The summer I turned pretty Chapter 23 Free Read Online

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The Summer I Turned Pretty Chapter 23: Cam called again the next night, and the night after that. We talked on the phone twice before we met up again, for, like, four or five hours at a time.

When we talked, I lay on one of the lounge chairs on the porch and stared up at the moon with my toes pointed toward the sky. I laughed so hard that Jeremiah yelled out his window for me to keep it down. We talked about everything, and I loved it, but the whole time I wondered when he was going to ask to see me again. He didn’t.

So I had to take matters into my own hands. I invited Cam to come over and play video games and maybe swim. I felt like some kind of liberated woman calling him up and inviting him over, like it was the kind of thing I did all the time. When really, I was only doing it because I knew no one

was going to be at home. I didn’t want Jeremiah or Conrad or my mother or even Susannah to see him just yet. For now, he was just mine.

“I’m a really good swimmer, so don’t be mad when we race and I beat you,” I said over the phone.

He laughed and said, “At freestyle?” “At any style.”

“Why do you like to win so much?”

I didn’t have an answer for that, except to say that winning was fun, and anyway, who didn’t like to win? Growing up with Steven and spending my summers with Jeremiah and Conrad, winning was always important, and doubly so because I was a girl and was never expected to win anything.

Victory is a thousand times sweeter when you’re the underdog.

Cam came over, and I watched from my bedroom window as he drove up.

His car was navy blue and old and beat-up looking, like his hoodie that I was already planning on keeping. It looked like exactly the kind of car he’d drive.

He rang the doorbell, and I flew down the stairs to open the door. “Hi,” I said. I was wearing his hoodie.

“You’re wearing my hoodie,” he said, smiling down at me. He was even taller than I’d remembered.

“You know, I was thinking that I want to keep it,” I told him, letting him in and closing the door behind me. “But I don’t expect to get it for free. I’ll race you for it.”

“But if we race, you can’t be mad if I beat you,” he >said, raising an eyebrow at me. “It’s my favorite hoodie, and if I win, I’m taking it.” “No problem,” I told him.

We went out to the pool through the back screen door, down the porch steps. I threw off my shorts and T-shirt and his hoodie quickly, without even thinking– Jeremiah and I raced all the time in the pool. It didn’t occur to me to be self-conscious to be in a bikini in front of Cam. After all, we spent the whole summer in bathing suits in that house.

But he looked away quickly and took off his T-shirt. “Ready?” he said, standing by the edge.

I walked over next to him. “One full lap?” I asked, dipping my toe into the water.

“Sure,” he said. “You want a head start?” I snorted. “Do you want a head start?” “Touche,” he said, grinning.

I’d never heard a boy say “touché” before. Or anyone else, for that matter. Maybe my mother. But on him it looked good. It was different.

I won the first race easily. “You let me win,” I accused.

“No, I didn’t,” he said, but I knew it wasn’t true. In all the summers and all of the races, no boy, not Conrad or Jeremiah or certainly not Steven, had ever let me win.

“You better give it your all this time,” I warned. “Or I’m keeping the hoodie.”

“Best two out of three,” Cam said, wiping the hair out of his eyes.

He won the next heat, and I won the last one. I wasn’t fully convinced that he didn’t just let me win–after all, he was so tall and long, his one stroke was worth two of mine. But I wanted to keep the hoodie, so I didn’t challenge the win. After all, a win was a win.

When he had to leave, I walked him to his car. He didn’t get in right away.

There was this long pause, the first we’d had, if you can believe it. Cam cleared his throat and said, “So this guy I know, Kinsey, is having a party tomorrow night. Do you maybe want to come?”

“Yeah,” I said right away. “I do.”

I made the mistake of mentioning it at breakfast the next morning. My mother and Susannah were grocery shopping. It was just me and the boys, the way it had been for the most part this summer. “I’m going to a party tonight,”

I said, partly just to say it out loud and partly to brag. Conrad raised his eyebrows. “You?”

“Whose party?” Jeremiah demanded. “Kinsey s?” I put down my juice. “How’d you know?”

Jeremiah laughed and wagged his finger at me. “I know everybody in Cousins, Belly. I’m a lifeguard. That’s like being the mayor. Greg Kinsey works at that surf shop over by the mall.”

Frowning, Conrad said, “Doesn’t Greg Kinsey sell crystal meth out of his trunk?”

