28.

Camille

 

A day later: And it was the day of the Halloween Bash.   So many emotions were going through me as I arrived to The Drake Hotel. I decided to visit my mother before heading to work, only to find myself in an argument with my dad regarding my relationship with Trevor. I do not know why my dad is so upset over Trevor and I being together.  He never had a problem with us being friends, so what’s the big deal now? I cannot imagine it would be the fact that I’m black and Trevor’s white; I mean my dad is not a racist.

As I pulled into the nearest parking spot, I turned off the ignition and lay my head on the headrest. I closed my eyes to think about everything that has occurred in the past week. From being with Trevor, to finding out my mom has cancer and could possibly die soon, to organizing this huge party, my mind suddenly felt like it wanted to explode. Not only that, but I’ve received a certified package yesterday from Madison Law Firm that held the divorce papers that Chad drew up. I couldn’t believe the nerve of that man! He surely didn’t waste any time when he was the one doing the cheating before and possibly throughout our marriage.

Hopefully I can finish the preparations early so I could go to Trevor’s. I really need to see him because I know my day will only get worse. At least I know when I’m with him; all my problems are a distant memory.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted when I heard a tapping noise outside my car window. I looked up and noticed Tamara tapping repeatedly on the driver’s side. I looked at her as I got out of the car.

“You know we don’t have time for daydreaming. We have a lot of stuff to do before the party.”

“I know, I know. I just wanted to get a little rest in before I went in.”

“What’s wrong; Trevor keeping you up all night?” Tamara said while laughing.

“Ha, ha; wait, how did you know about us?”

“Gerald, of course, Trevor told him the other day and of course Gerald told me. We all knew you two would hook up. I mean come on; for all I know, you two probably hooked up before but never told anyone.”

I looked at Tamara and smiled. She lightly pushed me as she started to scream.

“I knew it! I knew you two did; when?”

“After homecoming, when we came back from Plaza.”

“You two had drunk sex; how ironic.”

“Like you never done that before? Anyway, we had sex three times that night and never did it again, until two days ago.”

“Wow; well I’m happy you finally got your man, even though it took eight years to get him.”

“Try twenty-eight.”

“Either way, I’m happy for you two. Is he coming tonight?”

“Of course; not sure what costume he’s wearing, but whatever it is, it’ll be hot.”

“I’m pretty sure. Not sure what Gerald coming as either, but I hope it’s something hot and not a hot mess.”

“Really Tamara.”

“Well, Gerald is my man, so he is a reflection of me now.”

I laughed as we entered into the ballroom. We looked around at the spacious room wondering where to start. As I went to the stage area, Tamara decided to go near the center to check on the lighting.

“One thing I have to ask. What took you two so long to admit you both had feelings for each other?”

I turned to Tamara and smiled.

“I think we, especially Trevor, were scared to move into a relationship and seeing where things will go. We’ve been friends for so long, so it would be scary to think where our friendship will be if things didn’t work out.”

“I can understand that. I felt that way with Gerald; but with Rachel passing, I realized that it’s okay to take a risk in life. Life is too short to think about what ifs and should of, could of.  Just take things day by day and see where it goes.”

“Great advice, Tam.”

“Anytime.”

“Have you talked to Melanie lately? I visited the boutique the other day and she told me some big news.”

“If it’s about her and my brother, I rather not talk about that.”

“I think it’s great they’re dating.”

“Yeah, you think so. I hate it.”

“Okay, why do you hate it?”
“Where should I start?”

“Tam, if Derrick is happy, then let him be. Don’t you think he should be?”

“I want him to, but not with her. You know how she is with men. She manipulates them and uses them to her advantage. I don’t want my brother to fall into that trap.”

“Is there something you’re not telling me about Melanie? I don’t remember her being a manipulator. Yeah, she dated lots of guys, but we all did. What’s the problem?”

“You don’t understand. You don’t have anyone to protect.”

“What that’s supposed to mean?”

“You’re an only child, you don’t understand about looking after a sibling.”

“I may not understand, but I do look after the people that I care about. Don’t you think Derrick can look after himself? He is your big brother.”

“I know that, but we’ve been through so much growing up. I just want him to be happy without the drama.”

