Today’s prompt for Story a Day is to write a Cinderella structure story(try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, life-changing moment). I’m working on Closing Time, so I figured I’d throw these characters into it, just didn’t know exactly where it would fall. Well, looks like it will be at the end of the story. So, if you don’t want to be spoiled(Come on, I write Romance. Pretty sure you already know how it will end ;)), you might want to skip this one.
Cam stared at his phone, knowing just what he had to do. He just wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. He hadn’t spoken to his father in twelve years. how was he even supposed to start this. Hey, Dad. Elliot says you’re dying. Is it true? Or maybe “So, you’re sick. Has your bitterness finally eaten you alive?
He shook his head and set the phone back on the table. neither of those were the best way to handle it. But, he’d been trying to figure out how to do this for days now. And nothing seemed quite right.
For all he knew, Elliot was stretching the truth once again. Maybe his father didn’t actually even want to talk to him. He’d made that pretty clear the last day they’d seen each other. Unless Cam changed his ways, he wasn’t welcome. “No son of mine…”
Cam shook the voice out of his head as the door to the break room opened. Corrin stuck her head into the room. “You done?” she asked. “Gio’s getting swamped out there.”
Cam looked at his phone again then swept it off the table and dropped it back into his pocket. “Yeah, I’m coming.” It would just have to wait for later.
When he got out into the bar, he saw Corrin was right. a large crowd had come in while he was on his break. his boss was trying his best to keep up, but even Gio could only mix, pour, and grab drinks so fast. Cam slipped behind the bar, moving around Gio. His fingers trailed over his boss’s lower back for a moment before he took his place at the bar. Still, it was long enough to feel the man shudder at his touch. A good shudder if the night before was anything to go by.
Cam tried not to think too much on that as he got to work. Even after the nights they’d spent together, he and Gio worked comfortably side by side. He hadn’t been sure it would be so easy.
He was thankful at least one thing in his life was going right.
When the crowd in front of the bar cleared out, he sensed more than saw Gio turn toward him. “You do it?”
Cam shook his head without looking over at Gio. “Was working up to it when Corrin came in.”
Gio sighed then shifted closer to him. The hand that came to rest on his hip was hidden by the bar. The way Cam’s face warmed certainly wouldn’t be, though. He wasn’t embarrassed by what they had together. And public displays didn’t bother him. but, they were at work, and he didn’t want everyone to think he was getting some sort of special treatment just because he was sleeping with the boss now.
“I know you don’t want to go home and see him,” Gio said, “but you need to at least talk to him. Find out if your brother’s telling the truth. If so, make peace with your dad before he’s gone.”
“You really think he deserves that? After everything he’s done.”
Gio gave a small shake of his head then brushed his lips just over Cam’s ear. “But you do,” he said before pulling back. “Go and make that call. I can handle things for now.”
“That’s what you said before,” Cam said with a grin, even though the feel of Gio’s lips on his skin still lingered.
“Go,” Gio said a laugh in his voice. “I’ve been working a bar since before I could see over one. I can handle myself.”
Cam laughed, even though he knew it wasn’t quite true. Sure, Gio had practically grown up in a pub, but it wasn’t like his father had let his five-year-old son work the taps. The humor faded as he headed for the break room again, though.
This would be the third time he’d made an attempt to call his father. All in one night. The first time he’d used the excuse he had to get to work and didn’t want to be late. But, when Gio had asked him about it, he hadn’t let him get away with that excuse. The first time there’d been a lull in the crowd, he’d sent him to the break room. Now, he was back here again.
“Third time’s the charm, right?” he muttered.
This time, he actually brought the number up on his phone before staring at it. He could do this. He had to do it. Gio was right. He deserved some kind of closure while his father was still around to give it.
He touched the call icon on the phone, but panic rushed through him, and just as quickly he ended the call. Then, he pushed away from the table, disgusted at himself. “Stop being such a lousy coward,” he grumbled. “If he’s an ass, you can always just hang up. But, nothing changes if you don’t just call him.”
he brought the number back up and didn’t let himself end the call while he waited for the phone to ring. Three rings before it was finally picked up.
“Hello?” The voice was as rough as ever, but Cam thought it sounded slightly weaker than he remembered.
“Dad. It’s Cam.”
“About time you call, boy. Your brother said he found you a week ago.”
Cam closed his eyes and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. Why had he done this again? “Honestly, Dad? I wasn’t sure I would even call at all. I’m pretty sure we said everything we had to twelve years ago.”
“We damn well did not. you listen to me, boy.”
“I won’t,” Cam said. “Not when you talk to me like that.”
“You’re my son. I’ll talk to you any way I want to.”
“Then, I’ll just hang up this phone. Elliot said you wanted to make peace. Not the way it’s sounding right now.” Cam didn’t know where all this was coming from. He’d never been able to stand up to his father before.
There was silence for a moment then a harsh coughing. “Dad?”
“I’m dying, boy. This is the least of it. I don’t have much longer, and I just…I wanted to be sure…I don’t…”
“What, Dad?” Cam asked when he trailed off again.
“You still living that lifestyle?”
Cam sighed as the door opened again. But, when he looked over his shoulder, it wasn’t Corrin or any of the other waitresses. It was Gio himself. His dad’s breathing sounded ragged in his ear, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Gio. He came over to Cam now, set a hand on his thigh and pressed his lips to the back of Cam’s shoulder.
“Yes, Dad,” he finally answered, even though he hated how his father referred to the way he loved. “I’m still gay. That’s not going to change, no matter how much you disapprove.”
A sound came through the phone that may have been a grunt. “You got someone there?”
Now, that question surprised Cam. He figured his dad wouldn’t even want to think about that. “Yeah,” he said, reaching down and clasping Gio’s hand. “I do. And no matter what you say-”
“Good,” his father said before Cam could finish. “It’s good you got someone, even if I don’t…I’ll never agree with that, but you deserve love, boy. I know I never showed enough.”
Not to Cam, at least. Before he could figure out how to respond to all his father had said, though, there was a murmur of voices on the other end of the phone. Then, his mother said, “Cam, I’m glad you called, but your father needs his rest right now.”
“How long?” he choked out. “Mom, how much longer does he have?”
She was silent for a moment before saying, “Not long. But, I understand if you don’t come until the funeral. I understand, Cam, and I love you. He was right about one thing, Cam. You do deserve love. I hope you’ve found it. I’ve got to go now.”
She hung up, and he just stared at his phone for a moment. Then, Gio was in front of him, and Cam dropped his head to the other man’s shoulder. Gio held him as he cried. “Elliot wasn’t lying,” Cam finally said. “He really is dying. And I don’t know why it hurts so much. I shut him out of my life years ago.”
Gio stroked a hand through Cam’s hair. “He’s still your father. no matter what else has happened, he’s still that. He might not have been in your life, but he was still there.”
And now even that was going to change. “He said I deserved love. He still thinks I’m wrong, that the person I am is wrong, but he said I deserve love.”
“You do,” Gio said, cupping his cheek and pressing his lips to Cam’s. “And you have it. I love you and don’t forget it.”
He wouldn’t. And for once he didn’t care if anyone saw, what they thought, who would be bothered by it. He had his place here, with Gio, and he wasn’t going to lose it by being who he was. Or loving who he did. So, he finally let go.