Cassandra led a life of control until one night everything changed.
|Nothing really happened to her. She knew that and she was fine with that, mostly. It wasn't like she expected her life to be a grand adventure. She didn't. She was fine with average, normal, mundane. She didn't seek out huge out of the norm things. She would be good with simple things. She liked the quiet life. Cassandra could have that high octane adventurous life of chasing down those who would destroy the safe and quiet world they new of. All she had to do was return her parents phone calls or the calls from anyone from her former life but she quit that life for a reason. There was such thing as to much excitement and there was something about it that didn't sit well with her. She couldn't take the sound of the voices in her head and the pictures and the faces and the constant flashes of the different visions she saw. She had found a way to block it, so she never saw visions of the future. She did not have a psychic connection with those with abilities any longer. She was done with it. She really did enjoy the peace and quiet, she really did. She liked having her mind free.
She did data entry. Nothing exciting at all. She thought something simple where she did not have to think too much would help keep the visions locked up. She thought way to much to last her several life times. If she did the walls she carefully built around the voices, the images, and the feelings of all of the visions of the people she helped capture would come to her. She tried blinking away the thought of it. She needed simple, mundane, and average. She could not let visions over take her again. She needed procedures and schedules and lists to keep herself from opening that tightly closed wall surrounding those visions in her head.
She looked up at the clock. It was almost five clock her work day was almost over. She finished her spread sheets. She had a few minutes left so she went over her schedule in her head. She would go to the same Diner she always went to and order the same ham sandwich she usually ordered and then she would take the same amount of steps to her apartment she usually did. Counting helped. It kept the images away. It kept her calm.
At exactly five o'clock she got up to clock out and as she did Emily, one of the girls she worked with, came up to her.
She readied herself for this. It was part her routine as well. Everyday right after she clocked out Emily always came up to her inviting her to go out.
"Cassandra!" Emily said.
"Hey Emily." Cass said calmly.
"It is Friday night. What are you doing?" She asked upbeat.
"Oh you know same old same old."
"Come on, Cass go get drinks with us." Emily plead.
"You know I don't drink." Cass said excusing herself.
"OK, but you can get a Virgin Margarita." Emily told her.
"It's not about the drinks. You know it's not my scene."
"Then what is your scene? Hanging out at the movies? Hanging out at someone's house? It doesn’t seem like any place is your scene. Anytime I invite you to go some place you always turn me down. It's getting tiring."
"Then just give up." Cass replied feeling bad she was sounding a little cold.
Emily stopped and looked like Cass just told her something that upset her.
Then she looked her in the eyes giving her a serious look and put her hand on her arm and said,
"I will never give up on you."
Cass sighed looking at her. Why was it so important to Emily that she go out with her? She never was this adamant that she would go out. It was becoming kind of a fun part of her routine where Emily would plea with her giving her a cute pout of the lips trying to get her out. She sometimes would joke about it but that was it. She never seemed to take it this seriously.
"Why is it so important to you?" Cass asked.
She moved her fingers in her light brown hair and said,
"Well, there's this guy."
Cass laughed and said,
"Of course there is a guy."
"He has a friend."
"You are trying to set me up?"
"So? Maybe you need to be set up. When was the last time you went on a date? Huh?"
"I cannot date." Cass said.
"Why not?" Emily asked.
"It has been a while. I had a bad break up before."
That was a simple response. Normal girls had breakups everyday that was a good explanation. She didn't have to give her the torrid excuse. Or the fact that her last boyfriend was the enemy of the organization she used to work for. That kind of broke her and caused the breakdown and the overflow of all of the visions. She could not deal with that. It was years ago but going back out there scared her deep in her bones. She feared feeling something and that might trigger heavy guarded memories. She hardly remembered the guy. She put his face, his touch, his feel, and all memories of him and locked him away in a sealed box in her mind so she could not feel that pain again. She had no memory of him all she remembered was that she had a boyfriend and he was a bad guy who ruined her life. She allowed herself to at least remember that much so she would not have to be haunted by her horrible mistake and make the same mistake twice.
"Well, don't you think it's about time you get back out there. It is just drinks. That's all. Come on, be my wing woman."
Cassandra shoved her hands in her pockets she needed to do something with her hands. She could tell her no and be firm and stout about continually living her mundane procedure driven life. There was something inside her that was crying out for one small break from the schedule one little thing she could do to feel like she was at least attempting to live. She could do one thing different. How could one break from procedure hurt? She kind of ached for it. She wished she could just be like a normal girl and go have drinks with friends and meet random guys at the spur of the moment with out being such a huge decision. This was growing tiresome. What was one change? How could that hurt? She could still remain in control.
"OK, fine one drink." Cass finally caved.
Emily jumped up and squeed, "Yeah, thanks Cass. You're a pal."
She hugged her. Cass pat her on the back.
