Chapter 10 - Cassidy
Cassidy groaned as the banging on the bedroom door continued. “Go away!”
The door opened. “Good, you’re up,” Gemma said, standing in the doorway.
Cass pulled the pillow over her head.
“You can’t hide, not today. You promised you’d talk to Jessie today.”
Cass protested. “Isn’t it supposed to be the boy’s job? I don’t think it’s on me to go chasing him around.”
“Girl, get real. It’s the twenty-first century. It doesn’t matter anymore who asks who out. Don’t you want to be happy?” asked Gemma.
“But what if –”
“No buts,” Gemma interrupted. “You said today was the day, so it’s time to stop putting it off.”
Cassidy sat up and looked at Gemma. “You’re too happy. Why are you so happy?”
Gemma shrugged. “Maybe I’ve decided who to ask out to Prom as well,” she replied.
“Who?” Cass asked, interested m because Gemma hadn’t talked about liking anyone.
“Just someone. I doubt you know’m.”
“Fine. I’m up, now go away,” Cass told her friend.
Gemma left, closing the door behind her.
Cass got up and collected her things for a shower. She set the water colder than usual to wake herself up. When she got out, she dried her hair, wrapping that towel around it, then dried herself off and wrapped that towel around herself.
She opened the door and stepped back into her bedroom, walking over to her dresser. Grabbing a pair of panties, she pulled them on and picked out a bra.
“I see you’re not intending on getting to first base today,” a gravelly voice said, causing Cass to jump.
She spun around, one hand out, the other holding the towel around her.
Myra was laying across the bed, giggling.
Cass cursed under her breath, trying to calm her thumping heart. “Remind me to have mom dye my blankets another color. You blend in too well with the white,” Cass told her.
Myra fake pouted, looking down at her white pajamas. “Hey, my pajamas… my skin is… my hair doesn’t blend in.”
Cass held her tongue. While Myra was right, Cass didn’t want to say anything that might hurt the younger girl’s feelings. “What’s up?” she asked instead.
“Nothing. Just living vicariously through you,” Myra answered.
Cass raised an eyebrow.
“What? I’m old enough to be nosy. It’s not like I’ll ever have a life, so I take what I can get.”
Cass turned away from Myra and dropped her towel, putting on her bra before walking to the closet. She pulled out things, holding them up in front of her. When she got to a top that always reminded her of old Italy, Myra stopped her.
“That one,” she said.
Cass looked at it. It was plain white and a little baggy, with inch wide straps that held it up, while the rest was stretchy and was off the shoulder.
“It’s kind of thin,” Cass said.
“Well, put on a prettier bra. That or wear a tank under it. But it shows off your shoulders and your neck. Both are pretty.”
She looked at her friend - the one with no social life and was just beginning to filter what she said… sometimes.
Cass must have let some form of expression show, since Myra said, “What? It’s the truth. I know that I need to think before I say stuff, but in this case, why? You’re pretty and it’s the truth. If I have to filter that, then there’s a problem. To me, I really shouldn’t have to filter myself to those I love.
“And I expect the same from you. That’s what family does, right?”
Cass hung the shirt on closet doorknob and using her power, did a standing long jump, landing on the girl in her bed.
She pinned Myra’s arms above her head and proceeded to attack the girl with kisses as Myra giggled, turning her head this way and that to avoid them.
While Myra was six inches shorter and thirty pounds lighter, both knew that Myra had preternatural strength and could have thrown Cass off of her at any time.
But she didn’t.
Finally, Myra stopped her struggle and Cass laid a final kiss on her cheek. Cass then rolled onto her side, taking Myra with her, where she put her arms around the girl, hugging her.
In her ear Cass said, “You’re right, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Myra put her arms around Cass and hugged her back.
Cass gave a final squeeze and pushed back so she could look Myra in the eyes. “You know, you put yourself down too much.”
She pushed the silky hair from Myra’s face, looping it around an ear. “You’re different, but that just makes you special. And some day you’ll find someone for you who will love you for you and none of your differences will matter. Promise.”
Myra’s nictating membrane flicked across her eye in an inhuman blink and she replied, “I won’t hold you to that promise, but thank you. Now finish dressing and I’ll braid your hair.”
Cass got up and found a tight, white stretch tank and put it on, then put the Italian peasant shirt on over it. She then picked out a pair of black slacks and put them on.
Giving her hair a final rub, she took the towel off and sat in front of Myra, who proceeded to work on Cassidy’s hair.
Cass knew she wasn’t simply braiding her hair, there was more involved, and Cass thought better of interfering. While Myra had no social life outside of the house, an occasional trip to a store and the internet, she did keep up on fashion.
