The RV Chronicles (Chapter 17)

Chapter 17

Written by: (Flash2002)

“Good morning, my sweet love.” Griffin snuggled close to Nicholas and tried to wake him up. Griffin kissed Nicholas on his neck and chest. “Rise and shine, Boo.” As much as Griffin wanted to just lie there and cuddle with Nicholas, he knew they needed to get going. Time for the morning routine and then head out on another adventure. Griff headed into the shower and left Nicholas lying there thinking.

Nicholas thought about how much he loved Griffin. He wanted time to slow down. He was not ready to leave Griffin at school. Nicholas heard the always spunky Griff singing loudly in the shower and probably shaking his booty. He laughed as he heard Griff yell out ‘I’m too sexy for my body, too sexy yeah, yeah, yeah’ which was Griff’s version of the song by Right Said Fred. Nicholas couldn’t help but peek in and yell, “You got that right! But need to work on that voice a bit, Griff!”

“I’m just about done anyway. It’s your turn, Nicky-poo.” Griff said, teasingly. “Hurry up. We have a lot to see at the Smithsonian Institution today.”

“Stop with Nicky crap. You know how much I hate that!” Nicholas quips.

As Nicholas is drying his hair with a towel, Griff smacks Nicholas hard on the butt. “Hehe. Look at that booty. You can dance for me anytime but get your booty in gear.” Griff said.

“Smack me on my booty again, and I’ll show you who the boss is. We will just stay here all day and skip the museum.” Nicholas said.

“Is that a threat or promise? I’d rather stay in with you anyway.” Griff said.

Nicholas leaned in for one last kiss, and the boys headed out to have a full day of fun at the Smithsonian.

————————————————————————————————————

Once at the Smithsonian, they headed for the Air and Space Museum first. “Look at that model of the Wright Brothers’ plane. Can you imagine what was going through their minds? Yet they accomplished so much!” Griff said.

Nicholas said, “Look at this exhibit on the different crafts used in space. It’s so awesome, but also sad to read about disasters like the Challenger and the Colombia.” The boys wander through looking at different material and things until they come to the Hope Diamond and rubies and all the other beautiful gems. “With any luck maybe someday you will have a diamond on that finger of yours,” Nicholas says jokingly.

Griff drifted into daydream land thinking about that possibility. “That would be a dream come true for me,” Griff said. He grabbed Nicholas and planted a kiss on him when nobody was looking.

They headed over to the American History Museum next to check out some TV, movie, and music history. As they looked around, both boys got very excited when they saw all the pop culture items. Nicholas kept a lookout for anything music-related, while Griffin was more interested in the television and movie history.

As they started walking around, they saw huge displays of some of the greatest music of all time. They saw display cases of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin. Nicholas got lost in the section about Woodstock. He read all the placards that told the history of the event and the musicians who attended.

Griffin went towards the television and movie history exhibits. The display cases he enjoyed the most were the ones about Howdy Doody and some of the other old shows. He saw Fonzie’s leather jacket from Happy Days, the Conner’s couch from Roseanne, and a display case with stuff from the A-Team. Griff read the history placards containing trivia about Leave it to Beaver, and I Love Lucy. Griff needed a quick bathroom break and motioned to Nicholas where he was heading. While he was using bathroom, Griff looked down and noticed a wad of cash on the floor. He picked it up and ran out to find Nicholas to tell him what he found. “Nicholas, look what I found in restroom! We need to find a security guard.”

“There was one just down the hall. Who knows, maybe they’ll let you keep it!” Nicholas said, and they took off to find the nearest security desk.

“Excuse me, sir. Good day to you. I wanted to turn this in to lost and found. I found it in the men’s bathroom by the tv exhibits.” Griffin said, setting the money on the security desk.

The security guard smiled. “Thanks for turning it in! Too many people think they can just take it, but if we catch them, we call the cops. The good news is,” the guard said while sliding a piece of paper across the desk to Griffin. “if you fill out this form and then no one comes for it, we can mail it to you thirty days from now.”

