"How was the party?"
We meet at the corner of his block, our unassigned meeting place every morning.
"Good. It was fun."
We start jogging, keeping in pace with each other.
"Not as great as the parties compared to in New York?"
What? How does he know about New York?
"What do you mean?"
He gestures to my hoodie and I look down at the red one I'm wearing. NYC is scrawled in gray letters across. It's the last thing I bought before we moved.
"Almost all your hoodies have either New York or Manhattan written on them. You used to live there?"
I shrug, "Yeah."
He nods and we continue jogging in silence.
I don't know his name or how he looks. He hasn't asked for mine but I'm fairly sure he knows it. His face is always covered, a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, only revealing straight pink lips whenever I look at him.
We don't do emotions. Our conversations are random, most of the time not particularly related to us personally. Over the last two weeks I've actually started looking forward to seeing him during my jogs funnily enough.
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I can be myself around him.
"No partying for you last night?"
"No, I stayed in with my mum."
He's quiet for a few moments that I start to think he isn't going to answer. Not that he needed to. Like I said, we don't do emotions.
"No. Just the two of us."
His voice is rough and for the second time, his deep voice facade falls. Like, come on. He's supposedly in high school. I never expected his voice to sound like a thirty-something year old who smokes two packs a day.
I glance at him from the corner of my eye. Don't say it Cameron. Biting my lip, we continue jogging.
"My Dad left a few years ago." I find myself saying.
Oh my god.
What happened to no emotions?
Way to go Cameron.
"He must be crazy to leave you."
"You don't even know me."
"Isn't that the appropriate thing to say?" He asks, amusement apparent in his voice.
I laugh, "I suppose so."
"But really. I may not know you but he's still stupid. I mean it."
"Thanks... I think."
"You're welcome. I guess."
He leaves me at the corner of the block and turns back. I've known where he lives from the day, I started jogging although he isn't aware of that.
The house is quiet when I get home. Everyone must still be in bed; it being a Saturday morning.
I'm quietly sneaking down the hallway when my brother's bedroom door opens. I glance over my shoulder to see Kyle stepping out, hair still messed up from sleep. He's got shorts and a short sleeve shirt on.
"Hi," I shoot him a smile.
"Aw man. You're just back from your run?"
"Yup," pushing strands of my hair off my forehead, I lean against the wall.
"Your brother told me you go every morning so I thought I'd join you."
"He didn't tell you the time?"
"No, he wasn't sure since we came in late last night."
"Yeah. I guess I'll go for a quick run then."
"Sure." As he turns, I head into my room.
After a quick shower, I fall heavily onto my bed, exhausted. I'm so tired. It's been so long since I was out late I've forgotten how tired I get.
As I stretch, there's a knock at my door. "Come in." I call, throwing an arm over my face. The door opens and closes and I peek under my arm to see Josh.
"What do you want?"
"Fine," I move over an inch.
"Ouuch!" I groan as he falls on top of me. "JOSH!"
"Sh! Mom's sleeping."
"What did you do that for?"
"You didn't move over!"
"You have your own bed!"
"But I wanna sleep here."
"You're not gonna leave, are you?"
Groaning, I move over and watch as he stretches out on my twin bed. He's taking up all the space!
"So Kyle missed you huh?"
"Why didn't you tell him the time I go? It's the same every day."
He shrugs, getting comfortable. "I know you like your privacy."
"Which reminds me. Why do you go the same time every day?"
"Um. I dunno. I like too."
"Is there something I should know? Someone you meet?" He starts wiggling his eyebrows up and down.
I roll my eyes. "Right."
"That's got to be it," he mumbles, closing his eyes.
I look at my brother. All 6 feet stretched out diagonally along my bed, one toned arm behind his head. If he isn't planning on leaving, might as well get comfortable. Turning to my side, I bury my face into his shoulder.
I reach up, trying to reach the cereal box which Josh has obviously forgotten and put on the highest shelf.
Why is he such a giant?!
"I'll get it," Kyle reaches over my shoulder and pulls it down.
"Thanks," I shoot him a small smile. Opening the box, I pour some into my bowl. "Did you finish your breakfast?"
"Yup," he smiles, "had it with your mum and Josh."
"Sorry. Josh didn't wake me up," I shake my head, sitting on a stool.
"It's alright. You must have been tired."
"It was refreshing."
Kyle chuckles, watching me from where he's leaning against the counter. Conscious, I look down and slide a spoonful of milk and chocolate cereal into my mouth.
"Can I ask you something?"
"I was talking with Josh and he was fine with it."
"I was wondering," he hesitates and I stare at him, trying to read his expression. "Cameron, could I take you out for dinner or lunch?"
My eyes widen as I stare at him.
No. This cannot be happening!
I accept a favor to help out my brother and this is what happens.
"Kyle, last night was just-"
"Yes! I know, you were just helping out. But I've been meaning to ask and it just seemed a good time as any."
"Kyle, I like you. I really do. And I think you're attractive as well. Who wouldn't? But I don't like you like that, I'm sorry. I guess I could if I tried but I don't. I don't date Kyle. I'm sorry."
"Your brother said that. But Cameron, just one date. One meal. Please."
