â€œThe painting looks great there, yes, I think itâ€™ll be perfect in that position,â€ Diandra said, standing back to inspect it. It had been two days since Diandra moved into her new home, and she was so happy to be living in this neighborhood. The estate had compact but beautifully detailed homes, and her particular house was a dream come true for
|Angry Cameron by Marcia Carrington|
her - elegant, homey, but very her. It seemed as if all the wishes on her list had been answered - a new home; a new start, and hopefully, nice neighbors to become friendly with. Diandra sighed at the painting of the house on the hill, with its white arts and crafts design, this being her favorite picture, and good luck charm, and turned away from it. She proceeded over to her beige marble-top kitchen, and smiled. It was all clean and ready for her to use; it had been a busy two days setting up the house, but it was well worth it. Everything was in its place, exactly how she wanted it to be. The sofa and chairs were new, and the coffee table and lamp tables from her old house perfectly complemented them. The soft beige walls soothed and calmed her, and the high ceilings radiated style with their hanging light fittings. Happy with the scenery, Diandra turned her head, and spotted a small blemish on the cupboard door. Diandra went to pick up the sponge from the sink to remove it, but she heard the doorbell ring. Turning around, Diandra moved to the door to see who it was. Diandra saw a tall brown-haired woman with a happy face waiting for her behind the screen door. â€œGood morning, and welcome to the neighborhood,â€ the woman said, as Diandra watched her carefully. â€œMy name is Marlena, and I live next door to you.â€ This was the woman Diandra saw yesterday with three boisterous children in tow. â€œHi, please come in,â€ Diandra said, opening the door for Marlenaâ€™s entrance, who made her way through. Once she was inside, Diandra smiled at Marlena. â€œIâ€™m Diandra.â€ â€œBeautiful name,â€ Marlena said, with a deft nod. â€œThank you,â€ Diandra said. â€œHereâ€™s a housewarming gift for you,â€ Marlena said, as she handed Diandra a dish which contained a delicious-looking chocolate cake covered by cellophane, with a bow on the top. Diandra watched this in delighted surprise. â€œWhy thank you so much, you didnâ€™t have to go to that trouble,â€ Diandra said, bending over to kiss Marlena on the cheek, who did likewise with Diandra. â€œNo problem, I was baking, Iâ€™m always baking,â€ Marlena said, rolling her eyes. â€œItâ€™s great to have a new neighbor here.â€ Marlena looked around the room, and saw Diandraâ€™s handiwork. â€œI can imagine you were busy; do you need help setting up?â€ â€œNo, Iâ€™m fine, just a few small things, and Iâ€™m done,â€ Diandra said, shaking her head. â€œItâ€™s looking good, you have a nice eye for design,â€ Marlena said, viewing Diandraâ€™s collection of artwork on the walls. â€œI try to,â€ Diandra said, with a chuckle. â€œWhy donâ€™t you sit and have some tea with me? Iâ€™d love the company,â€ Diandra said. â€œIf Iâ€™m not imposing,â€ Marlena said, watching her cautiously. â€œNot at all, Iâ€™ve been looking forward to meeting my new neighbors,â€ Diandra said, leading Marlena to the oval table, and setting the chocolate cake on the table. Marlena pulled out a chair, and made herself seated. â€œSo, what would you like, coffee, tea or something else?â€ Marlena turned her eyes away from Diandra in thought, and looked back at her. â€œIâ€™d love some tea; I generally drink coffee, but itâ€™d be something different for me,â€ Marlena said. â€œSure, Iâ€™ll join you,â€ Diandra said, moving behind the kitchen to prepare the kettle, pouring water into it from the sink faucet. There was a small silence as Diandra opened the cupboard, and removed the mugs, tea and sugar. She brought these out to the table, and smiled at Marlena, who seemed slightly uncomfortable. â€œCan I help in any way? I feel silly just sitting here,â€ Marlena said, shrugging her shoulders. â€œNo, itâ€™s fine, teaâ€™s coming soon,â€ Diandra said, flicking the switch on the kettle, and coming to sit with Marlena for a few moments. â€œYou know something, the people I bought the house from were really nice; they even wanted to help me with my move.â€ Marlena sighed, and nodded. â€œYes, they were a nice couple. They couldnâ€™t maintain the house any more, it was getting too big for them. Itâ€™s understandable, but it can be hard to find good neighbors many times,â€ Marlena said, to Diandraâ€™s agreement. â€œI know, can happen,â€ Diandra said, as the kettle began to whistle. â€œLooks like itâ€™s tea time.â€ â€œLooking forward to it,â€ Marlena said, as Diandra arose, bringing some cookies to the table on a white plate with gold trimming, along with the kettle. â€œYou like to bake?â€ Diandra grimaced at this comment. â€œI do, but didnâ€™t have time with the move and everything; these are store-bought, Iâ€™m afraid,â€ Diandra said, viewing the cookies with disappointment. Marlena viewed the cookies, and raised her eyebrows. â€œCouldâ€™ve fooled me, they look so authentic, as if they were made in a home kitchen,â€ Marlena said, as Diandra grinned. She poured the water into Marlenaâ€™s cup, passing her the tea bag container, then the sugar, and cream. After Marlena was finished, Diandra also prepared her tea. â€œYes, good neighbors can be hard to find,â€ Diandra said. â€œThey can be a bit of a mixed bag at times.â€ â€œThey sure can be,â€ Marlena said, looking out Diandraâ€™s window, to the house to the right of Diandraâ€™s house. Marlenaâ€™s face became ashen, frowning, as Diandra watched her with interest. â€œIs something the matter?â€ Diandra said, also peering at the house. Marlena took a sip of her tea, and nodded. â€œYou should be prepared for something now youâ€™re a member of the neighborhood,â€ Marlena said. â€œWhat is it?â€ Diandra said, curving her eyes. Marlena paused for a moment, and raised her eyebrows at Diandra. â€œThe man who lives in the house next door to youâ€¦â€ Marlena said. â€œWhat?