Cassandra stirred at the rustle of a voice, the noise flickering on the edge of her consciousness.
“I am so sorry we had to rush you, Cassandra. But time is fragmenting and you, he and who you will become…that was too important to leave to chance.”
There was a sadness to the voice that pulled at her mind. She wanted to wake, she wanted to ask questions.
“I will try to explain when we meet again,” the voice said. “But for now trust each other, trust your feelings. It will all make sense soon.”
She tried again to wake herself properly. She wanted to know why the voice was sad, she wanted to know more. But she was so tired, and Ezekiel’s body was warm, his lips soft in a kiss on her shoulder as she curled in even closer to him. The questions would have to wait. She needed to sleep, she needed to be close to Ezekiel. That was all that mattered right now.
The sleep that took her this time was deep, deep enough that when the door to the room opened hours later neither she nor Ezekiel stirred. The gentle hands that checked they were okay before leaving a note made no impact on her slumber.
They slept as if they had all the time in the world.
24 hours earlier
Cassandra positively bounced up to Ezekiel, his easy smile stretching at her arrival. He pushed himself away from the wall he had been leaning against in order to greet her.
“So, was he as good as you hoped?”
Cassandra grin matched his. “Better,” she enthused. “He was so approachable and took all my questions seriously. And he didn’t just sign my copy of his book, he put a message in.”
Ezekiel took the proffered book and read the inscription. “To Cassandra, Keep researching and asking questions.” Ezekiel hesitated before asking, “Cass, you do know he’s put his phone number in here?”
“Yes, he said I could contact him with any follow up questions,” she replied, her eyes widening in confusion at his tone.
Ezekiel caught sight of the author making his way from the lecture hall, and the way his eyes rested on Cassandra.
“I don’t think he was looking for you to ask him about quantum physics,” Ezekiel said as he handed the book back.
Cassandra took a moment to register what Ezekiel meant before a blush flushed her face and she busied herself putting the book in her bag. “I don’t know what you mean,” she managed.
Ezekiel swallowed down the comment he wanted to make before deciding on deflection instead. “Well, you do look very hot today, he probably couldn’t help himself.”
“Ezekiel,” Cassandra chided, though the pleased look on her face took any sting out of the rebuke.
Ezekiel turned and offered his arm. “Coffee?”
Cassandra nodded her agreement, quick to slip her arm through his. Ezekiel took advantage of a distraction with her bag to make eye contact with the physics proffering Romeo, and to pass on the unspoken message about what he could do with his phone number. Not that Ezekiel didn’t want Cassandra to find a boyfriend, but he was quite certain that a phone number offering lothario at a book signing wasn’t where she would find someone good enough for her.
“Thank you for coming with me,” Cassandra said once outside in the cool, quiet air of the evening. “I know the talk was pretty boring for you.”
Ezekiel shrugged in reply. Most of the lecture had gone completely over his head, but he had been content to watch Cassandra so absorbed in the words, excitement radiating off her at the rare chance to engage with other scientists,
“Always happy to take an evening out from the Library,” he said. “And we did stop off at the super computer exhibition on the way in.”
“Please tell me you found that an interesting exhibition from the perspective of the science, and not from which exhibit might bring you the most money,” Cassandra replied, her tone only slightly on the right side of teasing and not genuine worry. Ezekiel’s grin in reply just provoked an eye roll.
“It’s important we know what developments are coming,” he continued in as serious a tone as he could manage.
“Uh, huh,” Cassandra replied. She paused in the doorway to the coffee shop to check out the look on his face. She obviously didn’t buy the look of innocence as she turned with a deep sigh and headed into the coffee shop.
Ezekiel grinned. He knew Cassandra trusted him really when he said he only used his thieving powers for good now. She understood him, and he had waited a long time to find someone who did. Not that the Colonel or Stone over the years hadn’t got used to him and his ways, nor Flynn and Jenkins. But Cassandra, she had got it from the start. And he loved her for it.