As Cassandra stepped off the plane into the bustling city, memories of their past flooded her mind. It had been years since she had seen him,and the wounds from their breakup still lingered. But something deep inside urged her to come back, to give it another try.
She rented a small apartment in the heart of the city and started rebuilding her life. Days turned into weeks and she found herself running into Archie unexpectedly. At first, their interaction was brief and cordial, but as time went on they started opening up and confiding in each other.
They talked about the past and what went wrong, but they also talked about the future and what it could hold for them. The more they talked, the more they realized they were still in love with each other.
Can they give their love a second chance and rekindle their relationship?
Cassandra watched her ex-husband’s figure as he left her apartment. The divorce wasn’t finalized yet, but to her they weren’t married to each other anymore. She had expected their marriage to go downhill from the onset. Authur and herself were so dissimilar , they had nothing in common.
She never loved Arthur and she was persuaded by her parents to get married to him to fulfill the fantasy her dad and Arthur’s dad had when they were much younger. Arthur was a buoyant and eligible bachelor and it was every young girl’s dream to be his wife. They were in a loveless marriage and it was time to make things right.
At thirty three, she was now ending her ten years old marriage. It was such a hard decision to make but it was what’s best for both of them.
“Arthur I have something very important to discuss with you” Cassandra had said one evening in their bedroom.
Arthur looked up from his laptop, concern written all over his face, he was worried since Cassandra wasn’t in a good mood, he finally broke into a bright smile, Cassandra was confused by what he found funny.
“Are you pregnant”?, He asked with a smile on his face.
Cassandra let out a sigh, they had been married for ten years without a child. Arthur wanted children but she was a bit skeptical about it, she knew a day like this was going to come when she was finally going to tell him about how she felt in their marriage.
“ I’m not pregnant Arthur” she bit her lip holding the hem of her dress, she did that whenever she was nervous. He closed his laptop and sat up,
“What is it then”? He asked
“I want a divorce”, she said, her lips quivering as a sob escaped from her lips.
Arthur was oddly too quiet, there was no form of reaction or response from him and Cassandra was beginning to feel more edgy. Her cries filled the room and he just watched her quietly without uttering anything.
“Cassie, are you sure about this”? He asked finally,looking into her eyes, he saw this coming too.
Cassandra could only nod in response, there was nothing left to say, she didn’t love him and she could never love him. Her heart belonged to another and she had tried to make things work for ten years.
“Okay, my lawyer will see to that,” he replied. Arthur was a man of few words, he didn’t even know what love was and he didn’t know if he loved Cassandra. He wasn’t transparent, and he was very hard to read. He took marriage like a platonic relationship and he wasn’t an affectionate man .
“ You are a good man, it’s just me___ I’m the problem” she wailed. He leaned forward and gave her a hug. He rubbed her back comfortingly as she cried.
“I really tried to make it work”, she sniffled. It’s best we go our separate ways, I’ll cherish every moment we shared and you will always hold a special place in my heart”.
“Cassie, I know you were forced to get married to me, you never loved me and I knew, I just kept hoping everyday that our marriage could have the colors and sparks that other marriages have, I would never want to see you unhappy, you gave me the best ten years of my life, despite the fact that you weren’t in love with me you were still the best wife any man could ask for, you didn’t let that stop you from carrying out your marital duties like every other woman should, Thank you Cassie”
Cassandra hugged him tightly, she and Arthur didn’t deserve each other. They were two good people who weren’t meant to be together.
“ So, friends?” She asked with a shy smile on her face .
He smiled back
“Of course Cassie, friends”.
“Are you sure you want to move back to Salisbury”? Rosie hills, Cassandra’s mother asked over the phone.
“Yes mother, Salisbury has always been my home, I don’t fit in this big city anyways she said shrugging.
After concluding the divorce process,Cassandra thought it was better to return back to her hometown where she lived all her life before coming to London with Arthur. Most importantly, she knew her most valid reason for returning was to reunite with Archie. Even after all these years being married her heart still yearned for him. She always stalked him on social media to keep on track with what’s been going on in his life, and surprisingly he was still unmarried.
“Oh Cassie, it would be so lovely to have you close, ever since your father passed on it’s never been the same”. Her mother’s voice was breaking and she knew she was on the verge of tears.
