( A night with my best friend 🛌)
✍️ Chapter Twenty-Five✍️
“Just pack anything…clothes to keep you warm at night though. You said you were going to get a tent, is that still happening?” Sav asked on the other end of the line.
“Yeah, I’m going shopping right now.” I told her.
It was Friday morning. Because of the bank holiday, schools were closed. That was why Ryland had chos£n this weekend to go camping. We were to leave today in the late afternoon.
I had a knack of leaving things to last minute; I was packing everything right now. I couldn’t blame myself for being late though. I was extremely busy this week with school.
“Good. I alre-ady have a slee-ping bag, you nee-d get one for yourself. And food; something that will last. Ryland said that they had food but I wasn’t sure.” She told me.
I heard my mother’s call downstairs
“Alright. Just text me the list so I won’t forget.”
“Seriously you should have done this, ages ago.”
“Well sorry, I had other things do.”
“Whatever. Just be re-ady by four. Remember, Ned’s driving us.”
“Yeah-yeah.” I hung up the phone before she could lecture me some more.
I took my small bag and ran downstairs. I locked the house door before running to my mother’s car where she was waiting inside.
“Did she tell you what you nee-d?” She asked me as she began cruising out of our driveway.
I buckled my seat belt, replying her with a nod.
“You should st©p leaving things to last minute. I always tell you this.” She shook her head but she was facing the road.
“I know, but I was really busy.”
“You didn’t even tell us about this trip until yesterday. What if Teddy said no?”
I smiled, remembering how uncomfortable my father was yesterday when I brou-ght up the trip. He immediately asked if there was going to be boys. He went on and on about the dangers of the woods, telling me to not wander off… etc. That had been his version of permitting me to go.
“I would’ve still convinced him.” I grinned.
She shook her head again, but this time a smile contorted in herl-ips.
“I think he only agreed because you’ve been all about school-school-school this past few months. He wants you to have a break.” She said.
I shook my head. ” I went to some p@rties. I hung around too.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Mom, getting into medical school is not as easy as it was in your time. I nee-d the credentials and if it means doing the extra just to get in, well—”
“I know.” She nodded, cutting me off. “I know and I’m proud of you, Keya. I have no doubt at all that you won’t get into any of those colleges you applied to.”
I shrugged. “Any will do fine just as long as I get in.”
“Speaking of credentials, I talked with Dr Wesley and he agreed to let you in to that internsh!p.”
I was genuinely surprised. I mean, it was just a few months ago when I made the decision to get into medical school. My decision was mostly based on how my mother loved her job—she inspired me—and also based on how I kept on acing my science subjects with straight A’s.
When I told my parents my decision, they didn’t take me seriously. When I asked Kelly if she could talk to one of her good friend, Dr Wesley, that I was interested in the internsh!phe was holding during the summer, she seemed reluctant and doubtful that he would accept me since I will be fresh out of high school with little experience. Her doubt made me doubt too. But, she was mostly worried about me sacrificing my summer. She kept putting it off, saying some plans might come up in summer to prevent me from doing the internsh!p.
I clasped my hands excitedly as what she said sunk in. “Thank you, thank you!” I hvgged her despite the fact that she was driving.
She laughed but then her face clouded with regret. “Are you really sure you want to this?”
“Yes, mom. I mean I’ve watched how you help others and I want to do that too.” I answered her, suddenly feeling whimsical.
“Oh, poodles.” Herl-ips trembled. “This is a really big deal. It won’t be too late to revoke. You really don’t have to do it. You have to enjoy this upcoming summer, it might be the last one you spend here.”
“I know, but—”
“Because even if you become a chef or an artist or just took a gap year, we’d be proud either way.” She interrupted. “Think about it, Key. Really think about what you will be sacrificing.”
I sighed. “Okay, how about after graduation I’ll tell you my final decision.”
“Dr Wesley will still hold that place for you. And graduation is in less than a month, Keya.” She glanced at me quic-kly before facing the road.
“I know, mom. Your version of saying a lot could happen in less than a month.”
She smiled but didn’t offer any more as she pu-ll-ed over the parking lot next to Decathlon, the sto-re suitable for outgoing activities.
Just in time, I received Sav’s text containing the list of what to get as we entered the sto-re.
