The flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas is long. Longer, depending on where the connection is, how long the layover lasts. Cameron’s flight is expected to land at 3:13pm. Specific.
Donna wonders if flight times are accurate. It usually feels like they’re either early or late, and she doesn’t know at which point the times are calculated. From take off to landing? Or from in the air to at the gate.
The time is printed on one of her yellow notepads. December 14th, Cameron lands back in the States. Both of Joe’s numbers are listed underneath, home and work, identical except for the last four numbers.
Donna picks up the phone, pushes four buttons, and then stops. She’s been trying to call all week. She doesn’t have Cameron’s phone number and she’s positive Cameron won’t listen to her even if she did. She will at least hear Joe out, most likely only if she doesn’t know it’s Donna via Joe, and not Joe himself, and Donna doesn’t exactly trust that Joe is on her side, or if he’s even aware that there’s a line that’s been drawn.
They haven’t talked since the day Cameron was voted out. Donna stayed in Diane’s guestroom for a week, then her house near the winery. She came back when Gordon called and the basement of her house was empty. The Berkeley sweater that Cameron had loved to steal was the only thing left in the bedroom.
Amador, Gould, Gilson, and Emerson is supposed to be a triumph. Proof that she was successful, even if she failed Mutiny and Mutiny doesn’t exist anymore. She has her own office, her own secretary, a team that listens to her.
It didn’t change anything. She picks the phone up again, then puts it back down. Bos knocks against the doorframe and smiles. He has a bottle of something expensive and a small black box wrapped with green ribbon.
“Donna Emerson, senior partner, my God, that does have a ring to it, doesn’t it?” Bos says. It surprises her sometimes that Bos still seems to like her. “Here,” he passes her the box and sits down, “You know I like redheads, but my God, that new girl at reception has got a real attitude.”
Donna laughs, “She make you sign in?”
“Well, she damn well did,” Bos says. He watches as she undoes the ribbon, quick but careful. “Hey, I’m sorry I missed the celebration. We had a big storm down in the San Juans.”
Donna opens the box. She doesn’t think he’s lying, but she doesn’t really want to confirm it either. “Wow. I never pegged you for a Montblanc kind of guy.”
“Well, I ain’t,” Bos raises his hands, pacing around the room. “But I thought it went with the decor. Even got a snowflake thing right on top.”
“Thanks Bos,” Donna says. She winds the green ribbon around her hands and undoes it, over and over.
“Sure,” Bos shrugs. He keeps walking around the room. It isn’t that big and his eyes never settle.
It isn’t awkward. It never has been with Bos, even after Cameron left. She isn’t sure if they’ve fixed things, if he’s kind to her solely because Cameron made the choice for him. He reminds her too much of Cameron and sometimes it’s too much, sometimes it’s something she clings onto.
“Do you want to stick around? Maybe get coffee or - ?”
Bos smiles at her, a bit pitying but mostly unsure. “I’d love to, but I’ve got to hit the road.” His smile turns real. “Diane’s already up at the vineyard.”
“Of course,” Donna nods. “Thank you, again.”
“Sure,” Bos says. “You know - are you going to COMDEX, this year?” He asks, but he knows the answer. Cameron is going, so Donna cannot. An unspoken rule, but one everyone seems to agree on.
“No,” Donna says, too sharp. “Too much - work. It’s a circus now, not like it used to be. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.”
Bos taps the doorframe, sees right through her. “Alright, well - that’s the good stuff,” He points at the bottle. “Remember, respect the dirty bird, or fear the kickin’ chicken.”
It takes her three more days to call Joe. There isn’t anybody else left at work and she presses her hand against her desk and closes her eyes. Joe doesn’t like her. She isn’t sure if he ever has.
“You shouldn’t have this number,” Joe starts, as soon as he hears her voice.
Donna rolls her eyes, “Alright, look, I’ll cut to the chase. Are you going to Comdex?”
“What do you want, Donna?”
“Cameron will be there,” Donna says, slow. “I want to send you something, to give to her. It’s a memo.” She moves to sit against the row of drawers that is covered in bottles of expensive liquor.
“You want me to go to Comdex to give Cameron a memo?” Joe repeats, dry and unimpressed.
“Just read it,” Donna says. It’s a fight to keep her voice low and soft. “If it makes the same impression on you as it made on me, you’ll be on the next plane to Vegas.”
“If you want to get in touch with Cameron so bad, why are you calling me, not her?”
“You know why,” Donna says. Even if he doesn’t know the entire truth, he knows enough that he should understand. “Joe, this thing is perfect for her, just read it. You’ll see.”
Cameron doesn’t enjoy spending hours signing copies of Space Bike 4 and trying her best to not be an asshole. It isn’t surprising, part of her knows that if Atari could find someone else to be the face of her game, but have her still make it, they would.
It works well enough for most people though, even if her handler is terrified of her, and she snaps at at least five men - or boys, really - who try to act like they know best.
Cameron doesn’t expect Joe to show up. Joe in a ridiculous baseball hat, glasses, scarf and jacket combination. Joe who beams at her and asks her to make it out to Joe, like she forgot his name.
They walk around. The painful nervous energy that she used to feel at Comdex is gone and replaced by something easier. It feels more sinister, like the nerves included excitement, and now she doesn’t feel anything. It used to be inspiring, now it all falls flat.
Cameron takes a CD from a kid handing them out and sighs, “So, what are you doing here? Back into consulting.”
Joe’s face twists and he looks away from her, “No, but I am thinking about getting back into it.”
A weird enough answer that Cameron doesn’t press. They keep walking around. She shit talks Microsoft and Gates, complains about how boring laptops have become, and avoids talking about anyone else she used to know in this country.
Joe doesn’t push her. They tease the two men at the S-printer table and take handfuls of lighters. None of it feels real.
Joe is quiet and thoughtful, whereas before he had every answer he could possibly need at the ready. He seems wary of her, in a way she can’t parse through. Nervous, maybe.
She doesn’t realize until they’re sitting with their backs pressed against the glass barrier of one of the higher up floors, that he’s still thinking about Ryan.
“I didn’t hear until I landed in Japan,” Cameron starts. “At first I was...angry. At you...and at him. And at myself...for all these things I never said to him. Then I realized there was nothing anyone could have done about it.” She picks up a lighter, flicking it on and off. “Not you and not me.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Neither do you.”
Joe rolls his shoulders back. “We should go check out the parties.”
Donna still stands out to her.
It’s the first thing she thinks of, when she spots darker but still red hair, and a floral printed dark pink shirt. It feels like a moment, something dramatic, something in slow motion.
