You will become an adult.
You will figure out your career.
You will find someone who loves you.
You have a whole lifetime; time takes time.
The only way to fail at life is to abstain.
~Johanna de Silentio
After an off-site client meeting Jamie was absentmindedly trotting along the street on his way back to his car to finally go home.
It had gotten late again, the sun was already starting to set over this late Spring afternoon.
Most of his work days were long now. Junior Attorneys were cheap workhorses, if you complained, you were out. Make a mistake, and you were out. If you wanted to make it in a big law firm, where the big bucks were and the most profound experience was to be had, you had to work hard, oblige, smile and eventually, hopefully, you got your moment to shine when one of the Senior Partners would recognize you for a job well done. Then one of them would possibly take you under their wing. And that was the moment your career would really start.
Alas, so far, no recognition of his hard work and no wings in sight to be taken under.
“Jamie?” a female voice pulled him from his pondering.
Surprised, he turned to find a young woman he didn’t immediately recognize, even though something about her was familiar.
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“Did I get that wrong? Jamie, that was your name, right?” she said.
“Still is. Oh, wait a minute … Madeline?” Jamie’s memory finally served. A college acquaintance of his, whom he had met at some parties, but not seen since graduation.
“Close. Maddison.” she corrected smiling.
“Oh, right, Maddie! So sorry, I was totally zoned out. Haven’t seen you in ages. How are you? Wanna grab a coffee and catch up?” Jamie suggested.
She agreed, and once seated, they began reminiscing.
“Do you still talk to that obnoxious guy you were always hanging out with? Your friend? The one with the famous father?” she asked smiling.
“Gavin? Yeah, I see him every day. We both work at the same law firm and we are neighbors too. Well, at least until I finally find a place of my own that I can actually afford, something closer to work.” Jamie told her.
“So you really did it, huh? Became one of those awful scum-sucking lawyers?” she grinned at him, obviously teasing.
“Yeah, I actually did that. I am one of those scum-suckers now. What about you, where did life after uni take you? You were studying Business, right?”
“Yup. Graduation took me straight into some highrise building, corporate headquarters of a big manufacturing company, to do all the unwanted tasks too tedious for my superiors – when I am not sent on coffee runs that is. Well worth the student loans I will be paying off for what feels like the rest of my life.”
“Trust me, I feel your pain. Really makes you to wonder sometimes if it was even worth it.”
“I just have to believe that one day it will be me in that corner office, torturing the new staff members with errand runs and unloved tasks.”
“Speaking of torture, I remember you very well now. You were the one who put something in my drink, and for a day and a half I ran around with a bright blue tongue! Man, that was a lot more attention than I ever wanted. That was you, wasn’t it?” Jamie chuckled, as he was shaking his head at the memory.
“Yeah, that was me. It wasn’t torture though, but well deserved and sweet revenge, because at that one party at my dorm you and Bigmouth got wasted, then while wandering the halls in your drunken stupor you guys found my room of all places, and both of you ended up falling asleep in my bed, then refused to get up. I had a pretty important test the next day, which I took after sleeping on an area rug at you guys’ feet – at least until you stepped on me after I had finally managed to find some sleep, as you had woken up and tried to stumble towards the bathroom. On top it all off, you still had the forehead to slur your hungover complaints at me about me startling you. I was not happy with you at all.” she laughed.
“Oh my god, so sorry, but I have zero recollection of any of that. I remember the party, you and I barely talked, I think you had a pretty possessive boyfriend hovering over you the entire time, after that there is just blackout until I remember me cantering through a torrential downpour the next morning still trying to wake up on the way to class which I was almost late for. With a bad hangover and a blue tongue, which I didn’t know I had until much later that day. What the hell was that anyway?”
“Just two bottles of food coloring in the water you were chugging down. And yeah, my jealous ex-boyfriend. Michael. That was also over after he saw you and Gavin come out of my room the next morning looking worse for the wear. I never bothered to tell him the truth, didn’t mind at all that he broke up with me, I was so over that control-freak anyway. Oh crap! Speaking of being late for something; I need to run. My sister has a special feature going on today and I was told I have to be home to witness the premier with her.”
“Actress?” Jamie guessed.
“Worse! YouTuber. Style influencer to be exact. She studied Fashion, was gonna work for a fashion designer or something after college, but ever since her first semester in college she has had an insane following. It’s a pretty big deal and she is making more money than I am. Wanna come?”
He followed her car in his own to the outskirts of Windenburg, almost to Everett Heights, where she parked it in a small collective parking lot for the surrounding area, kinda like the Beach House had, then they walked the rest of the way to a modern building.
“Hey, I am home. I brought company, are you decent?” Maddie called inside after unlocking.
“Depends. Is your company male, cute and not related to us? I can be decent or indecent, whichever he prefers!” a female voice responded.
Maddie pulled Jamie inside, where he saw the speaker, a pretty brunette with the same bright blue eyes as Maddie – and more notably: bright blue hair in a choppy cut.
“This is Jamie, we met a few times on the U-Brite campus. Jamie, this is my sister Morrigan. Obviously we are pretty much polar opposites, if you can’t tell, but we get along well enough to live together.”
They greeted each other, talked for a while, then watched said premier of the special feature on her channel.
