True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 22
On Assignment pt.1

“When was this?” I asked, confused. “The airport?” I repeated, apparently dumbfounded.

            “Serenity has another job, the whole FBI thing, and I was dropping her off at the airport.  I saw you there after I’d seen her to the security check.  You were with four other people.  What did you use to call them?  Goons?  Yeah, goons were with you.  I didn’t know who they were then, though.  You had a black business suit and black sunglasses on.  I couldn’t help it.  I followed you.  I figured that one of them had to be the guy you left me for.  Then I noticed that you looked different.” Alex took a deep breath.  I pushed my fingers gently through his hair to soothe him.  He seemed to take comfort in the gesture and continued on. “That glow; you know, the one I used to compliment you on sometimes?” I nodded softly. “It wasn’t there anymore.” I must have appeared hurt because Alex rushed to correct himself. “You still looked beautiful; of course.  But you weren’t happy.  I knew I had to get on that flight.  I wasn’t even thinking; I swear, it was pure instinct.  You were in first class when I passed and that guy—”

            “Samuel.”

            “Yes.  He was sitting next to you; occupying you.  I walked straight past you to the back of the plane.  I covered my head with a blanket and just waited.  I was too nervous to sleep.  Then I sort of wandered to The Den when we got here, figured I’d blow off some steam and you were there.  And I promise you, when you turned around and saw me, you glowed again.” I didn’t dare smile.  Alex was not going to be happy when I told him the reason why I was in Paris.

            I stood up and Alex stood up with me.  He asked me what was wrong.  I was tempted to say ‘nothing’, but I wanted to be as honest with him as I could.

            “Alex, I’m here because—”

            “I don’t care,” he insisted, hushing me quickly.  I looked over his shoulder trying to pull together some X-ray vision so I would be able to see Samuel coming. “It’s not important,” Alex urged, sensually rubbing my forearms.  I shook my head.

            “But it is important,” I argued quietly. “I’m here on assignment.” Alex froze.

            “What?” he asked, smiling ignorantly.  He was trying to make himself believe that I was joking.

            “Alex, I’m not kidding,” I told him seriously.  He furrowed his eyebrows together in confusion.  He dropped his hands from my arms and the intensity in his eyes bumped up about twenty notches.  I blinked.

            “You…” Alex trailed off; I watched his face, knowing he was at a loss for words. “Who?” I opened my mouth to lie.  Honesty.  Honesty.  Honesty, I chanted in my mind.

            “Donald.  And Peter.” He turned away from me then, running his fingers harshly through his blonde hair.  He cursed under his breath and paced angrily away from me.  I held my breath while my head began to spin.  I trailed after him, already showing weakness.  I’d had Alex in my life for the briefest flash, and now I couldn’t imagine my life without him again.

            Alex whirled around to face me, his eyes were furious.  I stopped following him and pressed the pause button on my movements.  Alex’s lips parted to speak; I took a step back.

            “You’re going to be around—” Alex flared his nostrils and inhaled deeply to calm himself, “—Kyle.”

            “What is your problem with Kyle?  You two have been going at this for forever now.” I had an impromptu urge to throw up my hands in frustration, but I was still frozen.

            “Fine.  Kyle aside, I still can’t believe you would do this!  How long have you been doing this?” he asked with a disgusted tone in his voice.  I was hurt.

            “This is the first and last time,” I mused quietly; trying in vain to defend myself confidently.  I put my hand over my heart, not surprised by the erratic rhythm that pounded against my fingers.  I felt my knees begin to shake.  The room got dimmer and dimmer but my breathing stayed the same.

            “Or is that just what he’s telling you?” Alex challenged boldly, taking a large step in my direction.  The step was angry, nearly threatening.  I took two back.

            “I don’t understand why you’re so mad,” I squeaked timidly.  This seemed to make Alex even more perturbed.  He let out a near growl.  I shielded my face with my hair and shrunk in my shoulders.

