Cassiel was dating her dream guy, Paolo. She was out of school and in the real world. She followed her father into the Athletic career and was getting promoted left and right.
Her career wasn’t the important thing to her though. She wanted to focus on her relationship with her soulmate, Paolo.
The couple went on several dates, hitting up local bars and cafes. They didn’t hang out at their houses as Cassiel’s parents still didn’t know about the relationship and Paolo had recently moved in with Marcus and didn’t want him to tell Angel and Deandre.
Just because they didn’t have the privacy of a home, doesn’t mean things didn’t get hot and heavy between them.
When Cassiel was home, Angel passed down the painting lessons her mother had taught her. Cassiel hadn’t painted much in high school, preferring to focus on her athletic skills and she realized she missed showing off her creative side. Soon she was painting portraits of her and her parents.
One day, Angel and Cassiel were planning Deandre’s birthday in the kitchen. They were arguing over the guest list. Cassiel had suggested inviting over the old gym group, including Paolo. Angel didn’t believe having Paolo, Cassiel, and Deandre under the same roof was a great idea. Cassiel had really wanted to use the opportunity to tell her parents that she and Paolo had been dating for a while but her mother had scared her. With all the time that had passed, she thought they’d give up on their old views on Paolo but she worried she was wrong.
Cassiel decided not to tell them today and texted Paolo not to come to the party. Paolo was understanding and told Cassiel he had a party downtown to attend. Cassiel wondered why he didn’t tell her about the party or invite her but she assumed he was just brushing her off.
The time came for Deandre to blow out his candles. He was surrounded by friends and family. This was the best birthday he had ever had.
The party was a success! Deandre reflected on his life. He had a great childhood, married his high school sweetheart and was still married and in love, he had a beautiful and intelligent daughter, was there anything else? And then he thought about it, he wanted to see Cassiel married too. He wanted her to have a support system when he and Angel passed. He remembered how hard it was for Angel when Tatiana and Demetrius passed away. He couldn’t imagine Cassiel going through that alone.
A few months after his birthday, Deandre decided to talk about his feelings with Cassiel.
“I’m not saying you have to get married now or anything, but I think you should start dating at least. I don’t want you to be alone.”
“Well, that’s funny that you say that, Dad, because, um, I kind of am dating someone. I’ve been dating them for a while. It’s actually pretty serious. I think I love them.”, Cassiel was stumbling over her words. Deandre’s eyes widened.
“Well that’s great, honey! Who is it? When can your mom and I meet them?”
“Well, you kind of already know him.. Um. It’s Paolo.” Cassiel almost whispered Paolo’s name, she was so nervous.
“Oh. Oh. Paolo. Pretty serious, huh? You’re in love?”, Deandre was stunned. Without waiting for an answer from Cassiel, he walked away and into his bedroom and shut the door. Cassiel didn’t know how to feel. He didn’t seem mad, he didn’t yell, but he also didn’t seem happy. Cassiel called Paolo.
They went out that night and Cassiel told Paolo about her dad.
All of the sudden, Paolo shot up and started running. “Follow me!”, he yelled at Cassiel.
Cassiel laughed. “Wait, Paolo!” but Paolo kept running ahead of Cassiel, making her trail behind him.
Paolo finally stopped. “Paolo, what are you doing out here? Why did we leave the party?”
“I’ve loved you for a long time now, Cassiel. I want you to know that.”
Cassiel chuckled nervously. “Of course I know that. I love you too, Paolo. What’s going on?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you.”, Paolo grabbed Cassiel by the hand and pulled her behind a bush.
Paolo kissed Cassiel softly at first and then started to kiss her passionately. Cassiel felt butterflies in her stomach. She kissed Paolo back.
A while later, Cassiel and Paolo had gotten dressed and started climbing out of the bush. Paolo started leaning on Cassiel and laughing.
“Oh man Cas, you’re the best girlfriend ever. I love you so much!”
“Oh my goodness, Paolo! Are you drunk? Keep your voice down!”
“Aw, baby, I’m sorry, I’m just happy!”
“Let’s get you home, you crazy stud muffin.”
“Rawr! Muffin Power!”
Cassiel and Paolo laughed.
Deandre threw a party for his wife’s birthday. He kept teasing her that it was time for her to go gray and stop looking like a trophy wife. Paolo had actually come to that party. After Cassiel told Deandre about her secret relationship, Deandre went and talked to his wife.
“We can’t tell her what to do anymore, Deandre! She’s an adult.”
“That doesn’t mean I have to approve. She was in high school when she met him!”
“Yes but he’s only a few years older than her. What if she had been a freshman when they met, he’d be a senior in high school and then you wouldn’t have any problem with him.”, Angel argued, “Look, I understand your problem with him. I feel the same way. But Cas wasn’t like us and we can’t let our disapproval ruin our family.”
Deandre sighed. Angel was right. This wasn’t worth losing his little girl over. He got up and gave his wife a kiss. “You’re so level-headed. I love you. I can’t wait until your hair’s all gray and you’ve got wrinkles!”
“Well you have to wait at least a couple months. I ain’t old yet!”, Angel jokingly pushed him away.
During the party, Cassiel and Paolo were relaxing outside. They were giving each other small kisses and looking into each other’s eyes.
Cassiel stood up causing Paolo to jump up. “What’s wrong, Cas?”
“I just.. I think it’s time but I’m nervous.”
