Alex woke up and instantly felt the headache take over her body. She turned to the small brown end table and saw a glass of water and what she assumed to be pain medication. She smiled at the fact that Riley did little things like this. Things no one, but Alex really notices, but never tells otherwise the blonde would deny that she had anything to do with it. She groaned in pain and grabbed her head as she slowly swallowed the pills. When her vision was a little more clear, she looked around the room and noticed that Riley wasn’t there, but there was a note on the her bed that read:
‘Sup weirdo, get showered and meet me in the TV room, I have a plan! Be there around five.’
Riley dried off and put on black jogger sweats and a white shirt and looked over at Tes sprawled across her small bed, the blanket was thrown across the room and she was wrapped up in the thin gray sheets. Her hair covered her face. She looked at the clock and noticed that it was only two in the afternoon. She rolled her eyes to no one in particular and wrote a note and stuck it on the lamp by Tes’s bed before leaning down and kissing her on the forehead, before grabbing a bag and headed towards the guys end of campus.
She easily got in and walked up to John and Vick’s room and quietly got in and went through their closets. She was in and out within minutes and went to her car to plan everything out.
Alex went to Tes’s room that was a few doors down and knocked on the door. It took a few minutes and she was about to walk away, when the door opened, she was greeted by a tall girl with short wavy light brown hair, and hazel green eyes. She was wearing red boxer shorts and a black over sized shirt. Half tucked in, half out. She rubbed her eyes and smiled through a yawn. “Hey fluffy, what’s up?” She said in a tired tone.
“Shhh, Tes doesn’t need to know you call me that, then everyone will know.” Alex said, blushing.
The girl chuckled a bit. “Don’t worry, she’s not here. She left to go get dressed for something.”
“I missed you Jackie.” Alex said, looking down, as if it was to much to look into the girls eyes.
“I missed you too hon.” She lifted the shorter girls chin and leaned down to kiss her before pulling her in for a hug and shutting the door.
They lyed down on the girl’s bed and tangled their legs together. “When did you get back?” Alex asked.
“Around three. I was way to exhausted so I just passed out, I’m sorry that I didn’t text you.”
“It’s cool, Tes let me know.” It was silent for a moment. “How are things with your family?”
“Oh ya know, half of them are grieving and the other half are celebrating.”
“I know how much your sister meant to you, I’m sorry.”
“It’s really okay. I mean, We all lose someone at some point right?”
Before Alex could say something, her phone went off with a text from John.
‘Did Riley tell you to meet her in the TV room?’
‘Yeah, you too I guess.’
“Oh, just John.”
“Ooh! Tell him I said hi.”
Her phone went off again.
‘Are you gonna go?’
‘Of course, she’ll kill me if I don’t, besides, I’m kinda interested in what she has planned. Oh and Jackie says hi.’
Alex sighed, “So ya know how tomorrow is our last day right?”
“Nooo, Really? I must have missed the memo.” She said sarcastically while smiling to show her perfect white teeth.
Her phone went off.
‘See you there.’
“Shut up Jackie.” They both laughed. “I think Riley has something big planned.”
“How is she? I saw her sneaking out of here. I tried saying hi, but she was practically running down the hallway.”
“Oh you know Riley. She’s always got something in that head of hers.”
“What do you think she’s doing?”
Riley sang at the top of her lungs to the song Blank Space while turning onto a semi muddy road and driving between thick trees. The music stopped and the host came on.
“Hello listeners, jammers, and karaokes! The bad blood with Russia and America continues to be evident. Both countries in the last few weeks, have erupted into political back handing and riots erupting in their small city states. Rather this will lead into a larger matter is yet to be seen. If you ask me, we should just dedicate this song to Russia and get on with our lives. Here's Why Can't We Be Friends by War!"
After a few moments of the song being played, it was static after that. Riley parked and sat there for a moment, thinking about what will happen with her and Tes. After thinking for a few minutes, she was close to just dropping everything and going anywhere with her. She got out of the car and made her way into the woods, trying to shake the fear and confusion off. She walked for about 30 minutes before finding the perfect spot for the night. “This is it.” She said smiling. She checked her phone to see if she still had reception, just for emergencies and was happy to see that she still had a signal.
