NOTE: MUSIC TRACK - PLAY IT WHEN IT SHOWS UP IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN - LATE`KNIGHT`SIMMER
Did The Leader allow you to listen to music?
Yes, although only music that had been pre-approved by him was acceptable. Working at the bookstore allowed me to hear different kinds of music that I actually liked better.
Mother and I are driving home from the country club. We played tennis for about an hour and a half, and then refreshed ourselves at the smoothie bar. At some point, I saw her talking to one of her uppity friends. I miss Camo, but I don't have his phone number. Why didn't we exchange numbers? The strangeness of that question sticks with me. Come to think of it, I've never seen him pull out a phone, not even to check the time. Is it because he doesn't have a phone? I guess I wouldn't put it past that place he lives to prohibit him from having a phone. I make a point to ask him about it the next time I see him, which luckily is tomorrow since it's Monday. I may be the only person in the world who likes to go to work, but it's only because Camo is there.
"Verona? Darling, did you hear what I asked you?"
Crap, I was so lost in my thoughts I had no idea Mother had even been talking.
"No, sorry Mother, I didn't. What did you say?"
"I asked if you wanted to give Marcus another chance. His mother was talking to me today, and she said Marcus has been moping around the house because he really wanted to go to dinner with you, but that you two never scheduled anything."
No, no, no, Mother! It figures that now when I'm actually thinking about a boy seriously, Mother would try to screw it up. She's so good at it, I don't know why I expected her to stop meddling. I'd hoped she had gotten some sense into her head since she's been treating Absolon so well. I try to be as polite as I can without telling Mother about Camo because I really want to tell Daddy first.
"I'm not sure, Mother. Marcus was nice enough, but I didn't feel any passion or chemistry between us. I don't really see it going anywhere with him."
"Can't you just go on one date with him? Your first meeting was rather abrupt, I think a dinner date alone with him will be what you need to get to know him better."
"Mother, you are not getting the point. I don't want to get to know Marcus better."
"Why not, Verona?"
I can feel Mother getting as exasperated with me as I am with her. Maybe I should just tell her I'm dating someone. No, that will go very badly because she'll start asking me about his place in society and what he does. There's no way I can tell her that I'm dating a boy who lives in a shelter. She'll freak out. Damn it. What do I tell her?
"It doesn't matter, Verona. Marcus' mother has already made reservations at Avec des Glacons, upon Marcus' request. You'll see Marcus at 7pm Tuesday night for dinner."
I swear under my breath and tense every muscle in my body so I don't reach up and punch her.
Camo and Titanium are doing their weekly checking of the reproduction schedule to see if they're on it, and Camo notices his number is up again. He glares at the paper and storms away to their room. Titanium finishes checking the paper and doesn't see his number, so he follows Camo. He finds Camo sitting on his bed in their room, sulking.
"I don't want to do it, Titanium...I don't want to do it."
"I know. It seems wrong, doesn't it? What are you going to do? If you don't do it, The Leader will know something is up and you'll have to tell him about Verona."
"Well, what I'm going to do is tell Verona about it, and then I have to do it. I can't let The Leader know that I feel this place is wrong, or he'll punish me. I just have to keep going like everything is fine."
"Do you think Verona will be mad at you?"
It's my last song before the store closes. I decide to play Payphone by Maroon 5.
I'm at a pay phone trying to call home
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby, it's all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?
Yeah, I know it's hard to remember
The people we used to be
It's even harder to picture
That you're not here next to me
You say it's too late to make it
But is it too late to try
And in our time that you wasted
All of our bridges burned down
I've wasted my nights
You turned out the lights, now I'm paralyzed
Still stuck in that time when we called it love
But even the sun sets in paradise
If "Happy ever after" did exist
I would still be holding you like this
All those fairy tales are full of shit
One more fucking love song I'll be sick
Oh you turned your back on tomorrow
Cause you forgot yesterday
I gave you my love to borrow
But you just gave it away
You can't expect me to be fine
I don't expect you to care
I know I've said it before
But all of our bridges burned down
Man, fuck that shit
I'll be out spending all this money while you're sitting round wondering
Why it wasn't you who came up from nothing
Made it up from the bottom, now when you see me, I'm stunning
And all of my cars start with a push of a button
Telling me the chances I blew up or whatever you call it
Switch the number to my phone so you never could call it
Don't need my name on my shirt you can tell it I'm ballin'
Swish what a shame could have got picked
Had a really good game but you missed your last shot
So you talk about who you see at the top
Or what you could have saw but sad to say it's over for
Phantom pulled up valet open doors
Wiz like go away, got what you was looking for
Now it's me who they want, so you can go and take
That little piece of shit with you
~ Payphone, by Maroon 5 ~
"Camo, I'm having a really bad day."
