Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 5

Camilla and Amir’s date continues, this time from Camilla’s POV.

Switching up on me. That’s what I wanted to say. But if I did, I knew he’d play dumb—just like he always did. So I let it go, and moved on to saucing the pizza. At least with that, I knew exactly what I was getting. Unlike him, and this wishy-washy stuff he’s been on lately.

Especially this past week.

Take the other day, for example.

We were in bed, at the hotel, and like mid stroke, he asked what I was doing when I missed his call earlier, and why it took so long to call him back. That part wasn’t new, though—he’s always in my business, especially when he thinks I’m too compromised to deny him access—so I said, “You’re not my boyfriend, Amir.” Like I always do, but then he stopped, and in this tone that was almost offended-like, he said, “So that’s how you feel?” And it threw me off because that part was new. So I said the first thing that came to mind which was, “Is that not how you feel?” But then he got all quiet in his I-don’t-want-to-answer-your-question way—and went back to stroking like we weren’t in the middle of a conversation that he started!

And I would’ve let that go had this been his standard flavor of nosiness, but this was different, part of his new MO where he baits me into these conversations that question what we are, then backs down whenever it’s time to elaborate on what he means.

This whole thing was just… annoying and frustrating, and I just wanted him to say it—what he meant or at least how he felt— ‘cause I had a feeling… that whatever it is… it’s the same thing I’ve been feeling too.

So later that night, when he texted, asking if I was thinking about him, I made another still-not-my-boyfriend comment to see if he’d get the hint. And when his response was a request to take me out again, I thought it worked, and if I gave him the chance, he would finally say something real, but clearly I was wrong.


I grabbed two handfuls of cheese and dumped them on the pizza, followed by those tomatoes he’d finally finished slicing.

At least he did one thing right tonight.

He watched as I tossed them around, letting them fall where they wanted, regardless of where, the floor included. When I grabbed the chicken pieces and sent them flying in a similar fashion, he took the bowl from me.

“You keep this up.” He chuckled a little. “Somebody’s gonna end up with chicken and cheese and shit in their hair.”

Nobody asked for your commentary.

The chef’s assistant clapped his hands, instructing everyone to head over to the baking station. I wasn’t done topping the pizza yet, though, so I tried to get the bowl back, but he kept it away from me, adding on to his ever-growing list of tonight’s infractions— No, make that this week’s infractions.

I hate him so much.

He must’ve caught wind of my annoyance because his trademarked smirk was gone, and his tone was kind of serious—kind of like a person who wanted to have a real conversation, but I knew better than that.

But I did want my bowl back and he knew it. So the more I reached for it, the further he pushed it away.

“Camilla, look.” He followed my movements, trying to trick me into making eye contact with him.

Nope. Not falling for that again.

“What?” I kept my eyes on the bowl, reaching past him to grab it.

He blocked my attempt with his arm. “Keep doing what?”

I slapped it away, damn near at my wits’ end with his cryptic ass questions and this childish ass hand game. “What are you talking about?”

He paused, and while he thought about, whatever he was thinking about, I made another grab for the bowl, but this time, he got a hold of my hands, and within the span of like five milliseconds, I made the mistake of looking up, and got caught right in his trap.

Stay strong, Camilla…

With our eyes locked, and the backs of my hands being traced by his fingertips, my body turned into a breeding ground for goose bumps.

Stay strong, Camilla…

And as his smirk returned, my whole reason for being mad slipped away from me at an alarming rate.

Camilla… girl…

Once our fingers interlocked, he rose our hands to his mouth. “A minute ago, you said I keep doing something.” And painted slow brushstrokes with his lips against the back of mine; his gaze, never wavering. “What I’m doing?”

He knew exactly what he was doing—the looks, the hand-holding, the thing with his lips—making me feel stuff that at one time, only made me take my clothes off, but lately’s, been making me feel… different, you know, like how it feels coming off a roller coaster when you’re lightheaded, and your stomach’s all upside down, and it’s weird, but you kind of want more of it?

And it was working.

‘Cause I kind of wanted more of it, but that would require something he refused to do.

So, I snatched my hands away, breaking eye contact, so he couldn’t distract me with his stupid, sexy demon powers anymore. The pizza would survive with minimal toppings.


The class was encouraged to mingle while the oven timers kept track of our pizzas. Amir and I started out like most of the other ‘couples’, in the middle of the floor, engaged in conversations we had no real interest in. But because of that last stunt he pulled, I slipped away when he wasn’t looking, trying to keep us apart until I figured out what to do—without his interference.

When he realized I was gone, which didn’t take long, by the way, he tried to get back to me, but this one, rather thirsty woman, cornered him against the wall, forcing him to endure her shameless ass flirting instead.

Didn’t she come here with someone?

The way she was in his face, smiling, twirling her hair—I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling.

Pathetic.

At least I got what I wanted, though, space from him to think…

With me… on one side of the room… and him… on another… with her…

Is that what I wanted, though?

A flashback of him playing dodgeball with my questions gave me the answer I needed.

It is. It is what I wanted.

But watching her over there—all in his personal space, with her hand on her chest; her obnoxious ass laugh assaulting my eardrums—made it hard to concentrate on anything else.

Wait… is he really stuck over there or… does he want to be over there?

And just when I thought her behavior couldn’t get any more desperate, it did—but fortunately, a text came through, giving me a much-needed break from the gagfest taking place in front of me.

I looked down at my phone, swiping to my messages to reveal the identity of my savior.

Oh, it’s just Salim.

Oh, it’s just Salim? When did he become just Salim?

Our calls, our hangouts, were like the highlight of my days. The fun we have together is something I always look forward to. Our talks, our back-and-forths, our friendship… our friendship

I guess we really were just friends… ‘Cause if he wanted more, he would’ve said something by now… right? It’s not like he hasn’t had the chance. I mean, we have lunch together, nearly every day, and we talk just as often; that one morning we had breakfast at that fusion place, he could’ve said something then too, but he didn’t, so maybe he’s good with things being this way… And I guess… that means… I’m good with it too.


The rest of the night’s events took place in the dining room. The soft candlelight, food, and fresh cut roses placed in each of the private booths were textbook elements of a romantic dinner—but I wasn’t feeling none of it.

So I ate my food in silence; counting down the minutes until this thing was over, and I could go home and away from him.

I’m guessing my cold shoulder was too much for him because just five minutes in, he said, “Why you being so quiet with me?”

Why I’m being so quiet with you?

It took everything for me not to recount each and every smile, wink, and giggle he stood over there soaking up from Miss Desperation, but I didn’t.

I just gave him a taste of my own brand of selective memory instead. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

But because he’s Amir, instead of taking my denial for what it was, he took it as an invitation to slide up in my seat. “Ahh, so you’re not talking to me then?”

