"Get in, loser. We're going shopping."
Cam didn't have to look up from his sketching to know the commanding voice of Alicia Rivera. He briefly glanced up from his work to see her in the driver's seat of her Beamer, sunglasses on and hair pulled back in a ballerina bun. She meant business. That was never a good sign for him. So much for a peaceful afternoon of drawing in the park.
"You can't demand me to go places with you using Mean Girls quotes," Cam replied loudly enough for her to hear over her blaring music, yet he obliged her request anyway. Alicia could be just as stubborn as Massie.
"Shut up, Fisher-Price," she retorted once Cam slid into the passenger seat. She didn't wait for him to buckle his seatbelt before slamming on the gas. "We need to look cute for Skye's party."
Cam and Alicia had been shopping companions since the seventh grade, when Alicia had transferred from a private international school in Spain to Briarwood. She only needed one look at Cam in his older brother's beat-up leather jacket and deteriorated Chuck Taylors to immediately take pity on his sense of fashion. Since then, they've prowled the mall together in search of clothes, presents for special occasions, and a good conversation between two pals. Before Massie and Cam got together (through fate mostly, but Alicia took full credit), everyone assumed he and Alicia would end up together, much to their mutual disinterest. In fact, she would sneer in disgust and shriek, "He's like a sister to me."
"But I'm always cute," he whined.
She snorted. "Honey, that kind of arrogance only works for people named Josh Hotz. He's absolutely stunning."
"If you love him so much, why don't you marry him?"
"You'd die of jealousy."
Three hours later, the pair had exhausted themselves by trekking through the Westchester Mall, rifling through nearly every boutique as if they were looting for gold. Well, Alicia was, anyway. There were definitely moments where Cam regretted enabling his friend's addiction to fashion, but she could be brutal if you stood between her and a sale.
"I don't even want to go to Skye's party," Cam remarked, when the two had collapsed in the food court to grab dinner.
Alicia scoffed. "Nobody ever wants to go to a party. It's mostly youth fear being left out among their peers due to an underlying concern of social rejection. Parties are actually pretty fascinating as a means to people watch and observe behavioral changes in different scenarios."
"Have I mentioned that I regret buying you that psychology book?"
"Massie hinted at it. But why are you so down on Skye's party? It's not like you go to parties anyway. I'm sure you'll survive one night."
This was true. The Friday night ragers common among the Westchester crowd was simply not his idea of a good time. He went occasionally, usually on the request of his friends. But usually, his weekends were spent hanging out Massie, working out with Josh for soccer, convincing Alicia she didn't need two sweaters in the same color, or drawing. Truth be told, he could be a bit of a bore.
He sighed and aimlessly drew pictures in ketchup with his fries. "I just think Josh has...ulterior motives for making me go to Skye's."
"It's Josh Hotz. I'd be suspicious if he didn't have some sort of ulterior motive."
"I don't think you're getting it," he replied, running about a thousand terrifying scenarios through his head, "He said I was in a funk. And the idea of being de-funked by Josh is horrifying."
She chuckled and rolled her eyes. "Do you want me to pinky-promise you that I won't let Josh de-funk. Nor will I give out that picture of you at the pool to the girl's softball team." She extended her baby finger out to him.
Cam immediately pulled his pinky back. "What picture of me at the pool?" Despite what his friends told him, he wasn't fully aware of his status among the girls at school. Cam assumed that any female attention was from hanging around Josh. Plus, Massie never gave him any ego-boost in the form of jealousy over some girl batting her eyelashes at him. She didn't have much cause for envy anyway, it was very clear that Cam was over the moon for her and her alone.
"The one where you're totally wearing a shirt and you're completely dry and covered up." Bullshit.
Groaning, he placed his head on the table. "Did they at least offer you money?"
"I want half."
"Seven dollars and fifty-cents, kid, and not a penny more."
[Josh Hotz: Absolutely PUMPED for Friday.]
(12 people like this)
Massie Block: Finally taking care of that STD? (Alicia Rivera and 10 people like this)
Alicia Rivera: Finally catch up on 'Pretty Little Liars'? (Massie Block and 7 people like this)
Cam Fisher: Finally gonna take me out to that nice Italian restaurant downtown? (Massie Block, Alicia Rivera, and 15 people like this)
Josh Hotz: Is it too much to ask to have friends that let me be happy about things?
Skye Hamilton: You should be pumped, my party's going to be sick. Save me a dance?
Josh Hotz: How about the lambada? It's forbidden ;)
Skye Hamilton: Oh, my ;)
Cam Fisher: Dude.
Massie Block: Gross.
Alicia Rivera: Seriously? Cam's right there. (Cam Fisher likes this)
Josh Hotz: So we're all going to the party on Friday? And be aware that saying no means that this friendship is over.
Massie Block: Well in that case...HELL NO. (Alicia Rivera and Cam Fisher like this)
Josh Hotz: Alrighty. Sounds great. Love you guys. Let's meet up at my house at seven? Cambo drives. Mass navigates. Leesh sings to the radio. I look hot. It'll be just like old times.
When they were still MassieandCam (no spaces), a common question they had to field from outsiders was the dreaded "how did you get together?" Unsurprisingly, that question got old fast. The story itself was rather simple: Initially, Massie had a crush on Josh, of all people. She grew closer to him, and subsequently Cam as a result of her crush and Cam's friendship with Alicia. Through a series of missteps, late-night talks, and quite a bit of soul searching— Massie and Cam realized they were a perfectly imperfect fit and all was well in the world.
