“What is wrong with you?” Thea walks next to me in the lunch room, holding her food tray while giving me side eye, “Liv, you need to drop this guy and get out of that bar. Your dad? If he catches you, you’re dead. Like, we won’t even be able to attend the same college because your dad will force you to stay here.”
I had told Thea about my dad showing up at the bar and his random hate towards Cameron. She’s completely right when saying that I needed to get out of this situation but I’m done lying to myself and pretending that I will. I know that I’m so far in that I won’t leave, I’m too invested in the bar and in Cameron.
“Do you want to go to community college, Livy?” Thea asks me.
I give her a look as I sit at an empty table, “Illinois has more than community college, Thea.”
“True. But we want California... USC, or UCLA. Anything but here. We want to get away from this place, remember?”
“I know, I remember... But things sometimes change,” I tell her, “I’m helping Cameron with the bar and the finances there now so if I go to school in Chicago I can continue to help him.”
“Oh god. No, no. You’re not holding yourself back for that guy,” Thea’s voice is lecturing and she doesn’t give me a chance to defend myself before she continues, “He isn’t worth it. You’re willing to throw away your entire future for some loser who owns a bar?”
“He isn’t a loser,” I snap, not willing to just sit here and allow Thea to badmouth Cameron. She doesn’t know him like I do so she has no right to judge him, “Take a look in the mirror, Thea. Stop thinking that everyone else doesn’t compare to you because it seriously just makes you look like a bitch.”
“Excuse me?” She seems offended, but I don’t care. She knows exactly what I’m talking about.
“You walk around here like you own the place, this is not Mean Girls and you are not Regina George,” I stand up from the table having a sudden appetite loss, “If someone is dressed in a way that you don’t approve of, you stare at them up and down with the look of disgust. And what about Roxy? You’ve been torturing that girl since we started high school.”
I watch Thea fold her arms over her chest and she arches an eyebrow, “Roxy is a gothic freak. You know that, too.”
“She’s a human being like the rest of us, Thea. And if we’re being honest, I don’t know if I want to be around someone so judgmental...”
“So you’re going to let him come between our friendship?” Thea asks me.
I shake my head, “No, Thea. You’re doing that all on your own.”
There had been so many feelings building up inside of me. Thea’s my best friend but I hate being around her when she treats people like they’re less than her. I’m a bitch by association because of her and I hate to think that people see me like that.
As I exit the lunch room I run into Carter who can see the frustration on my face, “Hey, Liv... What’s going on? You seem upset.”
He places his hands on my shoulders to stop me from avoiding him and I reluctantly look up at him, “I just got into an argument with Thea, it’s no big deal.”
“Again?” Carter tilts his head and seems to want more answers from me. I’m sure that having his two friends fighting wasn’t easy for him, “What changed recently? You two have always been on the same page with everything.”
“Look, Carter. I have somewhere to be, so if we can not do this that would be great.”
“You always have somewhere else to be, Liv. So maybe Thea’s is getting fed up with you being a-wol all the time.” He seems to be making assumptions and I am in no mood to hash it out with both of my best friends today, I just thought Carter would be the one to try to understand me.
I pull away from him and roll my eyes, “I’m not doing this, Carter. I don’t need to explain myself to you and Thea. I have never done anything but support you both so I would appreciate if you didn’t attack me because I have a life when I’m not with you guys.”
Instead of waiting for Carter to give me an answer, I fled the hallway with irritation going through my entire body. I’m sick of people acting like my life can only revolve around them, I’m tired of Thea telling me to cut ties with Cameron. She acts like she knows what’s better for me than I do. It’s beyond frustrating to have my best friend trying to control my life.
I decided to ditch school. It isn’t something that I do, but I am right now. I have no where in mind but anywhere was better than here because I’m sick of hearing about prom and the future that I’m supposed to have.
I toss my bag in the backseat of my car before getting in the driver’s side. I’m not sure why I’m more frustrated than usual today but the only thing I can bring my thoughts back to is Cameron. This back and forth with him is driving me insane, I felt like the more time I spent with him the more I wanted to be around him, but at the same time I knew that he’s bad for me.
A tapping sound is on my window and I look to see Roxy. I’m unable to hide my surprise as I slowly roll down my window, “Yes?”
“Hi... I uh... I was just wondering if you could give me a ride somewhere?” She asks hesitantly and I can see that she isn’t a fan of asking for favors, “I’ll give you money.”
I stare at Roxy for a moment, not quite sure what to say. Would I like to help her? Sure. But today is not my day and truthfully, the last thing I wanted to do was force myself into awkward conversation with Roxy of all people. Thea would have a field day and I have no idea what we would even talk about.
