“Happy prom day!” My mom grins as she takes a photo of me with the flowers that she had given to me no more than five minutes before.
It’s hard for me to be excited, I’m alone in this stupid dress and this was supposed to be a huge moment for me, but it’s not. Carter and Thea aren’t talking to me, I can’t ask my boyfriend to join me because he doesn’t know I’m only a senior in high school, and in the back of my mind I know that after tonight I’m going to tell Cameron. For real this time.
I’ve spoken to Roxy briefly and promised her that I would tell Cameron everything, otherwise, she would have to tell her brother the truth. Her warnings fell flat in my ears, while I ignored her words. She would never say good things, knowing that her classmate is dating her brother. Her opinions are one of someone who is judging, not someone who is speaking truth.
“Lisa, honey. Give her room to breathe,” My dad tells my mom as he pulls me into a tight embrace, “I am so proud of you, Olly. You worked hard and earned the right to enjoy yourself tonight.”
“Thanks, dad,” I smile at him before looking at my mom, “I’m going to head out, okay? I’m already running late, so...”
“Of course, go on and have fun, sweetie,” My mom hugs me for the millionth time tonight and reluctantly lets go, “Just please don’t be one of those girls who get a hotel room an--”
I couldn’t let her finish, it’s disturbing to even hear my mother implying such a thing. I would be nowhere near a hotel room tonight, not because of Cameron but because there is far too much going on in my head to even consider ignoring it all and sliding into the sheets.
My drive to the venue for prom was quiet and lonely, Cameron called me a few times but I let the calls go to voicemail in attempt to keep my mind clear tonight. Though that deemed impossible. The venue was filled outside and I imagine it’s even more crowded inside, leaving a part of me considering bailing on this entire night. I’m not sure why I’m even here aside from holding onto my childhood dream of the fairy-tale prom night is supposed to be.
My eyes dart to my phone that is set on the passenger’s seat as it rings again, Cameron’s name popping up on the screen. I can’t ignore him any longer, so I answer his call.
“Hey,” I say softly.
“Thanks for answering me finally,” He jokes but I wonder if he’s serious, “Can you come by? I know it’s your night off but Zoey called in sick, and it just gives me another reason to get you over here.”
I smile to myself but look down at my lap, “Cameron, I can’t... I’m sorry. I just have this thing. How about I come after closing? Maybe spend the night if you want me to.”
“Wow, seems like you got what you wanted from me,” He adds, this time I know that he’s kidding, “Come over after closing. I’m missing that smile of yours... And of course that body.”
I hear him groan on the other end of the call when he mentions my body and I can’t help but giggle, “I’ll see you then.”
But I wish I could just leave and see him now. I can’t, though. I owe it to myself and my hard work during high school to be here and celebrate my success. It doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate but if I don’t attend prom, I will surely regret it later.
When I walk into the venue there’s already people dancing, drinking, and making out - then there’s me. Slowly shifting the the quietest corner and secretly look around for my friends even though they don’t want to see me. That I am sure of.
“Olivia, you look amazing,” A familiar voice interrupts my thoughts.
I turn around and fall silent, unsure how to approach this but for the first time in a long time I decide to be mature, “Thank you, Luke. You look nice also.”
“You here with anyone?” He asks me before running his fingers through his blond hair and quickly checking me out from top to bottom.
I can’t help but roll my eyes, he can’t seriously think that I didn’t notice his perverted gaze, I push it aside and shake my head, “No. Just me.”
Luke extends a hand towards me and raises an eyebrow in his ever so charming way, “So you’re available to dance? Just like we did together during our first formal.”
“That was a long time ago,” I reject his hand and look away, deciding not to play with fire tonight or any night based on how I’m feeling in this moment.
He has never been able to take no for an answer so when Luke lingers around, I’m not entirely surprised, “I’ve never really apologized to you for what happened between us. I shouldn’t have done what I did and trust me when I say that I regret treating you the way I did.”
“Well, the last time I trusted you; you ended up in bed with another girl, so I’m going to take a pass on trusting you again,” I give him a snobby smirk before shaking my head, “I’m over it, Luke. I’m over you and I’m over feeling bad about myself because of it. I’m leaving high school and the memories behind after graduation, and that includes the relationship we had. As beautiful as it was at times and even through the painful ending, I learned a lot from it. I’m not mad at you anymore, so you don’t need to apologize anymore. Let it be in the past.”
