04 : BAD NIGHTS AND TERRIBLE MORNINGS

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Camping Tip #9: This is common sense. It doesn't even need to be said but some of you morons need to be reminded. Wild animals are not up for adoption. They are not yours to keep, so stay away from them unless you want to end up dead, armless or terrorized by PETA.


            My eyes sluggishly opened. I was lying on my back, looking up at the ceiling but the ceiling in my bedroom wasn't painted with pink hearts. Jesus, why the hell was everything so bright? There was too much sunlight, it cast the pink hearts on the ceiling everywhere, making everything look like some sort of dance club for Care Bears.

            Confusion clouded my thoughts and questions popped up in quick instances. I slowly turned my head to the right, gasping sharply when I saw a familiar boy sleeping beside me. My head was resting on his outstretched arm and his other arm was lazily wrapped around my waist.  

        My drumming heart was in my throat as his eyelids fluttered open, big chocolate brown eyes that belonged to none other than Jack Marshall focused in on me. We just stared at each other, confused and not processing the situation for a few seconds before we both screamed. I wasn't sure if it was me or him who started the screaming but nonetheless, we scrambled away from one another faster than the speed of light. I sprang up just as he rolled away from me.

             Jack raised his hands, palms facing me in a show of surrender. We stopped screaming and stared at each other.

           I ignored the fact that he was only wearing his Superman boxers. I felt my heart flutter. He was such a geek, especially when it came to computers but even more so when it came to comics. There were his favorite; he wore them frequently when I would sleep over at his house but I had to admit, my favorite were his Batman boxers.

            "Why the hell are you screaming?" he asked.

          "What the hell are you doing in my room?" I countered.

          I thanked God for my brown skin, because it meant that any blushing wasn't detectable. He was the only one who could ever conjure up that butterfly inducing feeling that people wrote novels about.

         Jack frowned, "Does this look like your room, Peryn?"

         I expected to see the striped walls of my bedroom surrounding us but my eyes widened I saw we weren't in my bedroom at all but in a tent. Tent? The same frown Jack was wearing, slowly formed on my lips. An infinite series of questions flew in my brain as I looked around. I suddenly gasped. My eyes widening as the events of the previous night came hurtling towards me faster than a speeding bullet.

        The car really had been stolen by that bastard hitchhiker and we really did spend the night in the woods. We'd all had to sleeping in the same tent because Callie had lost the other two. They had rolled off down a hill and were now forever lost somewhere in the bushes. It had been so awkward, considering the tent wasn't even big enough. The four of us, had to squeeze ourselves in and Callie couldn't stop complaining about people's elbows and Oliver talked in his sleep. It was hell.

        "It wasn't a dream," I said in disbelief, "It really happened, we really are stranded four hundred miles from home."

        "Peryn," he said my name so softly, the way he used to do when he was worried about me, it made my heart jump in my chest.

        "I need some air," I said. I turned and unzipping the flap, I crawled out of tent. I stood up as soon I was out. Stretching my arms, I took in the never-ending stream of trees, the sound of birds chirping and bees humming, the smell of wood and smoke dancing in the morning air. I lifted my face, letting the light and shadow dance across my dark skin. In different circumstances, I would have been enjoying the nature around me, reveling in the peace and -

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