"Camping?" I repeated as if it were a foreign word.

"Yeah, I can't believe you forgot. We planned this camping trip a while back," Jason explained as he fished the leaves out of my pool with the net.

Ever since my talk with Cory, I realized I missed Jason. Not just as a boyfriend (which I had to keep reminding myself that he was a boyfriend to me) but as a best friend. Avoiding him for almost a week was long enough in my opinion.

"I would have reminded you sooner but I haven't seen you," he reasoned with a dubious look on his face. It was quite odd that we haven't seen each other considering we were living in the same house; let alone his bedroom was right across from mine. I suppose I was just that good at avoiding people.

"Camping? Tonight?"

Jason let out a laugh and finally turned around to see me sitting on one of the poolside beach lounge chairs. He scanned my face for a quick second before shaking his head, probably thinking I had lost my memory. I couldn't help but crack a small smile at his expression.

"Yeah, with everyone. Our friends. It'll be fun."

Everyone…including two people I wanted to avoid. Or three technically. There was Cam. I haven't seen him since the party and had no interest in seeing him anytime soon. There was Hannah. I did feel a bit guilty and I wasn't too sure what to do about this. And there was Jason…All these people in the same vicinity let alone camping was going to be quite interesting.

I was too involved with my thoughts that I hadn't realized Jason's presence next to me as he sat down. I looked over at him carelessly.

"Since it seems that you had lost your memory I should warn you that Cam is coming along," he said this as he cautiously waited for a reaction out of me. I shrugged my shoulders. He returned this gesture with a curious look.

"I told you before. I'm over it," I said apathetically, looking Jason dead in the eye so he can take me seriously.

"Alright. Yeah. I believe you," he sputtered, shaking his head. I suppose he expected something else out of me. Probably the girl who would keep fretting over it but that wasn't me. I did hate that I let myself get into that situation with a drunken playboy but it was done and over with. And it wasn't going to happen again. I wasn't a helpless little girl.

"What?" I demanded at the weird look he was giving me. He seemed to be searching for something in my face; trying to find an answer. But an answer to what question?

But I didn't give him a chance to answer as I stood up and started to head back into the house to pack for the camping adventure I was going to have with my friends and…non friends for the next couple of days.

"You just seem uptight is all," Jason stated truthfully as he followed me into my bedroom. I shot him a glance to see him smiling at me. Uptight? I guess that had to do with the Hannah situation I had to deal with sooner or later. I opted for later although it was making me pensive around Jason.

"Interesting," I murmured as I dragged out a duffle bag from my closet, piling in clothes for the trip. Jason comfortably took a seat in my swivel chair, watching me. "Did you pack yet?"

"Yeah. All ready to go."

"Wow, you must be excited," I couldn't help but comment. "We have what? Several hours until we have to leave right?"

"More like an hour before we have to leave," he corrected me with a laugh after I turned around flabbergasted. "It does take time to drive out there you know," he laughed in explanation.

"Oh, right." I continued to dump clothes into my duffle bag along with a few towels and toiletries. "Did you load in the tents and sleeping bags already?" I questioned, turning around to Jason.

"Yup, one sleeping bag for the both of us," he joked with a straight and serious face.

I walked over to him under his curious gaze. Hitting him in the arm, I stuck out my tongue. "Ha! Very funny."

"I'm not joking. One sleeping bag and one tent. For the both of us," he repeated, a mischievous look in his eyes. He then extended his arms enough to pull me towards him so I was standing between his legs. He looked up at me with those brown eyes of his. "You don't agree that that idea sounds tempting?"

I searched his face, taking in his white teeth as he smiled up at me. That smile just for me. I remember when I used to crush over him and always wished something like this would happen to me. How happy I would feel to have Jason want me too…And now that was reality.

I couldn't help but laugh and smile down at him while lazily draping my arms around his neck. He took this as a sign that he was getting through my random uptight phase he seemed to call it. He pulled me down side saddle on his legs, peering up at me with that charming smile only the boy next door type would have.

Jason leaned up, planting a firm kiss on my lips.

"Mm…." he murmured when he pulled away. "Haven't been able to do that for a while."

"Yea, like a week," I teased. A week wasn't that long…

"Ah, so you've been counting too?" Jason teased, making my cheeks turn warm.

"Shut up," I muttered, looking away from him.

