Maybe she was right when she told him that he was too comfortable with her. At first, he thought that it was great that he felt so free to be himself when he was with her that he didn't even stop to think that maybe he should also be trying to change some annoying habits. Now it was too late, that day he had woken up like any other and was even excited about the plans he had made with some of his friends to go out and watch a fight. Moose woke up and went on with his day, but when he went back to their apartment and opened the door to find it empty, his world came crumbling down in an instant, his mind just couldn't understand what was going on.
The obvious answer was that they had been robbed, his mind went into overdrive wondering if she was ok. He called her, but she didn't answer, and he started to panic, taking a deep breath trying to think straight he walked around the apartment looking for any sign of a struggle. Finally, when he walked into their bedroom, he saw a note paste on the wall and wondering if maybe they had left a ransom note he shakily open it. Moose´s world came crumbling down for an entirely different reason that moment, and he couldn't understand why exactly was this happening to him everything had been perfectly fine just a couple of hours ago when he went on his way and now his life as he knew it had changed without any explication.
"What do you mean no explanation? She left you a note Moose, sure she didn't say it to your face before moving out, but she did write that note. It was unfortunate what happened, but it's been a year, and every night you come here drink for a couple or hours and repeat the same thing. Things are not going to change, she is gone, and you need to move on with your life." Andie loved Moose, but she was tired of reliving the same scene over and over again, at first it was just the two of them, but after a couple of months, she started taking turns with some of their friends.
Moose looked at her with an angry expression that had lost all his power due to the amount of time he had made it whenever Andie and he talked about this subject. Telling Andie that she just didn't understand he stood and made his way to the bathroom for the third time that night. Releasing a heavy sigh, she turned as Sam made his way to her ready to refresh her drink. Sam was one of the bartenders Andie had befriended since Moose had decided that to be drunk was the only way he was going to get over his breakup. At first, Andie had thought that all the people that work in the bar were going to milk her friend misfortune, but she soon realized that most of them were great people that get to know their regulars. Moose wasn't shy about what had happened to him, soon every regular to the bar knew him and his story. Many of them tried to tell him that this was not the best way to go about the situation but just like when Andie tried to talk to him he just wasn't up to take suggestions about his life.
"He is not doing better, is he?" Andie said with some hope that she was maybe not noticing something in her friend demeanor but some Sam didn't have good news for her.
For a while, Sam wondered how was it possible for Moose to be able to afford to come every night to the bar and not lose his job. Andie had confided in him that Moose had been lucky enough to develop a couple of apps that he had sold at a very good price, enough for him to be settle for more than a couple of years. Possibly more if he continued to develop but that was another aspect of his life that he had decided to forget or put on hold.
Andie wondered if maybe Moose had to work it would change the way he was acting. The next day she ventured into work ready to tackle her day with a smile like usual, she was fortunate enough to found a job in a school that focuses on the arts. There she had met amazing people who made her feel like she had found a family away from home. With Moose in a terrible slump, Andie had felt the loss of her brother. They had been closed for years to the point that they spend every holiday together and in some occasions, they would introduce each other as brother and sister.
One day when Andie was pondering what she could do to help her brother Lindsay, the coordinator of arts in the school, came to her and told her that they were going to have a new teacher joining them. "She is new to the city so I was wondering if you could help me take her out. Her name is Cam; she is a couple of years younger than you, maybe you could go out with her and some of your friends?"
"Sure, I'll take her to eat something at lunch so we can get to know each other." Andie didn't know it then, but she was going to develop a great friendship with Cam in a small amount of time. That same day a couple of hours later she was introduced to a petite brunette with a shy smile and a contagious laugh. For the first time in months, Andie found herself planning outings without hoping that Moose was there for her to enjoy them.
Cam was a breath of fresh air in Andie's life, the conversations between them were easy just like they used to be with Moose, but the girl had this light coming from her that made Andie's mood improve. Even though she continued to visit Moose some nights, Andie found herself spending the majority of the time telling him stories of what she was doing at her job and outside of it with Cam. Soon enough it was time for her birthday, and Andie knew that her friends were starting to plan a small gathering. Years ago the celebrations were bigger but with the passing of the years, her friends scattered all over the country although they all made sure to call her she was not into making a huge party anymore.
