“So how were things with your mom last night?” Cole asked as soon as he sat down in the library across from Cameron during their study hour.
Cameron shrugged still not entirely sure how he felt about the whole situation, but he was definitely warming up to it. “She sure is awful nice. She even made me a big breakfast this morning.”
Cole nodded, his eyes studying Cameron’s face. “But you can’t stop wondering when she’s going to leave.”
Cameron nodded miserably. He didn’t want to feel that way; he wished he could have a little faith in her, or anyone else really; except Cole, he knew he could count on Cole for anything. It just seemed that usually things did not work out in his favor. “I gotta call that damn Mr. Harris today too. To see if I can get my money out of the bank, I’m pretty sure he has to sign for me to get it.”
“Man that sucks.” Cole said shaking his head.
“Yeah it does, and I need you for moral support. Can we go now?”
Cole nodded and they both stood up together and made their way down the stairs to the school lobby where the pay phones were located. “I’m going to call the house. Maybe I’ll get lucky and just have to leave a message and then it will be up to him to call me back.”
“Sounds like plan to me.” Cole said leaning back against the wall beside the pay phone.
Cameron pulled a quarter out of his back pocket and dropped it in the slot. He took a long deep breath, got an encouraging smile from Cole then dialed the number. He shuddered when the phone was answered by Mrs. Harris two rings later. He nearly hung up the phone, but he forced himself to keep it at his ear and just get it over with.
“Is Mr. Harris there?” he asked, even though he knew chances were damn good that he wasn’t.
“No he isn’t. Is this Cameron?”
She didn’t sound pissed, so he dared to answer with a ‘yes ma’am.’
“He’s working hon, how are you doing?”
His eyes nearly bugged out at how nice she was being. He hadn’t expected her to care at all, not even enough to ask him. He hadn’t expected her to yell at him, but certainly expected her to be short with the conversation and not keep him talking by asking questions.
“Where are you staying?”
“With my mom.”
“Oh that’s good hon! I’m so glad to hear you didn’t have to go into a foster home.”
“Really?” He asked in too much shock that she cared to even think of trying to hide it.
“Of course, and I’m sorry you couldn’t stay here. I know it’s not your fault. I was never to keen on you going to that boy’s house in the first place. He’s got no guidance over there; I’m not surprised you were caught up in his tricks.”
Feeling a sweep of rage running through himself; he couldn’t actually believe that she actually thought Cole had dragged him into his deviant lifestyle. Cameron took a deep breath still needing to find out about the money and not wanting to say something particularly hateful and just hanging up on her he quickly changed the subject.
“I need to close out that savings account Mr. Harris started up for me. Or at least sign it over to just my name. Can you tell him that for me please?”
“Sure hon, I’ll call him at work, he works right by the bank so he can just walk over on his lunch break or something. Hopefully it will be taken care of by tonight time.”
“Thanks Mrs. Harris.” He hung up before she could say anything more. He knew he couldn’t hold back from telling her off if she started talking bad about Cole again.
He looked at Cole and smiled soon as he hung up the phone deciding not to tell him what she’d said.
“That sounded like it didn’t go too bad.” Cole said smiling back.
“Nope, not at all!”
When he walked out of school that afternoon he scanned the parking area and saw his mother’s car waiting past the busses. He half smiled really liking the fact she was actually there. He’d never been picked up from school by either his dad or step-mother before and he had to admit it sure felt nice.
He walked across the small lawn of the school and sat down in the passenger seat of her car.
“How was your day?”
“It was good.” Overall it had been very good, other then a few odd looks from a few people no one had confronted him or Cole at all about what Kyle was apparently spreading around, “I called Mrs. Harris...” before he could finished his mother started talking.
“I know, he called and left a message on my machine. Said he signed off on your account so you can get your money anytime.”
Cameron nodded, relieved it was that simple and as far as he was concerned he’d never have to see Mr. Harris again.
Even though she still tried to insist on paying for everything they went to the bank and Cameron took out a couple hundred dollars, figuring that would be more than enough to fix up his room. They went to a couple of stores where he bought a dark green bed spread, a lamp for his night stand a clock radio with an alarm and a couple pictures for the wall.
“You need a T.V.” His mother said, as she detoured into the electronics section.
“I don’t need a T.V.” he said quickly not wanting to spend his money on something that expensive.
