Cole’s Aunt was due to arrive mid day on Monday. And even though Cameron had originally planned to stay through dinner, he didn’t feel right hanging out while Cole got re-acquainted with his aunt. He was sad to be leaving early, but the relief he felt over Cole actually being able to stay overrode any of his other feelings.
He left the house around noon declining a ride from Cole as it was only about a five minute walk. After a long deep kiss goodbye he headed out the front door and walked down the walkway to the road. Just as he reached the end, as his luck would have it, the Harris van drove by; Kyle was in the front passenger seat. Though his instinct was to duck his head and not make eye contact, he couldn’t pull his eyes away from the passenger side window.
Kyle who had not made one bit of eye contact with him since the night he had been kicked out of the Harris’s looked right at him. Cameron looked right back, his heart aching at his former best friends narrowed eyes and look of sheer disgust on his face. Cameron watched the van go off down the road then stop and turn into the Harris driveway. He sighed and turned in the other direction, heading home, the good mood that he had woken up in that morning suddenly gone.
“Hey you’re home early!” his mother said from the kitchen table, where she was reading the paper, the minute he walked through the door.
He set his bag down on the couch, his mood slightly better at hearing she actually seemed excited that he had come home early. He walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from her. “Cole’s aunts coming.” Realizing she knew nothing of what was going on he decided to fill her in.
“Oh, the poor boy.” She said shaking her head after he’d finished pretty much telling Cole’s life story. “He must have a heart of gold to have taken care of her for as long as he has. I can’t imagine all the responsibility that must have entailed.”
Cameron nodded spinning the saltshaker on the table. “Well he really loves her.” He wanted to add ‘people do those things for people they love’ but didn’t think he could pull it off without sounding catty so he kept his mouth shut.
“That’s really great his aunt is coming up here though, it would be too bad if he had to move so close to the end of the school year. And you guys seem really close; I imagine it would have been hard on you too.”
He glanced up at her a little uncomfortable about her tone of voice. Was he being paranoid or did she just sound like she knew more about their relationship than he thought? He shook off the feeling, telling himself he didn’t care. Whatever happened happened. He was tired of hiding it; he just wasn’t up to coming right out and telling her. If she did know, or suspect, she didn’t seem to care and he was going to let it go at that.
“How are you and Kyle doing? You haven’t mentioned him. You were always so close even when you were toddlers. Is he upset you moved out?”
Cameron nodded again. “Yeah, something like that. He’s just a younger Mr. Harris. Doesn’t understand how someone can have a mind of their own.” He surprised himself saying that, but at this point it’s what he truly thought. He’d always seen a bit of Mr. Harris in Kyle, but never if asked before a week ago, would have thought he was just as bigoted as his father.
“It’s hard for some people to think beyond the bible. I have to admit I was a little nervous you were living there. I was hoping they wouldn’t turn you into one of them.”
Despite himself Cameron let out a laugh. “You don’t have to worry about that. In fact living that way and seeing them and their fellow churchgoers only turned me off to it even more.”
“That’s good; I think I could handle you telling me you were an axe murderer better than I could handle you preaching at me every day.”
Cameron laughed a little harder, somehow talking bad about the Harris’s with his mom was making him feel a whole lot better. Being in such a good mood at the moment he got up the nerve to ask a question that had been on his mind. “What’s up with you and Mr. Harris anyways? It was obvious you guys couldn’t really stand each other.”
He was afraid at first by the look on his mom’s face that he’d asked too much. He watched her as she sighed then shrugged.
“Just stupid high school crap really. We dated for a while.” She paused not looking like she was going to continue then added, “I cheated on him.”
Cameron’s eyes widened. “With dad?”
She paused again then shook her head. “No it was before I met your father.” She looked up at him and cocked her head to one side. “Did you know your father didn’t grow up here?”
“He moved here halfway through our senior year, from L.A. I think that’s what intrigued me about him. He was from a big city, and when I was young I was one of those girls that always wanted to leave here. Anything that didn’t have anything to do with Maine intrigued me.”
“Why did you hate it so?” He asked sitting back in his chair, loving the fact they were having such a meaningful conversation, loving that his mother was talking to him like an equal, not like some kid that needed to be talked down to.
“I guess that I just felt like it was boring, plus I didn’t feel like I fit here. I didn’t want the most exciting news in my life to be the fact that we got two feet of snow over night, or that old Myrtle at the end of the block fell and broke her hip.”
