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Thanks to Jerrie for the edit.
"Camble, what have I done to deserve you gracing me with your presence?" Rick said smiling and setting his hands on the small counter top in front of him.
"Um... you sent a letter saying you wanted to see me," I said slowly. I didn't really know why I'd come, why I'd felt like I had to, just because he'd asked.
"Oh that's right, I did," Rick said and kept on smiling. His smile pissed me off, made me feel like he was laughing at me.
"If you are just going to smile at me, I'm leaving," I said and stood.
"Damn Kid, sit down," Rick said and stood too. We glared at each other for a few seconds before I slowly sat back down.
"What do you want Rick?"
"Two things," he said and shifted around in his chair. "One, I have something that I need to give you, and two, I want to say that I was sorry."
"You're sorry?" I asked.
"Yes, and yeah it probably means nothing to you, but I am sorry, and I needed to let you know that." I stared at him, mouth wide open. This is not what I expected when I read his letter.
"No, Rick, it does mean a lot to me to hear that from you. Thank you," I said. I was uncomfortable with this, with seeing him again. I had really hoped I never would again. After getting that letter though, I didn't know what to think. Maybe I was just desperate to talk to someone other then Mac and Rhonda and John.
"Okay," Rick said and stood. I stood too and watched as he left the room. The guard that had brought me into the room, was there again waiting at the door for me. I walked toward him, glancing back at the small stall I'd just been sitting in. It had happened so fast, it was hard to believe that I'd talked to Rick at all.
"Come on Mr. York, we have your things at the front desk," the guard said and walked in front of me, expecting me to follow. When we got to the front desk, he pulled a long envelope from a draw and handed it to me. I looked down at it, my name written across the front. I looked back up at the guard and he was smiling at me.
I walked out of the building and got into my truck, throwing the envelope across the bench seat and started the car. A couple hours later I was over by the lake behind my town, envelope in one hand, beer in the other. I was drinking a lot more now, if that was obvious.
I dropped the tail gate, sat down on it heavily, and started opening the seal. I pulled out a packet of paper and started looking through it. It was a deed. It was the deed to Rick's house. The last page of the packet was a letter.
"Dear Camble," it began.
"I'm going to get right to the point here. I did wrong by you, I beat the shit out of you, I called you names, I raped you, and you stuck by me anyway. If it had been happening to me, I would have left, but you stayed. In some ways, I find you noble and loyal, but in other ways, I think you're stupid." It was just like Rick to point out things he knew I didn't want to hear; things he knew I already knew too, things that he knew would hurt my feelings but help me understand all sides of an argument, weather I liked it or not.
"You loved me, and that's great, knowing that you loved me. Knowing that I held you're heart when you could have given it to anyone. So, now it's my turn to finally give you something back." I closed me eyes, trying to hide the words. How could he expect me to except that house? Too many good memories turned bad, so much love and hurt; I don't think I could go anywhere near that house let alone live there.
"I don't care what you do with the house, if you sell it or burn it down, whatever, just take it. I hope that, in some way, it'll help ease some of the pain I put you through.
"I'm not asking for your forgiveness, I know better then that, but I am asking that you take this gift. Don't try and send it back to me, because I won't take it. I want you to have it, it's yours.
"P.S.: You don't have to be a stranger; it'd be nice seeing each other once in a while, don't you think?"
I throw the papers to the ground, my empty beer bottle went flying into the lake, and I screamed. How dare he tell me I had to just take the house, and then have the fucking gall to turn around and say I should come see him again, like it was the least I could do to show I was grateful for all he'd done for me? No, I don't fucking think so.
I kicked the papers across the small beach my truck sat in. I was fuming. I felt trapped and stupid. I shouldn't have gone to see him; I don't know why I just up and went the moment he asked me to. I should have fucking thrown the letter away, Rhonda should have thrown it away, rather then handing it over to me like it was nothing.
But I guess it should have been nothing, I shouldn't be pissed about the way he treated me, if I was truly over it I wouldn't react at all. I slammed the tail gate of me truck up, loathing that I was upset, but still upset because I felt like he'd wronged me all over again.
I didn't need this, not when I was still trying to get over Reed...
I picked up the dirtied papers, one by one, and got back into my truck. I drove slowly, using the back roads to get back into town. I looked forward, willing my eyes not to look over when I pasted the road that ran along the back of the Timmy's property.
I couldn't help a glace; I wasn't expecting to see him in the back yard though. I slowed a little more and took a better look. Reed was sitting on the swing hanging from the largest tree in the yard. He was holding on to the ropes, his arms stretched over his head slightly. His eyes were down at his feet as he swung the swing a few inches with his toes.
"Camble, Camble, Camble," Reed said giggling next to my ear. I opened my eyes slowly, still feeling half asleep.
"Hmm," I mumbled and closed me eyes again, snuggling into his warm body.
"Guess what I found?" he said and moved to lay over me, straddling me hips, and moving his arms under my back to hold onto my shoulders.
"Hmm?" I asked again.
"A swing, will you come and help me put it up?"
