Elizabeth's Wolf


Page 41


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Elizabeth winced, frowning over at Dash's chagrined expression. "Simon, huh?"


She felt sorry for Cassie's babysitters. There was nothing like chocolate to keep her running at full speed for hours on end.


"Oh yeah. He's really nice. And he doesn't mind tea parties, either. Him and his Ladies had tea with me twice." Cassie stared down at her with all seriousness, as though the man she had been having tea with wasn't the same man who had hacked his way through six guards as he heard Dash's howls shatter the night.


Elizabeth fought the weak laughter building in her chest. Lord, she would have loved to see that one. Her eyes drifted closed a second before she fought to open them once again. And there was Dash, watching her, loving her. Her heart swelled with emotion at the thought.


"Come on, pumpkin. Kiss Momma asleep and head outside with Merc and Simon. I'll be right out,"


Dash finally told Cassie softly as Elizabeth's eyes fluttered sleepily. Cassie smacked a timid kiss to Elizabeth's cheek before she jumped down from Dash's lap and headed to the door.


Dash turned back to her, his eyes dark with concern as he leaned close, touching her cheek gently.


"Doing okay?"


"Great." She had to keep her eyes open. Had to stare into his wonderful gaze as long as she could.


"You?"


"Damned cold at night," he sighed. She could see the effects of his sleeplessness. "But everything is arranged. When you're released we'll stay at the Breed compound until you're strong enough, then we'll head home. I have a place…" He watched her carefully. "It's a nice little house, Elizabeth. Big enough for a family, not too far from town, but we'll be safe there."


"As long as we're together, Dash," she whispered. Nothing else mattered to her.


"Yeah." He lowered his head then, his lips whispering over hers. "I love you, baby."


She smiled as her eyes drifted closed. "Love you…mate. Forever."


Dash left the hospital, catching Cassie up in his arms as she threw herself at him. She had barely let him out of her sight since the morning after Elizabeth's surgery. She cried if he left without her, and Dawn said the little girl would sit at the window, watching the road with a desperation that broke all their hearts until he returned to the hotel.


He hugged her close, feeling her tremble in his arms as he carried her out of the hospital. She was quieter since Grange's death. Almost as though she were expecting something more to happen now. Expecting a kick that would once again tumble her into the nightmare of the past two years.


"Do you still love me, Dash?" The surprising question was whispered in his ear as he stepped into the elevator.


He looked down at her head as the doors slid closed. "Of course, Cassie, why wouldn't I? I told you, you're my little girl now too. That won't change."


She sighed as though in relief. "Can I call you daddy now, Dash?" she asked him as her head rose from his shoulder, her eyes staring back at him with such warmth, such love, that he knew Cassie did indeed have a soul.


"Yeah." He grinned, feeling as proud of himself as he had when he realized Elizabeth had conceived his child. "Yeah, Cassie, you can indeed call me daddy now."


He hugged her to him, and knew that whatever the future brought, it wouldn't bring the killer Grange and Martaine had dreamed of. He would make damned certain of it.


* * * * *


Everything is okay, Cassie, just like I told you.


Cassie sat alone in the bedroom weeks later, watching the soft misty form of the fairy as she sat on the side of her bed. The fairy had been there when the other man had killed her father. Not her daddy. Her daddy was Dash. Dane had been her father, but he hadn't been nice to her like Dash was. But it was then that the fairy had come. Urging Cassie to be quiet, to be calm, that her momma would come and that everything would be okay. She had stayed with her ever since, always promising her that everything would be okay. But Cassie was still scared.


"My Momma is okay. That's the best thing," Cassie said, even though she could feel her chest aching that funny way when she wanted to cry but couldn't.


Cassie. Are you worried again? The fairy always knew when she was.


"Will I be bad?" Cassie whispered the words as the ever-present fear grew within her. That's up to you, Cassie. The fairy whispered as she reached out, touching her cheek with a feather-soft caress. You were blessed with light and given life for a reason. It's up to you how you live that life. The fairy didn't always make sense but she understood enough to know that it appeared to be her choice. Her Momma said she was a good little girl, and Cassie was determined to always be a good girl. She hugged her new teddy bear closer. It was bigger than the last one. Fluffy and warm and she didn't feel so alone when the fairy left her side more often these days. Besides, Dash said if she got scared then all she had to do was call to him and Momma. They always came to her, sat with her when she was frightened or when the nightmares were too bad.


But she couldn't tell Momma why the nightmares were bad. She couldn't even tell Dash. She hadn't been born to be a good girl, the man with the scar had laughed at her when he told her that. She had been born to be an animal. To be a killer. But all she wanted to be was a good girl. Cassie, didn't I promise you that everything would be okay? The fairy asked her then. Have I ever lied to you?


"No," she whispered, wanting, needing to believe her.


Sleep, Cassie, the fairy whispered then, a gentle smile tilting her ghostly lips as a feeling of warmth accompanied the soft touch she made to Cassie's forehead. Rest, little one, and know you were given a soul as bright and shining as your smile. Sleep.


Cassie closed her eyes. As she felt the warmth slowly ease away she peeked from between her lashes and watched as the fairy stood to her feet and began to dissolve.


Goodnight, Cassie. The soft glow eased away, leaving her alone as her lashes fluttered sleepily.


"I'm a good girl, Bo Bo," she whispered to the teddy bear as she hugged it tighter. "Momma says I am. And Momma doesn't lie to me. Maybe not all Coyotes are bad. I'll be a good one…"



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