Cameron found himself laughing again, not having realized by now just how funny his mother was. “But you don’t feel that way now?” He asked, somewhat nervous about what her answer would be.
“No I’ve sewed my wild oats. I’ve seen what I wanted to see of the world and now I’m looking forward to a big snowfall being the most exciting news in my life. I must be getting old or something, because I’m ready for the quiet life.” She sighed and smiled at him. “I especially want to be with you. I’ll always regret leaving you behind in the first place. Now I regret it beyond measure, especially after hearing how your dad treated you. I am really so sorry Cameron.” She shook her head and he noted the sudden moisture in her eyes.
He didn’t know quite what to say. Saying ‘its okay mom’ really didn’t fit, because he didn’t feel it was okay. His childhood had sucked, granted a lot of that was his father’s fault, but if she hadn’t left in the first place he truly thought everything would have been okay. He didn’t want her to feel bad though, she was here now and he could tell she was trying very hard to make up for it.
“Let’s just start over.” He said finally. “Forget the past and go on from here. You’ve already apologized and I’ve already told you how I feel about it. I don’t see any need to keep going over it.”
She wiped at her eyes and smiled at him. “You are a wonderful young man Cameron, I don’t know how you did it all on your own, but you are. I’m so proud to call you my son.”
Feeling his own eyes moisten he stood up from the table rounded it and gave her a very quick hug. “Well that’s enough of that crap! I need to go take a shower.”
He heard her laughing softly as he walked off and was glad to make his escape. Knowing she loved him was one thing, but to hear her gushing over him like that was entirely another. He didn’t know how to respond to it and to say it made him uncomfortable was an understatement. Along with being uncomfortable though, deep down it made his heart feel warm and good, a feeling that up to that point Cole had been the
only one who could produce it in him.
Tuesday at lunch Cameron was last to the table where Jesse and Cole were already seated and talking. Cole nearly jumped out of his skin in excitement at seeing him.
“Cameron!” He said excitedly looking like he had underwear full of ants. “I got a plan!”
Cameron’s face lit up at Cole’s obvious excitement. He already knew from study hour that morning that things were going well with his aunt. “What’s that?”
“When Jesse heads out to bible camp, remember how he was going to catch another bus to get to Province town?”
Cameron nodded as he stuffed his face with the pizza he’d gotten for lunch.
“Why don’t we pick him up at the bus station and then drive him there ourselves? We can stay for a few days, meet the boyfriend, it would be a blast!”
Cameron’s eyes lit up at the very thought. He’d never been on vacation and always wanted to go. He couldn’t fathom a better first vacation or better people to take it with. “That’s awesome Cole!” he said, feeling just as excited as Cole looked.
“Yay!” Cole said putting his arms up, getting even more excited if that were even possible. “I’m so glad you want to do it. You’re mom isn’t going to say no is she?” He asked slowly putting his arms back down.
Cameron shook his head, he wasn’t sure about a lot of things with his mom, but he was pretty sure she wasn’t overly strict and had a feeling she’d actually be very excited for him going on a trip like this. He was definitely excited; he was already picturing himself lying on the beach, Cole by his side in the hot summer sun, with a big ocean right there to cool them off when they needed it. Not to mention the nighttime spent cuddled up together in a hotel room.
After the final bell rang on Wednesday, Cameron hurried out of the school and headed directly to Cole’s car wanting to catch him before he left school in hopes they’d get to spend an unexpected evening together. He waited for only a couple minutes before Cole came out of the school and walked up to him a big smile coming across his face as he laid eyes on Cameron there waiting for him.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be heading to work?”
Cameron shook his head. “Work called and left me a message, I guess they had a small fire in the kitchen and they have to close for the rest of the day to get it cleaned up. I’m free as a bird tonight and I was hoping you were too.”
“Course I am!” he answered excitedly.
“We can go to my house; my mom’s going out tonight so we’ll be alone.”
Cole nodded. “We’d be alone at my house too, my aunt’s going out, but I say we go to your house still, I haven’t even seen it yet.”
Cameron smiled as he opened the passenger side door of the car and sat down inside. It made him feel warm all over that Cole wanted to see where he lived. The feeling of having a partner in his life that cared more about him than about where his asshole was, was according to him ‘one of the best feelings in the world’.
They drove directly to Cameron’s mom’s house and after giving Cole a quick tour, settled in on the couch where Cole pulled out his books. Cameron rolled his eyes though, Cole’s dedication to his schoolwork deep down was endearing to him.
