Chapter 90:

“Please Stay With Me!”

New Leaf!

Here I was, standing outside Mr Morales’ condo — a place I became familiar with over the monthlong period… But right now, worries made this place seem distant. It was like I was about to walk into a house rather than a home.Bookmark here

I reached over to press the doorbell… but I stopped when I noticed that the door was already slightly open. That’s unusual… I gently pushed it open.Bookmark here

“P-Please excuse me…”Bookmark here

I slowly walked in… Really, nothing was different about the place. Except, it was really dark — the blinds were closed, and the lights were off… And then I looked down. What are those red spots? On the hardwood floor were tiny red spots. There were only a few of them, and some of them seemed faded.Bookmark here

And then, I saw Ren Morales slowly walk out of his room. His head was down, and he was wearing his usual loungewear of a long-sleeved white shirt and jogging pants… Does he not have work today? Well, Bailey said he didn’t have work, but it isn’t usually his day off today.Bookmark here

“Oh… G-Good morning, Camryn…”Bookmark here

“Yeah…”Bookmark here

I didn’t feel like being polite to him.Bookmark here

His voice sounded mostly the same. Still so monotone… Still so intimidating… Still so distant. But it sounded slightly different… Well, he looked tired, so maybe that’s it…Bookmark here

I turned my head from him.Bookmark here

“U-Um…”Bookmark here

Why am I here? Coming here was stupid. There’s no way that Ren feels attached to me. Or am I just not being positive enough?.. I know I told Bailey that I believed her, but I was really hesitant… Bookmark here

Why should I even try? I guess I’ll just lie to Bailey and say that everything didn’t work out. Yeah… Bailey’s nice. Bailey cares for me. I just want to run away from this person and stay with her instead… Bookmark here

“Um… I’m just here to get my things.”Bookmark here

But am I really going to start living with Bailey? Or am I just going to go back to living on the streets?..Bookmark here

I’ll just forget the month I spent with this person… It’s easy — I’ve forgotten about many people in the past! Like everyone else, he-Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

Bookmark here

But I was stopped… Bookmark here

He… was hugging me. Or, that’s what everyone calls it. I’ve received plenty… People say they’re warm, but I find them cold. People say they’re comfortable, but I find them rough. People say they’re calming, but I find them distressing…Bookmark here

I’ve received many from many people, and they were all terrible! All from horrible people with their fake promises! They intend to relax me, but they don’t! They intend to love me, but they don’t. They intend to heal me, but they don’t! No, every single hug and every single person behind that hug was lying!Bookmark here

But I can’t help but remember Bailey’s hug… So soft… So cosy… I wanted that hug to last forever… That hug… was different…Bookmark here

But it was also different from this one.Bookmark here

His grip on the back of my shirt tightened. His arms pressed harder, pushing me further into his chest. His back was bent, and his neck was right beside my ear. My arms were stuck at my sides and I could hardly move them…Bookmark here

His hug was really different…Bookmark here

“Camryn…”Bookmark here

He began to speak… But it sounded different.Bookmark here

“Camryn… Camryn… Camryn…”Bookmark here

And as he continued uttering my name, the difference became clear to me. He sounded so… sad. He sounded so pained. And he sounded so weak… His voice was soft… as if he was about to cry…Bookmark here

“Camryn… Camryn… Camryn…”Bookmark here

“Huh? Mi-”Bookmark here

“Please don’t leave!”Bookmark here

I never heard him raise his voice like that. So demanding… So powerful… But at the same time, so lonely… So worrying… So desperate.Bookmark here

My eyes widened.Bookmark here

“M-Mi-”Bookmark here

His grip on me tightened.Bookmark here

“I… I’m sorry. I did something wrong, and that hurt you… I’m sorry!”Bookmark here

And then, I felt my back getting wet. Drops were gently falling as Mr Morales continued… Bookmark here

And this time, it sounded like his voice was cracking.Bookmark here

“I’m a horrible person… I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”Bookmark here

