I Must Be Dreaming

by Jason Finigan

This story is completely fictional. Any similarities to any persons or events, past or present are purely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations between young males. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2007 by Jason Finigan. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to jasonfinigan@yahoo.com

Chapter 1

Don't let anyone ever tell you that they don't need anyone. It's a lie.

I used to think I didn't need anyone. Boy was I wrong.

Things all started to go downhill for me at the end of the first semester of college. It was December fourteenth. I had just completed my final end of term exams and was on my way to the college's cafeteria to grab a bite to eat. Along the way I met up with two of my best friends, who were also attending college with me.

My name is Chris McCabe. I'm nineteen years old. My friends, who I've known since elementary school were Rich Andrews, and Jim Pike. We were probably the closest friends you could ever know. We did everything together. Jim was twenty years old and was dating this girl he'd been seeing for a couple of years. Just last week, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. So naturally, he asked me to be his best man. That wasn't all though, he also asked Rich as well. So instead of one best man at his wedding, he had two, and everyone was cool with it.

I can remember last year, our final year at high school. We were supposed to go to this party that one of our classmates was having to celebrate the end of high school, and were supposed to meet up at Rich's house, since he lived the closest to the party, and he would drive us from there. But like all good plans, things have a way of getting in the way. It was the worst time for my appendix to rupture. Well, actually. I don't think I know of any time that a ruptured appendix was good, but this time was definitely the worst. Instead of driving us to the party that night, Rich rushed me to the hospital, with Jim doing everything he could to comfort me in the back seat and take my mind off the pain. The two of them spent the entire night in the hospital, waiting to hear from the doctors to find out whether I was going to be okay or not.

My parents and my sister were there of course, rushing to the hospital as soon as Rich had called them, but it was my two best friends who stayed there waiting the entire time. As soon as my family knew I was going to be okay, they went back home. But not Rich and Jim. They stayed. I spent the better part of the summer in bed, recovering from the operation. The doctors told me that I was lucky we were as close to the hospital as we were, and that my friends were able to get me there as fast as they did, or I wouldn't have survived. They saved my life that day, and I will never forget it.

Right now, I just want to unwind. Rich and Jim were busy talking and laughing beside me as we walked down the hallway towards the cafeteria. It's not unusual for us to be telling stories about things that happened to us when we were younger. Like the one time when Jim was riding his bike for the first time and was waving to us. It's a good thing the car in front of him was a convertible. As it was, both Rich and I thought it was the funniest thing we had ever seen. Just like in the movies, time seemed to slow down as Jim's front tire collided with the back end of the parked car at the side of the road. The next thing we knew, Jim was flying over the handle bars, flipping over and landing right in the back seat of the car, just as if he had climbed into it and was waiting to go somewhere.

By the time we had reached the cafeteria, the three of us were almost in tears from laughing so hard. Everyone in the cafeteria looked at us like we were all nuts, but I didn't care. School was out for Christmas, and I was with my best friends. Who could ask for anything more?

The best thing about this cafeteria, I thought, was the fact that rather than just being served the typical food you would find in a high school, it actually had two restaurants in it; a Taco Bell, and a Harvey's. My favorite was Harvey's as was Rich's and Jim's. For some reason, I never liked the meat that they used at Taco Bell. Besides, I think they used more salt in those tacos than all the salt in the ocean. We ordered our food, and then took it to an isolated table in the cafeteria.

"So, come on, Chris," Jim said, speaking up before taking a bite out of his hamburger which was dripping condiments onto the wrapper below. "Are you still planning on visiting the cottage this weekend?"

"Yeah, I am," I replied.

"And you're still going up there alone?" Rich asked. I had told both Jim and Rich of my plans to go up to the cottage before Christmas a few weeks back. They were disappointed that I hadn't invited them to come along.

"Guys, we've been over this before. I need some time by myself for a while. Besides, it's only for a weekend," I tried.

