He is coming back…and my heart hasn’t stopped beating. Can it be considered beating when it is inches from leaping out of my chest, and flopping around the freshly cleaned wood floors like a dying fish? I don’t know, but I think it’s one and the same. I didn’t think that I would have this reaction, but here I am, writing like a fury and my heart all aflutter like a virginal bride in the nineteenth century on her wedding night. My hands also haven’t stopped shaking, so I am quite shocked that I am writing as legibly as I am.
When I got the news he was coming back, I wasn’t sure that I was being told the truth. I have been lied to before about his return, and this time was no different in my mind. But when Delilah told me, I had to believe her. She was his closest friend, and has been my secret ally since Cameron left three years ago. Since he broke my heart, and left town. In hindsight, I was glad that S.O.B. left, because I would have never moved on. But at the time, I thought him a coward, and I think I still do in the back of my mind.
This journal is my own, and no one would ever dare cross its sacred pages, but I feel I have to recount our history.
I met Cameron too many years ago, when I was a naïve twenty-one year old at a beach party. I glimpsed him from across two bonfires, sitting at the foot of the shore, watching the waves roll in just inches from his feet. I thought he was so handsome; his dark hair blowing around in the cool night air, and his jeans so eloquently rolled up in protection from the water. What struck me most, since I had not seen his full face, was his nose. It was a fine nose. That makes me laugh; thinking back on how I thought his nose was so attractive. And then, I saw the rest of him when our friends called him back to the fires with hot dogs. I sat around the larger bonfire where he was, and drank my hard lemonade while watching him devour a hot dog. We were introduced to one another not too much later that night. He noticed that I was uncomfortable by the increasing rambunctiousness of our drunken friends, and we walked along the shore together in the moonlight.
And we began dating right at that moment. We never officially went out on a first date, and he even kissed me that first night we met. And we dated for almost two-and-a-half years. And then, it abruptly ended. He said it wasn’t gelling for him, which I knew was a lie; he was scared. Scared that he was feeling something stronger than he had in a long, long time, and he didn’t want to get hurt. So instead, he hurt me. My friends were pretty damn sure I was going to off myself I was so hurt by this abrupt ending. He left town a week after he broke it off. He left his friends to sell his furniture, end his apartment lease, and erase almost all traces he’d left around town. The only trouble was; I was still around. And so was every place we’d been to together.
I couldn’t go near a beach for a year. I took alternative routes to places when I went out of state, so I could avoid the beach, because I would totally lose my sanity if I saw or heard the ocean. Movie-going was a bitch, because a lot of movies that came out three years ago had beaches in them. But Delilah told me to “Stop being such a whiny bitch, and get on with your goddamn life. Do you think that Cameron is sitting wherever the hell he is, thinking about you? No! And he doesn’t deserve all this doom and gloom you’re feeling. Get on with your fucking life, and live.”
And I did.
But now, I feel backpedal coming. And I am afraid. If I should happen to run into Cam while doing my daily thing, how will I react? Will I turn into a sobbing woman, or will I beat the living shit out of him? Or will I surprise myself and be completely calm? Only time will tell. For now, Cameron Avery is coming back. And it is my special mission to maintain my sanity, and to not allow a pretty face to sway my personal growth these past two-and-a-half years.
God, I hope I can achieve this.
I knew Cam wasn’t coming back for another two weeks, so I relaxed and went away for a few days. And when I returned, pandemonium had set in. I had received dozens of voicemails—the one damn time I don’t check my cell phone on a trip, and people just looked at me in my car in the most unusual way. I pulled into the parking lot at a nearby lake, and decided to check my messages.
Received August 27 at 3:01 PM: Liv, it’s Delilah. I just wanted to let you that Cameron has come back.
My heart froze.
He said he couldn’t wait any longer to come back to Sugar Hill, and so he came back. Said he was shocked not to see you while he was shopping at Shaw’s, and that he looks very much forward to seeing you around. I have to go, since I am at Applebee’s with him, hiding in the bathroom. Just thought I would let you know, so you can gather yourself together before coming back from Burlington. See you soon.
I deleted the message, and listened to another one.
