Chapter 23:

Living Together

New Leaf!

As I laid in my bed, I contemplated what happened between Camryn and me. Bookmark here

I guess this is for the better. No matter how tough she has gotten by living alone, she is still a kid that should be sheltered. Thus, I will follow Connie’s request and care for her. How long? I am not sure and I don't really mind, but I am guessing until Camryn feels she can finally reunite with her parents.Bookmark here

Speaking of her parents, how are they? During that confrontation, Camryn mentioned that she has been like that for six months. So they became destitute rather recently huh? I should not really dig into their personal issues. The problem right now is that Camryn, a 14-year-old kid, was separated from her family and needs adult supervision, and I am providing her with that. And not just supervision, but I will protect her — like Connie requests.Bookmark here

But… other than that…Bookmark here

As I continued to remember, I felt… Well, I do not know. As I thought about the things I said to Camryn, I closed my eyes tight. When I did, I felt… my left shoulder throb with pain.Bookmark here

“I-I am… sorry… I am so sorry…”Bookmark here

But… Connie requested this so I need to repress this feeling.Bookmark here

Camryn’s POVBookmark here

Ah, another beautiful day, isn’t it? What? There are no windows in this room so I can’t tell whether it’s beautiful or not? Shush! Well, that’s the truth, but still — shush!Bookmark here

I woke up in my bed in my room in my condo — well, I guess Mr Morales’ and my condo. I sat up on my bed wearing another pair of Mr Morales’ smaller clothes. I raised my arms high above my head to stretch.Bookmark here

Sorry, I’m being annoyingly bright this early in the morning, right? Well, it can’t be helped because I am feeling annoyingly bright. I mean, a place to live in with no charge? It was… surreal to me — but not in a bad way. It’s just… I’ve never met someone so accepting as Mr Morales. To welcome me unconditionally — I was so happy. But how long can I stay here? Until he gets bored of me? What if that happens? What if he changes his mind and realizes that I’m just freeloading? What if… Bookmark here

No! I can’t allow my head to be filled with these “what ifs”. I am happy! Just… busy yourself with something.Bookmark here

Oh, I have to prepare lunch for Mr Morales right? No wait, today is his day off. Then… I should greet him.Bookmark here

I jumped out of bed and exited through the door. I walked down the hallway — look at that gorgeous sun! I turned my head and there he was. Mr Morales was working on his laptop at the dining table — similar to how he was when I first properly met him. Bookmark here

I wasn’t artificially cloying, but I was genuinely appreciative.Bookmark here

“Hello! Good morning Mr Morales!”Bookmark here

He looked at me.Bookmark here

“O-Oh… Good… afternoon, Camryn.”Bookmark here

“Huh? Afternoon?”Bookmark here

I turned around to look at the digital clock on the metal box under the television.Bookmark here

“It’s 12:55!?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes…”Bookmark here

“Wait, I slept around 10, right?”Bookmark here

“Correct.”Bookmark here

“Then… I slept for about 15 hours!?”Bookmark here

“That is right.”Bookmark here

That's longer than how long I usually sleep! At the most, I get 5-7 hours of sleep, but 15? Why did I sleep for so long?Bookmark here

I walked up to Mr Morales.Bookmark here

“Why didn’t you wake me?”Bookmark here

He shrugged.Bookmark here

“I guess there was no reason to.”Bookmark here

“That’s… I could’ve done other important things in that time!”Bookmark here

He shrugged again.Bookmark here

“Sleep is also important.”Bookmark here

“I… guess that’s true.”Bookmark here

“You, um, looked like you were having a peaceful slumber so I did not think I should have interrupted you.”Bookmark here

“O-Oh… I see. In that case…”Bookmark here

I bowed.Bookmark here

“I apologize and thank you.”Bookmark here

“Oh, that is not necessary. B-Besides, you look refreshed after your sleep. I mean, the black circles under your eyes are gone.”Bookmark here

“Huh? Really?”Bookmark here

I rushed to the bathroom to check the mirror, and sure enough, they were gone. Woah! Not to brag, but I look even prettier than before. My resting face usually makes me look like I’m sad or angry, but now I look slightly less sad or angry.Bookmark here

I went back to the kitchen and found Mr Morales coming back to the table with two plates.Bookmark here

“I guessed that you would awaken around this time, so I prepared a dish that is usually eaten at brunch — omurice.”Bookmark here

“Oh, thanks for the meal.”Bookmark here

Mr Morales nodded and I sat in my spot.Bookmark here

I took a bite and… the taste was boring but inoffensive and that other salty taste was still there. But even though the meal tasted the same as usual, I loved it.Bookmark here

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We finished and I was satisfied.Bookmark here

“Thank you for the meal!”Bookmark here

I rose from my spot and picked up my plate. I reached for Mr Morales’ but stopped when he spoke to meBookmark here

“Camryn?”Bookmark here

“Oh, are you not done? I’m just gonna wash them.”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

He shook his head.Bookmark here

“Camryn, you do not have to consider yourself as my personal housekeeper anymore. Assuming that role was your way of compensating, right? Well, that will not be necessary.”Bookmark here

Oh, that’s right. So, I’m no longer a personal housekeeper. But, this “job” didn't really feel like work to me. The condo is already barren and it is just the two of us living here, right?Bookmark here

“Then… Then don’t consider it as work. Instead, think of it as me showing my appreciation to you for letting me stay here.”Bookmark here

Mr Morales obliged.Bookmark here

“Sure. But when there are more chores, do not do them all and let me do some, okay?Bookmark here

I smiled.Bookmark here

“Sure!”Bookmark here

Mr Morales nodded, but instead of going back to his laptop, he stood up and walked towards me. He put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Also… I will serve you whenever you need.”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

Mr Morales seemed to avert his eyes. I think he does this when he is being nice. Embarrassment? Maybe not.Bookmark here

“I will care for you. You can live here until you feel like you are ready to leave. I will provide you with food, and if you have any issues, I will do my best to resolve them. I am not sure if you can smile here, but I want you to at the very least relax, okay?”Bookmark here

That sounds really nice. But he said I can live here until I am ready to leave, right? Honestly, I am not sure how long that will be…Bookmark here

“Really?”Bookmark here

“Really.”Bookmark here

I bowed.Bookmark here

“Then… Thank you, and I am in your care!”Bookmark here

Mr Morales nodded.Bookmark here

I was grateful. To have someone show this level of care for me… I’m indebted to Mr Morales… Mr Morales?Bookmark here

“Um… I have a question.”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

“C-Can I can you by your first name? Mr Morales is… I guess it's longer to say.Bookmark here

That wasn’t a lie, but it also wasn’t the main reason. Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

“Really? T-Thank you… um… R-Ren. Thank you, Ren.”Bookmark here

Ren nodded.Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

And so, I am living with Ren. I think that means I am his housemate. Anyway, I can’t wait to see how our life continues going forward. I hope I can get away from the hard life I’ve been living and instead fill it with good times.Bookmark here

Ren… It’s a nice name... Bookmark here

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