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  • Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Down London Road (Page 40)     
    Down London Road(On Dublin Street #2)(40) by Samantha Young
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    It didn’t.

    A while later, we showered together and then Cam left me to go to the bar. I found myself heading up to the flat in a fog of absolute despondency. I’d tried to pull myself out of my gloomy mood, giving him easy smiles and soft kisses, telling myself that he had not once given me reason to believe that he wasn’t in this with me, that he didn’t feel what I felt when we were together.

    I’d almost convinced myself as I entered my flat, but when I shut the door I came face-to-face with Mum. She swayed on her bare feet, her nightdress hanging like a sack on her gaunt frame. Her unfocused eyes and unstable feet told me she hadn’t taken it easy with the drink today. Today she’d wanted to get well and truly pissed.

    ‘Whereyebeen?’

    Not in the mood to talk to her, I replied shortly, ‘With Cam,’ and moved past her, on my way to my room.

    ‘Where’d go?’

    Assuming she was asking where he’d gone, I looked back over my shoulder. ‘Work.’

    ‘Bar,’ she scoffed. ‘Bit of a loser, eh?’

    Since I worked at the bar too, I tried not to take that personally. ‘Actually he’s a graphic designer, Mum.’

    ‘Mmph, fancy bugger, eh?’ She gave a wee laugh and headed towards the kitchen. ‘What the f**k he doing wi’ you?’

    I froze.

    ‘Get bored wi’ you, wee lass. No smart enough for him.’

    Backtracking up the hall, I hurried into the bathroom and locked myself in, listening to my insecurities eat away at me. They sounded an awful lot like Mum when she was drunk.

    But she was right, wasn’t she?

    Cam had been in love with a girl who had been intelligent and interesting, heading off to Europe to do a postgraduate degree in French literature.

    He’d been in love with someone who was obviously my complete opposite.

    Worse, it hadn’t ended because he stopped loving her.

    It ended because of his f**ked-up abandonment issues.

    I stared in the mirror, searching for something, something interesting, something unique, something that made me someone that Cam needed to be with.

    I couldn’t find anything.

    A sob rose up out of my mouth and I let the tears fall.

    Today I’d fallen in love with Cameron MacCabe. But how could I ever expect him to love me back when I couldn’t find anything in me worth loving?

    19

    ‘I have pancakes,’ Helena MacCabe announced brightly, reaching for her husband’s plate. I immediately put my own clean plate on top of Cole’s and grabbed Cameron’s too.

    ‘I’ll help.’ I smiled politely.

    Helena and Anderson MacCabe had been nothing but friendly and open with me and Cole since we’d arrived at their house yesterday, but I still couldn’t shake off my nervousness.

    It wasn’t just because they were my boyfriend’s parents and I wanted them to like me. It was because they were Cam’s parents – parents he adored – and I wanted them to think I was good enough for their son.

    The last week had been strange. At the beginning of the week I’d still felt insecure and weird over Cam’s announcement that he’d been in love with this exotic-sounding Blair person, but since he spent all his spare time with me, and was even affectionate at the bar – seeming unable to keep his hands off me for more than five seconds – those insecurities started to fade into the background until finally I was barely even aware of them.

    As Saturday approached, and Cole and I readied ourselves for a night in Longniddry, I grew more and more anxious about meeting Cam’s parents. I confessed this to him and he thought it was adorable. He appeared to be completely confident that they’d like me.

    So was Malcolm.

    We’d still been texting, and on Wednesday he’d called me to talk for the first time since the split. It had been awkward at first, but tension eased between us when he told me he was dating someone. The said someone was older than me and had a kid, and Malcolm felt a little out of his depth with her. I told him to spoil the working mother of one and he’d win her over in no time. He told me to just be myself and I’d win Cam’s parents over in no time. I had got off the phone wondering which ‘myself’ he was talking about, since I didn’t think I’d ever introduced him to the real one.

    On Saturday morning Cam had rented a car to drive us out of the city and before I knew it we were driving down the main street of Longniddry, passing quaint cottages with their beach-coloured bricks and red-slate roofs and the local pub, which looked well-frequented, but I hadn’t been able to enjoy the idyllic prettiness. It was a cool spring day and the sun was out and the little village was fairly busy. But me? I was too busy gnawing my lip. Despite both Cam’s and Malcolm’s assurances, little mini-versions of me had started freaking out together in my stomach. I could feel them kicking and screaming in there.

    We turned left at a roundabout, I knew that, and Cam had pointed out the grand red-stone gatehouse to the Gosford estate, babbling on about something his father had told him about it. Cole had replied, so I gathered he was actually listening. I, on the other hand, was just trying not to upchuck.

