'Today's weather will be bright and sunny in the high 60's and low 59," the meteorologist exclaimed happily. Rae clicked the TV off and heard something thump behind her. She turned around on the couch to see Thea on the floor with a heavy tent. Thea said as she lay on the floor, "I hate camping."
Rae laughed, "Thea we never went camping before. It won't be that bad anyway."
Thea sat up, "I beg to differ. We are going to have to hike 20 miles carrying these dumb tents up a mountain. And you know as well as I, that Abby will call it a warm up for training."
Rae gave a sly smile as she said, "Relax. The way I see it, we won't be doing any work in the camping aspects."
Thea was intrigued, "When you mean see do you mean…."
Rae hopped up off the couch, "This would be our labor workers now," the door bell rang and she opened the door to four boys.
As Reid entered the room noticing Thea on the floor, he shook his head and asked, "Why does it seem I always find you on the floor?"
Reid helped Thea pulled her off the ground as she responded, "Just checking the floors to see if they're safe."
Kylie was hauling another tent from the basement and asked out of breath, "Are they? I would hate to replace the floor again."
Kylie glanced over at Rae, who put her hands up, "Hey it was an accident."
"Okay I got the medical kit Thea…." Abby stopped talking as she realized four of the boys were present.
Abby stop trying to avoid me and talk.
Her face pulled into a frown as she looked at Pogue, "It's nice to see you all, but what are you guys doing here?"
Caleb answered, "We decided to go camping with you girls."
I'm so glad Rae told me about her being nervous going camping for the first time. They're not nearly prepared as they should be…no lanterns, mosquito nets, a tarp for under the tent….
Abby focused her mind on Rae, trying a new technique she recently been working on. Why did you invite them?
Rae's head snapped over to Abby, Holy heart failure Abby. Did you just invade my mind?
Abby nodded her head a little, Now back to why?
Rae smiled as she watched the boys beginning to pack stuff together. Because now we have muscles to carry this stuff.
Abby turned back to the kitchen to fish out her migraine medicine because the nice, relaxing, training trip to get away from Pogue's persistence was turning into a headache.
She sighed internally as Pogue walked in the room and stood behind the floating aisle very tense. As Abby's eyes glanced over, Pogue's amused smile seemed contradicting on such a serious expression. He said, "Abby, let's be mature and handle this like adults."
Abby shook her head and started to walk to the door, "I have too much to do Pogue."
Pogue maneuvered quickly by grabbing her around the waist. "Abby stop."
Abby stood very still and tried to say calmly, "Let go of me."
He pulled her closer saying, "No. Not until we talk."
She tried to push Pogue off, "I have nothing to say."
Pogue said, "I know, you haven't said one word to me since Christmas vacation. Did I do something to you?"
Abby kept her head down, "No."
Pogue lifted her chin up with his hand gently, "Then why?"
She twisted away under his intense gaze, "Pogue not now."
He wouldn't let her go, "Give me one reason."
Abby swallowed the vial in the back of her throat, "Fine. I can't look at you without being ashamed of myself."
Pogue shifted, "So it is about what happened at Kylie's party."
For the first time she looked at Pogue directly in the eye, "I'm sorry."
Pogue looked confused, "Abby there's nothing to apologize for and if anything I was a part of it too."
Abby said aggravated, "Pogue this was a big deal. I stole your…."
Pogue laughed, "The way you're going on about, you make it sound like you tortured me."
Abby hit the counter with her fist and said, "Stop joking. This isn't some laughing matter. It was supposed to be meaningful with someone special. Not a drunkin' one night stand."
Pogue shook his head, "It was meaningful because it was with you. Question is are you okay with it? You lost you're a…too," he gulped, "right?"
Abby said looking up, "Ah…yes, I mean no…a…"
Pogue replied, "Either you are or you aren't Abs."
She took a deep breath, "In this life I was, but my past lives…."
Pogue said, "They don't count."
Abby froze to where Pogue's thoughts were heading, "I can't give you an answer."
He sighed, "You have to decide because once I make my decision its final. Just give me a yes or no." Her throat was starting to constrict with the thought of saying no.
