A Chance Encounter
Before I begin, I have an announcement I would like to make. In March of this year I will be marrying the most wonderful man I have ever met. He was there for me during a time when I was confused and hurting and he refused to let me give up. So, to Tim, I say thank you for your love, your friendship, and your warm and caring spirit. I love you baby, forever and for always.
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. 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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also visit my website at: www.geocities.com/jasonfinigan/. Thanks and enjoy the story.
Camping sucks! At least that's what I was thinking as I sat in the back seat of my parent's car. My name is Simon Campbell, and right now, my parents and I are on our way to Ontario's largest park, Algonquin Provincial Park. This is my third trip there with my family. The first time we went, I was only five years old, and I actually managed to have fun since there were lots of other kids my age to play with. The second time, our camp site was more isolated. I was eight years old, and all I could remember was how miserable I was. My parents seemed to have had a good time as they hiked along the trails. I, on the other hand, remember quite vividly how tired my legs became, and no matter how much they hurt, my parents always pressed onward, towing me along with them.
I was convinced that I was in store for more of the same this time around. I'm sixteen years old, school was almost finished for the summer, and I was looking forward to spending time with my friends during the summer holidays. Those plans were ruined when my parents told me that we were going to spend a weekend up in Algonquin Park as soon as school was out. Oh I ranted and raved, but it was no use. My parents had made up their minds, along with mine. How considerate of them. I had no choice but to resign myself to the fact that for the first weekend of the summer, I was going to be miserable. My parents kept telling me that I'd probably meet a new friend up there, and that I'd have lots of opportunities to have fun. Looking back on my last experience, I highly doubted that.
The rural landscape sped by as the car traveled along the highway. The sun was high in the sky, and as was typical for late June, it was hot. We didn't have air conditioning in the car, which meant that the only relief I felt, was the window which I had opened as far as it could be. My father normally didn't allow me to roll down the window that far. This time, however, even my father's window was rolled down all the way. My mother, as usual, was asleep in the front seat beside my father. Of everyone in my family, only my father had a license to drive.
"We're almost there everyone," my father announced, turning onto the exit ramp, just as I had begun to fall asleep. With the prospects of catching a few winks ruined, I stared out my window watching as more and more signs giving directions to the park came into view. Unfortunately, all too soon, my father turned onto the park road that would take us to the toll booth, and then to the parking lots.
I experienced some satisfaction as I saw my father's face in the rear view mirror take on a look of shock. He had just seen the park's prices, which had been raised a great deal since the last time we camped here. Pulling up to the booth, he reluctantly paid the attendant the fee, and drove to the parking lot we had been instructed to use. Reaching the parking lot, I knew this was going to be a long day. It was packed. Every car in the province, it seemed, was here. Some cars weren't parked on the gravel which made up the parking lot, but rather on the grass surrounding it.
My father, not wanting to waste valuable time trying to locate a parking spot, pulled onto the grass alongside another car. Getting out of the car, he opened the trunk and began to unload all of the bags and equipment. My father was obviously planning on doing some fishing here as I noticed my father's fishing pole and tackle box. I also noticed that there was a spare rod as well. Once everything was unpacked, and the car locked up, we began to make our way towards the campsite which my father had reserved for us.
The campsite turned out to be in a fairly shady area not too far from the parking lot. A spot to set up the tents was perfectly located under a number of small trees, providing ample shade from the sun. This year I was at least fortunate enough to have my own tent to sleep in, and didn't have to sleep with my parents. That was a relief to me, as I was looking forward to spending some time alone. My tent was a classic two-man tent which my father had purchased at the Canadian Tire store in our home town just a few days prior to the trip. Having gone on several camping trips with my scout troop, I was more than capable of pitching my own tent, and in fact, had mine ready to sleep in before my father had finished putting up his tent.
Opening the zippered door of the tent, I threw my rolled up sleeping bag and back pack inside. I had just closed the tent back up when my father approached me with an empty camping kettle.
"Simon, can you go to the washrooms and fill the kettle from the water fountain?" he asked me, pointing to the small building that was just visible through the trees next to the trail that led to it.
"Sure Dad," I replied, glad that getting water was the only thing my father asked of me. I had grown a lot in the eight years since coming to the park last. My brown hair, which had once been a tangled mess, was now evenly cut in an almost military style, though not as short. I like my hair short, and I can't stand it when it grew too long. My brilliant blue eyes were my claim to fame however. Each and every one of my friends, and even those who didn't know me at all, commented on them. If it wasn't for my eyes, I don't think that anyone would really notice me. I was only five feet, seven inches tall and I weighed all of one hundred fifty pounds. A lot of that was muscle from the swimming I did at school as the swim team captain.
