Getting that job at the bookstore definitely started me down the path to noticing new things and possibilities I never would have considered or even believed. I always had Camo to get me to think about things, but seeing them for myself was always more effective.
Titanium has become more comfortable with Absolon ever since he hugged him on their walk. They've been hanging out on the weekends whenever Titanium has free time in between classes. Sometimes Camo and Verona come along, but today it's just Titanium and Absolon since Camo and Verona seem to have had a fight.
Titanium's eyes light up as he sees Absolon waiting for him. Absolon smiles widely and waves at Titanium. They've decided to do something different today and go to a movie. Absolon is taking Titanium to his first R rated film. Titanium feels a twinge of excitement in his heart, and it shows on his face. He's smiling for the first time in a long time, he can't remember how long, and he's enjoying the environment they are in, even though he's just standing in line waiting for a ticket.
"Two for The Campaign, please."
Absolon buys tickets for him and Titanium and they walk to the inside of the theater to their seats. Titanium is in awe of the building because it looks so majestic to him with all of its fancy lights and high ceilings. The color is spectacular, he's so used to white walls and white floors with hardly any decorations. This building has posters on the walls that have their own lights, and he finds it beautiful. The boys seat themselves strategically in the middle of the theater since they've arrived a bit early so they could pick the best seats.
"What do you think so far, Titanium?"
"It's so big and beautiful."
People have been slowly filling the seats and the movie is ready to start. The lights dim down slowly and the movie screen shows a big sign that says Please Turn Your Cell Phones Off. Titanium notices Absolon pull out a shiny object that sort of looks like a walkie talkie, but it's different in that it doesn't have a big antenna or dials. He's never seen a cell phone before as he's not allowed to have one. As the movie progresses, Titanium feels Absolon's hand touch his arm and move down to his hand. Absolon intertwines his fingers in Titanium's and rests both of their hands on the arm rest that's between them. When the movie is over, Absolon and Titanium stand outside the theater talking for a little while.
"Did you like the movie, Titanium?"
"It was loud."
Absolon laughs and says, "That's the best part about a movie. You can get the whole surround sound experience."
"I did like it though, it made me laugh. Thank you for taking me."
Titanium won't say this to Absolon because he doesn't want to ruin the moment with any talk of The Compound, but he wonders why The Leader doesn't let him watch R rated movies. The movie he just saw was much more interesting than any of the movie choices he has at home. Titanium looks down at the concrete for a moment, and then Absolon's finger is on the bottom of his chin, gently pushing his face towards him.
"Hey, you should look up more, and not at the ground so much. You have beautiful eyes."
Titanium blushes and his heart flutters at Absolon's compliment.
"Sorry, I'm just so-"
Absolon's lips are suddenly on his, not too forceful, but touching enough that Titanium feels every point of contact from his face down to his toes. It's that electric feeling again, but this time it's so much more intense. He's shocked, but he likes what's happening.
I'm a little nervous as I wait outside of the therapist's office. It's my very first session and I'm not sure what to expect. I hope the therapist is nice and that he or she isn't one of those people who uses provoking as a means to get patients to talk. I am well aware that I have a bad temper, and I'd prefer it if I didn't feel threatened today. I'm going to try really hard though because I love how Andromeda is these days. I almost see a glimpse of the girl I married so long ago, the girl I fell in love with. She's smiling so much more, and I feel like she's a lot less lost to me than she was a few months back. A little panel outside the therapist's office buzzes, and the receptionist motions for me to go inside. When I open the door, a lady greets me.
"Hi Enigma. I'm Dr. Menios. How can I help you today?"
I shake her hand as I tell her that my wife sent me here. Dr. Menios smiles and tells me to have a seat.
"I have some unresolved issues regarding my son. I've never had a good relationship with him, and I'd like to see if I can start to build one."
"That's certainly a very healthy attitude, Enigma. Let me start with the reason you have issues with your son. Is he a troublemaker that just won't listen to you? Why does he make you upset?"
"I felt like my wife used him as an excuse to fix our relationship. She told me she had a void in her life after she lost her job, and I felt like she thought I wasn't enough for her, which hurt my feelings. She became really distant from me during her pregnancy and while he was growing up, so I felt like he took her away from me. I really love my wife, and the thought of anyone making me lose her angered me."
"All right, let me see if I am understanding you correctly. You and your wife had marital problems, and she took your relationship to the next level, which usually causes more problems than it solves, and made you feel inadequate. Then you took out your anger on your son because you felt like he was the cause of your distance from your wife."
"Yes, that's right."
"Enigma, how old is your son?"
