I woke up sometime later from the chattering of my own teeth. I opened my eyes to see the same star-filled sky above. I was completely frozen, except where Kayla was draped over me, joining our dwindling body heat together. I felt for my pocket, to grab my phone, and check the time. My pocket wasn’t where it’s supposed to be, and it was then that I recognized my jeans unzipped and spread open. My memory reflex kicked in and assured me it really did happen. I felt a smile tug at my face, as I located my phone inside my pocket. 12:47AM. Shit!  We need to get inside before we freeze to death. 
I gently stroked Kayla’s hair to coax her awake. A technique I’ve used in the past, with success. She started to stir a bit, until her eyes fluttered open, and found their way to my face. 
“It’s cold” she said, barely over a whisper. 
“I know. We should go inside” I offered in return. 
“You still feel drunk?”
“I don’t know. All I can do is shiver.”
We slowly worked ourselves into standing positions. We put our warmer clothes back on, and I zipped and snapped my jeans back on. 
“Oh yeah. I definitely don’t feel normal” I said, feeling unsteady on my feet. 
Kayla kind of giggled, and we supported each other as we headed back toward base-camp. I kicked some dirt over the few remaining warm coals in the fire-pit, and we agreed it would be easier to gather everything up in the daylight. We followed the darkened path back toward my house, guided only by a sliver of moonlight. 
As we approached the back door, Kayla asked “where are we going to sleep?”
“In my room, of course.”
“Is that ok?  I mean, with your parents.”
“We’ll be quiet. They probably won’t even know. Anyway, they never told me I couldn’t have you spend the night.”
“Ok” she said, not entirely comfortable with my rational. 
We tiptoed up the stairs and went into my room. I shut the door and turned on a dim light on my nightstand. Without any hesitation, we both started to strip out of our cold clothes.
“Do you have a t-shirt I can borrow?  My clothes all smell like smoke?”
“Of course” I said, as I went to my dresser to get her one. 
She replaced the shirt she was wearing, and asked to use the bathroom to brush her teeth and pee. While she was gone, I stripped out of my clothes and put on a clean pair of boxer briefs. When she returned, I went to the bathroom to do what she just finished doing. 
I came back into my room and she was sitting at the foot of my bed, thumbing through the dream book my uncle got for me. 
“This is interesting.”
“It’s kind of hard to read. Boring. My uncle got it for me.”
“Cool” she said, as she set it back on my desk. “You’re uncle must be pretty cool.”
“He’s awesome. You need to meet him.  Should we get into bed?” I asked, as I pulled my t-shirt off. over my head. 
Kayla gave me a once over and smiled. Pleased that I was going to sleep in only my boxer briefs. I figured with what we shared earlier, I may as well sleep how I normally do. Kayla hopped in wearing only her panties and the t-shirt I gave her. We both immediately migrated toward the center of my queen bed, to try and remove the chill that was still occupying our bodies. We cuddled up face to face and I hugged her over her shoulder, caressing her back. She hugged onto me lower, sliding her hand along my side and onto my hip. It was like we we both trying to warm each other up. The moonlight coming through the skylight, illuminated the room just enough for me to see that Kayla had her eyes open, just like me. 
After a few minutes, I could feel the chill on my body giving way to the warmth of Kayla and the blankets. Our rubbing was reduced to merely holding. My hand resting on her lower back, her hand on my hip. 
“You tired? I asked quietly. 
“Yeah. Sort of. You?”
“A little.”
After a little silence, Kayla added “we could start up where we left off earlier, when you fell asleep on me.”
“Umm…sorry. You rocked my world” I defended. 
Kayla giggled again, and added, “it’s ok. Can I umm…kiss you?”
“You don’t have to ask.”
Kayla closed her eyes and brought her mouth closer to mine. We exchanged some delicate kisses and cuddled in closer. 
After a few minutes of lazily kissing and groping each other, Kayla tilted her back away from me and smiled. 
“Mmm…I love kissing you.”
“I love it too” I said back. “Tonight was the best night of my life. Thank you Kayla.”
Kayla’s smile got even bigger and brighter. “You’re welcome nature boy.”
I could see Kayla struggle to stay awake. As much as I wanted to experience some of those awesome feelings again from earlier, it wouldn’t be fair to Kayla. 
“Goodnight Kayla” I whispered, planting one last kiss on her lips. 
“Goodnight Daniel.”
I watched her slip off into a restful slumber. A few minutes later, I drifted off as well. 
