This week’s prompt:
A waiter, a flashback, an iPod
A waiter, a flashback, an iPod
It had been a day much like this, Cameron thought. Warm, with a slight breeze. She sat right here at this very table at her favorite cafe in one of her favorite cities in the world. Fall sunlight filtered through the remaining leaves to speckle the table.
It was the day she met Ryan. The day she thought meant the rest of her life was going to be a fairy tale. Cameron traveled for a work a lot, and it often took her to unusual places, but she had always loved Vancouver. She could not see the water from where she sat, but it was a background presence in her subconscious. She loved the ocean.
She was listening to her iPod that day, just sitting and enjoying the pleasant weather while she waited for her food. The cafe was filling up and a man hurried to step out of the way of a waiter and accidentally bumped her table, sending the iPod to the ground.
Embarrassed he picked up the device and handed it back to her, his sparkling blue eyes were like an electric shock down her spine. Didn’t that stuff only happen in movies? It was the start of a whirlwind romance and 6 months later she moved in to his cozy apartment over-looking a busy street. She gave up her career and learned to socialize and organize as her vocation. Church dinners, benefit brunches, baby showers.
For almost three years things had been beautiful and perfect, but it came crumbling down just two months ago. Ryan kept getting strange calls that he refused to take, even turning off the device when he was at home. Then he started getting angry if she pulled the mail from the little box in the lobby. It escalated to strangers banging on their door at 2 am. How they got into the restricted access lobby, she had no idea.
Then she got the message. It popped up through Messenger, but the account did not really exist.
“Cameron,” it read. “You don’t know me. And it is better that way. You probably already know what I am about to tell you. Or think you do. But you would be partially wrong.”
Cameron had not known what to make of it. The name was innocuous enough, clearly an alias, even before she clicked through to find the empty profile. Austin Cooper. A name as empty and devoid of personality as the page.
“It is true that he is having an affair. Several even.” The message continued. “Some are even of legal age. I was. Lucky me.”
Cameron’s hands were shaking now. The mystery person was correct. That was not quite what she expected. The name Austin made her think it was a man, and that was a genuine surprise, but the faux profile listed female and her age as 19. She had no idea if that was true or not.
“Ryan is involved in some deep stuff. The people he works with are dangerous and you are in danger because they know who you are. You need to leave.”
That was the end. No more details. Nothing. For a moment, Cameron panicked. She should pack a bag, maybe go to her cousin’s in Destin. Or maybe she could go to visit her friend in Dublin. She got as far as opening a couple drawers before she stopped. She thought for a moment and realized that running was not the answer. And besides, if she left, Ryan would just be free to keep seeing whoever this Austin Cooper was. No, she was not going to be the one to leave.
It was surprising how easy it was. She rented a boat two days later. The heavy bags? Just fishing equipment for the guys, just dump them over there by the rail, thanks! Sharks take care of lots of things if you make sure to get their attention first. The cops did not really question her. His shady business dealings and illegal hobbies came to light pretty fast. Everyone assumed he got what was coming to him by crossing the wrong guy or not paying the right bribe. Too bad. So sad. We will send a card to the funeral home.
Yes, Cameron loved the ocean, and Vancouver, and even this little cafe still.
A man sidestepped to avoid a server and bumped into Cameron’s table, knocking her phone to the ground.