She shook her head and kept on walking right up to the T.V’s. “I’m going to get you a T.V. You’re so insistent that I don’t buy you things you need, so I’m going to get you something fun, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
Though she still sounded friendly he’d never heard her talk so sternly about anything so he closed his mouth. He was getting a little tired of arguing with her about it all the time. If she actually wanted to buy him something so bad he figured it might be okay to let her do it, as long as she didn’t do it all the time.
They left the store with the stuff he’d picked out, and a 20 inch color TV set including a small stand to put it on. Instead of going straight home they stopped off at a Chinese restaurant where they both made good work of the buffet. He was shocked at how much she could eat. She was such a small woman he didn’t think she had enough room in her for all the food she packed away.
During all the eating they had a nice conversation and when he went to bed that night he was feeling just a little more at ease about his new relationship with his mother.
“You all clear for the whole weekend?” Cole asked as they sat down to their usual table on Friday in the school cafeteria.
Cameron nodded as he smiled filled with excitement that in just a few more hours they’d be spending three solid days together. His mother hadn’t balked at all; heck she had even told him that she thought some relaxing and having a good time with a friend was just what he needed to get his mind off his worries. Since he’d stopped being such an ass the two were getting along very well. He was still scared she’d up and leave again, but he was leaning towards the feelings of not wanting to wreck the time they did have together by being such an ass.
“Hey guys.” They both looked up to see Jesse set his tray down on the table then sit down himself by Cole and across from Cameron.
“Hey Jesse.” They both said simultaneously.
Jesse opened his milk and grinned over at Cameron. “Did you know I was the one to convert you?”
Swallowing the piece of burger he’d been chewing on Cameron shook his head and said, “huh?” having no idea what he was talking about.
Jesse leaned forward a little and put his elbow up on the table. “Rumor has it; it was my influence on you that turned ya gay! Apparently just by eating lunch together a few times and talking that day at the church picnic I worked my gay charm on you.”
Cameron shook his head while Cole chuckled putting his hand over his mouth so his food he’d just eaten didn’t come flying back out.
A forlorn look came over Jesse’s face as he shook his head and put his hand over his heart. “But alas, then Cole came along and swept you from my clutches. Leaving me heartbroken, all the while you two were off having your weekend love fests.”
Cole got laughing so hard he even snorted which caused Cameron to ask if he was okay since his face was beet red from laughing so hard, he thought for a moment that he may really be choking. With a wave of his hand and a nod of his head Cameron realized he was just laughing really hard and looked back at Jesse.
“Who’s saying that?”
“I over heard a couple people saying it in gym. I don’t know who they are. But apparently that’s what’s going around.”
Cameron shook his head though he found himself grinning despite the rumor. “I can’t believe how stupid people are.”
“Actually,” Cole spoke up who’d composed himself quite a bit. “I’m rather impressed. No one has called us any names, or tried to beat us up; people are just leaving us alone. I’d say that’s pretty good.”
“I’d almost rather they say something to us then come up with these crazy stories behind our backs.” Cameron said shaking his head. He looked across the cafeteria just in time to see Kyle making his way through. He was looking straight ahead to the door he was heading towards.
Cole’s eyes followed Cameron’s. “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of him Cameron.”
Cameron pulled his eyes away from Kyle and looked at Cole. “What do you mean?”
“I think he misses you. I see him in the halls and he looks very unhappy. More sad than pissed you know?”
Cameron shook his head doubting that very highly. “His dad is probably giving him shit for being friends with a homo all these years.”
Jesse and Cole both looked at each other not quite sure of what to say to that.
Cameron looked back at them and half smiled feeling bad for his foul mood. “I’m sorry I’m not gonna let him spoil my good mood.” He looked at Cole and smiled extra big. “Three whole days… all to ourselves.”
Jesse shook his head as he stirred his corn. “Yeah sure rub it in.”
“We have to come up with a plan you guys. One to get Jesse out of the preacher’s house for a bit.”
“I kind of have a plan already.”
Cole and Cameron both looked at him in surprise. “What plan?”
“They want to ship me off to some spiritual week at some summer camp. The way it stands right now I can’t get out of his sight long enough to get my stuff together and just take off. But this camp I’ll have to pack up my stuff to go anyways so it’s not like it’s going to stand out as odd and he won’t be keeping an even closer watch on me.”
“You mean you’re going to run away?” Cole asked totally surprised. “What about all that you only have a couple years left?”
“Well I wasn’t always sure I could trust you guys. And I didn’t want anyone knowing my plan unless I totally trusted them.” he leaned in closer causing Cameron and Cole’s heads to lean in too. “I have a boyfriend.”