Then she pressed her lips together in a crease and said, "Yep, that's me. A real pal."
As they entered the bar Cass was feeling invigorated. She was starting to feel like a normal girl. Then Emily was bouncing looking for the guy. Cass hoped for her sake that he didn't bale on her. Emily seemed to go through the ringer when it came to guys. At least that was how she describe it in a lot of their talks they had during the lunches they had together at work.
Then Emily finally saw him and waved, "There they are come on Cass."
Cass followed her friend to the bar.
The one who was into Emily was obvious right away. He smiled at Emily waving her over. The other one sat beside him at the bar. His eyes remained glued on the bar his gloved fingers tapping in an almost structured way, it was more then just a nervous tick it was like he was counting. It was two taps with two fingers and then three taps with three fingers. He did it in a structured rhythm similar to how she counted her steps when walking home. Right now in this moment she would be counting her usual 354 steps it takes to walk home.
She could barely see his face with the way he was hunched over.
Then Emily said, "Cassandra this is Steve and his friend Nate."
"Nice to meet you." Steve said and he shook Cass' hand. The body contact was strange she hasn't touched anyone in a very long time she urged herself to not let it get to her. She reminded herself simple contact would not set off the visions, that only happened if she were trying or there was something about that person that would trigger the visions that she had locked away.
Cass reminded herself to reply she needed to get out of her head.
"Oh, yeah, nice to meet you too."
Then he turned to his friend Nate who was still hunched over. He pulled him up and nudged him, "Nate introduce yourself."
Nate reluctantly got up. Cass readied herself to shake his hand she was kind of dreading it and anticipating for their hands to touch for a moment. She didn't know why. His hazel eyes flickered at her. She took in his handsome features in and she couldn't help but smile at him, he did not smile back.
Then Nate waved his hand awkwardly said, "Hi."
"Sorry about him. He doesn't get out much." Steve apologized for his friend.
"Either does she that makes them perfect for each other!" Emily said excitedly.
Cass and Nate both looked at Emily and Steve mortified.
Then finally Cass laughed which caused Nate to chuckle. Cass looked at Nate he seemed to not be able to help himself from laughing. His mood changed in that moment as he allowed himself to look at her.
They got a table and began to order drinks. Nate opted to order a Non-Alcoholic beverage too.
Emily heard her favorite song playing and grabbed Steve's hand and pulled him on the dance floor. There was a live band playing.
Emily winked at her. She was being so subtle. She obviously did that on purpose so that her and Nate would talk. Cass looked at him as he still sat there he fell back on to his habit of tapping his fingers.
Cass needed to stop the silence so she tried to think of something to break the ice.
Then Cass asked, "So do you mind if I ask why you aren't drinking?"
Nate stopped his tapping he looked at her amused.
"If I tell you does that mean you would tell me why you don't drink?" Nate asked her with challenging eyes.
"I like control. I don't want to ever lose it." Cass honestly told him.
There was a small curve of his lips and he said, "That was oftly forth right of you."
"Yes, well that is me. I am blunt." Cass said owning it.
"So tell me bluntly. Did your friend drag you here, like my friend did to me?" Nate asked edging a little closer to her.
"Of course. That is obvious." Cass said.
"Yeah. So? Did you want get out of here?" He said nonchalantly.
"Excuse me?" She asked offended.
He chuckled a little at her and then he said,
"I meant by yourself. You don't have to stay here and talk to me."
He gave her a reassuring smile.
"It's OK. It is about time I break routine." She said with a small smile.
He nodded as he looked at her searching her face.
"Really? Is it that bad?" He asked intrigued.
"No. I like routine it is good."
"It is nice to shake it up every now and then." Nate said.
"Really? So do you like to shake it up often?"
"Not as much as I like. I too need control." He said as he readjusted his sleeve on his sleek dress shirt.
"Oh, yeah. What do you do for a living?"
"I am Data Analyst."
"Not really. I like it that way. It is analyzing numbers and data. I like it. I like numbers. They are reliable they are the same every time. Numbers you can count on."
"Like you can't count on people?" Cass asked perceptively.
He ignored the question and asked,
"Do you work with people much?"
"No. I do data entry."
"Safe?" He asked intrigued.
"Yes. I like not having think too. I am in there. I do my job. It is quick. It is efficient. There's no complications."
"Have you had a lot of complications in your life?" He asked.
"Too much in the past. I like things calmer now. How about you?"
"I used to work with the wrong people. Now it is hard to trust people. You never know who you are working for. You never know who to trust."
"That must be a hard way to live." Cass said looking at him feeling that sadness that must come from isolating yourself.
"Do you trust everyone you work with?" Nate asked a little surprised.
"Yes. Trusting other people isn't my problem."
"Then what is your problem?"
Cass looked at him feeling his look straight into her soul. She was starting to feel really nervous.
