They were at the club, just the guys for a boys night out.
Liam was glad to finally have some time to fully get away from Tara. At school she popped up everywhere, he could not get away from her on the way to and from school on the bus, where she would fuss until he sat with her, which he did to avoid unnecessary attention and embarrassment.
Even at his home she would just drop by whenever she felt the urge. His phone mailbox was constantly overflowing and he had to keep his cell phone on mute most of the time as she was sending messages or calling, day and night. He was really considering changing his number and just dumping her. There was no denying that it was over between them, whatever he may have felt for her once was completely gone by now, he just had not felt up to the task yet. It was obvious that breaking up with her would be a debacle. It was Friday night. He had all weekend to sort this out with her. And he would. Enough was enough. By Monday he would be single again. At last.
He was letting loose on the dance floor and finally wore himself out, slowing down, when he felt someone tapping on his shoulder from behind. Better not be Tara or he would seriously lose his shit! He turned around, already angry, but it was Leonie, smiling at him. Bringing her face close to his ear she now yelled “Hey stranger!”
He nodded his response and smiled at her. His night had definitely just improved significantly. He turned and danced with her.
“You here alone?” he yelled back.
“Some girls from class.” she responded, pointing next to her where some girls were dancing. Liam had seen them around school.
“Wanna go and get something to drink?” Liam offered.
They walked over to one of the bars and ordered sodas.
“So you like dancing?” Liam asked the first thing that came to mind.
“Really lame question, Liam. I expected more from the school’s womanizer No. 1.” she grinned.
“What? Me? Rumors.” he grinned, even though her comment bothered him. Hopefully mom wasn’t right about this turning off the right girl. he thought to himself.
“Yeah sure.” she pulled a face, but smiled.
“Do you want to go to the school dance with me?” he asked, tense. Please say yes, please say yes, he pleaded in his mind after he had decided to just go for it, on a whim.
“You know, I would love to, but I am already going with someone else. And – don’t you have a girlfriend?” Liam felt like someone had punched him in the gut. Dammit!
He really wanted to ask who she was going with, but knew he couldn’t do that without seeming weak and odd.
“Oh, cool. Good. Should be fun.” he covered quickly.
“You’re gonna be there anyway, right? I was hoping I’d run into a friendly face there, since I don’t know anyone. Maybe even dance with you.” Ok, he could work with that.
“Absolutely. I just asked because the girlfriend wasn’t sure if she can make it.” he lied.
“Hey, do you want to go for a walk, or something? I am kinda over screaming at you, and the music’s pretty lame.”
“Totally. Let’s go!” Score! Liam thought. Alone time!
They walked through downtown Windenburg, talking about this and that.
Liam was itching to get closer with her, but knew there was no chance in hell she’d go for it. It was clear to him she was not the kind of girl who would cozy up with a guy who had a girlfriend and now he could not dump Tara, at least not until the dance. Dang it. But it was worth it. And who the hell was that guy Leonie was going with? She just transferred to their school. Whoever he was, he better watched out, because Liam was determined to at least try to take her from him.“So quiet tonight.” Leonie smiled at Liam after he had helped her into her coat. Man, that smile alone was enough to get him feeling all fuzzy inside.
“Yeah, school and all … just a bunch going on right now. How about you? Getting settled in?” Liam asked casually.
“Not even close. Transferring in the middle of a school year is not fun.” she shook her head.
“Dad’s in the military?”
“No. He’s the new chief of police for San Myshuno. Great career opportunity for him, so the family had to up and move.” she shrugged.
“So are you going to go to college in San Myshuno and do all those things you are planning there?” Liam asked.
“Probably. San Myshuno University was on my list anyway. It’s one of the best.” she said.
“Cool.” he said, thinking at least she’ll stick around for a while
“You should really think about attending college too. You’re a smart guy, just lazy.” Leonie stated.
“Umm, thanks. I wouldn’t know what to study and honestly, I am glad when I am finally done with school.” he frowned.
“I like school. So what are you good at? Except – you know – that ‘certain activity’, I mean.” she grinned.
