Generation 1– Chapter 10

We went back to Cameron’s apartment after getting our tattoos where we lounged on the sofa for so long that I actually lost count, watching old movies from his extensive collection. Among the half dozen movies we watched were some black and white horror movies, some 80’s or 90’s rom-coms, heck he even had an old 90’s Disney movie about 3 lost pets trying to find their way home. That last one was so sad but really sweet at the same time. It made me cry at several parts but Cameron teared up a little at those part too so I didn’t feel so bad about being so emotional.

“I used to watch this with my mom” Cameron whispered somewhat sadly near the end of the Disney movie. I tensed up slightly, I really wasn’t sure what to do or say in this sort of situation. Cameron’s mom had only been in her early 50’s when she finally passed away, the illness that she’d battled with finally defeating her. Cameron said that he’d been prepared for it and that he was fine but even from just spending a day with him it was blatantly obvious that he wasn’t okay. He was hurting real bad and I didn’t know how to stop it or make the pain go away. Saying I was sorry for his loss seemed so awkward and inadequate so instead I wrapped my arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. At least this way he’d know that I was there for him, that I cared and that I was genuinely sorry for his loss, or I hoped he would anyway. Cameron’s arm dropped down and leaned against my own in an effort, I think, to hug me back. We sat like that, without saying a single thing to each other, for a while. It felt stupid to admit it, even to myself, but I felt safe with Cameron’s arm around me. For as long as I could remember I don’t think I’d ever felt so at ease around anyone as I did around him.

“I’m glad we’re friends R-J” Cameron said out of the blue.

“Me too” I replied without hesitation. I didn’t even have to think about it; Cameron was the best thing in my life right now and I was so thankful that somehow we’d become friends. At my reply Cameron’s arm tightened around me for a brief second before he pulled away from me. I hadn’t expected him to pull away so suddenly and because I’d been leaning on him I fell face first into the sofa cushions. I stayed down for about 10 seconds in which time I heard muffled laughter coming from somewhere above me.

“You’re hilarious” I drawled when I finally pushed myself up, my eyes shooting daggers at Cameron which only made him laugh more.

“I really miss your stupid sense of humour when I’m at home” I rolled my eyes at him, continuing to send glares his way.

“Yeah…about that…You’re going to have to tell them” Cameron’s laughter abruptly stopped and he became completely serious.

“Cameron…” I moaned softly. I really didn’t want to talk about this. He’d done such a good job of taking my mind off of all my problems all day and now, with just one little sentence; he’d brought it all rushing back.

“I know it’s the last thing you want to talk about but you’ll have to eventually” there was concern in his voice underlined with a small amount of guilt.

“Please don’t Cam…” I pleaded with him almost silently. I could feel a panicky feeling coming over me, making it hard for me to breathe.

“Raven-Jay please, I know you’re scared, and you have every right to be, but please…talk to me about this” He begged me, his voice so sad and mournful that it tugged, painfully, at my heartstrings. I wasn’t sure whether it was the way he used my full name or how genuinely concerned for me he sounded that finally broke me.

“What do you want from me Cameron? For me to admit I’m terrified? Because I am. For me to admit that I’m gay? Because I’m that too. Or do you want me to say that I’m going to lose the only family I’ve got because of it!” I cried out, letting all the disdain and resentment I’d felt towards myself these past weeks come out and direct itself towards him. I felt so ashamed of myself for taking everything out on Cameron as soon as the words left me but I couldn’t take them back no matter how much I wanted to. My whole body was shaking something fierce by the time I’d finished and at some point I must have gotten up from the sofa because I was now standing in the middle of Cameron’s rug.

“You won’t lose them” Cameron said slowly after I’d finished my rant at him. There was so much compassion in his eyes that I had to look away or I’d start crying.

“What? Of course I will. They’ll hate me!” I mumbled. I felt so ashamed. Of course they’ll hate me, why wouldn’t they?

“No one could ever hate you RJ” he gave a short of half-hearted smile but his eyes told me that he meant every word he’d just said. Still, he didn’t know my parents like I did, he never would.

“But they…” I started to protest before he quickly cut me off.

“No one. They may need some time to adjust but if they love you they will accept you for who you really are, no matter what” Cameron was resolute, his words laced with an honesty and conviction that was hard to doubt. Maybe if he had so much faith then I should too. Wasn’t that what my parents were always talking about? Maybe miracles were possible after all. I wasn’t sure what made him do it but Cameron got up from where he’d been sitting on the sofa then. He walked over to me slowly, as if he was scared I’d run a mile if he approached too quickly. When he was standing right in front of me he took one look at me before wrapping his arms around me and pulling me into a warm, soothing, hug. My shaking slowly lessened and then stopped altogether in his arms.

“Really?” I mumbled against his t-shirt clad shoulder just to be sure.

“Really” he replied without hesitation. Even though I couldn’t see his face I could tell he still had that same conviction as he’d had when he first said the words. Even though I knew my parents far better than he ever would it was hard to not believe him. His conviction gave me hope that I could have my family without changing or hiding who I was.

“Okay” I whispered, still not entirely sure of my decision but I’d made it now and I wasn’t about to back out. I could feel Cameron tense up slightly.

“You’re going?” he asked, sounding a little surprised at my quick decision. I didn’t blame him; I was still surprised at how quickly he’d been able to reassure me.

“Yeah just…not now. I mean, you did get that tattoo so the least I can do is get you a pizza” I worked to put some cheer that I didn’t quite feel into my voice. I wasn’t sure if he believed me or not because ether way he didn’t say a word. I pulled away from him and headed in search of the phone. I wasn’t exactly stellar on the phone but I could manage it. After all, it was nothing compared to what I’d have to face in just a few hours’. It was going on 7 now and my dad usually came home around 8, although it was sometimes later if he was working late. I wanted him to be home when I made the big reveal because I didn’t think I could face going through it twice. My dad would also be able to calm my mother if things went bad. No, things weren’t going to go bad, I had to have faith.

“Pepperoni, garlic, chicken and extra cheese!” Cameron yelled at me from across the room. It was kind of unnecessary because I’d never be able to forget that weird combination, even if I tried too. While I ordered the pizza I watched the clock, knowing it was speeding towards my doom.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with you?” Cameron asked softly. He sounded almost as nervous as I was. We were in the car sitting outside my parent’s home and I was trying to brace myself, unsuccessfully I might add, for what was to come.

“I’m pretty sure they’d take the news a whole lot worse if you’re there” I stated bluntly. My nervousness was starting to get so bad that I wasn’t entirely in control of what came out of my mouth anymore.

“Good point. Good luck, and if you need me you know I’m just a phone call away” He sort of angled his head to the side and half nodded.

“Thanks Cam” I whispered, reaching over to give him a quick hug before I exited his car and prepared to face what awaited me inside the house. He was giving off really nervous vibes which wasn’t helping at all with how nervous I already felt about the massive task ahead of me. A part of me still wanted to run back to Cameron’s car and put this off for as long as I possibly could, but Cameron had been right when he’d said earlier that I’d have to tell them eventually and the longer I put it off the more likely they were to not understand. With a deep, shaky, breath I braced myself as I pushed the front door open, turning to give Cameron one last small wave before I walked in to whatever awaited me. The house was quiet which wasn’t all that uncommon in our house on weekdays. When I walked in the door my mother was sitting in her favourite chair beside the fire, a book open in her hand and a scowl already on her face. Oh boy! I really didn’t see this exchange going well at all. Regardless, I walked further into the room and sat down on the sofa across from her, making sure to sit the way she’s always told me too. I sat in silence, wringing my hands in the hem of my shirt out of sheer anxiety. My anxiety levels were through the roof even just sitting here with her but, I knew, it wasn’t going to get any better unless I told them the truth. I would never be able to be happy, always looking over my shoulder, never quite at peace if I didn’t tell them.

“You seem nervous Raven-Jay” my mother suddenly spoke, startling me so much that I jumped a little and before I could stop it a little squeak escaped my lips. It took me an embarrassingly long time to regain control of myself and in that time I could see my mother start to get agitated.

“I…I have to tell you and dad something.” I whispered, or at least it sounded like a whisper to me; I could barely hear anything over the blood rushing in my ears. That got my mother’s attention immediately. She put down her book and focused completely on me. If I thought I was nervous before that had nothing on what I was feeling now. Her gaze just made me feel so inadequate.

“Your father is working tonight” she said simply, not bothering to go into any more details. I would’ve liked to know when he was due home but I couldn’t get my mouth to form the words I needed to ask. My hands shook against my shirt. I couldn’t do this.

“For goodness sake, just spit out whatever you were going to tell us! This is trying my last nerve” My mother snapped at me after a few more moments of me being locked inside my own stress filled box. Her lips were pursed and her eyes were narrowed just a little which told me that she was really angry with me now. I tried to answer her, I really did, but I still couldn’t get the words to form. What was I meant to say? Hey mom, I’m gay? Guess what mother, I like girls? All of those sounded terrible and would most likely make my mother not understand at all. I really wished my dad was here to calm her down.

“Is this about that Connors boy? Because if it is…” she asked harshly, her voice very unkind and full of venom. I hated hearing her speak about Cameron like that. She had no right saying anything bad about him when he’d been nothing but kind to me.

“No, no, it’s nothing to do with him! I…I think I…I…might like someone” I blurted out, my mouth suddenly deciding that it was going to work again. As soon as the words were out I really, really wished I could take them back. Why did I say that! Would she understand? Please say she understood.

“That’s wonderful news Raven-Jay” she announced to my utter surprise. Her whole demeanour had changed within seconds and she now looked…almost happy. “I do wish you had not gone through all the dramatics though” she sighed, almost as an afterthought.

“Really?!” my brain was still far to shocked to come up with an appropriate thing to say. For a moment she looked at me as if I was stupid but that look left her face quickly and was replaced but the sort of happiness again.

“Of course Raven-Jay, that is all your father and I ever wanted for you. Now, tell me, what do you feel for this person?” she…it looked like she smiled at me. She’d never done that before. Wow, this day was turning out so strange.

“I…I can’t stop thinking about them and whenever I’m near them or even think about them I get this feeling in my stomach like there’s butterflies in there or something. I want to be near them all the time too but I’m not sure they even think about me that way” I blurted out without really meaning too. I hadn’t meant to tell my mother all of that. Before I’d even finished my mother nodded her head and her small smile grew a tiny bit. Were we bonding? It felt like we were bonding. That had also never happened before.

“You should ask him out on a date. You never know how he’ll feel about you until you ask” she sounded almost wistful as she spoke and there was a faraway look in her eyes for a brief moment before she snapped back to her usual self. Now was the real defining moment for us. I really hoped that she’d understand or at least be tolerant enough to hear me out fully. That’s all I could ask of her. My head lowered automatically as the next words left my mouth because I just couldn’t look at her reaction to it, to me.

“Please don’t freak out mother but it’s not a man that I like; it’s a girl” I whispered, my voice coming out in an almost cry. My voice started out already quiet but as the sentence went on it got quieter and quieter until I wasn’t even sure if she could hear it. I could feel tears build up in my eyes already but I tried to hold them back. There was still a chance she would accept me, even with my faults. She didn’t say anything for a while which was very worrying. I squeezed my eyes shut, a single tear falling onto my hands, and took a deep breath in before lifting my head to take in my mother reaction. Her face was a wall, blank in every definition of the word.

“You are just confused. It is natural for people your age to go through this but with God’s help you will see this for what it really is; a disgusting, demoralizing, sin against nature, against God” She spoke slowly, her voice missing any natural inflection whatsoever. She was really scary when she was like this. It was like she was a robot.

“Mother, I have been through this already with myself, believe me I have, but I am gay and that isn’t going to change” I replied calmly. Don’t get me wrong, I was still terrified about how she would take this but I could feel a little bit of confidence build up within me from just having told her the truth.

“This is that Connors boys doing. I knew he was going to be trouble, just like his father” my mother hissed, finally breaking out of the eerie calm she showed earlier.

“It has nothing to do with Cameron mother! All he’s done is help me. When I felt like I was nothing for being what I am he was the one who talked me out of it. He was the one who convinced me to tell you when I was so scared that I was having nightmares. This is who I am, who I’ve always been I think. I just thought that maybe you’d understand and still love me despite it.” I was on my feet now, tears openly flowing down my face.

“Absolutely not! You must be fixed Raven-Jay” she too was on her feet now, her voice as close to yelling as I’d ever heard it. How could I make her see that I didn’t need to be fixed? That this was just who I was? Was being gay really that bad? I’d been brought up to think that but I’d been gay for a whole day now (or at least that’s as long as I’d openly acknowledged it) and nothing terrible or disastrous had happened. I was still human. I was still the same person I’d been before. So really, what was so terrible about it? I was about to voice these questions to my mother but before I could open my mouth my father walked in the front door.

“Stella I’m…”He started to say his nightly greeting for whenever he came home from work. He must have felt the tension in the air between my mother and I because he stopped without finishing his sentence. He immediately turned to my mother with an expectant look on his face. He’d came home to plenty of arguments between my mother and I in the past but none of them had been like this.

“What is going on Stella?” he asked softly. He was the one who broke up most of the arguments between my mother and I so he was well versed in how to go about it. I think his main tactic was somehow being able to remain the level-headed one.

“Our darling daughter had suddenly decided that she ‘likes women’” she sneered, turning to glare at me. I flinched at her words. From where I stood I could see my dad’s eyes widen in shock at the very thought.

“Is this true Raven-Jay?” he asked, still sounding calm but not eerily calm like my mother had. He turned slightly so that he could face both of us at the same time.

“Yes but it’s not like that dad. I didn’t want it to happen but…but I think I’m in love, this isn’t just about some stupid experimentation” I beseeched him. How could I make him understand when my mother was such a lost cause? I was so stupid for even daring to hope either of my parent’s would accept me.

“There is a camp Raven-Jay, a camp where you can go and they can help you get over this” he sounded kind of saddened at that thought. He knew what some of those camps did to people like me. He’d been in charge of one of them for just over a year when I was young and the stories he told about them, well; let’s just say they were nothing good.

“Don’t send me there dad. Please don’t send me there” I pleaded with him desperately, my tear-filled eyes searching out his. His eyes were a startling contrast to my mother’s. Whereas hers were full of anger and hate my father were full of sadness and loss. I wanted to yell out to him that he hadn’t lost me yet, that I was still here but it wouldn’t make a difference; I’d already lost them.

