Authors: Ariadne Wayne
by Ariadne Wayne
Copyright © 2013 Ariadne Wayne
Published by Northnet Limited
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be produced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews. If this book is found on a torrent site then please respect the author and buy if you enjoy.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The green eyes in the mirror appeared bored. Bored, and over all the primping involved in getting ready for the school end of year dance. Cassie had to give her mother credit. The cream dress she wore showed off her colouring, her long auburn hair falling in soft curls down her back. Radiant against the pale background.
“You’re beautiful, Cassie,” her mother said.
“Any boy not interested in you must be an idiot.”
“They’re all idiots then,” she muttered.
“What was that love?”
Cassie grinned. “Don’t worry, Mum. I just want this to be over.”
“When I was your age I loved going out. It’s nice to dress up and dance.”
“When you were my age, you had Dad.”
Cassie’s mother cupped Cassie’s face in her hands. “You’ll find someone special love, maybe Patrick Cross will finally notice you.”
“Stranger things have happened, Cassie. I don’t believe no one wanted to take you.”
“The only reason I’m going is because the school requires it. Besides, no one wants to date a fat girl.”
“Cassie, you’re not fat. Not in an unhealthy way. You have curves. It’s normal. You’re so beautiful, Cassie.”
Cassie pulled away. “Got to go, Mum. Thanks.”
As she approached the school, one thing stood out. Everyone else was paired up. She was the only person in the senior year to be alone. It was humiliating, but having won the top academic award of the year the principal insisted on her presence. At least her mother enjoyed finding her a formal dress. Cassie would wear it once before returning to jeans and a shirt.
Three weeks left of school, and they would leave this place and go their separate ways. That brought a smile to Cassie’s lips. She had finished on top. When the boys weren’t interested, there were no distractions, and she had stormed ahead of the competition.
The competition. Patrick Cross came to mind when she thought of that. Right behind her academically but miles away in every other respect. It was also Patrick that Cassie lusted over for her entire adolescence. Childhood friends, they drifted apart not long before high school, and while he became popular, Cassie’s friendships were few and far between.
They were worlds apart now, he was the captain of the school rugby team and utterly unobtainable. Patrick lived right across the road, tantalisingly close. Cassie often peeked to catch a glimpse of him through the curtains.
The car parked, she sat for a moment and closed her eyes, picturing him as her partner. A few weeks off turning eighteen, the adult thoughts that sprung to mind made her blush and she stuffed her hand in her mouth to stifle the embarrassed giggles.
“Let’s get this done, Cassandra,” she said to herself, stepping out the car door. Patrick was headed her way with his girlfriend Vicki on his arm. With Patrick in a tux and Vicki in sexy gown, it was as if they had stepped out of the pages of a glamour magazine. Cassie envied Vicki. Blonde, thin, and gorgeous, she seemed to have almost everything.
“With the personality of a slug,” Cassie muttered before breaking out a smile for the pair.
“Cassie,” Patrick said warmly, his smile turning her stomach to churn as it always did.
“Who’s your date, Cassie?” Vicki asked.
“I’m here by myself thanks, Vicki,” Cassie replied. It wasn’t worth letting Vicki irritate her, not tonight. Three more weeks, twenty more days to be exact and Cassie need never see her again.
Patrick’s brow furrowed. “Oh.” He grinned as if something had just occurred to him. “Well save a dance for me, Cassie, can’t have you leave without the top two students in school taking a spin around the dance floor.”
“You don’t want to spin her, Patrick,” Vicki said, the venom dripping in her voice. “It would be more like rolling.”
After all these years, Vicki’s barbs still stung, this time though Cassie spotted the filthy look Patrick gave her. “That’s a horrible thing to say. You need to apologise to Cassie.”
“Why should I apologise?” Vicki asked. “Come on, let’s go.”
“I’m sorry, Cassie, sorry that my girlfriend is so awful sometimes.”
Vicki grabbed Patrick’s hand, pulling him along. He peered over his shoulder as she led him into the building, winking at Cassie. “Save that dance,” he mouthed.
Cassie wondered how such a bitchy girl attracted someone like Patrick. He had always been so nice to her when he acknowledged her presence. “Whom am I kidding?” she mumbled. Vicki got the boy because she was a gorgeous blonde, not a dumpy redhead.
“Not much longer,” she said, forcing herself to lock the car and walk towards the door.
Once inside Cassie found herself a corner where she sat and hid, away from the funny looks. The principal would get up and give his speech, mentioning her and a few others who had won various awards. Then she would beat a hasty retreat. Plan sorted.
