Hello! Welcome to the third installment of my little Jameron series. If you haven't read my first two, Irony, thy Name is Cameron, and That Which We Call Fate, then I suggest you run along and get to it! You won't have a clue what's going on if you try reading this first. This story is meant to be a lot darker, and seem a lot more mature than the other two purposely. However, my actual writing itself has improved and evolved on its own. My writing style has come a long way since startin Irony. Anyway, I hope you continue to enjoy my series.
"John I forget, what can this piece do?"
"That's the rook, or the castle," he explained to the girl. "It can go any amount of spaces left and right, or up and down."
"Oh, yeah!" She looked at the board seriously for several minutes before choosing to move her bishop three spaces. "Check!"
John smiled. "Very good. But look closer... Aren't you forgetting about someone?"
Savannah frowned and stared at the board. "No… What do you… Oh!" She smiled sheepishly. "It leaves my king open. Can I have a redo?"
John sighed dramatically. "Oh I suppose…" He chuckled when she eagerly returned the piece to its previous spot.
Cameron watched curiously from her spot on the other bed. "Another redo?"
John looked up and ran his eyes over her lounging form appreciatively. She was wearing short shorts, a tank top, and his laptop on her lap. "Hey, we make up our own rules. Right Savannah?"
John looked down at the bored to see that he was, indeed, again in check. "Well well well… somebody's improving."
The girl grinned brightly. John had only taught her how to play the game last night. They had stayed at a motel one night that was right next door to a dollar store, and John, being just as bored as Savannah, had decided some good old school toys were in order. He had bought a few coloring books, crayons, and a cheap two-dollar chessboard. After watching Cameron thoroughly beat John at every game for several nights in a row, Savannah finally asked to learn how to play. John was patient with her, giving her unlimited redo's and letting her win every so often.
Cameron returned her attention to the computer in her lap, tuning out the sounds of an evidently victorious Savannah as she scanned over the property details one last time.
"I believe I found a suitable residence for us, John."
Savannah immediately hopped off her bed and leapt onto the other, crawling up beside Cameron and peering at the screen. "Where's the picture?"
"Yeah, where's the picture?" John agreed, taking a seat on the other side of the bed, sandwiching Cameron between them.
"There isn't a picture, but the description says it is quite spacious, and the property is large enough for what we need it for. It's also fairly private, on the outskirts of a small town that I couldn't even find on the map."
John gave her a funny look. "I thought it'd be safer in a city. More people, bigger crowd, harder to find one John Connor?"
"They still found you," Cameron pointed out. "And we need the rural area for preparations."
"All right, you're the expert," John shrugged and yawned. "We'll give them a call in the morning."
Cameron quietly walked back into their small motel room and locked the door behind her. A quick scan assured her that Savannah was still asleep, but John was awake, likely having waked up at the first sound of the key in the door. She kicked off her shoes and pulled off her jeans, having been told more than once by John that wearing denim in bed was a heinous, uncomfortable crime. She slid under the covers and laid down in John's awaiting open arms.
"Anything exciting out there?" he whispered.
"No," she replied, just as softly. "Two stray cats were mating on the other side of the building. They were loud. I'm glad our room is far away."
John chuckled. "I will definitely be glad to get out of these old, shady motels."
"John, there are a few details that we still need to… work out… before we go through with this."
John remained silent, waiting for her to inevitably continue. He rubbed her back comfortingly, telling her she could go on.
"We need a story. Obviously, our biggest concern is Savannah."
John took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Well… we could pass her off as a little sister. Er… half sister, maybe. That we ended up with after a tragic accident or something."
"That could work," Cameron agreed. "But that might seem a bit suspicious."
"Yeah, probably." John thought about it seriously for several minutes. "Well, what has Catherine already set us up with? All that junk in that envelope she gave us."
Cameron recalled the list of items. "Savannah's IDs, as well as new IDs for me, a marriage license, and her birth certificate with our names on it."
John grimaced. "I know we're like, supposed to adopt her eventually and all or something, but… well, I can probably only pass for early twenties. I'm pretty sure adopting her at this age would look pretty suspicious too."
Cameron did some quick calculations. "You were sixteen, you knocked me up when I was fifteen."
John almost burst out in laughter. He wasn't sure if it was the absurdity of the situation, or her use of 'knocked me up'. "Wow, jailbait… Go me. But how are you going to explain her gingerness?"
"I can dye my hair a color closer to hers. The rest can be explained with genes. Your father had blue eyes, and my mother had bright red hair and blue eyes. I get my darker tones and brown eyes from my father. However, our recessive genes paired up to give her blue eyes and red hair. Her hair will probably naturally turn darker someday."
John blinked in the darkness. He had never paid that much attention in health class, or biology class, or whatever class it was that he probably learned that kind of stuff in. He'd just take Cameron's much more intelligent word for it, and not think about how weird it was to hear a machine talk about her made up parents in the first person. Allison had talked to him about her own parents a few times, and… well, he couldn't help but be reminded of it. It wasn't weird in a bad way. It didn't freak him out. It was just… weird. It's the only way he could describe it.
