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Jeremy’s head jerked as the bus bounced over another bump in the road. There was no way that he was going to be able to get any sleep. He pushed aside the bag that he was using for a pillow. More laughter drifted from the back of the bus. Karl had probably told another one of his retarded jokes.
“Dude, how can you be sleeping when we’re wasting our last days as seniors?” muttered his best friend Nick.
Jeremy glared over the back of his seat. “Maybe I’m not as excited about it as you are.”
“What’s there not to be excited about? You’re getting into a way better college then I am.”
“Just ignore him, Nick,” said Nicole from where she was sitting next to her boyfriend. “Seriously Jeremy! You need to get over Ashley. That was almost a year ago and you’ve been moping way too much.”Jeremy grunted and turned around.
Nick leaned over the back of his seat, “Dude, you’ve had lots of chances to hook up with someone this year. Ashley was cool and everything, but Nicole’s right. Get over the past and try to enjoy camp. This’ll be the last time we get to go, so you need to fuckin’ lighten up!” He laughed and slapped Jeremy’s head.
Jeremy winced and lightly rubbed his scalp. “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine!” He turned around and grinned at Nick. “Seriously! I’m going to have fun, because if I don’t then you’ll be all over my ass for two weeks and then you won’t have any fun.”
Nick sat back and laughed, “That’s my boy!” Nicole giggled and snuggled closer to Nick.
“Don’t worry, Jeremy. I know you’ve probably heard it all before, but there are lots of cool girls out there and you’ll find someone that’ll make you forget all about Ashley. Don’t sweat it,” she said with a smile.
Jeremy turned back around and stared at the front of the bus. “Dude, if you need some help with getting your groove back, I could always let you date my sister for five bucks,” laughed Nick.
“Shut up, Nick! I heard that!” yelled Sandy from the back of the bus.
“Nick silently winced. “On second thought, you probably wouldn’t want her…” he muttered. “She can be a hormonal bitch sometimes!” he yelled toward the back of the bus.
A backpack narrowly missed his head before it landed in the seat next to Jeremy. Jeremy whirled around in time to see Nick’s sister Sandy moving towards them. She briskly boxed Nick’s ear before looking down at Jeremy.
I’m sorry, Jeremy,” she said with a little smile. “My brother can be such an ASSHOLE sometimes!” She glared down at Nick before she made her way back to her seat.
Nick sat up and peered after his sister. He turned and grinned at Jeremy. “See what I was saying?” he said as he pointed at the back of the bus. “Don’t let her looks deceive you. She’s freakin’ evil!” He gave another quick glance to see if she had heard him.
Jeremy stared after Sandy. Nick was right, she looked pretty good. Sandy had shoulder length brunette hair with a really pretty face. She had a large B-cup and her ass looked really good in those low-rise jeans. His thoughts were interrupted when Mr. Peterson stood up and clapped his hands loudly.
“I need you all to get back to your original seats and get your crap together. We’ll be in Westwood Falls in about fifteen minutes,” he said in a booming voice. The bus was quickly filled with people maneuvering around each other, trying to find their stuff. Jeremy gripped his bag and made room for Stewart to slide in next to him. He took one look at Stewart’s face and busted out laughing.
Stewart gave him an annoyed look. “What the fuck are you laughing at?”
“Is Trisha wearing glitter lipstick?” Jeremy asked when he finally got his laughter under control.
“Maybe. Why?” said Stewart with a glare.
“Because you’ve fucking got it all over your face!” yelled Nick from behind them. The whole row busted out laughing, and Stewart whirled around to glare at everyone before he settled down to wipe his cheek.
The bus kicked up gravel as it wound its way up the path to the top of the mountain. They passed a wooden sign that read, “Westwood Falls: 1 mile”.
“Nick, can you smell the air?” squealed Nicole as she gripped Nick’s arm tighter. “I haven’t smelled pine trees in so long!”
Nick glanced at the trees rolling by and smiled down at his girlfriend. “Yeah babe, I can smell it. This is going to be an awesome vacation.” He leaned over and slapped Jeremy’s arm. “Think about it. We could be with all the other losers at school taking exams!” He leaned back and made a grand gesture with his arms. “Instead we’re on a bus getting ready to enjoy two weeks of whatever we want.”
Jeremy smiled. “You don’t have to talk me into it. Remember I already told you that I was going to have a good time.”
“I know, but I just wanted to make sure thatyouknow.”