Olivia, I haven’t heard from you by either text or voicemail. I hope you haven’t plunged over a bridge or something while you’re in Burlington. Anyway, to recap what I said in the previous voicemail is that Cam is back. I hope this message finds you alive and well, Livvie. Call me back soon.
I didn’t bother listening to the other messages. I knew they would be from a slew of people that knew of our past, and were either warning me that he was back or calling to pour lemon juice into my still-stinging wound. I deleted the other messages, after obsessively deleting as each message began. And after I was finished with that fun task, I got out of the car at Moore Lake, and made sure there was no one in sight. And then, I screamed at the top of my lungs, got back in the car and drove off. I stopped at Walgreens in Littleton, where I called Delilah.
“Olivia? Where the hell have you been, and why didn’t you call me back?”
“I decided to not turn on my cell phone, which took a lot of inner strength, but I needed a break from electronics. And I just got your messages, along with everyone else’s in Sugar Hill and the surrounding areas in Northern Grafton County it seems. So, he’s back, is he?”
“Yes, I am,” I heard from behind me. I heard the faint sounds of Delilah’s voice shooting out questions in my ear. I slowly turned on my heel, my shopping basket distributing enough weight to keep me upright. I turned, right into his face.
And in an instant, five years of memories hit me like a Mack truck. He was smirking that “smirk”, the one I remembered from our little tiffs. And I was amazed that it didn’t affect me the way it did when we were together. But his eyes, his hair, and that damn nose counteracted the smirk.
“Nice leather jacket,” I remarked. “It’s hot outside, and you’re in that thing.”
He glanced down at his jacket, and chuckled lightly.
“Yes, it’s one of my favorite pieces of clothing. I like to think of it as protection from those damn mosquitoes that plague me so this time of year.”
“Hmm…I suppose you have a point,” I replied weakly.
I heard faint screaming, and realized I’d left Delilah on the phone.
“I’ll call you back,” I spoke quickly, closing the phone.
I turned back to Cameron, and looked into his cart.
“Nice to see you’re buying the essentials, Cameron. Beer, truck magazines, and SNL: The Best of Will Farrell, Part 2.”
I went silent a moment, and then replied, “How funny it is that you buy truck magazines when you own a black BMW, the polar opposite of the ‘hick-mobiles’ as you refer to them.”
“I can say the same of your deodorant, PEOPLE magazine, and InStyle Weddings. Did you get engaged recently, Olivia?”
“No,” I replied quickly. “I just like looking at the pictures and articles.” I stroked the cover somberly. “Besides, what business is it of yours if I were engaged? You gave up any right to give a shit when you dumped me three years ago.”
Cameron smiled, and stepped closer, getting in my face.
“How could I have forgotten we’re broken up? I haven’t felt this free in a long time.”
I backed up, and fought back the tears that were trying to come out my eyes. I also fought the urge to swipe him with my shopping basket.
“I have to get going,” I replied curtly. “It was lovely seeing you after all these years,” I replied impassively, and walked away.
I drove home a short time later, and I wanted to take my time, but Sugar Hill is only twenty-two minutes from Littleton. I knew as soon as I got into town that people knew I’d seen him already. I just kept on driving, until I got to my house. I took all my stuff inside, and promptly pulled out my always-helpful pint of Chubby Hubby, and watched TV.
Delilah came over later that night, and we talked.
“So, he acted like an asshole in front of most of Littleton?”
“Well…no. Considering 2,500 people couldn’t possibly fit in there,” I smiled. “But yes, he insulted me in front of a few people we both know quite well. He almost seemed happy to have said such an asshole thing in front of everyone. I don’t know how I managed to keep myself from throwing the basket at his head.”
“You have incredible self-control,” she piped, sticking her spoon into my Chubby Hubby. “Because we all know what happened to Robert Dunwell when he called me the ‘C’ word in Wal-Mart. That in itself was a marvel. I am surprised the police didn’t arrest me for assaulting him right in front of them.”
I laughed at the image of Robert getting his ass kicked in front of Littleton’s finest.
