January 4th, 2009
Cassandra was sitting at the cafe with a book. She would then continue her daily walk down the street to the library, return it, and then walk home without a clue for what to do for the rest of the day. It wasn’t something she was looking forward to, but she may as well get it done. Her therapist said there was nothing wrong with having days of minimal activity and achievement.
Ugh. Therapy. She was glad to have been done with it. Her family still sucked, and so did the current trajectory of her life.
But she was done with therapy at least. That meant she was better, right?
Or maybe she faked it well enough. That also meant she was better, in a sense, or it had to be. Something about ‘fake it til you make it’ or however that mantra went.
The door to her left opened.
Christopher Ando walked in.
Cassandra’s cheeks went red. She immediately looked away, but that didn’t matter–Chris still noticed her.
“Hey!” He grinned, walking over.
“Hi,” Cassandra choked out, trying to keep her eyes on his face. He was in running shorts and sweaty.
“It alright if I join you after I get my drink?” He jabbed his thumb at the line.
“Uh, sure!” Cassandra nodded. She wasn’t sure what to do now. Keep reading? Yeah, do that. If she put the book away then that would look desperate. Too bad it was too difficult to focus on the words now.
She succeeded at pretending to read until Chris came back with an iced coffee.
Her eyes widened. “You want that? It’s cold out there!”
He laughed. “Sure! Why not? I just spent, like, an hour running. I’m hot.” Chris then smirked. “Well, in more ways than now, huh?”
Cassandra coughed and took a large gulp of hot chocolate. “So how are you today?” She managed to ask.
Chris took a swig of coffee before answering. “I’m alright,” he said with a shrug. “The anxiety and worry of college acceptance letters coming in. Y’know. Usual senior life.”
“You certainly don’t look very happy about that,” Cassandra noted.
He snorted. “What about you?”
“Uh,” Cassandra bit her lip. “I’m, I, um, didn’t apply anywhere.”
Chris’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“Why not? Was it, uh, well–”
She shook her head. “No. Not cuz of what happened a few months ago.”
“Oh, okay.” He looked relieved.
“Just didn’t want to. I have no clue what I’m gonna get a degree in. It’s cheaper to go to community college first.”
“Yeah…yeah it really is.”
“Do you know what you wanna do?” Cassandra asked after a moment of silence.
“Nope!” Chris let out a bark of a laugh. “Not a clue.”
“You should try psychology,” she blurted out.
Chris stared at her.
Oh god. Had she offended him–
“Really?” Chris seemed more shocked; it was as if he had never considered it.
“Yeah,” Cassandra nodded. “You’re really observant with people and really nice and you notice all kinds of things with whatever’s going on. You’re also really nice and honest which would be really good for people who need help and you don’t judge and I’ve never felt like you judged me.” She quickly plugged the flood of words with another sip of her drink.
A small smile formed on Chris’s face.
“That’s really cool,” he said with a nod. “No, I like that. I think I’m gonna look into that. Thanks, Cassandra.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “No problem,” she squeaked. She internally winced. He noticed that.
Yet he was looking at her in a way she had never seen before. But she was right–he never judged her about anything.
“So you ready for that paper?” Chris asked, breaking the second awkward silence.
Her eyes widened in horror. “I totally forgot.”
He snorted. “Pretty sure you’ll be fine. You do pretty good in class.” Chris then sighed. “I’m not looking forward to that next book report, though.”
“No clue what to read. Kinda done with nonfiction stuff.”
Her eyes widened. A tragedy, right before her. How could anyone not know what they’d want to read?
“What?” Chris glanced around. “There something on my face?”
“You don’t know what to read?” Cassandra stared. “Well! I can fix that!” She grinned. “What kind of stories do you enjoy? What movies or video games do you often play?” She pulled out her writing notebook.
Chris blinked in shock. Then he grinned. “Well, I’ve seen Avatar and I really liked the message that was delivering.”
She hid the cringe. Alright. So he liked the anvilicious movies. So, if the book was going to have a message, it’d have to be obvious. Perhaps later down the line the more subtle things would work. Or maybe she should just toss him into the lion’s den. “What else?” She asked.
“Oh! And I saw the Sherlock Holmes movie. I read, well tried, reading one of the books before.”
Cassandra cursed herself, realizing a moment too late. Of course this guy was well read. How did she think otherwise? He was always reading. Though, he did just say a moment ago it was nonfiction that he always read.
“I’ve also tried Shakespeare,” he continued. “Couldn’t get into that either. Same with Candid, though that’s nonfiction, technically…”
“So,” Cassandra began slowly. “You’re basically picking up all the classics.”
“That’s your problem right there,” she said.
“Really?” Chris took another sip. “Isn’t that where you should start, though?”
“No,” Cassandra shook her head. “Nooo that’s a terrible way! Books are everywhere and they’ve been around for ages. If you liked Avatar, what was it that you liked? Was it just the message or did you like the science? Or maybe the aliens?”
He thought for a moment, nonplussed about her chastising. “The aliens were cool. I liked how they had a culture.”
“Hm.” Cassandra thought for a moment. “It doesn’t have aliens, but the first thing you thought of was the message. You should try 1984 by Orwell.”
“That sounds familiar…”
“It’s good. It’s really good,” Cassandra said. “Library’s closed, though…”
He shrugged. “I can pick up a copy from the bookstore.”
Cassandra nodded. “Yeah, there is that.”
Chris glanced at the book in her hand. “I see that’s from the library and you’re almost done. Were you gonna return that today?”
“Mind if I join you?”
Her eyes widened. “I still got another twenty pages. And I’d be ignoring you…”
He waved his hand. “It’ll be fine. I got some plans to sort out with a cousin, anyway. I can do that while I wait.”
Her heart pounded in her chest. Was this normal? Did people normally do this?
She’d have to ask the gang when she got back home.