Tainted Saint, Chapter TwentyMature

Cassandra felt as though she'd been punched in the stomach. Sickness completely forgotten, she leaned forward. "Me? Go with you? Morris, are you completely out of your mind?" she gushed in a low voice. "If Lizzie knew you'd asked me - "

"I couldn't ask Lizzie."

Rolling her aching eyes, Cassandra shook her head. "You're a cheater, Morris. You were right in coming back to the streets. Unfaithful men like you don't belong at a castle!"

"I couldn't ask Lizzie because if the King lets me work for him again, I'd be leaving her!"

It was then that Cassandra understood. "You'd leave and break her heart, Morris. You'd leave her behind - again - to work for some snobbish royalty?"

Clearly affronted and working to keep it under control, Morris raised his hands. "Hear me out, Cassandra. Just hear me out."

"I've heard quite enough, thank-you very much!"

"So you're saying I ought to stay here, throwing my life away, living in this filth?" Morris shot back, clearly frustrated by Cassandra's words. "You want me to spend my life in such a way that people will care just as much when I die as they cared about Emi Tro?"

For some reason, Morris' words hit Cassandra's heart like an arrow. Stunned, she said nothing - only watched the broken man in front of her with eyes that were quickly filling with hot tears.

"I'm asking you to accompany me for two reasons - the first being that it would be strange for me to show up without a companion at my side, and secondly, I know you want to leave this place as much as I do. Don't tell me you didn't see the way the King looked at you the other day, Cassandra. Don't tell me you didn't see it."

Cassandra's heart leaped. If I saw the King...oh, my. How could I miss an opportunity like this? "You give a girl a lot to think about," she finally admitted.

"The celebration is in three days. We would leave in the morning and arrive sometime in the late afternoon or early evening. I hope you come with me." Morris cleared his throat. "Get some sleep, Cassandra. Or on second thought, don't. The longer you're sick, the longer you can take a break from your work."

And then, Cassandra was alone.

The End

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