“Listen, don’t let one little bad incident make you revert into your former self. And don’t let it keep you from enjoying the upcoming fall. Because this is your favorite time of year,” she smiled.
I went to bed that night glad to have talked with Delilah. Even though she was still very close with Cameron, I knew I could count on her to keep our conversations private.
I went back to work the next day, and encountered nosy people asking for details on “The Walgreen’s Tangle”, as it was being called. I was polite, and said it was none of their business. I knew even though I wouldn’t discuss it, Cameron was spilling the beans to anyone who asked. And that was my life for the first two weeks after his return.
By the middle of September, the weather had changed, and the leaves were making their change as well. It was my favorite time of the year, the transition from the humid summers to the cool air of autumn. I cherished this season for my daily walks in my backyard amongst the new-fallen leaves. It was in the backyard that I remembered I needed some new Halloween decorations. I was bored with my Jane Austen movies, so I decided to drive out to Wal-Mart to see if they’d put up their Halloween department. As I drove along the road, I noticed all the leaves. I was never one of those people who admired the leaves, but I noticed the longer I lived in New England, the more the leaves were part of my life. At the fork, I decided to go into Littleton, since Cameron was more likely to go to the Wal-Mart in Woodsville.
“I wish we had a Target. Cameron would never set foot in one,” I muttered. I turned on my Halloween mix, and continued on my way.
Once inside, I grabbed a cart and headed for the back of the store. Just as I had suspected, they didn’t have a lot up. I grabbed a box of new lights, and headed to another department. I was looking at a vampire movie, when I heard the all-too familiar sound of Cameron’s footsteps. I quietly groaned, and continued looking at the movie.
“In case you’re wondering, it’s a good one. There’s no excessive violence, just the way you like it.”
He was trying to extend an olive branch. I look over at him, still in that black leather jacket.
“I want to apologize for my behavior a few weeks back. I was suffering from some serious jet-lag of sorts, and I got testy with you.”
I raised my eyebrows at him.
“Exactly where have you been the last three years?”
“Portland, Oregon.” My eyebrows went even higher. “Yeah, I know. I went ridiculously far away. Portland was nice, though.”
“Obviously. You lived there for three years. I couldn’t live someplace with the labels that place has. Saddest place in the country? Not for me. I like my four seasons.”
“Portland is cloudy a lot, but you get past that. It’s a really nice city, full of progress and awesome transportation.”
“Then why the hell are you back in the North Country?”
“What can I say? I got homesick when you guys were getting snow. And I missed the autumns here. I mean, did you see the trees on the way here?”
I started laughing.
“What is so funny, Miss Sturges?”
“You are! Never once have you given a crap about the leaves. And you leave for three years, and the story’s now changed. You crack me up.”
He playfully shoved me.
“So, assuming by your laughter and the fact you haven’t beaten the shit out of me yet, I’m forgiven?”
“For now.” I took the DVD, and put it in my cart.
“Can I be presumptuous?”
“I don’t know, can you?” I spoke, looking at a copy of Star Trek.
“Can I take you to lunch? Possibly at Ninety-Nine?”
I continued glancing at Star Trek.
“What do think of Zachary Quinto as Spock?”
“He’s awesome. How about lunch?”
“I don’t know, I think I prefer Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy.” I smiled evilly.
Cameron was getting annoyed.
“Lunch sounds great, so long as you don’t try and take advantage of me.”
Lunch was great. We talked about what we’d been doing the last three years, our friends, and just enjoyed each other’s company. We knew that people around us knew who we were, and were surprised we were being as cordial as we were. Some left to make phone calls, and were recording videos and photos of us having a conversation.
“If another person snaps a photo of us, I swear on everything that is holy, I will cause a ruckus.”
“Don’t sweat it, Cam. People are shocked to see us not ripping one another apart. I admit it has been nice not wanting to kill you. Can I admit something?”
Cameron gestures for me to share.
“I was really afraid of how I’d react to your being back here.” I sipped my soda. “I mean, the past we shared, and the fact we live in a tiny town. For the last three years, people would look at me when I went into stores in Sugar Hill. Old ladies would tell me how much of a dog you were.”
