It was a potential high school romance that started off like so many potential high school romances. Two classmates familiar with one another suddenly realize they have an attraction to each another although such mutual affections remained dormant until one of them had the guts to break the unspoken truth between them.
In this case, it was Kameron who found the courage to make the first move, interacting with Cassidy beyond the normal hallway chit-chat by sitting with her in the library during study hall, standing in line with her in the cafeteria, and suddenly having lunch with her most days.
Their conversation was limited to the daily chatter and small talk of familiar teachers and peers but Cassidy was flattered by Kameron's attention. She hadn't dated much in high school and she was a relatively shy person so she enjoyed the interest of somebody new in her life.
Kameron was reasonably popular and active in the circles of high school, playing various sports and serving on the student council. Cassidy was more comfortable behind the scenes – she wrote fillers for the school newspaper and she was a volunteer office girl but that was about the extent of her involvement in extra-curricular activities. She was an honor roll student, however, and that – combined with her red hair – gave her a presence in the school.
Kameron was best known for his knack for making humorous speeches in his role on the student council. He dated in the past and some of his friends were surprised when he took an interest in the seemingly introverted Cassidy, although she certainly had the looks to be noticed even if she didn't talk much and tended to keep to herself.
It was her home life that kept Cassidy cautious and reserved socially and she knew if things between her and Kameron continued on the natural progression of potential high school relationships, she'd have to come clean about her situation.
Kameron lived in a nice house in the Flats section of Hillsboro. Cassidy lived further out of town, a dead end road off of Route 36 in a house that had seen better days, living with her family that had enjoyed better times. But she couldn't let her personal embarrassment stop her from enjoying Kameron's company. She had wasted too much of her time and social capital avoiding boys who showed an interest in her for fear that they would learn the truth about her and tell others things she didn't want anybody to know.
As far as Cassidy could tell from her increased interactions with Kameron, he was a level-headed guy – easy going and laid back – and she hadn't heard him say something judgmental or insulting about other people and that gave her hope that maybe he would be accepting of her circumstances if their budding relationship went further.
Cassidy put off having Kameron come to her house for as long as she could, meeting him in neutral places when she got access to her father's car at night. They had pizza at the Hillsboro Pizza Place one night and met for a movie at the Greenville Cinema on another evening. Both 'dates' went well. Kameron was kind and considerate, polite and respectful, a perfect gentleman who didn't pressure her or put the moves on her in any way and Cassidy liked the way he treated her.
They volunteered to help out on a charity 5K run raising money for an ill classmate, standing together passing out water bottles at the half way mark of the run and it became official, without any formal announcement, that they were now a high school couple, at least in the eyes of their peers.
Cassidy normally rode home from school with her friend Alisha but on one particular day Alisha wasn't available and when Kameron learned that Cassidy was going to ride the school bus home, he'd have none of it.
"I can give you a lift," he said pleasantly. "It would be my pleasure."
Cassidy knew there was no point arguing with him. Sooner or later, he'd learn the truth and it might as well be sooner if they had any chance of making it as a couple. If Kameron was going to decide he couldn't deal with her baggage, it might as well come now before she really got emotionally attached to the guy even though she had to admit she already liked him and enjoyed being with him so if it ended now at least she had the experience of being liked by somebody new for a few weeks.
Cassidy listened to Kameron explain how his brother sold him the car he was driving for fifty bucks even though the vehicle was worth a hundred times that amount.
"He wanted me to have a car in high school," Kameron explained.
Cassidy provided the directions to her house as Kameron rambled on about his brother and the car, explaining how grateful he'd always be to his generous and giving brother. She had to admit it was a nice car, better than anything her father drove – which was currently his dead mother's twenty year old Pontiac and that's what Cassidy drove too when she was allowed to take the car.
"It's the next right," Cassidy said when they passed the old closed and abandoned Jefferson Mill on Route 36.
Kameron slowed the car and turned onto the small dirt road. "I didn't even know there were houses out here," he confessed.
"And the next right, by that condemned half-burnt down house," Cassidy said, trying to sound perfectly normal in her description.
They were on a rutted stony dirty road now that cut through some woods and then opened up to a small field where a forgotten farm house stood on a slight hill. It was in desperate need of a paint job and the side porch sagged from disrepair and age. A shed served as a garage and beyond it was an old tipsy looking barn with several boards missing. The yard was cluttered with unregistered junk car hulks, a couple of door-less refrigerators, and even a bathtub that was serving as an unattended flower bed, mostly growing weeds.
"You live here?" Kameron asked with surprise.
"I do," she confirmed, sucking in her breath while waiting for the inevitable awkwardness that usually followed whenever someone saw her abode for the first time.
Just then, a naked middle aged man appeared from behind the house and started walking toward the car.
"Oh My God!" Cassidy groaned, burying her head in her hands.
"Well Hello There! How's It Going? Good To See You!" The man said cheerfully, waving to them.
He looked like a giant tellatubby – only with exposed genitals and a harry chest, a rollie-polly man with long stringy greasy hair down to his shoulders.
"Who the hell is that?" Kameron asked with disbelief, staring at the naked greeter.
"That's my Uncle Brud," Cassidy reported. "He lives with us and he's crazy."
"Is he always naked?" Kameron asked.
"Not usually," the red faced Cassidy admitted, finally taking her hands away from her face. "It's been awhile since the last time. He was doing better."
"Well Hello There! How's It Going? Good To See You!" Uncle Brud said again when he reached the car.
"You'd better go," Cassidy mumbled through her humiliation as she finally lifted her head up and sucked in her breath. "I need to deal with this."
"I'll help," Kameron said and Cassidy looked at him as if he was as crazy as Uncle Brud.
A/N – This is my 300th story presently posted on this site. It actually isn't the 300th submission because for various reasons I deleted about 20 stories I had previously posted. I enjoy writing and it's nice to have a small audience to share my stuff with – otherwise nobody would ever see any of it. Thanks to all those who follow me and read my submissions.