Chapter 20

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My heart pounded uncontrollably in my chest. This was the moment I was waiting for for so many days while we were lost out there in the forest.

But now the moment did not seem as exciting as i had anticipated it to be. I was hoping for some form of relief, hoping it would bring some sense into this while situation, but i felt nothing. Disappointment if anything.

The house was just as I remembered it to be, though it was starting to fall apart in some places. Pete's dad had built it himself. Took him about five years to build it but it was worth the time.

The house had the look of one of those old fashioned houses that you would see in an early 1900's photo. It was white with With pillars at the front that supported the balcony. The windows on the top storey were tinted while the windows on the bottom storey had blinds.

There was a little attic at the very top of the house that had a small rounded window. Pete and I used to sneak up there and play with Barbie dolls, which he made me swear that I would never tell anyone about it. We liked it up there until the day we found a tiger snake up there. We had never gone up there since.

Pete was terrified of snakes and had jumped into my arms like a little girl when he saw the snake poking out its head from under an old, broken up table. I had to calm him down and stroke his hair till he finally regain control over his emotions.

Pete used to hate the fact that I was better at keeping my emotions together. When we once saw a huge tarantula while out in the bush Pete freaked out and I had to calm him down and move it. Afterwards he always felt weak and insignificant because I kept my cool.

He was also one of those guys that have to be stronger physically and emotionally than girls, just because he is a guy. He hated that about me, that I did not get scared of wild animals too easily.

I thought about the things I could tell Pete did not like about me. I was very smart at school work. Used to get straight A's for maths and chemistry. Pete would get embarrassed that a girl did better than him in something.

I could always see that look of disappointment on his face when we get our marks back and I did better than him. But after a few years my grades started to fall and Pete started doing better than me. He got A's for English and Physics but he still continued to fail maths.

I smiled at the thought of things we get jealous of when we are young. While I was day dreaming we had gotten closer to the lake house. I could now see that the house wasn't only just falling apart a little, it was barely staying up.

The pillars were deteriorating and the balcony was barely staying up. Some of the bricks have fallen out of the walls and the white paint could now barely be classified as white and it was falling off.

My heart sank at the sight of the once beautiful house, that was now a wreck.

Some of the windows were broken as well and the house looked like it could be on one of those "Haunted House" movies.

"HEEEELP!!!!" the voice pierced through the silence and interrupted my thoughts.

Was my mind playing tricks on me? I looked behind me at Hayley and Jake. Their eyes looking around curiously. No, I was not mistaken.

"HEEEEEEELP!!!" There it was again. This time closer and more fearful. The sound of the terrified voice that I have been so familiar with over the last decade of my life. The sound of a guy terrified of another animal.

Pete.

"Pete?!" I yelled out, the loudest that my dry mouth could manage.

There was silence.

I looked around to try and determine the direction the voice had come from. I was sure that it had come from my left but Jake thought other wise. "It definitely came from behind us." He said.

Hayley was with me, however. "I think it came from over there, actually." She said, pointing to her left.

"Tess?" I heard the voice again. It sounded surprised. This time I was sure it came from our left.

"Pete." I whispered to myself as I ran in the direction I knew was right.

I ran and ran. Tears were welling up in my eyes as I thought about seeing my best friend again and holding him in my arms and telling him everything that has been bothering me.

"Where are you?" I yelled out thinking I would be close to him now.

"Here." He said.

I spun around in one motion while I was running. I was pretty proud of myself for managing to stay on my feet while spinning around in a run.

There he was. The person I had been hoping to see for so long. The person I had night mares about losing him. But there he was. I ran up to him and embraced him with one swift motion.

"Don't smother me, Tess." He choked out.

"Sorry!" I said loosening my grip on him, but not letting go. I had missed him too much.

When he finally decided he'd had enough of my hug he let go. He looked into my eyes and I could see the fatigue in his hazelnut coloured eyes. He was just as helpless as I was.

I noticed that his dark brown hair was dishevelled and I was sure his mirror would not approve. I ran my hand through his hair, trying to give it some style but it immediately went back into the same position it was it. "You need a hair cut." I said, disapproving.

"Okay, so you haven't seen me for a few days, you realised I was missing. You were probably lost in the forest out there looking for me, and the first thing you tell me is I need a hair cut?!" He said playfully.

"Yes, that's right." I smiled. Though I knew that he knew that I was very worried about him and that I was so glad to see him. If it was anyone else I said that to I would not have dared agreeing with them, but Pete knew me better than that.

"So why were you screaming?" I asked as Pete put his arm around my shoulders as we headed back towards Hayley and Jake.

"Saw a lady bug." He smiled. I laughed him. I realised how much I've missed his jokes and always knowing how to cheer people up.

"Must have been a pretty big lady bug. You sounded terrified." I said.

"Yeah it was. It fully had teeth, dude!" Pete said. His use of language always amused me.

For a moment I could forget everything that was happening around me. Feeling Pete's arm around me made me feel safe and secure. I knew there was lots we had to talk about; starting with the kidnappers and what had happened. But for the moment I just wanted to forget about everything. And enjoy having Pete back and having him alive and well. I had so much to be thankful right now.

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