The sweet and popular Cassie has difficulty navigating relationships as rumors of her sexual history circulate the school. She eventually finds a fondness for Christopher McKay, a former football star at East Highland High School whose struggles on the college field causes problems in their relationship.
Following her break up with McKay, and major break down caused by overwhelming fear of being alone, Cassie finds superficial comfort in a secret relationship with her best friend's abusive ex-boyfriend, Nate Jacobs, which complicated her personal life.
Cassie was born to Gus and Suze Howard and grew up alongside her sister, Lexi Howard. When she was younger, Cassie was motivated by her father to pursue professional ice skating; however, Gus stopped encouraging her due to being unable to pay for the lessons. Upon entering puberty, Cassie formed a close bond with Suze, who provided her with support and love. Though they both loved Cassie, Suze and Gus constantly fought with one another, partially due to his constant flirting with other women and her behavior while drunk. The night before she started ninth grade, Cassie's parents had an intense argument which led to their separation. Afterwards, Cassie was told by a classmate that Gus left Suze because she cheated on him; though initially angry, she came to realize that her parents were both flawed and better apart.
Although Suze let him visit their daughters on weekends, Gus started spacing out his visits and eventually stopped visiting entirely. One night, Gus crashed into a truck while driving home from work inebriated. He becomes addicted to painkillers prescribed to him during his recovery. During and after his stay at the ICU, Cassie constantly attended to him and texted him from school; however, he ultimately stopped responding as he did before. Later on, a week before Cassie's fifteenth birthday, Gus called Cassie to let him into the house one last time, collecting fine china from the house to pawn before disappearing entirely.
Afterwards, Cassie started and ended relationships with multiple guys, every one of which would try to coerce her into taking nudes or filming sex tapes with them. Most of them posted these photos or videos online after their breakup; though she had a panic attack the first time it happened, Cassie eventually reasoned that they wouldn't have much of an impact on her life. She also began ice skating again. At the beginning of the school year, Cassie entered a relationship with Chris McKay, whom she shared a mutual interest in cars with.
In episode 7, it is revealed that Cassie was pregnant with McKay's child. Cassie was worried about how McKay would react, but also somewhat happy. When she told McKay, he reacted badly. He was shocked and upset. He told Cassie that she couldn’t keep the baby as his family and coach would kill him. When he asked Cassie if she was seriously considering keeping the baby she replied with ‘No, I just wanted to dream for a while’.
Later that episode, Cassie is seen telling her mum that she needs help and her mum hugs her and tells her that she loves her so much.
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Cassie is a very sweet and popular girl, as she is also a people pleaser. She is mentally insecure and can make bad decisions while getting lost in her problems. Cassie comes from a very abusive family where her parents fought constantly. Being very attached to her father, Cassie is abandoned by her father resulting in her falling in love with all the guys she dates.
Cassie is seen by guys as a whore, because of the leaked nudes and recorded sex tapes that have spread around the school. Rue narrates her reaction after knowing the videos "The first time she found out, she had a panic attack, and wanted to swallow a whole bottle of Tylenol." This ends up causing more problems after her boyfriend finds out.
She is a very sensitive and sentimental person. After getting pregnant and going to the abortion clinic, it is assumed that her and McKay broke up. Finishing the season at the winter prom, she sits the entire prom at the table with her sister Lexi reflecting on everything that happened.
Cassie has long natural blonde hair, blue eyes, and has a curvy "hourglass" figure, and is of average height. The clothes she wears throughout the episodes are usually blue, which symbolizes the character's sadness and loneliness. Her wardrobe includes many skirts and cropped cami tops, and she usually wears a colorful pair of earrings and basic accessories. Her makeup is simple on everyday occasions, with basic foundation, highlighter, mascara, and every now and then a bit of eyeliner. She has fun bright blue makeup on Halloween when she dresses up as Alabama Worley. She wears her hair parted down the middle or parted down the side a bit. It's mostly wavy, or curled and on occasions she wears it in French braids. As a young teen she wears her hair straight or wavy and up halfway in two pigtails.
I deserve this, right? Because I've actually lived a life? I'm the one who takes risks, I'm the one who falls in love, I'm the one who gets hurt, not you Lexi! You've never even fucking lived! That's why you're able to stand up here and judge all of us! You're just a fucking bystander...
McKay is Cassie's ex-boyfriend; they had a strained but attentive relationship. McKay generally appeared to love and care for Cassie, but was often preoccupied with his struggles in college, football and expectations from his father. He was also somewhat uncomfortable with how public Cassie's sex-life with previous boys are. Due to this, he is often the subject of teasing from his peers, who view Cassie as a "slut", and he generally allows it to get the better of him, which leads to him occasionally saying mean-spirited things to Cassie, and even flat-out denying that they're anything more than friends around certain people.
Meanwhile, Cassie genuinely loved McKay and was willing to even send him naked pictures of her even while she is upset with him. She is frustrated by him constantly being ashamed of her and saying things "Why do you always have to make things so sexual?" When they argue or go through rough times, she has problems staying fully faithful to McKay. While she has never had sex with another person while they were together, she did flirt and kiss with Daniel, on more than one occasion while they were upset with each other.
Despite this, the two did have decent communication within their relationship and did not hold back with each other when the other made the person upset. This took a turn however, when as the two were getting ready to have sex at a party held by the fraternity McKay was trying to get into, they were ambushed by a group of his fraternity brothers and he was hazed. After spending a while in the bathroom, McKay then had rough and passionless sex with Cassie which left her in tears.
