Before Gage knew it, he was back at his father's place to get packed up for the camping trip, before it was forgotten, again.
They'd meant to do this trip before Carson left for the Academy. Gage couldn't remember now, what exactly put it off. Possibly, his mother coming to town and Carson and his dad having this angst between them.
But all was well now. Or so Gage faked to believe. He knew his Dad did not like the idea of Clare showing up with Halie last minute, but Gage was glad to have a proper send off. He didn't mind Alec drooling over him, nor Halie making out with him as if he might be going off to war.
Perhaps, it did feel like a war story, he'd look back on, one day. Of course, his father had nothing pleasant to say about Clare nor Easy.
"What kind of name is that?" His dad was sour faced as Gage sat between his dad and Carson who was driving. He was just too big for this.
"Dad..." Gage looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "Just..NO. Don't start in with her." This was a camping trip. Their camping trip.
Of course, Carson didn't look like he wanted to be here. He was bitter. Did his mom have something to do with that, too?
Soon enough, they were setting up camp in the woods. It was finally fall and his Dad said there was nothing quite as pleasant as cooling in the fall.
"I bet you two have never been camping, have you?" He sounded like the expert, staking out the tent. Of course, Ren made sandwiches and there was enough goodies supplied, where there was no need for a cookout, but his Dad wanted a fire, anyway.
"Well, actually I have." It just wasn't this kind of camping, with tents. He'd done more of an urban camping expedition. Sleeping in abandon houses, making fires out of old chairs, scrummaging for food in dumpsters. "Well, maybe I haven't." Nobody wanted to hear of it. That was the past, but he could make do. Probably more so than Carson, who was already fighting the bugs.
"I used to hitch-hike, so I could see the world." His dad smiled about his grand adventures across the heartland.
"Did Mom go on those trips, too?" Gage couldn't help but ask. Funny, he thought of Ren. She did feel like the real mom to him, but he could never call her this true name in his heart.
"Some of them, but she did her own thing, mostly." He said rather calloused.
Gage went to find some bug repellent for Carson while his Dad reminisced about the places he'd been and what he remembered.
Carson thought of the beach. It was a pleasant thought of Charlie that popped into his head. Oh, he wished he was with her right now. They did have a lot of making up to do. But she was working. There was Lily and Lily's grandparents that Charlie felt the need to check on.
He guessed she was there, about now. He couldn't seem to stop it from happening.
But she looked so tired. This was not what he'd had in mind for her when they got back together.
She was suppose to be there for him, yet there were just so many variables. And no way, did she want to go on a trip to Florida. She swore nothing was there for her.
But the beach. They did have the beach one summer, and they'd spent plenty of nights on the beach together. Now those moments felt impossible to get too, even if they were engaged.