Hi guys! So I recently watched some Step Up movies, then I got back on my Moose/Camille kick, and then I was mad that I couldn't find any stories about them that were super long and finished with an ending and all, so I thought I'd write a quick little one-shot and it turned into a massive little one-shot instead.
I wrote and published one story for these guys on here a few years ago, but it was crap and I ended up deleting it, so even though I'm rusty, I think I did pretty good with characterization and all but you guys tell me. If there's anyone out there still reading Step Up fics or looking for some like I was, please leave a review down below and let me know what you thought! It would make my night because I really don't know if anyone's going to actually read this but anyway enjoy the story and thank you for taking the time to read it!
Note: I realized I forgot to research when exactly the nightclub in Ceasers opened (because Step Up All In was filmed in 2014) and it turns out that OMNIA didn't open until Spring 2015 and that there was a club called PURE there before it, but it was too late to go back and change everything (the descriptions, etc) so we're just going pretend that the place opened early in this story sorry and thank you.
Warning for Sensitive Material: There's a scene (non-explicit) where somebody gets assaulted in a bathroom. If this is something that could trigger you please use caution and know that scene starts at the line, "She doesn't hear anything."
Camille never thought her life would end up like this.
Moose loads up the last box full of their stuff into the U-Haul truck, triple-checking that everything is locked in tight by either a strap, tape or something else before turning back and giving her a nervous smile. "You ready for this, baby?"
Camille lingers in the doorway of their now old apartment and gives the living room one last look. It's different without the pictures and furniture and it's almost hard leaving as flashes of their past year here together finally hit her.
With a quiet exhale she steps over the threshold and onto the pavement outside, before turning around and locking the door behind her for the final time. She leaves the keys under the weathered welcome mat for the property owner and then meets Moose by the passenger side door.
He wraps an arm around her shoulders as they both take a moment to look back at the apartment. Camille can feel the nervousness radiating off of him in waves, but she can feel his excitement too. After all, this was a new chapter for both of them.
Like she said: Camille never thought her life was going to end up like this.
They had been discussing what to do next after LMNTRIX had won the Vortex for the past month. It was a big decision to move but to them, after a full month of exhaustion and worry and back and forth airfare, it wasn't that hard to see what the answer was.
They both agreed that they wanted life both ways—dance and everything else—so they did just that.
McGowan Engineering had a sister company over in Las Vegas; Moose was able to land a new job over there after countless Skype interviews while Camille had landed a part-time teaching aid job with nearly no difficulty. After her current job found out she was moving, they had gushed about her on the phone before Camille had even asked for their help with references. They had loved her and were sad to see her go but didn't hesitate to help out where they could.
Things were going great, amazing even, and though they were both buzzing with enthusiasm as they packed up their life into a U-Haul truck, the anxiety was there too.
They could be making the biggest mistake of their lives, moving away from Los Angles where they had just begun to get settled to yet another new place (they had only been away from New York for a year now) or things could go wrong and the show could not make enough revenue and everyone's dreams could be crushed and they'd be back to square one.
"Half of life is about the risks right?"
Moose's calm voice brings Camille back to the present and away from the worries plaguing her. She leans into him and he leaves a soft kiss against her neck, and as his smile presses against her skin, she knows she's ready. She knows they're ready.
She turns and draws his lips up to hers, lifting one of her hands to his cheek, her fingers brushing over his chin, and when she pulls back a moment later, her cheeks dusted pink, there's a certainty in her eyes that wasn't there before.
Moose's face splits into a grin as he kisses her once more, quick and passionate, leaving her breathless and wanting more before he heads to the back of the truck and jumps up, pulling the door down and locking it in place. He jumps into the driver's seat as she slides into the passenger seat and their four-hour road trip starts with Moose singing along obnoxiously to whatever hit song comes on the radio.
Caesars Palace ended up absolutely loving LMNTRIX and their dance routine.
So much so in fact that when the group went to sign, the hotel and casino giant ended up adding on another year to the contract. Along with steady work for a promised four years, also included was the availability of hotel rooms whenever they needed them and the only causes for sudden termination of the contract was if the group criticized Caesars during any interview or if there was any disorderly conduct on the premises.
As soon as LMNTRIX was signed, nine o'clock shows every other night with a weekly payroll, everyone started to settle in. Everyone took a dive into what little was left of their savings to start over in Las Vegas.
Sean and the Mob found a place similar to what they had in LA and had already turned the place into what Moose liked to call The Vault 2.0 because it reminded him of the Pirates' hideout back in New York, and Camille couldn't help but agree.
(After winning World Jam, the both of them had spent the better part of their first two college years there, more often than not sleeping there instead of their dorms, before the House of Pirates officially disbanded at the end of their sophomore year.)
The Santiago Twins and Vladd also agreed after seeing the new place for the first time, and Jason had just given them all a sly smile when he was questioned about it and how he came up with the design.
Andie floated between Violet's apartment and The Vault 2.0, and when she felt like paying for the plane tickets she'd sometimes fly over and stay with Moose and Camille for a day or two because they were her family. No one knew exactly where Chad was staying, Vladd had his own apartment and so did the twins, Hair's hairdresser had family in the state while Hair, Kido, and Monster bounced between their shared apartment and The Vault 2.0.
Everyone was in Nevada, except for Moose and Camille.
None of the group made a big deal out of it, because everyone understood their hesitance to just up and leave, especially with them already having such steady jobs in place. But everyone could also see how drained the couple was becoming after only a few weeks in after the group's win, so Sean and Andie started to suggest they move, and by the end of the first month, Moose and Camille agreed.
It should be hard to leave.
But it's really not.
Moose sings along with the radio for about forty-five minutes before giving up—he wasn't oblivious to Camille's playful eye rolls the entire time—and then he turns down the radio and they just talk for a while. He holds her hand in his over the console, tries to lean over and kiss her a few times, which gets him nothing but a few smacks in the shoulder.
(The smiles and laughter as he tries to land one on her are worth it.)
She tries to scold him about unsafe driving in a U-Haul truck, but it only makes him gape for a moment and then burst out laughing, and then they're both laughing way too hard and before they know it they've crossed the Nevada state line.
Camille yawns as Moose passes a tractor-trailer for McDonald's and as if on cue her stomach rumbles lowly. Moose's lips lift into a smile as he flicks through the radio stations, struggling to find one in tune that isn't country. "Hungry?"
Camille looks over, "Hungry and tired. I forgot to eat something before we packed up the rest of the apartment." She gives him a quick look over and to her surprise he doesn't look tired from driving just yet. There is, however, a stressed look to his eyes and his shoulders are tense. "Are you okay? Do you want to switch?"
Moose shakes his head and instead leans over and gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, which she doesn't bat away. "Highways are just stressful to drive on but I'm fine." He finally settles on a station and turns the volume knob up just a little, the music echoing faintly through the cabin. "If you fall asleep I'll wake you once we get there."
"I'm not gonna fall asleep. I can't leave you all alone while you're driving."
"All right Chameleon," he says with a small laugh, like he knows something she doesn't. "Whatever you say." She grumbles something under her breath before she readjusts and rests her head against the door's window.
She lasts another fifteen minutes before sleep finds her.
Moose glances over and smiles once he sees that her eyes have closed. She was never the best with staying awake during road trips.