"Oh come on Chris. We've always done things together. It's like we're a team," Rich said.

"I know. I really would love it if you guys were up there with me, but I really do need to be by myself for a while."

"Chris, you are as stubborn as an ox," Jim said, shaking his head and putting down the burger. "If this is what you have to do, then you go and do it. But I want you to promise me something."

"What's that?" I asked him.

"Call us when you get up there, and let us know how things are going every day."

"God, you guys are almost as bad as my Mom is!" I laughed.

"Ha! Your Mom is in a league all her own dude, and you know it!" Jim said, which was followed by a snicker from Rich.

"Okay, so she's a little over-protective at times," I admitted, kicking out at Rich's shin under the table, which caused him to grunt slightly, though the grin never left his face.

"A little?" Rich exclaimed. "That has to be the most outrageous understatement I have ever heard."

"Oh come on, she's not that bad." I said dismissively.

"Chris, do you remember the time when we were playing baseball together?

"Yeah, those were good times," I said.

"Yes they were, but what was it your Mom always made you wear whenever you went out?"

"Okay, so she can go overboard sometimes," I said, trying to sink as low in my seat as I could from embarrassment. Leave it to Rich to remind me of the time my Mom wanted me to put on a cup, and elbow and knee pads, just to play a game of baseball with my friends. As soon as we got to the park, I discretely took off the pads. There was no way for me to take off the cup, so I had to wear it.

"So when are you leaving?" Jim asked me.

"Well, I'm going to go home after I'm done here, and spend some time with my parents and Jenny before leaving tomorrow morning," I said. Jenny was my younger sister. She was fourteen years old, and looked a lot like me, except for our eyes; mine are blue and hers are brown. We both have brown hair and a slim build, though admittedly, I have put on a little extra weight.

"What are you going to do when you get there?" Rich asked.

"I was planning on doing some hiking," I said simply.

"That's it. Hiking," Jim said incredulously. "Come on man, there has to be something more to it than that. Why go that far up north just to do some hiking?"

"It's a change of scenery. I think it'll do me some good."

"Chris, I know there's something you're not telling us. Come on, what is it?" Jim asked.

"I swear guys, nothings going on. I just need to be alone for a few days."

"Okay man, it's okay. If that's what you need. Just know we're here for you buddy," Rich said.

"I know that guys. We've been friends for a long time. You mean more to me than just friends, you're like a part of my family."

"Hey, don't you go all mushy on us now. We're in a public place," Jim said.

"I think you could use a bit of mushiness. Maybe I should have a talk with that fiancée of yours." I said laughing

"You wouldn't dare!" Jim said, a look of horror coming across his face.

"Try me?" I said, grinning at him with the most suggestively evil smile I could come up with.

"Okay, okay! You win," Jim said, throwing up his arms in mock frustration.

"Good. I knew you'd see it my way. Honestly guys. I'll be fine," I told them. The problem was, I didn't know just how wrong I was.

After finishing in the cafeteria, I made my way out of the school and to my car, where I got in, and drove back home. Being that it was early in the day still, the traffic was light, and it only took me about twenty minutes to get home. As usual, nobody was home. Both my parents were at work, and Jenny was in school. It would be another couple hours before she came home, which gave me some time to myself to relax.

I settled in to watch some TV, grabbing a can of Coke from the fridge. The problem with sitting down in front of the TV in the middle of the afternoon, was that there was nothing on. Over a hundred channels available, and nothing worth watching. I was just about to get up to put a DVD in the player and watch a movie, when I heard the front door open and close.

"Hello?" I called out, getting up from the couch and heading for the front door.

"Hi honey," my Mom said when she saw me.

"What are you doing home so early, Mom?" I asked her.

"Well tomorrow you're going up to the cottage, and I thought I'd help you get things ready."

"I was going to do that tonight."

"Nonsense. This is the first time you're going up to the cottage alone, and I want to make sure you have everything you need."