I woke up the next morning as the sun crossed through the skylight, right over my bed. It was irritatingly blinding in itself, but the head splitting pain in my brain, multiplied it by about a hundred. I slammed my eyes shut, and threw my arm over them, for further protection. I could hear Kayla purring, seemingly undisturbed by any aches and pain. I tried to ignore my mounting need to empty my bladder, but inevitably my body won over. 
I got into the bathroom and took care of business. I also slammed about a gallon of water, and washed my face. As I exited the bathroom, my sisters door opened, and she quietly summoned me into her room. 
“Rough night? You look like shit.”
“Yeah. I don’t feel to good.”
She looked me up and down, causing me to reflexively cover the front of my boxers. “Who’s in your room with you?”
“Umm…Kayla.  How’d you know?”
“I heard you come in at one. Talking. Two trips to the bathroom.”
“Ok. I get it. Does mom know?”
“No. But are you crazy?  A girl. Overnight. In your bed.”
“We fell asleep outside. It was too cold and too late for her to go home.”
“Yeah. You stink of smoke and alcohol. Did you have fun?”
“Yeah. It was cool.”
“Yeah. I bet. So how are you going to get her out of here?”
“Don’t know. I hadn’t thought about that.”
“Well, I already stopped mom from bugging you once this morning. We’re going to the mall in like an hour, I’ll tell her you don’t feel good, so you don’t want to come with. But I can’t help you with dad.”
“Yeah. Maybe he’ll leave too. Thanks Kari. For helping.  Do you have anything for a headache?”
She reached into her desk and gave me a few pills. Take these and drink lots of water.”
As I was about to leave, Kari stopped me one more time. “Daniel?  You’re being careful, aren’t you?  Mom is definitely not ready to be a grandma yet!”
“Look. I know you’re doing something. Just be smart about it.”
“How…how…do you know we’re doing stuff?”
“Easy. I just know, and your bright red cheeks tell me you’re embarrassed”
“Shit” I said, getting clear from her room before the interrogation started. I hopped back into bed and snuggled up close to Kayla’s warm, soft body. I could get used to sleeping next to her in a hurry. Reality is, it won’t be a regular thing. 
I must have jarred Kayla awake with my return, as her hand slithered its way onto my chest. She silently massaged all around my chest and the front of my shoulders. 
“How you feeling?”
“Like shit” I said back. 
I filled her in on the conversation I had with my sister, and we tried to come up with an escape plan, if one was needed. Neither of us had any problem with wasting the next hour laying in bed together. However, Kayla did need to get home before too long. She had to get ready for a family outing. Eventually, we heard the garage door open and I spied my dad’s truck pulling out. A minute later, I saw my mom’s car follow. Then I heard my phone buzz in my jeans. I reached over the bed, and saw it was from Kari. It said “dads going to Home Depot and out to lunch. House is all yours for a few hours. Have fun.”
“We’re cool. No one here for hours.”
“Ughh…I was kind of hoping to be trapped in here all day. I feel soooo lazy” Kayla complained. 
“I’m gonna run down and get a couple waters. Do you want anything else?”
“No. Water does sound good. Thanks.”
When I got back, Kayla had managed to get herself in a sitting position at the side of the bed. I handed her a glass of water and sat down at my computer chair, next to the bed. 
“A shower is going to feel so nice” Kayla said, while trying to smooth out her messy bed-head. “I s’pose I should get all that stuff together, and head home. God, I wish I didn’t have to go out.”
“Kayla, I’ll take care of all the blankets and stuff. Ok?  I don’t have much going on today. I’ll bring it over later.”
“Oh, that is so sweet.”
“Where should I put it all?”
“The key for the back garage door is under the rock next to the house. You can’t miss it. If you could put the stuff in the garage, that would be awesome.”
“I will. No problem.”
Kayla put her hands out for me to help her stand up. I wrapped her in a tight embrace and we just stood there for what seemed like a long time. Finally I loosened my grip on her and smiled into her face. 
“Thanks for, like everything Kayla. That was an amazing birthday. One I’ll never forget.”
“Thank you too, Daniel. It was a lot of fun.”
I leaned in to steal one more kiss before she had to go. It turned into a bit more than a little kiss, as things started to heat up. 
“Are you sure you have to go?” I pleaded. 
She giggled and replied, “look at you. I’ve created a real monster here.”  Then she cupped my cheek in her hand and added “I do have to go. See you later, ok?” 
I grabbed her hand from my cheek and brought it to my lips. “Ok. See ya.”