“It’s going to be fine mom, you don’t have to feel that way anymore, I’m here for you now” she replied. After hanging up the phone, she proceeded to pack her things. Since she divorced Arthur she’s been staying in a hotel, he offered her one of his houses but she declined, she didn’t want to bother him anymore. She moved to London as a newlywed and now she’s leaving as a divorcee.
She dialed Archie’s number and when he picked up she didn’t say anything.
“Hello,who is on the line”? I’m going to hang up if you don’t say anything”, he sighed tiredly,
She shut her eyes closed letting his voice caress her, she had been doing this for some months, just calling him to hear his voice.
He hung up when she didn’t say anything, she brought her hands close to her mouth keeping her sobs at bay. It was time to return home, a place that had her heart and the only man she had ever loved.
Salisbury had a very warm temperature, the moment she stepped out of the airport the sun cocooned her, she basked in the warmth and inhaled the smell of the soil, she already felt a sense of peace and belonging
“Cassandra”!! A voice brought her out of her musing. She looked up and saw her mother waving enthusiastically at her, the excitement on her mother’s face was priceless and Cassandra broke into a grin. She walked towards her mother, rolling her suitcase behind her.
“It’s so good to see you mother”, she said giving her a tight embrace , she squared down a little to plant a peck on her face .
“Look at you, you look so well Cassie, I’ve missed you so much, welcome home” her mother said, laying the strands of hair that flew off her bun.
They sat together at the dining table few minutes later to have lunch. Her mother prepared a jacket potato with baked beans, that was Cassandra’s favorite.
“Now you are back home, what do you intend doing”? her mom asked over lunch
“I need to get a job, and have my own place” she replied digging her fork in her potatoes
“Oh sweetie, I’m not complaining. You should stay here, I just want to have my baby girl so close to me”
Cassandra let out a laugh
“Mom I’m 33, I need my own place as an adult, it won’t change anything since I’ll be here with you most of the time”. Her mother nodded in agreement, she knew Cassandra was right .
There was a question at the tip of her tongue she was meaning to ask, she didn’t know how her mother was going to interpret it but she asked anyways
“Mom do you see Archie around”?
Archie Evans ran a small restaurant in the heart of town, he had always been passionate about cooking since he was a kid. He attended the biggest culinary school in Paris to polish-up his cooking skills. One fateful afternoon while he was having a normal vigorous day in the restaurant, the bells chimed from the door signaling the arrival of a new customer. He looked up and was astonished to see Cassandra Hills right in his restaurant.
“Wow, what a pleasant surprise Cassandra, never knew you were in town” he said in greeting
“I’ve moved back permanently to Salisbury”, she said smiling nervously.
His face arched with confusion, he wanted to ask so many questions but he didn’t want to pry, he didn’t know how she would feel about that.
“Let’s have a sit”, he said gesturing to one of the boots. He pulled out a chair for her to sit down, Archie was still a gentleman; she thought.
“ Do you want to have anything”? He asked.
“I’m fine Archie, I just had lunch with my mom, perhaps next time I could try your eclairs”.
He nodded, waiting for her to go on, but she said nothing else. His curiosity was at its peak and he wanted to know why she was back permanently to Salisbury.
“Why did you decide to move back here”? He finally asked.
She bit her lip and held the hem of her dress, he knew that look, whenever she did that something was definitely up.
“Cassandra, is everything alright”? The concern on his face was crystal clear.
She let out a loud breath, she started untangling her hair with her fingers,
“Arthur and I got divorced, I felt it was better to come back home and start all over after my failed marriage”, she said in a small voice .
His eyes widened in shock, he had the impression that Cassandra lived happily with her husband, what could have caused their divorce?
“I’m really sorry about that Cass, this must be a hard time for you”
“It’s been a very delicate phase, there was a mutual agreement between Arthur and I so it was less conflicting”.
He smiled warily, his eyes still held worry in them. He cared for Cassandra deeply and the last thing he wanted was to see her hurt .
“Nice place you got here”she commented, breaking the silence.
“Thank you, it’s not very deluxe and flashy though”he chuckled
“It’s very clean and properly managed, and I know you serve the best meals In Salisbury, shame on anyone who would rather go to a fancier place” she laughed heartily
He joined her in the laughter and when they realized they were holding hands while laughing, they distangled their hands immediately.
Archie cleared his throat immediately, he didn’t know how to act around her without insinuating anything, he just wanted to be diplomatic .
