She sat at the old diner table, rocking, back and forth, back and forth on her plastic chair. Camilla felt like a small child; she was fidgety, and was quickly munching down the fries that she had bought faster than what could be believed possible. From the other end of the table, Camilla was positive she looked like a blithering idiot. She hadn't spoken to Tom once since they had sat down, and kept staring at the tacky red clock on the diner wall to see how much time had gone by – four minutes.
Now, Camilla was simply questioning what she was doing. After all, she was the one who had invited Tom to lunch. She was the one who should be speaking. She was the one who should have her manners set straight. But no, she was the guest, now, and Tom was the one trying to start conversation.
“So, I'm not working at the Sports store like I used to,” he said.
Camilla nodded nervously and swallowed another french fry. Tom waited for her to answer, but after a minute of silence, he realized she wasn't going to speak, so he continued.
“I've started a kids' baseball team in my neighbourhood; started it a couple years ago. The kids love it... and I'm really enjoying it myself, too. It doesn't pay, I know, but it's the heart of it that counts. I'm also working part-time at a workplace, but it's not like I really care about any of that. That job just gets me the money. So what are you doing now, Camilla? Last time I heard, you were working at the mall downtown?”
Camilla stared blankly at Tom, fumbling for words. She couldn't tell him she worked at McDonald's; as a manager. Then he'd ask why and she'd have to mention... Tyler. She shouldn't even be out talking to her ex. She has a boyfriend, what in hell was she thinking?
She rose quickly from the table, and mentioned something about “Working with food.”, then bolted out the door, forgetting that Tom had her cell number.
As soon as she answered, Camilla wished she hadn't.
“What are you doing, Cami?” Tom asked. She'd forgotten that name; one of the many things she blocked out from back then.
“I'm getting back home... I'm expected.” she said, getting back into her car.
“Who are you expected by? Cami, you didn't move back in with your folks, did you?” Tom said slightly joking.
Camilla shook her head, forgetting that he couldn't see her. “No.. my boyfriend is expecting me, actually. And please don't call me Cami.”
Camilla closed her phone and shoved it into the bottom of her purse, so that even if she could hear it, she wasn't going to answer it because it was too hard to reach. She pulled out into the intersection, and as she glanced behind her, saw the shocked and slightly devastated stare of Tom, sitting still at the table.
Along the way, Camilla passed three people on their cell phones, one drinking, and eight underage drivers. But that was not what needed to be worried about right now; she was speeding past all these cars, and was positive she was going to be the one caught for it. Luckily, she wasn't. Instead, the group of fifteen year old boys driving a truck got pulled over, so Camilla sped on and turned off onto her street.
As soon as she walked into the five storey apartment, Camilla could hear the television blaring from upstairs, and knew automatically it was Tyler. She recognized the sounds of 'Halo 3' blowing up above her. As she stepped into the old elevator, it got louder. It was like something out of a twisted horror movie; firing of guns, bombs and screaming was radiating from her living room. Mr. Haul, who stood next to her, knew where it was coming from, too.
He'd been in the building longer than almost anyone, with his ruffled grey hair, dark brown cardigan and daily newspaper clutched to his side, he was a regular on the elevator, and Camilla almost always ran into him. One day, while Tyler was playing a rap album and playing Halo at the same time, Mr. Haul lost his temper with Camilla, exclaiming that if her son didn't stop with all that noise, he was going to telephone the landlord. Before she'd even thought about correcting him that the man making all the noise was her boyfriend, he'd walked out the elevator door onto Floor Three. They hadn't spoken since.
“I see that son of yours really likes his games,” Mr. Haul said with a grin; obviously in a brighter mood that day.
Camilla bit her lip in frustration, then looked over to the elderly man as kindly as she could. “Er, Mr. Haul... I don't have a son.” she said, tucking a piece of loose hair behind her ear as she spoke.
Mr. Haul looked at her, confused. “Nephew?” he asked.
Camilla shook her head.
Camilla once again shook her head. “Mr. Haul, have you ever seen Tyler before?”
Mr. Haul shook his own head. “No, I haven't... just heard him. He's up late playing those darned video games of his. Now who is he?”
“He's... my boyfriend.” Camilla admitted, looking down at her cheap, worn shoes that she'd almost replaced.
Mr. Haul's brow furrowed. “Boyfriend? Really? Well, I'm sorry for the confusion, Miss...?”
“Robson. Camilla Robson.” She outstretched her hand, which the old man shook quickly, then pulled away and shook out his newspaper.
