The RV Chronicles (Chapter 14)

Chapter 14

Written by: (Flash2002)

Griff bounced up out of bed and looked at his phone. It was only 6 am. “Yes! Today is the day! Yes! I get to ride the roller coasters with Nicholas, who is dead asleep still.”

He was itching and burning from the poison ivy rash all over his playground, so he decided to go shower and put more Caladryl on to soothe it. He pulled up the Spotify app and selected “Top Hits Today,” playing it through the Bluetooth speakers. As the warm water began flowing into the shower, he started blurting out the song’s lyrics. He quickly got lost in the song and started swaying his booty back & forth and all around in the shower.

“Mmmmm…. can you please keep the noise down,” Nicholas mumbled. Then, he immediately started laughing as all he could see was Griffin shaking his booty in the shower. He yelled but got no answer, so he knocked on the shower door loudly.

A startled Griff opened the door. “Hey, good you’re up.”

As hard as it was for Nicholas not to laugh, he was still giggling at Griffin. “Now keep it down in here. I’m trying to sleep, but you have some sexy moves in there.”

“Omg!” Griff said. “I’m sorry!” he answered, red-faced and embarrassed. “You saw me dancing. I’m just excited about going to King’s Dominion today with you.”

Nicholas started to head out of the bathroom, and Griff asked him if he could give him the Caladryl off the sink. “Thank you. I can’t believe I got this poison ivy on me in the worst possible place!”

“You’re welcome. I hope it clears up fast!”

After Nicholas had also showered, both the guys got dressed and grabbed a bowl of Lucky Charms. While eating, they talked about their plans together for the day.

“Let’s go, so we’re the first in the gate,” Griffin said eagerly.

“Sure thing, Peaches. I’m coming.”

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Walking down the road, cars started passing by, honking at them and waving. “This is gonna be so fun,” Nicholas said.

The guys got to the gates at King’s Dominion and music was playing over the loudspeakers with voices telling them about all the different and fun things to do.

“Hey, Nicholas, we should get the passes that let us go to the front of the lines.”

“I already got them for us online. I thought it would be very special.”

Griffin grabbed Nicholas and kissed him deeply while hugging him tight.

A group of guys yelled at them to stop. “That’s disgusting! We don’t want to see that!”

“That’s kinda intimidating, Nicholas, sorry.”

Nicholas said, “It’s ok, don’t worry about other people. It’s our day.”

The gates opened and the boys headed for the roller coasters first. The first one they found was a mix of steel and wood.

“I’m so excited! We’re in the very front section! Give me a kiss as GoPro is rolling,” Griffin said.

They kissed as they get buckled into their seats, and they heard yelling. “You guys are gross! We told you to stop that!”

Nicholas and Griffin ignored the yelling, and they were off.

“Wow! That was exhilarating!” Griff exclaimed. “I gotta pee, so you get souvenirs from the shop, maybe t-shirts or caps or both, while I use the restroom.”

Griffin headed to the bathroom and was followed by the four redneck bullies.

They blocked the doors and grabbed Griffin, warning him to stop acting gay around them, or next time it would be a lot worse. They dunked his head in the toilet bowl and flushed. “Got it? Last warning!” They shoved Griffin to the ground and left.

“Hey there. Why are you so wet? What took you so long?” Nicholas asked.

“Oh, it was nothing. Let’s just go to the next coaster.”

After riding most of the coasters, both boys decided to play a few games.

“Hey, Nicholas, your favorite animal! I’ll try to win you one.”

A friendly family, parents and a young son and daughter, sat down beside them to play, too. They smiled and said, “Hello.” Then two of bullies sat down and started talking junk to them.

Ignoring them, Griffin won the game and animal for Nicholas and Nicholas, out of pure joy, hugged and kissed Griffin. “Thank you so much! I love it, and I love you!”

The two guys jumped up yelling and cussing at both of them. The parents jumped up, too, and got right in the boys’ faces.

“Leave them alone! They have the right to love whoever they want to love. If you don’t like it, don’t look!”

“Shut up, lady! They’re gonna get their faces beat in! Get out of the way!” Griffin was shoved down to the ground, scraping and cutting up his legs, arms, and hands.

“That’s it! Leave them alone, punks, or you’ll be dealing with a lot more trouble,” the dad said. “I’m tired of people like you putting down guys like them. All they want is to be treated equally, and they’re not hurting anybody. So, stop, or the police will be called.”

Nicholas had also jumped up yelling, “Leave Griff alone! He doesn’t deserve this! I’m not letting you hurt him!”

Griffin was just lying there, trying to hide his tears and not talking to anyone. He got himself up and sat down on a bench. Park security showed up and dispersed the crowd.

“Are you ok, young man?” the mom asked.

“Griffin, please say something, babe,” Nicholas implored.

“I’m ok, just sad that hate is still so prevalent in this world. I didn’t tell you earlier that they held me down in the bathroom and gave me a swirly. They threatened me and shoved me down. It brought back memories of the high school bathroom and getting picked on and threatened. I want to be treated normal just like everyone else, but I guess that day won’t come.”

“Come eat with my family and me, guys,” the dad said. “We want to buy your lunch. Please?”

“We accept and thank you for standing up for us. We don’t get that much.”

They ate lunch together and chatted about what happened and about their family life. They believed that everyone has a right to love who they want. Richard, Susan, Ethan, and Jenny said their goodbyes and exchanged information.

“Griff, weren’t they a sweet family? Griff? Earth to Griff, are you ok?” Nicholas asked.

“No, sorry, I’m not,” Griff started crying. “I’m going back to the RV. I can’t stay here. I want you to stay and ride more. I’ll be waiting for you back at the RV, ok? I need some alone time.”

″Ok, Peaches. Be safe, and I’ll be there in a little while. I won’t leave yet, only because you asked me not to. I love you, babe,” Nicholas said reluctantly, as he watched Griffin walk away.

Back at the RV, Griff sat on the bed crying and remembering being teased in school, and now he was embarrassed about what happened in the park. “Why couldn’t I stand up for myself” Why do I shut down?” Griff blasted some Metallica and drank a soda, calming himself down some. The music changed to Shawn Mendes and, yes, an old Justin Bieber song.

