Welcome back to day 30 of Just Jot It January, which is also Stream of Consciousness Saturday. We’re almost to the end of the month, and I’m pretty sure I’ve managed at least half of the Just Jot It prompts. That’s pretty good for me. Next up, is the A-Z challenge(unless there’s something I don’t know about in February/March). I’m excited about that, too. Last year I had a fire theme for it. This year, I have something else in mind, which I’ll talk about more some other time.
Today’s prompt is “an-“. I thought I’d write about a character, but looking through my list of character names, I realized they’re all side characters that have barely even popped up(except for Anna from Stained Snow). So, I started browsing through dictionary.com, hoping to find something that struck me(and I really hope thinking that much about it isn’t against the SOCS rules). Then, I hit “ancient history” and went AHA! This will have some spoiler material for some of my Flames stories(mostly Flames of Restoration) and also some back story for a novella(actually 2), I have planned.
Cameron leaned back against the wall as he watched the couple spin around on the dance floor. One corner of his mouth ticked up. That wasn’t quite accurate. She was spinning around him, but he was basically just standing there, grinning at her. The last time Cam had seen that man, he certainly hadn’t been grinning.
Cam had stopped calling Mark Young an asshole for how he’d acted that day. Cam had been in the wrong all along. And everything else that had happened after that was his fault as well. He couldn’t put the blame anywhere else.
Despite what he knew was best, his gaze scanned the reception room. He knew Nolan would be here. Mark was his best friend, Nolan had even claimed he was more like a brother. Cam always shuddered a little at that. He hadn’t had good experience with brothers. Cam always said it like it was a good thing, though. Of course, he had a supportive family.
Apparently that made a difference.
He saw the table with the rest of the firefighters in their dress uniforms, but he didn’t see Nolan there. Maybe he’d sat with the rest of the family. Nolan technically was family now, after marrying Mark’s sister. His stomach churned at that. He turned his gaze back to the dance floor as applause broke out and the music shifted as the rest of the wedding party drifted onto the floor for the next dance.
“They’re quite a sight, aren’t they?”
Cam didn’t turn to look at his boss, just kept his gaze on the dancers. There was Nolan, dancing with a woman who wasn’t his new wife. He did recognize her, though. She’d come into the pub more than once. One of his boss’s cousins, he was pretty sure. There were so many of them, it was hard to keep straight.
“Why aren’t you out there? Didn’t your sister want you in her wedding?”
Which didn’t make much sense to him. He’d seen them interact before, and it was obvious there was a lot of love to go around in that family. “She knew I wouldn’t care to wear a tux, and they wanted to keep the numbers of the party even. Mark doesn’t have a lot of people on his side.”
“No one does compared to your family.”
His boss laughed at that, and Cam finally turned to look at him. Giovanni Magaldi’s eyes were bright with amusement, the same way they always seemed to be. And they were locked on Cam right now. Cam turned away. It was never good to look at his boss too long. It put too many ideas in his head.
“I’d rather be behind the bar than in front of all those people anyway,” Gio admitted.
That surprised Cam a bit. Gio had seemed to be one of the most outgoing, friendly people Cam knew over the last several months he’d worked for the other man. But, he’d started to realize there was a lot more to Gio than was obvious on the surface.
The song ended and the couples started drifting off the floor, going back to their seats. Most of them anyway.
“They’ll be doing the rest of the dances after dinner,” Gio said. “We’ll be busy for a little while.”
Sure enough people started moving toward them, wanting to get their drinks before dinner was served. Cam’s hands stayed busy, opening, pouring, mixing.
“Funny seeing you here.”
His hand jerked, and he almost spilled the drink he’d been mixing together. He set everything down before lifting his gaze. “Nolan.” He still looked good, some of that dark brown hair slipping over his forehead. And he looked happy. Something he hadn’t always been when they were together. If you could call their mostly casual relationship as being together.
“I didn’t know,” Cam said in a rush. “I only knew we’d be working a wedding. I didn’t realize whose it was.”
Nolan was still smiling at him. “It’s fine, Cam. Really. I was just surprised to see you.”
Gio stood right beside him, opening a couple bottles and sliding them over to the couple across the bar. But, he could feel his boss’s eyes on them. “I said I’d stay away from you, though. I don’t want you to think-“
Nolan leaned a little closer, and the smile fell away. “I said it’s fine, okay. It’s over. I thought we were fine now.”
Cam blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, okay. I never should have-“
“It’s ancient history. Just drop it.”
That had Cam’s lips quirking up a bit. “Ancient? It was only like six months ago.”
“Like I said, ancient history,” Nolan said, smiling again. “A lot can change in six months.”
Cam saw the arm go around Nolan’s waist then, and he lifted his gaze to see Nolan’s wife beside him. She was smiling, too. Something about the way Nolan ran his hand over her stomach and to her hip almost felt too intimate for him to be watching. “Did you get our drinks yet?” she asked.
“Just about.” He looked back up to Cam. “Maura would like whatever you have that’s non-alcoholic.” Gio laughed from beside him, but whatever the joke might be went right over Cam’s head. “And I’ll have-“
“I know what you drink, Nolan,” Cam said, reaching for the cooler that held bottles of Rolling Rock.
He watched as they walked away. It wasn’t as hard seeing them together as it had been the first time. That was something at least.
“It was you,” Gio said when the space in front of the bar finally cleared out.
“Yeah,” Cam said quietly, finally turning away. “It was me.”
“You almost ruined everything for him.”
“I know,” Cam said, his voice strained. “And I haven’t stopped regretting it since.” He finally looked up at Gio and was surprised to see something but amusement making his eyes bright now. It looked more like fury. “But, like he said, it’s ancient history.”
“It’s never ancient history when someone betrays you.” Gio stepped away. “I need to take a break. You’ll be on your own for a while.”
Cam sighed then rubbed his hands over his face. It looked like he was still screwing everything up.