“How are you?” Donna asks. “How’s Japan?”
Cameron blinks, still frozen. She looks over at Joe, who doesn’t look surprised at all. “What are you doing here?”
“You know, I just - came to make an appearance at the parties, see what was new…” Donna frowns. Her mouth twists like it does when she’s afraid of what she wants to say. “I came to see you.”
“I don’t know why you would do that,” Cameron says. There used to be part of her that was waiting for Donna to show up, for Donna to call, for Donna to email her, for Donna to ask her to come back. It never happened and eventually she stopped thinking about it.
Donna doesn’t falter. “Well, because I’ve got this thing - there is this thing, and it’s really exciting and I want to show you.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cameron breathes.
“Please, just come have lunch with me tomorrow -”
“- No, i’m on an early flight back home.”
Donna flinches at the word home. Cameron didn’t expect her to, but wanted her to, and it doesn’t feel satisfying at all.
“It’s been four years, we need to -”
“- we don’t need to do anything!” Cameron snaps.
“We both did things we’re not proud of,” Donna says, too soft. It’s almost placating and Cameron rolls her eyes. She doesn’t leave though and somehow that bothers her the most. “And if we could turn back the clock, I’m sure we’d do things differently.”
“I cannot believe this is happening.”
“What, you’re gonna tell me that you’ve completely moved on?” Donna asks.
“No,” Cameron grits out. “I think about me and you every day.” A truth but one that seems to unsettle Donna. “And it makes me furious.”
Donna pushes her hair back and sighs, “So let’s fix it. I want to fix it.”
Cameron laughs, bitter. “I don’t.”
Donna doesn’t stop her from walking away. Cameron wants to be alone, but she knows it’ll cut deeper if she grabs Joe, if she links their fingers together, and tugs him away.
So, she does.
The roof is empty and miserable.
Cameron paces. “Can you believe her?”
Joe nearly smiles. It pisses her off even more and she kicks a pebble across the cement. “Why does she care so much about kissing and making up?” She kicks another one. “We don’t even live in the same country anymore.”
“You know why,” Joe offers.
Cameron glares at him, “Four years, Joe. She could’ve - done anything. She didn’t. She did nothing and ruined Mutiny and didn’t even call me about that. I don’t owe her anything.”
“I know,” Joe says. “She called me.”
“She wanted me to find you and bring you some idea,” Joe shrugs. “I told her I wouldn’t, that’s why she showed up.”
“That’s why you’re here?”
“No,” Joe shakes his head. “I didn’t even read it. I told her if she wanted to talk to you, she should do it herself.”
Cameron wants to know. She wishes she didn’t, but Donna still knows her. If she thinks she’d like it, she probably will, and it’s annoying, that she sent Joe. It doesn't add up. If Donna thinks Joe had a better chance than herself, she either fundamentally misread their entire situation before they broke up or thinks Cameron never wants to see her again.
The problem is that Cameron wishes she felt that way, but she doesn’t. It’s been four years which is an embarrassingly long time to still feel something when she thinks about Donna. There’s too much of her everywhere, in Cameron’s decisions, in Space Bike, in what she still wants.
Mutiny shouldn’t have been their breaking point, but Mutiny was both of them, too much of them, and it was never going to stay stable. It was an excuse, or a filter, or something that hid the real problems. Cameron knows that, she thinks Donna does too.
“You really haven’t read it?” Cameron asks.
“No,” Joe says. “Do you want to?”
Cameron knocks on Donna’s door. It’s early, but either Donna is awake and it’s fine, or she wakes Donna up and annoys her, and it’s even better.
Donna opens the door with her mouth parted in and wearing a white button up that’s nearly translucent. She’s gorgeous, somehow even more so, and Cameron starts talking before she does something even dumber.
“Working with you was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” Cameron says. “Okay?” She moves to leave. She doesn’t know what she wants Donna to say, but the amount of relief she feels when Donna reaches for her and says, “Oh, Cam.” is almost too much for her to handle.
Donna’s hand is hovering in the air between them, unsure of the rules now. Her shirt is barely buttoned up and Cameron stares at the skin it reveals.
“I picked up the phone, so many times,” Donna admits.
“But you never actually called, did you?”
“Neither did you.”
“You ended things,” Cameron snaps. Donna’s fingers curl around her wrist and tug, gently. Cameron follows her.
“Well, I’m here now,” Donna doesn’t rise to the bait. “Did you even read it?”
“What I sent Joe, the idea.”
“No,” Cameron swallows. She stares at Donna’s hand, still loosely around her wrist. “I wanted you to tell me.”
They both show up early.
The building is a mess: deserted, gray, dusty. There’s an M-NET sign hanging over the upper section of offices and Cameron stares at it for a long time.
“It was our last ditch effort at saving Mutiny,” Donna murmurs. “I didn’t - well, it felt wrong, for it to die as Mutiny, but I don’t think it felt any better dying as M-NET.”
Cameron hums, “I’ll clean the kitchenette.”
There’s a few boxes of donuts, a takeout container of coffee with cups stacked beside it, tiny cups of cream and milk, packets of sugar, and a bowl of fruit that nobody will touch.
Cameron wipes the counters down. The fridge is completely empty and the only thing left in the freezer is a box of expired fudgsicles. She sweeps the floor once Donna is done with the broom and tries not to think.
Mutiny dying didn’t make her feel better or vindicated. It felt like a lost opportunity, like somehow she should’ve fought harder or not forced their hand so quickly. If maybe, she’d talked to Donna alone, instead of calling a meeting, Donna would’ve listened.
But there’s no use thinking about what ifs. She’s back anyway, unsure for how long, and Donna keeps looking at her like she’s scared the next time she checks back Cameron will be gone.
The main area is empty. Cameron helps Donna drag the biggest whiteboard out and they set up chairs facing it.
“When are they showing up?” Cameron asks.
“Gordon is coming after he drops the girls off,” Donna shrugs. “Joe - I’m not sure. He might not show up.”
Joe will, Cameron is sure of it. He has some misplaced guilt that he has to make sure Cameron doesn’t make stupid decisions again, even if she isn’t here for Donna. She isn’t. She wouldn’t be here if the idea wasn’t something she’d grown attached to in seconds.
It’s good enough that it had nothing to do with the way Donna’s entire face lit up, the way she moved her hands as she talked, and the way she’d gotten so excited she’d started sketching ideas on the hotel branded notepad.