“I think you’re the one who is bringing up the drama, not anyone else.”

Tamara sighed and turned her back to me. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Tamara can be so stubborn sometimes.

“Can we stop talking about my brother and Melanie, please?”
“Sure, but going back to siblings, I always wished I had a brother or sister to hang out with. It was kind of lonely being an only child. If Trevor wasn’t around, I don’t know what I would have done.”

While I was talking, I noticed Tamara starting to clam up at the mention of siblings. Why one minute she was angry about hers and the next nervous when I bring up the word again?

“Is something wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Why you think that?”
“I don’t know; you started to tense up when I was talking about siblings.”

“There is something that I probably should tell you, but don’t know how to.”

I stopped looking at the stage and gave Tamara my full attention.

“Just tell me.”

Tamara sighed as she walked over to me.

“Gerald found out something the other day that doesn’t sit right with him.”

“Okay, what does that has to do with me?”

“I’m getting to it. Anyway, he went to his mother’s house to look for something when he came across a document that looked like his birth certificate. It had his father’s name on there, but his mother’s name was someone else. It was your mother’s name.”

I stared at Tamara to see if she was joking. But the look on her face looked far from playful.

“I don’t understand.  Why would Gerald think that the birth certificate he found was even real? It could have been a fake or something.”

“That’s what he thought, but why would his mom keep a fake birth certificate? Why would she hide that one, let alone have it if it wasn’t true?”

“I don’t know Tamara.”

“We talked about it and he did try to dig up some proof through his family, but of course no one’s talking. The only person he hasn’t confronted was his mom; I guess because he’s afraid to find out what she’ll say.”

“So you’re saying that my mom cheated on my dad and had another child with Gerald’s father? You’re saying that Gerald is my brother?”

“I don’t know Camille! Gerald is just as confused as you are right now.”

“Why he didn’t confront me with this? I mean evidently it’s a joke. My mom would never cheat on my father!  She would never keep something like that from him or me!”

She did keep her cancer from me. What else could she be keeping from me? I wondered.

“Cam, I don’t know how to explain this. All I know is that as crazy as all this sounds, you may need to look into this.”

“Give me a reason why I should? For all you or Gerald knows, it could be a prank or something. I mean, what make you two think that it’s my mom on the birth certificate?”

“I remember some time ago you mentioned your mom’s maiden name is Waters, and that what was on the birth certificate- Claire Waters.”

“There could be a million women on the planet that has the same name as my mom’s. If she was pregnant before, how could she have kept it from my dad?”

“Maybe your dad knew about the entire situation. Maybe there was some agreement in which everyone went along with. Listen, I really think you need to talk to Gerald about this. Maybe you two can come up with a solution to this problem.”

“It’s not a problem to discuss. Now, can we go back to setting up the party, please?”

Tamara nodded her head as she went back to her station.  While she started back working, I continued to stare at the stage wondering whether to believe Tamara’s accusation. A part of me want to forget I even heard the ridiculous story and continue to work, but a part of me wanted to know more.

“I have to go.”  I said as I stepped off the stage and headed towards the exit.

“Where you’re going?”

“I need to know whether your accusation is true. I have to find Gerald.”

“He should be at Trevor’s. He mentioned he was going by there.”

“Okay, I’ll be back.”

“No; you’re not driving anywhere while you’re emotional. I’ll drive. I’ll call Clara to come a little early to set up.”

“Okay. I’ll call Stacy to come in too.”

“Let’s go.” Tamara said as she picked up her handbag.

Right now, I don’t know what to think about the news I’ve just heard, but whatever it is, I need to put a stop to it immediately.

 

***

Gerald

As I pulled into Trevor’s driveway, all I could think about was the issues that have been plaguing me for the past couple of days. From Tamara’s ex-boyfriend (which I feel something else is going on there) to what I discovered at my mom’s, I don’t know what to think or feel at this point.

I stepped out of my Chevrolet Tahoe and went up to the door. As soon as I was about to knock, Trevor opened the door with a bottle of beer in his hand.

“How you know I was here?”

“Saw you pull up. Here, I think you need it.” He said as he handed me the bottle.