But, even with this list I had in hand, Kelly decided to take over when she urgently moved the shopping cart to the direction she wanted.
At first she went to the clothes section and although I alre-ady had clothes for camping wear, she still bought me more.
“Mom, I think I have waterproof p@n-ts in the house.” I protested. “I remember packing them.”
She ignored me as she added the p@n-ts into the cart. Next, we went over to the cutlery section where she added a thermos, Tupperware, plastic spoons and forks—we had all of these items in the house for crying out loud. But, knowing my protest won’t get taken into account, I went along with what she got.
We moved to the slee-ping bag isle where we were trying to decide which slee-ping bag was appropriate.
“This one looks strong.” I suggested pointing at any slee-ping bag I saw.
“No, you nee-d—”
“Fancy seeing you guys here.” It was Kyle’s gruff voice that cut her mid-s£ntence.
Instantly my breathing momentarily st©pped, my heart missing a beat as my head wiped around to see him. Like a freight train barrelling forth, his pres£nce destroyed my composed demeanour.
“Kyle? What are you doing here?” I asked, narrowing my eyes slightly.
He grinned snidely. “I forgot I didn’t have a slee-ping bag.”
“Oh goodie. You’ll help us Kyle, sweetie. We don’t know which bag to go for.” Kelly piped in, taking Kyle’s arm and dragging him to the isle.
“Hmm.” He pretended to be thoughtful.
My mother bit herl-ips in thought too as she stared at the choices.
They were not serious. I silently fumed. A slee-ping bag was a slee-ping bag. Give or take they were all sort of the same.
“I think you should go for double instead of single. You never know how much room you’ll nee-d.” Kyle said to Kelly but, because I was right behind her, it seemed like he was saying it to me when our gazes locked.
I hid how his look wrecked me inwardly as I narrowed my eyes at him. Exactly what did he imply with that statement? That I was fat?
“Perfect!” Kelly exclaimed, gr-abbing the pack into her hands. “It might get cold and this is perfect to conserve b©dy heat. Maybe you and Sav could cudd-letogether.” She said abs£ntmindedly as she re-ad the information in the pact.
Kyle looked at me, giving me his knowing sm-irk. My mother was unaware of the innuendo she pres£nted in the s£ntence.
She took another similar slee-ping bag and added them to the cart. Kyle and I both knew the other was for him. Although he looked reluctant he had learned from previous experience never to argue with Kelly when she bought him things. That’s why he had avoided ever going shopping with us when we were younger.
“Poodles, take the cart while Kyle and I see what else you nee-d.” She pushed the cart into my hands and linked arms with Kyle as they walked away from the isle.
After getting the tent—bigger than necessary—the cart bec@m£ full and heavy to push. I lagged behind while they chatted off.
I tried to catch up with them, so that I could hear their conversation because their voices bec@m£ lowered and their faces turned sombre. Kyle looked back at me and instantly I knew from the look that were discussing the subject of, Robert Reyes.
I blatantly slowed my steps. Kelly looked back for me because her hands were laden with unnecessary stuff she was getting.
“So, have you heard back from any colleges?” I heard her ask Kyle as I caught up with them.
“No, not yet.” He replied.
“Hmm, you’re in the same boat as Keya,” she commented.
I felt him tense. His eyes caught mine and I knew Kelly’s statement was further from the truth. We were not in the same boat.
I knew Kyle wouldn’t be able to get into a college without funds. As of right now, he was using those funds to keep up with the house bills.
I wanted to ask him if he applied for any scholarsh!ps, but I couldn’t ask this at this moment, not when my mother was here. I knew Kyle didn’t want my parents to know about his financial difficulties. Hell, I knew he didn’t even want me to know. But, I wasn’t a fool. I figured it out long ago.
Knowing where Kyle’s thoughts were headed, I decided to change the subject.
“Have you packed everything for the weekend?” I asked him.
Hisl-ips pu-ll-ed into a small smile. “I did everything on Monday.” He said this as way to ru-b in my face that he was more prepared than I was.
“You nee-d to teach Keya about preparation.” Kelly said. “Do you know I only found out yesterday about this trip?”
“Really? I guess it’s typical of her.” He said, his face wiped from any sadness. I guess I was glad that he was now laughing with my mother, even though they were laughing at me.
