Chapter 8 – New Beginnings

Maya rubbed her head as she sat up in bed. She looked at her bedroom floor. Tori and Tristan were piled into a heap of pillows and blankets in the middle of her room.

"Urgggg…" Maya groaned.

Tori and Tristan stayed put.

"Urrrrrrggggg." Maya groaned again, slightly louder.

Still asleep, Tori shuffled around, pushing her foot onto Tristan's face. Tristan snored.

"I SAID URGGG!" Maya shouted. Tristans eyes shot open as he spit and splurted, pushing Tori's bare foot from his face.

"Mmph?" Tori said.

"Maya what is it?" Tristan said, trying to push the rest of Tori's body off of him.

"I don't know.. You tell me." Maya rubbed her eyes and turned to dangle her legs off of the side of the bed.

"What? Do you have a hangover or something?" Tristan said sitting up.

"No… I wasn't that drunk," Maya snapped. "I'm just a little disoriented."

"Oh, well. You'll wish you were too drunk to remember, when you remember." Tristan gave a little laughing snort and lay back down.

"Hey.. aren't those are mine?" Maya asked, pointing a lazy finger to Tori's sleepwear.

"Yesyes," Tristan waved her question off, "but the more important matter is do you remember what happened last night?! Maya you were a totally different person."

Maya sighed, "Yeah, I know."

She stared at the wall for a bit.

"I guess I found out what high school parties can be like after all huh…"

"No," Tristan started with a giggle. "The only thing you found out is what kind of drunk you are. 'The Lover'" Tristan laughed. Tori giggled under the covers.

"Hey! It's not funny! I'm worried about Cam." Maya tried to suppress her laughter and succeeded. She wondered if she should call him or not. Maya was wide awake now.

She thought. The last time she saw him, he was running away from her after their-

"Hot and steamy make-out session!" Tori pulled the covers from her face to reveal her tired voice and tired eyes. She yawned as she ended her sentence.

Tristan laughed. "Maya we're never letting this go."

Maya rolled her eyes a bit and bit her thumb nail. After a few minutes she stood up and put on her glasses. She opened her phone. No calls or messages.

There was a knock on the door.

"Heeeey," Katie poked her head in. "Ready for breakfast?"

"Not really," Maya said as she stared at the floor. She wondered if her sister knew what she was up to last night.

"Okay," Katie shrugged and turned to leave.

"What? Are you crazy Maya? We're starving." Tristan declared as he practically carried Tori's lifeless body to the Matlin's kitchen. Maya decided to follow behind.

At the table were pancakes, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon strips. Suddenly Tori was wide awake.

"Deeelicious pancakes Ms. Matlin." Tori nodded as she chewed. Tristan opened his eyes wide and nodded as well, going for seconds.

Maya ate a cut of her pancakes only so she didn't look suspicious. She was hungry, but thinking about Cam and last night made her too anxious to fully enjoy her meal. She looked over at Katie, who was alternating between taking bites and texting on her phone. Probably Jake, she thought.

Maya's phone went off for a text message. She dropped her fork and scrambled to pick it up.

"Tristiepoo: Hey cheer up! We could just go over to Cam's house today."

Maya's stomach dropped. It was only Tristan. She replied, annoyed for no good reason. Tristan looked down at his phone, making sure to use his free hand to shovel more food into his mouth.

"MayMat: Sure."

Tristan showed the text to Tori and then looked up at her with a disappointed look. She could tell he'd expected excitement, or even gratitude, but Maya just felt too bad. What was she even thinking. It was all that stupid, pig-headed jock's fault.

"Ugh. Mike Dallas." Maya said under her breath. Katie's eyes looked up at her, her head still facing her phone in her lap. Maya bit bacon and gave a weak smile.

Suddenly a phone went off, breaking the tension. Maya doubtfully glanced over at her own. It stopped ringing and Tori shouted, "ZIGGIE!" as she shuffled out of the dining room and into the hallway.

Maya knew it was going to be a long day.