"You care more than you let on. You know how old he is. There was no hesitation on your part when I asked you that question. Most parents who are actually detached from their children can't answer that question immediately because they don't bother to pay attention. I know you said that you haven't had a good relationship with him ever, but subconsciously, you care."
I sit back on the couch and think for a minute about what Dr. Menios just said. I realize she's right. Maybe I'm just thinking in my head that I hate Absolon, even though my heart could be giving different signals, signals that I've never bothered to listen to until now.
"I never thought about that."
Dr. Menios smiles at me and jots something down on her notepad.
"I'd like you to do something before our next session, Enigma. I'd like you to talk to your son the next couple of days. I'm not expecting deep conversations, unless you feel you want to do that. Just say a few words to him every day, get to know him a little. He might be reluctant at first given your past with him, but he's probably wishing that you would like him. Every son needs a father's love, okay?"
I smile and nod at Dr. Menios. I feel pretty good right now, and wonder why I've been so blinded by my hate and anger for this long.
I'm at the beach, listening to the seagulls and the waves crashing against the shore, missing Camo with all my heart. Neither of us works today, so I probably won't see him at all. Daddy hires another crew to work the weekend shifts, while I hired my crew for weekday shifts. I jumped to conclusions the other day and I know I shouldn't have. I didn't really know what Camo was thinking. I shouldn't have assumed he thought the worst. I haven't had a serious relationship in a while, so I guess I'm out of practice at dealing with them. I just wanted to play, so I had a lot of flings. I am eighteen after all, it's the time to have fun. I guess Mother didn't like it because she hated all the 'low class' people I hooked up with and then she started heavily doing that medieval times matchmaking nonsense. Camo makes me feel different though, I can't remember the last time I'd been so sad after an argument. The norm would be my fling and I would fight over something stupid and I'd dump him. This fight has only been going on for one day, if that, and I've been crying my eyes out. It's killing me that he was so angry at me, and the thought that I hurt him makes the tears gush from my eyes like a waterfall. I know I'd be heartbroken if I lost him.
"Verona? Don't cry."
"Camo? Holy fuck, I thought you hated me! I missed you so much!"
I run to Camo with so much force that he almost falls over and hug him with everything I have. He regains his footing and wraps his arms around me, holding me tightly. He starts rubbing my back trying to comfort me.
"I don't hate you, Verona, and I missed you too. I couldn't stop thinking about you and your face when I left work that day. I came to the beach because it reminded me of you, and since we don't work today I wanted to somehow be near you. I didn't know I would be so lucky to actually find you here."
Holy crap, does he even know how romantic he sounds right now? I can only guess that since he's forced to have sex with random people that he has no idea what romance is, but he's doing it subconsciously. He must have feelings for me. I so hope that he loves me too. I continue crying uncontrollably into his shirt, the difference being that now there's a mix of happy and sad tears. Why is he wearing a shirt with his swim trunks? It's not the 1900s. Ooh, who cares Verona? Focus! He's here and that's all that matters right now.
"Why were you so angry the other day?"
I manage to spit out a few words in between sobs.
"I'm so sorry I acted like that. I had a terrible morning, and I don't know why, but seeing Absolon get out of the car with you made me angrier than I already was."
"Are you jealous, Camo? You don't have to be, I am not doing anything with Absolon. I like you, not him."
"Yeah, when someone has something you wish you had, you get jealous of them. It can result in anger towards the person."
I feel Camo start pulling away from me and the look on his face tells me he's confused. He looks into my eyes and scratches his head. I guess he really didn't know why he was mad at me.
"Yes, I suppose I was. What you described is how I felt. I wished I was in your car with you, only because I like it when you are with me. When I saw your face after I yelled at you in the break room, I immediately felt bad, but I was too upset to fix it right then and there, not to mention I didn't know how to fix it so you would smile again. I am so sorry, Verona. Are you okay?"
"I am now that you're here. I was so scared you weren't ever going to talk to me again. I thought I lost you forever, especially when you said that thing about me spying on you. I'd never spy on you."
"Shit, I said that, didn't I? My shelter has really strict rules, and people are always tattling on each other. When I'm there, it's like everybody literally is spying on me, waiting for what I'm going to do wrong so they can go tell. It's made me quite paranoid. I know you would never do something like that."
"Camo? Can I learn more about your life? I don't understand a lot of things that you tell me, and I'd like to try to."
"Yeah, sure, but can we go in the water and talk? I love being in the water."
Camo takes my hand and we walk into the water. I squeeze his hand to make sure I'm not dreaming, that he really did come back to me, and when he squeezes back, I'm sure.