Summary: There is a list on her laptop that she updates on a monthly basis. That list contains each and every one of the statements that she can say with conviction, and she smiles every time she adds another bullet to the page. Mac/Cassidy oneshot.
Disclaimer: Don't own them; sorry.
A/N: Fluff. Pure, unadulterated, Mac/Cassidy fluff. This actually wasn't supposed to turn out like this, but it kind of ran away with me. Drop me a review and let me know what you think.
If there is one thing that she can say for herself with absolute, completely honest conviction, it is that she knows what she wants out of her life. She wants to get out of this town and make something of herself because it's a guarantee that she'll be the only person in her family to ever do so. The fact that her parents are not really her parents is irrelevant when she gets down to it, so she ignores the fact that her blood relatives are all incredibly intelligent and probably went to Ivy League schools.
She wants to build her own web design company and offer tutoring in the afternoons for the local high school kids. She wants to become comfortable in her own skin and know that she is successful despite nasty rumors and uncomfortable encounters that occurred all throughout the first eighteen years of her life.
There are other things that she knows are true, but she fears voicing them because that would make them permanent. And permanent is a word – circumstance, more appropriately – that scares her beyond belief. But her boyfriend asks her to tell him her dreams one night when they lay in her bed and her breath hitches and she can't really see.
In her senior year of high school, there was a boy. And she only feels comfortable with that term because he used it so often to describe himself. She can honestly say that he was more man than he ever would have admitted, but in the past two years honesty has failed to remain her strong suit.
"You know what I want," she whispers. He kisses her shoulder and nuzzles his nose into her hair and it suddenly feels wrong to her somehow.
"From your major, yeah," he chuckles against her ear and she frowns at the sinking feeling in her stomach.
"What else matters?"
"Do you want kids? Do you want to get married and grow old with the love of your life?"
"Where is all of this coming from?"
"Mac, I love you," he swears. He props himself up on his elbow and stares at her, missing the alarmed and slightly-pissed off look in her eyes. "I want to be with you."
"We're in college," she responds incredulously. "I can't even legally drink yet!"
"So?" he laughs and runs his hand in between her breasts. "Marry me," he repeats.
Mac blinks back tears and crawls out of bed, slipping on wrinkled pajamas and keeping her back to him as she frantically tugs at the drawstrings on her pants. Greg steps up behind her and wraps his arms around her waist, kissing the skin of her shoulder that's left bare by the straps of her tank top.
And he does.
There's silence on the line and she panics momentarily, convinced she's said the wrong thing and that he's hung up, never to speak to her again. But then he lets out a sigh that almost sounds like remorse and she mirrors it with one of her own.
"When's the wedding?"
"I said no."
"I said no," she repeats, more confidently this time. Cassidy lets out another sigh and she smiles at the laugh that filters through the phone.
"Well, end of your sophomore year in college, what'd he expect? Really," he says. Mac grins and turns over in her bed, fingering the brand new cotton sheets that she put on it twenty minutes ago.
"I don't want to get married yet."
"I want to graduate."
"I'm still stuck at Stanford," she sighs.
"Which I'm sure you're so torn up about," he teases. She rolls her eyes and changes positions again, restless as they continue to banter. He's become more comfortable with himself since high school and she's lost the innocent, dorky demeanor she had when they were dating. She's more grown up now, more mature, more sure of what she wants in life.
At least, she likes to think she is.
There is a list on her laptop that she updates on a monthly basis. That list contains each and every one of the statements that she can say with conviction, and she smiles every time she adds another bullet to the page. Recently those bullets have come to be more personal, more real, more frightening.
She thinks she's kind of happy with them, though.
It's not that it surprises her to see him there, leaning against the wall outside of her final class for the year. To be honest, it makes her want to squeal like a giddy school girl. But that's not who she is, not who she was, and she doesn't think she can excuse the behavior if she tries.
So, instead, she drops her bag at her feet and wraps her arms around him as tightly as she can, laughing against his ear as he returns the embrace.
"What are you doing here?"
"Finished my finals early, decided to come see you."
"Ah, yes, the life of a Hearst freshman," she smiles. "How are you?"
"Good," he nods and offers Mac his arm as they start walking the path to her dorm. "Talked to Greg?"
"He's moved on," she waves her hand absently and looks up at him. "What ever happened to Lana?"
"Wasn't my type," he shrugs and gives her a grin.
"You have a type?"
"Everyone has a type."
"Whatever you say, Cass," she laughs and idly grabs his hand as she drags him down the hall to her room. He doesn't mention the contact and neither does she, but she opens her list that night when he's asleep on her bed and adds another bullet to the page.
She curls up on the couch at the Casablancas mansion and does her best to avoid eye contact with Kendall when she traipses into the living room asking who she is. Cassidy follows his stepmother into the room a minute later and tells her to leave them alone for the night, and she wanders off with a pissed-off pout.
"Your dad still hasn't come back yet, huh?"