“What? No. Cam wouldn’t be friends with someone like that,” I said defensively.

“Who’s Cam?” Jeremiah asked me.

“That guy I met at Clay’s bonfire. He asked me to go to this party with him, and I said yes.”

“Sorry. You aren’t going to some meth addict’s party,” Conrad said.

This was the second time Conrad was trying to tell me what to do, and I was sick of it. Who did he think he was? I had to go to this party. I didn’t

care if there was crystal meth or not, I was going. “I’m telling you, Cam wouldn’t be friends with someone like that! He’s straight edge.”

Conrad and Jeremiah both snorted. In moments like these, they were a team. “He’s straight edge?” Jeremiah said, trying not to smile. “Neat.”

“Very cool,” agreed Conrad.

I glared at the both of them. First they didn’t want me hanging out with meth addicts, and then being straight edge wasn’t cool either. “He doesn’t do drugs, all right? Which is why I highly doubt he’d be friends with a drug dealer.”

Jeremiah scratched his cheek and said, “You know what, it might be Greg Rosenberg who’s the meth dealer. Greg Kinsey’s pretty cool. He has a pool table. I think I’ll check this party out too.”

“Wait, what?” I was starting to panic.

Conrad said, “I think I’ll go with you.” “I like pool.”

I stood up. “You guys can’t come. You weren’t invited.”

Conrad leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his head. “Don’t worry, Belly. We won’t bother you on your big date.”

“Unless he puts his hands on you.” Jeremiah ground his fist into his hand threateningly, his blue eyes narrow. “Then his ass is grass.”

“This isn’t happening,” I moaned. “You guys, I’m begging you. Don’t come. Please, please don’t come.”

Jeremiah ignored me. “Con, what are you gonna wear?

“I haven’t thought about it. Maybe my khaki shorts? What are you gonna wear?” “I hate you guys,” I said.

Things had been weird with me and Conrad and also with me and

Jeremiah–an impossible thought crept its way into my head. Was it possible they didn’t want me with Cam? Because they, like, had feelings for me?

Could that even be? I doubted it. I was like a little sister to them. Only, I wasn’t.

When I finished getting ready and it was almost time to go, I stopped by Susannah’s room to say good-bye. She and my mother were holed up in there sorting through old pictures. Susannah was all ready for bed, even though it was still pretty early. She had her pillows propped up around her, and she was wearing one of her silk robes that Mr. Fisher had bought her on a business trip to Hong Kong. It was poppy and cream, and when I got married, I wanted one just like it.

“Come sit down and help us put this album together,” my mother said, rifling through an old striped hatbox.

“Laurel, can’t you see she’s all dressed up? She’s got better things to do than look at dusty old pictures.” Susannah winked at me. “Belly, you look fresh as a daisy. I love you in white with your tan. It sets you off like a picture frame.”

“Thanks, Susannah,” I said.

I wasn’t all that dressed up, but I wasn’t in shorts like the night of the bonfire. I had braided my hair while it was still wet, and I was sporting a white sundress and flip-flops. They were so tight that I knew I would definitely pull them out in about 30 minutes, but I didn’t care. They were adorable.

“You do look lovely. Where are you headed?” my mother asked me. “Just to a party,” I said.

My mother frowned and said, “Are Conrad and Jeremiah going to this party too?”

“They’re not my bodyguards,” I said, rolling my eyes. “I didn’t say they were,” my mother said. Susannah waved me off and said, “Have fun, Belly!”

“I will,” I said, shutting the door before my mother could ask me any more questions.

I’d hoped that Conrad and Jeremiah had just been kidding around, that they weren’t really gonna try to come. But when I ran down the stairs to meet Cam’s car, Jeremiah called out, “Hey, Belly?”

He and Conrad were watching TV in the family room. I poked my head in the doorway. “What?” I snapped. “I’m kind of in a hurry.”

Jeremiah turned his head toward me and winked lazily. “See you soon.”

Conrad looked at me and said, “What’s with the perfume? It’s giving me a headache. And why are you wearing all that makeup?”

I wasn’t wearing that much makeup. I had some blush and mascara and a little lip gloss, that was it. It was just that he wasn’t used to me wearing any.

