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Jeremy and Nick silently shuffled into their cabin, and each of them started unpacking their camping gear without speaking. The mood of the room was tense as they pretended to focus on their bags.
“So… what happened up there on the mountain,” Nick asked quietly.
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. Me and Nicole could hear all that noise coming from your tent,” said Nick with a touch of anger in his voice.
“I don’t know what noise you’re referring to,” said Jeremy as he finally made eye contact with his friend. “My clothes were still soaked so I undressed, and then one of the tent rods was coming out so I fixed that. That’s probably what you heard.”
Nick’s face softened a little, but he still had a glimmer of suspicion in his eyes. “So you’re saying that nothing happened up there with you and Sandy?”
“Dude, nothing happened. I fixed the tent and then we went to sleep.”
Nick stared at the floor for a second. “Ok Jeremy, I believe you.” Then he looked up and grinned. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said with a nervous laugh.
Jeremy forced a smile. “It’s ok. I can see why you were suspicious. So, are we cool?”
“Yeah dude, we’re cool. I was just on the wrong train of thought with that one. You probably hated having to share a tent with her in the first place.”
“Fuck yeah I was! You seriously have no idea how small that tent was. I thought that my legs were going to fall off!” Jeremy bluffed.
“Whatever dude! I had to sleep with Nicole, remember? Her dumb ass kept trying to stretch out and I had like no room at all.”
Nick walked over the TV and smiled down at his Xbox. “You have no idea how much I missed you!” he cooed. “At least you don’t quiz me all the time and wonder what I’m doing.”
“Maybe you should date your Xbox,” Jeremy quipped. “I think that you were made for each other.”
“Yeah,” said Nick whimsically. “That would be ideal.” He turned around and grinned at Jeremy. “But, this thing doesn’t have an ass like Nicole. Dude, if she would just quit with her bitching she wouldn’t be so bad.”
“I think that you two just need to sit down and work things out. You might have to compromise on some things. That’s part of a relationship.”
Nick’s angry glimmer returned. “I don’t know why you keep saying that this is my fault! I’m not doing anything wrong! I don’t bug her and ask her what she’s doing all the time, and I don’t bitch about stupid shit or ask her to leave her friends.”
“Yeah, but you have to look at it from a girl’s perspective. They look at everything completely differently from us, and the things that are important to them are totally different from what we care about.”
“Whatever dude. I’m not changing shit, and she needs to figure that out now or she can take all her crap and go somewhere else. I don’t need to put up with drama all the time.”
“Well, then you do what you have to do. I’ve said all that I’m going to say about it,” said Jeremy as he returned to his bag.
Nick didn’t answer as he angrily tossed his bathroom kit at the sink. Their mood didn’t improve through dinner and when it was over they went in different directions to enjoy their free time. Jeremy went upstairs again to see what movie was playing. He had just settled on the couch when a familiar voice called his name.
“Hey babe, what’re you doing,” asked Sandy with a smile as she sat on the couch next to him.
Jeremy looked quickly around the room to see if Nick was watching them. When he didn’t see him, he turned back to Sandy. “Hey, do you mind if we go somewhere more private to talk?” he whispered.
“No, that’s cool with me,” said Sandy with a quizzical expression.
They got up and walked silently to the picnic area at the edge of the woods where they sat at one of the concrete tables. The sun had just dropped beneath the horizon and darkness was settling softly over the mountains.
“What did you want to talk about?” asked Sandy.
Jeremy paused for a moment before he answered. “Me and Nick had a little argument today when we were unpacking. He heard some of the noise from when we were…” He paused to look at Sandy. “…you know.”
She nodded with an amused smile. “And…”
“Well, he was pretty pissed about it. I guess he’s picking now to be the protective brother.”
“What did you say?”
“I made up a story and told him that the tent broke and that I was fixing it,” said Jeremy sheepishly.
“Jeremy!” exclaimed Sandy, giving him a playful slap on the cheek. “How could you?!”
“I don’t know,” he answered without meeting her eyes. “He just seemed so serious about it that I was afraid of him hating me.”
“I don’t think that my brother would hate you. You guys have been friends for too long to have that happen.”
“I don’t know Sandy; you should have seen how angry he was. I don’t want to lose him as a friend.” He looked up and met her eyes. “And I don’t want to lose you either,” he said as he gently held her hand.
