I was watching some trees pass by the window. I was kind of nervous. Afterall, how do you run away from your parents and go camping right after getting a weeks worth of suspension? I was going to be grounded for the rest of my own life. I would be so grounded that I couldn't even go to my own wedding.
"Where's Amanda?" I said suddenly. I hadn't seen much of her the whole week, but I figured she'd be in on something like this.
J.B. shrugged. "She's being an idiot, so we didn't invite her or anything."
"Oh," I said, looking back out the window.
After a few moments, Frank laughed. "I bet you're going to get a lot of questions about why your face is all messed up."
J.B. gave him a reproachful glare, but I just laughed.
"I think it's kind of an interesting look," Mikey said, ever-supportive, from the front seat.
"So, why'd you guys decide to steal me away and go camping?"
"Because if we couldn't beat Amy up for you, we decided we might as well have a bit of fun," J.B. said simply as she opened a yogurt.
"You do know this will make me grounded until I'm eighty-five or so, right?" I asked them jovially.
Frank shrugged. "Just more of an excuse for us to sneak you out of your house again."
I grinned and shook my head. They were going to get me in so much trouble, but I should probably just ignore that until Sunday afternoon and enjoy the trip.
At The Way Household
"Where's Mikey?" croaked Gerard to Mrs. Way. Mikey had one of his pens, and he wanted it back. Now.
"You're sick, Gerard! Go lie down," Mrs. Way scolded.
"Mikey went camping with some friends," she added.
"Who?" Gerard demanded.
"I'll tell you later," Mrs. Way said firmly, handing him some water. "Now go lie down."
Grumbling, Gerard took the water and left.
About five minutes later, his mother came in, phone in hand.
"You can't talk very long," she warned, handing him the phone. Gerard nodded.
"Hello?" he said hoarsely.
"Gerard? God, you sound awful," Amy said. "Anyway, I called you because I wondered where you had gone this afternoon."
"I had got sick," Gerard said.
"Oh. Well, since you weren't there to drive me, I got some retarded football player to drive me. He kept on trying to look up my skirt." Gerard just stared at his ceiling, knowing that in order to talk to Amy, you had to say very, very little.
"Well, you know that one little retard that follows you around? Leila something?"
"She doesn't follow me," Gerard said quietly.
"Whatever. Anyway, she started to fight me in the bathroom today!"
"What?!" Gerard asked, alarmed. Leila was definitely not the kind of person to start fighting.
"Yeah. I was mad at her for bursting in on us at the party, and she's always giving me these mean glares and stuff, Gerard; she's an evil little witch. Anyway, she was in the bathroom and I was in there and started to annoy her a little. I was just talking about that party, and I didn't say anything mean, but she just threw herself at me! She fights like a guy, you should've seen it. I think I won, cause she looked way worse than I do. Anyway, I made it seem like she was some sort of girl who attacks nearby people, and the assistant principal bought it and she's suspended all next week! Isn't that great? I totally won."
Gerard's head was spinning, and he felt kind of sick.
"Yeah, that's great," he said slowly. "I'm feeling kind of sick, so I'll see you Monday."
"Okay," Amy said, and Gerard knew she was pouting. "I'll see you then, sugar." Click!
Sugar? Gerard thought, a little disgusted. That sounded so cheap.
He sighed, running his hands through his hair.
So, Leila had gotten in a fight with his girlfriend. He wondered what exactly Amy had said, because he knew there was more to the story than she had told him. There always was.
He thought about the comment of Leila fighting like a boy, and was brought back to a summer day when he was eleven.
He had obeyed one of Leila's whims, and taught her how to fight.
He mainly had so that he could feel her small hands in his, even if they were in fists.
No, he thought tiredly./ Not going down that road again./
But he realized that had had been acting like a total ass to Leila lately. He picked up the phone and called her house, but only got the machine.
He sighed, and put the phone back down.
His mother came in. "Oh, Gerard dear, I remembered who Mikey was going camping with."
