Key Notes:

“Japanese talking”

“+American English talking+”

“/British English talking/”

“#Australian English talking#”

The sky looked so hazy. Cassie lied there in the grass looking at the clouds as they floated by. A blunt was lit and hanging out of her mouth. Her mind was floating away elsewhere. Her life seemed to be standing still for a moment. No rush was required for her at the moment. But, Cassie still needed to do a couple of things for school. Summer break was coming all soon.  Two more weeks to be exact. She had only to get through her exams and sign up for her summer courses. A small smile slowly crawled across her face.

“Maybe I’ll get to see Lee this summer!” she thought. Cassie was excited at the thought. She never did get to hold her baby brother. The girl only got to see the pictures. He was probably one or two now. She couldn’t wait to meet him in person and play with him.

Then, another thought came into her mind. Nick still didn’t really love her yet. He was now tolerating her. But only barely. She wasn’t giving up, though. Cassie found herself so close. The British wasn’t going to back down now. Shuichi seemed to have some sort of faith in her. Cassie took another puff of her blunt. Summer seemed to open up challenges to her.

Subject: Cassie

Cassie sat her eyes to enjoy the upcoming summer. She felt a shadow casting over her. The girl slowly opened her eyes. Nick stood over her, looking down. Cassie really smiled now.

“/Hi!/” she cheered. Nick looked down at her.

“/Having fun stalking me?/” he asked. His fan gave him a little smile on his face.

“/What are you talking about?/” she asked. “/I’m just enjoying the summer day!/”

“/Yeah,/” Nick said. “/A few yards from my apartment./”

“/So?/” she asked.

“/Don’t you have any other friends to harass?/” he asked.

“/I want to hang out with you,/” Cassie said.

“/Why?/” Nick asked.

“/Because, I love you,/” she said back. Nick didn’t say a word. He just turned and walk away. Cassie looked back up at the sky. That was the eighth time this week. She kept telling him that she loved him and he would say nothing. It wasn’t working. She needed a new tact of doing things. But how? Everyone at school thought that she was crazy for pursuing Nick despite the way he treated her.

“You deserve so much better, Cas!” they would tell her. “What do you even see in him?” The girl would only shrug at him. Even she and Nick’s friends didn’t get it.

“/Why are you in love with him so much?/” Casper asked one day. Cassie only shrugged at her.

“/I just do,/” she said. The hippie only blinked at her.

“/You’re weird…/” she said. Cassie only smiled at her. The girl didn’t know why she loved Nick so much. She just did. However, that problem would be pushed aside for something graver to her life.

Cassie finally found her way home. She listened to hear Laura screaming from inside at the people on the phone. No sound came from outside. Cassie blinked and listened harder. “She’s not yelling!” the girl thought. She began to put together the possibilities of why. Either business was going great or things were in trouble. Cassie just had to see why. She walked up to the gate and pressed the call button.

“/Hello?/” a voice asked on the other line.

“/Gavin,/” the girl said. “/It’s me, Cassie./” There was a pause on the other line.

“/Oh Cass,/” he said. “So glad you’re here. Come in./” The girl froze for moment. She didn’t like the tone of his voice. Something bad had happened. Cassie dreaded knowing what it was as she walked through the opening gates.

Gavin and Laura sat on the living room couch, waiting for her. Cassie looked at them both as she noticed the grave looks on their faces.

“/Gavin, Laura,/” she said. “/What’s going on?/” The couple didn’t speak at first. Laura extended up her hand to the chair in front of her.

“/Cassie,/” she said. “/Come and take a seat. We need to talk./” The younger sister looked around for a moment.

“/Why?/” she asked. “/What’s wrong?/”

“/Just sit down,/” Gavin said, softly. Cassie went silent as she did so. Nobody spoke. Laura clenched her fists together, tightly.

“/It’s over,/” she said. “/It’s all over!/” Cassie raised an eyebrow at her.

“/What do you mean?/” she asked. Laura sighed out loud.

“/My company,/” she complained. “/It’s going under./” Cassie didn’t show any emotion. She kind of wished that it did so that she didn’t have to hear Laura screaming into the phone every day.

“/What happened?/” Cassie asked.

“/Idiots in England f****d me over and lost everything,/” she said.

“/Okay,/” her sister said. “/So what now?/” Laura looked down at her feet. Gavin gently held her hand.

“/We’re going back to England,/” he replied. Cassie’s eyes began to twinkle a tiny bit.

“/For the summer?/” she asked.

“/For good,/” Laura said. “/After your exams./” The twinkle died into despair.

“/What?/” she asked.

