Chapter 450) Steps

A second chance doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t learn from your first.

~Anurag Prakash Ray
Willow Grace Memorial Hospital

“Hi Lexie …” Connor said, smiling casually as she was about to pass him in the parking lot of the hospital they both worked at.

“I hope you die a slow painful death you lying, cheating bastard. Have a horrible day!” she told him bitterly as she passed him.

He frowned, then went after her, stopped her by stepping in her path.

“Lexie, enough of this already. You are mad, I get it, but this needs to stop, we have had this toxic atmosphere at work for many weeks now, we can’t do this. Look, I really am sorry about everything, and I am terribly sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. If there is anything – ANYTHING – I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to tell me.”

Lexie’s glare changed to an investigative stare, she sniffled, then flung herself into Connor’s arms, surprising him, but he folded his arms around her and let her cry for a moment.

She caught herself soon, stepped back, looking up at him after wiping her eyes.

“Sorry about that.” she mumbled sheepishly.

“Don’t be, I get it. You’re close with your family, just like I am. Really, this is totally fine.” he said, while thinking ‘definitely an improvement over you calling me a cheat and all that in front of colleagues.’

“Can you tell I cried. I am only half-way through my shift. Just had to sit in my car for a bit to come down from everything. I can’t go back to work looking like a raccoon. Not my patients’ fault that my life currently sucks.” Lexie told him and Connor was reminded why he had started going out with her in the first place.

She was a very sweet girl, genuine. Her fatal flaw as far as he was concerned was that she just wasn’t Keira.

“How about you go home and I’ll cover for you. I don’t mind.” Connor offered, his tone soft, caring.

“You would do that? After … you know. I haven’t exactly been nice to you. Then again … what you did wasn’t nice either. Why did you do it, Connor? Who is the other woman anyway? What does she have that I don’t? I thought we were happy. I thought we were perfect for each other.” Lexie pressed.

‘Ah shit!’ Connor thought, but tried to be more careful with what he said out loud.

“It was a … ahem … it’s hard to explain. It’s not you, Lexie, you are a great girl and I sorely regret what happened. But I think you deserve a better man than me. Even your dad told you so.” Connor tried the most diplomatic approach he could muster.

“I told you before, dad REALLY liked you. He’s just tough on the outside. He WAS tough. Gawd, I can’t believe he’s gone. Catastrophic heart attack with no warning signs – unless I missed them. I am a terrible doctor. I should have known something was wrong. He started some strange cough. I should have checked him out.” Lexie started spiraling again down a dark hole.

“Lexie – stop! It wasn’t your fault. We are healers, we can’t cheat death, and you KNOW that. This can happen to anyone … any of us could develop something sneaky and by the time we notice something is wrong, it’s too late. We see it every day. Half of what we do is managing illnesses that have no cure. Sad as it is, but we are not magicians.” Connor said, thinking about how it could never happen to him, dropping dead from some random disease. Nor his dad. Or mom. Or sisters … Maybe this vampire thing was part blessing and not just a curse after all. Then again, wasn’t it what caused this mess?

“Connor … would you do me a huge favor? I know it’s awful to ask of you, but … would you go to the funeral with me? I don’t think I can do it. Mom is falling apart, she had two nervous breakdowns by now. Jeremy is a typical teen boy, so angry now and I can’t reach him and my sister just keeps staying over at friends homes. Even though she technically is an adult too, I am the oldest and somehow in charge with my mom being so incapacitated. It’s too much, Connor.”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll go. I can even try and help you with the arrangements and stuff. My mom knows all about party planning and such, I am sure she can help with the funeral dinner thing … Lexie, go home. I’ll take your shift.”

“Thank you Connor. You know, I have been thinking about all this for a while now, and honestly, maybe what happened wasn’t such a dealbreaker after all. I am willing to forgive and give you another chance.” she sounded genuine and hopeful.

‘Ah no, no no no no – NO!’ Connor thought. Why was being nice so damn complicated with her?!

“Ah, Lexie, not here, not now, not when you are this vulnerable. Go home, try to get some rest and call me later, okay? Well figure out the details then. Not now. Doctor’s orders, from me, as I am technically your superior.”