Jeremy sighed. This was shaping up to be a long two weeks. The bus came in sight of a wood cabin style lodge that was nestled in the foothills of Mount Hermit.
“We’re here!” Nicole whispered excitedly.
People bahis firmalar─▒ stood up as the bus came to a stop in front of the main building. “Alright kids, grab your gear and make your way to the front,” yelled Mr. Peterson. “Jackson, close that back door!” he roared, pointing at Karl. Too late, kids started piling out of both the front and back doors of the bus. Mr. Peterson shook his head in defeat. It was definitely going to be a long two weeks for him.
It took a few minutes for everybody to get their things gathered next to the bus. “Alright, I need everybody to come over here for a minute,” yelled Mr. Peterson. The kids made their way back to the bus and gathered in a small circle around him. “First of all, you know why you’re here and I want to thank everybody for putting in the effort to score well on their SAT. I’ll have to admit that we set the score pretty high to win this trip and I didn’t think that so many of you would step up the plate. On behalf of the faculty and all of your teachers, congratulations,” he said with a big smile. The kids looked around at each other with small grins. “Now that you are here, you need to know that this is not a do-whatever-you-want event. We have things organized for the time that we’re here, and we do haverules.” He paused and met a few eyes. “I expect you all to behave like you are still in school, because you ARE.” He paused to emphasize the last word. “This place is your temporary home and I expect you to treat it as such. Don’t think that just because you made it that you are entitled to stay here and participate in what we have planned. You can be sent home just as quickly as you got here. Is that understood?” He was answered by nodding heads and a few muffled, “Yes Sir’s”. “Good, now that we got that part out of the way, I need you all to line up to get your room keys.”
The kids formed a rough line and silently received their room assignments. Jeremy was sharing a room with Nick and they both grabbed their bags and made their way toward the boy’s section of the lodge.
The lodge included a main dining hall with cabins surrounding it. There was a meeting area upstairs above the dining hall and there were small game rooms off to the side with table tennis and billiards. Each cabin held three two-person rooms. The designated “boys” cabins were on the east side of the lodge and the “girls” cabins were located on the west side.
“Dude, we’re going to set up a Halo game in our cabin as soon as we’re unpacked,” said Nick gesturing to his bag. “Todd and Danny are in the room right next to ours, and Stewart and Travis are in the other one. We’ve got three Xboxes and I brought all the stuff to set up the link between our rooms.”
Jeremy nodded, but his mind wasn’t really on playing games. He set his bag on the bed and took a look around the room. The beds were parallel to each other and there was a small entertainment center in front of them with an ancient color TV sitting on it. At least each room had its own bathroom. There was a small lamp sitting on a coffee table near the door. Nick set his bag on his bed and walked immediately to the TV.
“Good god this is an old piece of shit!” he growled. He twisted the TV around to glower at the back. “We’re lucky dude. For a second I didn’t think we’d be able to hook up the Xbox,” he said with obvious relief.
“Does Nicole ever get pissed that you play that thing so much?” asked Jeremy as he sat down to take off his shoes.
“Sometimes,” answered Nick. “Actually she’d be pretty pissed if she knew that I brought it with me.” He looked up at Jeremy with mischief on his face. “But, the rule that girls can’t come into the guys cabins is actually going to save my ass for once.” They both laughed at the irony.
Jeremy lay on the bed and grabbed the schedule that Mr. Peterson had issued them. “Hey, according to this we’re supposed to meet at the dining room for dinner in ten minutes.”
“Ten minutes? How’re we supposed to have time to unpack?” asked Nick.
“I guess we’ll have to finish unpacking when we get back from dinner.”
“I’ll be back in a second. I’m going to go tell the guys that we’ll have to wait until later to do the Halo thing,” said Nick as he headed for the door. Jeremy nodded.
He lay on the bed and thought about Ashley. They had been sort of an item when they were juniors. He had played football and she had been a cheerleader. He smiled at how stereotypical their relationship had been. Now that he was thinking back on it, the whole thing had been pretty shallow. It had really been a stupid high school crush that was more about status than love. Even so, he still missed having her around. Actually the whole thing had kind of burned him. The whole time that they were together she had kept her eyes on other things and the moments of attention that he received were not much to speak of.
“What was I thinking,” he thought to himself. He rolled over and stared at the door for a few seconds. Nick came bursting through.
