The Two of Hearts
By Marilyn Douglas
Date: May 27, 2019
Ch. 8The Genesis of Revelation

The older man swung the large doors of the hotel with the gusto of a man half his age, greeting every guest with the same courtesy deserving of royalty and smiled genuinely at everyone. The night was slow and most of the residents seemed to be out for the night as the two old friends chatted and before long Cassandra found herself spilling the truth-the real truth to Stanley.
He listened to her tale of deception and her desire to tell Charles’s the truth. He listened to what Cassandra described as Danica’s advice and determined it was the friend’s intention to trap him with lies. He listened as she revealed that Charles knew nothing about her real life and how he thought she was rich and accomplished just like him.
Stanley said nothing as Cassandra rambled on but made his own his own conclusions. As she described how gut wrenching it was to love someone who knew nothing about her other than her real name, he nodded his head pensively.
A young couple entered the quiet, well decorated lobby and made their way to the front desk while Stanley closed the door behind them. When the tears sprung to Cassandra’s eyes, he thought it was best to deliver her a piece of sage advice. “Sometimes in life things start off rocky, but if it’s meant for good it will all come together. What you need to do is consider if he is worth it. Right now you aren’t giving this man enough credit. You say he’s kind and good hearted but yet you rob him of the chance to show you some of the same kindness. What makes you think you are not good enough for this man… or should I ask who?”
The question lingered in the air for a long moment while Cassandra considered the little that Stanley had said. He was right. It was unfair for her not to let him know the truth. Charles had proved to be nonjudgmental and very kind in his interaction with everyone he met. He called the waiters by name and asked the valets about their families. He was a good guy.
Playing on her mind was Stanley’s final question about what or who made her think she wasn’t good enough for this man. The answer was too frightening to consider and Cassandra chose to ignore the most obvious conclusion. Thanking Stanley for his time and his wisdom, she excused herself and went upstairs for her shoes. It was already five after seven.
Danica was nowhere to be found and Cassandra made her entrance and exit as swiftly as possible before going downstairs to hop a cab to the equally fabulous Hotel Nautica.
This was going better than she imagined. Charles was there with his parents and sister while Danica observed the happenings from her private box way above the other regular guests. Of course ‘regular’ in the world of wealth had a different meaning all together. The people occupying the first level were rich, but one or two bad investments meant they would no longer be millionaires. The people on the second level with Danica were also rich, but their pockets ran deeper and the thread of money in their families was longer. They could manage a financial hit and still come out standing firm.
Though he was young and considered new money, Charles was richer than most of them and it was mostly self accomplished. His own private box was vacant as he mixed and mingled with the regular folk like a good host should.
Danica was certain most of the wait staff had arrived but was yet to catch sight of Cassandra and she craned her neck to make sure she didn’t miss her entrance. A slow parade of servers moved through the building wealthy crowd offering them exquisite finger foods and rare champagnes as the women chatted about what ever gossip was currently circulating amongst the elite while the men discussed how to get richer.
Becoming agitated at her friend’s failure to appear, Danica shifted her position slightly, ignoring the mindless chatter of the man who thought he was her date. He was rich enough, but a bottom feeder in the chain of command in his daddy’s company. He was more than eager to come along. Little did he know he was a mere decoy.
The first order of the night happened to be an auction. The items would go home with the highest bidder while the proceeds would go to feeding the poor and hungry in India. The items on the auction block were of course art pieces constructed at the University of Art and Expression by college students who wanted the bragging rights of capturing a wealthy and esteemed person’s eye. It was the intimate accomplishment.
Ladies shifted their glittering evening gowns and men unbuttoned their jackets as they sat to listen to the auctioneer’s voice. British and very distinguished; an older man took center stage at the front of the elegant ballroom where all lights were dimmed save the one over the art pieces and the auctioneer himself.
“We will open the bidding at five thousand dollars for this piece painted my Emily Mose titled, “By Day and By Night.”
The piece was hauntingly gothic and captivating and in no time hands began to rise, pushing the price higher and higher. Eventually, it sold for thirteen thousand dollars and another piece took its place. This continued for a full hour before the auctioneer totaled the proceeds at ninety five thousand dollars and brought an end to the bidding. It was time for dinner - and action.
She was late. Cassandra underestimated the time it would take for her to reach the other side of town and at a quarter past eight, she rushed into the kitchen of Hotel Nautica in a flurry of apologies. She was too late to serve the finger foods, but she would be first in the lineup for dinner service. She was just grateful they didn’t send her back home.
They were lined up behind the door as the clapping came to an end and the MC announced that dinner would be served. A moment later, the concierge ushered Cassandra and about twenty other servers through the doors to the ballroom where they placed the first course of Asian inspired pumpkin and leek soup on their tables.
It was a good thing she had placed the bowl on the older woman’s plate before she heard her name if not she would have surely dropped it. Maybe it was her imagination and maybe she didn’t hear a familiar voice, but as she deposited the other bowls to the waiting guests her worse fears were realized.
Naked or clothed, Charles knew her ass anywhere. The way the fabric fit tautly over the ample flesh was something he had studied and inspected many a time. Why was Cassandra here serving food?
Excusing himself from the table where his parents and sister sat, he strode over to her as she made a quick dash for the service door, grabbing her just before she managed to push it. With so many servers moving around it was hard to detect there was anything wrong, but from her perch in the loft Danica could see clearly and was beside herself with excitement. Yes… this was what she wanted. She wanted Cassandra to be called out for lying to poor kind Charles so she could be the one caressing the impressive bulge in his pants not an impoverished orphan named Cassandra.
It served her right for being so damn perfect all the time. It drove Danica crazy to hear her father constantly refer to Cassandra as a good young lady with a steady head on her shoulders. She was too damn perfect. Oh how she wished she could hear what he was saying to her, but the look of sorrow on Cassandra’s face was enough to make her feel joy. This was better than she could have ever planned.
“Why are you here serving food Cassandra? I am confused… I thought you were at a meeting for the business you own. Explain this to me!”
Her throat closed and her vocal chords refused to work as she stared into his eyes. The pain of the cold hard truth was there… she wanted to tell him but she didn’t know how. Tears seemed to be the only expression willing to make their way out and they flowed down her face freely.
They were making a scene and though not everyone had noticed, slowly heads began to turn their way. Before escaping his presence, all Cassandra could manage was, “I’m sorry I lied Charles… I really am.”
Shocked and totally lost for words or thoughts for that matter, Charles watched as the woman he thought he knew disappeared through the door along with other people on his payroll.

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