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Last Chances - Chapter 10

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*Cameron's POV*

"Anna?"
"Yeah?" She looks up from where she's sprawled on my bed, doing homework.
"You know the first day we had lunch together?"
"Yeah?"
"We saw Daniel. There were two guys with him. What happened to them? We don't see them around."
"Yeah, they transferred schools. They had to move."
"Oh."
"They were like Daniel's best friends. Knew everything about him. But he's popular so it doesn't really matter. He's always got someone to hang out with. Everyone wants to be with him."

I chuckle. "And what are we?"
Anna shrugs, "Normal?"
"Really? Two of the football players hang out with us, Daniel hangs out with us."
"So does that make us popular?" She grins.
I grimace, an image of Raven flashing through my mind. "How about special?"
"Yeah. That's better." She turns back to her homework. "Anyway, Daniel hangs out with you."
"What do you mean?" I ask, looking up at her. "He hangs out with all three of us."
She shrugs. "It's obvious. He's into you."
I laugh, "What makes you say that?"
"Like I said, it's obvious."
"Ugh, no Anna. He most definitely does not like me that way."
"Why would you say that?"
I shrug, "He just thinks of me as a friend. Someone to talk to."
"Sure. Suit yourself."
"Anna!" When she ignores me, smiling at her notebook, I narrow my eyes. "What about you and Dylan?"
"What about us?" She looks up, confused.
Okay. Tread slowly, don't scare her away.

"He's just a friend?"
"Yeah." She replies, looking at me like I'm sprouting another head.
"You sure about that? You two are pretty close. And he is cute."
Anna shakes her head. "You're losing it Cam. He's just a friend! And anyway he doesn't think of me like that."
"You sure about that? Why would you say that?" I ask, mimicking her words.
She groans, rolling her eyes. "Okay. I'll stop pestering you about Daniel. It's just, I think you two would be cute together."
"Yeah, that's why I mentioned Dylan. I think the same thing."
She throws a pillow in my direction and I duck. "Shut up!"
Laughing, I turn back to my textbook. "Whatever. You're in denial." I murmur loud enough for her to hear.
This time the pillow hits the back of my head.

"Who did you get?" Anna leans over to read the sheet of paper on my desk.
"Nancy Owens." I glance at her. "Any idea who it is?"
"Nope. I got Jeremy Lucks."
"Lucks?" I ask, raising an eyebrow and she laughs.
"Yeah, Lucks."
"Wish I'd gotten a boy."
"Hey, maybe he has a cute brother who'll ask you to tutor him just to spend some time with you."
I roll my eyes. "A child Anna. A little boy to tutor."

"Hey."
I turn from my locker and see Daniel standing behind me. "Hi. What's up?" I ask, smiling.
"Nothing. Any plans today?"
"Yeah, actually." Closing my locker, I turn to him and we start walking down the hallway. "I'm tutoring a little girl."
"Oh, you've volunteered for the program?"
"Yup. You didn't?"

He shakes his head, "I doubt I'm the best influence."
Raising an eyebrow, I glance at him. "What do you mean? Any kid would be so lucky to have a straight A, top of his class student being their tutor."
He throws me a look, a smile tugging at his lips. "Where'd you get all that from?"
I shrug, "I have my sources."

Daniel laughs, attracting the attention of some juniors as we leave the building. "Is that how it's gonna be? I better start chatting to your brother."
"Go ahead." I grin, "he won't tell you anything he knows he shouldn't."
"Man, I'm going to have to find out the hard way huh?"
"Yup." I smile, glancing at him.
"I wanted to ask you something."
"Yeah?" We stop walking as we reach Josh's car. Putting my bag on the trunk, I turn to Daniel.

"Could I have your number?"
I chuckle, pulling out my phone. "Sure!"
Daniel grins and types his number into my phone and gives himself a call.
"Great. Now I can bother you at times other than while we're jogging and English class." He teases.
I nod. "Yeah. You're right." I groan,"Why didn't I think of it before?"
"So if you don't answer, I'm going to be very upset."
"What if it's on silent?"
He shrugs. "Not my problem. You never know what I might end up doing if you don't answer."

