The Two of Hearts
By Marilyn Douglas
Date: April 8, 2019
Ch. 1Lady Justice

The letter arrived on Friday morning, the first day Cassandra happened to be off in weeks. The jolly looking UPS guy dropped it in the mailbox before proceeding to his next stop. She happened to be collecting her newspaper and sauntered over to the mailbox, killing two birds with one stone.
Yes, it was pretty late- as a matter of fact, it had been a while since the little birds announced it was morning. The sun was halfway through her ascent in the sky and the glare made Cassandra squint as she made her way to her blue hand painted mailbox.
Maybe it was an omen of things to come, or maybe it was simply a disgruntled person with too much time on their hands and an imagination that bordered on the dark side. Either way the black envelope with a sloppily pasted label bearing Cassandra Chamber’s name and address made her nervous.
Turning to walk back to her tiny house on the corner of a not-so- reputable neighborhood, she paused to inspect a vehicle playing loud music as it slowed down, allowing a young man covered in tattoos to lean out the window and lewdly comment on her pink bathrobe.
Dismissing the vulgar nature of their words, Cassandra thumbed through the other bills and flyers before finally returning to the ominous envelope. Locking the brightly painted front door behind her, she made a few strides to her old couch and sat.
With fingernails that needed a manicure, she ripped open the lip of the envelope and pulled out the simple slip of paper. Leaning back to digest the contents, her eyes widened and her breath seemed hesitant to escape the confines of her lungs. This was no wedding invitation, as a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite.
So you think you have arrived?
Climbed to the top?
Well to that I must put a stop-Bring it to an end
People like you don’t deserve his money to spend
Rags to riches, you think your money train has come?
Continue to see him and from my vengeance you will have to run
How should one react to something like this? Panic, fear and shock seemed appropriate and she felt every one of these emotions deeply. It had been a while since something this bad had happened to Cassandra, but she was no stranger to hardship or strife.
Never having a gold spoon in her mouth was something people like Cassandra was accustomed to. Living in the wrong part of town and often existing below the poverty line were circumstances synonymous with her daily existence and now that Cassandra finally had the chance to be happy, some malicious person was making their presence known and if the letter was any indication, it would soon be felt too.
Someone knew her secret. Someone knew she was lying to Charles and threatening to strip her of the little dignity she had left. It was wrong to lie, but in this instance she thought it was justified. There is a particular way people with money looked at those considered beneath them-noses upturned and shoulders tilted in such a way as to guard their precious clothes from any physical contact with the lower class-she was tired of it. Just because she held a position in the service industry didn’t mean that she wasn’t good enough to be loved. Danica said she couldn’t tell him she was a lowly waitress yet. It would be foolish Danica said. He would surely leave her Danica said. That wasn’t something she wanted.
Charles Mayhew was a nice guy, much less arrogant than she assumed someone of his stature would be and he was actually interested in her! Danica had been her biggest supporter. Her best friend for over a decade, Danica advised her on what to wear and how to speak when out with Stuart, when to nod thoughtfully and when to excuse herself. Cassandra was grateful.
Danica knew of her struggles, her depression and her most intimate feelings of not being good enough. She was more than a friend, Cassandra considered her the sister she never had. The first sixteen years of Cassandra’s life were pretty normal. Her once happy family consisted of Samuel her dad, Mary her mother and their dog Cassidy. They lived in a middle class neighborhood where the neighbors waved to each other as they watered their lawns or pruned hedges. It was a typical American life.
Samuel Chambers worked for Danica’s father as his personal driver for as long as Cassandra remembered. Bill James owned quite a few companies in the downtown area as well as some in countries Cassandra was sure she would never visit. As the ten year anniversary of Samuel’s employment arrived, Bill decided to extend his appreciation and his wallet to Samuel’s family. The check was made out to McCoy Private School of Prestige covering Cassandra’s tuition until she reached sixteen.
Mary all but had a heart attack and Cassandra did back flips through the living room when Samuel burst through the door that night with the news. Things were definitely looking up. Samuel had wanted this for his only child. Having barley any education himself, he understood the struggles that the undereducated faced and wanted nothing more than for Cassandra to excel in life. Yes, they lived in a decent district, but not even Mary knew how close they cut it every month. Cassandra would have the opportunity to do better and live better without this. It was the perfect gift.
The girls became fast friends as they shared the limo to school daily and eventually the lives of the wealthy and the average mixed. Cassandra spent weekends at the penthouse suite of the hotel the James’s lived in and some nights Danica would have a humble dinner at the Chamber’s quaint house on the average avenue.
It was the night before Danica’s sweet sixteen party that the tragedy happened, changing the course of Cassandra’s life forever. The boss and his driver were on the way to the penthouse when a drunk driver ran a red light and broadsided the fancy vehicle reducing it to a pile of mangled metal. Bill survived the crash but sadly, Samuel suffered injuries that would cost him his life.
Mary, having never worked a day in her life, was lost on how to maintain a household without her husband and struggled to recover from the deep depression of living without her soul mate. The old people would say she died of heartbreak. She simply went to bed and never woke up the next day. This was the official end of the happy family as Cassandra knew it.
Shaking the black envelope still in her hand for more evidence of the person who sent it, Cassandra thought about the prospect of being alone in the world again and it tore her in half. Charles could never know the truth about her low income job and her pending car eviction. She would have to do more to appear like the cultured lady he thought she was.

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