Cameron may have been being sarcastic when he’d told me to have fun before he’d had to leave but ironically I did have fun in my new office. For one thing it was only me and another employee, Ronald Walker, working away on this floor until Cameron came back and for another, the work load was surprisingly light for a company the size of CC Business Centre. I had no idea if that was by design because of this floor being the one that the boss’ son worked on or what but I definitely wasn’t going to complain. For the most part I sifted through some files on the computer and sorted them how I’d been told when I’d first accepted the internship. When I wasn’t doing that I was running errands for Ronald who seemed like a pretty sweet, albeit a tad bit grumpy, older man. He looked to be in his late sixties but I had learned when I was younger that looks could be deceiving. He was very welcoming to me, even going so far as to show me some of the things that I haven’t yet learned about the filing system that the company used and a few other little things that I would’ve easily overlooked if it wasn’t for his assistance.
After helping me Ronald got straight back to business and told me not to distract him whilst he was working. He said it with a smile on his face so I’m still unsure where we stand on that matter. The four hours it took for Cameron to come back for lunch past by in a blur with Ronald and I working in companionable silence. Ronald did ask me to fetch him a coffee once every hour, which I was only too glad to get him, but that was the only interaction I got out of him after our initial greetings/impromptu training session.
At exactly 12:30 Ronald got up and announced that he was heading down to the cafeteria for lunch and that I was more than welcome to join him if I wanted. I was more than tempted to accept his generous offer but I knew that I couldn’t because if I did I would feel like I’d let Cameron down. So Ronald left and I was left alone in the empty office by myself for so long that I began to wonder if Cameron was ever going to come back.
When the clock struck quarter past one I began to feel really annoyed with myself for waiting around on a guy who wasn’t even going to show up so I logged of my computer and started to head out of the office. My plan had been to find the cafeteria that Ronald had invited me to earlier but my plan quickly changed when I bumped into Cameron on the stairs; he was coming down the top set as I was going down the bottom set and he must’ve seen me because he shouted out to me. I’d frozen when I’d heard my name being called which gave him enough time to run down the last of his steps and catch up with me. He apologized immediately for being so late but, he said, his father was late getting back from wherever he’d been. I got the feeling that Cameron knew more about where his father had been than he was letting on but I didn’t want to push my luck by asking him.
To make up for almost standing me up Cameron insisted that instead of just going down to the cafeteria that we should go out to the little restaurant that was straight across the road. I didn’t really want to go because I really didn’t feel that hungry anymore but after some persuading from Cameron I finally agreed. The restaurant was more like a diner than an actual restaurant but on the inside it was a welcoming, family friendly, home cooking sort of place which I absolutely loved. My parents had never brought me to any places like this when I was growing up so all this was completely new for me. Cameron seemed to have lots of experience with this kind of restaurant though. He especially seemed to have lots of experience with the staff. I don’t think we ran into a single person in that place who didn’t know Cameron on a first name basis. I had a small bowl of fries and a soda for lunch whilst Cameron had a burger with fries and a milkshake. During lunch we talked about a whole load of random subjects about ourselves which landed us into some very weird but funny subjects. Like how I used to burn everything that I ever tried to cook whether I was being careful or not and like how he liked to dip his fries in his milkshake which he gladly demonstrated for me. By the time we’d finished our lunches I was thinking that maybe he was right about us getting on great. Already he was the closest friend I’d ever had, which is really quite sad if you think about it but whatever.
After lunch was done and paid for I began making my way back to the office but to my surprise Cameron didn’t follow.
“Hey Blue! Where you going?” he shouted over to me from across at the restaurant when I reached the front doors of the office. I couldn’t help the small smile that crossed my face from his new silly little nickname for me.
“I’m going back to work, like you should be slacker” I shouted back at him over my shoulder. There wasn’t an answer on his part but his light footsteps quickly followed my words.
“C’mon RJ, live a little will ya? Have some fun while you’re young” finally came his answer once he’d managed to cross the street that separated us and was now at my side.
“Yeah, how about no. I really don’t feel like getting fired on my first day thank you very much” I could feel my snarky side coming back out but this time I wasn’t as a defence mechanism. Cameron seemed to be bringing that side of me out a lot. A small part of me wondered if this is what I would’ve been like if I’d been allowed to be me more often and if I didn’t have parents that were on my case about the tiniest little thing that they thought I did wrong.
Cameron rounded me until he was standing directly in front of me.
