Here it is beautifuls! The final chapter! I struggled to find a way I wanted to end this, there's so much they need to do and say, but I wanted a really happy ending, so here we are... Thank you to everyone who was read and reviews this! Especially, Calliope, tigpop, EmmaJ1996, Lizziginni and pinkswallowsun, who reviewed that last chapter! Those really dedicated reviewers who have reviewed every chapter, you know who you are, I love you loads, you've made this worth writing and your comments have inspired me to keep writing this and more fanfiction! Thank you! I thought I'd let you all know that I'll be singing the song from the last chapter in my school talent show. My English teacher knows that I included it in this and so couldn't stop grinning all the way through my audition - rather off putting! lol! :D Please review this chapter... it's your last chance and I'd love to know what you'd thought of this! I'll have some one shots based around Cassie up over the next few weeks/months. Thank you for reading,
Much love always xx
I struggled to find a way I wanted to end this, there's so much they need to do and say, but I wanted a really happy ending, so here we are...
Thank you to everyone who was read and reviews this! Especially, Calliope, tigpop, EmmaJ1996, Lizziginni and pinkswallowsun, who reviewed that last chapter! Those really dedicated reviewers who have reviewed every chapter, you know who you are, I love you loads, you've made this worth writing and your comments have inspired me to keep writing this and more fanfiction! Thank you!
I thought I'd let you all know that I'll be singing the song from the last chapter in my school talent show. My English teacher knows that I included it in this and so couldn't stop grinning all the way through my audition - rather off putting! lol! :D
Please review this chapter... it's your last chance and I'd love to know what you'd thought of this!
I'll have some one shots based around Cassie up over the next few weeks/months.
Thank you for reading,
A little less than two months after her mother's funeral and Cassie was sat in the back of her father's car with Leo and Janet in front as he pulled into a little car park. It had a small cottage-like building at one end, which was clearly a shop and café, and at the other side was a large play area for young children. It had taken a while for her father to convince her that this was a good idea. She had only been here once before, when she was around six years old and it was the one memory she'd always clung to over the past eight years. The last time she remembered going on holiday with her mother and father, for the next two years they would always be too busy during the schools holidays with work commitments to take her anywhere.
She could hear the crashing waves and the snatches of conversation floating on the whispers of the wind. There were seagulls crying as they swooped down to snatch up the bits of food that had been dropped on the white-sandy beach.
As she clambered out of the car she could hear the children screeching on the beach below her, umbrella's flapped lazily in the refreshing summer breeze as the sea grass shushed the loud powerboats thundering past.
All around her were different shades of blue and green. The ocean lapped up against the shore, the translucent teal water looked inviting. Cassie thought of all the interesting creatures that called the water home, when she had last visited the little seaside town she had seen a starfish in one of the rock pools. Her six-year-old self had been so excited by the tiny creature, she had raced along the shore and practically dragged her mother across the sand to see it. Her father had simply smiled at his young child who was grinning and dancing across the sand amazed by her discovery.
Rolling in the surf were streamers of seaweed and sharp fragments of shells. Further up the beach people sat on the smooth rocks, some laying back and basking in the hot glow of the sun. The beach was littered with colourful windbreaks and deck chairs; children darted in between them throwing Frisbees and kicking footballs to one another, laughing and joking.
On the horizon Cassie could see the cruise ships and sailboats way out at sea, she wondered just how far away they were. A plane flew overheard with a banner advertising a fireworks show at a local castle, some of the younger children on the beach looked up in awe at the giant metal bird and applauded, squealing loudly in delight.
There were fathers sat with their children building tall sand castles with deep moats and shells for windows and doors. Cassie remembered building one with her father last time she was here, they had fetched fish and chips once it had been built and watched as the sea rolled in scooping it away. She remembered feeling disappointed that all their hard work had disappeared but almost memorised by the power of the waves.
Her father and Janet joined her at the cliff edge and together they slowly made their way down the little path, past the lifeguard tower with its flag flying high, down to the beach. Leo held Janet's arm, keeping her steady as they made their way down a particularly steep sand dune and on to the main flat bit of the beach. Janet had a woven picnic basket on one arm, and her father held the bag containing the sun lotion, towels and three books.