I have my share of friends too, who I liked to hang around with after school. By far, the weekends were my favorite, which is why this trip made me so miserable. My mind wandered to my best friend, Brad Kowalski, who, compared to me, was a giant. Brad stood six feet, eight inches tall, and must have weighed at least two hundred forty pounds. Brad was certainly an imposing figure, but I knew that despite his size and his clearly athletic physique, Brad was a very gentle person. By his nature, he would rather be a friend, than a fighter, though he certainly knew how to defend himself. Many times I found Brad's company comforting. He always seemed to know the right words to say to make me feel better when I was down. That was usually after I had a row with my parents over some silly little thing. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents very much, but sometimes I feel as if they don't really love me.
Suddenly I was jolted out of his thoughts by a force colliding with my body, causing me to drop the kettle and fall back onto my butt. Recovering from the collision, and looking up, I found myself staring into the eyes of a boy, a teenager about my age. He wasn't very tall, but by my reckoning, he was slightly taller than me. He had natural blond hair which was styled rather short, but spiked a little. Like me, he also had blue eyes, though his body was rather lanky, appearing to have none of the muscle tone that my body had. The kid was wearing loose baggy pants and an equally baggy t-shirt, appearing to be one size too big for him.
"I'm so sorry," the boy apologized with an almost sing-song voice, holding out his had to me. "My name's Terry, and please, let me help you up," he said, grabbing a hold of my hand in his and pulling me up off the ground with a strength that surprised me.
"Um, thanks, but it's my fault," I said, dusting myself off and picking up the kettle that I dropped. I was still a little shaky from the collision. "I should have watched where I was going."
Terry laughed at my response. "Well that makes two of us dude. I was looking at my watch when we collided. So," he said, crossing his arms across his chest, "do I get to know the name of the brick wall I just ran into?"
I couldn't help but smile back at this young man. For some reason I found myself liking him already. Perhaps, I thought, this won't be such a boring weekend after all.
"My name is Simon, and I'm camping with my parents just over there," I said, pointing towards the recently erected tents.
"Cool!" Terry replied. "I'll see you around then Simon. I'm just on the other side of the washrooms with my parents and younger sister. I'd love to stay and chat, but my dad needs his fishing rod, and when he wants something, it has to be right away. I'll see you around Simon!" he called out as he began to jog towards the parking lot.
I stood there for a second, watching Terry jog away, and smiled, shaking my head slightly. Remembering what it was that I had set out to get for my father before the collision, I made my way to the washrooms and the water fountain located in front of the building. I filled up the kettle, and then started to head back towards our campsite.
"What took you so long?" my father asked upon my return.
"Oh, I bumped into someone," I responded with a snicker, casually handing over the kettle to my father. I went into my tent, and unrolled my sleeping bag, positioned it just the way I wanted, and then began to remove some of my clothes from the backpack. It was getting late, and I knew that once everything was settled, my father would be starting dinner. It was also beginning to get a little chilly outside, and I took one of my sweaters and put it on over top of the t-shirt I was wearing.
Dinner, now there is something that I was looking forward to. I was probably one of the few teenagers that I knew of that actually relished the thought of a nice, meaty, stew. My father, in my opinion, made the absolute best. I may not have felt a lot of love from my parents, but there was no denying my father's skills as a cook. I always felt that he should have opened up a restaurant. When my father made stew, he never skimped on the meat. Sure there were plenty of vegetables and potatoes, but it was the meat I enjoyed the most. My father always used the leanest, juiciest beef he could find, and the juices seemed to soak into everything that was put into the stew.
Exiting the tent, I saw my father sitting at the picnic table preparing the meat and vegetables for the stew. "Dad you aren't trying to bribe me into liking this trip by cooking my favorite stew are you?" I asked, smiling at him.
"No Son, I'm making this now because I don't want to have any other campers coming here complaining about loud noises caused by your rumbling stomach," he replied, a hint of laughter in his voice.
"Hey! My stomach is not rumbling!" I protested, folding my arms across my chest defiantly. Unfortunately for me, my stomach, at that moment, decided to announce its eagerness to be filled.
My father roared out loud laughing. "See?"
This of course turned my face red with embarrassment. "Aw, come on Dad," I whined. "Okay, I'm hungry. But it's all your fault anyway."
My father, with some difficulty, stopped laughing "Oh my fault is it? And how do you figure?"
"Yeah. It takes you forever to make that awesome stew."
"Well smartie-pants, why don't you do something about it instead of standing there whining? Go collect some wood for the fire pit so I can start the water boiling." With the prospect of feeding my obviously empty stomach, I quickly dashed into the woods and began to collect as much dry wood as I could find lying around.
