I lie in bed, still wearing Justin’s shirt, thinking about Nate. And Justin. I knew, deep down, I had feelings growing for Justin. Slowly, but surely. Though I could never admit this to him, or to anyone for that matter, I knew it was happening. Nate was my boyfriend, I needed to be faithful to him. While he was treating me badly, I couldn’t let that be an excuse for me to let my feelings for Justin out. I smiled to myself, remembering Justin’s genuine concern when I had fallen in the kitchen. He had shown more care for me in that moment than Nate had in all the times we’d been together. Images of Justin and I being together rolled into my mind, putting a smile on my face. Would Abby even let us be together? Not that she controlled me, but she had an issue when we became friends. Would my aunty approve?
Stop it. My mind scolded me, He probably doesn’t even like you.
Right. Why would Justin like me when he has all those other girls at school throwing themselves at him? I fought with him, treated him like shit…he probably sees me only as a friend, or less.
And that's all you should see him as. A friend, or less.
“Hey, what’s up?” I asked my aunty as she trotted into my room, looking nervous.
“Well, you and Nate are becoming a bit more serious, right?” I nodded, confused as to where this would be going. “I thought that maybe you should introduce him to your parents when they come in a few days. I know your dad would love to meet him, he told me so-“
“You told dad about Nate? When did you speak to him?”
“Oh yesterday, but you were out at that party. He wants to know if its okay if he comes around for dinner tonight.”
“Um yeah sure, I guess.”
“Ask Nate if he could come, it would be a great opportunity for them to meet.”
“Um, I’ll ask.”
“One more thing.”
“He’s bringing your mom.”
She quickly left the room, closing the door behind her.
I dialed Nate, still annoyed with him, but wanting to know if he could come all the same.
“Hey babe, what’s the matter?” Nate asked as he answered the phone. I frowned, wishing he hadn’t answered. I wanted him to be concerned about me, not acting like nothing happened. Justin would have rung me 60 times before I had even woken up wondering if I was okay.
“I just wanted to ask you something.”
“Well, my dad is coming home and we’re all having dinner together and I wanted to know if you could come too to meet him-“
“Calm down, of course I’ll come. I’ll be at your house at 7:30 okay?”
“Okay. My dad might grill you a bit, especially once he finds out your older than me.”
“Don’t worry. I know how to deal with protective fathers. I love you, I’ll see you tonight.”
He hung up on me. Seriously. He didn’t even apologize for leaving me yesterday at the party. My heart deflated at the feelings Nate was displaying, causing thoughts of self-hate to erupt in my mind. Between my parents and I and Nate and I, this was going to be the most awkward dinner of my life. How was I supposed to deal with this?
By the time 7pm rolled around, I wanted death to come and take me. I was dressed up specially for tonight, wearing a modest red dress with my hair down because my dad has always told me he likes it better that way. I jumped at the sound of the doorbell, anxiety eating at me. With shaky hands, I opened the door to see both my parents standing together outside the door.
“Hi.” I said, barely able to breathe.
“Cassidy, oh my.” My dad said, a smile over taking his features. I ignored my mother completely and ran to my dad, wrapping my arms around his neck. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, too long.
“Hi Daddy.” I sniffled, burying my face in his shoulder. He smelt like home, like comfort. I turned to my mom who was standing awkwardly next to him. “Mother.” I nodded, barely managing to keep the coldness out of my voice. “Welcome. Come in, I guess.” I greeted, opening the door wider. I shook the memories of my mom’s most recent visit out of my mind, ignoring the way her words still stung. “Um, I want you to meet someone special tonight. His name is Nate, and he’s a really big part of my life so I’d appreciate if you didn’t scare him away.” Both my parents nodded, surprising me. No crazy outbursts, no commotions. “Um, you can sit down at the table I guess, food will be ready soon.”
I clambered my way into the kitchen, needing water. I was freaking out and Nate wasn’t even here yet. Aunty Steph pulled me into a hug once I was done gulping down alarming amounts of water.
“It’ll be okay.” She comforted me, rubbing my back. The doorbell rung once again, and I shot out of from my auntie’s arms.
“That will be Nate.” I called to my parents as I passed them, probably interrupting their conversation.
I opened the door, just about ready to fling myself into Nate’s arms to calm me down, and halted.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Playing boyfriend, what else?” Justin smirked, holding out a bunch of red roses for me to take. He was dressed in a proper black suit, his golden hair styled back and all of his piercings taken out. He looked completely different but sexy as fuck nonetheless.
