The box sits on the counter, a reminder of what could be. Every morning, I ask and every morning, Cameron’s answer is the same.

“No. It’s the same as the day before and the day before that. Asking me every day isn’t going to wear me down.”

“I can’t do what you want me to do!”

She glares at me.

“Wrong! You can put a battery in your back and remove the umbilical cord from your mother, but you don’t want to hurt her feelings. She’s too involved in our business.”

Her chest is heaving and her eyes are bloodshot. I walk over to her, my arms open. She leans into my embrace. I knew they didn’t care for each other, but they stayed out of each other’s way. My mother means the world to me, but I can’t lose Cameron.

“You are absolutely right. I’m going to run a bath and then I’m going to see my mother.”

She nods.

l go to the bathroom. As I test the water temperature, she brushes her naked body against me.

“Hurry up and go before you lose your spark,” she says, winking.

“I’ll call when I’m on my way back.”

“Okay. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I walk out of the bathroom and head down the hall to the kitchen. I grab my keys from the hook by the garage door, set the alarm, and open the door to leave. As I get into my car, I can feel my stomach churning.

There’s no going back now.