“I know. My grandma was one of those ladies. She told me so herself. So, I understand where you’re coming from. And I was afraid too. I know the breakup was hard on you, and besides the reaction of the town, you had me rethinking this choice.”
I smiled awkwardly, and looked at the TV screen, which projected the Red Sox game. Cameron stared in impatient disgust as they were losing to some team. I smiled as I watched him drop his head into his hands, and run his hands through his hair in frustration. I picked a French fry off his plate, and dipped it in the scampi sauce from my pasta.
I called out his name, trying to divert his attention from annoyance at the Sox.
“Cameron? Can I suggest something?” He looked at me expectantly. “Don’t watch the game. You’re only twenty-nine, and I would hate to see you be prematurely bald due to some stupid Red Sox game.”
He agreed, and went back to his burger. I found myself aimlessly staring as he ate his French fries. In the back of my mind, I was being mindful to not get lost in the aura that was Cameron, knowing that it would lead to nothing but grief.
“Cam, why did you go the Wal-Mart here in Littleton? Why not go to Woodsville?”
“I didn’t want to go to a Super Center. Besides, I know the layout of this one better. I wasn’t here when the Woodsville Wal-Mart was built.”
“Oh, duh,” I laughed. “I kind of forgot that.”
“You haven’t changed a bit in three years, Liv. Can I still call you Liv?”
“Of course. And I have changed in three years. I am no longer looking for a relationship to complete me, and I don’t have a fear about going to the movies alone. Not that I really ever did, but I no longer have that issue,” I smiled.
“I guess your outward appearance hasn’t changed then,” he conceded.
“Have I changed, Olivia?”
“Yeah, but for the better. I mean that leather jacket is pretty awesome. It kind of gives you this wicked edge you never had before. I like it. You were always kind of a bad-ass, now it’s a little more apparent,” I smiled brightly.
Suddenly, the music changed. ‘Precious’ by Depeche Mode began playing, which had become our “official” song. Cameron and I clammed up. We couldn’t look at each other for more than a few seconds while it played. Once it was over, we went back to normal.
“I should get going,” I spoke. “I need to look for Halloween stuff at Hallmark, and maybe go to TJ Maxx.”
“Yeah. I want to go to the bookstore and see if they have this book by Gabriel García Márquez. It was nice having lunch with you again, Liv.”
“How much do I owe you?” I asked when the bill arrived.
“Nothing, I got it today.”
“I couldn’t possibly let you do that, Cameron.”
“Olivia? Shut it. I have it this time. You can pay when we go to Miller’s Fare. Are you available Thursday?”
“I am. What are we doing, breakfast or lunch? I love breakfast, but if you want to do lunch, it’s cool too.”
“We’ll do a brunch thing. Say, eleven o’clock?”
“Sounds great. Thanks for lunch, Cam.”
I spun around.
“I need your number to confirm our plans?”
“Right,” I breathed. I gave him my number and went on my way.
Hallmark has and always will be a fun experience for me. The first thing I always do is check for new fragrances in their Yankee Candle collection. And then, I looked at the Halloween items. And I found some really good ones. One of my close friends was working that afternoon, and asked me about seeing Cameron. We talked for a couple of minutes, and then I went to look at a birthday card. Afterward, I went to TJ Maxx. I talked with some of my old co-workers as I shopped. While perusing the food department, I ran into Liam, this guy I worked with who had a massive crush on me. He was married with a child. Although we acknowledged each other’s presence with a smile, we said nothing. I carried on looking at a package of vanilla chai tea, all the while glancing at Liam with my peripheral vision. He was stealing glances at me when he thought I wasn’t noticing. I smiled at this realization, and continued past him as he did markdowns. As I passed the baby department on the way to Men’s, I stopped to gaze at a newborn boy outfit. I stroked the soft fabric, and went on my way.
I found a great Halloween themed tee for me to wear at night, when Cameron approached me.
“We seem to meet everywhere, except at Hallmark. Are you stalking me, Cameron?”
“On the contrary. I thought about my current clothing situation, and I realized most of my clothes are for Portland’s climate. And New Hampshire’s is starkly different, so I decided to see what TJ Maxx had for sweaters. It’s merely a coincidence.”
