I take a step back from Jay, spinning around. Alex stands a few feet away with her hand on her hip, and a big grin on her face. I smile nervously looking at Jay for help, hoping he will somehow dull down the embarrassment I’m currently feeling.
He doesn’t though, his grin is about the same size as Alex’s. He eyes me with a look of what I’m guessing to be satisfaction and definitely amusement. I tear away from his gaze and look elsewhere.
“Famous huh?” He asks cockily. “Yup that’s me. I didn’t know my Rosa talked so well of me with her friends, is she a keeper or what?”
Alex laughs eyeing me, “Your Rosa here is my best friend, she’s definitely a keeper. The question is, are you?” Alex challenges. Her hand stays resting on her hip scanning Jay up and down. She’s sizing him up.
Jay rolls his ash eyes, they crinkle after as his peach lips turn upward showing his white teeth. “Is that even a question?” He replies slyly.
“Considering I said it was in the sentence, it is.” Alex deadpans.
I shove his arm playfully, “Shut up, your arrogance is unattractive.”
He leans in close to me ignoring Alex. His thumb and pointer rest on my cheek, as his warm breath feels on the flesh of my neck. “You like it and you know it.” He whispers, pinching my cheeks.
My red cheeks deepen a few shades darker. I push him away swatting his arm, “You wish.” I mutter, the outside heat becoming unbearably hot now that Jays here.
“Oww you feisty Oreo.” He pulls back his arm rubbing it, faking hurt. “Stop hitting on me.”
I shake my head, “You’re unbelievable.”
“Unbelievably attractive.” He remarks. “But you already knew that of course.”
“Would you guys stop bickering and take a minute to help me get this for-wheeler off the trailer.” Drew interrupts us.
Alex claps, “Yes what he said stop bickering and get to work. We ain’t waiting till Christmas.”
I smile skipping away from Jay, “I’ll gladly help, wouldn’t want to waste any time.” I empathize the last part, directing it to yours truly.
Fifteen minutes later all the for-wheelers are down, the coolers we brought are strapped on the back of two of them along with our tents and other supplies. After I made sure everything we needed was there and it wouldn’t fall off I took a second to breath.
I checked over everything three times already. I want to make sure we aren’t forgetting anything because we’ll be in the woods. We won’t see the vehicles again until tomorrow when we come back from riding.
I was about to check over things once more when Jay grabbed my arm stopping me. “Stop Rosa, everything’s there. You’re being paranoid.”
“I am not.” I say defensively.
“Are too.” He accuses. “Look it’s just food and tents. It’s one night, we’re not going to die from starvation.”
“But what about bears or—”
His finger brushes down my lips, “Stop stressing women. I won’t let your pretty little face get eaten. If anything I’ll eat you first before the bear gets to you.” He adds the last part with that stupid smirk.
“I’m serious Jay, this isn’t a joke.”
“Rosa stop, I’m serious. You’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, your friends and mine will be fineee.” He draws out the fine lazily. “Now get rid of that god awful frown, and walk your pretty little butt over to our wheels of transportation.”
I cross my arms, “Jay—.”
“Don’t Jay me. Go Rosa, now.” He says seriously pointing over to our for-wheeler that we’ll be sharing.
Grinding my teeth I bite my tongue. No reason to start a scene in front of my friends. So I turn around and stomp off to our “wheels of transportation”. But let me tell you, we’ll be having a talk about bossing me around later.
My friends must have seen me get on the for-wheeler, following along getting on theirs. We’re all sharing with one other person except for Drew, he’ll be riding solo which must be nice.
Jay’s already on my nerves and we haven’t even started yet.
“We good Lizzie.” Hunter calls out to me from two for-wheelers away, he’s riding with Lena. “Yeah we have everything we need.” I tell him, giving him a thumbs up while starting the engine.
Jay’s gets on and I slide back knowing he wants to drive. I don’t mind, we have all day, and I find it relaxing just enjoying the ride. He roars the engine giving me a quick glance, “Hold on tight, wouldn’t want you to fall off.” He yells over the loud sound of the for-wheeler.
Aaron holds up an arm punching the air, “On your mark ladies and gentlemen.” He yells loud and proud, “get set.” He screams, “GOOO.”
We all took off, Jay legit stepping hard on the throttle, pushing it all the way down. Good thing my arms are wrapped tight around his waist because my head jerks back at the sudden speed.
All our for-wheelers race to the tree line where the small opening of the trails start. Drew is riding beside us maybe a couple inches behind, his face dead set on wanting to get to the woods first.
The air swings my hair in a wild array. As I hold on tight to Jay, I feel the movement of his muscles under his shirt. I’m not lying when I tell you they are rock hard either, he was one strong guy.
I looked around us seeing Alex and Gavin were the farthest behind. Aaron and Maya were ahead of them a couple feet. Hunter and Lena were close to Jay, Drew, and I. We were all in an almost line but not quite.
