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“It won’t work.”

“No, I heard what you said. And I’m afraid of what you might mean.”

“I mean—does anyone have their life under control? I know I don’t. If I waited to be in control of everything, I’d never go on another date again. Hell, I’d never leave my house. You can’t anticipate what life is going to throw at you. You have to work with what you’ve got.”

Cassie bit her lip. He wasn’t wrong, but her life was a little crazier than most.

Jason took her hand in his. “All I’m saying is that I really like you, Cassie, and I’d like to get to know you better. I think you feel the same way, but something is

holding you back.” The look in his eyes told her she wouldn’t like this next part. “But I can’t wait forever. That wouldn’t be fair to myself.”

“No, it wouldn’t.” She tried to swallow, but the lump in her throat stopped it. “I wouldn’t want to do that to you anyway.”

Cassie glimpsed red curls out of the corner of her eye. When Laura walked up to Cassie, Jason dropped her hand.

“I was wondering what was holding you up.” Laura said with a curious tone. Her smile beamed.

“Oh, Laura, this is Jason from work. Jason, this is my sister Laura.” The heat from his hand lingered for a few seconds, but then it was gone. “We ran into each other.”

“Oh, the Jason? The hottie from work?” Laura’s smile showed all her teeth. “My sister is chaos walking, but I guarantee you’ll never be bored with her around.”

Jason laughed. “It’s not me you have to convince, it’s her.”

Laura looked surprised, but Cassie pushed her back toward their table outside. “It was really, really great seeing you, Jason. I promise I’ll text you back. And I’ll see you at work next week, okay?”

“Okay.” His smile was sad as he waved goodbye.

“But our pizza.” Laura tried to dig her heels in.

Cassie gritted her teeth and pushed harder. “They’re bringing it out to us.”

Once they sat down, Laura put her chin in her hands and stared at Cassie. “You undersold him in the looks department. That smile? What I wouldn’t do—”

“Hands off.” Cassie snatched her Coke off the table and took a sip. It must’ve been delivered while she was talking to Jason.

“My hands are so off.” Laura crossed her arms. “But yours seem to be, too. What gives? He’s obviously into you.”

“I’ve got a lot going on—”

Laura waved her off. “No excuses. Only real answers.”

Cassie huffed and set her drink down. After she made sure Jason wasn’t within earshot, she leaned in. “He knows nothing about me. Nothing about the attack. Very little about how I help the police. Then again, I guess I spilled the beans on that one. I was kind of nervous.”

“What? You think he won’t like you because something out of your control happened to you?” Laura leaned in until they were nose to nose. “Is he secretly a terrible person?”

“No. Of course not. He’s sweet and gentle and understanding, and one time he helped me through a panic attack.”

“So, what you’re telling me is that he’s wonderful and there’s no reason he would reject you or make you feel bad for your experiences.”

“Are you and Dr. Greene in cahoots?”

“No, we’re observant. And honest.” Laura scrunched up her face. “Do people even say cahoots anymore?”

“Lots of people say cahoots, Laura.”

“No, only you, Cass.” She held up her hands. “Okay. Okay. I think you’re hangry. This pizza needs to get here ASAP.”

Cassie didn’t argue. She remained lost in thought until their giant pie arrived. As the server promised to get them a couple of refills, Cassie noticed Jason leaving with his own pizza in hand. She couldn’t help but wonder if it was just for him or not. He’d been clear about how much he liked her, but he’d also been clear he wouldn’t wait forever.

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