“Dunno. I got a call from Ashton telling me I needed to come here and take over for Nate because you were having dinner with your parents. So, are you gonna introduce me?” He asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes. I felt my heart sink as tears welled in my eyes. Here Justin was, once again, saving the day and taking over for Nate. It should be Nate here with me, not Justin. Still, gratitude flowered in my stomach for Justin. He really was being sweet.
I scowled at him, “No funny business, or you’re out. Got it?”
I rolled my eyes and accepted the roses from him. “Thank you for doing this.”
“No problem, cutie.”
We walked through the hallway and into the dining room where both my parents and aunty sat.
“Justin! What a lovely surprise!” My aunty exclaimed, standing up and kissing Justin on the cheek.
Justin blushed at my auntie’s affection. “Good evening.”
My aunty then looked at me, “Is Justin joining us also?” I could tell she was itching to say, ‘what the hell? Justin and Nate hate each other, this isn’t a good time for them to sort out their differences!’
“Um, that’s the thing. Apparently, Nate couldn’t make it this evening so Justin came in his place.”
Justin smiled, “Yeah, I couldn’t leave Cass to be stood up.”
My mother and father stood up to greet Justin and I wanted to throw up. What would happen when my dad saw the tattoos on Justin’s wrist? It shouldn’t have mattered, but a part of me wanted my parents to approve of Justin. He wasn’t my boyfriend, but he was doing a whole lot better job at being one than Nate was.
“Nice to meet you, son. You seem like a nice kid, coming here for Cass and all. Doesn’t he, Ella?”
He asked my mom as he shook Justin’s hand. She quickly nodded in agreement and stepped forward to greet Justin. He kissed her cheek, causing a blush to rise. Was she serious? If Justin was anyone’s, he was mine.
“Anything for Cassie.” Justin replied, shooting me a killer smile. My parents both sat down again, my mom looking at Justin as if he was a god, and Aunty Steph ran into the kitchen.
“Would you like any help in the kitchen?” he asked her. My mom looked like she might faint from perfection.
“No its okay dear, just take a seat with Cassie.”
He pulled my chair out for me to sit down first, and I raised my eyebrows with an impressed smirk.
“I didn’t know you knew how to be a gentlemen.” I whispered once he had sat down.
“There are a lot of things you don’t know, cutie.”
“So, Justin, how do you know my daughter?”
Oh god. Here we go.
“Uh, we mainly know each other through school, but we first met through a friend during the summer.”
“Hmm. So are the two of you close?”
You could ask me, I’m right here.
“Yeah, I’d say we were. Right Cass?”
I nodded in agreement, taking a sip of water. “Yeah, the best of friends.”
“And you’re no threat to her relationship?”
My eyes grew wide and I almost chocked on the water I was drinking. I watched Justin, who had grown bright red.
“Not at all sir. Unless she thinks otherwise?”
I quickly shook my head no. Justin’s face held a discreet smirk and I wanted to punch him in the face.
“You care for her, correct?”
Justin nodded, “Very much.”
“And what do you think of this Nate guy?”
I was just about ready to stand up and strangle myself. Justin would say he disapproves, that Nate is an ass or something so my father would stop our relationship-
“I think he treats her well and is a great influence in her life. Other than some things I would do differently if I were in his place, I think he’s a good guy.”
I let out a sigh of relief and squeezed Justin’s hand under the table in appreciation.
“What do you mean, do differently?”
I closed my eyes shut, having the urge to hit myself in the face. Or my dad. Or Justin.
“Just small things. Like leaving her alone at a party, I would never do that.” He replied, the anger he experienced last night still evident in his voice. His grip on my hand was tighter than it was before, and I realized this probably wasn’t the place for this discussion. I let go of his hand.
“I think that’s plenty of questions now Daddy. I told you not to chase away my friends, remember?” I said with a light laugh.
He chuckled, “Of course, kid. I’ll stop now.”
I breathed a sigh of relief as my aunty returned with the food. Justin grabbed my hand from under the table and squeezed it tightly. I looked up toward him where he was mouthing an apology. I smiled in return.
“That was delicious, Stephanie.” My mother complimented after dinner was over. It had been a slightly awkward dinner but Justin made it much easier on everyone by making jokes and constantly getting everyone talking, leaving no room for awkward silences or glaring competitions between my mother and I.