The Elysium

When Connor got home that night, Keira was waiting for him.

“Wow, I bet if I look up workaholic in a dictionary, it will have your picture with it. Did you forget to go home? Your mom said you’d be home in less than 30. That was over 5 hours ago.” Keira smiled at him, he grimaced at her.

“I took on an extra shift for a colleague. Long story. What are you doing here?”

“I just got off work myself. Well, I did five hours ago. I was sent to take pics of and evaluate some artwork at a private collection near your hospital and thought I’d stop in to see if you could use a break. Tried twice but you were in surgery each time, so I decided to wait for you at your home. Dude, I don’t know how you do it. I can’t be vampire enough not to need my breaks from adulting.” Keira told him.

“If I weren’t a vamp, I swear I’d have collapsed by now! I know it’s late, but I need a coffee. You too?” Connor offered.

“Yes, please, Dr. Cameron. I have something to discuss with you anyway.” Keira said.

“Oh boy … must be some whammy if you sit here waiting for me for hours on end. I definitely need a strong cup then.”

“Wasn’t so bad waiting, time flew by, your parents kept me company until just a bit ago, when they had to tuck the twins in. All good. I was plenty entertained. And no, it’s nothing bad, I promise.” Keira smiled.

“All right, how about you make the coffee while I put on some more casual clothes?” he told her and headed upstairs.

Less than 10 minutes later, both of them sitting in the dining room in front of their coffees, Connor looked up at her.

“So, what did you have to talk to me about?”

“At Liam and Viv’s housewarming party – well, parties, since they dragged all the guests all over town to their kids’ places too – anyway, I got talking to your Uncle Blake. And he gave me an idea.”

“Which housewarming? There have been so many. I thought that side of my family was done moving. Guess not. We always called Vivien, Liam and their kids the Cameron gypsies. Guess some things never change. At least they brought Rohan and his family back with them. He is an amazing doctor and a great help at the hospital, and I really like working with him. Great guy.”

“Well, obviously I mean the most recent housewarmings. Anyway, you know Blake and his family live in Sulani and we got to talking about the islands, and it reminded me how amazing the non-touristy parts are. I don’t have any vacation time accumulated yet, BUT – the San Myshuno Times offices are gonna be closed for some sewage pipe replacement something-something rather, for an entire week next week, so I’ll be working from home – or literally ANYWHERE – and you look like you could use a vacation, so I thought you and I could go to Sulani – purely platonic, so don’t freak out, I heard you, we are JUST friends, you need time, not ready and all that – but I could show you some of the things I learned and hidden gems I found while I was there for a few months when I had left …”

Connor raised his eyebrows, obviously processing her words. Then he frowned.

“Keira, honestly, I don’t think it’s a good idea. First of all, I really don’t like talking about or being reminded of you leaving for over a year, that’s still and probably always will be a very sore subject with me. Second, I don’t trust us. There is no doubt in my mind that if we were to go to Sulani together, we’d end up screwing. I am just not ready for something like that. WE are not ready for that. Just like we talked about, we will be friends for the time being. No, we NEED to be friends. Anything beyond that just doesn’t sit right with me at the moment and would be a recipe for disaster. So, thanks for thinking of me, but I am gonna have to pass.”

“Oh Connor, shuffle the damn playlist, will ya? I am not suggesting a couple’s vacation, honeymoon style. We’d have separate rooms and all that. You think just because we’d maybe wear bathing suits and bikinis we’d turn into uncontrollable drooling idiots giving in to their primal urges without a mind, humping till we’re raw? I’d like to think higher of both of us. We learned from our mistakes. I get it, we need to rebuild trust and everything slowly.”

“Maybe we’d be fine, maybe not. Besides, you have no idea how irresistible I look in a bikini. I’d have everything with a pulse humping my sexy legs, girl.” Connor winked at Keira.

She laughed.

“Okay, fair enough. But I got more. If you worry about bikinis, how about the opposite, us bundled up, chin-deep in snow on the slopes of Mount Komorebi?”

“Keira .. no. You’d want to go to one of those Onsen bathhouses … “

“Jeeze Cameron! So, the place where we were both born would be out then too?”

