I’m surprised by how quickly court dates had been set for Cameron’s trial, within the month there was a judge assigned to his case and he was going through the process of being sentenced. Now, Vincent is recovering. He’s still in the hospital and his condition isn’t great, but he’s alive. Something shifted in his spine somehow and he’s learning to walk again, I haven’t seen him myself but I’ve heard things, mostly from my dad.
Home life has been terrible, I’ve been staying on Zoey’s couch because I can’t handle my parent’s yelling at me and judging me constantly. Luckily, Zoey knows everything and doesn’t hate me. She has been so supportive and I have no idea what I would do without her.
I haven’t attended any of Cameron’s court dates so I have no idea how things are going, I can only hope for the best but prepare for the worse at this point.
“Okay, hun. I’m off to an interview, help yourself to anything,” Zoey tells me as she grabs her purse from the closet. She’s been having multiple interviews since Cameron’s bar has closed down, the landlord already has the property sold and the rumor going around is that the new owners are building a restaurant.
I nod my head from my spot on the couch, smiling at her, “Thanks... And good luck, Zoey.”
Zoey gives me a friendly wink before heading out the door. I let out a long held sigh and checks my phone to see if there’s any updates on the court’s website, but there’s nothing. Of course there’s nothing, his case isn’t big enough to get media attention.
My phone rings and an unknown number appears on the screen. Something inside of me already knows that it’s Cameron before I even take the call. The operator on the other line asks me to accept charges from Chicago State Prison and I do. There’s no hesitation, I need to know what’s happening.
“Hey,” He answers, his tone is dull but I don’t expect anything more. He’s going through a lot right now and his voice doesn’t hide it.
“How is everything? I uh... I haven’t heard much in a while,” I tell him, letting him know that I’m concerned even though I haven’t went to watch the trial. It’s too much for me at this point and I decided the best way to not get caught in Cameron’s web again was to simply stay away.
Cameron exhales and I can imagine his arms flailing in frustration, “They’re deciding... I’ll find out the verdict soon, but Olivia, I know that it’s a lot to ask, but I want you here. I get that you’re angry with me and don’t want anything to do with me, but all I’m asking for is a chance to see you once more before I get locked up.”
It seems like a reasonable request but I have no idea how hard it will actually be when I’m there. It isn’t about being around Cameron, it’s hard to say goodbye to someone I care so deeply for, knowing where they’re going. Knowing that they will be taken from me indefinitely.
I close my eyes tightly, unsure of how I should approach this situation, “I don’t know if I can... It’s a lot, Cameron.”
“I get that, I do, but bab-- Olivia, I’m asking you to be here. I don’t deserve your support but just come down here and say goodbye to me. Please.”
“I want to be there and support you, though. I just can’t imagine saying goodbye to you.”
That did it. Saying it aloud made it all so real and although Cameron was only going to jail for a while, it felt like I’m about to lose him all together. I forget the bad things about him and I forget the pain he caused me because through all of that I had fallen for him and those feelings can’t just go away.
There’s a pause and Cameron doesn’t respond right away. I hear him sigh, moments pass before I finally hear his voice again, “I don’t want to say goodbye either, but I’d rather have the chance to see you once more... touch you...”
I know how strong my feelings for Cameron had become, I know that if we had been given more time I could have easily fallen in love with him, but right before I hit that point I was slapped in the face by reality which halted everything.
Going to see Cameron is something that I need to do, even though it’ll be hard, I can’t imagine not taking this time to speak with him freely once more. He isn’t a bad person, he just does bad things. Deep down, though, Cameron Wilder is a good person; a great person, even. When he cares about you, he cares with every fiber of his being. He fights for those he cares about and this time it put him in jail.
He hurt me, that’s no lie, but I won’t spend the rest of my life hating him for a bad choice he made. We may never actually be together again, but hatred for him isn’t something I want use to be holding onto forever.
When I show up at the jail I’m informed that Cameron has already been taken to the court house for final verdict, I’m too late but I still decide to rush there, hoping that I can get even a glimpse of him before he’s taken away.
The lobby of the courthouse is empty, which means either the case if over or they’re still getting the verdict read as we speak. Without thinking, I rush to the room where I know the trial is being held and I peep inside. I see familiar faces; Roxy, Eddie, my dad... My dad is here on business but it irks me to know that he’s hoping for a big sentencing.
He doesn’t know Cameron like I do.
“Mr. Wilder, please stand.”
I see a figure stand, clear that it’s Cameron by the dark hair and his tall frame. Everything in me feels like it’s getting pulled and my fears have been confirmed, it hurts seeing him here when I can’t do anything about it.
“Mr. Wilder, we appreciate your patience and cooperation during this trial. Although it went relatively quickly, I have taken all information into account to decide my ruling,” The judge is looking at Cameron and she pauses for a moment, looking down at her paper before continuing, “Although we have witnesses who claim that your actions were justified, emotions cannot be let off when laws are broken and I do not stand for violence. Things could be a lot different, your victim could have died from the injuries that you and your anger caused. Do you understand that?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I heard Cameron’s muffled voice.
“That being said, I have come to the decision to sentence you to five years in federal prison with the possibility of parole after three years.”
I freeze in place after hearing the verdict. Five years? That’s insane. Eddie said two years minimum so why would the judge five an extra three years for the heck of it.
In five years Cameron will be thirty. His twenties will be gone and Vincent could just go on to raping other girls with no justice being given at all. It’s nauseating to think that the person who raped women is getting off free when a good person, who defended his sister is getting sentenced for five years in prison.