"Not even to claim his trophy wife," he shakes his head. "Dick's mellowed without Dad here to encourage his shit, though, so I guess it's sort of a blessing."
Mac frowns at the underlying sadness in his tone and rests her head on his shoulder after he hits play on the remote. He sighs as he relaxes into her touch. She focuses her attention on the screen in front of them and idly traces patterns on the back of his hand, grinning when his fingers twitch.
"Are you ticklish?"
"No," he shakes his head. She stares at him for a moment and then shrugs as she turns her attention back to the film.
Forty-five minutes later, she's asleep in his lap.
"This is a transfer acceptance," she stares at him, eyes wide, and he nods sheepishly as he toes at the carpet of her dorm. "You're transferring?"
"The kids at Hearst are just as bad as the ones from high school," he shrugs, "I think it's the town. Poisons people's personalities," he explains. Mac continues to stare at him and he takes his hands out of his pockets with a sigh. "I miss you."
"We spent the whole summer together."
"And I sent in the application three weeks before you left."
"School started a week ago."
"I'll catch up."
Cassidy smiles at her and she drops the letter on the desk, wrapping her arms around his neck with a laugh. He pulls her closer and she closes her eyes tightly as she buries her face against his neck.
Her list grows steadily and she's tempted to delete the third page of it. Almost every bullet she's added for the past two months mentions Cassidy in some way or another. She doesn't want this to be like high school, doesn't want him to hurt her again.
There's a letter waiting for her when she gets home one afternoon and she winces at the familiar, slanted handwriting. Greg writes that he misses her and he loves her and he's sorry he pushed her so hard. Mac doesn't write back and doesn't seek him out, but she gets coffee with Cassidy one night and her ex shows up at her side.
"Did you get my letter?"
"I got your letter," she nods. Cassidy sets his jaw and she inwardly grins, a little excited that he's jealous of this man.
"Can we … talk somewhere? I think if you would just give me a chance to explain, we could-"
"Didn't you ask her to write back if she wanted to see you?"
Mac turns her head sharply, locks of green hair attaching to her lightly-glossed lips. She stares at her friend incredulously and Cassidy ignores her as he continues to glare at Greg.
"Well, yes, but-"
"So if she didn't write back, she obviously doesn't want to talk, am I right?"
"Look, man, I don't know who you are," Greg starts. Cassidy rolls his eyes and looks at Mac, who seems torn between the two men. Finally, she sighs and turns toward the door, gesturing to Cassidy that she wants to leave. "Mac," Greg calls. She stops and hands her coffee to Cassidy before turning around to face her ex-boyfriend.
"I don't want to be with you."
That night, another bullet is added to the list.
He ends his assault on her sides when she gasps underneath him and he realizes with widened eyes that they've landed on the floor of his room. He places his hands into the carpet on either side of her and she fights to catch her breath as she watches his face contort into a nervous smile.
"No more tickling," she warns with a smile. Cassidy grins and teasingly brushes his hand down her ribs, earning another squeak from her. He sobers a moment later and places his hand back on the carpet. Mac adjusts until she's more comfortable and returns his gaze, breath hitching as he dips his head down toward her.
"Would it be completely inappropriate if I kissed you right now?"
"I think the romantic comedy gods would punish you if you didn't."
"I'm sure I could handle their wrath."
"But you can't handle mine," she retorts, "And if they don't punish you then I sure as hell will." Cassidy laughs and closes the small amount of space between them with the softest brush of his lips on hers. Mac shivers underneath him and wraps her arms around his neck, smiling against his mouth when he kisses her again.
The first time she sleeps with him, she loses all rational thought. She doesn't know who he lost his virginity to, doesn't really want to, but she thinks she's glad he has the experience because she can't breathe when he touches her.
Cassidy falls asleep with his arm around her waist and she presses kisses against his shoulder the next morning to wake him up. He groans and snuggles closer to her under the sheets, his hand curling around her waist in an inherently-adorable way.
"I have class," Mac whispers. He cracks an eye open, closes it again, and presses a coaxing kiss against her mouth.
"I can't," she laughs as he kisses her again, his movements more precise as he rolls over her on the bed.
"Cass," she sighs and runs her fingers through his hair. He pouts adorably and she bites her lip with a resigned sigh as he kisses her again, coaxing her lip from between her teeth with his own.
When he reluctantly leaves her room to return to his own and go to class, she sits in front of her laptop with a blank look in her eyes. The cursor hovers over the next line on her list and finally she rolls her eyes and saves the document before starting a new one.
And she doesn't bother to label it, because there's only one thing on the page. The printer spits it out about five seconds after she pushes the button and she pins it to her bulletin with a grin.
Cassidy reads it that night and kisses her hard after he does, a laugh in his voice when he returns the words from the page. Mac kisses him again and pulls him down onto the bed, the paper fluttering from the air of their fall.
I'm in love with Cassidy Casablancas, and I can say it with conviction this time.