Ten Minutes Later
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno
A pounding headache from a sleepless night had Salim struggling all throughout the morning. He popped a few pills hoping to reduce the tension in his head but unfortunately, they had no impact on his pain. He dozed off for a second, thinking a nap would do him some good, only to be woken up a few minutes later by desperate cries pleading for attention.
Yasmin — even at seven-weeks-old — was always wanting affection. Cuddles or kisses, or a combination of the two, her emotional needs at top priority, no matter whatever else was going on. It’s funny how she wasn’t even hers and yet she reminded him so much of Camilla … so much of her in that department …
Once Yasmin was satisfied and asleep in her bouncer, he made another attempt at pain relief, cycling through all of his usual headache reducing methods. When none of them seemed to work though, he finally, but reluctantly, came to the realization that what he really needed, wasn’t at the bottom of a Tylenol bottle or stitched onto a throw pillow — it was with the girl upstairs.
The entire night, when he should have been sleeping, he was in bed, eyes fixated on the ceiling, agonizing over questions, specific questions — that only she had to answers to. Things he needed to know — about them, their relationship and where things were going because right now, without them, he was at a loss and these feelings of instability and uncertainty did not pair well with insomnia.
He went over their argument again, replaying certain parts. The words and sententes that stood out the most. The ones that played the biggest part in his confusion, and the thing he couldn’t get past, that he kept coming back to — the one thing that bothered him the most — was how she could still think that whatever happens in her life doesn’t affect him.
She just … had him questioning … everything and at this point, he wasn’t even sure if she was really ready for this anymore. Her way of thinking, the way she saw things was like they were still in the beginning — before they exchanged I love you’s, before they moved in together, before he bought that-
He looked across the room, over at the stairs, where she was standing with Maya. She waited for a second, like she wanted him to acknowledge her presence — give her some kind of reassurance about whatever she came down there to do. So when their eyes met for a brief moment, she took that as a sign to come over.
She placed Maya in her bouncer before sitting down next to him on the sofa — a move that surprised him, seeing as she had been avoiding any and all contact with him since they got home yesterday — something she probably thought he didn’t notice.
She sat back, her hands on her lap and her feet tucked under one of the bouncers, looking everywhere except in his direction. “I got a job today— just now.” she said, looking up long enough to gauge his reaction.
He smiled a little, trying to be supportive — trying to keep her from running off. “That’s good. With who?”
“Webot … The place I told you about … remember?”
“The one with the the coffee?” he chuckled softly and nodded. “Yeah, I remember.”
He remembered. A random little detail so insignificant to anyone but her — was something he remembered. Knowing that, sent a tiny little flutter through her heart. She smiled, crossing her legs in front of her, relaxing a little, pushing away the nerves that had such a tight grip on her just a few minutes before.
She looked up again and caught him staring at her with sad almost lost eyes. With eyes that needed an explanation. Eyes that weren’t going to be followed by anything good unless … she gave him one.
She exhaled deeply as she prepared to share her story — a recap of her life in San Myshuno before him. The decisions that were made that got her where she is now — and ultimately … where they are now. The things he didn’t know but she hoped he would understand and that once she was done, she hoped they could move forward from.
“Over the summer— before I moved here,” she said, reliving those few months all over again, “I was working at this ice cream shop back home to save up for this trip that me and my best— ex … best friend,” she corrected herself, “had planned for after graduation. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to go to these cabins up in Granite Falls at the end of the year but then,” she paused, “she did what she did so I just took that money … and moved here instead. My parents didn’t want me to go though. They said I wasn’t ready and that they weren’t going to pay for me to mess up my life,” she rolled her eyes, mimicking her mom’s condescending tone, “so I was pretty much on my own … financially anyway …”
She paused for a second, waiting for a cue to continue — something to let her know he was interested. When he didn’t say anything though, she told herself this was stupid and that hearing this sob story of hers wasn’t going to change anything — but then when he placed her hand in his, wrapping their fingers around each other, in that way that he always did, she knew she was wrong.
“So, I had enough to get an apartment— first month’s rent and the deposit but that was pretty much it.” she continued, “I couldn’t get a bed, the lights turned on, groceries, nothing. I mean ate so many 99 cent burritos from that stand across the street, I’m pretty sure I did some permanent damage to my digestive system,” she chuckled.
“I don’t think I would’ve messed with those burritos though,” he grinned.
“You’ve clearly never been hungry enough,” she smiled, picking up the story where she left off. “So, I didn’t know how long it would be before I got a job and being poor was a big problem, obviously, so I used my credit card to get furniture and food and pretty much stay afloat for awhile.”
“But … that ended up being a problem too cause … remember that job at the ice cream shop I just told you about?”
“… Yeah?” he responded, apprehensively.
“Well … part of the reason I got that job in the first place was cause of this whole thing that happened earlier in the summer with my car. My stupid ex-boyfriend was— never mind,” she moved the story along, skipping over all the parts Brandon participated in, specifically the part about him being the one who actually wrecked her car and leaving her to deal with the consequences. “So my parents let me use my credit card to get it fixed but I had to get a job to pay it back so when I moved here …”
“You were still paying for it.”
“Yeah …” she nodded.
“Anyway … it took me two months to even find a job and three months before I started making any real money but by then my card was close to the limit, like $100 close. On top of that, my first student loan payment was due, so … I went online with the bank to see if I could get approved for another one and I did—”
“Hold on.” he interrupted, “How did they let you get another one if your first one was maxed out already?”
“I don’t know.” she shrugged, “I mean it’s a military bank and my parents have been customers since forever and all our accounts and everything are there too so I guess … they’re a little more lenient than most places …”
“So what happened after that?”
“After that,” she sighed, “I started taking cash advances against the cards to pay my student loans and I still had rent and everything so when I finally did start getting paid … I was already at 10 thousand and that … on top of my 20 something thousand dollar student loans was just …”
She nodded. “Too much … the story of my life …”
“It doesn’t have to be,” he squeezed her hand. “You know that right?”
“What doesn’t have to be?” she asked confused — not exactly sure what he meant by that. After telling him everything she just told him, she didn’t see how he thought the money stuff could’ve been easier. She was stuck in a difficult place and did the best she could do with it, but maybe he didn’t see it that way. “I didn’t know what else to do— ”
“I’m not talking about the money or the credit cards, Camilla,” he sighed, “I’m talking about what you just said about things in your life always being too much. You make them that way sometimes,” he lifted her chin, tilting her head up, making sure she heard every word he said. “Like with this whole thing between us. You don’t see how all of this could’ve been avoided if you had just told me about it earlier?” he asked, not leaving enough time for an answer, “Or even if you waited till we talked the other day, when I asked if there was anything else you needed to tell me, you could’ve told me then and if you had, right now — we would be good.”
They would be good if she had just … told him, if she had just been … honest. She took a moment to really think about that — to let that realization sink in. To acknowledge that everything bad they had ever been through together all stemmed from lack of honesty. To accept the fact that keeping her bills from him is just as messed up as him keeping his … babies from her …
“I’m sorry,” she apologized, “for not telling you.”
He kissed her hand, his expression stern but forgiving. “No more secrets, Camilla.”
“No more secrets.” she agreed.
“So what do we do now?” she asked, ready to move on from the anger and tension that was now in the past.
“We kiss,” he pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her waist, “and makeup.”
“And forget about everything that happened before.” she smiled, planting a kiss on his lips.
“And forget about everything that happened before.”
Super awesome reader of mine 😀 Enjoying Camilla’s story? Wanna be the first to know when the next episode is out? Yeah? Cool! Click below to subscribe and get updates sent right to your inbox.