The drive with Cameron wasn’t nearly as tense as I expected, even after he had referred to himself as poison. Perhaps he was only extremely negative about himself, but he seemed adamant and the least bit phased by the reference. I wasn’t overly surprised considering Cameron rarely showed any type of emotion since I meet him, so why would he care about what people think of him?
Luckily, the closer we got to Milwaukee, the better the weather became. It was less cold and actually a little warm. Considering the lack of heat this car had I was thanking the gods. Again, Cameron didn’t seem phased, though I’m sure he was used to the conditions he had to deal with since his car had many issues.
I attempted to get Cameron to join in on some car games but he showed little interest and at one point resorted to calling me a child. It was insulting to say the least, but I wasn’t in the position to defend myself. We seemed to get to know more about each other and one thing that I noticed clearly about Cameron was that family is a sensitive subject for him - he can only talk about them briefly before becoming irritated.
As much as I wanted to learn more about his sister, I did my best to prevent family talk from joining us in the car, instead focusing on topics like our hobbies, aspirations and when things got quiet; the weather.
By the time we reached the warehouse, my legs were dying to stretch and I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough, letting a loud groan of relief follow the satisfying feeling of finally being able to stand up.
“Always so dramatic,” Cameron commented as he got out of the car and stuffed his keys into his pocket.
As he headed into the direction of the warehouse, I followed close behind, “So what exactly are you getting from this place?”
Without looking back at me, Cameron answered, “Liquor. They store really fine liquors here all season and for quality stuff it’s a better price to buy here than directly from liquor stores.”
I didn’t know much about how the alcohol business worked so I simply nodded my head and pretended like I knew what Cameron was talking about, I had no doubt that he knew how to run his business so I wouldn’t question it.
He was greeted by a tall man with a decent amount of muscles who motioned for him to go inside, “Good to see you again, Cam. No cops on your tail this time?”
The man’s comment was followed by a chuckle and Cameron was less than enthused by the attempt at a joke, “Not this time, but if I see any I’ll be sure to send them your way.”
Quietly, I followed Cameron into the warehouse which looked just like any other warehouse. It was a wide open space with boxes around the floor and various shelves that held more boxes. It looked far from interesting which made me wish I had waited in the car.
“Who’s the lady friend?”
Cameron looked over his shoulder at me, then back to the man, “An employee at the bar. Jeremy, Olivia. Olivia, Jeremy.”
He did a terrible job at introducing us, but I didn’t mind. Jeremy didn’t seem like the kind of guy I wanted to get to know anyway. He was too quiet and shady, the way his eyes would just stare at me for what felt like minutes on end.
Jeremy moved his eyes to Cameron and motioned his head towards the far end of the warehouse, “I’ll have my guys bring your order out to the car, come with me to the back so I can show you the new products.”
“Stay here,” Cameron told me before following behind Jeremy.
It isn’t like I have a choice in the matter, I have no intentions on going outside and exploring around this shady warehouse. I’m not an idiot, at least I like to think that I’m not. Something seemed off, like Cameron was up to more than just picking up an order of liquor. He had become far more silent since we arrived here and maybe whatever they were doing in the back of the warehouse had something to do with it.
I didn’t need to know Cameron’s business, I didn’t care because I had no reason to. But he drove me all this way with the excuse that he was picking up alcohol and if there were something more to it, then I had a right to know.
Cameron and Jeremy were in the back for nearly fifteen minutes before they finally reappeared on the main floor. They seemed deep in conversation, chuckling at times. By the time they reached me, they shook hands and Cameron ended the conversation abruptly, “Good to see you, man. We’ll be in touch.”
“You as well,” Jeremy added before looking towards me, “Join Cam anytime you want, Olivia. It’s nice to see ladies around here instead of sweaty dudes all the time.”
I could only muster up a semi-smile, unsure if his words were flattering or disgusting. I wasted no time whatsoever in heading out of the warehouse with Cameron, noticing the boxes of liquor were waiting on the ground near his trunk.
Cameron began to load them into the car and I slowly paced behind him, “You guys were gone for a while.”
When he looked at me, his brows were furrowed, “Five minutes. Can’t be left alone that long?”
“It was closer to fifteen,” I corrected him, “And it isn’t that I don’t like being left alone, I just don’t like being made a fool of. I mean, if you came here for anything other than alcohol you should have let me know before I agreed to come with you.”
Cameron didn’t seem phased by my words, as he loaded the last box he closed the trunk and got back into the driver’s seat of the car. Once I sat in the passengers side, he responded, “Why do you assume I came for something else?”
Why did he always answer me with questions? For once it would be nice for him to just be straightforward instead of being a human jigsaw puzzle. I hated puzzles because I’m terrible at them.