We headed over to the cashing point. The girl who was scanning our stuff was giving Kyle that gawking glance that told me very well how she was inwardly str!pping him down from head to toe.
Kyle made it worse for her by flir-ting with the poor girl whose cheeks were so beetroot red, I was sure she was going to combust any second.
I didn’t know how I felt watching them. I admitted there was a hint of jealousy there. The green monster was ma-king me res£nt him and his good looks. But, I was being ridiculous, I knew I was. I had wanted us to friends, didn’t I? I was getting exactly what I wanted.
Although my b©dy somehow longed for him and every time he was near that craving would escalate; I knew right now he had forgotten we’d ever shared that moment. I hated myself because I was feeling like a used cloth. Like I was now one of those hopeless girl in Kyle’s list of women he sle-pt with.
“You could b!ow up this whole sto-re with that look.” Kelly snapped me from my reverie. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head, “Nothing.” My tone was laced with distaste.
She stared at me narrowly then shifted her face at where I was shooting daggers with my eyes.
“If you say so.” She smiled secretly as if she just solved a long puzzle, as if she knew something I didn’t.
She moved away from me to pack the things in the cart. Kyle turned to face me with sm-irk. He left the girl as he approached me.
“Ouch. I can feel your jealousy shooting laser beams behind my back.” Despite his s£ntence he was grinning.
I glared at him. “I’m not jealous. Why would I be jealous?”
His face was light with his amused smile. “Keya, its your immediate denial that just proves you are.”
I glowered, looking away from to stare at the girl he’d flir-ting with. “If anyone is jealous, it’s that girl who is now giving me a dirty look.”
“Her name is Ashley. She quite a h0t thing isn’t she.” Instead of looking at her as he said this, his eyes were studying me.
My insides boiled with revulsion. I hated this feeling. It blinded every reasonable thoughts.
“Well then, you’d suit each other just fine. Did you get her number?”
He sm-irked. “Maybe.” And for added measure he win-ked at the girl when she caught his eyes.
It hurt. I didn’t know it would hurt this de-eply. I never cared who he d@t£d before. Why now? We agreed things wouldn’t change between us. I had accepted it wouldn’t, I guess I was wrong.
I nodded at him, trying to lose this res£ntment in my face.
“Can I ask you something?” Kyle suddenly asked.
I f0rç£d myself to look at him. “What?”
“Why are you jealous?” He seemed genuinely interested to know.
“I am not jealous!” I hollered. Taking de-ep breaths, I f0rç£d my feet to move away. To continue with this conversation will be torture.
He laughed. I hated how his laugh gave me bu-tterflies, hated how his eyes sparkled appealingly as he did so.
“I’ll see you in a few hours.” I heard him say.
I mumbled incoherent words, leaving him in that sp©t as I walked over to take the cart from my mother’s hands along with her car keys. I left her because she was wanted to speak to Kyle.
I stomped away from the sto-re and headed over to the car. Once everything was inside, I was tem-pted to just drive and leave her. I waited, however, settling in my seat with my arms crossed.
I watched as she chatted briefly with him and then leaving him laughing, she scurried over to the car.
I didn’t ask her what she told Kyle nor did I even speak when she drove off with a permanent smile on her face.
I was being ludicrous, I knew that. But, the compulsion to fume took toll on me. The thought of seeing him later onward made everything worse.
✍️ Chapter Twenty-Six✍️
“Keya, come on, come on!” Three voices belonging to Kyle, Sav and Ned shouted for me. Sav was alre-ady at the back seat, her window rolled down. Ned took the driver’s seat while Kyle helped pack my bags in Ned’s family Jeep.
“I’m coming, jeez!” I shouted back, while hauling a bag pack on my shoulder.
Since it was boiling h0t outside, I decided to put my hair into a messy bun, some curls still stuck out from the sides. I adorned myself in jean shorts, a tank t©p, a flannel shi-t wra-pped aorund my w@!st and my favourite white converse. It didn’t look like camping-wear but then again, I went with what made me feel comfortable. I just hoped that wherever we were headed, there won’t be mosquitoes or any other bite-nipping insects.