She took off her back pack and got little bright yellow flags and little nails. “This is the night Riley. One last time.” She said to herself before nailing in one of the flags to a tree. Riley never thought about her life without her friends. They’ve always been there for her. Through thick and thin. Her high school and college years were supposed to be the best years of her life. And they were, but that fact made her sad. Her thoughts were cut off by footsteps around her. She looked in the direction it was coming from and and noticed eyes. She blinked really fast a few times. They were still there. Then, they blinked.
“Hello?” Riley asked, holding the hammer a little tighter now. “Who’s there!” She said a little more timid now. “If this is a joke, it’s not funny.” A sudden gust of wind knocked her back a bit. She struggled, but caught herself. She went back to where she saw the eyes and they were gone. She sprinted towards where it once was and stopped when she noticed animal tracks. She laughed. “Of course it was an animal ya dumb ass.” She made her way back to her Jeep, marking trees along the way.
“Where the hell is she?” Alex asked, growing more aggravated as the minutes went on. “She said five.” She looked at her phone. “It’s six. She’s never late.”
“Calm down fluffy.” Vick said with a triumphant smile.
Alex gasped, “Who told you!?”
“Hey guys!” Riley said jogging towards them and jumping onto the table. “Sorry I’m late, had to stop at the store.”
“That took you all day?” Tes asked.
“Sorry babe, I would’ve brought you, but that would have ruined the surprise.” She said, her face practically glowing.
“Are you sweating?” John asked.
“Well, I mean you hate exercise and it’s kind of cold outside.”
“I took a walk.
“Why?” Alex asked.
“That’s besides the point. But hey, I have some awesome news!” It was silent, but all eyes were on her. “So today is technically our last day here before we all go our separate ways, right?” Still silent. “Okay, tough crowd.” She looked over at Tes that looked a little down and immediately regretted saying anything. They’ll probably have to talk about it tonight. She shook the thought out of her head and continued. “The first night we came here, we all camped out in the middle of the woods. Just us and the stars.”
“And the dog that tried to attack me.” John said.
“Well...” Riley tried.
“And the spiders that crawled on you while you were sleeping.” Alex noted.
Riley shook at the thought of that.
“And the poison ivy I got.” Vick said.
“Okay, you chose that bush to take a shit in Vick, that’s on you.” She said laughing a little.
“And those bats that chased me and Alex through the woods.” Tes said.
Riley really laughed at that one. “Okay that was really funny. And I’m pretty sure they were birds.”
“Birds don’t fly at night!” Tes argued.
“Okay! Okay... I get it. Shit happened, but it was all part of the experience. And honestly, what are the odds of those things happening again?”
“Mine are pretty high.” Vick said, remembering the poison ivy.
“Okay, but don’t you guys want one last night to just be us. Just the five of us and the stars, and maybe some alcohol.” Riley said, refusing to lose this argument.
“You had me at hey guys.” John said.
“Thank you! That’s one! Come on guys.”
“Well of course I’m coming.” Tes said, still looking upset.
“Yes!” Come on Vick. Just think about it.”
“I don’t know Riley. I mean its really dangerous nowadays.”
“But we are safe together.” Riley tried and looked at him with hopeful eyes. He stayed quiet. “The Vick I know would just say I’m down with a fish face and be the first one in the car. I already have the place picked out.”
She looked back and forth between Alex and Vick. “Can’t we just stay in and drink?”
“That’s what we always do! Since the time we went to Pulse a few weeks ago, we just got shit faced in someone’s room. Don’t you want some kind of remembrance or something to say, four years later, we made it, we actually fucking made it.”
After a few moments of odd stares and silence, Vick finally spoke up. “I’m down.” He said in his usual deep voice.
“Awesome!” She turned towards the brunette. “Alex?”
“Fuck it. But I’m bringing Jackie.”
“What why?” Riley asked, suddenly feeling angry.
“Because she’s my girlfriend and I want to take her.”