He never minded.
"Baby, wake up. We're here."
Camille startles only a little at Moose's soft voice, one of her hands coming up to grip at his bicep, and when she opens her eyes, the first thing she sees is him, and his face is lit with excitement. He looks tired too, but only a little, more eager to see their new place than anything else.
Moose helps her step out of the truck after she blinks a few more times, now fully awake but still a little wobbly on her feet. It's dark out now, the sky dazzling with white stars, the moon high above and full. There are lights all down the sidewalk of the development they're in, and they're quiet as they make their way to the door marked 305.
Moose hands Camille the car keys as they reach it, and she can hear him exhale slowly as he searches around in his pants pocket for the apartment keys. When he finally finds them a soft aha escapes him, and then he's holding them out in front of her.
"Would you like to do the honors?"
Camille turns and gives him a quick kiss on the lips before swapping keys with him and then carefully pushing them into the lock. She turns them left and the door opens with a loud creak. They inch into the apartment together and Moose reaches over and flicks on the lights and—
The walls are a beige color and the carpet is white and freshly vacuumed. Though the place is empty, the living room in front of them is perfect in size, and so is the kitchen off to the left and the bedroom straight back. The bathroom is to the right, and they can just barely see it when they peek around the wall's corner, and the entire apartment is amazing.
Moose comes up from behind and wraps his arms around Camille's lower waist before resting his head on top of her head as they take it all in. She slides both of her hands over his as he pulls her closer, and she squeezes his hands before turning around in his arms to face him.
"This is it," she murmurs, and she swears the smile hasn't left his face since they both woke up that morning. He leans down, their foreheads pressing together, their lips inches away.
"This is it," he echoes and there's no uncertainty in either of their voices, no doubt. Because home isn't a place for them. It's each other.
"I love you," he whispers, and Camille's heart swells.
"I love you too."
He closes the distance between them and his words are sealed with a kiss.
(The new apartment is great but they still have to have somewhere to sleep, so as the clock strikes eleven thirty, Moose and Camille are still bickering about where to put the bed frame, and more importantly, the mattress they're currently carrying.
They end up with the mattress in the middle of the living room floor and McDonald's spread out around them, courtesy of Grubhub, by twelve thirty.)
The crowd around them thunders with applause as Moose and Camille take each other's hands and bow before disappearing backstage, the rest of LMNTRIX following behind them. One of the executives of Caesars wanted to say a few words after the show tonight with Sean and Andie onstage, and everyone is still cheering as the older gentleman taps the microphone he has three times, finally gathering the crowd's attention.
The rest of the crew flock to both backstage entrances to listen, but Moose and Camille could care less as they turn towards each other, grinning and buzzing with adrenaline.
"Cam you were the best dancer out on that stage."
He holds his arms out so that he can wrap her in a hug, and as her hands slide up his back and his around her shoulders, she exhales once, grounding herself. He holds her close, even readjusting so that he can leave a kiss on the side of her neck, and for just a moment, it's them against the world. There's no one else around, and there's no worry about tomorrow. It's Moose, solid and warm, his arms wrapped protectively around her, holding her as long as she needs it—
It's only fitting that it's also him who breaks the peace a second later by lifting her up and spinning them around once, twice, and by the time her feet touch the ground again he's laughing and she's fighting the urge to smile.
"I swear you always know how to ruin a moment," she says as she moves both her hands forward, lifting the hat that had been hiding his curls off his head.
He gives her his best confused look as he carefully pulls his hat from her hands and places it on her head. "We were having a moment?" He pushes it down gently so that it stays on her head and smirks. "Why do I feel like I've heard that before?"
His gloved hands fall down to her hips, "Because you always ruin the moment."
"But what if I don't know it's a 'moment'?"
Camille tugs him close. "Just shut up and kiss me, Moose," and he obliges.
The kiss is explosive, and Camille finds herself pulling on his shirt more and more, feeling as though he's too far away even though he isn't, and Moose—sly as he is—slips a hand under the back of her shirt. The warmth of his hand making contact with her cold skin makes her gasp, and she can feel his grin as he moves in and deepens the kiss.
She kisses him harder, looking for some form of payback as she struggles to find her way around the three garments he's currently wearing—who decided on a vest, a long-sleeved shirt and an undershirt?—but before she can get too far there's a loud whoop, followed by a very distinct and very loud, "Okay lovebirds just get a room before you start tearing off each other's clothes."
Mortified and cheeks on fire, Camille buries her head in Moose's chest as his arms wrap around her, and his chest rumbles with a laugh, not at all ashamed for their accidental public display of affection.
"C'mon Andie you're just jealous because you and Sean will never have the same fire as me and Camille."
"Oh God Moose, stop, please," Camille mumbles in embarrassment, wishing she could just hide away forever because of course the one time she goes a little overboard with her very serious boyfriend in public everyone sees.
Andie crosses her arms, but there's a smile playing at her lips. "You wish."
Sean leans over and gives her an extremely deep kiss, causing everyone around them to whistle and groan simultaneously. Camille finally shows her face at the same time Sean pulls away and the smirk on Andie's face is aimed in Moose's direction. Camille can't help but chuckle at his obvious defeat.
"Show-offs," Moose mumbles, pulling Camille closer.
Sean slings an arm around Andie's waist, "Free drinks on Caesars tonight. You guys in?"
Camille and Moose weren't big party-goers, even in college. Sure they jammed out with the Pirates, but it was mostly in The Vault, and they had only found themselves in the club downstairs a handful of times. Camille didn't like the atmosphere and Moose didn't like to drink so they just avoided the scene altogether.
After winning the Vortex they had gone to the after party, but they had drank only two drinks each before heading back to their hotel room, ordering a pizza with extra pepperoni, and then crashing by one in the morning.
Camille glances up at Moose, whose already looking down at her, and she thinks about the last time they went out and had fun just to have fun.
She looks back at Sean. "Hell yeah!"
Everyone cheers and then starts to disperse back to their rooms to get changed, and Moose tugs on her hand when she goes to follow. She turns towards him, a question forming on her lips, but then he kisses her, short and sweet. She smiles and then he's pulling her towards the door like a little kid towards candy in a candy store. "Come on, we're the life of the party, we can't be late!"
Camille can't help but roll her eyes and laugh.
"Whenever you want to leave, we leave, okay?" Moose whispers to her as they enter the nightclub, and Camille just squeezes his hand in thanks.
OMNIA Nightclub is already thumping with music and people as a bouncer leads LMNTRIX over to their VIP table towards the middle of the nightclub, and Moose keeps one hand on Camille's back as they make their way through the throngs of people.
Once they make it over to the table, the bouncer explains the special drinks and foods they have for the night before handing out a stack of VIP cards for the bar and telling them to have fun but not too much before heading back up to the front.
As Sean begins to pass out cards to the group, Camille takes in the colorful sight around her.
The VIP section they've been given consists of a modern plush booth that stretches around a rounded wooden barrier, which is used to divide the VIP sections, and there's an opening that leads out to the dance floor. On either side of that, there are two small tables with ice buckets, bottles of vodka and tequila, food menus, and various fruit slices awaiting them on either end of the entrance, pushed back a little ways from the barrier. Glasses of all kinds are placed on the bottom shelf of the table, and the twins don't waste a second pouring themselves a drink.