Nicholas, unable to enjoy himself without Griffin, soon arrived back at the RV and sat down next to Griff. He didn’t say a word, just held him tight. Nothing needed to be said. Just being in that moment, holding each other close, seemed to make everything feel safe and right again.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 13)

Chapter 13: (Written by Phoenix2020)

The following morning, after seeing that Martin was hooked up with a tow truck and in no further need of their assistance, the boys headed out with Griffin at the helm. After carefully examining the Google map over breakfast, they had decided to continue north a ways on the Blue Ridge Parkway and then hang a right onto Hwy 64 towards the Richmond area. Nicholas phoned the Americamps RV Resort in Ashland to make reservations, as it was close to King’s Dominion, the theme park they planned to take by storm tomorrow.

With Griffin’s tunes as a soundtrack, the morning passed peacefully with the boys enjoying the Appalachian scenery and lost in their individual thoughts. As they maneuvered onto the highway and picked up the pace, Lady Gaga let them know in no uncertain terms …

“I’m beautiful in my way

’Cause God makes no mistakes

I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret

Just love yourself and you’re set

I’m on the right track, baby

I was born this way (Born this way!)

Oh there ain’t no other way

Baby, I was born this way

Baby, I was born this way!”

Checking the time on his phone, Nicholas suggested stopping in the Charlottesville area for lunch.

“Maybe find a hot spot near the UVA campus? Find a little eye candy to feast on?” Griffin teased.

“Ooo! I hadn’t thought of that but, of course, you went right there!” Nicholas said with a smirk.

Noticing Griffin’s not-so-subtle scratching of his nether regions, Nicholas inquired, “Diaper rash? Jock itch? Heebie jeebies?”

“I have no idea. It started itching about an hour ago and it keeps getting worse the more I scratch. I took a shower this morning and I didn’t notice anything then.”

“Well, maybe stop scratching … both hands on the wheel, Captain.”

As they continued on, with Griffin trying bravely to keep his hands off his treasures and Nicholas giggling at his frustration, desperation set in for Griff. When he spied the UVA/Charlottesville exit, Griffin almost bumper car-ed three other vehicles in his attempt to navigate to a suitable lunch establishment. At the moment, he wanted nothing more than to find some relief for whatever was going on in his boxers.

Griffin turned the ignition off and headed toward the back of the RV in one fluid motion. By the time he got to the bedroom, his shorts were at his ankles and he was squealing gibberish at the plight that his boys were in.

“Let me see,” Nicholas said. “OH, dude! That is just fifty shades of nasty!”

“What is it?” Griffin screeched.

“My best guess is that, my friend, is an epic case of poison ivy rash.”

“WHAT? … HOW? … WHY?”

“Well, let’s think about this. Yesterday, when you were preparing the picnic area, did you have to clear a spot for the blankets?”

“Yeah, of course. It was kinda overgrown.”

“And, at some point, did you find the need to … uh … drain your main vein?”

“Uh, yeah, I think so.”

“So, you, apparently, handled some poison ivy vines before you then handled yourself, so to speak, spreading the sap to your playground area.”

“Then why aren’t my hands covered in rash?”

“We went back to the RV to eat and you cleaned up, but you didn’t clean up down there. Also, that area is much more sensitive, I would think. You may still get some small rashes on your hands and arms, but not like that.”

“So, what do I do? Help me, Obi-Wan … you’re my only hope!”

“My mom is highly allergic to it and she uses a lotion called Caladryl. It’s a combination of calamine, which helps with itching and drying up the rash, and Benadryl, which eases the allergic reaction. I see a Walgreen’s in that strip center across the road. I’ll go get some. While I’m gone, you wash the whole area with a lot of soap to help dry out the rash.”

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As Nicholas strolled across the parking lot heading for the pharmacy and still giggling, but in a sympathetic kind of way, he heard a yelp. Looking around, he spotted an elderly lady waving her hands about as the shopping cart she had apparently been pushing raced away from her and towards a line of parked vehicles.

Nicholas sprinted toward the cart, dodging an oncoming mini-van and leaping over a low hedge. He snagged the rogue cart just before it had the pleasure of making acquaintances with an exquisite Lexus LX. Stopping a moment to catch his breath, he turned the cart back toward home and the now visibly relieved customer.

“Oh, thank you so much, young man! I didn’t realize there was such a slope here and it just slipped right out of my hands. You reacted so quickly and I’m so very grateful!” She gushed while digging in her purse and pulling out a wad of bills. “Here, please take this! It’s the least I can do.”

“No, no … I can’t take your money, ma’am. Your ‘thank you’ is quite enough. It was no big deal. Just in the right place at the right time.” Nicholas helped the lady put her bags into her car as she continued to thank him and try to get him to take the money, which he politely refused. “You have a good day, ma’am … and drive carefully now.”

“Well, this day just keeps getting more fun,” Nicholas thought, “and I haven’t even had lunch yet!”

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“It took you long enough!” Griffin snarled before Nicholas even had the RV door closed.

“Mind yourself, Mr. Grumpy No-pants … I still have the receipt! I had to rescue a damsel in distress, blackmail a store clerk into finding more of this stuff in the stockroom because the shelf was empty, and wait in line behind eight people at the only register open and it was being operated by a ‘Please be patient, I’m new’ employee.”

“Fine, thanks … so gimme, gimme!”

Griffin tore the seal off the bottle and practically poured the stuff all over himself.

“Easy there! That needs to last you at least until we stop tonight. Rub it in good and let it dry before getting dressed.”

“Dressed? I’m gonna lay right here just like this while you drive. Just go get us some lunch and bring it back.”

“OK. Wash it well with lots of soap every couple of hours and put more Caladryl on it. By tonight, it should be much more tolerable. Let me know if you need a hand!” Nicholas couldn’t resist the quip but also began to realize the disappointing implications as he left to scrounge up lunch.

Griffin would definitely not be interested in any amorous overtures for the next couple of nights, at least. It still amazed Nicholas how their beautiful friendship had morphed into … well, whatever this was now. They were the same people they were a few days ago … before. But nothing was the same now. That thought made Nicholas’ tummy flutter … a lot like that old lady’s hands!

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 12)

Chapter 12: (Written by: KenW9270)

With the wind whipping his hair into his face, Nicholas kicked his feet and screamed the whole way across the zipline. Halfway across, the screams of fear turned into screams of joy. Griff nudged the zipline employee out of the way and helped Nicholas unstrap himself from the harness. Nicholas got shakily to his feet and fell into Griff’s arms. “Th…that was fun. I was nervous at first, but I really liked it.”