My eyes widen when his expression is dead serious. "I'll answer! Don't worry."
He smiles, a small apologetic smile. "I'm kidding."
"You better be!"
"Hey! Sorry I was late! I-" Josh looks at Daniel and grins. "Hey."
"Hi. How are you?"
"Great! You?"
"Good." Daniel turns to me and Josh walks over to his door, unlocking the car. "I'll see you later yeah? Have fun with the tutoring."
I nod. "Okay. And if I don't answer it's because I'm tutoring. Okay?"
Daniel smiles. "I was joking Cam. I'll be alright. Don't worry. I've taken your pep talks to heart."
I grin. "Alright. Later."

"So this is the place." Josh checks the paper and looks at the house. "Do you want me to pick you up?"
"No, I'll be fine."
"It'll be dark."
"Okay. I'll call you yeah?"
"Okay. Have fun." He walks away from the house but stands away from view as I walk to the front door.

The door opens and I smile at the tall woman standing opposite.
"Hi. I'm Cameron. I've been assigned to tutor your daughter."
"Oh come on in!" She steps back and I enter the warm house. "So, I'm at work most weekdays during the afternoon that's why I need someone to help Nancy with her school work. Because both my husband and I get in around six and she's usually too wired to sit and do work." She chuckles, "Oh, I'm Lane by the way."
"Nice to meet you. I'll come around this time everyday?"

She nods, "Yes, preferably. The nanny arrives around 5:00 so you can leave anytime after. Nancy!" Lane calls into the hallway.
A little girl comes running in and seeing me stops short. "Yes Mom?"
"Look who's here! Your new tutor."
I crouch down in front of her. "Hey Nancy. I'm Cameron. How are you?"
She smiles, "I'm fine thank you."
Her mother leads us into the lounge. As she picks things up and straightens the room, she's busy talking, laying a few ground rules for Nancy.

"You can show her to your room love. I'll be home by six alright? Be good." Dropping a kiss on her forehead, she leaves.
"Come on. I want to show you my room." Taking my hand she starts pulling me toward the stairs. "Ready?"
I nod, grinning, her excitement contagious as she throws open the door. Walking inside, I gasp, looking around her pink, white and gray bedroom.
"Wow! It's amazing!"
"Really? You like it?"
"Yeah! What's not to like! I wish I had a room like this!"
She laughs, pleased and then walks to her small desk.
"Ready to start?"
"Yup."

As Nancy does her homework, I walk around her room, looking at the framed photographs hanging on the wall.
As I get to the fifth one, I freeze, my eyes locked on the boy lifting her up.
"Nancy?"
"Yes?"
"Do you have a brother?"
"Yeah. He's big."
"This is a surprise."
Swallowing a groan, I turn to see Chester standing in the doorway.

"Chester."
"Cameron. Why didn't you come and tell me she was over Nancy?"
"Because she's here for me. Not you."
I throw a grin at the little girl, proud of her answer.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm tutoring your little sister. That's the only reason I'd be here."
"Oh, don't be like that." He leans against the wall, crossing his arms.
"I think you're forgetting who my brother is."
"He isn't here now, is he?"
"Nope. But he's probably still waiting for me outside."
"I just want us to hang out, what's wrong with that?"
"The hanging out part." Turning, I walk back to Nancy and ignoring her idiotic brother.
"Anyway, I'll be downstairs if you change your mind."
Rolling my eyes, I turn back to Nancy.

