It’s after midnight now. I already stopped at an internet café and purchased Camryn’s plane ticket to North Carolina online and afterwards stopped at an ATM and withdrew more than enough cash to pay her cab ride to the airport and one home from the airport in North Carolina.
On my way into the front lobby of our hotel, I ask the front desk clerk for an envelope, a piece of paper and something to write with and then I sit down on a couch in the lobby and write Camryn a note:
I’m sorry I left like I did, but I know I couldn’t say goodbye face-to-face. I hope you’ll remember me, but if forgetting me is easier then I can live with that, too.
Never hold back, Camryn Bennett; be sure to do what you want in life, say what you feel and never be afraid to be yourself. Fuck what everybody else thinks. You’re living for you, not them.
The code below is what you’ll need to give to the airport to get on your plane home. All you’ll need is your I.D. The plane leaves tomorrow morning. The cash is for your cab.
Thank you for best two weeks of my life and for being there for me when I needed you the most.
I read the note over five times before I’m satisfied with it and finally fold it and place it with the cash into the envelope.
I make my way to the elevator. One last hurdle is slipping out without Camryn knowing about it. I hope she’s still asleep. Please just let her be asleep. I can do this if I don’t have to see her, but if she sees me…No. I have to be able to do this either way.
And I will.
I step out of the elevator on our floor and make my way through one long, brightly-lit stretch of hallway past several rooms. Seeing our rooms out ahead makes my stomach swim nervously. I walk past quietly; worried that my shoes shuffling across the floor might be enough to let her know I’m out here. There’s a DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging on her doorknob and I don’t know why but seeing it causes my stomach to twist up in knots. Maybe because the only time I’ve ever hung one of those on a hotel door was when I was inside getting laid. The thought of Camryn being f**ked by some other guy….
I grind my teeth together and walk past. How insanely pathetic was that? She’s not even mine and I just got raped by a crazy-jealous reaction.
The sooner I get out of New Orleans, the better.
I slide my card-key in my door and slip inside the room. It looks exactly the way I left it: clothes strewn near my bags and Aidan’s guitar propped against the wall underneath the mounted light fixture. I move through the room, gathering up everything and have an oh-yeah moment when I realize I probably would’ve left my chargers in the wall if I hadn’t of seen them at the right angle when I passed. I unplug them and shove them along with my clothes down into my bag. Lastly, I hurry into the bathroom to get my toothbrush from the sink.
Camryn is standing in the doorway when I walk back out.
“ANDREW? ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” I look across at him, crossing my arms as the room door clicks closed softly behind me.
I’ve been so worried about him…worried because I was afraid he’d left without saying goodbye, but more worried because of the state of mind he was in when he left. Because his father just died.
I catch my breath quietly and he walks past me towards his bags sitting on the end of the bed.
Why won’t he look at me?
I glance at the bags again and realize instantly what he’s doing. I let my arms fall back to my sides and I walk closer to him.
“Please talk to me,” I say gently. “Andrew, you scared the shit out of me—.” He shoves his toothbrush into his duffle bag, keeping his back to me. “—if you need to go to the funeral, that’s good. I can go back home. Maybe we can talk—”
Andrew whirls around.
“This isn’t about the funeral or my father, Camryn,” he says and his words hurt me without knowing the meaning behind them first.
“Then what is it?”
He turns away from me again, pretending to rummage through one of his bags though I know it’s just a distraction. I see an envelope sticking out of his back pocket. RYN is written across the front; the first half of what I’m guessing is my name is covered by the fabric of his pocket.
I reach out and take it.
Andrew turns around again and his face falls.
“Camryn…,” he breathes a sad breath and looks briefly down at the floor.
“What is this?” I ask looking down at my name.
Already I’m pulling out the top flap from inside the envelope with my finger.
Andrew doesn’t answer; he just stands there waiting for me to read the contents of the note because he knows I’m going to anyway.
He wants me to.
I see the cash and leave it in the envelope without touching it and I set it aside on the foot of the bed. All I care about is the note in my hands that already is crushing my heart and I haven’t even read it yet. I look up at him and down at the note a few times before finally unfolding it.
My hands are shaking.
Why are my hands shaking?
And as I read, a hot lump wedges itself in the center of my throat. My eyes are burning with anger and hurt and tears.
“Babe, you knew this trip had to end sometime.”
“Don’t call me babe,” I snap, gripping the note tightly within my fingertips now down at my side. “If you’re leaving, you no longer have that right.”
I glare back up at him, my face full of pain and questions and confusion. Why am I so mad, so hurt? Andrew is right: it had to end sometime, but why am I letting it affect me like this?
Tears begin to stream from my eyes. I can’t hold them back, but I’ll be damned if I let myself bawl like a baby. I just look at him, my face tight and consumed by pain and ire. My hands are clenched at my sides, the top half of Andrew’s note crushed in my fist.
