The screen on my phone showed an incoming call from Cameron. After confessing that I wanted to see him again there had been no more communication. Now, almost 24 hours later, he was calling.
“Hullo,” I answered.
“Hi beautiful,” he crooned, “Whatcha doing?”
“I’ve just finished dropping off gifts to my grandmother’s friends that she wasn’t able to deliver herself because of the stroke. Of course it’s taken a while because at every stop there’s a lot of visiting that happens. So now I’m hoping I can drive to town and get some dinner before everything closes.”
“Where are you going to go?”
“I have no idea,” I laughed, “You forget I haven’t lived here in 16 years.”
“Oh no… that is something I have certainly not forgotten. I know some places that are decent. Would you like some company?”
“Actually,” I said with a sigh, “That sounds wonderful. I really don’t feel like being alone right now. It’s been a hard day.”
“If you’ll come to my place, I’ll drive.”
“Perfect. Text me the address and I’ll see you shortly.”
The text came in as soon as I hung up. I mapped the directions and drove off down the two lane road into the night. I took inventory of my emotions during the seven minute trip. Above all I was curious. Curious about his motives and how he would act after I had put the brakes on during our dirt road encounter. But a close second to that was my own deep loneliness and sadness. To be alone at my grandmother’s house was to be face to face with my thoughts on mortality—something I was not prepared to face.
I pulled in his driveway to find him outside waiting on me, warming up his truck. He walked up to greet me, arms open wide, pulling me close in a tight embrace. We kissed lightly on the lips and then backed away, allowing there to be some space between us.
“Thank you,” I said softly, “I really wasn’t ready to be alone.”
“This is a dream come true for me,” he said grinning, “I’ve always wanted to take you to dinner.”
“Well let’s go,” I said, walking to the truck, “I’m starving.”
Cameron is good at many things. But he excels at talking. The twenty minute drive into town passed quickly. While holding my hand he regaled me with stories of people we’d gone to high school with, his time as a riverboat captain (seriously), his first time at a whore house in Jersey City, what went wrong in his marriage, and, how he now juggles work and caring for his kids full time. I just listened, asking questions and making mmmhmmm noises, letting his baritone chatter wash over me.
Over dinner I learned who in town was sleeping with who, which kids got into drugs and now weren’t quite all there mentally, and, all about the surprisingly successful ones who had begun dabbling in local politics. The names, though vaguely familiar didn’t always match up with faces in my head. But it didn’t matter. I had removed myself from the rural town in exchange for a different life years ago. I had no desire to return.
“I’ve been doing all the talking,” Cameron said, “Now I want to know all about, Marian.”
“Oh, you know most of it,” I said, and then briefly elaborated on my professional life before asking, “Whatever happened to Jeremy?” effectively curtailing my sharing.
I wasn’t in a sharing mood. My ever-present walls of privacy and layers of secrets had no intention of dropping. Had he recognized my deflection for what it was and called me out on it, I may have let him in a little bit. But he didn’t. So instead, we walked out of the restaurant hand-in-hand, him only scratching the surface of what he said he wanted to know all about. The drive back turned to talk of his many sexual exploits. Each one had an element of humor to it, but I began to see that Cameron had never suffered when it came to attracting women.
Back at his place he showed me around the property, always with an arm around me or his hand in mine, but never crossing that line. I touched him as well. Sometimes a hand on his arm. At other times a gentle stroke along his back. The tuggings of lust I felt were gentle as well, rather than overpowering.
“Would you like to see inside?” he asked me.
He opened the door for me and ushered me in out of the dark, cold night and into his warm kitchen. I shed my coat and looked up at him with a smile. His eyes raked across my face, resting on my lips.
“I have to kiss you,” he said.
“I was assuming you would.”
“Really? I just didn’t want to come between you and Nathan.”
I smiled, thinking about the night before with Mr. Past. “I’m sure it will be just fine,” I said as I closed the space between us.
Camaron is tall, broad shouldered, strong and a full-body kisser. I leaned into him, my arms around his neck and my fingers lightly stroking his closely cropped hair. He moaned and gripped me tighter.
“I don’t want you to have any regrets,” he whispered in my hair, “I’ve been with women who’ve been in relationships before and it’s been the beginning of the end every time.”
“Because they end up wanting you?” I asked.
“Mmmhmmm,” he said and began kissing me again.
I broke the kiss and gave him my most dazzling smile.
“You don’t need to worry about me,” I said, “Nathan and I good. There’s no way you could mess anything up.”
“Okay, good,” he said, “I would hate it if you had any regrets.”
“Nothing is going to happen that I would have any reason to regret,” I said, still in his arms and stroking the side of his face, “You are warding of the lonely I’m feeling and I thank you. It’s been a wonderful night and a glimpse into another world. And I do love kissing you. But that’s all we are going to do. I have no intention of sleeping with you.”
Cameron tilted his head back and laughed, “I’m not even going to get to taste your pussy am I?”
“Nope,” I said with a teasing grin.
“This is all I’ll ever get, isn’t it?” with a chuckle.
“Yup,” I smiled, “You don’t get to add me to your count darling.”
“As much as I want you,” he said, cupping a breast, squeezing hard and causing me to gasp, “I’d rather have your friendship.”
Driving back to my grandmother’s empty house I didn’t feel quite so alone. But even better than that was the feeling of pride I had in myself. I had intentionally placed myself in temptation’s path—as a test of my will power—and had remained calm and in control of my decisions and actions no matter how passionate the kisses had gotten.
That night I had won.