Title: She's Got Moxie
Characters/Pairings: Cassidy/Mac
Rating: PG
Length: 1154
Spoilers/Warnings: Through 209, My Mother the Fiend.
Summary: Cassidy can't believe the levels to which he'll stoop to simply spend more time with her.
Notes: Written for sexycereal's 101 Things Fic Challenge. Mine was (51) Learn Another Language. Many thanks to onastick for betaing.
Disclaimer: Not mine.

It is a pathetic plot, a cheap (well, maybe not so cheap) excuse to spend time with her. He knows his actions are inconsistent with how one of the popular 09'er class should act.

Then again, he's never really considered himself to be truly "popular" to begin with.

He sees himself as a hanger-on, a junior who is only invited to the drunken orgies that masqueraded as parties because of his older brother.

He was once proud to be a Casablancas, proud of his father's work with Casablancas Enterprises. He'd wanted to carry on the family tradition, but when his father's fraud was brought to light, he knew that his future as Casablancas Enterprises CEO was no longer possible.

So he decided to use his newly-unlocked trust fund to launch his own company, the one that would give him the chance to redeem the Casablancas name. Phoenix Land Trust, Inc. would allow the Casablancas family to rise from the ashes, but he knew that he couldn't do it without a little help.

For one, he is only sixteen and therefore unable to sign legal documents or meet with clients. It had been easy enough to manipulate Kendall into helping him out. The mention of a one-thousand dollar weekly salary plus commission had pretty much caused dollar-signs to flash in her eyes.

She might be a gold-digger, but she is at least a gold-digger that he has under his control now.

He also needed a professional interface for communicating with clients, and Veronica had been happy to recommend her friend Mac for his technology needs. Mac's work was unbelievable – exactly what he needed.

She is exactly what he needs, what he wants.

Of course, he couldn't begin to dream that she had any interest in him. She probably shared Veronica's general distaste for the 09'ers, and he had no reason to think that he could be her Duncan. Especially since he was nothing more than a sixteen year old junior that was in awe of the seventeen year old senior with the pink-streaked hair.

And that admiration, that desire to spend more time with her was exactly what had gotten him to where he was now.

"So, how do you change the color of the font?" he asks, looking inquisitively at the dark-haired girl.

"I actually wouldn't recommend doing that with your website," she replies, a small grin playing on her lips. "The color consistency is a part of what gives your website such a professional appearance. If you start changing the color of some text here and other text there, it would look more like the website of a high-school student rather than the website of an upstanding Fortune 500 company."

"Okay," he grants. "But – just for the sake of expanding my understanding of HTML – how would I theoretically do that?"

She sighs, and opens up a new browser window on her laptop to illustrate what she's about to tell him. He knows that his question isn't all that important, but he doesn't know what else to ask. He already knows about basic formatting codes, and how to make a basic webpage. He doesn't want to end their tutoring session – not yet.

She starts talking about something she calls "hexadecimal codes," and he tries to listen to what she's saying. But he doesn't really care that much about hypertext markup language except for how learning more about it is giving him a chance to spend time with the object of his affection.

He wonders sometimes if he'll ever be the one that makes a girl's heart race, if he'll ever be the one that a girl dreams about each night.

He knows that most of his fellow students think of him as little more than Dick's puny younger brother. But he's more than that, has the potential to be more than Dick even, he thinks.

Of course, "more than Dick" is a subjective concept. Cassidy knows that he'll probably never be as much of a Casanova as his older brother is, and he hopes that he won't ever have as many money-grubbing friends as his brother does. But Cassidy thinks that he does have a greater ability to make something of himself, to be happy in a monogamous relationship.

Monogamy has never been something that interested his older brother. Sex (and lots of it) is all that Dick ever really thinks about.

Cassidy thinks that he could be happy with Mac, and that maybe she could be happy with him. She's smart, she's innovative, and – in her own words – she has moxie.

And he's almost positive that it's that very same moxie that has him captivated.

She's talented, she's gutsy, and he wishes that he could find nerve enough to just ask the question that's been on his mind since their meeting at Java the Hut.

Do you want to get dinner with me?

It's amazing how eight simple words can be so difficult to say. But there is more at risk here than just his feelings. He wants to be able to depend on Mac for help with his company website and letterhead, if needed. His company's future is twined with the professional appearance of the materials she prepared for him. And no matter how much he wants to be with Mac, he will not risk the future of Phoenix Land Trust, Inc. for a girl.

Not even a girl who has dazzled him beyond belief, as she has.

"I'm getting a little hungry," Mac states, after she finishes answering his question.

"Yeah, it is getting late," he agrees reluctantly, not wanting to let their study session end. "How much do I owe you?"

She pauses for a moment before asking, "Would you want to grab dinner together?"

He's stunned that she'd even want to eat dinner with him, and his mouth opens and closes but no words escape. He finds himself nodding instead, cursing his misbehaving vocal chords. Yeah, he's really a catch.

But she smiles widely, and adds, "If you buy me dinner, we'll call it even then."

His face is quickly covered by an ear-splitting grin. "Okay. Where to?"

"I don't know," she says with a shrug. "Dairy Queen?"

Cassidy can't help but let a laugh erupt at her suggestion. Mac is certainly one of a kind, and definitely not an 09'er. Most girls would suggest going to El Camerero or Bravo or Chez Jacques for a date, especially a first date.

But Mac? Mac wants Dairy Queen. She is definitely a breath of fresh air.

"Dairy Queen it is," he agrees, extending his arm as they walk out of the computer lab hand-in-hand.

Yeah, okay, so maybe there isn't a happily ever after in store for the two of them. But at the very least, he has what he's been waiting for – an actual date with a girl who wants to be with him.

Thank God for her moxie.

Thanks so much for writing! This is a piece I wrote a long time ago - shortly after 209 aired. I really enjoyed them as a couple during Season Two, and I hope you all enjoy this take on them. As always, reviews are greatly appreciated. :D