In the intervening years, I often look back at our budding romance with a smile on my face.
Over the course of my four years at uni, I helped Cassandra navigate the confusing and meandering pathways that was, and still is, the definition of sexuality. I was her first. And though she was not mine, we shared many blissful moments together.
Slowly but surely, she became much more confident with her identity. At graduation, she confronted her family about what she wanted in life and who she wanted in it. I was so proud, dressed far more casually than was actually appropriate, as I supported her on the sidelines.
Her mother proved hesitant at first but opened up considerably with the support of Cassandra's sister. But it was her father that struggled to overcome the preconceptions that had blinded him to how she had blossomed. Undaunted, Cassandra set out in the world with a proper degree under her belt to accumulate more experience and to expand the family business in ways that neither parent has properly conceived.
For several years we laughed, we lived and we loved. Until it all came to an end over irreconcilable differences. We parted as the best of friends – our relationship as amicable as ever. There were times our partners felt jealous at how close we were. But in time, they came to accept that there would always be a part of our heart that the other held. I was her first. And she left an indelible handprint on my heart, to quote a song from the first musical I attended.
The two of us went our separate ways. Cassandra was always one to dream big. Her ambitions were what pulled her forward in life and it should come as no surprise that the Ainsley name grew in reputation. Their small business flourished when she finally used what she had learned in the wider world and applied it to the aging structure that her parents had maintained. With her sister at the helm, Cassandra enjoyed her role pulling the strings behind the scenes.
As for me, well, I never really had any solid aspirations. After uni ended, I found myself adrift. Using all the savings I had saved from my part time job, I backpacked across Europe and the Americas. Cassandra accompanied me for several months before returning back home.
But despite everything that I experienced, once I finally came back, it was as if nothing had changed. Life continued to grind along and I struggled to find meaningful work. With degree in hand, I applied until my eyes were sore from staring at a computer screen all day.
Looking back, it's hard to believe the ups and downs that transpired. During this time, I also met Ashley. She proved to be as steady as a rock as well as a safe harbour after my break-up with Cassandra. It was thanks to her that I finally managed to find a job that suited my personality and challenged me in ways that I could not have conceived back during my uni days. I don't know when I fell in love with her but come September, it would be about five years since our marriage.
Better yet, we're expecting. I can barely contain my excitement. We've asked that the gender remain a mystery. Although it's been hard to purchase the right toys and prepare the room, I still think that the surprise is worth it. I've even picked out the names (with Ashley's consent, of course). Should it be a girl, her name will be Vera. If it's a boy, I think Oliver will suit nicely.
In my infinite wisdom, I've also told all our closest friends and family about the upcoming event. Cassandra and her boyfriend Gideon were the first to offer their congratulations. And she's just as enthusiastic to be christened Godmother to Ashley and I's unborn child.
There's still eighty days left, of course, but how long is that in comparison to the adventures that we will have as our family takes the next crucial steps?
A/N: It's taken a while to write but I do enjoy taking the time to put out these short stories. They're a good break from all the third person fantasy writing I've devoted most of my writing efforts into. I hope you enjoyed this little story as much as I did coming up with the idea. Inspiration can strike at the strangest of times and this was by no means the exception.