"What in the hell do you mean NEVER?"
"I kinda got… well, quit. I guess you can say that I got quit."
Mia pulled the car over to the side of the road and slammed on the brakes hard. Cameron put his hands forward and braced himself as the car came to a stop.
"Just get out. I've had enough of your crap for today."
Cameron sighed and got out of the car. As with any couple that's been together for several years, there were almost certainly going to be a few rough spots. As soon as the door closed, Mia threw the car in gear and burned rubber as she sped away from the area. As Cameron walked slowly towards his home, he thought about the day he got his first love.
It was the first day out of the hospital for Cameron. As you can expect for someone who had spent two days chained up in a garage while being beaten by his older brother and his brother’s psychotic girlfriend, he wasn't up for talking to too many people.
"Do you need some help up to your room?" Mrs. Elder asked as Cameron hobbled up the front steps with a crutch due to a severely sprained ankle from the incident. Cameron stubbornly shook his head as he walked through the front door.
"Maybe Santa should have brought you that elevator you asked for several years ago." The lady said as she tried to lighten the mood. Cameron sighed and started to slowly make his way up the (seemingly) infinite staircase that led up to his room. It was hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago that he snuck up the stairs in Elias's old, abandoned house.
After what felt like a day and a half, Cameron found himself at the top and started to hobble towards the door. He walked through the open door and closed it with enough force to latch it as he made his way towards his bed. At this point, his brother was still missing in the woods and the woman was being held in Portland for charges related to kidnapping and vandalism. As much as he wanted it to be far from over, the only thing in his head was the reality that it wouldn’t be.
The first day of school was two weeks later and it was about as typical as you could picture it. Cameron's disappearance was completely unknown outside of the two others that were still in the Middle School. One day, as Cameron hobbled to his locker, he found Mia standing nearby.
"Hey." He said as he propped up on a crutch and undid the lock with his only free hand.
"Hey… I'm surprised that you're here."
Cameron craned his head back and slammed the locker door shut.
"What's wrong?" Mia asked with a look of surprise.
Cameron took a deep breath and leaned in as close as he could without falling over.
"Can you please not talk about what happened? I don't want to hear about it. Please?"
"Thanks." Cameron added as he opened the locker back up and picked up a book.
"May I at least carry your books for you? You've got your hands full."
"Uh… sure, I guess." He replied as he gave a puzzled look to the floor.
In his eyes, this was where things really started to begin. It started with helping him carry his books to class and eventually led to her helping him carry his backpack home. Even after he recovered from his injury and was perfectly able to take care of himself, the two of them found themselves enjoying each other's company even if Kenton and/or Olivia weren't around.
Then one day almost a year later, the two of them decided to visit Elias's grave on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
Friday, July 3, 2015
"See you around, bro. Love you!"
The two kids walked off across the field and back towards the main road. The clouds were completely gone, and the rain had fizzled out. The two walked until they reached Cameron's house.
"So… see you around?" Cameron said as Mia had to leave to head home.
"Yeah…" Mia replied nervously. Cameron shrugged it off as uneasiness over visiting the grave. Without any further words, he started walking for his front door when she got a burst of courage.
"Cameron, wait!" She shouted out as she ran up to him.
"What is it, is someth-"
He couldn't finish that word as Mia grabbed him and kissed him right on the mouth. After a few seconds, she let him go and he stepped back and took a few deep breaths.
"I'm… so… sorry…" Mia quietly said as the realization of what she did hit her.
"Mia… what… what…"
"I… don't know. I don't know what happened. It's just that… it started as me being nice and now… I…" She said as she started shaking in fear of ruining a perfectly good friendship. At least with Elias there wasn't as much chemistry leading up to them becoming a couple.
"Are you saying that you're in love with me or something?"
"WHAT? Of… well, kinda, maybe, uh, yeah. It's complicated."
"I don't know what it is. I just find myself wanting to grab you and hug you. Like a teddy bear."
"I know it sounds weird. You're one of the only people that's been there for me since I lost Elias. And I want to be with you. But at the same time, I felt like I would be betraying him. But today I felt like he would be okay with it, so I… yeah."
"So… see you around?" Mia said as she hoped to be able to dump out of the situation gracefully.
Mia stopped and turned around. Cameron took a step forward and wrapped his arms around her and held her in a hug.
"I, kinda, well, feel the same way too. If you, uh, want to…"
Mia smiled and clung onto him tightly. Cameron returned the smile, both out of happiness and the realization of how clumsy this entire exchange was.
"Sorry… I have to go before I get in trouble." Mia said with a giggle before walking away. Cameron waved at her in slight disappointment what he didn't get what he wanted right then. Over the next three years however, the two of them stuck together despite having their difficulties.
After a longer-than-necessary walk, Cameron made it back to his house and sadly opened the door. Walking into the living room, he noticed that his younger cousin had already made himself at home by watching the TV with his feet propped up on the coffee table.
"Oh, you're back… I'm dead, right?"
Cameron wasn't in the mood for this. He just looked away and continued into the kitchen. To his dismay, the younger boy followed in behind him.
"Are you okay? You look like you're about to cry." Sylvester asked with genuine concern.
"I screwed up. Badly." was the only thing that could come from Cameron's mouth as he got a drink and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Worse than William? Worse than going on a crime spree with an older chick?"
Cameron came remarkably close to spitting his drink out onto the table.
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"What? I'm just trying to put things in perspective for you!"
"That's not helping! I just practically got dumped by my girlfriend and you're comparing it to my dead brother's mistakes!" Cameron said, burning a lot of energy to keep from hurling what was left of his drink at his cousin's head.
"Sorry… but look at it like this, it's better to be in the friend zone instead of having nothing at all."
"Gladly." Sylvester said as he pat his older cousin on the shoulder. Even after this, he was still extending friendship. Cameron couldn't help but let his guard down a bit.
Later that night, Sylvester lied in the bed previously occupied by his now-deceased older cousin. He was in the dreaming stage of sleep where he kept seeing a girl. The dream turned into a nightmare, causing him to wake up with tears in his eyes.