“/I’m sorry,/” Gavin said. “/We have no other choice./” More silence followed. Cassie looked really hurt now.

“/You can’t do this to me!/” she murmured.

“/We have you other choice,/” Laura told her.

“/You can’t do this me!!!/” Cassie cried. She shot up from her chair ran out of the house. The girl slammed the door behind her so hard that it nearly shook the house. The couple sat on the couch, blinking.

“/Think that was too much?/” Gavin asked.

“/Nah,/” Laura said. “/Give her time. She’ll come around./”

Cassie reeled all the way into her fantasy land again. Her leave her precious Japan? No way! She loved this country too much to leave now. Laura pulled her away so abruptly from England. Now she wanted to do it again with Japan? No, no, no, no! But what could she do? Laura always had the control and money over her. (Actually, just the control now.) So, the girl turned to her only known cure.

The girl wandered all the way to the hidden Thai bar that Nick showed her last year. She waltzed in and took a seat. The bar tender looked up at her.

“What do you want?” he asked. Cassie looked at him as if she owned the place.

“/Get me a drink,/” she said.

“Why?” he asked.

“/It’s last day in Japan,/” Cassie announced. “/I’m going back to New York to shoot another movie with Andy Warhol!/” The bar tender wondered if she was already under the influence of something already.

“Okay…” he said, uneasily. “What would you like?”

“/Anything and everything you’re got!/” Cassie shouted. “Calm down, honey,” he thought. “You’re going overboard already.” The bar tender got right to work. Cassie sank down onto the bar and sighed.

“/Should’ve known that was your mouth going,/” a voice said. The girl looked up to Nick looking at her. The bloke got up and sat down next to his pal.

“/You do know Andy Warhol’s been dead for twenty-one years, right?/” he asked. Cassie blinked at him.

“/He has?/” she asked.

“/Yes,/” Nick said softly. Cassie looked out at the back wall.

“/Oh…/” she said. “/Bugger./” Nick kept his eyes on her. He had come to know that when Cassie was in Cassie-land, something was wrong.

“/Okay,/” he said. “/What is it? Did your sister piss you off somehow?/” Cassie didn’t look up.

“/Everything is fine…/” she said.

“/No, it’s not,/” he said back. “/Talk to me./” Cassie didn’t speak at first. The bar tender gave her a drink and she drank it down. She turned around to him with a manic smile.

“/Follow me tonight,/” she purposed. Nick looked at her, oddly.

“/Why?/” he asked.

“/You want to know what’s bothering me so much?/” she asked. “/Then follow me./”

“/To where?/” Nick asked.

“/Anywhere,/” Cassie said. Her mate looked off to the side a bit. See what happened when he opened his big mouth to her? But just to humor her…

“/Fine,/” he said with a sigh. “/I will follow you./” Cassie saw stars now.

“/Yay!!!/” she cheered. Then, she wildly threw her arms around the boy.

“/Don’t touch me,/” her snarled. Cassie didn’t listen and squeezed him tight. The boy looked up at the ceiling. Big mouth struck again!

After their drinks, the pair began their walk around the city. (Nick paid for both drinks, of course.) Cassie began walking and pretending to swim. Nick rolled his eyes at her.

“/I know I’m going to regret asking this,/” he said. “/But what the hell are you doing?/” Cassie looked over at him, slowly.

“/I’m underwater in the sea!/” she said. Cassie kept acting like she was in the ocean, swimming. She pointed to the sky above her.

“/Look! A mermaid!/” the girl said. Nick sneered at her.

“/So why are you upset for?/” he asked.

“/Sushi!/” Cassie said quickly. “/I want sushi now!/” “How convenient!” he thought.

“/Why?/” Nick asked.

“/Sushi!/” the girl shouted again. “/Sushi! Sushi! Sushi! Sushi!/”

“/Okay!/” Nick said. “/I’ll get you the stupid sushi!/”

“/Yay!!!/” Cassie cheered. Then, she grabbed him by the hand and dragged him down the street.

“/Let go!/” Nick shouted. The girl only kept dragging him. They came to an all-night sushi bar. Cassie tried to order everything on the menu. Nick had to stop her in her tracks.

“/Hey now!/” he said. “/You nearly wiped my pockets clean with the booze. Scale it back, would ya?/” Cassie looked up at him with big doe eyes.

“/But I need to put the wait on for that Andy Warhol movie,/” she reasoned. Nick made a face at her. He had heard enough of Cassie’s make-believe for one night.

“/Okay, spit it out!/” he snapped. “/What’s got you acting mental? Tell me or I won’t buy your sushi!/”

“/Maybe I could get Andy Warhol to get you a part in…/” she tried to derail from there.