"Who?" said Gerard sleepily.
"Frank, a girl named J.B., who I must admit is quite nice, and Leila," Mrs. Way bustled out.
And suddenly, Gerard wasn't sleepy any more.
At The Campground, Leila's Point of View
It took us forever and a day to get the two tents up, but we managed it.
Now Frank was attempting light a fire as Mikey stood nearby, a large flashlight lighting up the pit where the wood was stacked.
It was dark out, and there was a lantern propped on the table. It spluttered alot, but did provide some light.
J.B. had gone to the nearby town to get us dinner, as we didn't have enough time to cook the hot dogs like we were planning to.
Frank swore loudly and threw down the box of matches.
He sat down at the table, a dark expression on his face.
J.B. rose an eyebrow and went to hold the flashlight so Mikey could attempt to light the fire.
I was just looking around mildly, thankful that it wasn't really cold and that there wasn't any bugs. It was really a perfect time for camping.
Frank was watching me.
"You look weird," he said suddenly.
"Thanks, Frank," I responded drily.
"No, not like that," he said laughing. "It's cause the lantern."
"Whatever," I said, mock annoyed. "Thanks for letting me know I look weird." I couldn't help but smile a little.
Frank shook his head. I pulled back my hair into a pontytail.
And then Mikey crowed triumphantly.
"Haha!" he exclaimed, leaping about. "I lit a fire! Take that, Frank."
It was true. Mikey, who we had all thought was hopeless at camping thanks to his display with the tents earlier, had managed to light a small, yet growing, blaze.
Frank glared at him.
"Smartass," he said.
Mikey just laughed, and Frank smiled. It was some strange joke they had. I don't know why Mikey wouldn't find being called a smartass by Frank insulting, but that was just me.
We stayed around the fire, singing and roasting marshmallows and talking until some warden said we had better quiet down or we'd have to leave.
Eventually, we went to our seperate tents, and slept late into the morning.
Mid-Morning The Next Day
I peered at the murky water.
"I really do not to go swimming in that," I said.
"You're not going to swim," Mikey said brightly. "We're going paddle-boating."
It was true.
I was actually going to go paddle-boating.
At least, that's what I thought it was called. It's what Mikey called it, anyway.
The sun beat down from a blue sky, lighting up a muddy, algae-filled lake. Thinking that it was nice enough for the water, Mikey and Frank had scrounged up enough cash and had convinced J.B. and I to go 'paddle-boating'.
And now, standing on a bobbing dock, I did not think this was a brilliant idea.
Mikey was clearly excited. This was one of the few times his glasses were off, and he was in swimming trunks and had this big orange life jacket strapped around. The wind tousled his hair, and he was smiling.
He actually looked rather handsome.
Frank was standing nearby, glaring at the ratty little vest he had to wear as well.
Oh well, I thought. We all had to.
"Let's do races," J.B. said cheerfully.
"Alright," Frank said. "But I get Leila."
"I feel loved," Mikey whined. Frank lightly punched him in the arm and told him to shut up.
"Fine," J.B. said, going to stand by Mikey. "Me and Mikey will beat you anyway."
"Yeah!" Mikey declared.
My friends were so immature, but I wouldn't have them any other way.
Frank and I climbed into the little plastic boat. He had to help me, cause I hated the feeling of it rocking and wobbling beneath me.
I strapped all the little buckley things, and then Frank gave the dock a shove and we slowly glided out into the glass-smooth surface of the lake.
The paddle boat worked almost identically to a bicycle, except there was this little stick thing to control the directions and two people peddled at the same time. Frank did that.
"First one to the buoy wins!" Mikey cried, and we all set off, peddling like mad.
About several of these races later, we were all laughing and beat.
We stepped back onto the dock to rest for a little bit and get a drink. I got up to get something from the faded vending machine.
"Leila, look!" J.B. hissed as I stood.
Under the trees that shaded the parking lot, leaning against his car and staring at us, was Gerard