Blooming Days

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Cam and I left the mall shortly thereafter, bags in tow, and swung by mine and Sky’s apartment. Luckily he was still out with Devon, so I was able to quickly run up and throw together an overnight bag, tossing my laptop, toiletries, and several pairs of socks into an old duffel. When I came back down, Cam was leaning against her little green box car and soaking up the sun. She had big round sunglasses on, and the way the light shined down on her perfect skin, she could have easily been a fashion model waiting for her next shoot. I, on the other hand, was still dumpy and sweating inside Sky’s old tracksuit. Thoughts of shave ice and air conditioning danced in my head as I made my way across the parking lot.

“All set? Left a note and everything?” Cam asked as I approached.

“Oh, uh, no, I didn’t even think about it.” And just like that, the shave ice was replaced by guilt.

“Oh goodness, hun, text him at the very least so he doesn’t assume the worst!”

“It’s only been a day!” I laughed a little too loudly. “But you’re right. I’ll text him later and let him know I’m staying with a friend for a couple of days.” Though considering we shared the same friend group, that was pretty weak. But then, what other excuse did I have? I didn’t have any family in the area, I worked from home mostly, and all my friends were his friends his too! I could maybe spin it as a last minute academic convention or something, but that was just too big a yarn. I was taking the semester off to make some cash, and had already staunchly declared in his presence that I didn’t even want to THINK about college while I was on break. I mean I could just tell him the truth of course, not that I was lying about staying with a friend per se, but… I just couldn’t trust myself to be around him right then. The whole point of parents quarantining their kids during their blooming days was because the horny little shits couldn’t really control themselves. What if I lost control and threw myself at Sky? What if I ended up doing something I’d regret? What if I ruined our friendship forever? It was a risk I just couldn’t take. With Cam it didn’t really matter since we’d already fucked, and if her shameless flirting was any indication, we were probably going to fuck again. At least I hoped so anyway.

“It is… it is okay if I stay for a few days right? Like a week?” I asked with some trepidation. “I know a week doesn’t cover the whole of your typical blooming days, but I feel like that should be enough time at least for me to calm down enough to start functioning like a normal human being again.”

“Jaime, as long as you help out around the house, you’re welcome to stay for longer than that.” Cam said, sliding into the driver’s seat. “But you know, if he really is your bestie, I’m sure he’ll understand.”

“Yeah…” I hopped into the passenger seat and buckled up, laying my duffel across my lap. Talking about Sky was already conjuring up images of him through the closet door, and the chemical rush of the memory left me confused and ill at ease. I couldn’t reconcile with the fact that I wanted him. Or at least, that my body wanted him. But what I wanted, me, my actual self… I just wanted to hold onto the one person who’s always had my back.

Cam let the topic drop at that, and we drove in silence for a few streets until she suddenly said, “oh! By the way, it would be bad of me if I wasn’t upfront with you about what I do.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I’m a camgirl.”

She smiled, and there was another silence as that settled into my brain. “What?”

“A camgirl. It’s like a streamer, stripper, and a pornstar all rolled into one. But with cosplay and parasocial relationships mixed in.” She winked.

“No, I mean, I know what a camgirl is, I’m just— you never think you’re gonna meet one on the street, you know?”

“Why not? We’re just people.”

“A-anyway, why are you telling me?”

“Because I have a stream tonight and you’ll probably hear some things. And see some things.” She gave a small laugh, and the sound was so infectious that I found myself smiling along.

“Thank you again for letting me stay. I’ll be super quiet and I promise I won’t get in the way of your stream.”

“Okie dokie, I’m not really worried about it, just wanted to warn ya.”

“Consider me warned.”

We drove on in a third, more comfortable silence after that, the world outside the window blurring as my mind recreated the image of Cam and I in Melon’s fitting room. Then before I could stop myself, I asked, “do I get to watch?”

She snorted. “Oh my god, you’re so precious. It’s patrons only, but I’ll shoot you a link.”

Cam’s house was a two story contemporary Spanish revival on the south side of town, nestled into a slightly upper middle class neighborhood. All up and down the block, the lawns were manicured to perfection, hedges trimmed and sidewalks swept. There wasn’t a speck of trash in sight, and I couldn’t help from myself wondering just how much money Cam made as a titty-streamer to be able to afford to live here. Or rather, how much money did she make that she could afford to live here AND buy a random stranger she just met a whole new wardrobe? I swallowed a lump and tried not to think of all the trashy slasher flicks I’d watched in the last year. I mean I was super grateful to be sure, but this was a bit too good to be true.