Sandy’s gaze softened. “You’re güvenilir bahis so sweet Jeremy. I don’t know why we didn’t hook up a long time ago.”
“Yeah, I wish we had too. Then we probably wouldn’t be having this problem right now,” he said with a touch of frustration in his voice.
“Do you want me to talk to him?”
“No, this is my problem and I need to take care of it.”
“Well, then you’ve got to tell him. I can’t be in a relationship that I have to hide all the time,” said Sandy.
“I don’t want that either. I’m just kind of freaked out by the whole thing right now.”
They were both quiet for a moment. “Do you mind if we keep it kind of secret for a little while?” he asked.
“I’ll play along for a little while Jeremy, but you need to decide what you want. If you want to be with me, then you know what you need to do. If you can’t make that decision then we need to break this up now before we get too attached.”
He nodded slowly as she got up and walked away in the direction of the cabins. Jeremy didn’t move for a little while as he tried to figure out what he was going to do. He knew that he really wanted to have a relationship with Sandy, but he also knew that he didn’t want to lose Nick as a friend. He heard movement in the grass behind him and he whirled around expecting to see Nick standing there.
“I didn’t expect to find anybody here,” said Nicole softly. “I’ll go if you want to be alone.”
“No, it’s ok. I was about to leave anyway,” said Jeremy as he started to get up. He noticed that Nicole’s eyes were red and puffy. “Are you ok,” he asked with concern in his voice.
Nicole walked over and sat down on the bench next to him and stared in the direction of the woods. “Nick can be such an asshole sometimes. You know that?” she said in a broken voice.
“Oh, nothing that great. I don’t know. I guess that it’s a bunch of different things that seem to be getting worse.” She paused and looked at Jeremy with tears running down her cheeks. “Do you know how much it hurts when the person that you care about could give a rat’s ass about you?” she whispered.
“I don’t think that that’s true,” said Jeremy without conviction.
“Oh it’s true! I went up to him a minute ago to see if he wanted to watch a movie with me and he told me that he was going to play on his Xbox with Stewart and that I needed to get off his ass. I told him that all I wanted was to spend some time with him and he pushed me out of his way and just left! What am I supposed to think!”
“That sounds pretty fucked up,” said Jeremy as he stared at the dirt. “I feel like it’s my fault.”
“How could it be your fault that my boyfriend is a heartless bastard?”
“Well, we were talking today and he was saying some things about you and I told him to get over his crap and work things out. Let’s just say that the conversation didn’t go well from there. We still aren’t talking.”
“This isn’t your fault Jeremy. It’s been coming for a long time,” said Nicole bitterly. “Were you really standing up for me?”
“Yeah. The way that he treats you isn’t right, and I hate to see you both so miserable all the time.”
“Well I’m glad that someone cares what happens to me. My stupid boyfriend sure doesn’t.” She paused to look at Jeremy. “Do you know that I really think that he loves that damn Xbox more than he loves me?” she whispered.
“Now that’s just silly,” said Jeremy trying to sound lighthearted. “There’s no way that he could love a machine more than he loves you.”
“Well, he spends more time with it than he does with me. I truly believe that if that thing had a pussy that he would dump me and fuck the shit out of it every night!”
“Come on now! You’re just being dramatic about it. I really don’t know what the answer is for you, but you should know that you do have at least one supporter,” said Jeremy with a smile.
Nicole managed a tired smile. “Well, that means more to me than you know Jeremy. I wish that I had an answer too. I could sure use it right now,” she said as she wiped her eyes.
Jeremy scooted over and gave her a supportive hug. “So, are you still wanting to watch that movie?” he asked as he looked down at her.
“Wow,” she said with a sarcastic laugh. “You have no idea how much I want to hear those words from my boyfriend right now.”
“I’m sorry, I guess that this isn’t the most appropriate time to ask,” said Jeremy.
“No, no. That actually sounds really good right now. I’m not going to let him ruin the rest of my vacation.”
“Now that sounds like a wise decision,” he said with a smile. They got up and walked slowly in the direction of the lodge. They both enjoyed watching Pirates of the Caribbean and it made Jeremy feel good to see her finally smile.
The next day after they had finished breakfast Mr. Peterson stood up and waved his hands for silence. Everybody quieted and looked up at him expectedly.
“Ok everybody, today we’re taking a trip into town to get some supplies and hang out for a türkçe bahis little while. We’ll be leaving in an hour, so I need everybody to head back to their cabins and get whatever they need for the day.” He sat back down and the kids looked at their friends with quiet anticipation as they exited the lodge.