“You know Archie, I’ve been practicing those recipes I learnt from you years ago, I want you to give me an appraisal” she finished
“I’m inviting you for dinner at my place tomorrow evening, I want to cook for us, please? For old time sakes?”
He was hesitant at first, he didn’t think it was a good idea even if it was just a harmless dinner, considering the fact that they had a long history and she just recently got divorced.
“Cass, are you sure about this?” he asked
“C’mon Archie, we’ve known each other like forever, it’s extremely weird for us to act like strangers” she admonished.
“Alright then, I’ll come”
She smiled softly, biting her lip again. Her rosy cheeks were red, and her heart was beating sprightly, it seemed like the muscles around her heart stretched vastly, how did she feel exactly the same way after all these years had passed?
Archie was watching her intensely, he knew he still loved her. Nothing had changed since their separation ten years ago, the feelings still seemed fresh and unwilted. His heart broke into a million pieces when she broke the news that she was going to be married to Arthur Ross, the son of her father’s old friend. It sounded so old school and he could never understand why her father devised their union. After Cassandra left Salisbury for London, he focused on pursuing his dream of becoming a renowned Chef.
“I have to go Archie, it was nice seeing you again”Cassandra said
“Thanks for stopping by, my regards to Rosie” he replied
They stood up from the booth and he gave her a kiss on the cheek, he bid her farewell and returned to the kitchen. Cassandra still stood, gently rubbing the spot he pecked her. She sighed softly, now that she was close to Archie there was no going back, she was going to drown in the love she had for him.
Archie was anxious the next evening. It wasn’t just dinner with any regular lady, it was Cassandra Hills, the woman he still loved even after ten years of separation. It was just a formal dinner, he didn’t want to assume anything. And even if she wanted him back he didn’t think he wanted to revisit the old wounds, he’s done a good job concealing his pain these past ten years .
He parked right in front of her house still ambivalent about going in, he could just drive back to his restaurant and make up any excuse why he couldn’t make it. It sounded like a good idea to him, but he couldn’t. Cassandra just got divorced, she’s starting life afresh back home after being away for ten years, the least he could do was to be nice to her. She needed a friend, and he could be her friend as long their relationship remains platonic.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped out of the car adjusting his coat, he got to the door and knocked lightly.
Cassandra opened the door showcasing the most beautiful smile, she was grateful that Archie honored her invitation.
“Come in Archie, make yourself comfortable. This is my new home” she said
“It’s so breathtaking, how did you manage affording a place like this”? He asked
“I had some savings, I invested my money in some shares so it payed off” she replied .
“Dinner would be served in ten, In the main- time, I could serve you some wine while you wait”
“C’mon Cass, I’m no stranger ”, he said with a chuckle ” . I’ll help you finish up dinner”
She didn’t object , after hanging his coat he quietly followed her to the kitchen.
“I got a fresh bird from the farmer’s store next town” she said proudly
“You didn’t have to go through that stress Cass”
“I want to impress you so bad, she replied .
“It smells really nice in here, this aroma just awakened my appetite” Archie said sniffling his nose. Cassandra laughed so heartily and he couldn’t help but admire her beauty, her eyes were sparkling with so much warmth and love.
“The sauce is almost ready, you can just help me slice the fowl breast horizontally into thick strips” she said.
She went to the stove to reduce the heat to the minimum ,her skin came in contact with the hot aluminum pan and she winced, she was a little bruised.
“Cass” Archie called out , running immediately to her side, “Are you okay”?
“It’s just a little bruise I’m fine” she replied
“No Cass, you got hurt, his eyes held so much concern and worry. He wasn’t convinced. He led her to the stool in the kitchen to sit down and nurse her bruised finger.
“Just stay here Cass I’ll finish up everything, I think you are overworking yourself” he said thoughtfully. She gave him a sad smile, her heart ached that he still cared so much for her even when she left him and married another. She didn’t deserve Archie, he was too good for her.
Everything was set and they were now sitting in the dining having their dinner.
“I must say Cass this is so good”. Archie moaned
“I’m glad you like it, I think over the years my culinary skills improved, I used to try different recipes every time, I always had your recipes by heart, it didn’t matter where I went” she said the last part so faintly.
“Cooking was my solace, and it always made me feel close to you”, she said with a sad smile.