They weaved their way in and out of all the families and couples scattered across the beach. At the very far end there was an empty spot, it was too far away from the sea for the families, which made up most of the visitors to the beach, but was perfect for them. Leo had made several jokes about taking Cassie down to the sea for a paddle but had stopped at the familiar 'I'm warning you' look on her face. The look however had made Janet break into peals of laughter, with tears streaming down her face. It had taken her a good ten minutes to calm down, when she'd finally explained that the look Cassie had given her father had been so Leo-like that it was untrue.
Cassie felt the soft sand under her feet, she couldn't wait to lay back and relax in the summer heat. Sticky sweat trickled down the faces of the children running around like the water cascading down the rocks where a little river met the sea. She could see the sand sticking to wet feet, and remembered the irritating feeling of sand in her shoes and socks as it rubbed and chaffed her feet. She made a mental note to clean her feet properly she they left the beach later on.
As they sat down and made themselves comfortable, Janet pulled out the sun cream and poured some into her hands applying the oily lotion to her dark skin. Leo began to fret that Cassie would burn and called her over, making her sit at his feet as he applying the cool liquid to her ivory skin. Cassie squirmed underneath the coolness but didn't complain. She hadn't quite got over the fact she now had a father to worry over her, and she secretly enjoyed the attention he gave her, even if he did treat her like she was still six years old sometimes. The sun's heat was beating down on them, and both Cassie and Janet slipped their tops off revealing their bikini tops. Leo looked disapprovingly at his teenage daughter, a look that certainly didn't last when he saw his girlfriend beside him.
Janet gave him a quizzical look.
"Are you aware of how beautiful you are?" He asked, smiling at his lover who blushed in response.
Cassie grinned at the interaction between them and laid back on a towel hoping to gain an even looking tan by the end of the day. Her denim shorts covered very little of her thighs which meant that she didn't have to lay in her entire bikini, which was sure he father wouldn't approve of.
In was well over an hour later when any of them felt the need to move. Sitting up Leo dug out three bottles of water, handing one to both his girlfriend and his daughter. He looked up at something behind the two females and his eyes darkened visibly, Cassie and Janet turned to find two teenage boys sat on the rocks a fair way behind them. Cassie giggled slightly as the two boys looked her up and down. She flicked her hair behind her shoulder and smirked at them.
"Cassie." Her father warned, "Don't encourage them."
Janet rolled her eyes as Leo shot daggers at the two boys.
"Oh Leo, calm down. Cassie's an attractive young woman, she's bound to draw attention."
Leo looked pointedly at his girlfriend, "Exactly, and so I'm doing my duty to protect her from the idiots who think it's okay to eye her up, like those two!"
"Your duty" Janet spluttered as she burst out laughing, Cassie joining her.
Leo pulled a face at the two of them, and the three of them started to laugh once more.
Cassie got up and sat beside her father, leaning into him slightly. Leo wrapped his arm around his daughter shoulders and kissed her forehead lightly.
"I'm glad I got you back." She whispered softly.
Leo smiled, "I'm glad I got you back too sweetheart."
Janet smiled at the pair of them.
Hours later, the three of them sat with fish and chips in hand on the sea-defence-wall looking out across the water at the surf thundered in grabbed at the sand with foamy fingers. A patch of sea grass nodded in the wind, pointing toward the glittering waves like a signpost. The crowds had long since disappeared yet the smell of hot dog, sweet ice cream and sun tan lotion still lingered. The breeze had become cool and Cassie shivered slightly, her father noticed this and pulled her pastel pink waterfall cardigan out of the bag in front of him and handed it to her. She smiled gratefully and slipped it over the delicate dream crochet knit vest top she was wearing.
Leo was wringing his hands and trying his best not to appear nervous. He had spoken to Harry about this and together they had come up with the perfect plan. He had no reason to be nervous, he had done this before, and he could do it again.
