Saturday, December 26, 2015
"Excitement takes over a small Oregon town as a nation-wide manhunt has ended. See more at our news at seven."
Despite it being less than twenty-four hours from the incident, the small town was buzzing as everyone was talking about everything that had happened. From Elias Conner's father escaping, to the discovery of his brother, to the burning of the restaurant, and finally the burning of his old house.
At the closest hospital, Cameron and his mother walked out after Cameron spent the night for observation. As the story was national news, reporters from all over wanted to be the first one to get a statement.
"Mrs. Elder. What do you think about your son saving a life?"
"Mrs. Elder. How do you feel with your family's traumatic decade?"
"Mrs. Elder. Do you think your oldest son would be proud of your younger son's actions?"
"Okay, you can screw off." Cameron said as he put his hand over the camera lens of that last reporter, allowing the two of them to walk to the car in peace.
The car ride was in silence. Cameron's mother was mad as hell that her remaining living child put himself so close to danger, but at the same time she couldn't have been prouder.
To Cameron's surprise, he saw his friends waiting for him outside his house. Mia ran up to him first.
"I hate you. I love you, but I hate you all at the same time."
Cameron gave her a small smile at that. Kenton, not the type to be emotional, surprised Cameron when he wrapped his arms around him.
"Elias would be so proud of you." Kenton whispered. For the first time during this whole incident, Cameron felt a few tears come out.
"You're a hero to more people than you realize." Olivia said as she gave Cameron a quick hug. There was so much that she wanted to tell Cameron, but a quick honk alerted her that her grandmother was there to take her to the airport.
"Well… that's my ride." Olivia said as she gave Mia a big hug.
"Don't make me cry… please."
"I won't cry if you won't cry. Deal?"
"Deal." Mia said with a smile.
"Well, let's leave these two alone, shall we?" Cameron said as he gestured to the front door of his house. Mia nodded and they walked off.
"This is it… I guess." Olivia said as she looked at her boyfriend one more time.
"Olivia… before you go…" Kenton said, trying to find the words that he wanted to say. This wasn't going to be an easy conversation, especially after what just happened.
"I know… that it's a long distance between us. And I know that you're doing well in Maine."
"I also know… that long-distance relationships don't often work out, especially when they're on two different sides of the country."
Olivia could swear that the gravity doubled at that moment. Kenton took a deep breath and continued.
"I don't want you to think that you're stuck in a situation like that forever. There's a lot of people over there, and..."
Kenton fidgeted a bit in sadness and nervousness as he didn't know how to continue with his words. Olivia knew exactly what he was trying to say. She wiped a tear away and said, "I understand."
The now-former couple shared one last hug.
"Thank you for the time that we had together." Olivia quietly said.
"I should be the one thanking you." Kenton replied.
The door opened once more, and Cameron poked his head out.
"Hey, I heard that your friend is big in guitars! Ask him if he does lessons online!"
"DAMN IT, CAMERON. NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT!" Mia yelled from inside. Kenton and Olivia shared one last smile before she got into her car. As the car pulled away down the street, Kenton reflected on the day that he nervously walked to her locker and shoved that glittery mess of a Valentine through the vents.
"I did it. I put the note in your locker."
He also remembered all the times he shared with her, that would last long after the end of their relationship.
"Your note… I loved it."
"I… like the person who wrote this note, and I guess that means that I like you, too."
"I… love that I feel loved. I just don't know if I'm ready to be a girlfriend, yet. If you know what I mean."
"We're friends already, but I want to be… well, think of it as being close friends, if you will."
"Yeah, it's a double date."
Kenton's breath quivered a bit as he watched the car's turn signal turn on as it approached the intersection.
"I would like to think so. I told him to go where his heart tells him to go."
"Are you serious? That's so corny!"
"And what would you have said to him?"
"I would have said what I said, quick and painless."
"Wow, that valentine was your best work, wasn't it?"
Kenton stood in his street and watched as it felt like time was stopped and the memories continued to play in his head.
"Are you okay?"
Kenton felt that familiar lump in the back of his throat as the light turned and the car turned the corner and away from his sight.
"Kenton… I'm sorry for making you think you were only a friend."
"Olivia… did you just…"
"Yes. I did. Because I don't want that to happen to us."
Kenton blinked. Wasn't this what he was wanting all the way back in February when he stuffed that horrid mess of glitter and makeup into her locker?
"Does… this mean…"
"Kenton, I know what you're going to ask. I hate that you must ask, but I don't blame you one bit. If you're still up to it, I'll be your girlfriend. I wanted to say this sooner, but I didn't because I wanted to see how you were going to be."
"Would just a friend go clothes shopping with you? Would just a friend follow you to hell if they had to and cry with you on the worst days of your life?"
"You know what I mean. I'm sorry that I played you along… but… I felt that it was the right thing to do…"
"And when Elias died and left Mia behind, I knew that nobody was invincible and that if that would've been you…"
"…then you wouldn't have had your chance to say it and you would have been in the same boat as Mia."
"You got it."
"So, no more games. If you're for this, I'm for this."
A couple tears fell down his cheek as he finished thinking about all the times he had with his first girlfriend. He let out a small sigh before turning around to heading back into the house.