My name is Cassie Holmes.
I'm not a cheerleader, a nerd, a band-geek, or a loner. I am just Cassie. I can tell you that I am in love with the idea of romance, but am blind to it whenever it is near me. I can also confide in you, dear reader, that I am sixteen. Though this is not intimidating whatsoever, I need you to remember that this story should not befall a teenager such as myself. I could lie and tell you that I have the largest breasts in my class and the best blond hair that my school, St. Catherine High, has ever seen. Heck, I can swear to you that I have long legs and a lean figure. But then, those things would be just a beautifully glorified lie.
In fact, I am far from having long legs (thanks to a long torso that needs no assistance from my lower half) and my hair is the color of honey. Stale honey. My chest, for some reason, doesn't have the guts to grow and I am slightly overweight, but we can bypass that one for now.
My mother had always told me to seize an opportunity when it came in front of me and though she had told me this when I was nine, I had never forgotten her cautious words. That was the last night I saw her alive.
I spend my days sitting in my room with a journal in my lap and a pencil sharpened and unused in my hand. The memories of the funeral, my dad's wedding, Preston's wedding dress stalking down the aisle, and my desperate need to separate my life from theirs are always flooding my journal pages. It has been seven years since my dad stopped being who he used to be with my mom.
I sit restlessly on my bed now, commanding my brain to work. I draw a doodle of a sun on the page and silently scold myself for not focusing more. Outside of my bedroom door I can hear my dad's arrival and Preston's voice instantly sparks to life. I hear her muffled sighs as he kisses her and I squeeze my eyes shut. I let my mind wander to the past and remember the brilliant pearly smile of a woman with lemon yellow blond hair and the same green eyes as me. The memory evaporates as I hear a knock on my door.
“Cassie?” Dad asks.
“Present,” I answer and hide my journal swiftly under the covers beside me as he opens the door.
“Hey doll,” he kisses me on the forehead before sitting beside me on the bed. “How was your day?”
I shrug and he sighs.
“Did you help Preston around the house today?”
“Was I supposed to?”
“I know dad, but just listen,” I say. “It isn’t a big debacle or anything.”
“Debacle?” he asks, his eyebrows are tightly drawn together in a frown.
My calendar has a daily word that helps me further my vocabulary and Fiasco, meaning a sudden and violent collapse, is the word of the day. “Yes dad, it is not a debacle.”
“Right,” he says. “At least do the dishes tonight.”
“Deal,” I promise.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” he stands up from my bed and his knees give an audible click. “Preston wants you to go with her to the mall to buy some things for school.”
I cock an eyebrow at him the way that mom used to do when she was mocking him and place a challenging hand on my chin. “Really? Like, clothes and stuff?”
“Okay, okay, I will.” I respond before he has the chance to jump on my ‘attitude problem’. “But dad, promise me one thing?”
“That you’ll take me to see that movie about Nina Letter,” I plead. “She is my role model and this would mean everything to me.”
He smiles at me and ruffles my hair again before leaving my room. I hear his footsteps being met by Preston and quietly prepare myself for the long day ahead of me tomorrow.