The ceiling is high, and there's a massive chandelier hanging down from the middle, other smaller strings of lights coming down from the ceiling around it. There's black lights hidden away up top in all kinds of different colors, and they aim down at the dance floor ready for the special light show that happens every half hour.
The DJ is in the very front of the room but the music is even and heard clearly throughout the whole nightclub. The bar is off to the right, and two double doors lead into a kitchen right behind it where wait staff bustle in and out with trays of food that looks absolutely stunning, even from a distance.
The club is mesmerizing, and she can see Moose beside her look around at everything in awe because neither of them have ever been to anything of this scale before. Caesars definitely knew how to treat their dancers, that was for sure.
"Here," Andie says as she hands Camille a card and then Moose. Camille hands her card over to Moose who tucks both in his pants pocket, and then Andie is placing a hand on Camille's shoulder.
"The rest of the group already knows this because we've been here before but because this is your first time, stick close to Moose, okay? This place can get a little crazy as the night goes on and no one needs to get trampled. Even though I know you can take care of yourself, no one needs to go to jail tonight either."
Camille gives her a reassuring smile, "I will. Same goes for you."
She nods her head towards Sean behind her. "No worries, Sean has me covered."
She grabs him by the hand and they disappear into the crowd, and as Camille takes stock of their surroundings, it looks like half the group is on the dance floor and the other half are lounging and pouring themselves drinks. Violet and Chad are already making out on the other end of the sofa, while the twins and Kido are having a hell of a time with that bottle of vodka.
Camille turns to Moose, "Shall we dance?"
Moose grins and grabs her hand to lead her out to the middle of the dance floor.
The dance floor is packed with people, most of the guys grinding on girls too drunk to notice, nearly all the girls dressed sluttier than they should be, but enjoying the night nonetheless.
Moose looks extremely handsome in his black collared shirt and undone grey blazer, and though he had to put on dress shoes, he got away with wearing black jeans so that wasn't too bad. (He much rather dance in his usual attire but beggars couldn't be choosers.)
Camille, on the other hand, was wearing a very well-fitting black dress that dipped and showed just a little extra than she would usually be comfortable with. (But with Moose by her side she didn't feel uncomfortable at all.)
The black heels she's wearing aren't too high, dancing on high heels is a nightmare, and her hair is down and over one shoulder. Finishing off her look is a necklace Moose got her for her birthday, a simple, thin white gold chain with a small heart with a single diamond in the outline.
She had loved it and wore it to any event she could.
As they make it to a spot on the floor that isn't overtaken by people who think they can dance, a remix of a song they both know comes on, and Moose starts popping and locking. He does a variety of moves and even finishes off with a version of the robot that matches up perfectly to the song's bass, and Camille gives it her all as she does a little hip-hop infused number.
She finishes off with a fancy spin, and Moose catches her in his arms before spinning her a different way. Her hand accidentally slips out of his and she ends up in a different section of the crowd, but able to catch her balance. Moose's head of curls is nowhere to be seen and as Camille's looking for him, she bumps into someone.
The guy she bumps into turns around, and the first thing Camille notices is his sharp jawline and clean-shaven face as he gently places a hand, feather-light, on her upper arm.
"Are you alright?" He asks, shouting over the loud music.
"I'm sorry for bumping into you!" She shouts back, before turning around and moving back the way she came. The man reaches out for her arm again, taking a few steps forward, this time planning to have a tighter grip, but before he can, she's in someone else's arms.
"Shit, Cam, I'm so sorry! My hand was—"
"Moose it's okay! All in good fun! I totally won that dance battle anyway!"
Moose looks shocked, but before he can say anything else Camille's pulling him back to where their spot was as the DJ begins another song they both know and love. "Up for Round Two?"
Three hours of dancing later and both of them are exhausted, mentally and physically. The music, which had been fun and loud at first, had now turned into a headache for Camille and Moose wasn't faring too well either. They find Sean and Andie among the crowds to let them know that they're leaving—Andie even gives Camille a drunken, sweaty hug—and then they're calling an Uber and heading home.
Camille rests her head on Moose's shoulder the twenty minutes it takes them to get there, and feeling generous, Moose gives the driver a twenty dollar tip because he knows they smelled better before they had started dancing, and the driver thanks him before speeding off, leaving them fumbling with their keys at the front door of their apartment.
Once inside Camille instantly heads for the shower, while Moose grabs a water bottle and chugs almost the entire thing in just a few gulps. They had shared two martinis between them back at the nightclub, and they could've gotten a cup of water while they were there, but the bar with the ice-cold water was on the other side of the room from where their VIP spot was, and Moose didn't have it in him to be pushed across the room one more time.
He hears the shower turn on with a hiss as he begins to gather cheese and chips for a plate of nachos, and he takes his time as he makes an enormous plate for Camille and him to share as she gets washed.
The microwave beeps and Moose leaves the plate of chips in there, instead heading to their bedroom and grabbing some underwear, pajama shorts, and a random bath towel before making his way over to the bathroom. Camille's stepping out of the shower as he knocks on the door and she tells him to come in as she's drying off.
Moose pulls off his blazer and strips out of his shirt, throwing both into a heap on the floor, and then turns on the water. He turns back to Camille and leaves a kiss on her bare shoulder blade.
"There's nachos in the microwave," he says as he goes to pull away but before he can, Camille turns around and grabs at his chin. She's holding her towel in place around her body with one hand and keeping him there with the other. She pulls him into a thankful kiss on the lips and when she pulls away there's a soft smile on his face.
"I love you so much."
He chuckles, kissing her again, loving and warm.
"I love you too."
After he gets washed, they spend the rest of the night eating nachos, ice-cream and binging the Harry Potter movies.
(Of course, they sneak in make-out sessions too.
Moose with damp curls is something irresistible to her.)
Camille's busy chopping up vegetables in the kitchen while Moose works on fixing the television in the living room, because someone wasn't watching where they were going, and now they had no cable.
"Do you want a ring?"
Abruptly, the chopping stops.
Camille walks out to the living room, arms crossed over her chest but her boyfriend's too busy tugging cluelessly at the television wires and doesn't hear her come in. "Do I want a ring?" She asks, her voice steady but her words hinting at confusion.
Moose jumps, not excepting her to be standing so close, shooting her a playful glare before unplugging one plug and plugging a different one in. He falls back on his butt and grabs for the remote, pressing the power button. He glances over at her, the corner of his mouth quirking up.
"I was just wondering if my charm was still enough to keep you around, or if I needed something more." His tone is joking, but she knows he's asking a serious question under all that, just in his own Moose-way.
The TV comes back to life, cable and all, and Moose quietly cheers just as Camille takes a seat on the carpet beside him. She grabs his free hand and pulls gently, causing Moose to turn his entire body towards hers, leaving the remote forgotten on the coffee table as he goes.
"What brought this on?" She asks, her voice low.
Their knees are touching, and she keeps ahold of his hand, playing with the tips of his calloused fingers as he looks down, avoiding her eyes. "I know we've talked about this before, but we're also getting older now. I just wasn't sure if what I wanted was still the same thing you wanted."
They had talked about it before, a few different times, actually.