"I think we are getting a little too deep for first date conversation."
Then she grabbed some chips and started to eat them and focus on them.
"I am sorry. I don't know what came over me. I am usually not that revealing." He said as he readjusted his gloves on his hands.
"What's with the gloves?" Cass asked curiously.
"I have a skin allergy." He said gruffly as he pulled on them.
Then he went for the chips and dipped some in the salsa he concentrated on that for a long moment not looking her in the eyes.
"Oh what are you allergic to?"
"That must suck."
"It does but I have learned to live with it." He said.
"Yeah. I get that." Cass said.
"You do? Do you have a skin allergy too?"
"No I....I get headaches and I have to be careful about the types of things I watch what kind of things I read and generally any sensory stimulation to my mind. It does get exhausting sometimes to try to control everything I think about."
He looked up at her curious.
"Yeah. That's hard. It's hard for me too. I wish I didn't have to control everything. I wish I could just let loose and live. My friends don't get it. They don't understand what I've been through and what I have to deal with everyday. Everything is so easy for them."
"Yeah. I never do this. I never go out but when Emily begged me to come. I surprised my self how much I wanted to come."
"You wanted to go on a blind date?" He asked surprised.
"I wanted to have fun. I wanted to for once to forget about all of the control and just have one night of fun. You know?"
"Yeah. I get that. Steve dragged me here. I didn't want to come at all. I didn't think I would have a good time or that it would be a good. It was good to know."
"It's good to know what?"
"That I can be wrong sometimes."
Cass could feel her cheeks warm up at the comment.
"Wow, so you are a modest guy."
"Oh yeah, I am like the most humble guy ever."
Cass couldn't help but laugh.
"Sounds like it."
He chuckled with a bit of a click in his voice. She liked the way he laughed. It felt familiar to her.
Then she said, "So Nate. Do you want to dance?"
"If you don't mind if I wear gloves."
He followed her to the dance floor.
She took his gloved hand and she couldn't believe how confident she was feeling as she pulled him along to the dance floor. She liked this feeling.
"So are you going to lead or?" He asked.
She wasn't sure if he was making fun of her take charge attitude and said, "That depends on you. You lead but if you step on my feet I think I will take over."
"OK, then. I shall do my best then. No pressure or anything."
She wrapped her hands around his neck, "You can show me how humble you are about your dancing skills."
He smiled at her so warmly and genuinely it made her melt a little. She started to feel a little swoony and excited. Her heart began to race a mile a minute as he put his hands around her waist. She felt tingles shoot up to her spine.
"Well I am no Fred Astaire but I don't exactly have two left feet either."
He led her on the dance floor. She followed his steps quickly. Then they began to sway back and forth and then she said, "Not bad."
"Not great either?"
"Hey, you are not stepping on my feet so bonus points."
"Oh I didn't realize I was being scored."
"Well, get used to it."
"OK, then I guess I will." He said as he dipped her and then pulled her quickly up and then twirled her around causing her to collide falling against his chest.
She giggled and he looked in her eyes.
His breath hitched as she was so close to him and he asked, "Do I know you?"
"I think I would remember you."
"Yeah." He said and then he let there be a little more distance between them.
As they danced some more she said, "So how does it feel?"
"How does what feel?"
"To live a little."
"It feels ... good. I haven't felt this way in a long time."
"What way?" She asked in a low voice.
"I don't know. I can't quite put my finger on it. Things seem not so despondent."
"I have been in kind of a mood lately. In the past few years things seem so grey and fuzzy. And now I don't know it doesn't feel that way anymore." He said wistfully.
She smiled up at him and said, "I think I know what you mean."
"Yeah I do."
Then she leaned closer into him and brushed her lips into his. She didn't think about it she just did it. It felt right it felt good and it felt like home. As he kissed her back she was over come with a feeling of joy and intense happiness and then suddenly she had a flash. She saw herself kissing him but when she was much younger. She was overwhelmed with flashes of him she saw them holding hands, she saw herself talking with him, she saw herself arguing with him. She saw her parents pulling her away and then she saw him use his hands to levitate a heavy object over her head. She saw him in the middle of the street causing destruction there were cars flying everywhere and a fire extinguisher bursting open and people laying on the ground unconscious.
She then pulled away from him completely horrified.
It was him. It was her boyfriend she tried to forget. She wasn't supposed to remember him at all and here he was in all his glory and she just kissed him not knowing it was him.
He looked at her perplexed and concerned and asked," Are you OK?"
"Nate. How could you?" She asked her voice a pitch higher.
"How could I what?" He asked.
"I am sorry if I...wait you kissed me why are you mad?" He stumbled on his words confused.
"Are you kidding me? Do you seriously don't remember?"
"Remember what?" He asked.
She shook her head with her hands clenching the hem of her shirt with her fists angry.
