"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
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 party.
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 answer it.
"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 it.
"I'm coming Cam, don't worry. We'll be there with plenty of time to spare." Her mother said, coming down the stairs.
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 away.
"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 was Jeremy.
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.
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
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.
copyrightFebruary 18, 2008
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