A/N: I know it's been a while since I've put a story up, but the updates will hopefully be faster, and please excuse the first chapter. It's a bit slow but things will definitely pick up (:
Tarika Hollis furrowed her eyebrows in both confusion and frustration as she reread the chemistry equation for the third time. "You know we need high school community service hours right. We should find some place to volunteer, as long as it's reasonably easy," Cam said to her. He had made himself very comfortable on her blue-and-purple bed, lying down tossing her teddy bear up and down repeatedly.
"Cam I love you, but just shut up right now. Don't you have homework to do?" she replied from her white wooden desk, which was across the room from him.
"Finished it," he replied in monotone.
"Day off today."
"A social life?"
"You are my social life," he said with a grin, obviously amusing himself. Cameron Norton was hardly lacking friends. With his 5'11 height, matched with tousled dark brown hair, light green eyes, and a smile that could cause a heart attack, he was just short of being gay. His complete lack of style said it all, but thanks to Tari doing most of his shopping for him, it didn't turn out that bad.
"Mmhmm really. Then be useful and help me with this. PV=nRT? What the hell is 'R'?" she asked him, giving up on the problem.
"You're such an idiot Tari, I thought you're supposed to be the smart one. R's just a constant. Always use .0821 no matter what," he replied finally putting the poor bear down on her floral-printed pillow cover and sitting up.
"Right, totally knew that. Okay five more minutes and I'm done too." They heard the creaking of the side door opening, which meant her dad was home. "Staying for dinner?"
"When do I not," he snorted. "I'm starving let's go before your mom calls us." The smell of the spinach and cheese ravioli had wafted upstairs and Tarika could hardly contain her hunger as well, so she followed him out of her room and down the cream-carpeted stairs whose walls were adorned with pictures of the family. "When's Ben coming home? He promised he'd help me with my Lacrosse cradle, it's too weak."
"Christmas break, he promised he'd drive down from Yale. Now that he's in New Haven he thinks he's too good for New Jersey," Tari joked as the pair walked into the spotless black and white kitchen. Her brother Ben was more of his brother than her own. He'd taught Cam most of what he knew about sports since his dad was never there for him. In fact, Ben had introduced him to the sport in the first place, and Cam was now the co-captain of Bartley High School's varsity lacrosse team. The always saved captain for a senior and Cam was a shoo-in to take that honor next year.
"Cameron! I didn't know you were here too. I made some extra food for you anyway, and I was planning on dropping it off to your house for you after we ate," she chuckled.
"Thanks Mrs. Hollis," he beamed. Tarika smiled as she took her seat at the dinner table. He was always at his happiest around her parents. They were the closest he had to real parents of his own ever since his mom passed away in a car accident five years earlier. Ever since then, his workaholic father just submerged himself into his work even more to distract himself from the pain and rarely had time for his son anymore.
Of course that did mean Cam had a gigantic house mostly all to himself considering the amount of overseas business trips his dad attended, and the mansion was complete with a killer indoor pool, upstairs gym, and in-home movie theater. But Cam insisted he liked spending his time in her house instead.
"Cameron my boy!" Tarika's dad turned around from his place in front of the television when he heard Mrs. Hollis address Cam. "How's the season going? I'll be there for your semi-final and championship game, you just have to tell me when the dates are confirmed." Mr. Hollis got up from the couch and moved towards Cam.
"I don't know if we'll make it that far sir," he grinned. "Clifton's defense 'accidentally' slashed at one of our top shooters so his wrist is broken for the rest of the season," Cam informed him, making air quotes with his hands.
"Well that would make cradling, and especially shooting, difficult for the boy, wouldn't it. You boys will pull through, I know you will," he said, patting Cam on the back confidently. "You did win that game, right?"
"Yes sir, creamed them 5-0," he responded proudly.
"Honey turn off that silly program. Goodness knows how many times you've seen that team play," Tarika's mom ordered her husband.
"But Charlotte, it's the Lakers versus the Pacers! Of course the Lakers will win, but -," Charlotte cut him off.
"Stu," she warned. "It's dinnertime." Tarika laughed at her parents as she helped herself to dinner.
Cam had become just as much a part of the family as Tarika was along the past five years. Mrs. Hollis had been roommates and best friends with Cam's mom and they had stayed in touch for years after college. They lost communication for a brief period of time, only to find out a few years later that their kids attended the same elementary school. Safe to say, Cam was never a stranger to the Hollis household, but after the passing of his mom, he became a stranger to his own home. A passerby would think the only regular inhabitants of the house were the cook and housekeeper since Cam opted to sleep in Ben's room most nights anyway.
The dinner conversations went from the recent investment options to the Lakers' winning streak and everything in between. Eventually Tarika interjected, changing the topic of discussion, "Thank you Cam for reminding me, Mom do you know of any good local volunteer options? Not just for credit, but it'd be a great experience too."
"Well I'm just in it for the community service hours. They look good on a résumé and I'm shooting for beating Ben's Ivy League legacy," Cam showed his honesty.
"I was just talking to Darla the other day actually, she was telling me how there are a few spots open at the senior center home. Should I sign you two up for that?" Mrs. Hollis suggested.
"Sounds perfect Mom, but who's Darla?" Tarika questioned.
"Oh I met her at the gym the other day, didn't I tell you? She's a lovely woman, you should meet her one day sweetie."
"Of course Mom." Tarika just smiled to herself. There she goes being all anti-social again, she thought sarcastically with a grin. There wasn't a person in the world her mother couldn't befriend.
"I'll just call her tomorrow morning before I go to work and she'll have you start on Monday. It's right down the street from the library actually, so you could do your homework there until it's time for you to help out at the senior home after school each day," she mapped out for us.
"And I trust that you won't get yourself or my daughter killed while driving Cameron?" Mr. Hollis raised his eyebrow jokingly.
"I'll do my best Mr. Hollis," Cam replied. He had just turned seventeen a few months ago and wasn't an expert driver yet, but he was pretty close.
"Mr. Hollis? Do I or do I not call you 'son' boy, and do you or do you not live under my roof more than you do your own?" Stu asked Cam.
"Uh, yes, yes sir," Cam replied nervously to his sudden outburst.
"Then you either address me as Stu or Dad. Mr. Hollis makes me feel like you're one of those pesky little teenagers trying to take my daughter on a date again."
Cam breathed a silent sigh of relief while Tarika groaned for her dad's embarrassing behavior. Not that Cam was anyone new, but still.
A/N: Okay so I haven't put a story up in forever, so I'd love any criticism you might have! Thanks for any input in advance.