            “Camille, how can you not understand why I’m so angry? I don’t want you with anyone else, Bright Eyes.  Hell, I’d rather get shot again than see you with another man.” I suddenly made eye contact with him; I suppose startling him a little.

            “Don’t wish that for even a second, Alex.” He tried to gauge my expression by staring deeply into my eyes.  Alex crossed his arms and held my gaze.  I stared back, trying my hardest to not shy away from the power and force of his eyes.

            “I can’t believe you would do this.”

            “Do what? I haven’t done anything to you!” I exclaimed, my head aching.  I was tired of being accused of something disgusting when I was only doing my job.

            “Camille, calm down,” Alex ordered, using only a hint of his undeniable authority.  I closed my mouth resolutely and placed my hands on my hips. “Now, come here.” I shook my head and held my ground.  If he wanted me to he would have to come to me. “Camille.” He just said my name and that was all she wrote.  It was so much more than just a stern whisper from his lips.  My heart jumped so far into my throat, I could taste the aorta.

            I walked towards him cautiously.  He kept his eyes trained on my face as I walked to him.  I crossed my arms so he would know that I wasn’t happy about this.  I was falling again.  I was so sudden it was more like tripping.  When I stood in front of him, unsure of what he expected, he remained silent.  Instead of taking me in his arms like I wanted him to, he took a step back.  Absently, and still looking into his gray-blue eyes, I followed him.  The scent of his skin lingered in the air around us and I took another step forward when he strode backwards again.  I didn’t understand what he was doing.

            “Good.  That makes me feel better,” he said proudly.

            “Should I understand any of this?” I asked dumbly.

            “No,” he answered fondly, taking my hand in his own gently.

            “Because I don’t,” I continued, squeezing his hand in a reassuring gesture.  With a timid tug I pulled Alex to me, holding him against me in a familiar and comfortable hug. “As long as it makes you feel better.”

            “It does,” he told me.  I smiled and kissed his cheek.

            “This is bad.  Wrong,” I stuttered madly.  My heart prepared itself for another striking blow.  Alex agreed in a silent nod.

            “You don’t belong to me anymore, clever girl,” he chuckled on my neck.  I didn’t like that.  Either part of that sentence.  The first part of it for obvious reasons.  The second part because Mr. Stone always called me a ‘clever little girl’.

            “Go live your life, Alex.  Go and get married, and have kids, and help them grow up, and get old and wrinkly, and forget what you used to be,” I said as bravely as I could manage.  This was killing me.

            “I can make this right,” he mumbled to himself.  He extricated himself from my arms and kissed my forehead.

            “Alex, did you hear me?” I asked fervently.  He nodded, but it was more like he was waving me off.  He turned and reached for the door. “Bye,” I whispered.  The door open and shut and I had a bad gut feeling.  Bad feeling.

 

            I remember walking through the orphanage janitorial closet when I was around eleven years old.  My baggy sweater hung loosely on my body like a sagging dead parasitic fish.  I rubbed my arms to warm them; the closet was damp and drafty.  I stumbled over a fallen broomstick and scraped my palms trying to catch myself before I hit the ground.

            I curled up in the farthest corner of the closet.  The bullies of the orphanage wouldn’t be able to find me in there.  They were especially hard on me now that Christian or Alex had left.  Screaming at me that I had no bodyguard anymore.  Slowly circling me outside in the dreary play-yard, poking and kicking me while I clung tightly to my Hemingway.  I held onto my book with such force that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the words imprinted on my shirt.

            As I lay scrunched up in a dusty and smelly janitorial closet I wondered if the kind people made of honesty, strength, bravery, and love existed only in my books.  Lived solely in the pages of Hemingway and fairy tales.  I had learned to stop crying a long time ago.  I cried only on occasions where it could not be helped.  More and more of the younger children got adopted, little by little older children were accepted into families as well.  I just knew that no one would want me.

            Not everything that you think you know is true.

 

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