Moose was the only constant in her life, every year they would spend the entire day together, and after he sold his first app, they would make an adventure out of the day. One year they went on a weekend road trip, that was Andie's favorite birthday, it had been a surprise when Moose suddenly appeared outside her building in a rental car telling her to pack and again next year they talked about their plans for months; finally, it was decided that they were going to fly to New York and spend the entire weekend there.
A week before that the incident happened and that year Moose forgot about Andie's birthday. Lately, she was wondering if he was going to forget about it this year too, one day she told Cam about her fear and the girl assured her that it was impossible that he did. A month after knowing Cam Andie finally told her about Moose, sometimes she would mention him in stories, but every time the girl asked where he was now Andie would change the subject.
Moose's story broke Cam's heart, she felt for the boy that had his life change in such an abruptly way and for Andie who struggle to find a way to help her brother. On more than one occasion she had asked Andie to let her joined her when she visited Moose, but her response was always negative. "He is such a great guy, and I don't want you to meet him like he is now. I 'd like you to meet the real Moose."
With only two weeks for Andie's birthday to arrived Cam had finished organizing the little get together for the people at work and some of Andie's personal friends. In the months that she knew Andie, she was lucky enough to meet all of her friends, except for Moose, so it was easy for her to prepare everything. So one Monday afternoon she sent a quick text to Jacob asking him to meet her after work.
Jacob was a great guy, and Cam knew that he was also very close to Moose so she was hoping that he would be able to introduce her. When she talked to him though he said no, however, Cam was not one to give up so easily. Explaining the importance behind her meeting him Jacob agreed to helped her, but he made it clear that he didn't think it would help.
The next night both of them went to the bar, Cam was happily surprised the place Moose chose as his hide out was a very friendly bar. Groups of people were laughing, and the atmosphere was one of a place where people go to have a great time with friends which didn't seem coherent with what Moose was doing. Jacob walked towards the bar and said hello to a beautiful red haired girl and then went to the back of the bar where a boy with a hoodie was sitting alone.
After talking with the boy in the hoddie Jacob motion Cam towards them, the girl started to feel nervous and wonder if maybe this wasn't the best way to meet Moose. The boy in the hoodie turned, and she could barely make out his face in the mess that seemed his hair and Cam knew that she needed to do this for Andie. With determination, she started her way towards them just to stop a few steps from making it by a guy that tried to flirt with her. Politely she refused his advances and walking around him she made her way to Jacob and hoodie guy, Moose.
"Hi, I'm Cam. I'm Andie's friend, and I was wondering if I could talk to you about a surprise party I'm organizing for her." Cam had decided that being open about her intentions was the best way to go, especially since she was sure that Moose care a lot about Andie's happiness.
Sadly, just as she finished her introduction, the guy that had stopped her before came to stand between her and Moose introducing himself and telling her that he would love to go to the party. Cam's first reaction was of disbelief, was that guy for real? She was trying to do something nice for her friend, and he was just messing things up. Usually, she would try to be polite and tell the guy to please go, but she didn't know how much time she had before Moose didn't want to talk to her.
Looking in herself for the strength that came from being raised by Tyler, her older brother, she looked up to the guy and crossed her arms. "Like I told you before I'm here to talk to my friends so please go away."
The tone of her voice made it clear that she wasn't playing any games or was in no mood to mingle. Still, the boy seemed to assume that she wasn't being serious and told her that she should just join him and his friends so they could get to know each other. Cam was getting mad now. However, the weirdest thing happened next.
"Are you dumb? She already told you that she didn't want to talk to you, not even implying it she literally said that. You need to get a clue and leave the girl alone, she came here to talk with us so just move along and find someone that wants to speak to you." That was the first time Cam heard Moose talking, and if that was any indication of how he was or used to be, well she liked him already.
The guy turned towards Moose as he stood as tall as he was with Jacob behind him ready to back up his friend if needed. The girl bartender, Anala, had another idea, and from behind the bar she told the stranger to move along or to get out of the bar, and with a last look at Cam, he walked away from the group. Cam wasn't sure if she should move along with her introduction or if she should thank Moose for his words, but he made that choice for her when he asked her when was the party.
"Is going to be the day before her birthday, the idea is to be with her as midnight strikes. There are going to be people from work and from your circle of friends just like Jacob, I know is very important for her to be with you on her birthday. What do you say? Can you come, please?" The entire time she was rambling she didn't miss the way he was looking at her with a little smile forming on his lips, it never ended being a full smile, but there was something there.