Afterwards, the trio found themselves clean, dressed, and walking down the sidewalk on Maya's street.

"We're coming now," Tori said with a smile on her face, still on the phone with Zig. Tristan walked with his hands in the pockets of his trench coat and a red nose.

"It's kinda cold today…" he said to no one in particular.

"Yeah," Maya said.

"Okay bye~" Tori said with the smile still plastered on her face as she hung up the phone. "We turn here," Tori pointed and herded them to the left.

Eventually they came up to the convenience store that Zig lived above. Tori rang the bell and two minutes later, out came Zig. He smiled at and hugged Tori, then put his arm around her shoulder as they walked away from the door.

"So, how was the party," Zig asked, trying to spark a conversation.

Tori and Tristan looked at Maya without waiting for a reaction, and then at each other. They tried to hide their chuckles under their breath but it was obvious that they found something funny.

"What did I say?" Zig looked around, confused.

"So where to now?" Maya asked to ruin the moment, already knowing but just wanting to hear it from someone else.

"Well, I guess Cam's house now?" Tristan said and looked at Tori and Zig. Tori smiled and nodded and Zig gave a "sure-why-not" shrug.

Maya felt excitement somewhere deep inside her that was masked with anxiousness and fear.

The four walked on, talking and joking until they reached Cam's house.

Cam hadn't left his bed since morning. When he woke up, all he wanted to do was stare at the ceiling. He sighed, and began to even feel frustrated with his confusion of the night before. Like Maya, he too was indecisive about calling her. He didn't know what to say. What if Maya was mad at him for leaving? But he just couldn't handle the intensity of the moment. He had to leave.

Once he had settled on the idea that Maya was upset with him, Cam sat up and put his head in his hands. His anxiety was worsening, and becoming a true problem. He got up and paced his room a bit, all the while eyeing his hockey stick. This was all hockey's' fault. Had he not been on the team, he wouldn't have lost Maya. He wouldn't be embarrassed by his stupid teammates, and worst of all, he wouldn't have had to leave his family back home.

Cam couldn't hold back tears of frustration, and he hated when they appeared. It made him feel weak. He didn't like to feel weak. He knows he has to be strong for his team.

For his family.

For Maya.

Stress swelled up inside of his chest like an inflating balloon as he grabbed the hockey stick, ready to smash it through the window in a desperate attempt to release this condensed mess of emotions that he felt. Instead, in the prime heat of the moment, he threw the stick down and cursed anything and everyone. Why does everything always have to mean so much to him?

The doorbell rang, but Cam barely heard it. He just sat on the floor with his back against the bed, looking out the window and trying to control his severe anxiety.

"Oh hello guys, come on in, Cam is upstairs." Cam's host mother told the four.

"Thank you," each of them said at once, making their way into the living room.

"Uh, you guys stay down here. I'll be back." Maya said almost immediately after they'd step foot on the carpet.

"No recaps of last night!" Tristan said when he was sure the host mother was out of hearing range. Tori rolled her eyes and motioned encouragingly for Maya to go. Zig scratched his head.

As she climbed the spiraling stairs of Cam's home, she thought of all the things she would say when she saw him. She hoped he wasn't upset. Oh she really hoped he wasn't angry with her.

She approached his bedroom door and stood there, preparing herself to knock. She lifted her hand to the door.

Cam lifted his head as he heard a knock on the door. He cleared his throat and wiped his face on his shirt sleeve.

"Uhh," he said as he stood and wiped his hands on his shirt. "Come in," his voice cracked a bit and he cleared his throat once more.

The door slowly peeked open and he heard Maya's voice call "Cam?"

Cam's heart pounded. "Maya?" he walked over to the door and opened it fully. "What're you doing here?"

Maya's heart pounded now too. He sounded mad, she thought. Maybe she should just go.

"Nothing.. I don't know." She tripped on her own words and thoughts. "I'll just go." She said reluctantly, hoping he would pull her back in.

"Wait, no, why would you leave?" Cam said, getting more and more nervous by the second.

