"Just to be clear" She started, as she shifted in her arm chair so was fully facing me. "You like this boy, but you don't want to like him because you can't?"
"That is correct" I nodded.
She gave me a look as if I'd grown another head, while I just stared expressionless at her.
"Jamie that doesn't make any sense. I think you're just making up excuses. You know you are pretty good at that."
"First of all, ouch" I retorted, and she just gave me a sweet smile. "Second of all, I can't because I can't. It's not rocket science"
She sighed, then leaned forward and took my hand in hers. "And why is that Jamie?" She asked in a voice that mothers used on their kids when they were being unreasonable.
"Becauuuuuse, one" I pushed up my index finger." He's way out of my league. Two," I pushed up another finger. "I'm pretty sure he's involved with the girl that came up to us at the park. Three, " Another finger, " Something happened a few years ago that I cant just brush away. And four, I actually like our friendship and I don't want to ruin it"
Alyssa leaned back in her chair with a thoughtful look on her face, and for a few seconds I felt pleased that she was finally understanding. But of course, her stubborn face emerged only seconds after.
"One," She started, holding up a finger just like I did. "There's no such thing as 'not in someone's league'. Everybody is f**king fantastic in their own way, and that phrase is only used to shy away from love filling opportunities by insecure people. No offense"
"Ouch" I muttered again, but her expression stood firm.
That was what I liked about Alyssa. She gave me the truth I might or might not have known deep down, but I wouldn't admit it to myself. And it seemed so easy for her too.
"Two, whatever happened in the past can always be fixed by sitting and having a mature talk with him. If it's that serious, I don't think it's healthy that you wouldn't be more than friends because of whatever happened, but you're willing to be friends and never talk about it"
As much as what she said made sense, I never thought I could ever talk to Cameron about that. And I knew that if I wanted more than just a friendship, I would've had to, for my own peace of mind.
"Tha-ree" She started again, holding up a third perfectly manicured finger, " This girl that you're sure he's with sounds like nothing more than hit up girl. And a guy doesn't just say 'she doesn't mean anything to me' in front of the girl and not mean it. If you guys were alone, maybe you could've had seconds thoughts. But she was right there and he said it, then it's true.
"And four, if it doesn't work out, then you can always be friends again. Maybe at first it will be weird, but it'll be like you guys never dated. But trust me Jamie, you gotta shake away these insecurities and go for it. By just listening to you talk, I could tell that this guy likes you. And you like him too so there's really nothing holding you back"
I sighed, knowing that she was partially right, but also wrong. Cameron doesn't feel the same way. He just really cares for me.
"If I tell you who it is, you will probably agree with me and cuss me out for being so stupid to fall for him"
"Are you finally gonna tell me who it is now?"
I gave her an unsure look, then I fiddled with my fingers and looked anywhere but to her. "It's um- it's Cameron Riley"
"What?!" She shouted, jumping from her seat.
"I know I know but-"
"Cameron Riley likes you and you're not going for it?!"
I cocked my head in confusion at how excited she looked instead of her normal Alyssa-judgy look.
"You were right about cussing you out but not for liking him. I'm gonna cuss you out because you're up in here giving me crap about him and he's probably out there worried about where you ran off to! "
"Why are you okay with this?"
"Because it's Cameron freaking Riley! And he likes you! You Jameila Saunders, and you're totally chickening out. I didn't even know that you guys hung out. You have to give me the details. But now, get your ass up and go get him!"
I shook my head and glued my bottom to the chair that she was currently trying to pull me out of.
"Even if you're right, I'm not ready. Just let me have some time to think about it, then I'll talk to him. " I rushed out in attempt to actually keep my arm on my body.
After much contemplation, she finally sighed in defeat and plopped down beside me in the small chair in her huge living room.
"What ever that happens Jamie, I want you to know that you are beautiful and the best person I know. I know you're not as confident in your self as you should be, but you have every right to be"
My heart soared as I resisted the urge to awe, and instead I pulled her impossibly closer to me.
"Thank you Lizzy. You have no clue how much that means to me"
"I think I have an idea. And no need to thank me, all I said was the truth. Even throughout the years I still had the same thoughts towards you, though I knew you never believed me"
"Why did I ever stop talking to you?" I mumbled in her shoulder.
"You were going through a rough time. Everybody deals with things differently. Some push everyone away, and some cling onto loved ones more. But it's okay. I'm not upset about it. I never was, just hurt and lonely even with everyone around me."
I pulled back to give her a teasing smile. "You really haven't changed you know. Even after ten years you're still the sweetest person I know"
"If you mention this to anyone I will kill you" She warned, then we both burst out in laughter.
"I know you have a mean reputation to keep up. And I don't mind being one of the few people that gets to have this. I'm selfish with you"
"Well I'm all yours mi precioso" She purred with her Spanish accent more profound, making me laugh again.
I always loved when she spoke Spanish. She was the reason I took it as a subject in middle school and continued in high school.
When we were little, she would speak it ever so often, and I wouldn't understand anything but I was so fascinated that I fell in love with. She taught me some things over the years, and now I knew enough to have a decent conversation.
It was what actually got us together. When we met in kindergarten, she was four years old and just moved here from Colombia and she was just caching onto her English. She would do a lot of code switching, so kids had a hard time communicating with her. But I gravitated to it.
"It's getting late. Are you staying for dinner?" She asked, snapping me from my thoughts.
