Chapter Four…

Camping Trips, Dead Frogs, and Secrets Revealed: the fourth ‘thrilling’ chapter of the Riverview series.

“You killed Froggy,” Travis sniped, scowling.

“I did not,” Lila protested. She lifted the dead-fish-scooper toward the bowl, ignoring any further sniveling and unfounded accusations from Travis.

“Today is our camping trip,” she muttered with a frown. “Can’t we at least pretend to get along?”

“No!”

*bleeping bleep*, it’s going to be a very long weekend.

Lila eyed Travis, cringing as she saw the evil gleam in his eyes. ******* Damien from the Omen, she reflected.

She turned away from him and went into the bathroom to dispose of the poor, putrid, limp amphibian.

Travis shrieked from the other room when the toilet flushed.

Tucked away seemingly miles from the other scouts, Lila and Travis’ tent sat amidst a thicket. Both lingered inside, enclosed in an awkward silence.

“So what do you want to do first?” she asked, finally breaking that awkward silence.

And fishing it was.

The day was gorgeous in Riverview, and the fish were biting. The hours flew, despite Lila’s reluctance in going camping with Travis.

Soon, evening came. Lila had caught several more fish than Travis, and she hoped he hadn’t noticed too much…

She saw something in the water, and kneeled down for a closer look. Lila had no idea there were piranhas in Riverview. They were creepy looking creatures, but nothing could prepare her for what she was about to catch…

…it was the most hideous thing she’d ever seen: a gigantic snail. Ewwwww. She considered tossing it back into the river, but found herself inexplicably fascinated with it. She decided to keep it.

Then she snagged a red herring.

“It’s not fair!” Travis griped. “You’ve caught way more fish than I have!”

“No I haven’t,” she lied, thrusting the fish behind her back as though trying to hide it.

“Yes you have! I see it behind your back! It’s like the twentieth one you’ve caught!” he whined, throwing his pole down and storming off.

“I’m twenty-three years old! I’ve been fishing longer than you have!” she shouted, but he was already out of sight.

Lila sighed; then glimpsed something greenish.

She turned to look, seeing a frog leaping from the water. It was quite lively, as opposed to the one she’d flushed down the pot earlier.

Hmmm…

Afterward, Lila noticed a pile of old bones and other debris in the forest. She paused to rummage through it as Travis watched.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“If I can find anything interesting here, maybe you could show it to the scout leader,” she replied.

“All I see is some junk and yucky bones,” he said, and giggled.

Lila frowned and stood. Then she silently strolled back to the campsite.

To her surprise, Travis seemed a little excited as he joined her in roasting food stuffs over the fire pit.

After eating and engaging in small talk with a seven-year-old boy, an exhausted Lila retired to the tent.

Shortly thereafter, Travis followed.

Once he was inside the tent, Lila blurted an uncomfortable question. It was a question she just had to know the answer to.

“Why do you hate me?”

Without looking at Lila, Travis answered.

“Mama said you and Daddy are–”

“She said what??” Lila asked, shocked. Now it all came into focus, and she understood. Travis’ eyes lowered to the ground. “What gave your mother that awful idea?”  And the woman seemed so nice…?

“You mean it’s not true?” he asked. Lila shook her head; vigorously. “Mama said because Daddy’s your boss and he’s always gone seeing you and wanted you to live so close, Mama thought he was going to move out to marry you.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Lila said. “If your mother was so worried about it, then why did she allow me to move onto the property?”

“Mama says Daddy makes all the decisions, not her,” he replied. Lila swallowed the lump in her throat.

As the two chatted, a tribe of ants slowly carried away bits of food from the picnic basket.

“Travis, I–I’m not having an affair with your father,” she stammered.

“I’m sorry I believed Mama,” he said. “I’m sorry I was mean to you.”

Lila smiled.  

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sorry your mother is so—worried about it,” she said, puzzled.

A few minutes later, the two fell asleep inside their sleeping bags. Then Lila experienced a nightmare. Travis’ earlier revelations prompted images of his father and Lila… Ewwwwww… kissing… gag…

Sunday morning arrived, and the camping trip was over. Lila did something she thought she’d never do: she hugged Travis while telling him ‘good bye’.

After he left for school the next morning, Lila entered the magnificent home by using the ‘secret’ basement stairs. Thankfully, Auna and Nick were asleep upstairs.

