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Chapter 15 : The Truth Comes Out
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For the rest of the night, Aisley managed to evade Cam. However, she couldn't seem to escape the whispers of the people around her. Every few minutes, someone would come up to her and say, "Oh, you and Cam just make the cutest couple!" Aisley just blushed and turned aour, unable to keep herself from searching him out. He refused to meet her eyes. So she'd find some make-believe task to perform, and then the process would start all over again.
"Aisley." she turned around to see Cam's older sister addressing her. She gave the redhead a warm smile.
"Oh. Hello, Lily."
"Dear, there's a question I've been dying to ask you all night." Lily answered.
"What is it?" Aisley asked, a bit confused.
"Has Cameron ever had a serious relationship?" The question was odd, especially coming from Cam's sister, but Aisley just shrugged.
"No, he hasn't." she said simply.
"Do you have any idea why?" Lily pressed.
"Not really, no. Any particular reason?" Aisley asked.
"Hmm. Well, Aisley, I have to tell you, yes, there's a reason. But you're wrong on both counts."
"What are you talking about?" Aisley asked, her temper rising.
"He's been in one serious relationship. In fact, it was so serious that he's failed in every subsequent relationship he's had. That's why he's never....settled down." Lily said quietly.
"He was never serious about Ellie Macmillan." Aisley snapped.
"Oh, I'm not talking about Ellie." Lily said calmly.
"You, Aisley. He's loved you for as long as I can remember. And while you two have never dated, I'd say you have a pretty serious relationship. In fact, it's so serious, and he loves you so much, that he's compared every single girlfriend he's had to you. And when they aren't you, he drops them and moves on to another substitute."
"That's a horrible thing to say." Aisley whispered.
"On the contrary, my dear, it's rather touching. Most people only dream of being loved as much as Cam loves you. You should count yourself lucky, and be careful of him. He IS my brother, after all. I'd hate to see him get hurt." Lily said, bemused. When Aisley just stood there, shaking her head, Lily grinned and walked off.
"Oi! Ais!" came Sirius' voice from behind her. "Come dance with me."
"There's no one else dancing." Aisley felt obligated to point out. Sirius just shrugged.
"That doesn't mean a thing. Now come on!" He snagged her writst, and soon they were saying to a horrible, sappy Celestina Warbuck tune that was coming in over the wireless. After a minute or two, Aisley finally started to relax. She and Sirius had started a lively, heated discussion concerning the proper way to prank all of Hogwarts when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see Cam staring at her thoughtfully.
"May I cut in?" he asked, but before Aisley could reply, Cam had smoothly transferred her from Sirius' clutches to his own, effectively blocking sirius out.
"I'll just be going, then." Sirius said cheerfully enough. Neither Cam nor Aisley paid him the slightest bit of attention.
"What are you doing?" Aisley hissed through clenched teeth the moment she could speak again.
"I'm dancing with a beautiful woman." Cam replied smoothly, smiling at her in that way that made her heart melt. "What does it look like I'm doing, Ais?"
"That's not what I meant, Cameron, and you know it. Just what kind of game are you playing?"
"I'm not." Cam sighed. "Listen, Aisley...there's something I should have told you, well...before." He paused, and each of them stood there, brains toiling away anxiously.
"Here it goes!" Cam thought desperately. "I'm finally going to tell Aisley how I feel."
"Here it comes!" Aisley thought despairingly. "He's about to tell me that what happened was a mistake. That he doesn't want a girlfriend. That we should forget about it. Please, Merlin, don't let him give me the 'I think we should just be friends' speech.""I should have told you that I...well, I...how do l say this?" Cam mused aloud.
"Don't bother." Aisley whispered. "I already know."
"You...you do?" Cam asked, looking visibly relieved.
"Well then..." he said, pleased. This was going way easier than he'd thought it would. He dipped his head as if to kiss her, but she moved just out of his reach.
"I have to go..." she said quickly, trying to cover her tears. "I...oh, I don't feel so well..." As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Aisley Disapparated with a crack, leaving Cam standing all alone on the middle of the floor. He tried to play if off, like nothing was the matter, but Lily, James, Rebecca, and Sirius continued to throw him anxious glances all evening.
When the last guest left, Cam trudged up the stairs, pausing once he reached Aisley's door. He reached out a hand and turned the knob. Surprisingly, it was unlocked. He stepped inside the doorway and glanced over to see Aisley curled up in a ball on her bed, sleeping peacefully. Cam smiled in spite of himself. Even asleep, she drew him to her like moths to a flame. He conjured a blanket and covered her with it, gently bestowing a kiss on her forehead as he did so.
"Sweet dreams, love." he whispered as he backed slowly out of the room, shutting the door softly as he went.
The moment she heard Cam's footsteps begin to recede down the hallway, Aisley's eyes flew open from their pretended slumber. That night had been the final straw. She was going to have to move out; she didn't think she could continue to live, eat, and sleep in the same house as Cam, knowing that he didn't care for her.
The next morning, Aisley awoke to find three sets of eyes staring back at her. She drew in a breath to scream, but a firm hand clamped over her mouth. She found herself looking straight at the one person she never wanted to see again; Cam.