“That sounds fair. I won’t be at the address I’m writing down, but my mom can forward it to me when I know my address at school.” Griff finished up the paperwork, and they were on their way again.

“Ready to stop and get a bite before we head over to see wildlife and dinosaurs exhibit at the Natural History Museum?” Griff asked.

“Ok I am hungry, and we need to eat, I guess.”

The guys stopped and grabbed cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes. “Omg, babe, I am having so much fun with you today I don’t want this to stop,” Griffin said. “It is so fun and special talking about all these amazing things that we are seeing. I love sharing this adventure with you.”

The boys got up and walked, hand in hand at times, other times with arms around each other’s waist. One time Nicholas slipped his hand right into the back pocket of Griff’s jeans and Griff quickly returned the favor, smirking at his boyfriend. They looked so happy as a couple, and everything just felt so right.

“Let’s look at this new exhibit on Planet Earth, Nicholas.”

“Sure thing, Peaches. It’s getting late though, so let’s hurry.” The information on the oceans being polluted by garbage was hard to read about. The video clips were disgusting. Now, there were current live reports of the fires in the Amazon Rainforest, and reports of some of the most massive icebergs melting. “This is so sad, Nicholas. Won’t there ever be a time when people wake up?” Griff said, almost crying. “We are killing Mother Earth more every day.”

“At least now, some politicians are listening to the younger generations, and we are educating people. So, I do see one day soon when a better life for our planet may happen, and climate change can begin to be dealt with.” Nicholas said, trying to put a positive spin on it.

“I hope you’re right, Boo,” Griff said as they shared a tender kiss and headed out of the Smithsonian.

Back in the RV, they picked out a movie on Netflix and cuddled together on the couch to chill out after their long but fun day. They spent more time laughing and giggling at the funny things that had happened that day, than actually paying attention to the movie. They were just enjoying some quiet quality time together.

“Man, I’ll be glad when your poison ivy is all cleared up,” Nicholas said with a grin.

“I will be too and not just to get rid of the itchiness, but to actually be able to do whatever we want without worrying about a nasty rash!” Griff leaned in for a kiss, and then they started to discuss their trip to the National Zoo the next day. They turned off the TV, stripped down and went to bed. Nicholas lay there thinking about leaving Griff at college. There wasn’t anything he could do about it, so he rolled over and pulled Griff close to him. He needed the closeness and comfort of his boyfriend right now. He lay with one arm draped across Griff’s chest and their legs entwined, and that’s how they both fell asleep.

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 16)

Chapter 16

Written by: (Phoenix2020)

Since they didn’t have to be out of their camping spot until 1 pm, the boys slept later than usual and then spent a leisurely morning lazing about. Slightly obsessive-compulsive Nicholas did do a bit of tidying up but, since both boys were pretty neat by nature, there wasn’t much to tidy up. Over lunch, they discussed the next leg of their journey.

Studying his RV Campground guide, Nicholas discovered a pretty basic and inexpensive RV park practically on the beach at Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. “This would be perfect, Griff. No bells and whistles but everything we really need. Plus it’s 35% less if we book it for a week. I think that’s a good idea, don’t you? We’re in no hurry, and there’s tons of stuff to do in the area. There’s even a bus that runs into DC so we can take at least a couple of day trips to the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, and anything else we might decide we want to see.”

“Righteous! Gnarly! Kowabunga, dude! Yep, I will also most definitely have you on a surfboard before the week is up! Write that down in your little diary.”

“It’s a JOURNAL! A travel journal!” Nicholas clarified yet again. “Hate to disappoint you, though … Chesapeake Beach is actually on Chesapeake Bay, not the ocean. We’ll get to the ocean after that, I promise! Anyway, it looks like Hwy 301 will take us across the Potomac River and within about 10 miles of Chesapeake Beach. We can avoid all the I-95 traffic going into DC.”

“That’s great since it’s my turn to drive.”

