It was around six in the morning. Emily and Lauren were each finishing packing for the trip they were leaving for in about an hour. The guys would be there soon to pick them up to go to the airport.
“You got everything?” Emily called to Lauren as she walked out of her room, her zebra striped suitcase trailing behind her.
“I think so.” Lauren replied from in her bedroom. She was trying to zip her pink and purple bag closed, but was struggling.
“Need help?” Em asked with a laugh as she walked in the room.
Emily zipped it up for her and heard a knock at their door.
“I’ll get it!” Lauren exclaimed and sprinted out of her room to answer the door. Emily followed less enthusiastically behind her. She was excited to go on the trip, but not so excited for what might happen while on it. She was getting a headache thinking about it.
“Class, get your shit! We’re going to Florida!” Jordan yelled as Lauren let him in, quoting a sketch by the Whitest Kids U Know. He was holding Ashley’s hand.
“What about permission slips?” Lauren asked, continuing the lines from the sketch.
“FUCK PERMISSION SLIPS!” Both Ashley and Jordan yelled at the same time. The three of them cracked up laughing. Emily smiled a weak, not-so-sincere grin and Max walked in the room, not catching what was so funny.
“Should I ask?” He asked Emily while the other three kept laughing.
She shrugged, “WKUK joke.”
“Oh I see. Not funny enough for you?” Max asked her. They were walking further inside and more distant from Laur, Ash, and Jordy.
“It would be if I were in a better mood.” Emily replied with a sigh.
“What’s the matter?” He asked, concerned.
“I don’t know. I’m just so stressed.” She said and then continued in a whisper, even though they weren’t in hearing distance of anyone else. She wanted to be careful, “Like, the whole Geno-Kris thing. I can’t break up with Geno on this trip. It would be a total downer. But I really don’t want to make Kris mad. And I just don’t know what to do, I’m so confused and mad and sad and ugh!”
“Hey, calm down. Don’t let this ruin your life.” Max put his hand on her shoulder and looked her in the eyes as he spoke, “Kris will understand you don’t want to hurt Geno. He loves you. You’ll find a way to get out of this little mess and everything will be fine.”
“But I don’t want everything to be fine. I want it to be perfect.” She pouted, tears welling up in her blue green eyes.
“Don’t cry!” Max pleaded. He wasn’t used to these girl problems but he wanted to help her so badly. “Come here.” He said and wrapped his arms around her. She hugged him back and pressed her face on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” She mumbled, tears falling down her cheeks. She wiped her face on her sleeve. “I don’t know why I’m acting like this. I’m just so… messed up.”
“You’re not messed up, you’re just in a messed up situation.” Max told her and wiped the tears she missed. “If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it until our vacation is over. Enjoy the sun and the sand and once we get back here we can work this all out. I promise.”
Emily looked him in the eyes and tried her best not to look so upset. “Thanks, Max. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Well you don’t have to worry about that because I’ll always be here for you.” He replied, making her smile for real.
“Thank you.” She said again as she hugged him tight.
That’s when Evgeni walked into the room. Max released Emily and she turned to face him.
“Oh hey, Geno.” Max greeted him with a grin. But Geno ignored him. He was studying Emily’s face.
“Were you crying?” He asked her, his voice sounding worried and slightly confused.
“Um, no.” She lied, “I fell asleep with my contacts in. They hurt like crazy.”
“Oh, are you okay? Maybe you should take them out.” Geno said, getting closer to her.
“I‘m fine, they’ll be okay. It happened before.” She assured him.
“Okay. Well, do you got everything? We got to leave now.” He replied, standing in a position that excluded Max from their conversation.
“Yeah, my bag was out there.” Emily gestured towards where she set it near the front door.
“I’ll go take it outside for you.” Max told her, bringing himself back into the conversation and then left the couple alone.
“Thanks.” Emily said as he walked away.
Geno took her hands in his own. “So…” He said.
“So what?” She asked, looking up at him.
“So, are you excited?” He asked her with a toothy grin.
“Totally.” She replied, failing at sounding sincere but Geno couldn’t tell the difference.
He just smiled at her and kissed her forehead. She smiled weakly back up at him. He was oblivious to her pain.
“What up with your sister?” Jordan asked Lauren. They were outside getting into the bus the team was taking to go to the airport. Luckily Mario said it was okay that the girls rode on it with them.
“I don’t know. She’s probably just tired.” Lauren shrugged. Tyler had his arm wrapped around her. He was all smiles once again.
“Figures.” Ashley laughed, she was hanging on Jordan’s arm messing around.
