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Authors: A.L. Jambor

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BOOK: Pello Island: Cassia
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“Isn’t it amazing we can remember that?  Do you think they did something to us, to help us remember?”

“I wouldn’t put it past them.”  Cassia sat on the bed while he packed.  “Can I call you Amatus?  I just can’t get around Barnaby.”

“I’ll allow you to call me that.  But just you,” he said and smiled.  He had a wonderful smile. 

“What was wrong with me, Amatus?  You are so handsome.  Why didn’t I see it sooner?  I wasted so much time.”

“You were very young, Cassie.  Besides, your father screwed with you so much, how could you possibly make a good decision?”

“My father, oh God, I hadn’t thought about him in ages.”  Cassia grew quiet.  Amatus looked over at her.  She was crying.

“He was a real shit, Cassie.  You might have made a different decision if he hadn’t interfered.”

“Aspen is far away, Amatus.”

Amatus closed the suitcase and sat next to Cassia.  He put his arm around her and she began to sob.

“I’m a phone call away.  We have our own plane, Cass.  All you have to do is hop on it and come over.  Come on, stop, please.”

Cassia used her T-shirt to wipe her face.  She looked up at Amatus and smiled weakly.  He looked at her and almost changed his mind about leaving.  Suddenly, he stood up.

“I have a plane to catch,” he said.

“You’re not taking ours?”

“I’m leaving it here in case you need it.”

Cassia followed him down the stairs to the foyer.  He took out his cellphone and called Manuel.  He turned to Cassia and hugged her.

“She said I have to marry him,” Cassia said.

“Oh, shit.  Why didn’t you tell me that right away?”

“It’s okay.  I think I can handle it.  It’s for Dulcie,” she said.

“Where is she, anyway?”

“Morta said she’s where she needs to be for now.  Whatever they have in mind hinges on me being married to him.  She said we’ll all have a long life and die for good at the end.  She also said the marriage wouldn’t last too long.”

“Listen, I can change my plans if you think it would help.”  Amatus was still holding her.

“No, you go ahead.  I can handle him, really.”

“He’s such an asshole.  I’m sorry you got stuck with this.”

“Me!  You shouldn’t even have been there.”

“I made the choice.  I’ve never regretted it.”

Amatus kissed her softly.  She kissed him back and held him close.

“I’ll come back at the end of the month, for Christmas,” he said.  “Call me anytime of the day or night.”

The horn of the limo beeped and Amatus grabbed his bag.  He touched Cassia’s cheek and then turned to leave.  She put her arms around him and whispered, “Goodbye.”



Cassia wasn’t hungry.  She was tired and wanted to go to bed early, but she knew Darius would expect her at dinner.  It was six o’clock, and dinner was usually at eight.  She decided to grab a nap in hopes it would renew her appetite.

As she approached her room, she glanced into Amatus’.  Everything in it reminded her of him.  Amatus had held onto his Roman heritage and his room had several statues of Roman gods. There were couches and pillows everywhere.  She was sure his home in Aspen reflected the same.

She walked into his room and lay down on one of the couches.  It felt like home.  Maybe Amatus was right.  Maybe they had implanted some sort of memory chip in their brains to remind them of the past.  Those memories were so vivid, but she was having a hard time remembering her last life.  She felt herself growing tired and soon she fell asleep.

She woke to Darius gently kissing her cheek.  He was sitting on the edge of the couch and smiling at her.  She smiled back.  When he looked at her that way, she could almost forgive him everything.  Almost.  She rolled over on her back and looked at him.

“What time is it?” she asked.

“Almost ten,” he answered.

“You didn’t wake me for dinner.”

“It was nothing special.  Besides, we can always raid the kitchen if you’re hungry.”

Darius put his hand on her cheek.  It felt warm against her skin.  His eyes look so blue, and his hair was just the way it had been.  What had they done to her?  She was also feeling things she hadn’t felt in so long.  He bent over and kissed her lips.  She felt as she had always felt with Darius, wanton abandonment.  She put her arms around his neck and pulled him close.  When it was all over, she felt a fool.

“This can’t happen again,” she said.  She stood up and began putting her clothes on.

“Cass, when are you gonna admit you still love me?”

“I’m hungry.  I’m going to the kitchen.”

Cassia walked out of the bedroom and down the stairs.  She stopped at the bottom and listened to see if Darius was following her.  This is ridiculous, she thought, and went to the kitchen.  How could he still affect her this way after everything he’d done?

She opened the refrigerator and pulled out the eggs.  As she scrambled them in the pan, Darius walked in.  He took a seat on a stool by the island.  As he watched Cassia cook the eggs, he began banging the countertop with a spoon.  Cassia closed her eyes and counted to three.  Then she turned around and glared at him.

“What?” she asked him.

“Nothing.  I just wanted to see if you were listening.”

And she wants me to marry him, she thought.  She put the eggs on a plate and sat on the other side of the island.  She grabbed her fork and shoveled the eggs into her mouth.  Darius put his hands under his chin and stared at her.  She stared back until he blinked.

“Come on, Cass.  We had sex.  We always have sex.  Why do you get so pissed off afterwards?”

“Darius, please let me eat in peace.”

Darius got up and left the kitchen.  She could hear him open the front door and heard it close.  It was well after ten.  Where was he going?

