I felt a challenge after Cameron’s comment during my Wednesday shift. Yes, I was still thinking about his words ”I find you less attractive now,” and it was eating at me. I’m only human and like many, I thrive to be accepted and liked. Having Cameron say that left me spending days, including my days off, thinking about why he felt that way or what I could do to change it.
It was a terrible thought, being challenged to make someone attracted to you, but my insecurities had gotten the best of me. Everything was all too familiar, the words that had once come from my boyfriend’s lips when I caught him in bed with a girl I had never seen before.
“You’re boring. Sometimes I need something refreshing and fun.”
It made me wonder if I would ever be enough for someone or would I always be that boring girl that couldn’t keep a guy’s eyes on me only. Would I always have someone cheat on me with someone who gave them more of a thrill? I had assumed that’s why Cameron said he wasn’t attracted to me - because just like Luke, I’m boring to him.
No one should ever feel like they need to change to be good enough in someone’s eyes, but when you’re thrown for a loop your mind is blurred by the insistence to be good enough. Which is exactly why I stood in my mirror staring at my biggest regret yet.
The tips of my brown hair were now purple.
In an attempt to make myself more fun I had taken a random trip to the nearest hair salon and requested putting some fun in my hair. It wasn’t that it looked bad, it just wasn’t me. I never was a believer of dying my hair, it’s been said that hair dye ruins your hair so now that the purple was in there it would be staying until my hair grew long enough to cut it.
A light knock came at my bedroom door before my mom invited herself in, “Livy, I’m going to run some errands. Did you want to jo--” She stopped mid sentence and stared at me for a moment before finally speaking, “What did you do to your hair?”
“I’d rather not talk about it,” I mumbled in regret.
My mom touched my hair before commenting, “We’ll find a good hair dresser to get rid of that. We don’t need you walking around looking like a rebel.”
I glanced in the mirror, noting to myself that my hair didn’t look bad it was just a big change from what I had been used to, “I mean, I don’t hate it...”
“Honey, trust me. Having purple in your hair gives people the wrong idea... We’ll get a hair dresser,” She told me before turning to the bedroom door again, “So did you want to join me for errands?”
Shaking my head, I didn’t take my eyes off of the mirror, “No thanks... I actually need to grab my cheque from work, then Thea and I are going to the mall.”
It was my day off from work, so showing up wasn’t ideal but I planned on going to the mall and enjoying my newfound freedom of money. Unfortunately for me, I needed my cheque to do that and today was payday.
Thea had offered to come with me to work to grab my cheque, but her idea of my workplace was completely different than what it really was. The last thing I needed right now was for everything to explode in my face, even though it were bound to happen eventually. I would avoid it as long as possible.
I had began to forget how I got myself into this mess, but the fact of the matter is that I’m in deep and can’t change it. Maybe if I stayed until I’m at least 21 it wouldn’t be considered illegal anymore.
As I headed out the front door of my house I texted Thea that I would contact her after getting my cheque. I knew she would have plenty to say about my new hair but on the upside she was more likely to be more optimistic than my mother was. My mother, however, is slightly uptight. It’s all about how people see us rather than being who we want to be. You would assume the woman is a politician, but she only works for insurance.
When I arrived at the bar, the door was unlocked so I walked in to see Cameron sitting at the bar with paperwork scattered over the counter. It was quiet so the moment the door closed, he looked over at me.
“I just came for my cheque,” I told him before he could question me.
Cameron nodded his head and turned back to the papers, “Just give me a minute and I’ll have it ready.”
I gave him a little smile even though he was no longer looking at me. Eventually I made my way over to a table and took a seat while waiting for Cameron to finish up whatever he was doing. I noticed a beer on the counter beside him, he would take a sip occasionally before returning to his work.
After about five minutes, Cameron stood up and walked over to the table where I was sitting and sat across from me with his cheque book, “The printer is down so I can give you your pay stub on Monday when the guys come to fix it.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
He scribbled a few things on the cheque before ripping it out of the book a passing it to me, “Felt like you wanted a change?”
I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, “Huh?”
He motioned towards his head, “The hair. It’s different, right?”
“Oh, yeah...” I nodded my head, folding my cheque and sliding it into my purse, “I was feeling ambitious and now I’m not digging my spur of the moment decision.”
Cameron waved his hand slightly and shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, “Nah, it looks good. You don’t look so uptight now.”