“Okay,” Cameron says, dumbly. Her head hurts, vaguely, and the entire room looks nothing like it used to. There is no déja vu. It’s just - empty, dead, and grey. Donna blends right in; dark grey pants and a cream coloured shirt. Her hair is the brightest thing in the room.
Cameron dressed for a funeral so it isn’t like she can judge, but it all feels off. She watches Donna nervously pass a black whiteboard marker between her hands and leans against one of the cement beams.
Joe shows up first. He’s calmer, still, but it isn’t right either. They’re all ghosts of who they used to be, full of promise and excitement and ideas. Now, it’s like they’ve run dry. Donna found something and they all showed up, because a good idea is a chance at something much better than the curl of resentment that ties them all together.
Gordon stumbles in late, barely, and apologizes and at least that is familiar. She stays against the beam as the rest of them sit at the table in mismatched chairs and Donna hovers by the whiteboard like a teacher.
“Let’s hold off for a second on trying to talk about what the World Wide Web is and let’s focus on what it could do,” Donna starts. She has her teacher voice down, or maybe it’s whatever the hell her role is at a VC company that Cameron avoids whenever possible. Bossy, is really the word for it, or something softer, like knowledgeable. But that sounds too generous so Cameron rolls her eyes at nothing.
“Okay, so here’s some context. Let’s say these are the big boys, the walled gardens we’re all familiar with. You’ve got your Prodigy, CompuServe, your America Online -“
“- America Online. What kind of name is that anyways? It sounds like a Neil Diamond song,” Gordon laughs. His inability to read the room hasn’t changed. She could be generous and assume that he’s trying to lighten the mood, but singing a fake song with no tune only manages to make Joe smile.
Cameron accidentally catches Donna’s eye and they smile, like they’re on the same page. Cameron misses that nearly more than anything; feeling like she had someone on her side, someone who saw the world similarly to her. Not identical, it wasn’t like they agreed on everything before Mutiny’s eventual downfall, but they used to be able to listen.
“Okay,” Donna ignores him. “And then we’ve got NSFNET. Now what Berners-Lee is proposing in this paper is an application that could run on this network of networks. And now, well NSFNET isn’t for commercial use yet, and it isn’t all that sexy, at all -“
“- hey, hey, come on,” Gordon says. “NFSNET is dripping with sex.”
“The size and scope of that would be formidable,” Donna continues. “Still, it’s completely separate from the walled gardens where the real money is. Right now, unifying all these networks is essentially impossible. There’s different software, different protocols, different operating systems on different hardware. But if something like the World Wide Web expands, what it ultimately could do,” Donna says, she draws lines from the four squares to connect them to the longer rectangle perpendicular to them. “Is this, right?”
“I mean - no,” Gordon says. “We’d have to take the online networks and do this.” He takes the marker and draws the squares inside of the rectangle.
“No,” Joe says. “That’s backwards.”
Gordon passes him the marker and Joe draws a giant square, erasing everything in it. “It’s this. Remember the Web runs on top of the Internet. It unifies everything and it makes it one network.” He smiles and he’s back. “There’s so much potential in it.”
“Or,” Gordon takes the marker back. “It’s a tiny deserted island in the bottom that nobody gives a shit about.”
“Cameron?” Donna asks. “What do you think?”
“What’s the point?” Cameron shrugs. “Are we just shooting the breeze? Selling things? Trying to get laid? Playing games?”
“Context is important,” Joe nods.
“But this box is the equivalent of a 500 000 seat state of the art stadium and we build that, we own that, and we win.”
“What’s the point of a giant stadium without a kickers band to play in it?” Cameron presses.
“We are early,” Gordon says. “Years and years early. The World Wide Web could be the best thing since sliced bread. But right now, it’s a tiny little academic Petri dish running on a NeXT Computer.”
It dissolves from there.
Donna doesn’t try to find Cameron right away. Gordon jumped at the chance to go get food and Joe immediately went with him.
Donna isn’t stupid. She’s well aware that Gordon only sided with her on the IPO deal because she was months out from being his ex-wife and he didn’t want to piss her off, when they still had the kids to think of. He still doesn’t know, unless someone else told him. He might’ve guessed but Cameron’s been gone long enough that whatever they used to be is just a faded memory, blurry enough that she can pick and choose what she wants to remember.
Joe solely blames her. Joe, who betrayed her first, but acts like because she did after, it’s all on her. Joe, who disappeared and only re-surfaced when Cameron came back.
He never liked her. Not when they were trying to create their own computer and she was only considered a roadblock between Gordon’s focus and their family. She’s always been a problem to him, someone he couldn’t understand and didn’t want to. And now, he’s acting like it’s his job to protect Cameron, like Donna is the only one who has ever fucked up, and because he’s gotten quieter, more aware of consequences that can happen when you built your career on reckless confidence, he’s excused of having ever hurt any of them.
Cameron went straight to the main office. Donna can see her pacing, even though the windows are darkened and streaky with dust. She walks over, slowly, even though her heels still click against the cement.
“I thought you were excited about the idea,” Donna starts.
“I was,” Cameron shrugs. There’s still horns over the door but the furniture is gone. “It’s a good idea.”
“But?” Donna prompts.
“Do you really think it’s a good idea?” Cameron asks. “All of us, working together again?”
Donna hesitates. There’s nothing to distract her, just an empty room and a woman who looks at her like she still cannot fathom what happened. “All of us, or me and you?”
“I don’t know,” Cameron says. “Both. It’s - there’s a lot of limiting factors here too, Donna.”
“I know,” Donna says.
“I’m supposed to go back to Japan.”
“You could stay,” Donna says, too quick.
Cameron smiles at her and it’s pitying. Her hair is still blonde, darker, and shorter than it’s been but longer than the last time she saw her. “I don’t know if this idea is worth staying.”
I don’t know if you’re worth staying for.
It isn’t a new statement. Cameron linked Donna to Mutiny. They were Mutiny, together, but not individuals, and when Cameron was voted out of Mutiny, to her, it meant that they were over.
There wasn’t a conversation about it. It wasn’t a fair choice, because Donna would’ve picked them over Mutiny, she’s sure of that now. But Cameron didn’t pick her over Mutiny. She left nearly immediately after.
“Okay,” Donna says.
“That’s it?” Cameron blinks.
“I don’t know what you want me to do,” Donna says, slow. “I can’t - you left me, Cam.”
“This isn’t about us,” Cameron says. “You ended things. You can’t blame me.”
“We disagreed about the IPO,” Donna says. “That had nothing to do with our relationship.”