â€ Diandra asked, sipping her tea, and setting her cup upon the table. Marlena played with the handle of her tea cup, as Diandra observed her attentively. â€œHeâ€™s, how can I say, a little too aggressive with everyone,â€ Marlena said, her eyes becoming downcast. â€œWhat do you mean?â€ Diandra said, offering Marlena some cookies, which she took nervously, and placed in her plate. â€œWell, he has a problem with everyone, and everything,â€ Marlena said quietly. â€œOh,â€ Diandra said. â€œWhy?â€ Marlena sighed, and pursed her lips, her lively brown eyes becoming solemn. â€œWell, his wife left him, and ever since this happened, heâ€™s been very tough on everyone. According to him, no one does anything right, theyâ€™re always wrongâ€¦one of those types of people,â€ Marlena said. â€œOh, okay,â€ Diandra said, squinting her eyes. â€œYou may be wondering why Iâ€™m telling you this, but Iâ€™m just warning you so youâ€™re not surprised if he strikes,â€ Marlena said, moving closer to Diandra. â€œWhy, does he seem violent or something?â€ Diandra asked, her eyes widening at this comment. Marlena considered this for a spell, and creased her forehead. â€œI wouldnâ€™t say physically violent, but, more making verbal threats,â€ Marlena said. Diandra nodded, and shrugged her shoulders. â€œThese things happen, sounds like heâ€™s unhappy,â€ Diandra said, puffing her lips. â€œObviously, but innocent people donâ€™t deserve this treatment,â€ Marlena said, her face hardening. â€œYouâ€™re right,â€ Diandra said, seeing that Marlena was becoming upset. â€œSome more tea?â€ â€œNo thanks, Iâ€™d better go. Thank you so much for the tea, and company,â€ Marlena said, as Diandra laughed. Marlena looked Diandra point blank in the eyes, and nodded. â€œYouâ€™ll fit in very well here, I can feel it.â€ â€œSo do I,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena grinned at her. Marlena then arose from the table, pushing her chair in, taking her mug and plate to the kitchen. â€œNo, donâ€™t worry about that.â€ â€œItâ€™s the least I can do,â€ Marlena said, leaving them beside the luminous stainless steel sink. She did this, and turned to Diandra. â€œIâ€™ll walk you out,â€ Diandra said, as she went to the front door, opening it to let Marlena out, who was behind her. Both women were outside the house when a man next door opened his car door, firmly setting his foot on the driveway. He was dressed in a white business shirt and black trousers, carrying a shiny black leather attachÃ© case. Diandra saw him, and flared her eyes. His firm build, curly light brown hair, and way he carried himself captured Diandraâ€™s attention. â€œWow, whoâ€™s that?â€ Diandra said, as a slight wind picked up, causing Diandraâ€™s hair to fly in her face, which she moved out of the way. Marlena turned to Diandra, and nodded. â€œThatâ€™s the man I was telling you about.â€ Diandra squinted her eyes. â€œHeâ€™s the man you talked out about before? Dangerous? He just seems a little uptight,â€ Diandra said, noticing his movements banging the car doors, as Marlenaâ€™s jaw dropped. â€œIâ€™d say itâ€™s a lot worse than that,â€ Marlena said. Diandra observed him, and smiled. â€œI donâ€™t knowâ€¦he may be lots of things, but one of these is cute,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena took Diandraâ€™s hand. â€œWhatâ€™s his name?â€ Marlena sighed, and frowned. â€œHis name is Cameron Bassett,â€ Marlena said coolly. Diandra looked to the sky, spotting a fluffy-looking small cloud, and smiled cheekily. â€œMmn, Cameron, Cam, Ron, Ronnieâ€¦I like Ronnie,â€ Diandra said, sporting a huge smile. Marlena lightly touched Diandraâ€™s arm, gaining her attention. â€œDiandra, this is serious. I donâ€™t want to see you become upset by him. Iâ€™d steer clear of him, donâ€™t do anything to provoke him. While he doesnâ€™t seem to be physically violent, you never know with some people,â€ Marlena said. Diandra curled her lips, and locked eyes with Cameron, as he glared at her, and moved inside, slamming the front door behind him. â€œHeâ€™s got nice eyes, as is the rest of him,â€ Diandra said, poking a face. â€œNice male eye candy.â€ Marlena patted Diandra on the hand, and brought her back to reality. â€œI have to go, my husbandâ€™s got a day off work, and is looking after the kids for a spell. I donâ€™t want them to destroy the house,â€ Marlena said, rolling her eyes, as Diandra laughed. â€œIâ€™d like to have that one day,â€ Diandra said, tipping her head dreamily. â€œYou will,â€ Marlena said. â€œBye Diandra.â€ â€œGoodbye Marlena,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena walked away from Diandraâ€™s house, and a short distance into hers. Diandra stood still for a moment, and spun her head to the right, seeing Cameron Bassettâ€™s house. He was not there, but unexpectedly moved outside, checking his mailbox, and they again locked eyes. Cameron anxiously looked away from Diandra, pressing his lips together, and took his mail from the box with a swift grab. Diandra eyed Cameron from top to bottom, and just could not stop thinking he really could be as dangerous as Marlena thought. There was something about him that radiated a hidden sensuality, as if he was not aware how attractive he was. Mulling this over in her mind, Diandra giggled slightly, and walked inside her home, as she had more work to do in her bedroom. Chapter Two Diandra was sorting through her storeroom, opening packages, and setting up some items which she did not have time to do yesterday. She found the hose at the bottom of the carton she was working on, and her mind wandered over to Cameron. Diandra thought about him, and what could have made such a striking man become so abrupt with all those around him. She considered herself, and how her love life had not been a bowl of cherries in any way. She had been close to marrying a man who seemed to be the one, but it fell apart at the last minute. Several other romances did not last, but she was happy they ended this way, as, looking back, the men in question were not worth her time. Through all of these experiences, Diandra felt she did rise above everything that had happened in the past few years, but it was the only way - there was no other way. It was either go with