"Hey there guys! How is everyone?" I said sweetly walking into the cage. The sounds of the six orangutangs filled my ears, all excited to see me. They swooped from their ledges and crowded around me. I pet each one in turn. All of these orangutangs were young, they needed to be exposed to humans more than the other animals so they can learn we mean them no harm.
I worked at an animal reserve here in Daytona Beach. Every single animal here at the Florida Animal Reserve is a rescue. Whether it's from deforestation; or in these guys' case poaching. Each of their mothers was poached and was left to die on their own. It made my heart sink every time I was reminded how great all these animals are, and someone tried to harm them.
I fed the orangutans and played with each one in turn. Ginger was the smallest of the six and really shy. It took me awhile to coax her into playing with the others. Red on the other hand was a ball of fire-hence the name- he was constantly moving. Whether it was swinging around the enclosure or playing with my hair. The others were all playful and sweet, but those two really stood out. Partly because they were brother and sister. Red had been found caring for Ginger as a newborn, and it was a miracle she survived. She was still underweight, but she's gaining weight every day.
I was feeding the youngest of the six, Layla when I heard the gate open and close. I looked over my shoulder to see Cam Denver standing there, arms crossed over his chest. I rolled my eyes and turned back to feeding Layla.
"Well, hello to you too Brook. Thanks for the warm welcome." He said, I ignored him.
You see, Cam and I dated awhile back. We were the couple no one would think would break up. Not many people agreed with us at first, but they grew used to us and soon thought we were the perfect couple. I thought I loved him. Well, to be honest I still do. I thought he loved me. That is, until he dumped me for some girl his parents thought he'd be better off with.
His parents never liked me. I was dirty to them, because I wasn't rich and I wasn't afraid to say what I feel. Granted what I said wasn't always put in the gentlest of ways, but I worked for everything that I have. The chick they had him set up with was a sure to be stick in the mud lawyer or doctor, or something else boring I'm sure. She had about as much personality as a rock, unless you count sideways glares, and a lot of sneering towards yours truly, a personality. It had been two months since we broke up and he started dating what's-her-face. And since we convinced Jennie for us to have the same shifts when we were dating, I saw him constantly.
I heard his soft footsteps come closer and he sat down across from me with another bottle of formula for Ginger-she still needed a special diet to gain weight- and she came running at him. He laughed when she crashed into him and started climbing onto his shoulders looking through his hair. I couldn't help but smile at how Ginger had come to Cam so easily. She really liked him, and even when she first came here she instantly latched onto him. He had a way with all the animals here. It was one of the reasons I fell for him. I thought he had a passion for animals, and wanted to help them.
I was wrong. Instead he's going to listen to what mommy and daddy tell him. Go to law school, he hates rules, let alone laws. Become a doctor, he faints at the sight of blood. Be the President of the fricken United States, he hates politics. Yet he still got accepted to Yale and is probably going there next year with his lame-ass girlfriend while I go to vet school at Oregon State.
"It's interesting, to see how a beautiful creature like Ginger here, to be put through so much torture and pain, yet still find kindness and an even rarer beauty in her heart. Don't you think Brook?" He said, looking at me with those big brown eyes. I knew that he wasn't really talking about Ginger. My heart committed suicide right there, jumping out of my ribcage and onto the floor.
"Yeah, too bad you'll miss out on her next year when you're at Yale with your girlfriend." I said with an edge on my voice. I glared at him, how could he toy with my emotions when he had a girlfriend? He never did that when we were dating. Maybe I had misjudged him; maybe it was good that we broke up because he's obviously a player. Oh please, he never was, he's not like that and I know it.
"Well, I hope she has fun over there at Yale. I'm sure she'll be a great lawyer or doctor or something sophisticated." He said with a smile. It was my smile. The way one side was a little higher than the other. And how it showed his perfect teeth and his dimples.
Wait, what was he saying?
"What do you mean you hope she has fun? You're going with her." I said my voice softening just a little.
"Well, I've decided to go where my interests lie. And it lies in a faraway place called Oregon State University where the girl of my dreams will be attending next year." He said, looking at me with hopeful and almost shy eyes.
My heart came back to life and crammed into my throat not letting me speak. I just sat there looking at him with misty eyes. Was what he was saying really true? Did he really pick me over what's-her-face?
"W-what? You're going to OSU?" I finally choked out. My heart swelled with hope, I could hear the blood rush in my ears sounding like a roar.
He scooted closer to me, Ginger still in his lap. He scooted so close our knees were touching. I searched those big brown eyes for a lie, anything to give him away. He wasn't like that, he never lied to me. He smiled my smile again, and it made me want to cry with happiness. Ginger gently took my hand and I watched her take Cam's hand and she pressed out fingers together. She made a sound of joy and then held both of our hands, playing with them but never letting go of either.
"I couldn't have said it any better Ginger." I whispered and looked back at Cam.
He slowly leaned in and kissed me. It was just a gentle little kiss that made my lips tingle wanting more. Ginger made a whole bunch of happy noises and we heard a roar of cheering. We both looked to see our whole staff cheering outside of the cage. I laughed and Cam took a hold of my little hand with his big one and I felt whole again.