I glanced at him with an unconvinced air.
“Nice shirt, by the way. I never thought of orange as your color.”
“Well, there’s a purple one. Do you think purple is more my color, Philip?”
“Why are you calling me Philip?”
“You know Philip Bloch, the stylist to the stars?”
He got it. And the look on his face was pure comedic gold.
“I ought to kill you for that,” he remarked.
“You could, but I am surrounded by friends in this store, so they’d kill you as well,” I smiled.
“Touché,” he replied.
“Well, it was lovely seeing you again, Phil.” And I went to the registers, smiling like a maniac.
It’s amazing how time passes. Before I knew it, the trees were almost naked, I had decorated my little house for Halloween, and the breeze in the air indicated it wouldn’t be too long before we had our first snow of the season. I had seen more of Cameron, mostly around other stores we frequented. And then, I got an invitation to Delilah’s annual Halloween bash.
I was glad that Delilah had begun throwing the Halloween party again, because it was the one thing I looked forward to in the autumn. She had been a conscientious friend, and stopped throwing them after Cameron left New Hampshire, and the entire East coast altogether. I hadn’t even got inside my house, and I was already concocting costume ideas. And by the end of the night, I decided I was going as Holly Golightly.
October 28 came, and with it, came the frigid air that is usually accompanied by snow flurries. I only hoped the snowy weather would hold out until after Delilah’s party, which was in two days. Knowing my luck and choice of costume, that wasn’t going to happen.
“Hello, Mr. Whitby, how are you this morning?”
“I am doing just fine, Olivia. I just hope we don’t get any snow. George hasn’t brought my snow tires over yet.”
“I am sure that it won’t, Mr. Whitby. Now you go have a seat, and the nurse will come and get you shortly.”
“Thank you, Olivia. It’s a shame that evil Cameron Avery had to come back to the North Country,” he piped, shakily seating himself.
“Yes, it’s a downright shame,” I agreed.
Eyes widened when Cameron strode in through the office doors. Everyone looked my way, and “covertly” marveled at my inner strength. I didn’t even notice, since I was so focused on the sky outside.
“You know. Staring at it with condescension doesn’t change the weather,” Cameron laughed.
“Maybe, but it could work once in my life,” I reasoned. “My costume is a dress, and if it snows, I will need burly male escorts to get me in and out of the party.”
“Who or what, are you going as?”
“That is a very great secret. One I shall not break until the party,” I smiled.
“Sure. You’re a Jane Austen character. You just gave it away.”
“Right. What are you doing here? You’re not a patient of Dr. Farthing’s.”
“Yes, I am. You booked me an appointment two days ago.”
“Whatever.” I turned in my chair, stuffing papers onto a clipboard. “Here you are, Cameron. Fill out these forms, and give them back to me when you’re finished. And then, Dr. Farthing will see you.”
A little while later, Mr. Whitby emerged, just as Cameron was called by the nurse.
“You! You caused Miss Sturges so much emotional turmoil. I am going to kick your ass!”
I got up from the desk, and grabbed Mr. Whitby’s arm.
“Mr. Whitby! He’s reformed, I’ve forgiven him!” Mr. Whitby relaxed, and patted my hand.
“It’s your decision, Olivia. I just hope it was the right one,” he smiled sweetly. Cameron continued to follow the nurse, and I sat back at the desk, laughing silently.
The work week passed easily, and without bodily harm to anyone. Finally, it was the night of the Halloween party. I pulled on my black dress, pulled my hair into a bun, and drove out to Delilah’s. When I arrived, Cameron was pulling up in his black BMW. I stopped, anxious to see what he had dressed as. He stepped out, dressed as Don Draper. I silently laughed, and walked up to him.
“Don Draper, where is Betty?”
“At home with the children, where she belongs,” he smiled. He eyes me up and down. “And, who are we?”
“Holly Golightly,” I mused. He nodded his head approvingly, and smiled.
“May I escort you in, Miss Golightly?”
“It would be an honor. Cameron, how did you manage to be Don Draper? Your hair was longer a few days back.”