“Thank you. I had a great helper.” She replied, indicating to me. My mother said nothing more, only giving me a tight lipped smile.
Justin stood, ready to clean up.
“Uh no. You’re a guest. You don’t clean up.” I said to him.
“Are we really going to go through this again?” he asked me. I blushed, remembering this ending in me falling on my ass in his kitchen. My parents looked on suspiciously, but my Aunt only smiled at the two of us like we were an old married couple.
“No, so sit down and let me clean up.”
“No, we’ll do it together alright?” he told me, grabbing another plate. “Otherwise we’ll never agree.” He turned to my family and pretended to whisper. “She’s so stubborn.”
My father roared with laughter while I walked into the kitchen, not bothering to wait for Justin. Him and my father had really hit it off, crazily enough. My dad was too interested in cars for his own good, and fell right into Justin’s trap. They spent the rest of the time discussing what a reasonable price should be for a vintage car.
I began washing up, putting my half of dishes in the warm water.
“You know, they’re not that bad.” He mumbled.
“You never told me what happened with you and your mom.”
“That's because you don’t need to know.”
“Alrighty then.” He laughed and grabbed my hands in the water. “Calm down, cutie.” I was shutting him out, and I knew it. But it was true, he didn’t need to know. We weren’t that close.
I sighed and looked up at him. “I’m sorry. Everything is stressing me out tonight…thank you for being here. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”
“Ah, no need cutie. We’ll be fine.”
We finished washing up and once again joined my family at the table.
“You kids can go off now, we’re just talking.” My auntie said to us once we had sat down. My father looked like he wanted to object to Justin going into my room but I pretended I didn’t see him and jumped up and took Justin with me.
We sat down on my bed and I waited for Justin to stop looking around.
“I didn’t expect your room to look like this.”
I rolled my eyes. “What doesn’t live up to your expectations?”
“Nothing, just…I was expecting it to be less… you. I thought you would have pink or posters of pop bands covering your walls. But if I walked into this room and someone asked whose it was I would have automatically said yours. It seems like you.”
“Why were you even picturing my room anyway?” I asked, looking at my dark walls, my small pictures of Abby and I and my irrelevant friends from school that had now deserted me thanks to Justin.
“Where else do you expect us to have sex?” He grinned at me cheekily.
“Gross! Justin!” He laughed harder than I’ve ever seen him before, his eyes closed, his dimples prominent, his head thrown back. He was so gorgeous. “That's two sex scares in two days! You don’t need to scar me like that.”
He only laughed harder. “Oh boy, you’re innocent.”
“You look different without your piercings in.” I noted, my head cocked to the side, desperately trying to change the subject.
“A good different or a bad different?” he smirked.
“Bad.” He raised his eyebrows in amusement, a smile playing on his lips. “N-not to say you look ugly! I just like you better with them in.”
His smile, if possible, grew wider, his eyes showing true happiness.
“Well thanks, cutie. I’ll be sure to have them in next time.”
It was silent for a minute, letting me move on to the next topic I wanted to talk about.
“Why did you say that to my father?” I asked harmlessly, picking at my nails.
Justin knew what I was talking about straight away. “Because, first he ditches you at a party with a drink and a bunch of random strangers. Firstly, he should know you don’t drink what kind of guy leaves his girlfriend to get wasted for the first time without anyone around? Then stands you up to meet your parents. Like seriously, can’t I be a little mad at him?” I nodded
“I guess so.”
“No, not ‘I guess so’. I’m sick of his shit. He tells you he loves you but other than his words, I’ve never seen one indication of him loving you. He doesn’t drive you to school anymore, he leaves you at dangerous parties and then doesn’t even meet your parents. That's a huge step in a relationship. Honestly, actions speak louder than words and his actions are pretty clear at the moment.”
“Maybe he was just busy.” I shrug.
“Too busy to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time? I doubt it.”
We sat in silence for a bit as I let his words sink in. He was right, this was one strike too many for Nate. Justin had proved to be better than Nate, and yet Nate was still getting away with treating me like shit. “So you really don’t remember last night at all? Not even a thing?” Justin asked, his voice seeming…hopeful?
I shook my head. “Nope. I get flashes but nothing really helpful. I keep hearing the name Garrett and seeing lots of random but not much else. Can you tell me what happened?” He nodded,
“What was the last thing you remember?” I thought back as hard as I could, sifting through my memory.