Moose had told her he wasn't one with much care for rings and weddings, and that he'd much rather tie the knot one day in a courthouse just because they felt like it. He was spontaneous in nature so it wasn't much of a surprise that's how he felt about most important things too. Camille had told him that one day it would be nice to have a ring—what girl wouldn't?—but that she was okay waiting until he was ready.
(They had talked about kids one time too.
They were both okay with zero.)
He lifts his head, and as soon as she can reach his lips, she does, closing the distance between them and kissing him deeply, passionately, both winded when they break apart for air. Her hands are still holding his as she says, "Ring or no ring, as long as I'm with you, I don't need anything else."
Moose's smile is genuine and he can't help but kiss her again, and this time they don't stop for air. Instead Camille finds herself laying down on her back, Moose carefully climbing on top of her, his arms braced on either side of her to keep him upright. They kiss until they can't anymore and even then he presses kisses from her neck all the way down to her chest, until he stops suddenly, moving back up to her face as a thought strikes him.
"Just to be sure," he breathes, "we still weren't having any kids right?"
Camille smacks him in the chest for ruining, yet another, moment.
"No Moose, we still weren't having any kids. I don't need any miniature you's running around."
Moose gasps dramatically, feigning hurt. Camille brings him in for another kiss before he can say anything else.
Their third month living in Las Vegas starts with a new dance routine for their Vortex show, which highlights Moose and Camille and the other couples in the group.
Camille's a bundle of nerves as she wrings her hands before the show, pacing back and forth as the crowd finds their seats. Moose is busy talking to Monster, Hair, and Kido over in the corner as he pulls on his new outfit, which happens to be a dark blue suit over a white undershirt, and as he puts his left arm through the jacket sleeve, someone's hand falls on Camille's shoulder.
She whips around, her heart jumping, to find Andie standing there, decked out in red 1950's hip-hop garments (the outfit almost identical to Camille's, except Andie's was bright red to match Sean's suit, and Camille was in the same navy color as Moose). Andie looks more bubbly than usual, which is odd, but mostly makes Camille's nerves worsen because what if she ruins this for everybody because she can't get herself in check?
Andie picks up on what Camille's feeling and her lips crease into a frown. "Hey, what's wrong?"
Camille shakes her head, struggling to keep her hands from shaking. "I don't know. I'm just, really, really nervous about this routine for some reason. I don't know why I—"
Her voice breaks off, and she blinks quickly a few times, not understanding what's going on with her.
Andie immediately grabs both her shoulders and squeezes them gently, giving her best reassuring smile. "Just take a breath. You're okay. You are going to be absolutely amazing out there. Don't worry about anything else. I know you've got this," she brings Camille in for a quick hug, and then the announcer onstage is asking for a drumroll please!
Andie pulls back, "Okay?"
Camille exhales and then closes her eyes.
All those years ago, when Camille told Moose he was meant to dance, she meant it. She was only good, and he was great, and unlike Moose who was amazing at being in the spotlight, sometimes the spotlight got the best of her.
Sometimes the spotlight was blinding.
Even on a night like tonight where they were going to tell a story they helped create, and she had the choreography down perfectly, and it was going to be Moose alongside her, she felt jittery in all the wrong places, and like everything was going to go wrong.
She wasn't made for the spotlight like he was.
"Presenting . . . LMNTRIX!"
The announcer's booming voice brings her back to the present and as she opens her eyes, the audience goes wild. Andie pulls back, her hands sliding down to grasp at hers, squeezing in encouragement. "You got this," she whispers, and Camille, well, she doesn't know if she does.
The music starts, slow and with a steady beat. Moose is waiting for her cue on the other side of the small stage. Camille breathes for just a moment, in and out, in and out, and then she's squeezing back.
She meets Andie's eyes and nods. "I've got this."
And then she's onstage.
As soon as Moose sees her his eyes light up, and they both meet in the middle of the stage.
There's an old-fashioned fedora now on top of his curls as he grins at her before he does some well-known 1950's moves, and then it's her turn. Even though her stomach's still bubbling with nerves, she nails every 1950's freestyle she does and their hands intertwine after. The music begins to swell as they sway back and forth together, and Camille even goes as far as resting her head in the crook of his neck, and then there's a base-drop, and the girls are pulling her away.
The song switches as the boys grab Moose and tug him back so that the girls can point and mouth at each other before launching into a routine, their movements synchronized as they pop and lock. The boys wave them off as they take the stage, doing old dances like the jitterbug and the jive, and at the end Sean and Andie take center stage.
There's a slow song playing as they masquerade around each other and instead of the music swelling as it did for Moose and Camille at first, instead, it slows completely as Sean and Andie wrap their arms around each other and kiss overdramatically.
Both groups of girls and boys converge in front of them, and then they all break out into the twist. Vladd and Robot Girl end up in the front, one spotlight on them as the rest of the room dims, and they do a robot-inspired number as everyone else gets into position for the final group dance.
The lights flicker towards the end, and then a remix of an old song comes on, and the whole group does a mix of different 1950's dances, going from an R&B infused madison line dance to the bop with the music to match, and then everybody freezes as the music suddenly cuts off and the lights go dark. The audience rumbles with applause, thinking the show is over as they stand and clap, but then a new song starts, and it's one Camille knows by heart.
I won't dance, don't ask me
I won't dance, don't ask me
I won't dance, Madame, with you
My heart won't let my feet do things they should do
The light above the center of the stage flickers back to life, revealing Moose and Camille standing there. Camille's giving Moose comical looks as he dances around her, and then they're dancing together as the song goes on. They're doing nearly the same routine they always do with their song, and as she steps in step with Moose beside her, she feels like she's back in college again, dancing out in the streets of New York City with her best friend by her side.
As the remix comes to an end, Moose carefully grabs her by the hand and pulls her into a twirl, and then dips her as the final note finishes. He lifts her back up and though the applause around them is deafening, the only thing Camille can focus on is Moose.
Their lips are inches away from each other, and she thinks for a second that he might just kiss her in front of all these people because to hell with PDA, but then he slowly slides his hands out of hers, and takes a step back. Camille's brows knit in confusion but before she can ask what he's doing, he's down on one knee.
The audience gasps in shock and excited whispers ripple across the room as Moose pulls a red velvet box from his coat pocket and holds it in one hand, anxiously smiling up at her.
"Camille, when we first met, I knew right then and there that I would never give you up. There was something about you that was—that was mesmerizing, and it wasn't just your looks." The crowd chuckles and Camille bites back a laugh of her own.
"It was your heart. Your personality. The way you cared for everyone you came across, no matter who they were. The way you stuck by me, no matter what. I don't think I've ever met anyone as beautiful as you are on the inside, and I don't think I ever will."
The crowd aww's there, and Camille can feel tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.
"You are everything to me, Cam. Everything. And I've known that since that dinner with your brother? Freshmen year when we met? God, he scared the shit out of me, but I knew even if he decided to beat me up it would be worth it, because at least I got to meet your family. I knew I wanted to spend forever with you."
There's tears slipping down Camille's cheeks now, and Moose's eyes look glassy as he pops open the velvet box, revealing a gorgeous engagement ring.
"Chameleon, will you marry me?"
It's so silent you could hear a pin drop, and for those few quiet seconds Moose's heart is pounding. Everyone around them waits with baited breath, and happy tears are falling from Camille's cheeks.
