Friday, September 28, 2012

Chapter 5-5: Enjoy the Silence

               The funeral procession slid along the streets as silent as could be expected. The group arrived at the graveyard and made their way to the simple, white chairs, waiting in front of the open grave. A solemn, gray haired man stood at the head of the casket, ready to say a few words to ease the pain of the living and give the departed soul a “proper” goodbye.

               Camille would rather be anywhere than here but this event was one you just could not miss. With her boss behind her, she had no choice but to sit, solemn and cross-armed, waiting until the final goodbyes were said. She could hear Joshua gritting his teeth and holding back tears behind her. She envied his grief. All she felt was guilt. And anger, a lot of anger.

                Finally, the service was done and Camille rushed to get away from this cold place. Angie led the way silently, knowing not to pry. Suddenly, she heard footsteps behind her and, a second later, a hand on her elbow.

               “Camille, wait,” Donovan stopped her.
               She turned, swinging her hand towards him. “Now is not the time for an interview, you insensitive asshole.”
               “I’m not asking for that interview and I think you know it.”
               “You have the appointment time for the interview. Either you come or you don’t. Otherwise, I have nothing to say to you.” She spun back around, marching towards the cemetery gates, expecting to hear him pursuing her or attempting to persuade her to talk but he hung back, allowing her to leave without further incident.

               As she lay in bed that night, she thought over what she knew Donovan really wanted to talk to her about. After the ambulance had rushed to the neglected homestead, they had carefully loaded Pearl into it, grim about her chances. Camille wanted to ride with them. After all, it was her fault that Pearl was on the edge of life and death. She had been the one to insist that they could handle the situation. She had been the one to underestimate her opponent and now her best friend was very likely going to die.

               Angie had made it clear that Camille needed to wait for internal affairs and the medical examiner to arrive so that the events leading to the shootout could be recalled and reviewed as soon after the fact as possible. After her on the scene interview, she was brought back to the station for yet another round of questioning. Finally, she was permitted to go home and shower and was put on temporary suspension until the investigation was concluded. She had no worries about her job; she had acted as best she could under the circumstances. Regardless, Pearl was at the hospital fighting for her life and Camille found she could not sleep.

               Eventually, she fought it no longer and drudged down to the intensive care unit. She was not allowed in to see Pearl but looked on through the window, fighting back tears as her eyes followed all the tubes and wires hooked up to machines, beeping, helping her best friend stay alive.

               “Hey now, don’t cry,” she heard a voice behind her. She looked up to see the obnoxious reporter standing beside her. She bristled, ready to berate him for stalking her to this place for his scoop but she found that it only made her feel guiltier. Her anger and desire for revenge was the cause of everything.

               “She’s going to pull through,” he soothed her.
               “How can you possibly know that,” she demanded, voice thick, eyes blinking back any signs of weakness.
               “Because I know people everywhere, including people on staff. Don’t lose hope just yet.”

               She didn’t know if it was her gratitude for his words or her need for comfort to assuage her remorse but somehow, instead of pulling away, she found herself drawing closer to him. Soon, her need was too much for a hospital hallway and they found themselves in a supply closet across the hall, holding each other tight, barely catching a breath as she used him to forget everything.

               Unfortunately, as Camille well knew, forgetting never lasts long. He made it clear in the cemetery today that he was not going to be forgetting soon. At least the interview would take place at the station and, if nothing else, Donovan Matter was too professional to let their personal affair interfere with his career. Afterwards, she planned on avoiding him at all costs.

               Something easier said than done, as she quickly discovered. With everything happening lately, Camille had even less desire to spend time with people but, sometimes, sitting boarded up in her house was too much to bear. It was during those moments that she would find herself traveling across town to central park to read or meandering down the boardwalk to watch the waves, just to hear the cacophony of the masses without necessarily having to interact with them herself.

               On one such visit, she was looking out at the ocean, struggling to keep her mind blank when she saw Donovan approaching.

               “What are you doing here,” she grumbled.
               “Fine, you want to pretend what happened a couple of weeks ago never happened. Works for me.”
               “Just like that?” She was suspicious.
               “Just like that.”

               “Now, c’mon!”
               “What? I thought we were pretending nothing happened?”
               “We are. Doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.” He dragged her to the photo booth.