"Mom," I complained. The last thing I wanted was for her to be babying me like she used to. Not that I had much of a choice though, by the looks of her. When she set her mind on something, she followed through with it, and there was no getting in her way.

"No buts, Chris. Now come on. I bought some things and they're out in the car." There was one good thing about going along with what my Mom wanted, at least it would help get rid of the boredom I was beginning to feel.

Outside, my Mom had already popped open the trunk, and was grabbing a few bags from inside. She started handing them to me, then grabbed a few herself. Just looking in the truck convinced me that she had bought out an entire store. Every single bag was from Canadian Tire, a local hardware store.

"I thought you were working today," I said to her as we carried the first load into the house.

"I was, but I got off early to do some shopping. It's not every day that my son goes up to the cottage on his own for the first time."

"Mom, I'm nineteen years old. I can take care of myself you know."

"You may be nineteen, but I'm still your Mom, and there are some things a Mom has to do."

"I love you, Mom, but you really didn't have to do all this," I told her, putting down the bags on the kitchen table, then walking back out with her to the car.

"I know, dear, but let me be a Mom. Pretty soon you'll be moving out, and I want to spend as much time with you as I can," she said, looking sadly at me.

"Are you okay, Mom?"

"I'm fine, honey," my Mom said. She had turned around to face away from me, I guess to try and hide the fact that she was crying. Nothing more was said as we continued to bring everything she had bought into the house. It wasn't difficult to guess what was going through her mind. There was nothing I could say to her to make it any easier though. I'd heard her and my father talking one night. She had broken down then too, my father holding onto her while she cried on his shoulder. Her son was all grown up, and would soon be leaving the house. I guess every parent has to deal with it one day.

We sat down at the kitchen table. My Mom was trying to control her emotions, only being partially successful. Bag after bag we opened, taking out everything that she had purchased and sitting it all on the table, the bags ending up on the floor. I couldn't believe all the stuff that I was seeing; a new sleeping bag, a first aid kit, a compass, a GPS, a couple of lanterns, a heavy jacket, a pair of winter boots, and even a new knife. With each new item that she took out of a bag, the more my eyes seemed to come out of their sockets.

"Mom, I'm only going up to the cottage for a couple of days!" I exclaimed.

"You never know, you might just need some of this stuff," she replied, still struggling with her emotions. I didn't want to upset her even more, so I simply nodded my head, giving in, and helping her with the bags once they were emptied.

"Mom, I'm home!" a voice called out from the front door.

"We're in the kitchen, honey," my Mom said.

"Oh hey bro," Jenny said as she walked into the kitchen.

"Hi sis, what are you doing home so early?" I asked her.

"What do you mean early? This is the time I usually get home," she giggled. I looked at my watch and was amazed at how much time had passed. It was now just after three-thirty in the afternoon, Jenny's school finished about twenty minutes ago.

"Hey what's all this stuff?" Jenny asked.

"This is for your brother when he goes up to the cottage tomorrow," my mom said.

"You are so lucky!" my sister said to me.

"Hey, it's not my fault you still have to go to school," I said, teasing her.

"Oh sure! Rub it in! Mom, he's being mean to me," Jenny complained.

"Kids," my mom sighed, and continued going through the things she bought me.

"Mom, I'm going to go upstairs and get my back pack," I said, getting up from the table.

"Okay, dear. Have you started packing your clothes yet?"

"No, not yet. I was going to do that after dinner."

"Well you'd better get on up there and get your bag. And you might as well bring your clothes down with you as well," she suggested.

"Okay," I said, and with that I went up the stairs to get my back pack from my room. It was actually a very large camping back pack that my father had bought for me for my birthday. It was so large, I could fit all the clothes in my dresser, and there would still be enough room for more.

Thankfully I was only going to be gone for a couple days, so the amount of clothes I was going to take with me wouldn't even come close to filling it up. With all the stuff that my Mom had bought me today though, I knew that I would be putting more into my bag than I had originally planned.

