Chapter Thirty Nine
“What’s with the suitcase?” I asked my mother, staring at it. I had just woken up, and my eyes had flown straight to it.
“It’s a surprise.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Can I open it?”
I huffed and crossed my arms. I didn’t like the hospital, and I was once again extremely bored. When I had woken up, I did overhear the doctors speaking of my condition. Apparently, it had since improved. I tried not to think about it even if we were finally getting some good signs.
I got out of bed and walked over to the suitcase. I unzipped it and opened the top, peering inside. It was full of...
Clothes. Normal clothes.
“What the heck?” I asked, grabbing a shirt out and holding it up in the air. “Clothes? What for?”
“Well,” my mother said. “The doctors have said that your condition has been improving, and they have allowed us to take you out of here for a weekend. But you will be coming back.”
“Okay?” I said while wearing a bewildered expression. “Where are we going?”
“Now that must remain a surprise,” she said while smiling. “Be patient, we are leaving this afternoon.”
I shrugged, shutting the suitcase. “Alright. I’ll just have to find something to do until then.”
The next few hours of the day were spent by me trying to figure out where I would be going. We didn’t usually go on vacations, so this was unusual. I also found out that Amber would be accompanying me, which was awesome. While I read books and played stupid games on my phone, my mind was spinning with the possibilities of travel.
Finally, I was allowed to get changed and get ready to go. Apparently, all of the stuff that I would need had already been packed by my mother. She would be driving Amber and I up there, wherever that was.
I heard a loud voice enter the room, and I immediately knew who it was. “Time to SLAY this weekend!”
I snorted, tying up my shoelaces. “Do you come with an emergency kit? You know, in case you accidentally get eaten by a strange animal. I think it’s likely.”
“I wish I did,” she admitted. “I just look too good all the time.”
“At least you have confidence,” I pointed out, standing up. I grabbed my suitcase while shoving my phone into my pocket. We exited the room together, making our way down to the car that my mother was sitting in.
We loaded up our stuff, Amber bringing a considerable amount of items that I was very close to questioning. Before I even said a word, she held her hand up. “Trust me, all of this will be helpful.”
I shrugged, hopping into the car. We backed out of the parking space and left the hospital, falling into a conversation as we drove out of the city.
“Want a skittle?” Amber asked, sliding me the one of three packets that she brought with her. I grabbed a handful.
“Why so many packets?”
“I brought so many more variations of sugar, you have no idea,” she reassured me, evilly chuckling as she popped at least twelve skittles into her mouth. Dedication at its finest.
The drive was three hours long, and I had managed to stay awake for all three hours. Amber fell asleep on the last lap, probably from her mini sugar high. We were in an area thick with forests, and we pulled into a camping area. People parked their cars before heading to find their designated area.
“We’re camping?” I asked, staring at the amount of cars that were pulling up. It seemed like a popular spot, completely secluded by bush and trees. Maybe Amber really was going to get eaten by something here. Yikes.
“I am certainly not,” my mother replied, parking the car. “The tents are in the car, and you two will be camping here for the weekend!”
“What if we die?” I asked, a little bit worried about the safety of the area. “Wild animals?”
“You’re within one hundred metres of another camping spot, which will most likely be occupied,” she replied. “Don’t worry about it.”
I nodded, shaking Amber to wake her up. She snored loudly before jerking her head awake. She looked around, realising where we were. “We’re here!”
She darted out of the car, racing to grab her things and get someone to show us where we were staying. We grabbed out things, and my mother went inside the little building that was dedicated to customer support. I wandered over to a large sign with a map on it, outlining the large area that they used. It was full of bush, ‘harmless’ animals and a few creeks and rivers. The top of the sign read: ‘Welcome to Rivergate Park!’
My mother came back shortly with a staff member who was going to show us where we were assigned to set up camp.
The woman walked over, briefly introducing herself. I had already forgotten her name as I looked around in awe at the beautiful scenery around me. I hope that my mother packed bug spray.
It was a short walk to our little site, is simply following the path. I couldn’t help but be reminded of every single horror movie that had concluded in a forest. Great thought topic, Stef!
We arrived, and I could see our camp. I saw three tents that had been set up already. I furrowed an eyebrow as Amber thanked the lady, who walked off. Other families were setting up all around us, and it was at least nice to know that we weren’t completely screwed if a murderer came hunting.
But my mind was already too preoccupied with the fact that tents had already been set up in our spot.
“Did you already set up tents? I thought my mother wasn’t camping with us?” I asked as we started walking over.
“She isn’t,” she simply shrugged. “And I didn’t.”
“Then who is-?”
My feet stopped moving as realisation hit me. My jaw dropped and my eyes narrowed with anger. “You did not."
“I may have,” she said as she smiled sheepishly, scratching the back of her head.
“Tell me you didn’t invite them.”
“I can’t tell you that.”
And then I saw them, the four fuckers that I didn’t want to even think about.
“Amber, I’m actually going to kill you so you better start running.”
Her face paled. “Oh fuck.”
I took off my shoe, and threw it straight at the back of her head. It wasn’t very hard, but it hit it’s target.