“You’re not gonna get fired! My dad will understand that you’re out running ‘errands’ with me.” Cameron answered rapidly. He didn’t even leave 5 seconds before he answered my question which made me wonder if he had an answered readily prepared for anything I had to throw at him.
“Do I really have an option in this?” I asked softly, my eyes automatically lowering to the ground in preparation of the usual scolding that I had come to expect from my parents whenever I questioned them. My question seemed to stump him because it took him several long moments to finally come up with an answer.
“Of course you have a choice, I would never take anyone’s free will away from them, but I just thought that maybe…maybe you and I could be friends and just hang out for the rest of the day” now it was his turn to get all shy. It almost sounded like he was questioning himself when he answered me which made me feel terrible almost immediately.
“I can’t come out with you today…” I began to say. Cameron instantly looked as if I’d just killed his puppy so I quickly amended my statement “but maybe we can hang out another day” I felt horrible having to tell him no but at the same time I also felt horrible at the idea of skipping work. What would my parents say if they ever found out? They would most likely blame the Connors and make me quit my job which just wasn’t an option because I was really starting to love it.
“I…I guess so” he still sounded a little sad but at least he didn’t look as hurt as a few moments before.
“Well, I best be going because I’m already late as it is” I finally managed to say. It wasn’t what I had meant to come out at all but I was the truth all the same; I was currently 10 minutes late as it was and that was only getting later with every seconds that went by. Instead of walking away to wherever he had planned on going this afternoon Cameron instead turned around and began walking back towards the office with me.
“There is no point in skipping work if I’m gonna be by myself all afternoon and I don’t have anything better to do so I guess I’ll just come back with you” Cameron answered the unspoken question that I could feel burning in the air between us. Well that was sweet of him and all but it just made me feel worse than ever. Why was I always ruining other people’s lives?
We got back into the office almost 20 minutes later than we should’ve but no one said a thing to me because of who I was with. I felt really strange to be breaking all of these rules without getting told off by at least one person. In fact it felt odd going for any extended amount of time without getting told off no matter if I’d done something wrong or not. When we got back to the office Ronald was already there on his computer but he did find the time to give both Cameron and myself a smile before he asked me to bring him another coffee. I grabbed his mug as I passed his desk and walked over to the small kitchen area to fill it up. I had my back to them as I set about making Ronald’s coffee so I don’t know if they thought I couldn’t hear them but from what I heard of their conversation they didn’t think anyone was listening in on them. I suppose that could’ve come from it only being them on this floor for so long though.
“How’s your father coping?” I heard Ronald ask Cameron as soon as my back was turned. He sounded sort of sad which made me wonder what was wrong with Mr Connors.
“He’s doing the best he can Ronny but it’s not been easy on him. He barely sleeps anymore and every free minutes he has he’s up at that damn hospital” Cameron sighed sadly.
“That poor man. When you next see him tell him he’s in my thoughts will you?” Ronald said softly. There was a soft, muffled sort of tapping sound after that but I can’t say for sure what it was. It sounded like one of them was giving the other a reassuring pat. I’d finished making the coffee (well the machine had) so I carefully picked it up and turned around with it.
“Will do” Cameron answered in a false cheerful voice when I turned around. It was like he was trying to pretend that the whole conversation never happened even though we’d all heard it.
“Here’s your coffee Ronald” I said to get his attention before I handed the steaming mug over to his waiting hands. He lifted the mug to his lips and began drinking the foul tasting liquid so quickly you would’ve thought he was a dying man. I didn’t understand how he could drink it at all; it tasted absolutely revolting and the smell was even worse.
Cameron made a hasty retreat into his office after his conversation with Ronald had ended where he spent all his time on his phone. I know he was on his phone because his office doors had large glass panels at the top half of the actual doors. Cameron was in his office for whole hour and a half before he even dared to venture out and even then he did his best to avoid being alone with me.
I hated to think like this but I couldn’t help thinking that Cameron was deliberately avoiding me because he hadn’t wanted me to overhear what he and Ronald had spoken about earlier and now he didn’t want me to find out the rest of the story. That really burned me up inside, even though I know it shouldn’t, because I knew that if I didn’t find out it would drive me crazy. That was the biggest part of my personality that I could not stand because I knew that it wasn’t right to go snooping through others private business just to satisfy my stupid curiosity, my crippling shyness was nothing in comparison to this. The atmosphere in the office was a whole lot lighter after Cameron came out of his private office. Not a whole lot of work got done whilst Cameron was out amongst us but no one really seemed to care. This had to be the easiest job ever!