Griff wrapped his arms around Nicholas. “We have time for one more if you’re up for it.”

“Yeah! Now that I’ve shaken off the nerves, I think I’d do even better!” He said, running ahead of Griff to get on the lift back to the start of the zipline.

After their second trip across, Griff looked at his watch. “You need to sit for a minute or are you ready to head back?”

“I’m good.” Nicholas blushed and looked deep into Griffin’s emerald green eyes. “I know we have plans.”

Griff leaned down and their lips met, more with tenderness than passion. “Let’s start back. The hike should take about an hour and then it’ll be time to head out to the overlook.” He said as he grasped Nicholas’s hand, their fingers entwining, and led him onto the trail.

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Back at the RV, the two boys each took showers and changed their clothes. Griffin had just finished repacking the picnic basket, with fruit and snacks rather than the dinner he packed earlier, when Nicholas walked out of the bathroom running his fingers through his still wet hair. Griff’s breath caught in his throat. He still couldn’t believe that they were actually dating after all this time. This did count as dating, didn’t it? Was Nicholas his official boyfriend? Should they put a label on it with him going off to school so soon? Griff pushed those thoughts out of his head. He didn’t want to ruin their romantic moonlit picnic with his angst. He closed the lid on the picnic basket and looked up at Nicholas. “How can someone look so perfect out here in the middle of the forest? Most people can’t look like that with a team of hairdressers.”

“Oh, stop. You’re way hotter than me.” Nicholas said, blushing.

“Whatever. Let’s go.” Griffin grinned and took Nicholas’ hand. They walked to the overlook and spread out the blanket. Griff started setting up the picnic and Nicholas walked over to the cliff and took in the view.

“This is a spectacular spot you picked out, Griff. The view is amazing. I bet it would be even better in the fall when the leaves change.” He felt Griff’s hands slide around his waist and pull him close.

Griffin kissed the side of Nicholas’ neck. “The view is nothing without you.”

“Mm. That feels nice. This was definitely a great idea but check out that sky. I don’t think we’re going to be doing much stargazing tonight.”

“Dang. You’re right. Those clouds are moving in fast. Let’s at least enjoy the view for a little while.” They sat on their blanket and Griff handed Nicholas some of the snacks. “Did you have any specific plan on where we’re heading next?”

“No. Not really. Back toward the coast. I was thinking maybe DC. Was there somewhere you wanted to go?”

“Actually yes. I thought if we passed close to Richmond that we could stop at King’s Dominion.”

“I’ll enter the address into the GPS when we get back. Gee, now the wind is picking up. I don’t think we’re gonna be out here much longer.”

Griff scooted over. He had a bunch of grapes in his hand and started feeding them to Nicholas. Nicholas smirked. “Are we in ancient Athens? I didn’t think…” Whatever else he was going to say was silenced when Griff’s mouth closed over his. With a hand on Nicholas’ chest, Griff gently pushed him down, deepening the kiss.

CRACK! BOOM! The crack of the lightning and the boom of the thunder sounded like it was right on top of them. Then the skies opened up and before they were even on their feet, they were drenched. The boys packed everything up as quickly as possible, Griff grabbed the picnic basket and Nicholas slung the now very wet blanket over his shoulder as they ran back down the trail to their RV. They were almost at the end of the trail and they saw another crack of lightning and the sound of a tree falling not far away.

Nicholas yelled out, “Griffin! Stop!” He wasn’t sure but he thought he saw what looked like headlights coming right for them. “Griffin!” Nicholas dove. He tackled Griff and they rolled off the trail and a little way down the hillside, landing in a puddle.

“What the…” Griff’s complaint was cut short by an out of control RV crashing through the bushes right at the end of the trail they had just been on.

The driver of the RV jumped out and ran over to the boys. “Are you guys ok? I am so sorry! That damn tree fell right in front of me and I swerved and lost control.”

Both boys were still sitting the mud puddle. Griff spoke up, “Yeah. We’re fine.” He looked at Nicholas. “Only because of this guy though. Nicky, I think you saved my life.”

Nicholas playfully punched Griff’s arm. “I won’t next time if you keep calling me ‘Nicky’!”

“I am so relieved that you guys are ok. Now let me see if I can get my RV back on the road. You guys need to get out of this rain.”

The boys got up out of the puddle and joined the man who was now surveying his RV. Nicholas shook his head. “Dude, you’re not getting that out of there without a tow truck. With the busted windshield and the angle its sitting at on the hill, I doubt if it’ll be very comfortable for you to sleep in there either. We got an RV right over there. Let’s all get out of this rain before we drown.”

The man sighed. “Do you mind helping me throw a tarp over the windshield first?”

————————————————————————————————————

After helping the stranger cover his window, they all got into Nicholas’ RV. Griff wiped his hands on his wet jeans and put his hand out to the man. “I’m Griffin and this is my best friend Nicholas. Sucky circumstances but its nice to meet you.”

The man replied with a nervous laugh, “I’m Martin. I’m glad I didn’t kill you, Griffin.”

“Yeah. Me too. Are you traveling alone, Martin?” Griff asked.

“For now. I’m picking my grandkids up in South Carolina and from there Disney World.”

“That’s cool. We’re heading in the opposite direction. No real plan except dropping Griff off at college in August.” Nicholas added. “I pulled out the couch bed for you, Martin. Its ready whenever you wanna crash.”

“What about you guys? I’m really sorry to inconvenience you both. Where will you both sleep?”

“We’ll be in the bedroom.” Griff said, taking Nicholas’ hand in his own.

“Oh. Ok. Uhm that’s great. Are you sure you don’t mind me staying the night?”

“It’s fine.” Both boys said as they walked into the bedroom.

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“You sure about leaving him alone out there with all our stuff?” Griff asked.

“Where would he go if he tried to steal anything? That RV isn’t going anywhere.”

“I’m sorry our romantic evening ended so soon and without much romance.” Griff said with a frown.