“Yup. A no from me on Tartosa.”

“San Sequoia?”

“What? That’s so random. That’s not even really a vacation spot.”

“It’s almost Del Sol Valley, without the gigantic price tag AND it’s known for it’s progressive art. Hello? I am an artist, so it would be part professional research for me. And, people stay dressed, no bikinis, but they have fun outdoors which I know you enjoy. We could rent bikes and all that stuff. We could even take Morpheus with us, as our canine chaperone. You know we wouldn’t be having sex with him in the room, he’d think we’re playing and join in.”

“This is gonna be one of those things you won’t let go no matter how good my arguments against it are, is it?” Connor said, partially annoyed, part amused.

“Oh yeah it is. You decided we need to be 100% platonic, and I decided we need a vacation together. Just us, you and I, drowning out the noise.” Keira told him.

“Okay fine, lemme think about it. I’ll give you the courtesy of giving it some thought and not just going with my instinct and saying no, but I can’t do it right now. Been a crazy day for me and my brain is fried. Lexie’s been dissing me every time we meet in the hallway ever since that night. Then we have a new doctor on staff, who is desperate for a friend and latched on to me, so I kinda tried to hook him up with Lexie, he is all over her, and I think she kinda likes him too, at least we are down to her ignoring me when our paths cross at work, but now her dad died, and she is a complete mess. So I offered her help, as you do, and she actually took it and wants me to go to the funeral with her. AWKWARD! So, I need to figure out how to be nice to her but nudge her towards that new doctor, and nudge you away from whatever plans you have without nudging you away too far, because with you my no is temporary and I don’t want you to run away for another year or find another Josh, while I am trying to rebuild trust.”

“Yeah, I get all that, but I don’t even need to find a new Josh. The old one texted me a few times, wanting to meet over dinner or coffee to talk about everything. I have a feeling he’s still interested. That feels bad, ignoring him or blowing him off, he is SUCH a nice guy.” Keira said honestly.

“Well, Keira, your choice. Josh now, or me maybe later. I just can’t commit to anything right now. It still hurts too much, my pride is severely bruised and I just can’t be in a relationship right now, especially not with you, not until the sores healed a little more. Soooo … walk you home? It got dark.”

She took the hint, pushed her chair back and rose up, he followed suit, when she said.

“I am a vampire too, Connor. I can handle myself in the darkness. Get some rest, you look like you need it. And some of the things you said made my day, gave me new hope. It’s not a no, just a not right now. I can live with that. So, I’ll wait. Bye, Con-Bear. Sleep tight. Vamp or not, you need a serious recharge of batteries.” smiling Keira turned and left.

As the front door had fallen shut, Connor mumbled to himself.

“Well, like it wasn’t already plenty obvious that I do still want you, I even straight out told you I still love you. Of course I want you back. Duh. I just need time. And my life to become a little less cray-cray …”

Categories Cameron LineageTags ,

5 thoughts on “Chapter 450) Steps

  1. Poor Lexie. And now she’s clinging to Connor again. She seems to have no one else so it will be hard for him to shake her loose without hurting her. And sweet Kiera, she seemed to take his revelation about Lexie in stride. But she’s stubborn so she will probably get him to go. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a sort of coming-of-age chapter, in a way. Connor and Keira are sort of growing up, even though they are already technically grown adults in their 20s.
      Keira is trying to fix what her shaking things loose to make sure she was on the right course of life, while Connor is still butthurt from it all and tentative, while well aware what he REALLY wants. Maybe he’s also a bit of a **** by being purposefully slow to let Keira back into the fold as punishment, maybe even subconsciously so. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. True, Connor is likely subconsciously doing a bit of what comes around goes around. How do you like being pushed away? But I don’t think it will last too long. Even though the trip will be platonic – maybe – it will bring them closer together. If it does remain platonic, the sexual tension will be off the charts. 😂😂😂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, you know it! A Cameron and a Vatore deeply in love but trying to stay away … where have we heard THAT before? Didn’t work then, not gonna work now.
          Question is just, how Connor will get over his stubbornness and give in.

          Liked by 2 people

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