Taking You For Granted

Oliver had always been around, and so he would always be around... Just, as a friend. That's all he was, she swore to herself. But, when something terrible happens she's forced to take a new look at her longest standing, never changing relationship.

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10. we've grown

"There you guys are!" Carolyn smiled at us as our shoes broke twigs on the way back to the campsite. "I've got a cobbler buried in the Dutch oven. Help me with the hotdogs."

We ate dinner under the stars that night. Fire roasted hotdogs and a peach cobbler from scratch.

Afterward, we went to our tents.

"No funny business, kids," Carolyn warned us. "I'm only letting you guys share a tent because we only have two, and I'm counting on the fact that you both know I can hear everything that goes on."

Oliver and I traded looks before nodding in acquiescence.

Oliver kissed his mom on the cheek and waited outside of the tent to let me change into dry underwear and pajamas. I got out and hung my wet clothes on our clothesline while he changed. After he hung his clothes, we both climbed into the tent and crawled into our shared sleeping bag. It was a bit snug for two people, so I curled up against his side, tucked under his arm.

His heart was beating fast against my ear. It made me feel a little guilty, but I liked that I made him so nervous.

Crickets chirped outside of our tent. Frogs croaked. A distant rustle of leaves. His nervous pulse.

I brought my hand up out of the sleeping bag and stroked the line of his jaw with my finger. Little bits of stubble scratched my fingertips. When did he start having stubble? I hadn't even considered that he must have been shaving his face for years now, like I'd been shaving my legs regularly since I was thirteen.

I suddenly felt conscious of the stubble that he surely felt scratching against his calf. We were both wearing shorts. Why didn't I pack pants to sleep in?

"What are you thinking about?" He asked and leaned his head into my touch.

I curled my fingers into my palm and laid my fist against his collarbone.

"Just thinking that we've both grown up," I admitted.

He didn't say anything in response.

"Hey, Oli," I whispered. "What is it that you like about me?"

"What do you mean?" He asked.

"I'm selfish and rude and impulsive," I said. "I'm always hurting Hedy when all she does is stand up for me."

"First of all, you aren't any of those things," he said. "You're always looking out for me and Hedy. The only time I've seen you be rude is when you're telling someone off on our behalf. And, okay you are impulsive when you're upset, but who isn't? And I know Hedy well enough to know she wouldn't keep being friends with someone who treated her poorly. You guys butt heads because you're very different, but you both take care of each other."

"You really think that?" I asked and pulled myself up to be eye level with him.

"I do," he said. "And I like you for a plethora of reasons. I could write a novel of the reasons. But, I won't. I like that you're loyal to your friends. I like the way you chop up your spaghetti noodles because you don't have the patience to wrap them around your fork. I like that you close your eyes before you start ranting about something -"

I cut him off with a kiss, my fingers moving from his collarbone and digging themselves into his hair. His arm, that had been around my shoulders previously, wound it's way around my waist and pulled me closer.

I parted my lips and felt the tip of his tongue slip past. A shiver made its way down my spine. I met his tongue with my own, completely unsure what to do with it but enjoying the feeling nonetheless. I'd never kissed anyone like this before. Something told me that he had, and while part of me sparked at the jealousy, another part of me was thankful at least one of us had some practice.

Our breathing was heavy and labored in the kiss, gasping for breath when our mouths found moments of separation. Exhalation steamed out through our noses.

"Oliver, don't make me trade places with June in your tent," came Carolyn's calm, stern voice from the other tent. "Something tells me you wouldn't like that very much."

Our lips parted and we stared at one another for a long moment as we regained our composure. In the dim lighting from the moon through the thin wall of the tent, I could see that Oliver's face had reddened. I could feel that mine was flushed, too.

"Sorry," Oliver called back to her, then griped quietly at me. "See what you've done?"

"Oh, what I have done?" I teased. "Yes, yes, I alone am responsible."

He smiled, then raised his eyes to the ceiling of the tent and sighed. I rested my head back on his shoulder. His arm was still around my back, his hand drawing little shapes on my waist in the quiet.

An owl cooed.

I closed my eyes.

"Goodnight, June," he whispered.

"Goodnight, Oli," I whispered back.

We woke to bird sounds, cicadas, and the smell of bacon. Well, I did.

"Oliver," I whispered and poked at his cheek.

Somewhere during the night, we had rearranged ourselves into nearly opposite positions. I was flat on my back and Oli was on his stomach, his heavy right arm and leg sprawled over me with half of his torso. His face was pressed against my shoulder.

I tried to pull myself away, but his arm curved and tightened itself around me.

I groaned in frustration.

"Oliiiiiiii," I whined. "Wake up. I'm starving."

His eyes slowly opened and he peered up at me.

"Good morning," he yawned and rubbed the sleep away from his face against my arm.

"Good morning," I laughed. "We should get up and eat, now."

"I don't want to get up, though," he whined and cuddled closer to me.

"You're being a baby," I scolded him.

"But you're so warm," he buried his face under the side of my arm.

"Are you using me to block out the beautiful morning light?" I asked.

He nodded against my arm and I sighed. Being nice was not getting me anywhere. I reached over and pinched the bottom of his upper arm.

"Ouch!" He yanked his arm back and I was free.

My hysterical giggle as I scrambled out of the sleeping bag verged on the insane.

"Well, I'm awake now," he said and pulled himself up. "And you're not getting away with this."

He lunged for me and I ducked under his arms, darting over to the door of the tent and unzipping it open. I stumbled over the raised threshold with him chasing after me.

Carolyn pointed her spatula at us.

"Y'all, I have a campfire going. Be careful not to fall into it. Hooligans."

I let him catch me from behind and pull me into a hug.

I had never actually dated anyone before. I just always felt like I was fine as an individual. I didn't want to be defined as part of a pair, always a half of something else. But, in the short time that I'd been with Oliver as an actual couple, I found that a simple joy existed in simply being in his company. I'd had a small sense of that as friends, but it was different, now. Especially knowing that he really did love me, flaws and all. He'd known me my whole life, saw me at my worst, and still saw me for my best.

He was so good. What did I do to have this wonderful person in my life?

He kissed my right temple and let me go before going to his mom's side by the fire and helping her with breakfast. I sat in a fold up chair in the other side of the fire.

We spent one more day with nature before we had to go back home. Carolyn had to be back at work on Tuesday.

I was nervous. Simultaneously excited and dreading spending so much time with Oliver. Alone.

We'd had that before, but everything was so different now.

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