Loved and Lost

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Hot Spring

“This feels amazing!” I watched as Peyton slowly made herself go deeper and deeper into the hot water until only her face was left. Leaning into Ryder, together we stayed by the wall despite the snow that was just feet away from us. “I’m so glad you picked here.”

“You can go to a high-end spa anytime you want which includes hot water like this,” I mention remembering her favorite spa. One that I’ve been too plenary of times. One that I’ve passed on going because of the bruises they might see.

“But not with a view like this.”

“Drinks!” Dominick put the try of drink down before throwing his jacket onto the near chair and slipping off his shoes to hurry back into the pool. He made his way over to Peyton wrapping his arms around her. I grabbed my peppermint hot chocolate then handed Peyton her white hot chocolate. Ryder picked his decaf coffee after handing Dominick his dark hot chocolate. All of together looking over the mountains and the sky that started to show stars.

It was a rare sight as what stars we could see never close to as many as I saw in the sky now. LA has so much light around us it drowns out the sky's true beauty. I guess LA doesn't have much of true beauty anymore I feel like. Though I don't worry about it. I plan on seeing these stars for as long as I possibly can.

"I can't believe you guys are building a house," Peyton finaly lifted from the water and sat on the other side of the pool Dominick wrapping his arm around her body. "I could never picture my best friend with a tool belt." I kicked her underwater making her splash me.

"I have the toolbelt. For now until my dad and I finish the foundation and the frame theres not much she can do. They're also short on staff at the restaurant so she's been working a lot."

"I'm saving up. The house is going to be awesome but I want a claw foot tub and a big one. I've always wanted one. And the one we found is over a thousand dollars with the matching hardwear." I pushed closer to Ryder as the cold nipped at my shoulders.

"She gets what she wants." Ryder said.

Sitting in the hot water and just enjoying our time together time had passed father than expected. Dominick and Peyton left together to the room they're renting from Jeremiah while we returned home.

After talking to Angela I just grew closer to them and look into ways of keeping my life here. Even looking into the college just outside of town. A commute but worth it, in the end, to stay in town and be with Ryder. Stay and work on the house.

The next morning Ryder and I got ready to go to breakfast with Jerimiah, Dominick, and Peyton. Of course, pulling my luck by making sure he's blindfolded and where we're eating is a surprise. A set up for him to eat breakfast with Frankie. There's something there and I'm determined to see Jerimiah happy and in love. I could tell there's been something there since the day I saw her fix her hair at the thought of running across him. For a town so small I'm honestly surprised I haven't already heard the truth about the two of them.

"You might not agree with this but," I glared at Ryder as he put on his boot. "My uncle is giving us his cabin." I dropped my glare before zipping up my thick jacket. "It's a nice two-bedroom cabin about an hour out. I can go to the store and grab some stuff and we can escape until the new years party.

"Give up on a couple more days at the hot spring for a nice cabin in the woods with my boyfriend and my best friend and her boyfriend?" I tapped the edge of my lips as I walked up to him. "What do I get out of it?" His eyes went a little wide with a smirk.

"What ever you want."

"Exactly what I love to hear. Smores. Lots and lots of smores." I Grabbed my boots and started putting them on. He grabbed the keys and I soon followed with my bag ready for the day.

We picked up Jeremiah and blind folded him to his own dismay and sat in the back with Peyton and me. Frankie had told me she was going to be heading to the restaurant soon still having no clue what we had planned.

Ryder had the hardest time not getting too excited but made it through till we reached the restaurant. Peyton, Dominick, Jerimiah, and I went inside grabbing our table as Ryder stood outside waiting for Frankie."Can I take the damn blindfold off already?" I watched as he put his hand over it and I slapped it away.

"In a minute," I said. I looked through the window as Ryder met Frankie helping her out of her car."Okay, take it off." Jeremiah got his eyes to readjust to the light as he looked around.

"Cracker Barrel? You blind folded me for a thirty-minute drive and Cracker Barrel."

"Yes. And-" I pointed to the door as Frankie and Ryder walked in. I watched as his eyes glazed over. "One last surprise."

They greated each other just as they did when he had come to the resturant. "I just wanted to thank both of you for everything you've done for me." I said. I made sure to leave the only seat availible next to Jeremiah. "So, anything you want."

I could feel the glances from my friend and boyfriend but after some time found Jeremiah and Frankie were practically at their own table having non-stop conversation giving me all the information I wanted. At least most of it.

He liked her all through hischool but had left for a couple years to do school and travel but by the time he'd returned and had gotten the courage to ask her out she was already with someone and married. Gone to another state until her kids were grown and husband had pasted she returned. Of course, they kept they're quiet for parts making me wish I sat closer.

"Can we turn this into a movie? I love this." Dominik said as he finished off his walfels.

"Who's their's or mine?" I asked. Peyton's mouth dropped and I already knew the meaning before she could even swallow her mouth full of food. "No, no, no. It's far too soon to even think about that. I'd only do that if I'm protected from my father and foster mother. Meaning behind bars." They grew quiet leaving it all be.

It came as no surprise with Jerimiah wanted to ride back home with Frankie. But before separating he pulled me to the side leaving Frankie to talk to Peyton and Dominick trying to get information on their relationship as she did with Ryder and me. Always saying she has a sixth sense about people's relationships.

"Thank you for today Bri." He kissed my forehead.

"After everything, Jer it's nothing. Thank you for protecting me when I needed it. If I'm being honest, I kind of forgot what it was like having a real dad. Thank you for reminding me." I watched as tears built in his eyes before he hugged me.

"If I ever had kids I would have loved to have you as a daughter." I patted his back in surprise. I've never seen him get emotional. Even at the Lion King scene when Mufasa dies. Everyone cries at that.

"You're the best fake uncle a girl could ask for." I pulled away as he wiped away his tear and composed himself again. "I'll see you at Ryder's parents New Years' party." His nod confirmed he'd be there letting me walk back to Ryder. I gave my thanks to Frankie letting her leave with Jereimiah.

Together we agreed to return to town, get what we needed for the five-day stay at the cabin.

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