“Not much actually. Maybe that ‘certain activity’ as you put it is my claim to fame.” he smirked.
“Well, there is always a career in adult films for you. Should be right up your alley then.”
“I don’t think I am much into people watching me while I am – you know. Plus, I can see myself breaking those news to the parents. My dad would probably think it’s funny, but mom would have a rage attack.”
“Your parents are pretty cool. I like them.”
“Think the feeling is mutual.”
“Once we are fully moved in, I’ll have you over too, so you can meet my family too. They’ll like you. Just a hint, don’t flaunt that vampire thing.”
“The parents hate vampires?”
“They don’t hate them, just prefer – and I quote – ‘their only daughter to stay away from oddballs’.”
“So I am an oddball?”
“Look, you know what I like to do with my free time? Hiking, swimming, hanging out in cafes, window shop, garden, just hang by the pool, … you see how the vampire thing is a bit of a problem?”
“Yeah.” Liam sighed. This conversation wasn’t going too well.
“Don’t take it personal, just being honest. For what it’s worth, I like you, bad rep and all.”
“Troublemaker and womanizer. If the rumors are true, you are not really nice to the girls you date, if we can call it that.”
“What?!” Liam really did not like this one bit. Dang it.
“Kinda treat them like disposables. Not exactly a great character trait.”
Liam wanted to say something but she did have a point. Dammit.
“Not all girls. Some kinda make it too easy. And maybe it’s better this way, less chance to get burned yourself.” Liam had no clue why he was so honest.
“Ah, the words of someone who had their heart broken before.”
“Thanks, Dr. Phil. Want me to lay down on the bench over there for the full analysis of my mind and soul?” he mocked to deflect the awkwardness.
“Nope. Just been there, done that, worn the shame suit.”
“That sucks. So you just assume I am just a lost soul in need of saving.”
“Nope. Saying that if you always go at high speeds you may miss the beauty around you. The stop and smell the roses thing.”
“That’s deep. Did you read that on a bumper sticker?”
“Nope, came up with it myself, using that thing that’s collecting dust up in the skull of yours, called brain.” she laughed.
“So I am not only a manwhore, but also dumb?”
“No, still just lazy.”
“Dumb, lazy and a whore. Man, I really am the best.”
“I think you are pretty cool. If you wanna be.” she smiled.
On some whim he could not help buy gently stroke her cheek. So soft.
She stopped walking and turned to look at him. All he could see were those bright blue eyes, he smelled her faint perfume and could feel her breath against his throat. They just stood, staring at each other when Liam felt drawn to her, leaning in closer and closer, till he could feel the warmth radiating from her skin … he could feel her arms at his shoulders, her face now so close …“Liam? Hi baby! So great to see you!” The words startled both of them and they jumped apart, both watching Tara come running at them, pulling Liam into a hug, kissing him.
Leonie stood there, looking around awkwardly. That moment they had was definitely gone now. Dammit!
Finally Liam struggled free, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, staring bewildered at Leonie. Shit.
It took Liam a moment until he realized that Tara had been talking to him and was pulling him along. She lived in Windenburg, downtown, not too far from the club.
“Wait, I cannot just leave Leonie …”
“It’s ok, I need to get back to the girls. Bethany is driving, they are probably wondering where I went anyway. You guys have fun. See you around! Bye.”
Liam went along with Tara, defeated, turning around, seeing Leonie standing there, waving at him now.
Back at Tara’s he invited her to the dance, which made her very excited, she ran to her room to bring out a bunch of dresses then decided she needed to buy a new one. Liam just sat there lost in thought.
The next week was just a blur to Liam. Then it was Saturday, the night of the school dance.
All the forcefully cheerful announcements over the school intercom all week, the posters everywhere and everybody talking about it seemingly all the time, had gotten on his nerves. Hopefully this would not be a disaster. Everything went as planned, he picked Tara up in a rented limousine, yes a bit over the top, but she wanted one and he finally agreed just to shut her up. They walked in together, she saw some friends and clustered up with them while Liam went to get something to drink. At the table he ran into Corbin, who had a flask with vodka.