Like, every time you start talking, I think to myself, who the fuck does this girl think she is? You are so fucking boring. Hey. I'm gonna be honest with you, because no one else will. Any guy who says he's interested in you beyond just fucking you, is full of shit.
They met one day in the East Highland High School cafeteria, where they introduce themselves and say each other's names. At the carnival, her and Daniel ride the carousel, where they kiss, and she almost has an orgasm, as Daniel and several other people watched her. Later, Daniel lets Cassie know that he likes her and kisses her, but Cassie tells him that they can't have anything because she's in a relationship. At Daniel's Halloween party, they guess each other's costume, and Daniel tells her that her costume was the coolest he had ever seen. Then the two of them head to a room, where they kiss. Before having sex, Cassie tells him that she can't, Daniel gets angry and tells her that was the second time she's done that to him, and that any guy who says he's interested in her beyond just having sex, is full of shit. She starts crying and leaves the room.
Nate is latest boyfriend and current ex. While the two were solely friend and boyfriend of Maddy in Season 1, the two got together after he found Cassie drunk on the ground outside a minimart on New Year's Eve, driving to the party and making out in the bathroom Cassie becomes addicted to the attention Nate gives her, meeting with him for over a month to have sex in secret, despite her initial guilt and shame at betraying her best friend. Cracking under the pressure of Maddy finding out and beating her in retaliation, she texts him saying they should break up, to which he calls soon after and says to never repeat that again.
Cassie and Nate hide their relationship for over a month, with him often ignoring her in public, leading to her trying to capture his attention through extensive beauty routines and eye-catching outfits. Only when she dresses similar to Maddy does he notice her at school, consecrating her obsession to be his only girl. Cassie confirms this by telling Nate that she loves being his little secret, as it means she gets special attention from him.
Soon after, Cassie sought to maintain their relationship, telling Nate that she viewed his and Maddy's relationship as toxic and her willing to do everything to keep them apart.
Once Maddy finds out about the affair through Rue, who reveals seeing Cassie running to Nate's truck and kissing him right after New Year's, Cassie begins spiraling into self-conflict, maintaining that she and her relationship are innocent of criticism as Maddy and Nate weren't "together", going so far to initiate arguments with her family, trying to harm herself, and eventually leaving home to move into the Jacobs household, aware that he is the reason behind her life falling apart and everyone else turning their back on her. Cassie gives Nate full control over her, such as her clothes (specifically like Maddy), who she talks to, what she eats, and more. This comes to an end at Lexi's play, where he angrily kicks her out of his home for Nate's portrayal of him.
Cassie tries to defend her relationship again and humiliate Lexi for her perception of matters, only to be booed by the audience, attacking the actress of Haley, and beaten and chased by Maddy. Cassie, bloody in the bathroom after, believes her relationship to be over, to which Maddy says that "this is just the beginning", foreshadowing that Nate will not let Cassie go and continue his cycle of abuse and her emotional turmoil.
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Cassie and Maddy befriended each other when they began 9th grade by getting into cheerleading. While Cassie was initially nervous around Maddy due to her prominent self-confidence, they quickly became inseparable; however, she never fully trusted Maddy due to her own lack of confidence. In Maddy's perspective, Cassie was a friend that she often went to a search of reassurance; for example, when her parents were fighting at home she decided to sleep over at Cassie's for a couple of days, having no trouble with lowering her guard around her and showing a more vulnerable side, further displaying how much she trusted her. Maddy also never listened to any gossip that revolved around Cassie, and her sexual life, confirming that she liked her just the way she was. Whenever Cassie needed any help, either by asking for relationship advice or simple outfit choices for a date, Maddy was always there to help her. She was also the first and only person she directly confessed to about dick pics, that she discovered on Nate's phone. After New Year's party, Maddy became visibly worried and suspicious about Cassie's well-being, only suspected her of having a meltdown due to her recent breakup with McKay, and fear of being alone, but still never shared any doubt that she was most likely hooking up with her abusive ex-boyfriend. Despite knowing everything that Nate has done to Maddy, including physical assault during the carnival, and her increasing guilt, Cassie still decided to have sex with him multiple times after New Year's party, eventually becoming obsessed about getting any attention from Nate; she even decided to copy Maddy's style at one point. Even when Cassie ruined her birthday party by getting shamefully drunk and vomiting on her and others in the jacuzzi, Maddy was still willing to forgive her.
After Rue revealed the truth, Maddy at first enraged intended to beat up Cassie, which later escalated into tears due to the realization that their friendship was built on lies. She fell into a state of melancholy, not being able to understand how Cassie could throw their friendship for a man that put her through so much suffering. After seeing Cassie's new look and her openly entering into the relationship with Nate, she sarcastically remarked how she at least looks the part.
NO! YES! Fuck it, I'm in love with Nate Jacobs, and he is in love with me, and you know, fuck, so don't give me that look Maddy, because I didn't fuck your boyfriend, you two were broken up for three weeks and three days before we even had sex, so I didn't betray you! Plus you guys are terrible for each other, and you know I'm right, and you guys can all judge me if you want, but I do not care, I HAVE NEVER, EVER BEEN HAPPIER!
In Season 2, Cassie's wardrobe revolves around the luxurious brand Prada, while her sister Lexi is mostly seen in Miu Miu's pieces; this is intentional to show a contrast between the Howard sisters; Miu Miu is often referred to as "Prada’s little sister", and Lexi is portrayed as the timid younger sister who’s often in Cassie's shadow, while Cassie's outfits emphasize strongly on her femininity, and her body features which made her popular among her peers.