Have you ever been so deep in a daze that you find it impossible to get out? Yeah? Well, I have those a lot. Not because I have a medical condition but because my Film Criticism class was painfully boring. I zoned out a lot and sometimes I would zone out for the entire class. Could you blame me though? My professor's voice was such a bore. He made a 1 hour and 45-minute class feel like an eternity.
"Layla! Layla! Snap out of it!" A familiar voice half-shouted, snapping in my face. Shaking my head I sheepishly smiled and let out a little laugh.
"You did it again, hun." My friend Cassidy said packing up her notebooks and laptop.
"I know, I know! I can't help it" I say hanging my head feeling guilty.
She laughed getting up from her desk. "Girl, you are lucky I take good notes because if I didn't you would be shit out of luck."
She emphasized the shit out of luck part but she was right. If it weren't for her I would be failing this class because I simply couldn't handle the boredom it brought.
"What would I do without you, Cas?" I said swinging my arm around her neck and giving her my best puppy dog eyes.
Giggling, we both grabbed our bags and headed to the cafeteria to meet up with our other two friends; Sasha and Beatriz. We all have been best friends since we were in diapers. We went to the same daycare, the same preschool, the same middle school— and well you get the point. So going to the same college was only natural. I am extremely blessed to have these three girls in my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. I and Cassidy had the same major. We both were studying Film with a minor in Acting and Sasha and Beatriz were studying Journalism with a minor in Urban Studies. I know what you all may be thinking and I agree with you. We are the coolest friend group.
As we entered the cafeteria we heard two high-pitched squeals coming from Sasha and Beatriz. They were two of the biggest drama queens I have ever met. It amazed me that they weren't Drama majors. However, they always put me in a good mood. They are the ones who truly brought me out of my comfort zone.
"Hey bitches!" Sasha said throwing her arms around both me and Cassidy's necks. We laughed at her wrapping our arms around her and pulled Beatriz into the group hug. The way we greeted each other you would think that we haven't seen each other in years! But we were so close to each other that being in separate classes seemed like we were on opposite sides of the world. We weren't just best friends we were sisters.
We were currently eating our usual lunch in the cafeteria. For the college tuition to be so high here the food sure was shit.
"Is everyone ready for the camping trip?" Beatriz asked as she stuffed a fork full of pasta into her mouth. She moaned rolling her eyes back as if that were the best thing she had ever eaten. "Okay, the pasta isn't that bad today." We all started laughing telling her to be quiet.
"I sure as hell am! I'm ready to get off this campus for a couple of days. It's driving me crazy seeing the same buildings and people every day." Cassidy blurted out.
We all nodded our heads in agreement. Getting away from this campus for a little bit is going to be great. College is fun and all but it tires you out mentally and physically.
"Speaking of which we need to go to Walmart today to pick up some supplies," I stated.
I was like the mother of the group. Not bossy just well organized and I liked to have everything planned out so we didn't forget anything. After we all finished eating, we threw our trash away and headed to the parking lot. Walmart wasn't far from campus and it only took 10-minutes to get there. So it seemed as though we were there all the time, not to just shop but to have fun. We once had a scavenger hunt there. It was epic and we ended up getting kicked out because we were running around laughing. I don't regret a single minute of that day and I would do it ten times over again with my girls.
"So what's on the list miss girl?" Cassidy asked getting inside the cart while Beatriz pushed. I took the list out of my bag and started reading it off.
"We need a tent, sleeping bags, bug repellent, lots of bug repellent, s'mores, toilet paper, and a bunch of other stuff."
We decided to split up in groups of two seeing that we had a long list of stuff to get to make it easier. I and Beatriz went one way and Sasha and Cassidy went another. It didn't take us long to get everything and we all were currently at self-checkout. We made small talk while scanning the many items we had in the cart. We were so excited to go camping we decided to make this a tradition every spring break to do so with the persuasive talk of Sasha. She said that she wanted us all to be one with nature and so camping would allow that for us. Thinking about that made me chuckle internally. She was such a hippy sometimes. After checking out all our items, we headed out of the store and back to the car. Stuffing everything in the trunk we agreed to keep it all in there overnight so that we wouldn't have to haul it back down from the dorm room because that would have been a pain in the ass.