the flow, and roll with the punches, or give up on life, which she had no intention of doing. Some people do not take difficulties easily, and maybe Cameron was just one of these people. She did not know the entire story behind his life, so it was not easy to pass judgement on his situation. Diandra shook her head, knowing she had taken too long thinking about Cameron. She took the scissors into her hand, cutting the plastic cord holding the hose together, and attached the nozzle, which easily snapped into place. With a happy stride, Diandra opened the door, and moved out of her storeroom. She was now in the backyard, and looked around her small yard, with the guest house behind. It was a big change from her small apartment in the city, and just the size she always wanted. Not too much maintenance for someone living on her own, but just enough to keep her busy. Diandra walked over to the faucet, and bent over, leaving the hose on the tiled ground. She plugged the hose into the faucet, checking that it was assembled properly. She heard some noise from next door, and turned her head to see who it was. It was Cameron in his backyard, rearranging some outdoor furniture, and wearing a tight white singlet and brown jeans. Cameron had a scowl on his face which intrigued Diandra, and, to her surprise, she found this animalistic expression extremely enticing. Taking a handkerchief out of his jean pocket, he wiped his brow, and groaned loudly. Cameron had now completed his work, and turned his head to the left, and saw Diandra. She waved to him, but he scowled at her in return. â€œHi there,â€ Diandra said, with a happy smile, but Cameron sharply looked the other way, and angrily headed into his house. Diandra raised her eyebrows, shrugging her shoulders at his behavior, and turned on the hose. The water began to trickle out of the hose head as Diandra had set it on the shower setting, and she tried the other settings in turn, which all worked well. Satisfied with the hose, Diandra turned off the faucet, arose, and began walking to the guest house. She was about to unlock the guest house when she heard someone addressing her. Diandra turned her head to see who it was. â€œHi Diandra.â€ It was Marlena, and she stood close to the fence, with one of her children beside her. The boy was a rosy-cheeked, chubby character with a fresh face, and the bluest eyes she had ever seen. â€œHi Marlena,â€ Diandra said, approaching her, and waving to the child, who did the same in return. â€œSo, howâ€™s it all progressing?â€ â€œGood, just some small jobs, itâ€™s amazing what you find to do in a new home,â€ Diandra said, flashing her blue eyes at Marlena. â€œI know exactly what you meanâ€¦we came here a few years ago, and it took us a while to get it all together,â€ Marlena said, nodding. â€œYes, good things take time,â€ Diandra said. There was a pause between the women, as Marlena carefully observed Diandra, which intrigued her. â€œDiandra,â€ Marlena said. â€œYes?â€ Marlena appeared uncomfortable, and looked to her child, and back to Diandra. â€œThereâ€™s something I want to tell you, can you wait for a second?â€ â€œSure,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena took her child into the house, and promptly returned. â€œSo, what do you want to tell me?â€ Marlena closed her eyes, and bit her lips, before opening them. â€œI saw what happened before with Cameron,â€ Marlena said. â€œOh, that,â€ Diandra said, with a chuckle. â€œI just thought Iâ€™d say hello, it might break the ice with him,â€ Diandra said, throwing back her head, her blond pony tail flying happily in the air. Marlena tipped her head, face serious. â€œI think itâ€™s best you give him no notice at all, and act as if heâ€™s not there. I donâ€™t want to see you upset,â€ Marlena said. Diandra furrowed her eyes, and shook her head. â€œBut are things really that bad?â€ Diandra said. Marlena sighed, and looked away from Diandra in thought. â€œHe does become vicious at unexpected moments,â€ Marlena said. â€œHow? In what way?â€ Diandra asked, moving closer to Marlena. Marlena stopped again in contemplation, and flickered her eyes at Cameronâ€™s house. â€œSay, something that may not annoy you, or me, could trigger him into behaving erratically,â€ Marlena said. Diandra considered all that Marlena had said, and felt she knew what was possibly up with Cameron. â€œYou know something Marlena?â€ Diandra said, puckering her lips at Marlena, placing her hand on her hip. â€œWhat?â€ Marlena asked, eyes fixed upon Diandra. â€œI believe he hasnâ€™t been able to confide in anybody about this, how heâ€™s feeling, and itâ€™s built up and up, and one day it might turn really bad,â€ Diandra said. Marlena did not say anything for a few moments, mulling over what Diandra just said. â€œYes, I suppose youâ€™re right,â€ Marlena said, nodding slowly. â€œI didnâ€™t really have much to do with him, but donâ€™t feel comfortable delving into this with him.â€ â€œI know,â€ Diandra said, flashing Marlena a smile of empathy. â€œI have young children, and have to protect them as much as I can,â€ Marlena said, becoming quiet. â€œI can understand,â€ Diandra said, nodding with assurance. Marlena twitched her lips, and nodded. â€œI know he may appear very handsome, but sometimes itâ€™s better we back away from getting involved in something that may prove to be more trouble to us than we need,â€ Marlena said, as Diandra looked to the roof of her house with its bright red tiles. â€œYouâ€™ve just moved in here, and I donâ€™t want to see you as another of his victims, and as you seem to mean well, itâ€™s always worse,â€ Marlena said, extending her hand over the fence, and patting Diandraâ€™s hand, who turned back to her. There were suddenly voices heard from Marlenaâ€™s house, and it appeared her children were throwing a tantrum over a doll and a truck. Marlena rolled her eyes, and laughed at their antics. â€œIâ€™d better go before a tirade becomes a full-fledged episode.