"Yes, yes, a million times yes!"
The crowd goes crazy and the entire crew runs out on stage to congratulate them. Moose jumps up and takes Camille's hand, carefully sliding the ring onto her ring finger as a disbelieving laugh escapes her, and then he tucks the box back in his coat pocket and steals a kiss.
When he pulls back a moment later they're both breathless with joy, and as he drapes his arms over her shoulders, she does the same to him. Their foreheads press together, and the smiles on their faces are unmistakable.
"I love you so much," he mumbles, kissing her once more, "I love you so, so much." He brings one hand to her face so that he can wipe away her tears, and she chuckles, blinking fast.
"I can't believe you just proposed during the show. What if I had said no?"
His eyes shine, "Please. We both know you can't resist The Dancing Moose."
"I can't believe I'm going to marry someone who refers to himself as The Dancing Moose." She leans in for another kiss, and when they break apart, her fingers dance across his cheek and she says, "I love you too."
Of course the proposal was going to lead to more fans waiting outside the show than usual, but nobody really minded too much. They were used to the recognition that came with the show by now. Almost every show, there was always a new group of people who wanted to get pictures with members of LMNTRIX.
After taking a good seven pictures with a fan in-between the newly engaged couple, the twins call Moose over and he gives Camille a quick peck on the lips before meeting up with them over by the fountain for some pictures.
Moose is a sociable guy, so he often gives her a kiss on the cheek or a smile before meeting up with the twins and posing for picture after picture. Camille usually sticks with the girls for group photos or with Andie because she's the big sister she never had, but tonight is different as everyone is whisked away to different photo ops all at once, leaving Camille alone.
It's fine at first, and she poses for pictures with two middle-aged couples who gush about her dancing and thank her for her time politely but then someone else touches her elbow. The sudden contact makes her jump and she whips around, coming face to face with a guy no older than her with a crooked smile and a sharp jawline.
"I was wondering if I could get a picture?"
She smiles. She can still see Moose in the corner of her eye as he signs autographs for a group of giggly college-aged girls. "Sure thing."
The guy moves in for a selfie, one arm around her shoulders, tight, and the other holding up the phone. She smiles as the flash goes off. When he goes to pull his arm back he quickly slides his hand down to her rear and before Camille can even react his hand squeezes harder on her arm, almost like a warning. His other arm slips around her waist, phone long forgotten—
"Hey hands off, asshole."
Andie shoves past the guy, hard, acting as a barrier between him and Camille. She doesn't say the words loudly enough to catch anyone's attention but they are forceful enough that the guy stares her down for only a minute before turning around and storming off, muttering something about inconveniences under his breath.
Camille is speechless and disgusted and horrified as Andie turns back towards her, and without another word she grabs her hand and drags her into the women's bathroom two feet away. As soon as they're in private and out of the public eye, Andie asks her if she's okay.
She doesn't really think about it, her brain a whirlwind, her arm throbbing.
"Yeah, I guess so."
Andie leans back against the sink and crosses her arms, a scowl over her lips. Camille can feel her anger from across the room. "What happened?"
Camille runs her hands through her hair, "I don't know. He just asked for a picture and then moved in for a selfie and the next thing I knew he was grabbing my ass."
Before she can say anymore, Moose bursts into the bathroom, concern written across his face. "I'm sorry," he says. "I saw you guys run in here like there was something wrong. What happened?" Camille twirls her engagement ring around her finger as she looks from Andie to her new fiancé and something in her gut twists.
She plasters on a fake smile. "Nothing's wrong. Just having some girl talk."
Moose's gaze shifts from her to Andie, and then back to her. There's something in his eyes that Camille fidgets at; like he doesn't believe her. Like he knows her too well.
Which, admittedly, he does.
He's looking right at her as he says it, and later, Camille will look back at this moment and realize this is when she should've done opposite, should've told him and trusted him and put faith in him like the ring around her finger suggested, but in the moment, she's stupidly naïve and thinks it's better not to involve him over something so small.
"Yes Moose. It's girl talk, not the end of the world."
Andie's completely silent as she watches their exchange, and Moose stands there for a few more seconds before nodding and backing towards the door. He doesn't believe her fully, Camille can tell, but he trusts her, trusts that whatever she's not telling him is something she can handle, and without saying anything else he heads back out to the lobby, leaving the two girls alone.
As soon as he's gone Andie's questioning her. "Why not tell him?"
She sighs, fixes her dress, plays with her hands. "Because I know how he'll react. It's okay, it's fine. It was only one little thing, one time. There's nothing to worry about. After the look you gave that guy, you scared him off for good."
Andie shrugs, but there's a frown pulling at her lips, "I hope so. But if we see that guy again then we tell Moose and everyone else, okay?"
Camille smiles, though it doesn't reach her eyes. "Okay."
There's one thing she can't shake about that 'fan' who had groped her.
And that was that he had looked familiar.
"—and can we also have an order of the shrimp please? Half fried, half grilled?"
"Of course, sir. I'll bring that out to you shortly."
The waiter reaches down and takes both of their menus before heading off to the kitchen to place their order, and Moose takes a sip of his drink as Camille looks around, taking in the scenery around them.
Her new fiancé had insisted on taking them out to dinner to celebrate their engagement because they never got a chance to do so after getting engaged (the shows were thoroughly exhausting and then their work schedules had been all over the place) so here they were, a few weeks later. Moose's grandparents had recommended the place to them, and though it was a little more on the fancy side, they decided to check it out anyway.
The décor was mostly black and white, and the waiter was dressed up in a suit, and admittedly, Camille felt underdressed though the restaurant didn't have a dress code. The windows of the building were elegantly big with custom swirls in the frosted glass, and famous paintings hung all around. Moose's grandparents came from humble beginnings, so it was weird that they had raved about a place like this.
As if he was reading her mind, Moose reaches across the table and takes her left hand in his. "If you're wondering why my grandparents like this place so much, it's solely because of the food, not the atmosphere. They said the food was to die for."
Camille chuckles, "Oh no. They don't serve goat here do they?" Her words cause a laugh to bubble out of him as he shakes his head.
"No, no you're safe. Honestly goat isn't all that bad you know. Tastes really good,"
"I'll pass." She deadpans, and Moose concedes with another laugh.
His thumb catches on her engagement ring, and he smiles as he looks down at her hand. The ring was silver with a smaller sized diamond in the middle—Camille was never one for flashy things so she was grateful for his taste—and it was absolutely perfect.
In the few weeks she'd been wearing the ring she was surprised to find that Moose enjoyed holding it or twisting it around more so than she did. He always looked amazed whenever he looked at it, like he still couldn't believe she had said yes. It made her heart beat a little faster, and made her love him more and more.
Camille's other hand tugs at his, and her eyes catch his simple silver ring before her fingers do. She'd never thought she'd see The Dancing Moose wear a ring in his life but here he was, and honestly, he looked even sexier dancing with his ring on than without.
But, maybe that was just her.
"I hate to ruin the moment," she teases as she pulls her hands back, "but I have to use the ladies' room. I'll be right back." Moose groans playfully but leans across the table and gives her a quick peck on the lips anyway and then she stands, fixes her skirt, and heads to the ladies' room.