Cole sat back a little his mouth hanging open. “What?”
Jesse looked at him and nodded. “Back home. He is graduating this year. We get to sneak calls to each other enough to have come up with a plan. He’s already got himself a job in Provincetown working for some hotel. He says he’s pretty sure I can get a job there too. That in summer they always need help. Only problem is me getting there. He has to be there a couple weeks or so before this spiritual thing is supposed to start. See I need to get on a bus here and then change busses in New Hampshire. Instead of getting on the bus to Christian camp, I’m going to get on a bus to Massachusetts, thing is I need money to do that. My boyfriend isn’t sure he’s going to have time to earn enough and get it sent to me in those two weeks.”
Cole and Cameron both nodded at the same time both of them thinking over the plan. “I got money to get you a bus ticket Jesse.” Cole said after a moment.
“I hope it doesn’t come down to that Cole.” Jesse said shaking his head. “But I can’t say I have enough pride left to say no. I just have to get out of my uncle’s house. Right now I’d probably resort to selling myself if I had to, to get the money. And I can still have Mike, my boyfriend, send the check, but if it doesn’t make here on time than maybe you could float me a loan until the check arrives. I can give you the post office box key when I leave I won’t need it anymore.”
“No, you don’t have to worry about paying me back.”
“No I do really, it would make me feel better if it comes down to that, honestly.”
Cole nodded understanding why Jesse would feel that way. “I still can’t believe you never told us you had a boyfriend. How long have you guys been together?”
“Actually together? I’d say a year before my parents found out. This past nine months it’s only been a few phone calls a month.”
“How do you manage that living with the preacher?”
He pointed out of the cafeteria towards the lobby. “Phone out there.”
“Damn that must suck.” Cameron said shaking his head, not able to imagine having to have such little contact with Cole.
“It definitely does.” Jesse said nodding. “But only a few more weeks now.” He rubbed his hands together excitedly. “I just can’t wait. By the time they realize I’m missing they’re never going to be able to find me.”
Cameron smiled that Jesse was so excited, though deep down he still felt bad that Jesse had to leave his family and never see them again just because he was gay. It made him worry just what would happen if and when his mother found out. He kept trying to tell himself he didn’t care. What ever happened would happen. But he knew no matter how much he told himself that it wouldn’t, that it would really hurt.
After being awake most of the night, and not having to get up early for any reason Cameron didn’t wake up until nearly 10am on Saturday morning. He opened his eyes to find Cole, his head propped up on his elbow, still in bed smiling over at him.
“Morning sleeping beauty!” Cole said, smiling even bigger once Cameron’s eyes opened and focused on him.
Cameron smiled back, Cole’s smile being as infectious as always. “Damn it’s nice to sleep in over here!”
Cole chuckled before leaning down and giving Cameron a long passionate kiss on the lips. After propping his chin back up in the previous position his lips now glistening he said. “Suppose Mr. Harris will stop in today? I mean I don’t think he knows moms in the hospital. Though I must admit it’s kinda scary how those church people seem to know everything.”
“If he does show up I say we hide. I don’t have any desire to see that man.”
“Sounds like a good plan to me. I have no desire to see him either.”
“You going to go see your mom today?”
Cole nodded as he ran his hand up Cameron’s bare chest. “Yeah, for a little bit. Why?”
“I was wondering if you could drop me off at my dad’s again. We went by there the other day and it really needs to be mowed again. And I didn’t even do that back yard last time.”
“And here all this time I thought you were a bad ass.”
Cameron half laughed. “What do you mean?”
“Well all your partying, lack of interest in school, getting arrested, granted this was all before we really met, but still you certainly didn’t seem like someone that would spend their Saturday mowing the lawn of a man that, well….” Cole paused, trying to think of the right, least hurtful way to word it. “Well someone that was so into himself and his new family that he couldn’t make the time of day for you.”
Cameron sighed as he put his hand over Cole’s. “Maybe I have selfish reasons.”
Squinting his eyes in confusion Cole tilted his head to one side. “How so?”
“I think I want him to one day go, hey that’s not such a bad kid. And maybe, just maybe, by some wince of a miracle, he’ll regret never caring about me.”
Cole sighed and ran his hand through Cameron’s hair looking at his boyfriend with concern. “If he doesn’t though Cam will you be very upset? I’m not saying he won’t. Just I don’t want you to be counting in it too much.”