"Abby we're all packed. You guys ready to go?" Kylie asked oblivious to notice the tension in the room. Abby nodded her head and started to walk with Kylie to the car.
Are you going to answer? Pogue asked again.
Her frustration at the choice, his constant nagging, and her anger at herself was all focused at Pogue.
She yelled in his mind by accident, I need time to think!
He grabbed his head with both hands at the loud volume.
Abby said angry, "Girls in the car now."
Sitting in the back seat Abby closed her eyes trying to ignore Pogue's last thoughts before getting into the Hummer. But it seemed to replay in her mind, You have until tomorrow to give me an answer or I will move on.
She was running out of time choosing what was right for Pogue or for herself.
"What a beautiful day! There's so much frickin' sunshine I might need my sun glasses," Rae muttered sarcastically to herself as she stomped through another muddy puddle.
For the first time she was actually jealous of Caleb. He was in a nice warm tent while she was drowning in a freakin' monsoon. She quietly walked through the dark woods searching the future for any surprise attacks from Abby, Thea or Kylie.
Glancing around the foggy, deserted woods Rae pulled the hood over her head more and started to take another lovely stroll. As her feet squash in the mud a vision obstructed her.
Crack. Rae glanced around the woods trying to pin point the source of noise, but found only eerie silence. She shook her head thinking her mind was playing tricks on her. Taking another step forward movement caught her attention to her left.
Why wasn't I getting any visions of them?
Rae jumped as the snapping of a stick was behind her. She turned quickly face to face with Gabriel.
Awaking for the horrified vision, Rae scanned the forest with the feeling of her chest constricting. The protection spell was broken and the proof would be here in a couple seconds.
She braced herself and lighted her fists with flames that were simmering in the rain.
Crack. She faced the other direction waiting for Gabriel to appear. But after ten minutes nothing came except adrenaline and anxiousness. Rae wondered what happened to him.
Maybe he changed his mind? Her head face back at the camp site. Shit they don't know. Oh no, the boys.
Rae began to sprint to camp, losing her
shoe in the process, until movement caught her attention again. She threw a
ball of fire in the direction and threatened, "Show your face?"
Rae pivoted quickly face to face with Gabriel and fell back into the mud in surprise. The mutated Gabriel disappeared quickly into a dark cloud from her sight.
Rae tried to regain her calmness. She was sure it wasn't Gabriel, but a darkling in the form of him. She pushed her shaky self off the dirty ground and headed for camp as the rain let up a bit. When Rae got there, she rip opened her tent that she shared with Kylie, and replaced her wet clothes with dry ones.
"Is training over already?" Caleb asked outside her tent.
She was thankful the tent was closed or else he would have seen her jolt right out of her skin. She replied, "It is for me. I hate rain." Rae threw another hoodie on and pulled the zipper to open the tent.
Caleb crawled in asking, "Why would you say that now?"
Rae crossed her high covered sock feet, "You know why Caleb.” She added, “Fire's my element and it's like a part of me. It's warm, uncontrollable, strange, beautiful and intense. The idea of water itself is against my nature. Having the feeling of cold, smelly water drip the back of my shirt, or having my clothes soaked is disgusting."
Caleb, wearing his snug grey coat, smirked, "Makes sense." He examined her and said, "You look like you're freezing. Do you want me to give you an extra blanket?"
Rae felt warm now after evaporating the water off her skin, "Do I?"
Caleb bent down to go out of the tent, "Yeah. You seem a little pale."
As Caleb left, Rae thought, You would be to if you saw a ghost from the past.
Meanwhile the girls decided to call it quits and turn in for the night. Abby said, "Did you guys find Rae?"
Thea said as she watched her footing, "Abby let's get real here. She probably went to here tent to avoid the down pour after we split up."
Kylie slide the strap of her arrow container over her shoulders and said chattering, "Yep, she is and not a bad idea too. It's so cold." Thea lifted her hands up and pulled the water on them to the ground. Kylie yelped, "Thea don't do that. At least without warning."
Thea smiled knowing Kylie was feeling uncomfortable, "What your dry now."
