Cassie’s story is getting to the point … eventually. You can find the previous parts here, here, here and here, here, here, here, here, as well as here. When you need to explain, to get to the point and you can’t say everything you want to, that’s when things become a …
She’d had to look at the date on the newspaper twice to be sure. Cassie thought she had more time. But there was no question, no escaping the truth: come tomorrow, Tera would be here. Come tomorrow, the red-tail Queen-to-be and Keith would meet in that park and say hello, and the path of their lives, and the silver-tail’s own, would be settled as it was, as it would be, eternally.
To be honest, she thought as she walked out the hotel room door for the last time, returning to the Realm would be welcome after spending so much time waiting. Things had their time and place to happen, and even knowing what she knew didn’t make the waiting any easier.
Her thoughts were running in circles as she waited for the elevator. Lil had told her that things would work out; the picture she gave Cassie, the one the Temptress now carried in a bag, was the way to make that happen. All she needed to do was drive to Keith’s place, be with him, and then just reveal the truth of everything. What could possibly go wrong with that?
The silver-tail had picked up her ebon-maned Monarch’s habit of pacing while she thought, which meant she had walked out of her floor’s elevator alcove several times, missing the elevator when it arrived and then continued without her. That wasn’t a bad thing, really; it gave her more time to think. It wasn’t a good thing, either, because it gave her a lot more time to think.
Finally making a decision, Cassie pushed the call button once more and then leaned against the wall to wait, closing her eyes. She would see Keith tonight, hold him, tell him she loved him … and then just … let go.
The silver-tail missed the soft chime of the elevator. She didn’t miss the voice that called out: “Good day, are you waiting for the elevator?”
She knew that voice; once again, Goddess was having far too much fun with the entire situation. Looking towards the elevator, she beheld a bespectacled man in a simple suit with a white collar. Her first reaction was to embrace him, for he was, after all, the one her best friend called “heart.” Her second thought was that might not be the best thing to be doing when he’d not yet met Tera by the fence. That still was some time away, after all. What’s more, his own Eternal was there, wearing her own white collar, and Cassie wasn’t about to make a scene that would be impossible to explain to the both of them. How does one explain that they’d both been there for her in her darker moments, the ones where she’d been looking for meaning when she’d lost souls that meant so much to her, the times when she’d been trying to understand Goddess and words didn’t come to help with that, save from their simple assurance, hope, and most of all, love shared.
Noting their concerned looks, the silver-tail entered the elevator: “Um, sorry. My mind was elsewhere. Ground floor, please?”
As they descended, Cassie fully realized what Lil meant in the park. Keith was the focal point to so many lives that Cassie knew and so many more that of whom she had no idea. In this moment, possibly two of the most important to Keith and Tera were less than a tail’s length from her and, right now, they had no idea.
Fidgeting with the straps of her canvas bag, Cassie turned towards the couple next to her. She still didn’t quite understand what it meant to be an Eternal, but it seemed so very clear that these two souls holding hands were meant for each other. The Temptress felt somehow boxed into a corner, wanting to tell all and yet knowing that she couldn’t, at least not yet.
But she could start with something simple: “I must apologize for my manners, my name is Cassiopeia…”
The rest just happened.
Sitting in the hotel restaurant, Cassie still wasn’t quite sure how it all happened exactly. She’d intended to sit off in a corner somewhere to wait, but, discovering that the place was packed, that there was but one table left, and Tera’s heart and his Eternal would be turned away, she’d decided that wouldn’t happen. And so, pulling on her blonde hair with her free hand, she offered a solution, and they accepted.
As such, she found herself sitting at a table with them, across the table from them … and it felt right. They shared some small talk: Cassie mentioned that she believed in Goddess; they accepted that and told some of their own experiences with her. It mattered to the blonde what they both thought. She still couldn’t tell them everything, but she could ask for some advice. “This is… going to be very forward of me, but, may I ask you something?”
He was taking a sip of water, so his Eternal replied: “Seems like you have been wanting to, Cassiopeia.”
The table cloth became very interesting as the silver tail began: “I adore someone, but … he is meant for someone else, for my best friend. I know that, when they see each other, they’ll know it’s meant to be. I’m happy for them, I know they’ll be perfect together and it will mean the world to them both.” Seeing them both nod, Cassie continued: “I love them in ways I can’t explain. I see them and I wonder why Goddess seems to have a plan for everyone … but me.”
Tera’s heart offered: “We don’t know the plan Goddess has until it’s revealed, you know. You seem like a wonderful person, I’m sure there’s an answer for you too. Just listening to you, it’s clear you want them to be happy. That’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
“Oh I’m not, far from it. I’m more … wanting to know what comes next.”
“We can’t see into the future, Cassiopeia.”
“I can guess. I can see them being in love eternally, having two daughters. I can see them being there for others, putting themselves behind the needs of those around them. I can imagine … so many things for their future.”
His Eternal was, as always, so very perceptive: “And you?”
Cassie leaned back in her chair: “I’ll adore them from afar. That’s good enough.”
The look the two across the table shared meant something to them: “What does that mean?”
“I’ll be there as the favourite aunt for the girls. I’ll be there to share the good and the not-so-much with them all. I won’t walk away from them.”
Cassie sighed–this was Tera’s heart, after all. He didn’t know her now, but he would: “There’s not really a ‘but.’ It’s more … they’ll both need someone. I hope that’s me.”
“You love them both, don’t you?”
The Temptress was surprised when they each took one of her hands: “There’s nothing wrong with holding love in your heart for them both. The future will look after itself, Cassiopeia.”
She chuckled lightly: “The future goes through me.”
“Maybe, maybe not. If it does, then make it the best one you can.”
Cassie looked at the canvas bag sitting next to her: “For them, I will.”