“Its totally fine. Now get in this bed. I need cuddles before I sleep.” Griff slipped into bed behind Nicholas and wrapped him in his arms. “This is all the romance I need.” Nicholas said as they both drifted off to sleep.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 11)

Chapter 11 (Written by: Flash2002)

After getting checked in at the campground and helping Nicholas set up the RV hook ups, Griffin decided he wanted to take a look around. “Hey, Nicholas, I’m gonna take a walk around and see what’s here. You wanna come with?”

“Nah. I still have a few things to sort out here. I might catch up to you in a bit though. Make sure your phone is charged.”

Griff rolled his eyes. “Of course, I have my phone charged. I’ll see ya in a few!”

Nicholas did stay behind to finish setting up, but he had another reason, too. He wanted to make a special dinner for Griffin. He glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost three o’clock. He had plenty of time. He cleaned up a bit and decided to make one of Griff’s favorites, chicken fried steak.

Carefully, he began to make the steaks, along with mashed potatoes and corn on cob. With everything on the stove, he wandered over to the table and set up the candles that he found. He grinned, remembering how sappily romantic his dad always was. Maybe that’s where he got it from. Next on his checklist, he doublechecked his new Spotify playlist. He wanted just the right mood to show Griffin some special attention, and also to thank him for the wonderful memories they had already made together so far on this trip.

He got all the food set up and eagerly awaited Griffin’s return. Thirty minutes later, still no Griffin and, of course, no cell service. Nicholas started to worry. “What is taking him so long? He said he was only going for a walk. Something could have happened to him; he’s been gone an hour and half now.” Nicholas made sure the stove was off and the candles were out, and he left the RV.

Meanwhile, Griffin had the same idea. He found a perfect spot for a romantic picnic. It was a peaceful and relaxing overlook with a dazzling view of the mountains. It was so beautiful there. He laid out blankets and set up his picnic basket. It was difficult but he prepared everything without Nicholas seeing him. He had candles, fancy glasses, and even some rose petals. He lost track of time and didn’t realize he had been gone well over an hour.

Nicholas scowled at the zero bars on his phone and searched for Griff. He, first, wandered around the RV park. In frustration, he even yelled out for him. “Griff! Hey, Griffin! Where are you?” Nicholas walked and yelled and walked and yelled some more. He finally spotted a hiker coming from one of the trails behind the campground. “Hey, have you seen anyone else on that trail?”

“Yeah, actually, I did. About a half mile up the trail, some weird guy with blankets and lots of other stuff. He was throwing rose petals everywhere. Kinda odd but hey, who am I to judge? Anyway, he was on the cliff overlooking the mountains about a half mile up the trail.” the hiker said

.“Thank you, sir. He may be odd, but if that’s Griff, he’s mine and I love odd. Have a good day!” Nicholas said and started up the trail. As Nicholas walked the trail, he mused, “Could it be Griff spreading rose petals? That would be funny if it is and we both had the same exact idea at the same exact time. He continued up the trail to find his friend.

Nicholas was still muttering to himself when he found Griffin. Griff saw him coming and yelled out, “Hey, Peaches! What are you doing out here?”

“Me? What are you still doing out here? Where in the world have you been? I have been waiting for you back at the RV. It’s been close to two hours! I was getting worried and there’s little to no cell service here.”

“Wow, I am so sorry. I didn’t realize I was gone that long. I wanted to do something special for you, but now I think it may be a little cheesy.” Griff said, running his fingers through his strawberry blonde hair.

“Guess what. I made you dinner. It’s waiting in the RV, I wanted to do something nice for you, too. So, if you’re cheesy then so am I.” Nicholas laughed. “Ok, new plan. We will have your picnic later, after we finish whatever else we end up doing today. After dark, under the stars. Right now, we head back and eat the dinner I made for you. How’s that sound?” Nicholas looked expectantly at Griff.

“Sounds like a plan!” Griff said with a huge smile. The two walked hand in hand back down the trail laughing about them both making special dinner plans at the same time.

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“Nicholas, this was totally awesome! I didn’t realize you were such a good cook! And I like the music. New playlist?” Griff asked as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) by Marvin Gaye ended and “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King started.

“Yeah, just made it this morning.” Nicholas blushed.

“For the record, I’ll always stand by you. Thank you so much. This was all so awesome!” Griffin said.

Nicholas leaned in and snuck a quick kiss, “You’re awesome. This was just dinner. So, what will we do now? There’s still a couple hours before dark.”

“Well, I found out from talking with a couple hikers out on the trail that there’s an awesome zipline place! It totally sounds fun, Nicky Wicky.” Griff said, laughing.

“Stop with the Nicky stuff. You know how much I hate that! I’ll let you get away with it this one this time. Ziplining sounds kinda fun. Let’s go.”

As Griff and Nicholas got to the zipline, Nicholas got a little nervous. He paled just watching people being pushed across line, legs dangling. They were up a lot higher, here in the mountains, than other ziplines that he had seen before. Griff looked at Nicholas and reassured him. “Everything will be okay. I promise. I’m right here.” He looked down into Nicholas’ bright blue eyes. “I will never let anything bad happen to you, Nicholas. Not ever.”

“Ok. I’m good. Let’s do this. Time to make some more fun memories together! Then later we’ll have our picnic under the stars. This is an awesome day so far, Griff.” Nicholas said, enthusiastically.

“Heck yeah let’s do this!” Griff said, with a smile that nearly split his face in two.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 10)

Chapter 10: (Written by: Phoenix2020)

“Take the last train to Clarksville

And I’ll meet you at the station

You can be there by four-thirty

’Cause I’ve made your reservation, don’t be slow

Oh, no, no, no

Oh, no, no, no

’Cause I’m leaving in the morning

And I must see you again

We’ll have one more night together

Till the morning brings my train and I must go

Oh, no, no, no

Oh, no, no, no”

The harmonic melodies of the Monkees came blasting from the RV’s quite impressive sound system as Guns ‘n’ Roses faded. “Well, that’s appropriate,” he observed. “I’m thinking we aim to overnight at an RV park near Clarksville, Virginia where the Roanoke River dumps into Kerr Lake. That’ll get us halfway to the Appalachians by about 9 pm and we can head up the mountains in the morning.”

“Uh huh.”

Nicholas glanced over at Griffin. “You okay? You’ve seemed a little spaced all afternoon.”

“I’m good. Just … uh … didn’t really sleep well last night, I guess.” Griff knew it was lame before the words even left his mouth since he was just fine that morning.