“Uhhh, I’m pretty sure I remember the first drink. And maybe the second. But I remember Nate telling me he’d be back in a bit and then walking off with some guys.”
Justin shook his head in annoyance. “Well, I saw Nate with some guys and you weren’t with him. So I went looking for you and found you drinking with the owner of the house, Garrett. He told me you’d had heaps to drink and Nate left you, so I took you home. Ahh…” he paused, like he didn’t want to say the rest. “You told me I looked ‘pretty’ in the colorful lights, and then you kept falling over so I took your shoes off for you.” Feelings of gratitude I had grew for him, he seriously did not have to do that. “Then I asked if you'd ever been drunk before and you asked if drunk was a mix between a dinosaur and a duck,” he snorted and I put my face in my hands in embarrassment.
“Oh my god.” I laughed.
“Then, um, you-“
He was interrupted by a knock at my door.
“Uh yes?” I asked. The door opened and my mother entered.
“Your Aunt has gone to answer a phone call, so I thought now would be an appropriate time to speak with you.” She started.
“Oh really? Did you? Even though I’m in here with my friend, talking?”
“Yes, Cassidy I did. You seem more rational with him around.”
I wanted to hit my mom across the face. She can’t even say his name!
“What do you want?” I scowled. I felt Justin’s hand on the small of my back and I begged it not to show on my face the volcano of sparks that had erupted from his touch.
“I want to speak to you about your grades. As your parents, we still receive many reports from teachers about your performance in school. I got a very disturbing report telling me you had failed your math exam. Is this true?”
I felt the color drain from my face and Justin move closer to me. He knew how much this had effected me. I closed my eyes, calming myself down. I did not need to have an anxiety attack in front of Justin and my mom.
“Yes, its true.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in you. That type of behavior is unacceptable.”
“If I may, Mrs. Ellen, most people did not do well on that test, it was extremely hard.”
She shot him a poisonous glare. “I don’t care what ‘most people’ received, I care about Cassidy.” Justin raised his eyebrows but nodded and I honestly wished he’d stayed silent. “I then got another report, telling me you received a B in history. Those marks are barely acceptable in math, but in history? That is plain intolerable, and I will not have any daughter of mine collect such dreadful marks next to her name. Fix up your act, Cassidy, or face the consequences.” And then she turned, and walked out of the room. I was struck with horror. How dare she embarrass me like that in front of Justin? How dare she even speak to me like that after everything? After acting like she was better at dinner with my father?
As soon as the door closed behind her, I felt tears run down my face. Fat, ugly tears ruining my make up and showing complete weakness. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, praying that I was able to calm down in time. I felt a pair of arms, Justin’s arms, wrap around me and pull me closer toward him.
“Shh, it’s okay.” He whispered in my ear, rubbing my back like he had earlier. Despite the situation, I couldn’t help but notice the feel of his hands on me, the heat that was gathered at the spots he touched. He pulled me closer again, dragging me into his lap and whispering consoling words in my ear. I cried harder than anyone had seen me before, letting out my emotions finally.
“I t-tried so h-hard to be p-perfect.” I cried as he played with the ends of my curled hair.
“Shh, calm down Cass. You’ll be eternally perfect in my eyes, it was just one test. Don’t listen to her.”
“H-how did she even do that? After all th-these years.”
“What do you mean? You’re going to have to explain some more.”
I stayed silent, my breathing choppy and fitful. He didn’t push me, so I enjoyed the warmth that he brought to me, the comfort and consolation I was feeling as he hugged me closer to him.
“How about you just tell me what else I did at that party.” I gave a watery chuckle.
He didn’t laugh along with me, instead he frowned. “I don’t think I should tell you just yet, it might upset you more.”
I stiffened, every muscle in my body became still. “What?”
He didn’t say anything, just shifted uncomfortably beneath me. I went deeper into my mind, trying to figure out what I did last night. I was trying so hard to remember that when I did it felt like a tidal wave had knocked over me, shocking me completely. When I remembered, I wished I hadn’t.
“I-I-I kissed you. Didn’t I?”
So Cassidy remembered!!!! I wonder what will happen next ??? ;)
Comment your thoughts! What do you think will happen next? What do you want to happen? Criticism is more than welcome because I want nothing more than to please you all! I've never had so much support for my writing in my entire life :)
loveeee youuuuuu xx