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Happy that it was Griff’s turn to pilot, Nicholas got comfortable on the sofa with his Kindle. Strapped into the captain’s chair, Griffin fiddled with the tunes until he found what he was looking for. Ever the playful jokester, he chuckled as he turned the volume wide open before punching play.

“On the road again

I just can’t wait to get on the road again

The life I love is makin’ music with my friends

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

At the blast of the first notes, Nicholas rolled off the sofa and almost filled his shorts. “What the what!?!?”

“I know you love all those oldie goldie songs. Thought you’d appreciate my consideration, Boo!”

Shaking his head, Nicholas picked himself up slowly as Griffin turned the volume back to a reasonable level and began to croon along with Willie. Of course, Nicholas had to join in … how could he not?

“On the road again

Goin’ places that I’ve never been

Seein’ things that I may never see again

And I can’t wait to get on the road again

Here we go, on the road again

Like a band of Gypsies, we go down the highway

We’re the best of friends

Insisting that the world keep turnin’ our way

And our way is on the road again

I just can’t wait to get on the road again

The life I love is makin’ music with my friends

And I can’t wait to get on the road again, break free

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

“Maybe we can find a few gigs along the way covering ‘oldie goldie songs’ to cover the cost of Griff’s theme park bucket list,” mused Nicholas to himself.

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

It was after 7 by the time the boys had checked in, parked, and hooked up the RV. Famished, they asked the young lady in the office where they could find some good eats, preferably within walking distance. Soon they had located a quaint hole in the wall restaurant that they would surely have missed if Casey had not given them excellent directions.

While devouring the delicious array of appetizers they’d chosen, a strangled noise came from behind Griffin. A puzzled look crossed his face, but as Nicholas looked up, he realized immediately what was happening and sprung into action. He jumped around the table to the elderly man sitting behind Griff, grabbed him around his chest with both arms, and gave a quick, firm squeeze to the man’s abdomen. The culprit, a small popcorn shrimp, went airborne and landed three tables over in a half-full mug of beer.

Much to Nicholas’ embarrassment, everyone around began clapping and cheering. Checking to be sure the gentleman was OK, he sheepishly sat back down and tried to make himself as small as he could.

“Damn, Nicky! That was awesome!” Griffin gushed. “You did that almost before I even realized what was happening! How did you know what to do?”

“I had to take some classes a couple of years ago when I thought I might want to get on as a lifeguard at the pool … before I changed my mind. That’s the first time I’ve actually done that.”

“Well, note to self … be sure to have Nicholas close by if I ever decide to choke. Seriously, though, that was so awesome, and I’m so proud of you!”

After settling down to enjoy the best meal they’d had since they left home, the boys headed back toward the campground. They snatched a couple of brochures in the restaurant lobby to look through and plan out their week in Chesapeake Beach.

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

After getting caught up with the most recent episodes of ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Flash,’ the boys stripped and crawled into bed to go through the brochures. They were quite surprised to see how many fun activities were available in the area.

“OH! We have GOT to go to the Chesapeake Beach Water Park! It’s only about a mile up the beach. We can walk there,” said Nicholas, pointing at the brochure in his hand.

“I’m with you and look … here’s a Surf Art Gallery and Museum. Since we can’t surf here, seeing as how we’re actually on a bay, this will be fun.” Griffin had been a bit disappointed to discover that they weren’t on an ocean beach, but Nicholas promised him that their next stop would be Rehoboth Beach, which was very much on the ocean.

“Look … windsail cruises around the bay. You could get some awesome pics, Griff!”

“Here’s a place we can rent jet skis … almost as fun as surfing! They’re expensive, but we’re saving so much on this cheap RV park, we can splurge!” Griffin practically bounced in his excitement. They were like two six-year-olds the night before Christmas.

“This brochure has bus schedules. I think we should plan on at least two days in DC. One at The National Zoo and another at the Smithsonian. Let’s mix those in with the water days.”

“This is gonna be a great week, Boo!”

“Yep! Now shut up and kiss me like you mean it, Peaches!”