Returning to the campsite with an armful of wood, I put it down beside my father who had been busy clearing loose debris from the pit and ensuring it was adequately lined with rocks. I watched as my father began to fill the pit with some old newspaper rolled up into balls, then covered them with some of the wood that I had gathered. Taking out his lighter, he lit it, and held the flame to some of the newspaper poking out from between the wood. The paper quickly caught fire, the flames consuming the paper and then spreading to the surrounding wood. Pretty soon, my father had a decent fire going, and he placed the cooking rack over top of the fire. Once the rack had become hot enough, he then put the full pot of water that I had brought back earlier on top of it.
It didn't take long for my father to make the stew once the water was finally boiling. In just under an hour, we were all able to sit at the picnic table to eat it. As usual, I eagerly devoured the stew; the taste was just as wonderful as always.
"Well, it's nice to see your appetite is as healthy as ever," my father chuckled.
"Oh honey," my mother admonished him. "You know full well that you're just trying to buy Simon's happiness about being here."
"Well," my father started, "I just want Simon to see how much fun it can be.
"Dad, the last time we came up here, you and Mom dragged me around with you on every trail you could find. My legs were hurting for a week afterwards! There wasn't anyone here to play with; I didn't even have a chance to find anyone because I was always with you. I just wanted to have fun, but you were too busy doing what you wanted to do." That was the first time I had ever spoken up like that to my parents. It showed on their shocked faces too. For a second I thought my father was going to get angry with me, but I soon saw that that wasn't the case, as his shocked expression turned to one of sadness.
"Simon, I can't tell you how sorry your mother and I are for that. That's the reason we came up here this time. I knew we were going to get a fight from you about it, but I wanted it to be different. Your mother and I are so busy with our work and everything, that it feels like we don't have the time to give you the attention you deserve. We both want to change that though," he said to me.
"Your Dad's right Simon, I feel like I've let you down. We got so excited the last time doing the things we wanted to do, we didn't consider you at all. I guess we were so used to doing things that way in our jobs that it tended to be the way we were in our private lives as well. I can't tell you how sorry we are for the way we've treated you Simon."
By this time I was crying, the tears running down my face, as I looked back and forth between my mother and my father. I have waited for so long for them to treat me like they once did when I was a little kid. My tears were a mixture of happiness and relief. It was as if I had my family back after losing them so long ago.
My parents both stood up from the picnic table and walked around it to me. My father was the closest, and I stood up suddenly and hugged him close as I cried on his shoulder, repeatedly telling him, "I love you." I think my father was crying too, since I felt something wet on my shoulder. Finally we let each other go, and I could see that he had been crying a bit. Both of us stood there, smiling at one another. It was like an understanding between us had been reached, a promise to each other to never again allow ourselves to drift apart.
Not to be left out, my mother stepped forward and drew me into one of her hugs. Between my parents, I had always been closer to my mother, but now, I felt equally about both of them, and the love I felt from them was the same as it once was when I was a kid. My mother didn't cry, but she held me tightly for a long time. It was my father who broke the silence at last.
"Hey, it's getting late here, and these dishes need to be done. Simon, would you mind doing that while I take care of the fire pit for us?" he asked me. The way I was feeling now, I would have done anything he asked me. Once again, I felt loved by my parents, and to me, I felt that everything was so much better because of it.
I gathered up the dishes from the picnic table. There was still stew left in the pot, and my father was taking care of that. Once I gathered them all up, and getting the dish soap which my mother had already put on the table, I made my way to the same building I went to before to get the water. Fortunately, there was a tap on the side of the building with both hot and cold water. Below the tap was a tub where the dishes could go to be washed.
The dishes didn't need to be scrubbed, as the stew was so good that we all ate everything we could from the bowls. Squirting some of the dish soap from the bottle into the tub, I filled it with semi-hot water and then placed the dishes into it. It took only a few minutes to wash and then dry them, and when I was done, I noticed that it was already getting dark. Only the lanterns that my father had brought with him illuminated the campsite by the time I had returned. I forgot how fast it got dark this far up north. Not at all like Burlington where we live, which was probably still light enough out to not need any street lights.
By the time I got back and put the dishes away, I was quite tired. Saying good night to my parents, giving both of them a hug, I retreated pack into my tent, and began to strip off my clothes. Lying back on my sleeping bag, I relaxed, enjoying the cool air as it washed over my body. It wasn't long before sleep's sweet embrace carried me off to dream land.
I awoke the next morning, refreshed, and ready for a new day. As I climbed out of my sleeping bag, how I got in there I have no idea, I picked out some clothes from my backpack, including the sweater I had put on before dinner last night, put on my shoes, and stepped out of the tent.
