MoboReader > Romance > The Enchanted Night

   Chapter 29 A Long Embrace

The Enchanted Night By LEIGH COBBETT Characters: 8915

Updated: 2019-04-23 00:33

The morning came.

Rufus took off last night, leaving Cassandra in the arms of a restless sleep.

She opened her eyes at first light. Still too early, but it was impossible for her to go back to sleep. Cassandra lay awake in bed, waiting for the tell-tale signs of morning to rouse her from her half-asleep state. That morning at breakfast, there was still no trace of Rufus. Hadn't he returned last night?

On the table were only two people - Horace, wearing a glum expression and Jill who was her usual grumpy self. Lionel's seat remained empty, too. Cassandra had no idea where he was.

"Good morning," she greeted the older couple politely.

Neither of them responded, as if they didn't hear her. Cassandra proceeded to sit down uncomfortably, watching her motions as if fearing that the smallest movement would disturb the two. She took a glass of milk and drank it with uncharacteristic attention, as Horace and Jill continued to sit wordlessly.

After a while, the silence became too excruciating and Cassandra could not help but ask, "Where is Rufus? Haven't seen him lately?"

Jill's head shot up at her words, as if she had said something unforgivable. She looked at Cassandra, her eyes silently speaking in daggers.

For some implacable reason, Cassandra felt as if she had made an offense. She lowered her head, waiting for Jill's reproach, although it was not clear what upset her. But instead, Horace spoke, letting off a heavy sigh as he looked at Cassandra.

"He is not here. He probably won't be home for a long time," he said sorrowfully, his eyes drowning Cassandra with an unknown grief. He closed his eyes and continued, "This is all my fault."

It was rare for Horace to be in such low spirits. He seemed to be holding in something.

"What happened?" Cassandra pressed.

She had not been able to shake the feeling from last night. She had been ill-at-ease, as if something was not right.

"Don't blame yourself. That woman died of illness. You are not to blame,"

Jill, who had been quiet, said with a sour tone. Cassandra's paled at her words.

That woman? Died of illness?

Horace turned to Jill sharply and said, "You! Do not involve yourself in matters that do not concern you! Rufus is preparing his mother's funeral abroad, so he won't be home for some time. I owe him and his mother everything..."

Horace heaved another rueful sigh, and Jill spoke nothing more of the matter.

At this time, the atmosphere turned from uncomfortable to claustrophobic. Cassandra's mind reeled from the realizations, and somehow, a part her ached.

Rufus's mother died. It was no wonder he acted so oddly last night.

Although Cassandra didn't know much about their relationship, she guessed that Rufus wouldn't take the circumstances well. It was clear, especially last night, that he was grieving. There was a tight squeeze in Cassandra's chest as she remembered his lost expression.

"Dad, will you attend the funeral?"

she spoke too quickly, not having time to think her words over. The moment she uttered her words, she realized her mistake. Jill was glaring at her. Cassandra could almost feel herself burned by her angry stare.

"Cassandra Qin!" she said coldly. "May I remind you that you are Lionel's wife. Why are you so concerned with that? This is none of your business. You are NOT in a position to talk about these things!" Jill admonished, placing a fist strongly on the table.

Cassandra looked down once more, if only to avoid the woman's eyes. 'Jill is really unreasonable. Why be jealous of a dead person?' she thought to herself, but wisely kept her mouth shut.

The two women were startled when Horace burst out exclaiming, "Why are you yelling at Cassandra? I don't want to hear you speak of Rufus that way ever again, watch your mouth!"

Jill flinched at the anger in his voice, said nothing but to give Cassandra a resentful glance, her tears quivering in her eyes. She stormed upstairs, wiping at the corner of her eyes.

At the sight of the usually callous woman's tears, Cassandra felt guilty. She didn't know it would upset her that much, and voiced out an apology, "Dad, I'm sorry. I had no idea..."

She turned back to the food on her plate. Even the rest of her meal looked cold and unappetizing, as if it had caught the bitterness of that morning's tension.

"No, you could not have known..." Horace replied gently, his eyes growing distant as he contin

ued. "Even I want to see her one more time, but Rufus wouldn't allow me..."

Horace stood up, slowly shaking his head and walking away from the table with heavy steps that echoed through the room. Cassandra watched him leave the room. His hunched shoulders made him seem much smaller and older.

Left alone on the table, Cassandra blinked absently, a strange feeling brewing up from inside her.

At the company

The day proceeded as usual, and the halls were filled with footsteps and murmurs of employees going over their tasks. It seemed as everyone was blissfully unaware of the events that transpired last night. No one even mentioned a word about the seemingly abrupt change to her assistant. it was as if everything had settled back into its old flow, and as usual, there was plenty of work to be done and deadlines to beat. The buzz of the activity calmed her as Cassandra effortlessly melded with everyone else and continued to work.

The assignment Rufus had given her was almost finished, and she completed the rest that day.

Now all she needed was his approval. After his review, the design would be ready to be delivered to the clients.

If they found the design satisfactory, it would mark the successful completion of her first project in the Tang Group. She lightened up at the prospect, leaning back on her chair and smiling to herself.

However, her thoughts unknowingly drifted, and she found herself

thinking about Rufus again.

Images from last night flashed in her mind - his tired, dispirited eyes, and the silent desperation when he held her in his arms. A frown subconsciously appeared on her face.

She could not even imagine the depths of his sorrow.

From her stay in the Tang's house, what little she knew about him consisted mostly of that he was Horace's son, with another woman, and that he had been living alone with his mother. It must be a heavy blow for him to lose the only one person he could call his family.

At first glance, he appeared to be lazy and evil, like he cared about nothing, but Cassandra could clearly see that Rufus was definitely not a simple man. This time, he was willing to return to Tang Group, probably with his own purpose.

'How is he doing now. Is he alright?' she wondered. Cassandra's thoughts occupied her brain. She was biting her lip subconsciously, the delicate lines of her face drawn into confusion and worry.

An abrupt knock on the door brought her back to reality.

Cassandra jumped a little from her seat at the sudden sound. There was a man standing respectfully at the door, as if waiting for her attention.

"Hello, Manager Qin, I'm Mr. Tang's assistant. He is asking for you in his office,"

he said directly.

Lionel. Upon hearing his name, Cassandra felt slightly disconcerted.

What would he want now? As far as she was concerned, they had nothing to talk about. Giving off a small sigh, she rose from her chair and answered, "Alright. I will be there."

Cassandra pushed her personal feelings aside as she walked to his office. She was his employee, and in the company, she had to act accordingly as his subordinate.

It was better to draw a clear line between private and business matters. This was one of her basic principles, and she was determined to be one of the best in her field.

"Mr. Tang, Manager Qin is here," the man announced when they arrived at the door of Lionel's office.

His assistant opened the door and she walked inside, seeing Lionel busy playing shooting games.

Once she was inside, the assistant closed the door behind and silently left. Now, there were only the two of them in that wide office. Despite the big space, Cassandra felt constriction in the atmosphere.

"You asked for me?"

she asked in a cold and distant tone, getting straight to the point.

Lionel stopped playing and met Cassandra's cold stare with his own. Unceremoniously, he stood up and went to his desk, taking out an envelope from a drawer.

She narrowed her eyes, trying to make sense of what he was doing.

He turned to her and flung the envelop on the table.

Cassandra wordlessly looked down, and gingerly picked up the envelope to see what was inside it.

"Take a look," he said, smirking.

Her fingers shook as the image that came into view was the photo of Rufus, with his arms wrapped around her.

Her eyes went to the rest of the photos in envelope, revealing more images of him and her.

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