The RV Chronicles (Chapter 15)

Chapter 15

Written by: (KenW9270)

As usual, Griffin woke first but remained in bed, snuggling close to Nicholas. Soon, Nicholas slowly woke, too, enjoying the comforting feel of Griff’s arm around his chest.

“Good morning, Peaches,” Nicholas whispered. “I think I could stay just like this forever.”

“Nice thought but we’ve got places to see and things to do!”

“I’m glad you decided to give the park another try yesterday. You didn’t let the bullies ruin the day for us. I’m proud of you!”

“Yeah, I think I can deal with a lot if you’re walking beside me. We can’t let the demons win!” Griffin said emphatically. “I think we got our money’s worth and the fireworks were a great way to end the day!”

“We will definitely be looking for more theme parks as we travel. That was a great idea you had!” Nicholas agreed.

“Oh, I have a ‘Theme Park Bucket List’!”

“Well, of course you do!”

————————————————————————————————————

Griff walked out of the bathroom, drying his hair with the bath towel. “Did you decide which place we’re going to go to first?”

Nicholas glanced up at Griff, then his eyes darted down and back up again, “Looks like your rash is drying up a little. Uh, anyway, we…”

Griffin interrupted, “Thanks for noticing!” he said with a smirk.

Nicholas rolled his eyes. “You’re standing right in front of me in your birthday suit. Besides, I’ve always noticed everything about you, even if I never actually said anything.”

Griffin threw the wet towel in the hamper and looked at Nicholas. “That’s one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me.”

“I have my moments. Now put on your boxers, Dr. Rashenstein.”

“You’re so dorky sometimes,” Griff laughed as he put on his boxers and sat at the table. “There. I’m not naked anymore, and yes, the rash is improving, but it’s still itchy. Now, please continue. Where are we off to today?”

Nicholas leaned over, giving Griff a quick peck on the lips. “You do know that you are always irresistible, not just when you’re naked. You could be wrapped up like an Eskimo, and I’d still stop and stare.” He blushed and grinned. “Anyway, the plan of action that makes the most sense is to get breakfast in town and hit the Poe Museum as soon as it opens at ten o’clock. Then on to Belle Isle for a few hours, and last but not least, the “kidnapped” scenario of the escape room at Breakout Games. They have one starting at six. Hopefully it’ll be a good, fun day without any drama!”

Griffin had a huge grin on his face. “To be honest, you lost me at “irresistible,” but I trust your planning. And, yeah, drama-free would be excellent, but yesterday did have it’s good points, thanks to you. Now, let’s get started with today’s adventures!”

“Ok. You finish getting dressed, and don’t forget the Caladryl! I’ll go unhook the bikes.”

————————————————————————————————————

After a short bike ride, they arrived outside the Edgar Allan Poe Museum. They looked around, and Nicholas pointed across the street. “That looks like a good place for breakfast.” They locked up their bikes in front of the museum and jogged across the street.

Inside the diner, they sat at a table in the corner and placed their orders. “I love these local places. They are so much nicer than the big chain restaurants.” Nicholas said.

“The chains are usually cheaper, though.”

“Sometimes, you get what you pay for. I’d rather have good food than cheap food any day.”

“Good point,” Griff said, absently scrolling on his phone.

“Whatcha looking at?”

“Twitter, mostly. Did you remember to follow Lorenzo and Olivia? ’Zo sometimes even lets Gustavo post stuff on his account. That kid is hilarious!”

“Yeah, I followed. ’Zo is a great photographer, especially for his age.”

“Truth. He posted pics of Hershey Park this morning. It looks amazing! I have to add that to my bucket list. Hint hint.” Griff grinned at Nicholas.

“If you keep adding theme parks to the list, you’ll need to find a freaking job!”

“Very funny. I’m finished. You ready?” Griff said, pushing his plate to the center of the table.

“Yeah. Time to start today’s adventure!”

————————————————————————————————————

By the time they finished breakfast, it was ten o’clock and time to head to the museum. “This should be cool, but it looks small. I hope it’s worth it,” Griffin said.