“It wasn’t a relationship!” Cameron yells. “Nobody knew. Diane and Bos knew because they - saw us. But you couldn’t tell anyone that you even liked me, let alone enough that it was fucking insane that if you loved me you wouldn’t have ruined everything I ever cared about!”
Donna closes her eyes, “That isn’t fair.”
“Yes, it is,” Cameron says. “It was never going to work after you went through with the IPO.”
“You don’t know that,” Donna snaps. “I loved you and you left because we disagreed on a business decision. You didn’t even ask me about it! You just listened to what Gordon told you and then called a meeting. You didn’t think twice about it.”
“You never told me!”
“I was going to!” Donna yells. “I wasn’t - I never wanted to blindside you. I was going to tell you, but I wanted to ask someone without stakes in it first.
“Gordon could never be unbiased about you,” Cameron mutters.
“He agreed with you,” Donna reminds her. “But it was still - he’s my kids’ dad, I just - I never wanted to break up.”
Cameron flinches, “Does that still matter?”
“I don’t know,” Donna says. It does, to her, but Cameron is better at hiding things with anger, and Donna isn’t.
“It shouldn’t,” Cameron murmurs.
Donna shrugs. The most likely scenario is that Cameron goes back to Japan and maybe calls to give them advice when she feels like it. Cameron won’t stay. Not for her, not for an idea that has potential to change the world.
“Maybe not,” Donna says, eventually.
Cameron leaves early and finds herself in front of Bos’ new place. There’s a boat in the middle of his driveway. She climbs up onto it, finds Bos kneeling down to fix something. He looks delighted to see her. It warms something inside of her and she feels herself relaxing for the first time since she got back to the states.
They fix the interior kitchen of the boat. It’s easy work, only takes effort. Cameron doesn’t say much, letting Bos tell her about his grand-son and Diane and the water. He doesn’t ask her questions. It’s a good thing, because she doesn’t have any answers.
“I’ve never been on a boat,” Cameron murmurs. The beer bottle is cold and wet in her hands.
Bos grins at her, “You’re on one right now.”
“You know what I meant,” Cameron says.
“We can go out sometime,” Bos offers. “It’s one of the only things Joanie and Haley both love to do.”
Cameron winces. She didn’t keep in touch with either of them much. They were too young for email and phone calls were expensive and it wasn’t like Cameron was ever one for letters. Joanie sent her one, once. It was mostly complaining about Donna, which felt satisfying and then unfairly cruel, and questions about music recommendations. She’d replied, but she isn’t sure if Joanie got it. There was never an answer back.
“They missed you,” Bos says, slowly. A fact, not a guilt trip.
Cameron missed them too, but it was always a grey area. It was like she was their weird cousin or older sister or something. Someone who was underperforming and stuck living in someone’s basement. She could’ve bought five houses, if she’d wanted to.
“I missed them too,” Cameron shrugs. She takes a sip of beer. It isn’t her favourite.
“How are things?” Bos asks. “I heard about the World Wide Web.”
Cameron rolls her eyes, “It’s fine.”
“Fine?” Bos repeats. “Donna was mighty excited about it.”
“Of course she is,” Cameron mutters. “She always wanted to play it safe but she hears about the Internet and suddenly she’s a risk taker.”
“What do you think?” Bos asks.
“I think it’s early and idealistic and there’s so much work to do,” Cameron mutters.
“You used to think that was the best time to start,” Bos says.
Cameron closes her eyes. It’s warm and sunny out. It doesn’t even feel stupid to be sitting on a boat in the middle of a driveway. “I don’t think I can work with her.”
“That’s fair enough,” Bos shrugs.
“Yeah,” Cameron agrees. Joe seems more excited than anyone else. Donna is holding onto it with too much hope; like they can go back to before, to the beginning of Mutiny. Maybe even back to Cardiff Electric. Gordon is in between, like he always has been. Cameron is the one who has to pick sides. Gordon will default to Donna and Joe will do whatever he thinks is best, which is almost always the opposite of what Donna wants. But Donna seems more fragile, less sure. The hope is hiding something, but Cameron doesn’t think she wants to find out.
Joanie is taller and angrier. She still smiles when she sees her, but it fades fast and settles into something more unimpressed.
“Hi?” Cameron blinks.
“Hello,” Joanie says, dragging the word out. “How have you been?”
“Good,” Cameron shrugs. “How are you?”
“You’re being weird,” Haley mutters. She’s looking at Joanie and her face changes when she turns to Cameron. A real smile. Her hair is cut choppy and short. It reminds Cameron of her old hair. “Hi Cam.”
“Hey kiddo,” Cameron says. “Ready?”
“Yep,” Haley nods. She swings a backpack over her shoulder. Joanie is carrying a bright red cooler.
“Our mom packed us lunch,” Joanie says, noticing Cameron staying. “Is your favourite still ham and cheese with pickles?”
“Yes,” Cameron frowns. Donna isn’t supposed to remember anything about her. She isn’t supposed to pack them lunches or care enough to make Cameron’s favourite.
“We even got the bread from the bakery near the water that you like,” Haley says. She’s smirking a bit, long gone is the sweet and innocent Haley she remembers. She likes her better this way.
The weather is perfect.
Cameron spends most of her time lying with her eyes closed on a towel, answering all of Haley’s questions about coding and Joanie’s questions about Japan.
Bos leaves them alone for the most part, fishing from the other side of the boat. He’s friendlier with the kids that Cameron remembers, another reminder of how much she’s missed.
They eat lunch in what feels like the middle of the ocean. The sandwich is still Cameron’s favourite, down to the specific cheese and pickle brand. It bugs her, but not enough to not eat it.
“Are you going to work on the project?” Haley asks.
“I don’t know,” Cameron says. There’s another meeting on Monday. She hasn’t decided if she wants to show up or not.
Haley frowns, “I think you should.”
“It could be incredible,” Haley breathes. “I’ve been - I started something, called Comet? And I think it could help you.”
“What is it?”
“A website,” Haley grins. “It’s really cool. It’s like an index of things I like and that other people like.” She pauses, and her grin slips into a smirk, “It gets a lot of traffic.”
Cameron thinks. It’s a good idea. The Internet is going to need more structure; something for people who don’t know how computers work to follow easily. “Is it on it’s own server?”
“No,” Haley shrugs.
“If we did that, move it to it’s own server, I mean, and then the service wouldn’t be interrupted.”
“We?” Haley asks. Her face lights up and Cameron swallows, “Maybe.”
Haley takes it as a yes.