“I styled it in such a way that you cannot tell the actual length of my hair. Intelligent, non?”
“C'est certainement autre choisi,” I replied.
Once inside, it was all fun and games, like old times. I spent a good portion of the evening explaining to people who Holly Golightly was, and after awhile I just started saying I was Audrey Hepburn. It was fun watching Cam walk around with a candy cigarette hanging from his lip, and watching him play Halloween games while trying to be gentle on his “costume.” Women spent the evening staring at him from afar, engrossed by the suave man in the grey suit. When it came time for the costume judging, I opted out of consideration.
“Alright everyone, it’s time to announce the winners of best Halloween costume couple. For their originality alone, we award unanimously Cameron Avery and Olivia Sturges as the 1960s couple.”
I popped my head out from the kitchen, and came into the room.
“Del, I didn’t nominate myself. I don’t want to win any awards,” I whispered.
“It’s too late for that now, Miss Golightly,” Cameron pipes in, grabbing my arm. “What do we win?”
“You win this amazing goodie basket for your home from TJ Maxx. You can just split what you have here between you both later.”
I took the proffered basket, and walked back into the kitchen. Cameron followed behind.
“I want those jelly beans and the Frankenstein cookie. Why didn’t you want to enter yourself in the contest?”
“No one knows who the hell I am, and I didn’t want the eternal glory of winning.”
I glanced out the window.
Cameron turned his attention to the window.
“It’s snowing!” His face resembled an elementary school child on a snow day.
“I need to go,” I murmured. “You can take the basket with you, and I will come by in the morning to continue dividing the goodies.”
I ran off to say goodbye to Delilah, and grabbed my stuff on the way out the door. I ran right into Cameron.
“What are you doing?”
“There’s snow on the ground, and you said at work you’d need burly men to take you to your car. So, I am being nice, and helping you.”
“You’re hardly a strapping fellow,” I giggled.
Cameron outstretched his arms, and whistled for me to get into them.
“Cam, I can walk five feet to the car. It’s not necessary.”
“Come over here right now, or I will carry you over my shoulder.”
I looked at Cameron incredulously.
“Please. You’re not going to sling me over your shoulder!”
We stood there briefly, staring each other down. Just as it appeared that Cameron was going to back down, he flew at me, and I screamed bloody murder. Before I knew what had happened, I was over his shoulder, looking at the snow-dusted ground. Cameron took my car keys, and seated me into my car without much effort.
“You’re so dead when I see you next, Cameron Avery.” He smiled devilishly, and closed the car door, waving me goodbye.
The snow fell hard the next few days, and it never really left. Before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving. Everyone else I knew went out of town for the holiday, leaving me alone with my chick-flicks and alternative Thanksgiving feast. All in all, it was an enjoyable evening. Around six, the doorbell rang. I groaned as I climbed off the couch, pausing Mr. Darcy mid-sentence. I walked to the door, and saw the top of Cam’s head peeking at me. I opened the door, and Cameron turns to me, with a broad smile on his face.
“What are you doing here?”
“I brought pumpkin pie.”
“For what? I am not having anyone over for Thanksgiving. Especially when I had my dinner two hours ago.”
Cameron’s face fell. He peeked into the house, and saw Mr. Darcy frozen.
“Having another enticing evening with Mr. Darcy, Olivia?”
“If you must know, yes. I curled up on the couch with Pride and Prejudice. Do you have a problem with that?”
“Have I ever had a problem with your Jane Austen movies?”
“Yes. You weren’t all that fond of Persuasion.”
“Well, it’s dumb,” he smiled.
“Since you’re outside in the cold, and you did bring pie, would you like to come inside and watch the saga of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet with me?”
“I would love to,” he smiled happily.
He put down the pie, and removed his peacoat.
“Do you want me to remove my shoes?”
“Only if you want to,” I chimed.
He bent down, and took off his shoes, while I grabbed plates for the pie. Cameron went into the silverware drawer, and pulled out a knife and two forks.
“This is kind of like old times,” he reminisced. “Us having dessert together, and then resigning to the couch for some period drama you end up making me love.”