â€ Diandra chuckled. â€œIâ€™m sorry to have kept you, go see them,â€ Diandra said. Marlena smiled thoughtfully, and narrowed her eyes. â€œPlease think about what I said,â€ Marlena said. Diandra hesitated for a moment, and sighed, moving her hair over her shoulders. â€œOkay, I will,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena beamed slightly and left her, racing into the home. Diandra turned away from Marlenaâ€™s house, and directed her gaze to Cameronâ€™s home. Something in her stomach informed her Marlena was a little off-track when it came to Cameron, and there really was more to it than everyone realized. Diandra, though, pondered why she cared so much whether this man was happy or not. Was she falling in love with him, something she never did before with anyone, or was it just a case of pity, which she did not like to do? Whatever it was, Diandra walked to the hose, turning the faucet, and picked up the hose. She watered the grass in her backyard for several minutes, which was slightly gray after an arid summer, and an equally dry start to autumn. Chapter Three It was now Saturday morning, Diandraâ€™s first in her new house, and she decided to sleep in today, as she was so tired. It had been a busy few days of arranging her house, moving the furniture so it was just right, and finishing some paperwork. Bright light filtered through Diandraâ€™s beige bedroom drapes which gradually met her eyes, and her eyelids flickered at this. Autumn had arrived early this year, and there was a slight chill in the air for which Diandra was not prepared. She knew tonight she would place a throw on her bed to soften the cold when she would arise the next morning. Today was going to be a busy day, and the first of her relaxation classes for women. Diandra was happy she would be able to assist other women who had problems sleeping, or needed one on one advice for other matters. Being a fully qualified physiotherapist and life coach gave Diandra the tools for this, and she was looking forward to helping her clients. Feeling it was either now or never, Diandra arose from the bed, immediately placing her feet in the comfy cotton slippers, and slowly got up from her bed, stretching her arms. Now upright, she smiled to herself, and took a breath of air. Diandra was walking into the bathroom when she heard some commotion coming from the house across the road from hers. She ambled to the living room, and opened the drapes to see what was happening. Her mouth fell open at what was occurring at the house. She witnessed a couple talking with Cameron, and everyone appeared to be agitated. Cameron was pointing angrily at the womanâ€™s husband, who was retorting with his own hand, as the wife stood between them. Diandra examined this scene with great interest, and listened in on their exchange. â€œYour damn dog barks and barks and barks, and you do nothing to stop him. Whatâ€™s up with you, you crazy or something?â€ Cameron said. George Fayeâ€™s face was red as a beetroot from anger, his hand trembling. â€œDonâ€™t you point your finger at me Bassett. Just because youâ€™re uptight doesnâ€™t mean everyone is,â€ George said. His wife Franny turned to him, and shook her head. â€œStop it, George. This wonâ€™t cease, donâ€™t say anymore,â€ Franny said. Cameron sniggered, and puffed his lips. â€œEither you shut the damn dog up, or Iâ€™ll shut him up, permanently,â€ Cameron said, his blue eyes wild with ire. â€œYouâ€¦â€ George said, lunging at Cameron, as Franny pulled them apart, stopping the duo from fighting. â€œHey! Stop it! I want you to leave now, or Iâ€™ll call the police,â€ Franny said to Cameron, her mouth firm, as George breathed heavily, eyes running everywhere. Cameron laughed ominously, watching George with sheer irritation. â€œIâ€™ll leave, but donâ€™t forget your little pet might end up at the Pearly Gates if you donâ€™t control him,â€ Cameron said, walking away from the couple in a huff, his shoulders relentlessly stiff. George grunted loudly, and stroked his lip with his finger, his fist clenched tightly. â€œOh, one day, heâ€™ll get his,â€ George said, brown eyes resolute. Franny shook her head, watching Cameron as he stomped across the street, and into his house. â€œLet him say what he wants George, the more notice we give him, the worse heâ€™ll get,â€ Franny said, taking her husband by the arm, who resisted at first, but Franny said, â€œCome on Georgeâ€ and he finally went with her into their home. Diandra was shocked by what she had seen, her mouth open, and closed the curtain. This was the first time she had seen Cameron the way that Marlena described him. It both chilled her he was so angry with the neighbors, but, at the same time, she just could not disregard the feeling that what he did was all talk, and no action. Shaking her head at what happened, Diandra walked back into her bedroom, and had a shower, getting ready for the busy day in front of her. * * * * â€œHereâ€™s to new things and experiences.â€ In a moment of whimsy, Diandra hung a gold chime close to her front door on the soffit and stood back for a moment, admiring it. She believed it brought her calm and serenity, and its tinkle was just what she needed to spur her on for the day ahead. Seeing the time on her watch, it was now 10:10AM, and cars began to assemble in front of Diandraâ€™s house for the relaxation class for 10:30AM. As the women emerged from their cars, Diandra greeted them at the front of her house, and they chatted eagerly. They were excited to learn about Diandraâ€™s background, and what would happen in the class today. There were women who attended both young and old, others certain of themselves, while others took this step for the first time, and harbored some reservations. The group was composed of ten women, and once she saw that they were all present, Diandra asked them to follow her. They began to rifle through Diandraâ€™s wrought iron gate which led to her private guest house at the rear of the home. Upon entering the room, Diandra put some comforting music on the CD player, and soon the melodies of trickling water, streams, birds chirping, and other nature sounds began to softly permeate the neighborhood. The participants were seated in comfy armchairs, and closed their eyes, taking in the atmosphere of the session. Cameron was in his living room, sitting in front of the television. He took the remote control in his hand, and did some channel surfing. After some time of zapping between stations, he threw the remote into the sofa, and groaned. â€œSome programming - Saturday morning TV is a big fat zero.