The Next Day
Starbucks | San Myshuno
With three back-to-back interviews at three different companies on three different sides of town already checked off on her to-do list for the day, Camilla was exhausted but proud of all she had accomplished in just a few short hours. And unlike the outcome of her interview at Webot — these were all positive — with each one going even better than the last. The interviewers — all of them — had nothing but great things to say and seemed to be impressed by some of the projects she had detailed in her resume. One of them even said she reminded him of his niece who was in college, studying to be an engineer or something. He said she was smart and ambitious, something Camilla gladly took as a compliment.
The way things were going made her feel like she could really do this, that Salim was right and she could bounce back from Webot’s rejection — but as her last interview came to a close and she made her way Downtown to meet up with her friends, she found herself feeling nothing at all like she expected.
She thought she would’ve been excited — thrilled even — barely able to contain herself. In pure disbelief that everything was coming together, all of a sudden — so quickly. That the clouds were finally parting and the sun was shining in her direction again. That she was so close to getting a job — not her dream job, but a job nonetheless — and no longer burdened by the weight of this huge secret she was keeping from Salim. That life was on its way back to good, back to normal, but she wasn’t — because Winterfest and Aahana and Salim’s mom, all of that was only a couple of days away — and the fear of the other two women in his life possibly joining forces and using their powers against her, took the place of any other emotion she was feeling at the moment.
When she arrived at Starbucks, Cassandra and Jesminder were already seated at their usual table, with three steaming hot coffees in front of them.
Camilla: [takes off her jacket and plops down in her chair] Y’all, guess who’s coming over for Winterfest?
Jesminder: [guesses confidently] Baby Mama!
Camilla, surprised: Yea- how did you know?
Jesminder: The babies’ first Winterfest- they’re spending the day with Salim- I just put two and two together.
Camilla: Okay then … guess who else is coming?
Cassandra: Your parents?
Camilla: Girl, my mama and Baby Mama in the same room? [shakes head] I am not crazy.
Jesminder: [laughs] For real.
Cassandra: I thought things were good between the two of you though.
Camilla: [sighs] They are- I mean, she’s not doing all that crazy stuff she was doing when she was pregnant and she doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that I’m there when Salim gets the girls so …
Jesminder: Sooooo, who is it then? I’m out of guesses.
Cassandra: Me too.
Camilla: [exhales] Salim’s mom.
Jesminder and Cassandra: Oh …
Camilla: That’s what I said! It’s a bad idea isn’t it? Think I should tell him I changed my mind? Imma tell him I changed my mind.
Jesminder: [chuckles] Why? You think they gon’ gang up on you or something?
Camilla: Well … yeah, maybe? Cause remember that whole thing when Baby Mama was staying at her house and they were all plotting against him and stuff? I mean, it’s obvious they like working together …
Jesminder: [sucks teeth] They can like working together all they want but they’ll be at your house. They ain’t trying to start shit.
Cassandra: Yeah, I seriously doubt Salim’ll let that happen anyway.
Jesminder: He better not, unless he plans on unwrapping an ass-whooping for Winterfest.
They all laugh, each taking turns describing hypothetical situations in which Salim would find himself on the wrong end of one of Jesminder’s classic ass-whoopings and by the time they were done — Camilla was way less threatened by the idea of entertaining the two women in her home. Who would’ve guessed that laughs over coffee with her girls about imaginary bouts of violence against her boyfriend was like the best cure for first-holiday-with-his-family jitters.
Jesminder: I’ve been meaning to ask you too- what are you all dressed up for?
Camilla: Oh I had interviews all day … I’m so ready to get out these clothes.
Jesminder: Interviews for what? You ain’t tell me you were looking for another job. Did something happen with your other job?
Cassandra: She got fired.
Jesminder: You got fired?!
Cassandra: What? You’re the one that brought up interviews. [sips coffee] Kinda opened the door to that …
Jesminder: How the hell did you manage to get fired? You literally have like NOTHING else to do. You’re always home and your computer stays open, how hard is it to do your fucking work?
Camilla: [frowns at Cassandra]
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno
Sterilized bottles, washed onesies and folded bibs — check, check and check. The last few things on the before-the-girls-get-here checklist was complete earning Salim a little bit of free-time before Camilla returned and they left for Newcrest. He turned on the TV and stretched out on the sofa, attempting to relax until his space was intruded on by the sharp corners of some kind of papery object shoved in between the pillow and the sofa cushion.
He pulled it out and was about to toss it on the coffee table until the words past due — displayed right at the top corner — caught his attention. This has to be wrong cause none of my bills are past due. He sat up, unfolded the letter and was shocked to see the number 323.52 under the late fees and other charges section and almost choked when he saw 26,249.00 right under total balance. There was no way this belonged to anyone in their house — he was sure of it. Nobody would be that reckless, that irresponsible. Not him, not- he froze when he read the recipient’s name and shook his head in pure disappointment. Nobody would be that fucking irresponsible but … Camilla.
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