Left and Leaving – Chapter 1

Twenty three year old Camille Northam sat in her Western Civilization class staring at the clock on the wall. The minutes seemed to go by ever so slowly, as all she could think about was the fact that her friends were taking her out for her birthday that evening.

On the surface, she was just a normal girl. Originally from Boston, she’d moved down to Tampa nearly a year prior on account of her boyfriend. Soon after she and Nick had started dating, he’d asked her to move down to Florida to live with him. Their relationship had moved and progressed rather quickly, but Camille didn’t mind much. Though she’d liked growing up in Boston, her life in Tampa surpassed it by far. She’d made a number of friends at school, and of course there was the matter of the boyfriend. All in all, she was glad she’d packed up and left Boston, and started her academic career in Florida.

Finally, her class ended. It wasn’t that Camille didn’t enjoy school, quite the opposite actually. She just found that particular Friday to be dragging on, especially since it was her last class of the day.

As she left the lecture hall, she walked through campus and towards another building to meet up with her friend, Chris. Chris was Nick’s best friend, however since he went to University with Camille the two of them had become close as well.

“Cam!” Chris called as he spied her walking towards the University Centre, where the two of them usually met after class.

Camille turned her head upon hearing her name. Her face broke into a grin as she saw Chris running towards her. “Hey!” She said. “TGIF.” She laughed as they walked towards the parking lot to Chris’s car.

“Happy twenty third.” He said, giving her a quick hug. “You coloured your hair!” He commented, referring to the fact that her natural chestnut brown hair was now a dirty blonde colour.

“Yeah.” She grinned, absentmindedly touching her hair which was pulled back into a ponytail. “I kind of got bored with the other colour. Nick really likes it.”

Chris laughed, that was typical. Nick had always had a thing for blondes. “Of course he does.”

“Are you going to come over to our place and go to the bar with us?” Camille changed the subject as she and Chris got into his car.

Chris just shook his head as he turned on the radio and fiddled with the stations. “Nope. I’m going to go home and get ready. I’ll just meet you guys there.” He said. “Besides, I’m sure Nick wants to get you alone before you go out.”

Camille nodded and looked out the window. She was quite curious to open the gift Nick had bought for her. It had been sitting on her desk for the past couple of weeks, taunting her. Nick had clearly stated (he’d even written on the wrapping paper) not to open it until September 26th. “Yeah, I want to open my present.” She said. “Are you sure you don’t know what he got me?”

Chris rolled his eyes. Ever since Nick had given her the gift, she’d been bothering him to tell her what it was. So far, she hadn’t been able to coax it out of him. “I really have no clue.” Chris said, which was partly true. Nick had mentioned that he’d bought Camille some sort of girly jewelery item, but he hadn’t quite gone into the specifics. “Even if I did, you’re probably going to find out in half an hour. Do you really want me to spoil the surprise?”

“I guess not.” Camile replied, admitting defeat.

Unlocking the front door of the house she and Nick had shared for the past year, Camille looked around. Usually, Nick was sitting in the front room watching television when she got home from school. “Nick?” She called out.

Upon hearing her voice, Nick came rushing down the stairs. “Sorry, Cam! I was in my office.” He explained. “Did Chris give you a ride home?”

“He always does.” She replied. “So, can I open my gift now?” She asked eagerly.

Nick grinned. Though he’d been enjoying watching her pine for her birthday present for the last little while, he was equally as excited to watch her open it. “Well, I don’t know. Is it September 26th?” He asked coyly.

“I’m pretty sure it is.” She said, running to their bedroom.

Nick smiled to himself and followed her. Her childlike excitement for her birthday was definitely adorable.

As Camille tore the wrapping paper off the present, she pouted a little. “This is a box of hamburger helper, Nickolas.”

Nick sighed, he’d figured she’d be less than pleased about that. “It’s just the box, I had to disguise your gift some how. I promise it’s not hamburger helper.”

Camile gave him a strange look, but opened the box anyway. Her eyes widened at what she saw. A flat box from Tiffany’s. Though she knew better, part of her hoped that maybe…

But upon opening the box, she saw that it was only a necklace. A nice necklace, yes. But not at all what she’d actually wanted. “Thanks.” She said forcing a smile. “It’s really pretty, Nick.”

Nick had known Camille long enough to know when she wasn’t entirely pleased with something. Though his instincts told him not to push the issue, he couldn’t resist. “You thought it was an engagement ring, didn’t you?”

