With great effort, February tore her eyes away from Cameron and cleared her throat. She couldn’t understand how the steady throbbing of her pulse seemed to be concentrated so heavily on the one small patch of skin that Cameron had touched, or why, in the matter of a few short hours, a simple glance from him could make her knees go weak when only the day before he had just been the boy that had helped her remember the proper location of an earthworm’s vital organs. “So,” said Cameron, pulling February out of her reverie, “Wanna show me around your house?”
“Erm…sure! I mean, there’s not much to it, just some walls, rooms…with stuff in them…actually, I should probably get Martin Luther inside since it’s getting kinda late and all…” Cameron grinned as February backed into the family water slide. “Heh…yeah, forgot that was there…it’s kinda new…hey, Martin Luther, wanna come in for a story?” February couldn’t believe what an idiot she was being. She had been so afraid that Martin Luther would make her look stupid, and now here she was, saving him all the trouble. Her brother’s face reappeared in the tree house window, staring down at her incredulously. “A story?” he echoed, before throwing a malevolent glare towards Cameron. “Is it about…the stranger?” “Uh…no…and he’s not a stranger, Martin Luther, his name is Cameron, and he’s my…uh…prom date,” February explained, tossing an apologetic look to Cameron. Cameron, however, appeared to be taking the whole situation in stride and and continued to smile benevolently at her from beneath the shadows of the tree house. Martin Luther thudded to the ground from above, oblivious of the moment he was interrupting between his sister and her beau. Shifting his eyes suspiciously towards Cameron one last time, Martin Luther turned his attention on February. “Story!” he demanded imperiously, completely flustering February. She had never read a story to him in his life and had had no idea that the offer would prove to be so desirable to him. Still, how hard could it be? Pick a book, read some pages, done….right?
Martin Luther immediately proved he had other plans by marching into February’s room instead of his own. February was too distracted by Martin Luther’s unexpected choice to worry about what opinion Cameron might be formulating about her as he followed the siblings into their small house. “Hey, um…buddy. Where you going? Your room’s that way,” February said, pointing to Martin Luther’s open doorway. “Marie says I should sleep in here while Mom and Dad are gone. Marie says that the butterflies in your room are on the stranger’s side,” Martin Luther explained enigmatically, situating himself in February’s double bed. Unwilling to cause a scene in front of Cameron, February decided it would probably be easier to just go with whatever Martin Luther wanted for the time being. “Okay…whatever you say, little brother. Let me just go get your pajamas,” February said agreeably. As she made her way towards her brother’s room, she passed Cameron and cringed…this was definitely not what she had planned on tonight. “Hey, I’m really sorry about all of this…he’s not usually quite so…” she trailed off uncertainly, but Cameron still seemed unfazed. “Hey, no worries. He’s just a kid. He’s probably a little freaked out about your parents being gone,” he reassured her. “Mind if I just hang out on the couch and watch some t.v. until you’ve got him settled?” February quickly surveyed the living area for any heaps of clothes or other disturbing paraphernalia before giving her affirmation; luckily, her mother was such a neat freak that anything her careless little brother or absent-minded father might leave out was usually swept up in a timely fashion. “No, go ahead; make yourself comfortable…this should only take a minute,” she said, returning to her bedroom with Martin Luther’s pajamas. After Martin Luther arranged himself comfortably, February read a story of his choosing — Night of the Living Doll — and then another…and another…and another…Martin Luther had his sister go through five books in all before he finally nodded off. February made her way patiently through each tale, trying hard to forget about the once-promising evening rapidly slipping past.
Finally, Martin Luther’s heavy eyelids slipped closed, and February gently eased out of her room, leaving the door slightly ajar. Now, finally, she would be alone with Cameron. Her palms began sweating as she started to contemplate the many possibilities of the few hours that lay before her. Would Cameron kiss her? Did she WANT him to kiss her? Would he expect more…should she invite him to spend the night? But then he would really expect more, and she wasn’t even positive that she wanted him to kiss her…biting her lip, February forced herself to approach Cameron, who immediately switched off the television and stood up, smiling expectantly at her. “Your little brother go to sleep?” he asked. February nodded. “Uh, yeah…sorry it took so long,” she apologized, attempting to mimic his carefree smile. “Aw, it’s no big deal…hey, I just saw on the news something about some kind of meteor shower going on, like, right now…wanna go outside and check it out?” February could hardly believe her ears…was Cameron really asking her to go out and look at stars with him? She eyed her friend surreptitiously as they sauntered outside; she had certainly never pegged Cameron for the romantic type. However, as the hours passed with the pair cozily ensconced out on the Callenders’ front yard gazing skyward, February found her opinion of Cameron steadily altering as they got to know each other a little better…