A/N: Hi there! After writing about twelve-hundred one-shots (and only posting two. Lol), I have decided to try my hand at writing a full length story, with a little bit of guidance on your part—only on whether or not to continue, obviously. This idea just popped into my head during school one day and I thought I'd give it a shot. This will be an eventual Camaya story, but for now, it's just Cam. In the beginning, is has not left yet. He's still home. Contrary to my first one-shot (Bullet from a Gun), Justin and his father are both alive and well. :) Please review, tell me if you like! The continuation is in your hands!
This chapter took about three million years to write. I had so many ideas and only a few words to make it work. I'm happy with the way it came out. I felt sad, I awwe'd, I read it over. It may be a bit draggy, and for that I'm sorry! So, if yoPu like, review, review, review! and I will continue! Updating may be slow and steady however (I have a rigorous class sched. this year. boo honors classes), so stick with me! Get those little email notifications! :)
Love, Love, Love,
PS: Szczelaszczyk is pronounced 'seh-lass-check,' just in case you were wondering. I'm a fan of difficult last names. ;
Campbell's eyes remained locked on the obnoxious analog clock above the distinguished desk before him. Out of habit, his index finger picked at the nail groove of his thumb; little instances of pain travelled through his nervous system. He had told himself several times over to knock it off, it gave the shrink reason to keep him there, yet he had continued. It was like he couldn't stop himself. In his free hand, he held the crumpled, tarnished tissue the doctor had given him after he had broken the skin almost a half an hour ago, much to his embarrassment. Every once in a while, he caught Dr. Szczelaszczyk's prying eyes peel over the desk and his hands split apart. The irony of it all was the fact that going to see the psychiatrist only made him feel worse.
He had begged his mother to stop taking him; he didn't need it, he'd tell her, he didn't have anything to say. In truth, he never gave it a fair chance. From the very first appointment, he sat mute, only speaking when necessary. He was far too embarrassed to tell some stranger all of what tormented him, all of what made his chest go tight and hindered his oxygen intake and forced him to succumb to the awful feeling always lurking in the pit of his stomach. His pleas, however, went entirely ignored if not discernibly shot down. Do you like those scars, Campbell? Perhaps his mother hadn't meant it maliciously, but it left its mark either way.
"Is there anything you want to tell me about?" Dr. Szczelaszczyk's deep hazel eyes bore into his. It was almost like he knew. He couldn't possibly know. Cam's stomach lurched as the events of the night before resurfaced: he was gasping—no, he wasn't breathing—he couldn't breathe. His arms flailed around him as he tried to force air into his lungs. He couldn't think straight, his heart hammered in his chest, he was dying. Panic arose from his stomach; someone was screaming. He couldn't make sense of it either way. And then out of nowhere, Justin was standing above him, yelling at him. Something like stall or stoop or… stop.
He shook his head, as if trying to shake the memory from his thoughts. Once again, the usual silence settled back over the pair of them.
"You leave for Toronto on Monday, right?" The young doctor asked. It took him a moment to register that it was him he was talking to. Without much thought, he nodded a yes, tugging his eyeballs off the clock. Twenty minutes, twenty more minutes. "Are you excited? I know hockey means a lot to you, you must be so happy to have this opportunity." Dr. Szczelaszczyk's brilliantly white, straight teeth appeared behind his chapped lips. Due to his youthful appearance and attitude, Campbell found he thought himself to be universally relatable, and maybe he would have been had he been his basketball coach or his teacher, not his psychiatrist. God, no.
"Yeah, I can't wait." He slapped a fake smile on his face to accompany his lie. He wasn't the least bit excited, not even remotely. He only accepted the offer to play for the Toronto Ice Hounds because he thought it'd give him the chance to be his father's favorite. He wanted so desperately what he and Justin had, or even what he and his younger brother Riley had. His plan had been working thus far. His father had paid him a considerable amount of attention since receiving the offer and he was happy enough.
"You know, Campbell," He began, his eyes narrowing behind the Buddy Holly glasses perched on his nose. "I don't believe you." Cam's jaw slid open and clamped itself shut repeatedly like a fish gasping for water between its gills. "You're wrong!" He refuted far too hastily.
"There's something you're not telling me. I can tell by the way your eyes jump back and forth between me and the clock and the way you keep picking at your thumb, and the speed at which you responded didn't help either. You're uncomfortable with talking about it. You're nervous." He sat back in the leather office chair, resting his right ankle on his left leg. The smug look on his face dug itself under Campbell's skin. He looked so proud of himself, so accomplished that he had cracked Cam's code.
"I'm fine." He muttered, silently cursing himself for being so easily read. What bothered him most was the fact that Dr. Szczelaszczyk was one-hundred-percent correct. He was nervous, terrified of being so far away, so vulnerable. With the exception of Mike Dallas, a friend of Justin's, he knew none of his teammates, he knew no one in Degrassi, and was completely clueless when it came to Toronto itself. Where would he study? How would he get to school; would he walk, would he take the bus, would his billet parents drive him? What if he got lost? What if his billet family didn't like him? What if he couldn't make any friends? What if someone found out? The continuous strand of questions spun around and around in his head, blocking every other thought. Just the inclination of change forced a fresh wave of nausea over him.