“Want some fun juice?”
“Hell yeah. Not enough in that bottle to make my night fun. Man, I have no idea what I ever saw in Tara. All she has to do now is breathe and I am already annoyed.”
“She’s not really my cup of tea either. Maybe she was just your rebound girl. Time to trade her in. Have you seen Leonie yet?”
Liam shook his head.
“She just got here. Over there.” Corbin pointed to a spot near the entrance.
Liam turned and saw her, and that guy. Tall, athletic, blonde. Dang it. Liam had secretly been hoping for some ugly scrawny guy. And she looked amazing. Liam sighed, then grabbed the flask from his friend and gulped most of it down.
“Hey, dude, bring your own next time!”
“Sorry, I needed that.”
Leonie now saw him and was on her way over. With her date. Liam really did not feel like playing nice with the guy.
“Hey you! You clean up nice.” Leonie smiled.
“Thanks. You look … stunning.”
“Aww. Liam, this is Steven….” Liam didn’t hear the name or what she said after. Those eyes. Who cares what that idiot’s name was anyway?
“Hi.” Liam said to the guy, barely taking his eyes of Leonie.
“Mind waiting here for a second? I need to use the ladies room.” she now said.
“Looks like the usual lame dance situation.” said Steven.
“Not exactly a bunch of hotties around either. Dang it. I was hoping if I took Leonie here, I’d be able to get some action in myself.”
“WHAT?” Liam looked at the guy, bewildered, his anger level was at 180. How could he say that when he got to take Leonie to this?! Ungrateful bastard.
“I guess that one over there is pretty decent. Do you know her? Does she have a boyfriend?”
Was this guy serious?
“Well, she is here, probably with someone.” Liam tried hard to stay calm.
“Some girls go with their besties.”
Liam counted to three, but felt the warmth of the vodka radiating inside of him and suddenly it was like a switch had been flipped. He exploded at Steven.
“Why do you worry about that, you crazy fuck! You have Leonie. What else do you want?!” Liam burst out. The Vodka probably had made his filter fall off.
“Umm, first of all, change your tone or I will change the tune for ya, and secondly, I am not going to mess with my sister, you creep.”
“Leonie is your sister?”
“Yes, that is kinda self-explanatory when she introduces me as her brother, numbnuts!”
“Ok, sorry, must have missed that part.” Despite the awkwardness, his night just began to look up again.
Leonie came back and they talked, eventually Liam danced with her. He felt like he had to focus to not trip over himself. This was great. He had fun, they were laughing, just perfect. Soon they sought out a quiet corner to just rest up and talk some more. It was fun.
Until Tara appeared out of the blue and slapped him hard.
He had honestly completely forgotten about her. Everybody around them stopped in their tracks and just stared. Leonie looked taken aback and humiliated.
Awkward. Tara yelled and yelled, making a huge scene. Until Liam grabbed her by the upper arm and dragged her out into the parking lot.
Ignoring her complains and insults he yelled
“It’s over. We are over. Through. Done. Count me out, you crazy bitch. Go take your crazy to someone else’s doorstep. And stay the heck out of my life, away from my home and away from Leonie.”
He left her standing there and went back in. No, that was not nice, not how he planning it, but he was done. Bitch ruined another moment with Leonie for him. Enough already.
Eventually the night was over. Everybody had recovered, Tara must have gone home and he and Leonie had a nice enough time.
Laying in his bed that night, or better, almost morning, Liam could not stop smiling.
There had to be a way to convince Leonie to give him a shot as more than just friends. He would do right by her. Just needed his chance. There had to be a way to convince her that he was sincere about her. And clearly, she liked him too.
The dance was now two weeks in the past. Tara seemed to have finally accepted the fact that Liam did not want to be with her and her attempts had all but seized.
Instead, Liam had met with Leonie for coffee, gone out for late afternoon walks, taken her to a fair on a gloomy, cloudy day and of course seen and talked to her plenty in school. She had been over to his house several more times, to study. After several failed attempts, Liam realized she was not going to let him kiss her anytime soon.