Moose told her how Andie had described her to him for the past few months and that she wasn't exactly as he imagined. Cam wanted to ask him what he meant by that, but she at least understood that it wasn't an attack on her. Jacob had moved to the side to talk to the bartender, and now both of them were looking at how Moose spoke to Cam while smiling.
"So he is actually getting better?" Jacob was shocked and happy about what Anala was telling him. Apparently, Moose had been to the bar the same amount of time that he used too, but for a couple of months now he had drunk drastically less. Now he could have two beers for the entire night, and he was even more talkative with familiar faces, with that said he wasn't over his break up yet, but he was getting past wanting to drink to forget.
"I think it had to do a lot with the way he saw Andie was changing. Before when she came to see him she was as depressed as he was. Lately, though she comes and talks to him about a lot of different things and for the first time, I think he realized the effect he had been having on her, and he didn't like it." They continue to talk, and Jacob took the chance to look at how his friend was actually interacting with Camille, maybe things would start to get better soon.
After giving the girl time to explain everything she needed to Moose Jacob walk towards them and told Cam that it was time to go. "I have rehearsal early so we need to go so I can walk you home."
Cam was disappointed to go because Moose seemed to have some good ideas on what Andie might like in her party, but she knew Jacob was doing her a favor. Moose surprised both of them though when he said that he could walk Cam home so they could discuss what else he could bring to the party for Andie, the girl smiled brightly at idea and Jacob tried unsuccessfully to hide his shock, in the end, they said goodbye to each other.
For the first time in over a year, Moose left the bar hours before its close saying goodbye to the usuals that were happy to see him leave in high spirits. Cam told Moose her address and was about to said what route they needed to take when he stopped her. "I know where it is. You live three blocks away from my apartment. Is weird that Andie never mentioned that to any of us, I guess she just didn't think we would cross paths."
Talking all the way to her place and making plans the journey was soon over, at the end they had decided that the party should be in Moose's place. Moose was going to call Andie asking her to join him in his apartment, and there everyone would surprise her. "Trust me she is never going to see it coming."
Cam agreed, and she promised to help with setting up everything even though Moose told her that he was capable of doing it by himself. "Do you want to come in? I can give you some of the stuff I already bought for Andie's party so you can start taking it home."
Moose told her that it was best if they did that in the morning, he would ask one of his friends for a duffel bag or something to take them another day. "We should probably exchange numbers though. I can't ask Andie for yours or she is going to discover that we know each other and that we are planning something."
"Of course, wow that would be bad." They exchange numbers and said goodbye. On his way home Moose felt different, it was weird for him to be walking home this early and without even a beer in his system. For months now he had wonder who this girl that Andie mention was and when he saw her for the first time she didn't strike him as someone as special as his friend described. However, the way she had talked to him and also behave towards the guy that was bothering her made him rethink his previous judgment.
When Moose came into his apartment, he realized that even though he had improved in maintaining some order in there, help was going to be needed for it to be ready for a party. Taking out his cell phone he sent a text to a friend that had a cleaning service asking him to please send someone to clean his apartment before Andie's birthday.
Moose also made a mental note to asked Cam how much food should he buy; he had told her that he would buy that so she didn't need to worry about it. Just before going to sleep he took his phone out to charge it, and he noticed he had a text from Cam thanking him for offering his place and his help but above all for being there for Andie.
A big smile came to his face, which never happened lately, that girl cared for his friend, and he was glad they had found each other. Andie deserved to have as many people as possible that loved her in her life.
Taking an honest look at his place, he realized that he actually hadn't thought things through before telling Cam to have the party there. Since Sophie left, he had checked himself out of real life, to the extent that the only things in his apartment were a refrigerator and a microwave. He had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for over a year now, at first he had the hope that Sophie would come back with their stuff and after Moose just didn't care.
In any other situation, he would have called Andie to asked for help in buying furniture, but she couldn't find out about any of this for now. Maybe he could text Jacob, but he was always busy with rehearsals, Luke and Natalie were out of town on a play, so they weren't available either.
Picking up his phone he called the only person that came to mind hoping for the best. "Hey, Cam? Is Moose. I was wondering if you could help me out with some things before the party."
Here they are again. I love this couple so much, and I missed writing about them, so here they are.