I hold onto Jay a little tighter willing him to go faster, I want to be the first one to the woods. No doubt Jay wants to be too.
“We’ll win Rosa.” Jay tells me calmly, like he just read my mind.
The woods become closer and closer, the green brighter and brighter. As we get closer my hands clamp his shirt tighter. The anticipation is killing me, I want to win. I like competition. How can he be so sure we’ll win? Anything can happen.
“Faster.” I say, as I see Hunter and Lena right on our tail.
“Patience.” He mutters, “Be patient.”
We have about twelve yards till the trees and I’m getting antsy. How can he be so calm? Drew, Hunter, and Lena are so close. Drew is practically in line with us.
We hit a small bump and I jump a little off the seat. Come on Jay, faster, we got this. My nails begin to dig into his shirt, my head leans on his shoulder getting a good view of the woods.
“That’s it baby.” Jay chuckles at me. “Are you ready?” He asks.
Not getting a chance to answer we jerk forward so fast getting a small advantage point. We hit a small incline, which flew us forward a few feet. With that, Jay swerves left and right blocking Drew, Hunter, and Lena from being able to pass us.
Just like that we pass the tree finish line and into the woods we go. I yell and victory as we break through. We won, Jay and I won. He was right. “What did I tell you Rosa.” Jay grins, “Now give me a victory kiss.”
He slows us down coming to a stop waiting for the others, as they come through they don’t look too happy.
Shaking my head I lean forward kissing his cheek, as my lips collide with his warm skin he moves his head so instead of me kissing his cheek my lips are now aligned with his lips. He smiles wide into the kiss nibbling my bottom lip, “Now that’s a victory kiss.” He says.
Drew pulls up beside us first, “Nice job guys, do I get a kiss too for being second?”
Jay scowls as I giggle, “Jump of a fucking cliff.” Jay tells him.
Drew chuckles, “I’ll take that as a no then. Too bad I was looking forward to it.” Jay smiles mockingly, “To bad. You’re welcome to make out with the dirt though, I can help you with that if you’d like.”
Drew laughs whole heartedly. “That’s quite alright, thanks for the offer though.”
“No problem, the offer will still stand if you change your mind pal.” Jay’s smile lingers with fake generosity.
Hunter and Lena pull up a couple feet away from us, slowing to a stop. Lena has a frown set on her face, while Hunter looks kinda dumbfounded. Hunter usually wins but this year that’s changed, he’s probably not too happy about it.
Aaron and Maya pass the tree line next, and lastly Gavin and Alex come through. Alex looks mad, so does Gavin. But at least Aaron and Maya don’t seem to care who won.
Hunter lifts his head of dark brown hair, “That bump, I should’ve known you were going for it. It launched you nearly two feet ahead.”
Jay shrugs, “It was an advantage point, when I saw it I took it.”
“This race was a load of bullshit.” Gavin mutters out loud.
Jay raises an eyebrow while Alex shakes her head agreeing with her boyfriend. “Yeah we have a cooler on the back weighing us down, you guys didn’t.”
I turn to her irritated, “We all have supplies on the back Alex, that’s hardly a disadvantage. You guys were in last since the start.”
She glared hard, “So, the cooler is heavy. Plus you guys hit that bump that flew you ahead of all of us. How is that fair?”
She’s really beginning to irritate me. Is she serious? It’s just a freakin race for gosh sake, not the end of the world. There was no rule not to hit a bump, it’s a piece of land that just happened to be there. “Its land anybody could’ve used the bump, we happened to see it first and used it. There was no rule not to.”
“It’s just a race and it’s over now. Can we ride the trails instead of fighting?” Aaron reasons before me and Alex can go at it any longer. I nod my head in agreement, Alex purses her lips but doesn’t say anything else. Aaron releases a sigh of relief, “Cool, let’s get to it then.”
With that Hunter leads the way, he knows the trails best. It’s his parents land after all. We all follow behind in a not so straight line. We hit bumps, and every once and a while Jay swerves in and out of trees going as fast as he can. It’s scary but fun at the same time, he gets real close to hitting a tree and then turns at the last minute.
For two hours we ride and just have fun. Drew and Jay make make stupid bets, they’re both so competitive its funny.
The hot temperature isn’t so bad under the canopy of trees. Here and there the sun rays break through shining brightly. Chipmunks and squirrels run up the trunk of the trees when we get close to them.
All of the sudden Hunter stops, the rest of us slow behind him. In front of him are five different trails. “It’s about a mile to the river.” He states pointing into the direction of the river. “We’re going to play a little game. There are five paths and five for-wheelers. Each partner group will take a different path and whoever gets to the river first wins.”
All of us begin talking when he holds up a hand silencing us, “The winner gets this fifteen dollar Starbucks gift card.” He holds up the card, “GO.” Hunter yells stomping on the petal getting a head start.
Jay hits the gas right behind him, taking the path farthest to the right. Here we go again.