Cameron goes to Gordon’s birthday. She isn’t sure why she shows up, it isn’t like her and Gordon are close anymore, and she’s nearly positive Donna will be there, but she picks Diane and Bos up on the way so she can’t back out.
Haley finds her first. “Did you tell my mom yet?”
Cameron sighs, “not yet.”
“Tell me what?”
“Um,” Haley hesitates. “That she really wants to talk to you?” She shrugs, a small smile on her face like an apology, and disappears into the crowd. Cameron didn’t know Gordon had so many friends.
“What did she really want you to tell me?” Donna asks. Her voice is scratchy and tired. She looks good, a royal green wrap dress, that doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination.
“Nothing,” Cameron shrugs. “It’s nothing.”
Donna clearly doesn’t believe her, but she doesn’t press either. It isn’t what Cameron expected and she almost feels disappointed. “Okay,” Donna says. “Have a good night.”
It bugs her more than it should. She wanted Donna to fight for her, years ago, when the vote happened. She wanted Donna to stop it, to take a step back and think about it. Part of her thought Donna would find her before she left and part of her expected her to call when she was in Japan. She thought she was over wanting Donna to want her.
Cameron drinks more than she should, considering she spends most of her time sitting with Joanie, and squinting at the blue group on stage trying to understand it.
“The Meat Puppets are in town next week,” Joanie mutters. She keeps swirling a straw around in a bright orange coloured drink. She stabs at the slice of orange in it and grins when she pierces it. “Want to take me?”
“Are you even old enough?”
“I’m seventeen,” Joanie scoffs. “If I go with you they won’t question it.”
“I don’t think you can pass for twenty one,” Cameron says.
Joanie glares at her, like that’s a challenge. “I can and I will.”
“If your parents say yes, fine,” Cameron shrugs.
“Oh, come on,” Joanie whines. “It can be our secret.”
“I don’t need more reasons for your mom to be mad at me,” Cameron points out.
“She’s never been mad at you,” Joanie mutters. “She just - missed you and she still does, clearly.”
“What?” Cameron blinks.
Joanie rolls her eyes, “I’m not stupid. I know you two had a thing, before you disappeared and then she was a mess. But she’s better now, kind of, she stopped drinking as much when you showed up again.”
“What?” Cameron repeats.
“I heard you two fighting,” Joanie explains. “About telling everyone and you’re not that sad about someone moving away unless they meant a lot to you.”
“That’s not the entire story.”
“I know,” Joanie says. “There’s always three right? Your version, her version, and the truth.”
“Maybe,” Cameron shrugs. She doesn’t know if there is a true story. They have different perspectives on it, but the story is the same. Mutiny ended, Cameron left. The blame doesn’t seem like something easily to split up and divide. Cameron knows it was never entirely Donna’s fault, but it felt like they both kept hitting at a rock, over and over, and Donna’s last hit was the one that cracked it.
Joanie smiles at her, “Think about it, okay? I’ll even split the ticket price with you.”
“Okay,” Cameron laughs. She drinks two glasses of water and watches Gordon up on stage. She finds Joe, smiling at him from the second row of people, and Bos dancing with Diane on the makeshift dance floor.
Donna is off to the side. It looks purposeful, not awkward, and she’s fiddling with a napkin. Cameron is in front of her before she even realizes it. “Dance with me?”
Donna looks like she thinks it’s a joke, so Cameron reaches out, and grabs her hand. The party is dying down. Cameron can recognize most of the people left and the dance floor is off to the side. Donna still looks terrified.
Cameron compromises, “Inside?”
Donna doesn’t drop her hand as she leads her inside. Gordon’s house is giant, all soft and warm colours, and they end up in an empty kitchen. There’s trays and empty classes everywhere. They can still hear the music from outside.
“Okay?” Cameron asks. Donna nods and links her hands together behind Cameron’s head. It starts off awkward. Cameron feels like she’s at prom again. She rolls her eyes and steps closer. They’ve been closer than this, before. Lots of times, most of them completely naked, and yet she feels like a terrified sixteen year old.
Donna melts into her. Her face slots in the space between Cameron’s neck and shoulder easily, and her breath is warm against her skin. Cameron drags her hands up and down Donna’s back, in time with the music, and relaxes into it.
“This is - nice,” Donna murmurs.
Cameron laughs. She’s in a forgiving mood. Donna is one of the most important people she’s ever known, even if she’s still hurt. But she doesn’t want to think about it again.
Donna leans back to smile at her.
Cameron kisses her.
It is an idiotic idea to sleep with the woman you’re pretty sure you’re still in love with, even though she broke your heart and ruined your company in the span of a year.
Cameron still does it though. She wakes up first, in one of Gordon’s guestrooms. It felt like it would’ve taken too much time to get anywhere else. Both of their clothes are littered over the floor.
Donna is starfished over her and snoring softly. Cameron brushes the hair out of her face and then panics. It’s easy to sneak out. Donna is a deep sleeper and it’s barely eight in the morning.
Cameron pulls her clothes back on and folds Donna’s dress over the chair. She hesitates at the door, but she still leaves.
Donna doesn’t show up at the meeting.
“She had her own meeting,” Gordon shrugs. “Something about Rover, I don’t know.”
Joe makes a face, “This is her project and she doesn’t even want to be here?”
“Give her a break,” Cameron snaps, before she remembers.
They both stare at her.
“What the hell happened?” Gordon asks.
“Nothing,” Cameron shakes her head. “It’s fine - we don’t need her, let’s just - brainstorm or something. Did Haley show you Comet?”
It distracts Gordon but Joe is still staring at her. She knows that Haley told Gordon about Comet already and that she wants Cameron to be the one to convince him to join. Joe will be easy. Joe is impressed by almost anything both Joanie and Haley do, which is surprising considering how similar to Donna they both are.
They pull up the website and Cameron lets Joe take the mouse. He loves it, unsurprisingly, and Cameron grins at Gordon.
“I’m in,” Cameron says.
“What?” Donna blinks at her. She looks exhausted, still beautiful, but exhausted. Cameron shakes her head. She has to stop being stunned by how pretty Donna looks, even in a puffy purple bathrobe with her hair in the world’s messiest bun.
“The World Wide Web,” Cameron says. “Or whatever, but I have rules.”
“Yes,” Cameron says. She pushes past her. Donna follows her into the kitchen. Cameron hesitates inside and ends up sitting at the kitchen island. Donna wordlessly pours her a cup of coffee.
“Okay,” Donna yawns. “What are your rules?”
