Someone I Used to Know - By Blakney Francis
“So you remember the book?”
In the pitch black of my dorm room I was momentarily befuddled by the nervous question that echoed in my ear. It was seconds before I realized I’d answered my cell phone in my sleep. The offending object was lit up like a freaking Christmas tree, pressed right to my face, disorienting me. I yanked it back, squinting against the onslaught of light at the screen so I’d know what moron had dared to call me in the middle of the night. It couldn’t have been anyone who valued my friendship.
“FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS DRINK AND SEXT” was the only name my caller ID displayed, but it was enough to identify my late night male caller.
“Adley?” His voice sounded again, muffled by the distance, but still ringing with uncertainty. “Are you there?”
“Yes, Cameron,” I answered, drawing out his name reluctantly, as I lowered the phone back to my ear. He wouldn’t be surprised by my irritation. If there was anyone who should have been aware of my self-diagnosed allergy to sunrise, it was Cam. He was perfectly acquainted with the wrath he’d just risked, and that meant he either really wanted to piss me off, or there was something pretty important he needed to share.
“Full names aren’t exactly how I wanted to start this conversation.” He sighed dramatically, but I could hear the familiar grin inflating his words.
I rarely called him Cameron. He might have been C.A. Peterson to the rest of the world, but he was just Cam to me.
“Then you probably shouldn’t have started it at –” I cut myself off with a groan, shoving my body deeper into the long, twin-sized bed at the sight of my alarm clock “– 3:45 in the morning!?”
Cam’s chuckle sounded far more at ease than the strained reluctance with which he’d started our conversation. “Aren’t you in college? Shouldn’t you be out at a keg party or making a toga or something?”
“I’d advise updating your research from Animal House if your next book is set in college,” I told him dryly.
My eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I was unsurprised to find my dorm mate Hannah’s matching bed empty. She all but lived in the library during the month of finals. Not that I minded. I liked my space and sleep uninterrupted. I thrived in solitude.
A reluctant pause swelled in the silence, and I had a feeling it had nothing to do with my critique of his interpretation of college.
It was funny how all the useless knowledge you accumulated when you’re in love with someone could sit for years gathering dust in the back of your mind, only to spill out at the slightest reminder. For instance, at that moment, I knew exactly what his dragging muteness indicated. He was finally gearing up to explain the real reason for our little, late night chat. But just because I understood, didn’t mean I was going to be any more patient waiting for him to get around to the show and tell portion of our reunion.
As far as exes go, it was hard to imagine Cam and I having a better relationship, which was even more impressive considering our unique situation. But just because I hadn’t set his house on fire or gone to battle on Facebook over who wronged who the most, didn’t mean we didn’t still have closets full of unresolved issues. It definitely didn’t mean that phone calls of any kind were on the reg.
“It’s hard to work on any new books when all my time is consumed by the last one…”
And with that he brought us back to the question he’d greeted me with, “So you remember the book?”
Half asleep, I hadn’t processed what he’d said, but by bringing it up again, he’d left me with no choice but to accept the monumental, unspoken line he’d just crossed.
We never discussed his book, The Girl in the Yellow Dress. It was a critical success and commercial phenomena. Every day for the past two years, I’d listened to the world obsess over it. It was inescapable. The book followed me to coffee shops, classes, grocery stores, and even the doctor’s office. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone a full day without hearing something to do with Cam’s book.
And I was happy for him, which might have sounded contrite or bitter if I was talking about anyone else, but not Cam. He deserved all his success. My problem with the book lay elsewhere.
The main issue being