“M-Mi-”Bookmark here

“Camryn, please know that none of that was intentional!”Bookmark here

His voice was raised again… Bookmark here

“I never meant to make you go through that! I never meant to make you sad! I never meant to make you run away! Th-That’s… That’s…”Bookmark here

He put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me away.Bookmark here

“Camryn, that’s because I love you!”Bookmark here

W-What?Bookmark here

This was the first time I got a clear look at his face. It looked cleaner, but there were some light dark spots under his eyes. But… he was crying. Tears and snot sullied his face.Bookmark here

And his expression… So pained… So anxious… So confused… Bookmark here

“Yeah… Camryn, I truly care about you!”Bookmark here

I felt my jaw slightly drop.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to show it… But I want you to know that I love you! I want you to stay! I want you to be with me! Every time I don’t know where you are, I get worried! Every time I see you, I’m relieved!”Bookmark here

W-What?..Bookmark here

“Camryn, I’m sorry that I couldn’t show it before. But… But this is the truth! And I’m done hiding from it!”Bookmark here

W-W-What?..Bookmark here

“The truth is… The truth is that you’re special to me!”Bookmark here

“I-I-”Bookmark here

But he ran up and wrapped me in his arms tightly again.Bookmark here

“Camryn…”Bookmark here

His voice softened again.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry… All my life, I couldn’t understand bonds… I didn’t know if they were fake… I didn’t know if the other peson just wanted something from me… I never understood…”Bookmark here

I felt my back get wetter again.Bookmark here

“But… But you’re different, You… You’re so strong when you should be weak. You’re so resilient when anyone would give up. You’re so positive when your spirits should be shattered. You… I love that about you!”Bookmark here

I-I…Bookmark here

“But I truly care about you… and I don’t want you to strain yourself…”Bookmark here

I-I…Bookmark here

“Yes… I want to care for you. I want to be concerned for you. I want to teach you. I want to protect you… I want to see you grow and strive!”Bookmark here

W-Why?..Bookmark here

“Camryn, please forget about your past! I can’t stand to see you suffering! Camryn…”Bookmark here

I-Is this?..Bookmark here

“Please stay with me!”Bookmark here

Hah… Hahahahaha…Bookmark here

This hug is different… Not like one of those hugs given by those careless adults… Not like the one that Bailey gave… But, it was different…Bookmark here

Actually, it reminded me of my own hugs…Bookmark here

His grip on me was tight… He was leaning into me… I’ve given these types of hugs a lot of times. It was as if he were begging me not to leave. It was as if he was telling me that I was important to him… It was as if he were scared… Like a child clinging to his mother.Bookmark here

After a few seconds, I returned the hug. I broke free and wrapped my arms around him.Bookmark here

“Ren… Ren! Please, I want to stay here.”Bookmark here

Tears started flowing down my face, starting from my right eye.Bookmark here

“Ren, please let me stay!”Bookmark here

“Yeah… Of course…”Bookmark here

“I want to stay here! I want to stay at Tronito!”Bookmark here

I wiped my face on his shirt.Bookmark here

“There’s so much I want to do… There’s so much I want to learn… I want to learn about everyone! I want to learn more about Bailey. I want to learn more about Alan. I want to learn more about Valerie. I want to learn more about Connie. I want to learn more about Elyssa. I want to learn more about Mr Li. And… I want to learn more about you, Ren!”Bookmark here

He caressed the back of my head.Bookmark here

“I… I love this place… because you’re here!”Bookmark here

So cheesy… but so true…Bookmark here

“Yes… Please stay here, Camryn…”Bookmark here

He put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me away again… Bookmark here

But this time, through his tear-stained face… He was smiling widely.Bookmark here

“Camryn… Welcome home!”Bookmark here

I was heavily breathing… But I promptly nodded.Bookmark here

“Yes! I’m back!”Bookmark here

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