He let it go but Nicholas couldn’t help but play back the afternoon in his mind and quickly realized that Griffin’s mood changed drastically following that awkward moment after lunch. He wasn’t sure what to make of that, though. Why would Griff be so uncomfortable? Then, again … why was he so uncomfortable?

Crossing the bridges from Dare Island to Roanoke Island and then over to the mainland, the boys were both deep in thought while the road trip playlist provided a background soundtrack.

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After stopping for pizza in Warrenton, the boys found the RV park at 8:15 and, since Griffin had called ahead to ensure a vacancy, the paperwork was completed quickly and they were settled in for the night by 9.

Flopping down on the floor with their pillows, Nicholas chose ‘Alex Strangelove’ on Netflix. He’d heard good things about it. “This okay?”

“Yeah, sure. I haven’t heard of it but I’m sure it’s fine,” Griffin said.

“You want snacks or something to drink?”

“Nah, not right now. We’ve got leftover pizza for later, maybe.”

As they became engrossed in the flick … and more than a little engrossed in the slap gorgeous lead … the same odd but not disagreeable feeling came over both boys. Their proximity to each other and the nature of the movie began to have a distinct effect on them. The thoughts and images forming in both boys’ minds were astonishingly similar, though neither knew the other was riding the same train.

As the final scene played so beautifully, Nicholas turned toward Griffin. Griffin looked at Nicholas and both had tears in their eyes, as the story had, obviously, affected them both in the way it intended. As they looked into each other’s eyes, Nicholas reached over and gently cupped Griffin’s cheek with his right palm. With little hesitation, he went in and Griffin came to meet him. Sweeter than what they had just witnessed on the screen, this was exactly what both boys had always thought it should be, but never really thought it would be.

“Griff, I …”

Griffin answered whatever Nicholas intended to say by returning the kiss with all the passion he’d been repressing for so long. Neither boy had any doubt that their friendship just took a long-overdue leap forward. For Nicholas, the feeling was so surreal but Griffin felt such a huge sense of relief, as he’d been in deep turmoil over the feelings he’d developed and just couldn’t deny. He was in a bit of shock that Nicholas had actually made the first move!

As they came up for air, Griffin had to ask, “Where did that come from?”

With an adorable flush to his cheeks, Nicholas replied, “I think I realized last night that maybe I wanted … and needed … more. With you, I mean. Uh … I don’t know how to explain it.”

“What happened last night?”

“Well, I guess I was dreaming … it’s kind of fuzzy now … but when I woke up I reached over for you. You weren’t there and I didn’t like that you weren’t there. I wanted you there. I needed you there … like the night before.”

Without saying a word, Griffin slowly stood and reached down to pull Nicholas up. Hand in hand, they moved into the bedroom … their bedroom.

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“Good morning, Peaches. How’d you sleep?”

“I can honestly say that I’ve never had a better night’s sleep,” Nicholas said. “Just having you beside me … holding me, cuddling … made me feel so safe. It just felt right.”

“I feel the same … and we’ll have many nights together now. At least, until I start school in August.”

“Let’s not think about that right now. One day at a time.”

“Right. So what’s the plan, man?”

“We’re gonna take Hwy 58 to hook up with the Blue Ridge Parkway near Hillsville, then head north. I’m thinking we camp a couple nights around the Roanoke area. I’ll check the RV Park Directory while you’re driving today.”

“That cool mountain air is going to feel exquisite after the hot mugginess of the past week!” Griffin replied.

“Then up and at ’em! Let’s eat and hit the road!”

-+-+-+-+-+-

As Griffin navigated westward, with Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic taking turns providing the beat, Nicholas gazed out the side window and basked in the afterglow of his first “real” night with Griff. He still felt a little stunned at the turn of events over the past 24 hours but absolutely elated nonetheless. A casual observer would probably be shocked that nothing more transpired than the physical togetherness of simply wrapping themselves into each other, cuddling and kissing until they drifted off in each other’s arms. Not exactly the way Hollywood would’ve written the script, but it was perfect. The rest will come, no doubt … but there was no rush. Then, again … August was going to be here way too soon. What then?

After a peaceful ride, the boys hit Hillsville right at lunchtime. After a Subway run, they ate their sandwiches in the RV … not saying much but speaking louder than words with their eyes while their mouths were otherwise occupied. Griffin made use of the facilities as Nicholas cleaned up and then climbed into the captain’s chair. He reset the GPS for the RV park they had made reservations with at Cave Spring and switched back to his road trip playlist.

The slow, scenic journey up the Blue Ridge Parkway was breathtaking. Nicholas had a hard time keeping his focus on the road and was very happy that the posted speed limit was only 45 which made for a relaxing journey. As they rolled into the campground, he knew he’d never felt more content. Personal history warned him that the feeling was unlikely to last, though.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 9)

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.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 8)

Chapter 8 (Written by Flash2002)

As Nicholas and Griffin got their boards out of the RV, Gustavo and his siblings ran over. “Can we see your boards?” Gustavo nearly squealed, while Lorenzo stood back trying to look cool, and Olivia rolled her eyes at her littlest brother.

 “Sure thing,” Griffin said. “Ok first lesson, check your boards for any defects or scuffs, then make sure you wax them properly. Nicholas has helped me do that a million times. He can show you, while I go to beach to check out the waves. Nicholas, help the kiddos for a bit, ok?”

“Sure thing, buddy. Walk that booty down to the shore and then hurry back up here so we can get started.”

Griffin approached the lifeguard stations and signs were up: No Swimming or Surfing Allowed. Griffin walked up to the lifeguard. “Hey, what’s going on? Why is the beach empty and the flags up?”

“There are bad rip currents and undertows today. We are just taking precautions. We don’t want anybody getting hurt.”

“Alright. Thanks for info. My group is going to be very disappointed, though.”

As Griffin made his way back to the campsite, he thought about how much he liked Nicholas. He wondered what to do, because he didn’t want to lose his best friend in the whole world. “I’ll just play it by ear and drop some hints from time to time and see where it goes.” He thought to himself.

 Nicholas saw Griff walking back toward the RV and shouted, “Hey there, captain. Ready to teach us a thing or two?”

Griff frowned. “No. I’m very sorry, everyone. The beach is closed for today, because of undercurrents and riptides. It’s just too dangerous out there.”

