I sit on the edge of the bed, speechless and alone while Cameron was outside talking to the cops and paramedics. Of course I want nothing more than to be there and see what’s going on, but the cops would easily recognize me and that isn’t how I need Cameron to find out the truth.
Vincent is being taken to the hospital and his blood was still spattered over the floor in front of me. I can’t keep the sight of Cameron beating Vincent to a pulp out of my head, he did it for me but it was a lot for me to see. And the blood only makes it worse.
I hear a car door close and a moment later the sound of vehicles driving away could be heard. As I hear the bar door close Cameron’s footsteps are heard coming towards the door. He opens it and looks at me with a blank expression on his face.
“Are you okay?”
Am I? I have no idea. I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes out, my eyes can only fall to the blood dried onto Cameron’s knuckles and the stains on his white shirt. Everything had happened so quickly and now I could only focus on the mess that had been left behind.
Cameron kneels in front of me and takes my hand, “I’m sorry that you had to see that... I try to avoid fighting around girls but sometimes the situation won’t give me time. If I didn’t do that he was going to take advantage of you...”
“I-I know... I do, I’m just shaken up,” I reassure him before taking a deep breath and raking my fingers through my hair, “I just can’t process everything that happened right now. Do you do that often? Fight, I mean.”
“Honestly?” He raises and eyebrow and shrugs casually, “Not as often as I did at one point, but it still happens. For good reason, though. Trust me, Olivia. I have come a long way in the past few months.”
“Cameron, I’m not mad... If anything I’m grateful that you were here to stop him,” I manage a small smile but it soon fades away, “If you didn’t show up...”
Cameron cups my face in his hands and shakes his head, “Hey, no... Don’t think about that, alright? You’re okay. He isn’t here now and I swear to god, I will not let him lay a fucking finger on you. I’m always going to be here making sure that you’re safe, no matter what I need to do to make that possible.”
Although we’re in the middle of a very serious conversation, I can’t help but be in awe of Cameron’s protective nature and the way he talked about being here to keep me safe. This was a softer side of Cameron, a completely different person than the one who just sent someone to the hospital - this was the Cameron that I knew has been here all along but he just wasn’t willing to show this side of him until recently.
We had recently talked about taking chances and being serious about wherever we were going with whatever the hell this is between us, but we hadn’t discussed exactly what it is. At this point, he seemed like more than a friend to me. He was defending me and comforting me like a boyfriend, but I can’t assume things like that from Cameron.
I rub over my face to try and rid myself of any negativity that I was still feeling. As I allow for my eyes to meet Cameron’s, I change the topic to something that I care more about. Something that gives me a sense of happiness instead of this down feeling Vincent caused, “What are we? I know that seems like a confusing question but I just want to know that I’m not being led on in any way.”
Cameron moved his hands and he stood up, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans before shrugging nonchalantly, “We are human.”
“Oh, come on... Don’t be ridiculous, you know what I mean.”
“Olivia, you know where I stand with you... I don’t like labels,” He adds, walking towards the couch and refusing to make eye contact with me now.
The thing is, I feel like I know where he stands but if I assume and allow myself to fall for him, then I’m the person who would be breaking my heart.
I stand from the bed, Cameron’s back facing me, “It isn’t a label. It’s a simple question... Are you my boss? My friend? Boyfr--”
“Labels,” He repeats himself, “I’m neither of those. I’m Cameron and you’re Olivia.”
“Okay,” I respond simply, knowing that I would not get ahead with Cameron at all. He would never admit anything that required him to put himself out there further than what he is comfortable doing. I pretend to get a text on my phone and as I pull it from my pocket, I raise my eyebrow in false surprise, “Oh...”
“What is it?” Cameron asks.
“Nothing... It’s just... Luke.”
Cameron’s demeanor changes, his dark browns knitting together and his lips resting in a thin line, “You ex Luke? What the fuck does he want?”
I slide my phone back into my pocket quickly, shaking my head, “Nothing... I just need to go. I’ll text you.”
As I try to walk past Cameron he stops me by snaking his arm around my waist and pulling me back, “What did he want?”
When I look at him, he seems visibly upset and unwilling to take no for an answer, “He just wants to talk...”
“He wants you back,” He growls under his breath, letting me go and grabbing his leather jacket from the couch. As he begins to put his jacket on, he turns to me again and extends his hand, “Give me you phone so I can find out where this fuck face is.”
My jaw drops, getting a different reaction than I expected from him. If anything, I expected him to just say what we were but he jumped to a completely irrational response for someone who doesn’t give a label to what we are.