There's someone using the stall next to her when she's first in there, but they leave by the time she's done, and as she moves to the sink and washes her hands, she double-checks her reflection in the mirror. Moose's quick kiss didn't smudge her lipstick at all (he was getting good at that) and she looked great and felt great.
Moving over to the air dryer she sticks her hands under, and it whooshes to life, flicking water droplets everywhere. The air dryer is loud enough that she doesn't hear the ladies' room door open, and she doesn't hear the light footsteps that advance towards her.
She doesn't hear anything.
Then, unexpectedly, she feels somebody's front pressing up against her back. She jerks, not expecting the contact and the person—a guy, she can tell—pushes into her more, and then his hands are grabbing at hers.
It's not Moose.
Moose's hands aren't this big, and his grip is never bruising.
This isn't Moose shoving her against an air dryer, and panic settles heavily in her chest all at once.
"Get off of me!" Her voice is strong but not loud enough to be heard by anyone else over the air dryer. The man is strategic; he keeps her hands under the dryer so that it'll keep running, and with the bruising force he's using, Camille can't pull her hands away.
With a grunt of effort she uses as much strength as she can gather and pushes backwards, hoping maybe it will be enough to make the man stumble, but the man recovers fast and shoves her back into the air dryer, the hard metal slamming into her stomach. She cries out, but again, the noise is covered by another whoosh of air.
"Engaged now?" His voice sounds familiar, and the thought alone sends chills down her spine. Her heart feels like it's in her throat as it beats rapidly, her panic adding another layer to this that makes her almost immobile with fear. "I can't believe you would do that to me, Camille."
He exhales, long and slow, and takes one hand back, instead using his other to grab at both of hers. She tries to get away again, moving her hands around, desperately trying to loosen the firm grip he now has on both of her wrists, but it's of no use. His free hand moves up to her hair and pulls.
She gasps in pain and horror. Tears immediately prick at the corners of her eyes.
"No more of that, okay dear?" His voice is sickening sweet as his lips brush against the shell of her ear, and her stomach curls as bile crawls up her throat. When she doesn't try to move again he murmurs, "Good dear," before releasing her hair.
For a moment his other hand is gone, and her panic quells, but it's not for long.
His lips press against her neck, hot and sticky.
"I've been watching you since your first show, Camille."
Another open-mouthed kiss, this time on her collarbone. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you. And then I watched you dance—"
His hand pulls at her shirt, revealing the pale skin of her shoulder and he groans, his fingers shaking as they trail down her arm. "Oh the things you did to me," he whispers, and Camille cries out when he bites down on her skin.
Fear surging through her she kicks her leg back, hoping she hits something close to his groin before ripping her hands from his grip and running into the closest stall. She slams the door and locks it, and the man laughs quietly as he recovers, the air dryer finally shutting off.
He moves towards the stall door and slams his fist into the front of it, but only once.
"Oh Camille," he says, "I love you, can't you see that?"
There's a beat of silence and then he sighs.
"I guess I should be on my way. We'll see each other again soon enough. Take care, dear, and uh," Camille's heart jumps into her throat as he shows her a pocketknife through the stall's gap, "don't tell Moose about us, okay? I wouldn't want to have to hurt him, he's such a great dancer."
With those final words and a laugh, the man leaves, leaving Camille alone.
A minute a half passes before she breaks down into tears.
sorry. period issues. could we get our food to go?
no problem. everything ok?
be out soon
"Hey. Feeling better?"
Camille nods as he signs his name for the check.
He picks up their to-go bag as he stands and grabs her hand in the process. She jumps, not expecting the contact, a soft sound escaping her lips, but the steady chatter of the restaurant prevents Moose from hearing her as he guides them towards the door.
Once outside he leads them over to the spare car his grandparents had given them ("How is getting into a car with a stranger suddenly okay these days?" Moose's grandmother had said before handing over the keys, not taking no for an answer as she had shoved them out the door. "Go now, before you're late!") and the Honda rumbles to life as they climb into it.
"Gotta love that remote start," he says with a wry smile before passing the food over to Camille. She places the bag down by her feet and then they're off.
The drive home is quiet.
Camille feels as though she can't find her voice, like she's stuck back in the bathroom all over again, even with Moose turning on the radio halfway through the drive. The silence is suffocating, and Camille worries that she'll drown before she's able to reach the top.
Moose doesn't think anything of her silence, chalking it up to her period. Sometimes she would have horrible cramps, other times he found himself bringing her some fries and ice-cream because she had to have it.
His stomach grumbles as he parks as close to their apartment as he can get, which just so happens to only be a door or two down, and as soon as he pops the driver's side door open, Camille feels as though she can speak again.
"I'm sorry," she apologizes, his body halfway out the door.
He turns towards her, a smile already in place. "Don't worry about it. I'd rather eat with you on the couch while we watch VH1 than in some stuffy restaurant any day."
He leans across the console to give her a kiss.
Camille feels someone else's lips and fights the urge to cry.
The one on her stomach is purple, a nauseating shade of yellow branching out from underneath. It's been about a week, and she's still covering both wrists with makeup. There's smaller ones peppered across her arms, and her shoulder is a mess of dark colors.
There's a bite mark. The skin around the indent is raised, and though it's healing, it's healing slowly.
It's been hard, hiding the bruises.
Her and Moose were comfortable with each other, they really were. They were living the domesticated life even before they were together (though back then, him shirtless really just met she had to hide the blush that always rose to her cheeks before he could see) and that didn't change when they got together, or when they got engaged.
Moose was one to walk around the apartment in just sweats, and Camille was one to wear an oversized shirt of his whenever she didn't feel like actually getting dressed. They had no problem seeing the other naked, and joked about it whenever possible.
They worked really well.
Since the incident, their rhythm had been off, and it was wearing them both thin.
Camille didn't know how to fix it.
The doorknob rattles, and the loud sound startles her, both her hands gripping the bathroom counter tight enough that her knuckles turn white. "Camille?" Moose questions, his voice echoing from behind the door. It's unspoken, his question: why is the door locked?
She doesn't have an answer and hopes he doesn't ask.
"Are you okay?"
His voice is quieter this time, more subdued. She breathes out slow.
"I'm fine." Her voice shakes. She curses herself without making a sound. "Just—Just taking a moment."
Moose is quiet for a long time, his fingers still resting on top of the doorknob.
"You would tell me? If there was something going on?" He pauses, struggling for the right words. "If you weren't . . . happy?" A tear slips down her pale cheek and she squeezes her eyes shut.
"I'm happy, Moose. Don't worry, okay?"
His hand slips from the doorknob.
"Baby you were amazing tonight," Moose whispers as the crew approaches the elevators together. His arm is slung affectionately around her lower waist as they pile into the elevator on the left, getting pushed to the back corner as the doors shut.
The Mob took the other elevator because the entire crew didn't fit in one, but Sean had opted to go with Andie instead. Vladd and Robot Girl are in the other back corner, his chin resting on top of her ruby red hair, his arms wrapped around her slim waist. Chad and Violet are next to them, her fingers tucked in his belt loops as they kiss messily, causing the twins stuck next to them to groan exaggeratedly.
Kido and Monster are shoulder to shoulder half-listening to whatever Hair and his barber are lightheartedly arguing about, glancing at each other knowingly. Sean and Andie catch her eye as they move in for a kiss in front of them, all cheeky smiles and lingering touches and love.