“Oh no! That’s bunch of poop!” Gustavo yelled.

“Sorry, little dude, but tell you what. Go change into some hiking gear and we will walk some of these awesome trails.”

“If mom heard your potty mouth, you wouldn’t be hiking anywhere, little bro.” Lorenzo snickered as the three siblings ran off to change clothes.

Inside the RV, Nicholas let out a sigh of relief. “Haha! I don’t have to swim or surf!”

Griff cut him off, “Never fear, we will do it another day, soon. That is a promise. Besides, I checked out the trail maps last night, we are gonna have a fun eight-mile hike today!”

“Just kill me now, Griff! No way! Eight miles? You’re going to be the death of me, you know that, right.”

“A little exercise never hurt anybody, Nicky, my boy. Now grab the first aid kit, snacks, water, and the machete. We might need it.” Griffin said, hiding a smirk. 

“What? Why? Is it going to be dangerous? And quit with that “Nicky” business before I have to hurt you!”

“Promises, promises. But, yeah, we might come across the mighty bearaggosa. It’s a very, very mean species and it’s new to this region.”

“Knock it off, Griff, or I’m not going!”

“Oh, you’re going. Even if I have to make you by slapping your butt the whole way there and back! Plus, we don’t want to let the kids down do we?”

“I guess not. Let’s go.”  

They all met up and headed out on the long and winding trail along the beach and then up a hill and into a wooded area. About four miles in, they spotted some animals in the distance. Gustavo snapped some really cool pictures, and Nicholas complained that his back, feet, and neck hurt. “I need to rest up and eat some of our snacks before I go on.” Nicholas said, starting to plop down on a rock.

Griff yelled at him, “Stop, Nick! Don’t sit there!”

About the time that Nicholas plopped down, everyone heard a rattling noise, and Nicholas’ eyes got wide with fear.

“Don’t move. I got you.” Griff said quietly. A big rattlesnake was in attack mode, ready to strike. Lorenzo grabbed a big stick and gave it to Griffin. Nicholas, on the verge of a panic attack, was scared and pale and looked like he was about to faint. Griffin used the stick to hook the snake and pin its head down. “Hurry, Nicholas, move now!” Nicholas got up and started to run back to camp without even glancing behind him.

“Hurry up, guys. Let’s get out of here and head back to camp. It’s going to get dark soon.” The group made it home, down the trail. “Goodnight, guys.” Griff said.

Gustavo ran up and hugged Griffin. “Will we see you and Nicholas tomorrow before you go?”

“I’m not sure, but maybe.” Griff turned and went inside the RV.

Inside the RV, Griff found Nicholas laying on his bed.  He was shaking and whining about hurting. “I’ve never been so scared in all my life, Griff, I hurt everywhere from running. Thank you for saving me from that snake!”

“That’s what I’m here for. To look out for you the best I can. Now lay down on your tummy and I’ll help relax your muscles.”

 “Ok. That sounds good.” Nicholas rolled over and Griffin got on bed, straddling his friend to better give a thorough massage. He started rubbing Nicholas’ shoulders and neck, really working on them.

“Oh my goodness, Griff, that feels so good.” Nicholas nearly moaned.

 Griff worked his way down Nicholas’ back and legs and even his feet. He considered asking his friend to turn over to give a full massage, but he noticed that Nicholas had drifted off to sleep. Happy he helped relax his buddy, Griff headed to the shower to take care of a certain aching muscle of his own. He chuckled to himself and wondered when Nicholas might need another massage.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 7)

Chapter 7 (Written by Phoenix2020)

After finishing off the meager remnants of the food that Nicholas’ mom had packed for them, the boys decided to stroll with no particular destination in mind. They made their way north along the island’s main thoroughfare before choosing to climb over the dunes that discouraged the Atlantic from invading the town’s residents and businesses. They took their time, enjoying the salty scent of the brisk ocean breeze as they headed back towards the RV and eventually arrived at the campground, sun-baked and, once again, starving.

Following quick, refreshing showers, Nicholas and Griffin chose to dine at the homely restaurant across the road, “Henry’s”. The food was everything they could’ve asked for and the atmosphere was exactly what a beach restaurant should be. As they left, Griffin noticed a miniature golf course next door and, as it was only 8:30, convinced Nicholas to play a round before heading home.

Still not particularly tired, Griff pulled out the sofa bed, fired up Netflix, and picked up where he’d left off with ‘The End of the F***ing World’ while Nicholas stripped down and crawled into bed with his Kindle and Spotify ear candy, after quickly jotting down the days events in his journal (not diary!).

-+-+-+-+-+-

Griffin sat straight up, disoriented and startled by the unnatural choking & gasping sounds. At first, he thought it was emanating from the TV, which was still on since he’d fallen asleep while watching. “No, it’s coming from Nicholas’ room,” he thought. Now fully awake and alarmed, Griff stumbled into the bedroom to find Nicholas, eyes shut tight and body rigid.

“Nicholas! Wake up!” Griff gently but forcefully shook Nicholas, hands on each of his shoulders. Nicholas’ eyes popped open wide and fearful.

“What happened?” Griffin asked as Nicholas tried desperately to get his breathing to return to normal and his heart rate calmed.

“N-n-night terrors,” he stammered. “I get them once or twice a year. They’re basically panic attacks while sleeping.”

“I knew you dealt with panic attacks, but I never knew you had them at night. That must be horrible!”

“It is. It’s hard to describe but it feels like I’m paralyzed and drowning. I can’t move and I can’t breathe. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I saw, uh … Cody on top of me, holding me down. I guess that’s what triggered it.” Tears overflowed and Nicholas’ voice caught on a sob that he was trying hard to hold in.

Having friended Nicholas through a number of panic attacks in the past, Griffin understood that no words were necessary. With an arm around him and Nicholas’ head resting on his shoulder, Griff just held him until he felt Nicholas’ body relax. Thinking that Nicholas had dozed off, he eased him down onto his pillow and softly slid out the bed and headed for his own.

“Griff?”

Turning back, Griffin answered. “Yeah, buddy? You OK?”

“Stay with me,” Nicholas whispered. “Please?”

