Thea had convinced me that I could still get out of this mess. It wasn’t took late, I mean, if I quit working at the bar before anyone found out about my age then there’s no harm that could be done. I could potentially save myself and everyone involved from the fallout that had yet to come, I just needed to bail before anything was made known to Cameron.
I was still at the point where I didn’t want to leave, I was enjoying my time with Cameron and Zoey, I felt responsible by earning my own money and making friends outside of high school but Thea was right. The longer I tried to justify my actions, the worse things would turn out in the end. Not just for me, but for Cameron.
I had already procrastinated long enough, waiting all through the next weekend to talk to Cameron who had surprisingly been MIA for the most part. I’d seen him less over the past week but it only made my excuse to wait even easier when I spoke to Thea every night. She would ask if I put in my notice and I was truly honest in saying that Cameron wasn’t around to speak to. Although, I knew this lucky streak wouldn’t last forever.
When Monday came around, I had my mind completely set on having this discussion once I seen Cameron. Monday was the slowest night of the week and that meant we could actually talk about it rather than having a brief conversation with no detail. I wanted to let him know that I appreciated him giving me a chance, but somehow working in a bar wasn’t for me. Of course I had zero intentions on bringing up my age and after I quit I would possibly never see Cameron again - which stung.
I attempted to keep my mind off of my intentions to speak to Cameron while I helped Zoey clean some new glasses that Cameron had delivered. I should be more mature than this but my inner sensitive self became emotional at the thought of leaving this behind. I truly loved being here, not so much at the beginning, but after spending nearly two months around this place almost daily it felt like I would be leaving a piece of me behind.
“Sometimes I wonder about you,” Zoey spoke which tore me away from my thoughts.
I looked at her with a raised eyebrow, “Huh?”
“I’ve never seen anyone so invested in cleaning a glass,” She giggled softly before shrugging her shoulder, “I commend you, but the sniffling is a little much, hun.”
“Oh,” I straightened my frame slightly and managed a small smile at Zoey, “I’ve been sniffling since last night, I think it’s the beginning of a head cold or something. It distracts me so I’m sorry if I’m taking too long on the glasses.”
How embarrassing could I possibly be? I could only hope that Zoey would believe my bullshit excuse, but soon enough she would know the truth anyway. Her look said it all, she knew there was more than I was letting on but she failed to question me when the front door opened and Cameron walked in.
His eyes were on his phone and he seemed clearly distracted, but after being gone all weekend it was good to see him. At least that’s what the flutters in my stomach told me.
“Well, well, look who decided to show up,” Zoey joked, giving a nod towards Cameron, “To what do we owe the pleasure, Cam?”
I could hear Cameron chuckle and as he put his phone away, his eyes landed on Zoey, “Don’t be cute with me. You knew I would be back today.”
A part of me wanted to say something to him. Hi, or even ask how his weekend was. Regardless, I was desperate just to speak to him considering we hadn’t spoke much since the night I passed out in his room and nearly blew his entire world apart.
Before I could speak to get his attention, he spoke to me, “You free, Olivia?”
“Me?” I placed my hand on my chest and looked towards Zoey before quickly looking back at Cameron, “Well, I’m working... But you know that.”
“I mean other than work,” He added, “Do you have anything planned? Zoey is going to watch over the bar since it’s a slow night, she can handle it on her own. I need some help at one of the warehouses but it may run over your shift. If you can’t come, it’s fine. But I need to know soon since I’m leaving within the next twenty minutes.”
I didn’t hesitate, “Yeah, I can go.”
Perhaps it was stupid to once again throw myself into another situation but if Cameron needed help I couldn’t exactly say no. This way I could talk to him in private about my decision to quit, it was almost as though God were making plans fall into place for me.
“Okay. I need to grab a few things and then we’ll head to my car,” Cameron nodded with very little emotion in his voice as he headed to his room.
Once he was out of sight I looked back at Zoey, “Where are the warehouses?”
“Beats me. I didn’t even know we had warehouses,” She replied quickly before giving me a look. I knew exactly what that look meant but at the same time I refused to read into it. I didn’t want to change my mind about going and if Cameron said there was a warehouse, there must be.
The next twenty minutes went slow and it was possibly due to the fact that I was questioning everything as I always did. I could never enjoy something because my mind always ruined it for me. Zoey didn’t know about the warehouses, but at the same time maybe Zoey didn’t know as much about how Cameron ran the bar as I assumed she did. I couldn’t always base my decisions and opinions on whatever Zoey said.
Plus, why would Cameron lie?
Cameron came out of his room with a few minutes to spare. An unlit cigarette hung from the side of his mouth and he looked at me as he slipped on a leather jacket, “You ready?”
I nodded my head, “Yeah.”
He motioned his head towards the door and gave Zoey a little nod, “Call me if you need anything.”
As he led me out the front door, Cameron grabbed a lighter from his pocket and secure the cigarette with his hand to protect it from the wind as he lit it. I followed him to a beat up black car in the back parking lot and watched him taking out his keys.