Going through my dresser, I pulled out several clean pairs of boxer shorts and a few pairs of socks, some sweaters, and a couple of pairs of jeans. Looking at everything I had pulled out, I knew I would probably need something else for when I went hiking or was outside the cottage for a long period of time. The winter jacket that my Mom had bought was good, but it wasn't enough. Looking in my closet, I found my good heavy wool sweater that I normally only wore when it got really cold outside. Taking it, and the rest of my clothes along with my back back, I made my way back downstairs where my Mom had already gotten everything sorted out into separate piles.

"Mom, I still don't think I'm going to need all that." I told her, once I came back into the kitchen.

"Hush!" my mom said. "Bring that bag over here and let's get it packed before I have to start dinner.

My mom, as it turns out, is an expert packer. From all the things she had purchased, I was beginning to doubt that it'd all fit in the back pack. But some how, don't ask me how, she managed to get it all in there. Not a single pocket was empty. Things that I didn't think would fit in some of them, did. Of course she left it to me to carry it to the front door. I thought I was going to have to get my mom and sister to help me lift it onto my back. With everything that was in it, it weighed a tonne. Okay, maybe not that much, but it was very heavy.

Finally managing to get the pack on my back, I carried it to the front door. My timing couldn't have been worse. Just as I was about to slide the back pack down off my shoulders, my dad walked in, the front door bumping into me, and causing me to fall over onto my back. Now I know how a turtle feels when it gets flipped over. If I ever see one on it's back, you better believe I'm going to be turning it over from now on. It's next to impossible to flip over with that much weight holding you down.

"I'm sorry Chris," my dad said, putting his briefcase down, and closing the door. "Just what were you doing behind the door?"

"I was trying to put my back pack down so when I leave tomorrow I won't have to lug it around the house with me," I said, once my dad had helped me back onto my feet.

"It can't be that heavy," my dad said, looking at me quizzically.

"Mom bought a few things," I told him.

"Oh, well in that case, you should have waited for me to get back so I could have helped you," he said, a wry smile forming on his face.

"I heard that!" my mom's voice sounded from the kitchen.

"Come on, Chris, I might as well see what your mother bought for your weekend trip."

"If you ask me, Dad, I think she bought out Canadian Tire."

"That bad?" he asked.


"Are you two finished complaining about how I shop?" my mom asked, turning around just as we came into the kitchen.

"Hi Honey," my dad said, and went to give my mom a kiss.

"How was work," my mom asked.

"Same old, same old," my dad replied. "You know that contract I told you we might get?"


"Well, we got it," my dad said, beaming with pride.

"Wow! It's about time," my mom replied.

"Yeah. Two grueling months of haggling back and forth. I'm glad it's over. God, after this I'm going to ask for a raise," my dad said, sitting down at the table, in his regular spot.

"Well, supper's almost ready so why don't you go into the living room and relax on the couch for a bit until it's ready."

"That sounds like the best idea I've heard all day," my dad said, getting up from the chair. "Come on, Chris. We can talk in the living room." Together the two of us left the kitchen, leaving my mom to finish dinner.

My dad sat down on the couch and motioned for me to take a seat. I opted for the love seat which was beside the couch. I was rubbing my lower back a bit, which my dad noticed.

"Not used to lifting something that heavy are you?" my dad asked.

"No. I think I'm out of shape," I replied.

"Well, Chris, I always told you you should get more exercise."

"I know, I just never found the time to do it."

"Have you ever thought of joining the YMCA and using the equipment they have there? They even have a good sized pool you could use to swim in."

"Well, I thought about it, but something always came up," I told him. Honestly, what I usually did was make up some excuse to not have to go anywhere. That's probably why I ended up putting on all this weight. If I wasn't out with my two best friends, I was probably sitting in front of my computer. The last time I played any sport was when we were all just starting high school and belonged to a baseball team. Jim, Rich and I had signed up and were put on the same team. Jim played shortstop, Rich was the team's catcher, and I was an outfielder.

