Chapter 6

Cassie just stayed in Horatio's embrace and quietly cried for a little while. Being in his arms had always been such a warm, wonderful, safe and loving place, and she still felt that. Hearing his heartfelt apology had made her feel better, but she was still a whirling mess of confusion, frustration and doubt. She slowly pulled herself away from her lover's chest and took a long shaky deep breath. She swiped at the tears and looked up at him.

"You," she said still sniffling a little, "have got some serious explaining to do."

Horatio nodded and glanced down at the floor, then back up to her again. "Yes I do." He answered honestly.

She gently pulled away from him, and walked back over to the sofa. She curled up at one end, making it clear that there would be no more cuddling right now. She wrapped her arms around her knees and looked back at him expectantly.

Horatio swallowed hard, walked over and sat at the opposite end of the couch. He was quiet for a moment, unsure of where to even start. Cassie finally broke the awkward silence.

"So who the hell is Daniel… Triva… whoever…?" She asked. "Is he really a murderer?"

"Trivito," he answered, purely out of police habit, then moved on quickly. "And yes, he killed someone. He's in custody, we have a full confession, and he'll be spending a long time behind bars."

"Horatio, I don't… know him," she stammered, once again on the verge of frustrated tears, "I don't know who he is, I've never heard his name…"

He felt the pangs of guilt stab at his heart again. "I know, sweetheart," Horatio interrupted her. "Thompson Aviation, at the airport. He let Glenn use his cell phone, and…"

This time it was Cassie who interrupted him. "Glenn is involved?" she asked, her voice rising.

"No, no, no… not at all. Glenn actually helped close the case," he replied. "Glenn had nothing to do with any crime. He just had an accident with his cell phone. Daniel had been working there for a few weeks, and let Glenn borrow his phone. He called you looking for parts."

Cassie thought for a minute, then huffed and shook her head. "Glenn and cell phones," she said with a wry half smile. "Like oil and water. He's always dropping his phone. Into the parts cleaner, over the side of his boat, into the bottom of a barbeque grill. One time, he actually had to do an entire engine rebuild for free when his cell phone got sucked into the air intake of a Citation jet…" She paused. "What happened this time?"

"He said he dropped it on the ramp, and it got run over by a fuel truck."

Cassie actually laughed softly. "Yeah, that is classic Glenn…"

But the humor quickly faded from her face.

"OK, so… that explains the phone records," she said, keeping her voice even and looking directly at him. "But that does not explain how you could be so… cold towards me… especially in the middle of a police station. Or... why you would think that I would ever lie to you. I don't understand that at all."

"I… over-reacted…" he said, completely sincere.

"But… Horatio," Cassie said quickly, "You know me. The entire time we've been together, I've never lied to you. About anything. I mean… why…" she stammered, "how… how could… I would never do that…" she sighed, frustrated. "I would never do anything to hurt you."

A brief silence blanketed the room. Then Horatio pulled his gaze from her, leaned forward, and resting his arms on his knees, stared down at the floor. He closed his eyes and steadied himself.

"Cassie," he said, haltingly, "I have not had… very good luck… with women…" he took a deep breath.

She realized that he was trying to share something deep and probably very difficult for him, so she stayed quiet and let him take his time. He seemed lost in a turmoil of thought for a few minutes, but then he spoke. His voice was soft, but heavy with sadness.

"I lost a wife… to a murderer," he continued slowly, "I've been… manipulated… to try and get information for the evening news… and… toyed with… by someone willing to make deals that let criminals go free."

Horatio put one hand up and gently rubbed his forehead. "And then there's Julia…" he paused, unable to come up with any words to actually describe that entire train wreck of a relationship. Taking yet another deep breath, he forged on. "My son, Kyle, he's a really great kid. But I've only just met him. For 16 years, I never knew…" he went quiet again for a moment.

"Every time I loved, every time I trusted, it always ended… ended badly." His voice broke, betraying a mere hint of the massive bridled emotions behind his words.

Cassie felt her heart melting. In the months that she and Horatio had been involved, they had talked, sometimes for hours, about their past, their highs and lows, their successes and failures. But hearing this outpouring of his soul really brought it all into clear perspective for her. Now she understood. She understood his deepest fears, and why he had over-reacted.

All of her frustration, anger, doubt, everything… it all just melted away. She uncoiled herself and moved towards the man she loved so dearly.

Horatio turned and looked over at her when he heard her moving towards him. She put her hand against his cheek and gazed into his crystal blue eyes. She saw the raw, swirling emotions pooled there, and it only made her realize how much she truly loved him.

"Well this," she said softly, "is not going to end badly. It's not going to end at all."

She leaned in and kissed him sweetly.

He reached for her, and pulled her closer to him. He kissed her back, but almost tentatively. He wanted so much to just sweep her into his arms, smother her in kisses, and ravage her with passionate lovemaking until they both couldn't see straight… but this wasn't about what he wanted. This was about making amends, it was about whatever she wanted…

She sensed his hesitation. So, taking the lead, she eased him back into the sofa, and swung her leg over and straddled him, settling herself onto his lap. She slowly ran both her hands through his light copper hair, knowing what a sensual effect that always had on him. She watched his eyes close briefly, momentarily lost in the feeling. Her hands drifted down to the base of his neck, her fingers still toying with his hair, and she felt his hands move up along her legs and rest just above her hips.

"You're a wonderful man, Horatio Caine," she said lovingly, gazing into those gorgeous sky blue eyes once again. "And I love you with all my heart."

She leaned into him and kissed him again, more sensually than before. And this time, his response was not tentative. One hand stayed on her hip, the other wandered up her back and wound it's way into her long wavy chestnut brown hair, pulling her even closer to him and deepening their sultry kiss. She slid her tongue into his warm inviting mouth, and he readily met her advances with a growing hunger.

She pushed her open hips down against him, and could feel his arousal, and she heard him moan at the sensation… that glorious, deep, low moan of his that she so loved to hear. It made her flush with desire and need.

She pulled up and broke the bond of their fiery kiss, both of them breathing heavily. "Take me to bed," she said huskily. He was only happy to comply. In one smooth motion, he wrapped his arms around her lower back, pulling her tightly to him, and stood up. She circled her legs around him, anchoring herself to him, her arms hugging his shoulders and her face nuzzling his neck as he headed for the bedroom…

Oh, don't hate me! I HAD to stop here… The next chapter is being written right now, but needs a little more time… it will be up soon!

Thanks for your reviews… please write them… they keep everything going! -NiteJasmine