"Baby, I'm asleep," I said and kissed his neck, wanting him to stay and go back to sleep with me.
"Please? We can take a nap later." I looked up at him again and smiled. He was such a little kid sometimes. So easily amused by such a simple toy, but I loved the joy Reed radiated when he was like this. Plus, I knew if I helped him now, he would reward me later.
"Sure baby, let me get dressed," I said and he giggled, again kissing me hard and ran from the room. Two hours later, we had the swing tied high on the top branch of a tree.
"All those years I've tried climbing this tree, why didn't I ever think of a using a 40 foot latter?" Reed said using his hand to shield the sun as he looked up at the branch.
"I don't know, maybe your just slow?" I said and he pushed me lightly.
"Hey mister, for that crack you get to push me," Reed said and sat down, glancing over his shoulder to smile at me. I shook my head and walked over to him, leaning down to kiss his cheek and pushed him up into the air.
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up at the road just as I swerved off it. I steadied the car quickly and got off the gravel shoulder and back onto the real road. I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm my body, and looked back out the window. I was a little ways down the road from the backyard now, but I could still see Reed. He was standing up next to the swing, eyes toward my truck. I slammed my foot on the gas and sped away.
It hurt to see Reed looking so lost, but it hurt too just seeing him. I couldn't take that he'd never even called to say he was sorry. At least Rick had done that much.
"Are you going to keep the house?"
"Are you insane?" I asked Rhonda and stood from the table. I was always restless anymore, I could never calm down, and I felt like I really was going insane this time.
"I'd keep it if I were you," She said and smiled sweetly.
"Then you can have it," I say and throw the papers onto the counter top, smiling back at her. She stood and picked up the papers and walked passed me.
"That's so sweet of you Camble, thank you." She said and turned, walking up the stairs. I stood there shocked for a minute before I had to laugh. Why I expected anything less from her, I don't know.
It was late, I wasn't sure of the time, but it was dark outside. I'd just gotten back from work, and I came into the house, finding it as dark as ever. I walked through the halls and rooms, turning on all the lights, hoping that it would help the house feel more like a home again.
I walked over to the phone to check my messages. It said I had four new ones, but I knew better then to hope any of them was from Camble. I'd given up hope on him ever calling me again.
"Hey Reed, what's up little bro? Mom and Dad want me to come down a pick you up for the weekend, so back your bags; I'll be there Friday morning." I needed to call him back and let him know I couldn't go, I had to work.
"Hello honey, it's Mom, I just wanted to call and see how you were doing, give us a call soon." I shook my head; I'd just called her that morning, what could have changed? Nothing really, a big fat fucking nothing.
"Reed, its Seth. I don't get why you have been avoiding my calls, I mean it was just a kiss, your boy toy can't be that mad-"
"Bastard," I said as I deleted it.
"Reed? Hi it's Gwenn, I had a few questions about something, could you come back to work?" I picked up the phone and banged it against my forehead, why? I don't know, thought it would help, but it didn't.
I walked around the house, turning all the lights back off, rubbing my head the whole way. I got to the door and looked back at the darkened house again.
"I suck at life."
"Now, tell me again why you can't come?" Wes said. I followed him up the stairs and into my room. He went to the closet and pulled down one of my over night bags.
"I have to work; I told you that yesterday when you called. You don't have to come here and rescue me Wes, I'm fine." I said and pulled the bag away from him. He glared at me and snatched it back.
"Yes I do, and no you're not." Wes said turning to go back to the closet, and started pulling out random garments, half of which weren't even mine.
"Wes, don't," I said and tried to take them from him.
"Reed, you can't just sit here all day and do nothing, you have to get out, you have to so something other then work and sleep."
"No, I don't. I'm not just your little brother anymore Wes, you can't just tell me how I have to live my life. If I want to fucking lay around all day long, so help me, that's what's I'm going to do." I yelled and left the room.
"I'm not trying to control you Reed, I'm trying to help you," Wes said coming after me.
"No your not," I screamed turning around. "You didn't ask me to come and stay the weekend with you, you told me. You didn't listen to me when I told you that I had to work, which I really do, you just came out here anyway." I breathed in deep, not wanting to scream at Wes anymore. "I don't mind you helping me Wes, you're my brother, I love you. But right now, you have to leave me alone, and wait for me to ask for that help."
"I don't know if I can do that," Wes said, crossing his arms, leaning against the wall.
"Yeah, okay Wes, whatever," I said and walked away from him again.
"Reed," Mom said smiling when Wes and I walked through the front door. "How are you dear?"
"I'm fine Mom," I said and gave her a hug. She held on for a few more minutes than normal. I wasn't sure if that was because she hadn't seen me in a month, or if it was because she felt sorry for me. I didn't want her sympathy, I was the one who fucked everything up, if anything she should be calling Camble telling him how sorry she was. Though I'm sure she had. I wondered then if he'd called her back, if she'd gotten through to him where I'd failed.
"Your Father wants to see you, he asked me to send you to find him the moment you get here." I nodded and walked up the stairs toward Dad's study, where you'd be able to find him anytime he wasn't eating or sleeping.