Everyone begins to exit the court room and as the room becomes more clear, I rush inside and towards the from of the court room where Cameron is talking to his attorney.
“Olivia!” I hear my dad’s voice moments before he grabs my arm and stops me, “What are you doing here?”
“Dad, let me go,” I tell him, tugging at my arm in attempt to get out of his grip and to Cameron where I should have been all along.
My dad shakes his head, refusing to allow me to see Cameron, “You shouldn’t be here. Go home, Olivia.”
Then I hear Cameron’s voice, his tone is a mix between upset and annoyed with my dad, “Hey! Let her go.”
I look over my shoulder to see Cameron standing a few feet behind me, his hands cuffed and his dark eyes staring at me with concern. My dad isn’t physically hurting me, but emotionally he’s trying to keep me from Cameron when I need to see him now more than ever.
I pull my arm quickly, releasing myself from my father’s grip and walking over to Cameron. I fall against his chest, hugging onto him tightly and closing my eyes as tears fall. I can’t lose him for five years. I just can’t.
Cameron slips his cuffed hands from under me and slides them over my head, resting his arms around my lower back so he can hug me also. I feel him leaning down, nuzzling his head into the nape of my neck, “You came...”
“I’m sorry... For lying and getting mad at you, I... I was stupid but I...”
“Shhh...” Cameron’s voice soothes me as we continue to hold each other, “I messed up. More than once but all that matters is you’re here, okay? I don’t deserve it but you came through for me.”
I lift my head, looking at Cameron as I continue to let this all sink in. I’m emotional, to say the least, more emotional than I expected to be but I also didn’t expect Cameron to be sentenced to five years in prison, “I forgive you. I don’t want to be without you for five years, so much could happen... We could get a fresh start...”
“Olivia, listen to me... I don’t regret what I did to be here, Roxy is my baby sister and I would do it all over again,” He tells me, “The only mistake I made was not finishing him off when I had the chance.”
Cameron’s words surprise me, causing my jaw to drop slightly, “Cameron...”
“Listen... I’m not a good person,” He interrupts me, “You make me want to be a good person but you don’t deserve someone who’s trying. You deserve someone who is, okay? I care about you more than I have cared about anyone else before in my life, so that’s why I’m not going to allow myself to ruin you and all the good that’s in you.”
I begin to shake my head, objecting to his words, “No... You’re not a bad person, you made some mistakes but everyone does. We can--”
“We can’t... There is no we, Olivia. I’m going away for five years and in that time you’ll be graduated college, maybe meet a nice guy who deserves you, there’s no way I’m letting you fuck up your life for me.”
“You don’t get to decide that,” I tell him.
An officer begins to approach us, “Time to go.”
Cameron moves his arms away from me, taking a step back, “I do. You can’t make the decision for yourself, so I’m doing it for you. Make something great of yourself, okay? In five years you’ll have such an amazing life that you won’t even remember me.”
“That’s not true!” I become frantic, taking another step towards Cameron so he can’t create more distance between us, “I’ll visit you... As much as I can, as many times I can in a week. I can still go to school and visit you, Cameron.”
“I don’t want you to visit me,” He says simply, shaking his head, “I’m going to make sure you’re not on the visitation list.”
My face changes, I feel heat and I know I’m turning red, becoming an emotional wreck, “No! Why would you do that? I want to see you!”
I place my hands onto Cameron’s shoulders only to have him push them away, he refuses to look at me and I know this is hurting him too, “I’m not letting you waste your life waiting for me.”
“That’s my choice to make.”
“What don’t you get, Olivia? I don’t want to fucking see you!” Cameron raises his voice at me, causing me to fall silent. He doesn’t stop there, he continues to kill me with his words, “I ask you to come say goodbye and you won’t leave it at that, will you? I don’t want to have to worry about some chick waiting when I get out. When I’m done here I want to be free, not tied down and with the responsibility of keeping you happy.”
My lip quivers even though I try my best to fight it, I don’t want him to see the pain he’s causing because I know he’s doing it on purpose to keep me away. If he knows it’s working, he’ll continue his nasty words, “You’re not pushing me away.”
As the guard approaches him, placing his hand on Cameron’s back to lead him away, Cameron chuckles at him, “You fuck someone once and they won’t leave you alone.”
“Cameron, stop doing this!”
He doesn’t answer me, he allows the guard to lead him to the door in back of the court room and as I try to run after him I’m stopped by Eddie’s hands on my shoulders, “You can’t go back there.”
“Cameron, please!” I call out after him. Again, he doesn’t look my way and once he leaves the court room, the door closes and that’s it. He’s gone.
I’m not going to see him again, I can’t even visit him and he left me with the memory of his hateful words just to keep me away. He was keeping me away regardless, he didn’t have to say all of those things to me. But he did and that’s all I can hear.
As I begin to cry harder, I feel a more comforting embrace and I know that it’s Roxy. I take in her embrace, hugging her back tightly and together we cry. We cry for losing time with Cameron and for the reason he’s being put away in the first place.
Unlike me, though, Roxy will be able to visit Cameron. He doesn’t want to see me at all, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. With help from Roxy, maybe he would eventually give in to seeing me. Five years seems like a lifetime but the connection between Cameron and I could be worth it, I think so, at least.
I pull away from Roxy, my world crumbling around me. Roxy attempts to speak to me but I hear nothing as I back away, running out of the court room and outside the building. Would this be the last time I see Cameron? Is this the end for us?
The unanswered questions nearly kill me but one thing I know for certain is that whether Cameron allows me to visit him or not, in five years I’ll be here waiting for his release.
-- The End --
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