Nick walked stiffly ahead of Jeremy as they walked back to their cabin. He didn’t say a word as he went through his bag.
“Are you not going to talk to me for the rest of the trip or what?” asked Jeremy from the doorway.
“I don’t think that I need to say anything,” mumbled Nick from beside his bed.
“Well obviously we’ve got something that we need to work out, and I’d rather get it fixed now so that we can enjoy the rest of our time here.”
Nick was silent for a few seconds. “It just bothers me that you keep trying to come between me and Nicole.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve never tried to get between you guys!” said Jeremy in disbelief.
“I don’t mean that you’re trying to take her away, you moron! You’ve just always got to put in your two cents when we’re having issues. It bugs the crap out of me.”
Jeremy walked into the room and sat on the bed. “I didn’t mean to upset you, but you’re my best friend and it wouldn’t be right if I let you do something foolish without warning you. It’d be like watching you walk off the edge of a cliff without trying to stop you. At least that’s the way that I see it,” he said as he lay back.
Nick had stopped going through his bag and was studying the floor. “I didn’t know that you looked at it that way,” he said quietly.
“Well I do, and I worry about you two. It would really be a shame if you let these little things end your relationship.”
“What do you mean, end your relationship,” asked Nick with surprise.
“Do you seriously think that she’s going to stay with you if you keep acting like this?”
“I guess that I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Well you need to think about it. She’s really upset dude. I’m not saying that she’s ready to break up or anything, but I can tell you that she will if something doesn’t change.”
Nick was quiet for a few seconds. “I guess I’ve got some thinking to do,” he said finally.
Jeremy rolled over to look at him. “I didn’t mean to rub you wrong, but I’m just trying to be your friend. Are we ok?” he asked as he held out his hand.
“Yeah, we’re good,” said Nick as he returned his friend’s handshake.
“Good, then we need to get ready to go into town,” said Jeremy with a grin.
The bus ride into town was surprisingly quiet. The events of the past few days and taken their toll on everyone. Nicole had decided to sit with Sandy in the back and Nick walked to the front to sit next to Jeremy.
“She’s really pissed isn’t she,” he said as he looked toward the back of the bus.
“Yeah,” answered Jeremy, deciding not to say anymore.
“Crap,” muttered Nick as he turned back around. “What do you think I should do?”
“Ok, just to be safe… You’re asking me for advice?”
“Yeah, yeah,” said Nick gesturing sarcastically. “It’s ok. I’m asking you to talk about it now.”
“Ok then. If you really want to know what I think…” he said as Nick rolled his eyes. “… I think that you should talk with her as soon as you can, and apologize for blowing her off last night.”
“What do you mean, blowing her off? When did I blow her off?
“Remember when she wanted you to watch a movie with her?”
“Kind of. She’s always trying to get me to do that crap. I had already things set up to play a Rainbow Six tournament with Stewart.”
“Well, this time when she asked, it was kind of important. She got really upset when you didn’t want to spend time with her.”
“So you think I should apologize.”
“I think you kinda have to,” said Jeremy.
“Huh…” muttered Nick as he rubbed his chin. “Well if I gotta, I gotta,” he said as he started to get up.
“No! Not now, you moron!” said Jeremy as he pushed Nick back into his seat.
“But, you just said that I need…”
“I said that you need to do it. I didn’t say to do it now,” said Jeremy gesturing behind him. “Don’t do it when there’s other people around. She won’t like that.”
Nick closed his eyes and groaned. “This is so fucking complicated!”
“It’ll be ok,” said Jeremy giving his friend a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
The rest of the ride was spent in silence. The bus finally came to a stop at the edge of an old town at the base of the mountain. The kids exited in a fairly orderly fashion and gathered around Mr. Peterson.
“Well, this is it,” said Mr. Peterson waving at the town behind him. “I know that you could probably care less, but I’ll tell you anyway,” he said as he glared at a few kids. “Westwood Falls was built in 1865 and has been the main source of trade for this area ever since. Most of these buildings date back almost to the beginning. We’re standing on a real piece of history.” A few of the kids nodded and looked around in appreciation. güvenilir bahis siteleri “Now we’re going to meet back here for lunch in about three hours. You got that?” This time he was answered with silence and a few rolled eyes. “Good. You’re free to shop and browse. However! You need to stay within groups. I don’t want anybody wandering off by themselves and getting lost. Is that understood?” Heads nodded. “Ok, then you’re free to go. Keep an eye on the time.”
