Chapter 38 – Are you? I am (Las Vegas)
The rooftop breeze is a sweet comfort to my troubled mind. Luckily, the ceremony went as planned and both Sean and Andie gave each other the ‘I do’ as expected. But the fact that both the bride and I had the shadow of our respective exes hovering around the hotel, I must admit, has managed to cloud the festive atmosphere a bit. And it was even worse when I passed Sophie ‘by chance’ in Caesar’s hall and she wanted to talk to me.
I was looking forward to getting out of there, but Miss Triple Threat, the one who once ran me off like a beaten dog because I wanted something else―which, to my sorrow despite the years, has turned out to be once again the ‘great’ Chase Collins, of high breeding within the world of dance―wanted to give me an explanation, or at least to bury the hatchet.
I must admit that I was surprised by her attitude, even though deep down I was still hurt. After our breakup, she had not even crossed paths with me in the school halls on an occasional visit and had not looked at me twice. But now, it seems, after having gone through various companies and musicals, she is a singer on the road to stardom and is about to release her first solo album right at Caesar’s Palace.
When she asked me about my marriage, I confess I almost laughed just not to cry―did she care? But I politely answered her questions and couldn’t help but drop that my brother-in-law was Tyler Gage. I’ll deny having said this, but I felt a malignant pleasure when I saw her pale at the mention of the Street Dance star, who had been in the Baltimore’s MSA just like the rest of us.
Without asking her, however, she told me that she’d met Chase again a couple of years ago at a company and that, well, one thing led to another and…
Yeah, right, I thought with heartburn in the meantime.
To my surprise, Sophie seemed sorry, but I needed to get some fresh air as soon as possible. So, after saying goodbye as politely as I could, I rushed to the elevator and pressed the roof button without thinking.
A hand on my back surprises me now, immersed as I am in my bitter reflections. But I calm down and breathe a sigh of relief as soon as I realize it’s Camille. She embraces me and kisses me slowly as if for an eternity we had not joined our lips and we wanted to learn them by heart. I imitate her for several minutes before we both need to part to catch our breath.
“I’ve seen you talking to Sophie”, she confesses then, making me tense. But her attitude is far from angry. Rather, she seems concerned. “How are you?”
I twist the nose, not knowing what to say.
“Well,” I’m blowing it after a while. “It could have been a lot worse…”
Camille shows half a sympathetic smile and embraces me again as her gaze wanders into the desert that covers the Las Vegas skyline. Without wanting to, I notice that her body trembles, and I put my arms around her.
“Are you cold?” I ask, taking off my jacket at once to pass it over her shoulders. “Up here, it seems not, but the air flows…”, I say, trying to forget the bitter scene with Sophie.
But Camille, although she accepts the suit jacket, shakes her head in a way that I’m not able to recognize, and I get restless again.
“It’s not just the cold,” she admitted, to my total confusion, with a half-smile full of mystery.
As an instinctive act, I raise my hand to her forehead, fearing that the fever has finally made its presence felt and that she’ll end up completely bedridden.
“Do you still feel bad?” I ask, slightly distressed.
If so, I’ll fly her home if I have to. I don’t want her to suffer even if we have an almost ‘family’ celebration. Apart from Tyler, Nora, and my grandparents―who have almost been master of ceremonies and are very much appreciated by both Sean and Andie-―all our MSA friends have come, just like at our wedding. The whole team that competed in The Streets…
Including Chase, who wasn’t even invited, I think with irony.
But I don’t want Camille to push herself if she doesn’t feel like she should. To my greatest surprise, she smiles and puts her arms around my waist.
“Let’s say that the… discomfort of these days was not exactly a virus…”, she drops it enigmatically, while raising an eloquent eyebrow.
And I, after putting on a poker face and not understanding very well where the shots are going, suddenly I begin to understand what she is trying to say to me and my face breaks down in a millisecond with a mixture of surprise and immense joy.
“Are you…?” I dare to ask, noticing how my voice trembles with emotion and not wanting to believe it yet.
When she nods slowly and smiles in return, however, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. Not that it comes as a surprise―since we got married, we assumed it was something that could come at any time and we were determined to face it―but, at a stroke, I forget about Chase, Sophie and we are almost still in the middle of Sean and Andie’s wedding. A chill runs through my body as I hug Camille and bury my face in her hair, on the verge of crying. But they are tears of happiness, like the ones she gently pours on my shirt.
She’s pregnant. We’re going to have a child. We’re very young, yes. And our current work is based on physical exercise and that may be a future problem for Camille while she is pregnant, but who said that life to be wonderful had to be easy?