Cassie never knew her real mother who left the family when she was very young. Then her father began seeing Julia. Cassie wasn't happy about her dad seeing someone new, especially when Julia moved in with them. At first, Cassie did everything she could to make her feel very unwelcome. But then, with Julia's patience and understanding, Cassie eventually warmed up to Julia. Even though Julia never married her father, in time Cassie began to look upon her as a sort of mother figure. Then Julia and her father split up, and Cassie was devastated. Cassie's relationship with Julia was strained for a time, but then they eventually patched things up. Julia invited Cassie to come stay with her and work as her intern at her business after she graduated from high school. Cassie jumped at the chance to be with Julia again. However, after catching Julia in bed with another woman, Cassie begins to question not only her own sexuality but her true feelings toward Julia and whether or not she looks upon her as more than a mere mother figure.
Julia was not my actual mother. She was never even my stepmother since she never married my dad, but she was the closest thing to a mom I ever had. My own mom left my dad and me when I was only three. When I was older, I asked Dad why Mom left. He would only tell me she just up and left for no apparent reason. I asked him if he could elaborate, but he only got agitated, so I stopped asking him. Not that anything he would have told me would have justified her leaving the way she did.
Then came Julia.
Dad started dating Julia when I was five. The first thing that struck me about Julia, even at that young age, was how young she was. She was twenty when she started dating Dad. She looked like she was barely out of high school. But it didn't matter how young or old she was. I was sore as hell that he’d started dating her. I still hadn't gotten over my mother leaving, and then he was bringing this strange woman into our home without my permission. And it probably goes without saying things didn't improve when she moved her ass into our house—again, without my permission. Dad tried to smooth things over with me just before she moved in, but I was having none of it. To say I had been hostile toward Julia when she first moved in would be an understatement. I’d hardly ever missed an opportunity to make her feel unwelcome. When Dad wasn't around, and it was just her and me, I would kick and punch and scream at her. Looking back on my shameful behavior now, I was surprised she did, in fact, stay with Dad. But Julia, God bless her, had the patience of a saint. Dad would scold me about my behavior toward Julia and warn me to straighten up or else, but even that hadn’t stopped me from trying to force Julia out of our house and out of our lives for good.
Then Julia had sat me down one day and had a heart-to-heart talk with me. She told me she knew where I was coming from, that her own mother had left when she was younger. She’d went on to tell me how she had been raised by her aunt since her own father was an alcoholic and was in and out of either rehab or jail and was, therefore, unable to properly raise her. All of a sudden, I’d felt bad about being such a little brat to her. I mean, at least I had my own dad around to raise me. Julia told me how she’d left her aunt's place the day she turned eighteen. She was a waitress at the local diner when she met Dad. Julia hadn't told me then, but she’d told me later that what attracted her to my dad was his kindness. She said she didn't go out with him the first time he asked because of their age difference. But then she’d relented the more he’d persisted. And she didn't even hesitate when he asked her to move in with him, she’d also told me, mainly because she had been crashing on a friend's couch and she really needed a decent place to stay even if he did have a kid.
Anyway, after our little heart-to-heart, I did soften toward her at least a little bit. I still threw my little fits and temper tantrums at her, but they weren't nearly as loud or as frequent as they had been. I didn't fully stop until I realized I wasn't really lashing out at Julia but rather my own absentee mom. Plus, I saw that Julia wasn't going anywhere and Dad had seemed really happy when he was around her. So, because she’d made Dad so happy, I’d decided to give her a chance. Though it did take a little time, I came to feel happy when I was around Julia.
She just had this presence about her that made everyone around her really, really like her. As the years went by, I came to look upon Julia as my friend, my best friend even. And, yes, I looked at her as a type of mother figure as she was the closest thing to an actual mom I’d ever had. And then, just when I’d thought Julia would be in our lives forever, the proverbial rug was yanked out from under me.
It all happened shortly after I’d turned fifteen. I came home from school one afternoon, and Dad and Julia were sitting in the living room waiting for me. I’d immediately got an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw the serious looks on their faces. At first, I’d thought one of them had gotten a serious medical diagnosis, but then Dad had told me what was really going on, that he and Julia were splitting up. I went numb. First, it was my mom and now that.
They’d tried to explain to me why they decided to go their separate ways, but I was just too upset at that point to listen. To be honest, I hadn't really cared what the reasons for Julia leaving were. All I knew was that she was leaving. It turned out she wasn't going far as she was moving to the next city just a few hours away. But she could have been moving across the street as far as I cared. She was still leaving Dad, and, most of all, she was leaving me. I’d felt as if my whole world was crashing down around me.