He pulled out his own books figuring there was no better time to do his own homework since he had to wait for Cole to finish his anyways. About an hour later at nearly four o’clock they moved into the kitchen and went through the fridge to find something yummy to eat for supper. Settling on cheeseburgers they worked together at making them then sat down with two burgers each and a big bag of chips at the dining room table.
After dinner they did up their dishes then settled back in on the living room couch with the T.V on. After flipping through channels they decided on Dukes of Hazard.
“What time is your mom going to be home?”
“Not until late, she said she probably wouldn’t be here when I got out of work.”
“Wow cool!” Cole said, his eyes lighting up and he reached over and slid his hand up the front of Cameron’s shirt. Cameron leaned in and their lips met as his hands swept up Cole’s shirt as well quickly working it off much the same as his own shirt left his body.
They adjusted into a reclined position Cameron over Cole holding himself up on his elbows as their lower bodies and lips pressed together. After a few minutes his lips left Cole’s face and moved down onto his neck kissing every surface of the tender flesh, which always made Cole squirm.
He had just undone Cole’s pants and his hand was halfway down into them when he suddenly jerked his head up hearing the door open, he quickly pulled his hand back of Cole’s pants but the rest of him froze as his mother appeared in the doorway. His mother who wasn’t looking in his direction, instead she wasn’t looking where she was going at all, as she was apparently much too involved in a kiss of her own.
Cameron in such a shock at seeing what he was seeing didn’t think to get out of his own compromising position before he called out the word. “MOM!”
Obviously startled his mother pulled away from her kiss and turned to him her eyes wide. Cole beneath him, sat up quickly not having heard anyone come into the house at all, he looked at the two women who’d just come into the house. “Aunt Patty!”
“Cameron!” his mother said her face flushing a deep red. “You were supposed to be at work.”
Getting his bearings a little better he quickly stood up and found his shirt and putting it back on, then tossing Cole’s over to him giving him a look that told Cole his pants were still undone which Cole quickly corrected.
“You were supposed to be out!” He said, focusing back on his mother. “On a date apparently.” He said, looking over Cole’s aunt whom he’d not officially met. When his mother only stared at him like a deer caught in head lights a small smile at the reality of the situation broke out on his face which quickly turned into a soft laughter. He didn’t know if it was relief or not, but he suddenly felt pretty sure his mother wasn’t going to throw him to the streets finding out he was gay.
Puzzled by her son’s sudden laughter she shook her head. “Did you even really have to work tonight? Did you call in sick?”
Cameron shook his head still laughing and trying to compose himself. “They called and told me not to come in.”
His mom nodded, and looked over Cole. “So this is Cole? The boy you’ve been spending your weekends with I take it?”
“Yeah, uh..” Patty spoke up for the first time. “That’s my nephew.”
Cameron looked over at Cole who looked as shocked as everyone else in the room. Cole stared at his aunt and Cameron’s mom, apparently not able to find his voice at all.
“Is this why you got kicked out of the Harris’s?” Cameron’s mother asked him after looking the two over for a couple minutes.
Cameron’s giddy mood went away quickly as he slowly nodded his head.
“Aww, Cameron.” She slowly shook her head then crossed the room and wrapped her arms around him. “I’m so sorry, hon, God it must have been awful you living there with them. I know just how bigoted that man is.” She let go of him and stepped back smiling a small smile. “How come you didn’t tell me?”
Cameron’s eyes widened a little as he looked at Patty then back at his mother. “How come you didn’t tell me?”
“I didn’t know how you’d feel. I almost told you Sunday afternoon after we had that talk about Mr. Harris and I knew for sure he hadn’t rubbed off on you, but I couldn’t find my nerve. I’m sorry.”
Cameron nodded, not able to hold it against her as he’d been too scared to tell her too.
Cole looked up at his aunt and spoke up finally. “You always knew I was gay Aunt Patty, least for as long as I’ve really known. How come you never told me?”
His aunt sat down in one of the chairs near the couch, closest to where Cole was sitting. “Because I didn’t think it was necessary, it had been a long time since I was in a relationship and I didn’t expect to ever be in one again. Your mom knew I was a lesbian, the whole family did actually. Your mom however was the only one that accepted it. When your gram discovered it your sister was already married and living in Virginia, I moved in with her and your father for a few months while I finished school and then moved out and got a place of my own.”
“So gram kicked you out? How did she find out? Did you tell her?”
