It was the next morning and Connor and Katrina had left. Cecily sat at the counter watching Charles make pancakes, afraid to speak and break the fragile truce that had arisen between them. She felt as if she was hovering on the edge of a precipice with her demons behind her and a leap into the unknown ahead. She wasn't sure which scared her more.
All she knew was, she had to get out of here. She smiled at Charles as he set a plate of pancakes in front of her, Cecily the actress back on the job. "Thanks. I'm starving." She was surprised to find it was true for a change.
They ate in silence that was broken by her cell phone, which she snatched up gratefully. Thorn. "Excuse me," she said to Charles, getting up and moving away. "Hello?"
"Oh, Cecily, it's just awful." Thorn's voice was barely understandable through her tears. "He's going to marry that awful shrew. I can't believe it. I thought it was temporary."
"Slow down, honey. Are you sure?"
"Amanda got an invitation," Thorn said with a hiccup. "He doesn't love her, Cec. He told me so. I thought we were getting back together."
"Do you want me to meet you somewhere?" Perfect. An escape route that doesn't look like I'm just running away.
"Yeah, that would be nice. Can you meet me at the Caramel?"
"I can be there in half an hour. See you then." She hung up and turned back to Charles, who was washing the dishes. "Charles? That was Thorn. She's really busted up over Drew's engagement to Emily. I need to go see her."
"Whatever you need to do, Cecily," he said, not looking at her. She knew he saw right through her but she didn't care. She was desperate to escape before she did something stupid. She would never fall in love again. She couldn't take another heartache. Charles was the most dangerous person in the world to her right now. Even Jack would be better.
Katrina wouldn't mind if she borrowed one of her shirts. She shoved her dirty one into her tote and left a note saying she'd return the shirt, then called a cab before taking a quick shower and throwing on the shirt and her jeans.
"Bye, Charles!" she called, then, feeling bad, she turned back and said quietly, "and thanks."
He looked at her and nodded once, and she was free.Next Chapter