After that day Jamie started spending time with Maddie, purely platonic, and even introduced her to the rest of the Cameron Clique. Everyone got along great, except Gavin and Morrigan, who were probably too much alike, outgoing, demanding attention and they were just constantly bickering with each other.
One time he came to pick Maddie up to go out clubbing together when she was still getting ready and blocking the downstairs bathroom, Jamie had to pee, so he went upstairs to use the second one in the hallway there – and ran straight into none other than Gavin, only in his boxers.
Jamie’s face reflected the entire palette of confusion he currently felt.
“Well, this is kinda awkward.” Gavin smirked, unfazed, despite his words. Nobody would ever have accused him of being shy.
“What are you doing here?” Jamie asked, even though it was pretty obvious.
“Don’t you mean whom am I doing here? If you guessed some insatiable, fiery brunette with blue ombre hair that matches the most beautiful eyes you have ever seen, you’d be right … man, what a woman! And I am not done doing her, we just both needed a break for a minute.” Gavin chuckled.
“You and Morrigan … you are .. with … huh?! What?!” Jamie stuttered, before he was at a loss for words and just stared on, wondering what repercussions his best friend sleeping with her sister could have on his own friendship with Maddie.
He finally woke from the shock, turned and ran back downstairs, where he found Maddie ready to leave, so without him saying one word about the encounter they left. Since both planned on drinking, and parking was a rare and very expensive commodity downtown San Myshuno, they left their cars and took an Uber to the club.
Once at the club the encounter plus the bad aftertaste it initially left with Jamie was soon forgotten. They danced. They had fun. They drank alcohol, quite a bit, so after the Uber dropped them off at Maddie’s home in Windenburg, both decided it would be best if Jamie spent the night on the couch.
The next morning wasn’t as glorious as the night before.
It was painful and rough.
A hangover throbbing in his head mixed with soreness from sleeping in an uncomfortable position on someone’s couch in full clothing. He felt more like 75, than 25.
Coffee! That’s what he needed now. The old Cameron cure for everything.
Rubbing his burning eyes, he dragged himself towards their kitchen, hoping neither of the girls would have a problem with him trying to figure out how to brew some coffee, when a sudden voice woke him up faster than any coffee could.
“Well, looky here! Morning sunshine! Prince Awkward, take two. Welcome to the family, brother!” Gavin mocked, grinning wide, as soon as Jamie entered the kitchen.
“Morning. Are you still here, or again?” Jamie asked.
“Still. Hard to leave once we get going, especially if the coast is clear. You know how it goes.”
If Jamie had needed any more confirmation that Gavin and Morrigan’s relationship wasn’t as fresh as he had assumed the day before, he got it now.
“Well, now that you already busted us, might as well be straight with you: we’re official, Morrigan and I. We kept it quiet to make sure it was the real deal, and I guess after a few months you can’t get any more real. I was waiting to tell you and the others till I could find a good moment to introduce her to my parents first, but dad’s been travelling for work again. So, yeah, I got me a girlfriend now. A serious one. How do you like them apples, Cameron?” Gavin smirked, but this time it wasn’t the usual arrogant one, but instead the foolish look one had when they were in love.
“Yeah well, congrats, and isn’t it odd to call someone Cameron when your own name is Cameron? That’s like talking to your damn self.”
“Well, is it too early to return the congrats? Did someone finally manage to sail the lonely Jamie ship into the harbor of love?”
“What? No, Maddie and I are …. we are …. just … uh … I don’t even know what we are.” Jamie was too shocked and too hungover to even try to hide that he had been wondering about the ‘just friends’ bit with Maddie for a while now, especially after some really seductive dancing they did the night before.
“I think the term you are looking for is either ‘couple’ or ‘friends with benefits’.”
“Shut up, Gavin. Nothing happened. Not yesterday and not ever before. Not even a kiss. And I slept on the couch.” Jamie growled annoyed.
“Yeah, I saw you curled up like a tired poodle. What’s up with that, man? You need another just-a-friend-girl in your life like you need a hole in the head. What you need is to get laid again. Preferably by someone steady, cause I don’t care what you say, you are not the type for flings and affairs. And we’re both getting too old for the tag and bang bit. We need to go steady, at least for as long as it works out.”
“Morning gentlemen.” Morrigan chirped as if seeing both young men in her kitchen was the most normal thing in the world, she and Gavin kissed, before she got to work on the French Press to brew coffee.
“Look dude, maybe the four of us could meet up again later, after you and I went home to shower, change and face the parental grilling sessions. Just us four hanging out.” Gavin suggested.
“I’d like that. Pretty sure Maddie would go too.” Morrigan chimed in.
“Yeah, sounds good. Not looking forward to walking into the Beach House this morning. Luckily I remembered to send my mom a text last night about me staying over at a friend’s house, but I know there will be uncomfortable questions and assumptions.” Jamie moaned.
“Morning everybody! Oh, I smell coffee! I need one so bad!” Maddie appeared, squeezing by Jamie who still had not made it past the door frame, she briefly rubbed his arm, which gave him pleasant shivers, their eyes met, she smiled at him, in a reflex he returned the smile.
In that very moment he realized Gavin’s idea wasn’t half bad, and having to explain to his parents – and grandparents – that he may have finally met a girl he could possibly be interested in couldn’t be THAT bad. After all, they all had been in his ear about dating ever since he graduated.
The four had coffee together on the patio, then the boys went home and prepared for the parental interrogation.