Uptight? He thought I looked uptight? Oh gosh, I’m just like my mother.
Cameron must have noticed that I was overthinking his words because he was quick to speak up and correct himself, “Don’t take everything so personally. The hair suits you, leave it at that.”
“Thanks,” I stood from the chair, flinging my purse over my shoulder and looking down at Cameron, “Also, thanks for taking the time to get my cheque ready. I’ll see you tomorrow for work.”
Cameron stayed where he was sitting, only lifting his beer bottle and raising an eyebrow at me, “Or you could stay and have a drink.”
“Oh, I don’t...”
“Don’t tell me that you’re not a drinker... You work at a bar, you do realize that, right?” He had a different tone for once, a more playful tone than I had heard before now.
“I’m aware,” I responded, glancing towards the door then back at Cameron before deciding that one beer wouldn’t hurt, “Just one. I have plans so I can’t show up smashed.”
The strangest sound came from Cameron, something I had never heard from him before; it almost sounded like a chuckle, “You being smashed? Can’t imagine that.”
“You do realize that I can be fun, right?” I asked him and when he hesitated to respond I only shook my head, “Never mind. Don’t answer that, you don’t know me so you wouldn’t know if I’m a fun person or not.”
I walked towards the bar and set my purse behind it before grabbing a glass and getting fresh beer from the taps. Cameron stood from the table and followed me over to the bar before taking a seat on one of the stools, “Then allow me to get to know you.”
My eyes glanced up at him and I gave a skeptical look, “What’s the catch?”
He seemed confused but responded anyway, “Why does there have to be a catch? I’m bored and I have a few hours before anyone shows up. I’m simply asking for your company.”
It seemed weird to think that hanging out with Cameron was a normal thing, but all I had wanted was for him to give me a chance and now that he was I couldn’t say no. Getting to know each other couldn’t be such a bad thing.
I took a sip of the beer I had just poured, not enjoying the taste too much but keeping my expression as normal as I could after tasting that filth, “Do you ever get bored?”
“That’s a weird question to start with,” He responded.
I only shook my head, “Not really... I mean, you do the same thing every day. It has to get lonely.”
I furrowed my eyebrows at him, “Pass?”
Cameron only nodded his head, “Next question.”
“That’s not how this works,” I told him, taking a seat on a bar stool and resting my elbow on the counter, “But if you insist... What made you want to open a bar?”
Cameron’s answers next quite fulfilled my need to know. He always kept answers abrupt and to an extent it was annoying but I couldn’t pry further, “It was easy and something I’m actually good at.”
“Book smarts,” He told me, tipping the beer bottle back and keeping his eyes on me as he downed some of the liquid. When he rested the bottle back on the counter he continued to explain, “I never went to college because I barely finished high school. That shit is only for certain people, so I did something I’m actually good at. Managing a business, being a people pleaser, and knowing good alcohol. It also wasn’t too hard to get a bartending license.”
Based on every other answer I’ve ever received from Cameron, this one was the most in depth which pleased me to the core. I felt like I may actually be getting somewhere with him, “And what about--”
“Not so fast, Barney. It’s my turn,” He pointed out, giving me a wink as he joked about my hair, “Why did you change your hair?”
My eyes shifted slightly, giving my shoulders a slight shrug in attempt to brush off the question, “I just wanted a change.”
I looked back to Cameron’s direction and I felt like he was reading me like a book, a wide open book with all the answers laying right in front of him, “I wanted to try and fit in better... Here, I mean.”
A smug smirk rested on his lips and he chuckled lightly, “I knew it. The moment you walked in here with that purple hair I was willing to bet money that you were trying to impress me.”
“I was not trying to impress you,” I quickly defended, “Like I said, I wanted to fit the bartender role better.”
“Okay,” He nodded but I knew that he didn’t believe me.
After taking another small sip of the beer I poured, I contemplated my next question, “Do you have any family that your close with?”
Cameron seemed surprised by my question choice but he only shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, “Only my younger sister, really. My dad died when I was three, so I didn’t really know him. And as you know, my mother kicked me out - but my sister and I have always been closer than other relatives. I have mad respect for her having to put up with our bitch of a mother daily.”
“Maybe you and your mom just can’t see eye to eye because you have difference values,” I suggested, unsure why Cameron would be so hostile towards his mom.
