Right in front of Cassiel’s eyes, Parker was growing up fast. She loved playing outdoors and typing on the computer. She loved playing on the jungle gym and pirate ship her parents had outside.
Cassiel loved spending her time with Parker, reading to her and helping her with homework. She wanted to leave her job but knew they needed the income. Paolo would not get another job and spent a majority of his time out with his Partihaus friends who were known for hosting ridiculous parties.
Sometimes though, Cassiel would look outside and see her absentee husband playing with Parker. He would crouch below the ship and pretend to be a sea monster. Every so often, he’d jump and make a weird gargling sound which would make Parker laugh and double over. Cassiel smiled at the scene. At least Parker didn’t feel lonely.
Cassiel practiced her speech to Paolo. If he was going to be a disappearing husband, that was fine. Their relationship had burned out when her parents died and Parker was born. Cassiel felt lonely and overwhelmed, Paolo had felt stuck and suffocated, and their relationship took a toll. But Cassiel wasn’t going to let Paolo be absent from Parker’s life. If he was going to continue to party, he had to do it at home. She couldn’t have any more nights where he didn’t come home until Parker was in school and he was hungover and tired. Paolo came in from playing with Parker and Cassiel told him her saved speech. If Paolo wanted to stay, he had no choice but to comply and Cassiel knew he would stay because she took care of him and his wallet. As she predicted, Paolo decided to comply.
Paolo decked out a back room in the best party gear. He bought a bar, a DJ booth, a dance floor, and several couches. He still wanted his friends to think he was cool so he took up spinning as a hobby. On a Saturday night, Paolo debuted his party pad and luckily for him, his friends loved it. They didn’t have to pay a cover and no one would kick them out for partying too hard. Cassiel was lying in bed while the photos on the wall bounced to the beat of the music. She started to wonder if this was really a good idea.
Cassiel got up and started talking a walk around the neighborhood. When she came back, she had decided to kick Paolo out for good. She loved him but she knew he would be fine. He’d probably move right back in with his friends like nothing had happened. She took a deep breath when she heard her daughter. She was talking to Marcus. Marcus was being so sweet and listening to whatever babbling story Parker was telling. Marcus laughed at the end of her story and told her she was such a funny girl. He reminded her to keep getting A’s in school and she’d one day be a president. Cassiel was smiling. Even if there was some things she didn’t like about Paolo’s partying, at least it brought friends to Parker’s life. Parker loved having people at the house and getting them to hang on her every word. Cassiel wasn’t going to take that away from her.
In fact, Parker met her best friend at a party. She loved hanging out with her. She was funny and liked playing outside just as much as Parker. They weren’t into dolls as much as some girls in their grades but had crazy imaginations.
Parker liked to make people laugh. Even if she had to go through her dad’s ribcage. *Wink Wink
Paolo was enjoying the party and he didn’t mind the other party goers dancing with him, especially the attractive female ones. He was showing off his moves and flirting with the girls, making them giggle and bat their eyelashes at him. He started dancing with one of the girls, named Jade, when Marcus came over with Parker. “Time to go home, buddy.”, Marcus said to Paolo. His eyes demanding Paolo to obey. Paolo started to pout but didn’t verbally argue. He grabbed his keys and Parker and walked out of the house. Parker was confused but followed her dad out.
Later that night after Parker had gone to bed, Cassiel flew down the stairs and snapped off the TV show Paolo was watching.
“What the hell, Paolo? I knew we haven’t been close or anything lately but I didn’t know you were flirting so openly with other women!”
“Excuse me?! I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t done anything.”
“What about the party today, Paolo? When I was at work? I thought I could at least trust you.”
“You can! Seriously, Cassiel, I didn’t do anything. Look, I’ve done what you wanted! I stopped staying out late, I hang out with Parker more, I gave you a family. What more do you want?”
“Are you serious? You gave me a family? What does that even mean? You got me pregnant, is that you what you mean? Because if so, congratulations. You did what lots of other men can do. A family is when people love and take care of each other. They’re there for each other. They do things for others because they want to, not because they’ll get kicked out if they don’t. We’re not a family, Paolo. Parker and I are. Parker and you are, but not the three of us.” At that point, Paolo got up and walked to the front door.