“Cameron... That isn’t necessary. I’m a big girl,” I tell him, taking a step to walk past him. I open the door and just as it cracks open, Cameron places his hand on the door and closes it.
I look at him, about to tell him to let me leave but he speaks before I have a chance to, “Don’t go with him.”
“Because... I want you here.” He keeps his answer simple and brief, but it isn’t enough to make me stay. I can’t let myself fall into Cameron’s trap without knowing if there’s anything worth falling for or if I’m just delusional.
“I’ll be back... I have work tomorrow, remember?” I grin at him, trying to lighten the mood without seeming too obvious.
“Fuck, Olivia. I don’t want you to go with him because I’m not okay with it,” Now he seems to be more irritated, he’s fighting with his feelings and I feel guilty for lying about Luke texting me but it seems like I’m getting a little progress, “Do you want him back?”
“I never said that.”
“Him or me?” He asks in a stern tone. When I don’t answer right away due to my confusion, he snaps again, “Do you want him or do you want me? It’s a simple question, Olivia.”
“What I want is to know what I am to you. It isn’t that hard for you to tell me instead of making me wonder if I’m wasting my time by thinking that you want me as more than...” I pause, looking away. My own lie was getting the best of me, I was getting heated over something that I knew wasn’t even happening at this point in time.
Cameron taking my chin between his thumb and pointer finger, turning my face to his, “Is that what you need to hear? That I want you all to myself? Because if that’s it, then fine. I don’t want you fucking around with other guys, I don’t want you leaving this place and finding some other dude that thinks he deserves you. There isn’t a chance in hell that I deserve you but it’s too late because I found you and now there’s no way that I’m letting you slide through my fingers.”
“If you don’t want me to slide through your fingers, then say it...”
“Olivia, you’re testing me.” His jaw is clenched and he’s fighting the words, knowing exactly what I’m trying to pull. I don’t answer him, I’m not going to let him avoid this any longer because it isn’t fair to me or him.
I would give my heart and soul to Cameron, but without knowing that he cares for me in a way that’s deserving of my entire self, then I refuse to take any steps further with him. I made that mistake before with Luke and I wouldn’t make the same mistake with Cameron.
“If some stupid labels is what you need to know how much I care about you, then have it. I don’t want any other girl in my bed or my heart, okay? I want you... Only you,” He takes a step towards me and looks down at me, tracing his fingers slowly across my lips, “I hate labels, but I don’t want you to leave here and think that you’re available for some other douche bag. Because you’re not... I claim you.”
“Claim me?” I laugh, unable to believe his words, “I’m sorry, what century do we live in right now?”
“Okay, you win,” He flails his arms up in defeat, “You can call me your boyfriend or whatever. I just don’t understand why you need me to use that word for you to know how I feel about you.”
Cameron is taking this wrong. He thinks it’s just a word, but to me that single word solidifies everything instead of having me assume things that aren’t real. It isn’t about being his girlfriend, I already know that he feels strongly towards me, but I’m not about to give myself to a man who isn’t willing to be serious with me.
“I do know how you feel... I just needed to know that you’re serious about being serious with me,” I tell him, “I have insecurities that I need to take care of, I need to make sure that my feelings are safe before I...”
“Before you?” Cameron questions me after I pause.
I take a deep breath, shrugging to hide my embarrassment, “I just want to make sure that we’re in a serious place before we get intimate together. Even though I’ve had sex before doesn’t mean that I no longer care who I’m with. I do, and I’m never going to be okay with having sex as a fling, Cameron.”
Cameron falls silent, seeming to finally understand where I’ve been going with this. I had reason, I’m not just being a pathetic girl who’s desperate for a boyfriend. I only needed reassurance which I think I deserve.
Cameron leans down and rests his forehead against mine. As he traces his thumb across my chin, he speaks softly in a reassuring tone, “I get that... And I respect that. You are a woman of many mysteries but the one thing that I completely admire about you is your self respect.”
“Really?” The way he says it makes me sound boring, but his words are genuine and seem foreign coming from his mouth.
“Really.” He smiles down at me before leaving me completely speechless with his next words, “If you’ll have me, I’d like to be your boyfriend.”
I giggle when he nearly cringes at the label but I know that he’s putting himself out there in ways that he never have. Cameron isn’t an openly affectionate guy, so having his say this is a big deal and I know that he means it.
“You know I want that,” My response is simple.
For a moment I forget about why I had come here. I forget about the lies that I’m keeping from Cameron, I forget about Vincent trying to rape me, and I forget about all of the things that could get in our way. For this split moment I enjoy the way Cameron makes me feel, I enjoy his arms around me and I ignore the voice inside of my head telling me to run.