I chuckle nervously. "Should we really be joking about this?"
A mischievous smirk plays across her face. If anyone's allowed to joke about it then it's definitely me. Try and help Cam through it though, will you? He's not a toughie like you, he could use a dose of your level-headedness. I actually always wanted you two to meet, but drama got in the way.
"Drama tends to do that."
She swings her legs playfully. Now that's one thing you can be certain of.
The sound of footsteps pulls me out of the depths of my mind, and I look over my shoulder. To my surprise, Cam is standing behind me. I swing my legs back up onto the pier and stand up. "What are you doing here? Didn't you have a family lunch thing to get to?"
He shrugs and looks at the ground. "It's just a few relatives visiting that we see pretty often. Nobody's going to mind if I'm a bit late."
"Are you trying to get revenge for the time I interrupted you here?"
He laughs weakly. "No. I just wondered what you were doing."
"Same as you were - talking to Lola."
I turn back to look at her, but she has dissipated in the midst of my distraction. Cam nods slowly. "Okay. Sorry, I just..."
He trails off, leaving me confused. "You just what?"
He keeps his eyes glued to the floor. "It's dangerous out here. I already lost one of my best friends to that water."
Whatever I expected him to say, it certainly wasn't that. "Cam, you don't have to worry about me. You don't really think I'd jump, do you?"
He shakes his head. "I know, I know. I just saw you and got worried. This pier isn't exactly a happy place."
"I suppose it's not, but I wouldn't say it's sad. When I come here it's like I'm visiting her. I can imagine her so vividly and talk to her and it's like she's still with me."
He looks at me curiously. "You imagine talking to her?"
I look away and my face heats up. "I know, it's stupid. It just relaxes me. It feels peaceful to step out of the mess we're in and just talk to her.
"No, it's not stupid. I just haven't been able to face imagining her like that."
"You mean you don't think about her?"
He squints as though he's trying to decipher how to put what's happening in his brain into words. "I'm always thinking about her. But it's all memories. It'd hurt far too much to imagine her back into the present only to have her taken away again when I come back to reality. It's hard enough remembering she's gone when I wake up every morning."
His philosophy is difficult to relate to, but hearing it makes me feel as though I'm beginning to understand him. "I see. I guess I'm just different. If I stopped imagining her it'd be like having her die all over again."
He nods in silence and sits down at the edge of the pier. I follow, and sit beside him. I find the combination of his presence and the silence calming, and I wonder if he feels the same.
The quiet moment is brief but satisfying before he breaks it. "So you don't think this is a sad place?"
I find myself unable to speak until I manage to sort through the millions of messy thoughts cluttering my mind. "It can be, but I don't think it has to be. This place was the last place Lola was alive. Coming here reminds me of her, and thinking of her makes me smile. I'm glad I know where she last lived and breathed. I'd much rather come here and enjoy thinking of her than look at a little plaque in a crematorium where her ashes are kept."
Cam nods thoughtfully. "I guess I'd never really thought of it that way."
"I'd honestly be surprised if we thought of anything the same way."
He chuckles. "I'd have to agree with that. Did I tell you that Lola always wanted us to meet?"
"You mentioned it briefly. Why didn't she introduce us?"
"She wanted to wait for a time when all the drama had blown over. How she thought that was possible I'll never know."
The ocean air is pleasantly cool on my skin in contrast to the hot sunlight. The mixed sensations of sunlight warming my skin and the mixture of excess sunscreen and perspiration cooling down in the breeze are surprisingly pleasant. I had expected Cam to leave quickly after checking in with me, but he remains seated beside me as though he has no intention of leaving.
I clasp my hands together in my lap. "So, are you going to make it to that lunch?"
He smiles. "Are you trying to get rid of me?"
"No, but I you know I'm okay now. Why stay and waste time?"
He looks away. "I'm not wasting time."
"Then what else are you here for?"
I try to make eye contact with him, but his gaze is securely averted from mine. "Do you want me to give you some space?"
He sits silently for a moment, an unusual expression on his face.
He looks up, and before I know what's happening, his face is colliding with mine.
And, I don't know if it's the power of surprise, a short circuit in my brain, or a hidden desire that's been dormant inside me all along, but I don't pull away.
YOU ARE READING
LolaMystery / Thriller
Dani Chapman is the only friend of Lola Bailey who speaks at her funeral. Cameron Keyes is furious. Both claim to have lost their best friend, and neither are satisfied with the explanation of her death. Their plan is simple - find out what really h...