Chapter 2: "You Shouldn't Be Alone"

A/N: With the music, I wanted a second song, and so I chose "Love Me Dead" by Ludo, but I want to say that I don't see every little line in the song relating to John and Cameron. But I do think the basic premise of the song is very much along the lines of how John must be feeling right now.

Hours later, John found himself at Riley’s foster parents’ front door. He couldn’t believe what he was about to do. But it was necessary. He took a deep breath and prepared himself. Then he reached out and knocked on the door. Riley’s foster father opened the door. He didn’t look happy to see him.

“Hey, Aaron?” It occurred to John that he might not remember him, since they’d only met in passing, so he added a quick reminder. “John.”

“I remember,” Aaron said coldly.

“Is Riley around?”

“No, she didn’t come home last night.”

John tried to act alarmed. “Riley didn’t come home.”

John’s feigned concern seemed to work. Aaron gestured for John to come inside. John thanked him and walked in as Aaron closed the door. “Foster kids…that’s the way it is with them sometimes. They drift into your life, and then they drift back out again. Not always according to plan. She’s a tough one too. Good heart, as I’m sure you know, but tough to know.”

“Well, I really--I really needed to talk to her. I don’t know if you could maybe just take a message for me--”

The phone began ringing, and Aaron reached for it, interrupting John.

“Hang on a sec.” Aaron picked up the phone. “Hello? Riley! God, Riley! Are you all right? Where are you?”

Cameron spoke on the other end of the phone, in Riley’s voice. “Everything’s fine. I’m in Riverside. It’s a long story. Everything’s fine.”

“We’ve been worried sick. We were about to call the police.”

“Please don’t do that. Everything’s fine.”

“John , too…he’s here.”

That worried John. If Aaron was telling “Riley” he was there, that might mean that he’d have to talk to her. To Cameron. To Riley’s voice.

“John, really? Can I talk to him?”

Sure enough, Aaron hesitantly passed the phone to John.

“Me?” John took the phone, and readied himself. “Riley? You’re in Riverside? Okay. Well, listen, we’ll talk…when I see you.”

“I thought you’d want to hear my voice.”

John couldn’t believe she had thought that. But what did he expect? She didn’t understand much about grief. He tried to get his point across without alarming Aaron.

“You know you’re really freaking everybody out, right?”

“Am I freaking you out, now?”

“Yes. So let’s talk later.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just…I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot. And there are things I can’t get out of my head. And I just thought if I came out and saw where we used to live…I know…stupid, right?”

What is she talking about?

“Okay. Well, we’ll talk about all this in person. Yeah? When you get back.” There was no answer on the other line. John chuckled nervously. “We’re hanging up now.”


Why can't she let this go? I just need to hang up, to not hear her voice anymore.
He tried to deflect. “Yeah, sure. That would be great.”

“John,” Cameron said, more forcefully.

He gave in. “Yep?”

“I love you.”

His heart dropped. He had never been this angry with her. He reminded himself that he had to keep his composure. Aaron couldn’t suspect that anything was wrong.

“Okay, bye.”

As John was leaving the house, he thought about what he would say to Cameron. How could she do that? This is why he was always so confused. She played with his emotions too much. She needed to learn that the things she say mean something. Shouldn’t she know this?

“What does that mean?” John asked.

“It means that Alison got through to her.” Mykah replied.


“The girl Cameron was modeled after.”

“Alison, like…”

“Yes, like the girl Cameron thought she was when she was experiencing her glitch. I can’t be sure, but I think somehow she forgot almost everything, and the only bits of information she could remember were about Alison. So she filled in the blanks.”

John was confused. “Why are you telling me all of this now? And what do you mean Alison got through to her?”

“I’m telling you this now, because she’s coming apart. Don’t tell me you can’t see it. I’ve seen how you’ve pulled away from her, but I know you still notice. When you sent her back here, you disabled her emotions, her ability to learn and understand what being a human is. You needed a protector, not a friend. There’s a firewall set up around her smaller chip, and there are firewalls around certain memories that might confuse her. Emotionally-centered memories. I think all of this was damaged in the explosion. Things have been leaking through. I think she’s been feeling things, and she doesn’t understand them. She doesn’t know how to handle any of it, and that makes her unpredictable. Not to mention dangerous.”

“And Alison?”

“Alison…was the first one to teach her about believing in someone or something bigger than yourself. Her loyalty, her devotion, it prevailed even though she had free will. That helped Cameron decide whose side she would be on. When she came to the camp, she asked to speak directly to you. She explained what had happened and asked you to help her, to teach her what it is to be human. She offered to let you reprogram her, although it wasn’t necessary.”

“Why wasn’t it necessary?”

John continued making his way to where Cameron was waiting in the truck. Or at least she was supposed to be waiting. He saw her walking towards him. So maybe she does realize that she shouldn‘t have said that. She looks like she's expecting a confrontation.

“What the hell was that about?” he said angrily. He made sure to speak lowly, though, so as not to draw attention.

“What was what about?”

“What happened, just now.”

“It was the plan.”

“No. The plan was to call the foster parents. The plan was to let him hear her voice.”

“That’s what I did.”

“That’s not all you did. What you did was not the plan.”

“The plan was to make him think she’s still alive…so he wouldn’t go to the police. You became part of that plan. Your reaction made it more authentic. Don’t you think it was more authentic that way?” She paused, waiting for a response from him. He wouldn’t give her one. She broke the silence. “Where are we going now?”

“We’re not going anywhere. I’m going somewhere. And I’m going to go alone.”

“You shouldn’t be alone.”

“Yes, I should.”

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