I think you’re hot.
Gosh, I’m pathetic but those were the only words going through my head for the past few days. Cameron never elaborated but then again I never asked him to, all I know is that he thinks I’m hot - and sometimes uptight.
I refused to be one of those girls who ended up with a crush on someone just because they were nice one time. I didn’t want to be the girl who crushed on just anyone; but Cameron isn’t just anyone. And I’m not the girl who always gets a crush. I’ve had two in my entire life and one of them happened to be my boyfriend.
As much as I wanted to be different and not fall in front of Cameron after he flattered me, I could feel everything in me changing. The excitement to go to work so I could see him, wanting to look good so he didn’t change his mind about me being hot, and thriving for more compliments from him.
Just like that I had a crush.
I wasn’t exactly sure what made this situation worse, the fact that Cameron was twenty-five and unaware that I’m still in high school, or that I had a crush on my boss for complimenting me once. I truly am pathetic.
I attempted to move my thoughts elsewhere, making my way to the kitchen in hopes that someone had made breakfast. Hunger was an understatement and I desperately needed to drown my thoughts in food. Unfortunately for me, neither of my parents were around and there was no sign of fresh bacon sizzling on the stove top.
“Ugh,” I groaned dramatically, knowing that my only chance now would be to make my own breakfast. Perhaps I had been spoiled, but my dad was literally the best cook when it came to breakfast.
I heard the front door closing and as though he had been reading my mind, my dad walked into the kitchen with my mom by his side, “Rough start to the morning?”
I looked at him, attempting to give puppy eyes as I pouted, “I was just really craving your eggs and bacon.”
My dad chuckled, placing his hand on my shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze, “You really are a suck up, aren’t you Olly?”
“Honey, we’ve actually been quite busy this morning. But someone is waiting for you outside,” My mom added to the conversation and my interest was suddenly peaked.
Who would be outside waiting for me? The only names that came to mind were Carter and Thea but my mom would have told me if it were one of them. I wasn’t sure if I were curious or concerned but it didn’t take me long to scurry towards the door.
Once I opened the door, I stepped onto my driveway to discover that there was in fact no one there waiting for me but instead a white car was sitting there, a red bow on top of the hood.
“What in god’s name...”
“Consider this an early graduation gift,” My dad once again answered my thoughts. He walked up to me from behind and continued to explain what was sitting in front of me, “Brand new, sweetheart. A 2018 Honda Accord.”
I quickly turned to look at my parents who I thought had seriously lost their minds, “Are you guys insane? Brand new? This has to be at least $30,000.”
“Your mother and I want to make sure that you have a reliable vehicle, Olly.” My dad added, motioning towards the car, “We have been saving for your first car and I also called in a favor at the dealership, so I got a little bit of a deal.”
I swear to god if I was getting punk’d right now I would lose it. This was an amazing surprise at best, but I didn’t want to get excited if my parents were only joking around. The last thing I expected to wake up to this morning was a brand new car and for no reason at all. I still had months until graduation, so why now?
As I looked towards my dad he tossed me the keys and I caught them in my hand, “You’re serious.”
“One hundred percent,” He responded with a genuine smile, “Your mother and I have both shared our concerns with you walking to work at such late nights. We agreed to give you this gift early for your safety and because we think you’ve earned it.”
I was at loss for words, saying thank you could never be enough and this was by far the most incredible gift my parent’s had ever given me and the only thing that made this moment sour was the fact that I was keeping the truth from them. I didn’t work at a grocery store and I wasn’t keeping up on my grades, their entire reason for giving me this brand new car was fake.
“I... I don’t know what to say,” was all I could manage to squeak out.
“Don’t say anything. Take it for a spin and tell me what you think.”
Instantly, I wrapped my arms around my dad’s neck and hugged him, “Thank you! You guys are the best...” After hugging my dad, I then did the same with my mom, overwhelmed with the entire situation.
My mom then began to shoo me towards the car, “Get going, grab coffee with Thea and enjoy the car, sweetie.”
I certainly would and Thea would be my first stop. She wouldn’t believe this, usually it was only her who had expensive things given to her for no reason. It’s my turn to enjoy being spoiled, for all I know it may never happen again.
I sat in Thea’s driveway, honking my horn to get her attention. Why walk to the door when I could just surprise her with the noise of my brand new car? The smile hadn’t left my face since I left home and I was eager to share the excitement with my best friend.
It only took her about tow minutes to walk onto the front porch and stare at me like I was some kind of mad woman, but once I stepped out of the vehicle I could no longer hold in the excitement, “What do you think of my car?”
