Chapter 5 – The Distance of Friendship

“You guys cool with just relaxing tonight? Tomorrow’s sure to be jam packed with shenanigans.” Danni laughed.

“Absolutely! Those boys have too much energy. And they’re bringing an equal amount of booze.” Bianca sank further into her chair.

“Hot chocolate?” Kyle pushed out of her chair.

“Yes!” Everyone responded in unison. Sun tired giggles travelled around the circle.

“Let me help.” Cordelia joined Kyle at the table.

Kyle leaned her chin on Cordelia’s shoulder. “What would we do without you?”

“You’d get by.” Cordi smiled, tapping Kyle’s nose with her finger.

“Hey Rayne, did you bring cards?” Bianca finally caved to the twilight and pushed her sunglasses onto the top of her head.

Rayne pulled a couple packs of cards from the bag at her side. “Asshole?”

“Bitch!” Bianca chuckled.

“That joke is never funny, B.” Rayne rolled her eyes and moved to the picnic table. While Cordi poured water into mugs, Rayne started shuffling and Kyle played with the music.

“I love this song.” She danced around the table, wrapping her long hair into a messy pile.

“Your sister used to play this all the time.” Bianca slipped into the seat beside her sister.

“Yup, Ronda loves herself some Fleetwood Mac.”

“How is your sister?” Danni asked, sipping at the layer of whip cream on top of her drink. “She hasn’t been home in a while.”

“She’s moved out to Toronto with Craig.” Kyle grinned, sliding into a seat at the table. “He’s going to propose soon. He emailed me about the ring.”

“Huh. I never would have put those two together. He’s so shy and Ronda’s so….um” Bianca searched for a word.

“Exuberant?” Rayne suggested.

Bianca nodded energetically “Yes. Exuberant.”

“You never can tell who belongs together.” Kyle shrugged, shooting Cordelia a glance out of the corner of her eye.

“It wasn’t all smooth sailing.” Cordelia pushed back. “We were pretty young when she and Craig got together but I remember drama. “

“It was short lived drama. She had a falling out with a friend because of him, but they got over it.”

“Enough with the lifetime movie plots. Let’s play.” Danni rubbed her hands together before picking up the large stack of cards in front of her.

*****  *****  *****

Around 2:00 in the morning, Bianca stood up and stretched. “Guys, I have got to get some beauty rest.”

Kyle threw down her cards. “And I’m damn tired of losing. Also, I really really need to pee.”

“Come on, guys! You can’t be tired already!” Rayne pleaded.

“You only want to keep playing cause you’re winning.” Cordelia added her cards to the pile.

“I’m just not tired yet.” Rayne tapped her cards, “Really, that’s the only reason.”

“Uh, huh…” Cordelia shoved pile the across the table. “Well, I’m plain old tired. I guess you’ll just have to play with yourself.”

“Out here. Not in the tent! No playing with yourself in the tent!” Kyle slapped Rayne on the shoulder.

“Ha ha, Kyle.” Rayne jammed the cards back in the case.

“Seriously, Sugar, I need some sleep.” Bianca patted her friend on the head before heading to the tent.

“Stop patting me, guys!” Rayne laughed. Danni reached over and patted Rayne’s knee.

“My contacts feel like they’re glued to my eyes.” Bianca insisted. “Can we just get ready for bed?”

“I’ve been up since 6:00.” Kyle stretched, her back cracking as she extended. “You all can do whatever you want, but I am doing the bed thing.”

“Oh alright,” Rayne finally gave up. They all grabbed their pajamas and headed to the washroom. The bright fluorescent lighting was blinding after hours of lantern light.

“Hey, Danni,” Bianca called from behind the closed stall door “Guess who I ran into at the store last night?”

“Hmmm?” Danni mumbled around a mouth full of toothpaste foam.

“Jonathon. He asked about you.”

Danni spit into the sink. “Really?”

“No. I’m making it up.” Her voice lilted with sarcasm. “It’s an extremely lame joke.”

“What did he want, B?” Danni thumped the stall door.

“Settle down.” Bianca walked out of the stall in cute blue satin shorts and a tank top. “He just wanted to know if you’re happy, seeing anyone, stuff like that. He really misses you, Dan.”

“Well he’s going to have to keep missing me, cause I am over him.” Danni entered the now vacant stall. “I mean really, what does he expect, that we can just work it out? I was bored. We were constantly fighting. He wanted long term stuff that might lead marriage. No way was I ready for that.” The last words muffled as she pulled her shirt over her head.

“He wanted you to marry him!!!” Rayne gasped. “Seriously?” You’re fifteen!”

“Not get married now, but in the future. He’s graduating this year and thought we should firm things up.” Danni exited the stall, still buttoning her pajama top. “He tried to give me a promise ring. Those things are lame. And I am way, way too young for it anyway. My fault really. I’m addicted to those damn teen parenting shows. And it’s a good thing we broke up, now I’m free to hook up with Anson tomorrow.” Chuckling Danni hopped onto the counter, waiting for the others to finish.

“Ready” Kyle walked out of her stall in full length flannel pants, a long undershirt, flannel top and thick woolly socks jammed into her sandals.

Bianca choked on her mouthwash “Beautiful, Kyle. Really. That is just, well, that is sexy.”