“You have to go there Raven…so you can be normal again. They’ll make it all go away and one day, when you’re sitting around with your husband and kids, you’ll look back and this will all just be a bad memory” he sighed softly. He made it sound so easy, so simple; as if to do that I wouldn’t have to completely deny who I was and live a half-life. I’d been doing that for all my life so far, walking on eggshells whenever I was around my mother and pretending I was the perfect daughter she’d always wanted. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wouldn’t do it anymore.

“I’d rather die than deny who I really was for a second longer and this is who I am, like it or not” I announced, a hint of defiance and courage colouring my tone. They both exchanged a silent look that I didn’t like before my mother walked out of the room and my dad opened his mouth to speak again.

“If that is your wish then we can no longer include you in our family. You have 20 minutes to get out of our house” he spoke sadly, guilt and sorrow shining in his eyes. The tears that were already flowing down my face flowed faster now but I didn’t feel them anymore. I felt completely numb, inside and out. I went to walk up the stairs to get some of my stuff but my dad stopped me.

“You are not allowed to take anything out of our house, apart from maybe a change of clothes but I would get them before your mother realises” he whispered to me, his voice still full of sadness. I pulled away from him and nodded my head quickly before running up the stairs to collect a change of clothes to take with me. I couldn’t believe I’d been foolish enough to think they’d accept me. I was stupid. I really should have known better. I dug my old school backpack out from under my bed and began digging through my drawers for a change of clothes. I didn’t have many personal belonging so I didn’t really mind that they had banned me from taking the stuff. Despite it all though, I was really going to miss my room and miss my parents. I grabbed a clean pair of jeans from my drawer along with my favourite sweatshirt and some underwear. I shoved them into my backpack and left the house without another glance at my parents. I left my key on my bedside table in my bedroom for them to eventually find whenever they cleaned the room out. That was it then, everything that I’d always feared had come true. I had nowhere to go, I was officially homeless now. Was I going to have to start living on the streets? At this moment it looked incredibly likely. Without a real destination in mind I started walking. I didn’t take in anything as I walked, letting my current numbness haze over me and block out the outside world.

 

I didn’t check back into reality until I realised that I was at Cameron’s apartment door, fist poised to knock. I wasn’t entirely sure how I ended up here but at the same time I was really glad I had. The door opened slowly, I must’ve knocked without realising, and out stepped a very anxious looking Cameron. The anxiety turned to relief as soon as his eyes landed on me. I wasn’t sure what I looked like but I could only assume it was bad because Cameron’s face quickly filled with sadness and a fierce protectiveness that I hadn’t seen in anyone before. Maybe I just hadn’t been around the right people before.

“That bad huh?” he asked gently, pulling me into a hug. His warm embrace slowly thawed through my numb haze. Now that the numbness was receding I could feel the pain seething underneath. It hurt. I didn’t want to feel like this. I just wanted this day to have never happened. Once the numbness had fully gone and the pain was at its highest, I broke down in Cameron’s arms. He pulled me gently into his apartment and set me down on the sofa. He held me and let me cry against him until I had calmed down a little. I was still nowhere near being okay but I felt better than I had when I’d first arrived. Once I’d sort of calmed down Cameron went away and got a damp towel for me to clean my face up. It was hard because my face felt really tender and sore from all the crying today but I think I did an okay job of it.

“You don’t need to tell me if you don’t want to but…what happened?” Cameron asked softly. I may as well not have bothered cleaning my face because as soon as Cameron asked that question I started crying again. I couldn’t help it and certainly couldn’t stop it.

“You don’t need to…” Cameron started to say. He sounded so caring and apologetic that I found myself actually wanting to tell him what had happened even if it caused me pain.

“I…I told them the truth and they…they disowned me. They don’t want to know me anymore. They kicked me out and I don’t have anywhere to go. I’m going to end up on the streets. I’m scared Cam” I sobbed, feeling more scared than I had all night. What was going to happen when Cameron decided it was time for me to go? I didn’t even have time to find a place for tonight since it was already pretty late and even if I did find someplace how could I afford it. I barely had any money to my name. Harsh sobs wracked my whole body. Cameron pulled me into another warm hug which helped put me a little at ease.

“Hey, hey, hey, no need to cry. You’re welcome to stay here for as long as you like” Cameron spoke without hesitation. I hugged him back tightly, sending a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was listening for Cameron’s unshakeable friendship.

“Thank you”

*****

Ok, 2 things with this for anyone who still reads this, I am so sorry it took 4 years between chapters. I didn’t mean to just abandon this legacy but that’s kind of what happened. I have written out all bar one of Raven-Jay’s chapters now so I am going to try and make sure there isn’t a huge gap between chapters again. On that note, you probably realized that there are a lot less pictures and a lot more words this time around. That’s simply because I can’t be bothered hunting down poses for every scene anymore and my game keeps crashing on me. This will most likely be what the chapters will be like from now on. I hope you guys understand and still continue to read regardless.

~Chaz

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Generation 1- Chapter 9

I slept on and off that night with constant worry and fear clouding my every thought, both conscious and unconscious. I actually got very little sleep; I spent most of my night in a sort of state that was somewhere in the middle of conscious and unconsciousness. What little sleep I did manage to get was plagued by nightmares which were so close to reality that for most of the dream I didn’t know if I were asleep or awake. After the night I’d had it wasn’t really surprising that my nightmares were full of my fears of how people would reject me when they found out. My parents were there, as expected, but so was Mark and his family and almost everyone else who I’d ever known, which included Corrin and Cameron. To some degree or another I’d sort of expected Corrin to appear and treat me with the same revulsion and contempt as all the other faces in my dream had but I’d never in a million years expected Cameron to treat me the exact same way as everyone else, especially after how nice and accepting he’d been of me tonight. I think Cameron’s rejection hurt so much more than everyone else’s because I’d thought after the way he’d been with me that he was the only person left on my side. His rejection ripped through me and that combined with the other people’s reactions made my whole dream body ricochet with pain.

I was a complete wreck when I finally awoke, gasping for air that just wouldn’t make its way into my desperate lungs. Logically, I knew that my dream wasn’t real…but it felt so lifelike, which only made me feel even more terrified at even having to think about admitting to everyone what I was. Now that it was semi-out in the open and I was no longer denying it to myself I knew there was no way that I’d be able to keep lying to everyone else. I had never been good at the whole lying thing when it came to others and when it came to myself I found it nearly impossible. There was little to no chance that I was going to be able to hide this from everyone, especially my parents, for more than a couple of days; a week at most. I absolutely dreaded even having to think of telling my devotedly religious parents the truth. What would they think? What would they say? What wouldn’t they say? I think their silence would kill me more surely than any shouting that could ever come from them.

I sat shaking on my bed, close to tears, as my brain flooded with all my insecurities and fears. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry out and for someone to come and comfort me. Most of all I wanted my mother to be the type of parent who would come and give me a hug when I was feeling down instead of making me bottle everything up inside. Unfortunately I had more chance of waking up completely heterosexual tomorrow morning than my mother ever showing me that kind of compassion. Speaking of my mother, I could hear her downstairs. That didn’t really surprise me seeing as I had heard my dad heading out to work a while ago. I had to get out of here! I couldn’t be waiting up here when my mother took it into her head to come and get me up. I couldn’t face her yet, not after everything that had happened last night. Everything was still too fresh and painful. I had to get out but…where could I go. I had no one I could turn to anymore. Sure, I could maybe go see Cameron but after my nightmare I was a little hesitant to even attempt to contact him, let alone actually see him. What if I’d just been imagining his acceptance last night? Was that possible? Was I just so desperate for some compassion that I’d imagined some from Cameron? What if my nightmare was the real side of Cameron? Surely not. He was my friend, or, at least I’d thought he was. Was I alone again? I lifted my shaking hand up to wipe some of the tears that had escaped from my eyes and were steadily making their way down my cheeks. I couldn’t do this! Why, oh why, couldn’t I just be normal? Maybe I could…No. It was far too late to go back to pretending.

My head dropped into my hands, shaking a little from side to side in denial.

“You’re nothing Raven-Jay. You’ve always been wrong in the head and you always will be” a quiet voice in the back on my mind sneered at me nastily.

“No, I’m not…I’m the same person I’ve always been” I whispered out loud without really meaning to.

“Really? You don’t believe that or you would’ve told your parent’s by now!” the voice whispered from inside my head. My hands uselessly went to my ears to try and block the voice out but the voice continues mercilessly.

“I do” I whispered brokenly. It was true…sort of. I was the same person I’d always been, at least I hoped I was, no matter how I felt about what I’d just discovered about myself.

“Tell them then” it sneered at me viciously, sounding more and more like my mother as it went on. My breaths came out in shaky gasps and I could feel the tremors that had begun rocking my body. I slowly brought down my hands from my ears and wrapped them around myself in one desperate attempt to hold myself together since I currently felt like I was going to shatter into tiny pieces any second now.

“Tell them and watch their faces fill with horror! Fill with revulsion! Watch them cast you out! Watch them tell you are dead to them!” no, no no, NO!

There was a sort of buzzing sound to my left but I didn’t understand what it was at first. All I could think about was the voice and how completely right it was. It took several more of those buzzing sounds for me to be able to pull myself out of my own head enough to realize it was my phone. No one really had my number so it could only be a handful of people that were calling me which made me extremely hesitant to pick up the phone, let alone answer it. I was still internally debating whether I should answer when it stopped ringing. I breathed a mental sigh of relief only for the darn thing to start ringing again only seconds later. Whoever this was obviously wasn’t gonna take no for an answer so I reached over to answer. My hand shook so badly that I almost dropped the phone. Without even looking at the screen to see who was calling I clicked answer and pulled it to my ear because I knew that if I’d looked I would’ve chickened out of answering altogether.

“…” I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but nothing came out.

“Are you there? R-J?” a voice asked from my phone, Cameron’s voice.

“What are you going to say Raven-Jay? What could someone like you possibly have to say? They’re not going to want to hear it anyway, not from you!” the voice started up again in my head, this time only louder and somehow more solid than before. It was hard to make out what Cameron was saying though because the voice in my head shouted over the top of him but somehow I was able to concentrate on the sound of his voice, calm and reassuring like always.

“Cameron?” I whispered, my voice coming out thick with tears. I tried, I really did, to make myself sound somewhat normal but, honestly, I was a mess and my voice showed that.

“R-J? Are you…are you okay?” Cameron asked quickly, his voice full of genuine concern and…maybe something else but in my current state I couldn’t be sure.

“I…I…” no matter how hard I tried no words would come out. What could I possibly say anyway? That I was fine? That everything was going great? No, that would be lying and I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, not to him, not anymore. He’d been there for me, and from the sounds of things he still was, but at the same time I couldn’t just blurt out how my whole world currently felt like it was crashing down around me. It didn’t matter what I would’ve said to him anyway because before I could even open my mouth to try and form some words again Cameron had already begun talking.

“I’m on my way, I’ll be there in about ten minutes, okay?” he spoke rapidly, already sounding like he was running. He hung up without giving me a chance to answer but that was fine with me because I really wasn’t sure what I would have said to him anyway.

10 minutes. He said it would take him 10 minutes to get here. Where was he coming from to be here in 10 minutes? Our town wasn’t exactly the largest but it still took at least 20 minutes to get into town and then another 10-15 minutes to get to Cameron’s apartment depending on traffic. 10 minutes? Oh no! That meant I had to get ready rather sharpish or risk my mother coming face to face with one of the people she hated most in this town. It took me a few precious moments to even make my body move from where it was huddled against my headboard but finally I was able to get up and riffle through my drawers to find something to wear. Without even looking properly, I picked the first things my hands landed on before I sprinted into my adjoining bathroom. I came to a complete stop when I saw my face in the large mirror above the sink. I didn’t recognise myself. My once vibrant blue hair had started fading and was currently sticking up everywhere; it must’ve come out of its holder at some point during my restless night. That was the only thing that was different about me though, I looked different, and my face thinner and paler, my eyes sunken with dark purple bags lining them and my eyes themselves…they looked beyond hopeless.

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Cameron arrived exactly 7 ½ minutes after our phone call. Who knows how many speeding rules he broke on his way over to get here that quickly? It was beyond sweet of him but it was also kind of scary. What if he’d been hurt on the way over…because of me? I really was becoming the horrid person I’d feared I was becoming when I’d first started having these feelings. He didn’t honk his horn or even call me to let me know he was outside but I knew as soon as he pulled up, the familiar sound of his car gave him away. I took a few extra moments in the bathroom after he’d pulled up to make sure my freshly applied make-up covered the worst of the damage on my face. It was a snap decision to wear make-up today. It hurt my face, which was still tender from all my crying, but I couldn’t have let Cameron see me like that even if I’d wanted to. Another lesson learned from my mother; never let them see anything but perfection. Once I was sure my make-up hid everything I left the bathroom and made my way downstairs, grabbing my cell phone on the way past. My mother was in the kitchen when I came down stairs so luckily I didn’t have to even acknowledge her even though she called me as I made my way out the front door. I could easily pretend that I hadn’t heard her later. Hmm later? I wasn’t sure quite when later would be right now because as soon as I was out of my parents’ house I felt….I felt free. For the first time in my life I felt like maybe I could be my own person, without having to worry what people thought of me or how it directly affected them. It was a strange, disorienting but also exhilarating, experience. I’d never felt like this in my life. It made me feel sort of giddy inside.

Without a single glance back I ran towards Cameron’s car and slid into the luxurious leather seats. Cameron was waiting for me with his usual smile on his face but underneath that there was that same hint of concern he’d shown earlier on the phone.

“Are you okay?” he asked slowly, carefully, as if somehow, if he wasn’t careful enough, he’d spook me. I did my best to smile back at him as I answered. It was definitely hard but it felt a little easier and more natural than it had earlier.

“No, I’m not okay but I’m working on it” I whispered truthfully. I hadn’t quite realized what I was going to say to him until it was out but at the same time I’m glad I’d answered him honestly. At my words some of the tension left him.

“So, where to m’lady?” Cameron asked after a brief moment of comfortable silence between us.