               She wasn’t really sure what exactly he planned but when the flashbulbs started popping, he began making silly faces. She raised an eyebrow at him but soon, she was making funny faces right along with him. When they emerged, she pulled the pictures from the slot and groaned at how awful she looked. For the first time in weeks though, she actually laughed.

                They spent the next few hours playing games along the boardwalk; ring tosses, skeeball, even a claw dipper. When the sun set, she realized that she had spent hours in his company without thinking of Pearl’s injury, Chris’s death, and the still pending investigation.

               “Donovan, thank you for making me forget, for just a little while.”
               He took her hand tentatively. “I like you Camille. I’ll help you forget whenever you need me to.”

               She had no plans to take him up on the offer. As nice as it had been, she still had no desires to get seriously involved with anyone. Somehow though, she always found some reason to seek him out and they never did the same thing twice. One weekend, they went to the beach. Another outing was to the local aquarium. Never once did he press her for a kiss or attempt to hold her hand as they walked together. She found his behavior both comforting and maddening. Is he only interested in being friends? Does he take pity on me? Is there another story he needs help with that I don’t know about yet?

               “Oh my Watcher Pearl! This dress is pink! And what do you have me wearing in my hair?”
               “Shut up and like it. Don’t you owe that to me after nearly getting me shot to death,” Pearl jested.
               “I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” she shouted when she saw her friend’s face fall. “He deserved it and if I got a little scar in the process, that’s fine. Besides, I also got this diamond.”

               It was true. After the shootout, Joshua had realized that his time with Pearl, especially in her line of work, was not as infinite as he would like it to be and he quickly proposed. The wedding was beautiful. Donovan had agreed to be Camille’s date and even coordinated his tie with her pink maid of honor dress.
               The vows were said under the sweeping branches of the willow trees, on the bank of the river as the sun set. While she couldn’t picture getting married herself, Camille couldn’t help think that the ceremony was beautiful and she may have even shed a tear or two.

               She didn’t know if it was the gooey romantic reception or the open bar that had her in a particularly friendly mood but Camille suddenly found herself kissing Donovan, right on the dance floor, in front of all the guests. Pearl, and even Ian, looked happy that Camille was opening up to someone. Donovan himself was a little surprised at Camille’s very public display of affection but he knew better than to say something about it and risk her retracting those affections.

               Camille hated to admit it to herself but Donovan really did make her happy. She wasn’t feeling particularly sappy about it, nor was she doodling his last name with hers or anything like that but she enjoyed spending time with him. They often talked on the phone when they got off work and saw each other out a couple of times a week. During one such date, she finally invited him over to her place for the first time.

               “I think, if you’d want to that is, that I’d like you to spend the night,” she said, as they walked to her door, his hand already on the knob. She wanted to give him the opportunity to bolt or even politely decline. He didn’t though and she found herself leading him to her bedroom.

               Aside from swimming trunks, she had never really taken the time to fully appreciate his body. Their carnal affair in the supply closet at the hospital had been brief, half dressed and Camille had been too busy trying to put the situation out her mind to fully appreciate the beauty of Donovan’s assets. Lying in bed with him she felt almost shy and a little in awe that he had been interested and even more so, patient with her. He truly was a fine specimen on the male gender.

               “Oh my Watcher Pearl. I actually asked him to stay the night! Can you believe me,” Camille groaned the next day when Pearl stopped by. She and Joshua had just flown back in from their honeymoon in Sunlit Tides and she had, of course, wanted to see her best friend right away.
               “I think it is sweet,” Pearl gushed, ever the romantic. Camille thought she was twice as maudlin since getting married.

               It soon became apparent that Camille’s doubts and fears about inviting Donovan to spend the night weren’t completely unfounded. Three pregnancy tests and uncountable trips to the bathroom to puke her waffles up later, Camille confirmed that she might be facing her worst nightmare. She was pregnant.

                “Pearl, I have to tell you something. I don’t really know what to do,” Camille invited the only person over that she could talk to. “I’m pregnant.”