“Since when have you two been exclusive?”
“Since when do you care?” Tes asked jokingly. She always laughed at when Riley got frustrated about Jackie. She was the only one that knew why.
“Since this morning. She asked me before I left so I want her to be there and share ‘the moment’ with us.”
Riley huffed out in defeat. She lost the battle but won the war. “Fine, but she better be ready in the next twenty minutes, or I’m leaving without her.”
“How are we gonna get ready that fast?”
“You already are. I packed all of your bags. They’re in the car.”
Alex laughed a bit, of course Riley knew she would get them to go. When her mind is set on something, she does it.
Riley was on the hood of her car, looking at the sun going down when everyone showed up. “Hey Riley.” Jackie said while setting her bag down on the floor by the blonde.
“Hi Jackie. It’s been awhile.” Riley said flatly while sliding off the hood of the car, grabbing the small bag and throwing it in the back. “Everyone ready!?” She asked ignoring the stared from Jackie and Alex while getting into the car. They all squeezed in and were on there way.
“I’m fucking starving.” John said from the back.
“I know dude, I heard you stomach growl a while ago and I thought it was a wild animal.” Riley said. “There’s a gas station up here, we can get drinks and snacks for tonight.”
Riley went to the isle that contained alcohol and got two bottles of Vodka, some fireball and a couple cases of beer. She had a low tolerance and could get drunk easily. Everyone said she was a two drink drunk. Her arms soon got to full when she tried to pick up the last case, it almost dropped, but Jackie came and caught it. ‘Fucking amazon here to save the day.’ Riley thought.
“That was a close one, ha.”
“Yup.” Riley gave an awkward smile and started for the register.
“Riley, why won’t you talk to me.”
“I thought it was obvious.”
“Figure it out then.”
The blonde walked away and paid at the register. They ended up with a shit ton of snacks and alcohol that could probably get them through the rest of winter.
"Hey! It's your favorite radio host LQ here to congratulate all you upcoming graduates! Do you smell that? It's student loans coming to get you with that crippling debt. But don't let that take away from those accomplishments grads. You've made it through crippling anxiety, insomnia inducing work loads, and the experimentation's. Wink wink, You all know what I'm talkin about." The radio was in the middle of the camping ground while everyone listened and started on their tents. "
“I can’t believe she remembered where we camped four years ago.” Alex said before her and Jackie put the last peg in for their tent.
“Yeah, you’d be surprised how good her memory really is...” Jackie mumbled under her breath.
“What was that hon?”
“Nothing.” She said smiling. They sat down in front of the tent and watched in amusement at the sight they saw.
John and Vick had a relatively bigger tent compared to the others, but it was understandable. They were working as a team to get it done. A little to their left they saw Riley with her short sleeved rolled up, trying to flex and mimic the guys while struggling with her tent. At one point, Alex swears she saw the small blonde check to see how her arms looked. Tes was on the side laughing.
“You could help ya know.” Riley said while throwing rope on the ground out of frustration, in return earning a laugh from her friends.
“I didn’t wanna ruin you manliness competition.” Tes said
She huffed out in annoyance, no one can ever take Riley seriously, even when she’s angry she looks really funny. It’s just like the first time they came out here, only they were all single back then.
She was almost done when a rope got wrapped around her ankle and tripped her when she tried to walk away. “Oh shit!” She said while falling onto the only muddy spot in their camping ground. Everyone just laughed and opened a beer.
It was dark out, the only light was coming from the campfire. They were all tipsy and enjoying each others company. Riley suddenly felt sad and realized how much she will miss everyone. “Well this is gonna be our last night together.” She said.
Alex slapped her lightly on the arm. “Shut the hell up, no its not.” She she said playfully.
“No, Alex it really is, we’ll all be really busy and...” John was interrupted by Alex
“Nope! Nope it’s not the last night!”
“Alex...” Vick started.
Alex looked forward at the tall man. “Vick, I swear to God! I will go over there and smack you in the face! And will all of you stop being downers. We will see each other again, all of us. And ten years from now, or even shorter, we’ll be sitting at this exact spot. And I can tell you all I told you so, while drinking my beer!”
