Cam pulls the door to the room closed and steps up beside me. He's quiet as he hands me a pair of gloves and then looks around. It takes him all of two seconds to pick out which side of the room belongs to Rory while he dons his gloves. He immediately makes his way to the desk that's been rifled through, moving the cursor on the laptop to see if it's turned on. It isn't. He moves along to the papers on the desk, shuffling through them.
I stand in the middle of the room and watch him, uncertain if I should touch anything even with the gloves on.
He looks up after a moment and notices me still standing there. "C'mere, kitten," he says, holding out a hand to me.
I quickly cross to him.
"You good?" he asks, examining my face with narrowed, attentive eyes.
"Yeah," I say, nodding.
He tugs me forward, wrapping an arm around my waist and giving me a reassuring squeeze before pulling a book from the shelf. My gaze falls on the papers he's scattered across the top of the desk. I start flipping through them. Most are class notes, each letter small and tightly spaced. One page sticks out from the others, the corner worn as if held often. Even upside down, the writing is familiar.
I tug the paper from the stack and then turn it so it's oriented properly. My throat threatens to close as my gaze scans across the page. It's a song, or a rough draft of one, and it's mine. I know because I wrote it three months ago.
"Cam," I whisper, completely stunned.
"What is it?" he asks, glancing up from the book he's thumbing through.
I hold the paper out toward him, my hand trembling. "I wrote this," I mumble.
He frowns, his gaze moving between me and the piece of paper in my hand. "It's yours?" he asks.
"Someone copied it?"
"No." I choke on the word.
He must sense my distress because he takes the sheet of paper from me and steers me toward the bed, forcing me to sit. I take a deep breath and then another, trying to calm the nerves suddenly clamoring. My hands shake so hard I have to ball them into fists to still them.
Cam sinks to his knees in front of me. "Talk to me," he says.
"It's a song I started writing three months ago. I thought I lost it," I whisper, swallowing in an attempt to work moisture back into my dry mouth. The action doesn't help. "Why is it here?"
"Where did you last see it?"
"At school, maybe?" I shake my head. "I don't remember. I was just messing around after parent-teacher conferences, waiting for some of the other teachers to finish up so we could go out for drinks, and the song came to me, so I jotted down the lyrics. When I looked the next morning, the sheet wasn't in my bag. I figured it must have fallen out at some point." Clearly, I was wrong because it's here, in Rory's room…the absolute last place it should be.
"Did anyone else know about it?" Cam asks me.
"I don't think so. I never had the chance to show anyone."
"It's a love song," he says, his eyes scanning across the page as if he's reading the words.
"Yes." It is a love song. Or the beginnings of one, anyway. The song is about two people grasping for more without even knowing one another. I started it after reading a novel about two people who meet in a club and throw caution to the wind. Given that I was supposedly in a long-distance relationship with Rory at the time I wrote it, it's incriminating as hell, lending credence to the theory that we were dating.
Cam's smart enough to grasp what the song seems to imply without me spelling it out for him. He's silent for a long moment. Too quiet. Unease is painted across his face, hesitation plain in his gray eyes.
"It's not about Rory," I mumble, my stomach roiling at the look on his face, like he's questioning whether I've been honest with him. Like, maybe, I've been playing him this entire time.
"What?" His gaze darts to mine, his brows furrowed.
"It's not about Rory," I say again, a little louder this time. "I didn't write this for him or about him." The words feel like glass in my throat, abrading it. The thought that Cam doubts me is a crushing blow, sucking air from the room. I push to my feet, causing him to stumble back before he catches himself and rises gracefully, like a big cat.
"I didn't write this for him, and I didn't send it to him." I feel caged in, the walls pressing in on me. In an attempt to ease the panic squeezing air from my lungs, I pace around the small dorm room, taking deep breaths. My heart is racing, pounding so fiercely I think it's going to beat right out of my chest. "I didn't do this, Cam. I didn't."
"Sweetheart, stop." He tosses the page to the bed and grabs for me, yanking me into him.
My body collides with his. He wraps his arms around me, caging me against his chest. I struggle for a moment, trying to fight my way free of him, but I can't. As always, he's too strong, too big. Too there. And, perhaps for the first time since he met me, he now has a reason to doubt me.
"Let me go," I cry out, desperate to get away before he says the words out loud and breaks me. I've been so worried about breaking him that I never stopped to consider that he could do the same to me. But he can. He has me, all of me. I think he has since the very beginning. And he can destroy me.
Knowing I can't get away from him unless he lets me go of his own volition, I stop fighting. A whimper breaks from my lips before I can stop it. I shudder in his arms, trying not to completely lose control as the truth crashes over me like a tidal wave.
I'm falling in love with him. The truth twist through me, settling over me as if slipping into place. I'm falling for him. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to convince him that I didn't write that damn song for Rory, not when it's here…in his dorm room. Not when it's my writing.
"I didn't do this," I whisper, pieces of my soul breaking. "I didn't, Cam."