"Okay so I was kidding. Of course we have two different sleeping bags."

"No duh," I laughed, looking back at him. He rolled his eyes at me.

"Sadly nobody is supposed to know we're together. So I was thinking you can sneak into my tent or I can sneak into yours. But that probably won't happen since we'd be sharing tents and all. So then I thought, we can both sneak out and have a little rendezvous when everyone is asleep," Jason suggested with a goofy grin on his face.

That's what attracted me to Jason. His goofiness and just being around him made everything seem so much more happy and carefree.

"Good plan," I commended him as the worries that were holding me in this uptight ball were slowly washing away the more I allowed myself to enjoy Jason's company.

"Knew you'd like it," he smirked before leaning up for another kiss.

And this time, I kissed him back. What surprised me was Jason's surprised reaction that I actually kissed him back considering my uptightness. I liked taking him by surprise. I smiled into the kiss, cupping his face with my small petite palms.

Jason, always the opportunist, took this chance to savor the moment as he slowly moved his lips against mine; trying to memorize the feel of my lips against his. The hand that wasn't occupied with holding me onto his lap placed itself on top of my knee. His hand slowly made his way up my thigh, roaming up and down the fabric of my jeans.

"Sorry," I found myself whispering against his lips. He pulled away with a puzzled look on his face.

"Sorry for what?" He couldn't help but laugh. He planted a kiss on the tip of my nose before waiting for an explanation.

"For avoiding you," my mouth had its mind of its own. I immediately wanted to kick myself for even speaking so in an attempt to sidetrack Jason I leaned down to peck him on the lips.

"Ahh…so you were avoiding me," he murmured, pulling away from me.

"So you noticed," I muttered, looking him in the eyes.

"Course I did," he said as if it were obvious. "Why?"

"I'll tell you later. I have to pack," I excused myself from his lap as I resumed my packing. This interesting camping event was something I wanted to get out of the way. I had an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was going to happen. It didn't look good for me.


"What are you doing here?" came out of my mouth, immediately regretting how rude I sounded. I instantly grimaced but Cory's surprised laugh at my rudeness made me feel a lot better.

I slammed the car door and immediately after heard the driver's car door shut. Jason came around to my side, taking in the fact that we were last ones to arrive as our friends simply socialized to pass the time waiting for us.

I stole a glance over at Jason, immediately taking in the small smirk on his lips as he kept his eyes away from me. He obviously was avoiding my scowl. Oh so what? He won the bet that we were the last ones to get here. Not my fault was it? According to Jason, I took too long to pack.

"Wait, what'd you say?" I asked, turning back to Cory as I realized he was talking to me.

Cory's dark eyes looked at me with a bit of confusion. It wasn't like me to be out of it, or so it seemed. First with my surprise intake to see Cory was camping along with us. Second with not paying attention when he was answering my question I rudely asked.

"Late invitation," was all he repeated before turning his eyes over to his friend Jason. Soon, Adam and a few other guys they played basketball with—along with Cam—made their way over to Jason. I took this opportunity to quickly snatch my bag from the trunk, heading straight to Pateel, Hannah, and a few other girls.

"Ahh! Camping will be so much fun," Hannah gushed as a greeting that was accompanied with a beaming smile.

"It will be fun alright," I agreed without as much enthusiasm but Hannah didn't catch the foreboding aurora slowly seeping out from me. Pateel caught my eye and since we were such good friends, I didn't need to explain my worries with Hannah and Jason. Cam was history and barely crossed my mind.

I completed the circle of girls as we all exchanged small talk along with excitement for the camping trip with all our friends. A few girls gushed over some of the guys here, hoping something would spark into a relationship. I noticed although Hannah would contribute to the conversation, her eyes would once in a while glance over at the boys. I didn't need to guess who she was looking at.

I wasn't jealous. I couldn't be. She was innocent and naïve. I shouldn't blame her since it was a secret after all. But then why were my feelings and my mind contradicting each other at that moment?

I wasn't stupid either. I knew at least one or maybe two other of my friends camping with us has an interest in Jason too. Couldn't blame them right? But I had a sudden urge, no. Not an urge. I had a need to let them know that he was taken. He was with me. But I wasn't stupid. I kept my mouth shut as the conversation steered to who would be sharing tents with one another. I couldn't seem to open my mouth and contribute to the conversation let alone voice who I wanted to room with. I knew as long as I was with Pateel I'd be fine.