“Because you were different in there... Secretive and quiet,” I admitted, realizing how ridiculous I was sounding. Cameron would never want me to join him on a trip again, surely he would see me as a clingy and paranoid girl. No one wanted that kind of person around.
As he started the car, he toyed around with more questions, “So you think I came for what? Marijuana? Cocaine? Oh! Maybe I came all this way to hire a hooker for the evening. Damn, I wish I would have thought about that earlier.”
He was making fun. Clearly he didn’t take my concerns seriously which was a reminder of how different we are. He looked at drugs as a joke, meanwhile, I took the topic very seriously. Maybe growing up with a cop as a father had something to do with me constantly being weary, but I couldn’t change it now that I was an adult.
I folded my arms over my chest, contemplating if I should even waste my time responding to him, “Forget it.”
Cameron chuckled as he pulled onto the road, beginning to drive towards Illinois, “I don’t need dealers in a different state, you know. How stupid do you think I am?”
“Can we just drop it, please? It’s not worth talking about, I over reacted and I’d prefer to just move on from the discussion,” I practically begged him, not taking my eyes off of the window. I didn’t want to look at his smug look right now, I felt like an idiot so I would hide my face in shame.
The car was silent for a few minutes but of course Cameron couldn’t last long before speaking again, “I did come here for something else,” he admitted, “Nothing illegal, I wouldn’t put you in that position.”
Slowly, I lifted my head from the window and looked at him, “You don’t owe me explanations, Cameron. It’s not my business.”
“You’re right, it’s not. But I’d rather you know the truth instead of making up these possibilities in your head,” His voice was genuine, he kept his eyes on the road as he reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope, passing it over to me, “When my sister graduates, I want to get her out of Illinois. It isn’t good for her, whatever is going on in her life. Jeremy found some cheap apartment listings that go up on the market within the next few months.”
I didn’t open the envelope. I didn’t need to. Cameron didn’t have to explain any of this to me, yet he did to save face and I would simply take his word for it like I should have from the start.
“I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions, I’m an idiot and--”
Before I could finish my sentence, the car began to rumble in an unhealthy manner which caused our seats to shake. Clearly something was going wrong and as much as Cameron tried to control the car, it was losing it’s power within seconds.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding,” Cameron cursed as the car came to an abrupt stop, “Fuck!”
He punched the steering wheel and then leaned his head back with eyes closed, taking a deep breath. I stayed silent, unsure what I could say or do that wouldn’t be completely stupid in this situation. I fell short of answers.
Without warning, Cameron got out of the car and walked around to the hood to inspect. As soon as he lifted the hood, smoke filled the air which only seemed to make him more angry.
I took off my seatbelt and walked to where Cameron stood, glancing towards the hood and then back towards him, “What happened?”
“Do I look like a fucking mechanic to you?” He snapped at me, taking me off guard by his attitude. He pinched the bridge of his nose before taking a deep breath, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped... This is just a long time coming and I know the diagnosis isn’t going to be good.”
I nodded in response, understanding his frustrations even though I had more questions, “What should we do? Should I call a tow truck or...”
“Get in the car, it’s cold. I’ll deal with the tow truck,” He told me and when I didn’t move right away he shooed me with his hand, “Olivia. Go.”
Rolling my eyes, I listened but not because I’m obedient to him, I was actually getting cold and I wanted to get back inside the car. I watched from the car as Cameron paced the ground, talking on the phone. He seemed to be more and more irritated as the phone call progressed but I couldn’t tell what was going on, I could only guess.
He glanced at his watch before nodding his head and as he hung up his phone his eyes met mine, causing me to quickly look away.
A moment later the driver’s side door opened and Cameron sat down, closing the door and looking over at me, “The tow truck is going to take at least five hours. Apparently there’s a lot of accidents in the area... We’re not going to be able to get back to Chicago today, we’ll have to stay the night and by the time morning comes hopefully the garage will have some kind of fix for me.”
“Wait... We can’t get back tonight? I have--” I paused, trying to figure out at excuse that could replace me telling Cameron that I have school in the morning, “I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning.”
“Look, Olivia. I’d like to get home too, but this is all we can do... Call your doctor and explain, if you need to pay a fee for cancellation I’ll give you the money,” He told me before taking out his phone and scrolling through the internet, “In the meantime, I need to find the closest motel to us.”
My anxiety began to kick in. Anytime things began to feel normal, something came up that reminded me exactly why being around Cameron was a bad thing. The school wasn’t the problem, my parents were. If I used Thea as an alibi then she would know that I didn’t follow through with my decision to quit working for Cameron, that being said, I don’t know if she would cover for me once she found that out.