Once again, trying to work his magic to get himself out of trouble.

Definitely not falling for that again.

So I moved over, recreating the distance I intentionally put between us. “Why do you care?” I asked, looking as far away from him as the small seating space allowed. “Don’t you have someone else you rather be talking t—”

Shit.

I didn’t mean to say that. Not out loud. And definitely not to him. The last thing I needed was him thinking I was jealous— ‘cause I wasn’t. For real. I didn’t even care that he was talking to her. It was just… principle, ‘cause we came together and— I wasn’t jealous, okay?

But the damage was done already, as made evident by his stupid ass grin.

He slid back into my seat, this time with an arm resting on my side of the booth; his eyes roaming over my face, examining it, like it was the headliner of one of those exotic exhibits at the zoo. “So this what you look like when you’re jealous, huh?”

See, this is exactly what I was trying to avoid!

“No!” I gave him one hard shove for even allowing that thought to cross his mind.

He rubbed the spot on his chest where my fist left its mark, laughing victoriously— No, maniacally, like he was winning some devious game, one where the objective was to get a rise out of me… in more ways than one.

I hate him so fucking much.

Before I could react, his arm dropped, and in one swift move, he pulled me closer—the closest I could possibly get.

“You wanna know what we was talking ‘bout?” he whispered in my ear; the mere notion of his mouth being that close to me, sending tingles racing down my spine.

How is it that even when I’m pissed at him, he STILL has this effect on me?

I tugged at his arm, pushing and pulling, trying not to fall victim to another one of his spells.

“No?” I replied to his stupid question.

But struggling only made his grip tighten.

“You sure?”

And encouraged him to make his next move even bolder than his last.

“Positive.”

So I gave up. Temporarily. Which I’m sure is exactly what he wanted.


Giving up wasn’t the same as giving in, though—not in this case—but with his lips trailing slowly down my neck, and his hands in places I should’ve been too mad to want them, it was getting real hard to tell the difference.

Damn… I am falling for this again.

He traveled back up to my ear, whispering against it, the soft air that accompanied his words, setting off tiny batches of fireworks that started somewhere in my belly, but ended up where his fingers were. “So you don’t wanna hear what she said ‘bout this girl I’ve been kinda seeing?”

This girl he’s been kinda seeing? Yeah, okay.

I suppressed the moan that was fighting to escape long enough to play along. “What did she say?”

“I told her I be thinking ‘bout her all the time,” he said. “So she said I should tell her.”

Sounds like “she” knows what she’s talking about.

My eyes fluttered shut as my head titled back, giving him more access. “Why don’t you?”

He took advantage of it, sending his tongue on its own exploratory mission, braking only to answer my question. “‘Cause I don’t know if she feels the same way.”

“But what if she does?” I said, way quicker than I’d like to admit.

He laughed a little. I guess he noticed it too.

“That’s what she said.” He paused again. “So I told her we have all these things between us like, rules and shit that keep people apart.”

Okay, horny or not, I could see where this was going.

My eyes popped open and my head titled forward, just as he was making his way back up, putting us face-to-face. “And what did she say about that?”

“She said I should ask her to let me take her home.”

Let him take me home? Like, to my apartment where I live? I don’t—

He kissed me.

Before I could really analyze that thought, or weigh the pros and cons, his lips were on mine, and my hands were in his hair, and my legs were trembling, and— I really wanted to go home.

I backed away, just a little. “But what if her roommate’s home?”

He smiled in that sneaky way he does. “She told me to make sure I’m quiet.”


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Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 4

Amir takes Camilla out on another date and attempts to knock down some of the very loose boundaries that exist between them.

Amir

So, I know what I said before about relationships and messing things up, but something she said made the risk feel like it was worth taking. We were texting one night, super late, like three in the morning, and I asked if she was thinking ‘bout me—you know, just fucking with her.

She sent one of those thinking emojis, then a text right behind it. Late night thoughts are reserved for boyfriends, is what it said.

I could tell she was joking, but it got me thinking ‘bout how late at night… is when she’s always in mine.

It’s been like that for a minute too; her showing up in my dreams, doing shit like laying in my bed, leaving her stuff around, making my place hers. And when I wake up, it feels… real— right, like that’s how it’s supposed to be. And now I’m kinda feeling like… that’s what I want it to be.

Especially after that night at the movies, where she was comfortable letting things slip that she wouldn’t have before. Where she was good with ‘us’, and me keeping my arm around her waist like she was my girl. Where at the end, when it was time to go, she gave me that kiss, the one that had something, something in it like— I don’t know what, but I could tell she didn’t want to leave, and I didn’t want her to leave either.

So, I got this plan, and if— nah, when it goes the way I want, tonight’ll be the end of all these rules and what she calls boundaries, starting with the biggest one.

Her address.

I met her ‘round eight, at the same spot from last time—this gas station, I’m guessing’s close by her place. Her car was parked out front, but last time it wasn’t, so she must’ve walked then. And if she did walk, that means she can’t stay no more than a few blocks away.

I leaned across the passenger’s seat and opened the door for her. “Not walking today?” I asked as she slid inside.

Damn, she looks good.

She looked at me like I was crazy, a finger pointing down at her feet. “In these shoes? Boy, bye.”

A hint.

A good one too, ‘cause what I know about women and their shoes is they’re not walking long distances in heels, so the streets on either side of the gas station are out.

Getting that answer might be easier than I thought.

I took advantage of the opening she left me. “Must be a long walk if you’re worried about hurting your feet.”

She closed her door. “Long enough.” And strapped on her seat belt. “This place we’re going to has food, right?” Changing the subject before I could get any closer.

Damn.

So, it wasn’t easy, but it’s cool ‘cause we still had a whole night ahead of us, starting with food; and this date-night cooking class thing I had planned was going to get me all the answers I wanted.

I can’t take credit for the whole idea, though. The inspiration came from this corny ass movie I was watching the other day ‘bout this dude who was chasing this girl that stayed giving him the runaround. He tried everything to get her attention, but what won her over in the end, was taking her to do something she liked—but didn’t expect. In her case, it was pottery making.

Now, Camilla didn’t talk a lot about her hobbies, outside of that one show and some art shit, but one thing I’ve noticed from all the weekends we’ve spent together is she likes to eat—a lot.

So, this cooking class thing is like pottery making for her, and taking her home is winning for me.


We made it kinda late, but just in time to catch the main chef’s performance, which was crazier than the traffic we fought to get here. Instead of cooking like he was supposed to be, he was in front of the class, belly dancing—well, trying to anyway—to loud music that blared throughout the classroom.

