“Well, that certainly didn’t go as planned.”
“Yes,” Cameron responds. “That escalated rather quickly.”
I watch her chest heave while she catches her breath. It comes out rattled and jagged. She clutches the sheet bringing it up to her face. Her hair comes undone from the half-up-half-down thingy she tried to save but it didn’t work. Her cheeks redden.
Oh no, I think.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” I pull the sheets off her face. The little fight she puts up falters with my slight tug. The sheets fall back in her lap, exposing her thigh to me. I feel my heart race. Blood pulses back to my vessel.
“You know we shouldn’t have.” She places her hand to her head like she always does to me when I’m sick, like she’s my mother. “I—had—have an appointment!” She gestures to the dress that’s slung over the back of my couch. She tossed it there when we barged through my living room, tongues dancing in each other’s mouths, passion between us, hot and thick.
“Cam, stop.” I pull her toward me. Again, she puts up the slightest of fights. I watch her shoulders stiffen. I relax my grip, half offended, half afraid. I don’t want her to leave. Don’t say you regret this, Cam. I tug again, just a slight bend in my fingers this time. Hardly any pressure. And then she succumbs. That’s just like Cameron. She likes to think things are her idea. And that’s what I’d been doing most of our friendship, letting her lead.
And for twenty years, I kept quiet. And it led her into the arms of another man.
She buries her face in my chest. Her engagement ring pierces my side when she tucks her hand under me. I guess Jared is getting his jabs in any way he can. I will feel more pain than this when he finds out.
“What did we do, Dink?” She asks me. I know exactly what I did. What I’d always wanted to do since the day I met her all those years ago. We’d been best friends since we could barely talk. She called me Dink because she couldn’t pronounce Derek. After all this time it was bound to happen. How come she couldn’t see that?
“Don’t worry about it, Cam. Not right now.” I say. I don’t want to ruin the moment with words. I don’t want to think about Jared or the appointment she missed with the best wedding gown designer in New York City. I don’t want to think about tomorrow or even what will happen when the sun goes down and this perfect moment comes crashing down on both of us. I just want to lie here, naked, with my best friend, and the girl I’ve been in love with since I was in diapers.
She sits up suddenly. Cold rushes in. “I gotta reschedule,” she mumbles. “I have to call Jared. I have to call my mom.” She moans. A regretful moan. It stings. “I have to call your mom. Oh God, Dink. This was bad. Really bad.” She bites down on her thumb, something she always does when she’s thinking.
“I gotta get out of here.” She pats the sheets, for her underwear, I’m assuming.
I find them and, with much more force than I intend, sling them at her. They smack her chest like a runaway rubber band.
“What the hell was that for?” Her hands are on her hips. Her bare, brown hips. The ones I just kissed. The ones I’d wanted to kiss since, God, how many years have I wanted to see her like this? And here she is in front of me and all she can think about is Jared? Perfect fucking Jared.
“Lock the top lock on your way out.” I roll out of bed and stretch. There is no point in stressing over Cameron, I tell myself. She’s always going to be the same. Erratic. Selfish. Blind. The city streets buzz outside my window. I wonder who will be in this bed after Cam leaves. I need a shower and a cold beer. Or fifty.
Something crashes beside me, pulling me from my thoughts. Glass nicks my ear. I whip around and Cameron’s face is stormy. Her cheeks are splotchy from anger. Her ears are burning red.
“What the fuck is your problem?” I scream, picking up the frame. It is picture of us when we were in high school. I have my arms around her waist, kissing her cheek. She’s laughing. Something I’d been trying to get her to do all night. She was depressed that no one had asked her to prom. I ditched my very fine date, showed up at Cam’s house at the very last minute. A dress, and corsage in hand.
It is my favorite moment of us. The one where I realized I loved Cameron James as more than just a friend. The moment I thought she felt the same. But now I can see that I was wrong then.
“How can you be so flippant, Derek?”
“So I’m Derek now?” I pick up the big pieces of broken glass. She follows me into the kitchen, screaming her head off.
“We just had sex and you’re treating me like I’m one of your side bitches!”
“Nah, one of my side bitches would know that once we’re done I don’t do all this talking shit.” I know I’m wrong as soon as I say it. The hurt that registers on Cameron’s face is unbearable. My stomach hurts. I’m literally starting to feel sick. My hands sweat.
But, I can’t show it. She’s already made up her mind. She’s still marrying Jared next year. I could see the thoughts registering right after we finished making love. She regretted the moment her mouth touched mine. She regretted the whole thing.
Fuck! I slam my hand down on the counter and I hear a scream resound off the walls. I don’t realize it’s me until Cam jumps too.
“You’re bleeding,” she says, rushing over to me. Her voice is soft again. Her naked body is close to mine. Her hair, that fuzzy stupid half-up-half-down style she wears. I can smell that organic stuff she uses that she pays too much for. She always smells like that shit. Coconut and peppermint and stuff.
She pulls a towel out of nowhere, wrapping my hand in it. It instantly feels better, I swear. My Cam, the magician. The word sounds good. My. Mine.
“Come ‘ere,” I say, pulling her face to mine. “I’m sorry, Cammie.”
“You’re a fucking jerk, Dink.” She swats at my chest and I pull her body closer. I can feel her on me now. Her heart racing. She tries to pull away but I stop her, clenching her again. I bury my nose in her hair, breathing her in.
“I’m sorry, Cammie,” I say again. I mean it. Accept it, please. I can’t lose you.
“I’m sorry, too,” she says. She looks up at me. Those brown, beautiful eyes. The ones I fall for every single time. “What are we going to do about this?”
“What do you want to do?” I ask, keeping my voice calm. Steady. But inside I’m trembling. She can’t leave. Not now.
“I think…” She bites her bottom lip, probably because her thumbs are linked together behind my back. She’s thinking. What is there to think about? We’re perfect. Always have been. Stay, Cammie, stay. I’m begging you. “I think I want to stay,” she finally says.
My Cammie. Mine. All mine.
See where it all began…
SHORTIES: Hanging Writer’s Block out to Dry
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