I smiled boastfully.
“Where are we eating the pie?”
“Right there, on the couch. I’m not holding off Mr. Darcy for pumpkin pie. Where did you get pie at the last minute?”
“I didn’t. I pre-ordered it at Miller’s Fare a few weeks back.”
“So you assumed I would let you in with one of Dave’s pies?”
“No. I just thought about you, and I realized you were probably alone at home, watching some pathetic movie.”
He smiled mischievously, and I slugged him in the arm. He walked toward the couch, and I kicked him in the butt.
“What was that for?”
“Halloween. I said I would get you back, but I never got the opportunity.”
He chuckled, and plopped himself on a seat.
Watching Pride and Prejudice was fun. Cameron sat through the last two hours without making too much noise, except to scream at some random character. He threw popcorn that he’d made at the TV when Darcy and Elizabeth got married, and laughed like an ass. We watched a little bit of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving before Cameron decided he should head home.
“I have shopping to do tomorrow,” he smiled.
“You are going to brave the crowds of Black Friday?”
“Of course. I did it when we dated for you, and going alone might be loads more fun.”
“How did I make it such a bad experience, pray?”
“I don’t know. I think women make it painful by default,” his face broke out into a childish smile.
“Jerk,” I laughed, slugging him.
I walked him to the door, and flipped the lights to outside for him to find his way. But nothing happened, and when I flipped the switch again, my power went out.
“Shit,” I muttered, searching through the darkness for a flashlight or match.
Suddenly, light illuminated the room. I turned toward the light, to find Cameron holding a Zippo in front of his face.
“Where in hell did you get that?”
“I bought it while I was living in Portland. I took up smoking very briefly after I moved,” he stated bluntly. “I think I lasted all of eight days as a smoker. I remembered my grandfather dying a very painful death from those bastards. But, I kept the Zippo because it cost me so much money.”
I nodded my head, and walked to my candle drawer. I pulled out a candle, and looked over at Cameron.
“Hey James Dean, bring your lighter over here.”
I stuck out a candle at his lighter, and he lit the wick. I gestured that he could close his lighter, which he did. We walked back to the door, and I handed the candle to Cameron.
“What’s this for?”
“So you can find your way to your car. I don’t need a candle. I know my way through my house. But maneuvering through my yard is hard for even the well trained.”
Cameron just smiled at me; in the way he used to when he thought I was being a dork. I didn’t let him know I recognized that look, but I had put that recollection into the Trapper Keeper in my brain. Cameron took his lit red candle, and stepped out the door.
“If you need any help, send up a flare,” I joked. He turned and slowly headed out to his car. I shut the door, pulling my lantern out from beneath the counter, and lit it. A minute later, there was a knock at the door. I walked to the door, and there stood Cameron.
“I got lost,” he smiled sheepishly.
I laughed, and grabbed my lantern and walked with him outside.
Eventually, we found his car with three inches of snow on top of it.
“Thank you, Liv. I might have died if you hadn’t helped me.”
“No problem. You have a safe drive home, and I will see you when I see you.”
“Yeah,” he sighed.
I turned to walk back to the house, when I heard Cameron’s footsteps behind me.
“What is it now Cameron? Is your car not turning over?”
In an instant, I was spun around and my lips were planted on his.
It was foreign to me, the feeling of his mouth after three years. Nothing had changed in those three years, but somehow I had forgotten the electricity that his mouth provided. It was late fall, and I was totally warm from head to toe. My mind went fuzzy, and I almost gave into the feeling of his lips against mine, when I suddenly remembered who I was kissing. I pulled back swiftly, and stepped back several feet from him.
“Why the hell did you do that? We’re over, Cameron. We’re friends, and I don’t kiss my friends.”
“Did we officially agree that we were friends?”
“Uh…yes, we did. When you broke up with me in 2007, and promptly left fucking New Hampshire for the Northwest. It might have taken a little bit longer for me than you to adjust to the ‘friends’ thing, but I eventually came to accept it. So don’t you dare go back on that now.”
Cam took a step closer, which caused me to shove an arm out toward him, barring him from trying to step closer.