His knives—that needed to be confiscated—were spinning above his head while he rolled his hips and shook his ass like a washed up R&B artist desperately trying to make a comeback.

When I found this thing on Simoogle, I knew it was going to be some bullshit—with its first-page result prices for this third-page result class—but last-minute date-night planning don’t leave you a lot of options.

The setup was nice, though. I’ll given him that, and Camilla liked it too, so I didn’t see the point in complaining.

Terrified gasps broke out amongst the other couples as we took our place at our station. Some were covering their faces while others sought comfort in their partners.

I looked at Camilla, half-expecting her to be as freaked out as some of the other women, but she was laughing, clearly enjoying herself, not an ounce of fear in sight.

I knew she was different.

Back upfront, he lunged from side-to-side, landing a knife in each hand before breaking out into a poorly executed cartwheel. His assistant met him once he landed; a blindfold in hand for his next life-threatening trick.

Camilla leaned into me.

“Where did you find this guy?” she whispered behind giggles that refused to be suppressed. “He’s hilarious.”

I gave a nonchalant shrug, like this kind of shit was part of my usual. “I got my sources.” Then nudged her a little. “They could be yours too.”

Her go-to for ominous responses like this was usually sarcasm, but this time she stayed quiet and went back to watching the show.

I put my arm around her, amplifying the hint I just dropped, but her silence remained. The new smile creeping up on her face, though, told me all I needed to know.

I’m definitely winning tonight.


We were entertained with bad dance moves and dangerous knife tricks for a little while longer, but I wasn’t tripping ‘cause the longer he kept this up, the longer I got to keep her where I wanted—next to me, snuggled up in my arms.

For the first time tonight, her guard was down and the odds of me finding out the thing I wanted to know shot up from like ten to seventy-five. When she looked up at me, for a third time, to comment on the crazy shit going on upfront, I took my shot…

“So, I was thinking later I could—”

But the crowd broke out in cheers as the chef took his bow, bringing his performance to a close.

I should beat his ass for his terrible timing.

We separated, following the assistant’s instructions to prep our stations. The countertop was full of all kinds of cooking shit; pans and bowls and other things I ain’t never seen before— not up close, anyway. The kitchen don’t get much face time in my house.

He silenced the music. “Alright, Junior Chefs.” And pointed at words written in large letters on the chalkboard behind him. “Welcome to Cooking With Love! Tonight, you lovebirds will learn first-hand how to make Chef Pancake’s world-famous chicken pesto pizza!”

World-famous? I don’t remember seeing no accolades next to his name; and why is a dude named Pancakes making pizza, anyway? And who the fuck names themself Chef Pancakes?

The assistant clapped loudly, urging the class to do the same, while the chef took his place in front of his station. He started the lesson with kitchen safety rules, then moved on to equipment and other things we’d be working with. Next was— Shit, I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening.

I was noticing, though, how comfortable Camilla was with all this. How it seemed like she knew what to do before he even told us. The way, in minutes, she had turned a bowl of flour, water, and oil into something that resembled pizza dough. The way she took charge, with no problems—almost like this kind of shit was part of her usual.

That movie might’ve been on to something.

The tomatoes I had been tasked to slice, sat untouched on the countertop while I watched her work. In the background, I reminisced about one of those dreams I mentioned. Specifically, the one where she spent the night, and it was late, and she said she was hungry, and we were in my kitchen and—

“What?” Her eyes shot up from her ball of dough.

Oh, shit.

Her tone, her pinched together eyebrows, her hands that would’ve been on her hips if they weren’t gripping a flour covered rolling pin—she had to have known I was watching her, or maybe she heard what I was thinking ‘bout her?

I hoped it was the first one.

I played it off like I wasn’t doing neither. “Nothing.” I nodded at the wall behind her. “I was looking at that poster over there.”

She sucked her teeth; her expression alone, calling me out on my bullshit. “I can feel you staring, Amir.”

Alright, she caught me, but telling her something she wants to hear, a touch even, for good measure, will make her forget about it.

“I’m just… watching you do your thing.” I ran my fingers slowly across hers. “You’re good at it.”

The skepticism washed away and a smile—the smile—the kind that let me know what I was saying, doing was working, took its place. “Thank you.”

And just like I predicted, she was good, and back to rolling her dough.

I grabbed a knife and started on those tomatoes, following up on that compliment I gave her. “You cook like this all the time?”

“God no.” She chuckled, shaking her head, like I was wrong for making that assumption.

I laughed at how dramatic her response was. “Why you say it like that?”

“No reason, I just…” She stopped rolling and looked up at me again. “Lets just say that… when you’ve spent as much time in the kitchen, against your will, as I have, it becomes your least favorite place.”

That was personal.

We didn’t even have sauce on the pizza yet, and I was already breaking down boundaries and shit.

I know I’m winning tonight.

I kept the momentum going by asking what she meant. So, she told me ‘bout how her mom has this catering business, and used to make her stay in the kitchen when she was little, so now it’s one of their many beefs that’s been going on for years.

If I would’ve known cooking would get her talking like this, I would’ve been taken her out.

“But you got all these skills, though.” I pushed some more; trying to see how much she would give me. “Why you don’t use them?”

She grinned in a way that said she wasn’t afraid of a little get-back. “Because I know it pisses her off.”

She’s definitely my kind of girl.

My grin matched hers. “So you like causing trouble, then?”

She shrugged. “Sometimes.”


She finished molding her crust and moved on to the sauce. I was still stuck on those tomatoes, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“So, what about you?” she asked. “You like causing trouble for your parents, too?”

Even though questions were my thing tonight, I let her have this one.

“Nah.” I kept my head down, focusing way more on those tomatoes than I wanted to. “But, let my mom tell it, though, everything I do is trouble.”

She stopped stirring; trying to catch a glimpse of my face that was conveniently shielded by my hair. “Why is that?” she asked in the most sympathetic voice I’ve ever heard in my life.

So sympathetic that I almost told her how my mom thinks her nephew is so fucking perfect that everything I do—good or great—in comparison, is always a fucking disappointment to her. How even after I bought my third condo, the only thing she could talk about was his degree, or the masterpiece he was going to write one day, or the grand-kids he was going to give his mom because he was capable of finding a nice girl and settling down—almost. I almost told her all that. But, I didn’t. I’m not trying to do all that with her.

“That’s boring.” I looked over at her with a forced a smile, and a new conversation topic in the works. “Tell me something interesting like…” She watched me curiously as I wracked my brain for a question that would get us back on track and me closer to my goal. “What you do for work.”

“That’s boring,” she mocked me alongside a mischievous smirk. “How about you tell me something interesting like…” She kept me waiting a few seconds, just like I did her. “Why you picked this place to go to.”