Cameron’s mom took a step forward then sat down on the arm of the chair Patty was sitting in. “No Mr. Harris did. He caught us in a compromising position after school one day. First thing he did was let everyone know. Including our parents. My parents hit the roof but didn’t react as badly as Patty’s. Least I didn’t get kicked out.” She looked at Cameron and sighed.
“Patty was who he caught me cheating on him with. He made sure to make my life miserable from that point on. Not only did I lose Patty, but I lost all my other friends as well as soon as he spread it all around.”
Cameron sat down on the couch next to Cole in shock at the story he was hearing. “How come you didn’t come back?” he asked looking at Cole’s aunt. “When you graduated?” he looked at his mother. “And how come you didn’t go down there? Only a few months had passed I mean you couldn’t have forgotten about each other that quickly.”
“Your father came into the picture.” His mother said sighing. She looked over at Patty and took her hand holding it tightly into her own. “It is another regret I’ll live with. I don’t regret being with your father entirely, after all you wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been, but that’s the only reason I don’t regret it.”
“I called her once I got my own place.” Patty spoke up. “She told me she was engaged to your father. I was beyond hurt, and I stayed that way for years. Even after she’d left your father and called me I told her I didn’t want to see her, and that’s my regret.” She looked up at Cameron’s mom and smiled. “We both made mistakes.”
“When you said Cole’s aunt was coming to stay I didn’t know enough about Cole to know it was Patty that was coming. But we happened to run into each other at the store yesterday. I went over to Cole’s house and we talked all afternoon. We both decided we’d been stupid long enough, that it was now or never. I was going to tell you Cameron, obviously this wasn’t something that would have been able to be kept secret, I just had to work up the nerve.”
“How did Mr. Harris find out about you?” she asked looking at Cameron again.
Cameron looked at Cole feeling himself blush a bit though he wasn’t sure quite why. “He saw us kissing one day, at Cole’s house. We didn’t know he was there. I didn’t know he’d seen anything until I got home. Then he gave me the ultimatum. ‘Change or move out.’”
His mom and Patty both looked at each other and shook their heads angrily. “Do you guys mind ending your evening early? I’d really like to talk with Cameron?” his mother asked looking at everyone else in the room.
With no one really minding and Cole still a little awe struck, he and his aunt left within a few minutes. Cameron’s mother sat down in the chair Patty had vacated while Cameron sat back down in the seat he’d been in on the couch suddenly a little nervous about just what his mother may want to talk about.
“So is this why you and Kyle really aren’t friends anymore?”
Cameron nodded miserably, even the mention of Kyle’s name sending a mix of emotions through him.
“I’m so sorry; I figure you guys must have been really close.”
“Yeah, well I guess not that close.” He answered bitterly.
“You’re going to hate this, but I have to ask. Are you and Cole being safe?”
He blushed deeply from his head to his toes as an uncomfortable chuckle came out of his mouth and he managed a nod.
“Okay I just had to ask.”
He looked up at her a little confused. “Aren’t you supposed to like order me not to have sex?”
She laughed a little and shook her head. “I think It’s a little late for that, besides you are seventeen I think that’s old enough to decide for yourself what is best for you.”
He nodded, not about to tell he’d had his first sexual experience at thirteen. All those experiences though didn’t hold a candle to what he did with Cole. With Cole it was different, so much more. It made him feel whole, complete. He rubbed his hands together and glanced up at her feeling nervous about what he had to say, but feeling it had to be said.
“After hearing what I heard tonight, with you and Patty I don’t blame you for leaving. I’d have wanted to get the hell out of this town too.” He shook his head looking from the floor back up to his mom. “Man I can’t believe how shocked you must have been to come back here and find out I was actually living with like your arch enemy.”
Her eyes widened as she vigorously nodded her head. “Life sure likes to bite people in the ass sometimes.” She said with a small chuckle. “I’d like to have seen the look on that man’s face when he saw you and Cole kissing.” She shook her head and put her hand briefly over her mouth. “I know it’s not funny, but I think life bit him in the ass at that moment too.”
Cameron smiled, feeling very happy that the world was not full of Mr. Harris’s. That many people including his own mother had an open mind and thought outside of the realm of the bible. People who lived their own lives without looking down on everyone else, and thinking their own shit didn’t stink.
For the first time since his mom had come back he felt he had a connection with her, felt a little more like they were mother and son and not two strangers who were stuck living together. He was ready to get to know her better, and ready to admit that he indeed did have a mother. He was still fearful that one day she may up and leave, but was willing to make the best of whatever time they did have together