At the end of the day, Camila Hurst was walking down the hallway filled with students putting books away inside their lockers, to the music classroom where she knew she would find Ms. L. After running down to the teacher’s lounge to see if she was there, she was told by some other teacher that she was still at her classroom preparing tomorrow’s lesson.
Almost breathless because of shoving other kids aside while walking hurriedly, she stopped outside the closed classroom’s door and let out a breath of relief as Ms. L was busily going through some papers on her desk at the front of the room.
All through Algebra, Camie had planned how to go on about her plan. Not that she’d been asked to come up with one, but last Sunday she’d heard some interesting news about her uncle and Ms. B.
As her uncle and father had thought, she’d been upstairs in her bedroom, finishing some biology assignment that had totally slipped her mind due to the Thanksgiving rush. Craving some Oreos and a glass of milk, she’d started to descend the stairs when she’d heard her uncle talking about Olivia.
Curiosity had made her move as silent as a mouse until she was standing at the base of the stairs. Good thing uncle Michael had a thick carpeting covering the noisy wood, muffling her steps and making it easier for her to stand there listening in on their conversation, unnoticed.
Eavesdropping was not something Camie was proud of doing, especially since the last time she’d done it had been before her parents told her the news of their imminent divorce. It brought her painful memories, just recalling standing outside her parents’ bedroom listening to her mom admitting the marriage was no longer working and her dad’s filled with pain voice agreeing with her.
Shaking her head, Camie continued replaying the conversation between her dad and uncle Michael. At first, she’d had to clamp her mouth over her mouth to stop screaming from delight when she heard her teacher and her uncle had kissed when he’d taken her back to her home. Camie had sensed Ms. B had been somehow the reason for her uncle’s dark mood over the long weekend but she didn’t understand why kissing her had made him so sad.
The reason was not far behind. After rolling her eyes at the sky when he got wrong the name of one of her favorite T.V. shows, uncle Michael said that her history teacher had a boyfriend. That definitely caused her level of excitement to drop down to her toes and she could now see why her uncle had been so miserable during their stay at her grandparents’ house.
Just when she had been about to go up leaving her uncle to mope in privacy, her dad had uttered it’s not like she’s married to the guy or about to get married. It had been enough to bring life back into her uncle and make Camie excited all over again.
Afterwards, it all had happened so fast. Her dad’s voice lowered like when he was about to lecture her about using the internet instead of studying and then, her uncle had said something about having a shot if her teacher was not yet in a more serious compromise in her current relationship.
Camie had felt like in a romantic movie. If whenever she was ready to do the whole date guys thing, she would want someone who wanted to fight for her like Michael was willing to do for Olivia.
Her romantic haze had almost given her away as she’d barely had time to climb back up, two steps at a time, before Michael passed next to where she’d been eavesdropping. Camie then had gone back to her room and paced like a caged lion, already her cookies and milk forgotten waiting for Michael’s return.
The minute the familiar sound of his Ford Explorer traveled all the way up to her room, she pulled the curtain open to see if she could tell from here if the outcome of his sudden mission had been positive or if broody uncle Michael was going to be with them for quite a while.
Again, Camie had been cautious to wait until both men were again seated at the living room before coming back down, this time risking exposing herself more by getting closer to the kitchen’s entrance. Jerry, her dad, was shaking his head from side to side, groaning and trying to tune out his brother’s excited banter as he recounted what Ms. B had said about not being engaged and how he’d kissed her for a second time.
That had been when the whole idea of helping uncle Michael had been born. Camie had gone all week trying to think of ways of doing some matchmaking of her own, and today the fates had made her walk down the hallway at the same time she’d seen Ms. L take a visibly upset Ms.B back to her music classroom.
Luckily for her, the two women hadn’t thought a high school student, let alone Camie would be roaming the halls, searching for a way to bring her history teacher and her uncle together. So, for the second time in a very short period of time, she’d leaned against the crack of the open door and heard the conversation going on inside. And after doing some investigative work of her own, she’d had had the prefect excuse to talk to Ms. L.
And that was why she was standing here, nervous that she might make things worse by interfering. But Camie loved her uncle very much. He’d taken them in and in a way had made this whole sucky divorce with her parents less of a hassle on her. They’d always shared a deep connection. Camie could still remember her uncle Michael sitting on the floor with her playing with her Barbie dolls or giving her a piggy back ride and her giggling gleefully the entire time.
It was her turn to give some of that happiness back. Camie only hoped she could pull it off.
Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the closed door and waited until Ms. L motioned her to come inside.