Damn, she’s good. Better at deflection than I thought. Not better than me, though.

“You don’t like it?”

“I do,” she said quickly. “You just keep…” She paused like she was weighing her words; trying to decide if what she wanted to say was worth saying. “Never mind…”

I guess it wasn’t. Or maybe it was?

She went quiet; giving all her attention to the sauceless pizza in front of us. Something changed, and I don’t know what it is.

Fuck. Am I winning tonight?


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


🍑🍑🍑

During one of my more recent CC shopping sprees, I stumbled across this hair and this outfit, and just knew I had to get Camilla in it.

During one of my more recent CC shopping sprees, I stumbled across this hair and this outfit, and just knew I had to get Camilla in it. Now, her style is nothing like this. I would actually categorize it more as ‘cute’ than ‘sexy’, but I figured she wouldn’t mind making an exception for a little photoshoot.

If you’re interested in the items pictured in this post, check out the links below:

outfit / hair / eyeliner/shadow / nails


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Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 3

Camilla’s parents’ visit continues…

It took a minute, but eventually, my dad got my mom’s attention off my cleaning habits, and onto one of the few things she loved more than ridiculing me—food. And I don’t mean your regular cheeseburgers-and-fries type food, but actual cuisine; like the type you’d get at a five-star restaurant. That was her thing, and the success of her highly rated catering business proved just how good she was at it.

So when my dad suggested we go out to eat, and I recommended a restaurant with a menu even she would approve of, I figured it would change her tone, at least a little. But what I didn’t see coming was this decision, providing the perfect ammo for a new round of attacks.

I sat in the booth across from them; my phone underneath the table, scrolling through an afternoon’s worth of unread notifications. They were busy still, looking over the menu, discussing drink options and appetizers, so I used this little moment of freedom to check my texts.

There were two, delivered just a few minutes apart. The first was from Salim; a gif of a dancing panda with the words ‘good luck’ floating above its head. Aww. I love pandas. The second was from Amir; saying he has something for me. Ooh. I love surprises.

I replied to them both; a gif of two pandas hugging for Salim, and a short but sweet ‘can’t wait’ to Amir.

We placed our orders with the waiter and by the time he reached the table behind us, that attack I mentioned had already commenced.

“You eat here often, Cami?” My mom asked.

I put my phone away. “Oh… yeah.” I nodded. “They have really good seafood.”

“I’m surprised to hear that,” she replied sarcastically. “I thought for sure you were living exclusively off of chips, Hot Pockets, and grape soda.”

Orange soda. I don’t even like grape soda like that.

“Hold on, now.” My dad chimed in. “There’s nothing wrong with Hot Pockets. You know how much I love the steak and cheddar.”

Steak and cheddar’s the best.

He winked in my direction, but the small gesture meant to signify our alliance caught her attention.

She narrowed her eyes at him. The most she ever does when he dares to disagree with her.

I wish that was all I got.

“There is something wrong with it, James, when that’s all you consume.”

Her concern for my eating habits was a newer issue that started when I was in college. I was home for the holidays, and for lunch, instead of making something she would have, like some fancy French sandwich, I microwaved a pizza and grabbed a bag of chips. For dinner, I passed up honey roasted duck for chicken nuggets and fries.

As a professionally trained chef, watching her only child fill up on junk food for a week straight hurt just as bad as the hypothetical news of that same child succumbing to a life of crime. So three years later, she was still mourning the destruction of my diet—and getting on my damn nerves about it.

I was so close to telling her that too, but by the time the words transcended from my brain to my lips, I had already backed down—like I always do. “That’s not all I eat, though…” I mumbled under my breath.

My dad, who must’ve been as sick of my mom’s nit-picking as I was, changed the subject before she could contest my response. “So how’s work been?”

That question may have been for me, but his attention was focused solely on the troublemaker in the chair beside him. They faced each other, eyes locked in a staring contest so tense, even I considered ducking for cover.

With an exasperated sigh, he told her to chill and stop being so confrontational. That they were here to visit, not argue. And with a very visible frown, she told him he’s being dramatic and that she’s allowed to inquire about her daughter’s life choices—

At least… I think that’s what they would’ve said had they used actual words; but since they were sitting in silence, staring each other down, I had to rely on my imagination, which I’m pretty sure was accurate.

See, when I was little, they argued telepathically all the time—especially when I was the topic of discussion. So whenever my mom made the mistake of saying something crazy in front of my dad, he’d pull her to the side; and for the next few minutes, the only communication between them was through expressive eyebrows, animated sighs, and exaggerated faces.

By the time I was like seven, I had learned the meanings behind each expression, and was able to piece together what they were really saying without them ever actually saying it.

I guess they never outgrew it.

Add that to the list, right next to ‘trying to control my life—for one of them, anyway.

I waited a minute, hoping they would put an end to this childish feud—seeing as we were in public and the staring thing’s kinda weird—but they didn’t; so I lifted my drink and plopped it down hard on the table. The loud clanking of glass against wood, powerful enough to break their gaze and make them stare… at… me…

Maybe I should’ve left them alone.

My dad sighed. “I’m sorry, Pumpkin. What were you saying?”

He put on his best I-can’t-wait-to-hear-what-you’re-about-to-say face as he waited for my response.

“Oh…” I glanced at my mom—who couldn’t have been interested in my response. Not with the way she was facing the other tables, silent, with her arms folded across her chest, and her eyebrows all scrunched up. For her, this kind of angry silence had to mean either; she was plotting her next move, or my dad had finally gotten her to shut up for once.

My money was on the first one.

“I was just saying that…”

“What, Cami?” she snatched her head around like she had just read my thoughts. “Are you going to answer his question or not?”

Is it too early to cash out my bet?

“It’s fine,” I said, sparing any actual details, since I’m sure that would be a problem, too.

“I’m glad to hear that.” My dad smiled.

My mom, on the other hand, was not smiling because she, predictably so, was not glad to hear that.

Since everything’s fine,” she said, her voice perfectly mimicking mine. “Does that mean you aren’t planning on getting back into graphic design? And actually putting your degree to use?”

“I—”

Haven’t figured that out yet— Not because I don’t want to. It’s on my to-do list— like, right at the top. I’ve just been… busy…

“I’m… working on it.”

She gave me her famous I’m-not-buying-this-shit face. “Working on it, huh? Let me guess. You’ve been busy?”

How did she—

Our food arrived, and just in time too, because the urge to get away from this table was becoming harder to suppress—especially after that last question. I grabbed the waiter’s attention, and as a last-ditch effort to prolong the inevitable, got him talking about desserts.

He handed me a menu, and as he detailed every cheesecake topping imaginable, she sat across from me, impatiently waiting; her glare practically searing a hole into my forehead.