I saw Kayla out the front door and immediately I missed her. I missed her touch, and her laughter, and her spirit. She had a magical way of steering me away from my troubled mind. 
I started to work my way back upstairs, to have a much needed shower. I stopped in my room to gather a few supplies, when I heard my phone buzz. It was a text from Kayla. It simply said, “call Mark.”
I hadn’t forgotten about her demand for me to call him, but I was nervous about actually doing it. What am I supposed to say to him?  Will he be as understanding as Kayla was?  Does he really care as much as Kayla says he does?  I decided to take my shower first, then call him. 
I took a very long, hot shower and threw on some comfy clothes. A pullover hoodie and some black Adidas track pants. I would have worn shorts, but I knew I had to go outside and we were well on our way to winter. I laid down on my bed and rolled my phone around my fingers for a while. Still not sure what to say to Mark. Ultimately, I chickened out, and took the pussy way out. I texted him. 
I went with a very safe and generic “Hey Mark!”
I waited for about five minutes, with no reply. I went downstairs craving hummus and pita chips (for some reason) and was happy to see we had some in the fridge. I munched on my snack for a while and waited to see if Mark was going to text me back. I was starting to write a last ditch apology in my head, thinking he wasn’t going to reply, when he did. 
“Dude!  WTF???”
“Sorry Mark 😥 “
“What happened?  You disappeared.”
“Long story. I truly am sorry. Do you hate me?”
“A little yeah.”
I didn’t have an answer for that…
“After a minute of silence, Mark wrote “I’m kidding dude!  I don’t hate you.”
“Don’t get weird dude. Hey!  Have you been to the arena yet?”
“Lol. They’re posting the rosters today. My moms taking me in like a half hour. We should meet there.”
“Can’t. Home alone.”
“Bummer. You want me to tell you what team you’re on?”
“Yeah sure.”
“K. Bye.”
That went pretty good, I thought. It didn’t seem like Mark was hating on me. Just like with Kayla, I was lucky Mark was an understanding friend. I hadn’t decided if I wanted to tell him what my dad did. I kind of feel like the less people who know, the better. 
I decided to run out back and gather up all of Kayla’s stuff and bring it to her house. My dad shouldn’t be home for quite a while, but it doesn’t hurt to play it safe. Anyway, with a little luck, maybe my mom and sister will get home before he does. 
I got everything back together and took a side trial that took me right to the edge of Kayla’s property. I never knew I could navigate my way to her house that way. It might come in handy someday. I found the key, and stacked the bag and cooler along the back wall of her garage. I went back to our campsite and picked up all the empty cans and garbage, and brought all of that to my house. I went back into the house and did a whole lot of nothing. 
About an hour later, I got a picture text from Mark. It showed the words Bantam A in bold letters, and below that was a list of names. First I spotted Mark’s name, then my own. Yes!
Then there was a second picture text. This one said Bantam B. At first I didn’t know why he sent this one. I panicked, thinking I might have misread the first text. But then I saw it. In the list of names, there was Derek. Karma is a bitch!
I quick sent Mark a text back. Three simple words:  so happy!  Perfect!
He wrote back, “I know, huh.”
Then he wrote, “I wish we could hang out later. Moms dragging me out again tonight. Next weekend we gotta hang, ok?”
“Yeah. For sure.”
“C U Monday.”
I was pretty stoked about how everything was going. First, last night with Kayla, and now the hockey stuff. But most importantly, still having Mark as a friend. I wish he was more than that, but I’ll take what I can get. 

4 responses to “LIVE THROUGH THIS (part 36)

  1. Hello David
    I read this chapter somewhat nervously, half expecting events to blow up in Daniel's face. But it was good news for him instead, which was a relief. But, either way, as enjoyably well-written as ever.

    Love & best wishes
    Sammy B


  2. Daniel sure has a cool and helpful sister.

    Daniel sure had a lot of experiences for someone so young. I don’t think this is the norm, certainly wasn’t for me.

    This is a nice chapter, nothing bad happened and the future looks bright. The saga continues, very much enjoyably so. Magnificent writing. – Aof


  3. Very cool, but Daniel needs to learn his limits with alcohol. I hope that's coming! Glad it all worked out, and he had a wonderful birthday!

    Peace <3


  4. Another good chapter. Glad Daniel has started to make amends with Mark, even if he did take the pussy way out. And he made the A team! Mr. T would be proud!




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