“I didn’t do anything and I never stopped loving you.”, He said looking back at Cassiel before he walked out. Cassiel watched him leave in disbelief. He loved her and yet he just walked out. Didn’t he realize how crazy that was? She sighed and headed off to bed. She was emotionally exhausted.
Paolo went to his friend, Sophia’s house. He didn’t want to talk to Marcus about his marriage since he thought Marcus to be the cause of the trouble. Paolo felt uncomfortable at Sophia’s house though. Sophia and her husband were disgustingly in love and didn’t mind public displays of affection. Paolo watched them kiss and wondered what happened to his marriage. He realized it wasn’t Cassiel’s fault. She had done a lot to keep him happy and yet he thought just Parker was enough for her. He had abandoned her in a way. He shouldn’t have left her to feel that way and came up with a plan. He knew just what he needed to do.
When she woke up, Cassiel found a white dress on the bed. She saw a text message blinking on her phone. I’ll call you soon with a location. Meet me in this dress. I love you, Cas.- Paolo. Cassiel wondered what was going on but she didn’t want to ruin the potential surprise. She got up and got ready. Soon Paolo called and told her where to meet him. It wasn’t any place she knew but Paolo was always ahead of trends. She got dressed and went to meet him.
When she arrived the house was already bursting with music and guests. There were decorations everywhere. Cassiel walked in and looked for Paolo who was playing bartender. He looked up and connected with Cassiel and a smile spread across his face. “HEY! EVERYONE! LOOK WHO HAS ARRIVED!”, he yelled. He picked up a mic and turned it on. He swayed towards Cassiel, speaking into the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we celebrate the lovely Mrs.Cassiel Power, my wife. She is the light of my life and I damn well do not deserve her. Please applaud for our guest of honor!”, he gestured toward Cassiel. The people in the room applauded and Cassiel blushed. Paolo winked at a friend near the stereo who played some slow music. Paolo swept up Cassiel and started to dance with her. Cassiel smiled at him. This was his way of showing his love, a giant party for her. She gave him a long kiss on the cheek and whispered into his ear, “Is there anywhere a couple could meet.. privately?”
Paolo looked at her and she winked. Paolo grabbed her hand and almost ran upstairs.
A few weeks later, Cassiel and Paolo were still talking about the party. It had been a lot of fun and had lit up a flame in their relationship. But that wasn’t the only result. Cassiel was pregnant again. She was the first in her family to have a second child and she had previously thought it was because of the women becoming infertile. They had a miracle baby. Cassiel and Paolo had to sit Parker down and tell her she was going to be a sister.
“That’s fine. They can be my best friend!”, Parker smiled. She was happy for her parents and herself.
“Guess what, Lucas? I’m going to be a big sister. I’m going to have all the friends in the world!”, she bragged. Lucas had an older brother and felt sorry for Parker’s future younger sibling. He told Parker all the ways to “be an actual good sister.” Most of them involved not throwing her younger sibling in a headlock.
Months later, Cassiel was waiting at the front door. She was watching the clock tick away the minutes of the night. It was getting late (actually it was getting early) and Paolo wasn’t home. Finally she heard the door click open. Paolo stumbled in and didn’t even notice her.
“That’s the third time this month, Paolo! You said you’d help me with this pregnancy. You said you wouldn’t..”, Cassiel watched Paolo just walk off into the bedroom. Cassiel was trying not to get livid.
She walked into Parker’s room to check on her. She hadn’t calmed down yet and she hoped seeing Parker’s sleeping face would help her. But suddenly she felt a tightening in her chest. Oh no. She was going into labor.
Cassiel had a hard time at the hospital with Parker and she didn’t want to go back. She was trying to have the baby at home but she needed Paolo to be with her. She waddled into their bedroom and tried to stir Paolo awake. Then she tried shaking him, then screaming at him. Finally, her pain was too much and she just laid beside him and took deep breaths. The baby was coming, she had to get ready for their arrival.
Cassiel did her deep breathing and pushing motions. Every now and again, she’d look over to Paolo and beg him to wake up. Finally, when she was almost passed out from exhaustion, Paolo awoke. He looked over and saw his wife crouching near the baby crib. He sprang into action and helped deliver the baby. Together, Cassiel and Paolo held Zane Power in their arms.
As always, thanks for reading.