Without words or hesitation, Griffin removed his shirt and shorts, having fallen asleep earlier fully dressed, and crawled under the cotton sheet. With Nicholas facing away, he wrapped his arm around his best friend and they both drifted off to sleep.

-+-+-+-+-+-

As the day before, Gustavo awoke the sleeping boys with coffee and bagels, rather than doughnuts. With the exuberant energy that had abandoned Nicholas and Griffin at puberty, Gustavo bounced around the RV while they inhaled their breakfast. “What are you guys doing today? When are you leaving? Are you going to be here tomorrow? We’re leaving the day after tomorrow. Can I hang out with you guys?”

“Whoa, G! Slow down! We have to be out by 4 pm tomorrow so, yes, we will be here most of tomorrow. We were planning to spend today at the beach. I’m going to teach Nicholas how to surf. He’s never tried it!”

“You’re gonna what now?” Nicholas gasped.

“You heard me correctly so be sure to wear your big boy trunks with a secure drawstring!”

Gustavo’s eyes grew big as he jumped up and down. “I wanna surf! Can you teach me, too? I bet Olivia and Lorenzo would want to surf, too! You can teach all of us at the same time! It would be like surf school! It’ll be so awesome!”

“Slow your roll, G Train. I’d be glad to show all of you, but you have to get your mom’s OK first. We’ll go talk to her as soon as we shower and get ready. We’ll meet you at your camper in a bit.”

As Gustavo shot out of the RV, Griffin glanced at his roadmate and noticed the distinct paleness of his face. Flashing back to the events of the previous night, he was immediately concerned. “Are you OK? You look like you’re going to faint. You should sit down.”

“No, I’m fine but I really don’t think I’m going to be able to surf. I’ve never been that far out in the water before.”

Careful not to offend Nicholas, with his many phobias and anxiety triggers, Griffin explained, “I will be right there every second. You saw me yesterday when Gustavo went down with the hang glider. You’ll be perfectly safe. You trust me, right?”

“Of course, I do, and it would be really awesome. Wait until Mom finds out that I surfed! Someone has to get pics and maybe a vid because she’ll never believe I did it! You know, you sounded pretty confident that you were going to teach me to surf before you even asked me.”

“I never intended to ask you. I know you and you would’ve said ‘no’. Why do you think I brought two surfboards?”

“I was trying to convince myself that you wanted one for each foot.”

Chuckling, Griffin stood. “Let’s get ready to go. I’m getting in the shower. Care to join me?”

“Don’t you think it’ll be a tight fit?”

“I have zero problems with that!”

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 6)

Chapter 6 (Written by KenW9270)

Nicholas looked up from his phone and pointed out the window. “The RV park I found is the next road on the right. I think I’ll get us a full hook-up for the night so we can leave North Carolina with an empty septic and fully charge everything else.”

“Make it at least three nights. That park with the hang gliding looks totally rad. There’s a lot more we can do.”

“I can’t believe that neither of us has ever been to Kitty Hawk and we’ve both lived in North Carolina our whole lives!”

“That’s why we’re adventuring now, my dude. We have a lot of boring years to make up for.”

“That’s for sure!” Nicholas brushed an unruly lock of blonde hair out of his eyes and looked back at his phone. He browsed through the RV park’s website double checking prices and pulled up the map of the campground, so he’d know where the main office was located. He was still scrolling when he felt the RV come to a stop.

———————————————————————————————————————

Griff was dozing on the couch when Nicholas banged on the side door and yelled, “Saddle up, buddy. I got us a spot. Let’s go.”

Griff groaned and stretched on his way back to the captain’s chair. “Ok. Ok. Which way?”

“Go past the office, towards the beach. They said our spot is on the left, five spots up from the beach.”

“There it is, I see it.” Griff carefully backed into the parking space and turned off the engine.

“I know its too late to do anything there, but I wanna check out the other campground before we settle in for the night. Unhook the bikes while I hook up the RV. Its only five miles or so. It’ll be good to go for a ride anyway.”

Griff went around to the back of the RV and took their bicycles off the rack and checked the tires to make sure they were ready to go. By the time that Nicholas was ready, Griff was waiting. They followed the beach road and just over thirty minutes later they saw a sign for Kitty Hawk Kites.

“Man, this place is huge. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Yeah, Griff, let’s check in at the office and make sure what we have to do or if we need to bring anything or whatever.”

They walked into the office just in time to hear the receptionist say, “I’m sorry, ma’am, the discount only applies if you sign up for five people not three.”

Nicholas recognized the people at the counter, it was little Gustavo and his family. The mom sounded stressed as she responded to the girl at the counter. “But I was specifically told three on the phone.”

“I apologize, ma’am, but whoever told you that was incorrect.”

Nicholas stepped forward. “Hi. Excuse me a moment. Is this for hang gliding lessons.”

“Wait your turn, sir.” The girl said sarcastically.

“Hold that thought.” Nicholas said to the girl, then turned to Gustavo’s mom. “We met at the gas station, remember?”

“Oh, yes. Hello.”

“Well, my friend and I were also gonna sign up for lessons. If you’re signing up for tomorrow morning, how about we do it together and we’ll have five?”

“Oh! Thank you so much! Yes, its for tomorrow morning.”

After they were all signed up, they made plans to meet at the training center at ten the next morning. Walking out of the office, Griff leaned into Nicholas’ shoulder. “You are the absolute sweetest guy in the world. You know that, right?” Nicholas blushed and kept walking to the bikes.

By the time they got back to the RV park and ate dinner it was already seven o’clock. Ironically Gustavo’s family was staying in the same park, just four spots down on the other side of the road. With such a big day planned for tomorrow, Nicholas and Griffin decided to just relax and watch tv for the night. Morning would be there before they knew it.

———————————————————————————————————————

BANG! BANG! BANG! Nicholas shot out of bed and nearly tripped over Griffin, still asleep on the couch bed, on his way to see who was knocking on their door. He flung open the door and there stood Gustavo with two coffee cups and a bag of donuts. “I brought you breakfast!” The young boy grinned.

Gustavo’s mom ran up, “Honey, I told you to wait until you saw them come out of their RV!” She looked sheepishly at Nicholas. “I’m so sorry if he woke you. He’s super excited for today.”

Nicholas wiped the sleep from his eyes. “No trouble at all.” He ruffled Gustavo’s jet-black hair. “Coffee is good.” He took the coffee and the donuts from the boy. “Thank you so much. This was very nice of you.”