"You seem quiet," Jason observed as he appeared out of the blue. He casually took a seat next to me on one of the four logs that surrounded the bonfire pit that was bound to be lit tonight—our first night camping.

Mmm...Smores. I can practically taste it.

"What are you smiling at?" he asked amusingly as he leaned his elbows on his knees, peering at me since my gaze was on the unlit bonfire pit; not at him.

I was startled out of my thoughts, turning to see him give me an odd look. He scanned my face for a moment before raising his eyebrows.

"I was thinking about making smores," I admitted and after I said it, I lightly laughed at myself. I sounded ridiculous. My laugh was probably the first sign of emotion since I got here.

It seemed as if Jason and I were acting normally. Close friends, taking a break from setting up the tents and sleeping bags inside. Our friends walked around and past us, acknowledging us but didn't think it strange as they went about continuing to find fire logs, setting up, and exploring the nearby tall pines but not too far.

Jason looked at me, silently wondering why he liked such an odd girl like me. He dismissed it as he sent a smile my way before asking, "Which is your tent?"

He looked away, nodding and looking over at the tents spread out around in a semi circle. I watched as some of the girls walked in and out of the tents.

"Third to the right. With Pateel and Hannah of course," I answered what seemed to be robotically. I was fine with Pateel of course but Hannah…Don't get me wrong, she's an amazing friend. But just being around her made me feel…uncomfortable. Best luck I had that I'm staying in the same tent as her.

Jason didn't say anything, pulling me out of my one in many zone outs today. I looked back at him to see his eyes staring back at me. He looked away, let out a sigh before pulling his eyes back on me.

"Which tent is yours?" I questioned, desperate to kill the silence.

"Furthest one from you," he answered without a glance towards the tents. I quickly looked over, spotting Adam in the entrance of the tent bent over as he placed his duffel inside. I watched as Pateel approached him. Adam turned around and sent a charming smile her way. She couldn't help but blush. Definite chemistry.

I turned back to Jason, cringing inside as I realized I zoned out. Again. I was just about to make an apologetic face when he stood up, staring down at me.

"Let's go."

"Where?" I asked helplessly though I stood up too.

"So we can talk," he said seriously. He gave me a look before he casually slung an arm around my shoulders, guiding me out of the campsite. A few friends glanced our way. Nothing too exciting they were probably thinking. Jason usually did that to me anyways. Typical normal behavior of the friendship between Jason and Jackie. At least it made it easy to seem that we were just friends when in reality, there was more.

We stopped when we found ourselves on an empty dirt path far enough from the campsite for any of our friends to see or even hear us.

"What's wrong?" he cut to the chase as he leaned his arm against a tree trunk. He stuffed his hands into his jeans pockets.

"Nothing." He only had to shoot me a simple look before I crumbled. I rolled my eyes at my weak defense before grumbling, "Okay, maybe it is something. But I don't want to talk about it." I shot him a look, challenging me.

"And why not?" he shot back. It was boiling inside me and I knew at any second, my mouth wouldn't be able to keep shut. I huffed exasperated as I tried to look anywhere but at Jason.

"Is it Cam? Does he make you uncomfortable?" he tried, trying hard to prod something out of me.

"No," I said appalled. I have barely seen him since I arrived. He was far from my mind. "It's the undeniable fact that Hannah likes you." I was surprised by the resentment my voice held as I finally let it out.

I finally turned my eyes on Jason, seeing his emotions cross his face. I stepped forward, a few feet between us. I began to continue since he hadn't been able to formulate words. Plus, I couldn't stop myself from holding anything back anymore. I was exploding.

"I feel like a backstabbing, horrible, lying friend. Heck, I'm probably not even a friend based on the fact that I'm with you!" I poked him in the chest. "The guy who she apparently really likes and keeps sneaking innocent glances over at you. She can't help it. I perfectly understand why she would like you. And I feel horrible. I feel conflicted. I like you a lot and now I'm finally with you but that doesn't take away the fact that my friend likes you! I mean, I didn't know she liked you when—when—" I waved my hand carelessly between the both of us to explain us getting together. "And then she comes out and tells me she's interested. She thinks we're just friends since I've always told her that we were only friends before things happened between us. And now I don't know what to do!"