And I’d sprayed my neck and wrists, that was all. Conrad sure hadn’t minded

Red Sox girl’s perfume. He’d loved her perfume. Still, I took one last look at myself in the mirror in the hallway–and I rubbed a little of the blush off, also the perfume.

Then I slammed the door shut and ran down the driveway, where Cam was turning in. I’d been watching from my bedroom window so I’d know the exact moment he drove up, so he wouldn’t have to come inside and meet my mother.

I hopped into Cam’s car. “Hi,” I said.

“Hi. I would’ve rung the doorbell,” he told me.

“Trust me, it’s better this way,” I said, suddenly feeling very shy. How is it possible to talk to someone on the phone for hours and hours, to even swim with this person, and then feel like you don’t know them?

“So this guy Kinsey, he’s kind of weird, but he’s a good person,” Cam told me as he backed out of the driveway. He was a good driver, careful.

Casually I asked, “Does he by any chance sell crystal meth?”

“Um, not that I know of,” he told me, smiling. His right cheek had a dimple in it that I hadn’t noticed the other night. It was nice.

I relaxed. Now that the crystal meth stuff was out of the way, there was only one more thing. I twisted the charm bracelet on my wrist over and over and said, “So, you know those guys I was with at the bonfire? Jeremiah and Conrad?”

“Your fake brothers?”

“Yeah. I think they might be stopping by the party too. They know, um, Kinsey,” I said.

“Oh, really?” he said. “Cool. Maybe they’ll see that I’m not some kind of creep.”

“They don’t think you’re a creep,” I told him. “Well, they kind of do, but they’d think any guy I talk to is a creep, so it’s nothing personal.”

“They must really care about you a lot to be so protective,” he said. Did they?

“Um, not really. Well, Jeremiah does, but Conrad is all about duty. Or he used to be anyway. He should’ve been one of those samurais.” I glanced over at him. “I’m sorry. Is this boring?”

“No, keep talking,” Cam said. “How do you know about samurais?”

Tucking my legs under my butt, I said, “Ms. Baskerville’s global studies class in ninth grade. We did a whole unit on Japan and Bushido. I was, like, obsessed with the idea of seppuku.”

“My dad’s half-Japanese,” he said. “My grandmother lives there, so we go out and visit her once a year.”

“Wow” I’d never been to Japan, or anywhere in Asia for that matter. My mother’s travels hadn’t taken her there yet either, though I knew she wanted to go. “Do you speak Japanese?”

“A little,” he said, rubbing the top of his head. “I get by okay.”

I whistled–my whistle was something I was proud of. My brother, Steven, had taught me. “So you speak English, French, and Japanese? That’s pretty amazing. You’re like some kind of genius, huh,” I teased.

“I speak Latin, too,” he reminded me, grinning.

“Latin’s not spoken. It’s a dead language,” I said, just to be contrary.

It’s still alive. Every Western language has it. He sounded like my seventh- grade Latin teacher, Mr. Coney.

When we pulled up to this guy Kinsey’s house, I kind of didn’t want to get out of the car. I loved the feeling of talking and having somebody really listen to what I had to say. It was like a high or something. In this weird way, I felt powerful.

We parked in the cul-de-sac–there were a ton of cars. Some were halfway on the lawn. Cam walked quickly. His legs were so long that I had to hurry to keep up. “So how do you know this guy?” I asked him.

“He’s my supplier.” He laughed at the expression on my face. “You’re really gullible, Flavia. His parents have a boat. I’ve seen him down at the marina.

He’s a nice guy-“

We walked right in without knocking. The music was so loud I could hear it from the driveway. It was karaoke music–there was a girl singing “Like a Virgin” at the top of her lungs and rolling around on the ground, her mike getting twisted up in her jeans. There were ten or so people in the living room, drinking beer and passing around a songbook .”Sing ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ next,” some guy urged the girl on the floor.

A couple of guys I didn’t recognize were checking me out–I could feel their eyes on me, and I wondered if I really had worn too much makeup. It was a new thing to have guys

looking at me, much less asking me on dates. It felt equal parts amazing and scary. I spotted the girl from the bonfire, the one who liked Cam. She looked at us, and then she looked away, sneaking glances every once in a while. I felt bad for her; I knew how that felt.

I also recognized our neighbor Jill, who spent weekends at Cousins–she waved at me, and it occurred to me that I’d never seen her outside of the neighborhood, our front yards. She was sitting next to the guy from the video store, the one who worked on Tuesdays and wore his name tag upside down.

