What would someone say if a car ride takes longer than expected? Well, for my case I’d sulk for the rest of the trip and complain about how sore my lower back was. I've tried my iPod, but eventually, I got tired of listening to my playlist over and over again. I've tried to count the trees we blurred through and marvel at the green vegetation and endless hills, but I also grew tired of that.
This wasn't supposed to be a boring trip! My friends and I decided on this before we started our senior year in college. Camping wasn't such a bad idea, we get to hang out and do stuff together. Everyone was chatting and singing our favorite songs since we tore off at Zoey’s place and here we are two hours later, everyone snoring their asses off.
Okay maybe I'm just being a little bit overdramatic, my problem is I can't sleep on a moving vehicle, I just can’t. I don't even like car rides, they make me queasy. Guess that explains my current mood. I feel like puking then I don't and my face gets to hold a permanent frown like a bitter old witch. I shake my head as I slightly turn to get another look at the sleeping bunch in the car, I bet they'd probably say the journey was so short while I'm counting out the slow going seconds.
“Hold on we’re almost there!” Carson tries to comfort me, his face never leaving the road ahead.
Right. I roll my eyes. The last person I needed a conversation with. I took my phone and started scrolling through the apps. A game would be a great distraction right now.
You see that guy with curly hair, brown skin, light brown eyes, great killer body... Ugh, whatever. Let's just say the jerk whose hands are on the steering wheel, used to be my boyfriend, Carson Johnsons. I caught him sucking some blonde bimbo’s face at one of his friends’ house party a few months ago and I've been avoiding his sorry ass since. Scratch that, he ain't sorry. He's a dirty horny prick.
“Come on Reena, quit avoiding me already, and let's talk about it. Give me a chance to explain.” He murmured, trying not to wake the sleeping bunch.
Nah. I pass.
He sighed as he muttered something under his breath. Good, talk to your crazy self and butt off. I don't need to hear an explanation of what I clearly saw. I don't do impatient, cheating men. Asshole.
About an hour later, we finally reached our destination. As the SUV parked, I jumped out and ran a few paces from the car before I puked my guts out. It's a good thing my hair was up in a messy bun or I'd be a puke mess all over.
I noticed someone standing behind me before a hand-stretched forward to offer me a bottle of water. “Have this!” Lori said and I gratefully accepted it. I kicked some sand over my mess and after I was satisfied it was buried enough I used the water for refreshment. I stood straight again and chugged the remaining liquid down my throat finishing with a heavy sigh. “Thanks!” I told her as I turned to face her.
She nodded. “You never change Reena! I wonder what made you agree to come along. You hate long drives.”
I shrugged at her amused face. She giggled. “Come, let's join the others,” I told her and we marched our way towards the car and took our duffle bags. Carson pressed the lock button on the keys once we were done and all six of us started for the main entrance of the National Park.
Brandon, Lori’s boyfriend came to her aid and carried her bag for her, Xian did the same for Zoey while I was stuck with my heavy bag at the back with Carson beside me, Oh Joy!. I felt a slight pressure on the bag I was carrying before I felt a hand brushing mine. I whipped my head to his side glaring daggers at him, “What are you doing?!” I whisper-shouted at him.
“Trying to help you out.” He casually said with a small smile.
“Did I ask for help? Get away from me!” I hissed.
He looked offended and moved away from me. He didn't try anything funny with me for the next few hours the tour guide showed us around and when we finally put our tents up. The lovey-dovey couples shared tents while Carson and I made our own separate tents making them four altogether. I was about to finish arranging some stuff when Lori and Zoey came to me.
“How are we supposed to have ‘fun’ while someone does nothing but grouch!” Zoey started as she folded her hands over her chest giving me a disapproving look.
“I’m not grouching,” I responded.
Lori snorted. “Seriously?”
“Ugh! I thought he wouldn’t be coming along!” I explained.
“Carson is also our friend, Reena,” Lori said.
“If you’re over him then why are you acting like a bitch?” Zoey countered.
“Watch it, Zoey!” I warned.
“Or what? I’m simply putting you in your place. You're making it seem like you were dragged here by force!” Zoey scolded me
“You guys!” Lori stepped in.
I glared at her, “Just shut your trap before I shut it for you! Who do you think you are?” Zoey had always managed to get on my nerves.
“I’ll see you try! Come on. You bitch!” She closed the space between us as she pressed herself on me offensively.