"Okay… so we have her explained. What about us?"
"Well… her birth certificate has our current identities on it. I'm still Cameron Summers. But we have the marriage license, so I suppose we could go both ways."
John wasn't thrilled with the idea of playing it as if they were married. Not that he didn't want to marry her, obviously. But that was just it, wasn't it?
"Cameron… um," he paused, feeling a little uncertain. "Do you… think it's cheesy if I told you I'd rather play it as if we never got married? It's not that I don't want to be married to you, of course!" He got it out quickly, before she had a chance to turn angry, hurt, or any of the other scary woman characteristics on him. "It's just that, I don't know… I kind of really wanted to make it official this time, you know? Derek said we weren't really married in the future, even though you were technically considered my wife…" He rubbed his face, feeling like a moron.
Cameron slid her hand under his shirt and rubbed his stomach. "It's not cheesy for you to want to have an actual wedding. Lots of men look forward to it."
"Well, what about you?" he asked almost hesitantly. "What do you want?"
She half sat up so she could look at him better. "I want you to be happy. I know marrying me with an actual ceremony is important to you."
John sighed. "Yeah but, it's not… It means nothing to me if it doesn't mean anything to you."
"I don't want to pretend," she whispered. "In the future, there will be people who don't accept me. They'll call me metal expletives; they'll think I'm only pretending to be… who I am." She gazed at him through the darkness, her eyes emanating the faintest glow. "And they will think I only pretend to love you. Because of this, I don't want to only pretend to be your wife."
"All right then. It might not matter to them," John said softly as he reached up and caressed her cheek. "But it'll matter to you… to us. For now, we'll just be honest. We're engaged to be married. We can make up anything else as we go along, shouldn't be that hard, right? We'll just keep to ourselves." He looked over at the other bed when he heard Savannah mumbling in her sleep. "Oops," he whispered.
"Go back to sleep. We'll be out of here tomorrow."
John woke up to a strange crumpling sound. He rolled over and opened his eyes to see Savannah sitting on the bed with a coloring book. Something silver in her hands was making all the noise. She reached into the shiny pouch and pulled something square out of it.
"Are those PopTarts?" John asked hopefully.
"Mmm hmm," she replied as she chewed the pastry.
"Awesome. You're sharing. Gimme."
Savannah pulled the package out of his reach. "Go get your own!"
John blinked in surprise. "Hey, I thought we were best buddies!" He frowned when the line got him nowhere. "Fine. Where did you get them?"
"From the vending machine down that way." She pointed in the direction of the far end of the motel.
"Did you go out by yourself? Where's Cameron?"
Savannah shrugged. "I dunno."
John stood up and peeked out the window. The van wasn't in the parking lot. "You know you shouldn't have left the room by yourself."
She looked up from her coloring book with a semi-pout. "But I was hungry."
John sighed and rubbed his face. "Where did you get the money?"
Savannah pointed to his jeans on the chair and pulled a yellow crayon out of the box. "You had quarters in your pocket."
He looked from her, to the chair, and shook his head. He checked his pockets for more change but only came up with 35 cents. Huffing, he grabbed his wallet from the table and opened it up. It was of course completely empty.
"Women… taking all my damn money…"
John held on to the door handle as the van bounced back and forth on the dirt road. "Do you think maybe you could try to avoid the larger craters before I lose my breakfast?"
"I told you not to eat that sausage egg McMuffin."
"Relax, we're here." She pulled the van to a stop in front of the house at their new address. It was the first time any of them were seeing the property. Cameron had only gone to the real estate agent first thing in the morning and flashed a lot of cash to get the keys.
"You… have got… to be shitting me…" John stared out the windshield with his mouth wide open.
"Is this our new house?" Savannah asked from the back seat. She leaned forward, almost climbing into the front to look through the windshield. Her expression was a twin image of John's.
Cameron tilted her head. "I think it's charming." In actuality, she really had no idea what "charming" meant, but it seemed appropriate for the situation. Her HUD had suggested it might break the tension.
Two sets of eyes slowly tracked to her. John blinked a few times. "Charming? This place looks like the Amityville Horror!"
"I saw that movie, John. It looks nothing like it. The shape of the house-" John climbed out of the van and shut the door before she could finish. Savannah followed suit and stood beside him, taking his right hand in a tight grip.
"Do you think it has ghosts?" she whispered.
"What? Nah…" John shook his head, pretending the exact same question wasn't running though his own head. "Besides, we got Cameron here to protect us, right?"
They both turned back to gaze at Cameron, who was still sitting in the driver's seat. John pounded his hand once on the hood. "Hey, you… get your cute butt out here and at least tell me this creepy place has running water."
Cameron climbed out of the van and shut the door. She headed straight for the house without a glance in his direction. "I would not choose a location without the basic necessities, John."
