I often wonder about the type of person that I am and why people are so willing to trust me with their lives. The type of person I am now is not the person I want to be. I'm not a leader. I can't take control of people's lives. I let someone into mine and she died as a result of it.
But I'm a victim of circumstance.
My whole existence is based on victimization, like this little girl, Savannah Weaver. Skynet sent a machine to kill her and we went to save her. Now Derek is dead because of it. The circumstance we place ourselves in costs people so much, and it feels like I'm the only one who walks away.
"You're upset," Cameron said standing next to a chain link fence in an abandoned school bus yard. My mother watching over the little girl with a sense of worry, the same worry she had when hovered above me as I slept.
"You're scowling. You scowl when you're upset."
My face always felt stationary, I rarely noticed a change. My expression and my thoughts seemed to remain unchanging. I never learned how to control my thoughts, my memories. I never could suppress the sounds of death and violence that I've heard in my mind since I was old enough to dream.
"Don't I always scowl?"
"Not always, sometimes you smile. Not as much as before but you still do."
On days where I had the time to decipher what she was saying, I always realize how she's never wrong. After Riley I can't seem to wash the blood off of my hands. Now Derek, Charlie; three bodies on my conscience because of her, because of Cameron.
Before we went to rescue Savannah, Derek told me something that put everything into perspective. Jesse told him of the problems from 20 years in the future. The war had intensified, both sides of the war gaining strength in numbers and arsenal. However, my judgment was hurting a lot of people. She told him it had been close to a year since I've spoken to anyone but her. It made sense to me, after I spoke to Derek, why she did what she did. She even asked if Cameron had killed her, if I believed she was responsible for Riley's death would I get rid of her, distance myself.
Most people think all thoughtful decisions need days of contemplation, but some things are so important, too important that the instant thought of it can give you the answer you need. The answer is I can't. I can't distance myself, not from her.
The thought of being alone with Cameron isn't what scares me. The idea that people's lives depend on me, the calls I make, those decisions causing people to die is what scares me. There's been enough death in my life, and if I have to see more the last thing I want be is to be responsible for it.
Even now as she walks towards me and grabs the shotgun leaning beside the wall I know that there's more to her. Since she first held me in my bed I knew she was a she and not an it. Before that I had my doubts about her, her thoughts, her actions, but I knew after that night Being away from her would be losing a part of myself.
As the click of heels gain distance, I feel my mother looking at me. We're only sitting a few feet away, but it feels like miles between us. She knows what's been going on. Her fears are Derek's fears, Jesse's, even Riley's. She once was willing to kill a man in front of his wife and son, but she'll never have the nerve to blunt with me about this.
"Are you hungry?"
I turn to see her sitting next to a sleeping little girl while her focus sits on me.
"I don't think you can cook pancakes on school bus engines," I said forcing a laugh hoping she'd follow.
"I was thinking you'd get something from a gas station. Something… anything really."
I offer to go. I stuff money into my pockets, I feel glad for the space I find in the open school bus yard off the road from a seldom used highway. I see her from behind a demolished bus. Her stare was one of curiosity. The most complex of algebraic expressions were simple to her but the simplest of human rituals were alien by comparison
"Where are you going?"
"Get something to eat. Mom's hungry," I tell her when she lowers the shotgun to examine the bus more carefully.
"The yellow of the bus has a high orange tint added to it. Orange is a color used to promote hostility," she explains when she looks away and raises her shotgun as a way of stating her loss of interest.
"Makes a lot of sense I guess. Do you want anything to eat?"
"I don't need to."
"Guess you don't," I said making my way to the minivan we had stolen from a man Cameron knocked unconscious and placed in a closet in his apartment.
"Get me some of those cheese things. Not the puffy ones, the crunchy kind," she yells at me when I suppress the smile on my face.
My mother stares at the holes that littered the fence before her when I return. A television that once kept security guards from their work keeps the small redheaded child occupied. She turns her attention to me, forcing a disturbed smile like she normally did. She removes the contents from the bag when I look around for Cameron.
"You shouldn't eat these so often," she said holding the bag of orange foodstuffs. "High levels of corn syrup produces mercury, and mercury…"
When she says this I know what she's thinking of. I know she fears the death Cameron warned her of. But it wasn't the dying she feared. If we're anything alike, the thought of death as a release from this nightmare we call a life must have crossed her mind more than once. She was most afraid of not being here for me.
"Mercury can cause cancer. So don't eat those so often."
