I had just finished a late lunch when I heard a knock. I couldn’t have been anymore surprised when I saw Huy standing outside. “Huy,” I said, unsure of what he was here for. “Did you leave something?” It had been three days since the incident at Blue Velvet, and I had been sure I would never see him again.
“Actually, I wanted to talk. Could I come in?”
“Oh, yeah, sure.” I’d never felt like this before, so unsure in my own home. But then, I’d never been the one so grievously in the wrong before. I stepped back to let him inside and we took a seat on the couch.
He was silent for a while before finally he said, “Did you ever even care about me? I’ve been in love with you for so long, and I thought you loved me too, but…”
“Of course I care about you!” I couldn’t say the L-word – I’d never been sure exactly what it felt like to be in love – but I definitively knew that I cared deeply for him. “I don’t know why I started seeing Shirley, but it was never because you weren’t enough.”
“So it was a brief thing?”
I wanted to lie. I wanted to tell him that we’d barely even seen each other, but I couldn’t lie to him anymore. That hole was deep enough. “No, it wasn’t,” I admitted quietly. “I started seeing her a few months after I met you.”
“All this time!? You’ve been sneaking around with her behind my back for years? How can you say you care about me and then tell me that?”
I got up and paced, unable to keep still. “I need to just explain everything. When I moved to Newcrest and got my job, I swore I wouldn’t get married or live with someone until I was completely financially stable. To me, that means being at the top of my career. When I met Shirley, I knew it would be a good arrangement. I could spend a little time with each of you without being committed. It was a horrible thing to do to both of you – I really do know that. I was awful and selfish.” I covered my face with my hands and rubbed hard, like that might make the scene in front of me change. I took a slow, calming breath. “I can’t even ask you to forgive me, because how could you ever? I got so caught up in my plan for myself, that I never really thought about how my actions effected you and Shirley.”
He sat and stared at me, processing what I had said. Finally, he motioned for me to sit down again. “As much as I might wish it, my feelings for you haven’t changed. I love you, Camille. I think that determination you have to succeed would make us a great team, in marriage and in life.” He paused again, leaving me to wait to see what he would say next. “If I were to agree to stay with you, there would be conditions. We are in an exclusive, committed relationship. No other men, no other women. I’m okay with waiting to marry you until you’re where you want to be in your career, but we need to have an understanding.”
I knew exactly what he was saying. If I agreed to this, we would essentially be engaged. Once I got that final promotion, it probably wouldn’t even be six months before I was walking down the aisle to him. It was what I had ultimately planned on. He was the man I had decided to marry. But the finality of it made a pit of fear grow in my stomach. In potentially two years, I could be married. In three would I have a child? It was possible. I looked at Huy, a million thoughts and fears dancing through my mind. I don’t know how long I sat there, thinking, but ultimately I pushed all my fears away. This was what I had decided. This part of my plan was still mine. “Yes,” I said firmly. “I want that. I want to be with you.”
He drew me into his arms and held me close. We were both more than a little stiff, a little awkward, but I knew that we were going to reconnect. We were going to make it.
After our come-to-Watcher talk, I threw myself not just into my job, but also into my relationship. I needed to show him that I was serious about us. We moved date night to a weekly thing, and I invited him over to the house more often after work. At those times, he always stayed the night; I got very used to making breakfast for the two of us. I even went over to his house several times for dinner, though we both agreed that Octavia wasn’t invited to those get-togethers.
One night we were at my place when he asked, “So, how many kids do you think you want?”
I looked up in surprise from my less-than-legal hacking. “Kids? Isn’t it a little early to talk about that?” I was still only a Pro-Gamer. It would probably be at least another year, maybe more, until I was a Champion Gamer within the company.
“It’s never to early to just talk about it. I always wanted a big family, you know? I grew up with three siblings, and it wasn’t always easy, but it was a great life. What do you think of having four, maybe five, kids?”
Five kids? I thought in shock. What does he think I am, a clown car? “Oh, I don’t know. Five sounds like a lot.” At most I wanted two, not a whole house full of brats.
“Five is a great number.”
“Perhaps if you want that many, you should grow a uterus.”
He frowned hard at me. “Don’t you want a big family, Camille? I’ve always wanted one.”
Suddenly, with aching clarity, I knew that that wasn’t a question. In Huy’s mind, I owed him as many children as he wanted. I had cheated on him and even though we were together a six months after that, he felt he was owed more than my commitment to him. I turned back to my computer. “Big might be nice.” If Huy wanted five kids, he could just go right on and woohoo himself, but I wasn’t going to say that. He just needed time.