Amadeo noticed the glance Cassandra threw over her shoulder before she entered the castle. Heart filled with both joy that the object of its affection had arrived and pain that perhaps she would not stay for long, Amadeo gazed down at the beautiful but broken woman he had just escorted into the castle. It was only a matter of time before she left again; they both knew it.
There was a bruise on Cassandra's cheek that was made nearly invisible by the gross amount of cosmetics. Oh, Cassandra. What have they done to you? If only she would let Amadeo love her, as she truly needed to be loved...
"There you are," came Gabelle's voice, from across the hallway.
Cassandra stopped in her tracks and looked questioningly at Amadeo. Smiling reassuringly, Amadeo gave Cassandra's hand a squeeze before nodding to Gabelle. "There you are," he replied. "Would you happen to have any dresses that would fit Cassandra? She's to be my dinner guest tonight. She was going to rest awhile, but first, maybe you ought to get her something warmer to wear."
Gabelle laughed, and the sound was far more natural than it had been when Cassandra had been at the castle before. "Of course," she said. Then, to Cassandra, "You poor thing! You look exhausted. Let's find you a nice dress. We're somewhat the same size; maybe I have something a little smaller to fit you." Gabelle gently placed her hand on Cassandra's shoulder and steered her away from Amadeo. "We'll find you something to make Amadeo's jaw drop," she whispered, loudly enough for Amadeo to hear.
Amadeo managed to cast a grateful smile in Gabelle's direction before the two women disappeared down the hallway.
When the two were gone from sight...it was then that Amadeo leaned wearily against the wall and closed his eyes. He heaved a sigh.
How long would Cassandra continue to tear his heart apart?