The conversation was getting uncomfortable, The atmosphere was getting tense, Archie knew if he didn’t change the subject they would definitely revisit the past and talk about what happened, that was what he was trying to avoid.
“How about we have some wine”? He said trying to lighten up the atmosphere. She got up and went to the refrigerator bringing out a bottle of wine with two glasses.
“Italian Amarone is my favorite wine”, she said excitedly. “Can’t wait for you to try it”
She poured a glass for herself and Archie, she was looking at him intently for a feedback.
“It’s really nice, he nodded approvingly.
“You know, you don’t look a day older than 23 he laughed. You didn’t change much”
She suddenly felt shy
“Thank you, you still look as handsome as the first day we met in high school” she said with a grin.
“You were a junior and I was in my sophomore year, you walked stalwartly to my table and dug your hands in my chips, you were such a bully” she smiled at the fond memory.
“Your pig tails were so cute, I just got enticed immediately, and then you were the new kid in the block, I watched you for sometime and observed you struggling with making friends, you always sat alone at lunch and I wanted to be your friend” he said.
Cassandra just stayed quiet nursing her drink, she closed her eyes and so many memories she had with Archie flashed before her eyes.
Her heart sank .
She was suddenly overwhelmed with the turn of events and how they had to stay away from each other, maybe it was just the alcohol but she was suddenly over-scrutinizing.
“Did you ever think of me while I was in London”?she asked
Archie was taken aback by her question, he knew where the conversation was heading and he dreaded it from the onset. Cassandra had always tried to revisit the past.
“Everyday” he said honestly.. His eyes were sad, when Cassandra left she took a huge part of his heart and left with it .
She suddenly broke into a sob, the thought of Archie feeling betrayed by her broke her heart into pieces, her heart ached for him. He would have felt less important and insignificant, Archie meant the world to her , she would never intentionally hurt him
“I’m sorry” she whispered
Archie was quiet, he didn’t know how to comfort her, he didn’t know how to tell her he understood the situation, it wasn’t her fault after all.
“Cass, this happened a long time ago, you don’t have to feel guilty, you did what you had to do” he said finally .
“I should have fought my father and stood my ground, I shouldn’t have just let him maneuver me like that,—- I should have fought for our love” she whispered brokenly . “I’m sorry I failed you, failed us”
He scooted her into his arms, the both of them were sitting in comfortable silence reflecting on how their lives changed and how life would have turned out if Cassandra didn’t get married.
“I never stopped loving you Cassandra, you adored your father a lot and you had to fufill the only wish he had ever requested from you, don’t ever blame yourself”.
He brought out his locket from his pocket, his hands were shaking as he tried opening it, too many emotions flooded his mind, he was apprehensive.
“I used the locket to keep you in my memory always” he said
Inside the locket had a picture of him and Cassandra when they were sitted on his bike, grinning at the camera, their eyes held so much love for each other and on that day everything was perfect.
If Cassandra wasn’t sitting her legs would have brought her to the ground, she remembered that day, it was the day she got accepted to college and Archie took her on his bike for a ride, nothing else had ever mattered as long as they had each other.
“I love you” she whispered softly,
Her heart was beating fast and she wondered how it could contain all the love she had for him, she felt like it was about the burst .
“You know what, my bike Randy is still parked at home, how about we go have a ride”? He asked gently stroking her back
She looked up at him and gave him the most dazzling smile
“I thought you’ll never ask” she said with a smile
They both stepped out to the twilight, the sky had a color of dim blue and a little shade of orange, the cool breeze came in contact with their skin and Cassandra even let out a moan of satisfaction, the breeze blew her hair backwards and she let out a laugh while trying to put it in order
Archie couldn’t help but notice how she looked more beautiful when her hair went with the direction of the wind.
“You don’t have to try so hard to put your hair in other, you are perfect” he said
He looked at her meaningfully and smiled, she smiled back in return tangling her hands with his, without any doubt she knew it had always been him, right from the first day he took the chips of her tray their destiny had been designed. It might had been delayed, but it can never be denied.
“I love you” she said laughing out loud, this was the perfect moment and nothing else mattered, they were just in their own bubble
“I love you Cassandra Hills”. He said with every ounce of certainty.
About the Creator
Welcome to a literary universe brimming with wonder, imagination, and boundless creativity! Prepare to embark on an extraordinary journey as you delve into the captivating books penned by me.