It was currently 7 pm and we were all in the gym working out like we usually do around this time. Outside of going to the occasional frat house or sorority parties we were pretty chill. We are seniors which meant our schedules were short with only a few classes and lots of spare time. The gym was by far our favorite place on campus. It not only helped you stay in shape but working out helped you clear your mind and let loose. Here we all helped each other reach our dream bodies over the 3.5 years we've been in college and I do have to say I am proud of us all. We were all gorgeous and I'm not just saying that just to say it. But I truly felt we were beautiful inside and out. Sasha was about 5'6 with fiery red hair, fair skin, and a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts. Beatriz is a 5'5 spicy Latina who turned heads when she stepped into any room and made men cry for doing her wrong. Cassidy is a 5'3 Asian beauty Queen who made guys drool over her. And I was a 5'4 brown skin, African American, with curves for days, curly hair, who is soft-spoken with an outgoing personality and not afraid to speak my mind when needed be.
"Do you think we will see deer when we get to the camping spot?" Cassidy asked.
"I think we will. If we do I hope they will let us pet them." Sasha replied. I laughed while concentrating on doing my squats. They ask the most random questions sometimes.
After we finished our workout we went to shower and relaxed for the rest of the day seeing that we had to early tomorrow morning. We put on a movie and we all cuddled up in the living room until we fell asleep.
RING, RING, RING
I found myself getting rather annoyed with the constant ringing sound that I kept hearing as I was trying to sleep. It sounded like it was close but far at the same time. I opened one eye pulling my covers up to my neck to trying to get comfortable to go back to sleep. The ringing had finally stopped so now was my chance to enjoy my slumber furthermore. However, not even five minutes later the ringing noise was back. Annoyed I threw the covers off my body to find out where the noise was coming from. I soon came to realize that it was my phone alarm that I set for 5 am. I turned it off and walked over to the lights to flip them on.
"WAKE UP BITCHES! IT'S TIME TO GO CAMPING!" I yelled excitedly. Sasha, Cassidy, and Beatriz woke up as if the building was on fire. Looking around in a panic. Their eyes landed in me giving me a death glare and as soon as I knew it pillows were being launched at me. I laughed dodging them and gave them all the middle fingers. Once everyone was fully awake we all went to shower, got dressed and ate, and got on the road.
Our drive was about 4.5 hours long. So we were going to take turns driving. I took the first shift. During the first 30-minutes, Sasha was listening to an audiobook, Cas was scrolling through Instagram, and Beatriz and I were jamming to our road trip playlist. Three hours into our ride we stopped for gas and snacks because Beatriz was so hungry that her 'ribs were touching her back'. I swear that girl was so dramatic. We only had 25-minutes left of drive time and we were all jamming to the music blasting through the car. I was sitting passenger seat screaming lyrics out the window and Sasha and Cassidy were screaming lyrics out the sunroof. We were truly having the time of our lives. Several songs later we were pulling into the parking lot of the camping location. Except for a few other cars it seemed as though there would be little to no other campers . If that is the case we could all check skinny dipping off our bucket list. To get to our assigned camping location we had a small hike so we stuffed the store-bought items into our bags and started walking.
"We should have packed lighter," Cassidy said sounding like she was winded. Looking behind us with the car still in view I opened my mouth to speak.
"Girl we've only been walking for five minutes."
"I know, but this bag is so heavy!" She whined. Laughing I shook my head and suggested we switched bags. She agreed happily and we continued to walk with no more complaints.
When we made it to our campsite we were in pure and utter amazement. It was beautiful. It was a clearing with colorful flowers surrounded by trees. Nature is so astonishing. It didn't take us long to set up our four-person tent. It was easier than we thought it would be. When then proceeded to create an area for the campfire. While Sasha and Beatriz started laying out the foundation for it. Cassidy and I went to look for firewood.
"Do you think there are bears nearby?" She asked picking up a group of sticks.
"Probably. So let's try not to give them a reason to stop by," I replied giggling a little bit. We collected a few more sticks a piece and started to head back when we heard footsteps behind us. We turned around quickly only to see no one.
"What was that?" I asked looking at Cassidy. She shrugged her shoulders and took off running dropping a few of her sticks. I followed in pursuit and didn't look back.
Once we were back at the campsite we told Sasha and Beatriz what happened and we asked one of the campsite managers if he could check out the area for us.