"They're not for me, they're for Cameron. She said she wanted those."
The food she was once forcing down into her mouth sits at the table before her. Her usual expression of frustration sets in.
"She eats now?"
"She does when she wants to," I said when I feel the scowl which I knew as the norm for my face returns.
"John. Have you even given any thought to how hard its going to be on you now?"
"How hard what's going to be," I retort when I place the bag down with equal frustration.
"I don't like how close she's getting to you. How you listen to her. How you listen to it."
The click of boot heels enter the room when a thin girl with a shotgun stares at us. I give my mother the same blank stare before the orange bag is lifted of the table, the distance between us grows.
"Crunchy, not puffy," I said when I hand her the bag and walk outside; clicking heels close behind.
"No big deal, its just junk food," I said when I look into the deserted road all around us.
"Sarah wants to kill me."
"Its that obvious," I respond with sarcasm heavy in my voice. My eyes focus on the gravel beneath my feet, as I feel the guilt of what I had just said. "She doesn't want you dead, she just…"
"She wishes you were dead also."
My throat closes up from the frankness of her reply. She was wrong, she had to be. There were many times I felt safer alone than I did with anyone else, but my mother was able to challenge both ends of the spectrum.
"What makes you say that," My eyes furious when I look at her.
"You're a burden. On Sarah, on everyone."
"A burden? Did she tell you that?"
"No," she says when the look of guilt creeps on her expression. Her eyes affixed to the ground beneath us. "But its obvious."
"Obvious? Its obvious that I'm a burden on everyone?"
The silence between us rivals that of the empty highway that encircles us.
"I know what its like," she said, leaning the black barrel against the building wall. "When no one wants you around."
"She's the one who doesn't want you," I said when in my mind I thought I could use some distance from her as well. "I wouldn't worry about it too much."
"I don't, but you do. Everyone worries."
The seconds pass like hours when I stare at an isolated road, feeling like I did when the world avoided me on purpose.
"I have to ask you something," I demand when her attention centers on me, silently waiting for me to respond. "Do you remember when you told me we talk about me being… lonely?"
"What did I say? Like what kinds of things did I say, to you, about it?"
"You talk about people. People who died, people who don't trust you," she says with an odd calm when she approaches me.
"And why would I tell you? Do you even know what it means to be lonely?"
"People don't trust me," she says as she walks away from me. Her hand grips around the barrel and the orange bag sits on the gravel. "I know what it means to be lonely."
Like many times before, my mind tries to decipher what she means. She speaks clearly, my mind can make sense of what she says. I hear every word, but I don't understand. I've spent an entire life keeping people at a distance, and when I try to connect to someone this is what happens. This is the reason why Riley never heard me say who I was, not because of what would have happened to her but because of what would happen to me.
When I walk inside of the condemned building, I see a little girl on a chair that once sat in the center of a big yellow bus, my old leather jacket was now her new black blanket.
"I want to tell you something," I say to her as she watches the sleeping seven year old. "It wasn't my idea to ditch you and Derek. I thought we were going to meet you in the desert and my Mom took this detour to Charlie's."
"She had her reasons."
"Well she was pissed at Derek for the whole Jesse thing. Who wasn't," I forcibly say when I work at suppressing the image of Derek shot dead on the floor. I was never good at suppressing thoughts.
"You miss him."
"There's no use crying about it right?"
"Future you knows what it means to lose people you love. It happens to him too," She smiled a soft smile which reassured me of why I would trust her over most.
I turn to leave from her when I'm stopped by her voice.
"She does love you, but sometimes its difficult for her."
She goes on to tell me about the disease growing in her body. The tumor in her right breast, and how in time I'll have to learn to deal with the loss of loved ones.
The hours flash by like the white tiles in the lobby of the movie theater when we run away from the small army of police who've arrested my mother after being betrayed by a man she chose to trust. If I ever send a bullet into anyone, he'd be the first. Several blocks away I stop by a wall of televisions outside of an electronic store. I see my mother in handcuffs being dragged out in a sea of cameras and microphones. I know her face will be plastered on every newspaper in the morning.
She hadn't taken a picture of herself after I was born.
The scowl that rests on my face becomes more permanent when I try to decide what I should do next. I can't continue running, it'll only be a matter of time before they catch me if I do. I can't sit around and try to blend in while she sits in a jail cell. I have to do something.
The dark motel felt damp. The brown wallpaper shows every crack when the red neon light flashes through the window. The copper colored cherubs held light bulbs above their heads, illuminating every imperfection in the room.
