So annoyingly friendly!
“You know, Bailey, I wouldn’t-”
“C-Connie!? What the hell!? Why are you here!?”
I was pressing the phone hard into my cheek. My voice was raised, but I doubt the sound will pass through the door and disturb Camryn.
“Huh? Oh, I’m married to Valerie…”
“Dammit, I know that!”
And why did he have to use that reason!?
“It hasn’t been long since I called you! If you weren’t busy, why didn’t you pick up!?”
“Oh… Well, I kinda had a hunch that you’d call Valerie if I didn’t pick up — I mean, it’s way past your bedtime… I just wanted to hear your sweet angry voice…”
Dammit, this teaser… Gah, so annoying — I want to throw my phone off the edge right now! Why do I even consider him my friend!?
I heard Valerie holding in a giggle. Oh well, I’ll let her get a pass…
“Eh, but I’ve had my fun for now…”
His voice sounded like he was gradually getting uninterested...
“Bailey, I’ll be serious now.”
I also relieved some of my emotions… I lessened the push on my phone and untensed my face…
“Anyways, I have to be a bit more serious…. You know, because it’s about Ren…”
I was taken aback. How did he know? I don’t think I said his name during the conversation.
“Connie? What are you talking about!?”
“Huh!? Yeah, it’s shocking, I know…”
He was sarcastic.
“I would have been so simple if you came out and said it… But Bailey, I’m right, right? You’re talking about Ren… And not only Ren, but you’re also talking about Camryn…”
He’s right… I think that’s his single most annoying skill — he has really good observational skills and can easily reveal a truth someone is hiding… But I guess I should be relieved that he mostly uses this skill to be an ass…
“Y-Yeah… You’re right. How’d you know?”
“Well, the big revealer was that it’s unlikely for you to like a co-worker unless it was Ren. And, Camryn’s been with Ren for the monthlong period you mentioned.”
But he also uses this skill to help a lot of people — that’s what he’s doing now.
“Oh, no need for that — I mean, I can understand why you’d keep this a secret.”
“Hm… So, Ren and Camryn got into a disagreement of some kind… They are now unsure if they feel affectionate towards each other, and Camryn is sad and mulling over it.”
I could imagine Connie was leaning on the table and smiling smugly.
“You know, I think Valerie gave some solid advice — give them some time apart before they discuss… However…”
I stared at the medley of lights on the ground.
“Since Ren’s involved, I think it makes things way more complicated…”
Connie was talking slowly and started to sound eerily serious.
“Surely you already realized, right? Ren can’t form a relationship with anyone — not with me, not with you, not with Valerie here, heck, not even with his own mother… However, we’ve formed a relationship with him… I mean, we’re his friends who’ve stuck with him ever since high school.”
True… Connie and I attended the same university as him, and Valerie opened her business in this city….
“So, I’d say it’s impossible. Bailey, if you hoped to mend the relationship between our two heroes, then-”
I peeled the phone away from my cheek and yelled into the microphone.
“S-Shut up, Connie!”
I was getting angrier. Angry because what he’s saying was nonsense. Sure, it’s hard for Ren to forge relationships, but I truly believe he forged one with Camryn.
“You don’t know a thing, Connie! You’re spewing a ton of nonsense! Ren does love Camryn… I know it!”
“S-Shut up! You don’t know what I saw!”
My mind flashed back to that moment. Ren’s fear… Ren’s regret… Ren’s sadness… At that moment, I didn’t recognize his face. He changed… but changed for the better.
“Alright, alright… Ooh, you’re so angry, so please calm down…”
How could he sound so calm?..
“I can’t calm down! Dammit Connie, why are you losing faith!? What the hell’s wrong with you!?”
I guess I’m angry because of my hope… Even though there’s only a small chance that things will work out.
“Camryn needs this… Camryn needs Ren! She needs an adult the truly loves her… She needs an adult that cares for her… She needs an adult that knows she’s another human being… She needs an adult that’s actually smart enough to see that Camryn’s an awesome girl!”
Shoot… I guess I overstepped a little there. I lost my temper… My grip on the phone tightened and I was breathing heavily…
“B-Bailey!? Wait, is there something we don’t know about Camryn!?”
I could tell that Valerie brought herself closer to the phone. She sounded afraid and nervous… She was being tormented when I said those things.
Dammit, I made a mistake there…
“Gah, sorry guys… The thing is… Camryn is an orphan.”
It feels bad telling them when it should be Camryn doing it. But I know their curiosity won’t let up… Besides, Connie needs to know about this if I wanted to change his mind.
“She was abandoned at a young age and was badly abused as she was passed around foster homes… And then six months ago, when she couldn’t take it anymore, she ran away… She was homeless for that period until she met Ren and started living with him… And then, everything I told you about happened…”
“So that’s it, huh?”
Valerie sounded like she was in more disbelief than Connie.
“You’re kidding, right? This is just a sick joke, right? Bailey, you’re lying, right!?”
She slammed her hands on the table.
“No… No, it can’t be… That cute girl going through a horrible life… No, that’s not it!”
I sighed in sadness.
“Hey, Valerie, why don’t you head upstairs?”
I could hear Connie’s voice soften as it redirected from me.
“Go to sleep and don’t think about this, okay.”
“Yeah… Good night, dear.”
“Yeah, good night…”
After a sound of a kiss, I heard the footsteps of Valerie walk away. So it’s just us two now...
“Hey Connie, can you and Valerie not mention this to Camryn? I shouldn’t have revealed a secret that was so personal to her…”
“You know, Connie, compared to Valerie, you’re taking this pretty well.”
“Yeah… But Bailey, I sort of already knew…”
I see… But how could Camryn have revealed something so deep like that? It couldn’t have been easy.
“But I never knew it was something like that… You see, at around the start of the month, Ren told me that he met a young homeless girl and started looking after her…”
Like he just read my mind…
I softly sighed.
“So, do you understand my frustration now? You’re right about Ren, but I have a strong desire for you to be wrong. I can’t stand to know that Camryn can’t experience a true familial relationship.”
“Hm… Yeah, Bailey, you’re right…”
“I guess I was too caught on the fact that Ren hasn’t formed a relationship in the past years to have any hope… Sorry, Bailey.”
“N-No, it’s fine…”
Like how he understands me, I understand him. It’s very uncertain that Ren will feel anything about Camryn other than responsibility…
After a moment of presumably thinking, Connie spoke.
“Um… You planned for them to confront each other after about a week, right? Well, scratch that — have them meet tomorrow…”
“What? But shouldn’t we give Camryn time to heal?”
“Sure. But we shouldn’t give them more time to hurt.”
“Well, since the situation is this serious, it’ll just take a greater toll on Camryn if a long time passes — she’ll probably just erase Ren from her mind completely.”
“And we still don’t know if Ren can truly make Camryn happy. I know strongly opposed of you, but I still have strong doubts…”
“Oh, don’t worry about that…”
“He just needs a little push is all…”
“Connie, what are you talking about?”
“Since you were so passionate, and you mentioned that you saw something, I think there’s a greater chance…”
Oh, he means Ren’s behaviour at Aragain Falls… I think he already figured out what I saw…
“Well, Bailey, good night…”
“What? Connie, what are-”
“Oh, I just have some work to do…”
And with that, he hung up on me…
Dammit… But whatever he’s going to do, I hope things work out…
Connie can be too frivolous, but he’s a really reliable guy…