“Just…away from here, please” my voice came out sounding more harsh and demanding than I’d intended but I was still a little nervous about the fact that my mother could still see me if went to any of the front facing windows. If she seen Cameron with me…I didn’t even want to think of what would happen.

“Anywhere in particular or is Madam fine with any random place?” he asked in a serious tone, his face completely blank before a large smile spread across his lips. He smiled widely at me and it wasn’t until then that I realized he was joking with me. For the first time that day a natural smile curled up the corners of my mouth. As I smiled at Cameron I felt a small bubble of happiness begin to grow inside of me. I was able to smile properly without faking or without feeling like I was dying inside the entire time. That actually gave me an idea.

“Just drive, I’ll let you know where to stop”

Without a seconds hesitation Cameron started the car and begun driving towards town. We talked on the way, mostly about small things that didn’t really mean anything. The entire time neither of us brought up what had passed between us last night and for that I was sort of glad. I knew I would eventually have to talk this stuff through with someone, so why not Cameron, but the truth was I was still terrified of his rejection. It was completely irrational, I knew that deep down, but it didn’t stop the fear from bubbling up inside of me, squishing the small amount of happiness I’d just begun to experience. The conversation begun to ebb a little on my part after we’d been driving for about fifteen minutes because of my self-doubts but Cameron didn’t push me and let the conversation between us flow away into silence. I felt bad for him. I wasn’t exactly the best company to be around today. Maybe I should’ve stayed home? No, I was honestly glad I was out with Cameron. He was a good friend and I wasn’t going to let my own problems and insecurities ruin that.

“Stop” I managed to say after a couple more minutes of driving. We’d missed where I wanted to go but this was better for parking anyway and we could just walk back. Cameron still didn’t seem sure of where I was headed but without a word he pulled into a free parking space and cut the engine. I took a deep breath to sort of steady myself for what I planned to do next. My parent’s would really throw a fit if they knew what I was planning to do next. Even that little thought of my parent’s brought my mood crashing down again. Whilst I was trying to compose myself enough to actually make myself get out of the car Cameron had already beaten me too it and had begun making his way around to my side of the car. It was his sort of gentlemanly routine to always open the car door for me no matter how much I’d protested. He did it so much that eventually I’d just stopped complaining about it. Seeing him do it again, after everything that had changed these past few weeks, made a small smile spread across my mouth. At last some things stayed the same.

“So where’s this special place you wanted to go?” Cameron asked once he’d opened the car door for me and helped me out.

“Uh, uh, uh, no telling. That would ruin the surprise” I was actually surprised to find my voice sounded less hollow than it had earlier. I was actually starting to feel the first little bubbles of happiness inside me. Cameron laughed at my lame answered.

“Let’s get going then. Wouldn’t want to keep your suitors waiting” He said through his laughter. I don’t think he realised quite what was coming out of his mouth at first because there was a moment when our eyes met and his eyes widened slightly.

“Crap! I didn’t…you know I…I was joking” he stuttered over his words, seeming really unsure of what he should say or do in this situation.

“Its fine, you idiot. I know what you meant” I laughed, pushing him slightly to show that I knew he was joking. It was actually really easy to laugh his joke off without feeling awkward or self-conscious which was a small miracle in itself considering my anxiety issues. He shot me a quick look but when he seen the smile on my face a similar smile lit up his face. We walked side by side, chatting at random for the couple of minutes it took us to reach our destination.

He seemed mildly surprised when I stopped him in front of Shute’s Tattoo parlour and Salon but he didn’t say a word, even opening the door for me to go in. I walked over to the desk more confidently than I actually felt but that false confidence was stripped away when the receptionist just stared past me.

“Excuse me?” I asked quietly, too shy to try and make my voice any louder. The receptionist was different from the one who was here the last two times I was. She must be new. She looked a lot like the owner so maybe they were related and she was just covering. She was also very rude. She just ignored me, instead preferring to stare blatantly at Cameron’s butt as he looked over the tattoo designs that there was no way he’d ever get. He’d already admitted to me that he admired me for getting the tattoos I had because he was too scared to get any of his own.

“I think I’m gonna get this one” Cameron declared after looking through about 5 of those wall posters or tattoo designs they had up on the wall. From where I was standing it looked like a dragon-type thing. I walked over to get a closer look and wasn’t really that shocked to find that yes, it was a sort of dragon thing. It was kind of weird looking though. Definitely something only Cameron would decide to pick. In all the time I’d spent with Cameron I’d quickly come to realise that he kind of had an eccentric taste when it came to anything creative like music, art and, I guess, that extended to tattoo designs. There was also a really nice design beside Cameron’s one that I liked and was thinking on getting.

“You, Cameron Connors, are going to get a tattoo?” I asked in disbelief. Surely I’d heard him wrong. He’d said countless times before that he was too scared to get one so what had changed?

“Hey, a man’s allowed to change his mind, y’know” he replied after a very brief pause, almost as if he’d read my mind.

“I know, I just thought…” I started to say before I was cut off, rather sharply, by the receptionist who was no longer at her desk but instead standing next to Cameron and me. I hadn’t even heard her walk over to us.

“I think you would really suit that tattoo Mr Connors” the receptionist batted her eyelashes at him. It kind of looked like she had something in her eye that she was trying to get rid of. It was actually a pretty funny sight. It stopped being so funny when she started touching him and rubbing her hands all over his arms.

“Maybe right here” she exclaimed as her hand circled his shoulder, pushing his t-shirt sleeve up as she did so. “or here” she giggled, pointing to his chest this time. Was she…was she flirting with him? No, surely nobody would be that obvious, right? I felt a little (read; a lot) strange watching the whole display. I could tell just by watching them that Cameron really wasn’t that into, whatever this was, as she was. He kept casting glances over at me with a worried look on his face.

“Um, yeah, I’m just going to…” Cameron mumbled, cutting off whatever the girl had been saying to him. He spoke softly, beginning to push her hand away from his chest after a final look over at me. He really looked like he didn’t want to be in this situation but the girl just pushed her hand back against his.

I was about to interrupt myself because Cameron was starting to look really uncomfortable but it turns out I didn’t have to because at that moment Gary Shute walked in the front door. Gary’s family owned this place and at the moment he was the only tattooist they had.

“Mins, back at your desk please” Gary drawled in his soft southern accent as he walked past us. He didn’t even look at the girl, Mins I suppose her name was, but somehow it was enough and she finally peeled herself off of Cameron and walked back to her desk. Cameron looked seriously relieved with the girl back where she belonged.

“So, Raven-Jay, what can I do for you today?” Gary asked from across the room, his back still towards me and Cameron.

“Um…I’m here to get another tattoo” I felt so awkward saying that as the words left my mouth. Obviously I wanted another tattoo otherwise why would I be here?

“Yeah, me too” Cameron chimed in, saving me from dying of awkwardness. I shot him a grateful smile and he smiled back down at me.

“Y’all better come through then” Gary called over to us, the southern twang in his voice really shining through. Without another word he walked through to the back room and followed him, followed myself, only seconds later, by Cameron.

The back room was brightly lit and held two leather sort-of recliner chairs with a small stool beside each of them. I sat down in one and Cameron hesitantly sat down in the other. I almost burst out laughing at him. He looked like the chair was going to bite him or something. This was probably the first time I’d ever seen Cameron really nervous or scared of something in all the time we’d known each other.

“So who’s going first?” Gary asked whilst he set up his equipment. I knew everything he was doing since I’d been here and done it all before but Cameron’s eyes were slightly wider than usual, especially when he seen the needle.

“Let the tough guy go first” I found myself saying without really knowing why. Cameron shot me a joking glare, at least I hoped it was joking, but he took it all in his stride and before long Gary had started to go to work on his weird dragon thing. He’d decided to get it on his shoulder after all but I tried not to think about how much influence ‘Mins’ had on that decision. Cameron flinched several times as he was getting done but for the most part he handled it pretty well.

It took Gary about 20 minutes to finish Cameron’s and bandage him up. Cameron turned and showed me his finished tattoo before Gary bandaged it up. It didn’t really seem to fit him but at the same time it suited him perfectly. It was unique and imperfectly perfect, just like he was.

Gary came over to me next. I’d decided I was going to get that design from the poster and when I explained it to Gary he was able to get a pretty good likeness to what I’d picked. I got it on my left wrist and I’ve really got to say, I really liked how it turned out. It sent a really good message, a message that I really needed to hear right now.

Live the life you love

Love the life you live

Generation 1- Chapter 8

After the meal my parents went home in their car and I stayed in town. It was pretty hard to convince them to let me stay myself but after I told them that I had something that I had to finish up at work they let me go. My dad made sure to give me his sternest warning look, which was no doubt a clear message to me to stay away from Cameron, before he left. I wish I could’ve kept away from Cameron like my dad wanted but I really needed to see him, especially after everything that had happened today. In the end I didn’t go straight to Cameron’s house like I’d initially planned, I instead walked around town for a while, just letting the cool autumn air try and calm me down inside.

When, after almost an hour, that failed to work I hailed a taxi and got it to Cameron’s apartment. The streets were mostly quiet with the occasional car driving by but for some reason the taxi ride felt like it took longer than it actually should have. Everything that I’d been trying to bury in my mind was building up, leaving me feeling like I was going to explode. I had a plan in mind for when I saw Cameron but I just wasn’t sure that I could go through with it. Even though the drive had felt long I still didn’t feel even half way prepared by the time the taxi pulled up in front of Cameron’s apartment block, a place I’d been lots of times before in the span of mine and Cameron’s friendship. I paid the driver, who gave me a weird look when my hand shook as I was handing him the money, before I climbed out of the taxi on shaking legs.

I slowly walked over to the building’s front door where the buildings intercom was situated but I froze before I could press Cameron’s number. What would I say to him? Sure, I’d said I forgave him earlier but would he really want to see my right now? What if he had friends over? What if he had his girlfriend over? He’d never explicitly said that he had a girlfriend but the way he acted told me everything I needed to know; if he didn’t have a girlfriend then he was most definitely crushing hard on someone. He’d never hinted at who it could be though so I did my best to stay out of his business until he felt ready to tell me. Suddenly my plan didn’t feel as right. I no longer felt like I should go through with my plan. I could just walk away and pretend I was never here tonight with no one being none the wiser.

Unfortunately, at that moment Cameron decided to walk out of his building, just narrowly missing walking into me.

“RJ! What are you doing here?” he asked, almost sounding like he was in shock. I didn’t really blame him. Why was I stupid enough to come here in the first place? Oh yeah, because I was completely stupid.

“I…uh…I came to see you actually…but you look busy so I’ll just…see you at work tomorrow” I ended up babbling under his inquisitive stare, trying desperately to find a way out of this situation as quickly as possible. I really shouldn’t have come here.

“Nah, that’s okay. I was just going out for a run but I can skip it tonight if you wanna come up” he motioned towards his 3rd floor apartment as he spoke. I looked down at my feet, taking note of the dark grey sweatpants and beige coloured t-shirt that Cameron was wearing as my eyes travelled downwards. I’d completely forgotten about his nightly run when I’d impulsively decided to come over here.

I really wanted to just turn away from him and run back home with my tail between my legs like the coward I was but before I could even move an inch Cameron had slipped his hand into mine and began pulling me towards his building. It felt weird holding his hand after weeks of no contact between us whatsoever. My mind was screaming at me to object and pull my hand away because of what my dad had said earlier but I liked it. He was my friend and I couldn’t just give that up because of my parents’ views on his family. Cameron had been nothing but nice to me the whole time I’d known him, apart from his one slip up when he was drunk in his office but that was easy enough to forgive especially as I’d recently found out from Ronald that Cameron’s mother was dying of a terminal illness. Ronald hadn’t really gone into what illness she had or how long she had left but he had told me that she’d been admitted to the hospital and that it didn’t look likely that she would ever get out. Ronald hadn’t really seemed that comfortable speaking about Mrs Connors condition so I’d let the subject drop and walked away, only knowing the basic details. I’d felt hurt at the time because I would’ve thought that me and Cameron were close enough for him to have been the one to tell me but after thinking it through for a few days I realised how selfish and horrible I was being. It was Cameron’s right to keep that his mother was dying to himself if he wanted to.

“So…um…I didn’t think I would see you again after your dad came out and…um…warned me off” Cameron said with complete sincerity once we were inside his apartment. The journey up had been a quiet one but it was still somehow comfortable. I didn’t really know what to say to that because a part of me, most likely the part that was still trying to make up for my mistakes to my parents, was desperate for me to leave and never come back.

“I…I’m sorry about that” I mumbled the first thing that came into my head, refusing to meet his eyes as I did so. I heard him walk further into his apartment and flop down onto his sofa like he usually did when we hung out here. I slowly followed behind him and took the farthest seat away from him on the sofa instead of my usual seat right beside him, pulling my hat off and letting some of my hair tumble down as I did so. This whole thing was hard enough as it was without the unneeded worry of my sitting beside him.

“Well, either way it’s an honour to be in your company” Cameron grinned, joking around in his usual manner. He was never serious for more than 5 minutes at a time. In my opinion that was one of his best qualities because no matter what you just couldn’t stay down or unhappy whenever you were around him. “What can I do for you tonight?” he asked, a tiny bit of seriousness mingling in with the joking. His boyish grin was still plastered on his face though.

“I…I heard about your mother; I’m sorry” I muttered the first thing that came to my head instead of saying what I really wanted to say. He paused briefly and his grin slipped a little but he didn’t look as upset as I’d feared. I think I looked more upset than he did. His mother had finally passed away last week and the Connors’ had barely been seen around the office since.

“It’s okay, really” he smiled down at me, trying to cheer me up. “I’ve known for a long time now and I grieved her death a while ago so I’m determined now to celebrate her life and spend as much time with her as possible while she is still here” he continued, still smiling down at me. A small bit of sadness lingered in his eyes but mostly he looked kind of resigned.

“Is that…is that why you came into work drunk?” I whispered as quietly as I could possible manage. I was scared of asking the question because I really didn’t want to hit a raw nerve but instead of blowing up again like I’d thought he would Cameron just laughed it off.

“Something like that” he muttered, an edge of some emotion I couldn’t quite figure out in his voice as he laughed my question off. He put his head down, that same smile still on his face but fading rapidly. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him after all. He seemed to have more of a response to this than when I’d asked about his mother. I had a feeling that I was right about whatever this was being a raw nerve for him.

