Last time we left Cassie and Icarus promising they wouldn’t lose the other. Today we get an even closer look into Cassie’s head and she confesses her fears to an unlikely source.
Cassie wasn’t sure what to do. It had been a couple days since that story had been printed in the newspaper. Every morning when she came out of her room, Grady was waiting for her. They walked down to have breakfast together, and if he didn’t have to have a meeting with the guys or take a ride somewhere, they spent most of the day together. He did have other responsibilities, though, and she understood that.
Sometimes she preferred it. Sometimes she just wanted a chance to breathe. And that was hard to do when it felt like you were constantly under watch.
But, he did walk her up to her room every night, and he kissed her before telling her good night. Then, she tossed and turned until dawn, thinking about how much she wished they’d take those kisses farther. And what was stopping her? She was no teenager any longer. But, the prospect of taking that step forward was almost as scary as thinking of what Henry was going to do next.
Not that she was going to admit that to anyone. Least of all Grady. He had enough on his mind.
She stepped into the library, grateful she seemed to have slipped away from Damon–Devil according to the tag on his vest and what everyone else seemed to call him–apparently taking his shift as her shadow. And she let out the breath she’d finally had the chance to take. She knew they were trying to protect her, that it was what Grady wanted. But, right now it felt smothering. She just needed some space for a moment.
“You come in here to hide out, too?”
Cassie’s head jerked up, and she stared at the woman who stood at the other side of the room. It took her a moment to place her, as she wasn’t wearing her vest. “Molly.” Everyone else called her Medusa.
Her face twisted up. And Cassie thought that was a flash of pain in the woman’s eyes. But, that couldn’t be right. She didn’t think the other woman ever felt any pain. She was too tough for that.
“Please don’t call me that,” she said. “No one does.”
“I-I’m sorry,” Cassie said. “I’m not…I feel weird using your other names.”
Molly laughed at that. But it didn’t sound as mean as it usually did. “I barely even think of myself as Molly anymore. The last time someone called me that…”
She sighed and ran her thumb over her left ring finger. Which Cassie noted was bare. Had it always been, though? She didn’t have a clue. They’d never really had a conversation before. In fact, she’d been under the impression the other woman hated her for some reason.
“Why did you come in here?” Molly asked her.
“I…I just had to get away,” she admitted. “Everyone’s watching me, and I get it. But, I had to get away to breathe. And forget for a moment that there’s something to be afraid of.” She sucked in a breath. “But, I don’t know how to do that when every minute I feel terrified. Of everything.”
“Except of Icarus.” When Cassie didn’t answer, she asked, “Right?”
“Of everything,” Cassie repeated.
And to her surprise, Molly put an arm around her shoulders and led her over to a set of armchairs. “Usually I’d say you’re better off talking to Raven. She used to do this for a living. But, her and Smoke are off somewhere I think. And I actually know what you’re going through.”
Cassie snorted at that. “Yeah. Sure you do.”
“I know the other guys say I can turn them to stone with a look. But, that’s an attitude I had to cultivate over the years. I wasn’t born with it, and people took advantage of that. People I should have been able to trust. So, yes, I lived in fear for a time. And I found the armor I needed to protect against it. Then, Flint came along.”
Cassie tilted her head at the way Molly’s voice softened on the name. “Who is Flint?”
Her thumb ran over her left ring finger. “He was my husband,” she said. “He was the only one who could get under my armor. And that scared me. For a long time. But, he was always just there.” She sent a sharp look at Cassie. “Kind of like Icarus has been doing with you.” Her lips tipped up then. “I tried to use him to fight the loneliness after I lost Flint, but it never happened. Either he didn’t see me, or he knew what I was trying to do and what it would have done to both of us. But, either way, he never looked at me the way he does you.”
“How long ago did you lose him?” Cassie asked. “Your…Flint?”
“Nearly five years. It was one of the first missions he did with the Riders. They kept me on. Would have for any family left behind, but I have skills as a medic that come in handy, too. But, I’d give anything to have him back even if it meant losing the rest. My advice to you, Cassandra–” Cassie flinched, and the woman’s face softened again– “Sorry, Cassie. Don’t waste a minute. You never know exactly how many more you’re going to have left. Don’t let fear take any more of them from you.”
She pushed up out of the chair and headed out of the library. Cassie just sat there, letting the woman’s words play through her head. When she finally left the library, nearly an hour later, Damon leaned against the opposite wall. Obviously Molly had told him she was in there. He still looked relieved.
“Do you know where Grady is?” she asked.
“He was out talking to Hawk,” he said, his face coloring slightly.
She’d seen him with the other man, the way they were together, and she smiled. “Then, let’s go see our men.”
He smiled back at her then led the way.
What will Cassie do now? Will she take Medusa’s advice? Or let her fear keep ruling her?