For what felt like an eternity, the two of them sat in silence; the only source of noise being the clock, the ticking was slowly driving Cam insane. To keep himself in the room and disallow his thoughts to roam elsewhere, he counted each tock, marking an invisible tally in his head. His worries, however, played over and over like broken record. His toes tapped along with them; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. A deepening shade of red spread across his cheeks; fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. He and Dr. Szczelaszczyk made eye contact; his anxious heart took off; twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three. His suddenly clammy palms ran themselves over and over his jeans; forty-one, forty-two, forty-three, forty-four, forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven.
"Campbell?" The young man's face fell to a puzzled frown as his eyes traced the contours of his face. He shook his head, as if to force the cycling out of his ears. Breathlessly, Campbell responded, "Yeah?"
"You're taking the meds, right? You know it's dangerous to skip out, even for a few days. You need to keep taking them, even when you're out in the city, okay?" He felt very small all of the sudden, like a child being reprimanded. He jerked his head in a kind of nod. He understood full well what happened when he quit the pills. Everyone seemed to forget that he was the one dealing with his own life; he was the one living it, after all.
"Be safe out there. Remember that you need to call me twice a week. If you don't take the initiative, Mom told me to call you instead. Your family cares about you a lot, Cam. You can hate me and hate coming here all you want, but it makes your mom worry less, and your dad, too." Dr. Szczelaszczyk's voice rang through his ears, reverberating off the sides of his skull.
"He doesn't care." In an almost inaudible grumble, the words slipped off his tongue before he could stop them. His gaze dropped back to his sneakers as he kicked himself. His hands clamped together as if praying to God the doctor didn't hear it was going to help.
"Why would you think that?" He asked quizzically, subtly grabbing a pen and his file.
"You brought it up."
For a moment, they just stared at each other. Dr. Szczelaszczyk's eyebrows disappeared into his messy bangs, the inquisitive look still evident on his youthful face. Campbell's hazel eyes danced around the room as if searching for a way out, his comfort zone completely abandoned. He settled on the clock once more; twelve-fifty-eight. He had to stop himself from leaping out of the chair and performing a victory dance.
He followed the red hand as it made its journey around the clock, tracing a perfect circle, and then again. The minutes flew by like seconds, and for that he was thankful. As the thick, black, hand snapped onto the 1, he shrugged back into his jacket and slid out of the uncomfortable leather seat. "Time's up." He found it quite difficult to hide the excitement in his voice. He was more than happy to get out of there.
"I want to talk about this more, Campbell." He called after him. Cam was having none of it. He wanted no part of talking more. It was his last face-to-face session, after all. The next time he'd have to talk to Dr. Szczelaszczyk, he'd be twelve hours away where he couldn't read Cam like a book or get inside his head or drudge up the bottom of his lake. A slight smile crept onto his lips as he traipsed down the narrow hallway to the lobby of the office. A weight seemed to be lifted from his shoulders; a feeling of relief settled over him. For what felt like the first time in days, he inhaled and exhaled, savoring the sensation for he didn't know if he'd feel it again anytime soon.
His momentary happiness was short lived, however.
Suave as ever, Justin stood hunched over the reception desk; his shaggy, chestnut hair flopped over his eyes. He appeared to be speaking to the newest secretary; Campbell could have sworn she looked familiar when he came in. Hesitantly, he forced himself towards the older boy. His cheeks flushed, embarrassment overwhelming his senses. He hated when their mother sent Justin to pick him up from Dr. Szczelaszczyk's office, then more than ever. Facing Justin was the last thing he wanted to do, not after the night before. It was humiliating enough that he had to share a bedroom with his older brother, forcing him to be subjected to question after question on the ride home was far too much.
"Why are you here anyway?" The words met his ears before he had the chance to usher his brother out the door. He hadn't even made it close enough for Justin to notice him. Realization hit him like a freight train; this girl, the new secretary, was from school. She and Justin shared mutual friends. One mutual friend in particular: Mike Dallas. The heat collecting beneath his skin intensified. His legs wouldn't cooperate; he stood frozen like a deer in headlights.
"Oh, uh," He watched as Justin's eyebrow furrowed—something he always did as he grappled for an explanation. "Why am I here? That's a great question. The doctor, he—uh—he's my mentor. I'm majoring in psychology next year, hoping to get into psychiatry." He finished his ridiculously fabricated alibi with a casual smirk, earning an ear-to-ear grin from the girl. Once again, he thanked his stars this girl was just as daft as the other puck bunnies that followed Justin and Dallas around like lovesick puppies.
"Oh, wow. Psychology? You really want to spend the rest of your life dealing with a bunch of crazies? This guy," She paused, jerking a thumb in the direction Campbell had just come from. "He only deals with kids and they're bad enough. The kid he's in there with now can't be more than, like, fourteen, maybe fifteen and he's a mess. I read his file." He watched as Justin's body tensed; a fresh wave of heat clawed its way up his neck, his breathing hitched.
