August 8, 2020
For the last month of school Marquette had been trying to get her summer lined up so that she’d have a job to earn money for when she went to Idaho. Every scheme and idea that Marquette pursued seemed to keep falling through. St. George didn’t work out, Chino Valley didn’t work out, Hershey PA didn’t work out, staying in Thatcher didn’t work out. The one place that stayed open as an option was one she kept pushing back…living with her Great Uncle and Aunt in Edgewood. Marquette worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a suitable job there and she really didn’t want Cameron to think that she was following him home. She was also hesitant to go and be around Cameron and try to keep her feelings at bay all summer knowing they’d never end up together. So she kept resisting, but finally she knew that living in Edgewood was the right thing to do. Marquette let Roger know when to expect her up and he found a reason to be out of the house at the time so he could call Cameron to come over and welcome Marquette “home”. Cameron wasn’t supposed to say it was prearranged, but he told Marquette immediately so as not to give the wrong impression. It was awkward, but Marquette did appreciate not arriving at an empty house.
Cameron ended up joining a road crew and was out on jobs for most of the summer, so the two really didn’t have many chances to hang out, but the weekends that he was home they did find some time together. Uncle Roger kept trying to push the two into dating. Everyone kept trying to push them into dating. One day Cameron took Marquette on a date and showed her some of the cool old ruins of the old homestead houses in the area followed by dinner at his family’s house.
They hung out a number of times, but Marquette came home feeling a little blue each time because she knew he didn’t like her. He was never rude or mean, but you could just tell that he wasn’t romantically interested. One time before heading out to a young single adults dance, Roger sat Cameron down and asked him if he liked Marquette, and Cameron told him no, he liked a girl back in Thatcher. Roger sent word back to Marquette’s Grandpa and he sent word to her Mom. Following this, Paralee started stealthily asking questions trying to figure out who he might like and hoping her little girl wasn’t going to be too heartbroken.
One day while Marquette was hanging out with 2 of her long-time friends, they began asking her about Cameron. Finally they asked her, “If Cameron barged in right now and got down on his knee and asked you to marry him, what would you say?” Marquette knew her feelings. As crazy as it seemed, she knew she already loved him. She replied without hesitation (but while blushing deeply) that she would say yes wholeheartedly. But that chance wasn’t ever going to come.
Finally at the end of June Marquette couldn’t take it any longer. She knew he didn’t like her but she wanted to hear it from him so that she could start getting over him and moving on. Aunt Alice again threatened Marquette that she would do something about it if Marquette didn’t. Knowing Alice would do something about it, Marquette decided to take action. At that time Cameron was working as a flag man for a road crew down in Silver City. He, Jalayne and Marquette texted each other all the time with stories, jokes and just general nonsense. One night Marquette finally had her courage mustered…but he was still in Silver City and it was too late to call and talk to him. Knowing that if she waited any longer her courage would fail, and knowing that her phone at that time had a nifty feature where a text could be written and scheduled for later delivery, she put together a text to send to him. She knew it was just about the lamest way to do what needed to be done…but it’s what was available at the time and her courage was up. So the text was composed, it’s delivery time scheduled, and the send button was hit…only to be followed by a feeling of panic. “What have I done?” Marquette knew he didn’t like her and was certain that their friendship was ruined for the rest of the summer. She frantically searched the phone for any way to cancel that text…but it was sent and done. Great. One friendship, down the drain.
6 am rolls around and Cameron’s standing on the side of the road holding his “Stop/Slow” sign when he receives a text that said something embarrassing like this: “Cameron, I’ve fallen head over heels for you and I’d like to know how you feel so we can either do something about it or so I can move on.” He did a facepalm, sighed real deep and tried to figure out what to say. He didn’t like Marquette like that…he liked Jalayne. Needing to buy himself some time to decide what to do, he responded finally he felt like this was too important to do over texting and that he could either call Marquette that night or that they could talk about it in person when he got home that weekend. Marquette wanted to delay the inevitable so she responded that she’d prefer to talk that weekend. That week was torture for both of them. Marquette knew what he was going to say, so along with her cousin and friend, she started planning a cross country trip for when he broke her heart. Cameron spent the week trying to figure out just what he was going to do. He did indeed like Jalayne and was planning on trying to date her when he got back to school, but he was worried that if he dated Marquette for the summer and then broke things off that it would ruin his chances with Jalayne, and he didn’t want to hurt Marquette either. Cameron decided the first thing to do would be to contact Jalayne to see if she had any feelings for him and if there was even a chance for them. Jalayne sweetly told him no, there wasn’t a chance, but they’d always be friends. So then Cameron stewed about what to do. He still wasn’t romantically interested in Marquette, but he didn’t really like his choices. As he saw it, he could tell Marquette no and then they’d have an awkward summer and their friendship would be strained and weird, or he could date Marquette for the summer and then break things off before going back to school…but that would also be a damper on the friendship. In a conversation with his roommate, Chuck told Cameron that he owed it to himself, Marquette, and their friendship to at least give it a shot. At the very least, Chuck argued, it would make the rest of the summer easier than if he turned Marquette down immediately. So, with all this to mull over for a week, Cameron contacted Marquette and asked her on a date for the evening he would be getting home to figure everything out.
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