“Hurry up, Ryland and others are alre-ady driving to the rendezvous point.” Sav impatiently whined, obviously annoyed at how slow I was walking.
I rolled my eyes and ignored her as I went behind the Jeep, intending to use the other door. I ended up bu-mping into Kyle whom was closing the boot.
I was still trying to get used to how my b©dy reacted suggestively whenever he was near, so I was surprised when I froze within a sp©t. He hadn’t changed clothes; he still wore his ti-ght white t-shi-t and khaki shorts. The only addition he added was a snapback on his head and sunglas-ses.
He sm-irked at me as he nodded his greeting and I was trying to get a hold of myself, trying not to picture his n-ked b©dy on t©p of me.
I swallowed and returned his nod with a small awkward wave. I was still angry at him for earlier.
“Really?” He asked. “You’re still mad?” He folded his arms across his che-st.
I ignored the urge to gawk at his biceps as I concentrated on his face instead. I was glad for the barrier that was his shades; they prevented me from seeing those impeccable eyes.
“You’re a j£rk.” I glared at him.
That increa-sed his grin. “From that I guess you’re still jealous.”
“Jealous of what? Don’t delude yourself.” I said with venom.
He bit hisl-ip, trying to hold his laugh. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”
I gave him a glowering look. He held his hands up as if in surrender. “Don’t kill me yet.” He smiled. “If it makes you feel better, I didn’t even get her number.”
I hated how his new knowledge somehow did make me feel better. Seriously when had I ever become this jealous? It irked me.
I shrugged as a way to cut our conversation. I manoeuvred away from him, but before I could escape; I felt his hand at the skin of my w@!st. It was that small contact that resulted in a rush of heat coiling below my stomach.
I froze and slowly turned around. What I didn’t expect was his clos£ness; it completely knocked the breath out of me as he leaned closer towards me. The sm-irk on hisl-ips—although S-xy—told me he knew exactly how he was affecting me.
“Don’t be mad.”
I swallowed. My throat was alre-ady dry so I knew I could not speak. I couldn’t even think of what to say.
“I wasn’t mad in the first place.” I croaked.
“You keep denying it but your b©dy says the opposite.” The hands on my w@!st leave a burning s-en-sation as they travel upwards.
“Kyle, st©p.” I whispered. My voice was ba-rely audible from how husky it was.
He leaned closer and his sm-irk increa-sed.
He was doing this on purpose; I knew he had done it all just to initiate a reaction from me.
Somehow, knowing his intentions made me snap out of his trance. I reacted quic-kly as I reached up and snatched his snapback from his head. I darted quic-kly into the Jeep, leaving him confused and shocked at my actions.
I held in a giggle because I knew Sav was going to start waggling her eyebrows at me, nudging me until I was embarras-sed to even look at Kyle. To be honest, I regretted telling her about what Kyle and I shared. I had feeling that she was going to torture me for the rest of this camping trip.
I just hoped that her dilemma between Ryland and Ned will keep her occu-pied enough to leave me alone.
Speaking of her dilemma, I didn’t fail to notice the shared glances between Ned and Sav as a grumbling Kyle got into the pas-s£nger side just as Ned started the ignition. Seriously, it was so obvious that something was up between them. Somehow, I s-en-sed there was going to be a lot of drama during this camping trip.
“So where are we headed?” Ned asked Sav.
“Uh…I think we are meeting them at Peak Bank, at the end of Junction 12.” She replied.
“That’s like—what? An hour’s drive?” Ned asked, st©pping at the traffic light.
“Yup.” She slumped on her seat, checking her phone when it beeped.
“Well, then, I gotta get comfortable.” Kyle said. Because I was sitting behind him, he made things torturous for me when he slumped his seat back so that my knees bec@m£ uncomfortably restricted.
I freed my knees as I folded my legs on my seat. However, Kyle leaned on his seat, drawing his arms over his head. I knew he was doing this on purpose, in order to t©uçh me. I leaned as far back as I could, not giving him the satisfaction.
“You okay, Key?” He asked in a pretentious innocent voice. “You don’t mind me leaning back like this, do you?”
“Really?” I grumbled as I folded my arms across my che-st. Although he couldn’t see me, I s-en-sed that he knew how much I was slowly losing it.
“I’ll take that as a no.” I s-en-sed his grin.