"I didn't find anything out there ladies. I'm sure it was just a squirrel or something. But if anything else seems to bother you I'm only a five-minute walk away." The older man said reassuring us. We thanked him for taking a look and continued to set up our campsite. After we were finished, we decided to go explore. We wanted to take in as much nature as we could while on this trip. Camping was something I never saw myself doing but the longer we were hiking to the river the more I felt connected to it. A feeling that I've never felt before sent waves of happiness throughout my body causing a small smile to cascade across my lips.
"I hear water!" Sasha sang.
"We must be close then!" Cassidy said shortly after.
We decided that we wanted to go skinny dipping because we were the only ones in our area and very few people showed up to come camping this weekend. I was pretty excited. Skinny dipping was something that I always wanted to do and to get to do it now was a thrill. Walking past a couple more trees the body of water came into view. The sun was setting which made the water a beautiful hue of orange and red. It looked so surreal. We set down our towels and bags and started to strip off our clothes. I was eager to jump in so as soon as my panties were off I found myself running into the water. Sasha, Cas, and Beatriz followed shortly after, splashing me with the water that flew in the air from their body movements.
"This is so relaxing," I said softly closing my eyes and letting my body float in the water. The warm air kissed my skin and it made it feel like I was under a warm blanket.
"Mhmm!" Beatriz said with the same relaxed demeanor. We didn't say anything we all just laid back and let our bodies float enjoying how the water felt covering our bodies. The day had been hot so this was the perfect cool down. It was now completely dark out and the moon was in full bloom. It made the river look ten times darker than what it was so we decided that it was time to get out. We laid across our towels to dry off a little and we just chatted and laughed.
"Now we can check skinny dipping off our bucket list," Cassidy said drying her hair.
"Hell yeah! The next thing to check off the list is sky diving." Sasha replied. We had a cliche bucket list but hey all the things were still fun and adventurous.
"I'm-" Beatriz started to say before we heard howling. We all looked at each other in a panic and got dressed quickly so that we could get back to our campsite.
"What was that?" Sasha asked as we sped walked through the path we took.
"If I'm not mistaken that sounded like a wolf," I said a little confused. The only ones we have here in North Carolina are red wolves but they are endangered so they are kept in wildlife refuges on state and federal lands. The walk back was quiet with us all in our thoughts about where the animal was. When we got back to the site we decided to get a fire started to make some s'mores. Just the thought of the warm chocolate and marshmallows between a Graham cracker made my mouth water.
I had been having a strange feeling all day like something was about to happen. My wolf kept stirring and whining. I didn't know what do to so I just kept pushing the nagging feeling to the bag of my mind. I was currently in my office reviewing paperwork that I needed to get notarized. I was buying more land for my pack because our numbers were growing every year. We were the largest pack in North America with our numbers surpassing 2000 pack members. The more wolves we had the more land we needed. To fulfill this we had to buy a camping site that was 82-acres and it was just what we needed. Looking out the window the sun was setting which meant I had been in my office longer than I wanted to be. I put the papers that I signed back in the folder and tucked them into my desk. Figuring that It was late I would have them notarized tomorrow. My wolf was itching to be let loose so I decided that I would go for a run tonight.
"Daniel, Erick, and Logan meet me in the back we are going for a run," I said through the mind link. They all replied yes alpha and I was making my way through the halls eager to get outside. We were all outside in a matter of 2-minutes. Shifting I eased my mind and body and let my wolf take control. We were going to check out the new land we just bought to get our scent around the territory. When we all were shifted we sprinted into the woods. The warm spring air felt nice kissing my snoot and it felt even better dancing through my fur. The smell of the woods always made my wolf howl in delight it came first on the list of my favorite scents. I let out a howl running ahead of the three wolves running beside me. They let out howls of their own shortly after. We made it to the property line between our old land and our newly acquired land in about 15-minutes. There we stopped at the lake and got a drink of water. We decided to sit there for a little bit to just enjoy the quietness of the night. The sound of crickets and owls hummed through the Forrest. The warm air blowing making the water in the lake ripple. Lifting my head to let the breeze kiss my snoot the most wonderful scent filled my nose and it made my wolf dance.
"Mate!" He sang. Daniel, Eric, and Logan must have smelled something too because they were now standing up sniffing the air intently. My wolf whined eagerly to find where the scent was coming from and let out a loud happy howl. All these years we've been looking for our mate and now she was so close to us. We needed to find her and be with her.