I raised the menu slowly, blocking her view, while I pretended to think over my options.

When I didn’t seem wowed by their endless selection of cheesecake, he moved on to the brownies, and that’s when her patience tank hit E.

With one look, she sent him scrambling away from the table—along with my paper shield—leaving me exposed.

My dad, who until this point, was lost in his own world of filet mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, and sautéed vegetables, noticed the waiter’s sudden disappearance, and tried to spark up a new conversation. My mom, though—wasn’t done with me yet.

“When’s the last time you heard from Brandon?” she asked.

Finally, an easy one.

“Before I changed my number.”

Best decision of my life.

My dad nodded, his face beaming with pride. “I’m glad to hear you’ve moved on, Pumpkin.”

But she didn’t react at all. Instead, she moved on to her follow-up question. “So since Brandon’s out the picture, does that mean you’re dating again?”

“No!” I blurted out like a fucking idiot.

Shit.

This… I already knew what she was going to say, but I mean… I’m not really dating— not if you want to get technical ‘cause like… I’ve only been on one date, and that wasn’t even a date-date, so what I said technically wasn’t a lie. Not really.

“I’m not…” I said, hoping to undo the damage my hasty response had already caused.

It didn’t work.

She sighed in that way she does whenever I disappoint her. “What’s his name, Cami?”

“She said she’s not seeing anyone, Bridgette.” My dad tried to defend me, but she wasn’t trying to hear it.

“That’s what’s got you so distracted you can’t do what you came out here to do, right?” she asked. “I bet you’re not even drawing anymore, either. Are you?”

Now, she’s just jumping to conclusions because I have— I am… just… not as much as I— Whatever.

“You’re going to keep letting your life revolve around these boys, Cami, and when things don’t turn out the way you want, you’re gonna find yourself starting over—again.”

“I’m not, though…”

She unwrapped her napkin, completely ignoring my response. “You better figure your stuff out girl, ‘cause whatever you’re looking for, I guarantee you it’s not in no boy.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 2

Camilla’s parents pay her a visit; and the day starts off exactly how she expected.

I can’t believe she would pop up on me like this! I stomped circles around my living room. No. Actually, I can. This is classic Bridgette. Only thinking of herself and what she wants with no regard for my feelings or my time. I mean, what if I was busy today? I plopped down on the sofa; relieving the floor from the hour-long assault it had been subjected to. I could’ve easily been doing something that took real planning, like… a vacation.

People go on vacations all the time during the summer. So what if I was on my way— No. Already gone to a resort in another city or state or country, even? I smiled at the thought of having the upper-hand for once. She would’ve shown up here with a fresh supply of unsolicited opinions, hot and ready to serve; and I would’ve been on the beach, in a bikini, sipping my third margarita, without a care in the world.

My smile widened as the image of her disappointed face in front of my unanswered door played on a loop. This would be her first taste of defeat, and the fact that I was the chef behind this salty-ass dish would take her to new levels of anger. The type that would have her calling, making all kinds of threats, if I didn’t pack my bags and get my ass back to Atwood ASAP. So dismissing her calls, letting her go to voicemail, as her loss of power became overwhelmingly obvious, that would send her into a fit of rage.

I snickered at this imaginary victory. My laugh intensifying as the vision of her throwing the fifty-year-old equivalent of a tantrum appeared in this fantasy.

I collapsed into the sofa cushion, on the verge of tears, as gut-busting laughter took over me. I was r-e-l-i-s-h-i-n-g in this scenario, but then the scariest sound imaginable ripped through my apartment, nearly yanking my soul from my body.

I jumped to my feet, my heart doing full-blown dance moves, as I sprinted across the room. That horrifying-soul-shattering sound that had me visibly shaking in the window of my patio door was the slamming of a car door. And judging by the way the car whimpered when the door smacked it — I was sure the owner was my mom.

I peeked behind the curtain to confirm my suspicion. It was her. Arm-in-arm with my dad, James, cuddled up like they were on some kind of date. She whispered something to him. Probably the details of her evil plan— Wait. No. She wouldn’t do that ‘cause then he’d take my side, and she hates when he does that. So it must’ve been something else. Something I’d have to figure out later because they were on their way up.

I dashed into the kitchen for one last look-over. The sink, my main area of concern, seemed clean, but my version of clean was nothing like my mom’s version of clean. So, if there was so much as a speckle of last night’s spaghetti sauce left anywhere, she would find it — and I would never hear the end of it.

The sound of their footsteps met me at the door, and with the most convincing smile I could muster up –given the circumstances — I opened it.

“Hey, Daddy!” I wrapped my arms around my dad’s neck; a spark of genuine excitement taking the place of dread for a moment.

“Hey, Pumpkin!” he replied in his deep-soulful voice, taking me right back to the happier moments of my childhood.

He lifted me off the ground and spun me around like this was his homecoming, and I was still the five-year-old girl waiting by the door for him. “I’ve missed you so much!” he said.

My mom rolled her eyes as she pushed past us and into the living room. “Put that girl down,” she said. “She is too big to be swinging around like that.”

“Oh, hush Bridgette.” He dismissed her unnecessary commentary. “She’ll never be too big for my hugs.”

Thanks Daddy.

“Hmph.” She chuckled sarcastically; bypassing the entire living room and heading straight into the kitchen. “Tell that to your back.”

Here we go

I pushed the door closed and scurried across the room. “Hey, Mama.” I said, following closely behind her.

And just as I predicted, this room was first up on her ‘inspection checklist’. She was looking straight ahead, so I couldn’t see her face, but I knew she was watching, judging everything.

She sighed, as if my presence was annoying her.

That was fast.

“Hey, Cami,” she replied without so much as a glance in my direction.

Yeah… She’s definitely annoyed.

I had no idea what crime I committed between the door and the kitchen, but I continued to follow her; hoping to thaw her cold shoulder and earn myself a spot on her good side.

“How was the drive over?” I asked.

“Fine.”

“Was there any traffic or…” my voice faded to silence as she approached a dead end.

She rerouted, heading back in my direction, but as she neared the sink, her footsteps halted. From the middle of the room, she meticulously scanned the walls, the stove, the countertops, and especially — the sink! Why is she staring at the sink?! She moved in closer, and as I stood there, frozen, inspected the base of the faucet; a concerning look on her face.

It was time to go— Not her. Me. ‘Cause I knew where this was going, but if I attempted to evade the criticism that was coming my way, it would only make things worse. I needed a diversion, something big and unavoidable like… a break-in or natural disaster. But my door was locked and the weather was nice, so I had to work with what I had.