“So, did you hear about that flood down in the East side of Toronto? It's destroyed hundreds of homes.” Mr. Haul asked, reading straight out of the paper in his hand.
Camilla shook her head. “No, I haven't. Have they fixed it at all yet?”
The elevator door buzzed. “Oh, look at that, my stop. Say hello to Tyler for me, will you?”
Mr. Haul walked out of the elevator, leaving Camilla standing by herself.
Quickly, she arrived onto her floor, where the buzz of the television only grew louder yet.
“What are you doing?” Camilla asked as she saw Tyler sprawled across the couch, Cheetos coating him. At that moment, she did feel like his mother.
Tyler looked up. “Hey, sugar.” he said, his mouth half-full. Camilla was amazed he wasn't overwhelmingly obese by now, as he ate this much all the time, but barely weighed one hundred and twenty. “I'm just playin' Halo. Gettin' real good, too.” he said. “Wanna come n' watch me?”
Camilla set her bags down from her trip to the mall. “Uh, sure, honey, just a second. I have to start making supper.”
Camilla opened her bag from the grocery store, and took out a box of Hamburger Helper. This should do the trick, she thought. She opened the box, followed the instructions, then put it in the microwave.
“Come watch me play, darlin'!” Tyler shouted from the couch.
Camilla sighed and wandered over to sit on the arm of the sofa.
“Look at me, honey, I killed 20 men and a rabid dog! I'm a hero. Am I your hero, baby? Tell me I'm your hero.” Tyler said.
Camilla spoke in monotone. “You're my hero.”
Tyler paused the game. “No, no, no, sugar. I mean like this.” Tyler imitated a girl's voice. “My hero! You know, like that. Like the girls do in them cowboy and superhero movies. Am I your hero, sweetie?”
“My hero...” Camilla said with a bit more enthusiasm. It seemed as though she were his hero, always getting him what he needed. Without her, he'd be out on the streets, begging for people to give him cash so that he could buy a bottle of beer or a bag of Cheetos.
“Now that's better, ain't it, Camilla.” Tyler pulled her onto his lap, and leaned in to kiss her. Camilla's lips didn't budge.
“Come on, baby. Kiss me back. You know you want to.”
Even with all the despise she had for this man, she knew she did want to – so she kissed him back. She kissed him so much that they lost track of time, and were passionately kissing on the couch when the timer for the microwave went off and the Hamburger Helper was ready.
“Now that's what I call fun.” Tyler said, “Dinner and a little bit of entertainment on the side!” He winked.
Camilla shook her head in disgust as she served the meal into separate bowls, knowing this was going to be a long night.
Tyler was already asleep when Camilla began to get ready for bed. As she began to brush her teeth, her purse caught her eye, and she remembered the phone laying in the bottom of it. While she changed into her skimpy nightie that Tyler had made her purchase, she thought of it. As she clambered into bed, she thought of it. So, after ten minutes of laying wide awake in the dark of their bedroom, Camilla sneaked into the kitchen as not to disturb Tyler, pulled the phone out of her purse, then slid back under the covers in her bed.
She had three messages. The first message was a text, which read: Heye babee wats fr suppr. Im hungry for lov. ;) Obviously a message from Tyler. She shook her head and deleted it quickly. The next message was from her friend from work, Asia. “Hi, Camilla! I was just calling in to check about tomorrow after work... a couple of the people from work are going out for supper at that new pub down the road and we were wondering if you wanted to come? Well... get back to me!” Camilla would probably go to avoid another night with Tyler; he'd have to come up with a meal for himself. The third message was, of course, from Tom. “Hi, Camilla... I'm guessing from the way you left like that, that you don't really want to talk to me... but I just thought I'd leave this message. I'm sorry for acting in any way flirtatious. You have a boyfriend, I had no right to do that... so anyways, yeah. I'll talk to you later, maybe? No? Well... bye.” The phone clicked off, and a robot told Camilla that there were no more new messages, loud enough to burst her ear drums.
Before she could think about anything she'd just heard, a too familiar hand came sliding around her waist. The phone must have woken Tyler. “Whatcha doin', sexy?”
“Just checking messages before bed, hon.” Camilla answered, then tried to pretend she was sleeping, but Tyler ignored her, pulling her closer to him.
“Not now; not tonight...” Camilla said.
“No, baby, now...” Tyler whined, and before she knew it, he was pressed up right against her.
So it was one of those nights, Camilla thought, as she turned around to give him the opening kiss.