“I want Haley on the team,” Cameron starts. “Comet could be incredible and I think it’s important to have an index page. Something people can start with if they’re new and something to come back to if they aren’t.”
Donna’s eyes narrow and she looks more awake. The top part of her bathrobe is loosening and Cameron finds herself staring at her collarbones, the expanse of pale skin, and the straps of her tank top.
“Indexing?” Donna repeats.
“Okay,” Donna says. “Why did you leave?”
“It was a mistake,” Cameron shrugs. “We don’t - we can’t do that again.”
“Do that,” Donna repeats. She laughs, “Okay, so why did we?”
“Don’t,” Donna snaps. “You can’t - you asked me to dance. You kissed me and then - you don’t get to act like it was a mistake when it clearly wasn’t.”
“I have another rule,” Cameron says. She doesn’t look at Donna, so she doesn’t cave. “I don’t want to work with you,” She hesitates. “I want you off the project, then I’m in.”
Donna leaves her alone. Unsurprising, but Cameron is still disappointed. It isn’t like she planned this as a test. She doesn’t think it’s a good idea to try again, when Cameron is just settling back, and they want to do a project together.
Maybe, she could’ve picked one of them, but it’s too late now. But she’s got Haley on board and Joe excited and Gordon looks pleased. None of them press her about Donna.
They spend a few weeks renovating the building until it looks nothing like Mutiny used to. It’s brighter and cleaner and the kitchen is functional. She lets Gordon and Joe take the offices, and sets up a desk in a corner near Haley’s.
They hire Katie and a bunch of other, eager and excitable computer nerds, and Comet starts to grow.
Donna picks Haley up from the offices. She doesn’t come inside, but she gets out of her car, leaning against it.
Haley is finishing something up, talking with Katie and Sam, and Cameron doesn’t know why she heads outside.
“She’s just finishing something,” Cameron says.
“Okay,” Donna says.
“How’s Rover?” Cameron asks.
“I don’t think I’m allowed to tell you,” Donna says, dry.
“Right,” Cameron nods. “Because we’re rivals or something.
“Or something,” Donna echoes. “How’s Haley?”
“Good,” Cameron tries a smile. “Really good, she’s so smart and everyone loves her.”
“Good,” Donna says.
“Are you mad at me?” Cameron asks, then immediately regrets it. She sounds whiny - she’s well aware, and Donna raises one eyebrow over the edge of her sunglasses and laughs.
“Of course I am.”
“I didn’t want this to happen,” Cameron mutters. “I just - I wanted you to fight for me.” She feels like a petulant child and she’s sure she comes across as one.
“What does that even mean?” Donna asks. She pushes her sunglasses up her head.
“I thought you’d call,” Cameron shrugs. “Or send a letter or something. I didn’t think you’d let me and then I come back years later and you still - look at me, like you care about me, but you don’t fight for me, ever.”
“That isn’t fair,” Donna says, softly. “You left. I couldn’t - you were so angry and so clear about what you wanted. I didn’t want to get rejected twice and then I wake up, expecting it to be - a new start, or something, and instead I’m alone in one of my ex-husband’s guestrooms.”
Cameron flinches, “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry!” Haley interrupts. “I’m ready.” She pauses, “Are you two fighting again?”
“No,” Donna shakes her head. “Come on, we’ve got to pick up Joanie too.”
Cameron kicks at the dirt road and watches them drive away.
They don’t talk about it.
Cameron works on Comet; Donna works on Rover.
The competition isn’t exactly external. Haley promises she doesn’t tell Donna anything and Bos doesn’t mention anything helpful about Rover. The indexing is going as well as it can for a slow, arduous process, and Joe keeps trying to figure out short cuts.
They start a team competition and hold a barbecue at Gordon’s place. Cameron doesn’t renew her rent lease and buys a square of land, a decent drive away. She buys an airstream half-price from a bearded twenty something who just came back from driving around the states and sets it up.
They get stuck on finding a server that can support the amount of traffic they’re getting. It isn’t Cameron’s area, so she lets Gordon worry about it, and focuses on trying to figure out something else.
Comet is fine.
It’s too similar to Rover and to Yahoo. They’re all trying the same thing and their methods are different, but the results aren’t really. Yahoo has categories, Rover has a search function, and Comet has messaging and submit pages, but it isn’t enough to really stand out.
Cameron gets dinner with Bos, tries to ask about Donna without giving too much away. It’s too obvious but Bos doesn’t seem to notice. He’s twitchy and anxious and she presses him, finds out about lost money and GPS and boats.
Cameron shouldn’t help him, but she reads over Cecil’s code anyway. It’s for Bos, nobody else. She isn’t choosing between Haley, Joe, and Gordon or Donna and Bos. She couldn’t, but she fixes the code and gives it back to Bos. She meets Cecil for coffee and explains it the best she can and then, she forgets about it.
“My mom wants to know if you want to come over for dinner,” Haley says. Even she looks confused about it.
“Sure,” Cameron shrugs. She is surviving mostly on cheesy eggs and takeout they get at the office. Donna isn’t the best cook she knows but she’s serviceable.
“Okay,” Haley shrugs. “Tomorrow at six.”
Donna acts like everything is fine.
Joanie and Haley are there too, both of them peppering Cameron with questions in between bites of chicken parm. It’s good. Somehow the healthiest thing Cameron has eaten in a while.
There’s dessert too, some brownie cake with vanilla ice cream. Joanie and Haley disappear after it’s done and then Cameron’s in the kitchen helping with the dishes.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you clean before,” Donna murmurs. She has on yellow rubber gloves and her hair is tied back.
“I learned,” Cameron grins.
They clean everything up in silence. Cameron finds herself staring out the window afterwards, at the small pool and the hill that dips into the sunset behind it.
“Why did you help Rover?” Donna asks.
“Rover,” Donna repeats. “There’s no way Cecil wrote that code. I’m not an idiot.”
“Neither is he.”
Donna makes a face, “Cam, come on.”
“You can’t prove it’s me,” Cameron mutters.
“Cecil couldn’t explain shit about it,” Donna says. “I understood it better than he did and I’m supposed to think he’s the one who wrote it?”
“You’re wasted in a VC company,” Cameron tries. It’s a clear attempt to change the subject and Donna doesn’t bite, “Well, I tried to leave, but you didn’t want to work with me.”
“Because it ruined our relationship!” Cameron protests. “We couldn’t separate things, Donna. I didn’t want that to happen again.”
“You said sleeping with me was a mistake.”
“It was!” Cameron frowns. “We should’ve talked first or gone on a date but I just - it isn’t my fault that you wore that dress.”
