Chapter 11

As Fenton had predicted Gray had heard nothing about the Assassins in connection with any of the Hardys. Frank hadn't really been surprised, the stalker angle wasn't really their style, nevertheless it was a relief to rule them out. He smiled as he remembered Joe's reaction to the questions about his love life. Frank wasn't sure which had mortified him more, his father thinking he could still be so easily fooled by a pretty face or being forced to admit he hadn't been on as many dates as he had bragged about. It seemed little brother was as likely to spend an evening at home or hanging out with friends as Frank himself was.

Unfortunately these two avenues being proven to be dead ends meant they were no closer to figuring out just who Cassandra was. In the past two weeks Frank had received several more letters along with gifts of varying expense. An antique pocket watch had been the most expensive so far and Frank had hoped it would provide a lead; it hadn't panned out. Only a few emails had been received but they had been routed through so many servers that he would need the resources of the NSA to track them. Frank wracked his brain as he drove towards his apartment. There had to be something that would lead them to Cassandra. She had to slip up sooner or later, didn't she?

Frank pulled into his parking spot and wearily climbed from his car. Heading towards the stairs he waved at the other tenants as he passed them. A few called out greetings but he wasn't in the mood for small talk. He hurried on, eager to be inside the privacy of his apartment. At least Cassandra hadn't bothered him here yet. He hoped it meant she didn't know where he lived.

"Hey Frank," Tony Prito called down the hall.

Frank sighed; he really didn't feel like talking, not even to an old friend. But Tony was a good friend, too good to just blow off like he had the other tenants. "Hey Tony," Frank turned towards the other man.

"Long day?"

"You could say that."

"New girlfriend wearing you out?" Tony teased.

Frank shook his head. "Huh?"

Tony frowned, his teasing attitude slipping away. "You don't have a new girlfriend?"

"No, what made you think I did?" Frank's heart raced, he had a bad feeling about this.

"I saw her leaving your apartment earlier; I guess I just assumed you had found a girl." Tony could have kicked himself. He had worked with the brothers enough to know better than to make assumptions and Frank had mentioned the strange gifts, damn.

"You saw a woman leaving here?" Frank indicated his door. "Do you think you could describe her to a police artist?"

Tony shook his head. "I'm sorry man, I only saw her from behind. I was coming out of my apartment when she shut your door and headed for the stairs. You think it might've been your stalker?"

"Well I don't have a girlfriend so who else could it be?" Frank didn't wait for an answer as he inserted the key into the lock and pushed the door open. He froze at the sight of the table set for one, a candle burning in a crystal holder sat in the center of his small table. Frank stalked to the table and picked up the note he saw perched atop the cover on what he assumed was meant to be his supper.

"Darling,

You've been working so hard lately and I know you can't have been eating properly. You must take care of yourself darling. I prepared this meal for you, though I wish I could be there to enjoy it with you. Ah well, the time is coming when we can finally be together. Until then think of me as you enjoy your dinner.

Love,

Cassandra."

Tony shivered, "That's creepy man."

"You're telling me?" Frank snapped. "Sorry, guess I'm a little on edge." Fishing his cell phone from his pocket Frank quickly phoned the police who promised to send somebody over as soon as possible. Done with this he lifted the cover from the plate, after grabbing a towel, releasing a bevy of delicious smells into the room. The filet mignon, baked potato with all the fixings and green beans looked great and Frank's stomach growled. It would just have to keep growling, there was no way he was eating something left by his crazy stalker.

"It's okay, I'd probably be snapping too," Tony waved off the apology. "What are you going to do?"

"Well I'm not going to eat that," he pointed at the plate. Frank stood next to the table, searching the room for anything that was out of place. Well anything besides a romantic meal and love note from a woman he didn't know. "You mind helping me check for cameras and microphones?" He would let the police check for prints but in the meantime he could be looking for surveillance equipment, not that he expected to find any, prints or equipment. Whoever this Cassandra was, she was good.

Cassandra sat in an apartment across the courtyard, a telescope and parabolic microphone aimed towards her love's home. She had rented this apartment after paying the previous tenants, through an intermediary of course, to move elsewhere. She couldn't chance placing cameras or listening devices inside Franklin's apartment and while she could have tapped into his laptop camera it wasn't always open here, unlike at the office. She had been mulling over the problem when she had realized that it would be easy to watch over her love if she had an apartment across from his.

She frowned as she listened to the conversation between Franklin and the other man. Why wouldn't he eat the food she had so lovingly prepared for him? Okay, so she had her chef prepare it but she paid the man's wages so it was the same thing. He didn't even sound grateful for her efforts, now that she thought about it he sounded angry.

"It isn't his fault," Cassandra sighed. He was tired, she knew how hard he worked, and that must be affecting his emotions. Obviously his friend's remarks about her note weren't helping either. She watched them as they searched the room, each man now wearing a pair of latex gloves. She giggled; it wouldn't do them any good. Cassandra was very glad she had decided against placing cameras or anything else in the apartment. She supposed the police would check for prints, they wouldn't find any of those either; her own gloves had assured that.

"I'll have to make arrangements," Cassandra mumbled to herself. The current situation was romantic and mysterious, and she hated to end it, really she did. After all men loved mysteries, a detective more than most, but there was no choice. If she and Franklin were to find lasting happiness they would have to get away from everything and everyone. Luckily she had the perfect place in mind.

TBC...

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