“You remember the way back?” I ask, kneeling to take out the plastic poncho in my backpack.
“Why?” Thunder booms in the distance, and he goes for his poncho, too. “Are you fucking serious.”
“Do you remember the way back?” I ask again, slipping the yellow poncho over my head. I can feel the powdery film on it, and my stomach turns.
“No. I wasn’t watching where I was going, dumbass.” The wind begins picking up, but the rain’s still light. Rory turns back where we came and heads off.
“Come on.” He stops and taps his foot. “I’m not getting into more shit with my parents without you.”
I don’t think I’d want him to, either.
But by the time we hit the Calumet River, I’m pretty sure we’re lost. Or maybe it’s Pequot Creek? It’s not raining hard, but the thunder overhead doesn’t make me feel any calmer about this. “Now what?” asks Rory.
“Lets go…this way,” I say, pointing downstream. “We’ll either hit the lake or a town.”
“We’re in a forest preserve, Princess,” Rory points out. “You don’t know where we’re going.”
“Well, I’m fucking trying!” I scream. “What’ve you been doing?”
“Okay, if this is the Calumet River, then let's go upstream.” He points against the flowing water. “We can find that bridge over it.”
I nod, also because that bridge has an amazing view of the river. “Okay. I’m gonna try calling them.” I don’t have reception, but I try for five minutes, circling between calling my parents and his. Each time, the call drops and I’m forced to put it away. “It didn’t work.”
“I could’ve told you that,” Rory points out.
I punch him in the side. “At least I tried. What’ve you done?”
“Haven’t shoved you into the river yet.” He eyes me and grins. “Want me to?”
“You wouldn’t look too good in the end, would you?” I ask.
Rory belches. “Probably not.”
It begins raining a little harder, and Rory takes the lead. He seems to take the uphill hike in strides while I’m struggling to keep up with him.
“I’m not used to uphill hikes,” I pant, having stopped for the 4th time in 20 minutes.
“You play soccer.”
“Soccer is flat.”
“Do I need to carry you, Princess?”
“I will gut you before – ” I wheeze. “ – give me three seconds.”
Rory pulls off my poncho’s hood and then tells me to stand up. “I’m leaving if you’re not fast enough.”
A minute later, I’m upright with my hood off. Rory has the right idea because the rain on my face actually helps me keep up with him for some reason. We don’t really talk as we head up. I wouldn’t know what to say anyways, since I’m the one who got us in this mess. Besides, I don’t think now’s the time to say “Hey, I’ve kinda felt sorry for you, turning your parents against you, and have been reading your journal for the past month”-type shit. There wasn’t any serious secret-type stuff in it, but I’m sure Rory would rather strangle me than let me live knowing something happened between him, Caleb, and Evan. What, I don’t know, but still.
I wanna make it back to the Cottage alive.