Cameron and I have been doing this dating thing for nearly a month and everything has been going surprisingly smooth. I’ve spent multiple nights at the bar with him, we’ve drove around town in his beat up car and made out in the front seat like lovesick teenagers. As far as intimacy has went, we never went past making out in our underwear - it’s just something that has to feel right before I jump into bed. I’ve thought a lot about it and deep down I want to come clean with everything before Cameron and I have sex. Though, even deeper down I’m terrified of what will happen when he finds out.
I’ve failed everything. I failed when telling myself to come clean before things went too far and I failed to leave the situation before it became too much to handle. But here I am, underage in a bar with my slightly older boyfriend who doesn’t even know who I really am.
While taking a break from working the bar, I sit outside on the sidewalk and look at prom dresses on my phone. Last week I found a dress that I liked and settled for it. A beautiful tiffany bue slim fit dress that fell to the floor and had silver stones on the torso area. I had yet to speak to Carter and Thea again, but in my defense they haven’t tried to contact me either.
I know that the last time I spoke to them I wasn’t the greatest friend but I’ve reached my limit of having my friends dictate my life, so now my social life and circle of friends are practically non-existent.
“Now that’s a hot dress... Going somewhere special?” I hear Cameron say as he sits next to me on the curb. He pulls out his pack of cigarettes and lights one up, taking a puff and waiting for my response.
“No,” I answer quietly, “This is my prom dress.”
“Yeah? I bet you look hot as fuck in it, how about you show me your prom photos sometime?” He asks, taking the cigarette from his lips and raising an eyebrow at me, “Let me see... You graduated a few years ago, yeah? I bet you don’t even look that different.”
I manage a small smile and sets my phone down beside me, “I’m practically the same person.”
The air falls quiet and silence grow between us, but Cameron’s arm finds my body and drapes around my shoulders. I look towards him and his eyes melt me on the spot, someone so careless and with a rough exterior could make my stomach turn to mush just by looking at me the way he does.
Cameron leans in and presses his lips against mine. The taste of cigarettes and whiskey linger on my tongue as we fall deeper and deeper into one another. His tongue traces my lower lip and just like that, we pull away from one another.
“I need to talk to you,” He says softly.
“That’s never good.”
“It’s about Vincent,” Cameron adds and my heart sinks in my chest. “He’s filing a lawsuit against the bar and me, saying that he was attacked without reason. At this point it’s his word against mine, unless there’s another witness who comes forward and backs up my reason for beating him up, this is going to court.”
No. No, this cannot be happening. It needs to be me. Cameron needs me to go to the station and give a statement about what Vincent was doing to me that night. I can’t let him get in trouble for protecting me, I would never allow that to happen but this was clearly where everything would tumble around me.
I gulp and look forward so I don’t have to look Cameron in the eye when all of this is going through my head, “How much time do I have?”
“The judge will be picking a trial date at the end of the month... But babe, if you’re not okay with talking about this I can handle it. The worse I can get is community service, I don’t want you to have to relive that fucked up shit that he pulled.”
Why would he allow me to sit back and watch him go to court when I could stop it? It’s noble of him but it wasn’t going to happen on my watch. My secrets will come out but I wanted to at least have control over how everything gets exposed.
Prom is next weekend, I’ll do prom and enjoy my last week of a happy life before telling Cameron everything on Sunday. Then I’ll go to the police station and talk to my dad or another officer about what Vincent did. It isn’t ideal but I passed ideal a long time ago. Now I’m just stuck with what is handed to me.
“Can I have a week? Just to prepare myself,” I ask Cameron, feeling my emotions rise to the surface. I would lose everything, I was going to lose Cameron because I was too reckless to com forward earlier.
“You can have whatever time you need.”
No amount of time in the world could possibly be enough.
“Prom is in five days, people. Just remember that this is just the party of it all... You don’t actually get to graduate unless your grades prove that you’ve earned it,” My chemistry teacher reminded us that we have yet to succeed and it was possibly the least comforting lecture I have ever received in my life, “Enjoy the party while it lasts. Maybe I’ll see you at graduation this year, maybe not.”
“What the fuck...” I hear a student mumble.
Another groaned, “Is he even allowed to invade our atmosphere with so much negativity?”
I stand up as the class ends and just as I exit the classroom I see Carter walking by. I know he doesn’t want to hear from me, but I can’t end my high school run without my best friends. I can admit my wrongs and I will do just that.
“Carter!” I call out to him as I hurry up to catch up to his walking pace.
He glances over his shoulder, seeming slightly confused to see me. Still not stopping, he responds, “Hey, Liv.”
