I got up very early. About four in the morning. I needed a shower, but it was too dangerous to take one while the guys were awake. Nothing would stop them from walking right in. I looked around; to make sure they weren’t in sight. It was all clear. One of these days though, I was going to lose it.
They were driving me insane. Not a safe thing to do to a person who lives around a lot of guns. And I mean a lot. I ran into the shower and locked the door. Not that it would stop them. It was only a measly hook-in-latch kind of lock. Not so hard to break.
I took a quick one, as always. I was done in fifteen minutes. I quickly dried off and dressed. Then snuck back toward my tent. It scared the hell out of me when Danny came out of nowhere.
"Holy shit!" I said as he came out from behind a tent. I then sighed and put my hand to my heart. "Damn it, Danny! You scared the hell out of me!" I whispered. He gave me a look. Oops, I forgot he didn’t like it when I cursed. I grinned. "Sorry." I whispered. He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Where are you going? You got a girl waiting for you?" I joked, then winked at him. But the idea that it might be what he was doing hurt.
"No, I was just…checking the surroundings."
"You look horrible. Did you sleep at all last night? You didn’t stay up looking for them did you?"
"I tried to sleep, I just can’t."
"Get to bed! You never know when you’ll have to fight. You don’t need to be half asleep when you do." I walked over to him and took his hand. "C’mon." I pulled him toward his tent; he didn’t fight, just laughed.
"I guess you’re right." He muttered.
"I know I’m right."
He followed me all the way to his tent. I went inside and pulled him along.
"Now get some sleep. I’m staying in here until I know you’re sleeping." I told him. He dragged himself over to his cot and lay down. He just lay still for a moment, his eyes still open. He stared at the wall of the tent.
"Go to sleep." I told him.
"Just give me a few minutes. Let’s talk for a minute. It might help."
"All right. What do you want to talk about?"
"I don’t know, anything."
"Well, I have a solution to my problem, and yours."
"I’m going to get a boyfriend. I figure I’m sixteen, I’m old enough."
"I didn’t give you birth control so you could just have sex." He still looked at the wall.
"No! That’s not what I meant! Damn it! I just meant I was going to find another guy to take care of me. So you don’t have to anymore. You won’t have to worry about me when you’re away. So you can worry about staying alive."
"You don’t need to worry about me…worrying."
"I don’t want you to worry. It’s not your job. We’re supposed to have fun together as best friends, not always be complaining about a group of horny teenage boys."
"I’ll always worry. And honestly I don’t want you to get a boyfriend."
"And why not?"
"I’d have to worry about him too. I’d have to worry about whether he’s pressuring you, if you’re sleeping with him, if he’s strong enough to protect you. It would just bring on a new line of problems."
"Well, it’s really none of your business whether I sleep with him or not. But that’s not going to be a problem."
"What if he’s like Shaun?"
"I’ll make sure he isn’t before we start dating."
"It’s not going to work." he sighed.
"Well, even if it doesn’t work out for keeping me from getting raped, at least I’ll have someone my age to hang out with. All of my friends are older than me."
"There’s nothing wrong with that."
"And…" I wasn’t sure how to say this. "I have to tell you the truth. I mean you might already know, but I’ll get jealous if I see you with another girl. If I had a guy, if I fell in love with someone else, it wouldn’t be quite as hard to watch you be with someone else." It was quiet for a moment. He finally looked over at me. I looked at the ground and twirled my thumbs.
"Fall in love with someone else? You’re in love with me?"
"I know, I know! I don’t want to be. If I could stop it I would. I know you don’t feel the same, and even if you did it would be wrong. Not that you do. Maybe I just spend too much time with you. If I’m going to fall in love it needs to be with someone my own age."
"I’m gonna leave, get some sleep."
"How do you expect me to sleep now? When I know you feel the same way I do?" he asked. I was almost out the door when he said that. I froze, my heart stopped for a moment. I gasped then turned around to see him.
"Feel the same way? Are you insane? No one should be feeling like this. It’s wrong, so wrong." He sat up.
"Why is it wrong? Because I’m too old?"
"No, well, sort of. You’re not too old, I’m too young. You need to be with someone your own age, who can take care of herself a little better than I can, and is mature enough for you." He stood now.
"You’re very mature."
"And if my father ever found out…" I couldn’t finish the sentence. He walked over to me and took my hand.
"He doesn’t have to know." He promised. I pulled my hand from his.
"No! No! We couldn’t even sleep together for two years. It would be illegal, I think. Oh hell! What am I even saying? This is crazy!" I turned and ran out of the tent. Danny caught me before long. He grabbed my shoulder and spun me around.
"Let me go damn it!" I snapped.
"Would you stop cussing?" he asked, annoyed.
"No, I sure as hell won’t. How can I when this is happening? Why is this happening?"
He got on his knees. He took my face in his hand. "Listen, I can wait. I will wait for you to get old enough."
"You’ve done enough for me."
"And I want to do more. This is for me too."
"Get up before someone sees us."
"Not until you tell me whether you are going to do this."
"No, I won’t. And I’m not saying it because I don’t want you, but because I’m no good for you. I’m trouble. So, no."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I’m sure."
He stood up.
"Now get some sleep." I told him, then I turned and walked back to my tent without looking back.