But that wasn't the whole story. Not really.
Massie can still remember the first time she saw Cam.
(And technically, it was the millionth time she had physically seen him. But it was the first she really used her eyes.)
It was sophomore year, and Massie believed that Josh was the grandest thing on earth, Cam was becoming a great friend, and Alicia's annual decade party was the place to be. Each year, she threw a party themed on a period in time chosen at random, and that year it had been the 1950s. The Rivera estate was decorated to look like a sock hop, while Landon Crane's band played all the rock n' roll hits of the time. Girls in poodle or tight pencil skirts with bouffants, boys in letterman or leather jackets with their hair slicked back. If it had been anyone else throwing the shindig, it would've been regarded as an embarrassing attempt at coolness. But since it was Alicia "I Breathe Cool" Rivera, everyone followed the theme earnestly.
But Massie remembered the party so clearly for a different reason. It happened to fall the day after her parents announced their divorce. In Westchester, where couples were either mind-bogglingly in love, openly unfaithful, or a combination of both, divorce wasn't a strange occurrence. In all honesty, she saw it coming. The way her parents would argue back and forth, coldly ignore each other, and then passionately rekindle their romance was a recipe for disaster. It was a miracle they had stayed together for so long.
They simply weren't built to last, and that day, Massie decided nobody was.
Despite the burden of her family falling apart, she attended the party anyway. She had figured it was the best way to get her mind off the fact that her life was going to be a mess of custody battles, strained family events, and gossip from Westchester society. Yet, the second she walked into the soiree and seemingly time traveled to an era where families stayed together (no matter how miserable), she knew it was a mistake. Then, Landon had to twist the proverbial knife in her heart and play a rendition of "Earth Angel." To most of the party goers, it was a lovely excuse for a slow dance.
To Massie, it was an omen. The same song had played at her parent's wedding. And each year for their anniversary. And right then, she came to the saddest conclusion yet: the song would play no more in the Block household. It wasn't the beginning of a new life, it was the beginning of the end.
At that moment, something within her snapped. Fighting back the tears that threatened to betray her calm facade, she fled. She forced herself to push past the throngs of people, past a very concerned Alicia, and past any shred of belief that love was something more than a chemical reaction. Massie didn't stop until she was outside, on the second floor balcony. Then, and only then, did she let the tears spill. With heaving sobs, every possible terrible feeling erupted from her system. Sadness. Regret. Guilt. Hopelessness. It was the worst sort of crying, the kind one did when there was no use in pretending otherwise. The ugly, indelicate kind. The crying one does when they're sure they're alone, in every sense of the word.
Except Massie wasn't alone.
In her breakdown, she failed to notice the boy sitting on the edge of the balcony, absent-mindedly sketching the view. She didn't see the way he curiously stared at her as she cried for half a moment before moving in, as if he couldn't quite believe that Massie "Fuck Feelings" Block was physically capable of crying. And she certainly didn't register the fact that he had draped his sweater over her shoulders until much later, when she left the party with the garment still wrapped around her.
But she did, however, realize the boy had carefully placed an arm around her without question, and she cried unto him without inhibition. For half a second, she thought (and truthfully, hoped) the boy was Josh, due to the familiar scent. But when the boy said quietly, "You'll be okay," in that wonderfully raspy voice she was growing more fond of, she wasn't so sure about anything anymore. She was beginning to like the blue and green eyes she was boring more and more into everyday, as well as the perpetually charcoal-smudged hands and introspective demeanor against her more brash persona. For a while, she thought she and Josh made sense because they were so similar, but now? Maybe opposites did attract.
"Try not to get snot on the sweater. Alicia will kill me," Cam joked lightly, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, Massie laughed. And then he laughed too. And before she knew it, the night air and Cam's sweater had dried her tears, and all was well in the world. At least for a moment.
And that's when Massie decided that Cameron Fisher was dangerous.
josh [2:54]: can i ask you something?
massie [2:56]: shoot.
josh [2:59]: on a scale of one to ten, how angry would you be if i set a certain ex-boyfriend of yours up with kori geldman at skye's party?
massie [3:12]: that depends.
josh [3:13]: on what?
massie [3:16]: how attached you are to the use of your legs.
josh [3:17]: but masseline, how ever can you be so angered if you and dear cameron are no longer bethrothed?
massie [3:19]: fuck you, you're not even using the word betrothed correctly. and stop calling me masseline. do i have to show you assholes my birth certificate?
josh [3:21]: i'll stop calling you masseline if you admit you still love cam.
massie [3:23]: who said i stopped?
AN: Sooo, more pressing matters first: this story will be in four parts. I've written the ending already, and I felt without this chapter, everything would be rushed. Plus, I liked developing the Cam/Alicia/Massie/Josh friendship. Friendships in general are great :) Speaking of, I'm incredibly grateful of all the friends I've made on this site, so I'm gonna try to come back and finish my stories. Thanks to all the people who continue to read and review my work, even though I'm terrible at updating. I honestly read every review, and each one just helps me as a writer.
I hope you guys enjoy this chapter! I'm trying to keep the humor present and I'm really, really rusty. Forgive me :p
Thanks for reading,