I faced the living room; fear practically oozing from my body, but my dad — my protector, and the only thing that keeps her from truly speaking her mind — was too busy repairing the TV stand to see I was in danger. His helpfulness is going to get me verbally murdered!

She turned to me slowly. Oh my God. And as my arms wrapped tightly around my body. OH MY GOD. Surprised me by saying, “You have a roommate?”

She got that from the sink?

“Oh… Yeah…” I replied, hesitantly. My arms loosening, just a little.

Was this some kind of set-up? Getting me to let my guard down so when shots start firing, I wouldn’t see them coming?

She let out a small chuckle as she walked past me. “Well, that explains it.”

This was definitely a set-up.

I spun around to keep my eyes on her. “Explains what?”

“The sink, Cami,” she said. “How many times have I told you about wiping it down when you were done with the dishes?”

And there it is. The criticism. The only thing she ever has to say to me and the one thing that ruins… everything.

Oh, how I’d pay money — real money — to have her lose her voice for like a decade or three.

“Enough for me to know better than to think you finally started listening just because you moved your behind to Atwood.”

What does me moving to Atwood have to do with sinks and dishes?

“Speaking of which,” she went on. “I’m glad you finally found time for us in your busy schedule.” She rubbed my dad’s shoulder playfully. “Your daddy here has been dying to visit.”

Was she for real? What part of receiving a text with their arrival time was my decision? How was I even—

Oh… that was my crime. Never extending the invitation she’s been demanding for months. Mystery solved, I guess.

He finished his work on the TV stand. “It’s a good thing too,” he said, pulling himself up from the ground. “This leg was so loose, another day or two,” he tapped the top of the TV. “And this would’ve been on the floor.”

She fake-gasped. “Did you hear that Cami? It’s a good thing we’re here because without us, you’d have trouble on your hands. Again.”

And for this crime, she’s going to spend the rest of the day making me pay for it. Is jumping out the second-floor window a logical option?


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Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 1

Salim attempts to change his friendship status with Camilla.

Salim

An opening in her weekend schedule was about as rare as a news site devoid of clickbait titles. She was booked, weeks in advance, for things she couldn’t get out of, but swore she would if she could. Weekend after weekend, one rejection after another, I persisted, in case she found the time, but her answer and the apologies that followed remained the same, until today.

We were on the phone, talking about the movie she saw with her friends last night, when an ad for this breakfast fusion place interrupted the video I was watching. It followed an enthusiastic waiter who was delivering an order to an equally enthusiastic family. The camera zoomed in as the youngest kid dived into his meal—a plate of red velvet pancakes smothered in hot fudge with a side of cheesecake ice-cream—according to the subtitles at the bottom of the screen.

My initial thought was one of disgust followed by concern for the kid’s teeth. My next, was motivated by my short-lived career in marketing, and had me curious about the restaurant’s target demographic.

As a joke, I said, “Can you believe there’s a place selling pancakes and ice cream together?” I laughed. “I wanna see the faces of these first graders they’re catering to when the bill comes.”

But then when she said, “Oooh! For real?” With just as much enthusiasm as the kid in the commercial, a memory of the time she ordered chocolate milk to wash down her ranch dressing drenched, barbeque chicken pizza, reminded me that her palate was right on par with those aforementioned first graders’.

“I could go for some ice-cream right now,” she added. “Pancakes too.”

Was that a hint to ask her out again? I pondered the details of her current situation. She was home, in bed, and since she called instead of texting, I could assume, alone and available too. This rare moment of down-time in her life could be my chance to finally get some time with her—off the phone and away from work—so I could tell her what I’ve been thinking… feeling…

“Yeah…” I decided to take my chances. “You wanna go get some?”

“Right now?” she asked.

I laughed. “It’s breakfast time, right?”

“Uh, right,” she said, through sounds of shuffling and other quiet movements. “Pick me up in 30 minutes?”


An hour later, we were seated on the restaurant’s patio with half-a-table full of food that should never be eaten together. My little section was safe, consisting of eggs benedict and a side of hashbrowns; but hers was another story. There were waffles with ice cream, fudge, bananas, and whipped cream; and for her drink, a kiwi banana smoothie.

She twirled a forkful of ice-cream dipped waffles in my face. “It’s sooooooo good, Salim.” She taunted. “One bite. You’ll like it. I promise.”

“Hell no!” I laughed, directing her hand back across the table. “You couldn’t pay me to eat that.”

She popped the tainted waffle piece into her mouth. “That’s because you don’t know good food.”

“I’m concerned you actually believe that.”

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes. “Eat your boring ass eggs.”

I was prepared to dispute that good food comment, but she got a text that wiped the smugness off her face before I could.

“Ugh!” She slammed her phone facedown onto the table. “Can I change the locks and pretend like I don’t know her when she tries to open the door?”

This mood-ruining message must’ve been from her roommate.

I took a bite of my boring ass eggs. “I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”

“What’s illegal,” she said, “is being so annoying all the damn time.”

This issue with her and Pandora was way simpler than she wanted to believe and had an easy solution that she didn’t want to hear.

“So, I take it you haven’t talked to her about it yet?”

She sighed. Her eyes diverting away from me and off into the distance. “No, ‘cause she’s gonna get all weird and sad,” she said, “and I don’t feel like all that.”

She’d rather it be her who feels weird and sad than deal with the temporary discomfort of her roommate’s feelings. It’s like for her, confrontation was punishment for making someone unhappy; and the threat of that was enough to make her do crazy things. This fear has to come from somewhere. Maybe her childhood? Growing up as an only kid or something.

I stuck with that thought. “Man, I can tell you didn’t grow up with siblings.”

She brought her attention back to me, a frown on her face. “Um, aren’t you an only child too?”

“Yeah, but I had cousins who were more like siblings,” I explained. “So I still had to do the arguing, sharing, telling them not to touch my stuff. You know, all the things you don’t wanna do.”

“Wait.” She raised an eyebrow. “How come you’ve never mentioned these cousin-siblings before? We’ve talked about literally everything. I mean, you’ve told me things from middle school summer camp— I even know the story behind your one and only attempt at playing the clarinet, but these sorta-kinda-siblings never come up?” Her suspicious expression grew serious. “I need some answers.”

I drew in a deep breath, and as she stared me down like I was hiding something huge, contemplated how to condense a story that was way more complicated than it should be.

“Alright…” I clasped my hands together, my throat a little dry all of a sudden. Things with my mom’s side of the family aren’t… great. There’s a lot of tension, resentment for things I don’t really understand, but still find myself caught in the middle of anyway. “Remember how I told you my mom went through some things after my dad died?”

She nodded, lowering her voice. “Depression and stuff, right?”

