~4~

Get Off Easy

My doubts and fears started to resurface. It had been four days since I saw Alex at Terger and he still hadn't called. The only thing that sucks about summer was that I didn't see all of my friends every day. I had tried calling Alex, but his phone was always off.

It was time to check up on Porcelain's progress on the situation. While the phone was connecting to hers, I wondered for the hundredth time if this whole, stupid thing with Mason could actually tear me and Alex apart.

"Hi." Porcelain's voice came through the phone.

"Hey."

"Oh hi, Cam," she got right to the point, "I talked to Alex."

So many emotions jumped my heart at once that it skipped a beat. "What happened?"

"Well it's kind of a long story." I wasn't sure if that was a good thing, or a bad thing.

I swallowed hard before answering. I knew what she was really doing was asking if I really wanted to know, which told me there were some things I probably wouldn't want to hear. "Tell me."

"Well, that first week, his phone was broke, kind of."

"I know that."

"So I tried calling him again yesterday. He said he doesn't like the way Mason flirts with you."

"He told me that."

"He also doesn't like how you flirt back."

I wanted to deny it, wanted to keep up the superficial mirage that I didn't have a thing for Mason, but deep down I knew it was true. But the truth was Alex was still a hundred times better for me than Mason was.

"Don't be so hard on yourself about that though. The problem is Mason. Do you know how Alex's phone broke?"

I hesitated. "Well, no, actually."

"Mason got Alex's number – you can get anything from the internet," she added, "and then he started harassing him."

"Harass?"

"Put together psychotic-possessive-envious attitude and some pictures of you guys."

"I'm still lost," I said, "what pictures?"

"At the carnival last month… remember?"

Ah, hell! Last month Alex was out of town so I went to the Summer Solstice Fair with Porcelain, Volkra, and Mason. I had only a few shots of tequila and way too much sugar. Mason took hundreds of pictures that day (he is something of a photographer), some of them were bound to be wild. He couldn't keep his hands off of me that entire night, and the liquor had loosened me up a bit too. Not to mention we played truth or dare in the playground right next to the carnival once it got late.

Of course, in his drunken, uninhibited mind, Mason dared me to flash everyone. I had no idea he was taking pictures at that moment until Porcelain confirmed it.

"It was the ones while I was drunk, huh?"

"Yeah. Cam, I'm sorry."

"It's fine," I said. It was so not fine. How could Mason do something like that? "But what does that have anything to do with Alex's phone breaking?"

"Well, Mason also told Alex about all the times you've cried on his shoulder and ran to him for support, and all the times you've returned the favor. How much you trust him and care for him. Mason said he was more important to you than Alex was."

"That's a lie!" I cried out as if the words would have killed me had they not been released.

"I know, honey, I know." Porcelain sympathized, and then stopped for a second. "Did I just call you honey? Ugh! You're makin' me turn all mushy and motherly! Anyway, Mason told Alex he had plans to ask you out."

"That's ridiculous!" I couldn't stand this. "Alex knows I'd never trade him in for a pig like Mason!"

"After those pictures, what was he supposed to think?"

I took a second to calm down and breathe. I needed to be rational. Yeah, I thought. Those pictures were pretty bad. I can't blame Alex for being a little undone and susceptible.

My stomach began to churn with regret. I gave in with an exasperated sigh, "I know." I didn't just feel bad about getting caught, I felt bad for what went down that night. I swore to myself at that moment that I'd never drink again.

"So Alex got frustrated and threw his phone against the wall, as stupid as that sounds."

I was silent. This was all my fault. Mason had a part in it, but I did too, and I had to take responsibility for my actions and face my consequences. I was sick of Mason's mind games, and I hated myself for giving into them.

"Are you still there?" Porcelain said.

"Yeah."

"Are you going to be okay?"

"Yeah." I blinked back tears and actually smiled, if for no other reason then to remind myself that I still could. "Thank you for finding all that out for me. I think I know what I need to do now."

"Alright. Stay strong, emo girl."

"Yeah, talk to you later."

"Bye." Click.