“Nervous about what?”
“You’ll see. Paolo, do you love me?”
“Of course. I’m serious about us. What’s going on?”
“Then will you marry me?”, Cassiel got down on one knee and showed Paolo her ring.
“Oh Cas, of course I’ll marry you! Why’d you even ask? You could have just taken me straight to the altar!” Paolo joked. He picked her off the patio floor and gave her a big kiss. Cassiel was so happy he accepted. She would have been heartbroken if he said no.
Cassiel and Paolo ran inside but everyone was having so much fun at the party, they didn’t want to interrupt. Cassiel suggested they go to their favorite bar to celebrate. When they got there, a couple people asked why the newly engaged couple were glowing. Cassiel and Paolo showed off their engagement rings and the bar exploded in cheers. People were buying them rounds before tey could even take a sip of their drink. A few people started asking about their wedding plans. Cassiel started laughing.
“Well we haven’t really thought about it. We just got engaged and haven’t planned yet.”
“Well don’t wait too long dearies. Life is so short. It’s just a simple party, don’t waste too much of your time planning it out. The marriage is the important part. Oh, how I miss my Edgar.”, the ghost woman warned. Paolo and Cassiel toasted to the lost Edgar.
Cassiel started drinking a little bit faster. She was suddenly so nervous. She hadn’t even thought of the wedding! Soon she was feeling a little more than tipsy.
After she took a shot, she found Paolo. She grabbed him and pulled him close.
“Hey stud.”, she purred.
“Oh hey there. Feeling pretty?”, Paolo teased.
“Look Paolo, I was thinking, why waste on effort on a wedding? My parents don’t approve of our relationship anyways. Let’s just elope! Let’s get married here, for us!”, Cassiel said.
Paolo shrugged. The wedding wasn’t important to him anyways and Cassiel wasn’t the wedding girl type. He grabbed her hands and looked at them dearly.
“Paolo, what’re you doing?”, Cassiel slurred out.
“I’m saying my vows. I love you, Cassiel. I knew when I met you that you were a special girl. I knew I needed to have you in my life. You’re strong, you’re smart, and you’re so real. I love bringing out your fun side and making you dance though life.”
Cassiel was surprised. Paolo was a sweet guy but he was never much a word guy. This was the first time he had said more than ‘I love you’. Now it was her turn, she assumed, and all she could mumble out was “I just love you, Paolo!”. Paolo laughed and caressed her face. They exchanged rings and kissed.
“Let’s get you home, Cas.”
By the time Cassiel and Paolo got home, Cassiel was pretty drunk and exhausted. She collapsed into bed, clothes and all. She felt like her eyes were closed for ten minutes when her mom called her into the dining room for breakfast.
“So, where did you two run off to last night?”, Angel asked.
“Well, funny you should ask. Cas and I have something to tell you. Cas?”, Paolo looked at his new wife.
“Well, Mom, Dad. Paolo and I got married!”, Cas exclaimed.
“When?!”, demanded Angel.
“Last night! It was a really spur of the moment thing. We didn’t plan it at all.”
“NO! NO CASSIEL! This is not how you do things!”, Angel started yelling, “You don’t just walk into this house telling your parents that you’re married. I stood up for you and this is how you repay me?”
“Dear, calm down. It’s okay. They just got married. They’re young and in love.”, Deandre was smiling at his daughter.
“No, Deandre! She is being disrespectful. Her parents have the right to know about these things and be at the WEDDING.”, Angel was clearly upset and standing now.
“Mom, we didn’t even have a wedding! We just exchanged vows! No one was there. We weren’t doing it behind your back or anything!”, Cassiel was crying.
Angel got up and left the room. Deandre sighed and looked at his daughter. He grabbed her hand and gave it a comforting squeeze then got up and followed after Angel. Cassiel stood up and went to her room, sobbing on the bed. Paolo looked around as if the explosion had decimated the room he was in. He started picking up the plates and took them into the kitchen. Everyone just needed a little time, he was sure.
“Our daughter is grown up.”, Deandre sighed with a smile. He sat on the bed while his wife madly slashed her paintbrush across the canvas. “We can’t be upset, Angel. You’re the one who told me that. She’s an adult and we are lucky to be in her life.”
“No, Deandre. This isn’t the same as your little spat with Paolo. This is about respecting your parents enough to know they want to be a part of your life. To run off and get married without even telling us is an insult! We are good parents and we are supportive. I would have loved to have my parents at my wedding and here she is, not even giving a care about us!”.
Angel was stabbing the canvas now with her brush. Deandre held his breath. Now he understood his wife’s outburst. Angel’s parents died while she was in high school and Angel very much missed their presence in the big milestone in her life. Cassiel had both of her parents and didn’t think about their absence. Deandre went and gave Angel a hug. He explained that it’s hard to understand when you take something for granted. Cassiel didn’t grow up like Angel so it was up to Angel to be understanding and reach out to Cassiel.
“Cassiel won’t understand what she did wrong. She didn’t do it on purpose. She told us to share in the excitement. Let’s go show our support.”
Later in the afternoon, Angel went and found Cassiel. She apologized and explained her hurt feelings but she wasn’t looking for an excuse. She told Cassiel that she loved her and was so excited for her marriage to Paolo.
Cassiel was happy. She was excited to start a family with Paolo but she wanted her parent’s support. They had finally accepted her and Paolo! “I love you, Mom.”