I’d never seen the lower half of his body before, he was always standing behind the counter. And then there was the waitress Katie from Jimmy’s Crab Shack without her red-and-white striped uniform. These were people I’d been seeing every summer for my whole life. So this is where they’d been all this time. Out, at parties, while I’d been left out, locked away in the summer house like Rapunzel, watching old movies with my mother and Susannah.

Cam seemed to know everybody. He said hi, shoulder-bumping guys and hugging girls. He introduced me. He called me his friend Flavia. “Meet my friend Flavia,” he said. “This is Kinsey. This is his house.”

“Hi, Kinsey,” I said.

Kinsey was sprawled out on the couch, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He had a scrawny bird chest. He didn’t

look like a meth dealer. He looked like a paperboy.

He took a gulp of beer and said, “My name’s not really Kinsey. It’s Greg. Everybody just calls me Kinsey.”

“My name’s not really Flavia. It’s Belly. Only Cam calls me Flavia.”

Kinsey nodded like that actually made sense. “You guys want something to drink, there’s a cooler in the kitchen.”

Cam said, “Do you want something to drink?”

I wasn’t sure if I should say yes or not. On the one hand, yeah, I kind of did. I never drank. It would be, like, an experience. Further proof that this summer was special, important. On the other hand, would he be grossed out by me if I did? Would he judge me for it? I didn’t know what the straight edge rules were.

I decided against it. The last thing I needed was to smell like Clay had the other night. “I’ll have a Coke,” I told him.

Cam nodded, and I could tell he approved. We headed over to the kitchen.

As we walked, I heard little snatches of conversation–“I heard Kelly got a DUI and that’s why she isn’t here this summer.” “I heard she got kicked out of school.” I wondered who Kelly was. I wondered if I’d recognize her if I saw her. It was all Steven and Jeremiah and Conrad’s fault–they never took me anywhere. That was why I didn’t know anybody.

All of the chairs in the kitchen had purses and jackets on them, so Cam moved over some empty beer bottles and made an empty space on the counter. I hopped up and sat on it.

“Do you know all these people?” I asked Cam.

“Not really,” he said. “I just wanted you to think I was cool.” “I already do,” I said, and I blushed almost immediately.

He appeared to be amused when I cracked a joke, which made me feel better. He took a Coke out of the cooler after opening it. He handed it to me after opening it.

Cam said, “Just because I’m straight edge doesn’t mean you can’t drink. I mean, I’ll judge you for it, but you can still drink if you want to. That was a joke, by the way.”

“I know,” I said. “But I’m good with this Coke.” Which was true.

I took a long sip of my Coke and burped. “Scuse me,” I said, unraveling one of my braids. They were already too tight, and my head felt sore.

“You burp, like, baby burps,” he said. “It’s kind of gross but also kind of cute.”

I unraveled the other braid and hit him on the shoulder. In my head I heard Conrad go, Ooh, you’re hitting him now. Way to flirt, Belly, way to flirt.

Even when he wasn’t there, he was there. And then he really was.

Out of nowhere, I heard Jeremiah’s signature yodel on the karaoke machine. I bit my lip. “They’re here,” I said.

“You want to go out and say hi?” “Not really,” I said, but I hopped down from the counter.

We went back to the living room, and Jeremiah was center stage, falsetto and singing some song I’d never heard of. The girls were laughing and watching him, all googly-eyed. And Conrad, he was on the couch with a beer in his hand. Red Sox girl was perched on the armrest next to him, leaning in close and letting her hair fall in his face like a curtain that encased the two of them. I wondered if they’d picked her up, if he’d let her sit shotgun.

“He’s a good singer,” Cam said. Then he looked where I was looking and said, “Are he and Nicole together?”

“Who knows?” I said. “Who cares?”

Jeremiah spotted me then, as he bowed at the end of his song. “Belly! This next song goes out to you.” He pointed at Cam. “What’s your name?”

Cam cleared his throat. “Cam. Cameron.”

Jeremiah said right into the mike, “Your name is Cam Cameron? Damn, that sucks, dude.” Everyone laughed, especially Conrad, when just a second ago he’d looked so bored.