“Alex is this your way of saying you looove us?” Riley asked, smiling.
“You’re damn right! I love every single one of you guys! You’re like family.”
“I think someone needs to go to sleep.” Jackie said laughing as her girlfriend started to fall forward slowly. She took the brunette’s arm and put it around her shoulder and led them to their tent.
Tes yawned. “I’m tired too. Wanna come to bed?”
Riley smiled and finished the last swig of her beer. She pulled Riley in for a hug. “I’m sorry.”
Tes was confused, but hugged her tight, wrapping her arms around the girls waist. “For?”
“Earlier. When I said we are all going our separate ways. I saw that it bothered you.”
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about our future a lot.”
“Me too. Tes... I... I lo...”
“I think we should try our own thing.”
“Wait.” Riley tried holding back her tears. “What?”
“I can try to whole California thing, while you stay here and fulfill your dream.”
“Are we breaking up?”
“No, just taking a break?”
Before Riley could talk, she was interrupted by Vick. “Riley! Me and John wanna go out for a walk, wanna come?”
“Yeah, yeah I’m coming. Give me a minute.”
“Sure.” He walked back to John and they started talking.
Riley turned back to Tes who held no emotion. “You don’t wanna talk about it?”
“We just did.”
Riley straightened her shoulders and put on a smile. “I’m gonna go for that walk. I’ll be in later.”
Riley turned and walked to her two friends. Tes watched as she let the love of her life go, when a tear came running down her cheek. “I love you too.”
“Why did you do that?”
Tes turned to see a very concerned Jackie. “Do what?”
“You two are like amazing together. You know she would've went to California in a heartbeat, right?” Jackie said while wiping a stray from Tes’s cheek.
“I know, that’s why I did it. She was offered and amazing job here for video editing, I can’t let her turn down her dream job for something that isn’t a for sure thing for me.”
“I just hope you know what you’re doing. Riley loves you, but she won’t wait forever.”
“I know, but this is something I have to do.”
“Is it really?” Jackie said. It was silent and she went back to her tent shaking her head.
“Why are we walking in the middle of the woods?” Riley asked, slipping a little over a branch on the ground.
“Oh you know you love it.” John said.
“Ya know, sometimes I think you guys want me to trip and fall.”
They laughed remembering all of the occasions the small blonde fell. “Like that time you fell up the stairs.” Vick said.
“Hey! That takes talent!” Riley shouted in defense.
“Or the time...” Out of nowhere, there was a huge explosion in the distance and the shock wave came and knocked all three of them to the ground. Riley felt something running down her face. She put her fingers to her cheeks, but couldn’t make out what it was. It wasn’t until she looked to her left and noticed that John was holding his leg and groaning in pain. Her and Vick were on their knees and by his side within seconds. They heard a loud booming sound that was in the distance.
“Was that a fucking exlosion!?” Riley shouted.
“I don’t fucking know, but we have to go! Grab one of his arms!”
They put an arm around each of their shoulders and practically dragged John through the woods and back to their camp. They were halted to a stop as they were looking at a barrel of a gun. "Ne dvigaysya!" The man shouted.
"What's he saying?" Vick asked.
"Don't move." Riley said quietly. She took Russian for a few years in high school and a year in college. The man looked at her.
"Vy ponimayete menya?"
"Yes. Do you understand me?" Riley asked.
The man nodded before getting out of his shocked faze. "Nikomu ne dvigat'sya , ili ya ub'yu tebya"
Riley knew he wasn't bluffing considering the loaded machine gun he was pointing their way, but before she could tell Vick what he said he charged at the man. "No!" Riley shouted as John weight became more dominant. There was a gunshot and then the sound of struggling. Vick was on top of the man punching him over and over again. Riley tried to move, but felt a strong pain in her hip. She realized the situation that she was in and she was losing a lot of blood. She could see flashlights coming from all directions before strong arms grabbed her shirt and dragged her through the woods. She didn't know how long she was being dragged but they finally stopped as she heard a girls voice shouting her name and then the man was on the ground.