A staffer woke us up. I was under the blanket, still naked, alone, again. Robert was dressed and on his stomach, again. We broke down camp, left nothing behind us but prints in the sand, and headed to our cabin, grinning like we shared some fantastically funny secret. Showers, eyes on the floor. A brief pause before the bus ride filled with some small talk. I made up my mind not to go on the hike, as I would far rather spend Friday and Saturday night with Robert than alone in a tent out on the hike.
As we headed out to the buses, I left my pack behind. Robert noticed and reminded me of it.
"No, I'm not going," I said, grinning, expecting to see him smile, too.
Instead, he bunched his eyebrows and told me to go.
"Why? If I stay, we can camp out on the beach again," I said simply, still expecting him to smile again.
"No. You want to go. Go."'
He said it simply and with little emotion. It hurt, though. I didn't understand why he didn't want me to stay so we could camp in my tent again. I wanted to ask, but the subject was difficult to talk about, and we were mixed in with the other guys as we all walked toward the bus.
"You want me to go?" I asked.
"You want to go, go. Will be fun. And you agreed to go. You will have bad grade if you do not."
"Grade? It isn't summer school," I argued.
"My father come, I go with him. Not be here. So go."
"You're sure he's coming?" I asked, wishing that he wasn't.
Robert nodded, then said, "Get pack."
He stopped and waited. I sighed, feeling rejected and sad, and almost angry. All the joy I had felt that morning was burned away. I stomped back to my bunk, grabbed up the pack, and returned to the bus. I was so angry that I didn't even look where he or James had sat, and instead sat down at the first space I came to.
A few words swapped with Robert over breakfast as the twins and James filled the air. I stayed polite, but I wanted to walk away and sit alone. If Robert didn't want to camp together again, I would rather just go home.
Classes, and turning in assignments. Lunch smelled good, but I wasn't in a mood for it. I replied if Robert talked to me, but otherwise I left him alone, as he seemed to want me to do if he didn't want to camp again.
I wondered again if he was wishing we hadn't messed around. I wondered if he regretted it. I wondered why he didn't want me to stay so we could camp together.
James and the twins arrived, weighed down with a large display case and easel. When I asked about it, Robert kicked me under the table and rolled his eyes at me. The triplets, as I began to call them, all demanded that I should pay more attention and I would know all about their big presentation instead of asking what it was. I groaned as they began describing it, in detail. I tuned out after they got sidetracked on exactly how the presentation should go after some recent discovery about something done somewhere.
It wasn't interesting. Nothing was interesting. Robert was, but now he didn't think I was anymore. He seemed normal, he wanted to talk, he even asked me if I was feeling well or not. But he couldn't fool me. I knew rejection when I felt it, and Robert had rejected me. He had told me to go on the hike. I felt like being alone, but it wasn't possible until I left for the hike. That only made it worse.
The last classes ticked by as expected, and I was unburdened of more work, including the astronomy report with Robert. I was almost sad to see it go. Now I had nothing tangible to tie to him. But that didn't matter so much as he was there beside me as I handed it in with him, and he didn't want to be together again.
While we stood there together, I felt weighed down and the old, familiar lonely feeling came back. I knew that after the class, we would go to our separate classes, and then I would go to Outdoor Survival, and would leave on that hike, not seeing Robert again until Sunday. I hated that thought. I wanted to spend my last two nights with him, but he didn't.
The class ended, and I ignored him as we walked out of the little classroom. I was angry, hurt, and feeling like I used to. Nothing really mattered, I had no one to spend any time with, and no one wanted to spend any time with me anyway.
I heard him say, "See you," but I ignored that even.
It hurt to ignore him, but if he didn't want me around, I was used to that.
It was suddenly time for Outdoor Survival, and time to leave.
I kept looking over my shoulder as we marched away from the academy, I guess hoping to see Robert running to catch up to us with his own pack and tent, somehow gaining permission to join the hike. While I did see one student running to catch up to us, it was only some other hiker who had almost missed it.
The walk wasn't bad, but I felt like I had the entire world on my back. I pushed the hurt down and let myself get used to the familiar sensation of loneliness even while surrounded by others.
I was nobody again. It was time to go back to staying in the shadows, overlooked and ignored.
The hiking trip had hardly started and I could hardly wait for it to be over. I wasn't in any hurry to return to the cabin, or Robert, just in a hurry to return to my lonely world at home.
They set up a rope to crawl across the gorge, and I was last across it. We set up camp and then ate. Food was supplied, but we all had a small ration kit, too. I didn't eat with the others, instead, I stirred water into the little box and had cold, weak soup. It was all I had eaten all day.
I stayed in my tent, except to answer the call of nature. I felt like crying, but I refused to do so. I wasn't in love with Robert, but I did like him a lot, especially after what we had done together. Having him as much as tell me to get lost had hurt nearly as much as what hadn't happened just before I had moved. I was very proud of myself for not letting any real feeling for him grow.
I knew I didn't deserve him, or even what we had done. I wished I could be glad of what we had done, but the hurt was too strong.
I fell asleep, and was woken up by the bed check. I easily fell asleep again, though I had to actually fight off the tears.
I was woken up by someone softly calling my name. I opened an eye, wondering what I had been dreaming about that my name was being called. Then I heard it again, and the sound of someone coming into my tent. I froze. Fear took over and I was paralyzed. I wondered who had found out about Robert and I, and what they were about to do to me. When I heard the zipper again, I nearly shouted out for help.
No, I deserve whatever happens to me, I decided. I deserved what happened in the woods, and now I deserve to be punished for what I had let happen with Robert.
When I felt a hand on my shoulder, I crushed my eyes closed and my body tensed for the pain.
"Shhh!" he said, placing a finger gently on my lips.
Then his lips were there instead of his finger.
I had only one thought before all possibility of thought was washed away.
How did he get here? And why?
Okay, two thoughts. Then it was gentle touches, hot kisses, soft sighs, and heavy breathing.
Again, once wasn't enough for him, and I found myself unbearably overwhelmed and nearly screaming his name out loud as I released a second orgasm in a row. Again I finished first both times, but not by much. Again we rolled so that he cuddled me from behind, his arm over me, his warmth against my back, his breath in my ear.
I wanted to talk to him, to at least tell him how glad I was he was there. I also wanted to ask him how he had gotten there, and why he had come. I wondered if he had only come so that I wouldn't hate him, or if he had wanted to. There were other thoughts and worries, too, but it would have been far too difficult to have spoken around the powerful emotions and the silent tears of relief and joy.
And again, I fell asleep before I even knew I was tired.