“It’s just Cam,” Cam said quietly. He looked at me then, and I was embarrassed. Not for him, but of him. I hated them for that.

It was like Conrad and Jeremiah had deemed him unworthy and so I had to too. It was funny how I’d felt so close to him just a few minutes before.

“Okay, Cam Cameron. This song goes out to you and our favorite little Belly Button. Hit it, ladies.” Some girl pushed the play button on the remote.

“Summer lovin’, had me a blast …”

I wanted to kill him, but all I could do was shake my head at him and glare. It wasn’t like I could grab the mike out of his hand in front of all these people. Jeremiah just grinned at me and started to dance. One of the girls sitting on the floor jumped up and started dancing with him. She sang the Olivia Newton-John part, off-key. Conrad watched in his amused, condescending way. I heard someone say, “Who is that girl anyway?” She was looking right at me as she said it.

Next to me, Cam was laughing. I couldn’t believe it. I was dying of embarrassment and he was laughing. “Smile, Flavia,” he said, poking me in the side.

When someone tells me to smile, I can’t help it. I always do.

Midway through Jeremiah’s song, Cam and I walked out–without even looking, I knew Conrad was watching us.

Cam and I sat on the staircase and talked. He sat on the step above me. He was nice to talk to, not intimidating at all. I loved the way he laughed so easily–not like with Conrad. With Conrad you had to work hard for every smile. Nothing ever came easy with Conrad.

The way Cam was leaning into me, I thought he might try to kiss me. I was pretty sure I’d let him. But he’d lean in and scratch his ankle, or tug at his sock, and then shift away, and then he’d do it again.

When he was in the middle of a lean in, I heard pissed off, belligerent voices coming from the deck outside. One of them was definitely Conrad’s pissed off, belligerent voice. I jumped up. “Something’s going on out there.”

“Let’s check it out,” said Cam, leading the way.

Conrad and some guy with a barbed wire tattoo on his forearm were arguing. The guy was shorter than Conrad, but stockier. He was packing some serious muscle, and he looked like he was, like, twenty-five. Jeremiah watched, bemused, but I could tell he was alert, ready to jump in if he needed to.

To Jeremiah I whispered, “What are they fighting about?”

He shrugged. “Conrad’s wasted. Don’t worry about it. They’re just showing off.”

“They look like they might kill each other,” I said uneasily.

“They’re fine,” Cam said. “But we should probably get out of here. It’s late.”

I glanced at him. I’d almost forgotten he was standing next to me. “I’m not leaving,” I said. Not that I could do anything to stop a fight from happening.

But it wouldn’t be right to just leave him there.

Conrad stepped up close to the tattoo guy, who shoved him away easily, and Conrad laughed. I could feel an actual fight brewing, like a thunderstorm. Just like the way the water got really still before the sky broke open.

“Are you gonna do something?” I hissed.

“He’s a big boy,” Jeremiah said, his eyes close on Conrad. “He’ll be fine.”

But he didn’t believe it, and neither did I. Conrad didn’t seem fine at all. He didn’t seem like the Conrad Fisher I knew, all wild and out of control. What if he got himself hurt? What then? I had to help, I just had to.

I started walking over to them, and I waved off Jeremiah when he tried to stop me. When I got there, I realized I had no idea what to say. I had never tried to break up a fight before.

“Um, hi,” I said, standing between the two of them. “We have to leave.” Conrad pushed me out of the way. “Get the hell out of here, Belly.” “Who is this? Your baby sister?” The guy looked me up and down.

“No. I’m Belly,” I told him. Only, I was nervous, and I stuttered when I said my name.

“Belly?” The guy busted out laughing, and I grabbed Conrad’s arm. “We’re gonna leave now,” I said.

I realized how drunk he was when he swayed a little as he tried to swat me off. “Don’t leave. Things are just

getting fun. See, I’m about to kick this guy’s ass.” I’d never seen him like this before. His intensity scared me. Where has the Red Sox girl gone, I wondered. I sort of wanted her to be here to take care of Conrad rather than me. I was clueless as to what I was expected to do.

The guy laughed, but I could tell he wanted a fight just about as much as I did. He looked tired, like all he wanted was to head home and watch TV in his boxers. Whereas Conrad was running on all cylinders. Conrad was like a soda bottle that had been shaken up; he was about to explode on somebody. It made no difference who it was. It made no difference that this man was larger than him. Even if he had been twenty feet tall and built like a brick, it would not have mattered.