“No.” Camille lied. Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie. She’d known that it wasn’t going to be. However a girl can hope, can’t she?

Nick sighed, he could see right though her. He didn’t know why she would have expected that at all. He’d made the terms of their relationship quite clear, or so he’d thought anyway. “You and I went through this already.”

She rolled her eyes. How much she hated hearing those words. Nick’s lack of commitment and willingness to move their relationship forward irritated her to no end. It wasn’t that she wanted to be married to him right away (perhaps that wasn’t completely true. Had he asked she wouldn’t have been opposed), just the fact that he wasn’t willing to marry her ever bothered her.

Camille knew it wasn’t something she should be taking personally. Nick’s aversion towards marriage wasn’t for her and her alone. He’d said that he didn’t want to get married at all, to anyone. Still, it bothered her that he’d taken the idea completely off the table without giving things a chance at all.

“I know, Nick.” She said, not wanting to get into another useless argument. “I love you.” She said, giving him a hug and a light kiss on the cheek.

“I love you too.” He replied, moving to kiss her more deeply, but she pulled away.

“I need to start getting ready.” She explained. “We’ve got to leave to meet everyone in an hour.”

Nick nodded, but couldn’t say he was pleased. Still, it didn’t surprise him. Ever since the new school year had started Camille had been less than affectionate to him. Though he understood that school was stressful, it was starting to grate on his nerves just a little bit. He could only hope that once she’d been out with her friends and loosened up a little, that she’d be more than willing to be intimate with him again.

Nick gulped down another drink as he watched Camille laugh and talk with her friends. He was always bored hanging out with the girls from her University. They always talked about school and Nick never knew what to say to them.

“Don’t look so down, Nick.” Chris said as he approached the table.

“Chris!!!!” Camille shrieked, getting up from her seat and hugging him tightly. “I didn’t think you were going to make it!”

Chris laughed, evidently they’d already been there for a while because Camille was already getting giddy from the alcohol. “Yeah, because I’d miss your birthday party.”

“I know you totally wouldn’t.” She giggled, sitting back down with her group of girlfriends.

“Seems like you guys have been here for a while.” Chris chuckled as he sat down beside Nick. “I would have figured you’d be late.” He said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Nick scoffed. “Yeah, sure.” He said bitterly, staring at his now empty glass. He was definitely not in the mood to talk about his sex life, or lack thereof.

“What?” Chris asked, wondering what was causing Nick’s attitude. He’d talked to Nick earlier that day, and he hadn’t seemed upset before.

“Nothing.” Nick sighed. “Things have just been a little dry lately.” He explained, thinking that perhaps Chris would have some tips on how to get Camille back into bed with him.

Chris nodded. “Well, school just started. Things are busy. She’s probably just stressed out.” He said, trying to rationalize Camille’s actions. As far as he knew, she and Nick weren’t having any problems in their relationship. Even if they were, Chris was sure Camille would have talked to him about it. “Though from the looks of it, she’d not to stressed out right now.” He said, nudging Nick a little.

“Yeah, hopefully.” Nick replied, and decided to change the subject. “So, I’m moving back out to LA for a while.”

Chris gave Nick a surprised look. He hadn’t heard anything about the possibility of Nick moving. “What for?”

Nick waved the waitress over to their table. “Recording another CD with the other guys.” He said to Chris, and then turned to the waitress. “Two Coronas.”

“So you guys are getting back together then?” Chris asked, and Nick nodded. “Wow. Good for you guys.”

“Yeah, it should be good.” Nick agreed, happy to have someone he was able to talk to at the table. “It’ll be nice to be back in the studio and working. I’ve been kind of bored lately.”

“Nick!” Camille promptly interrupted their conversation. “We’re going to do shots, are you in?” She asked, walking up behind him and putting her arms around his shoulders.

Nick grinned at Chris. Perhaps the night wouldn’t be a total loss after all. “You bet.”

“God, that was so much fun!” Camille said, flopping down on hers and Nick’s bed once they arrived home.

“You know what would be even more fun?” Nick asked as he climbed on top of her and began to plant kisses over her face.

Camille groaned. After being out all night all she really wanted to do was sleep. It wasn’t that she wasn’t attracted to Nick, far from it. She was just overly tired and very much wanting to sleep off all the alcohol she’d consumed.

“Not tonight, Nick.” She said, giving him a quick kiss and gently pushing him off of her. “I’m way too tired.”

“Just like every other night.” Nick muttered under his breath. Luckily, Camille didn’t hear him. She was far too concerned with changing and going to sleep.

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