Part 1 - The pool
“Cass! Is this all of your stuff? I thought there would be more.”
“That’s everything Dad. I did a big clear out. I made decisions based on what I would be happy putting in a house I would buy, even just to make do part time. If the answer was no I either sold it, gave it to a charity shop or took it to a recycling centre. Why?” Cas breathes dumping the last box into what was now to be her bedroom in her dads house.
“I thought there would be more. I mean you are the girl who would pack two kitchen sinks just to be safe and purchase a third for an alien invasion.”
“I’ve grown. I’m not a girl, I’m a woman!”
“A young woman.”
“Twenty six classes as a woman I am sure.”
“Well you will always be my little girl.”
“As long as when you say little you are not referring to my height I can accept that.”
“Well- ” is as far as he gets before a pillow hits him square in the chest.
“Don’t say another word! You gave my older siblings all the height.” Cass growls as her dad holds his hands up in surrender.
“But they would both say that you got everything but height. I’ve heard you and your sister conversing many times before. ‘But Cassie has better natural highlights than I do and all of the curves in the right places’, and I think she is a little obsessed with your lips, which you can thank me for any time you want!” He continues to tease.
“Ella has her gorgeous long legs and such an elegant figure. I would love to be able to comfortably go braless and wear the types of outfits she does. Her hair is perfect, her skin is perfect and she doesn’t have to draw on a quarter of her eyebrows because hair just refuses to grow. She hates me for spending most of my time in oversized t-shirts and jogging bottoms for there comfortablity and practicality. Can you ever go wrong with pockets and draw strings?.”
“You would find something to complain about. Rachel is the same. I think you women like it.”
“Do not go down that route of women this and that. Men are just the same they just don’t vocalise it much. Instead you internally brood and either explode externally at some point, that’s if you are lucky. Or they keep it inside and it slowly eats away at them over time.” Cass’s dad stays quiet and she knows she hit the nail on the head. After a few moments of contemplation he speaks again.
“I got you a little something.” He hands her a little card. Flipping it over in her hands she looks and sees a gym card.
“A gym membership?”
“It’s not for the gym but it is for the pool and sauna and steam room. The pool is Olympic sized and I thought you would like it but after being to the gym myself I have a separate membership for a weightlifting gym.”
“Thank you dad! It’s been a good while since I have swum in a pool longer than thirty three meters. Hold up. Does this gift come with any caveats?” She arches an suspecting eyebrow towards him.
“Only that you come swimming with me from time to time. Can test out my speed and technique on you.” He shrugs, a not so innocent look on his face
“You mean you want someone to race against?” Cass susses straight away.
“If you want to call it race then you can call it a race. I merely see it as a fitness challenge.”
“Yeah with a winner and a loser.” Cass laughs. “Sure I will race you old man but be prepared to be challenged like never before. When do you currently go to the pool?”
“Why? You want to check out your competition?” he jokes.
“No. The opposite in fact. I want to make sure our swimming schedules don’t match. We can decide a challenge day but before that there will be no advantages to either side given.”
“This is why you’re my favourite child. You at least indulge me a little. Your brother and sister not so much.” He sighs softly but Cass can sense the deeper sadness in his voice.
“They just like different things. If a new film is out or you want to remember a line from a movie or a book then those two are your people. I am not.”
“You are wise as you are beautiful kid.”
“Cass! Derek! Do you want a sandwich for lunch?” Rachel calls down. Derek immediately calls back reeling of a list of ingredients for his sandwich.
“What do you want kid?” Derek turns to his daughter.
“Ermmm let me think. To not shout down a list of ingredients to a sandwich I can just go and make myself sounds like what I want.”
Eric has just about had enough of his family going on at him about his weight. It was the only thing they could complain about, well that and his lack of a partner since his fiancé had left him because of, you guessed it, his climbing weight and that was nearly five years ago. He can’t help but chuckle a little sadistically if Fiona could see him now, back then he had only been chubby really, now he was fat. His gut was nothing short of substantial, the dome and breadth that it took up meant that he had to over extend significantly to see his feet or sit down and manoeuvre over around the globe of heavy flesh. He knew it was bad but at least now his weight had seemed to settle and was no longer climbing, with his regular gym visits and walking in the countryside he was not a hungry grumpy person that thought about food every second he wasn’t eating. When he did lose some weight his family had noticed and congratulated him but had then spent the rest of their time moaning at him for being so grumpy.
He fixed his dinner, an Eric sized portion of a home cooked decadent Thai green curry with chicken, prawn and monkfish accompanied with coconut rice and a couple of cobra beers. He had just received a promotion at work to Director of Information, Data and Technical Change which would see him have to find a new gym routine. The thought of that made him shiver a little but the spoonfuls of his tasty curry calmed that somewhat. New faces that would stare a little as they took in his form but at six foot seven he always turned heads but these days people were much less likely to be thinking anything positive, and less so about his height.
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