a time untilQuentin broke the silence. He put his coffee mug down and stood up, putting a few bills on the small table.
"Come on. Let's go for a walk."
Cassie slipped off her shoes as they reached the sand, reveling in the feeling of the sand between her toes. Bending over, she rolled up the bottoms of her jeans a few inches.
They continued walking straight until they came to the edge of the water. Then they walked along the shoreline so Cassie could put her feet in the water. Mr. Cross stayed on the other side to keep dry.
They walked in silence for a time, Cassie gazing out over the distance as her feet sloshed through the water. Quentin could feel it splashing against his pant leg but stayed silent, his hands in his pockets.
"Do you ever have those days where everything feels so perfect? Everything is so beautiful and quiet and subdued, all the people, all the noise, and you just wish you could stay in that moment forever because you don't think you could ever be that happy again?"
He looked over at her. "Yes, it's very beautiful," he agreed.
"Jacobs, when I was trying to pull him up and he looked so afraid... I mean, I know he was a seasoned criminal, but when you took all that away, and you got to the real person inside... All he wanted to do was live. He didn't care if he was stuck in a prison for the rest of his life; he just wanted to live, to see days like this. He just wanted a second chance."
Mr. Cross took his hand from his pocket and wrapped his warm fingers firmly through hers.
"Cassie, you did your best. There was nothing more you could have done."
"But I got one," she stopped walking and turned to face him, her hand still in his. "I got a second chance. I get to walk freely everyday. No prison cell, no jumpsuits, but I was just as guilty as he was. How come some of us get second chances, and others don't?" Her eyes were now watering to match her strong emotions.
"Cassie, he always had a chance. He could have left his criminal life behind at any time, but he chose not to. You're different because you were given a chance, and you took it. You've made your choice and proven yourself, which is more than I can say for Jacobs. But more than that, it was just his time, and nobody could have changed that."
"I've just never seen anyone die like that before."
"I know," he hugged her close to him, leaving formalities behind. "I know, and I'm so sorry."
They made quite a pair, Cassie with her casual, rumpled appearance, and he with his suit perfectly pressed and shoes shining. But any truly romantic observer beholding the two on the beach that morning would say they looked just right.
"Shane," DD called out from her seat by the window, her smile as big as it could get. "You've got to come see this!"
Thanks so much for reading! But dear goodness, I can't believe how short this turned out to be. Oh well!
Best wishes and lots of love!