"Really? So am I."
"I need to tell you something," we both say in unison.
Then we laugh because we said the same thing at the same time. I love how just being around Camo makes me all giddy inside. I know talking to him will make me feel better even though it's not going to be a very pleasant topic. I wonder why he's having a bad day.
Camo takes my hand and leads me over to the couch by the wall. He puts me on his lap and holds my hand, while he uses his other hand to rub my thigh. I can't even describe how good he's making me feel right now just by sitting with me. I really needed this.
How does he do that? He's making my heart beat a million times a minute, and all he's doing is being in my presence. It's like he's looking deep into my soul or something. Maybe I just feel that way because I love him. I'm so distracted by Camo's eyes that I feel like everything around me has stopped, like we're frozen in time together. I notice his lips moving, so my eyes read his words even though I didn't hear them.
"What did you want to tell me?"
I take a deep breath to calm myself before I speak because I don't want to make him jealous, even though I know he understands that I love him and I'd never hurt him on purpose.
"My mother set me up on a date with a boy named Marcus. Before I met you, my mother brought Marcus over to our house and wanted me to go out with him. I said no and then I met you. My mother went to the country club yesterday and she talked to Marcus' mother, who had made reservations for me and Marcus to have dinner together. I don't want to go out with him, I already told him that, but I guess he's persistent. I also told my mother that I don't want to date him, but she's persistent as well."
I look into Camo's eyes to try to get a glimpse of what he might be feeling at the moment. He doesn't look upset, which is good. He's still holding my hand and hasn't made any sudden movements to throw me off him or anything.
"Does your mother know about me?"
"No, but that's only because I'm afraid she'll make me stop seeing you."
"Why would she do that?"
"She is obsessed with social status, you know, rich people and poor people? My family is rich, so she wants me to date a rich person. I want to date someone I love, and I love you. It's just a date, but I don't want to go because there's no point. I'm not going to give Marcus false hope or lead him on because I don't want him. I don't know what to do."
I hang my head and look down at my legs, hating that I've been put in such a stupid situation. I don't know why I'm freaking out so much about a date. It's not like I'd been planning to do anything with Marcus. Camo squeezes my hand, comforting me.
"You should go on the date, and tell Marcus that you don't like him. You can tell him about me and then maybe he'll leave you alone."
Camo's words surprise me, but they make sense. If I go on the date, and tell Marcus directly that I don't like him, then I'll have satisfied my mother's wish. Of course she won't be pleased that I just told him no straight away instead of getting to know him better, but she can't argue with me as much if I do go on the date.
"Are you sure about that, Camo?"
"Yeah. I don't know if he will leave you alone, but you can at least try. Plus I know you aren't going to kiss him or anything like that. Ah crap, this makes what I have to tell you even worse. I got assigned to that stupid sex schedule again. I really don't want to do it, but I can't see a way out of it without the shelter finding out about you."
It's my turn to squeeze Camo's hand as he hangs his head and stares into his lap. No wonder he was having a crappy day. The news makes me wish even harder that I could get him out of that wretched place. He looks so upset that I pull him towards me and hold him close to let him know I'm not upset with him in the slightest. I run my fingers through his hair and hug him.
"When do you have to do that?"
"Wednesday at 2 o'clock."
"Why don't you come over to my house after you do what you have to and spend some time with me?"
"You don't hate me because I'm not trying to get out of it?"
"Of course not, baby. I don't want you to get punished. I love you, and I mean it."
"I love you too."
Sadly, it's time for him to go home now, so he gets up and smiles at me. I jump off the couch, throw my arms around his neck, and attack his mouth with mine.
While we're kissing, I suddenly remember that I was going to ask him about his cell phone.
"Camo, do you have a cell phone?"
"I do not."
Well, I guess that explains why he didn't ask for my phone number.
Later that night, Camo and Titanium were playing pool in the common area, when The Leader calls them over to the Announcement Desk. They don't really know why The Leader wants to see them, and they can't quite read the expression on his face.