Max came outside with Emily’s bag and went to put it with the rest of them.
“Cute bag, Max.” Kris smirked at him. Max just smiled.
“It’s your lover’s, you should like it.” He told him, making Kris sigh.
“It’s been a week. You think she’s gonna dump him here or wait till we get there?” Kris asked him in a hushed voice. Geno and Emily were just coming outside now but were too far away to hear the two of them talking anyway.
Max ran his hand through his hair, remembering what Emily had told him inside and not sure what to tell Kris.
“Listen, Tanger. She’s got a good heart, she doesn’t want to ruin this trip for him.” He said, trying to put it nicely.
“What are you saying?” Kris asked, knowing exactly what he meant but didn’t want to believe it. “What’d she tell you?”
“Nothing, man. She wants to do the right thing. She loves you though. I can tell.” Max said but Kris just shook his head.
“If she loves me than she’d be with me, not him.” He said angrily and pointed at Evgeni who noticed him and Max looking at him. He had his arms around Emily but she was talking to Ashley, Ashlen and Sidney.
“She doesn’t want to hurt him.” Max insisted.
“Yet she doesn’t mind hurting me?” Kris shot back. Max sighed but didn’t say anything. “That’s what I thought.” Kris said after Max didn’t reply.
Geno knew that Kris and Max were watching and probably talking about him and Emily from the other end of the bus. Why, he wasn’t completely sure but it was obvious it had to do with his girlfriend. He thought something funny was going on earlier between her and Max. And the time when they went off on their own at Mario’s. Geno vowed to take care of him if he ever tried anything with her. She was his.
And because he wanted to prove that to him, as Max and Kris were walking towards where he and the rest of them were, Geno pulled Emily close and kissed her like he never kissed her before.
Kris stopped dead in his tracks. Before him stood Geno and Emily, making out when they should be breaking up. He was furious, and stormed on the bus without looking back.
“Geno,” Emily said, pushing him back angrily. Kris was sure to be pissed now, “Why did you do that?”
“What? I can’t kiss my girlfriend?” He asked, surprised with her reaction, and angry at the fact that it might be because of Max who was standing near by.
“I’m sorry, I just don’t feel very good.” She said and got on the bus, following the path that Kris had taken.
There was a slightly awkward feeling in the air outside of the bus now. Jordy, Ashley, Sid, Ashlen, Leah, Laur, and TK stood silently, just looking at each other.
Max was face to face with Evgeni. “Man, what are you trying to prove?” Max asked him.
“Why do you care?” Geno asked in response.
“I care because you’re pissing off my friends.” Max told him. He wanted to sound serious but didn’t want to start a fight.
“You need to mind your own business. And I don’t know what’s going on between you and Em, but I expect it to stop.” Geno said sternly. Max just smirked at him, shaking his head as he did so.
“I don’t know what you think is going on with us, but I’ll tell you right now I’m not going to stop being her friend. Seriously, man, you keep this act up and you won’t have a girlfriend to worry about.”
“Kris.” Emily pleaded for him to answer her. He was sitting in the very back seat and she stood next to him. “Kris, please talk to me.”
He turned slowly to look up at her. “What?”
“Kris, he made me kiss him. I didn’t do that to hurt you.” She said, sadness in her voice.
“But it did hurt me. Whether it was intentional or not. It hurts a lot.” He replied.
“I know and…”
“No, I’m not done.” Kris interrupted her, “I want to know why you say you don’t want to hurt him and you don’t want to hurt me but no matter what, one of us is going to be hurt. You can’t have both. I know that, Geno knows that. Why don’t you know that? You’re hurting all of us by doing this. You’re leading him on if you’re planning on dumping him, or you’re leading me on by telling me that you’re going to when you’re not. You can’t take back what we did because it happened. We both know that. And you can’t take back what we said. I’m in love with you. I said it before, I’ll say it again. But just because you know I am, doesn’t mean you can string me along while you have fun with Geno and I won’t care. I do care. A lot. So make up your mind. I’ll give you these next four days to think about what you want. This is suppose to be a vacation, so that’s what it’s gonna be. I need to relax, so come talk to me on Monday if that’s what you choose.”
Emily stared at him with hurt eyes. Now she knew how it felt. She wanted to say something, but no words would come out. So far this trip was looking pretty awful. She didn’t want to make it worse.
“Monday it is.” She said and walked back to the front of the bus.
(ps.- sorry for taking a billion years to post this! ive been busy, but ive got soo much planned for this!)