“You can’t blame me for everything,” Donna says. “Gordon did. Anything good that happened, his work. Anything bad, obviously me.”
“I’m not Gordon.”
“I know,” Donna says. “But we can’t keep assuming what the other person wants or thinks.” She pauses. “But I know that’s your code. I want to know why.”
“Bos asked me,” Cameron mutters. “He just - he needed Rover to work to keep his job because he lost a shit ton of money and he was terrified.”
Donna narrows her eyes, “Bos asked you, so you went behind your team’s back and gave the code to help your biggest rival?”
“I don’t know if technically, Rover is winning the fight yet,” Cameron points out. “But anyway, yes? I’m not important in Comet. It’s Haley’s base and Joe’s crazy ideas and Gordon’s trying to figure out the serve shit. It’s a mess, Donna.”
“Okay,” Donna breathes. “This is so fucked up.”
“I know,” Cameron shrugs. She doesn’t feel defiant anymore. She just feels tired of pretending, of hoping something will change, of hoping that something will break, and then mend itself back together again.
“It’s fine,” Cameron adds. “They won’t find out. It won’t matter.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“How’s Katie?” Donna asks.
“Good,” Gordon grins, dopy and real. “She’s really good.”
“Good,” Donna smiles back. It’s easier now.
“Fine,” Donna shakes her head. “It’s not - I don’t know. I’m not that involved.”
“Do you miss it?” Gordon asks. They’re at her place this time. They ate outside because the weather was gorgeous and now they’re watching the sunset.
“Sometimes,” Donna admits. “It just feels like we’ve got the race all wrong.”
“Everyone wants to make the best index, the fastest one but I don’t think that matters,” Donna starts. “If we can keep users hanging around, then it’ll be easier to start locking in advertisers. Maybe the goal should be to become the stickiest website.”
“But the entire point is to deliver them to other sites.”
“We could still do that,” Donna shrugs. “But it could also be a destination in itself.” She doesn’t know why she’s telling him. It’s her real opinion and she thinks it makes sense. Maybe to even out the playing field; Cameron gave her something so she’s giving something back. Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t want to be a managing partner and she’s tired of being the one who makes decisions but doesn’t do the actual work.
Gordon smiles, “Yeah, I like that.”
“It’s a good idea,” Cameron agrees.
Joe looks at her like she’s insane. “We can’t trust her.”
“Why not?” Gordon frowns.
“Why do you hate her anyway?” Cameron presses. “She hasn’t done anything to you.”
“She broke both of your hearts,” Joe points out. “I don’t trust her. I don’t think she’d actually do anything to help any of us.”
“Broke your heart?” Gordon repeats. “How did she?”
“You still don’t know?” Joe laughs. “Gordon, come on. They fucking lived together for years.”
“You said you lived in the basement.”
“I mean, I did?” Cameron blinks. “When Haley and Joanie were over.”
“Oh,” Gordon frowns. “Oh. I mean - I thought but then -” He stops. “And none of you thought to tell me?”
“We didn’t tell anyone,” Cameron shrugs. “It wasn’t - it was never properly defined and then - the Mutiny vote.”
“Right,” Gordon says. He looks dazed, maybe a bit faint. “But you still trust her?”
“Yes,” Cameron says. “Are you sure you’re not mad?”
“Maybe I’ll be later,” Gordon shrugs. “I have Katie now and you - you both seem happier when you’re around each other.”
Cameron makes a face and Gordon laughs, “It’s true.”
“Seriously?” Joe frowns. “You’re both just fine with her, after everything?”
“It isn’t like you never fucked up,” Gordon shrugs. “We can forgive both of you.”
Joe rolls his eyes. He starts pacing again, small circles around the desks that are pushed together. “Stickiest website, sounds stupid.”
“It makes sense though right?” Cameron says. “We want people to stay online, each individual time on it counts as a visit, so we could increase our traffic without increasing the amount of people at once. And I mean, hopefully both.”
“Okay,” Joe draws out. “But how?”
“I liked Haley’s idea about the messaging,” Cameron says. “We can incorporate some of the Mutiny stuff of specific group chats for different topics and have private chats too where you can select who is in it.”
“Suggestions?” Gordon says. “We can export the work basically, people can submit their own links, and use our tags to sort them.”
“Can you code that?” Joe asks.
Cameron swallows, guilty. “Yes.”
Pilgrim is released; it flops spectacularly.
Cameron works harder on the Comet code. She ignores the calls from Atari people and doesn’t show up to meetings. They’ll end her contract, but she doesn’t really care. She’s tired of redoing the same story of Space Bike, and if Pilgrim failed, she isn’t sure if any of her other ideas will succeed.
She has enough of a following that she feels confident in being able to get another contract, later, if needed, and is satisfied enough at trying to piece together a code that lets websites insert videos and photos directly on pages.
Joanie and Haley both ask for copies of Pilgrim; she never hears if they finish it.
They start meeting up on Donna’s lunch break.
Sometimes they’ll walk by the water, other times it’s too hot and they’ll dip in and out of the row of stores, sometimes they get coffee, sometimes they go to actual restaurants, and sometimes they do nothing but sit on the bench in front of Donna’s building.
“Are these dates?” Donna asks. This time they got ice cream. There’s strawberry ice cream dripping down from her cone onto her fingers and Cameron wants to lick it off.
“They could be,” Cameron shrugs.
“Okay,” Donna says, like it's as easy as that. Maybe it could be. Rover and Comet feel like they’re on equal ground, but they aren’t rising as fast as expected.
Cameron walks her back. It’s so hot that most of the streets are empty and everyone is staying inside. Donna hesitates at the door. “This was fun.”
“It was,” Cameron agrees.
Donna smiles at her, shy. She leans forward and Cameron sways. Donna kisses her, quick and light, and she’s smirking when she pulls back. “See you later.”
It rains on a Wednesday.
Donna isn’t at work and Cameron doesn’t ask why. She picked up coffee and donuts on her way over. She eats half a Boston Cream then half of a maple swirl.
“How’s Rover?” Cameron asks.
“Fine,” Donna shrugs. “Nobody really believes in it, anymore.” It’s the same at Comet, somewhat. Joe is holding on so tightly to something that’s already gone and Haley still seems just as excited as day one.
Donna licks chocolate icing off her fingers and grins, “I finished Pilgrim.”
“What?” Cameron frowns. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Donna stands up. She wakes the computer up and opens Pilgrim. It’s the end page - the kid reuniting with their mom.