Gustavo smiled. “Ok! Great! See you at the park!”

Two hours later, after an hour-long instructional video inside the hot training room, Nicholas, Griffin, Gustavo, Gustavo’s fourteen-year-old brother, Lorenzo, and his sixteen-year-old sister, Olivia followed their instructor up the tallest dune. “Now I know everyone wants to fly but understand on this training flight you’ll only be going like ten feet off the ground and landing at the bottom of the dune.”

They all groaned in unison, but they said they understood. Lorenzo went first, then Olivia. They did just what the instructor said. They flew ten feet off the ground and landed a little way away from the dune. It was Gustavo’s turn next. After he was strapped in, he ran to the edge of the dune and took off. The wind gusted and instead of floating to the bottom of the dune, Gustavo was picked up and flew up into the sky. At the bottom of the dune, Lorenzo was cheering and waving, and Olivia was recording it all on video.

Griffin was immediately concerned. “Hey, Mr. Rudolph, I think you better call this in. Get a lifeguard out to the beach.”

“No. He’s not heading for the water. Don’t worry. He’ll land any minute.”

Griff turned to his friend, “Nicholas, go to the training center,”

“But, Mr. Rudolph said,”

“Nick! I study the winds, so I know where and when to surf! Do you trust me?!”

“With my life. I’m on my way.” Nicholas turned and ran toward the training center to get help.

“That’s not,” Mr. Rudolph started to say.

“You’re useless. Shut up!” Griff yelled, kicking off his flip-flops and then took off as fast as he could toward the beach. He ripped off his tank top and threw it behind him as he ran.

As the wind died down, Gustavo’s hang glider started its decent. His yells of joy became screams of terror when he noticed that he was no longer over land. He was on a sharp dive into the Atlantic Ocean.

Nicholas had to practically drag the on-duty lifeguard out of the training center. “Where? I don’t see any… oh my…” The lifeguard took off running as he spotted the hang glider bobbing in the ocean fifty yards offshore. Nicholas left his flip-flops and shirt behind and ran after the lifeguard yelling Griffin’s name.

Nicholas got to the shore and scanned the water for his best friend, extremely concerned at this point. Then he saw something moving in the water, Griff’s strawberry blonde hair and tanned shoulders surfaced. He had one arm wrapped around the smaller body of Gustavo and he was swimming toward shore. He waved the lifeguard away and swam in. Griffin stumbled out of the water with the ten-year-old in his arms and collapsed on the beach.

The lifeguard took the boy from Griffin and Nicholas knelt down to check on his friend. “Hey. You ok?”

“He couldn’t get out of that damn thing, Nicholas. It was sinking with him in it.”

“You saved his life, Griff. You’re a bonified hero.” Nicholas brushed the hair out of Griff’s face and kissed him on the cheek. “Let’s forget about these lessons and get you back to the RV.” Nicholas helped Griffin to his feet.

Before the boys had even taken a step, Gustavo’s mom and siblings rushed up to him. “You saved his life they said!” Gustavo’s mom, Emily, said.

“I did what anyone would have.”

“You saved my little brother’s life. You are my blood brother forever.” Lorenzo said.

“We can never repay you, Griffin.” Emily said through tears.

After many hugs, Nicholas and Griffin made it back to their bicycles and headed back to the RV.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 5)

Chapter 5 (Written by Flash2002)

“Man, that was an interesting way to spend the morning, Nicholas.”

“No, I really wish we didn’t have to waste our time here but it’s all over and done. I was so stupid, falling for that scumbag, even for half a second.”

“Well, I see it this way. It’s over with! Now, let me get into my captain’s seat and take off for our next location, which you said was my choice. Oh, by the way, my turn on the tunes. I’m trying to decide on Imagine Dragons or Panic at the Disco, maybe, or just go all pop like Bruno Mars, my ultimate iconic singer, with a little Lady Gaga and Katy Perry thrown in. Get in and buckle up. We’re on our way, Nicholas!”

So, as they headed out on the highway, tunes blaring, cars passing by, Nicholas couldn’t help but sit back and wonder why he felt so alone and that nobody wanted him. Yes, he fooled around with a few of his friends a bit over the years, even Griff a lot, but the encounter on the beach really got to Nicholas. “Am I just not good enough? Am I ugly? Do I not deserve anyone? Maybe I’m meant to be alone always,” were some of the thoughts running through Nicholas’ head at the moment.

“Hey! Earth to Nicholas!” Griffin yelled.

“What? Damn, you don’t have to yell at me, Griff.”

“Well, I’ve been trying to talk to you, and you’ve got your head so far up your butt you can’t answer me back.”

“Sorrrry! I’m ok. What do you want, anyway?”

“I was just telling you where I was taking us. We are heading to Jockey’s Ridge State Park at Kitty Hawk so you and I can do some hang gliding together. We’ll have a righteous time, dude! We’ll feel totally free, floating through the air, looking at all the amazing sites below our feet! How does that sound, dude?”

“Whatever you think, Griff,” Nicholas mumbled.

Griffin saw a service station ahead. He was getting a little concerned about Nicholas and wanted a drink, anyway, so pulled in.

“Look, Nicholas. We’re going in here to get snacks, so get your ass in gear. First, though, tell me what’s on your mind because this is supposed to be fun trip.”

“Ok, you’re right. Sorry, I got distracted in my own self-pity. Let’s get something to snack on,” Nicholas dodged Griffin’s probe.

As they entered the truck stop, they ran into a nice family from Florida. The youngest boy struck up a conversation.

“Hi, there! My name is Gustavo and I’m ten and we’re headed to the state park to camp. Is that where you’re going?”

“Why, yes. That is where we’re going,” Nicholas said.

“Awesome! I think it’ll be so much fun there! I hope we will see you there,” Gustavo enthusiastically replied.

Sodas and energy drinks, chips, cookies, donuts, all the typical junk food, of course, was collected and paid for.

“Hey, Griff, do you think I’m good enough to find somebody one day, to be with me forever?”

“Um, I don’t know, dork. You’ve got a lot of complexities, but you know I love you, moron!” Griff answered with a nervous laugh. “Let’s get going.”

They pulled out onto the highway and drove another hour or so, arriving at the campground mid-afternoon.