"What about Rich and Jim?" my dad asked, bringing my mind back to the present.

"What about them?"

"What are they doing?"

"Well Jim and Rich are still playing baseball, though they're not on the same team any more."

"So why aren't you?" my dad asked me.

"I honestly don't know, Dad. I guess when high school started, I started to pay more attention to school than I did sports."

"Your grades certainly reflect that, Chris, and both your mother and I are proud of you for that. But there is a lot more to life besides school you know. Actually. Your mother and I were surprised that you wanted to go to the cottage alone this weekend."

"You were surprise?"

"Yes. You never used to show an interest in going up there. Every time we went, you were bored out of your mind. It's so isolated up there."

"I guess that's why I want to go this time," I told him.


"Something has been on my mind, Dad. I just need some time alone to think about things. But I can't do that here. I need someplace quiet. The cottage was the only place I could think of that would give me that."

"I can understand that, Chris. If there's something bothering you, you know you could always come to your mother and me. You don't have to keep things bottled up inside like you do. It's not good for you."

"I know, Dad. That's why I want to go."

"Well your mother and I are here for you whenever you are ready."

"Thanks, Dad," I said.

"Actually, I think it's a good idea for you to be going. It'll give you some time out of the house, and explore the wilderness. You know the real reason that I bought that cottage?"

"No, I don't."

"I love the outdoors," my dad said.

"Well it's certainly in the right place for that," I commented. "The closest neighbor to the cottage is a five minute drive away."

"Exactly. It was the perfect place for us to get away from everything. Just as you will be doing tomorrow."

"You're right of course, Dad. I expect I'll also be spending a lot of time outside the cottage as well."

"Just be careful, Chris. The winters up there are a lot different from the winters down here. There will probably be a lot more snow, and it will get even more chilly."

"I'm actually expecting it to be. That's why I've already packed away all my heavy sweaters."

"Just keep in mind a couple things. Don't get lost. I know that sounds crazy considering, but in the winter, things change up there, and you could easily get disoriented. Second, there are a lot of wild animals there. Most of them won't bother you, but there have been wolf sightings as well as bears."

"I'll keep that in mind, Dad. Thanks."

"Anytime, Chris."

"Alright you boys, dinner is ready. If you're going to want any, I'd suggest you come and get it," my mother called out from the kitchen. My dad and I got up from where we were sitting, and made our way back into the kitchen.

Supper was uneventful, consisting of the normal conversations that we have when eating. As usual, stories about the days each of us had were told, as well as what our plans were for the next day. It's gotten to the point where it's so predictable what everyone is going to say, as virtually nothing changes. My mom and dad go to work, and my sister goes to school. The only thing different we had to talk about this time was my trip up to the cottage.

I'm sure you could well imagine the things my parents were trying to tell me to make sure I was going to be okay up there alone. Are parents really that scared for their kids, even at my age? I had always thought that when a person becomes an adult, they'd have more freedom, and more chances to be who they wanted to be. But it seemed to me that the older you got, the more your parents try to cling on to you. I guess it's all a part of being a parent, something that I don't plan to be for a long time at all, if it'll happen. Who knows in this day and age.

Once dinner was done, I retired to my room. I could see it in my parents' eyes that they were sad that I was leaving, but I couldn't understand why. I mean, I was only going to be away for a few days. It wasn't as if I was going to be moving out forever. I still had school to go to, and the part time job that I had wasn't nearly enough for me to be able to move out.

Sitting in my room, I surfed the Internet as I always did. I wasn't looking up anything in particular, rather just surfing to kill time. It was about seven o'clock, no where near the time I was planning to go to bed at, but at the same time, I was starting to get tired. It had been a long day, and tomorrow was going to be an even longer one. It takes four hours to get from here to the cottage, and that's assuming the traffic wasn't too bad.