The nanny arrives at five on the dot and since Nancy and I are done, I leave, promising I'll be back tomorrow.
I guess she gets lonely at home because she actually enjoyed me being there!
Walking back home, I see Mom's car isn't in the driveway yet.
"Come in!" Josh calls as I knock on his bedroom door.
Opening the door, I walk inside and he glances up.
"Hey!" He smiles, sitting up and pushing back his laptop. "You're back. How was it?"
"Good." I smile, sitting down beside him. "She's a great kid, I actually had fun. And so did she."
"That's great!"
"There was just one thing."
"What?"
"What's Chester's last name?"
"Uh..." He frowns. "Owens, I think? Why?"
"Yup. And my tutoring kid is Nancy Owens. Guess who her brother is?"
Josh's face hardens immediately. "Was he there?"
"Yup. For a few moments."
Josh sighs, "Are you okay with it? Can't you change?"
"It's fine Josh. I'm not tutoring him, just his sister."
"I don't want him near you."
"I'll be fine. I'm a big girl." Josh is still frowning, "Josh. Chill." I push him, smiling. "Your little sister is a tough cookie."

He smiles, "You are, aren't you?"
"Hey, I learn from the best."
He slings his arm around my shoulder and pulls me close. "How are you?"
"Fine." I give a funny smile. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. I'm just wondering how you're doing."
"Just fine."
"You're happy here, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I am. You?"
"Great. I am too." He kisses my hair and then pulls back, turning to face me. "So, how are things with Daniel?"
I raise an eyebrow. "We're just friends! And fine, thank you."
He grins. "He seems like a good guy."
"He is."
Josh smiles, "That's fantastic."
I stare at him before shrugging. "Sure Josh. Sure it is."

As the bell rings, I glance outside my window and see Daniel standing on our porch.
Tying back my hair into a bun, I hurry toward the stairs. Running down I see Josh has already pulled the door open and is chatting with Daniel.
"Hey."
"Hi!" Daniel smiles, "How are you?"
"Good. You?"
He just nods, smiling.
"So..." Josh looks between Daniel and me, smiling. "I'm going over to Kyle's. We're going to the mall later. Mom might be home later in the afternoon. So... behave you two!" He grins and walks out.

I stare at his back for a moment before turning to Daniel, smiling.
"Come on in. It's freezing."
I hang up Daniel's coat and then lead him into the lounge.
"Cool place." He says, looking around.
"Nothing compared to your fancy house."
He chuckles, "Right. There's a homey feeling here. Honest."
Smiling, I sit down. "Thank you. Um... Can I ge-"
He shakes his head. "No thanks I'm fine. Nothing to eat or drink."
"You sure?"
"Yup."
"So, what do you want to do?"
"I was planning on going out, but it's cold so... not sure."

Leaning forward, I take the bowl full of Smarties and place it between us on the couch.
"I have an idea! Let's play a game." Daniel grins.
"Okay," I laugh, "what game?"
"For every Smartie you pick up, you ask me a question and vice versa!"
"Okay." I smile. "Me first!" I pick up a pink Smartie and look up at Daniel. "When's your birthday?"
"October 5th." He grins, picking a green Smartie. "What's your favorite color?"
"Blue. Favorite cartoon character?"
"Ummm... Buzz Lightyear. What?" He asks, sticking out his tongue as I laugh. "Favorite flower?"
"Bluebells or snowflakes. What sport do you like to play?"
"Football. You?"
"Hockey."
"Oh, so you're a hockey girl?"
"Hey! It's my turn to ask the question!" I glare at him before looking at the Smartie in my hand.

"Favorite actress?"
He grins, "That's easy! Megan Fox." When I roll my eyes he laughs, "Okay, nah. I like Selena Gomez as well. How about you, favorite actor?"
"Just one?" I ask, grinning.
He laughs, "Okay. Actors."
"Oh, there are SO many! Channing Tatum, Zac Efron... and on and on. Okay, favorite movie?"
"Hangover. All the parts."
"You're kidding right?" I laugh.
He shakes his head, laughing. "Nope. What's one hidden talent?"
"Who's? Mine?" When he nods, I bite my lip. "Uh, I can play the guitar."
"No kidding. Really?"
"Yup. What about you?"
"I can sing. Sort of."
"Really? I wanna hear!"