And just like that, every bit of composure Campbell had clung to fell away like rotted boards on a dilapidated fence.
Lowering his head, he pushed on through the waiting room and straight out the door; the ringing of the bell resounding in his head. The rain fell in steady sheets, drowning out the rest of Kapuskasing. Campbell loved the rain; it soothed him, made him forget. Without hesitation, he stepped out from underneath the arch way of the building he had come to resent, allowing the continuous droplets to cling to all of him. For what felt like hours, he just stood there, following the headlights of passing cars. And how fitting? Standing in the midst of a downpour outside of the only psychiatry clinic in all of Kapuskasing. The rain spilled over his sandy hair, beaded down his face, and rested on his thin jacket, soaking the fabric. The red tint in his cheeks had been silenced by the cooler temperature. In fact, an entirely new color donned his lips: blue. It didn't make any difference to him as ravaging shivers ran up and down his spine. He had never had a high tolerance for the cold; the irony of his hockey career was almost laughable. At least he was feeling something, right?
"Campbell!" His brother's voice sent him plummeting back into reality, the bell from his exited still piercing the atmosphere. "What the hell are you doing?" Before he had time to react, Justin had pulled him back under the arch by his collar, his hands working double speed to remove Cam's sopping outerwear. "You're freezing." He commented as he slid his arms out of his own jacket, leaving them bare to the harsh weather. He stared as goose bumps popped up along the contours of his muscles.
"I'm fine." The chattering of his teeth depleted any validity of his statement. Justin rolled his eyes and placed the much-too-large coat over his younger brother's shoulders. "You're going to get sick if you keep doing this depressive stuff, not to mention hurt—first the roof, now a parking lot? Do you have some kind of death wish?" His brother's voice echoed through his ears as he guided him to the archaic Chrysler Concord. Justin had always been embarrassingly protective of him—in private at least. In front of his friends—as long as it wasn't vicious—he'd tease him mercilessly. Campbell preferred it that way. He'd die of humiliation if Justin did anything fatherly in front of anyone he had to see on a daily basis.
Raindrops sliced through the condensation on the windshield like knives. He watched as each one traced itself upwards until they all disappeared somewhere beyond the tan felt interior of his brother's car. Aside from the buzzing radio that seemed to spit out more audio ads than music, the air hung still and silent. Justin's fingers drummed on the steering wheel along to whatever song had come on. Cam fiddled with the cuffs of the jacket, his wet hair still stuck to his forehead. His brother's jaw would tighten every so often, like he had something dire to say. He shrunk away; he was already shaky enough.
In the rearview mirror, he could see the new luggage set their mother insisted they buy for him to take to Toronto. He had almost forgotten all about it. The five, lonely pieces had sat in the back of Justin's automobile for a week. Campbell couldn't bear to pack; just the thought of leaving made him nauseous. There were two days until he left and still they sat empty. He had accepted that his departure wouldn't be easy long ago, but this, this was a little much.
Rows and rows of blurred houses ran past his window. He sat mesmerized by them, squinting every so often to make out house numbers or lights on in windows or anything to signalize life. He just wanted to go home and lie in bed, perhaps eat a bowl of cereal or watch a television program. He just wanted to feel familiar before he was shoved out into the great unknown.
"So did you tell him?" Justin ground out, shattering their mutual silence. Of course he knew what Justin was referring too. He had made it quite clear that he didn't believe Cam could make it so far away for so long. His lapse the night before had only further proven his point. For weeks, Justin had tried to get him to tell their parents how poorly he was taking the impending relocation.
"It was nothing." He murmured, suddenly very interested in his fingers.
A growl fell from his brother's lips, his hands slammed into the steering wheel in frustration. Campbell jumped, startled by Justin's outburst. His eyes wild, Justin pulled over to the curb and threw the car into park. "What are you going to do when you can't lie anymore? Huh? When we get a phone call that you're in the hospital because you've done something stupid again what are you going to say? It was an accident? You've already used that excuse. What else do you have?"
Time might as well have stopped moving. Cam could feel his chest collapsing on the rest of him, his eyes bulging, but he couldn't pull himself away from his brother. Justin had never, never taken his aggression that far. He had never sunk so low as to drag that back up. It had become an almost unspeakable topic in their house, well, for everyone except their mother when she wanted to silence his complaints. He couldn't even scrape together a retort. How could he come back from that?
So he didn't. He slid back to the window, wiping away the fog with the palm of his hand. The tell-tale prickly sensation sparked somewhere behind his eyes; he chomped down on his lower lip to halt it. Unfortunately, the lack of communication between his brain and his emotions worked against him. Noiseless, salty tears slid down his cheeks as he bid farewell to the life he had become so accustomed to. Changes had already begun and by Monday, his life would be virtually unrecognizable.
Maybe it's for the better. He thought. Maybe so.
How was it? Let me know! :)