chapter 9


"The only good thing in her life had left and she was the one that had caused it to do so."

-1 year later-

Cam Fisher tossed his head back and laughed, a sound that had slowly begun revived once more. The girl in his arms looked up at him and grinned, happy to have made him laugh.

"So. What should we do today, on this beautiful autumn's day?" He asked, smiling down on her as they stroll, arms linked, around the beautiful Princeton campus.

"Oh, I don't mind. Why don't we just walk around campus, since it's such a nice day?"

Cam smiled. "Sure, whatever you want."

Cam held the girl tighter as they walked down the promenade, leaf scatterings covering their path. He scanned the surroundings, taking in as much beauty as he could. As his eyes wondered the vicinity of the walkway, a flash of raven hair caught his green orb.

He squinted to make sure that it was really what he was seeing. It turned around and he knew that he was right.

"Alicia?"

Alicia turned around, her hair whipping her slim shoulders with ease. She saw him and started running towards him as quickly as her heeled boots would carry her.

The two collided, a beautiful mashup of arms and legs and unsaid emotions. They hugged, not letting the other go.

Eventually, Cam pulled away from the embrace and looked at her. Her brown eyes had changed; they were now softer, more serene. Less wild. But they were still as beautiful as ever.

"Looking good, Fisher! You certainly fit in with these rich asses with that fancy sweater vest of yours."

"Hey! Don't mouth off now!" He cried playfully, swatting her shoulder. They looked at each other, grinning madly, their eyes not ready to let go. A tiny, agitated cough brought them back to reality.

"Oh! Alicia, this is Massie Block, my girlfriend. Massie, this is Alicia, my best and eldest friend on the planet."

Massie smiled curtly. "Nice to meet you, Ashleigh."

"Thanks. You too." Alicia's smile faltered, silently thinking why Cam always had to have the bitchiest girlfriends. The three stood in an awkward silence.

"Is it o-"

"Do yo-"

"Can we-"

Cam cleared his throat. "Go on, Mass."

"I see that you two have a lot of catching up to do, in private. So, uh, I'll just go and get a coffee with Skye or something." Massie said, almost but not quiet grudgingly.

Cam smiled at her again. "Thanks, Massie. You're still up for dinner tonight, right?"

Massie nodded. She smiled up at him and gave him a quick but showy kiss on the lips. "See you later, love."

She walked away, leaving the two alone with each other.

"So. How's Princeton, huh?" Alicia snuggled her gloved hands in the pockets of the red trench coat as they started walking to no particular destination.

Cam shrugged. "It's good. Classes are a lot of work but everything is also really interesting."

"That's good." Alicia nodded.

They walked in silence for a while, their shoulders touching. Alicia then spoke up. "You know, you can ask me about rehab."

Cam didn't say anything but Alicia knew that it meant for her to go on.

"It was good for me. A kick in the backside. I'm 238 days sober now, and I've been released for a week. Now I think about it, I'm kinda glad that I ODed."

Cam was silent, listening.

"But I wished you'd visited me."

Cam coughed uncomfortably. "You were the one that told me not to, remember? Besides, it was all the way in Florida and there was no way I could have visited you with finals, grad, college, te-"

"Don't lie to me. I know that you went down to Florida with your parents just before you started Princeton."

"I… But you told me that I should stay away from you." Cam finished lamely.

But he knew that although that was true, there was something else that stopped him from visiting her, as much as he wanted to.

They kept walking, their shoulders not quite touching anymore. It was about 7 trees later before Cam spoke up. "I was trying to get over you, ok?"

"Cam…" Alicia started.

"I know."

"No. You don't." She stopped and turned around, so she was facing him. Not knowing she was going to do that, Cam collided into her nearly knocking her onto the ground but grabbing her by the shoulders before she could.

"I'm sorry." He apologised, steadying her.

"Cam, you know that I love you. We both know it. But look at your life and look at mine. I will never belong in this world of yours and I don't want to drag you down to mine. I'm just getting started on the road to recovery and if I was to be with you, I'll just slow you down from your pathway. You're going way too fast for me; I can't keep up and you can't slow down. And I don't want you to, not for me."

Cam knew that one day that this was going to come, that they were going to acknowledge it out in the open. But knowing didn't make the truth hurt less and he, once again, felt his heart being ripped from his chest and being stomped on with the pointiest of all stiletto heels.

"I'm sorry. But I know that if I don't do this, we'll both regret it." She whispered.

The two of them stood in the middle of the mishmash, the world revolving, moving, laughing, spinning around them. He stared at her, knowing that everything he'd every wanted was now slipping away from his grasp. So in a last desperate effort to preserve it, he cupped her face and kissed her soft lips for the last time.

She let him kiss her, knowing that he needed the outlet. She almost wanted to kiss him fully back, but she knew that if she gave into the temptation, she was going to lose it. Lose him. Lose it all.

Alicia pulled away, tears forming in her eyes. Cam realised that he was crying to as he felt something wet slide down his cheek.

"Maybe you can come to Princeton to. You can come live on campus with me; your Dad has money and connections, right? We could live together and I could break up with Massie and you can get a major in English literature or something because you've alwa-"

"Cam. CAM." Alicia shook her head, as tears flowed freely now. She wrapped his arms around her body and pressed her head against his chest. "Princeton? I dropped out of high school as a sophomore, Cam. I think getting into Princeton, no matter how rich my Dad is, is next to impossible."

It was a while before he spoke up. "It was just a wishful thought."

They vowed to keep in touch, knowing that there was only a slim possibility that they would actually do so. As they were so wrapped up in the nows and they wouldn't know that Cam would end up marrying Massie's friend, Skye, and Alicia would be the best woman at his wedding. Skye and Cam would have two beautiful children, one of them named Aleisha. Alicia would end up being completely sober and go to a community college, where she got a degree in teaching and communications and worked at a local rehab centre for troubled teens. She would eventually reignite her relationship with her father and who would have Josh Hotz fired from his firm with possession of Class B drugs. The two would be happy, and although not with each other, but with the other always in the back of their minds.

As the leaves fell around them, he pressed her tighter into him, not wanting to let go for he did not know what the future will bring them. He didn't want to lose her, not again and he knew that she felt the same. His tears soiled her raven hair, thick and luscious, nothing like what it was like the last time he saw her. Autumn was the time where the old was shed so he knew that this was the best time to let her go.

But he didn't want that just yet. He held onto her fragile body, like a near broken branch holding onto a shedding leaf on the verge of snapping off. In a moment, he knew that she was going to let go, the leaf was going to snap off and fall onto the ground.

So Cam Fisher shut off everything else in his mind and closed his eyes. They just stayed silent and lived in this moment, in their breaking embrace, not knowing if anything was going to be ok but not caring because at that moment, they were still together.


...

.fin.

...


I FINISHED, GUYS, I FINISHED! I'm going to miss this story so much;; it was probably my favourite story to write because it was just so… emotional. I don't know. But as much as I'm going to miss it, I'm glad that it's over. Oh my.

Well, THANK YOU to all that have read/reviewed/put up with me and this story! Thank you for *all* the feedback and reviews and comments and yeaaaaaah ((: Also, especially to lisa and tash, who have pretty much reviewed every chapter. ILOVEYOUBOTH!

So. Until next time?

-picturebookgirl.