“Yes, I do. Thanks.”  I said as I took the beer from Trevor and walked inside.

“I’m still in shock over what you told me. You really think Camille’s mom is your mom? Did you find any proof to back up your claim?”

“I’m still looking. I don’t know Tre; I mean, what if this claim is true? I’ve basically been lied to by everyone in my life.”

“Why don’t you talk to your mom about this? I’m sure she will explain everything.”

“How can I when she was the one who was probably lying to me in the first place. I’ve tried to talk to relatives on both sides of the family and no one wants to talk. I even talked to Grandmother Smalls about everything, and she was the only one who tried to tell me the truth, but it was in codes.”

“What did she say?”

“She did mention that my parents were having problems around the time I was born, mainly because of my dad being out of work. He did disappear for a couple of days, but returned and everything was normal again. A couple of months later, I was born.”

“She’s saying that anything could have happened between that time?”

“She wouldn’t tell me if my mom was actually my mom, but what if my parents were having problems and my dad left? What if he actually did cheat on my mom with Mrs. Thomas?”

“I don’t know Gerald.”

The doorbell rang, in which Trevor gave a confused look.

“Who could that be?” He asked as he went up to the door. He looked at the peephole and opened it. Camille walked in and gave  him a wide hug follow by a kiss on the lips.

“It’s still hard to believe you two are together now.” I said as I looked at the two and smiled.

“Well anything is possible, right.” Camille said as she walked over to me. I noticed Tamara standing behind her. She gave me an apologetic stare, indicating that she told her about my theory.

“Don’t you two supposed to be setting up for the party?” Trevor asked.

“Yeah, but I needed to talked to Gerald. Tamara said you would be here.”

“Before you start, let me explain…”

“What gives you the right to think that my mom would cheat on my father?  My parents have been committed to each for the past thirty years!”

“Baby, no one is accusing anyone of cheating. No one even knows the entire story. Just hear Gerald out first before jumping to conclusions.” Trevor said.

Camille looked at Trevor and sighed.

“Fine.”

I took out the certificate from my pocket and handed it to Camille. She took it and looked at it. She handed it back and sat down.

“Why would you automatically assume it’s my mom? It could be someone else with the same name.”

“Could be, and I was never accusing your mom was my mom. It was just a theory. I asked Tamara about your mom’s maiden name, but I just didn’t automatically declare she was my mom. Camille, I’m just as confused as you are. Once I saw this, I automatically wanted answers, but no one is giving them to me.”

“You want me to ask my mom if she cheated on my dad. Gerald, my mom is going through so much right now; I really don’t want to put this on her.”

“I don’t want you to. I just want to get some kind of facts down before I figure out what I wanted to do.”

Camille gave a  long sigh before getting out of her seat.

“Gerald, we’ve known each other for such a long time, and you know that I would do anything for you. If you want me to talk to my mom, I will, just to put your mind at ease.”

I looked at Camille as I went up to her and gave her a hug.

“Thank you. Did you want me to go with you?”

Camille nodded and  to the door. Trevor goes behind us as he gave her another kiss before leaving.

As I closed the door, Camille looked at me and smiled.

“Let’s go find out if you’re my brother.” She said before heading to her childhood home.

I don’t know what type of emotion I should be right now, but whatever news Camille and I experience, it will definitely change our lives forever.

 

 

29.

Camille

 

As soon as Gerald and I reached my parents’ doorstep, I immediately began to sweat. Normally, I can handle tough situations, but when it came to my parents, I instantly become the little girl that they will always remember me as. I would use my key, but I’ve stopping using it three years ago after I walked in on my parents having sex in the living room. I began to knock on the door, wondering who will answer. When the door opened, it was my mom, who looked even tired from the last time I saw her, which was only a couple of hours ago.

“Mom, where’s Dad?”

“He went out for a few minutes. Hi, Gerald; how are you?”

“I’m good, Mrs. Thomas. How are you?”

“I’m getting along. Come on in.” she said as she stepped aside for us to enter.

I began to wipe my sweaty hands onto my jeans as I went straight to the loveseat while Gerald took the armchair. My mom gave us a perplex expression as she took a seat beside me on the love seat.