“Ow!” she exclaimed. “Your mother is already gone, so you’re gonna have to deal with it!”
“Like hell,” I said, running after her. She took the hint and begun running too, although it didn’t last very long as I was puffed within minutes.
“I love you too,” she replied. “They saw all that you know.”
“I don’t care,” I said, grabbing a bottle of water out of my suitcase. “They can shove their eyes up their asses for all I care.”
She sighed and left me alone. I sat next to my suitcase on the wide path as I walked the people near us talk with their families while setting up their own camps. I glanced back and saw Amber talking to the guys. They weren’t looking at me, so I turned back around while I still had my dignity. I managed to ignore all of the emotions flooding my brain, and I just sat there trying to be as calm as possible.
I should’ve brought more shoes, because I was going to need to throw a lot more than I had.
Amber came back soon after, and she sat down next to me. We didn’t say anything for a while.
“Why did you do this?” I asked. “What was the point? You knew how I felt about them.”
“Look,” she said. “They’re your best friends, and I can tell that you’re getting tired of hating them. They care about you, Stef. And hating them forever isn’t going to do anything but make you exhausted. You’re wasting a friendship,” she continued, sighing. “Give them a chance.”
“I gave them multiple chances,” I retorted. “And then they completely ditched me like I was trash.”
“That was a complete fuck up, I know,” she replied. “But, c’mon, I know you miss them. Can’t we all just be besties?”
I sighed, holding my head in my hands. “So you agree with what they did?”
“Hell no,” she said. “Look, here’s what I think. I think you should forgive them, but make them pay. Show them your wrath, even if already did. Why the fuck did you think I brought huge bags? They’re filled with shit that’ll make you itch, sneeze and cry for weeks. And then, when it’s all over, you can begin to mend the friendship.”
“But they hurt me,” I said in a small voice. “A lot. And they don’t even understand that.”
“They do understand, trust me. They’ve done nothing but beg me to do this, and I know how ashamed they really are. They aren’t giving up though. And I think that means something,” she responded. “Think about it for a while. Come over and talk to us if you think you’re ready.”
She got up and walked back to the tents, helping them set up another one. I sniffled and sat there, my mind at war for the next half an hour. I didn’t dare turn around, I couldn’t bare to do it.
Forgive them, or don’t. What the hell do I do?
Despite how angry I still was, I couldn’t deny the fact that some of the stuff that Amber had spieled was true. As much as I didn’t want to, I did miss them. They were my friends, the closest friends I had, and I couldn’t help it. Especially him.
Son of a bitch, this was hard. I felt like pulling my hair out. I couldn’t make up my mind. I wanted to stay angry, but how long could I do that for much longer? It was tiring, and it was killing me inside.
And so, I got up. I had made my decision, which was somewhere in the middle of my two options.
I marched over to the group, Amber seeing me coming first. I appeared behind them, and somehow they didn’t even notice. I cleared my throat, and they all turned around as quick as lightning.
All at once, they all spoke but I cut them off quickly. “Shut. Up.”
Their mouths closed immediately.
“I am here because I have decided to tolerate you four for the remainder of this trip. I don’t want some bullshit big group apology, so if you want to talk to me then do it without others being there,” I said. “I am not happy about this, so know that this doesn’t mean that things are back to the way that they used to be.”
They stayed silent, and I was glad that they didn’t speak. Amber stood off to the side, silently smirking as she listened to the whole thing.
“I am going to go and sit by the river, don’t annoy me,” I said before walking off. This day had already been too much for my brain to handle, and I could feel a headache threaten to drown out my thoughts. I made it to the riverbed, which was only twenty metres away from our campsite. I sat down, huffing while I buried my head into my arms that were crossed on my knees.
A minute later I heard footsteps behind me. I couldn’t guess which one it was, so I didn’t say anything. Seconds later, they came closer and sat down next to me. I looked up, and was met with the sad face of Jordan. The one that had caused the least pain.
“Would me apologising be pointless?” he started by asking.
“Well, I’ll start by saying that I’m one of the biggest assholes on the planet,” he continued. “I should’ve stayed and helped my friend. Instead I chose to ignore her. Good people don’t leave their sick friends to suffer, and I know I made a mistake that I can never take back. And I-”
“Please,” I said. “Spare me the speech, I’m not in the mood.”
“Then what can I do?” he asked. “I just want to be your friend again,” he said sadly with a look so shameful that it would break hearts on sight.
“Just..” I started, not quite knowing the answer myself. “Just know the pain you caused, and know that if you ever do it again then I’ll burn you alive and feed you to cats. The only reason I’m letting you off is because you were only following the trend because you were too stupid to know what the right thing to do was.”
“I know, and I truly am sorry,” he said.
“Fine,” I said, caving. “You’re forgiven. But I don’t want the others coming to me, begging for forgiveness. I don’t want to deal with their bullish-”
He hugged me, tight. I sighed, and hugged him back. It felt way too good to be real, and it almost made me forget the anger that I still held. My heart was heavy, and I didn’t want to let go as I rested my head on his shoulder.
“If I ever do this shit again, slap me.”
“I’ll rip your throat out.”
“That works too.”