"You and I," he stated calmly, removing his hand from her mouth. "are long overdue for a serious talk." After a few moments of sputtering indignation, Aisley found her voice.
"What are they doing here, then?" she asked, inclining her head towards Sirius and Rebecca, who were both trying to swallow huge grins.
"Oh, we're just here to steal your want." Sirius said cheerfully.
"And to lock you in here, of course." Rebecca finished, grabbing Aisley's wand off the nightstand before she could get a word in. With a louc drack, the twins Disapparated, and huge, magical locks appeared on the door and windows. Aisley's frown was enough to stop a lesser man in his tracks. But Cam just sat down on the side of her bed, looking supremely comfortable there, as if he belonged.
"Fine then." Aisley said irritably. "If we're going to talk, I'm getting dressed.
"That's okay by me." Cam told her as she stalked inside her closet, pulling on a shirt and a pair of pants at random.
"Well?" she demanded once she was dressed. "If you want to talk so much, then talk."
"In a minute." Cam replied absently. "But first..." He pulled her to him and kissed her until she was almost completely senseless. For Aisley, it was like heaven and hell combined. On the one hand, she'd dreamed of moments like that for ten years. But on the other hand, Cam was only using her. He had to be; there was no other explanation that fit.
In a minute, Cam broke contact. He didn't think he could handle holding her for a second longer and still be able to complete the taske he'd set out to do.
"Aisley.." he began seriously. "Last night, I said that we needed to talk. Well, the truth is, I.."
"It's alright, Cam." Aisley said in as gentle a tone as she could muster. After all, he was her best friend; even if he was killing her inside, she'd do just about anything to keep from hurting him. "I...I already know."
"You do?" Cam asked, bewildered; if she knew, then why had she been so upset?
"I do. And I feel the same way." Aisley replied quietly.
"That's great!" he burst out. "Now, all that needs to be done is for..."
"Me to move out, I know." she interrupted.
"Exact...wait. What?" Cam asked.
"Isn't that the plan?" Aisley asked bitterly in response.
"What? No, of course not! Why would I want you to do that??"
"Because the two of us will never work, apparently."
"Aisley, WHAT are you talking about?" Cam thundered.
"You used me, and now you're done, so you want me to just move out!" Aisley shouted at him.
"Who put that thought into your mind?????"
"Aisley, I don't want you to move out, alright!" Cam yelled back at her.
"You...you don't?" she asked timidly.
"Of course not. Why the bloody hell would I?" Cam queried, slightly amused.
"I..l don't know." Aisley replied timidly. "But...if you don't want me to move out, then...what did you want to talk about?"
"Well, I wanted to tell you that I...that I..." Cam trailed off, looking pained.
"Yes?" she asked.
"I'm getting there, I'm getting there." he said, his voice cracking. "I wanted to tell you that...that I...well...I thought I had a crush on you at Hogwarts." He burst out wildly.
"That's it?" Aisley asked in disbelief. "That's all?"
"No, of course not!" Cam snapped, but then he visibly composed himself. "I thought I had a crush on you, but I didn't. I...Aisley, I was in love with you."
"If that's your idea of a joke, cam, then you're incredibly cruel." Aisley whispered, taking a step back from him. Cam looked hurt.
"Of course I'm not joking!" he said, wounded. "You should know be better than to think something like that."
"Sorry." Aisley muttered, chagrined. Cam took her hands.
"It's alright." he said gently. "But...Aisley, could you please look at me?" She raised her face slwoly towards him. "When we were in school, I was able to fool myself into thinking my 'crush' had faded with time, but I was wrong. Every girl I dated only made me want you more, but I'd convinced myself that we were just meant to be friends. And then you left." Cam paused for a moment, searching for the right words to say. "It nearly killed me, you know. Y our leaving, that is. For months, I was miserable. And for months, I hated you. But then I got a letter from you. You said that you were in Ireland, and that you were sorry for leaving so suddenly, and sorry that you'd left without me. And then, you said that one day, you'd explain everything. But not then. You told me, "Neither one of us is ready to hear that just yet.' After that, things got remarkably better for me, until one day, I realized something."
"What was it?" Aisley whispered.
"About a month and a half ago, I realized...I realized that I'm still in love with you. That I always was. And more importantly, that I always will be. You're it for me, Aisley. You always have been." Cam finished, gripping her hands desperately.
"I...I..." Aisley gaped, her mouth a wide 'O' of shock.
"I...I don't know what to say, Cam."
"You could try saying 'I love you too, Cam,' to start out with, at least." he pointed out.
"And...and then?" Aisley asked.
"And then I'd do this." Cam dropped to one knee. "Aisley Andromeda Lupin....I love you. I love you. I love you. Will you please, please, please marry me?" he asked, showing her the small black box, a diamond ring held inside of it, that he'd been carrying around for a solid week.
Well, that's it for my little story. But don't worry, there's an epilogue!!! So, for the final time (for a chapter), I bid you guys to review. I still have cookies, and I still give them away from time to time. I'd like to thank the few among you who have been reading since the very beginning, and haven't been frightened away yet. You guys are pretty awesome, and pretty tough. Thanks for all the lovely and not-so-lovely reviews you guys have posted!! For the second-to-last time, this is the Invisible One, fading out. See you next time.
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