â€ Cameron arose from the sofa, and walked towards the small wooden desk which carried his paperwork, and a laptop. He took some papers into his hands, and stared at them with intense concentration. â€œFinal divorce papers - huh.â€ He rifled through the papers, and shook his head. â€œShe was a bad wife, sleeping with her boss and, despite this, sheâ€™s taken half of what I worked so hard for, like the holiday house.â€ Cameron rolled his eyes, and pursed his lips. â€œAt least I have the house Iâ€™m living in, she canâ€™t take that, the prissy tart.â€ At this point, the wind outside had picked up, and its howling noises could be distinctly discerned. Cameron heard the chime tinkling as a result of this, and squinted his eyes. â€œWhat the hell?â€ He opened his side drapes, and saw Diandraâ€™s chime moving around, the wind throwing it all over the place, its pieces making tinny echoes. â€œDamn chime,â€ Cameron said, puffing his lips. He then noticed the nature sounds emanating from Diandraâ€™s house, and stewed. Cameron also heeded the many cars in front of Diandraâ€™s house, and hissed. â€œWhat, the neighborhoodâ€™s being turned into a madhouse? What next?â€ He walked over to the table, and slammed the divorce papers on it, the table jumping slightly. Cameron could next hear voices coming from next door, and saw that women were leaving Diandraâ€™s house, driving off after their relaxation session. Diandra turned after waving to the women, and saw Cameron at the window. She smiled at him but, to her disappointment, he harshly closed the curtain in response. Diandra exhaled loudly, folding her arms in front of her. It seemed as if Cameron Bassett was a tough nut to crack, and maybe Marlena was right about him after all. Diandra had never met anyone so difficult before in her life, and was at a loss what to do concerning him. Chapter Four It was a fine, sunny Sunday morning, and Diandra was in her kitchen, baking some cookies, which was one of her favorite pastimes. Just the aroma of chocolate chip, vanilla, orange, and lemon was one of those things that sent her crazy with culinary joy, and she checked on the cookies through the transparent oven door. They seemed to be baking nicely, but still needed another twenty minutes or so. Diandra left her pink mittens on the marble kitchen top, and stood in wonder at her new home. It was looking good, just as she wanted it. It had not been easy leaving from her former home to come here, but it was all worth it. She would not trade her move here for anything, it left her former life for dead. At this moment, the wind picked up, and Diandraâ€™s chime began to emit its distinctive tingle. She smiled, and sat on the red velvet armchair, soaking in the soothing atmosphere. Cameron was in his home, preparing to pick up some groceries from the supermarket. He was in his bedroom, buttoning his shirt, when he turned to put on his watch, and images of Diandra zoomed into his mind. Cameron saw her smiling face, the way her blond hair fell lightly on her shoulders, and was puzzled how she entered his thoughts. She was just a weirdo from what he gathered, someone who seemed to believe in mumbo-jumbo, as borne out by the odd music and people she attracted to the neighborhood. At this point, Cameron heard the noise of the chime, and this incensed him to no end. The crashing noises of the pieces of tin on the chime make his blood boil, and his anger instantaneously began to rise. â€œIâ€™ll fix this once and for all,â€ Cameron said, body as stiff as a surfboard. Without any further thought, Cameron moved through the house in a frenzy. When he reached his front door he opened it, jumping onto the front door mat, slamming the door shut behind him, and heading straight for Diandraâ€™s house. Within seconds Cameron was at Diandraâ€™s front door, and saw the offending chime. Glowering at it for several moments, he lowered it from its hook, and took it into his hands. Cameron banged on Diandraâ€™s door, and she was awakened from her daydream. When she noticed who was at the door, Diandra was surprised to see Cameron. He appeared as if he wanted to kill her, but Diandra moseyed over to the door, and decided to play it cool. â€œCan I help you?â€ Diandra said, smiling sweetly. Cameron looked at the chime, and then at Diandra in disdain. â€œWhat is it with you and all these damn weird things?â€ Cameron said, mouth open in disgust. â€œWhat do you mean?â€ Diandra said, cupping her chin in the palm of her hand. â€œThis,â€ Cameron said, producing the chime she had placed near the front door. â€œItâ€™s driving me nuts.â€ â€œOh, Iâ€™m sorry to hear that. Why donâ€™t you come in and we can talk about it,â€ Diandra said, opening the door for his entrance. â€œNo. I want you to take it down, now,â€ Cameron said, eyes fixed on Diandra. Diandra threw Cameron a smile, but he was steadfast in his attitude, vehemently refusing to smile. â€œCome in and weâ€™ll have a chat,â€ Diandra said, walking away casually, as Cameron stomped in, chime in hand, following her to the living room. She turned and faced him, with a neutral expression. â€œBut why does it bother you? It makes a beautiful sound, donâ€™t you think?â€ Diandra said. Cameronâ€™s face with inflamed with anger, his forehead filled with creases. â€œArenâ€™t you listening to me?â€ Cameron shouted, indicating his ears with his finger. â€œYes, I am listening to you, but are you listening to me?â€ Diandra said. â€œWhat?â€ Cameron said, body taut, and face exuding rage. Diandra closed her eyes, and smiled at him, opening them again. â€œAs I said, I like the sound of the chimes, itâ€™s so relaxing. I havenâ€™t heard anyone else complain about them,â€ Diandra said. Cameron scowled, and rolled his eyes. â€œTheyâ€™re all probably deaf,â€ Cameron said, to Diandraâ€™s incredulous expression. With this, Diandra began to laugh, to Cameronâ€™s confusion. â€œOh my,â€ Diandra said, covering her face with her hands. â€œWhatâ€™s funny? I donâ€™t find any of this amusing,â€ Cameron said. Diandra observed his open shirt, which was only partially buttoned, and he looked down at it, and then at her. â€œWhat?