“Yeah.” I cleared my throat. “So, we moved in with her sister— my aunt and her two kids for a while.”

Okay?” She leaned into the table, her face rested on the back of her hands, like she thought there was some deep-dark secret on the way.

“And that’s it.” I shrugged, as if my relationship with my cousins—one more than the other—wasn’t a direct source of contention in my life. “We grew up. Went our separate ways. Did our own things.”

She rested in her chair. “So, y’all don’t talk, ever?”

“When we need to.”

Her eyes narrowed, reverting to that stare she gave me a few minutes ago. “I feel like you’re being intentionally cryptic.”

“And I feel like you should just talk to your roommate.”

Perfect deflection.

“You know what?” She rose from her seat. “I’m going to the bathroom.” And pushed my head as she walked past me. “I hope you have some better advice by the time I get back.”

I looked over my shoulder and watched as she entered the restaurant. She looked back at me and smiled, before disappearing into the dining room. This advice she claimed she wanted would stay the same no matter how often she asks, but I hoped to change other things like… our friendship status. There was chemistry between us that was present from the day we met. And not to sound like the love interest in a bad romance novel, but the smile she gave me when I found her employee badge told me she was worth getting to know.

She was quiet and let me lead our conversations, but witty and entertaining with her responses. She was cagey about the things she shared at first, but I know now that it’s just baggage from her old life. She wasn’t ready to date again—at least that’s what I got from her stories about her last relationship—so we became friends until the right time came around. Like today. I think today’s the right time.


I knew exactly what to say and was ready to put it all out there, but when she slid back into her seat, the cocky little smile she left with was gone, and the sides of her shirt were balled up tightly in her fists. Which only meant one thing.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Her telltale sign. Arms folded so tight, I questioned whether or not she could breathe. It was the first thing I noticed about her, too. Even with a hand full of mail, way across the room, her nervous energy landed right on my desk.

She slumped into her seat. Her breathing much more shallow than before. “My parents’ll be here tomorrow.”

That explains the mini-freak out she’s having.

My relationship with my cousin was bad, but it was nothing compared to hers with her mom. And even with their history, this visit wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but to her, there wasn’t much that could top it.

I rubbed her elbow under the table to remind her of that fact. A trick I learned when I was younger with my mom. “It’s not that bad, Camilla.”

She loosened her grip and pushed her plate away; a little pout on her face. “Says the person who hasn’t had the misfortune of meeting Bridgette.”

She was upset and knowing her, likely to stay this way for the rest of the day.

Maybe today isn’t the day after all.


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Episode 6: Decisions and Stuff – Part 3

Acting on Cassandra’s advice, Camilla and Amir go on their ‘totally non-romantic’ date.

The ‘totally non-romantic’ Date…

between two people whose relationship is purely sexual…

Author’s Note

Whenever you see Camilla and Amir together, just know this song (explicit lyrics) is always playing in the background and is accurate in a few different ways 😊


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Episode 6: Decisions and Stuff – Part 2

Following Amir’s unexpected offer, Camilla seeks advice from someone much more knowledgeable about the subject of ‘casual dating’ but not before dealing with Pandora first.

I had no idea what I wanted to do. But his offer was more than tempting and had certain parts of me begging to accept. They were loud, obnoxious; clouding my head with reminders of the fun we have together and the feelings I’m left with afterward. They complained about the boundaries and hinted at adventures waiting on the other side. I was inclined to believe them. I mean, fun inside the room could be even more fun outside of it, right?

But there was another part of me, struggling to be heard beneath the loud chatter of pleasure seeking thoughts. It warned of blurring the lines, more than they already were, and getting tangled up in the strings of expectations or worse — commitment; and sinking into the uncomfortable position of having to choose between one thing I wanted and another I wanted… just as much.

I mulled over this decision; my mind changing as often as the traffic lights that lined my way home. I was stuck, polarized by fear, scared of making the wrong choice, and in need of guidance from someone — someone a lot more experienced with this kind of stuff.

And by the time I reached my apartment building and placed my key in the lock of my front door, I knew exactly who that someone was. I just had to make it through Hurricane Pandora to get to them.

“You’re home!” The human storm rushed toward the door; trapping me between it and the dinner table. She was dressed in her favorite apron, and judging by the sweet smell of jasmine rice floating from the kitchen, making dinner. One of the few benefits of her living here.

I eased around her, tossing my keys on the table. After two months of being bombarded every. single. time I walked in the door, I was getting real sick of this welcome wagon routine. “Yes. Pandora.” I sighed. “I came home. Like I do. Every day.”

She followed me through the living room and over to the refrigerator. “Well, not every day,” she said. “You usually don’t come home on weekends.”

She’s exaggerating. I’m home most– some– occassiona– She needs to mind her business!

I grabbed a soda from our wide-range of beverages; another benefit of our living arrangement. “Okay, but you know I’m coming back eventually, so you don’t have to be so dramatic.” And exited the kitchen before she could rebut that response, too.

I thought we were done talking, seeing as I was halfway down the hall, but the energetic footsteps behind me proved otherwise. And she wonders why this is the last place I want to be. I picked up my pace and she followed suit, blocking my evasion of yet another unwanted conversation. I wasn’t giving up, though. My safe space was just a few feet away, and she was not stopping me from getting to the answers I needed. I sped up some more, hoping she would get the hint, but a glimpse over my shoulder revealed a new level of crazy — and it was even more terrifying than I was prepared for.

She was on my tail, following– no, chasing me like a madwoman. Her arms stretched out in front of her with her hands reaching for my ponytail. She’s planning to yank me into a conversation? Really?!

With only inches left between me and my bedroom, and desperation at an all-time high, I made the dangerous, but creative, decision to baseball slide in-between the partially cracked door, landing me a home-run straight into safety and away from her motormouth-having-personal-space-violating ass.

“Wait!” she yelled from the hall. “We need to discuss dinner!”

I gripped onto the doorknob, pressing the full weight of my body into the door. I really need to invest in a lock. “Whatever you want is fine!”

She jiggled the doorknob. “But I have options!” And knocked a few times; the determination in her fist vibrating against my back. “There’s grilled salmon, teriyaki chicken- Ooh! I could do a T-Bone. Do you like yours medium or-”

My heels were as deep in the carpet as they could possibly go, my fingers were slipping, and the barrier between me and my rabid ass roommate was disintegrating at an alarming rate. I was losing this battle and if I didn’t think of something — anything — she would never leave me alone.

“Salmon!” I shouted. “Let’s do salmon, and maybe we could watch a movie or something later?”

I regretted those words the minute they bolted from my reckless lips, but it was too late to take them back.

