“You know this isn’t what I want,” Duckie said, staring out at the lake and the dusky purple sky above it.
“I know,” Cameron replied.
“If there was another way—”
“I said I got it!”
Duckie sighed. He took Cameron’s hand, and Cameron squeezed back, hard and a little trembly, and he knew Cameron’s heart was breaking because his was, too. But Cameron was off to Penn, and Duckie was going to study radio and television down at U of I, and that was that. Duckie wasn’t going to get broken up with in a letter, or grow resentful (or worse, resented). They’d had a great summer and this thing was going to end with a bang, not a whimper.
“You’re right,” Cameron said. “I just hate it.”
“I know,” Duckie replied, pulling Cameron into his arms. “Me too.”
Duckie jumped at the chance to go into town and run some errands for Andie, even if it did take him into the middle of big box store hell. Holidays outside Chicago with his friend and her little family were lovely (in Los Angeles it never felt like Christmas), but he needed some fresh air. When he rewarded himself with a really good coffee from the place on the corner, he hadn’t expected to hear his name being called.
Duckie turned and there, in this weird little coffee place, was Cameron Frye. Duckie hadn’t seen him since they went to college, over twenty years ago now, but even with the silver hair and the goatee and the glasses he looked exactly the same. He had the same goofy smile, same charmingly awkward manner, same stunningly blue eyes that affected Duckie the same way they had all those years ago. They caught up, chatting easily, and before he knew it Duckie had a date for dinner that very night.
As he drove back to Andie’s Duckie realized he’d never stopped thinking about Cameron, not really; he’d been the ideal all other men had been (probably unfairly) compared to. Duckie was well aware that he was prone to a certain amount of romantic ridiculousness, so he decided to play this one very cool and didn’t tell Andie who he was seeing for dinner. If this was just a one-time thing, some holiday-prompted bit of nostalgia, no need to say anything to anyone about it.
But he had a feeling that it wasn’t, and that feeling grew during dinner, when they traded stories both funny and melancholy, when Duckie found himself saying things about his life and himself that he’d said to few people, and sensed that Cameron was doing the same. At coffee, dinner had felt inevitable; at dinner, staying the night felt inevitable; and once they were in Cameron’s bed Duckie had no intention whatsoever of letting this man go. Maybe now they were mature enough to handle the way that they just fit, like puzzle pieces—lumpy and bumpy and improbable, maybe, and it wouldn’t be easy, but it felt right. Then Cameron started talking about his adolescent fantasies of marriage and professional opportunities in California and yeah, he felt it, too.
Cameron took him to the airport the next day, and Duckie was glad he’d gotten to a place in his life where he didn’t care about kissing his man in public.
“I don’t want to say goodbye,” Duckie said.
“I know,” Cameron said, holding him close. “But it’s just three days, and then I’ll be out in LA for your New Year’s party.”
“Yeah,” Duckie said, but he still let himself go a little limp in Cameron’s arms.
“And then it’s the inauguration, which you are coming to with me …”
“It’s just weird that you like, know Obama,” Duckie said. “It’s going to take some getting used to.”
“Yeah, well,” Cameron said, and he had that little bashful smile, the one that just about made Duckie’s heart ache.
“But yes!” Duckie said. “My tux will be cleaned and packed and coming with me to D.C.”
“Good,” he said. “And then we’ll see about forever, okay?”
Duckie smiled back. “Sounds good to me,” he said, and kissed him.