“Oh,” Cameron breathes. “You really did.”
“Why are you acting so surprised?”
“Nobody else has,” Cameron shrugs. “I thought - I made it for you, or people like you.”
“People who don’t enjoy first person shooting games?” Donna asks, dry.
“Something like that,” Cameron smiles.
If Gordon told Donna that he knows they were together - are together, or something, he doesn’t tell her. Cameron expected him to, but he seems so happy with Katie that it doesn’t feel worth the potential for a fight. He even invites her to Katie’s birthday party.
Katie smiles at them genuinely when they show up, neither Haley or Joanie looking surprised that Cameron was their first stop, and thanks them for the present Haley hands over.
Cameron doesn’t know what it is and doesn’t know how she ended up included in a family present, but she doesn’t say anything. The party is small. There’s only a few people Cameron knows from Comet and the rest are Katie’s other subset of friends.
They’re sweet, most of them moved from Seattle with her to chase the Silicon Valley dream. Cameron talks to one guy who ends up being a superfan of her Space Bike series. He asks her about when the next one is coming out and she shrugs, “I think I’m releasing something else, first.” She doesn’t know if she’ll go back to Space Bike. It feels mostly finished. She hasn’t had much time to worry about how testing for Pilgrim is going and she hasn’t heard anything from Atari in a while. She doesn’t tell Greg that though. He still looks impressed, rambling on for a bit about Space Bike IV and she lets him.
Joe doesn’t show up.
Cameron plays Super Maria with Joanie and Haley on a couch in the basement. Most of the party is upstairs and outside, all of them old enough that basement parties with shitty alcohol and video games are mostly in their past.
Donna finds them eventually. Her hair is down, shorter again. Haley passes her the controller when she loses and Donna tucks herself in between Cameron and the arm of the sofa.
It’s easy to lose track of time like this, smacking her character’s head into square bricks and collecting gold coins, jumping over tiny brown animals, and avoiding fireballs.
Donna is better than expected, but Cameron is still the best. They give up after three rounds, controllers going back into the kids’ waiting hands, and somehow Donna ends up tucked against her.
“Come home, tonight?” Donna murmurs. “Your van thing is so far away.”
“It’s not a van,” Cameron says. She doesn’t have to look down to know that Donna is rolling her eyes, “Sorry, your airstream is so far away.”
“Yeah,” Cameron shrugs. “I’ll come over.”
“So,” Joanie starts, too bright eyed for how early it is and how late they stayed up. “What are your intentions with my mother?”
Cameron stares back. Her head hurts, even if she didn’t drink much last night, and she’s well aware that it’s from a lack of sleep. But Joanie can’t know that. Cameron knows by now how to make sure Donna stays quiet, even if she has to get creative. She’s sure everything about her is giving this away: Donna’s Berkeley sweater that’s too big on her but fits Cameron, the mess of her hair, how she came downstairs not up, the fact that she’s here at all.
Joanie softens, her entire posture relaxing. “If you make me pancakes, I won’t tell anyone.”
“Are you blackmailing me with pancakes?” Cameron clarifies.
“I’m starving,” Joanie shrugs. “Your’s are the best. I think we even have buttermilk.”
It’s how Donna and Haley find them later, both still sleepy-eyed and frowning. Cameron never would’ve guessed that Joanie was the happiest in the morning out of all of the Clarks.
Cameron puts a mug of coffee into Donna’s hands and smiles at her. Donna smiles back, still sleepy enough that she doesn’t hide the way her hands linger. Nobody notices anyway.
Haley makes hot chocolate on the stove above the pan of pancakes. Joanie starts a debate about the best pancake toppings which leads to her taking out two bowls and two whisks.
It’s pointless - Donna owns a hand mixer, but Cameron and Joanie whip half a carton of whipped cream. Joanie wins, the whipped cream barely staying in the bowl until the cream is in stiff peaks and her forearm is tight.
They eat on the stools around the kitchen island. All of the toppings are spread out in bowls, a stack of pancakes on a plate in the middle, syrup and honey, and melted butter for Haley.
“We should do this every weekend,” Haley suggests. There’s whipped cream on the tip of her nose.
“Maybe we should,” Donna says, soft. It sounds like an admission, even if Cameron isn’t sure it’s one to anyone but her. She smiles anyway, hand on Donna’s bare thigh, and lets herself be happy.
Yahoo is the end of it all.
Rover gets bought off; Donna doesn’t accept partner. Diane doesn’t look surprised, Trip gets it instead, and Donna knows he takes her leaving as a victory, but she doesn’t care.
Joanie decides to take a gap year. Donna panics about it, but Gordon thinks it’s a great idea and Cameron shrugs, “Could be good for her, you know? Get to see more of the world, figure out what she wants before you’ve gotta pay a shit load of money for tuition.”
Donna rolls her eyes, but calms down. They drive her to the airport together. Gordon at the wheel with Joanie beside him. Haley in between Cameron and Donna in the back. It should be awkward, but it isn’t.
Joanie tears up but recovers fast. She can’t hide her excitement and she softens when Haley hugs her.
“Bye kid,” Cameron mutters, only hesitating slightly when Joanie hugs her.
“Take care of my mom, okay?” Joanie says. “And Haley.”
“I will,” Cameron promises. “Promise you’ll send letters and check in?”
“Of course,” Joanie grins. “I’ll send pictures.”
Donna cries and Gordon teases her, eyes wet too.
They drop Haley off at school, then Gordon drops them off at the diner only a fifteen minute walk from Donna’s place.
“I was thinking,” Cameron starts. It’s empty this late on a Tuesday morning. They split waffles and a plate of eggs and bacon, an extra side of hashbrowns. “I wanted to build a house on the land I bought.”
“Tired of the airstream?” Donna teases, smile barely visible behind her mug of coffee.
“Yeah,” Cameron nods. “But - I wanted to build a home, for us.” She swallows, fingers tapping against the table. “Obviously for Haley until she graduates and her and Joanie can both come back whenever, and I know it’s kind of far but it’s not too bad and you don’t have an office job anymore and maybe it’s kind of stupid but I’m pretty sure I’ve been in love with you since you told me my code was like music and -”
Cameron cuts herself off. She gets the distinct feeling that if they weren’t in public, if there wasn’t a row of construction men in dirt covered orange jackets that kept sneaking looks at them, that Donna would be kissing her to stop talking.
“Yeah?” Donna says.
Cameron nods, “Yeah.”
“I think that sounds like a great idea,” Donna says. She smirks, easy, and knocks their shoes together under the table. “I love you too.”