Because of some very, very sick mistake when they’d transferred her to Virginia Falls High School, the people at the administration office had made a huge screw up and had put her in music class. Music here, like in her past school, was an optative subject. Knowing her limitations, Camie had stayed away from any type of artistic class and had instead focused on sports. Unfortunately, she was stuck in this class for the remaining of the year.
Ms. L was a cool teacher, like Olivia, but even Camie could see her teacher wondered why in the world had she been assigned to this class. The sad reality was she couldn’t for the life of her sing, or play an instrument, not even the tambourine. Camie blamed it on her father. Whenever Jerry Hurst decided to sing, people fled from him and once or twice she swore she saw the glass from the car’s window shake, as if it were about to burst.
Camie was certain she was going to flunk this class big time, but since her dad knew about her limitations or her lack of talent, he would probably not give her a hard time. If only, she wouldn’t be applying for an artistic scholarship when she applied for college.
Tracy surveyed the new kid and waited for her to speak.
“Hey, Ms. L.”
“Hi Camie. Having trouble with the assignment?”
“No! I mean, I know I totally suck at this whole music business but I’ll try my best.”
Fortunately, Ms. L only smiled instead of offering any sort of confirmation that she indeed could make a deaf man beg her to stop singing.
“Okay. So, what can I do for you?”
“Oh well, I heard from……one of the kids here that you are not going to come to the school next week.”
“Oh.” Tracy seemed taken aback, but recovered immediately, confused as to why this mattered to her student.
“That’s right, I won’t be coming. It’s my honeymoon. I’m getting married this Saturday.”
Okay, Camie you can do this. Just relax.
“Really? Congrats, Ms. L.”
“Thanks, Camie. I can’t even start to tell you how nervous I am. But thankfully my maid-of-honor, Olivia, has been really helpful and I just can’t wait!”
Camie laughed as her grown up teacher squealed like a little kid.
“I bet Ms. B will look super cute in her dress. And I heard she has this really hot boyfriend,”
Yuck! I’m pretty sure uncle Michael is way cuter.
If Tracy was troubled that her student knew about her best friend’s love life she didn’t show it.
“She does but unfortunately she’ll go all by herself. Her boyfriend, Noah, is away on business and won’t be able to make it.”
For some reason, maybe it was family loyalty, the name Noah didn’t make her think of a super hot guy. Instead, it made her think of an old man or someone very religious like a priest or something.
“It does, but I’m sure she’ll have an excellent time.”
Time to play the sympathy card, Camie.
“I wish I had a big sister or a best friend like you do, so when she got married I got to share the whole thing like you are doing with Ms. B. I mean, I went to this wedding once but I was like five and they made walk down the aisle throwing flowers and they just took a lot of pictures of me. But since I am an only child, and going through my parents divorce has sort of made me think I don’t want to get married like, never. ”
Technically, she wasn’t some screwed up kid from a nasty divorce. Camie did, at times, wonder if maybe she would better off alone when she got older, but she also hoped that if the right person came along like in the movies, then she might be willing to give him a chance.
When Tracy’s eyes softened, Camie knew her plan had been a success.
An hour later, not only had she learned what dress and what where they going to eat at the party, but she’d come out with the important details. The when, the where and most important, the time Olivia needed to be at Tracy’s house before heading to the church.
Despite her feigned interest at first, it had been fun to see Ms. L get all mushy and teary eyed as she went back to describing how her boyfriend, Trevor, ha it sounded like the noise a frog made, trevor, trevor, had proposed to her.
Grinning from ear to ear, she caught sight of her dad’s car pulling up at the parking lot. Camie had called him right before her last class had started, and asked him to come pick her up an hour after school was done. Her excuse had been she had to go to the library to do some research for her English class.
Of course, even before talking to Ms. L, Camie had known it would take her a while to track the music teacher and get her to give her the details about the wedding logistics.
“Hey, daughter of mine, why so happy?”
“Oh, I just got a good head start on my project.”
Not totally buying it, Jerry pulled away from the parking lot. No way an hour of doing school work could put a kid in such a good mood. Her daughter was up to something. For some reason his brother’s face popped into his mind. It was then that he noticed Camie was smiling just as Michael had had last Sunday, when he’d come home to tell him he was going to fight for Olivia’s affection.
Dreading that maybe a boy was the cause for this, Jerry felt old and helpless.
Camie was indeed thinking of a boy, a much older boy, one she loved as an older brother. However, she was also thinking of the girl this boy was so into, and how he would get to take her to a party, if she played her cards right.
Let the games begin.