“You two look serious. Is something wrong?”

I began to clear my throat as a lump was beginning to form. I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I was going to faint or throw up.

“Mom, we need to talk to you about something. If you’re not feeling up to it, then we won’t discuss it.”

“I’m fine honey. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

I looked at Gerald as he nodded his head for me to go ahead.  I took a deep breath before speaking.

“Mom, Gerald found something at his mom’s house the other day that had us thinking and we wanted to talk to you so you could clear the air over it.”

“Okay, what is it?”

Gerald took out the birth certificate he had in his pocket and handed it to my mom. She took it from Gerald and looked at it. Her face automatically gave a shock expression as she looked at Gerald then at me.

“Is it true?” I asked, hoping against hope that it wasn’t.

“You have to understand that neither I nor your father wanted to hurt you, Gerald.”

“It is true.” Gerald said as he put his head in his hands.

My mom looked at me as she began to speak.

“At the time, your father and I were going through some financial problems.  We used to argue constantly, so he moved out the house for a little while.  When your father was gone, it was really hard for me. I was really lonely, so I begin to go around Gerald’s parents a lot. We were all friends then, so it wasn’t a big deal. One night, your parents had a neighborhood party and everyone was having a good time, expect me. I was still sad over your father, so I decided to leave early. Your father came by the house because I forgot my purse. We’ve been talking a lot during that time, because he and Ebony was having problems of their own so we sort of related to each other in that aspect. Before I knew it, we starting kissing, and one thing led to another and we had a one- night stand.”

“Wow.”  I said while I held my head down. Gerald still had his face in his hands, still unsure what to make of the situation.

“Of course, we didn’t use protection that night, and I winded up pregnant. When I first found out I was pregnant, your father returned home and we tried to rebuild our marriage. I couldn’t tell him I was having another man’s child, so I lied and told him that it was his. But Gerald, your father wouldn’t have any of it. He was livid when I told him my plan; he wanted to be a father to you, so I had to come clean, because if I didn’t he was going to tell David anyway. When we told David and Ebony what happened, we decided to act as if nothing happened and Ebony and Tyler raised you as their own and a year later, I had you, Camille.”

“So, you all forged a fake birth certificate to make it believable?” Gerald asked.

“Of course with the hospital, we had to put the parents on there, but yes, we drew up another birth certificate with your parents’ names on it. Ebony kept the real one and hid it, until now of course.”

“Why go through all the trouble? You could have been a part of my life; instead, you passed me off to someone else!”

“The reason we arranged this was because Ebony couldn’t have a child. Everyone knew the two were having problems, and many said it was because of Tyler’s unemployment, but it was really because Ebony wasn’t ovulating properly. She had a hard time conceiving.”

“Anovulation,” I quietly said.

“I knew how much Ebony wanted a child, so even though I put my name on the birth certificate in the hospital, I relinquished my rights as your parent to Ebony so she could have the child she always wanted.”

Tears were flowing down both mines and Gerald’s cheeks as we listened to my mother’s story. I couldn’t believe mines and his parents would do this to Gerald!

“This is unbelievable! I can’t believe you all would do this to me! And the fact that I used to come to this house and no one would say anything to me!” Gerald yelled through years.

“You didn’t think I wanted to Gerald?! Every time  I saw you, I wanted to hold you in my arms and tell you that I’m your mother, but I couldn’t because I’d made a promise to your parents that I would never get in the way of raising you. That’s why I was so happy that you and Camille became friends, because it was a way to see that you two had some sort of relationship.”

“Mom, Gerald’s my brother! If he didn’t find his actual birth certificate, we still wouldn’t have known!”

“I know that, and I’m sorry that it took thirty-one years to discover it.”

“I can’t deal with this right now.” Gerald said as he got up from his seat and went towards the door.

As my mom and I watched Gerald leave, I turned to look at her. Although what my mom did was unspeakable, I couldn’t be mad at her.

“I’m sorry Camille. I really thought if the truth didn’t come out, then no one would know.”

I went up to her and gave her a hug.

“Please don’t be mad at me.”

I sighed as held my mom even tighter.

“I could never be mad at you, Mom. Don’t ever think for a second that I would.”

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