“Talk to me in the morning. You ever been camping in September before, Princess?” She flicked Bianca’s bare legs.

“That sleeping bag Greg lent me is supposed to be really, really warm!” She whined. “Besides, if I’m really cold tonight I’ll have an excuse to cuddle with him tomorrow.” Bianca cocked an eyebrow behind her glasses and headed to the door. “Now, let’s go and get some sleep. I don’t want to hear a peep from anyone before 10:00.”

“Yes, your highness. We’ll let the rest of the campground know so they can plan accordingly.” Kyle chuckled, slipping out the door and back to the campsite.

*****  *****  *****

Rolling over, Danni wrapped her sleeping bag up around her head. Cordi’s sleeping bag was already empty. A quick glance at her phone showed it was a little after 8:00. Crawling out of the tent, Danni attempted to rearrange her pajamas and shield her eyes from the blinding sun at the same time. Cordelia stood at the camp stove pouring a cup of coffee. She smiled and held the pot up towards Danni.

“Some?”

“Please.” Danni made a quick stop at the cooler for milk and cereal, “Cheerios?”

“Yup.”

Tucking two bowls under her arm, Danni turned towards the table. They ate in silence for a few minutes.  “Anyone else up?” Danni asked.

“Rayne’s out for a run and Kyle’s showering. B’s still asleep, as expected.” A small smile flitted across Cordelia’s face as she blew on her steaming mug.

Danni picked up her mug and sipped at it. The aroma distracted her from the uncomfortable sweat starting to pool at the nape of her neck. It was warm for September. They sat in a silence broken only by the crunch of cereal. The smell of bacon and eggs wafted through the air from another campsite.

“Hey, Chiquita,” Kyle mussed Danni’s hair as she took a seat at the table, “Sleep well?”

“Mmmm” She mumbled.

Kyle pulled open the top of a box of Corn Pops and began tossing them into her mouth. After a few bites, she headed to the car and in seconds had the stereo set up on the table again. Music flowed quietly from the speakers.

Rayne jogged into campground about fifteen minutes later, sweat pouring from her muscular limbs, her legs shaking with exertion. She paced the campsite, stretching, and downed the rest of her water bottle. Cordelia silently handed her a mug of coffee.

“Thanks, Sweetie” She leaned over and kissed Cordi’s cheek. “Your sister still asleep?”

“Nothing’s getting her out of that tent before 10:00.” Cordelia laughed. “Except maybe boys. Boys would get her out of bed.”

From the tent, the thumping rhythm erupted from Danni’s phone. Jumping up from the table, she banged her knee into the hard wooden top, throwing herself off balance and into the side of the tent as she tried to make it to the phone before it went to voice mail. The other girls burst out laughing. “Shut your damn mouths!” She caught the call on the last ring.

“Excuse me?” Caleb’s voice echoed through light static.

“Not you.” She replied distractedly, touching at the raw patch of skin on her knee. “Were your ears burning? We were just talking about you guys.”

“What else would you be talking about? We’re pretty much packed, or we would be if Zack would leave shit alone!” He raised his voice.

“Shut up, Cale.” Zack’s voice floated across the phone line.

“We should be leaving in like ten minutes.”

“Cool, we’ll see you in a couple hours. Call when you get close.”

“Sure thing. Anson, dude! Watch the beer!” The call ended abruptly.

Danni climbed out of the sweltering tent, a fresh sheen of sweat already forming against her smooth skin. “That was Caleb.”

“And?” Kyle looked over the top of her glasses.

“They’re on their way. With the beer. And the Anson.” Shaking her shoulders in a giddy little dance, Danni bounced toward the table.

“I have no idea how they get up that early for football practise.” Kyle stretched leisurely in her chair, ignoring Danni’s excitement. “Weekends are for sleeping in. Always.”

“I am all about the sleep.” Cordelia agreed, filling her coffee mug again and offering the pot around.

Kyle stuck her mug under the spout “Camping is the only time I get up this early.”

“Ladies, what exactly are we doing today?” Rayne’s breathing had returned to normal.

“My only plan is getting to know Anson as much as possible.” Danni smiled distractedly. “So, whatever that takes.”

“I’d like to walk down to that rock face around the lake at some point.” Cordi leaned against the picnic table.

“It is pretty down there. We’ll definitely hike down later.” Kyle agreed.

“Sure.” Cordelia avoided eye contact. She knew Kyle would use the hike to talk to her again.

Rayne drained her coffee cup and pushed herself up from her chair “If we don’t get your sister out of bed soon, we’ll still be sitting here stinky and sweaty when the boys show up. And then we’ll have to deal with angry Bianca.” She disappeared behind into the flap of the tent. After a couple seconds, the sides of the tent started to shake as she jumped on Bianca to get her to wake up. Shrieking followed almost immediately. “What do you mean they’ll be here in an hour! I don’t have enough time to get ready.”

“Seriously, how can she be so obsessed with what she looks like? He’s going to see her in the morning tomorrow.”

“Yeah, but this is different. If she wakes up with him, it’s special or something. If he shows up and she’s not primped, it’s disgusting.” Cordelia twirled a finger around her temple. “Her logic is severely twisted.”

“Whatever,” Kyle shook her head, “I want a guy who likes me done up, or shlumpy. Let’s get dressed.”

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