Casanova Redux Ch. 17byvelvetpie©
Having my father's blessing certainly made me feel better but nothing could touch my happiness at knowing that Withers, that Peter, would be returning to the estate. I needed to talk to him, to at least try to explain what I did to him. I needed to know if he could forgive me, if he could see past everything and find me again. I had to know if I still mattered to him.
My father was true to his word. I stood at the window and watched Withers stride into the yard, throw the doors of the forge area open and disappear inside with his bags in hand. He was home. My Withers was home again and now it was up to me to give him a welcome home that he could never forget ...
* * * * *
The sounds of Withers hard at work filled the yard with energy. Cassia could feel it as she strode across the grassy expanse, her heart skipping a beat with each stab of adrenalin that shot through it. Worry and fear warred within her but she kept them at bay, saying a silent prayer as she stepped into the workshop. The heat hit her in a sweltering, invisible cloud and she pushed her shawl off of her shoulders, circling around the pit until she was directly across from him.
Withers glanced up at her and felt his shoulders slump. She was still so beautiful, so perfect like a piece of china figurine. He was having a hard time looking at her and remembering how she was before ... before ...
"Hello." She felt so awkward. Hello was just a word but she might as well have been naked while saying it. "I'm glad you're back."
"I am, too."
Cassia noticed that he wouldn't meet her eyes and her stomach flipped uncomfortably. "How's your head?"
"Sore but nothing is scrambled."
"That's good to know." She came closer, moving away from the fire and touching a trough that he had yet to repair. "Peter, I wanted to talk to you ... "
"About the kidnapping."
"I don't want to talk about that."
"Why not? I think it's important that we talk about it."
"What for?" Withers angrily tossed the tongs onto the floor, stalking away from her and turning his back on her. "Why dredge up something that should remain covered?"
"Because we haven't had a chance to talk about it."
"I don't want to talk about it, Cassia! I don't want to remember what those men did to you! I don't even want to think about what you had to do to get me out of there!"
"But, Peter, it wasn't that bad ... "
"For whom?" Withers took a deep breath, trying to push the tears away. "I had to watch seven men ... " Flashes of the men ejaculating on her seared his brain and he fought a sob down. "Defile you ... "
"I know, Peter, but they didn't hurt me."
"How can you say that? How can you say that they didn't hurt you? I saw what they did."
Cassia stood behind him, wanting to reach out and touch those strong shoulders but afraid of his reaction. "But they didn't hurt me! My mother taught me a trick a long time ago, how not to let things touch your insides, your heart. I went to my special place inside and put it away."
"Put it away? How can you put swallowing the cum of seven men away?" Tears ran down his cheeks and he didn't wipe them away. "And how can I live the fact that I let it happen?"
"Withers, you had no choice!"
"I did have a choice!" He whirled, glaring at her with the eyes of a desperate lover. "I could have made love to you!" His outburst startled both of them and Withers turned away, pacing the dirt floor like a restless tiger. "You and I could have been lying in that wonderful tent you made, saying our love words to the stars, but what did I do? I ignored you, like usual. I pretended that you were the Cassia Nova that had grown up at my knee, not the beautiful woman that you've become." He paused, unable to stem the flow of tears that leaked from his eyes. "I don't deserve you, Cassia. I don't deserve your friendship nor do I deserve the gift that you want to give me."
"Peter, it's not just my virginity I'm giving."
"I know." His words were quiet and drenched with sadness. "I don't deserve that, either."
Withers left the workshop, sobbing so hard that his cries were heard long after he'd gone. Cassia slid to the floor, her eyes blurred with tears.
Now she knew. There was no hope.