"Hey, Dad," I said and sat down on the large leather wing back chair. He looked over at me and smiled.
"There's my boy, how's everything?"
"Okay I guess," I said and smiled. He always made me feel good. My father was the type of man who's always encouraging and loving, there were very few times he'd gotten to the point were he had to yell at me. If I got a D on a test in school, he would say "there's always next time" or "this teacher is stupid, number five and ten are right, ask him to look it over again." I loved him for his ever understand in me.
"Well, I'm not." He said and I sat up a little straighter. "I'm not dying, don't start thinking that." I nodded and sat back against the chair.
"Then what's wrong?"
"I've been thinking a lot about what happened last month," I looked down at my hands; I didn't want to talk about this. "You love Camble don't you?" I nodded and brushed the tears from my eyes before they could fall and looked at him.
"I do, you know I do."
"Then, I think you didn't try hard enough to get him back. Yes, I know you called him, but what else? Did you ever go and see him? Did you ever try talking to Mac or Rhonda?" I shook my head. "Why?"
"I was scared; I thought that if I went over there, Camble would refuse to see me. I called him so many times Dad, you have no idea, and he didn't call me back once, he didn't even call to say stop calling," I said.
"You were scared?" he asked and looked away for a second before looking back.
"I'm sorry Reed," Dad said and stood up. I watched as he walked over toward his desk and opened a draw. He lifted a shoebox and brought it over to me. "Read these and tell me if you are still scared," Dad said and walked from the room.
I'm sorry that I am not there to meet you like I said I would, but I've been thinking a lot lately. I thought it might be easier if I tried explaining those thoughts in this letter, instead of in spoken words.
I know how much your parents expect from you. I know that they want you to go to college and marry some successful woman, not a poor farmer's daughter who isn't ever going to do any better than this town.
More then anything I wish happiness for you, I wish all those dreams you told me about to come true. So please, just go. Forget about me, go away to college like you planed, and be happy. Don't worry about me, don't give me a second thought, just go, and don't look back.
Good-bye Henry, and believe me when I say this is for the better.
June 16, 1964
Forget you? Just leave and forget you? It would be easier to cut off my own leg then leave you behind. I want you with me, in everything I do, why don't you understand that?
When I told you about my dreams, it wasn't just dreams, I was making plans with you, I want us to go and do those things together. How could I backpack through Europe with out you there to guide me when I get lost? How could I go away to college without you there, making me study?
When I told you I loved you, when I told you I wanted you and only you, I meant it, I promise you.
Please come and see me tonight, I want to really talk to you about this. I want to make you understand. Please don't just turn away from me like this. I love you Lily, please believe that.
June 17, 1964
Please Henry just goes. I want you to leave me alone.
June 20, 1964
You should have said that the night we met, and then maybe I'd be able to leave you alone.
I'm not going to stop Lily, not until I have you again. I'll call you, I'll write you, I'll come to your house and sit on your porch until you agree to be with me.
You can't fool me Lily, I know how much you love me.
Yours forever, Henry
June 21, 1964
Okay that's it, I've tried to be nice and I tried to be friendly, but this has to stop. So, you want to know why I stopped seeing you.
I'm pregnant, with your child. Now, like I said, you deserve better than this. You have the mind to do it, so go, and do it.
I'll be fine, just go Henry; go before you get stuck here, hating me. I love you too much to let you do that to yourself.
July 1, 1964
July 2, 1964
"So, you gave Rhonda Rick's house?" Mac asked glaring at me from the other side of the bar.
"Yeah," I said and shrugged.
"Okay," Mac said and drank down half a beer, still staring at me. "I miss you son."
"What happened next," I said coming into the living room where Mom and Dad were watching TV.
"What?" Mom asked and turned off the TV. I stared at Dad and set the shoebox down in front of him.
"What happened next?" I asked again. Dad sat back and took a hold of my Mom's hand. "What happened on July Second that made you say `I'm sorry' and only that?"
"I got scared," Dad said simply and gave me a measuring look. "But I didn't let that stop me, Reed."
"This is bullshit," I yelled. I was furious. They hadn't asked me to come here to see me, at least Dad hadn't. He'd brought me here just so he could show me how wrong I was. Like I didn't already fucking know. Like I didn't already understand that my being scared is what had ruined everything for me my entire life.
"Honey," Mom started but I shook my head.
"The grand gesture," I said and lifted my arms over my head and turned around. I dropped them on top of me head. "Wes," I yelled up the stairs, flinging my arms out in front of me. "Utter bullshit."
I woke up with a start, hearing a door slam. It couldn't have been any later then six AM. I got up; pulling on the first shirt I say over my boxers. I stumbled down the stairs and found both Rhonda and Mac standing just inside the kitchen, looking out the back door.
"What is it guys?" I said making them both turn around, giving me glimpse of what they were looking at. I walked slowly forward and out onto the back step. "There's no fucking way."
"Camble, it's real," Rhonda said, I could hear the smile on her face in her voice.
There, in our backyard, was Reed's blue couch.
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