               “That’s fantastic!” Camille should have known that sappy Pearl would think this as nothing but happy news.
               “You’re insane.”
               “It’s amazing! Because Joshua and I are having a baby too,” Pearl exclaimed, excited to be sharing her news and even more excited that she could share all the pregnancy firsts with her best friend. What girl doesn’t wish for that?

                “Pearl, that’s great. You and Joshua are married and love each other. You’re still on desk duty since the incident which is fine with me. I’ve got too much going on with work. And I don’t love Donovan. We just have a good time together.  I don’t want to have a baby.”
               “Wait, are you saying that you’re considering…” Pearl let the unvoiced word linger in the air. Camille sighed.
               “I don’t know.”
               “Think about it, before you decide anything, please. And promise me you will tell Donovan first. He deserves to know.” At that point, Pearl dropped the subject and Camille played the role of dutiful friend, cooing over her friend's non-existent belly and pretending that she was only experiencing this third person.

                She thought over her friend’s words for weeks. Agonized over them, in fact. She had never really had an opinion on abortions, always thinking it was something for someone else, nothing she would ever have to worry about. She had been careful, in the few and far between trysts she had had. She had never expected to find herself in this situation. Strictly technically speaking, she shouldn’t have to be worrying about it now either. Camille herself took precautions against this sort of thing and extra “software” precaution measures had been in place. Yet, still, here she was, single and pregnant.

               Her mind thought back to her mother. Three children and three fathers later, Yalena had finally managed to end up with the “right” guy though Camille had her own thoughts on the matter. Her father, Ace, had never settled down with the right woman though he hadn’t had any other children. Love just wasn’t something that Camille could believe in. Looking at Pearl though, it was hard not feel a tiny speck of something that might be called hope hiding down deep in her heart. According to history though, having a child with someone did not mean the two parents belonged together or even loved each other.

               She sighed. She was no closer to a decision than she was before. Her stomach reeled once again and Camille, as she so often did, wondered how it was possible for such a tiny, little embryo to create such strong reactions in her body. With all her doubts and considerations, Camille at least had come to one deduction: she needed to tell Donovan. This was his baby too and he, at least, should know about its existence, regardless of her decision.

               Before she could change her mind, she texted him and asked to meet him at the local coffee shop down the street. She fussed over her appearance in the mirror, wanting to look good for him, even when she was bearing such dismal news. She made it to the little cafĂ© and sat, drinking decaf coffee, waiting for his motorcycle to pull up in front.

                When he arrived, she wasted no time dragging out the inevitable.
               “I’m pregnant,” she blurted out with all the finesse of a charging bull. She could tell he didn’t quite know what to think. “Yeah, right there with you buddy. I wasn’t exactly expecting it either.”

                “No, I just, I don’t know what to say.” He leaned over suddenly, placing his hand on her small bump, only a few weeks in, not that she was keeping track. 

                “That’s our baby in there,” he whispered, in awe. Suddenly she knew that she could never go through with an abortion. She knew it was ultimately her choice but his immediate acceptance and amazement of the situation thawed her heart just a little and made her see what he saw, for just a small flash. Then he pulled her close and opened his mouth.

               “Camille, I know that we’re not really in that place yet but I want you to know that I really care about you and I already love our baby. Marry me.”

               She instantly pulled away, pushing her from him, trying to keep the panic  from reaching the surface.
               “Stop talking.”

               “It really means a lot to me that you would offer that but I don’t love you. I don’t want to get married. I’ll keep the baby. I won’t even fight you for custody if you want it full time. But no marriage. No us. It’s just not…what I want.” And without looking back, she left the coffee shop.

Chapter 5.4                                                                                                                                      Chapter 5.6
Look! I didn't kill her off. Reya, you can continue speaking to me and scrap that nasty PM you've had sitting in your draft box for weeks now!

Also: Pearl's diamond. Joshua knew what he was doing and got his princess a pink princess cut. That perky blonde sure is spoiled. :P

In other news, I am back! It's been a long time coming and I'm not exactly 100% happy with this chapter. However, I've had it sitting back for such a long time that I just needed to get it out there. With James home for almost two weeks now, we're finally settling back into a routine which includes me getting a chance to play with my game some. Not that I was a regular updater before but I'm trying. Sorry for such the long wait and suspense but hopefully the gooey-ness of this chapter more than makes up for it! Forgive me?