"There's only one bed."
"I see that," I make my way to the wobbling table beside a television set that is older than I am.
"I'm going to check the area. Don't leave the room."
She leaves the depressing surroundings as she hides the handgun on the small of her back. I throw the jacket and shirt covered in tears onto the tired mattress. Seconds later the water from the shower beats on my head. I can feel each individual drop of water bead before it rolls down my face. My fists pressed against the loose ceramic, trying to transfer my anger and my frustration to the building. I couldn't take anymore. A yell of frustration begins to leave my throat before I silence myself as I hear the clicking of boots and the closing of a door that barely stood upright.
I distract myself and begin to think about the future and all I know that lies before me. How am I expected to lead an army to save the human race when I can't hold my own life together? When I can't trust anyone? When no one can trust me? I lift my head from the wall of teal squares beneath the showerhead when I see the door open from behind the plastic sheeting.
Her long pale leg leans in from the opposite end of the transparent curtain. The plastic clutched in her hand as she stands beneath the water. Her brown eyes stare at me as her hair becomes soaked. Long brown locks of hair resting on her chest, blushed in pink.
"Showers are kind of a one person activity," I explain as I focus my stare at her eyes. Normally my childlike nervousness kicks in and I do my best to look away, but after I've lost so many people in the past two days I can't be bothered with much of anything else.
"That's obvious. Given what's happened recently, I'm pretty sure upset is an understatement."
She stands closer to me, the water pouring behind her, her hands resting on my chest.
"In the future you're usually upset."
"Yeah? Than what's the point? What's the point in getting ready for it, If nothing changes?"
Her body leans closer still. Her stomach rests on mine, my chest just above hers when our lips meet. When her tongue passes along mine, she realizes my mind is elsewhere. Physically I'm here, but my thoughts were still fixed on the problems before me and how I had to deal with it.
"I'm sorry. I'm just…" I didn't even know how to finish. Excuses were something I've used since I could speak, but lying to Cameron was self-defeating. Not because she could read elevated blood pressure, or pheromone levels. It was because she could see into my eyes and know what I was thinking before I said it.
Her body leans away from mine and she leaves me. Lately it seems like everyone leaves me.
When I come back to the room, she's changed, her hair dried her clothes as well. She stands by the window, her face covered in red neon and nighttime sky. My shirt and jacket laid on the bed where I had left them, the grey from the shirt turns dark when it sits on my wet body.
"Sorry about back there. I'm just not feeling too great," I say when I sit on the edge of the bed, changing the channels on the television, hoping she will allow the conversation to end there.
"I had a friend," she said in a non sequitur fashion that she always seemed to use. "He killed himself."
"In the future?"
"No. He worked at the downtown library," she says when she turns to me. "He was a happy person, most of the time."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"He killed himself after I told him he was going to die. He didn't like that," she said as her usual stare of curiosity shifted to a look of guilt. "I tried to help by telling him he was sick, but it only made him upset."
I steady my mouth, to respond; nothing comes out. I had no idea what she did when I tried my best to avoid her to spend time with Riley.
"The people at school didn't like me for the same reason. I said things they didn't like."
My head swims when I focus on the parallels between us in her statements. How we both affect people like poison. Her cat like eyes focus on me when I know what needs to be said.
"When we were living with Charlie, I didn't fit in at school. I didn't fit in at any of the schools I went to, " I say when I look away from her eyes, noticing she stood with bare feet on the dirty motel room floor. "But when we moved to New Mexico I wanted it to be different. I always wanted it to be different. That's why I spoke to you on the second day, I hoped you'd like me enough to at least talk to me."
She walks over to the bed and sits beside me.
"I tried to have friends, girlfriends. But, I can never seem to do it. Its like who I am has damaged me," I sigh heavily under the weight of my confession. "I wanted to be normal so bad. I still want to. I want to get rid of this feeling that everything I do is insane. I want to stop knowing almost everyone I meet is going to die."
"I don't really have much choice do I?"
"No, not much, but you can still make decisions," She says when the feeling of hope and loss battle each other inside of me.
"I guess I'm just looking for a reason. A reason why this had to happen to me. Why I can't seem to fit anywhere I go."
I look at her when I notice her stare is no longer on me, but rather on the faint reflection of herself in the seldom cleaned window.
"A mistake, in chronological order."
"Is that what I am?"
"Its what we are," she says when she turns her body to me, influencing me to do the same.