At this point, Ned was sm-irking to himself behind the wheel. Sav was in a world of her phone, completely oblivious to what was happening inside the car.
“Oh no, I don’t mind at all.” I said in a sweet tone. I leaned forward and r0ûghly gr@bb£d Kyle’s sunglas-ses from his eyes when he least expected it.
“Ow!” He howled. “Are you tryna blind me?”
I let out a small evil laugh as I put his shades on my eyes. Along with his hat I was wearing, I looked quite h!p. I took out my phone and snapped a quic-k selfie before s£nding him the picture along with a message saying I wasn’t going to return these items back to him.
His phone bleeped and that was when Sav somehow returned to our reality.
“What?” She asked. “What did I miss?” She returned her own phone back into her jean pocket.
“Just Kyle and Keya being…well, Kyle and Keya.” Ned explained.
“Oh really?” Sav sh0t an eyebrow up when she caught my eyes.
“I guess you guys have sorted your problems out?” The sm-irk on her face told me of her impending plan.
“Yeah, what happened?” Ned asked. “It was like north-pole between you guys, last week.”
He was in on it too? What game exactly where they trying to pla-y.
Like me, Kyle had narrowed eyes when he looked at Ned. We didn’t reply them and for a while we rode the jeep in silence. Sav and Ned gave each other a knowing look throu-gh the review mirror.
I cleared my throat. “Someone put some music on!” I decided to change the subject.
Sav twisted herl-ips to st©p herself from laughing. “Yeah, some journey music would be nice.”
Music was alre-ady blasting in the car by the time she finished her s£ntence.
I glared at her, my expression telling her how annoyed I was. But that was when my cell phone decided to ping, indicating a new message.
I took it out and instantly saw a picture of Kyle with his ton-gue out. There wasn’t any caption but this didn’t st©p a grin surfacing from myl-ips. He looked adorable.
“Oooh, Keya got a love message.” Sav leaned over to gr-ab my phone. She win-ked at me.
Kyle turned around with a frown marring his features, he looked confused.
“A love message?” He asked. I didn’t un-derstand why he sounded worried.
“I think she has a new admirer.” Sav leaned forward, towards him.
I gaped at her lie and nudged her sides with my elbow.
Kyle was speechless for a while. Our gazes locked briefly before he turned to face the front . He looked troubled.
“What admirer?” Ned asked but by the time his voice was heard, Kyle had turned the volume up. The music boomed more loudly.
I gr@bb£d my phone from Sav and instantly typed a “what the hell are doing?” message to her.
She replied with “doing you a favour.”
Me: What favour?
Sav: Boys are easily jealous, Keya. I thought you might want to know how Kyle feels after what you guys did. Well, if you’re not so blind you might just see that he’s dying to get into your p@n-ts again.
Me: Yeah right Why would he? Sav plea-se, you’re just ma-king this situation more awkward than it alre-ady is. We’re just friends.
Sav: Whatever you say, Keya. But, you’re being stupid.
I glared at her, deciding to st©p texting her. She shook her head at me, her look reflecting exactly what she said in her text.
I faced the open window and stuck my head out of the car, turning away from the current situation for a moment. Ned and Kyle were oblivious to our silent banter. They’ve been nodding their heads to the music all along.
Then suddenly, their voice chorused in synchronisation with the music. Kyle was drumming against the head board, his hoarse voice screaming out of tune at Lady Gaga’s Bad r0m@nç£.
“Noooo!” I howled, placing my hands to cover my ears. “Oh god, no!”
Sav was giggling uncontrollably but after a while she joined them in the signing.
“C’mon, Keya! Your voice is great!” Sav shook me.
“No! Don’t make me! I’ve always hated this song!” I shook my head violently.
“Keya, Keya, Keya…” Sav and Ned chanted and soon enough, Kyle reluctantly joined them.
“…Keya, Keya, Keya!”
“Okay-okay! If it’ll st©p your ridiculous chanting.” I shouted.
They st©pped chanting and singing period and waited for me to sing.
I remained as silent as they were.
“Oh c’mon!” Kyle flailed his hands, turning his b©dy to look at me.
“Oh-oh oh-oooh whoaoohh-ooooh! Caught in your bad r0m@nç£!” I reluctantly sang.
