Tuesday July 15th
After the normal rustling of the morning we packed our tired bodies into the van. As Whitford went to turn it on, the wipers started scraping against the bone-dry windshield. Not surprisingly, the sound that emitted made us all jump to consciousness. Robert and John exchanged smirks in the front row, and no doubt a low high five as well. Drew sat lazily draped over the seat next to them, and was asleep yet again. Teens these days, I thought, pft. Whitford chauffeured us to base for our next adventure of the day. As we approached the same building we had the day previous shouts of distress arose.
"Guys- Chill Out!" Whitford exclaimed. "We aren't going to have to mountain bike again."
Our legs rejoiced in the thought immensely. As we unloaded ourselves into the parking lot we slumped on the concrete curb, lacking the will to move. Drew had woken up with a bit more energy than before.
"Come on let's play Coke N Pepsi while they go get us our tour guide," Drew said.
We all grudgingly agreed and stood up putting ourselves into pairs quickly. I wasn't quick to the chase, and I was stuck sitting on Spencer's lap. Yeah, the kid who sleeps with the stuffed panda bear pillow. Robert motioned air humping him from across the way; I returned the gesture with sticking my tongue out. Spencer and I soon were disqualified, mostly due to our lack of enthusiasm. John and Robert were left facing Sam and Willy after a few tricky calls on Drew's part.
"Charlie Brown!" Drew called. The pairs scrambled to get into the correct position, and that's when Sam tripped. The moments slowed to a painstaking pace as he rolled on the ground. The blood on his knee was covered in the road salt and sand in the parking lot. I was the first to react and break the silence. Chester followed closely behind with the first aid kit. I opened it up with a flick of the wrist. Gauze.. Gauze.. Antiseptic Spray.. tape.. gloves.. I spotted everything I needed and grabbed Sam's calf muscle. I took a spilt second to realize how sexual this could look, if there wasn't his knee bleeding. Sam had pulled himself to the upright position. He was fine and just gave me the nod as if to say 'fix it.' I pulled on the gloves and wiped out his cut, sprayed it, gauzed it and taped. The bleeding stopped sufficiently and I peeled off the gloves to keep Sam's blood off of my hands. I picked up the various wrappers and threw everything out in the trash can near the building. Drew meanwhile had run inside to fetch Whitford and Alex, and they ran across the parking lot. I whistled as they ran back, I walked.
Willy and Robert helped Sam up and he started to walk on his knee, and he gave them the thumbs up. I smiled to myself.
"Sam are you alright? Drew said you fell and.." Whitford spotted my handiwork. "Who patched you up already?"
"That was my personal paramedic, of course." Sam said with a seductive wink in my direction.
"Alrighty then." Whitford glanced towards me with a puzzled look. "Well the place is all set to bring us to our rock climbing wall."
"I thought we were inside the building!" exclaimed Kira in a whiny voice.
"No, that's for later, everyone in the van. Pack it up, moving out. Let's go, let's go!" Whitford encouraged us.
We followed a dirt-encrusted suburban to a dirt parking lot just off of the main road. Gazing up gave us a distinct view of a mountainside, complete with steep inclines, perfect for falling off of. Chester shot me a glance; she knew what I was thinking precisely. The instructors loaded us up with harnesses, rope, carabineers, and other climbing paraphernalia and we commenced our hike up. Soon after we began, our dirt path expanded to green grass meadows, strung with ugly water pipes. The entire line stretched further than the eye could see. The direction the instructors were leading us led up platforms of rocks, about four feet in height. Spencer scrambled up the first one like a primate, and we followed his lead. The tiny crack we used as a foothold gave way as Robert, the biggest of the group stepped on it. He pushed up the rock to be on safe ground as part of the rock face crumbled. I was next in line to tackle and I couldn't get up over it without the hold. I searched the face for another option. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Sam offering me a boost up. I placed my left foot in his cupped hands and placed my hands on the top of the face.
"On my count," Sam said. "One, two, three!" I sprung off his push and made it up to the next level without injury. Sam who had Whitford boost for him quickly followed me. Everyone made it up without a problem, and Whitford at his tall six foot easily rolled on top of the level. The rest of the steps had their footholds, and they held for Robert. We continued through evergreens, and a pine needled covered path. Our group finally convened at the top of the rocks with the instructors.
"Hello guys- I'm Dave and this is my partner Mike. We're going to be repelling down this rock face here. It's about a sixty five foot drop, so don't get antsy and try to go over without your gear."
He continued to walk us through with all we had with us. He then motioned to the shoes we were to wear; they had picked our sizes out already. I picked through the mound of black shoes to find the ones labeled 7, my size. I unlaced my sneakers and put the first shoe on. It was way to big for me. I felt like I was wearing clown shoes. I took it off and walked sock footed back to the pile. Spencer was trying to squeeze into some really small shoes. I held out the pair I had tried on to him, and he smiled.
"I suppose those would be the ones I am looking for," I said, motioning towards the pinchers on his feet.
"I suppose," he replied.
I had deduced that the shoes were all in men's sizes, so I would be a smaller number. I laced up the smaller ones. Shockingly enough, they were a perfect fit. Dave walked back towards our group; he had finished hooking up the belaying equipment on the top of the precipitous drop. He demonstrated how to properly put our harnesses on, by tightening our straps in a certain order. Once we were all awkwardly tightened, they explained that it would feel comfortable when we were sitting on the line. Mike went over the face first, facing the wall like any good action hero, and his voice became more and more distanced until we heard him say he had gotten to the bottom.
"Cue the triumphant action music," Sam said. We all got a chuckle out of that.
