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Cassandra sat atop her home's roof, gazing at the night sky. It had been years since she ventured up there, it was her favorite place to think. She heard foot steps and the old wooden steps creaking. Her father, Mortimer appeared, and gave her a small smile.
"I thought I might find you up here," he said, and gingerly sat down next to her. All the years of searching, wondering, and hoping for Bella had aged Mortimer.
After a few moments of silence, he asked, "What are you doing up here?"
"Just thinking," Cassandra replied.
"About?" He prodded.
Mortimer sighed at the mention of his name, "What is it now?"
"He didn't do anything, Dad. I just don't know..." Cassandra faltered.
"Don't know what?" Mortimer asked.
"...I don't know if marrying Don is what I want right now," Cassandra concluded.
Mortimer remained silent.
"I mean," Cassandra said, "I thought it was what I wanted. But then Mom disappeared the night before the wedding and post poning it for this long made me realize that I have so many things left to do. I mean I'm only twenty. I could go to college, travel the world, anything. But marriage? I don't think I'm ready for that."
Mortimer placed his hand on his daughter's, he told her, "Cassandra, my dear, do whatever makes you happy. If that means calling off the wedding, so be it."
Cassandra pondered at the idea, and then kissed her father on the cheek, "I need more time to think," she decided, "I'm going to bed now, good night, Dad."
As Cassandra got up, Mortimer said, "Good night, Cass, I love you."
"Love you too," Cassandra replied as we walked away.
Mortimer remained on the roof. To say he was happy that Cassandra was rethinking her marriage was an understatement. Twenty was too young to be settling down, especially with Don. He was regarded as the town's casanova, and being eleven years Cassandra's senior, Mortimer had never been especially fond of him.
The air turned cold and Mortimer returned inside. Alexander had fallen asleep on the couch, his glasses were still on and a book laid open on his chest. Mortimer shook him awake.
Alexander was startled, "Huh?"
"You fell asleep on the couch again," Mortimer chided.
"I did?! What time is it?!"
Mortimer looked at his watch, "A little after midnight."
"Damn," Alexander muttered.
"Hey!" Mortimer scolded.
"Sorry," Alexander apologized, "it's just that this book- "
"What book?" Mortimer interrupted, he picked up from the couch and read the title. Abducted: Two Harrowing True Stories About Being Stolen and Probed By Glarn and Pascal Curious.
Mortimer sighed, "Alexander, we've talked about this, I don't like you reading books like this one."
"But, Dad," Alex said, "I'm so close to finding Mom!"
Mortimer shook his head in defeat, "Your wasting your time, my son. If I see you reading anymore books about aliens, or anything paranormal for that matter, you will be seriously punished."
Alexander opened his mouth to argue, but Mortimer interjected, "No buts. Now off to bed, you have school in the morning."
Alex watched his book go up in flames as Mortimer threw into the fireplace, Alexander, defeated and deflated, sulked to the bathroom. As Alexander left, Mortimer heard Cassandra murmuring on the phone in the kitchen.
Hopefully she's talking to Don and cancelling the wedding. Mortimer thought and smiled to himself. He then realized that the possibility of his daughter ending her engagement to the man she loved was the happiest he had been since the disappearance of Bella. He sighed, and went to bed. Bella's absence had taken a toll on everyone.