The sunset was romantic, like an inspirational fire across the sky. The warmth of the colors and intensity of the light was just enough to calm him. It was as if a powerful symphony was quieting down, becoming more emotional and beautiful, as the music dies down. The lingering rays seem friendly, reminding him of an old friend-waving goodbye. Leo contemplated this, coming to the conclusion that he was waving goodbye to an old friend. He was waving goodbye to his past, and welcoming a future with Janet and his daughter. Thing's hadn't worked out exactly as he'd expected last time he was in this position, but he had learnt a lesson from the mistake's he'd made and the problem's he'd faced and he felt reassured by the knowledge he was doing the right thing.
His nerves were clearly showing as Cassie looked at him with a raised eyebrow, he gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile and looked across the water, hoping that amongst the darkened depths of the ocean he would be able to find the courage he needed to see this through.
He slipped from the wall and gathered up the empty newspaper wrappers that had held their fish and chips and carried them to the bin. When he returned Janet was whispering something in Cassie's ear, his daughter giggled, her melodic laugh filled him with hope that there could be a positive future for the three of them.
He strolled back over to the two of them and smiled down at the both.
"Dad?" Cassie asked hesitantly, "You okay?"
"I'm fine Cass, in fact I'm more than fine."
Janet raised her eyebrow at her boyfriend. What was he planning?
"I've been thinking this through for a while, and I must have had everybody at the lab's opinion on what I should do. The gist of them all was the same though; everybody asked me why I hadn't done it already. I know… I know, you're probably really confused right now, or may not, maybe you've worked it out."
Janet gave him a puzzled look, "Leo…"
He cut her off. "Janet, I'm struggling to find the words to explain my actions. I've never been one for words, I hate lecturing at conferences for that reason, you know that, but this is different somehow. If I had a million more years I don't think I'd be able to find the words to explain just how much you mean to me. You have become my entire word Janet, you were there for me to lean on, you helped me move on from my past, you were strong for me and I owe you so much for everything you've done. You're an amazing woman and I can't believe my luck, every time I wake up and see you there next to me I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not still dreaming. You're beautiful, you're intelligent, you're caring and in all honestly you're simply the most amazing woman I've ever met. I love you with all my heart, and I never thought I'd meet someone like you. After Theresa I thought I'd be alone for the rest of my days, but you gave me something to hold on to, something to make me look forward to the future and I can't thank you enough."
He took a deep breath and tried to stop the tears from welling up behind his eyes. He could see Janet's trickling down her face, his gaze moved to his daughter he appeared to be fighting her own. She smiled at him, encouraging him to continue.
"I still haven't found the words to explain what you mean to me, maybe the don't exist. I can't find anything powerful enough to describe our love, all I know is that I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of our lives. I never want to have to let you go Janet, because I love you, and so…" He dropped down on to one knee. "Janet Mander, will you marry me?"
Janet sobbed, a smile stretching across her face as she flung her arms around her boyfriend, now fiancé and whispered a delicate 'yes' into his ear.
The couple turned to the teenager, each anxious about her response. Cassie simply grinned at the two of them, wiping her own tears from her eyes. Her father stood up and pulled the young girl into his arms.
"You're okay with this?" he asked her.
"Of course." She replied, hugging him tightly.
"Good." He smiled down at her, "Oh Janet, I think you need this…"
He pulled a small blue tiffany's box from his pocket and opened it to allow Janet to pear at the gorgeous ring inside. Two pear-shaped Tiffany diamonds brought an air of glamour to the dazzling classic round centre stone. The ring itself was made from platinum and Leo watched as his Fiancé's eyes glazed over as more tears threatened to fall.
"Oh it's beautiful," She whispered.
Cassie smiled at her father and Janet; together they had come such a long way over the last few weeks. It hadn't been easy for any of them, they had to come to terms with and accept so many things. She'd lost her mother, Leo had discovered that his wife and child had never died, and Janet had, had to come to terms with the fact the man she was in love with had another just-as-important female in his life. She couldn't help but feel warm inside as she realised she had returned to the place she felt safest, the one place she truly belonged.
She had returned to her father.