I shuffled over in my seat so that I was closer to him and reached out and gently placed my hand on his arm in an act of friendship and reassurance. Cameron lifted his head to look at me, a sadness I didn’t understand in his eyes as they met mine. He placed his hand over the one I had on his arm. The warmth from his hand was a really startling contrast to the rest of my ice cold body. I don’t think my actual body was much colder than it normally was this time of year but inside I felt frozen so that might have been why I felt so cold. I looked down at Cameron’s hand covering mine and felt an overwhelming sadness flow through me, startling me so much that I involuntarily flinched away from him.

“Are you okay, RJ?” he asked softly. It seemed like he was being extra careful with what he was saying so as not to offend me or upset me even further. His face was only inches from mine. My mind was urging me to close those few inches separating us and carry out my plan to become normal again but in my heart I knew I could never do that to Cameron. He was my best friend and I knew deep down that I couldn’t use him like that, no matter how much trouble it got me in with my parents.

“I just…no” I finally admitted in a small whisper. I couldn’t go on lying to everyone. I couldn’t go on lying to myself. I could hide everything away inside for all of eternity if I really wanted but that did nothing to change the fact that it had still happened and that I still felt guilty about it every second of the day. The tears that I’d been holding back for the past 5 minutes fell freely down my cheeks in an unceasing flow.

“What…what’s wrong?” he asked gently, almost seeming as afraid to ask as I had been when I’d asked him about that time in his office. I took in a deep breath to try and steady myself but really I knew I was just trying to buy myself some time before I had to tell him and he started to hate me.

“Please don’t hate me” I begged him, speaking so rapidly that I wasn’t sure he properly understood what I’d said.

“Whatever it is RJ, you can tell me; I’d never, ever, hate you no matter what it is” he spoke calmly. His hand reached out to grab mine and give it a reassuring squeeze. I sort of partway believed what he was saying because it really did sound like he meant it but once he found out what I was hiding there was really no chance that he’d stick to what he’d just said. He wouldn’t have a choice in the matter. I mean, how could he still be friends with me after finding out the truth? I wasn’t ready to tell him, I wasn’t really ready to tell anyone, but at the same time I didn’t want to have to bottle it all up inside of myself anymore. I didn’t want to be alone anymore.

“S…something happened about a month ago” I paused to let that sort of sink in. I looked away from Cameron down to my hands which were beginning to fiddle with the hemline of my top which was a sort of nervous habit of mine. Cameron didn’t say anything but he didn’t move away from me either so that gave me the prompt I needed to carry on with my story.

“It was the night before what happened in your office and I…um…I ran away to this bar on the outskirts of town to get away from my parents for the night. I ended up running into an old, I guess you could call her, friend though I hadn’t seen since we were at school together.” I had to stop again because it was getting harder and harder to tell him. We were getting to the part now where he would surely start to hate me and I really didn’t want to tell it. I knew where this story was headed; with me ending completely on my own again, but oddly enough he seemed to know where it was headed too. Had he realised that I was wrong in the head a long time ago? If so, why was he still friends with me? Unless…did he really not care or did he just not know and I was reading too much into things? Either way I wouldn’t really know until I finished telling him my story.

“She…she kissed me and in the shock of it a…all I…I kissed her back” I felt so ashamed having to tell him what had happened that night. A weird sort of tension sprung up from literally nowhere while I was speaking. I had partly expected the tension from Cameron but I hadn’t expected the misery that seemed to radiate out of him. I sort of wondered what that was about but I was far to wound up by my own problems to ask him.

“This was almost a month ago so how is it affecting you now?” he asked after a brief moment of tense and awkward silence between us. His voice came out in a harsh, broken, whisper that made me want to just stop telling the story altogether and forget this whole night had happened. Was this the time that he was gonna start hating me; before I’d even gotten around to telling him the worst part? He wasn’t moving away from me but at the same time he also didn’t look like he could take much more.

“It’s not that, exactly. I mean, that was bad and wrong and horrid but I…ever since I’ve been having these dreams” I quickly noticed that I’d begun rambling and that my voice was coming out sounding really choked up and anxious but I couldn’t stop any of it anymore. It was like someone had turned on a tap which couldn’t be turned back off until everything had come out.

“The dreams are sort of like what happened in the bar, only much worse. They happen every single night without fail and they aren’t about my friend either which probably makes the whole thing that much worse. ‘Cause if it was about her I could probably put the whole thing down to shock or a delayed reaction or something but with this other…person I can’t. I mean, I’ve only ever had a handful of conversations with this person but I can’t sleep and I can’t stop thinking about her either. The guilt, of what I’ve done and what I want to do, is eating me up inside” I rambled in rapid succession, my tears streaming even harder down my cheeks. I was panting by the time I’d finished speaking. I was terrified to look up from my hands to see Cameron’s reaction. It really didn’t help that he was being deathly silent about the whole thing so I had no clue as to what he was feeling inside.

“Do you…do you hate me?” I asked in a frightened whisper. I still couldn’t look up at him. I heard him shuffle slightly in his seat before I felt his warm hand cup my cheek, his thumb moving back and forth in a doomed effort to wipe away my tears. He lifted my head so that I had to meet his eyes. Surprisingly his eyes didn’t show the hatred that I’d expected; they only showed compassion and understanding.

“RJ, please believe me that I could never, ever, hate you” Cameron replied, his voice so full of assurance and sheer honesty that it made my tears flow faster than before. What had I ever done to deserve such an amazing friend like Cameron? Why had I ever thought that Cameron wouldn’t understand and hate me? Looking at him now I knew without a doubt that all my fears about him had been wrong. He was the perfect person I could’ve came to about what was wrong with me because, I don’t know if he agreed with it or not but regardless of his personal feelings, he was still trying his best to help me.

“And anyone who does hate you for who you are just aren’t worth it anyway” he spoke again, his voice lower and slightly sadder than before but still as honest and trustworthy. I felt slightly better after having unloaded most of what I was going through on Cameron but I still felt that same churning feeling inside, it felt like I was going to burst.

“But they’re my parents” I burst out in my misery. I wasn’t sure why I was telling Cameron this part because it really didn’t have anything to do with anything apart from making me feel guiltier than I already was but there it was.

“I’m sure they’d understand if you told them what you’d just told me” Cameron’s reply was almost instantaneous which made me think that he hadn’t really meant it. It was almost too quick to be a genuine assurance rather than a throwaway phrase to make me feel better about myself.

“Okay, so maybe your parent’s won’t be as accepting as others but you are their only child; I’m sure if you give them a while to come to terms with it they will accept you for who you really are” he finally acknowledged after a few careful seconds to mull it over. This at least sounded genuine enough for me to partially believe him if it weren’t for the fact that I knew my parents so much better than that. Maybe my dad would eventually grow tolerate it, but never accept it, if I gave him years to work through everything but I knew without a single doubt that my mother never would. She’d be the one to throw me out and disown me which would make my dad follow suit. I couldn’t go through that; I just wasn’t strong enough.

Noticing Cameron’s hand was still on my face as he tried to continuously wipe away my ever flowing tears I pulled away from him. I turned away from him on the sofa and kind of curved into myself. My heart hurt, my eyes stung and I felt like I just might burst if this kept going on. I wanted to be normal so I never had to feel this way ever again. This was worse than torture because there was no way to possibly turn this off. Cameron reached out to place a hand gently on my shoulder but I flinched away from him. Even a single touch would be too much for me in my current fragile state.

“Who is she?” he asked softly a few short moments after I’d flinched away from his touch. He didn’t say anything else or try touching me again but from the tone of his voice it was obvious that he was asking about the girl from my dreams. Without even really meaning to I began freaking out again. I couldn’t tell him it was Corrin. That would most definitely be crossing a line that really shouldn’t be crossed. Best he thinks it was some random girl I ran into in town or something than know the truth. I wasn’t so sure if he would be as accepting of me if he knew that I dreamt about someone from work.

“You don’t know her so it doesn’t matter” I quickly said to cover myself. He didn’t seem to notice anything amiss, or he never said anything at least.

“Do you…uh…do you think about her often?” he asked softly, his voice full of the awkwardness that had suddenly filled the space between us. I wasn’t sure why but I felt really awkward and uncomfortable talking to him about this. Why was that? I’d never had trouble taking to Cameron about anything before so why would it suddenly become an issue now? Was it because I, myself, wasn’t comfortable with this subject? Was it because I really wanted to never have to talk about this subject and pretend it never existed in the first place? I really wasn’t sure. The one thing I was sure of though is that I really didn’t want to be saying the words that came out when I did eventually open my mouth.

“She’s all I can think of and…I…I think it’s driving me insane” I whispered the words I didn’t want to be saying, almost as if whispering them would make them less true. My tears which had begun to stop started up again faster than ever. I already felt drained even though I’d been in Cameron’s apartment less than an hour. I didn’t like this. I‘d thought that opening up to someone about everything would make me feel free but instead it weighed me down even more.

“Do you…” he paused as he took an audible gulp before he continued “Do you get butterflies in your stomach whenever you think about her and want to be around her all the time?” he eventually managed to ask although his voice did come out sounding kind of rough and emotional; like he’d just been crying. To that I couldn’t even form a verbal response. Instead I just nodded my head in utter embarrassment without meeting his eyes. Neither of us seemed to have a response to that because we ended up sitting in a very uncomfortable silence for a while after.

“What’s wrong with me?” I cried out after a while, breaking through the awkward silence that lingered between us. Everything that we’d been talking about was just piling up and my head and it was making me wish I was normal so badly. I would have done anything at that moment to be normal and to have feelings for a boy like everyone else my age. Was I just going through some weird stage that all teenagers went through or was I an anomaly; a freak? All answers were pointing at the latter. While I was having my mini meltdown Cameron was still sitting right beside me looking slightly freaked out but still he reached his arms out to me and pulled me into an, oddly comforting given my current situation, hug.

“Shh, there’s nothing wrong with you” he whispered softly into my hair as he held me. I was about to object to his words because there had to be something if I was feeling like this.

“You’re just in love with this girl. I know it’s not what you want to hear but it’s true” Cameron continued in the same soothing voice as before but his words were anything but comforting to me. I immediately sprung away from him but I think he’d been expecting this reaction from me because he just let me go.

“I’m not like that!” I hissed at him, venom lacing every word I said. Cameron stayed sitting on the sofa while I shouted at him. He didn’t seem fazed at all by my yelling.

“Raven-Jay” he tried to soothe me a few seconds after I’d stopped shouting.

“I’m not g…” I started to yell at him but I couldn’t even say the word. My whole body was trembling and my tears fell in increasingly fast streams down my cheeks. My legs shook so hard that I couldn’t keep myself upright anymore so I ended up collapsing into the chair opposite the sofa Cameron was still sitting on. Cameron moved as if to help me when I fell into the chair but he pulled back at the last minute and remained sitting on the sofa.

“Say the word” he whispered to me. Even from across the room his voice sounded like it was taunting me. His voice sounded just like my mother’s at that moment.

“No, I’m not g…” I screamed at him, my hands fisting desperately in the hemline of my sweater.

“Say it” he whispered again only this time he was sitting on the floor right in front of my seat. He reached out and gently prised one of my hands away from my sweater and held it gently but firmly in his. I felt battered. I felt drained. I felt defeated. All that combined with his simple touch broke me.

“Gay” I whispered finally, my voice showing every inch of how low and defeated I actually was. “I’m gay” I whispered, feeling a piece inside of me wither and die as I spoke those words I knew I should never have uttered.

Without a single word Cameron grabbed a hold of my other hand and pulled me down into his arms again. He wrapped his arms around me as I pulled myself into a ball and wept for everything I’d just lost just by uttering those words. He didn’t say a single thing the entire time he held me, he just offered unwavering support and comfort and for that I knew, even at that moment when I was at my lowest, I would be forever grateful to him. He held me for hours, until I had no tears left to cry. Even then I still couldn’t move from the comfort of his arms because I knew that when I did everything would all come crashing down on me. In his arms I could just pretend it had all been a dream; like he was a barrier between me and the rest of the world, but once that was gone I would have to face the repercussions of my crumbling world.

“I need to go home” I groaned miserably after another hour had passed us by with Cameron holding me together. My voice was kind of harsh and scratchy after not speaking and crying for so long but I think Cameron understood what I was trying to say.

“You don’t have to, you can crash here for a couple of days” he offered almost immediately which was very sweet of him. I seriously didn’t deserve as good a friend as Cameron had been to me. I was even more grateful to him for his offer because he wasn’t just offering me a place to sleep for a few days but he was also offering me a way out of returning to the real world for a while longer. I could take his offer, I was really tempted to, but if I did what did that make me? I shook my head slowly where it was buried against Cameron’s chest, almost regretting it as I did.

“Do you need me to drop you off?” he asked without hesitation, his voice never changing from before. Cameron really was the type of friend I’d often wished I’d had when I was a kid getting bullied at school and neglected at home. I nodded my head, wishing that I’d been telling him to forget it instead.

He slowly helped me up onto my, still slightly unsteady, legs and once he was sure that I could stand okay he took my hand and walked me out of his apartment and down to the garage where his car was kept. We were quiet the whole way to my parents’ house but Cameron did hold my hand the whole way there which made the whole ordeal so much better. No other words were said between us when the car halted to a stop but Cameron did give my hand a light squeeze before he finally let it go and his eyes relayed all the compassion and understanding from earlier to me now which made me feel a little better. I got out of the car, my legs still shaking, and walked the short pathway to the front door. Just opening the door was daunting to me after everything I’d gone through tonight but knowing my parents would be in bed and I wouldn’t have to see them until tomorrow gave me that extra little push I needed to stop my hands from shaking and unlock the door. Once inside the house I bolted upstairs only stopping long enough to close and lock the door behind me. Once upstairs in my room I went over to the window and noticed that Cameron’s car was still outside the house. A part of me wondered if he was waiting on me to change my mind. If so, that was incredibly sweet of him. I was just too tired to really take it in. I think I managed a quick wave to him before I collapsed onto my bed and everything went black.

*****

So there it is. I’m so sorry it took me 7 months to get this out but hopefully the chapter’s long enough to make up for my absence. I honestly never planned to not post for so long so I’m sorry. It shouldn’t happen again (although I’m not making any promises ‘cause I always end up breaking them). Hope you enjoyed the chapter anyway.