Inside Travis’ room, Lila held a priceless gift inside her palm. Travis would surely be surprised once he returned home.

                                                             …

That evening, Lila visited the Riverview Aquarium with her mother.  She was glad to spend time with her, and told her about the winning game from a few days before. Lila felt a little disappointed when her mother didn’t show up for the game, but told herself it just wasn’t something her mother was interested in. It helped when Audrey told Lila how proud she was of her.

The two watched the fishies flit through the water; but something seemed to catch her mother’s attention. Audrey turned to a man who stood only a few feet away.

She strolled over to him and said, “Roger! What are you doing here?”

Lila watched them, wondering who the heck he was. She would soon find out.

“Lila, there’s some–someone I want you to meet,” she nervously said.

Lila approached him.

“This is Roger Nutter. Roger, this is my daughter Lila.”

“Nice to meet you Lila,” he muttered.

“Likewise,” Lila replied. She glanced at her mother, noticing Audrey’s eyes locked onto Roger’s for just a second; then the realization dawned on her.

“Oh, I get it. You’re the guy who knocked up my mom.”

“Uh Lila, knock it off,” Audrey mumbled.

“But how is someone like him going to take care of you and a baby?!”

“Hey, it’ll be o–kay,” Roger assured.

“It’ll be okay?” Lila mocked. “It’ll be okay…”

“Lila, I said—” Audrey began.

“Look,” Roger interrupted, “I love your mother and your mother loves me. I think we deserve half a chance of making it, don’t you?”

“Haven’t you already ‘made it’?” Lila quipped.

Lila!” Audrey shouted, her face pink.

My God, Mother. I cannot believe this is happening.”

Why am I so against this? Lila questioned herself. Is it just because of the shocking revelation, or was it possible that she was jealous of her mother? After all, her mother was almost 44 years old, a little overweight and she found a hot young guy; meanwhile, Lila couldn’t even get a date.

WTF?

Hours later, that fat, round ball of the moon emerged in the night sky…

…and Nick Moore knocked on Lila’s door at ten till midnight.

“Lila?” he whispered. “Are you awake?”

The door flung open. Lila stood at the threshold, shocked to see Nick that late at night. She figured it must be important.

Nick stared at her a moment, his eyes as round as the moon’s. “Holy ****,” he said, “you look terrific.

Lila looked down in embarrassment. She could not believe those words had erupted from Nick’s mouth. Was she dreaming again? His words were certainly a far cry from ‘Elle the Smell’.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to–embarrass you Lila. May I come in for a minute? I need to talk to you about something.”

She nodded, moving to the side to allow him in.

“There’s a sports convention next week. I was wondering if you’d like to go with me?”

“What? Nick, I don’t even know where this place is.”

“It’s only a couple thousand miles away; in California,” he said.

Only a couple thousand miles? Look, I just finished taking Travis camping, which I did enjoy after a while… but I thought my chores were finished,” she fumed.

“Okay, well, thank you for taking Travis camping. And I’m sorry to have offended you. I thought maybe you’d want to go,” he said.

Was there a hint of hurt in his tone? Disappointment perhaps? Lila couldn’t help but feel a twinge of satisfaction.

“Why don’t you bring your wife?” she asked.

“Auna usually goes, but she told me she’d rather not this time. So I thought, you know…”

“Yes.”

“Yes?” he echoed.

“Yes, Nick. I’ll go. And you didn’t offend me.” She couldn’t believe her own words as they fell from her lips.

They gazed at one another for a moment; then Nick turned and left.

What am I doing?  she asked herself, stepping out of the room. She sat on the steps.

Travis’ words invaded her mind: Mama says you and Daddy

But I’m not having an affair with Nick. I’m not; it’s just a stupid convention. In fact, shouldn’t I be there anyhow? Since I’m also into sports? There’s no reason to feel guilty; no reason at all.

Is there?

                                                          ****

(Author’s note: pay no attention to the stupid look on Lila’s face above. This was a dramatic moment in the story, and Lila wanted to ruin it. Or was it the game devs from EA who wanted to ruin it?)

Chapter Five will be coming soon. How will Nick and Lila’s trip to Cali go (mwahahahahaha)? How is Audrey’s pregnancy and relationship with Roger going? How will Auna react once she finds out that Lila is going to the con with Nick?? And will Travis start hating Lila again?


2 Responses to “Chapter Four…”

  1. This chapter was wonderful. Another amazing creation of yours.

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