“Come on, ka├žak iddaa we’ve got to hustle or we’ll be late,” he said. Nick put his fingers on his temples and squeezed his eyes shut. “My intuition tells me that my twin sister won’t be late and that if I don’t want to look like the bad twin, then I should probably not get into trouble so soon.”
Jeremy threw a pillow at him. “What are you talking about? Everybody already knows that you’re the bad twin,” he said with a grin.
“No sir, I do believe that you’re confusing “bad” with “older”. I’m the older twin which means that I have the advantage of experience. And my experience is telling me that we need to run or we’ll be late.”
Jeremy stood up. “Older my ass! You’re like an hour older and I’m pretty sure that your sister has experienced things that you couldn’t dream of.”
“I beg to differ. My sister has been with like one guy that I know of. So that would mean that I am much more experienced,” said Nick in a solemn tone.
Jeremy shook his head and walked past him toward the dining room. Nick hurried to catch up with him. Dinner was much better than Jeremy had expected. The dining room was set up comfortably with small round tables and a waiting staff that brought them their food. After dinner they were told that they were free to enjoy some discretionary time until lights out.
Nick took the opportunity to hurry back for his game of Halo and Jeremy decided to go upstairs to see what the recreation room looked like. The main room was fairly large and had several couches spread out inside of it. The back wall was a big window that allowed you to look out over the mountains and enjoy nature. Most of the furniture was set up to compliment the log cabin feeling. Jeremy wandered over to where a group of kids were watching a movie on the movie projector. He found an open seat on one of the couches and was quickly caught up in a movie that he hadn’t seen before. He was so engrossed that he didn’t notice her approaching in the dark.
“Is this seat taken?” asked Sandy gesturing to an open spot on the couch next to him. Jeremy jumped a little as his attention was torn from the film.
“What? Oh. No, I don’t believe it is,” he answered. She smiled and stepped over a few people before sitting next to him.
“What are you guys watching?” she asked as she stared at the screen.
“It’s some 70’s movie calledDeliverance,” said Jeremy. “So far these guys are going up into the mountains to camp and they’ve run into these hillbilly dudes that seem kind of creepy.”
“Kind of like us,” said Sandy with a smile.
“Well, kind of. Minus the hillbillies. At least on my part,” said Jeremy. “I don’t know who you’ve met so far, but that’s been my experience.”
Sandy looked at him and laughed. “You know Jeremy, you can be a half-way decent guy when you want to be.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Jeremy with a confused look.
“It means that you’re kind of funny when you’re not hiding in your shell or hanging out with my brother.” He stared at her. “It’s a compliment you dork!” she said with a smile.
“Ok. I think…”
“You need to lighten up Jeremy. We’re on a free vacation!”
“I know, I know…” he was cut off as a few people made their way in front of the screen and sat down on the couch next to them. Sandy scooted closer to make room and put her arm through his. Jeremy pretended like he didn’t notice and looked up at the screen again. They were silent for a few minutes.
“I can’t believe our senior year is almost over,” whispered Sandy.
“I said that I can’t believe our senior year’s almost over.”
“Oh. Yeah, I know. It went by pretty quickly,” said Jeremy. He was uncomfortably aware of how close she was to him. He could feel her warmth.
“What was the best thing that you liked about this year,” she asked.
“I don’t know. It honestly hasn’t been my favorite year,” he answered stiffly.
“Why is that? Didn’t you enjoy football?”
“Football was alright, but I was ready for it to be over.”
“If it’s not too much to say, I noticed that this was the first year that you didn’t really try to date anyone,” she said.
“I don’t know. I guess that it wasn’t high on my priorities.”
“Do you miss Ashley?” she asked softly. He looked down at her. Her face looked very serious; and very beautiful. He noticed that she was wearing dark pajama pants and a blue halter top. He could feel his heart beating faster.
“I guess I miss her. I don’t know.” He looked back at the screen. “It was a long time ago. You know; water under the bridge.”
“It’s understandable to miss her. She was a big part of your life.” Sandy’s voice trailed off and Jeremy noticed that she sounded sad.
He looked back down at her. “What about you? I haven’t seen you dating around that much either.”
“I guess that you could say that I’m like you. You remember that I dated Tim for a while during my junior year. Well, he left me to date that Brittany bitch ka├žak bahis and I haven’t really been in the mood to look for anybody else.”
“It’s not that I wasn’t in the mood. I just haven’t found anybody that caught my eye,” said Jeremy.