~Chaz

Generation 1- Chapter 7

After the whole thing in Cameron’s office it seemed like time sped up for me. Days morphed into weeks without much notice from me leaving me to wish they would just slow down some. The dreams continued almost every night which negated my hope that they were just brought on by the stress of what happened with Rue. They got worse with every night that passed, so bad in fact that I couldn’t even feel Corrin in the same room as me or my cheeks would flush a bright crimson colour and I would feel the most recent dream begin to flood my mind which in turn made me feel nauseous just for having those thoughts in the first place. The whole situation with my dreams getting more detailed and in depth was bad enough but it was made so much worse by the fact that I had to keep it all bottled up inside of myself because Cameron and I still weren’t speaking after his drunken outburst in the office. Sure, he’d tried to text me to apologize multiple times the next day after, I assumed, he’d sobered up but he never turned up to work. I overheard Ronald telling Corrin later that week that Mr Connors senior had taken time off work to spend with his wife and so Cameron was working upstairs in his place. I had no definite proof to back this theory up but I kind of had a feeling that maybe we weren’t getting told the entire story though. It seemed an awful big coincidence that the day after Cameron had his meltdown that he was suddenly needed upstairs. Even though I felt horrible for thinking it, I think that maybe Cameron was hiding out upstairs because he was embarrassed about how he had acted. I also think that maybe he was a little scared to face us now because I know that is how I would be feeling if anything like that ever happened to me.

I felt like I just might explode if I kept this all locked up inside of myself but with no one that I could possibly tell I had no other choice. Repeating them over and over in my head really wasn’t helping anything either so instead I did my best to lock all the horrid thoughts and feelings I was beginning to have tightly inside a locked box inside of my head. It didn’t completely remove them, I don’t think anything ever would, but I was able to live my life a little easier than I had before. My cheeks still flushed with embarrassment and shame whenever I looked at Corrin but it wasn’t the bright scarlet colour it had once been but instead a pinkish shade that was easily hidden by some make-up I’d ‘borrowed’ from my mother. Okay, so I said I borrowed it from my mother but I didn’t really; I went into her make-up bag one night when she was out and took it without asking. It wasn’t as if she’d even notice though because she almost never wore make-up (apart from her usual lip-gloss), I think the only time I actually caught her wearing any was for church every week.

Everything else felt a little better in my life but I still couldn’t stop the guilt from eating me up every time I was with my parents, which was a lot recently because I’d actually gone through with my promise to myself to be a better daughter to them. I’d been spending as much of my free time with them as I could to try and make up for the sins I was committing in my mind every single night but, I don’t know if they could tell or not, I couldn’t meet their eyes whenever I was talking to them; I was far too afraid that if I did they would see just how wrong and disgusting I was inside. I was also ashamed of myself that I couldn’t be the perfect daughter that they had always wanted. This whole thing with Corrin and Rue had really shed some light on my past relationship with my parents and how terrible a daughter I’d been to them. I was starting to think that maybe my parents had only been as negligent as they had because I had been such a terrible daughter. Maybe if I’d been better they would have loved me more?

“Raven-Jay, are you ready to go? They won’t keep our reservations forever” my mother yelled at me from the foot of the stairs. Her voice was much sweeter than it usually was with me but it still managed to hold onto some of that bite that she was famous for.

“Just a second” I yelled back as I heaved myself up and off of my bed. Ever since I’d started spending time with my parents and acting as the doting daughter they had been trying to get me to go back to church with them but I couldn’t because of what was going on in my head. I hadn’t told them the exact truth, only that I couldn’t go back to church right now, so they had settled for taking me out to fancy restaurants once a week instead. I know they were only doing it so they could show off how good they were as parents to the other churchgoers who frequented the restaurant they took me too but I went along with it all the same, playing the doting daughter until it no longer felt like an act. I really did want to be the kind of daughter they would be proud to have so it wasn’t that hard to play the part. They would sit and chat about random things, mostly to do with the church or their friends, and I would stay as quiet as a mouse only speaking up when one of them asked for my opinion on something, which wasn’t very often, and even then I tried to keep my answers as short as possible without being rude. If Cameron had seen me then I don’t think he would have recognised me. I really missed him which was yet another reason why I was spending so much time with my parents, apart from the obvious. When I was with my parents I could pretend like I’d never met him, pretend like I was never friends with him, pretend like I didn’t miss him terribly but when I was on my own that all flooded back to me and, combined with all the other stuff, overwhelmed me. It was so bad that I cried myself to sleep most nights. The dreams combined with the loss of my one and only friend had me feeling like a complete and utter wreck on the inside. Of course, I did my best to hide everything I was feeling. To the outside world I was just a normal, albeit shy, almost 19 year old. I still couldn’t believe that in just under a week I would be celebrating my 19th birthday. It seemed kind of surreal just thinking of it but at the same time… it didn’t really. I think in some ways I was more prepared to be a proper adult now than when I’d turned 18 but in some other small ways I was still so underprepared for the whole thing that it scared me a little. I’m not entirely sure what it was but I had this feeling that this year was going to be different. I couldn’t tell if it was a good different or not but I’d had this feeling since I graduated from high school. I really wish that I could just blame everything that was going on in my life right now for how I’d been feeling but I really couldn’t; this feeling of difference I’d been getting was entirely on me. It was me that was different this year.

“You scrub up well Raven-Jay” my mother’s voice broke through my muddled thoughts and dragged me back to the present where she, my dad and I were standing in the living room, my father with his car keys in hand. I absentmindedly looked down to see what I was wearing and found a pair of black dressed trousers, a mint green button up sweater that my mother had bought me for my last birthday and a pair of dark grey, almost black, canvas shoes.

“Um…thank you” I mumbled softly in reply. I wasn’t very good at receiving compliments, especially from my uptight mother, so for a moment I was sort of stumped as to what I should say to her. I’d never really felt comfortable in these sorts of clothes either, they were too stuffy and formal for my liking; I’d much rather be in my jeans and one of my many sweatshirts, but this made my parents happy and who was I to spoil their happiness. I absentmindedly reached up to fiddle with a stand of my hair, which was a nervous habit of mine, but pulled back at the last second when I remembered that it was all currently crammed under a kind of old fashioned hat so that my parents friends wouldn’t see that it was blue. My mother wasn’t very happy when I first tied my hair up under the hat when we’d first started going out on these weekly trips to these fancy restaurants because having my hair up showed the blue heart tattoo that was on my neck but I think she’d rather them see that than my blue hair, especially as the tattoo could just be covered up with make-up.

“Are we ready to go?” my dad asked a little impatiently as my mother’s eyes continued to appraise my outfit. I shrunk back slightly under my mother’s gaze but somehow managed to nod my head in answer to my dad’s question.

The drive to the restaurant was mostly quiet, despite my mother’s constant tuts and hmms, and somehow peaceful. I should have known it was just the calm before the storm with my mother.

The parking lot was mostly empty when we pulled in little over 15 minutes later. My mother got out of the car first, as was usual for her, followed by my dad and then finally followed by me a couple of minutes later. My dad smiled encouragingly down at me whilst I tried to brace myself for another week of being scrutinised by my mother and her friends. My mother meanwhile had very little patience and had begun to walk back over towards us when she seen we weren’t immediately following her lead and walking towards the restaurant.

“Hurry up, we are going to be late” my mother sighed dramatically once she’d reached us. She didn’t look pleased one bit with me but she didn’t have her usual scowl on her face so that was an improvement.

“It’ll be okay. It’s just like every other week” my dad finally spoke softly, offering his hand for me to take to make it easier for me to get out of the car. I reluctantly took a hold of his outstretched hand and pulled myself out of the car and up onto my feet only to wish I hadn’t even bothered getting out of bed this morning when my eyes landed on, the impossible to mistake, Cameron Connors. He hadn’t seen me yet because he was facing the opposite direction but there was no doubt that he would eventually have to see me because he was standing right in front of the restaurants entrance.

I wanted to turn back and just go home and pretend this day had never happened at all but at the same time I also wanted to go up to Cameron and speak to him which was an impossibility in front of my very observant parents. If they found out that Cameron had spoken to me the way he had they would almost certainly stop me from working at his father’s company and the attacks on his father may even get worse if my mother had anything to do with it. I walked slightly behind my parents, trying desperately to hide myself from view as we neared the entrance of the restaurant where Cameron was standing. I’d hoped, somewhat naïvely I’ll admit, that Cameron’s eyes would just move over me without any recognition because of how I was dressed and because my hair was hidden from view but that didn’t work.

As soon as his eyes landed on me I could see the recognition light up his face before he lowered his head in shame. He looked so sad and lonely standing there by himself. I stopped dead in my tracks and waited for my parents to walk inside the restaurant without me before I walked over to where Cameron stood. I couldn’t bear to see him so sad.

“Hey” I muttered softly, my eyes trained to his face for any indication of how he was feeling about me being here. He was silent for a brief moment when it looked like he was thinking about something real hard before he finally spoke to me.

“I…I’m sorry; I didn’t…I didn’t mean to say those things. I was drunk, I know that’s not an excuse, but it’s the truth and I’m sorry” he seemed so lost and sounded like he was going to start crying at any moment as he spoke. I just wanted to give him a big hug and tell him that everything would be okay but I felt kind of awkward about doing that now after his avoiding me.

“I understand…” I started to say to try and offer him some comfort but I got cut off my dad’s voice calling my name.

“Raven-Jay!” my dad yelled as he exited the restaurant, almost bumping into Cameron as he did so. He seemed shocked to see me with Cameron but he didn’t say a word about it unlike my mother who would have undoubtedly given me a full on lecture about it.

“Your mother is looking for you Raven-Jay” my dad spoke after a moment to right himself. I got the hint he was trying to give me right away; my mother was looking for me and if she didn’t find me inside she would come outside to find me which wouldn’t be good because she’d find me with Cameron.

“Mr Marone” Cameron said as he stuck his hand out for my dad to shake. After a brief, awkward, pause on my dad’s part he too extended his hand to shake Cameron’s. My dad kept his face completely blank the whole time he was shaking Cameron’s hand which was a good indication to me how much my dad actually didn’t like Cameron. I was just glad that my dad was the type of person who never voiced his opinions. I can’t say my mother would have been as considerate.

“I have nothing against you son but take some friendly advice, if I was you I wouldn’t let my wife catch you around our daughter. She won’t be as nice about it as I have been” my dad spoke in a low, even tone as he pulled his hand away from Cameron’s and turned with me to begin walking back into the restaurant. Cameron looked disheartened about the whole encounter which made me want to rush back to him and cheer him up but my dad’s threat about my mother held me in place beside him.

We found my mother at our reserved table with a very annoyed look on her face. Of course she sat at the head of the table with chairs for my dad and me on either side of her.

“There you are Sheldon, I wondered where you had gotten to” my mother mentioned casually, for her at least, as soon as my dad and I had sat down in our seats. I was sort of glad she was basically ignoring me because if she’d asked me where I had been I don’t know what I could have told her.

Without missing a beat my dad answered her right away “Raven ran into an old friend of hers outside” my dad put extra emphasis on the old part which I knew was more of a warning for me to stay away from Cameron than anything else. I was a little worried that my mother would question my dad and me further about this ‘old friend’ my dad had spoken of but surprisingly she seemed to grow disinterested in the whole subject after that, instead finding another subject to pick at.

“Sheldon why do you insist on calling her that, her name is Raven-Jay and that is what she should be called!” my mother lectured, the usual bite returning to her tone instantly. My dad didn’t say anything in response to her; he just lowered his head slightly. We’d both been through this lecture from my mother countless times before about people having to call me by my full name and, I don’t know about my dad, but I was in no hurry to hear it again.

“Oh, and talking about old friends Raven-Jay, I ran into Mrs Cummings yesterday. Weren’t you once close friends with her son Mark?” my mother asked, seeming genuinely interested. There was something about her voice that I just didn’t trust though; I just couldn’t put my finger on it. She also had that look on her face, like she was up to something. I had to hide a small smile as she finished speaking; if only she’d known just how close Mark and I had been. I instantly felt terrible for thinking that after everything else I’d done.

“Um…yes mother, I knew Mark” I answered quietly, keeping my head down and my eyes glued to the table as I did so.

“Hmm, Mark’s a good catholic boy” she mused, her eyes never leaving me. Where exactly was she going with this? Yes, Mark was technically catholic but he didn’t give a damn about his religion. To be honest I don’t think he ever once went to church or even mentioned religion in the entire time that we were dating. Without waiting for a reply from anyone my mother went on “You pair would make a lovely couple. Don’t you agree Raven-Jay?” she continued in a sickly sweet voice, turning to face me as she spoke. I almost very nearly choked on my mouthful of water from the utter shock of what my mother had just said. Was she seriously trying to set me up with my ex-boyfriend? Had I woken up in a parallel universe this morning or something because, this just felt weird. I looked over at my dad and found him looking between my mother and me with confusion written all over his face. There was also a little pity there when he looked over at me.

“Susanne and I have arranged for you and Mark to go on a date this Saturday” my mother announced after I’d gotten my breath back from my near choking incident. Her announcement set me off again. I began to feel that sort of panicky feeling that I got whenever my anxieties kicked in but all my usual tactics for stopping it weren’t working this time. I had trouble breathing properly.

“Stella!” I distantly heard my dad’s voice snap at my mother.

“You do not need to go on this date if you don’t want to” my mother seemed to give in after my dad shouted at her. She still sounded in a good mood and she was still acting nicer than normal, a lot nicer than normal in fact, so I could only take that as a good sign. After the pressure of having to go on a date with my ex and having to please my mother at the same time faded away so did the panic inside of me which made it easier for me to breathe.

“I just don’t get why you won’t give him a chance Raven-Jay. You are such a good match and would make a lovely couple” my mother commented once she’d seen that I had calmed down enough to converse with her again. I closed my eyes and took a really deep breath before even thinking about answering her because I had no clue what to say to her. I couldn’t very well tell her that I’d already dated Mark and that it had ended badly between us because that would raise a whole load of questions that I just didn’t want to answer to my parents.

“I just…I just don’t love him” I found myself saying in reply to my mother’s words. It was the simplest thing in the world for me to say but deep down inside of me I knew that it was true. I didn’t love Mark Cummings and I really didn’t think that I ever had. I’d been young and stupid but I had never loved him. He meant nothing to me now; he was just the immature boy who had humiliated me in front of the entire school before we graduated and nothing more.