"Actually, can I stay over?"
Her eyes lit up as she clapped excitedly. "Of course you can stay! I'll go tell mom"
She shot up and ran in the direction of the kitchen. "Mama! Jamie se queda! Cook extra food! Actually, cook lasagne. You know she li..."
Her voice died down as she disappeared in the kitchen, and I chuckled and pulled out my phone to call Alex. I pressed it a couple times before realizing that it was dead. No wonder I didn't hear it blowing up with calls and text from both boys.
It had been three hours since I disappeared on Cameron, and I knew he must've been calling me like crazy.
"So mom is making your favourite. She is thrilled that things are like old times again. I am too"
I smiled at that. It really did feel nice to have her back. Over the past two weeks, we've been hanging out sometimes after school when I asked Cameron to drop me off at our hangout spots instead of home. I didn't realise how much I missed having her around.
"Can you give me a ride home? I'd like to collect some things. I might just stay tomorrow too and go to school from here"
"Yea sure, just let me grab my keys and my coat"
We headed to her car where we chatted about random things until we pulled up in the parking lot of Alex's apartment.
"Do you want me to come with you?" Lizzy asked after turning off the ignition.
"Nah it's cool. I'll be down soon" I smiled at her before climbing the heading towards the entrance.
I climbed the detrimental stairs, since the elevator has been out for the past two days, so I was totally breathless when I pushed through the door to the apartment.
"Gosh, Jamie where the hell were you?!"
I didn't even get a chance to close the door properly before Alex rushed to me and grabbed me in a hug.
Wasn't I off the grid for only like four hours?
"Alex I'm fine. I just went over to Alyssa's. I'm staying for the weekend."
He sighed as the released me, looking less panicked. "Riley called me freaking out. You should've told him or called me"
I rolled my eyes as I ventured off to my room with him on my tail. "I'm 17 Alex. You guys are acting like I'm a six year old who ran away after a tantrum. And my phone died."
"Doesn't Alyssa have a phone?"
"Yes but it wasn't occuring to me that you guys would've been this worried"
I grabbed a knapsack and started shoving clothes in it. If someone was to walk in that moment, they would've thought that we were having an argument and I was leaving because I was upset.
"Well we were. And Riley said you were upset when you left, and people who run off upset always runs into danger"
I chuckled at him since he obviously watched to many movies
"I'm sorry Alex" I said sincerely and swung the bag over my shoulder.
"It's okay. Just text me when your phone is charged and call him. The dude is nearly as concerned about you as me. Nearly."
"I will. I'll see you Monday"
I gave him a quick hug and a kiss on his cheek before heading back to the door. The minute I opened it I was face to face with the man himself. He looked worried at first until his eyes fell on me, and they flashed with relief for a moment before turning dark with anger.
He was deadass angry.
"F**k Jamie where on earth were you?!"
Even though I knew he was angry, his tone really took me off guard, making me slightly flinch.
"Woah calm down Cameron I just went-"
"Do you know how worried you had me? When I couldn't find you and you wouldn't answer my calls or texts I went crazy trying to find you!"
"I know I'm sorry okay. I wasn't thinking about that but I was confused and I had to leave"
"And I was going to come with you Jamie. Running off that was really foolish and immature. You are so-"
"I'm so what Cameron?" I asked with an edge in my voice, as my own anger started to rise. I knew I maybe should've called, but acting this way to me wasn't necessary.
"You're ridiculous. Running off like that was reckless and injudicious"
It felt like someone just punched me in the chest, and I involuntarily took a step back as my eyes stung.
"I've heard you call me stupid too many times in one day. This conversation is over" I gritted out, and pushed pass him, but he held onto my forearm.
I looked up to meet his eyes again, and I could see that they were swirling in regret but the damage was already done.
"Let me go Cameron"
"Jamie wait" He tried, but I still wiggled and turned in his hands.
"I said let me go!"
"Riley" Both or heads snapped to Alex who was standing in the centre of the room. He didn't look upset, but he didn't look pleasant either.
"Just let her go" He said simply, and I was grateful when he actually let go of my arm and I wasted no time to bolt through the door and down the stairs.
I refused to cry, and I wouldn't.
My pressing hunch that I had buried in the back of my mind when I started to hang out with Cameron came right back up and slapped me in the face.
Deep down I always feared that I would see a side of him that I didn't want to, and secretly that was why I didn't want to make my feelings grow.
If he could be so mean for something this simple, what would happen if something big was to happen? I certainly didn't want to find out.
As much as Alyssa was right, I was right too. Liking Cameron was a mistake. Even under all that sweetness and humour that I usually witness around him, the Cameron from years ago was still in him. And I didn't like it one bit.
Upon reaching Alyssa's car, I roughly pulled the door open and threw myself in. I yanked on the seatbelt and fiddled with it over and over, trying to get it to click.
"Hey hey slow down" Alyssa stopped me with her hand as she simply pushed the metal in the receiver, where it fastened with one single click.
"Is everything okay? What happened up there?" she asked with concern laced in her voice. I took a deep breath to calm myself down and turned to face her completely.
"Remember when I said that would think about it and talk to him?"
She nodded slowly as I leaned my head back against the head rest and closed my eyes.
"Well I thought about it. I'm not talking to him about anything. I'm done"
I opened my eyes once again and gave her my sternest look, showing her that I was dead serious.
"I said I'm done"