I had planned to get up at around five in the morning. That would give me plenty of time to get dressed and ready to leave. I wanted to be on the road by six at the latest. That would give me the best possible chance of escaping the morning rush hour which I've had to endure a number of times. If there is one thing that will test a person's patience, it's rush hour. And speaking of which, who in the world called it that anyways? It certainly wasn't named for the speed at which people are driving. Sometimes I think I could walk home faster than the cars were traveling at.

Turning off my computer, and pushing my chair away from the desk, I stood up, looking around the room that had been mine for the last few years. I couldn't help but think that one day soon I'd be leaving all this, and finding a place of my own, starting my life away from the rest of my family. It was a scary thought for me, but exciting as well.

My dad was right though, I did spend too much time up here. What I needed was to get out of the house and do something to take my mind off the trip tomorrow. Making up my mind, I grabbed a few things from my dresser, and then left my room, heading back downstairs. From the closet by the front door, I took out my winter coat, and put it on. I then went into the kitchen where I had left my car keys hanging on the key rack.

"Where are you going, Chris?" my mom asked me.

"I'm going to follow Dad's suggestion and go to the YMCA and do some swimming and maybe go to the gym," I told her.


"Yeah. I've decided it's time to get off my butt and do something, and this seems like as good a time as any."

"Well, if you're going to go to the YMCA you're going need something. Just give me a second," she said, rushing out of the kitchen. A minute later she came back with some money in her hand. "Here, take this."

"Mom, I have my own money," I said.

"Take it," she said. "I know you have your own money, but we want you to save it for when you really need it."


"No buts," my mom said in that tone of voice which told me that no matter what I said or did, I was going to end up with the money anyways. "Your father and I want you to have this. We used to pay for when you were playing baseball, so the least we can do is help you with the YMCA membership fee." She had a point there. Whenever I did try out for baseball, it was my parents who paid for everything. My glove, my bat, the balls, and the uniforms. Reluctantly I accepted the money, and put it in my wallet.

"Mom, I'm nineteen years old now though. I should be able to pay for things on my own."

"Oh don't give me that. You know as well as I do that that part time job you go to doesn't pay you near enough for you to be able to afford everything you want to do. Besides, you're still our son. Just accept that this is what parents do for their children, no matter how old they get."

"Okay, Mom," I said. Damn, I hate it when she can tell me something which I know to be true, and play on my heart at the same time. How in the world she does it I'll never know. All I did know, however, was that once again she got her way. Not that I minded. She was right. I didn't have much money saved up. I had enough to pay for the gas in my car, and some food for the trip. There wasn't much else really. Working at the place I was at now, really didn't pay me all that much. It wasn't minimum wage, but it might as well have been.

The place I work for is a store called Future Shop. It's a rather large electronics chain. I work in the Entertainment department, which means I mostly deal with movies, music, and games. Since I only work for them part time, in any given week, I could expect no more than about sixteen to twenty hours, and that's if I'm lucky. There have been weeks when I'd only have eight hours.

My parents weren't really happy with the place I was working at, but there are so little options right now for me. The best I can do is to finish school and working at Future Shop until a job becomes available in the area in which I was studying. The course I was taking at school was Journalism. I had always been fascinated with writing, and a lot of my spare time I spent engrossed in a book. I had even tried my hand at writing some short stories, most of which I published on the Internet and which people who had read them said they were really good.

Leaving the house, I drove my car to the local YMCA. It was a rather large building, and the parking lot was quite full. Being a Thursday I wasn't expecting it to be this busy, and I hoped that I'd be able to get some kind of a workout done. Once inside, I went to the registration area, and filled out on of the application forms. I handed in the form to the woman at the counter along with the money my mom had given me, and she handed me back my change, as well as a new membership card, which I promptly put into my wallet.