Kylie was still holding onto her pants waist, "Yeah, but every time you do that I feel like my pants are going to fall down." Thea laughed until she caught a hint of disgruntled, uneasy, stressed radiant off of Abby.
Thea asked as Kylie pulled ahead of them to the campsite, "So Pogue and you have been getting into fights all day today. Want to share?"
Abby stopped in place and sighed, "He likes me a lot Thea and he's given me the ultimatum to pick him or else he'll move on. I have to choose not to be with him. It's the right thing to do, right?"
Thea scratch her head not knowing what exactly to say because deep down inside of Abby was overwhelmed with hesitation, confusion, remorse and mostly frightened.
Thea replied, "Whatever you chose will be fine Abby. Like my mom said, 'Sugar, if it's meant to be, it will be.'"
But then again, I haven't had a boyfriend yet. Actually the closest thing I can say being by a boy is being friends with Reid.
Abby laughed at Thea's thought, "What did he do this time?"
Thea huffed, "He made fun of my fear of bears yesterday and told me before we went to train that he came to protect me from the scary yogi bears. Then he persistently laugh until I splashed mud onto his face. Then he shut up a bit."
As they approach their tent Reid stood by a tree waiting for her and said, "Thea are you really that bent over for what I said?"
She held her hand up, "Don't want to hear it. Now make yourself useful and protect me from the bears."
Reid continued to say, "It's only bears Thea, not like it's a cougar. They have lots of kills unlike bears do."
Thea was beyond angry, "So what you're saying is my fear of bears is stupid compared to your fear of cougars?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah my fear is more plausible."
Thea said sarcastically, "Well, why don't you make yourself useful and use your skinny ass as bait for the cougars." She slipped into her tent to see Abby already in the one sleeping bag. Thea crawled into her sleeping bag holding a bat in her arms.
Abby said before she fell asleep, "You really don't have to worry about them. The boys put the food away, so no animals will be attracted here."
Even though Thea knew they were right, she was still uncomfortable.
The fire that once was great source of light was burning out now and Thea's fear intensified. It was dark and quiet, well except for the crickets chirping and the crinkling noise of the wind was making against the tent. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes trying to fall asleep.
As she was finally getting into a calm sleepy state, a crack and growling or moaning sound came outside her tent.
Her heart pick up speed as the thing pressed against the tent and the zipper began to move.
Holy moly olly! It couldn't be the boys, they ask for permission first. The tent flapped open to a huge dark figure and Thea, by fear, swung the bat and screamed in terror.
Reid flung out of his tent and ran over before Rae threw a ball of fire into the pit to give them light. He grabbed the lump and pushed it away. Entering the tent he asked, "Are-?"
Another scream and swing of an aluminum bat hit him in the head. The area exploded with light exposing the truth, the first shape was Pogue Parry and the second now laying a foot away from Thea was Reid.
Thea dropped the bat and leaped over to Reid, "I'm so sorry." She turned his head to see the damage she inflicted, "I thought it was a bear." The top of his head was throbbing and Thea slid him over onto her lap, "Abby can you reach the medical aid. I need an ice pack and ibuprofen."
Thea placed the ice pack on Reid's head and could see Pogue slowly getting up with Caleb's help. Thea asked, "Pogue why we're you un-zippering our tent? If you wanted to talk to Abby you could have called out or made some normal noises."
Pogue flinched as his one ankle made contact with the earth, "I was going to the bathroom and trip over this frying pan. I think I sprained my ankle, so I tried to get up and accidentally bumped into your tent…."
Rae interrupted cranky, "Smooth."
Thea grabbed another ice pack and bandage wrap once Reid was inside her tent. "Now if you don't mind I have to make sure I didn't kill off the Garwin line." Thea shut the tent door and asked, "How are you?"
Reid glanced up, "Been better." He paused for a second, "I'm sorry for making fun of your fear."
Thea smiled, "Just because I hurt you with a bat doesn't mean you're going to be off the hook that easily."
Reid grimaced at the headache, "But you're forgetting I came over here to save you."
"True. You did risk your life and throw Pogue a good foot away," Thea replied in slight humor.
Reid asked, "So am I forgiven?"
Thea, who extremely felt guilty blundering both boys, responded, "I guess."