And while her own tastes ran plain, enough so that even casual nudity didn’t bother her, she liked to show off for Cass and Gemma – and to some extent Gwynne Gray.
When Myra finished, Cass looked into her mirror and was surprised. From her bangs to her ears, her hair hung down free. From behind her ears, her hair was drawn back, with the sides braided until they met in the back, and then braided together into one braid.
The side braids held the rest of her hair in place behind her.
“Well?” Myra asked.
“It’s… really pretty, Myra. Thank you. Now you’re turn.”
“Kids! Breakfast,” Mrs. Gray called from downstairs.
“Be right there mom,” Cass yelled.
“Sorry, nothing fancy for you today,” Cass said to Myra.
“You don’t have to, I can do it,” Myra said.
“No, I can at least braid it for you.” Cass grabbed her brush and brushed out Myra’s long hair before braiding it for her. She knew how much Myra liked it when Cass brushed and braided her hair, even if she wouldn’t admit it.
“Next time we’ll do more. Now, let’s go eat before Gemma eats it all.”
They went downstairs and found Gemma nearly finished eating, to no one’s surprise.
“My…” Mrs. Gray said. “Don’t you two look nice.”
Gemma looked up and her eyes widened. “Wow,” was all she said.
“You better hurry,” Mrs. Gray said. “Bus will be here soon. Looking like that, I suspect you don’t want to miss it. And Myra has a physics test this morning.”
Myra grumbled as she sat down to eat.
Cass was nervous but forced herself to eat and soon, Cass and Gemma left to walk to the bus stop.
Along the way, Gemma said, “Well, it looks like your resistance fell and even you dressed up. Guess my talk worked.”
“In a way,” Cass replied.
“You even did your hair different.”
“It was Myra’s doing,” Cass replied. “You should really let her try stuff on yours.”
When she met Gemma, her hair was close cropped and tightly curled. Now, four years later, she had let her hair grow out some. It was now to her chin and straightened.
“What does the little white girl know about a colored person’s hair? This is the deep South, she’d probably have me in chains if she could,” Gem said.
“Oh my… be careful or mas’er’s gonna sell you for a mule,” Cass replied. “And seriously, is that your ghetto accent? Your urban street persona? If so, it needs work. I could probably do a better imitation.”
Gem gave her the evil eye and Cass laughed. “You know she’s probably done her research just in case you ever did ask her. With the way you two get along, she might not offer, but she’s also your friend, so if you did ask, she wouldn’t want you disappointed in her, so she’d learn. And you know she’s smart.
Gemma rolled her eyes.
“Oh, come off it. You know you like her. She’s just as fiery are you are.” Cass stopped. “Hum, now that I think about it, maybe that’s the issue. The two of you are too much alike.”
Gemma said nothing but kept on walking.
Cass hurried to catch up. “That’s it, isn’t it? You don’t like her because she is so much like you. In a lot of ways. Background, temperament, stubbornness.”
Gemma kept walking, but said, “Do you seriously think I hate her?”
Cass looked over at her friend. “No, but I’m not really sure if you like her, either. At best, you put up with her. For almost four years now, you’ve put up with her, but you can’t honestly say you are friends. And I think Myra torments you, not to be mean, but it’s her way of trying to get closer to you. At least that way you interact with her.”
Gemma looked at her sideways. “So, you’re telling me that her trying to drown me the last four years is her idea of getting closer?”
“Gem, think about it. At best you treat her with indifference, and really only when it’s with someone else. All I’m saying it to give her a chance. I’ll bet she’ll surprise you.”
Gemma sighed and said, “Fine, I’ll try harder.”
“Thank you,” Cass said sweetly.
They got to the end of their backwoods road just as the bus arrived.
The doors hissed open, and the two girls climbed aboard. As Cassidy passed the first row of seats, one of the girls said, “Oh look, the swamp things made it on time.”
Cass stopped, but Gemma pushed her forward, turning her hand cold.
Cassidy passed Jessie Haiden, the one she had told Gemma she was going to ask to the prom, sitting with his best friend, Robbie Joss. She smiled at Jessie and they both smiled back.
The seat behind them was open, so she sat down, and Gemma sat beside her.
“Hey Jessie, Robbie,” Gemma said to them.
“Hey Gem,” Robbie replied to her. To Cass he said, “Don’t let Beryl get to you Cassidy. She’s just doing it for a reaction.”
“If she’s not careful, she’s going to get one she won’t expect,” Cass mumbled, causing Gem to elbow her.
Robbie looked at her funny but didn’t comment. Cass hadn’t said anything, so Robbie turned back around.
