����������� "So, what do you think?" The boy said nervously on
the other side of the phone.
����������� "I, I just don't know how I feel right now. I'll have
to think about it." Cami said back.
����������� "OK, that's better than a "no" I guess. I can still
come to the party tomorrow right?"
����������� "Of course, see you tomorrow." She hung up the phone.
She hated this. The boy, Jeremy Barlin had been one of her
closest friends all through high school, and now he has to tell
her he loves her? Cami Farrago didn't know what to do. Sure she
had feelings for him, and yes, she thought he was attractive, but
he had been like a brother to her. She couldn't jeopardize
they're great friendship for a two-month dating period, at the
end of which one of them would probably end up heart broken.
����������� Cami knew she didn't need time to think, she had
already made her decision. What she needed to figure out was how
to break the news to him without doing any major damage.
����������� "OK, tomorrow when he calls me, I won't even talk
about it. Maybe he'll forget." She said to herself hopefully,
even though she knew there wasn't a chance in hell. She decided
that she couldn't think about it tonight, being 2:30 already. She
needed to get some rest for the big party tomorrow. So, with a
sigh, she flicked off the lights and pulled her four warm cotton
blankets around her shivering body.
����������� The next day Cami woke to the light of the sun
warming her face. She glanced at her clock. 11:35, nine hours
of sleep, not bad, she thought to herself. She had plenty of
time to get dressed and prepare for her annual New Year's Eve
����������� Every year for the past three, the party had been a
huge success. Tons of people showed up, everyone had fun, and
someone always snuck in a little beer. Over her winter break she
had made phone call after phone call, ensuring that all the right
people were going to show up. She secured the perfect location,
the clubhouse affiliated with her housing development (her dad
would be heading there today with his friends to set things up).
She had even managed to get the local garage band, Liquid
Life, to play at her party for free. Now all that was left
to do was show up, and she knew how to make an entrance.
����������� She was just about to leave her room when her cell
began to ring. She picked it up and checked the caller ID. It was
Jeremy. She decided not to answer. She wasn't sure what provoked
her to miss the call, but something just didn't feel right. As
the last electronic tone escaped the cell's speaker, Cami walked
out of her room into the sunlight filled hallway.
����������� 7:35, the time had finally come. Her party was
planned to start at eight, although she knew the cool kids
wouldn't arrive until eight thirty. Considering the party would
go well into the night, at least until one, thirty minutes less
didn't make much of a difference.
����������� She looked at herself in her full-length bedroom
mirror. She was wearing a tight, black dress just short enough to
make the boys howl and her dad scowl. Her strawberry hair was
pulled back in a tight little knot. On her ears she wore a pair
of gold hoops that she had received as a Christmas present. The
way the florescent light bounced off of them made her sparkle.
She wished it would have the same affect on others at the party.
She headed down stairs in search of her mother.
����������� "Mom, we need to leave!" she called out. Although she
was 17, she had failed the Driving Test several times, and still
needed someone to drive her around. Normally Jeremy drove her,
he'd had his Honda Civic since he was 16, but she didn't want to
call him. He had already called her three times today. Every time
her phone rang the caller ID came up Jeremy. She had yet to
����������� "Come on mom! We're going to be late!" she shouted
again. She knew they wouldn't be late. The clubhouse was five
minutes away. But, being the perfectionist that she was, Cami
needed to be sure everything was ready when she got
there. Her parties had always run smoothly, she had made sure of
����������� "I'm coming Cam, don't worry. We'll be there with
plenty of time to spare." Her mother said, coming down the
����������� As they sat in the car and began to pull away from
her two-story house, her phone rang again. She pulled it out and
checked the caller ID. It was Jeremy again. She put her phone
����������� "Who was that?" her mother asked.
����������� They arrived at the clubhouse four minutes and thirty
seven seconds later. When Cami walked through the door she was
delighted to discover decorations, food, and a small stage on the
other side of the room. Everything was perfect, from the orange
punch and stage lights to her dress and earrings. One of her
dad's friends had even lent them a giant 60'' plasma screen
television to watch the ball drop in New York. Things were going
to be great; at least that's what she thought.
����������� Around 9:00 every cool and popular kid had shown up,
except for one, that is. For the whole day she had been dreading
seeing Jeremy at the party. She didn't want to un-invite him, he
was her best friend, but she knew there would be confrontation.