“If you were leaving like this because of your father, because you needed time alone, and the number on the bottom of this note was yours instead of a ticket confirmation, then I could understand.” I raise the crushed note up in front of me and let it fall back at my side. “But to leave because of me and pretend that nothing between us ever happened…Andrew, that hurts. It f**king hurts.”
I see his jaw twitch.
“Who the hell said I could ever pretend that it never happened?” he rips the words out, clearly stung by mine. He drops the duffle bag handle and moves away from the bed toward me. “I’ll never be able to forget any of this, Camryn! That’s why I couldn’t face you!” He slashes the air between us with his hands.
I step backward and away from him. I can’t deal with this. My heart hurts too much. And I’m pissed off that I can’t make myself stop crying. I look down at the note in my hand and then back up at him and finally I walk around him to the bed and drop it down beside the envelope and the money.
“Fine. Go ahead and leave. But I’ll pay my own way home.”
I wipe my eyes and walk to the door.
“Still afraid,” he calls out behind me.
I whirl around. “You don’t know shit!” And I push open the door, dropping his extra key on the floor and go back into my room.
I pace. And pace. And pace. I want to hit a wall or tear something up, but I settle with finally bawling like a baby.
Andrew storms inside my room, letting the door smack the wall on his way in. He grabs me by my upper-arms, digging his fingers into my muscles.
“Why are you still afraid?!” Tears lace his eyes: furious, painful tears. He shakes me. “SAY WHAT YOU FEEL!”
His thunderous voice makes my body go rigid for a moment, but I shove his hands off me. I’m so confused. I know what I want to say. I don’t want him to go, but—
“Camryn!” His face is full of wrath and desperation. “Say whatever it is that you feel! I don’t care how dangerous or stupid or hurtful or hilarious—TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL!” His voice sears through me.
He doesn’t stop:
“Be honest with me. Be honest with yourself!” His hands wave outward toward me in gesture. “CAMR—”
“I want you, goddammit!” I scream at him. “The thought of you leaving and never seeing you again tears-me-up-inside!” My throat burns like fire. “I can’t f**king breathe without you!”
“SAY IT! Son-of-a-bitch,” he says, exasperated, “just say it!”
“I want you to own me!” I can hardly stand on my own anymore. Sobs rock my entire body. My eyes sting and my heart hurts like it never has before.
Andrew grabs me, twisting my wrists together behind my back with one of his hands. He pulls my back harshly into his chest. “Say it again, Camryn,” he demands, the heat of his breath bathing the side of my neck, sending chills throughout my limbs. I feel his teeth graze the flesh just below my ear. “Fucking say it, baby.” His hand tightens painfully around my wrists.
“I belong to you, Andrew Parrish…I want you to own me….”
He coils the fingers from his other hand tightly within my hair, pulling my neck back and exposing my throat to him. He bites my chin and then down along my neck. I feel his c*ck pressing into me from behind through the barrier of our clothes.
“Please…,” I whisper, “don’t let me go….”
With my back still pressed into his hard body and my wrists in his hand, he slips his fingers behind my shorts and panties and tears them off. He forces me around toward the bed where my knees are pressed against the mattress and he lifts my arms above my head, slipping off my tank-top.
I don’t look behind me when I sense him kicking off his shoes and removing his clothes. I’ll only move when he allows it.
His rock-hard abs press firmly into my back. I feel his warm arms slip around my nak*d waist; one hand moving up to fully squeeze one breast, the other sliding down in-between my legs. My neck falls back against his chest when he slips a finger between my throbbing lips below and teases me with it. I gasp, tilting my neck back so that I can reach his mouth. His tongue snakes out to touch mine; the fleshy warm wetness of it drives me insane. He crushes his lips against mine and kisses me ravenously, to the point that neither of us can breathe. And then he forces me forward onto the bed. My hands burrow into the sheets, my fingers curling into the fabric until he presses all of his weight on my back and my arms can’t hold my body up anymore. He grabs my wrists again and pulls them around behind me, pressing himself against me.
“Goddammit, please f**k me, Andrew…please,” I beg, my voice shuddering with my breath. I say what I feel this time without his prompt.
And it feels so right.
Andrew leans fully over me; I feel his hardness forceful and persistent. I want him inside of me so bad, but he’s keeping it from me on purpose, making me feel like any moment he’s going to shove it in me, but he never does.
Shivers attack my body again when I feel the tip of his tongue trace a path along the back of my neck. One side of my face is pressed against the mattress, the hard weight of his body on top of me forbidding me to move. I bite my lip when the sting of his teeth clamps down on my back, enough to cause pain, but not breaking the skin. And after he bites me he kisses and licks each spot to ease the tender pain.