â€ â€œYou come into my house looking like that, and you think Iâ€™ll be scared of you,â€ Diandra said. â€œWhat do you mean?â€ Cameron said, eyes wide with bewilderment, as Diandra watched him warily. â€œI mean this,â€ Diandra said, moving close to him, placing her hand on Cameronâ€™s hairy chest, and kissing him softly on the lips. The chime fell from Cameronâ€™s hand, and, in shock, his eyes expanded at the clang of the chime on the floor. â€œWhy did you do that?â€ Cameron said. Diandra licked her lips, and peered into Cameronâ€™s clear blue eyes which she had no problem examining. â€œBecause I wanted to - Iâ€™ve wanted to for a while,â€ Diandra said. Cameron seemed boggled for a moment, but his anger was not at its height any longer. â€œDonâ€™t do it again,â€ Cameron said quietly, looking serious, but his eyes shining. Diandra flared her eyes at him, and shook her head. â€œDonâ€™t think Iâ€™ll listen to you about that,â€ Diandra said, kissing him again, and stroking him on the chest, from which he did not draw back. Diandra pulled away from him, and peered into his eyes. Cameronâ€™s eyes became softer, but he began to back away from Diandra. â€œIâ€¦Iâ€¦â€ Cameron said, as he looked at Diandra, turning around, and exiting her house, almost falling over his feet, just as Marlena appeared at the door. Cameron walked away as if he was hypnotized, and Marlena observed him with surprise. â€œDiandra, Diandra, are you okay?â€ Marlena said, opening the security door, and entering Diandraâ€™s house. â€œYes, Iâ€™m fine, everythingâ€™s fine,â€ Diandra said, touching her lips with her hand. â€œI heard some shouting from him, and was worried about you,â€ Marlena said. Diandra smiled brightly, and crossed her arms. â€œNo, you have nothing to be concerned about - nothing bad at all happened today, but everything good,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena viewed her with concern. Cameron was now in his living room, and slumped into the sofa. He bent over suddenly, and placed his head in his hands, feeling thoroughly baffled. The manner in which all this happened took Cameron totally by surprise, and how this woman had kissed him felt good, for reasons he could not comprehend. â€œI must be crazy, somethingâ€™s not quite right,â€ Cameron said, reliving the pleasurable experience of Diandra kissing him, and the light, sensual touch of her hand on his chest. Chapter Five It had been an evening of great tossing and turning for Diandra in her bed, and she could not quite believe what she had done. Kissing Cameron Bassett was something she never expected would happen, but happen it did. Whether it was the right thing to do, though, was another matter. Diandra was in her bedroom, combing her hair in front of the white-edged mirror, when the doorbell sounded. Thinking it may be Marlena, Diandra arose, and proceeded to the door. Her mouth fell open when she saw who was waiting there for her. â€œHello.â€ It was Cameron Bassett, and he appeared unlike his angry, terse self that she had witnessed until now. â€œCan I come in?â€ â€œSure,â€ Diandra said without any hesitation, unlocking the door, and letting him in. Cameron walked into Diandraâ€™s house slowly, head slightly bowed. He was carrying something in his hands, and was quivering a little. â€œWhatâ€™s up?â€ Diandra asked, awaiting his response. He did not say a word for a few seconds, and twitched his mouth nervously. â€œIâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry for how I acted. Iâ€¦â€ Cameron said, raising his head, and looking Diandra in the eyes. â€œYou donâ€™t have to apologize, I understand completely,â€ Diandra said, as he squinted his eyes. â€œNo, it was wrong, Iâ€™m not like that. Iâ€¦â€ Cameron said, jerking his head slightly. â€œIâ€™m sorry I upset you in any way. Iâ€™ve left the chime down; I donâ€™t want you to be unhappy with me. Iâ€™m new in the neighborhood, and donâ€™t want to cause any problems,â€ Diandra said, as Cameron smiled shyly at her words. â€œNo, you havenâ€™t, thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been doing,â€ Cameron said, shaking his head. â€œWhereâ€™s the chime?â€ Diandra raised her eyebrows, and chuckled. â€œDonâ€™t worry about that, itâ€™s broken,â€ Diandra said, turning her head to the waste basket where it lay. â€œIâ€™m sorry to hear that, but again, Iâ€™m not,â€ Cameron said, fidgeting with the bag he was carrying. Diandraâ€™s eyes widened at his words; he seemed restless, and she did not know what to next expect from him. â€œIâ€™m not with you,â€ Diandra said. Cameron looked down and opened the bag, pulling out a chime, to Diandraâ€™s astonishment. â€œIâ€™d like you to replace the chime with this one, if you want.â€ Cameron tittered, Diandra seeing him smile for the first time, and it was a revelatory experience for her. She felt a sense of release, and happiness at the same time. â€œI did a great job of messing that one up,â€ Cameron said, handing the new chime to Diandra. She could not speak for a moment, and it was as if her tongue was stuck to the floor of her mouth. â€œItâ€™s very beautiful,â€ Diandra said, admiring the chime, which shined in the morning light. â€œYou didnâ€™t have to do that.â€ â€œYes, I did. I imposed my own habits upon you, and everyone else, and it wasnâ€™t fair. Please forgive me,â€ Cameron said, eyes roaming all over the carpet, avoiding her glance. Gradually, Cameron raised his head, and waited for her to speak. Diandra was stunned by the sight in front of her. Cameron Bassett was not as evil and decrepit as he first seemed, and did have a heart, after all, and it was in the right place. â€œI forgive you,â€ Diandra said, as Cameron looked very relieved. â€œThank you.â€ â€œBut I ask something of you,â€ Diandra said, touching Cameron on the arm, as his eyes shone at her. â€œWhat?