“That’s more like it!” He grinned at me.
“I want your love and your lover’s revenge and you nee-d to write a Bad r0m@nç£!” Kyle sang.
“That’s not how the lyrics go!” I shouted at him near his ear. “It’s; I want your love and I want your revenge, you and me could write a bad r0m@nç£!”
Kyle turned his head and once again I was submerge in the sea of green. He sh0t an eyebrow up, the look on his face as if he just figured out an inside joke. That’s when I realised how those lyrics reflected our situation perfectly. Well, to me it reflected my internal battle with these feelings for him. I didn’t know about him and what he felt.
“I thought you hated this song?” He grinned.
I leaned back, away from him because to see his smile was to feel bu-tterflies fluttering in my stomach.
“I do!” I said in defense.
He shook his head and turned to face the front again. I exhaled and closed my eyes.
“Oh-oh-oh-ooh whooaoooh-oohh, caught in your bad r0m@nç£!” Sav and Ned sang in unison, completely unaware of the moment I shared with Kyle.
The drive to Peak bank went just like that. In that hour, I was glad when we put our difference aside and bec@m£ a unity like before. It was a glimpse of what I had missed from the past. It had been a long, a very long time since all of us hung out like that.
There were two more cars waiting for us at Peak Bank and the p@rty were all out of the cars.
I counted seven people as Ned st©pped the jeep near them. All of Ryland’s friends—including Ryland—were there; Dave and his girlfriend Ciara were busy ma-king out behind a black SUV; Sam was once again busy with his cell phone and Sally was trying to get his attention; Ryland was talking to James and Mandy near his car.
As Sav instantly got out, she ran towards Ryland’s waiting arms. They shared a k!ssbriefly. My eyes darted towards Ned and although he seemed composed, I didn’t fail to notice the annoyed clench of his jaw.
I waved back at everyone who waved at me, while Ned and Kyle got the formal introduction to those that didn’t know them. James, once again, did the introductions. I was in between Kyle and Ned and though I was fairly conspicuous besides the two giants, James pretended to not notice me as he talked with them.
We began to disperse into two groups of guys and gals, so I found myself amidst the overly excited Sally, fairly ignorant Ciara, confused Mandy and effusive Sav.
“So, where exactly are we going?” Mandy asked warily. She was next to me.
“Dave said it was de-ep in the woods, but near a lake.” Ciara contributed.
“I just hope there won’t be any creeping creatures.” Mandy replied.
“Don’t worry Mandy, it’s a safe place, the only creeping creatures are probably going to be squirrels or bunnies and maybe flies.” Sally quipped, offering Mandy a hvge friendly smile. She was besides Mandy and she linked arms with her.
I shared a look with Sav. She was trying to hide her smile.
“Right-right! Ladies are you re-ady for the time of your life!” It was James’s raucous voice that broke our circle.
“YEAH!” Sally obviously would be the one to match his enthusiasm.
I caught Mandy smiling contently at James and though I didn’t really care about their relationsh!p, the double d@t£ incident still stung.
She caught me glancing at her and gave me a small wary smile. As if she wanted to say something but was unsure how to approach me. I f0rç£d out a smile.
That was enough invitation for her approach. Whilst the rest of the girls joined the boys in some discussion, she and I lagged behind.
“Hey.” She smiled, placing her hands behind her denim jean pockets.
She looked away frowning at the ground, unsure of something. That was an un-Mandy thing to do. I decided to cut her some slack.
“How are you?” I asked her.
She looked across at me. “Good.” She replied. “Better actually.”
“That’s good. Happy belated birthday, by the way.” I said to her, remembering when she mentioned how she was moving out of her family house when her birthday c@m£.
“I know everyone was expecting me to throw this hvge birthday bash.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m surprised you even remember, well after…” She trailed. “Keya, I’m sorry…I felt bad when you left.”
I shook my head. “No, you shouldn’t apologise. It wasn’t your fault. I guess I was just overwhelmed that’s all.”
She smiled, somehow relieved when I told her that.
“So did you move out?”
“Yes, I did.” She shrugged. “James and my brother helped me. I’m completely free.”
“As long as you’re happy.”
She gave me a genuine smile. “I am. I really am.”
