Compromising Emotions

Tyler was still asleep when Camilla slipped out of bed the following morning, cautious to not awaken the sleeping man. Most girlfriends would do this because they cared deeply about their significant other, and wanted them to get a good rest. And though Camilla was sure she felt these things also, she'd taken the time to make sure Tyler wouldn't wake up simply because she wanted to avoid him, and his cranky morning attitude.  She was sure that every piece of her heart loved the drooling, careless, bony man, who was collapsed on top of the covers, with his legs stretched out across the entire double bed. But her mind told her, in many ways, that she was obligated to love him. She often felt as if it were her responsibility, for if she didn't love him, who would? His whole family had left him for the 'better son', the one who Camilla had once hated along with Tyler, when he'd told her of how he was compared so much to his brother, until she began to get to know Tyler well for herself, and realized that his family was probably better off without him.
Camilla felt guilty thinking these things, as she loved him immensely, but knew deep down that she couldn't really control these feelings. One half of her really, truly loved this man, and the other half of her hated him down to his last pathetic, lazy molecule.  But as she sneaked out of the bedroom, she began to hate herself, more than anything – for she had woken the beast. She heard the bed sheets rustle from behind her, and the familiar grumble coming from Tyler's mouth erupted into the bedroom, and Camilla was almost positive the ground beneath her began to shake.
“Where ya going, Mill-a?” Tyler asked, his words slurring together, as they always did in the morning.
Camilla felt like a mother answering a young son as she responded. “I'm going to work, Tyler.”
Tyler's face crumpled into a squished-up ball and his eyes grew wide. “Aw,” he whined. “Can't Mill-a-Willa stay another hour?”
Work was starting in half an hour; Camilla couldn't stay with Tyler any longer, even if she had wanted to. “I can't stay. I'll set out some cereal before I go, so you can get yourself something.”
“But you're the manager! Can't you call in late?”
Camilla shook her head. “I have to go, Tyler, goodbye.” she said, as she rushed out of the bedroom, and out the door, stopping to grab a jacket.
It was only on the street when she looked down and realized she was still wearing the silk, lacy nightie she'd worn to bed that last night, but at that point, it was too late to go back – and she didn't want to face the beast, again. The workers at McDonald's would probably have an extra uniform she could use, and anyone who judged her would get their last paycheck and be sent out the door.

The clock struck ten the moment Camilla rushed into McDonald's, clutching her jacket as tightly over her nightie as she could.  Fortunately, the customers did not notice as she walked into the back area.  Although, the workers did.
“What are you wearing, Camilla?” Janine, a teenage girl with a huge ego problem asked. “You're supposed to be wearing a uniform?”
“Shove off, Janine. If you keep talking to me that way, you'll end up not wearing one, either.” Camilla smoothly responded, watching as Janine's expression changed from confident to stunned. “Now, go get me a spare uniform from the back closet, would you?”
Janine stood and stared for a moment, obviously still stunned from Camilla's remark, which really wasn't that bad. Supposedly it was to a fifteen-year old who had grown up in a mansion, getting everything she asked for.  Why she was working at a McDonald's, then, Camilla did not know.
“Go, Janine. I'm serious.”
The girl turned around, then rushed to the back, only to start whispering to another worker.
Camilla brushed it off, then waited patiently until Janine came back with a uniform, hanging loosely in her skinny arms.  “Here you go.” she said quietly, then walked over to the deep fryer nervously.
If Camilla ever had to name her pet peeve, the first thing that would probably come to mind would be people.  Even though there were probably millions of kind, fun people out there, Camilla always seemed to be ending up with the ones who were rude, insensitive, and boring.  And though she knew she'd most likely brought it upon herself, she couldn't help but wonder what her life would be like if she hadn't responded to Tyler that day in the Starbucks next to her old apartment.
For one, she'd still have her old job.  When Camilla had started to see Tyler, he was working at an office, shredding paper for a living, while Camilla was working in her very own office, as a dental assistant for a very successful dentist.  And since Tyler needed so much from her, Camilla had taken a second job, working at McDonald's.  That had seemed to be going fine, until one day, when Camilla was working on a young child, using a sharp blade, and Tyler waltzed in and shoved Camilla to 'surprise her'.  This resulted in a crying, bleeding child with a wound that would most likely turn into a scar on his left cheek, and Camilla left with McDonald's as her only income.  She hadn't been able to find a job since, for every time she told that story, her could-be employers became extremely distant.   Secondly, if Camilla hadn't met Tyler, she would be living in her old, bigger, more spacious apartment. McDonald's hadn't been enough to pay for that place, so she'd moved in with Tyler into his small, ugly apartment with orange walls and assumed that once he began to make more money they could find a better place. But that never happened, because after Tyler left his job, he never looked for another one.  As Camilla slid into a pair of too-tight pants and a McDonald's t-shirt, she wondered if she'd ever be able to get back the life she once had. Get back the apartment, get back the job, get back... Tom.  It was really difficult for her to admit, but she knew, deep inside, that Tom was who she wanted.  That was the life she wanted, more than anything in the entire world.

After serving fifty-seven customers, deep-frying one hundred and eighty-nine french fries, and drinking two and a half Coca Cola's, Camilla walked quickly out the door; not forgetting to grab her lingerie and jacket from that morning.  It was a holiday, so McDonald's was closing early.
Asia, her co-worker, stood outside, cigarette in hand, obviously waiting for Camilla to come out.
“So, are you coming tonight?” Asia asked.
Camilla stared blankly, waiting for Asia to be more specific.
“You know... we're going out tonight? You and me and some of the workers?  To the Greenbay Pub?  For supper?”
It then clicked in Camilla's mind. The message that past night, right before...
Camilla closed her eyes, trying to erase the memories from that night, then opened them again to an impatient young woman.
“Yeah, I'll go, for sure. What time?”she asked.
Asia nodded and half-smiled, then said, “Around seven, if you can make it by then. Sound good?”
Camilla smiled, “Yep, see you there.”
Without waiting for a response from her friend, Camilla turned around and headed toward her car, exactly as the clock struck six.

The End

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