“/Cut the crap, Ace! Tell me the truth or I’m leaving!/” he barked. Cassie went silent from there. She looked down at the table.

“/Laura’s company went under,/” she mumbled. “/Now we’re going back to England./”

“/For the summer?/” Nick asked.

“/Permanently,/” Cassie replied.

“/Oh…/” her mate said. Neither one spoke anymore after dinner. Cassie didn’t really want her sushi anymore.

“/I don’t want to go home,/” she said as they started to head home.

“/You’re not staying at my place!/” Nick vetoed in a heartbeat. Cassie only sighed. Nick breathed out and turned around to her on the sidewalk.

“/Look,/” he said. “/Quit being a needy little sheep all the time. Stand up to your sister for a change. You *can* do it. You’ve been following me around this whole time./” Cassie blinked at him.

“/How?/” she asked. “/What would I do after that?/”

“/Do what I did,/” he said “/Simply. Live on your own. You have the trust fund money for next year, after all./” The girl slowly took it all into her muddled up head.

“/Really now?/” she asked.

“/Got any better ideas?/” Nick questioned. Cassie only shook his head.

“/Right,/” the bloke spoke up. “/Let’s go then./” The girl looked at him confused.

“/Go where?/” she asked.

“/Home!/” Nick replied. “/Your home!/” Cassie’s face went grim.

“/Do I have to?/” she asked.

“/Yes,/” Nick said with a nod. She pouted and groaned.

“/Fine,/” the girl mumbled. Then, they ventured all the way home.

The next morning, Cassie sat at the kitchen table, watching Laura and Gavin pack up the house. They were too busy talking about going back to London and which items go in what box. The chatter was making the girl’s head hurt. The couple was slowly and unintentionally eating away at her quiet sanity. Maybe Nick was right. She had to get away from this harpy and fast. Cassie shut her eyes, tightly.

“/I’m not going back to England!/” she yelled once it all cracked in her head. Laura and Gavin went quiet as they paused and looked up at her.

“/I’m sorry?/” Laura asked. Cassie opened her eyes and looked dead-on at her sister.

“/I want to stay here in Japan!/” she said.

“/Well you can’t!/” her sister barked.

“/And why not?/” Cassie challenged. Laura quickly went silent. She looked over at her husband.

“/Gavin!/” she wailed. “/Do something!/” The brother-in-law stepped forward.

“/Why do you want to stay here so much?/” he asked. Cassie shut her eyes for a moment.

“/I am in love,/” she answered, simply. Laura snorted at her.

“/With who?/” she asked.

“/Nick Trent!/” the girl said aloud. “/Sure, he’s mean to me, but I love him./” Cassie opened her eyes again.

“/Plus, I’m sick of you trying to control me, Laura!/” she blurted out. “/You’re doing what you did last year. You just pulled me out of England without any thought to what I wanted. Not this time! I’m staying here in Japan!/” Her sister tried not to laugh at her.

“/Are how will you support yourself here?/” Laura challenged. Cassie gave her a manic smile.

“/My trust fund,/” she said. “/Mum and dad can send the rest. I already talked to them this morning. They said it was okay for me to stay here on my own. I’ll be eighteen next year, anyway./” Her sister’s jaw just dropped.

“/WHAT?!?/” she cried. Cassie nodded at her.

“/I told them everything and they were cool with it,/” she summed up with a grin. Laura’s cheeks went bright red.

“/GAVIN!!!/” she screamed. Her husband only shrugged at her.

“/If it’s okay with mum and dad,/” he said. “/Then, why not?/” Cassie saw huge stars in her eyes.

“/Oh cheers, Gav!/” she cheered. The girl rushed forward and hugged her brother-in-law happily as Laura sighed aloud in defeat. Cassie finally got to win at last.

That evening, Nick wandered over to Cassie’s house. He found his gal pal sitting on the stairs, enjoying the summer air. She looked over at saw her crush. Nick took a smoke of his cigarette as he walked over to her and took a seat on the stairs with her.

“/Let me guess,/” he said. “/You’re staying in Japan alone?/”

“/Yep!/” Cassie answered with a nod. “/And I owe it all to you./”

“/Whatever,/” Nick said. Silence passed.

“/And you know what?/” Cassie asked.

“/What?/” the boy asked.

“/I. Love. You,/” the girl replied. Nick gave her a third-degree freezer burn look.

“/Shut up,/” he mumbled. Cassie belted up quickly. Nick smiled in secret.

“/Glad you’re staying,/” he said.

“/Yeah…/” the girl said back.

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