Thoughts of nasty accidents that could happen to beryl Jackson went through Cassidy’s head. Cass, for the most part, didn’t originally have anything against the girl,but for some reason, the girl had an issue with Cass.
They were the same age, but that was pretty much the end of their similarities. Beryl had chestnut brown, styled in a pixie cut, was a few inches taller and slightly heavier, which Cass thought all the weight was in the girl’s boobs. She was also captain of the cheerleading squad.
Maybe that was why Beryl didn’t like her.
Jessie was captain of the tennis team, and one of the popular students in school, but he didn’t date much and when he did, it never lasted long.
Beryl had been trying for a while.
When Cass had first found out about Jessie’s dating pattern, she was worried that it was simply sex based. If the girls put out, he got tired of them and broke up and if they didn’t, he just broke up.
But then she talked to some of his ex’s. None of them claimed he did more than kiss. He didn’t try to force sex, or really even try for that matter. For all they knew, he was still a virgin.
That gave Cass butterflies in her stomach.
Gemma and Cass sat in silence for the nearly twenty miles to school. When they arrived, neither Cass nor Gemma was in a rush to get off, so they waited while those ahead deboarded.
Jessie and Robbie seemed to be in no hurry either and stood up with the girls. “After you,” Jessie said to Gemma, letting both of the girls go ahead of them.
Gemma went, followed by Cass and Jessie, then Robbie. They were the last four off the bus.
Cass caught Beryl look back at them before she went inside the building.
“See you in fourth period,” Jessie said to Cassidy before walking off.
Robbie paused, looking like he had something to say but then decided against it, simply waving before walking off.
Cass wasn’t sure what had just happened but shrugged it off when Gem started pulling her towards class.
“So, when you gonna do it?” she asked Cass.
Cass blushed, misunderstanding her friend. “What?”
“Oh, I figured I’d ask him during out study period.”
“Good. Then you can tell me the good news at lunch,” Gemma said. “See ya!”
Cass watched Gemma walk off, then started towards her locker.
She went inside and worked her way through the halls to her locker. Chemistry was her first class of the day, so she grabbed her chem book and backpack out of her locker.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Scarface,” one of Beryl’s flunky cheerleader friends said from behind her.
“No, I think it’s more Phantom of the Opera,” said another.
“Wonder if the rest of her looks just as bad,” said Beryl.
“Jealous much?” Cass asked over her shoulder, angry but trying not to let it show.
“Ha! Of what Gray, you? Your inbred family, or your weird friend?”
Cass spun around, her locker slamming closed of its own accord, although no one seemed to notice. “Let me guess Beryl, you’re just upset because the plastic surgeon refused to swap out your silicon implants for helium bags so you could offset your weight gain so you can be at the top of your little pyramid? Or did your funbags get denied for the prom’s bouncy house? No, wait. Those are reserved for the whole football team, my bad,” Cass said with an evil grin.
There were several Ohs and Ahs from the crowd gathering around.
“Why you little slut,” Beryl said, starting towards Cass, who didn’t move. She had faced worse in her short life.
“Alright, get to class everyone!” a voice called out, stopping Beryl in her tracks.
Cass looked around the girl to see vice principal Sanders striding down the hall.
“This isn’t over Gray,” Beryl said just loud enough for her to hear.
“Bring it, cheer-loser,” Cass replied.
The cheerleaders walked away in their group and Cass just stood there, trying to get her emotions under control. It was if her body couldn’t decide between anger or anguish. She could feel her eyes tear up but she had the resolve not to cry.
“Is there a problem Ms. Gray?” asked vice principal Sanders.
“No ma’am, just a friendly discussion.”
The vice principal cocked her head, as if not quite believing Cass. “Oh, and what could the two of you possibly have in common?”
Cass shook her head. “Nothing really. It was more of a discussion of differences in aesthetics and physiology. With a hint of economics and over inflation.” Cassidy gave VP Sanders a beaming smile.
“Uh huh. I’m sure that somehow that all makes sense to someone. Not that I buy your explanation one bit, Ms. Gray. We both know… how Ms. Jackson is. And while I don’t know you that well, I believe that you’re a decent young woman. So, take some advice and avoid her. All she can do it is get you in trouble, and that would be a shame.”
The five-minute warning bell for class rang.
“Now, if you will, please go to class so you are not late,” the vice principal told her.
“Yes Mrs. Sanders. Thank you.”
Cass walked off down the hall to her class, wondering about the vice principle. She expected more hassle than she got.
She got to her chemistry class just as the bell rang.
Only four more hours to wait, she thought as she sat down at her desk.