Dave's pudgy face gleamed in the morning light, he was already perspiring like a pig in July heat wave.
"Who's next?" Dave inquired, with a slight bulge of the eyes, and the waistline as well. No one felt like being brave so early in the morning. It wasn't worth it.
"Come on, if none of you volunteer, I'll pick you myself. Don't try to not make eye contact, it won't work. You are all going to go down that one way or another, so get ready. Kira you first." Whitford said.
With a groan and a heave off the ground, she made her way over to the edge. They fitted her with a chipped white helmet, and hooked her to the line. In her non-athletic top and bottoms, precariously sluttish, she sashayed over the edge with the grace of a dying platypus.
"Lean back farther, No the other way! Okay steady as she blows, I mean goes! Slowly! Hold on with your left hand and the right goes.. No your other left hand!" Dave instructed her down the slope, her not listening too carefully. We all heard a loud thump as she hit the ground or Mike. A smirk passed its way between Sam, John, Robert and I. John mocked falling off the edge with flailing arms, and terror-stricken face. I couldn't withhold my laughter. Drew gave him knock on the head, and he stopped and feel to a meek level. After the belaying stuff reached the top, Whitford gave John a kick to go next. With the acrobatic ability of a frog, John scrunched down and headed off. We could here the rope racing through the metal apparatus, as he took leaps and bounds. His hollers carried up to us, and relaxation blanketed the group.
"No worries, that was awesome! It's so much fun. Robert come on down here man! Ooo! Wild Blueberries." John projected up.
Robert waddled over to the top, and Dave attached Robert to the rope and he walked over the top, and slid down a little. He emitted a shriek similar to those by a gaggle of schoolgirls. Whitford held himself from a witty comment. Robert soon recovered and crabbed down the rest of the stone face. In a muffled tone, he and John snuck off to John's jackpot of blueberry bushes. One by one our entire group went down the face until it was only Sam and I left up top. Whitford had opted out of climbing down, and took all of our backpacks down the dirt path instead. Alex and Morin accompanied him.
"I'm going to run to take a dump Mike, there's still two up here. I'll be back in five." Dave loudly announced. "You can start climbing up down there if you want. It's all secured up here."
The swine hustled off to answer nature's calling, hopefully nowhere near where I was seated. My attention immediately focused to the calm presence of another human behind me. He scooted up to sit next to me while we waited for the pork chop to make his return. The patch on his knee had held for the hike up, and he had ceased bleeding.
"It looks like your clotting nicely." I said, what an unusual conversation starter. I say the dandiest things when I'm not thinking about the consequences.
"Excuse me? What's that supposed to mean?" Sam countered.
"Oh. You stopped bleeding, and that's good. You need blood to do things, like walk and hike and eat. So good thing you aren't a hemophiliac."
"Sorry, never mind I shouldn't bother you with this sciency garbage."
"No, I'd like to know what a hemopilack is. I really do."
"Well, for starters it's a hemophiliac. It's a condition that you inherit from your mom, usually. And well the genetics of it are a bit too complicated to explain without some diagrams. But basically, you can't stop bleeding, and it's really bad to get even a paper cut."
"Mmhm." He processed this, most likely over his head. Ashamed I didn't start up the conversation again. The silence blanketed us, stifling in the beautiful morning air.
"So if I were a hemophiliac, and I got scraped up like I did in the parking lot. Then this gauze right here (he pointed) wouldn't hold the bleeding I would be doing. I'd most likely have to go to the hospital, and I'd also be a very grumpy person, if I'd known I'd missed a chance to sit up here with you."
My cheeks flushed. This couldn't possibly be the aviatin' stud that walked up from the crystal clean car two days ago. He inched his leg closer to mine, and I could hear him slide his hand further along the ground behind my back. He continued his monologue.
"See, back in jersey, we don't have girls like you. Unafraid to show their smarts, whether its giving a lesson on hemophiliacs in the middle of the woods or bandaging up an injured companion, or giving me the sense I'm very lucky to know someone like you, Mia."
In his pause, I finally was able to look at his face. His soft complexion and warm, welcoming eyes enticed me. He began again.
"Since I am most certainly not a hemophiliac, then I am very grateful. One more thing that I don't have, and won't get thankfully. And I even have enough blood in me to do this."
And with that his free hand came up to my face, softly stroked it once. As I mentally prepared myself for what I knew was coming, Sam tickled the back of my knee. I couldn't restrain my laughter.
"Stop it!" I panted between laughter. He ceased eventually, and I was left inhaling in short breaths, brooding and giving him the evil eye while I recovered. Once he knew it was safe to approach the feline, he put his arm around my shoulders.
"See I knew it. You do have blood in you." He gave my forehead a little peck, and I must have blushed harder than anything. Then the piglet came back, smelly as ever. Sam withdrew his arm and extended it to help me get up. I walked over to Dave, to get hitched in the gear. A sudden gust of wind blew his putrid scent towards me, and I gagged.
"Au Revoir!" I called as I took the first step over. I faltered, not being at the correct angle. Sam peered his head over the ledge with an inquiring eyebrow. In response I let the rope whiz through the apparatus, and I took a leap of eight feet down the mountain. Cheering rose from below, specifically from Willy. In a teasing voice he asked if that was all I had. I hit the ground covered in pine needles and dirt. I followed the voices to find them stuffing themselves full of blueberries in the bushes a bit of ways down the path. Whitford, Drew and Alex had made their way down the solid path, and I stood aside to let them past. Drew's icy blue eyes followed me every move. A shudder passed through me as I entered the clearing where the boys were lounging. Kira was nowhere to be seen.
A/N: more on it's way. summertime.