How I am? Her first instinct was to be angry. She huffed and folded her arms across her chest, turning slightly away from him. The longer she thought about his words, the more she realized he was right. It made no sense to be angry. Cam was right. Had she been invited to his sister’s party, she would have declined. Not because she wasn’t curious about the goings on at a real un-chaperoned party, but because she was one of those people who always followed the rules.
Peyton had a cousin who believed rules were merely guidelines. He never followed them and it showed in his parents’ tired faces and disappointed eyes. It never seemed to bother her cousin, but it killed Peyton to think her parents could ever look at her that way. She made a promise to herself she would never be on the receiving end of those disparaging looks. She wanted to be the one her father looked at with pride, and so far, she’d done pretty well.
Her parents weren’t difficult to please. Good grades, being home a couple of minutes before curfew, bringing dates home to meet the folks, and making it a point to never lie. It was easier than most would think, and even though there were those who looked at her like she was a goody-goody, she was pretty much given free rein to do as she pleased. Luckily, her interests didn’t wane far from coffee and the occasional rated R movie while snuggling with Cam in the well lit living room.
Problem was, she was tired of playing perfect. Teenagers across the world were known to make mistakes, why should she be all that different? If she went for a little while and came home before midnight, it couldn’t even be considered breaking a rule, anyway… more of a slight bend, really. Her parents would be out of town that weekend anyway so it wasn’t like she’d have to lie to their faces, which was something she couldn’t have done to save her life. Peyton took a deep breath and looked at Cam. “What if I want to go?”
Cam pursed his lips and lifted an eyebrow. “Your parents are going out of town this weekend and this party won’t be chaperoned. Not to mention there’s gonna be alcohol, and God knows what else. Let’s do something else. Something less likely to make your parents hate me,” he chuckled. “You’re… you, and that isn’t a bad thing. I love you the way you are, stickler for rules and everything.”
Peyton grunted, feeling guilty for even entertaining the thoughts inside her head. “Maybe I’m tired of being the good kid. Maybe for once I’d like to know what it feels like to doing something… a little less than good. I won’t drink, I won’t smoke, and I’ll leave early too, but I really want to go.”
“Will you kiss me goodnight?”
Peyton grinned. “I may even kiss you good morning.”
Cam smirked as his eyes lit up. He draped an arm over her shoulder and walked her home.
She told her parents she would be out with a few friends, and of course, they had no issue with it because they trusted her. She promised to be in no later than 11:00, and they handed her $40.00 for food and “stuff” to last her the weekend. “Don’t forget to lock-up,” her dad said as he kissed her forehead and closed the door behind him. She grinned. She was all set to bend some rules.
When Cam picked her up the next evening, she felt pretty good. She had her cell phone, she had cash, she had her keys… but she couldn’t get over the thought that she was forgetting something. Something important. She double checked her purse, but nothing was jumping out at her. She shrugged the feeling off, determined to have a great night.
The party wasn’t as great as she hoped it would be. Every “A-lister” from school was there, but by 10:30, half of them were draped over each other, passed out and drooling on the couch. The other half were being loud and obnoxious discussing “how awesome beers are, dude”.
She was beginning to regret the addition of rebellion to her lifestyle. Cam had been right. This wasn’t her. She tugged on his sleeve and whispered in his ear that she was ready to go home. He smiled knowingly, and nodded.
The drive home was uncomfortable. Even though it was a lesson learned, she’d already bent more rules than she wanted explain to her parents. She also really wanted Cam to come inside. She wasn’t sure what to do and decided to allow him to make that move. He parked in the driveway and got out. A good sign that he was at least coming in for a bit. She smiled at him. “I’m not staying,” he said, grinning. “Breaking one rule is enough for tonight. I thought maybe we could watch a movie since it’s still early.”
“On the couch?”
“With the lights on,” he laughed.
Gotta love a guy who plays by the rules. She hopped out of the car, excited to have the best, most understanding boyfriend a girl could ask for. She ran inside her house, leaving the door open for him to follow. “I’m home!” she called out. There were two reasons for this. One, being it was habit. Second, she wanted to make sure her parents hadn’t come home early. Even if she had no plans to break or bend any more rules, she didn’t want to take the chance that her parents would catch her bringing Cam inside so late. The uneasy feeling from earlier that night returned. Something wasn’t right, she could feel it in the pit of her stomach.
She and Cam sat snuggled underneath a quilt listening to Jaime Kennedy explain how to survive a horror movie. She giggled. She loved Scream because of the rules. Rules were important, even in a gore-fest. She sank deeper into Cam’s arms. A shadow passed behind the television and her heart skipped a beat. She sat up, muting the television, trying to convince herself the shadow was just her mind freaking her out. She and Cam looked at each other when the stairs creaked, and then she realized the reason behind the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something she should have remembered, even if her father hadn’t reminded her before he left. Rule number one when you leave the house.
Don’t forget to lock the door.