Chapter 9: (Written by KenW9270)
Nicholas woke up and reached his arm out, searching for Griffin. Woah! Wait a minute. Griff slept on the pull-out couch. That was one intense dream! Nicholas thought to himself that the massage before bed must have had more of an effect on him than he realized. He hadn’t had a dream like that about Griffin since they stopped fooling around together when they were sixteen. Some comments Griff had made recently, especially during this trip, made Nicholas think though. Did Griff want to start playing around again? Nah. Their friendship was rock solid. Why take a chance of messing that up? Nicholas got up and walked toward the shower when he realized that at least a part of him was still thinking about the massage and the dream. Nicholas continued into the shower to get cleaned up and release a bit of pent-up tension.
Nicholas stepped out of the shower to the smells of breakfast cooking. He started to dry off and a banging on the bathroom door startled him.
“Dude hurry up. I gotta pee.”
“Just come in, Griff.”
Griffin walked in and stopped short, staring at Nicholas’ naked body. “I… uh… I can wait if you want.”
“It’s nothing you haven’t seen before. You know I’m not shy.” Nicholas laughed.
“Breakfast is ready. Bacon, eggs, and English muffins.”
Nicholas tossed his wet towel into the hamper and stood in front of the mirror. “I’ll just be a few more minutes.” He started fixing his unruly blonde curls.
“Nice tan line, Peaches!” Griff giggled as he left the room.
“Smartass! Just save me some breakfast!” Nicholas yelled as Griff disappeared into the kitchen.
While they cleaned up the breakfast dishes, Griff asked, “What are we gonna do today? I know we’re leaving this afternoon.”
“I got a call from the hang glider place while you were in the shower. We have free lessons waiting for us if you want to try again.”
“Totally! I’ll unhook the bikes while you finish up here.”
Gustavo ran over and jumped onto Griffin’s back while he was bent over unhooking the bikes from the back of the RV. “Griff! Did you guys get the call? Did you? I can’t wait!”
“From the hang glider place? Yeah. You guys all going again?”
“Of course! They’re giving it to us for free!”
“We’ll see you there then. Hopefully we can all have a fun day this time.”
“Yeah. Haha. No crashes this time! Bye, Griff! See ya at the park!” Gustavo sprinted back to his own RV. Griffin shook his head in wonder. Did that boy ever walk anywhere?
Griffin came in for a smooth landing on his third and final flight. He unstrapped himself and jumped in the air, fist raised, “Yes! That was awesome!”
Nicholas ran up to Griff, “That was so fun, but I guess we’re done now. I’m glad we did it!”
The instructor stepped forward. “Well that’s not necessarily true. I was given permission to grant you guys a bonus flight depending on how well you did in the training. It’s totally up to you, of course.”
“Hell yeah!” They both said in unison.
“What about us?” Gustavo shouted, his two older siblings standing anxiously behind him.
“No. I’m sorry. The bonus that I was authorized to give to these two can’t be given to anyone under eighteen years old.”
“Aw. Dang!” Gustavo pouted.
Olivia and Lorenzo both shook the instructor’s hand. Olivia spoke, “Thank you for what your company was able to give us. We had a really great day.”
“For sure. Thank you.” Lorenzo added.
The three siblings all rushed over to Griffin and Nicholas. “You guys are the best! I’m really gonna miss you!” Gustavo said.
Lorenzo shook Nicholas’ hand but pulled Griff into a huge bearhug. “You are my brother for life. My family can never repay you.”
Griff hugged him back just as tight, “I’d do it again without hesitation.”
Olivia hugged both boys and exchanged social media info with them then she and her brothers walked back toward the training center.
“Follow me, you two. It’s waiting on the cliff.” The instructor pointed to the tallest of the hills in the campground.
“I thought you meant another flight with this?” Nicholas motioned toward the glider they had been flying on all morning.
“No. If that was the case, the kids could have joined us.” The instructor said, as they neared the top of the hill. “This is for you guys.” They saw a much bigger glider, the two-person glider, perched on the edge of the cliff.
“You’ll let us go on that?!” Griffin exclaimed.
“As long as you sign off on one more document.” The instructor handed him a clipboard with two forms attached. Both boys signed the forms and were given last minute instructions while they were strapped into the glider. Griffin was strapped in the bottom position to steer and Nicholas was strapped in above him, his body just inches above Griff. He held on tight to Griffin rather than to the metal bar.
Griff waited for the wind to be just right and then ran to the edge and dove off the cliff. The wind picked them up and they were off. The sun was bright, the sky was clear and blue, they could see for miles. Griff stuck to the prescribed flight path and steered the glider to the right and followed the coast of the Outer Banks southward. “This is amazing, isn’t it, Nicholas?” He yelled.
Nicholas held on even tighter to Griff. “Yeah. I can barely hear you over the wind but it’s great. So beautiful! I can’t believe how far we can see!”
Griff smiled the biggest smile that he had in as long as he could remember. The only thing better than the view of the ocean below him was the feeling of the boy of his dreams pressed close against him. He took another right-hand turn and now they were over the Albemarle Sound rather than the Atlantic. The boys pointed to things on the ground below and yelled to make sure they both saw them. One more right-hand turn and they were headed back to Kitty Hawk Kites.
Back on the ground, the boys couldn’t stop talking about their flight and all the cool things they had seen. Then Nicholas said, “I’m starved. You wanna get something to eat?”
“Yeah. For sure. And since you said we are heading inland, I’m eating beach food!”
The boys sat at a picnic table and stared out at the ocean. They devoured clam fritters and fried dough. When they got up to leave, Griffin laughed. “Dude, you have powdered sugar all over your face!”
Nicholas wiped his face with a towelette and a napkin and looked at Griff. “Did I get it all?”
“No. Here let me help.” Griffin stepped in close to Nicholas and looked down at him to wipe the sugar off his face. He stopped as their eyes met. He saw the same look in Nicholas’ eyes that he was sure was mirrored in his own, but he froze like a deer in the headlights, unsure on whether to go ahead and do it or not.
When Griff hesitated, Nicholas pulled away. “Time to head back to the RV and get ready to go. I am beyond ready to get the hell out of North Carolina.” They hopped on their bicycles and left Kitty Hawk Kites behind.
Nicholas strapped himself securely into the Captain’s Chair. “Everything is set and ready to go. Septic is empty, gas tank is full. You ready to leave this state behind?”
Griff gave a half smile. “Yeah. Let’s get the hell out of here.” While Nicholas went on about the campgrounds and RV parks that he had researched for their trek to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Virginia Appalachian Mountains, Griff’s thoughts were still focused back on the beach and his missed opportunity. He knew that, at least in that moment, Nicholas had wanted it too, but Griff chickened out. Their friendship was a sure thing. A relationship would forever change that. Griff was confident that it would be a change for the better, but he just had to be sure that the timing was perfect. This was something that he wanted to last a lifetime.
“Griff, hey, Earth to Griffin!”
“What? Sorry. Drifted off for a minute.”
“Last minute bathroom run or are you good?”
“I’m good. Let’s go.”
Nicholas turned the key and started the RV. He picked a playlist and the sounds of Guns’n’Roses singing “Sweet Child of Mine” blared as they took off on the next leg of their journey.