Maybe because I loved my mom through everything. Even though shes uptight and judgmental, I love her because she’s my mom. Just as anyone should.
“Fuck her,” Cameron chuckled, “She can disappear and I wouldn’t give a fuck. What kind of sadistic person attempts to get their own kid arrested?”
“Oh yeah... My mother accused me of stealing drugs from her loser boyfriend, so she called the cops and got me arrested for abuse.” Cameron rolled his eyes and took a long sip of his beer, shaking his head in an irritated manner, “She obviously couldn’t tell the cops that her boyfriend had illegal drugs so she lied and said I physically abused her, she showed the bruises her boyfriend at the time left on her and pinned it on me.”
My mouth gaped open and I couldn’t find the words to say that could possible express how fucked up that was. Cameron already knew, of course, but I was taken aback by a parent being so horrible.
“Fucked, right?” He raised an eyebrow at me and gave me a side smirk, “I’m over it now. But it doesn’t change what she did. I have a record now because of that shit.”
I tapped my fingers along the counter gently, silently telling myself not to push the topic; it’s none of my business so I shouldn’t put my nose where it doesn’t belong. Of course my mouth never cooperates with my brain so even though I knew I shouldn’t ask anything else, I did.
“Is that the only time you’ve been arrested?”
“No, but that’s a story for another time,” He answered before standing up from the stool he was sitting on and walking towards his room without another word.
I wasn’t sure if he had intentions on coming back but I wasn’t too concerned, instead all my mind could focus on was what other things Cameron did to go to jail for. Did he have an anger problem or maybe he was in a gang. There were many possibilities and the not knowing only made my mind run wild, thinking of the most absurd situations possible.
Cameron was an asshole most of the time, but I never looked at him as a dangerous person. However, when you hear the word jail you automatically assume trouble even though it is completely stereotypical and presumptuous.
I heard the door to Cameron’s room close and looked to see him walking towards me, “My turn for a question, by the way.”
“Okay,” I responded hesitantly, unsure what to expect from him at this point.
“What are your thoughts on marijuana?” His question wasn’t what I expected but it never was, surely he already knew the answer so why bother asking me?
I shrugged my shoulders slightly, not caring for the topic much, “I have nothing against people who smoke it, it’s a herb or whatever, right? I just haven’t tried it and have no intentions on it.”
“Good,” He muttered before taking a small baggy of marijuana joints from his jeans pocket, “Had to find out before I whipped these out. You don’t mind being around the smoke, do you?”
I only shook my head, watching Cameron taking a joint from the bag and pulling a lighter from his pocket, “Can I ask another question?”
He only sighed, placing the joint to his lips and taking a little inhale before looking at me again, blowing the smoke sideways, “I think the 20 questions game is over.”
“Just one more,” I asked, “Please?”
He waved his arms, motioning for me to go ahead and ask, even though he was reluctant.
“The other day, you said that...” I began to hesitate, taking a deep breath and scolding myself for being so pathetic, “I don’t need your approval or anything, I just... I don’t understand. You said that you were less attracted to me now than when you hired me.”
Cameron nodded his head in recollection, “I did say that.”
“But why? I don’t get it. Am I boring or--”
“I said it to bother you,” Cameron cut me off, a light chuckle escaping his lips, “And look how that turned out. You showed up here with purple fucking hair.”
Unbelievable. He toyed with my mind and somehow made me react like a stupid little girl with a crush on the bad boy with tattoos. It was a typical cliché that you would read about in cheesy books or see in the movies. But Cameron made it happen for real and it was embarrassing to say the least.
Am I really that predictable?
“Stop thinking so deeply into things. The hair looks good and I think you’re hot. So what?” He blew more smoke from his mouth and his relaxation was clear now, “I mean, yeah you can get a little chatty and uptight but you win some you lose some, right?”
There was no possible response in the world that could help me respond to Cameron. No one had ever been so forward about their attraction towards me, but then again, until now I had been dealing with boys.
Cameron isn’t a boy. I wouldn’t exactly consider him a man, though. He was a mystery, but the farthest thing from a high school boy that I could imagine. His attitude was enough to push someone far, far away, but then he spoke and smoothed everything over with his soft words and flirty smile.
He is a challenge, a jigsaw puzzle that I can’t figure out. But whatever game he was playing with me I planned on playing back.