Everything came out in a rush. I barely breathed throughout that whole explosion and breathed heavily as I finished, looking up at him. I wondered what he saw in my eyes as he stared down at me, comprehending everything I said. He looked at me with shock from the news he knew nothing about. He looked at me as if admired me. He looked at me as if he pitied me.

"Say something," I barely whispered, my heart beating radically in my chest. Everything was out in the open between us now. Then irrational fear began to trickle down into my thoughts.

What if Jason wanted Hannah more than me now? Now that he knows Hannah's interested in him. It'd be easy for him to be with her. Leave me in the dust.

I swallowed. It was tough. There seemed to be a huge rock in my throat as the unbearable silence between us heightened that my breathing became shallow. I was already feeling the ache in my chest, knowing Jason would leave me.

"Jacks," Jason said gently, his fingers suddenly grazing my cheek as I looked up at him vulnerably. I stilled as he leaned forward, his hands cupping the sides of my head as he kissed my forehead. I closed my eyes at the feel of his warm lips on my skin. So this was the end of us.

"I'm not going anywhere." At this, my heart practically jumped as I looked at him perplexed. His thumb rubbed small circles on my cheek as his hands were still cupping my face.

"Why didn't you tell me this before?" he asked gently, making sure that his tone wouldn't come across as accusing. I guess I really did look vulnerable after my confession. It was obvious now how much the whole Hannah thing has taken a toll on me.

"I—I—I don't know. I guess I was trying to figure out something but…" I trailed off. It was obvious I hadn't thought up of something.

"You're such a loyal and great friend, Jacks. I don't blame you for worrying about Hannah's feelings even though it meant compromising your own feelings for me," he started to speak, "but you shouldn't beat yourself up over it."

He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. My hands came up to wrap around his wrists as he brought his hands away from my face. I looked down at my fingers encircling his wrists, slowly moving its way towards his warm palms before settling with intertwining with his fingers.

"How come you can't tell her about us?" Jason wasn't stupid, he knew the problem couldn't be solved with me simply telling her me and Jason were together. Like how I broke the news to Pateel. If it were that easy, we wouldn't be here.

"Because if I tell her, it'll become a shock to her. She'd think I made a move on the guy she openly said she likes. After me telling her we were or are only friends doesn't help my case that I wasn't trying to ruin her chances with you," I explained. I finally looked up at Jason.

"Hannah's an awesome girl but she'll understand. Even if she did find out then what? I will still have feelings for you." It's not like she would have a chance with Jason anyways. Not to put it harsh or anything.

I couldn't take anymore of this as my head started to pound from the worry I had been carrying inside me. I slipped into Jason's embrace, wrapping my arms around his torso.

"Don't worry about. I'll handle it."

"How?" I asked weakly, keeping my body embraced in his as I lifted my head looking up at him.

"I said don't worry about it. Trust me?" And with that, came the smile I always thought was charming. Always wanted to be the one on the receiving end of it. And now I was. His eyes glistened as he watched the first smile since I've come to the campsite appear on my face.

I had no doubt Jason would fix this. Hannah was his friend too so I knew he wouldn't do anything to try to hurt her feelings. Even though it was inevitable she will be a bit hurt about Jason and me. Nothing we can do in our power to stop that.

"'Course." I leaned up and kissed him on the lips gently.

Despite the other night with Cory and his talk about secret relationships and how they weren't as special as they seemed, I knew right then and there I didn't give a care. As long as I was with Jason, I was fine. My best friend. Always looking out for me. Sure, the secrecy gave a thrill to the relationship. Sure, it would be more convenient to not have to hide our attraction and affection. But for now, that's what we had to settle with until Jason moved out.

I attempted to savor every moment of his lips against mine. I thought I was about to lose him. Now that I knew he wasn't going anywhere, I made sure not to take it for granted. I wrapped my arms around his warm neck as he fully leaned his back on the tree he was leaning his side on during my ranting.

"Try to have fun. Yeah?" Jason whispered against my lips as he finally pulled away after a few minutes. He was obviously talking about the rest of the camping days ahead. Then I remembered our friends and I have barely been camping for more than two hours.

I nodded my head and as if as a reward, Jason kissed me on the tip of my nose before extracting himself from me.

"We've been gone long enough." He took my hand in his as we slowly walked back towards the campsite.


Author's Note:

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