Then she invited him over to her house, for dinner.
He walked in, at 7 pm sharp, just as requested. Leonie opened the door for him, greeted him, then introduced him to her mother in the kitchen. “We are almost done. Look at the dessert, I made it myself. Hope you like cinnamon muffins.” Leonie said excited, her mother just smiling. Liam’s smile had faded, which did not go unnoticed by Leonie, she looked at him, a question in her eyes.
“Leonie, you do realize that I cannot eat, right?”
She and her mother looked at him with a weird expression in their eyes. It made Liam very uncomfortable.
“Oh, right, of course. How silly of us. But you do drink, right Liam? Would you like some soda? Tea? Juice?” Leonie’s mother asked. She seemed nice.
“Yes, coke if you have it, thank you.”
“Sorry Liam. I kinda forgot.” Leonie looked embarrassed and maybe even disappointed.
“It’s ok, happens.” he smiled. He hated to disappoint her.
If he did not know for sure that he would immediately get violently ill for hours, he’d have just eaten dinner and dealt with the consequences later.
He sat with them at the dinner table anyway, when finally her father showed up. He walked by Liam, who stood up to shake the man’s hand, when he noticed Liam had no place set.
“Are you on a diet, kid? As skinny as you are?” he joked.
“Dad, he is … he does not eat. Ever.” Leonie tried to explain.
“What? Oh, you are one of those … those … vampires. That’s right. Why did you invite him for dinner then Leonie? And why did you accept?”
“Dan, just sit down, please.” Leonie’s mother told her husband.
The rest of the dinner went awkwardly. Liam felt out of place, Leonie kept smiling apologetically, as did her mother, her brother ignored him for the most part, and her father shot him unflattering glances. It was impossible to ignore that he did not like Liam too much.
“So kid, Leonie told me your last name is Cameron?” Mr. Hanson addressed Liam directly.
“Yes, Sir.” Liam said politely.
“Any relation to a Blaine Cameron?”
“My dad, Sir.”
“Your father, figures. So the tendency for criminality runs in the family then?” Mr. Hanson said harshly, causing everybody to look up at him.
“Umm … excuse me?” Liam felt insulted.
“I am sure Leonie told you that I am the new chief of police here. So I pulled your and your father’s record. I must say, I am not sure that I want you around my little girl. I do not think you are a good influence for her.”
“Dad!” Leonie tried but was shut down by the look her father gave her.
“What? I … that was long ago.” Liam stuttered.
“Long ago? Your father’s maybe, but still impressively diverse regardless. Yours, son, was just beginning of the school year and therefore far from what I would consider long ago. Wrecking a Lamborghini, your neighbor’s, too. And the man did not even press charges. I hope you are kissing his feet daily. You should. Further I think we had trespassing, aggravated assault and breaking and entering, theft, vandalism plus what I assume were redacted DUIs charges really pale in comparison. Truth be told, I did not want to be so direct, but after saying all this aloud, I do not want you near Leonie again. I am not an idiot, I can see that you want to get a lot closer than the dinner table with my daughter, but I will tell you right now, that is not going to happen. I am the chief of police of a large municipality. I cannot have my only daughter dating a criminal. ”
Liam looked up at him.
“I am not a criminal. I messed up a few times. You cannot do that! It’s not the 18th century. Leonie can do whatever!” Liam was upset now.
“You think so?!” Mr. Hanson roared.
“Please dad … ” Leonie begged.
“He is the wrong crowd for you. Everything about him. He is a criminal, with no respect for females. I forbid you to see him again, unless it’s unavoidable. He is not to enter this house again, you will NOT go over to his again and I forbid you to go out with him in any way, shape or form! Am I clear?!” Mr. Hanson told his daughter.
“Dad!” she pleaded.
“Daniel!” Leonie’s mother interjected but was ignored.
“Go to your room – NOW! Liam is leaving anyway. Right now!” the old Hanson barked across the table.
“Sir, I …” Liam attempted to calm him.
“Out!” Leonie’s father grabbed Liam by his arm, dragging him out of the front door, then shoving him outside, another tirade of warnings before he turned around and left Liam standing there.
