C H A P T E R     T W E N T Y - O N E
The Way You Love Me*

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      It was the next day, Monday. Isaac had left the night before and Cassandra was all alone at the hospital. She knew the detectives were coming so she sat and waited trying to remember anything about the accident.

      The detectives lingered in the hospital hallway waiting for the doctor to lead them into Cassandra’s room. Dr. John walked up to the two formally suited men with an extended hand.

      “Dr. John.” He introduced himself. “And I presume you’re detective Wallace and detective Brooks?”

      “Yes, I’m Wallace and this is my partner Brooks.” Both detectives shook Dr. Johns hand. “How is Cassandra doing? We’d like to see her now.”

      “She is doing great now that she’s out of her coma. She has all her wits about her but is still a little cloudy about the accident.” Dr. John explained. “Follow me.” He lead the two men to Cassandra’s room.

      “Thank you very much Dr. John.” Brooks thanked the Doctor as he turned the door knob to the room.

      Dr. John nodded to them both and went on his way.

      The detectives walked into Cassandra’s room introducing themselves right off the bat. “We’d like to ask you a few questions. Do you think you can help up out?” Wallace and Brooks took a seat besides Cassandra’s bed.

      “I can try.” Cassandra didn’t feel to comfortable with them. What if they found out about Dales drinking?

      “Okay, first of all, why were you two so far away from home?”

      “Dale, my father was taking me to Oklahoma City.” Cassandra answered.

      “Uh huh, do you always call your father by his first name.”

      “Yeah, I have since I was nine.”

      Wallace nodded. “Was it a family trip?”

      “Uh, yeah.” She failed to tell them the reason why they were taking it.

      “Okay, do you know if he was drinking?” Wallace asked.

      “Drinking? No, he wasn’t. He quit.”

      Both Wallace and Brooks looked at each other with furried brows.

      “Do you remember anything about the accident? Any conversation with your father?” Brooks asked as he wrote something down on his note pad.

      “I don’t remember much. Just that we were going to Oklahoma City.”

      “Alrighty, I think that’s all we need to know right now. We’ll contact you later if we need anything else.” Wallace stood up.

      “Thank you Cassandra.” Brooks smiled at her standing up also.

      Cassandra nodded at them both.

      Wallace and Brooks steeped out of the room. Brooks shut the door behind him and looked over at Wallace. “The toxicity report stated he was under the influence.”

      “Yeah, and the contents of the brief case we found in the trunk of the BMW clearly states that he didn’t quit.”

      “What was found in there again?” Brooks questioned.

      “A bottle of vodka and a twenty-two.” Wallace stated.

      “Did we find out if the gun was registered?”

      “Nope, it wasn’t.”

      “Well that’s not to uncommon. He was rich, thought he needed protection.”

      “Simple open and shut case, accident.”

      The two detectives walked down the hospitals halls.

      “I still think its strange that they didn’t pack anything for the trip.”

*****

      After the detectives left Cassandra tried as hard as she could to remember the accident but it just wouldn’t come to her. She kept racking her brain for the details. Finally, after eating and hours of looking back she remembered bits and pieces. She remembered Dale passing out and grabbing the steering wheel to late. Words started to form in her head and she heard Isaac’s voice. Over and over she heard his words.

       “You’ll hate me but I have to tell you. The day you didn’t see me after school, yesterday. I went to the bar where you’re father goes and I ordered the only Chinese platter they had for him. My mother even served it to him. She didn’t know. Now you’re going to hate me, I know it.”

      How could Isaac do something like that? To her father, her only living relative left in her family?

      Cassandra sat in her hospital room miserable as Marge popped her head through the door and came in. “Beautiful day isn’t it?” Marge pointed out the window.

      “Yeah.” Cassandra agreed. “Can you do me a favor?” She asked.

      “Depends.” Marge replied.

      “Well, when Isaac comes today can you tell him I don’t want to see him. That I remember what he told me?”

      “Wait a second. You don’t want to see Isaac?” Marge was shocked.

      “Yeah. Can you just tell him for me? Please?”

      “This can’t be the same Isaac I know.” Marge became flustered. “The Isaac that has been here with you night and day holding your hand and asking, praying and hoping you’ll be okay. The guy who told me so much about you and how he loves you. How he wants to marry you one day?”

      Cassandra looked out the window as Marge rambled on. “Just can you?” Cassandra interrupted her.