"So is that how you are going to play this? Are you going to play dumb? Is that it?" She asked seething.
"Play what? What are talking about? I thought we were having a good time?" He asked shocked.
"Was that what your game was lower my defenses and seduce me like you did last time?" Cass asked.
"Last time?" He asked confused.
"Why are you wearing gloves then? Huh? Is it to stop me from getting visions of you. What did you think was going to happen?" She asked accusation blaring out of her voice.
"My.....you....you are…. her.....you are her. The girl my parents told me about! You made me do horrible things!" He yelled.
"What? Don't turn around and pin this on me. You are the enemy!" She yelled.
"Me the enemy. I protect our people from being captured from your evil group who takes people like us away! Your the enemy!" He yelled outraged struggling.
She gawked at him.
"Do you remember me?" She asked.
"No. I had this procedure done so they could undo all of the damage that you did."
"The damage I did! You got to be kidding me? So now you are playing the victim?"
"Please, like you are so innocent." He said with venom in his voice.
She glared at him. She looked around her she saw that people were looking at her and Nate. They were making a scene. All of the eyes on them made her feel small. She began to see lots of different faces that weren't in the room. There were images of people crying, there were images of people yelling for help. The sound of their cries pierced her ears. She covered her ears falling to the ground. She fell to the ground covering her ears and closing her eyes.
"No. Go away! Stop it!"
Everything spun around in a fast pace blurring all of the images together. Closing her eyes only made the images worse. Everything came at her all at once. Suddenly she felt gloved hand on her arm.
"Cass! It is OK. Listen to my voice focus on it OK. Remember numbers. Count with me."
"Yeah. Open your eyes and count."
She opened her eyes.
"How many people are in the crowd? Count them."
"Yes. Count them. It is what you did when ever you were nervous or scared."
She looked up at him in awe.
"I thought you didn't remember."
"I remember counting with you. I remember helping you. Counting makes me feel peace in all of the chaos. I think it is because of you." He said looking in her eyes like he was discovering something new himself.
She looked up at him and she started to count. It gave her something to focus on the images started to cease one by one they stopped flooding her. All of the noises began to get lower and lower until suddenly the only noises that she heard were the actual noises in the bar.
Emily and Steve went to them while Nate was walking Cass out of the bar.
"Cass? Are you OK?"
Cass sighed, "I have to go."
"Cass. I am sorry." Emily said looking guilty.
"You have nothing to be sorry about." Cass dismissed her apology.
"I do. I pushed too hard. You weren't ready. I just wanted you to be happy again and I knew he was the one guy to do it." Emily confessed.
Cass eyes widen and then she blinked at her.
"You knew about him?" she asked appalled.
Emily nodded and said, "Of course I do. I am your best friend. You don't remember that either."
"And Steve he knew both of us back then?"
"We thought if you two just met again. You could start over free of all of the crazy factors who were against you both groups were messed up. It is better you are both free of them."
Cass blinked at both of them not believing what she was hearing. She could not stand here and take this. Everything she thought she knew was all getting muddled in her head. She didn't remember it all. She had only flashes and parts of images and scattered scenes here and there. She didn't know what was real. What was right. What was wrong. It was all so muddled in her head. She ran out of there not being able to process any of this.
Emily looked back and she saw that Steve stopped Emily from running after her.
Then Cass got out of there and went into the street.
After a few blocks she heard Nate running behind her.
She turned around and said, "Go away Nate."
"I can't just leave now that I found you again." He said with desperation in his voice.
"You don't even remember me. Not really."
"I do remember you. I remember how it felt being with you. I could sense there was something about you, I could feel this, this thing between us. What we had, it couldn't be as bad as everyone told us. Did you ever wonder why both of our parents want us to not remember each other?"
"We broke each other. We are enemies. We hurt people."
"I can't believe that."
"I saw that in my head. I saw you hurt people. There were bodies on the ground. It was mayhem. You caused that!"
He shook his head and said, "I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't hurt anyone. Why do you think I wear the gloves? They help me control my powers. So I won't hurt anyone."
Cass looked at his gloves weary.
"How can I believe that?"
"What does your heart tell you? How do you feel? What do your instincts tell you?"
"I cannot trust my feelings, my thoughts, my mind it is no longer my own. No thanks to you!" She yelled and then she began to run.
As she ran she looked behind her and saw he stood there glued to that spot on the sidewalk. He wasn't running after her not this time. That hurt to see him standing there staring at her like she threw his whole world to pieces but he was one that caused the chaos in her mind. She had control and he broke that. Everything was so simple and he made her life complicated again. After one kiss and one night everything was ruined. She was no longer living a simple life everything was so out of control. She feared she would never gain the control back again. She honestly did not know what to do about out. So she did all that she could do and kept running. Maybe if she ran long enough she could get at least a smidge of that control back.