character study: addicted to love.
When Cassie Howard was born; There was so much love in the home that even a casual observer of the family would have thought they were destined to be happy forever. One happy couple, with two sweet little girls. It was palpable, the love in that home-- So much so that a sudden shift in the tide would send the family toppling over.
Her father; The first man to have loved her. The first man that she ever loved. And the first one to break her heart; To leave her grappling for any little piece of him she could find. How could he betray them like that? How could he leave her and Lexi alone to try and pick up the pieces? This must be what love is... To believe so fully in something that even when it goes away... All you want is for it to come back and tell you what happened. Hold you, tell you that it's not your fault.
Touch. Touch became a new kind of addiction, proof that even for a moment she is loved. She is treasured, valued... But then... They always want more of her. She can't say no-- She couldn't even say no to letting her drug addicted father back into their house. She just wants so badly to be loved. She needs it. So, pictures? Well... Okay. Video? Maybe... She tries to block it out when everyone ends up seeing the proof of what she's done. She tries to pretend that in a new day and age--
No one can hold these things against her, right? WRONG.
Christopher McKay; He's a good guy. He's motivated, plays for the football team. He makes her smile but while he cares about her... He also seems to care about what she's done with other people. And how it makes him look. And so her cycle continues; Pulled in by a love that seems so pure and yet pushed back by the person who'd told her that her heart would be safe with him in the first place. He's ashamed of her... And so she finds herself giving him reasons to be ashamed. She cheats on him with another boy.
And she ends up ashamed of herself. She can't even stand to think of that stupid boy; The one who felt so comfortable telling her that her only worth-- Her only value, was her body. When she sees him at school she heads in the opposite direction. He said something to her that she had always secretly feared was true. She hates him now.
Family. She thought she could maybe find solace in the idea of her and McKay running away and having their own family... But once again the joy and love is pulled away from her when she goes through an abortion instead. Can't she ever just catch a break...?
And then she does... Sort of. She's alone... And it's so, so lonely. It's the beginning of a new year, and the start of the end of high school... And instead of love, all she has is fear. She's not ready for a future that looks like her mother's. She can't see her way out of the tunnel that seems to be dragging her there. Drink away New Years Eve? With her best friend's ex?
Why not? Something inside of her is telling her very distinctly that she knows very well this is not just about a ride to a New Years Eve party. She's looking at Nate Jacobs and wondering what a life with him would look like. She wants to run from the future and she needs something to hold onto. And there Nate is; Offering this to her.
It all happens so fast, lips crashing into lips-- Hands grasping at each other's clothing, tugging off. She's telling herself this is just a one time thing... She can keep a secret, and no one ever has to know. And yet as Nate's lips meet hers once again; She's finding herself spiraling into a whole new addiction. She can't stop now; Not even after she hears Maddy trying to get into the bathroom from the other side of the door, with Nate holding tightly to her small frame. She hates herself so much. How can she do this to her only true friend? Maddy has always had her back. But she can't stop.
Nate is unexpectedly tender with her, a fact that only keeps her coming back to him over and over. With him, she finds, it’s not just the affection—The touch. It’s not just the rush of their lips crashing together. He knows exactly who she is… And he doesn’t expect her to be someone she’s not. But the good moments fly away too fast, and suddenly she’s faced with the consequences of her actions. Her and Nate stealing moments together had severe consequences, and the pit in her stomach she would often feel when she thought of her best friend only grew larger in times that she was alone. However, Nate would never absolve her of her role in what they’d done.
Sometimes she didn’t know whether to adore him or despise him for that.
Maddy finding out that she’d been f***ing Nate was one of the worst moments of her life. She wanted to die—Evaporate in that moment. And then, despite how much the decision was on both her and Nate… She felt suddenly alone in all of the responsibility. He wouldn’t return her calls. He was leaving her alone… Her addiction was leaving her alone, again. As always; Love’s highs had tragic lows.
The thoughts that would race through her mind. Didn’t anyone love her, really? Would anyone, ever? Why couldn’t they? Had she always been this broken? Would she always be? How could she do this to her best friend? She was a terrible, terrible person. A terrible person who didn’t deserve love. She feels like her family confirms this, and she just wants to flee—But she doesn’t know where to go.
Then; Suddenly—Light breaking through her darkness. Nate was coming to get her. She should pack some clothes. The stubborn part of her wants to ask him why he’d even bother—The part of her that feels ever broken. But he tells her he loves her and she can’t not go. It’s all she’s ever wanted to hear. When they finally reach his house she wants to scream at him. He had left her alone. She had felt so alone. How could he do that to her?
“I ruined my entire life for you.”
She punched at his chest, shoving him. Shoving away another addiction that had given her everything she’d wanted only to throw her away again. Let someone else carry this pain for a little while; She can hardly stand it anymore. He let her for a little while, but then pulled her close, pressing his lips back to hers. It’s like the hit of the drug she’s been craving for days, soothing her frazzled nerves like the best marijuana anyone could ever buy. She doesn’t have it in her to fight, when all she’s ever wanted is love. His arms look so inviting and she buries her face into his chest, a shaky sigh of relief racking her frame as she feels his fingertips tenderly sliding through her hair. He’s saved her while the rest of the world is shutting her out, and once more she feels her heart bound to his.
She wasn’t alone. They were in this together.