“Jeremy, it’s ok to miss her. You know that we leave a piece of ourselves with the people that we love. Sometimes we just need to grieve longer.”
“I wouldn’t say that I loved her…”
“Maybe not in the marrying kind of way, but we all love the people that we date on some level. At least that’s what I believe,” said Sandy.
She cuddled against his arm and put her head on his shoulder. “You ever feel like you’re so hurt that you never want to trust again, but at the same time deep inside you’re so lonely,” she whispered.
He sat there for a moment before he replied. “Yeah.”
Suddenly the lights turned on and someone yelled, “Hey!”
“Time to go back to the cabins for lights out,” called Mr. Peterson. “We’ve all got a long day tomorrow and the mornings show up early.”
There were some muffled grumbles as the kids untangled themselves and got up from their seats. Somebody turned off the projector just as one of the hillbillies was starting to rape one of the campers. Sandy sat up and stretched as she watched the last scene.
“That sucks! I hope there’s not any hillbillies around here,” she said with a quick smile.
“I wouldn’t worry about it. That’s down in Arkansas and we’re up in Colorado. I’m pretty sure that all the hillbillies around here wear top hats and speak with an eastern accent.”
Sandy laughed and then looked serious. “You’re a really nice guy, Jeremy. You’re funny, but there’s more to you than most people know.”
Jeremy watched as she got up and walked towards the door. After she was gone he stretched and sat there for a minute as he tried to absorb the last hour.
“What part ofLights outdid you not understand, Mr. Thomas?” growled Mr. Peterson from the doorway.
“I’m right on top of that, Mr. Peterson!” Jeremy hollered as he bolted for the door.
The next morning after breakfast, Nick grabbed Jeremy’s arm as they were headed back to their cabin. “Hey, a few of us want to play a poker game in the dining hall in about twenty minutes. Are you in?” he asked.
“Yeah, let me go take a shower real quick and I’ll be over there.”
Jeremy showered and hurried back to the dining room. Most of the other players had already sat down and Nick had already divided the playing chips.
“We’re playing Texas Hold’em. I know that Jeremy already knows how to play. Does anyone else have any questions?”
“Can I play?” The voice came from the doorway. Jeremy turned in his chair to see Sandy watching them.
“Yeah sis, you can play. Do you know the rules?” muttered Nick.
“Well, I know how to play normal poker. What’s different about this game?” she asked as she took a seat.
“The dealer deals everybody two cards and then we bet. Then the dealer turns over three cards that everybody can see. You’re trying to make a poker hand based on your cards and what’s on the table.” Nick explained. “Then we bet again and the dealer flips another card. We bet again and then the dealer flips one last card. We do one final round of betting and then whoever’s still in shows their cards and the highest poker hand gets the chips.”
“Ok, that sounds pretty easy,” said Sandy.
They played for several hours until only Jeremy, Nick, and Sandy still had chips. They other players left the table in disgust. Sandy was on fire. It didn’t seem like she could lose a hand.
“I thought you’d never played this before sis,” said Nick with annoyance as he handed her more of his chips.
“I didn’t say that I’d never played poker. Daddy taught me how to do that. I’ve never played this kind, but I know what the hands are and I know how to bet.”
Nick dealt again and he looked up smugly after he’d seen his cards. “I raise fifty,” he said.
“My hand’s not worth that,” said Sandy as she folded her cards.
“I don’t know. I like my hand, so I’ll call your raise,” said Jeremy. He looked at the two tens that he had been dealt.
Nick flipped over the first three cards on the table. One of them was a ten giving Jeremy three of a kind. Nick looked at his cards and then looked at Jeremy.
“I’ll raise it another hundred,” he said with confidence.
“Sounds good to me. I call,” said Jeremy.
After he flipped the next card Nick bet two hundred and Jeremy matched his raise. Nick seemed unshaken, and after he flipped over the final card he said, “I’m all in!” and pushed all of his playing chips onto the table. Jeremy stared at the cards and tried to figure out what Nick had. He couldn’t see anything that threatened his cards.
“I’ll call,” he said.
“Good, I’ve got two pair!” shouted Nick as he stood up from his chair and turned his cards over.
“It looks like I’ve got you this time,” said Jeremy as he showed his three tens. Nick’s expression turned from happiness to shock.
“That is such bullcrap! I’m buying back in.”
“No you’re not!” said Nicole from the doorway. She had an annoyed expression on her face and her arms were crossed over her chest.
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