Cassiel was no longer a child scientist bored with her classmates and the life around her. She was now a beautiful teen who was bored with her classmates and the life around around her. She was creative, mentally gifted, and loved to make sense of the world with art.
Following in her dad’s footsteps, Cassiel wanted to spend sculpt her body into the ultimate fitness package.
She joined the group her father was in and they showed her the best ways to workout and get results.
“Wow, these people are so strong! I can’t wait until I look like that!”, Cassiel thought in her head.
“Hey, thanks for letting me join the club. I hope you didn’t just let me in because of my dad.” Cassiel said aloud.
“No way, Jose. We let in anyone who has the desire to create the temple their body deserves! But on the plus side, it’s nice to have a cute girl join every one and a while.”, Paolo Rocca said.
“What the heck, Paolo?! I’m a girl!”, Clara yelled, punching Paolo hard in the arm.
“Dude! That’s our fellow member’s daughter. Keep it to gym techniques.”, Marcus warned, glaring at Paolo.
Meanwhile, Paolo had kept his smile on Cassiel, who was hot in the face. She didn’t understand why her cheeks felt warm but she didn’t mind the butterfly in her stomach. Was she really cute?
Cassiel had one friend from school, Camilla. Camilla was an intense spirit with a hot head and a quick wit. Cassiel loved that she spoke her mind and didn’t put up with anything unjust. Cassiel’s mother had said that Camilla was a bad influence but wasn’t she the one who was pushing her to have a friend in the first place?
One reason Cassiel’s mom might dislike Camilla was that Camilla loved to skip school. Cassiel had indulged Camilla a couple of times but she really didn’t like missing school. She was a top student and intended on keeping her A+ average. One random day, Camilla convinced Cassiel to go to Starbucks instead of Trig.
“Doesn’t the day feel perfect for a jog, Cam?”, Cassiel asked, breathing in the Spring air. Camilla hmphed and started walking toward the Starbucks. Cassiel still had her eyes closed enjoying the breeze when suddenly her vision darned further. She put her hands to her eyes and felt fingers. “Cam! Get your fingers off my face!”, Cassiel laughed. Then she realized the hands were a little too big to be her friend’s. She heard a male laughing. Then the hands flew off her face and she spun around right into Paolo from her gym group.
“Shouldn’t you be in a suffocating classroom learning how to solve condensed math problems?”, Paolo asked with a teasing accusatory tone. Cassiel laughed and called Camilla over. She introduced them. Camilla looked Paolo up and down.
“Oh, so you’re the flirt?”, she asked. Cassiel immediately turned the shade of a tourists sunburn. Paolo, however, just laughed.
“Talking about me, huh? I guess I’m okay with that.” Cassiel hit her friend in the arm and said goodbye to Paolo. They walked into Starbucks but Camilla pulled Paolo in with them. She suddenly knew how to get her friend to cut class more often and she was going to use him.
Meanwhile, Deandre was promoted yet again! He was finally a mascot. His mom would be laughing if she could see him now but he knew this wasn’t his last stop.
Cassiel was working out in her gym one day after class when Paolo walked up to her treadmill.
“Oh my god, Paolo! What are you wearing? Can you put on a shirt?!”, Cassiel turned her head away, embarrassed.
“What? It’s a speedo, a swimsuit. You wear something like this but with some triangles over your top half! What’s wrong with me wearing it?”
“Nothing, it’s just..I can see.. I can see everything!”
“Don’t deny that you like it.”, Paolo was clearly flirting with her. What was she supposed to do?
“PAOLO, come spot me. NOW.”, Marcus’ voice suddenly rang out. Paolo grumbled and went over to him. Cassiel let out a long sigh. She always got so nervous talking to Paolo but she really liked it. She didn’t feel this way with anyone at high school. She only fought the urge to roll her eyes whenever someone spoke to her. Did she like Paolo? Did he like her?
Deandre called Cassiel over to try out their new machines.
“Is that Paolo guy bothering you? Be honest with me, Cassiel.”, Deandre said in a low, gruff voice.
“No, Dad. He’s just being a friend like Camilla or Marcus.”, Cassiel’s heart was racing. Was she lying?
“He’s not a friend like Marcus and he’s not a friend like Camilla. He’s too old to be hanging around you.”
“Dad, he’s not that old! He’s only a few years older than me! You’re acting like he’s YOUR age!”, Cassiel was getting mad. She wasn’t a child. Sure, she was a senior in high school but that was just it. She was a SENIOR. Soon she’d be eighteen and then they wouldn’t be able to treat her this way.
“Just stay away from him. If you really want a boyfriend, find one in your own school.”, Deandre huffed out. Then he slammed the weights back down and walked off to the showers. Cassiel just glared after him. She kicked the foot brace on the machine. As if she was going to stay away. Now she knew how she felt about Paolo. Now she was sure.
Cassiel decided to talk to her mom about the situation. Maybe her mom could talk some sense into her dad. However, once she started to tell Angel what happened at the gym, her mother cut her off.
“Are you talking about that skivvy guy from the gym, Cas?”, Angel asked.
“Mom, what does that even mean? Come on, you don’t know him like I do. He’s cool!”. Cassiel started to whine. Then Cassiel burst into tears. She didn’t expect to but all of the sudden, the dams opened in her eyes and all her thoughts and feelings poured out. Why couldn’t her parents understand her? They always wanted her to be different or to do something differently, but why? She was still a perfect student who did her homework every night, she was a talented painter like her mother, and a fitness guru like her father. She finally had friends and a guy she liked who she’s sure liked her for who she is and her parents aren’t happy!