Once he showed up, he would accost her, start talking about how
she felt, and then things would get mortally awkward. That was
not how she planned on spending her New Year's Eve.
����������� But strangely, she hadn't heard anything of him for
the past hour. She didn't even think he was there. Oddly enough
this slightly worried her. He had been talking about this party
all year; he'd even helped plan it, making just as many calls as
her. Why wasn't he there?
����������� Just then her phone started to vibrate. The sensation
of the vibration felt odd against her ankle. She had clipped the
cell to the strap of her shoe; where else could she store it in
her tight black dress. Cami bent over to check the caller ID; it
����������� Part of her wanted to answer it, to find out where he
was. Yet another, larger part wanted to ignore the call. This was
her night, and she wasn't going to let high school drama
ruin it. As she pressed the button on the side of her phone that
denied the call, the hot guy that had been staring at her all
night approached her.
����������� "Wanna dance?" he asked, holding his hand out as if
offering her a jewel.
����������� "Love to."
����������� The next day she awoke at two pm, massaging her
temples. Her head throbbed slightly, experiencing a mild
hangover. Cami hadn't drunk much last night, mainly because there
wasn't a lot too drink.
After rejecting Jeremy's first call, she had received three more,
along with three voicemails, none of which she had listened too.
She figured it wasn't anything that couldn't wait until today.
After eating breakfast (technically it was closer to lunch), she
decided to call him. Cami figured she owed him that, at least. She
pulled her phone out and dialed his number, the digits burned into
her memory ages ago. As the cell touched her ear and the monotonous
ringing entered her head, she turned on the news. The line
continued to ring, and she wondered why Jeremy hadn't picked up
yet. He had called her so much she was sure he would pick up within
the first two rings.
����������� But suddenly, staring at the news reporter on her TV,
she knew he wasn't going to pick up. She hung up the phone and
sat on her couch, silently watching the Channel 6 News, listen to
female reporter Vivian Stone.
����������� "As a state trooper was patrolling the long,
seldom-used Route 217 this morning, he noticed a burning,
overturned Honda Civic off to the side of the road. He
immediately pulled over and requested emergency medical
assistance. By the time paramedics arrived at the scene of the
crash, the state trooper, Officer Slaughter, had pulled the young
male driver from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"The boy was later identified as 18-year-old Jeremy Barlin. The
Paramedics speculate that he hit a patch of black ice and spun off
the road, running head-on into a nearby tree. The collision pinned
both of his legs to his seat, and he was unable to escape.
"Police also found that in young Jeremy's hand, burned to the skin,
was his cell phone. Sadly, it appears he was unable to call 911
before he passed away. For the Barlin family, it seems this won't
be a happy New Year after all."
The rest was a blur. Cami knew Jeremy did make one last
call. In fact, he had made three. Slowly, hands shaking, she raised
her phone to her ear, and began listening to Jeremy's voice
"Cami, I… I don't know what happened…I'm hurt really bad. I…I
can't move…I tried to call 911…the only button on my phone that
works…is the redial. Please help…call someone…I need you."
"End of message, press five to listen to the next message." A
woman's voice commanded.
Cami shakily followed the robot's order and pressed five.
"The fire…it's so hot… no one has come to help. Why won't you
answer your phone…I need help…I think I'm gonna die. Please call
911…I'm begging you…answer your phone…"
����������� She was in tears, but she knew she had to listen. She
could barely move, but somehow was able to press five.
����������� "My phone is almost dead… this is the last call I
can make…I'm going to die, Cami. I know…I'm sorry for what I
said…but it's true…I love you Cami…I love you…"
����������� She dropped the phone and fell to the floor.
She cried for hours, the tears streaming down her face, almost
forming a puddle on the floor. She couldn't believe it. It was
her fault. She had been too selfish, only caring about
her night. She couldn't even answer the phone because
she was afraid to say no to him. He died; her best friend had
died, because she was a coward.
����������� But then she realized something. It was too late, and
that fact broke her heart, but she realized it. She realized that
Jeremy was more than a friend to her. He was always there, always
doing what was best for her, doing anything to make her happy. At
that moment, that single tear-soaked, sob-filled moment, she
realized something that she had known all along.
����������� Cami Farrago understood that even though he had
been like a brother to her all those years that he
wasn't her brother. The feeling she had felt for him
all along was love, and if she had grasped this idea sooner, it
might have saved Jeremy. It might have saved her.
copyright�February 18, 2008