Thea seemed just as surprised as me, her expression changing from confused to shocked, “Seriously? How did you afford that?”
“I didn’t,” I answered her, “It’s my graduation gift. Isn’t this insane?”
She walked towards my car, her mouth gaped open as she glimpsed at the interior, “You already got your graduation gift? What the hell did you do for your parents to give you a fucking car?”
It was still much of a surprise to me, so even explaining it to Thea seemed unreal, “All they said was that they want me to be safe driving to and from work.”
“At the grocery store?” Thea questioned.
I simply nodded my head, “I guess working at that place happened to be a blessing in disguise.”
Thea laughed, but it was far from genuine - it came off as more irritated than anything. She couldn’t seriously be jealous of me right now? She has been fed with a gold spoon her entire life and the one time I was given something amazing she laughed in envy.
“You could seem a little more enthusiastic for me...” I muttered under my breath, expecting an apology of some sort but it was certainly not what I was given.
“I’m sorry, Liv. I find it hard to be happy for a two faced liar,” She snapped, taking me off guard.
Two-faced liar? That was not only extremely insulting but far from what I ever expected from her. I had no idea where it came from but I could see the anger on Thea’s face and it only left me with more questions.
Thea only rolled her eyes before folding her arms over her chest, “I went to your work to bring you a coffee yesterday, imagine my surprise when the supervisor told me that there was no Olivia Brooks on their staff.”
Oh my god. How did she manage to figure this out so quickly? I had been so discrete with everything, at least I thought I was. I never thought about the possibility of someone going to the grocery store to see me. It never crossed my mind that someone would question anything I had been saying which makes me a fool for assuming this lie would be a piece of cake.
“Thea, I know this may seemed messed up but I promise you--”
“Just stop speaking,” she told me, “Before you feed me more lies, save yourself the breath because I don’t want to hear it, okay? You’re my best friend, Liv. I have shared every secret I’ve had since elementary school with you and this is what you give me? I don’t know what kind of crap you’re trying to cover up by saying that you’re working at a grocery store, but I expected that you would have confided it me.”
I was already well aware that I’m a terrible friend for not being honest with Thea, but that would also make me a terrible daughter. It wasn’t just Thea that I’ve been lying to, but also my parents, Zoey, and Cameron. Everyone around me seen me as a different person, I was beginning to forget who the real me even is.
“Thea, I’m really sorry. I want to tell you, but it’s so complicated.”
“I’m sure it is,” She muttered in response, clearly not wanting to hear me speak any longer. “Look, I have plans with Carter, I’ll save you the time declining an invite so you can run off and live whatever secret life you’re living.”
I opened my mouth to speak but Thea didn’t give me a chance to speak even a word before she turned away and reentered her house. At this moment I had no idea where we stood, my only hope was that things would blow over and Thea wouldn’t hate me forever. We had been through far too much already to let things end this way.
One day, I would tell her the truth but I couldn’t just yet. I had gotten myself into a dangerous situation and adding her into the equation would only make things worse. I knew that the quickest fix would be quitting my job at the bar, but it had turned into more than just proving myself to Cameron. He had become a drug that left me coming back for more, I was highly intoxicated by his personality and leaving was no longer an option.
I wouldn’t allow it.
“You look like you need a drink,” Zoey commented as she placed a beer in front of me.
I sat at an empty table while we waited for the bar to open. Zoey and I had come in early to clean up and prepare things for the night but my mind was elsewhere, it was with my best friend who now hated me.
“Trust me, alcohol won’t fix this... But thank you,” I offered her a genuine smile, “Sometimes I just need to drown in my thoughts.”
Zoey made a face and took a seat across from me, showing genuine interest in my sorrows. It was nice that someone cared, or seemed to, but at the same time I felt like talking about Thea would only make me a worse friend, “Boy trouble?”
“Friend trouble,” I answered, “I told my friend a little fib and she found out that it wasn’t true.”
She didn’t seem to understand the big deal about it, but if I told her the full story, she would. Zoey was a part of this lie too, and she didn’t even know it, “So, tell her the truth and explain why you felt it was necessary to lie at the time.”
I only shook my head, not knowing how to address this further without bringing unnecessary attention to me, “Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way for this situation.”
The sound of the bar door closing caught both mine and Zoey’s attention. We looked across the room to see Cameron walking inside with a box in his arms, “Are you ladies drinking on the job?”
“I, uh...” I began to stutter as Cameron placed the box on the counter and began to walk towards us.
He took the beer that I hadn’t touched a brought it to his lips, taking a large swig, “You know the rules, no drinking without including me.”