Jeremy walked with Sandy, Nick, and Nicole. A few other kids tagged along with their group also. Jeremy walked slowly as he absorbed the sights of Westwood Falls. Most of the buildings were similar to the lodge. They were made from logs and had quaint western designs. A few buildings looked to be adobe with hardened earth walls. It really felt like stepping back in time.
“Wow, this is really something,” whispered Sandy as she walked up next to him.
“Yeah it is,” he answered as he studied Nick and Nicole talking in hushed tones in front of them. Nick was making a lot of gestures and he really seemed to be making the effort to appear sincere in his apology. They finally paused and Nicole gave Nick a hug and looked over his shoulder at Jeremy to mouth thank you. He smiled back at her and waved his hand as if to say that it wasn’t a big deal.
“What’s that all about,” asked Sandy.
“Oh nothing. They were having some issues and I talked to Nick for her. Looks like they’re finally working it out,” he answered.
“That’s really good. I hate it when everybody’s fighting with each other all the time. Which brings the circle back to us.” She paused to meet his eyes. He gave her a blank look and she raised an eyebrow.
“What?” he asked in confusion.
“Did you talk to him?”
“I just told you that I talked to him.”
“I’m talking about us. Did you tell him about us?”
“Oh,” said Jeremy lowering his eyes. “Not yet.”
“Well, he’s got a lot of his own crap going on right now and it didn’t seem like a good time,” he said defensively.
“You don’t seem to understand that this isn’t going to happen if you don’t get on the ball!”
“I know, I know. I’m going to tell him.”
Sandy raised an eyebrow in doubt. “Seriously! I’m going to tell him,” said Jeremy earnestly.
“What are you two talking about?” They hadn’t noticed Nick and Nicole join them.
“Nothing, Nicole,” Jeremy answered as Sandy gave him an exasperated look.
Nick grabbed his arm. “Dude, let’s go in here,” he said pointing at a store. He practically dragged Jeremy through the door as the girls followed slowly behind them. When they were alone behind a bookshelf Nick lowered his voice. “Thanks for the advice about Nicole. I think you were right about her being upset.”
“Are you guys good now?” Jeremy asked quietly.
“Yeah. I think that we’re ok.”
“You’ve got to keep it up. Really try to listen to her when she wants to do things and make time in your day to spend with her.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right…”
“What are you two doing, hiding behind shelves?” asked Nicole as the girls caught up with them.
“Nothing babe! Just talking about guy things,” said Nick with a grin.
“Well now that you’re done, you can come shopping with me,” she said with a smile as she grabbed his hand. She dragged him out from behind the bookshelf and they disappeared around the corner.
Sandy was on the other side of the store and she showed no interest in walking with Jeremy. He shrugged his shoulders in defeat and looked up at the shelf behind him. The shelf held a glass display case that contained several pistols. Jeremy’s eyes widened as he took a closer look. They were all western style six-shooters. He stepped closer and started reading the display cards in front of each gun.
“Can I help you with something?” asked a sales clerk from behind him.
Jeremy turned around. “Can you tell me anything about these?” he asked, pointing to the display case.
The clerk walked up next to him and looked down at the display. “These are all replica pistols from the civil war era. Is there any one in particular that you are interested in?” he asked.
Jeremy looked down and saw one that reminded him of the Marshall’s gun from the show Gunsmoke. “I think that I like this one here,” he said pointing.
“That’s one of our more popular models,” said the clerk as he opened the display case. “It’s actually a cavalry issued sidearm from the late civil war era. Let’s see…” he said as he squinted at the lettering on the side of the barrel. “This one is a colt .45 I believe. Here, you can take a closer look at it if you want to,” he said as he handed the pistol to Jeremy.
Jeremy carefully took the gun and felt its weight in his hand. “Wow, this is a lot heavier than it looks,” he whispered in awe.
“A lot of people say that. If you’re not used to handling sidearms, then it can be a little surprising.”
“What kind of shell does this take,” Jeremy asked.
“Now as I said before, these are all replicas. We don’t sell any real firearms in this store. This one is actually able to fire blank ammunition. Not all of them can do that.”
“So this is really just a fancy cap pistol,” said Jeremy with a grin.
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