Giving a sigh of relief, he asked, "I do have one question. Are the bears you fear that intelligent to open a zipper?"
Thea lightly smack his arm, "I didn't know what it was. I just knew it was dark, big and coming for me." Reid smiled more to himself, even though he might have a dent in his head permanently, nothing beats resting his head in Thea's lap talking.
Outside the tents, Abby had just been kick out of her tent and possible had to room with Tyler. Not bad or anything just she didn't talk much with Tyler.
Caleb helped Pogue back into their tent and rejoined the group. Kylie yawned and said, "I'll bunk with Tyler, Caleb with Pogue, and Rae with Abby." Tyler following behind her as she went to the tent.
Not going to happen!
Abby faced Rae and answered back in her mind, Why not? I'm the only person you can room with now.
Rae crossed her arms, Because I don't like you right now. Let's review shall we. Because of you I had to hike more because you didn't want to agree that the trail Pogue choice was better. I was scared to death by a darkling. And worst of all, I had to train in the rain.”
Abby replied wittily, Shouldn't you have seen that coming miss psycho. Oops I meant psychic.
Caleb was confused, Why are they staring at each other so intensely?
Rae latched onto Caleb's arm, Ha. Because of that comment I'm going with Caleb.
Abby stepped forward, No. At least be with Pogue. I can't stand him.
Maybe there having an internal conversation. That could work if Rae saw what Abby was going to say and reply in her mind…. Caleb pondered.
Rae smiled, You're not the only one. Pogue forgot toilet paper. I had to use a fig leaf! And to inform you it wasn't pleasant!” Rae pointed her finger at Abby, Whatever is going on with you two better be figured out by tonight. Or so help me I'll….I'll…I don't know what yet, but it will be cruel and possible painful.
Rae pushed Caleb to her empty tent leaving Abby alone.
Maybe she could endure the cold night outside?” Abby sighed, Could this possibly get worse? A drop of rain hit her arm, then another. I had to ask.
Abby slipped into the tent as the sound of water pelted the tent.
Pogue said, "Caleb can you close the frickin' flap already…. Abby?" Abby shut the tent door ceiling her fate. She scrunch into Caleb's huge sleeping bag and suddenly wondered how Caleb would fit into Kylie's little mermaid bag.
I hope you're happy at how things turned out tonight. I told you to go to sleep, to not under any circumstance to open the zipper, but I guess you just like to get hit with an aluminum bat.”
You didn't warn me about how Thea would attack me. You just said go away because I'm not coming out. A couple minutes of silence past, Did you think about it?
Abby shrugged her shoulders, We should just be friends, case closed.
Are you sure? Because there's going to be no more incidents that you like.
Abby sat up, You think I like screwing up and being the mistress in your relationship?
Pogue turned to face her, It makes sense why you would. No attachments and still getting the benefits of being with me.
Abby glared at him in anger, You're an ass! If you think I'm some kind of home wrecker slut, then fuck you!
He shook his head, No, I think you're just scared to let me in, or anyone for that matter.
Abby turned over in her sleeping bag, I'm done talking. Good night.
Oh here we go again. Shutting me out. Is that seriously your only defense?
How about I barbeque your ass.
Pogue taunted, Stepping it up to threats now. I must be getting closer.
She faced him, What do you want me from me!
Just admit you're terrified of getting close.
Fine I am. You win this agreement by pegging me for who I am. A coward afraid to go into another relationship.
Pogue stop short in his thoughts and said, “I would never hurt you Abs.”
That's the one thing Rae and I agree on, we really hate when guys say that. But your right you won't because we are just friends.
Pogue asked one more time, Are you sure?
Yes I am. Guardians can't get involved in their work.
So if I'm just work to you, why are we friends?
Pogue don't be ridiculous you know what I meant. You can mix pleasure and business.
Yeah, you're right. Except why is it working so well for Serenity and Chase?
It isn't working out well for them. Show what you know. Nothing.
Wow you're more delusional then I thought.
And you're a bigger ass than I thought.
They turned away from each other and Pogue knew Abby was set in her ways. Yes, it was time to move on. The thing was she just wasn't sure if she could.