#FanficThursday: The Only One (Camille and Moose) – Step Up – Chapter 23

Chapter 23 – The Return from Miami (New York)

Moose & Camille, Step Up 3

“George Gordon Byron, English poet considered one of the most versatile and important writers in…”

I snort when the phrase refuses to remain in my brain. I close my eyes, concentrate, and repeat:

“George Gordon Byron, English poet considered one of the most versatile and important writers in…”

I’m drowning out a cry of frustration. Nothing. It’s impossible. I hiss, pissed off. I’ve been trying to learn Lord Byron’s biography all afternoon but, for some reason, I can’t get past the first line. The June exams are coming up but my head, instead of being stuck in the ‘19th-century English literature’ book, wanders thousands of miles from New York. Specifically, between the skyscrapers of Miami.

I don’t remember if Moose and I have had any big fights in the almost four years we’ve been together, but of course, the one a few days ago almost ruined our relationship. Why can’t that knucklehead understand what I’m saying? Ever since we started college and began dating, when we started dancing again after so long―at least I did―life seemed to smile on us in every way. I was moving forward with my literature studies and he was moving forward with engineering. Apart from on the dance floor, it has to be said that he is a machine of lights and electronics, I don’t know how he does it.

But really, who would think of running off to Miami because a former classmate asks you to, knowing that in a few days the carnage of the final exams will begin?

I remember we were in Central Park walking together when Jason called him. He was offering to participate in a macro-project with ‘The Mob’, the Miami protest kings, and Jason’s new group, to try to prevent the destruction of the neighborhood where they all lived. And Moose, who, it must be said, seems to be silly sometimes and I say this with all the love in the world, accepted right away almost without consulting me.

But I wasn’t as angry about that as I was about the fact that he didn’t seem to listen to a word I was saying. We had tried to do everything we could to combine dancing with a career during those years without his parents knowing…and he was going to throw it all away on a solidarity impulse? Later, when he asked me to go with him, I refused outright. It was clear to me that my life was in New York and I had to study. He promised he’d be back in time for the exams, but I couldn’t believe him. For some reason, I refused to believe that dancing dominated my life and my relationship like that.

However, I haven’t been able to get that conversation out of my head in the three days he’s been gone. His aching face, when we parted in the park, has accompanied me all these hours, causing the pain in my heart and my remorse for having been so hard on him to behave like a slab over my head and my concentration. My friends have tried to encourage me to go with them to the library, in case the study environment helps me to park so much bitterness, but I feel incapable.

In my room, now single, for some reason, I feel safe from the world and protected from everything. I don’t want to see anyone. I just want to try to study to forget that, deep down, it’s been almost two days since all I want is to see him again and to embrace him. I want him to come back safe and sound since he’s getting into a dangerous quagmire. What if it doesn’t work out? What if they get caught? What will happen to his future career? All that is spinning in my head and preventing me from thinking about Byron, while I cannot hold back the tears any longer and I collapse on my arms, crossed on the table.

That’s why I don’t hear the door to the room open, or the steps approaching the table… I’m only aware that I’m no longer alone when a hand rests on my hair and then comes down through my ear to touch my cheek. Suddenly, I raise my head… And there he is. I can’t believe it. He’s back. He’s back!

“Moose?” I ask, however, thinking it may be a dream.

But he smiles half-heartedly and nods. For a moment, I think I see him more handsome than ever and I hug him without thinking. He lovingly takes me in his arms and kisses my hair while I break into tears again, this time with joy, on his neck.

“Hey, hey!” He pats me on the back to reassure me. “If I knew you were going to cry, I wouldn’t come.”

Unable to avoid it, I punch him gently in the shoulder while raising my head to face him directly.

“You idiot…”, I’m laughing in tears. He looks at me with a sweetness I know I don’t deserve, and so I tell him. “I’m sorry, Moose. I’ve been acting like a child…”

He caresses my cheek gently.

“To be honest, you were right about everything you said to me,” he admits, to my surprise. “But you know I can’t stand to see anyone suffer…and that’s why I realize I didn’t fall into the only person I wanted to see being happy.”

I admit, his confession thrills me. But so is the fact that he has this capacity to give himself to others without asking anything in return―it’s one of the things that drives me crazy about him.

“I shouldn’t have gotten like that…”, I am honest, holding his hands, “but I was so afraid something would happen to you. The police, I don’t know,” I shrug my shoulders and go under my head in shame. “I want you to be happy, Moose, and do what makes you happy.”

Moose cradles my face in his hands before slowly kissing me, erasing all my sadness with one stroke.

“I want you to be happy, too, Cam,” he says to me, having only slightly parted. “And that’s why I won’t make another decision that could affect both of us without asking you first, okay?”

I smile, I’m excited. This is another step, I can feel it. But it gives me little time to think about it before my lips rush back to his, looking for more than just a welcome greeting. And Moose, with the same feeling coursing through his veins, kicks his bag aside as we both move forward to land on the bed.

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