Zoey laughed, slapping Cameron’s arm gently, “You’re a tool, you know that?”
I was amazed by how close Cameron and Zoey were, to the point that she could talk to him like that without him taking it so seriously. Most bosses would fire their employees on the spot but I suppose Cameron isn’t like most.
“Anyone know who owns that car outside?” Cameron asked, but he didn’t seem impressed, if anything he seemed more irritated but I had no idea why it would bother him.
“Oh, that’s mine,” I answered him.
His brows furrowed in confusion, “You bought that on a bartender wage? Doesn’t seem like a smart decision financially.”
“It was a gift,” I responded, sitting up a little straighter when I began to receive questioning looks from both Cameron and Zoey. “Look, I know it seems ridiculous but my grandparents are in town and they try bribing me after neglecting me for the past eight years.”
Neither of them responded but I myself was highly impressed with my quick thinking. I was getting too good at this lying thing and I wasn’t sure if it was something that I should be proud of.
Cameron motioned his head towards the hallway, “Come with me for a second.”
And without hesitation, I stood up. I didn’t know why he wanted to talk to me but I could care less at this point.
I followed Cameron down the hallway and he opened the door to his bedroom for me, allowing me to walk in first. It looked the same as the last time minus the clutter of paperwork that was now gone from his desk.
When I turned to look at Cameron, his was closing the door and turning to look at me also, “Olivia, I just want you to be aware of where you are. I don’t know where you’re from but bringing a new car like that to this side of town is a bad idea.”
Our conversation must have done wonders because Cameron was speaking to me like a normal human being for once instead of a stupid little girl.
“I never thought about it like that,” I admitted to him, unsure how to go around telling my parents why I couldn’t drive the car to work, “What should I do, Cameron? Not bring the car here? I work here, it’s convenient.”
“Hey, I’m not telling you what do do. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be surprised if you leave after a shift and the tired are slashed or the windows broken.”
“I don’t have any enemies, so why would anyone slash my tires?” I didn’t mean to sound not understanding but it was frustrating to think that someone would do something so extreme for no reason at all.
Cameron chuckled lightly and shrugged his shoulders, “This is a rough part of town, which is exactly why I had been confused seeing someone like y--” He stopped himself, knowing I hated the words he was about to use, “Someone of your personality, coming here for a job. It’s like I said, Olivia. I don’t know where you’re from but I sure as hell know it isn’t here.”
He was right. I wasn’t from this side of town and it was places like these that my parents had kept me from as a child, now I was abandoning everything I had been raised to believe and spending most of my time in the one place where I had been told to avoid.
“It doesn’t matter where I’m from... I like it here,” I told him with a small smile, “Sure, the streets aren’t the cleanest, but the people make up for it.”
I noticed a look in Cameron’s eyes as a devilish smirk played on his lips, once his hand moved towards my face and tucked some hair behind my ear, I shivered slightly. He was enticing, I was looking danger in the face and smiling right at it.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you, but I’m not complaining...” His voice was low and left me wondering what his next move would be, “That purple hair dye did something to you other than make you look all the more sexy. I think you’re trying to fit in with the kind of people that are around here.”
I kept my eyes on his and and whispered a brief response, “Is that bad?”
“No necessarily, I just think you’re better being you than trying to be someone that you’re not.”
It was something that I never expected to come from his lips but hearing him say something like that felt like music to my ears. Compliments were always nice, but compliments from people like Cameron, the kind of person who looked for the bad in every situation - they were worth more than any other compliments because they were genuine.
A knock came on Cameron’s room door that caused us both to take a step back. Once he opened the door, Zoey appeared and looked towards me, “Sorry to interrupt, but people are starting to show up and we need the new keg opened.”
“Fuck,” Cameron cussed under his breath, “It slipped my mind. I’ll get that now.”
Without another word or glance, he left the room leaving Zoey and I standing there, eyes on each other. Zoey looked intrigued and a playful smile appeared on her face, “Be careful what you wish for, hun. Cameron is fun and all but he isn’t the kind of guy you introduce to mommy and daddy.”
Her words stunned me but I didn’t have time to react, the best I could do at this time was what I did best - deny.
“We were just discussing work...”
“Mhm...” Zoey nudged me gently, “Just be careful, okay?”
Once she left the room, I stood there with my thoughts and attempted to understand her cryptic message. She and Cameron were friends so she had known him better than most people, but why would she warn me about getting close to him?
Maybe she had seen me like most people did; a girl from the other side of town who couldn’t handle too much trouble. Unfortunately for her, I was already neck deep in trouble and turning back now wouldn’t make a difference.