“Wow...” Luke says, surprised by my words but respond with a smile, “Olivia Brooks, who are you and how do you manage to surprise me after all these years?”
“I am a much shittier person than you can even imagine,” I end the conversation before he can bother to question me about what I meant.
Coming to prom was an attempt to make myself feel better or to give myself a distraction from my reality, but I’m still sulking in this nightmare and it wouldn’t go away until I spoke to Cameron.
I’m so tired of feeling this way and although I promised myself that I would wait until after prom, I’ve waited long enough. Prom night would be the night my life stopped being a lie and I could walk around as Olivia Brooks, high school graduate, not Olivia Brooks, liar and terrible friend.
I leave prom and drive to Cameron’s Bar, although I drive quickly I still don’t surpass the speed limit. My thoughts consume me the entire drive to the bar but this time I am sure that I’m going to tell Cameron everything. I can’t continue living with this lie when I’m becoming so attached to Cameron now.
In order for this to work - for us to work, I need to be honest with him and I’m going to start from the beginning of all my lies.
Based on the full parking lot, I know the bar is as busy as ever and instead of parking in the back, I park on the side of the road before rushing into the crowded bar. Cameron is behind the bar serving drinks and chuckling. He flashes the girls his signature smirk that could make anyone’s knees buckle and a park of me is jealous that he’s giving them the attention that I so desperately crave.
It’s a part of the job, being a people person, but with girls as beautiful as the ones who come to this bar I can’t help but envy their looks like I envy the attention they’re getting.
I walk to the bar, intentionally pushing my way in between two girls who wear barely anything on their bodies. Cameron’s eyes land on me and his smirk grows, “There’s my girl. I thought you weren’t coming until later?”
“I couldn’t wait to see you,” I tell him and bite down on my lip gently, “Can we talk in private?”
“Sorry, babe. I can’t leave... No one is here but me, remember.”
Fuck. That’s right.
“I’ll help you then,” I suggest as I walk behind the bar.
Cameron’s eyes wander up my body as he pours a glass of vodka, seeming amused, “You look great but the outfit is a bit of an overkill for the bar.”
I realize that I’m still in my prom dress, but I never had time to go home and change. I’m not in my right mind, I don’t care if I have to tell Cameron everything right here and now, I’ve finally built up the courage to do it so I need to while the courage is still there.
“This is my prom dress,” I tell him.
Cameron scans over my body, nodding his head slowly, “Yeah, I remember you looking at the picture a few days back. It looks good on you.”
“Look, Cameron... There’s something I need to tell you, a few things actually.” I take a deep breath, relieved that we’re not getting interrupted and I’m actually getting time to talk to him, “There’s some things that you don’t know about me and I really hope that you can forgive me.”
“Olivia, don’t,” Cameron begins to say, something in his eyes said a lot more but I can’t put my finger on it.
“No, I have to. Just listen to me before I get too scared to be honest with you... I have feelings for you, this was never my intention but I got so wrapped up in you and the closer we became, the more afraid I was to tell you the truth,” I feel my hands shaking but I know that I’m ready to say the rest. This is the closest I have come to telling him and with the little I have already said, it feels good.
Cameron sets an empty glass on the bar and turns away from me, I notice his palms on the surface of the counter while he leans forward but he won’t look at me, even when I touch his shoulder.
“Olivia?” A voice pulls me away from Cameron and my thoughts. As I look to my right I see my dad standing at the bar. He isn’t wearing his police uniform, he’s dressed like a regular citizen.
My mouth drops open as I pull away from Cameron, “Dad? What... What are you doing here?”
My dad glances from Cameron to me, seeming confused and as he speaks I realize exactly why he’s here, “I’m following up on a harassment case. I can’t go into detail, but that isn’t what I’m curious about right now. Why are you here and what are you doing behind this bar? With him?”
I look quickly to Cameron, waiting to see his reaction to everything that just happened out of nowhere. To my dad coming here and pointing me out as his daughter. When our eyes meet, I stare at Cameron and he stares back at me, quietly.
He says two words. Two words that confuse me and feel like a punch in the gut instantly, I’m not sure what he means but I know that nothing good can come of those two words that I now hate so much. “I’m sorry.”