“I won’t be too upset; it’s just a fantasy anyways.” His heart filled with happiness that Cole cared so much about his feelings. “The more common sensed side of me is scared to even see him. Like I want to go there and do the lawn, but I’m scared he’ll actually come out of the house and start yelling at me or something.”
“If he does that just walk away okay? Don’t stand there and listen to his nonsense, you don’t need to hear that crap.”
Cameron looked at the ceiling and nodded his heart filling with warmth at Cole’s advice. The advice that assured him, like many things Cole said; just how much Cole cared about him.
At just after noon time Cole dropped him off at his father’s house. He’d offered to stay and help but Cameron sent him on his way figuring if he did this while Cole visited his mother they would have more alone time; and he definitely wanted to maximize the alone time over their long weekend.
He stood for a minute at the end of the driveway looking over the house. All the curtains on the first floor were drawn; something that never had been done before. Usually his stepmother had them all wide open hating to have a dark house. It didn’t really surprise him though that his father wanted them all closed. He imagined if he was in his father’s shoes he would feel like sitting in a dark house too.
He went into the garage and got the mower getting to work right away knowing he only had a couple hours before Cole came back to pick him up. He wanted to be done by the time Cole got back so that Cole didn’t have to help. He would feel guilty having him help after all it was his father, someone Cole didn’t even like.
He quickly finished the front lawn the moved to the back, which took a considerable more amount of time since the grass was twice as tall. He wondered in the back of his mind why the almighty Christians hadn’t come and done it after all they made it their business to do everything else.
He went past the pool with the mower and cringed at how dirty it was. It was a nasty dark green, so dark he couldn’t even see down to the bottom. He figured on another day he could try and clean it, though having never been in the pool or been around when his father had cleaned it he really had no idea how. He figured he could look it up though, after all you could find out about anything on the Internet.
He finished the back lawn and did some trim work with the weed whacker and then put the stuff back in the garage. There was still no sign of Cole so he walked to the end of the driveway and sat down on the sidewalk. The minutes ticked by and it was nearly half an hour before Cole’s car pulled up to the curb. The minute Cameron got in the car he knew something was terribly wrong from Cole’s red rimmed eyes.
“What’s the matter?” He asked putting his hand on Cole’s knee.
Cole only let out a whimper then leaned over and dissolved into Cameron’s arms. Cameron held him tightly with one arm while rubbing his back with his free hand. After a few minutes he said. “Cole your really scaring me, what happened?”
He felt Cole take a deep breath in his arms then he sat up rubbing his eyes. “They won’t let mom come home. They want to put her in permanent care. They say she’s not stable enough to survive outside of a full time care facility.”
Before he could think of any comforting words to say Cole spoke again.
“And there’s more. They don’t want me living alone while my mom’s in a facility. They are calling social services. They almost wouldn’t let me leave. I had to promise them I was going to call my aunt about her coming to get me.”
Cameron’s heart stopped beating for a moment as he felt his whole world crumbling in around him. He knew he was being selfish, but he just couldn’t imagine his life with Cole living thousands of miles away.
Cole looked at Cameron his eyes still moist with tears. “I’m so sorry Cameron. I don’t know what else to do.”
Cameron nodded to numb to even speak. He wanted to cry himself but refused to make this any harder on Cole. Obviously this move would be far more difficult on him.
“You know Cameron, she might come here. She doesn’t have any ties there. If I ask her, she may do it. She offered once before.”
A small fire of hope ignited in Cameron’s heart. “Are you going to ask her Cole?”
Wiping his eyes again Cole nodded. “I can’t leave you; you’re the one thing that’s making me happy.”
The minute they walked into Cole’s house, Cole headed for the phone. Cameron not knowing what else to do given his extreme worry at the moment, stood in the hallway outside the kitchen wringing his hands together. It seemed like he’d stood there forever before Cole came back out with a huge smile on his face and walked right into his arms.
“She’s gonna come here Cameron!” He squeezed Cameron tightly to him. “I don’t have to go anywhere.”
Cameron squeezed him tightly back, relief flooding through him so strongly he thought he just may pass out and was glad he was in Cole’s arms to hopefully prevent that. Even though the fear he may lose Cole had only lasted about fifteen minutes it made him sure he never wanted to be without Cole. Just the mere threat of it had made him feel like his whole world was being taken away.
They stayed in the embrace for several minutes neither wanting to let go both realizing just how much they wanted and needed each other in their lives.