“So, where is the warehouse we’re going to?” I asked him casually while he unlocked the door.
Without looking at me, he mumbled a brief response, “Milwaukee. Just a little over 2 hours away.”
“Holy shit, Cameron. Why did you decide to get a warehouse in a different state?”
My response happened before I could really think about it but it didn’t seem to phase him too much, “A friend of mine has connections so I get a deal on the rent there. Now get in the car, it’s freezing out.”
I opened the passenger’s side door and slipped into the car, taking a brief look around. There were clothing items tossed in the back seat, a gym bag and the front had empty soda bottles in the cup holder. Of course, this is what a man’s vehicle looks like.
“Not as fancy as yours, huh?” Cameron commented when he noticed I was looking around.
I quickly looked at him and began to apologize, “No, I’m not judging... I was just wondering why you keep your wardrobe in the back seat.”
I attempted to make my self look like less of a bitch by joking, hoping he would accept it and not just assume that I was judging his car - because I wasn’t, except the mess.
“I like to be prepared, you never know when you need extra clothes.”
I giggled at his ridiculous response, “That is the dumbest excuse I have ever heard.”
“But it’s an excuse, nonetheless.”
As Cameron began to drive, the car fell silent and I began to worry if the entire drive would be quiet and awkward. I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be, in some situations Cameron and I had good conversations - surprisingly good. While there were other times where just being near him felt tense.
In attempt to make things less quiet, I reached for the volume to turn up the radio but Cameron’s voice stopped me, “It’s broken.”
“Oh,” I managed a quiet response before taking out my phone and opening my music app, “Do you mind if I play something?”
He only shrugged before giving me a verbal response, “I don’t care, however, it would be nice to be around you without music or interruptions like we’re usually around. That’s why I asked you to join me today, we haven’t really had a one on one conversation outside of the bar.”
It was true, unfortunately. But that’s only because that’s how we connect; through the bar. If Cameron wanted to talk or interact elsewhere all he needed to do was ask me and we could have made plans rather than driving 2 hours away.
I put my phone away, deciding against playing music and I leaned back to get comfortable. I might as well, I would be here for a while. Taking a deep breath, I then looked in Cameron’s direction, “How was your weekend? Did you go out of town or something? It was weird not seeing you around the bar.”
“Yeah, I had to bring my sister somewhere. A weekend thing,” He explained briefly, not giving too much detail.
“Sister, well, you haven’t spoke much about her.”
Like he always did, Cameron on shrugged and showed little emotion, “I don’t have a lot to say. She lives with my mom and her boyfriend so I don’t really see her much. Of course my mom couldn’t do something for anyone else for a change so I had to bring my sister to a therapy thing.”
I wanted to pry - badly. I couldn’t help being curious, it was in my nature but instead of asking why his sister was in therapy, I kept my mouth closed. I didn’t ask why she needed therapy, I didn’t ask her age, but this little bit of information alone taught me something else about Cameron. The mysterious guy who apparently has no family, actually does. He also doesn’t seem to have negative feelings towards his sister which made me believe that maybe she could be the small piece of good that I see in him.
“What about you? Any siblings?” He asked me in return.
I shook my head, “Nope. I’m an only child, so life was pretty boring growing up. My parents were always busy with their jobs so a lot of the time they were sleeping when I was home or I had a babysitter. I’m sure a sibling would have made it fun but they always thought that they could buy my happiness.”
Cameron didn’t respond but based on the expression on his face it seemed like he was pondering his thoughts on what I had said. The last thing I wanted him to think was that I was ungrateful for the things I had growing up, but it was all materialistic. Everyone has their own struggles, even though they may not seemed as big as someone else’s issues.
My eyes fell to Cameron’s tatted arms and it gave me the opportunity to change the topic, “I like the weed plant tattoo you have. Interesting choice.”
I was surprised when Cameron laughed instead of saying thank you, but when he spoke it made sense and I felt like a complete idiot, “It isn’t a weed plant. It’s a cassava leaf.”
This was the first time I had heard of a cassava leaf, so naturally I questioned it, “Which is?”
“A plant. You can use it for various food products if it’s cooked properly. However, it cyanide when it’s being processed which also makes it poisonous,” He explained, the detail how how much he knew about this leaf amusing me.
“It’s the fact that something people see as good can kill you if not handled properly,” Cameron told me, “An ex of mine once threw a pot at my head and yelled that I was poison, so I got poison tattooed on me. Might as well come with a warning label, right?”
His reasoning actually made a little sense but at the same time it through me for a loop that Cameron would say something about himself that reflected how he viewed his personality.
“That seems a little dramatic,” I commented.
Just as Cameron stopped at a red light, he looked over at me and responded to my comment instantly, “Well, you haven’t been around long enough to see.”
That was it. A simple statement that said more than most words could say. Cameron truly did see himself as poisonous and he was giving me a straight up warning which would scare anyone away, but I didn’t see an ounce of poison in him. Although I felt confident, if I were wrong I could be the one who ended up poisoned in the end.