Maya shrugged and walked back into the room and sat on a beanbag. Cam closed the door behind her and sat on the floor next to her.

"Cam, look," she started, thinking of what exactly it was that she wanted to say.

"No, you don't have to explain," he said. There was a pause. Maya looked at the floor.

"What happened at the party, happened already," Cam continued. "It wasn't a big deal anyway, we just kissed."

Maya looked up at him. She felt like he wasn't being… wholehearted.

"Well it was much more than that," Maya said softly. "I mean we kinda almost…" she paused.

"I know." Cam filled in for her.

More pauses.

"Sorry I walked out," Cam started again. Maya shrugged.

"I thought you were mad at me," they said at the same time, and then laughed a little.

"Well, I wasn't," Maya said. "Mad at you, I mean," she clarified. "But I just wish I could take back some of that night."

"Don't worry about it," Cam reassured her.

The two sat there for a few minutes. Maya began to think about everything.

"But…" she started.

"What is it?" Cam asked.

"I remember telling you something." Maya said shyly.

"Huh?" Cam nervously smiled a little to hide his confusion.

"I said I loved you." Maya said quickly.

"Oh, yeah, I remember that." Cam said, remembering saying it back too. "Did you mean it, or were you just…"

"I," she cut him off, "I think I might have," she said awkwardly.

"I know I did." Cam said, suddenly serious. Maya looked at him and for the first time since she'd seen him had noticed that something was off. Cam looked sad and tired. Anxious.

Maya couldn't reply in words. Instead she leaned over and hugged Cam with all her heart. Slowly tears streamed out of Cam's eyes and it frustrated him once more.

"Stupid tears," he said, backing out of the hug to wipe them. Maya pulled his hands away and told him it was okay. Cam at first struggled with her, but then gave in. He began crying on Maya's shoulder, telling her all about his stress; his worries and his fears. Maya was as supportive as she could be. She held him and rubbed his head and assured him that she would be there for him; that the struggle wouldn't be for much longer.

Cam never wanted to let go. Neither did Maya. The two sat there, bodies together, for quite some time. Suddenly Cam released his grip enough to be face to face with her, held her face in his hands and kissed her.

"Thank you," he said, their foreheads touching, looking down.

Maya was tearing up a bit herself. "For what?" she asked with a nervous smile.

"For.. just being... you." He laughed a bit. She laughed too.

"My friends are still downstairs," she threw in there with a smile, sniffled, and wiped her eyes.

"Shall we?" Cam stood and held his hand out to her. As she smiled and reached up to grab it he pulled his hand away.

"A bit too slow," he joked. Maya laughed and started to get up herself when Cam swooped down and picked her up.

"No princess of mine should ever set foot on the ground." He declared with a mockingly royal voice.

"That's right," Maya said matter-of-factly, wiping Cam's face dry.

The two walked down the hallway and descended the staircase to meet their friends.

"Hey I thought I said no recaps!" Tristan fake-shouted. "That took forever."

"Yeah man, I'm starved." Zig said, receiving the typical nudge from Tori.

"Lets go to the dot!" Tori said, always more excited than she needed to be.

"Sure." Maya said as Cam set her down, mimicking her text from earlier.

Tristan rolled his eyes and headed for the door.

The five friends walked on to the Dot Grill to get burgers and do teenage things for the rest of their Saturday afternoon.

Cam and Maya walked next to each other, while Tori hitched a ride on Tristan's back and Zig trailed behind, listening to his iPod. Things felt right. The anxiety didn't bother Cam anymore, as long as he was with Maya. Maya no longer felt the need to impress, as long as she was with Cam.

"It's so cold out here!" Tristan groaned.

"Onward!" Tori shouted, still on his back.

"Zig, will you please take your crazy girlfriend." Tristan faked annoyance.

"What?" Zig said, unable to hear anything through his music.

"Ugh, nevermind." Tristan laughed. They all laughed.

"Onward!" Tori yelled again.

And onward they went.