12 - We tell each other everything . . . or at least we used to.

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The next day, I was a little slower than usual to get up and head down to the oval for lunch with my friends. My head was still swimming with various thoughts about Ruben, Madden and my family; and, of course, Camden. Thinking about it all reminded me of Bree and the day we spent together at the beach, just watching the majestic whales from the shore.

I wished more than anything that she were here to talk to about what I should do. Saying that, her decision making was worse than anyone I knew, but she was my sister and I felt all this required a neutral sisterly chat, which I just couldn't get from my brothers or my male best friend. The drama-free life that comes from just hanging out with boys definitely had its advantages, but none of those advantages were of any value to me now. And Morgan, who I loved and would talk to about this if it didn't involve her boyfriend's best mate, was obviously biased.

Tanner could sense something was wrong when we got to the oval, all four kids in tow, and asked me what was going on. I shouldn't have been surprised. He knew me better than anyone, but I couldn't talk to him. He was friends with Ruben too, and the reality was that anything to do with Camden would jeopardised the cohesiveness of our group. I didn't want to bring that about any sooner than I had to. I already feel awful and and guilty and confused enough as it is.

He wasn't buying the 'I'm-just-in-a-really-weird-headspace-at-the-moment' answer I initially gave him. He was getting frustrated with my evasiveness and it just made me feel even worse.

"Sade, we're mates; we always have been. You should be able to explain it to me, at the very least. I could understand if you couldn't with Morgan or Rubes, but I'm your best friend. We tell each other everything, or at least we used to . . ."

I felt guilty for not telling him about Camden. He was right; I'd been telling him almost everything for years, specific details about my stepfather and his assholery aside. I just couldn't explain to him what was going on with Camden because I couldn't explain it to myself. And even if I could, I wasn't sure I wanted to. Maybe whatever I felt towards Camden was more appealing because no-one knew and could challenge me on it.

"You know I'll always love you, Tann, no matter what happens, yeah?"

"Dude, I love you too, but you're really starting to scare the shit out of me. Has something happened at home again? Do I need to kick your dickhead stepfather's ass? Or, is it Bree? Have you finally heard something? Did something happen with Rubes? Please tell me." He was pleading for answers I wasn't going to give him.

Ruben suddenly appeared, effectively ending that line of questioning with an awkward silence between Tanner and I. But he didn't notice. He didn't even say hi. He just went straight for Madden, picking him up from the pram and kissing his chubby cheeks with his unshaven face, tickling the poor kid with his facial hair until he erupted into wild fits of giggles.

"You look more and more like your beautiful aunt every day, buddy," he said, holding him above his head playfully. He was always delicate and attentive of Madden, and it was hard not to imagine my pubescent ovaries going into overdrive and literally begging to be fertilised every time I saw it.

"Mate, you know that's actually not possible, yeah? Bree was her stepsister," Tanner pointed out, unnecessarily.

"I'm not an idiot, you insensitive dick. I'm just saying, he's a good looking kid, and that he has an equally gorgeous woman taking care of him," he smirked. He took a few steps closer and kissed me, still cradling Madden in his arms. "Hey there, girlfriend." 

It was so easy to imagine this being our lives together: just hanging with our mates and raising Madden together, which is pretty much what has been happening the past six months anyway. I'd never had an issue with that thought before. Today seemed different though, and I instead grew anxious thinking about my future, already neatly planned and scripted for me without any explicit input by me, the one living it. The normalcy of it suddenly seemed crushing, and for the first time in my life I found myself craving something unexpected and surprising, and I knew which guy was more likely to make that happen.

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