University would be amazing compared to this. Leaving everyone behind and starting a new life as an adult had huge appeal. It had to be better than this. Not even her parents knew how bad it had been for her at times. She had hidden her problems well.
As the school hall filled up, Cassie retreated further into her corner. The music started as she watched as couples rounding the dance floor in each other’s arms. The longing for companionship brought tears to her eyes, and she wished more than anything to be anywhere but here.
Cassie had grown up with these people. It wasn’t hard to become an outcast. A little different, and they didn’t want to know you. Cassie was smart which scared people off enough, but it was her weight they picked on.
The last few years, she had made friends, but no one got too close before finding something else to move onto, leaving her alone again.
Patrick was in another corner of the room, and Cassie squinted to get a better view as he argued with Vicki. She couldn’t get close enough to hear what was going on, but his face told her everything she needed to know. In all the years Cassie had known him, she’d never seen him so angry, and Vicki was arguing back.
The argument stopped when the principal called for quiet in order to start his speech. After a ramble about the schools successful year, he went on to talk about its more successful pupils, Cassie among them. By the time he asked her on stage, the crowd were restless. No one wanted to listen to this.
In contrast, the room underwent a transformation when Patrick’s name was called. As he made his way onto the stage, the crowd cheered. They clapped and whistled as he grinned, waving back at them. When he moved to Cassie’s side, he leaned towards her. “They should have cheered for you,” he said, “I’ve done nothing in comparison.” Cassie stopped listening to the Principal's speech at that point. Patrick’s acknowledgement of her achievements was enough.
As soon as it was over, Cassie headed for the door. The sooner she got home the better. “Cassie, wait.” She collided with Patrick as he rushed after her. He had a grin on his face from ear to ear. “How about that dance?”
“I want to go home.”
“Just one dance. Come on, Cassie. We’ve known each other all our lives, and we’ll all be saying goodbye soon.”
“I thought you would be dancing with Vicki.”
“It’s just one dance, and I don’t care about Vicki.” He grabbed hold of her hand to pull her back to the dance floor.
“Fine, whatever. If it makes you happy.”
“It would make me very happy.”
He pulled her into his arms as they settled into a slower dance. “Not so bad is it?”
“I never thought it would be bad. It’s just not going to make you popular.”
“If you’re worried about Vicki, don’t. She’s not worth worrying about.”
As she met his eyes, she was sure the emotion in them wasn’t the pity she expected. “She’s your girlfriend.”
“Not for much longer. That crap outside, there’s no need for it. You’re a good person, Cassie, you don’t deserve that treatment.”
“I appreciate it. It’s par for the course with Vicki though, she’s been doing that for years.”
“Oh? I guess she hasn’t done it in front of me otherwise I would have said something before now.”
“Patrick, you’re a nice guy. You always have been. This is my life. Tonight would never have been any different.”
It was as if he saw her for the first time, really saw her. A lump formed in Cassie’s throat, and she found herself unable to take her eyes off him. She closed her eyes sure she had to be imagining things. There would never be anything between them.
“Do you remember when we were kids, Cassie? We hung out all the time. Whatever happened to that?”
“We grew up, Patrick. Once we got old enough to realise there were pretty big differences between boys and girls, that was it.”
“I always knew though. You were always special to me, Cass.”
He hadn’t called her that in years. The familiarity made her warm inside.
“I appreciate that. Your friendship meant a lot.”
“Whatever happened to us?” His tone was sad, and her stomach did that flip thing again.
“I told you, Patrick, we just got older. It is what it is.”
“I’m sorry that’s what it is then.” He pulled her tight into him. For the first time, she pressed up against this man she had loved since she was a girl. His eyes searched hers for something. But what?
Vicki came barrelling towards them. “Your pity dance is over, Patrick, you can come dance with me now.”
Letting go of Cassie, he turned to Vicki. “Cassie is an old friend, and I care about her no matter what you say. I’m going to walk her to her car if she still wants to, and then we’re going to talk.”
“Good. I’ve got a few things I want to say to you.” She glared at Cassie before walking away.
“I’m still going,” she said.
“That’s a shame. I’ll make sure you get to your car okay.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
Patrick walked beside her out to the car. Once in, she wound the window down as he stood beside the car. He leaned over, peering in. “You know I wish I was coming with you. I hate this crap.”
“You mean the dance?”
“The only reason I am here, is because the principal insisted on it.”
“Same. If you want a lift home, I’d be happy to take you.”
He frowned. “I need to deal with a few things tonight. We’ll talk soon though, Cassie, I promise.” He stood to walk away.