"I'm sorry," I push away my cereal, not hungry any more. "I can't. I don't want to hurt you. I'm damaged Kyle. You don't want me. I can't make you happy. You deserve someone SO much better. I don't want to go out with you and then hurt you because even after one meal, it's going to be the same. I really like you, as a brother. Please don't change that."
He nods, trying to seem calm but he can't meet my eye.
"I'm sorry," I mumble before running out of the room.
I bury my head in my knees as there's a knock at my door.
"Cammy?" Josh opens the door and steps inside, closing it.
I hold my breath. Maybe he'll just go away.
"I know you're here gorgeous," he says softly and I gulp.
I'm not in trouble.
Doesn't really make this whole guilt thing easier, you know?
"Hey," he lowers himself down next to me and I look up.
"Leave me alone Josh."
"No, it isn't."
"Yes, it is."
"Why didn't you just say 'no', you don't want him to go out with me?!"
"Because Cam, he's a good guy and I wouldn't mind you dating him. And what if you wanted to go out with him? I couldn't just say no!"
"You just did."
He rolls his eyes, "Cameron. I told him alright? That you don't date. He still wanted to take a chance."
"Is he gone?"
"Yeah. He said he'd be back tomorrow. He just didn't want it to be awkward you know?"
"It's too late for that."
"Don't be such a drama queen."
"What do you want me to do Josh?"
"Be happy. Move on. You promised me remember?"
"And I'm trying."
"No," I shake my head. "Don't please."
"No, I will. You need to hear it. You have to start trying Cameron. And I'm not saying it's going to be easy. This is why I was happy to move here! I can come home on weekends from college and make sure you're fine. It's time alright? I'm not saying you should have said yes to Kyle to make me happy. Don't you dare ever do anything that doesn't make you happy just to make Mum and me happy. Alright? But don't do anything that's gonna make me upset either."
"You don't ask for much," I reply, smiling.
He sighs, "You think?"
"I'm trying. I'm really but it's new to me again Josh. It was the first time around but I don't know. I'll try harder."
"Good," he smiles, pulling me into his embrace. "That's what I want."
"Whoa! Long night?" Jogger guy asks as he joins me at the corner.
"Yeah," I mumble, biting back a yawn. "I couldn't sleep."
I hesitate, deliberating.
Isn't this a good chance as any to start trying harder. I don't know this guy but chances are he probably does know me. Still, I doubt he'd go around spreading my secrets.
"Yeah. I mean no."
"So, no everything's not alright?" He asks slowly.
"Yeah, I think."
"You want to talk about it? Maybe I could help?"
I sigh, "Yeah, I guess." He turns down a corner and we start jogging toward a park I've never seen. "I went home after our jog yesterday and I fell asleep." Oh my God. Our jog? What's happening to me? My jog,Cameron, my jog. "And my brother's best friend has slept over."
"The one who you went as his date with for the party?"
He turns to face me for the first time ever. I still can't see his face though, only his straight pink lips.
"Did he do anything? Are you alright?"
I'm thrown for a moment by the concern apparent in his voice. "Yeah. Kyle isn't like that," he nods and I turn and look ahead. "He...he asked me out."
"Oh," his tone changes and I narrow my eyes, racking my brain to place his voice. I'm sure I've heard it before.
"Yeah. And I like him and all. But just not like that. I don't date and even if I did, I don't want to go out with him, I haven't... Ever since.. I mean, I don't..." I take in a deep breath, trying to clear my mind with the cool breeze. "I don't trust guys. Except for Josh and Kyle."
It's quiet as we continue jogging and I glance at him. Not that I can read his expression, I can't even see his face. But it seems like he's taking it all in and thinking.
"You do know I'm a guy right?" He finally says.
I chuckle softly. "Yes, I'm aware of that."
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure. But first. Do you go to Fortridge High?"
"What happened? That you don't trust guys anymore?"
"Answer me first."
He shrugs. "Yes."
"Yes, you'll answer or yes you go there?"
He shrugs again and I bite my lip, thinking.
I could tell him.
It's going to be the first time I discuss it with anyone other than Josh.
"I won't tell anyone. But if you don't want to, it's fine."
Whatever happened to random conversations with no emotions.
"I do want to tell you."
"So you trust me?" His voice is teasing and I chuckle.
"Yeah. I think. I don't know you, although you might know me but yeah, I don't think you'd go around telling anyone."
When I look at him, he clears his throat, his rough voice back.
"Don't worry. I'm not going to try to figure out who you are. I think I like it this way."
"So what happened?"
"Well, it was over a year ago..."
I've kind of lost all concept of time. My exam's coming up and it's an understatement to say I'm freaking out, so although I'm eager to continue writing since things have gotten juicy. I'm apologizing in advance for any delay!
Replies to comments
Parina - I'm glad you're enjoying! Yeah, it is kinda sad that Anna hasn't realized it... let's see what happens! Hope you enjoy this chapter.
Lucy - Lots of questions about that... they'll be answered soon! Enjoy!
Haha111 - Raven's trying to get it on with everyone. You'll find out soon! Enjoy.
Dazzle - Thanks! Hope you enjoyed and sorry for the wait!
PH - Thank you, hope you've enjoyed it!
BriBri - I think so too.
MayJuneJuly - You'll find out soon! Glad you're enjoying hun.
Laurial - Thanks! Aw, you're so lucky if you've got a big brother like Josh!