I narrowed my eyes at her. This anger has been vented up. It’s not a one-day thing. I must have unknowingly pressed on her buttons in the past and today was just a cherry on top. My friendship with Zoey consisted of a lot of catfights. With lots of making up too. She was just keen at speaking her mind without keeping her rage issues at bay. I was as just as short-tempered as her.
My hands reached for her chest and violently shoved her a few paces away from me. She balanced her stance and was about to pounce at me when Xian popped between us and pulled her away. Carson and Brandon looked our way with irritated expressions while Xian walked a cursing Zoey away. This wasn't new, they shook their heads and went on with what they were talking about.
Muttering incoherent words under my breath, I turned around and walked to the other direction but Lori wasn't done.
“Don’t do this to us and yourself. I know the ride wasn’t friendly to you and him being here makes you uncomfortable. I think you still love Carson. Don't let your anger cloud your judgment Reena, you're better than this!”
I froze as I took in her words. She was right. I wasn't being fair to my friends right now and I was pleased that she was trying to understand me, but she was wrong about my feelings. “Then you don't know me well enough Lori, I don't love him anymore.”
“Do you know what's the right thing to do? Talk to him, put some closure in your relationship. Even if he hurt you, forgive him and move on. At least you'll be civil around each other” She advised before turning on her heels to saunter back to her boyfriend.
I sighed. Why was she always right? I looked at the sky, the sun was almost setting. I lowered my gaze and looked forward at the trees. I walked into the surrounding woods and found a nice tree to climb on, within a few minutes I was leisurely sitting on one of its high branches.
“Kareena?” Carson’s voice brought my attention down the tree. I sighed. Guess I won't be having my alone time.
“Samantha has been trying to seduce me ever since we started dating.” He started. I remained quiet, listening to what he was saying. He took my silence as encouragement and went on, “I usually avoided her, and the more I did that, the more she tried forcing herself onto me. Reena, I was drunk that day. I wasn’t in my right mind, I was confused.”
I shook my head. I remember that day clearly. We just had another fight, he wanted us to make love and I wasn’t ready. Truth to be told I’m a bit conservative, I don’t do anything until I’m sure about it. And I was still not sure if I could make love before marriage. “What I remember is someone trying to force himself on me. And it wasn’t your first time doing it. This time you went too far by tearing my panties into nothing and slap me when I finally shoved you away!” I reminded him.
He flinched, “I’m sorry Kareena, please! You know how much I love you, I didn’t mean all that.” He pleaded.
I remember running out of his room and his house while he screamed threats at me. I remember feeling a breeze down there as I constantly fought to keep my sundress straight. If a powerful wind blew over well... “I was crying my eyes out at home before receiving an anonymous text message saying you were cheating on me and that I should go see for myself at Daniel’s house.” His eyes found mine before I withdrew my gaze from him and faced the view ahead.
“First of all, I didn’t believe it. Even though you’re a major jerk, I never believed you’d betray me. But as I kept on recalling your insults, I decided to see everything for myself.” I swallowed, “I put on some foundation to mask your visible fingerprints on my cheek and took a cab. When I reached there I found you making out with her on one of the couches! So I concluded, you jumped from a stupid conservative girl to the first willing whore you saw.”
“I know, you're sorry. Trust me you've got no idea how much I try to forget it all and forgive. I hate feeling resentment towards anyone. But I just can't help it, you hurt me so much, Carson.”
“Just give me another chance. I promise I’ll be a better man to you.” He said as he looked at me with pleading eyes. I shifted my gaze back to him again.
I shook my head, “I forgive you, Carson. Lori is right, we all are friends. We used to be best of friends before we dated, I think that's what matters. Friendship and nothing more.”
“Please don't say that. I'm still in love with you Kareena. Please believe me, We can make this work!” Carson pleaded.
My hand came up to wipe away a stray tear as I sniffed. “I’m sorry, Carson. I don't love you anymore, I can offer you nothing but friendship. For old times sake.” I told him before I started to climb down the tree. When my feet hit the ground I looked up at him, “I need some time alone, yeah? See you later!” I told him before I started walking further into the woods.
“Wait! Do you know the area well? You'll get lost!” He shouted.
“Don’t worry, I'll make sure I don't go too far so that I know my way back,” I said as I pushed my legs further into the woods.