"Before Derek died, he told me why Jesse and Riley came back. He said in the future I had refused to speak to anyone but you," Her stare lowers to the aged comforter we sat on. "Why would I do that? Why would I block out everyone except you?"
My tone becomes low and every bit of nervousness in cracks my voice.
"I know what its like, when no one wants you around."
I fight the sadness deep into myself when she leans so close I can feel the warmth of her body.
"I know what's its like to be lonely," she says when her lips embrace me, like she had done to me before; familiar and new.
Her hand resting on my nape, as a shiver of cold runs down my spine. Her long fingers run through my hair, my hands grip the fabric beneath us. She leans away from me, the taste of skin sits on my tongue as she removes the black shirt she wore underneath hard leather. I look into her eyes, and do the same. Slowly I lay my body down, the mattress felt as tired and abused as my frail body. I feel her long legs straddle me, her eyes focused on mine. I fight to send my mind elsewhere; I feel nervous.
"Its ok John, its not the first time we've done this."
She leans her bare body against mine. My breath is heavy, I can feel the warmth of her against me. I run my hands along her thighs, her muscles reacting to the shift of cold upon her. Her teeth scrape against the side of my neck, long fingers that resembled her dancer's legs support the side of my face. My fingers follow the grooves of each vertebrae, her hand unbuckling the belt beneath her.
Her hands gripping the sides of my face, her kiss traveling deep into my mouth. Her pelvis massaging mine without pause. I sit with her in my arms, my lap warm and moist. Her lips pressing closer to mine, as a solitary tear rolls from her cheek to mine.
"I love you," she says with the side of her face pressing against mine. "I love you John."
She embraces me, her hips slowly buck as she falls around me. Her nails barely passing the tips of her fingers dig into my shoulders, my back arches toward her. Her hands relieve me as her fingers mimic mine; traveling down my spine. She feels the scars from the last time she held me this close. My touch travels her, I follow her shoulder blades pulling apart when she lifts herself to taste me, holding me in her hands.
I hold her body, no longer pale but hot and bathed in pink. We turn till she lies against the faded pillowcase staring into me. Her mouth agape as her hips widen, guiding my closer to her. Her breath becomes shallow when she holds my head to her chest. Her fingers grip my hair when my teeth glide along the surface of her skin. Her body squirming, like an orchestrated ballet beneath me. I feel the vibration of her voice projecting every whimper, as I bring my eyes to hers.
"I love you," I exclaim as she lifts herself higher to me.
Her arms wrapped around me as her legs follow. She cradles my mouth with hers. She tastes the frustration I carried with me since I was a child. I travel deep inside, I feel the guilt she holds from being. I nestle her as we kneel in the center of the bed. My body attempts to match the rhythm she had established. We move in synergy as we crash backwards, our breathing heavy from the length of our release into one another. My heart beats with ferocity, her thighs tremble and her defined torso spasms; fighting for her next breath of air. Her body moving, showing the perfection carved into every piece of her.
Though her expression seems as unchanging as her monotone voice, I feel a connection with her I know must be genuine. She brushes the moisture from her face when she leans back to me. Her hands never leaving the feel of me, my body never leaning away from the comfort of her. She leans her lips against my chest, hoping to retain the taste that we embedded into one another. Her hair smelling sweet laid high enough for me to smell the mix of fruit scented soaps and her body.
The hours pass when I feel the same tension when my mother watched me in my sleep. I rise to see Cameron staring at me with the same mixture of grief and guilt I've come to know well.
"Don't do that, my Mom used to do that. I really hate that," I say to her, noticing a look sitting on her face. "What's going on?"
"You need to understand how it works. This chip, this body. The software is designed to terminate humans," she said when her expression of guilt deepens. "The hardware is designed to terminate humans. That's is our sole function."
"But not you," I said as I felt my chest slowly closing in.
"No, not anymore. But what was there is still there, and will always be there."
"So, down deep you want to kill me?"
"Yes, I do," she said as her stare becomes filled with grief
"So why don't you," I ask when I raise my body to her level, my chest closing in further.
"I might someday."
She turns her eyes away from me. She maneuvered her face like I had done before, trying to avoid me without leaving, it is something I've been known to do.
"I need to show you something," she said as she stood before me. "This body."
She removed her shirt which was as black as I felt. She sat close beside me, and the same feeling of electricity that surged from her which caused me to feel nervous intensifies. She continues to unbind herself before she lays her head on the same pillow where we were together hours before.
