The Final Hour

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A Friendly Race

We’ve been riding for about 45 minutes and have been going back and forth asking each other questions. After a while, I start to think about this morning, with Matt, up on the wall. “Hey, Matt invited us to hang out after curfew. Well, he invited Rayla and I but I figured she’d already been going with Isaac so do you want to go?” I ask, looking over at him.

“I’m down, but I am always wary of Matt, as I told you this morning, he’s kind of a horny guy,” Aaron answers, looking at me.

“Yeah, and he actually was being very pushy this morning,” I add, looking forward, patting Bandit on the neck.”

“How so?” Aaron says, becoming curious.

“Well, I got up early and decided to go up on the wall and see what it was like up there. He was already up there and was asking me why I was up so early and then brought up you and me, asking if we were ‘together’, and then when I told him no, he started to get all up in my personal space trying to be smooth with pick-up lines and shit,” I reply, tightening my grip on Bandit’s reins in irritation, causing Bandit to pick up his pace slightly. “Sorry buddy,” I say loosening my grip. Rubbing his neck.

“That sounds like Matt alright,” Aaron says, looking down at Bandit, watching his reaction to my grip, “What was that about?”

“Oh, I just started to get a little irritated talking about Matt and He must’ve noticed,” I reply. “Why don’t we pick up our pace a little? I’ll race you to the street sign!” I say, urging Bandit into a faster speed.

“You’re on!” Aaron shouts after me, catching up quickly.

I start laughing, looking back seeing that he is closing the distance between us. “Come on Bandit, We aren’t going to let him win are we?” I say, grabbing his mane, as he picks up his speed, causing me to lose my balance slightly.

Just as Aaron starts passing me, Bandit picks up his pace once more, moving into a full sprint, I feel himself stretch out underneath me. My body starts to slide off of his right side. “Amara!” I hear Aaron shout before I feel Bandit slow down quickly, causing me to fall off. “Oh my god, are you okay?” He questions, jumping off of Milo and coming over to me, “Don’t move too fast.”

My head pounds in pain, “I’m fine, not my first head injury,” I comment, rubbing the side of my head. I look at my shoulder seeing blood and dirt on it, “that’s lovely.” I add, “Will you grab my moonshine and water from my bag?”

“Yeah,” he says, standing up, grabbing my bag and taking my stuff out of it, handing it to me.

“Thanks,” I say screwing open the moonshine, taking a drink and then pouring it over my arm. I groan in pain quietly, swallowing the moonshine, “Fuck!”

“You okay?” Aaron asks, watching.

“Yeah, all good,” I say, handing him the bottle and ripping the bottom of my shirt off, dowsing a corner of it in water and wipe off the dirt. Tying the rest of it around my arm.

“Maybe we should head back, our doctor should properly clean it,” Aaron comments, helping me up.

“But things were just getting good,” I say, looking over at him, pausing for a second before bursting into laughter. Suddenly, I see an animal running at us from the way we came. “Uh, Aaron!” I blurt, pointing at the animal as it sprints towards us.

“Get behind me,” he says, shoving me behind him.

I watch from behind him as he pulls out his knife. The animal continues to close the distance before slowing down, and soon stopping in its tracks, lowering its head.

“Wait,” I blurt, stepping out from behind him.

“Amara, careful,” He pleads, reaching for my arm.

“Major?” I question out loud. The animal raises his head and trots up to us. I let out a sigh of relief before bending down to his level, reaching out my hand, rubbing his head.

“I thought you put him in your tent?” Aaron asks, keeping his distance.

“I did, Rayla must’ve let him out and someone must’ve opened the gate,” I answer, standing up.

“No one would’ve just let him out, everyone in camp knows he’s yours,” Aaron asks, slowly walking up towards me.

“They would’ve if he was making a lot of noise and causing a scene, he is still pretty feral,” I add. “Give me your hand,” I comment, reaching for his hand.

“What are you doing?” He questions, nervously.

“Do you trust me?” I ask, looking him in the eyes. He nods and I smile back, turning my head back to Major. “Good boy Major,” I say, slowly placing Aaron’s hand onto Major’s back.

Aaron, watches closely, his hands still tense, “You need to relax or he’s going to feed off of that, and then we will really have a problem,” I say, intertwining my hand with his as it strokes along Major’s back. His hand immediately relaxes, “Good boy Major. See? We like Aaron,” I say taking my other hand, rubbing underneath Major’s chin.

It goes quiet before Major moves closer to me, jumping up on me, licking my face. I laugh softly before standing up slowly, my hand still intertwined with Aaron’s, we both lock eyes, staring at each other for what seems like an eternity.

Aaron moves closer, moving his free hand to my face, his eyes aim to my lips and then back up to my eyes. My heart begins pumping, my knees shake, every part of my body wants to kiss him, but something just makes me pull away, “I’m sorry Aaron, I-I can’t,” I say, removing my hand from his.

He moves away, rubbing the back of his neck, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.”

“No, it wasn’t your fault,” I say, looking down at the ground.

“It was though, I mean, we barely know each other and here I am trying to kiss you and practically out of nowhere might I add,” He says, getting annoyed with himself.

“Aaron, I’m serious, it wasn’t your fault, it was mine,” I add, looking up at him, “The only time that I’ve been able to get close to someone without getting hurt in the process is becoming friends with Rayla, and I just don’t want to go through any of it again, it’s happened too many times.”

“Amara, I’m not going to hurt you, mentally, emotionally, physically, ever,” he comments, putting his hands on my shoulders.

“You can’t promise that, and anyone who says they can is a liar,” I say, as tears begin forming in my eyes.

He looks down at the ground and then looks at me. “You’re right, but I can try my damndest to follow through with it.”

I wipe my eyes, not knowing why I always seem to cry around Aaron, “I’m sorry, we went from having a good time to me crying.”

“Don’t be, if you want we can just keep moving?” he suggests.

“No, you were right maybe we should just head back,” I say, turning to Bandit, swinging myself over his back.

“You sure?” Aaron questions, keeping his distance, not wanting to push my boundaries.

“Yeah,” I answer, letting out a deep breath.

“Okay,” he says, slightly disappointed, getting onto Milo’s back.

We turn around and start walking in the direction of The Colony, with Major, walking in front of us.

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