OH-MY-GOD! Dinner and a movie!” She finally let go of the doorknob. “Give me 30 minutes.” Her voice trailed down the hall. “And I’ll present you with the best salmon pesto you’ve ever had!”

30 minutes? I could work with that.

With the clock ticking, and my freedom disintegrating by the second; I kicked off my shoes, tossed my drink on the nearest surface, and made a call to that expert I mentioned, better known as Cassandra. Her dating rap sheet was three times the size of mine, and with her aversion to long-term relationships and all things permanent, I just knew she had some much needed wisdom to guide me through this thing. I filled her in on the details and once I was done and it was her turn to speak; she asked a question that took me right back where I started.

“So, what’s stopping you from saying yes, Salim?”

And that was the other thing… Salim. We’re… friends, but sometimes… it feels like more than that. It feels like… he’s always around, in my space, on my lunch breaks, on my phone — which, coming from anyone else, would drive me crazy, but from him… I like it. I like the way he makes me laugh and how he really listens to what I have to say. How he’s full of all these random facts that he loves to share with me and how he loves spending time with me just as much. I… like that we’re friends… Really good friends… And I don’t want to lose that.

“Yeah… kind of,” I said. “I just don’t want Amir thinking we’re something that we’re not.”

“It’s not like you can just fall into a relationship, though.” She laughed. “So, just go see your movie and afterwards, do whoever you want.”

“Cass, stop.” I smiled at the sneaky implication in her response. “It’s not like that.”

She sucked her teeth. “Girl, if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be considering turning down Graylight tickets.”

Did she really just read me like that? I could’ve sworn I scrolled past my tell-it-like-it-is friend’s number.

“That’s not true, I– It’s…”

Okay, she’s right.

“Alright. Fine,” I conceded, “But for real, how do I keep my… very sexual… situation from messing with my… non-sexual situation?”

“Just make sure Mr. Sex knows that it’s nothing but sex and movies and whatever else y’all decide to do; then if you and Salim finally decide to stop playing, you can move on to that. Clean and easy.”

Clean and easy?

“It’s that simple?”

“Girl! Trust me,” her response beamed with confidence, “I know what I’m talking about.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Episode 6: Decisions and Stuff – Part 1

Amir contemplates his “relationship” with Camilla.

Amir

She’s always on the phone. Every time I see her, she got that shit glued to her hand like somebody’s got her on call. Every chance she gets, she’s on it, texting or whispering to whoever’s holding that leash. I asked her about it once, maybe twice, a while back when we first started kicking it, but she brushed it off like I wasn’t seeing what I was seeing; rolling her eyes like catching attitudes changes facts. She does that all the time too, when I ask questions about what she does outside of me and her. She don’t like it, so she gives these vague ass answers like I can’t read between the lines. Like I can’t bypass what she’s saying to get to what she’s not saying. She thinks she’s that good at navigating our conversations, controlling the narrative, but all I’m hearing in the silence beneath all that noise — is that she’s fucking with somebody else — maybe.

The messages are kind of… muddled, switching up as often as her mood. One minute, she’s saying she wants boundaries, whatever the fuck that means. The next, she’s under me, saying everything but that. Then she says she wants to keep things simple, organized; so we agree on a couple hours, a few designated days a week; but then when the weekend hits, all that goes out the window and we’re in this room for two, three days straight sometimes, like we’re on some kind of honeymoon.

Trying to figure her out, deciphering what she really means versus what she says she means, is like a full-time fucking job and she’s not even my girl. Shit’s confusing too ‘cause I know if she was my girl, disappearing for days, coming home with hickeys on her thighs and shit, she’d have a problem. So that means… she don’t have a boyfriend — she can’t. Good. But then who’s she always talking to?

She was back on the phone again. This time, reading something, online maybe. I couldn’t tell for sure. One hand was covering her mouth, trying to hide the smile that was creeping up behind it, the other had a tight grip on the phone. Her eyes were large, growing in size with each swipe of her finger, and her body was as stiff as the headboard behind us. I leaned into her pillow, nudging my face into her arm to get a closer look at what had her so excited. If this had been any other time, me being this close to her phone, would’ve had her doing crazy shit like throwing it across the room or shoving it in the bottom of the nightstand’s drawer, but this time, she didn’t even budge. Instead, she slammed a hand into the bed, her fingers clenching the sheets between us. She was one scroll away from losing her fucking mind all over something called… Graylight?

“What’s Graylight?”

What’s Graylight?” She turned to me slowly. Her tone, offended, like I had just called her out her name. “You’ve never heard of Graylight?”

“Nah.” I shook my head. “What is it? Some kind of show?”

Her head flew back as loud laughter took the place of where her answer should’ve been. She looked at me, her mouth hung open. “Are you serious?”

I nodded.

She rose to her knees to fangirl over this thing. “Only the best show to air on TV, ever! I can’t believe you’ve never heard of it.” She pushed me down and climbed on top of me, her initial look of shock fading into something more curious. “Do you even watch TV? What do you do for fun?”

Oh, so she can ask me questions about what I get into but when I do it, it’s a problem.

“Not much.” I kept my answer as short as she likes to. “So tell me what this Graylight’s about.”

She goes on this long ass story about a girl named Lux, some dude, and a baby. Some spoilers were leaked about the movie that’s coming out this week, a spin-off from the show, and that’s what’s got her flipping out like this.

“So you wanna see this movie?”

Uhhh, yeah!” she laughed at the apparent ignorance of my question. “But tickets are sold out everywhere opening week. Believe me. I checked.”

She slid off of me, her excitement fizzling out, as she came to the realization that seeing this movie when she wanted wasn’t happening, not on her own anyway. But somebody who knew the right people, in the right places, could make it happen for her — if they wanted to.

I hung onto that thought for a minute, careful not to say something I couldn’t take back.

This thing we got is good, but it’s fragile. One swing in the wrong direction could fuck it up, and I don’t know if I want to take that chance. A movie’s just a movie, but taking our thing outside this room makes it something else, something that can be confused for something more serious like… a relationship, and I’m not trying to do that with her. I’ve had enough of those to know that shit’s not for me, but… being here sometimes with her — under me, on top of me, beside me — looking at me in that way she does, fucks me up, man. Shit.

“I got you.”

Her eyebrows wrinkled at the obscurity of my response. “On what?”

“The tickets. You wanna go, right?”

“Yeah, but…” Her voice trailed away; confusion posted all over her face. “With you?”

I laughed. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“No– It’s not– I didn’t– I’m just–”

“When’s the movie coming out?” I relieved her of her struggle.

“Friday.”

“Alright. Let me know what you wanna do.”


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!


Part 2: Summer

A sneak peek at what Camilla’s been up to during the two month transition to the next part of the story.

2 Months Later…


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If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!