She misses being able to kiss Moose like that, out of love and not guilt as her mind tricks her into thinking she's kissing somebody who isn't him with hot lips and a bruising grip—
Something swirls around in her gut the longer she stares at Sean and Andie, and it almost doesn't sit right with her, how happy they look when they pull away from each other, how Sean's hand still rests on her cheek.
She's able to put a word to the feeling swirling around inside her when the elevator dings and they don't make a move to leave, the rest of the world forgotten. And as everyone else steps out of the elevator and onto the main floor, Sean and Andie stay, their eyes never once leaving each other's.
She misses Moose more than he knows, even though they spend most of their days together. But it's not the same anymore, and she can only blame herself for it.
Camille stares so long that Moose has to gently tug at her hand and whisper her name so that she moves, and he's steady at her side as they follow everyone else. "Moose," Sean calls, stopping the doors from closing with a hand in the middle.
Moose turns around, "Tell everyone we'll meet up with them later."
"Sure thing man," he promises with a chuckle and Sean shoots him a grin before removing his hand and disappearing behind the metal doors.
Camille's lost in thought as Moose calls out to the group and tells them that Sean and Andie are out and she's still lost in thought when he tells them him and Camille are out too. The twins give him a hug and so does Kido, and he tells them to have a good time at the club before returning to Camille's side. He grabs her hand again and pulls her over to the little nook right next to the elevators, a quiet little corner that's out of sight, out of mind.
The lobby in Caesars is always loud and busy. Tonight is no exception, especially since it's Friday, but Moose is thankful to see no one is seated in any of the chairs in the corner, which is good because he doesn't know how Camille is going to take what he's going to try to do next.
And when he folds his arms around her frame, pulling her as close to his chest as he can, all hell breaks loose. Panic, sudden and sharp, causes her to lurch backwards but for some reason, Moose doesn't let go. In fact, he only pulls her closer, burying his face in her shoulder.
It's the closest he's been to her in weeks.
Her sudden deterrence to hugs and kisses she used to always welcome has been obvious to him for weeks now and he doesn't understand why and he can't figure it out. She was startling easier, moving away from him more and jumping at any unknown noises or touches. He tried his best to be vigilant about it, making sure she knew when he was doing one thing or another, always announcing his presence when he entered the bathroom while she was in the shower to grab something or the front door of the apartment after work.
But it wasn't enough and he was getting nowhere.
"Moose," she whispers, her tone almost pleading with how strangled it comes out, and she again tries to move away, her heart thumping a mile a minute.
He doesn't budge, he doesn't move one inch, and the panic—sharp like a needle, suffocating like a hand over her mouth—kicks her into action. Using all her force she plants both her hands on his chest and shoves, and he stumbles backwards, almost knocking into one of the loveseats behind him. The tears are fast and a few slip down her cheeks before she is able to lift a shaking hand and wipe them away, smearing her mascara in the process.
He's a dancer so he has no problem catching himself, preventing a fall, and Camille has to bite back the sob that threatens to escape her when he looks up at her and instead of there being anger, there's just hurt and confusion.
"Moose I'm so sorry," she cries, unsure of what to say.
He takes a step towards her and she flinches back without meaning to, causing him to freeze.
He wonders if she can hear his heart break. He would never—
"Cam I'd never—"
His voice breaks. "What is going on with you, Cam?"
"Nothing!" She fumbles for words, "I'm—I'm just in a weird place right now—"
"A weird place?" He asks, incredulous. "You just shoved me because I gave you a hug when we haven't hugged in days, weeks even I don't know, and I don't even know how long you've been acting like this. I—"
He inhales roughly, dragging his hands down his face. His eyes are red-rimmed after.
"I just know you haven't been okay and you won't tell me why and our relationship is suffering from it." Everything in him aches to move closer to her but he's afraid to and he never wants her to be afraid of him, so he stays where he is. He meets her eyes and there's tears on her cheeks he wants to wipe away.
"I love you, Camille," his words are raw, and his heart is open. "If there's something going on or if something happened, please," he shakes his head, closes his eyes for a second. Scrubs at his eyes with a hand, "please let me in."
There's something painfully ironic about what happens next.
Moose turns his head. Camille stiffens.
"I'm sorry. I was just wondering if I could get a picture with the best dancers in the show?"
The man smiles, his teeth white as pearls, his jawline sharp.
Moose, ever the charmer, puts up a front. He's good at that when it comes to the public. "Hey man, I'm sorry, but right now really isn't a good time. Our next show is on Sunday," he spares a glance at Camille, "and we should be good to pose for pictures then." He takes a step towards Camille, but the guy grabs his elbow.
"I was really looking forward to a picture," he says, his voice tight.
Moose goes to open his mouth and make a snarky comment but before he can he sees Camille out of the corner of his eye. She's acting strange. Her eyes are locked on the guy who's still holding his elbow, and her hands are trembling. She's twisting her engagement ring around like it's the only thing grounding her to reality, and suddenly it hits Moose like a truck to his chest.
She looks terrified. Frozen to the spot.
Moose's eyes slide up to the guy's face at the same time the elevator dings. He's smiling at Camille, gazing at her like she's something to him. Somethings not right.
"Who did you say you were again?" He asks, his tone accusing.
The guy lets go of his arm just as Sean and Andie step out of the elevator.
He meets Moose's stare with one of his own. "Just a loyal fan."
Andie turns her head at the sound of the guy's voice and immediately rushes over to Camille, Sean following behind her. "Oh my God, Camille, are you alright? What happened?" The tone of her voice tips Moose off more as his blood begins to boil.
"Who are you?" He growls, Sean coming in-between them, holding Moose back by the chest. When the guy doesn't answer, Moose pushes against Sean, "What the fuck did you do to her?"
And for some reason, Moose's furious words break Camille free.
"He assaulted me, in the bathroom. Back at the restaurant." Her voice is discreet and her words are hoarse, unstable, and her hands won't stop shaking, and her legs feel like they're going to give out on her any second. But the truth is finally out in the open.
Moose doesn't waste a second as his fist cracks into the guy's jaw.
He throws the fleece blanket he had fetched from the closet over her legs and feet before plopping back down on the couch next to her and reaching for the frozen bag of peas on the coffee table. He hisses when the cold meets the warmth of his bruised knuckles.
Camille doesn't hesitate to reach her hand over to help keep the bag in place. "Thanks," he mumbles, wincing, and all she's able to do is nod.
Moose looks over at his fiancée, and he swears he's never been more worried in his life. He doesn't know what to do, or what to say. He doesn't know if saying nothing is the right thing to do, and he thinks a hug would be too much. She's been staring at the blank TV screen for about a half hour now, and he hasn't left her side.
After all the police and paperwork, after Moose had beaten the guy bloody, the only thing left was Camille. And though he knew her like the back of his hand, he didn't know this side of her, and it makes him angry that someone did this to her, that he couldn't protect her, that there was a chance she might not ever recover from this because he wasn't there.
He wasn't there and he was afraid Camille wouldn't ever be able to leave.
His hand is already numb from the cold seeping through his skin so he gently throws the bag aside. "Yeah baby?" Camille's hand, which had been previously resting on top of the bag, moves to rest on top of his knee.