“Look, I’d like to help you out but I have somewhere to be and I just don’t have the time to drive around...” I tell her, “Sorry, Roxy.”
“Olivia, it’s really important. I wouldn’t ask unless--”
“I can’t. Sorry.”
I roll my window back up and start my car before Roxy could beg me some more. I feel terrible and like a complete bitch but as I began speaking to Roxy I realized where I needed to go and that was to see Cameron.
My mind when I’m without him is a complete mess and I needed to put an end to it, or a beginning. Whatever happens when I see Cameron will be just as much of a surprise to me, but I know the only way to stop thinking about him was to see him.
While I drove towards Cameron’s I attempted to call him via bluetooth but he wouldn’t answer, his phone could be off, or maybe he was ignoring me. Of course, there’s also the possibility of him being in bed with another girl because the guy is a charmer, he made that clear.
It was a downfall that I constantly thought badly of him, but it’s clear that no matter how negative my thoughts became, I still wanted to see the best in him.
When I reached the bar, I parked in the back parking lot as I usually do since receiving a brand new vehicle. It’s safer back there, Cameron said so himself.
I push open the bar door and don’t see Cameron but a moment later he comes out of his bedroom with an annoyed sigh escaping his tempting lips, “We’re closed. Did you not see--”
“Yeah, I know. But I need to talk to you.” I tell him when he stops, examining me quietly.
Cameron arches an eyebrow and walks towards me, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Unbelievable. Even now his words are charming. I avoid eye contact for a moment to gain my composure and when my eyes meet his again I blurt out what’s on my mind, “You need to stop kissing me.”
“Really?” He asks, surprise in his voice, “I could have sworn you kissed me back. Both times.”
“I did, but that isn’t the point.”
“Well, one would say that if I need to stop kissing you that you need to stop looking at me like I’m a piece of meat,” Cameron folds his arms over his chest and continues in a joking tone, “It’s very uncomfortable for me.”
“Cameron, I’m serious,” I tell him, “It isn’t fair. You kiss me and I become this different person who can’t say no... Then I continuously think about you and it sucks.”
He stays quiet for a moment and as he leans against the bar he seems to be deep in thought. Cameron doesn’t look at me but I can see the wheels turning in his head, “You think about me because you’re attracted to me. You want me even though you try so hard not to.”
His eyes finally shift towards me and I stare at him, “You can’t play with me, Cameron. You can’t make me feel these things if you’re not serious.”
“What makes you think that I’m not serious, Olivia?” His voice becomes louder, seeming almost irritated with me, “Why do you assume the worst when I’m actually my best around you? If you want to talk about things that suck, then think about that. Maybe I’m a general fuck up but I am as good as I can be with you. For you. And you still look at me like some kind of fucked up piece of shit.”
“Cameron, I...” I had no idea that he felt like that, I had no idea that he had been trying this entire time, “I don’t look at you like that. I just don’t want to assume that you want more from me than a hook up. This isn’t about you, it’s about me. I don’t want to get hurt...”
I keep my eyes on him as he walks towards me, his expression is unreadable and all I can judge is his movements. He touches the purple tips of my hair, a small grin appearing on his lips momentarily. His grin soon fades and he looks at me, his words coming out quieter than usual, “I won’t hurt you. Take my word on that, okay? If I can promise anything, it would be that there is no way in this world that I wouldn’t intentionally hurt you.”
His words take me off guard and suddenly everything that I came here to say was tossed upside down that quickly. I didn’t know if Cameron knew just how much I needed him to mean that, but I did. It wasn’t often that he expressed himself with as many words as he just did so he must have meant it in some way.
He’s right. I need to stop thinking the worse from him and trust what he says. He’s trying and I’m only pushing him away by not believing him.
“How about you give me a chance to show you the kind of man I can be?”
“How?” I ask.
“I’m going to take you out... Not as two people that are highly attracted to each other, but as two people who are considering something more,” The way he states the situation is perfect, almost as though he’s in my head. Cameron wanted to take me out, he wanted to do something other than hook up with me and this was his way of proving himself to me.
I nod my head, unable to help the smile from forming on my lips. This is a big deal, this is something I never expected from Cameron, “Yeah... Okay. I’d like that.”
“Good. Lets go.”
I furrow my eyebrows and look around the bar that would be opening in just a few hours, “What? Now? But the bar... And I don’t even have time to get ready.”
Cameron’s eyes scan me up and down before he shrugs his shoulders, “You don’t need to change anything. You look great and I’m impatient so I’m going to message Zoey to tun the place tonight and we’ll be on our way.”
Oh shit. This was actually happening. I’m going on a date with Cameron and I don’t even have time to prepare. This could either be a great thing or a complete train wreck, I could only hope that it wasn’t the latter.