“You could grow to love him” my dad surprised me saying. He exchanged a knowing look with my mother that made me question everything I’d ever thought I knew about my parents.

“But I don’t love him! I never have and I never will!” I answered them as honestly as I dared without being disrespectful to my parents. My dad dropped the subject immediately like I’d known he would but to my utter surprise so did my mother. I felt a little bad for straight out turning them down for something they obviously wanted for me but I really couldn’t see myself ever being in the same room as Mark again, let alone a romantic relationship with him.

We were able to have the rest of the meal without my parents bringing the Cummings family up even once which was just fine by me. In fact my parents seemed to be going out of their way to be extra nice to me. They were being so nice to me that it was starting to become a little unbearable. All because they thought I was the perfect daughter they’d always wanted now. My mother had even said to me earlier that she didn’t know what had changed in me in the past couple of weeks but she much preferred this version of me which just made me feel so much worse about myself. The guilt was literally starting to eat me up inside. I wanted to tell them what was wrong with me. I wanted to tell them everything; about what happened at the bar with Rue, about the thoughts, dreams and feelings I’d been having ever since but…I couldn’t. How could I tell my parents that I was beginning to think that I was the one thing that they absolutely abhorred more than anything? How could I tell them that I was beginning to have a suspicion that I was beginning to develop feelings for another girl? What would they think? Cross that. I know what they would think; they would refuse to ever speak to me ever again. They would call me immoral! They would call me a sinner and cast me out into the cold. Well, if it was the last thing I did, I would make sure that never happened. I was straight and I was going to prove it to myself.

Generation 1- Chapter 6

A/N: Can I just say before I start this chapter that I’m so sorry that there has been such a big break in between the last chapter and this one but I haven’t been able to write because of my depression. This chapter and a couple more I need to get pictures for have actually been lying finished and just lying around for a while now. I am however trying to move this legacy along so that I can get to the next generation. Also, as a last note I would like to say that some of the pictures don’t line up exactly with the words because some of the things just aren’t possible in the game or I don’t have the exact same thing  (for instance a bottle that is meant to be Bourbon but is actual a bottle of beer because that’s the only bottle I had). Lastly, I know I have a warning at the side of this blog but I’m going to put one here as well: this chapter has some swearing in it near the end.

*****

The dreams started that night. They were of everything I had begun to hate about myself since it happened only it wasn’t Rue that was in the dream and kissing me. It was someone even more disturbing because, if I was dreaming about her then a part of me must feel some kind of attraction to her. Just that very thought made me sick to my stomach. I was straight! I was normal! I barely got any sleep that night because between the headache I had from my constant crying and the tossing and turning I was doing because of my dreams I could barely relax enough to sleep and then when I did I would have the dream again which would start the whole cycle over again. It was because of this that when my alarm rang the next morning I immediately switched it off before either of my parents could hear it and burrowed myself deeper into my covers. I kept trying to convince myself that if I went to sleep when I woke up none of this would have happened to me even though I knew it wasn’t true.

I drifted in and out of consciousness for about an hour or so before my mother finally realised I was still in the house and came to wake me. I was actually surprised that she hadn’t realised earlier with my car still being parked out front. She came into my room without knocking first but that was pretty much normal for her. She didn’t respect anyone’s privacy. The first thing she did when she came into my room was walk over to my windows, pulled back my curtains and opened the windows as wide as they would go because she knew that annoyed me really badly; there was a lot of bugs that lived outside my bedroom window so I liked to keep it shut at all times so they couldn’t get in. My mother on the other hand seemed to enjoy opening my window to let them in just to see my squirm when I finally discovered them in my room.

“Could you not?” I mumbled from underneath my duvet. The top of my head was peeking out so I could see her turn around to look at me. She looked calm but from past experiences I knew that she was probably angry underneath that facade?”

“You know I’m just gonna shut it again when I get up so why do you bother?” I mumbled the question mostly to myself. I could barely make out what I’d said because I’d said it into my duvet so I’m not sure if she did or not. If she did hear she was pretending she hadn’t. She walked slowly and deliberately around my room tidying all the little things that I never bothered too as she moved. Finally she stopped and turned around to face me again before she spoke to me.

“Get up; you are going to be late” there was a slight bite to her tone that told me she was angry with me but apart from that she showed no other signs. She was just that good an actress.

“I…I…” I started to say but I couldn’t get the rest out. I’d been fully prepared to tell her that I couldn’t go into work because I was sick but when it actually came down to it I couldn’t. Not after what I’d done. Maybe I should just quit like my parents hoped I would. That would make them happy and keep me away from thoughts about…it doesn’t even matter.

“You what? Is this the day you are finally going to see the light and quit this little internship and your little association with that damned Connors family ?” she sneered the name Connors but apart from that she actually sounded happy. Normally I would have hated anything that made my mother happy but after what I’d done last night I was just glad that she was still speaking to me. What I’d done was truly despicable.

“I’m sorry mother but I can’t just walk away from this internship, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me” I said quietly when I finally pushed myself out of my bed. The strangest thing happened to me when I was speaking; I actually did feel sorry for not being able to give my mother what she wanted for once. I had to be a better daughter to them than I was now. Maybe if I did that then these dreams would go away? It could never change what had already been done but it could possibly change the future. I was still kind of hoping that the dreams were just a onetime thing because of what had happened last night. Hopefully they would just go away and I could go back to being semi-normal. With that in mind I decided to get up and go into work after all. I’d maybe ran away from my problems last night only to encounter more problems but at least today I could face one or two of those problems face on.

________________________________________________

I got into work a little over 15 minutes late but no one really seemed to care. The only person who even remotely mentioned it was Ronald when I passed his desk. Even then he never came out right and said I was late, he just mentioned in passing that he’d put my work on my desk for me which was really sweet of him. Corrin didn’t speak to me at all. In fact she didn’t even look up when I came in. I wondered what was wrong with her because her face was blanker than ever, if that was even possible. I felt horrible immediately for thinking it but I was rather glad that she’d decided to ignore me because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to look at her without my face getting red all over. It just so happened that a certain blond co-worker of mine had been the star of my dreams last night; Dreams that I was doing my best to forget ever existed in the first place. Even now, just standing near where she was sitting I could feel my face beginning to heat up and the dreams starting to fight their way back into the front of my mind. I swallowed harshly, almost chocking as I did so, and lowered my head in an, almost certainly failed, effort to hide my burning cheeks as I scurried past to claim my empty desk in the corner; as far away from Corrin as possible in our small office.

My work was laid out in a neat pile on my desk when I slid into my chair just as Ronald said it would be, not that I doubted him or anything, it was just I wasn’t used to people being so nice to me without expecting something in return. I picked up my first file and busied myself with it whilst secretly praying that the burning I could currently feel in my cheeks would eventually go away if I concentrated on my work hard enough. The file was trivial and dull which wasn’t really helping me take my mind off of last night’s dream. It was slowly becoming the only thing I could think of which was beginning to drive me insane. I was hyper aware of Corrin because of that and so every time she got up to get a fresh coffee or to get some more paperwork from the cabinet of files near Cameron’s office I found my eyes drawn to her instantly. A small part of me, which was growing larger the longer I watched her, wanted to run up to her and kiss her like I had in my dream but I made myself stay seated because the very idea of doing that again was so very, very, wrong. I kept telling myself that it was disgusting and repulsive but it was a losing battle because even the part of my brain that knew how wrong these thoughts were was beginning to get curious as to whether kissing Corrin in real life would be anything like my dream had made it out to be. What kind of warped person was I for wanting that? Maybe I was the weirdo, the reject, that so many of my school peers had claimed I was. I mean, I had to be for wanting what my dream had been so determined to tell me I wanted. I had to get up from here, maybe get a drink or something, because if I stayed here trying not to outright let my eyes wander over to Corrin I had a very bad feeling that I was going to end up doing something I would really regret later. Somewhat hastily I jumped up from me seat, sort of slamming it back as I did so, in a desperate need to get away from the thoughts that were starting to fly through my head at a rapid pace.

Somewhat hastily I jumped up from me seat, sort of slamming it back as I did so, in a desperate need to get away from the thoughts that were starting to fly through my head at a rapid pace.

My legs shook as I began walking towards the small kitchen area we had in the office towards the fancy coffee maker that I’d sort of helped Cameron pick out last week when the old one had stopped working. I’d never really been one for coffee (I absolutely hated the smell, so much so that to this day it still made me feel nauseous) but when my dad was nervous about something he would always drink it to calm him down. I at least had to give it a try. Maybe it was the answer to all my problems at this moment in time. Maybe I could regain control of my wayward thoughts if I could regain control of my nerves. Dear God, how I hoped that would work! My hands shook ever so slightly when I tried to put the little instant coffee packet inside the machine.

The shaking got worse when the packet refused to slide into the little slot like Cam had shown me the other day. I felt like screaming in frustration and about the unfairness and injustice in the world but really what good would that do, apart from frustrate me some more? I was still fiddling with the damnable coffee machine and whilst trying to steady my hands when I felt someone walk up behind me. At first I thought it was Ronald coming to see if I was okay because I hadn’t really spoken to him all day which was unusual for me but I’d just been far too preoccupied by the mess going on in my head right now. I prepared myself to apologize to Ronald for being so rude to him all day but when I turned around and saw that it wasn’t Ronald but instead a very concerned, albeit sad looking, Corrin all the words I’d been practising in my head to say to him flew out the window and my mouth became bone dry.

“I…I…I” I tried to say but my mouth was so dry that nothing came out which was probably a good thing. My hands shook something fierce though no matter how hard I tried to stop them. They yearned to reach out to her, to feel what her skin felt like against mine, to kiss her and see if I felt anything like my dream No, stop that! I was not attracted to Corrin! I was straight! I would never be gay because being gay was wrong! It was against everything my parents had taught me when I was growing up.

“Do you…uh…do you need some help?” Corrin asked softly. Her voice was like a sweet melody to my ears Nope I wasn’t going there! Her voice just sounded normal to me. I wrung my still shaking hands behind my back in an effort to hide them from her inquisitive yet mournful eyes. For some reason that I really couldn’t be bothered trying to decipher Corrin seemed as nervous as me. Her eyes flicked back and forth landing on anything that wasn’t me.

“I…” I took a deep breath and tried to moisten my lips but nothing seemed to be working. Did I need her help? No, not really. She couldn’t help me with the weird things running through my head. In fact if I did tell her what was going on she would probably be disgusted with me. She would probably be one of those people that went back and told my parents how weird and completely wrong I was inside. No, I couldn’t trust her with this. It looked like she had her own problems to deal with anyway, or at least, that’s what I tried to tell myself. I had to see Cameron. I knew for a fact that, even if he didn’t understand where I was coming from or what I was going through he would never go away and tell anyone on me. I could trust him 100%.

“W…where’s Cameron?” I managed to get out in a sort of hushed whisper before my mouth dried up again. My tongue felt like it was permanently attached to the roof of my mouth. Both of our eyes instantly shot over to Cameron’s office door which looked like it had remained locked since last night.

“He…uh…he never came in this morning. I don’t…um…I don’t know where he is” Corrin eventually answered me after a few seconds that seemed to stretch on for what felt like forever. In that time our heads had turned back to face each other and our eyes had met. Her eyes showed pain deep down in them and I’m not sure what mine showed but I really wished they hadn’t. Having eye contact like this with her was making it harder than ever to control my horrible thoughts. The urge to kiss her was beginning to reach unbearable heights and I honestly had no idea if I could resist for much longer no matter how wrong I knew it was.

Luckily it was at that precise moment that Cameron walked (well, more like staggered) into the office. I was honestly shocked at his appearance 1) because I don’t think I’d seem him out of his work clothes before and the ratty sweatshirt and jeans that were hanging from his tall frame right now were a far cry from his usual clothes and 2) because there was massive bags under his eyes and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. He also looked sort of ill with his usual tan becoming a ghastly white colour. What was going on around here, first Corrin and now Cameron? Was it just that kind of week.

“Mr Connor’s are you okay? You don’t look well” Ronald’s formal tone came from over at his desk. In all this confusion with Corrin and then with Cameron staggering in I had almost forgotten entirely about Ronald’s presence in the office.

“Mind your own business and leave me the fuck alone!” Cameron sneered as he made his way across the main office to his private one. What the heck?! Where had that come from? For as long as I’d known Cameron he had always treated Ronald as a sort of uncle-like figure so I had never though he’d speak to him like that. Even then I was in complete shock at hearing Cameron curse like he had. Call me naïve if you will but hearing Cameron curse was probably only the second or third time I’d ever heard anyone curse so I wasn’t used to it at all. My eyes went wide and in my shock I was able to get over my jumbled thoughts to turn around to see that Corrin was staring at Cameron with pretty much the same look I imagined I had on my face currently.

“No need to talk like that son” Ronald spoke softly. It was easy to tell that he’d been hurt by Cameron’s last words to him but he was trying to hide it. When you’d spent as much time staying quiet and studying people as I had though, you picked up a knack for when people were trying to hide certain emotions.

“Would you shut up you old fart and get back to work!” Cameron slurred as he began trying to fit his key in the locked door of his office without much luck. I sort of wanted to go over and help him but I was still in too much shock to even move a single muscle. Turning around to face the rest of us he screamed “That goes for the rest of you too” before he finally managed to unlock his door. He almost ran into his unlocked office with a huge sigh of relief before slamming the door hard behind him.

“Well, that was rude” Corrin scoffed several minutes after Cameron had disappeared into his office. Her voice breaking the silence was able to break through my state of complete and utter shock enough that I was able to unlock my muscles enough to walk over to Cameron’s door whilst Corrin went back over to her desk. Both she and Ronald shot me anxious looks that I did my best to ignore as I walked straight past them to Cameron’s office. I raised my fist to knock softly on the glass of his door before I realized that my hand was still shaking badly. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea? Maybe I didn’t know Cameron as well as I thought I did? Maybe I couldn’t trust him after all? By the time I’d come to that realization and pulled my hand away it was already too late because Cameron had seen me and was beckoning me inside. I wanted to turn around and run like the coward I was but that would no doubt have serious consequences if I did so instead I forced myself to go inside his office and close the door behind me as he’d directed when I opened the door. Once inside the office the first thing I noticed was that Cameron had basically thrown all the paperwork and little trinkets off of his desk, they lay scattered haphazardly on the floor around his desk as if he’d just swept them off his desk like they meant nothing to him. The only things that sat on his desk now were a large bottle of bourbon and a small glass that was filled with the stuff. It smelled so strong that I could smell it from where I was standing. Whilst I was standing there like a complete idiot, not knowing what to say or what to do, Cameron picked up his glass and began drinking from it. He didn’t just take a sip either, he drank nearly half the glass before slamming it back down on the table and turning to glare at me.

