Chapter 9

Oliver feared that he would awake in the morning feeling awkward and regretful but instead he felt relaxed, peaceful and happy. Kassandra must have felt the same way because she smiled when she opened her eyes and saw him looking at her with amazed fascination.

"Good morning," Kassandra said warmly.

It felt like they had been together for years instead of days. Kassandra showed no signs of modesty or self-consciousness as they started the day, her walking naked to the bathroom without a care in the world and engaging him in a conversation when she returned to the bedroom still in the nude and going through her overnight bag for something to wear.

"What are your plans today?" She asked.

"I usually go to Mass," Oliver replied, standing in his underwear watching her. "And I'm supposed to take Clyde and Mitchie to the airport later."

"Sounds doable," Kassandra smiled, glancing over her shoulder at him.

"You mean you want to go with me?"

"Sure, why not?" She grinned. "Maybe we can go out for breakfast too."

"Johnny C's in Hillsboro has a great breakfast," Oliver replied as he went to the closet to fish out some Church clothes. "It's just down the street from the Parish."

"I think I've been there before," Kassandra replied as she joined him in the closet, distracting him because she had yet to put any clothes on. "Wear this," she advised, pulling out a pair of light slacks and a pink shirt. "The tan suit coat too," she said. "And maybe the red tie."

Oliver smirked at her. "Are you going to be the boss of me?" He teased.

"I'm going to pay attention to you," she answered, kissing him affectionately before leaving the closet.

It had been years since Oliver felt this special.

Kassandra remembered Johnny C's and she didn't mind waiting in line for a booth during the expected Sunday morning rush. They enjoyed exchanging small talk since getting dressed in his bedroom without really bringing up any important topics. It wasn't until they were finally seated in their booth and placed their order that Kassandra turned serious.

"You probably think I'm crazy," she said giving him a long look.

"Actually, I was thinking maybe I was crazy," Oliver admitted.

"Because of last night?"

"Because of lots of things," he replied.

"Did you ever feel like you were living the wrong life?" Kassandra asked. "Like you got cast in the wrong role, had to play the wrong part in the wrong movie?"

Oliver considered her question for a moment. "Kind of," he decided.

"I still feel that way," she sighed. "I thought the divorce would be my solution but it's been a few years and I'm still stuck in this unfulfilling life that doesn't feel right. I had a few flings early on because I thought that's what I was supposed to do but that got old quick and I've been trying to find myself ever since."

"Do you think you're going to find yourself in Greenville?" Oliver asked.

"It's not so much where," Kassandra replied. "Oh, don't get me wrong. Coming back here has been a breath of fresh air reminding me of a happy time in my life but that's not really it."

"I guess you'll have to keep looking then," Oliver said with disappointment

"It's who, you dolt," Kassandra groaned. "Meeting you the other night, listening to you talk about sacrificial love, that's what made me realize that's the scene I wanted to be in."

"I'm not leading man material," Oliver said.

"You're the hero character to me," Kassandra replied. "I've never done anything like this before. Hopping in the car and driving 90 miles to see some guy. Sleeping with him like we had been intimate for years. Trust me, this is crazy stuff."

"Maybe it was meant to be," Oliver shrugged.

"I wish I needed a refrigerator twenty years ago," Kassandra said.

The food at Johnny C's was as good as its well-deserved reputation when the waitress brought them their food.

"I think I came here after an all-night date one time," Kassandra recalled sheepishly.

Kassandra talked about feeling stressed out, burned out, topped out, and bummed out about her job which was another reason why she was thinking of bailing out. Oliver said his biggest stress was worrying about driving the family business his grandfather started into the ground, competition from the chain stores his biggest challenge.

When they were done with breakfast, Oliver walked Kassandra to St. Patrick's Church. He was amused that some of the people he had become friendly with at the parish did double takes when they saw him enter their church with an attractive woman they had never seen before on his arm. It made him feel mysterious and perhaps even a bit scandalous! Kassandra enjoyed the music and she thought Father Fitzgerald gave a good homily.

Mass ended and they strolled back up Main Street to retrieve Oliver's car and drive to Elaine's house in South County. Elaine's husband was on the road. Clyde and Mitchie were getting ready to leave but everybody stared at Oliver with disbelief when he entered the house with a woman by his side.

"You remember Kassandra from the wedding," Oliver grinned.

"Kassandra with a K," Elaine said with a smile.

"Kassandra thinks I'm worth driving to Greenville for," Oliver told Clyde.

"And we agree," Elaine replied, giving her brother a hug and welcoming Kassandra into her home.

It was at that moment when Oliver knew his life was no longer on hold.