He shakes his head. "Nope. And don't ask it as a question either!"
"Aw, man."
"My turn... What's one of your dreams?"
"To be successful."
"In what?"
"One question Daniel. What's the one place you want to really see?"
"Spain. Successful in what?"
I shrug. "In whatever I'm going to do. Favorite band/singer?"
"Nickelback. One thing you've always wanted to do?"
"Travel, see the world. Hair color you prefer?"
He hesitates, looking at me. "Blond. Ever had a pet?"
"No. You?
"A dog. It was Craig's, gave it away two years ago. Favorite season?"
"Autumn. Do you like to read?"
"Nope. Unless they're comics. Favorite song?"
"No Air, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. Ice cream flavor?"
"Praline's. You?"
"Mint chocolate. Are you a morning person?"
He chuckles, "Yes, you should already know. Favorite quote?"

And we gone like this for over an hour, asking questions back and forth, cracking up at each other's ridiculous answers.

"There are only a two left. Okay. What was the one thing you always wished for, but now don't really mind?"
"Rewinding back to when things were normal." I'm about to ask why and then remember it isn't my turn. "Why do you only dress in hoodies?"
I run my fingers through my hair. "Pass?"
He smiles, nodding. "We finished it!"
I grin, placing the empty bowl on the coffee table. "Yeah we did. That was fun."
"I'm home!"
I jump up, "Mom's here. Come meet her."
Daniel smiles and stands up, following me into the hallway.

"Hey sweetheart. How are you?" She smiles, hanging up her coat. Turning around fully, she sees Daniel. "Hi." Her smile widens and she looks curiously between us.
"Mom, this is Daniel. Daniel, my Mom, Carla."
"Hi Mrs. Hayes."
"Call me Carla hun. How are you?"
"I'm fine thanks." He smiles and Mom, charmed, returns it before turning to me. "You kids hungry?"
Daniel and I glance at each other and chuckle, "No Mom. Thanks. We just ate."
"Okay. Then go, hang out. I'm just going to grab a bite to eat and then go upstairs."
"So..."
"Yup. So." I reply, leaning against the wall.

"Where's your bedroom?" Daniel asks.
"Why?" I narrow my eyes, biting back the smile threatening to emerge.
"So I can learn more about you?"
"Because you didn't learn enough from the game?" I ask, turning and leading him upstairs.
"Yup."
"But you asked me every possible question you could think of."
"I doubt it."
"Here we are." I push open the door and step aside.
Daniel walks inside, looking around my immaculate room.
"I'm sort of a neat freak."
"I can see that." He grins before sitting down on my bed. "Too bad, it doesn't give anything away."
"Sorry to disappoint buddy."
He chuckles, looking at me as I stand in front of him. I glance away from his probing eyes and walk to my window.

"I was part of the 'It' group back in New York before the whole Zac/Violet episode."
"Really?" He asks when I don't continue.
"Yeah, shocking isn't it?" I sigh, glancing down at my hoodie. "Once everything happened, at first, I didn't care how I looked. But then when I saw how they acted, not only with me but everyone else, and I didn't want to turn out like them. Ever. So I guess, my answer to your question is, I don't want to go back to the way I used to dress 'cause I don't want to end up like that. I don't want to be fake."

"You don't get it, do you?"
I turn around to see Daniel standing a few feet away from me.
"What do you mean?"
"You are YOU. The way you dress, the way you act, the way you talk. It's all you. It's all Cameron. Of course, if you started dressing more girly, you'd be attracting more male attention then you already are, but you wouldn't turn into a snobby stuck up brat. It's not in you."
"But the possibility that I could. All the attention."
"No Cameron. No way. Not in a million years would that happen."
I stare at him, confused. "How can you be so sure?"
He shrugs, "Because I know you. And I know you're not like that."

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Published: 6/18/2013
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