â€ Cameron said, mouth open in expectation of her next words. â€œI want you to help me hang the new chime; I have a feeling itâ€™ll sound wonderful outside,â€ Diandra said, as Cameron smiled in response. Diandra headed to the door, opening it, and waited for Cameron to emerge. They each held the chime, and assisted each other in hanging it back in place on the hook. Their hands touched briefly as they undertook this, and Cameron smiled shyly at her. The wind picked up just as they finished hanging the chime, and its pieces struck each other with airy simplicity, to which they responded with a light chuckle. Cameron watched Diandra in deference, and they smiled at each other. â€œLetâ€™s go inside,â€ Diandra said quietly. â€œOkay,â€ Cameron said, his voice barely a whisper. Diandra opened the security door, walking in front, and turned to see that Cameron had entered the house. Following Diandra, they settled into her beige micro suede sofa, watching each other carefully. They did not say a word to each other for about a minute, content to stare into each otherâ€™s eyes. Diandra broke away from their dreamy interlude, and nodded at Cameron. â€œYou know, thereâ€™s something I think you need to do, as itâ€™ll make you feel better with yourself,â€ Diandra said. â€œWhat?â€ Cameron asked. Diandra sighed, peering off to the opposite wall, which featured a print of a beach with pristine white sands, and glorious blue sky above. Taking in this sight, Diandra turned back to Cameron, who was watching her with great anticipation. â€œI think you need to make things right with the neighbors; theyâ€™re nice people, and I feel they deserve, and are owed, an apology from you,â€ Diandra said, as Cameron crossed his arms, deeply contemplating this. â€œOh, I donâ€™t know,â€ Cameron said, arising from the sofa, and shaking his head at Diandra. â€œI think you should do it. There may be some people who wonâ€™t believe you, but I consider the neighbors reasonable people, and will understand,â€ Diandra said, nodding at him. Cameron was still for a few moments, alternately frowning, and making faces. â€œYou think so?â€ Cameron asked. â€œYes, I do,â€ Diandra said, nodding her head. Cameron stayed silent for a spell, turning away from Diandra. He looked to the street through the security door, inspecting George and Frannyâ€™s house across the road, and swiveled his head back to Diandra. â€œBut what will I say?â€ Cameron said. Diandra giggled at him, to his disillusionment. â€œI donâ€™t believe youâ€™ll have any problem there, after all, you found words for the other times, and can find them for this instance,â€ Diandra said, as Cameron himself laughed. â€œYouâ€™re right,â€ Cameron said, as he again stopped in thought. â€œCan you come with me? You know, they may want to call the police or something,â€ Cameron said, his eyes downcast. Diandra could still not believe the change in Cameronâ€™s character from yesterday to today, and was unable to stop herself from enjoying his relaxed manner. â€œThis is something you have to do, but Iâ€™ll be watching from inside, and if anything happens, Iâ€™ll come out and help, but I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll need to,â€ Diandra said. Cameron sighed, and viewed Diandra with happiness. â€œYou know, youâ€™re the first person here whoâ€™s actually asked me about things, hasnâ€™t been defensive, and treated me like a person with a brain,â€ Cameron said, marveling at her. â€œWell, youâ€™re that, and lots more,â€ Diandra said, smiling solemnly at him. â€œSo, get to it - youâ€™ll be much better after.â€ Cameron smiled faintly, and shrugged his shoulders. â€œIâ€™ll try,â€ Cameron said, raising his eyebrows at Diandra, as he walked out of her house, and into the street. He appeared slightly awkward at first, rotating his head from one house to another, deciding where to go first. Cameron finally chose to visit George and Franny, and made his way to their front door. He did not do anything for a spell, and Diandra believed Cameron was about to turn around, and return to her house. She was relieved when Cameron finally gathered his gumption and knocked on the door. George appeared behind the security door, eyes wide in horror. â€œWhat do you want Bassett?â€ George said, rolling up his sleeves, face filled with wrath. â€œIâ€¦Iâ€¦want to say,â€ Cameron said, struggling to get the words out. â€œHoney, whoâ€™s at theâ€¦â€ Franny said, walking towards George. When she saw Cameron, Franny moved to her husbandâ€™s side, weaving her arm inside of his. â€œPlease, I donâ€™t want any trouble,â€ Franny said, waving her finger at Cameron. â€œOh yeah, and the sky is green,â€ George said, about to close the door, but Franny stopped him. Franny observed Cameronâ€™s lack of gusto, his uncharacteristic stance, and the way he shuffled on the spot, and this had her fascinated. For him to be this way, something must have happened. â€œNo, somethingâ€™s different George, I can feel it,â€ Franny said, as George grumbled to her. â€œPlease go on.â€ Cameron mouthed some words, but they would not escape his lips. He finally unblocked his voice, and blew air out of his mouth in relief. â€œIâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry for causing you so much worry. Iâ€¦it wasnâ€™t me, I wasnâ€™t myself, and havenâ€™t been myself for a while,â€ Cameron said, twitching his nose. â€œYou can say that again,â€ George said, rolling his eyes. â€œTalk about understatement of the decade.â€ Franny frowned at George, giving him a stern stare. â€œStop it George, the manâ€™s serious,â€ Franny said, opening the door to walk outside, to face Cameron. Franny studied Cameron, and nodded. â€œYou mean what you say, donâ€™t you?â€ â€œYes, I do,â€ Cameron said, blue eyes relaxed, and body likewise. â€œWhereâ€™s your dog?â€ â€œWhy?â€ George said, puffing his lips in anger. â€œI want to see him,â€ Cameron said. â€œHer,â€ Franny said, with an impish smile. â€œAre you mad?â€ George said, mouth open. â€œEnough George, let me take care of this,â€ Franny said, throwing her hand in the air. â€œWhat?