"It wasn't your fault."
Moose shakes his head. "Camille—"
"No Moose," her voice is soft, "listen to me."
She turns towards him, bringing the blanket with her. She'd been cold since they walked through the door, and even after changing into a pair of his sweatpants and pulling one of his McGowan sweatshirts over her pajamas, she was still cold. She knew one of his hugs would warm her up instantly, but she wasn't sure if she was ready.
"What happened to me was not your fault."
Her words, wavering with the memory, while she had talked to the police had hit him like a stab to the gut. He kept a hand on her waist as she had given her statement, and she was thankful for it because it kept her more grounded than she had been in a while, but it also kept Moose from going over and beating the man who had done this to her until he couldn't move.
Hearing her recount what had happened to her to the officers was hard for him, and the hardest part was that he was hearing the story for the first time along with the police.
"What that man did was sick and it's nobody's fault but his own. You can't blame yourself for something you didn't even know about. I made the decision to try and get through it on my own when I shouldn't have. I should've told you or Andie, or—or somebody before it escalated to what it did."
Her face crumples and Moose reaches out for her when the tears come. He wraps his arms around her and she hides her face in his shirt, her sobs muffled by the material. "I just felt so gross and like I could've done something more to prevent it and then he threatened to hurt you. Moose, I couldn't let something happen to you because I chose to be selfish—"
"Camille," he whispers, cutting her off.
He aches to hold her tighter.
"You're not selfish. God, Cam, you could never be. It's not selfish to ask for help. It's not selfish to come to me with your problems—if you could even call them that." He exhales, "I'm saying this all wrong. Camille, we've been best friends since MSA. We tell each other everything, we always have. I don't care if—"
He cuts himself off again, and curses under his breath. His hand is making circles across her back.
"Cam will you dance with me?"
It's so out of place, yet so distinctly Moose that Camille can't bring herself to say no.
Wordlessly he helps her to her feet and guides her to the middle of their living room before leaving her alone to turn on the radio on top of their small bookshelf in the corner. He flips through the stations until he finds a song of his liking and then he turns up the volume just enough—they were in an apartment after all and it was almost three in the morning—before returning to her.
He wraps both his arms around her and she holds onto his shirt with both hands as they sway slowly back and forth, and it's only a little while later before Moose finishes his earlier thoughts.
"I love you and I can't stand the thought of anything happening to you. I can't stand the thought that something did happen to you and I didn't stop it." He exhales, but it's shaky, and his hands gently grasp at the back of her shirt.
"I know why you didn't tell me, because if that happened to me and someone threatened you, I would have done the same thing."
He's quiet for a while, the radio's hum the only sound in the apartment for what seems like the longest time. Then his chin gently falls on top of her head and she swears hearing him trying to hide his tears is the most heartbreaking thing she's ever heard in her life.
"I'm so sorry you had to go through this alone," he whispers, having trouble keeping his voice steady. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to stop it. I'm sorry someone held you—"
His voice breaks then, and his fingers flex against her back, pulling at her shirt more. Her tears never stopped but the pure anguish in his voice cause more to fall down her cheeks, and she holds him tighter too.
"I'm sorry someone hurt you and did things to you without your permission. I'm so fucking sorry, Camille." His voice goes then, and so does the rest of his composure as the sobs break through.
"I'm so fucking sorry," he repeats, and he says it again as he presses a kiss to her forehead, and again when he pulls back and pulls both of her hands into his.
She knows they both must look like an absolute mess at that moment, tear tracks down both their cheeks, skin pink, hair frazzled, fingers intertwined. She wants to kiss him full on the lips. She wants to tell him that it was never his fault as she kisses from his lips down to his neck, but she knows she's not ready for such an intimacy.
Instead, she does the next best thing, and lifts their intertwined hands, bringing both of his to her lips and leaving a slow kiss there.
He watches her closely, and idly she thinks the love he still has for her is staggering as she meets his eyes and she knew that she never stopped loving him but she was afraid her actions had caused him to.
He smiles at her then, a half-smile that almost reaches his eyes, his hands squeezing hers, and she knows he never did.
The thought makes her feel worse and better.
A new song starts and something inside Camille pushes the words past her lips before she can even recognize them. "Dance with me?"
He doesn't wait. "Always."
She doesn't regret them as Moose pulls her close once more, their bodies swaying together, both her hands against his chest, both of his arms resting loosely around her waist. Her head falls against his chest, and he's careful as they sway all around the room together. For the first time in weeks, she feels safe.
"I swear I'm gonna help you get through this." He murmurs against her hair, so sincere and gentle that she almost starts crying all over again. A beat passes, "We'll get through this."
Her hand clutches tighter at his shirt.
And the song goes on.
There's something about the spotlight that Camille can't explain.
It's exhilarating, it's nerves, it's don't-mess-up, it's fame, and having to be perfect even when you're far from it. It's dancing in front of crowds that can't get enough and dancing until you're out of breath. It's a job that's not really a job. It can be harsh, or it can be soft, but it's always blinding and she's never been great.
"You're great, you know that, right?"
It's hard, a lot of the time, always being thrust into the spotlight. Always being put under a microscope and dissected until there's nothing left of you. Especially after the trial, which got a lot more publicity then any of them thought it would. That was the hardest thing she's ever had to go through in her life. But he went to jail and the spotlight lessened, if only a little.
"Remember back in college, before you knew about the Pirates and we danced through the streets of New York together? After we finished dancing you said I was a great dancer and you were only a good dancer and that's why you gave it up."
Of course she remembered, but it was a little shocking to hear that he had remembered too. Moose has a hand on her arm, and he's breathless. The crowd is still cheering, and he's looking at her like she's everything and then some. There's a short cut before they head back out on stage to finish up their part in the show.
"Yeah?" She says, confused as to why he's bringing this up now, after everything—
"I know I've said it before but Camille you're great at dancing. You're more than great, you're amazing. You're everything to me." She chuckles but there's already a smile stretching across her lips as he grabs both her hips and pulls her close.
"Well, thank you, but what brought this on?"
He shrugs as the crowd roars with applause, and Camille knows the twins landed that jump they had been practicing. It makes her smile more. "I just wanted you to know. It was bugging me lately that I never said anything back all those years ago, and I wanted to fix that because you are better than you think." He presses their foreheads together, smiles, "and because I love you."
She leans in for a kiss, wishing it could last forever but knowing it can only last a few moments, and when she pulls back Moose is more breathless than he was before.
"If I'm a great dancer, are you sure you don't want to find a different partner? I can't spend all of my time making you look good." He laughs, and then picks her up and spins her around suddenly, causing her to shriek in shock. When she's back on two feet again he's kissing her, but the music's getting louder and their time is running low.
He pulls back from her lips reluctantly, meeting her eyes.
"Nah," he says, "I already found who I wanna dance with and I wouldn't trade her for anything."
They break apart with smiles and then head towards the stage. Moose turns to her before they go out there, reaching for her hand. "You ready for this, baby?"
There's something about the spotlight that Camille can't explain when she's by herself, but can explain when she's with Moose, and that was that the spotlight was always blinding. But it wasn't as blinding whenever Moose was by her side.
Together, they step out into the spotlight, and together, they shine.