The inside was just as nice as the neighborhood suggested. The living space had an open floor plan with a vaulted ceiling, and the kitchen was spacious and clean. The furnishings were cozy and modern, and unlike my apartment, everything matched. Up the stairs, the hall was lined with framed photos of uniformed people posing in front of commercial airline jets. Among them, I managed to pick out a selfie of Cam looking stellar in a blue flight attendant’s uniform, smiling next to one of the pilots.

“You’re a flight attendant?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yup! That’s my day job. It’s fun if you like to travel and don’t mind the service industry.”

“Whoa… and they’re cool with you streaming the way you do?”

“Oh, I would be fired if they found out.” She laughed merrily. “But you know what? I’ve been pulling this hustle nearly six years now and not a single person has ever recognized me. It’s all about the wigs and the makeup, which I am very good at, if I do say so myself. And I do!”

“That’s incredible,” I said in total awe. What a goddess.

“Thanks!” She stopped at the top of the landing and gestured to the door down the left. “That’s the guest room, feel free to make yourself at home! I’m actually running kind of low of time, so I’m just gonna order in tonight, if you don’t mind. Do you like subs?”

“Oh, I can cook! Let me make you dinner!” Finally! This was my moment. My time to shine. My time to repay Cam for just a fraction of the kindness she’d shown me today. Assuming her kitchen was stocked of course, but like, in a house like this? C’mon.

Cam’s face lit up. “I would love that! No preference, I’ll eat whatever you make.”

“Awesome, let me just change and I’ll get started right away.”

“Thanks Jaime, see you at dinner.” Cam smiled and kissed me on the cheek, then whirled away to the other end of the hall. My whole body went hot as I watched her go, and I knew I had to be blushing. I shivered and shook it off, then hauled my bags into the guest room.

The guest room was more of a second master than a spare, with a big comfy bed full of pillows to one side and an ensuite opposite. The furniture was of minimalist design, the color pallet neutral, and the clean lines and open plan made for a tidy and inviting space. I dumped my bags by the closet and quickly set about removing tags and laying it all out on the bed. I didn’t want to put anything on straight away without washing it first, but I definitely needed out of that track jacket at the very least, so I hooked on a bra and a plain white tee, reapplied my deodorant, set a load of laundry going out in the hall, then made my way back down to the kitchen.

Growing up, my parents worked long hours, and were never that great at meal making, so I learned early on how to cook for myself. After a while of trial and error, I even started cooking for my parents, having it ready or packed by the time each of them came home. I wouldn’t call myself a master chef or anything, but I can definitely please the palate on the fly.

As expected, Cam’s kitchen was rife with opportunity. The pantry was fully stocked with spices and nonperishable staples, and the fridge likewise had plenty of workable options, depending on how fancy I felt like being. Given Cam’s time crunch however and the nature of her work, I decided to go simple and safe, and pulled a tray of shrimp from the freezer. I set it off to the side, then set about washing and cooking the rice. Once that was going, I gathered a handful of veggies from the fridge, and got to chopping. First the onion, then the carrot, zucchini, and green beans. After that was the sauce. Normally I’d make the sauce the night before and let it set overnight, but that was really just personal preference. It wasn’t that big a deal to use it right away. So I pulled down a small sauce pan and turned on the stove top, then added water, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, powdered garlic and ginger, chili flakes, and a bit of cornstarch to thicken it all up. About ten minutes later, I moved that off to the side, and started on the veggies, stir-frying with butter until soft, then adding eggs. On the opposite burner, I started the shrimp, which took no time at all, since it was precooked. By then the rice was done, and it was just a matter of stirring it all up together until heated through evenly. I took a critical taste and nodded at my work. The easiest spicy shrimp fried rice ever. Perfect!

“Wow, it sure smells good down here~!”

“I’d say it turned out well enough—” I turned to face my host, but stopped dead. Leaning against the counter, her sparkling cleavage peaking out between the silk lapels of a hot pink robe, was Cam, but I only knew that given whose house we were in. Otherwise, she had completely transformed. Long false lashes with colored contacts and striking makeup, a bobbed wig in pastel pink, every inch of her shimmered as she moved in the light. I picked my jaw up off the floor and swallowed hard. Cam wasn’t just any cosplayer, streamer, or pornstar. She was the woman in the academia funded VR porno. The woman behind the pink hologram. The woman who made me bloom.

Standing before me, a quizzical little smile on her lips, was Glitter.

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