I offered her another smile before we finally joined the group. James looked over at us with a de-ep frown before Mandy joined his side. I watched him k!ssher forehead lightly.
I narrowed my eyes at him. His genuine was not sitting well with me. Did he really like Mandy or was this all just an act to get into her p@n-ts. I really hoped it wasn’t the latter.
“Right, so the camping place is ten miles away from here.” Ryland was telling the group. “I think the best thing to do, is just follow my car in case any of you get lost.” As he said the last p@rt, he was staring pointedly at Ned.
Ned’s response was to ball up his fist. I moved over to him and linked my arm with him. He looked down at me and I gave him a reas-suring smile.
“So are we going or what?” Sally broke the silent tension that fell between them.
“Yeah, let’s go!” James’s shout revived the group.
Ciara and Dave were alre-ady inside their SUV and Sally and Sam followed them. Ryland dragged Sav into his car while James and Mandy followed behind them.
“Sav just ditched us?” Kyle asked, looking over at me and Ned.
Ned was out of it as he grudgingly got into his jeep. For a moment I followed him with a pitiful look, I wanted to offer him some words but I knew I shouldn’t get involved with their drama.
We drove for ten miles in a narrow road, following the SUV in front of us. Kyle and Ned were discussing something I couldn’t hear because of the music, so I ignored their conversation while gazing at my window.
The road got bu-mpier and trees were soon surrounding us. That’s when I began cheering up. I don’t know what it was with nature, but every time I saw green I was a goner.
The cars st©pped at a clearing. It was more of a hvge meadow than clearing. Everyone parked there and got out of the cars.
The soon I was out. I was bombarded with sight, smell and sound of nature. All around me, the smell of earth engulfed my nostrils. Moss green, tall trees, exotic flowers were seen everywhere. The birds were chirping vicariously and other animal sounds were heard as if they were welcoming us into their world. A faint trickle splashing sound of water hitting rocks was heard in the distant and that’s when I soon figured that a lake was somewhere near.
“This is the place?” I heard Sav ask Ryland as we moved into the group.
He grinned at her and nodded.
“Do we set camp now or?” Dave asked.
“Pretty much yeah. Just do whatever you want. But first I think we nee-d wood fire, it’s going to get dark pretty soon.” He instructed, pointing towards the almost setting sun.
Kyle snorted behind me. I looked back, frowning in question.
He shook his head and just sm-irked.
“What?” I asked him as I moved closer towards him at he same time ignoring the effect of feeling him close.
“I didn’t realise this was going to be boot camp.” He said.
“Oh.” I replied realising what he meant.
Everyone was looking at Ryland as if he had all the answers since they had no clue what to do.
“Well, it was him that called for this trip.” I said.
He shrugged, as he began moving behind Ned’s jeep to unpack.
“And he just said we can do whatever we wanted.” I told him, following to help him.
He got the bags that had the tents and left the rest for later.
“Want help setting up the tent?” I asked when he moved to a sp©t where he wanted.
He grinned but then frowned as he looked back. “No, I think you’re mostly nee-ded over there.” He said, pointing behind me wherever Sav and the rest of the girls were flailing her hands, waving for me to come over.
I looked back at Kyle and shrugged. He ignored me as continued to unpack the tent equipment.
I ran over to them. “What’s up?”
“Well, the boys challenged us to look for wood while they set up camp…and if we got back on time when they’re still not finished, we win.” Mandy’s face contorted into fear.
“So why are we not going there?” I asked, suddenly liking this challenge.
“Well, they didn’t tell us where to look for wood.” Sally replied with an equal frightened look. “Plus the sun is almost setting, what if we get lost?”
“Guys, c’mon, even a five year old knows this. We just have to hoard up any dry fallen sticks of wood.” I told them as if it was the most obvious thing.
“You guys are still here?” I heard Dave’s shout of disbelief, followed by laughing from the rest of the guys.
We all looked behind them and gave them our glowering looks. Kyle sm-irked at me, I guess he caught up with what was going on, before he went back to setting up the tent.
“C’mon, let’s go!” Ciara coaxed us to move while giving her b©yfri£nda warning frown.
Since I somehow knew where to look, I led them de-ep into the woods.
To be continued…
…………Let hope things change during the camp