“It’s supposed to take less than an hour to see everything, but it should be an interesting way to kill some time until we’re ready to head over to Belle Isle. Plus, I love Poe.”

“Just remember, ‘All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream,’ my dear Nicholas.”

“Yeah. Yeah. You love Poe, too.”

“Well, ‘I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity,’ as you well know.”

“You’re not going to speak in Poe quotes the whole while we’re in here, are you?” Nicholas laughed as they walked to the next exhibit.

“Just one more. You know what my favorite Poe quote is, right?”

“Yes. And you know that my opinion of religion and Poe’s are complete opposites but go ahead.” Nicholas motioned for Griff to continue.

“I fall somewhere in between the two of you on the subject, but it does perfectly describe the televangelists. ‘All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.’” Griff bowed theatrically. “I’m done now. Aww! Where did they come from?” Nicholas was kneeling on the garden path, petting two black cats.

“I read about them on the website. Their names are Edgar and Pluto. They live here.”

“That is so awesome and so fitting. The ‘Enchanted Garden’ is beautiful. I think we’ve seen everything now. You ready to go?”

Nicholas stood. “Yeah. Next stop: Belle Isle.”

————————————————————————————————————

The boys pedaled their way across the suspension bridge, enjoying the view of the James River below them. Nicholas yelled over to Griff to be heard above the sound of the raging river. “I see now why the website says the rapids are too dangerous for swimming.”

“That’s for sure. You wanna hike or hit the bike trails?”

“I signed us up for rock climbing lessons!”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really!” Nicholas grinned. “I think you’re turning me into an adrenaline junkie like you!”

“Don’t forget the surfing lessons! You promised me at Kitty Hawk and then plans changed.”

“I haven’t forgotten. I’ll do it. We’ll probably hit a beach again in Maryland.”

“I’m gonna hold you to that! So, do we have a scheduled time for this, or do we just show up?”

“Noon. So, hurry up! We have ten minutes to find it.” Nicholas laughed and pedaled faster.

————————————————————————————————————

“I can’t believe you went up so fast the second time. That was amazing, Nicky-poo!” Griff said as he collapsed onto the grass beside Nicholas.

“You’re lucky my arms are so tired, or I’d wallop you. I’ve told you to stop with the ‘Nicky’ crap.”

“You secretly love it almost as much as you love me.” Griff kicked Nicholas’ foot.

Nicholas kicked back. “Maybe.”

“What’s next?”

“I thought we’d hike, but it’s later than I thought it would be. Let’s get lunch then head back. By the time we shower, it’ll be just about time to go to Breakout Games.”

————————————————————————————————————

The boys walked out of Breakout Games nearly jumping for joy. “We did it!” Griff yelled. “Booyah!”

“That was awesome! We will have to do another one sometime. I’m sure we’ll find some more in plenty of the cities we’ll pass through.”

“Too bad there was a timer. Without it, I may have let you stay in those handcuffs a little while longer.” Griff winked.

“Maybe I’ll let you buy a pair.” Nicholas’ blue eyes twinkled in the fading sunlight.

“I think I like this new naughty Nicholas.”

“You’ll like me even better when this,” Nicholas lightly caressed the front of Griff’s jeans, “isn’t covered in spots and Caladryl.” He stared up at Griff, his eyes glazed over in lust.

Griff leaned down, and their lips met in a brief but passion-filled kiss. “You are such a tease. I love it!”

Nicholas’ eyes turned a little sad, “I am having the absolute best time of my life, Griff. I don’t want this trip to end.” His eyes glistened, but he refused to let a tear fall.

“Let’s not think about that yet. I don’t want it to end either. There’s a lot of fun to be had before New York, and a lot of thinking that I have to do.” Griff took Nicholas’ hand, and they strolled back to their bikes.

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.”

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

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.”

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

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!”

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

“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.

————————————————————————————————————

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.

————————————————————————————————————

“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.

————————————————————————————————————

“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.

-+-+-+-+-+-

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.

-+-+-+-+-+-

“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.