Chapter Seventeen

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"You look so grown up."

I couldn't help but get lost in her eyes as I looked beyond my reflection. Years of pain and uncertainty were hidden behind her smile. Her whole life must've changed when she found out she was pregnant, and then again when she gave us up for adoption. So many mixed emotions would have come along with that decision, so much heartbreak.

She glanced at me, her eyes locking with mine. It felt oddly familiar, like looking at an old friend but still, my body shook with fear and the hairs on my arms stood up on end.

"I guess I should introduce myself; I'm Beth." She smiled and cleared her throat. "Come sit down. Do you want anything to drink or eat? I hope it's all right that I already ordered myself something." She held up her coffee. "Anything you want; it's my treat."

"No thank you. I'm fine." I was too nervous to eat and far too shaky for a cup of coffee. That would have sent me right over the edge, but Cameron had other ideas.

"Sure," he said. As she started towards the counter, I stuck my elbow in Cameron's side, earning a confused glare. "What?"

"What can I get for you?" The man at the cash register asked, and Beth turned to Cameron for him to order.

He tugged at a loose piece of skin on his finger before shoving his hands in his pockets. A nervous habit that I thought he'd overcome - until now. I was probably the only one in the room who noticed; he could never seem to hide it from me. "I'll have a medium coffee, thanks."

"Samara, are you sure you don't want anything?" I tried to convince myself that Beth was just trying to be nice but my brain screamed, I already told you I was fine!

I took a deep breath and clasped my hands together. "I'm okay, thanks though," I decided to say.

We waited in silence for Cameron's coffee before heading to a table in the back corner of the nearly empty cafe. I was glad there weren't other people around to witness this. I felt like it needed to be a private moment so things could be aired out in the open. The chair screeched across the floor, and I winced, afraid of the looks we were getting. No one could tell we were meeting our birth mother could they? Cameron kicked my foot playfully, trying to lighten my mood but failed.

"Are you both still in school? It's not summer yet is it?" She crossed her legs and leaned on the table inquisitively.

Cameron looked to me, wondering if I was going to take the lead on this one and finally say something. My eyes flickered down to my hands as my nails dug into the skin on my palms. I would have hissed in pain if I wasn't so used to the feeling. He sighed, "No, there are still two weeks left and then we have exams."

"Are you looking forward to being done?" Another question rolled off her tongue without a second thought as if she had rehearsed the conversation a thousand times over.

"Yeah," Cameron answered, while I just nodded. Hopefully.

"Do you have any plans for after graduation?" I didn't want to jinx it. I was so close to making it out alive after everything I'd been through, but a few months was all it took to send all of my hard work circling down the drain. How could I tell her my plans and then have them not pan out? Embarrassment would eat me alive.

"I was accepted to Robert Townsend Community College to become a mechanic."

Cameron's answer sparked something in Beth's eyes. Her smile twitched as she looked to her hands wrapped around her to-go cup. I got the feeling he had taken her by surprise. "That was exactly what your birth father wanted to do growing up; he loved cars. You look so much like him," her voice caught in her throat, "you both do."

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