"Max, hey you okay bro?" Jesse's voice snapped me out of my thoughts.

"Huh?" I looked up "Oh, yeah I'm cool." I managed a flicker of a smile as we walked.

Jesse slapped my back. "That's my man. You're coming to the camping trip right?" He double checked.

With sandy hair and a wide grin Jesse was a cool guy, not in a 'I'm a foot ball jock and my daddy's rich' popular but an 'I'm really nice to everyone and I know everyone' popular, and he was my best friend.

He sat down next to me on the park bench.

"If my aunt lets me." I responded putting away my sketch book. "She gets, protective." I decided on. "My uncle should be fine with it though."

Jesse nodded in understanding. He knew full well I've lived with aunt and uncle since my parents death so many years ago. However because of that my aunt seemed to be particularly careful when it came to her sisters child.

"Well, it wouldn't be as much fun without you." Jesse admitted. "even though our entire class is going, Kaylee, Andre, Jean, Mike, even Drake which is weird cause he usually avoids us at all costs."

I couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah, maybe we really shouldn't have invited him to that game night."

Jesse shook his head. "He will never rise from the shame of his Mario Kart defeat."

I grinned. "I'll double check." I promised thinking about the camping trip.

That night at the dinner table. Aunty Joyce and Uncle Fred sat next to each other and Hannah sat next to me.

Joyce's face drew with concern. "A camping trip?" She asked.

"Just in the mountains nearby." I assured. "The teachers are going and we'll have cool games and zip lining." ...Maybe shouldn't have mentioned the zip lining.

Uncle Fred placed a hand on his wife's shoulder, making her stance relax. "Sounds fun." He chipped in with a gentle smile "I think we can spare you two or three days."

I gave a smile, grateful for my uncle. "Thank you."

It was when I got back to my room I allowed myself to fist pump. things we're looking good.

There was a knock at the door and I turned.

My cousin Hannah was leaning against the doorway with a smirk. "You know I'm going to have to deal with mom worrying for three days straight now." She teased.

I winced, knowing there was truth to her words. "Yeah, sorry about that."

Hannah let her self in and flopped on my bed. "Nah, I think it'll be good for you to go out and get some fresh air."

A smirk grew on my face. "Oh really?"

Hannah nodded. "Oh, and get yourself a girlfriend while you're at it."


I fiddled with my ring as I packed for the camping trip, my bed piled high with clothes that needed folding. The ring wasn't anything glamorous, just a simple silver band with a pair of fairy wings stamped onto it. It was my favorite ring, mostly because reminded me of a reoccurring dream I have. the one that felt more like a memory.

I sat down in my giant bean bag in the corner of my bedroom and curled up with a blanket. I wanted to have that dream again.

I didn't know why as it seemed unpleasant, or if it could happen just by me hoping it would, but I wanted the comfort it brought before I left to go camping tomorrow morning. Sure i was excited to go, but honestly, I felt like something was going to happen. I didn't know what that was, but I was worried.

I turned off the twinkle lights in my room with a remote control and tried to sleep.

At first, I did NOT have the dream I was hoping to have. Instead the first thing I remember was a giant banana with arms and legs that went around and said "Stay peachy!"

I was sad to say dreams that weird were normal. My dream then shifted and I was standing outside a white gazebo. I was a little girl, like I always was when I had this dream.

I was holding hands with someone, a boy. His features were blurry but I could make out white hair, despite being young.

I couldn't tell how old he was, just that I liked being around him.

"Come along," the boy said. "Time to go."

"But I don't want to go!" My little girl self cried. "I want to go back!" I could feel tears streaming.

"I know," he said sadly. "I want to go back too, but we can't.

"But I want to!" I cried again. That seemed like the best argument my little self could come up with.

The gazebo glowed a bright light, and the dream faded.

I woke in my bean bag back in my room, holding my blanket in the same.

The warmth stayed in my mind. Just like in my dream, so I went on packing for the trip.


I pulled my backpack strap higher up onto my shoulder as I walked up to the school. Jesse spotted me almost immediately and grinned. "Eyyy there's our lucky man of the hour."

I gave a bow. "In the flesh." I joked.

Jesse nodded his head over. "We were just talking about the secret hike."

I raised an eyebrow at that. "secret hike?" I questioned.

Jesse nodded. "Yeah all the kids wanna take a hike around midnight or so down to the lake. Toby's got marshmallows and Kaylee's got a lighter."

I considered that a moment. That could actually be seriously fun, long as no one decided to go cliff diving. "Sounds cool." I agreed.

The teachers called out and we loaded up onto the bus. As it took of Andre stood, turning around. "Yo Jesse! Catch!" He tossed something across the bus and I ducked to avoid getting brained by the Bluetooth speaker.

"Set it up in the back will ya?" He grinned.

Jesse found a spot while Kaylee set up another in the front. The speakers were synced, then Andre started playing music for the whole bus.

The more the music played the more excited I got. I was going to go out, with friends, and have fun, real fun without an over protective aunt looming over my shoulder... I might even get a chance forget why she always did for a change.


I ran for the buss that was starting to pull away, my backpack bumping and jumping on my back.

"Wait!" I shouted at the buss, hoping someone would hear me and tell the driver.

"I'm coming! Wait!"

Finally the bus slowed and stopped. Panting, I slung off my backpack and climbed the steps inside.

"Well someone woke up late," said Kaylee with a laugh when I sat down, the teacher chaperoning shooting me a dirty look.

"Hey none of us are perfect," I responded, echoing her laugh.

"What kept you?" She asked.

"Oh, um, my parents wanted to make sure I had everything," I lied.

There was no way I was going to fess up that I almost missed the trip because I couldn't find my ring. They'd all think that was stupid or something.

"Ugh, tell me about it," she responded throwing her head back in exasperation.

Kaylee then went on to tell me about how her parents are so "suffocating" and worry too much, and I just fiddled with my ring as I listened with a nod and a smile every now and then.

We drove down the highway through the city and finally into the mountains.

When the city was far behind, I pulled the bus window down and stuck my head outside. I closed my eyes and relished in the feeling of the wind on my face, blowing through my red hair, tied in a half-up style. I put my head back in the buss with a sigh when the buss driver got mad, telling me that I shouldn't stick my head outside a moving vehicle. But me being stubborn, I left with window down.

"Hey thanks for the invite guys, I've needed this."

~ For Katie ~