Mulan motioned him to follow her. “Are you hungry? I actually was able to afford a counter and a stove.”
Camron tilted his head. “Nice.” He was feeling a little leery. But he liked Mulan, a lot. He watched her cut up the ingredients for a simple salad. “I could eat.” He gave her a smile. “You- uh, wanted to talk?”
She nodded. “But first, let’s eat. Hope you don’t mind salad.” She handed him the bowl before he could protest and then she led him to the only real seat on her lot: her bed. He shrugged and followed her. They sat down and ate in silence for a moment.
“Good salad,” Camron commented. “I like the dressing.” He almost hit his forehead with the heel of his palm. ‘What an idiot’, he thought to himself. He was really anxious to know what she wanted to talk about. He hoped it was something good. He hadn’t handled things well so far. But the truth was: he was nervous and he wasn’t at all sure of himself. Mulan was beautiful and smart and funny. What did she see in a guy like him? He had begun to think that she hadn’t wanted to hang out with him because his prospects weren’t so good. Even finding out she hadn’t wanted to hang out because she was embarrassed hadn’t silenced his inner critic.
Mulan grinned. “Thanks. Figured to make something simple. I uh… burned the last batch of grilled I tried to make.”
He laughed. She took his empty bowl from him and set it on the only surface she had: her desk. He stood up, his hands unsure what to do. Mulan went to him. “Camron,” she said solemnly. “I wanted to apologize. I’m really sorry about everything. I should have been honest from the get-go with you. I was embarrassed, though. I didn’t expect to have so little when I came here. I-“ She paused and sucked in a breath. “I didn’t want you to think less of me.”
He stopped her with a hug.
Putting her at arm’s length, he shook his head. “Mulan, none of that matters to me.” His gaze went off to the side. “Truth be told, you deserve better than me. I’m an orphan with very little prospects. I’m sleeping on someone’s couch. I can’t even give you what you have here. And I know what you were used to-“
He was interrupted by the fact that Mulan took a step forward and her lips touched his!
She stepped back and just looked at him. He stood there in shock for a long moment.
“Camron,” she said softly, taking his hands in hers. “I really like you… a lot. I left home because I needed to get out on my own. Yeah, this is different than what I’m used to, but that’s ok. And honestly, I don’t expect you to give me anything. What I’m looking for in a partner is just that: a partner. Can we… start over? Or maybe, just go from here? Take it further?”
He didn’t say anything; he just pulled her into a hug.
Mulan rested her head on his shoulder, letting out a soft sigh. Then they separated and she gave him a mischievous grin. “Now, I know you are sleeping on your friend’s couch. There, you have a roof over your head. How about making different arrangements? Sleeping under the stars isn’t so bad,” she murmured. She looked sideways at him and raised her arms, as if presenting her bed to him. “What do you think? Think you could deal with switching accommodations?”
“Wait, are you asking me to come and live with you?” There was incredulousness in his voice.
“I do believe I am,” she murmured, just looking at him. He couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Those beautiful blue eyes were almost enigmatic.
He swallowed. “Yes. Yes, I’ll come and live with you.”
It seemed to shock her. “Wait, you will?”
“Yes, I will.”
Mulan began to dance a little, waving her arms in the air in excitement. “We’re going to live together!”
Her enthusiasm was catching and Camron found himself waving his hands up and down with her. “We’re going to live together!” he echoed.
There was another hug, this one a bit longer.
They separated and just stood there for a moment. They were going to live together. It was taking a little while for it to sink in, for both of them.
Wolf: Well, this is sweet! I was hoping you’d come to your senses, Mulan.
Camron just about jumped out of his skin, spinning around. “Who said that!?”
Mulan winced. “Oh boy… Hey, I thought you weren’t going to interfere!”
Wolf: I won’t, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still talk to you, now does it?
Camron just stared at Mulan. “Um… Mulan, h-honey? What’s going on?”
“That was… Wolf. She’s- our Watcher.” She held up her hands. “I know, I know. It sounds crazy. But it’s true. Apparently, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a legacy founder. I-I… is this a deal breaker? Because me being a legacy founder has nothing to do with me asking you to move in. I really like you and-“
“Whoa, whoa, slow down,” he murmured. “It’s ok. I believe you. Y-you really want to make a family with me? A legacy?”
She nodded. “Eventually, yes. When we’re both ready. A-are you interested?”
He nodded slowly, his face breaking into a wide smile. “I am.” Mulan let out a whoop then began to hop up and down, giddy as a school girl.
Mulan and Camron settled into a nice little routine in the following days. Camron worked at a local restaurant as an assistant dishwasher, but he was already on the fast track to moving up. He had been taking some online culinary classes. So while Mulan worked on writing (she had moved up to where she was actually writing her own books; she’d even self-published a couple), Camron practiced his cooking.
He often worked till 1 am or later, and Mulan would already be in bed. Camron would crawl in next to her, smile at her sleeping form, then let himself drop into sleep.
They’d both wake up together; Mulan always had a kiss for him.
He’d pull her to him; he just loved to hold her in his arms. “I love you, Mulan,” he’d murmur, nuzzling his cheek over hers. Mulan would murmur back, her eyes alight with happiness.
Wolf looked down on them, smiling. Yes, things were going very well for the two of them and it made the Watcher very happy.