OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: Heaven's Dew - Part 6

Fiction Series: Heaven's Dew - Part 6

“Noelani, you have to eat something.” Mrs. Camren is sitting next to me on the edge of the bed holding a bowl. I don’t know what it is. I don’t care what it is. I just want to be left alone. “Mrs. Camren, why are you here?” My voice is raspy. I imagine I look like hell. I buried Erin alone, Cruz is being held in one of our basements, and Paxton still expects this wedding and new location to happen on schedule.

I’ve been in bed trying to figure out what kind of alternate reality I’m living in.

“Noelani. Noelani—.” Mrs. Camren calls my name as I drift in and out.

Frustrated, I respond. “Yes, Mrs. Camren. Yes!”

Setting the bowl down on the nightstand she pulls the blanket from over my shoulders. “I know there is a lot to process but this is not the way to do it. We need to get you up and dressed.”

I pull the blanket back up. “Mrs. Camren, please tell me. Why are you here?” I roll over turning my back to her.

She sighs. “You don’t like me. It’s no secret that I carry a unique disdain for you. But we’re the same Noelani.”

I laugh harshly turning back around to face her. “Are you fucking kidding me? We---are nothing alike.” I roll back over doubling in laughter.

Her voice is low but firm. “Listen. I don’t care to ever love or support you. You---are an arrogant opportunist, a mere morsel of what I was when I was your age. However, Paxton is hell-bent on you being a part of my family. I love my son.” The weight shifts on the bed. I turn to see her standing over me adjusting her blouse. “Pax gets what he wants. Today, he wants you out of the bed.” Her poise is effortless.

I don’t move. “For what?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. In this family we do as we’re told.”

“And if I don’t want to be a part of this family?”

Mrs. Camren smiles letting out a short breath. “I apologize. I’m not sure at which point between your lovers blackmailing my son and uncovering my past that you were given the impression that you still have options.” She turns towards the door and begins to walk away as she speaks. “You are expected to do as you’re told because Paxton has chosen you. I don’t know why. I no longer care. Get up. Get dressed. Meet me in the foyer.”

“My lovers? Uncovering your past? But Gavin wasn’t actually your son.” I sit up in the bed, finally.

Mrs. Camren stops short of the door. She turns around to face me. She appears to contemplate for a moment. Then decides to come back to the bed sitting back down. “Noelani. Gavin is my---was my son.” She looks down at her hands. She seems to be calculating her every word, every motion.

“What?” I’m fully alert now. “What do you mean?”

She lets out another breath before responding. “Noelani, we are the same. Survivors, I mean.”

I don’t respond. “When I first met Big Pax, he was a client. We fell in love, quickly. When he asked for me to walk away from my… lifestyle… I was already pregnant for someone else. I told him it was his but as the months passed by I realized if I kept the baby he would know that it wasn’t. So, I did what you would do.”

“What I would do? Okay, I’ll play.” I think for a moment. “You gave the baby up and told him you lost it.”

“You’re more sophisticated than that.”

I roll my eyes. “You delivered the baby and had your doctor say it was stillborn?”

“Close. You know, my husband’s schedule has always been terrible. He was constantly traveling then. Even more than Pax travels now. It was easy to deliver the baby in his absence.” She smiles as she speaks. “I paid off some doctors. I sealed a few files.” Mrs. Camren smirks. For a moment, I admire the look on her face. Vicious. “I cried for a few weeks to sell it. Called my new driver, grabbed my new bag and almost never looked back.”

“Until Cruz brought Gavin to dinner.”

“Noelani, you don’t keep your throne by allowing people to come and go as they please. You keep up appearances. You save receipts. You allow them to think you’re unaware of their agendas. You remain one step ahead.” She looks at me knowingly.

“How much do you know?”

“I know everything.”

“Why haven’t you told Paxton?”

“And have my son question my motives? Question me about Gavin? No. I like the life I’ve created.”

“Big Pax and Paxton are both convinced Gavin isn’t your son, now. How did you do that?”

“I can’t tell you everything. Some secrets must be earned.”

“I’m done with secrets.”

Mrs. Camren laughs. “No you aren’t. Cruz is still a major factor.”

“I suppose you have a plan.”

“This isn’t my issue, Noelani. I only intend to preserve my only son’s legacy and my lifestyle.”

“So, what am I supposed to do?”

“Hmph. You should figure it out soon. Paxton has pulled the rest of the security footage from the night Erin brought you home. I imagine you wouldn’t want Paxton to see what else is there.”

I don’t speak, turning away from her.

“Darling, we all have our weaknesses.”

I shake my head. “My best friend is dead.”

“Your first love is dead.”

“My first love is dead.”

“Now, what are you going to do to make sure it isn’t in vain?”

“I don’t know.”

“Noelani! What must you do to ensure your future? To ensure our future?”

“I don’t know.”

“You know. You just have to say it. Make it real. Say it!”

“I have to destroy the security footage.” Mrs. Camren pats my leg. “I have to get rid of Cruz.”

“Precisely.”

Fiction Series: Libido Liberated - Part 4

Fiction Series: Libido Liberated - Part 4

Fiction Series: Chuckle - Part 3

Fiction Series: Chuckle - Part 3