Cassia put the dishes in the sink, rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher.  After she wiped down the counters, she went to the front door to see if he had actually left the grounds.  She looked through one of the small windows that were on either side of the door.

Darius was smoking a cigarette.  She could see the end of it glow in the dark.  He hadn’t put the outside light on.  Suddenly she felt guilty about treating him so badly.  Darius really wasn’t so bad.  If Morta hadn’t given her an ultimatum, she would never have been so mean to him.  She flipped the light switch, opened the door and stepped out.

It was freezing outside.  Darius didn’t have a coat on and she could see his hands shake as he put the cigarette to his mouth.  

“Darius, come inside.  It’s too cold out here without a coat.”  Cassia was biting her lower lip.

“I’m fine.  I’m almost done.”

She turned around and walked back inside.  She waited a few seconds and then walked to the den to sit in front of the fire.

Darius found her there an hour later.  He had finished his cigarette and went straight to his computer to see if there were any flights to Vegas leaving that night.  When he didn’t find one, he came to the den.

Cassia was sitting with her legs pulled up underneath her.  He walked over and put his hand on her shoulder.  She reached up and held it.  He then sat down in the chair next to her.

“I almost booked a flight to Vegas tonight,” he said.

Cassia looked at him to see if he was telling the truth.

“You didn’t, did you?”

“Nah, I couldn’t find one.  Then I called my sponsor.”

“Does he know about you, about what happens to you?”

“Yeah, he’s the only one I’ve had in fifty years.  He doesn’t understand it, but he accepts it.  He asked me to go to a meeting tomorrow and I agreed.”

Cassia took his hand.  She alone knew how hard it was for Darius to keep away from the dice tables.  That’s why the mansion was in New York.  It was far enough away from Atlantic City to be safe.  But now Darius was trying to find a plane to take him to Las Vegas.  She would have to keep him occupied for the next few hours until he could get to a meeting.  Hopefully he would fall asleep.  She didn’t know if she was up to watching him tonight, but as usual, she had no choice.  It was always left to Cassia to save Darius.



When Amatus first decided to buy a collective home, he was living in New Jersey.  He had traveled there from Ireland after the Revolutionary War.  He was always saving money, and he bought passage for the others within a year of landing in New York.

Amatus had lived in Philadelphia for a while and then moved to Monmouth County, New Jersey.  He was helpful in creating the seat of local government, until Darius screwed up and they all died again.  He lost everything he’d saved.  The next time he was reborn, Amatus made arrangements with a friend to keep his money.  He’d met the man in his previous life and found him to be honest and trustworthy.  Of course the man, Herman Frederick, didn’t believe Amatus was the same man.

It took Amatus weeks to convince him that he was indeed the same man.  After that, they worked out a password so that Herman would know it was Amatus. Herman helped Amatus through several of his lives.  He helped Amatus buy a house large enough for Cassia, Darius, and Dulcia, too.  When they arrived from Europe, they moved in with Amatus.

The house was a two story farmhouse in Flemington, New Jersey.  Amatus ran the farm with hired help and amassed a small fortune.  Darius gambled most of his share away, while Cassia and Dulcia saved theirs in a local bank.  Herman worked with Amatus for thirty years.  He managed the farm and kept the accounts.  When the four showed up separately in new bodies, Herman would ask each of them the password.  When they successfully passed the test, he would greet them and help them establish their new lives.

When Herman died, his son William took over his duties as their guardian.  He was followed by his son David, and his son Justin, and Andrew, Thomas, Richard, Donald, Michael, and Adam.  When the male heirs diminished, Amatus asked Laurie Kellen, a cousin of the Frederick boys, if she would like to work for him.  She knew about her family’s connection to Amatus, but she didn’t know he had a new face every few years.  Once she was over the shock of her first encounter with Amatus et al, she proved remarkably capable.

It was Laurie who suggested they move their base of operations to upstate New York.  She told Amatus they would still be close enough to New York City to do business, but far enough away from Atlantic City to give Darius pause before heading south.  She asked Amatus why he and Cassia put up with Darius, and he told her that their lives were inextricably linked; he had no choice but to keep Darius close.  That was all he would say.

Laurie worked with a man named Janus to provide new identities for the quartet.  Janus had a mysterious background, but he was attractive and personable, and Laurie would blush whenever he came to the mansion.  Janus would flirt with Laurie, while distracting her from the details of Amatus, Darius’, Cassia’s, and Dulcia’s lives.

Laurie didn’t know the circumstances of their rebirths.  She didn’t know that someone had to vacate the bodies before Amatus and his friends could inhabit them.  All she knew was that Amatus was kind and generous, and she wasn’t about to jeopardize her well-paid position with too many questions.

Darius had begun attending Gambler’s Anonymous fifty years ago.  He found a sponsor and went to meetings regularly.  His sponsor had been with Darius through many incarnations and supported Darius wholeheartedly.

Amatus didn’t trust his conversion and always expected Darius to fall.  He gave him very little money from the Trust.  Amatus resented having to leave his home in Jersey because Darius couldn’t stop gambling.  He also resented Cassia’s affection for Darius after all he’d done with regard to Dulcia.  Darius had one responsibility, and he failed to carry it out every single time.  The last time had been the final straw for Amatus.  He decided to stay in Aspen this time around to avoid seeing Darius and Cassia together.


BOOK: Pello Island: Cassia
13.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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