Angel felt bad. She shouldn’t have thrown out her daughter’s trust like that. She dried Cassiel’s tears.
“Have the guy over for dinner. Maybe if he makes a good impression on your father and I, we’ll be a little more understanding. We just don’t know anything about him.”, Angel offered.
Cassiel nodded and continued eating her soup in silence. She could do that but would Paolo? They hadn’t even gone on a date yet or even say they like each other. That’d have to happen first before he came over for the family dinner!
Cassiel and Paolo were still in the same gym group but Cassiel noticed they were closer to each other more often. Every now and again they’d smile at each other or have a small conversation but Marcus and Deandre kept their eyes on them. One day however, it was just Paolo and Cassiel. They were constantly teasing and flirting with each other. Paolo hung out with Cassiel while she did her laps on the treadmill and Cassiel dipped her feet in the pool while Paolo did his water exercises. They were having a wonderful time and Cassiel couldn’t stop smiling. At the end of the day, Paolo gave Cassiel a hug that lasted a little longer than a normal friendly hug.
Cassiel had to talk to her dad now. She had to make him understand. They were sitting down at dinner and Cassiel was trying to think of what to say when Deandre opened his mouth.
“You’re still hanging out with him. I told you guys like that are up to no good. I told you to stay away.”
“How do you know he’s no good? If he’s willing to put up with you and Marcus yelling at him all the time for just talking to me, isn’t he proving he’s worth it?”, Cassiel asked, genuinely confused.
“I mean, we haven’t even kissed or fooled around, and you and Marcus are all over him! It’s almost as if he’s willing to put up with serious stuff just to be able to TALK to me.”, Cassiel was getting worked up and angry.
“Did my daughter just mention fooling around to me?”, Deandre shuddered. This conversation was getting to be too much for him. He wasn’t ready for his daughter to grow up.
Cassiel huffed and got up to leave. Deandre tried to calm her down.
“Come on, honey. I’m your dad. Dads don’t like hearing about stuff like that! Sit down, let’s talk.”
Cassiel didn’t sit down but instead walked right of the kitchen and into her room. She was done with the same old conversation, now it was time for some action.
Deandre had finally done it, he was an athlete! He was playing on the field. Well, sometimes. He was only a substitute but at least he was on the roster. His promotion got him a little fame around his gym.
Deandre tried to use his new fame among the gym group. He was talking to the group leader, Marcus.
“Look, Marcus, I’ve loved being in your group. Look how much you helped me! I’ve been doing so well at work, they’re asking me for tips. And you let my daughter in to help her with her lifetime dream of becoming a fitness guru. You’ve done a lot for my family but I need your help again. I don’t think Paolo should be in this group anymore. He’s a threat to the peaceful nature. When he’s around, Cassiel can’t focus and no one can relax. I think he should be removed.”
Marcus immediately put his hands in the air. “Deandre, I can’t kick out a member just because you don’t like him! That’s not what this group does. I already keep him on a tight leash. If you’re so concerned about your daughter, maybe it’s her that needs to find a new group. Paolo has been with us for a long time and frankly, I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. They’re young but Cassiel is almost an adult, what are you going to do then?”
Deandre was ashamed. Marcus had a point but he was hoping that Marcus would still listen to him. He was getting desperate.
He walked into the gym where Cassiel was working out. When she saw him, she grimaced and started lifting at a faster speed. Deandre walked up to her.
“That can be dangerous, you know, you should lift in slow, complete motions.”, he said.
Cassiel slammed down the weights and glared at her dad. Deandre took in a big breath.
“I’m sorry, Cas, for being a jerk. I just, I’m not ready for my little girl to run off with some guy. I just need some time.”, Deandre hung his head. Cassiel looked at her dad. He seemed sincere. She decided to let it go and forgive him for now. She needed him anyways.
“Okay Dad. Let’s just not talk about it for a while. Can you give me some help? I’m so close to reaching my goal but it’d go quickly if you helped.”
Deandre spotted Cassiel and soon, she reached her goal and mastered the fitness skill. She was beaming with pride. She was only a teen but she had accomplished her goal! Now it was time for a new one and she knew just what to focus on.
Cassiel was hanging out at a downtown cafe with a friend when she spotted someone familiar.
“Paolo! Hey!”, Cassiel ran up to him.
“Wow, Cas, nice hair! I haven’t seen this look on you before.”
“Yeah, I got some extensions and my friend showed me some makeup tricks.”, she paused, “Do you..do you like it?”, Her heart was racing.
“Are you kidding? I love it! You look really great.”
Paolo continued, “Do you think I could take you out sometime?”
“What? Of course! I mean, yeah. I’d like that.”, Cassiel was ecstatic.
“I graduate next week and then I’m free for summer vacation, well, I guess it would be life since I don’t have to go back to school! Do you want to go out then?”, Cassiel asked.
Paolo grabbed Cassiel and pulled her in. His lips were on hers. They were so soft against hers. Cassiel felt the world stop. This was her first kiss! Paolo pulled away.
“I’ve been wanting to kiss you for a long time, Cas, but it never felt right. I wanted to wait until you were ready. I really like you and I don’t want you to feel pressure.” Paolo said, holding her hand.
“I’ve liked you for a long time too, Paolo. Thank you for being such a gentleman. I can’t wait for our date.”, Cassiel felt so happy she leaned forward and gave Paolo a peck on the cheek and went back with her friend but couldn’t listen to a word they said. She was so happy her brain felt fuzzy.
Will her parents finally approve of Paolo? Will the relationship prove to be worth the wait? As always, thank you for reading!