“What do you want?” he asked me in a cold, callous voice. I had no idea what to say. I was way in over my head. I mean, what do you say to someone who so obviously doesn’t want you to talk to them, someone who wants nothing more than to be left along? I really should have just stayed in my bed this morning. It seemed like since I’d gotten up all I’d done was cause more damage.

“You…You looked upset. I just…I wanted to come and make sure you were okay?” I finally managed to get out after several excruciatingly long moments. I wish I’d never bothered though because as soon as the words were out of my mouth Cameron made this harsh laughing sound before he went back to his drink. For a moment I thought he was just going to finish off his half full glass but his hand went right past that, straight to the almost full bottle that sat beside it.

“I’m just peachy” he sneered at me before he went back for another drink from his bottle. “If that’s all can you get back to work” his words were softer after his second drink but they still held the same bite to them as they had before. Even with him giving me an easy escape with his dismissal I still wasn’t sure what I should do. I couldn’t just leave him when he was like this but at the same time I really, really didn’t want to be involved in this sort of drama right now.

“But…are you…?” I didn’t even know what to say to him to even slightly improve his mood and stop him drowning himself in, what I’m sure would be, a very expensive bottle of bourbon. It didn’t even matter how good my intentions were or what I had to say on the matter because in the end he didn’t even give me a chance to finish my sentence.

“I told you to get back to damn work and leave me the hell alone!” Cameron finally screamed at me, half rising out of his chair as he did so. His shouting shocked me so much that I could literally feel myself shaking as tears begun to form in my eyes.

I didn’t bother looking back at Cameron as I made my hasty retreat out of his office and back to my own desk but I could feel his eyes on me the entire time. I stayed at my desk the rest of the day, afraid to move a single inch. Luckily I’d managed to stop myself shaking (well down to my hands anyway) and I’d managed to stop myself crying after the first couple of tears. I got the feeling that both Ronald and Corrin wanted to ask me what had happened in Cameron’s office but I think they could tell I didn’t want to talk about it because they never dared ask. I barely got any work done that day due to the fact that I just couldn’t concentrate on it; the words just seemed to scramble around on the screen which only led to me getting a severe headache. For the first time in my life I really couldn’t wait to get home.

Generation 1- Chapter 5.5

A/N: I’m so sorry this was late; real life/writer block problems got in the way. I know it is now Christmas Eve where I am but this chapter is far from Christmassy. Also, it is only really a half chapter and I probably should mention that it is a really crappy attempt at third person. Now that’s out of the way, have a merry Christmas and happy new year!

“Hey Mo, how’s life treating you?” Cameron called out as the Hungry Wolf’s usual barkeep, Mohammad Ziyad, ascended the stairs to the upper floor.

“Can’t complain” Mohammad replied in his usual gruff tone. Cameron had been a regular patron of this bar for the past few years so he was pretty comfortable with all the people who usually worked there. He liked it because this was probably the only place where people treated him like his own person and not just his father’s son. In fact, the people here were probably the only people that saw him for who he really was, except, of course, for Raven-Jay Marone. She was the reason he was here tonight instead of being up at the hospital with his terminally ill mother. She’d been ill for months now but she had been admitted to the hospital 2 weeks ago and now the doctors were saying that she only had a few months left at most. That news had devastated both Cameron and his father but they were managing to deal with it, Mr Connors by throwing himself into work and visiting his dying wife in hospital every day and Cameron by spending every moment that he could with Raven-Jay. Somehow she was able to make him feel better about himself, even if she was feeling down herself. He needed some liquid courage because tomorrow was finally going to be the day that he asked her out. He had felt an immediate connection with her when he’d first met her which had only grown stronger the longer they spent together. He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. He had wanted to ask her to go on a date with him the day they met but felt that would be too fast for her so he kept putting it off. The truth of the matter was that he, Cameron Connor’s Junior; one of the most eligible bachelors in Redcliff’s, was scared of asking her out because he really liked her and was scared, terrified in fact, that she would turn him down flat without even giving them a chance.

“What can I get ya, Cam?” Mohammad asked for where he now stood on the other side of the upstairs bar. The bar up here was normally locked when there was only one bartender on which was the case tonight but Mohammad knew that Cameron liked to be up there on his own occasionally, especially now with his mother’s deteriorating health. Cameron had sort of come to terms with the fact that his mother was going to die soon but that didn’t mean that he was particularly happy about it. It still hurt like hell every time he thought about it because his mother had always been his rock and he just couldn’t imagine her not being there anymore, so he tried not to think about it.

“Just get me a beer” Cameron replied absent-mindedly. For the past few days he had been trying to come up with the perfect way to ask Raven-Jay out on a date but he was still struggling immensely which was one of many first for him that he had experienced since meeting Miss Marone.

Hey RJ I was…uh…I was wondering if you’re doing anything later no that line would never work on her in a million years Cameron decided almost as soon as it popped into his head. He had to do better than that; she deserved better than that. The cold glass currently being pushed into his hand snapped him out of his thoughts after a few slow seconds.

“Hey, did you see the chick that came in about 10 minutes ago. She looks so young and naïve no matter what her blue hair is trying to say but, damn is she hot!” Mohammad all but growled at Cameron once he’d taken the glass that had been offered to him, his voice full of lust for this unknown girl. Cameron was still mostly in his thoughts so Mo’s words were slow to trickle into his otherwise preoccupied mind.

“Nah, I didn’t see her; I’ve been up here all night …wait, did you say blue hair?” in his haze Cameron had almost missed that vital piece of information. It looked like fate was rushing him into asking her out if she was here, right under his nose. Why else would she be out here in the middle of nowhere, especially with her anxiety problems?

“Yeah man. She looks posh as hell but she’s got some weird ass behaviour going on there.” He took a brief pause almost as if he was trying to remember this mystery girl in perfect detail before he spoke again “She’s got spunk though, I’ll give her that. I think I’m going to take her home with me tonight” The bartender was smirking by the time he finished speaking. His body may have been in the room with Cameron but his mind was downstairs with the blue haired girl whom he hoped to go home with. Cameron caught that part of what he said easily which instinctively made his fist clench on the countertop. It was with some serious self-control that he was able to hold himself back from taking a swing at the mouthy bartender. Well, self-control and that fact that he wasn’t stupid; there was no way he could win a fight against the bigger, brawnier, bartender in front of him. Instead he got up and walked over to the glass half-wall that overlooked the downstairs part of the bar. He could hear Mohammad getting back to work behind him but Cameron didn’t really pay that much attention to it as he was scanning the ground floor for any traces of the blue haired beauty whom he was sure he was beginning to fall for. At first he couldn’t spot her because her hair was well camouflaged with the red lights but when he did spot her he was more than sure that his heart broke. She was over near the corner but she wasn’t alone; she was kissing another girl whilst 2 other girls watched on. It didn’t seem like the type of thing she would do but there was no mistaking that perfect shade of blue. Cameron stumbled backwards clutching his chest. He knew that it wasn’t physically possible but it felt like his heart was beginning to splinter into a thousand tiny pieces.

“You okay” Cameron was sure he heard Mohammad ask from behind the bar but Cameron couldn’t even muster a response. With his mother near death in hospital and now this it slowly felt like Cameron’s life was crumbling around him. Sure, he and Raven-Jay had never been together in the first place but Cameron had really begun to think that Raven-Jay was the one.

“Get me your strongest drink!” Cameron panted as he fell back into a sofa in the corner. Why did it have to hurt so much! He had been in relationships and broken up with before but it had never hurt as much as this. In that moment Cameron truly wanted to hate Raven-Jay but in his heart he knew that he would never be capable of that. No matter what, in his heart he would always care for her.

“1 Cerebral Destroyer coming up” Mohammad said sympathetically as he began mixing the ingredients together for the drink he’d invented specifically for events like this. The original drink was already strong but seeing the pure and utter despair written all over Cameron’s face Mohammad made it even stronger. He had been in Cameron’s position before and it had near destroyed him too so he could sympathise deeply with Cameron. He just hoped that Cameron could bounce back much quicker than he ever had.

“Here you go, bud” Mohammad said quietly as he handed the drink down to a distraught Cameron. He looked like he would crumble at any second. Mohammad retreated back behind the bar as soon as the drink was placed in Cameron’s hand; just because he could sympathise with Cameron didn’t mean that he felt comfortable around him when he was like this.

Cameron reached towards his drink slowly, his head still down, but as soon as his hand grabbed the glass he felt like a man possessed. He grabbed the drink and pulled it to his lips, downing it as quickly as humanly possible. As soon as he’d finished he shouted out to Mohammad to make him another. His voice was already beginning to slur a little but he didn’t care anymore. His only goal now was to get completely and utterly wasted.

*

It was only mere seconds after being spotted that Raven-Jay broke away from Rue and ran from the bar in despair; almost as if she’d known she had been watched. It was far too late for her to put right the mistakes she had made with her best friend though, because by the time she had run Cameron was steadily heading towards blissful oblivion at the back of the upstairs bar with the help of several extra strong Cerebral Destroyers the bartender had mixed specifically for people who just wanted to forget everything for a while.

Generation 1- Chapter 5

I drove until it was almost pitch black outside my windows before I stopped at a bar so far outside of town that I had no doubt that I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew. It was the perfect place for me to hide out from everyone. There was also a sense of freedom and rebellion to the fact that I was doing something I knew my parents detested. I probably wouldn’t have even thought about going in to the bar if it wasn’t for those feelings; I probably would’ve kept driving until I got so tired that I had no choice but to go home. Instead I stopped my car and got out with steely determination. The bar was very dimly lit outside but from what I could see of it the bar looked a little grungy and unkempt. That made my sudden confidence and determination waver slightly, all the bad things my parents had told me over the years that happened in places like this came flooding to the forefront of my mind, but I made myself keep going. I had to do this! I had to prove to myself that my parents didn’t rule my life anymore! Mentally pushing myself, I began to run.

I probably looked completely stupid and weird as I burst through the bar door but I didn’t care. I immediately felt several pairs of eyes burning into me which made me look down to the floor and begin to panic inside. Silently I prayed for them to stop looking, to find something of more interest than me. I stood in utter silence for what felt like a lifetime but was probably only a couple of minutes until, one by one, I felt their eyes lift from me. Those few minutes whilst I was the focus of their attentions were probably the most excruciating few moments of my life. My heart pounded so loud that I swear I could hear it and my palms had begun to sweat profusely which is probably why, when their eyes turned away from me, I couldn’t help the heavy sigh of relief that escaped me.

Not wanting their eyes to turn back to me for standing in the one place for so long I forced myself to walk up to the bar and take a seat on one of the barstools. My legs shook the entire way. Getting to the bar was easier said than done though because the bar was at the other side of the room, past all those people who had been staring at me when I first came in. The bar was very dimly lit and from what I could tell the lights were red or at least had a reddish tint to them which was actually a little unnerving when you’d watched as many horror movies and TV shows as I have. In that moment I mentally cursed Mark for making me sit through all those movies with him. My parents would’ve killed me if they knew some of the movies Mark had taken me to. Most of the movies were actually pretty tame and watchable but there was this one movie he took me to which was about ghost hauntings that made me have nightmares for weeks afterwards.

“You gonna order something or you just gonna sit there all night” a voice asked from almost straight in front of me. I quickly lifted my eyes and found a slightly burly male bartender standing in front of me on the other side of the bar. His hair was brightly streaked with shades of red and orange which quickly caught my attention when I looked at him. His hair combined with his piercings and tattoo/s (I wasn’t sure is it was just the one big tattoo or several smaller ones that made up what I could see) made him look like the typical stereotype of bartenders that were always portrayed in movies or on the TV.

“Listen, you seem like a nice kid but if you do not order something I will have to ask you to leave. This bar is for paying customers only and I cannot have you taking up a seat that actual customers could be using.” The longer the bartender spoke the more pronounced his slight accent became. I couldn’t quite pinpoint where it could’ve originated from but from what limited knowledge I did have I couldn’t help but think that he maybe came from India or somewhere similar accent wise to there.

“B…but there’s only about 5 or 6 people in the bar right now and that’s including us” I heard myself say out loud. I had only meant to say that in my head. The fact that I hadn’t meant to say it out loud did nothing to change that it was still true. From what I could see when I had entered the bar was that there were 3 girls that looked around my age or a little older sitting at one of the tables at the back of the room plus me and the bartender. There had been another couple when I came in but I had heard them leaving as I took my seat at the bar.

“Listen kid are you gonna order something or not?” the bartender all but growled at me which made me jump slightly and point to the nearest thing I could see which in this case just happened to be a cocktail of some sort. I have to admit, it looked sort of pretty but I had no idea what was in it.

“I…I’ll have one of t…those please” I said quietly as I pointed at the cocktail. The bartender gave me a look that seemed to ask me if I was sure, which I wasn’t really, but I just nodded my head anyway. If I was going to do this I was going to do this right. I drummed my fingers nervously against the countertop of the bar whilst I waited for the bartender to come back with my drink. A part of me wanted to watch how he made the drink but another part of me, the daredevil part, wanted to be surprised. In the end the daredevil part won out and I ended up watching my fingers dance across the countertop instead of watching the bartender.