â€ â€œAs you heard,â€ Franny said, turning her head to Cameron. â€œOkay, come with me,â€ Franny said, as she led Cameron to the side gate, unlocking it. Within seconds, Franny and Georgeâ€™s tiny golden dachshund came to Cameronâ€™s side, scampering around merrily. Cameron knelt down, and spoke to it. â€œHello young pup, how are you?â€ Cameron said, speaking to the dog, but not touching it. He looked up at George and Franny, and shrugged his shoulders. â€œIâ€™m sorry, but Iâ€™m allergic to the fur of dogs and cats.â€ â€œIs this for real?â€ George said, throwing up his hands, as Cameron continued chatting to the dog, making facial gestures at him. Cameron looked up again at George and Franny, and smiled. â€œSheâ€™s a cute dog,â€ Cameron said, as the dog yelped merrily, its light brown eyes shining brightly. After puckering his lips at the dog, Cameron arose, and faced Franny and George. â€œShe is - takes after her father,â€ Franny said with a wry grin, as George coughed at this comment. George continued to watch Cameron with great skepticism, but Franny curled her lips. â€œOh George, stop being such a grouch, and tell the man you accept his apology,â€ Franny said, giving him a light nudge in the ribs. Cameron offered his hand, which George muttered over, eyeing him nervily. â€œGive me a second,â€ George said, taking a small walk in the backyard, not looking at either Franny or Cameron, as she pouted. After a minute, George walked back to them, and pursed his lips. â€œOkay Bassett,â€ George said, taking Cameronâ€™s hand, as the atmosphere immediately became friendlier between the three. â€œGreat!â€ Franny squealed. They let go of their grasp after a few seconds, and George continued to scrutinize Cameron, albeit from a more genial standpoint. â€œIâ€™d better leave you, thank you for having me,â€ Cameron said. â€œThank you Cameron,â€ Franny said, throwing him a wide smile, which he responded to with a mute grin. George tipped his head, watching him under his dark eyebrows, as Cameron began to walk away. Franny sighed, as George bit his lips. â€œSurprises never cease to occur,â€ George said. â€œI told you he wasnâ€™t as bad as you thought, and you were about to wage war, you silly man,â€ Franny said, narrowing her eyes at George, as the dog barked at them in happiness. Diandra watched the scene unfold in front of her, and was happy with the outcome. Cameron next proceeded to Marlenaâ€™s home, and also apologized to her. She was also hesitant in the beginning, but eventually came around to him. Cameron was walking, head held high, as he went from one house in the street after another offering his apologies to those he had offended over time. After his final visit, Cameron strolled back to Diandraâ€™s house, and opened the door, as she was standing waiting for him. â€œSo, how does that feel?â€ Diandra said. Cameron sighed, and smiled, his blue eyes more alert. â€œItâ€™s like a fresh feeling has taken over my body, I canâ€™t explain it,â€ Cameron said, glowing at his new-found bliss. â€œIt suits you. Iâ€™m proud of you,â€ Diandra said, as she opened her arms, and took Cameron into her embrace. They remained together for a few minutes, their mutual warmth providing them with much comfort. With great reluctance, Cameron released himself from their hug, and watched her. â€œDiandra.â€ â€œWhat is it?â€ Diandra said, her eyes becoming saucer-shaped. Cameron bit his lips, and shook his head. â€œIâ€™veâ€¦Iâ€™ve got to go,â€ Cameron said. â€œDo you have to?â€ Diandra said, creasing her forehead. â€œYes, Iâ€™ve got some things to sort out, but Iâ€™ll be with you again very soon, you can count on it,â€ Cameron said, as he smiled at Diandra, and turned to walk away. â€œCameron?â€ â€œYes?â€ Cameron said, turning back to her. Diandra crossed her arms in front of her, and dropped them, tipping her head at him. â€œPlease donâ€™t take too long, now youâ€™re in my life, I donâ€™t want you away for another minute.â€ Cameron beamed at her, his white teeth shining in the morning light. â€œOnce I take care of this, Iâ€™ll be back with you,â€ Cameron said, as he strode out of her house, and walked the short distance into his. Diandra placed her hand under her chin, holding up her head, and heard the sweet peal of the chime. It was the chime which brought them together, and she was amazed at how life can be sometimes. Good things can happen when you least expect them, and meeting Cameron was just one of these. Diandraâ€™s ponderings were interrupted by the doorbell, and she looked to see who it was. â€œDiandra, are you okay?â€ It was Marlena, and she appeared bedazzled. Diandra strolled to the door, and smiled. â€œHi Marlena, you donâ€™t have to worry, Iâ€™m fine. Come in,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena opened the door. Marlenaâ€™s eyes were wide with wonder, and she intermittently changed her focus between Cameronâ€™s house and Diandra. â€œI just had a visit from Cameron - it was as if he was an entirely different person. What happened with him?â€ Marlena said. Diandra giggled, as Marlena observed her with puzzlement. â€œWe came to an understanding about things, and he and I agree about a lot more than I ever thought possible,â€ Diandra said. â€œWell, whatever you did, it brought a sense of relief to everyone. Thank you, Diandra,â€ Marlena said, face radiant with satisfaction. Diandra looked out the window at Cameronâ€™s house, and turned back to Marlena. â€œYou know what?â€ Diandra said, sighing with contentedness. â€œWhat?â€ Marlena asked. Diandraâ€™s eyes roamed around her living room, to the windows facing Cameronâ€™s house, to the left to Marlenaâ€™s home, and across the street to the row of neat homes. â€œIâ€™m thankful for coming to this neighborhood, meeting yourself, everyone, and one other thing,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena viewed her with confusion. â€œWhat Diandra?â€ â€œIâ€™m very grateful to have met Cameron Bassett, and find out he really does have a heart of gold. I have a feeling weâ€™ll have many more moments together for our hearts, and minds, to become one,â€ Diandra said, as Marlena, moved by her admission, took Diandra into her arms, thankful for her arrival into the neighborhood.