The door was slammed. Liam stood there in disbelief. Eventually he began walking. Leonie lived in Newcrest, which was quite far from Brindleton Bay and the next bus station with service to the Bay area was a hike. Liam didn’t feel like calling his parents to pick him up, not ready to explain all this drama just yet. And no use arguing a fight with Leonie’s father which he could not possibly win. It would only make things worse. Suddenly he heard his name.
Looking around he saw Leonie in a window, so he walked closer. The house was on a raised foundation, so the window was way up high.
“I am so very sorry. Dad took my phone, too.”
“It’s ok. Not your fault. The usual prejudice and my own stupidity. But I think I better go now.”
“Ok, bye Liam.”
It was Friday night, we sat in the living room with Liam and Leonie. There was obviously chemistry, which both tried hard to suppress more or less successful. Blaine kept grinning at me.
At some point Liam and Leonie got up so he could show her the backyard. Our backyard was only slightly larger than a pantry and really not much to see there. So obviously, they wanted some time alone, which made Blaine grin again.
“He’s going in for the win now, just you wait.” he predicted.
“Blaine…” why could he just not stop?
Meanwhile outside in the cold winter evening Liam had helped Leonie put on her coat.
“Are you cold?”
“No, I am fine now.”
“How are things at home?”
“As expected. Mom told me that my dad has Steven on covert patrol when I am in school, so we really have to be careful there. They think I am over at Kelly’s right now, she knows to cover for me. How are things with Tara? Did she finally accept the break-up?”
“Not even close. Still annoying. She calmed down some for a few days, but is back in full force again. My parents are even totally over her now.”
“I bet. That girl is seriously weird. I ran into her in the computer library and she was super-strange to me. Hey, can we go back inside. I am really getting cold now.”
“I can get you one of my coats to put over yours.”
“Wait here, I’ll be right back!”
He really was planning on kissing her tonight. Just needed to find the right moment and work up the courage to not mess this up.
Liam nearly ran to his room, straight to the closet and was about to pull out the item of clothing when something felt odd. He turned around, and noticed someone on the bed. He flipped on the light switch on. Tara. Completely naked atop his bed, apparently asleep. WTH?!
He cursed and went to wake her, but her head just strangely rolled to the side. He began to pat her cheeks, gentle, then harder and harder. Oh no! NO! NO! Liam was alarmed and scared, ran into the living room.
“Dad, can you come for a second?”
“Sure.” once in the hallway, Liam shut the door behind them and nervously told his father “Dad, there is a girl in my room.” Liam said with urgency.
Blaine chuckled “Congrats son.”
“No, dad, a naked one. On the bed! I don’t know what to do!” Liam was still beside himself.
“Ok, son, I really thought you figured that out a while ago, but think now is the time for the birds and bees..” Blaine was highly amused.
“DAD! I am being serious! It’s Tara! She is not moving! I think she is dead!”
“What?” Blaine was alarmed now as well instinctively went to Liam’s door, then paused with the hand on the door handle, but turned to Liam “Get your mother”
“No.” Liam protested, blushing.
“Liam, if there is a naked teen girl in here, I cannot go in there. Get your mother! Now!”
So yeah, I had the dubious pleasure to check on her, found only a very faint pulse. She was completely out of it, no chance to wake her up.
The evening ended with emergency services and the police at our house, a startled Leonie was driven over to her friend Kelly by Blaine who returned just seconds before EMS and police got to our home. Liam was a complete mess.
Not to worry, Tara made a full recovery, had swallowed a bunch of her mother’s sleeping pills then taken the key we had hidden in the front yard and draped herself in her birthday suit atop our son’s bed. An investigation found that we were to blame for none of this but that she had some severe issues and then was temporarily admitted to the psyche ward for further evaluation as they found disturbing letters and diary entries in her room at home. This was humiliating to everybody involved. And definitely not helpful to calm the issues with Leonie’s father, quite the contrary.
Worst of all, Leonie was not returning his calls after that night and seemed to avoid him whenever possible.