Tainted Saint, Chapter Sixty-OneMature

Several days passed, but their passing did nothing to abolish the gnawing dissatisfaction Cassandra felt in her soul. For awhile, when Cassandra had considered the possibility of life with Amadeo, she had had hope that perhaps, her future held something other than bleak clouds and self-allowed abuse. But now, the glimmer of hope had faded. Life was only survival; that was all it could be, really.

Cassandra still hadn't spoken to Lizzie. Their once-invincible friendship had been severed by men. In all actuality, men were responsible for every instability, every horror in Cassandra's life. Men had stolen her innocence. Men had fooled her heart. Men had dashed her dreams.

Men kept food on the table.

And yet...and yet, one man was able to turn Cassandra's life into a fairytale, the kind that little girls could only dream about.

"Maybe, it isn't all their fault," Cassandra whispered to herself, on a particularly dreary day. She watched the autumn rain drizzle lazily to the cobblestone streets, though her mind was not occupied by the goings-on around her. "Maybe, I'm also to blame for the way things are." In her heart, she knew this was true.

Cassandra's fever, which had faded when she'd been at Amadeo's castle, had returned. It now caused her to roll up her sleeves and pin up her hair so as to let as much heat escape from her body as possible, though the weather was far from warm. Sighing, Cassandra blew air onto her hands, in an attempt to cool them down. Glancing outside, she wished the rain would go away. Perhaps, she would feel better if the weather was more ideal. Still, she had work to do. She could not let her life go to shambles, all because of a niggling illness.

With fever-flushed hands, Cassandra immersed one of her dresses in the water she'd brought in from the well. She had hardly any soap left, but her clothes absolutely needed a washing. As she worked to clean the dress, her gaze flickered over to the rest of the laundry.

There, atop the pile of clothes that needed to be washed, sat the undergarments she'd brought back from the castle.

Suddenly, overcome with anguish and anger, Cassandra grabbed the underclothes and tossed them into what remained of the fire that burned in her fireplace. Sobbing, she fell to her knees and watched as fire slowly caught onto what she had left of the castle.

Burying her face in her hands, Cassandra rocked back and forth on her knees. I just want to go home...I just want to go home...I just want to go home...

The End

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