"Get on top of me," she says when she removes the same knife she had used to kill those who were like her. "Put your knee here."
I follow her direction as I mounted her body. The knife in my hand slightly shaking from the thought of what she might ask me to do.
"Right here," she points below her breast. "If I'm damaged, we should know."
I press the tip of the blade against her fair skin until an incision is made. A small bead of blood travels down and to her side. Her breath matches mine in its shallowness, every tendon in her neck defined when she tries to normalize her breathing.
"Reach down, under the breastplate," She guides as my hand enters her body beneath the skin.
My hand fingers over sheets of polished metal, until the angle forces me to lean closer onto her.
Our faces, all but touching. I turn my eyes to the headboard behind her. My mind and body are uneasy.
"What does it feel like," she asks when her eyes look deeper into me, calling me to look back at her.
"Cold," I stammer as I fight to breathe. "That's good right?"
"That's good," she says as my eyes center around her. "That's perfect."
We became tethered to one another. My hand resting on the small nuclear chamber, as her breast feels the ravenous beat of my heart.
"John," she fought to say, before she fell into momentary silence. "Its time to go."
My mind tries to move my body, but both stubbornly remain. I feel stuck in this moment, and like when she touched me for the first time, I hoped it never happened. Just like when she touched me for the first time, I hope it never ends.
When we enter the truck that felt like a tomb with the absence of Derek, we find each other eerily silent. Even the sounds of other cars and their music doesn't seem to penetrate the thick tension between us. Needing answers like I always did, I raised the windows in search of them. The radio turned low, hoping it would ease the tension. The soft sound of the woman's voice and the piano she played made my mind center around Cameron, and how easily she could fool anyone into believing she was as innocent and delicate as she appeared.
Better run, run run, run run to me…
"I've wanted to know something for a while now."
She sits calmly with the black barrel of the shotgun between her knees.
Oh I do believe…
"Everything you did back there. How do you… How does your body do that?"
In all the things you say…
"My chip, my body has a bio-mimetic system. Its designed to simulate biological functions in humans. Every interaction is processed and I learn," She smiles an innocent smile as her eyes widen in my direction. "It wasn't my first time."
What comes is better than what came before…
A smile grows on my face by the sound of her unusual humor. I think of how close I've become to her and how close everyone feared we would be, especially my mother. The illness she fears and the frustration I gave her.
And you'd better run run, run run to me…
"Cameron. I need to know one more thing. I need to know why you did that," I ask her when she ensures the rounds for the shotgun. "Make me feel that thing inside you?"
Better run, run run, run run to me…
"I needed you to know that I wasn't responsible," she said without missing a beat, loading the barrel of her weapon. "When we first arrived at the motel you believed I would be responsible for your mothers death. I needed you to know that I wasn't the cause."
Better come, come come, come come to me…
"For what its worth, I believe you," I say as I try to reassure her with my smile. Her face still sits with guilt as she tries to smile the same reassurance to me.
You'd better run…
We continue to drive closer to the prison which held my mother captive inside. I silence the radio as I prepared my mind for what we were about to do. Cameron sat beside me, calmly waiting to enter and liberate her.
"My hand," she says when I hear the clicking of motors rubbing against one another. "It's becoming problem."
I turn to look at the seemingly delicate hand opening and closing with no defined purpose.
"I'll take a look at it once we're done here," I said when I alternate my vision between her and the road ahead. "I'm pretty sure its not broken, something must've come loose."
"No you're not, people see…"
"You're broken too, and some parts are beyond repair," she interrupts as we pull into a space behind the prison, their biggest blind spot according to the blueprints of the property. "But the important parts are intact."
"I'll be able to fix you. Just as soon as we're done here," I look at her with all the seriousness I could must, drawing her to look at me, "I'll fix it."
When I decode what she said about the damage we both had, I bring the truck to a stop.
"For what its worth, I believe you," she says when she readies the weapon and enters the fortress from an unsupervised entrance.
My stare fixes it self on the dashboard, as I wait their return. My mind remembering the times she warned me about fixing her and the risk it poses to my life. I think about all of the people who've told me about the importance I have in the future, but it doesn't matter much to me anymore. I think of the weight their words carry, and what it could mean for everyone.
When I see half of her face gone from bullets and fire, the glitch in her hand cause it to spasm faster than before; the weight of all of those words disappear. I know of the position I'm expected to have in the future, but hers is more important to me.