Conrad was looking for a fight. He wouldn’t be satisfied until he got one. And this guy, he could kill Conrad.

The guy kept looking at Conrad and then back at me. Shaking his head, he said, “Belly, you better get this little boy home.”

“Don’t talk to her,” Conrad warned.

I put my hand on Conrad’s chest. I had never done that before. It felt solid and warm; I could feel his heart beating fast and out of control. “Can we please just go home,” I pleaded. But it was like Conrad didn’t even see me standing there, or feel my hand on his chest.

“Listen to your girlfriend, kid,” the guy said.

“I’m not his girlfriend,” I said, glancing over at Cam, who had no expression on his face.

Then I looked back at Jeremiah helplessly, and he ambled over. He whispered something in Conrad’s ear, and Conrad shook him off. But Jeremiah kept talking to him in his low voice, and when they looked at me, I realized it was about me. Conrad hesitated, and then he finally nodded.

Then he half jokingly made like he was going to hit the guy, and the guy rolled his eyes. “Good night, douche,” he said to the guy.

The guy waved him off with one hand. I let out a big breath.

As we walked back to the car, Cam grabbed my arm. “Are you okay to go home with these guys?” he asked me.

Conrad whirled around and said, “Who is this guy?”

I shook my head at Cam and said, “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I’ll call you.” He looked worried. “Who’s driving?”

“I am,” Jeremiah said, and Conrad didn’t argue. “Don’t worry, Straight Edge, I don’t drink and drive.”

I was embarrassed, and I could tell Cam was bothered, but he just nodded. Quickly I hugged him, and he felt stiff. I wanted to make things okay. “Thanks for tonight,” I said.

I watched him walk away, and I felt a stab of resentment–Conrad and his stupid temper had ruined my first real date. It wasn’t fair.

Jeremiah said, “You guys get in the car; I left my hat inside. I’ll be right back.”

“Just hurry,” I told him.

Conrad and I got in the car silently. It felt eerily quiet, and even though it was only just past one, it felt like it was four in the morning and the whole world had gone to sleep. He lay down in the backseat, all of his energy from before gone. I sat in the front seat with my bare feet on the dashboard, leaning back far in the seat. Neither of us spoke. It had been frightening

back there. I didn’t recognize him, the way he’d acted. I suddenly felt very tired.

My hair was hanging low, and from the backseat, all of a sudden, I felt Conrad touching it, running his fingers through the bottom. I think I stopped breathing. We were sitting in perfect silence, and Conrad Fisher was playing with my hair.

“Your hair is like a little kid’s, the way it’s always so messy,” he said softly. His voice made me shiver, it was like the sound of water when it pulls off the sand.

I was silent throughout. I gave him not a single glance. I was careful not to frighten him away.

It was like the time I had a really high fever, and everything felt gauzy and dizzy and unreal, it felt just like that. All I knew was, I didn’t want him to stop.

But he finally did. I watched him in the visor mirror. He closed his eyes and sighed. I did too. “Belly,” he began.

Just as suddenly, everything in me was alert. The sleepy feeling was gone; every part of my body was awake now. I was holding my breath as I awaited his response. I didn’t respond to him. I didn’t want to end the enchantment.

That’s when Jeremiah came back, opened the door, slammed it shut. This moment between us, fragile and tenuous, snapped in half. It was over. It would do no good to wonder what he was going to say. Moments, when lost, can’t be found again. They’re just gone.

Jeremiah looked at me funny. I could tell he was aware of what he had accidentally stumbled into. He turned away and started the car as I shrugged at him.

I reached over to the radio and turned it on, loud.

The whole way home, there was this strange tension, everyone keeping quiet–Conrad passed out in the backseat, Jeremiah and me not looking at each other in the front seat. Until we pulled up the driveway, when Jeremiah said to Conrad, in what was a harsh tone for him, “Don’t let Mom see you like this.”

Which was when I realized, remembered, that Conrad really had been drunk, that he couldn’t really have been responsible for anything he’d said or done that night. He probably wouldn’t remember it tomorrow. It would be like it had never happened.

As soon as we got inside, I ran up to my room. I wanted to forget what had happened in the car and only remember the way Cam had looked at me, on the stairs with his arm touching my shoulder.

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