What is Mine
~ Twenty-Four ~

Twenty-three year old Cassie Whelan collapsed into the nearest chair. Her surgeon husband of four years had just completed an unemotional account of how he had basically kidnapped their son from the arms of dying parents.

“My God, Jack! How could you?”

“You wanted a child.”

Cassie sat open-mouthed. The young woman had no idea what the proper response to her husband's simple declaration should be.

“You wanted a child,” Jack explained, “and there he was in the back of that wreck like some kind of gift.” He crouched down in front of his wife. “His mother was already dead, and it was probable that his father would die as well from the severity of his injuries. But he didn't have a scratch on him.”

“So you just took him?”


Cassie recoiled from Jack's touch. “You took him and brought him to me. You let me fall in love with him when you knew that at any moment he could be taken back??”

“This wasn't supposed to happen!” Jack insisted angrily. It was the first visible emotion that he had shown since arriving at home. “There was nothing at that crash site that could connect to me,” he insisted. “ Nothing !”

“Obviously, there was.” Cassie sidestepped her husband, careful not to allow any contact between them. She knew that despite Jack's bravado, he desperately wanted the reassurance of her understanding and forgiveness; two things she could not give him.

Jack ceased his attempts to make emotional contact with his young wife. Whatever her thoughts and feelings at the moment, Cassie had made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with him.

“What are you doing?” The doctor followed Cassie into the bedroom and watched her drag a suitcase from inside their closet.

“What does it look like I'm doing?”

Cassie was a bright young woman who realized that Jack's admission of taking Robby from the scene, coupled with the lawyer's illegal sleight of hand with the adoption paperwork left them no official recourse. No court in the country would look favorably upon any of the things Jack had done in obtaining Robby. And it would not matter that Cassie had not known any of it.

“You can't leave.” Jack blocked the bedroom doorway.

“I am not going to stay here and hand over my son to some stranger whose name you don't even know!” Cassie cried. “If that means Robby and I have to disappear, then that is what we will do.” She pushed futilely against Jack's chest. “Now move!”

Sadly, Jack grasped his wife's wrists in his hands. His grip was just firm enough to hurt and gain him Cassie's full attention. “You can't leave here with Robby,” the doctor repeated gently. “His father has the house guarded.”

Cassie's knees buckled. It was only Jack's firm grip on her wrists that kept her upright. “Cassie!”

“No,” the young woman pulled away, suddenly fueled by a desperate energy. “I won't lose Robby. I will turn you in, if I have to,” she threatened her husband.

Jack was shattered by her words, but his expression showed no sign of how deeply Cassie's words wounded him. “Go ahead,” he said softly. He stepped aside and gestured toward the front door. “I will go to jail and Robby will be put into foster care until a judge can decide his fate. And until that happens, he will be at the mercy of total strangers.”

“This man you want to just hand him over to is a total stranger, too!” Cassie cried.

“No, he isn't,” Jack said, though it took everything he had within him. “He is Robby's father.”