"Oh, so it comes with an exorcist?"
She paused in her tracks, but didn't turn to look at him. The effect was somehow stronger that way, and John rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. "Sorry, I was kidding. Sheesh. Someone forgot to pack her sense of humor…"
Savannah giggled as they followed Cameron up to the house. John mentally tried to take a few positive notes on it from the outside.
First, it was big. That was good. It also had two stories. That usually meant lots of rooms. None of the windows seemed to be missing, that was another plus.
But damn, it was old. Really, really old. Like, it needed repainted 30 years ago kind of old. The kind of old that's essentially a fire hazard. The kind of old that no matter how much you cleaned, it would never stop looking dirty. The kind of old…
"Watch your step," Cameron warned, eyeing the rotting porch steps skeptically. Savannah held John's hand tighter as they carefully climbed up the porch and followed her into the house.
John looked around in shock. "Wow, I didn't know it was fully furnished."
Cameron gave him one of those looks only women can give, and he decided that it was probably best if he just chose to keep his mouth shut for a while. He wandered into the living room and tugged the dusty sheet off the couch.
"Wow, it's nice, too," he mumbled, quickly looking up to make sure the comment didn't earn him another glare.
"How come the people left all their stuff?" Savannah asked, looking at an antique mirror hanging on the wall.
"Double murder-suicide." Cameron said nonchalantly as she opened a door John presumed lead to the basement.
"What?" Savannah looked at John with wide, frightened eyes. He mentally facepalmed and gave her a comforting smile.
"She's joking, honey. I think she's just trying to get that sense of humor back. Don't worry. We left a lot of stuff at our old houses too, right? Sometimes people just prefer to buy new stuff when they move, and leave their old stuff behind for people like us." John ruffled her hair and gave Cameron his own 'did you have to say that?' glare.
Her blank facial expression didn't change, but she held his gaze longer than necessary; her way of apologizing. She disappeared down the basement stairs in search of the breaker box.
John patted Savannah's back. "Come on… let's go find you a cool bedroom."
"Yeah, we finally found a place. Well, Cameron did."
"Good. It's about damn time," Sarah limped over to the couch and eased herself down with a grunt. "Well, how is it?"
"It's um… it's charming," John said, stealing Cameron's earlier description of it.
Sarah stared up at the ceiling. "That sounded so convincing."
John looked around to see if the cyborg was in sight. He didn't see her anywhere, but he lowered his voice anyway. "Let's just leave it at 'it has really… old… character.'"
"Oh for fuckssake…" Sarah pinched the bridge of her nose. "Is it really that bad?"
"No. Yes. No. I mean… it's charming," he repeated. "How's your leg doing?"
Sarah accepted the change of subject gracefully. She'd see the disaster soon enough. "It's doing better. I'm not running a fever anymore, so that's a good thing right? Derek finally let me out of bed."
"Four days of Bitchy Sarah, Flaming Dragon finally got to be too much, huh?"
"John Kyle…" Sarah warned.
"It's all right. He texted me just about every twenty minutes. Apparently I owe him more than can ever be repaid by a single man in one lifetime."
"Is that so?"
"Oh, I hear Cameron calling. I gotta go mom. Love you bye!" John quickly hung up the phone before he could dig himself… and his uncle, in an even deeper grave.
"John, we need to go shopping."
John spun around to find Cameron standing in the living room doorway. "Oh… shopping? Sounds good… Um, what do we need?"
Cameron just stared at him. "We need bedding for the beds. I don't think you want to sleep on them as-is. There's blood on ours."
"Ugh, no… no I think not. And by the way, try to keep those kinds of things quiet. I don't want her to get scared." He walked over to her and kissed her on the forehead. "What about food? Is the fridge in working condition?"
Cameron grimaced. "No. I had to carry the refrigerator outside to the trash. I'm not quite sure what sorts of organisms were growing inside of it."
Usually John would have protested this act of super human strength, but he stopped himself before he said anything. What did it matter? They were a mile away from any other civilization. It wasn't like anyone was going to see her.
"Okay, so new fridge. Anything else?"
"We need a wide variety of home improvement products and tools."
John barely held himself back from groaning. "By 'wide variety' are we talking different shades of paint, or are we talking renting a U-Haul and buying every other item in Home Depot?"
"Somewhere in between." She called for Savannah as they headed out the door.
"Great. Sounds fabulous. I hope you have a list."
"I do," Cameron quipped as she climbed in the driver's seat. "Would you like to connect my CPU to your BlackBerry and upload it to your Memos application?"
John made a rude gesture to her with his right hand as he walked around the van to the passenger side.
"Perhaps later…" she deadpanned, a slight smirk on her lips.
John laughed as he climbed in beside her. He leaned over the center console to plant a wet kiss on her cheek. "And that's why I love you."
"You love me because I said there was a possibility that we would f-?"
John quickly slapped his hand over her mouth.