Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

"Rise and shine!" someone yelled from outside the tent, shaking it violently as if it was in a storm. "Come on, up and at 'em!"

Laughlin groaned, his chest vibrating from underneath me. We were still in the same position we fell asleep in, and I couldn't help but snuggle closer to Laughlin. "What time is it?" Laughlin asked.

"Time for you to get your butt out if bed!" Zeke said. "If the two of you aren't out in five minutes, I'm dumping cold water on you!"

"Dad!" Laughlin whined. "That's not fair. Elliot is a guest and she's still sleeping."

"No I'm not," I muttered, but I didn't think Zeke heard me. Laughlin was probably using me as an excuse to sleep in more.

Zeke sighed. "Alright, fine. I'll give you twenty minutes, so you better be out of the tent by eight-twenty!"

I heard his footsteps walk away, so Laughlin reached for his cell phone and sighed. "My dad did this a lot," Laughlin told me, his voice groggy. "Whenever we went camping, he would wake us up so early."

"You seem like you have a close family," I said.

"We used to," Laughlin said. "Ever since my mom left after my dad went to jail, we've been falling apart. Take me, for example. I'm a mess."

"You're not a mess," I assured, reaching for his hand that wasn't around me. I intertwined our fingers together and rested our hands on Laughlin's stomach.

Laughlin sighed, disagreeing with me. "Ellie, I get into fights, I yell at my family, I get the crap beaten out of me, I can't even keep a girlfriend."

"You're not a mess," I repeated. "You're one of my best friends. I've seen you treat your brothers like they're your whole world. You do yell at Munro, but you can't stand seeing him get hurt. You may not see how amazing you are, but I do."

Laughlin chuckled softly. "This is why I like you, Elliot. You always make me feel better."

I didn't know if he meant that he like me as a friend, or more than that. I was hoping the latter, but I still didn't want anything to change between us. Not when Mary was in the way.

However, Mary was right. Laughlin and I were showing affection towards each other. Here we were, cuddled in a sleeping bag with our hands intertwined. Did it mean something to him?

"You're thinking," he muttered, running his free hand through my hair. "What are you think about?"

"Nothing," I lied, not wanting to tell him. "I'm just tired."

"We should probably get out," Laughlin said.

I shook my head and snuggled even closer to Laughlin. "Not yet. We have about fifteen minutes."

"You're just using that as excuse to be close to me," he teased. "Whatever. I still want to sleep anyway."

For the next fifteen minutes, we stayed wrapped in each other without talking. We didn't even have to say anything. We felt comfortable being with each other.

The fifteen minutes went by too fast in my opinion. Before I knew it, Zeke came back to the tent and started shaking it again. "Time to get out. Munro has his water gun filled and he's ready to use it!"

"We're getting up!" Laughlin replied with an irritated voice. He sat up, opening the zipper of his sleeping. Since his hand was still in mine, he helped me sit up, then helped me out of the tent.

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