      “Whatever he did or told you can’t be that bad and if it was it must have been for you own good because I’ve gotten to know him in the last couple of long days and he’s a good guy. I don’t see one bad bone in his entire body.” Marge left the room leaving Cassandra to think.

*****

      Isaac traveled the two hours to the hospital after school. He road the elevator up the fourth floor and started to Cassandra’s room. He waved to Margie as he passed her.

      “Isaac, Cassandra told me she doesn’t want to see you.” Marge caught up with him.

      Isaac looked hurt. “Doesn’t want to see me. Why?” He stopped walking.

      “Something about what you said to her or something. I told her she was crazy but she still doesn’t want to see you.” Marge clarified.

      “Oh.” Isaac looked at Marge even more hurt.

      “That bad, huh?” Marge asked.

      “Uh, yeah.” Isaac dropped his head. “I don’t care what she said I’m going in there.” Isaac started walking again.

      He stopped at her door and looked through the small square window. He saw Cassandra sitting in bed just staring across the room. ‘Time to make your grand entrance.’ He thought. ‘Here goes everything I have.’ He opened the door and stepped into the room. “I heard you don’t want to see me?” He stood back.

      “I told the nurse not to let you in here.” Cassandra looked at him with angry eyes. “I knew she would let you in. I hate you. I remember everything you said to me while I was in a coma. Everything.”

      “Cassandra,” Isaac paused he didn’t know what to say to her. “I love you. I wanted you to be safe. He was going to hurt you. Look, he did hurt you.”

      “Isaac!” Cassandra yelled. “Do you know how long the MSG takes to go through your system?”

      Isaac looked up at her frightened. “Um, I guess not?” Isaac answered feeling lower than low.

      “It can take up to a day or two. Do you know what that means?” She asked getting more agitated and flinging her arms around making her point.

      “I didn’t... I was helping you. You weren’t going to get help yourself. I had to do something. And he can’t just change overnight, I told you that. I doesn’t work like that, it must have been a drunken whim of his.”

      “A drunken whim?” Cassandra spat. “You killed him and tried to take me down with him.”

      “I did not.” Isaac came closer to her.

      “You did! In the car he said he didn’t feel good and all the sudden passes out. He passed out because of you! You killed him!” Cassandra cried.

      “I’m so sorry.” He really didn’t think about how Cassandra would going to take Dales death. All he was going was fixing the problem at hand when he was really ruining everything else.

      “Just get out! I never want to see you again.” Cassandra threw an empty cup that was sitting on her night stand. “Get out!” She had good aim. Isaac dodged the flying cup and it hit the ground with a loud clap which cracked the plastic.

      Isaac decided to take refuge outside her door and wait a few minutes until she became civil again. He felt terrible. He contemplated on leaving but decided to stay and try to talk to her again. He leaned against the door and closed his eyes for a moment before turning around and glaring at Cassandra through the small square window. He watched her as her body trembled with tears. He wanted so bad to help her out but it would only make things worse right now. He continued watching her until her tears departed. Marge tapped him on his shoulder but he didn’t move or acknowledge her.

      “Didn’t make any progress I presume?” Marge spoke.

      Isaac shook his head slightly. After taking a deep breath he turned towards the door and opened it quickly slipping in and shutting it behind him.

      “What are you don’t here still? I told you to go.” Cassandra barked.

      “I just have one thing to say.” Isaac spoke softly.

      “I don’t want to hear it. I’ve heard enough.” She averted her eyes from him.

      “I don’t care if you want to hear it. I’m going to say it anyway.”

      Cassandra looked at him as his voice quivered and broke. She quickly looked away again. She was to upset to have it pull at her heart strings for more than a second.

      “I just want you to know that I love you and I did it because I love you and I didn’t want him hurting you. I’ll leave now if that’s really what you want.” Isaac finished.

      “Please.” Cassandra voiced just above a whisper. She lost the two men that she loved with all her heart.

      Isaac’s eyes hit the ground when she spoke. His eyes started to water but he didn’t let the tears go. Hanson men didn’t cry no matter what, unless they were drunk.

      “Okay.” Isaac walked to the door. “I love you.” He whispered before he slipped out of the room and started out of the hospital.

      “Isaac.” Marge called after him.

      Isaac picked up his pace and started jogging all the way to Cassandra’s car and drove home.

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© 1999 Alana Gustafson