    When we pulled into a well-groomed housing estate and parked in front of a medium-sized whitewashed house with a red roof, I lost my ability to breathe. Cam laughed at my reaction, giving me a quick, hard kiss before ushering us out of the car and into his parents’ house.

    They had been lovely so far. Helena, or Lena, as she preferred to be called, was warm, kind and dry-witted, and Anderson – Andy – was quiet, friendly and genuinely interested in me and Cole. Their dog, Bryn, was an energetic fourteen-month-old King Charles puppy who immediately fell in love with Cole, and vice versa.

    We’d gone to the local inn for lunch together, where we chatted about work, my work, Cam’s work, their work, and Cole’s talent for drawing and writing. I gathered Cam had told them something about Mum because they trod very carefully around the subject. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind if they knew. Cam was obviously close to them and shared a lot about his life with them. If that included me and my life, I could only take that as a good sign for our relationship.

    That night we’d watched some telly with them and Cole had been drawn into a history programme Andy was watching, finding Andy’s knowledge about historical events completely fascinating. He had multitasked, listening to Andy while tormenting the life out of Bryn, who loved every minute of the attention. I’d sat in the kitchen with Cam and his mum while she pulled out old baby photographs that I giggled over. Cam had been a funny-looking pre-adolescent. It was so cute.

    It was all so normal.

    So perfectly ordinary.

    It was wonderful.

    At bedtime, Cole took the couch and Cam and I crashed in his old bedroom. It had been completely preserved from his teen years: posters of bands looking a decade younger plastered over his walls, cutouts from film magazines, as well as his own drawings. Like his sketches now, they consisted of cool little cartoon paradox people. He tended to draw cartoon people in an action that was completely at odds with their physical appearance. I’d stolen one of his recent drawings, sketched on a napkin at work. It was a cartoon mercenary – big, bulging muscles, leather vest, motorcycle boots, chains, bullet clips strapped around him, headscarf, guns in holsters and a knife tucked into his boots. In his hands was a big open box of chocolates in the shape of a love heart and as he ate them he wore this dreamy, goofy smile on his face. It was now my bookmark.

    Cam’s old room just exploded with his teenage personality and I loved it. I felt like a teenager myself as we began quietly making out on his bed. I’d stopped before it got too hot and heavy, refusing to have sex under his parents’ roof. He had not been pleased by this, but considering that he had the squeakiest mattress on planet earth I would not be moved on the subject.

    Cuddling up with him to just fall asleep had been nice anyway. Sweet. A little bit emotional. Safe.

    I’d woken up contented, to the smell of breakfast.

    After stuffing us with a huge breakfast that included amazing haggis fritters, Lena was now determined to kill us. Or me. The boys looked perfectly happy with the idea of scarfing down pancakes.

    ‘Maybe I’ll sit these out,’ I told Lena with a wry smile. ‘I’m pretty full.’

    ‘Nonsense.’ She grinned back at me as she dumped the plates by the sink. ‘If you can eat all you want and still keep your beautiful figure, then you should.’

    Glowing under her compliment, I rinsed the plates quickly and then put them in the dishwasher. By the time I turned around, Lena had already piled a mound of pancakes on to two plates.

    ‘Grab the syrups.’ She nodded to the bottles of golden and chocolate syrup.

    I followed her back into the dining room and sat down, watching as everyone dug in, ignoring Bryn, who wandered from one seat to the next, her gorgeous brown eyes begging someone to drop a piece of pancakey goodness. I took one pancake to be polite, tore a piece off, and dangled it surreptitiously under the table. A gentle doggy mouth gobbled it up, licking my fingers for good measure. I immediately reached for one of the napkins in the centre of the table, ignoring Cam’s knowing smile.

    ‘Cam said he’s applied for a graphics job in the city,’ Andy told Lena as she settled down at her own place.

    ‘Oh, that’s good, son. What company is it for?’

    ‘It’s a website company,’ Cam replied after swallowing a mouthful of food. ‘It’s not much more money than the bar, but I’d be doing what I enjoy.’

    ‘And it’s better than having to commute to Glasgow or move down south,’ I added, my chest squeezing at the thought of Cam leaving.

    ‘True,’ Lena agreed.

    ‘I won’t be moving,’ Cam assured us – or me, rather, smiling at me with heat in his eyes that was unbelievably embarrassing in front of his parents. ‘I like my neighbours too much.’

    I blushed, smiling.

    ‘Dude,’ Cole muttered, shaking his head.

    ‘What do you mean, dude?’ Cam asked, affronted that Cole had insinuated he wasn’t cool. ‘That was as smooth as you get, bud.’

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