“Can we talk?”
He furrows his eyebrows, “Isn’t that what we’re doing right now?”
“Carter, please...” I tug at his arm, forcing him to stop in the hallway. He rolls his eyes as he reluctantly turns to face me, although I know that he doesn’t want to talk to me I continue anyway, “Listen, Carter. I screwed up and handled the situation with you and Thea badly. I have--”
“A lot going on, we get it, Liv. But that’s your business, right? As you wanted, I’ll no longer care.”
“God, you’re being dramatic,” I scoff, “It isn’t about you caring, it’s about you and Thea trying to tell me how to live my life. I don’t need to be lectured by you guys, I just need your support and it really feels like all you see in me are my flaws.”
This seems to catch Carter’s attention, his expression changing completely and his eyes become softer; seeming hurt almost.
“You’re kidding me...” His voice is quiet, shaking his head in disbelief, “You know how I feel about you. I have never denied it, so when you think that all I see is flaws, that’s bullshit. I see nothing but good in you, how you put up with Thea’s constant attitude and judgment towards every other student in the school, but you never join in. Then there’s the time you pretended to fall down the steps when your parents were having problems so they would both need to be by your side at the hospital... You’re ambitious, a little too ambitious sometimes but that’s who you are. You go to crazy lengths to do good for people.”
Guilt takes over, my accusation towards Carter was clearly misguided and he made that clear very quickly. He has always been there for me, I had been completely unfair to push him out of my life the way I did.
“What’s going on Livy?” He asks me, being completely genuine in classic Carter fashion.
I look him in the eyes, shaking my head slowly and managing barely a whisper, “I have myself into trouble, I’m in deep and I’m backed into a corner where I need to be honest but I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen.”
Carter cups my face in his hands and stares down at me with worry in his eyes, “Jesus Christ, Olivia. What did you do?”
I look around the now empty hallway and as I let my guard down, I tell Carter everything. I tell him start to end, starting with how I came upon Cameron’s bar while job hunting to how I lied about my age. The only thing I was struggling with was telling him about my current relationship with Cameron.
Carter seems to be at his limit with my drama for today but I can’t just stop now, I don’t want more secrets to come out later and regret not telling Carter the whole truth at once.
“More? Fuck... How much more could there be? You’ve gotten yourself into an illegal situation, it can’t get much worse than that.” He groans, sitting on the floor and leaning against a locker. As he looks up at me, he raises an eyebrow, “What is it?”
Slowly, I take a seat beside him and lean back as well. I stare at the brick wall across from me and speak in monotone, realizing just how bad things were for me the more I spoke about it, “I... I’m dating Cameron. The owner of the bar, he still knows nothing and what’s worse is my dad has some kind of policeman vendetta against Cameron and I still don’t know why.”
This time Carter seems to be more hurt than anything, he manages a small laugh and refuses to look at me when he speaks, “High school drop out, bar owner, kicked out of his mom’s house... Yeah, that seems like your type.”
“I don’t have a type, Carter. There’s chemistry, and then there’s... Not.”
“Chemistry is based on either personality or looks,” Carter adds, “So I either have a bad personality or I’m lacking in the looks department.”
Here we go again. Carter is going back to how he feels about me when this has nothing to do with him or us. He always compares my attraction to other guys to him and what he doesn’t have. This is exactly why it’s too hard to talk to Carter about my life problems.
“I’m not doing this again. It isn’t about personality or looks, Carter. We’ve been friends since grade school, you’re practically my brother,” I argue before standing up, “Right now, I don’t need an admirer, I need my friend but you’re so focused on your obsession with getting me that you’re flushing our friendship down the toilet.”
“It has never been just friendship with us, Liv. You were the first girl I ever had a crush on, the first girl I kissed and...”
“It was spin the bottle and it was 6th grade, Carter! Get over it. You constantly make me feel like a shitty person for not forcing myself into a relationship that I don’t want... Your friendship means everything to me and I’m sorry that I can’t be what you want me to be, but I will give one hundred percent of myself to this friendship,” I stare down at him, waiting for a response or anything at all to know that he heard what I said but Carter continued to stay silent.
He never made a comment or a move, he never reacted to the way I poured my heart out to him and he never spared me a second glance. I never expected him to be okay with it but we have always been friends, never more. I tried desperately to hold onto this friendship and save it from Carter’s destruction but he wouldn’t allow it. The more I urged him to accept us being friends the further he pushed me away and eventually there would be nothing left.
I poured my heart out to one of my best friends who can no longer accept me as only a friend, now I fear that he will exploit me just to get back at me for not wanting him.