The first place I went to was the pool. I figured it would be the best place for me to get a good workout, and I was right. It had been so long since I had done any swimming. In the end I stayed in the pool for a good hour, swimming back and forth the length of the pool. By the time I was done, every muscle in my body was sore. Even so, I still felt really good, almost like I had found some new energy that I didn't know I had.

Next I decided to try out the gym which was upstairs. It wasn't like any of those big commercial gyms where you had to pay large fees just to get in the doors, but the equipment they had in there was more than enough to get a good workout. I spent some time on the treadmill, and even did some weight lifting. There were a few people in the gym with me, and I struck up a conversation with some of them. We ended up working out together, and by the time I was done, I was covered in sweat and sore, but I felt really good.

I didn't want to go home stinking of sweat, so I opted to take a quick shower. Since I hadn't brought any soap with me, one of the people I had talked to before lent me theirs and I got washed up. Five minutes later, I was dressed in the extra clothes that I had brought with me, and putting on my jacket and boots, left the building to go back home.

By the time I got back, it was about nine o'clock. My mom and dad were sitting on the couch in the living room, watching some TV. My sister had gone upstairs to her room, according to my parents.

"Well, you look different," my dad commented.

"What do you mean? It's just me," I said.

"Yeah, but you look like you got a good work out and are feeling really good."

"Actually, I do. I mean, I'm really sore right now, but I really do feel pretty good. I don't think I've felt this good for a long while," I admitted.

"See? What'd I tell you?" my dad asked.

"Okay, you were right, and I was just too stubborn in the past to listen," I said, laughing lightly.

"Your mother and I just want what's best for you. So you're still going through with your trip tomorrow?"

"Yeah. But I think some of what I was feeling before is gone now. I just felt run-down, like no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to get caught up," I said.

"And now?" my mom asked.

"Bring it on," I said with a smile on my face.

"Well, I'm glad to see that you're feeling better. So do you think you're going to make this a regular thing?" my mom asked.

"Aside for the next few days that I'm going to spend up at the cottage, yeah. I think so. But I think I'll do some hiking while I'm up there as well. That could help out a lot too."

"I agree. Just remember what I told you about some of the animals up there," my dad said.

"Don't worry, I won't, Dad. Anyways, I have to get up early tomorrow, so I think I'm going to head off to bed." I told them, going over to the couch and giving each of them a hug.

"Okay, Chris. Make sure you say good night to your sister before you do," my mom suggested.

"I will. Good night."

"Good night," they answered back.

Upstairs I went to my sister's room, which was closed. I knocked on the door, and waited for her to tell me to come in, which she did. Opening the door, I saw her lying down on her bed, a book in her hands.

"Hey, sis," I said, sitting down on the edge of her bed.

"Hey, Chris. What's up?" she asked me.

"Well, I'm going to head off to bed now, and since I won't see you when I get up tomorrow, I wanted to say good night."

"Oh, okay," she said, sitting up. I wrapped my arms around her, and held her tight.

"You be good for mom and dad okay?"

"You know me," she said.

"That's what I mean," I said, laughing slightly.

"Get me something?" she asked, pulling away from me.

"We'll see what happens. I love you sis."

"I love you too bro." With that I left her room, closing the door behind me.

Walking back into my room, I closed my door, and began to take off my clothes. My muscles were really sore, but I wasn't kidding when I said I was actually feeling pretty good. In fact, I was feeling very relaxed at the moment.

I put my clothes on the back of my chair, and took out the clothes that I had worn at the YMCA from the bag I brought with me. I tossed them into the hamper, then climbed into bed. Tomorrow would be a new day, I thought to myself and began to drift off to sleep under the warmth of my blanket.

Editor's Notes:

Well, I can see that this story has some real potential. I must admit that I still have no idea where it will be taking us, other than up north to a cottage and lots of hiking. What will happen to our new friend Chris? Is he going to get eaten by a bear? Maybe he will just cuddle with the bear. Who knows? I still wonder why he wants to be all alone. Maybe we will find out in the next chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher