Chapter 3 ◇ Sawyer
Sunday morning feels like it was days ago instead of just a few hours. I’ve been staring at the TV—which isn’t even on—and ignoring my texts, voicemails, and possible emails as I just lie in bed.
Leave it to me to embarrass not only my girlfriend but also myself and a stranger, all shown on national TV repeatedly as if it were the country’s biggest news. With a sigh, I give up and start answering the texts first. Later, I’ll build the courage to listen to the voicemails I suspect are all from my mother. My very conservative, very Catholic mother.
Finally, I answer Calum, Dad, a few co-workers, and my mom. I decide to go to sleep after getting the scolding of a lifetime from both my parents, which shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. My dad is as open-minded as they come, but even he has boundaries. Boundaries I crossed today.
–Two months later–
“Good morning, boss! Can I come in?” I say cheerfully.
It’s early Monday morning, and I’m already looking forward to Calum’s birthday on Saturday. I haven’t had any fun in way too long, and according to him, it’s time for me to get laid.
My boss nods, and I step into his office. He is a decent guy, fair too. I like him. After answering to his husband—Sebastian Burke—for the past month and a half, it’s a relief to have him back. Although it’ll never get old teasing him and his husband over the fact that he came from his honeymoon with a back injury that kept him out for so long.
“Welcome back, boss! I heard the honeymoon was a success,” I tease.
“Whatever you are implying, Mr. McCaullin, remember I’m not Seb. I can, and will get you fired.” He says this with a smirk that clearly states he is not serious. “And if I remember correctly, you were supposed to be having a honeymoon soon, but that’s not happening now, is it?”
“Ouch!” I say with one hand over my heart, “Straight where it hurts! I take it you know then?”
“It was only all Seb could talk about for weeks. Which reminds me of a doubt we both have.”
“A doubt?” I ask.
“Yes,” he smirks, letting me know I won’t like what’s coming. “Does this mean you are joining our side?”
I burst out laughing. I overdo it trying to hide the fact that I haven’t stopped having very vivid hot dreams about my stranger after that kiss eight weeks ago.
Hold on! My stranger?! I have to shake my head at my thoughts. “McCaullin? Are you still here?” My boss’s voice brings me back to Earth, and I answer.
“Sorry to disappoint you, boss. I’m straighter than a skyrise.”
“Interesting,” he says. “So was I until Seb walked through that door, but hey, that’s your prerogative.” We both laugh because what else can we do? After catching up on a few things, I finally ask for Friday off. Calum was celebrating his birthday in Connecticut with his family and asked me to join him for the weekend.
Before we know it, it is Friday, and my best friend and I are driving to his hometown. I’ve never been to Connecticut, but I heard it’s similar to Massachusetts’s suburbs, so I’m cool with it all.
“So, my sister is very excited to see you. Anything I should know?” Calum asks from the driver’s seat.
“Your sister?” I ask, “I haven’t even talked to Anna since the last time she came to visit you.” He looks at me as if he doesn’t believe me. “Dude! I swear I haven’t. What does she want with me anyway?”
“Don’t know, Sawyer. I don’t know if I want to know. She said she has a surprise for you.” I raise an eyebrow in wonder. I didn’t lie to him. I truly haven’t talked to Calum’s sister in months. “I’ll have a surprise for you too if you mess around with my little sister. You know damn well I can out-bench you, so keep it on a straight line, okay?”
“I highly doubt Anna qualifies as little, anymore,” I say, more teasing than anything else.
“Sawyer,” he drags out my name.
“Cut it, will you? Anna is a grown woman is all I’m saying. She is like a sister to me too. You should know better than that, Calum.”
The rest of the trip is full of little inconveniences here and there that ended up delaying everything, and we didn’t make it to Calum’s parents’ lake house until it was already dark out. Everyone was in bed or getting ready for it, so we went straight to bed as well, knowing tomorrow the whole family is coming to the celebration.
I’ve been chasing Anna all morning, begging to know about the so-called surprise she has for me. It wasn’t until around 2 p.m. when she gave up and told me that her friend is bringing her cousin J.J, to meet me.
“Oh, my friend, Cleo, is here. Come, let’s say hi.” I follow her, knowing that objecting won’t get me anywhere. We are all gathered in the back of the house; there are tables set up by the lake, tons of food, and as expected, being that it is Calum’s birthday, lots and lots of alcohol. We make it to the side gate that leads to the back of the house and greet Anna’s friend—well, Anna does. She doesn’t even let me speak.
“So? Where is J.J? Don’t tell me that your cousin is not coming!” says Anna.
“Hah! Believe me, lady. I wouldn’t let J.J miss this.” They both giggle sheepishly, and I can’t help but wonder what I’m getting myself into with these two. But this Cleo chick doesn’t give me time to dwell on it, exclaiming way too cheerfully for my taste.
“Here is J.J!”
She waves, signaling to her cousin.
Intending to gulp my drink, I turn to see the girl they’ve been fussing about. When I finally face this J.J person, I almost spit my drink in her... no... in his face.
“Hi, nice to meet you. I’m—” his gasp cuts off his words; his eyes going wide as realization dawns on him, and he asks, “Kiss Cam?”