The bartender came back within mere minutes with my freshly prepared drink in hand. My hand shook something terribly when I reached out to take it from him but I forced it to cooperate and hold steady. I could do this. I was already a disappointment to my parents so what was one more screw up? That thought made me somewhat stronger and allowed me to grab the drink and take the first sip. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the overall taste of it. It was mostly sort of fruity but I could still taste the alcohol behind the fruitiness which made me more than a little hesitant to drink anymore of it. It probably would have been perfectly fine if I couldn’t taste the alcohol because then I could just pretend that it was soda or something but with the slight alcoholic taste I knew that the little voice in the back of my head, that sounded suspiciously like my mother, would nag at me. I held the glass in my hand just staring at the clear liquid inside, trying to decide what to do for several minutes. Drinking alcohol of any sort was a sin or so my parents had always drummed into me since I was small but I needed a way to escape and from most of the things I’d seen in movies or on the internet alcohol would enable me to do that, at least for a little while which was really all I needed. I just needed a break, from my parents, from the terrible things that their church, and probably them too, were doing. I was kind of terrible that I had to sit this long to try and decide something that most girls my age wouldn’t have thought twice about. I could wholly blame my parents for that one at least. I put the glass to my lips but before the alcohol had a chance to pass my lips I heard a couple of giggling girls beginning to speak.

“Hey, is that the girl you told us about?” I heard one of the girls that I’d seen earlier exclaim loudly and since I was the only other girl that wasn’t part of their group I felt inclined to listen in because they were most likely talking about me.

“Yes it is now drop it” a familiar but somehow foreign at the same time voice spoke softly. I also heard that same voice trying to hush the other 2 girls as they continued speaking loudly.

“What did you say her name was again? Robin? Rachel? Reagan? I know you said it was something beginning with an R anyway” the only girl who hadn’t previously spoken spoke up for the first time. Okay, this time I definitely knew they were talking about me. Could I really not go anywhere to get a break where people didn’t know who I was? Was that really too much to ask for?

“Her name is Raven-Jay. Now shut up because she’s right over there” the second girl who had sounded somewhat familiar to me earlier spoke again. Again I could hear how desperate she was to quiet her friends.

“Invite her over and we promise to be quiet” the first and third girls finally spoke after a long pause between them. Oh please no. I came out here to escape not to get pulled into something like this. It was like high school all over again where the bullies would call me over just so they could pick on me and I’d be stupid enough to go over. It was not happening again. I didn’t think I could handle it if it did. My life was bad enough, I did not need this.

“Fine I’ll ask her if she wants to join us but you two better be silent” the familiar girl whispered to the other two girls before she raised her voice to speak again. I was beginning to panic in my seat at what I knew was going to happen next. “Um…Raven…Raven-Jay?” the girl shouted over at me. Her voice shook a little and shy sounded nervous. I still didn’t want to turn around to face her but finally I had to because that small voice wouldn’t stop nagging at me about how rude I was being.

“Um…yes can I…can I help you?” I asked as I turned around to face the group who were still seated at their table. My jaw almost hit the floor when my eyes landed on the three girls who were currently waving me over to their table. There, sitting in directly in between the two giggling girls was Rue Melrose; a girl I had not seen since high school. We were sort of friends. Well, not friends really but we tended to cling together when we were hiding from the bullies. Rue was probably the only person who got bullied worse than I did because she was a little different. Everyone had been dead set against Rue ever since she came out in freshman year. I hadn’t turned away from her at the time because I genuinely liked her but I also hadn’t told me parents that I spoke to her either. At the time they and several other church going parents had tried to petition for Rue to be kicked out of the school because of her preferences. If there was one thing that the church, and my parents, hated more than Mr Connors and his family; it was homosexuals.

“Hey Raven, get over here, would ya?” the pink headed girl sitting to Rue’s left shouted loudly at me which made the other girl giggle even more and made Rue shake her head and glare at them both. Abandoning my drink, I made myself get up from the barstool and make the short walk to Rue’s table. I don’t know why but I felt really nervous about seeing Rue again after all this time, especially with everything else that was going on in my life right now.

“Um…H…hi Rue” I spoke softly once I’d approached the table. I felt oddly uncomfortable but I think that was more to do with the two unknown girls sitting at either side of Rue than actually Rue herself.

“It’s so good to see you again Raven” Rue jumped up from her seat wedged between the giggling girls and looked for a moment like she wanted to hug me but she must have changed her mind at the last moment because instead she placed a hand awkwardly on my arm.

“Uh…yeah…it’s…uh…good to see you too Rue” I mumbled quietly, my eyes flicking nervously between the other two girls and Rue. Rue seemed to notice because she promptly introduced the two girls.

“Before I forget Raven this is Amber Terrey” Rue said as she motioned to the girl with the obviously dyed pink hair on her left “and this is Megan Terrey” she said as she motioned to the brunette on her right. It took me a second to realize that both girls, Amber and Megan, had the same surname. I wondered if they were sisters or something. There was enough familiar resemblance for me to make that assumption so I didn’t really feel bad about jumping to conclusions. I had no idea what look came over my face but Rue quickly jumped in. “They’re cousins”. I nodded my head to let Rue know that I understood but I kind of wished that I could just disappear. Rue’s presence had always been comforting but I was way out of my depth here. As if on cue when Rue turned to look around at Amber and Megan they both burst into a fit of giggles and started nudging each other. I saw Rue shake her head slightly before she turned around again and began walking away from them towards me. I subconsciously took a step backwards but I was able to regain control of my legs to stop myself from going any further.

“I’m sorry about them.” Rue motioned to the giggling girls behind her once she was safely out of earshot of them. “They just don’t know how to behave themselves” she raised her voice slightly so that Amber and Megan could hear her as she said that which, of course, just made them laugh harder. I was starting to get the feeling that they were laughing at some private joke that I was missing out from the way they kept sneaking glances over and me and Rue.

“So…what have you been up to since graduation?” Rue asked once Megan and Amber’s laughter had died down a little. I was a little surprised that she no longer sounded awkward like she had when I’d last saw her. Even listening to her for a few seconds I realized that she was no longer that fragile person I had known; she seemed less scared and more far confident. It was good to see that she’d gotten over, or at least moved past, the bullying she’d faced throughout high school. I kind of wished I could be more like her in that respect. My bullying still haunted me every time I was around or had to talk to people.

“I…um…I’m interning at CC Business Centre. I just started a couple of weeks ago actually” I answered after a brief pause on my part. Rue nodded her head and a small smile crossed her lips.

“What do…uh…what have you been up to?” my manners chose that moment to kick in which made me ask her the obvious polite follow up question. She didn’t seem to mind though; in fact she actually seemed glad I’d asked her.

“My dad thought it would be best if I got away for a while so he sent me to France to stay with my mom, my step-dad and my little brother. My little brother was a massive pain but I think it did me some good being out there. I mean, I definitely feel like I came home feeling stronger than I’ve ever felt before” The corners of her mouth turned up in a small smile which grew larger as she kept speaking. Her eyes were far away though; as if she was maybe remembering some happy memory from her time in France. I couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped me when I remember how much Rue used to complain about her little brother after visiting him and her mother during the holidays when we were in school together. If I remember correctly Rue’s little brother Yves was 7 or 8 years younger than Rue and Rue had only ever gotten to see him over the holidays because when Rue was 4 or 5 her French mother had moved back there whilst Rue had stayed with her dad.

“I stayed there over the summer and when I came home my cousin had gotten me a job at the salon. I’ve been working there ever since and I really enjoy it” Rue’s smile grew larger and she lit up as she spoke about her new job. She kept looking at me with that smile on her face which was making me feel ever so slightly uncomfortable.

“Did you ever…um…sort things out with that…um…um…girl you liked” I asked the first question that came to mind. I wasn’t very good with small talk so I was really struggling.

“I don’t really know. I haven’t really seen her in a while.” Rue answered after a long pause on her part. She looked all shy and bashful as she answered but there was this fire in her eyes that told a completely different story altogether. I wondered what was up with her; this wasn’t her normal behaviour at all or, at least it hadn’t been when I’d known her. I couldn’t really think of anything else to say to her. My normal conversations didn’t normally last this long.

“So…um…uh…um?” I tried to wrack my brains for any random topic to talk about but I was coming up empty. I was also beginning to feel slightly suffocated because I’d noticed that Rue had moved closer to me. There was barely any space left between us whatsoever.

“Uh…Rue?” I whispered as my eyes flicked from side to side, desperately trying to find an escape route for me.

“Raven” she whispered. Her voice sounded different, almost like she was flirting with me but that couldn’t be; she knew I was straight, didn’t she?

“Rue I don’t…” I started to say in a panic but it was too late because before I could finish her lips were against mine. There was a hint of desperation and frustration to the kiss but mostly it was just full of lust and passion. The small voice in the back of my head that sounded like my mother was screaming at me that this was wrong and that I should pull away immediately in disgust but despite that I found myself kissing Rue back as passionately as she was kissing me. More surprisingly than that, was that I was actually enjoying the kiss. As the kiss went on the voice kept getting quieter until, eventually, it disappeared altogether. As she felt me respond to her Rue moved her hands from around my neck down to around my waist, pulling me closer to her as she did so. She seemed to get braver as the kiss went on uninterrupted because not long after wrapping her arms around my waist she slid one of her hands under my shirt and rested it gently on the bare skin on the small of my back. I felt a soft sort of groan escape me. I didn’t really have that much experience when it came to this kind of thing because I’d only ever kissed Mark but even I could tell that this kiss was so much different from the kisses he and I had shared. This kiss was far more passionate but it was also soft and sweet too. I kind of preferred this kiss if I was being completely honest with myself. Wait! What was I thinking! This was wrong; completely and utterly wrong! I wrenched myself away from Rue’s embrace in disgust and revulsion; disgust with Rue for kissing me in the first place and pure and utter revulsion at myself for allowing myself to kiss her back.

“Raven I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…I’m sorry” Rue said softly. Her face was nothing but apologetic but her overly expressive eyes gave away how she was really feeling inside; they were filled with tears and they looked as if I’d killed her puppy or something. Normally that would have made me feel bad for causing a person I’d cared about pain but I was currently too freaked out to care at all.

“Raven, please can we just…” Rue murmured softly. She was trying to get eye contact with me but I could not bring myself to meet her eyes because I was scared that if I did I would end up thinking about the kiss again and how much I enjoyed it. I had to get out of here! I had to get somewhere where she couldn’t affect me again; somewhere where I could be normal again!

Without really thinking about what I was doing I spun around and began running towards the exit. I felt Rue’s eyes on me as I fled but I didn’t care. I kept running and didn’t stop until I reached my car. I was extremely grateful I’d only had a tiny sip of the cocktail I’d ordered in the bar right now. I’d stumbled a little when the cold air had first hit me but thankfully I was fully stable within a few seconds but that had been the only side effect of my drinking so far. As soon as I could stop my hands from shaking I grabbed my keys from my trouser pocket and unlocked the door. I know that it was silly but as soon as I was in the car I locked the doors again. I was scared that Rue would follow me and tempt me again. One time and there was a slight chance that my parents would forgive me and an even slimmer chance that they would just agree to forget it happened altogether but if it happened more than once then there was no chance at all. They would put me into one of those straight camps that the church used to talk about for Rue when we were in school together and if that didn’t work they would throw me out and disown me forever. I don’t think I could handle that. My parents may be over controlling and real pains to live with but they were the only family I had; I couldn’t lose them. I wanted to cry so badly but I stopped myself whenever I felt tears pooling in my eyes because I knew that I didn’t deserve to cry. A single tear slipped past my control as I started up the car and began the long drive home. The streets were silent as I drove through them. I‘d rolled my window down when I’d begun driving so that the chilly night air would stop me from crying. As I drove there was not one person in sight. It was like the world was mocking me for my horrendous mistake, like I didn’t deserve to be around people.

My parent’s room light was still on when I eventually got home. I couldn’t face them and I knew that if I went in now my mother would no doubt be ready to confront me about why I’d been out so late. So instead I switched my engine off and curled up on my seat in the darkness. Thoughts, about Rue and about everything else I’d ever done wrong, started swirling around in my head as soon as the car went dark. I tried my hardest to make myself think about all the random useless things I knew about but the other thoughts kept attacking until I had no choice but to let them flood my mind. They were overwhelming and the urge to cry was stronger than ever but I still fought against it. It was 2 ½ hours before my parents’ bedroom light eventually went off. Even then, I still didn’t feel safe enough to go into the house in case my mother had laid a trap for me and was sitting patiently in the dark so I sat for another hour or so in my car with the constant ticking of the clock on my dashboard as my only company. The constant tick, tick, ticking of the dashboard clock was enough to drive anyone a crazy let alone someone who had as much going through their head as I did. Amazingly somehow I was able to make it through the whole hour without breaking although I was pretty darn close by the end.

I just about threw myself out of the car when the hour was up. There was a slight chill in the air as I stepped out of my car and the sky was beginning to lighten a little bit on the horizon. It was sort of refreshing and served to clear my head after being stuck in my car for 3 hours. I stood outside my car for a few short moments just trying to get the cool air to clear my head of what I’d done earlier but all too soon I found myself choking up. The need to cry and let out my feelings was becoming near unbearable but I still refused to let myself.

My hands shook somewhat when I opened the front door but thankfully it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t open it. The house was in complete darkness which was to be expected, I guess, when I went inside. It was so dark in fact that I was afraid that I would trip over something and alert my sleeping parents to my presence. Fortunately I knew the rooms in this house like the back of my hand so I was easily able to manoeuvre my way safely through the room. The stairs on the other hand were a different matter altogether because no matter how long you spent going up and down them you never really knew which one was going to creak. It had been like that for as long as I could remember and my parents had never bothered to fix it because they didn’t see a problem with it. I slid my shoes of at the foot of the stairs and began tiptoeing in an effort to stop the creaking altogether. I got to about the fourth stair from the top without so much as a hint of creaking then as soon as I placed my foot on that stair a loud creak echoed throughout the silent house. My natural reaction was to freeze but instead of going with that I jumped up the last few steps and sprinted for my room as quietly as possibly in case the creak had woken my parents.

Once inside my room I jammed my door shut then collapsed on my bed, completely breathless. It wasn’t long after I fell on my bed that the tears that I’d been trying so hard to hold back earlier broke free and began to stream mercilessly down my face. I felt like a completely terrible person. Why had I allowed myself to do what I’d done? I was straight! I did not like that kiss! I was not going to think about it ever again, it was always going to be my dirty little secret! I kept repeating to myself over and over again in my head. I so wanted what I was saying to be the truth but it wasn’t. I did enjoy the kiss and I was thinking about it which was only making me cry harder.

*****

A/N: I forgot to say when I originally published this that Megan and Amber Terrey aren’t my sims. They are from this legacy here written by the amazing Jax.