The morning air was crisp, despite the sun which had already risen quite a bit. Looking at my watch, I noticed that it was only slightly after eight. Both of my parents still hadn't woken up yet. It was at that moment that I felt the familiar feelings in my bladder demanding that it be emptied. I grabbed the empty kettle from the supplies next to my parents' tent, and started off towards the washrooms.
There were two doors to the building, both had signs on them indicating whether the washrooms inside were for males or females. I entered the door designated for males, and placed the kettle on the counter after which, I headed over to the urinals to release the pressure in my bladder. I knew I shouldn't have had as much to drink the night before as I did. While I took care of my business, I heard the door open and someone walk into the washroom. I was just about finishing up when I heard a voice behind me.
"Simon? That you dude?"
I recognized that voice immediately. "Terry? Hey!" I said, looking behind me to see the smiling form of Terry at the corner of my vision. Tucking my privates back into my pants, I hit the flusher on the urinal and walked over to the sink where I began to wash my hands. "How did the fishing go for your dad yesterday?" I asked him.
Still smiling, Terry headed over to the urinal and proceeded to take care of his business. "He came up a little short and we had to cook beans for dinner," he answered back to me, laughing as he said that. I have to admit, the thought of his father not being able to catch anything and having to eat a can of beans was pretty funny, and I laughed right along with him. "Fortunately for me," he continued, "I like beans."
"Yeah, but the aftershocks!" I exclaimed.
"Oh, you're right about that. You should have heard the noises that were coming from my parents' tent," he said. By this time he had finished taking care of his business and we were both laughing hysterically.
Finally getting ourselves under control, and after Terry had washed his hands, we both headed back outside. I could tell it was going to be a great day. The sun was beginning to warm the crisp northern air, the dew on the grass already evaporating. I took the kettle I brought with me to the tap and filled it with water.
"Hey Terry," I said. "Why don't you come with me over to my campsite? I'd love for you to join me and my parents for breakfast."
"Hey, yeah, sure man," Terry replied, that signature smile of his lighting up his face. "Let me just go to mine and let my parents know that I haven't been kidnapped."
"Yeah, okay," I said, both of us chuckling over that last comment of his.
"You might as well come with me, that way they will believe me."
My parents weren't up yet anyway, so I agreed. I noticed right away upon entering his campsite, that ours was the better of the two. There was almost no shade from the sun at his, and when Terry showed me where his tent was, and I felt how hot it was inside already, I began to feel sorry for him.
"Oh man, dude!" I exclaimed. How can you handle the heat in there?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "It's the best my dad could come up with. He made arrangements at the last minute and it was either this, or one closer to the beach. But that one had a path right through it that everyone used to get to the beach and back. We'd have virtually no privacy."
"Oh, well, you're welcome to stay over at my camp as long as you want; my tent is right under a bunch of trees so it gets lots of shade from the sun," I told him.
"Thanks. I might just take you up on that offer. It was murder in that tent last night."
"Yeah, I bet. Say, you play baseball?" I asked him.
"Hell yeah!" he replied enthusiastically. "Who doesn't?"
"Well, I've got my glove with me and a baseball if you want to have a game of catch later."
"Count me in dude. I'm there! My dad doesn't like playing baseball, though he watches it all the time on TV. I brought my glove, bat, and ball with me just in case someone wanted to have a little game. But I think I'd like to have a game of catch with you."
His parents were just waking up, and when his father exited his tent, Terry introduced us. Terry's father was a tall man and bore a striking resemblance to his son. The colour of their hair and eyes, the shape of their faces, and even their height were all identical. The only difference that I could tell was that his father was slightly more built and had a little bit of a stomach on him.
"Hey Son, what time did you wake up?" his father asked him.
"Not long ago Dad. I had to get up to go to the washroom. Dad, this is Simon," he said, pointing to me with his hand.
His father walked up to me and held out his hand. "Nice to meet you Simon. My name's David Long. I think I remember Terry talking about running into you yesterday."
I almost cracked up at that, statement but managed to keep my face neutral. "Thank you Sir," I replied, noticing that Terry's father's hand had a firm but friendly grip. "It's nice to meet you too."
"Who's this dear?" a voice suddenly spoke from behind us.
"Oh this is Terry's friend, Simon, the one he mentioned to us yesterday," Terry's father said looking behind him to a woman now exiting the same tent he had earlier. It wasn't hard to discern that this woman was Terry's mother, and even though I knew she was probably in her forties, she obviously took very good care of herself since she didn't look a day over thirty.
"Nice to meet you Simon, I'm Terry's mom, Kathy," she said, walking up to me and shaking my hand.
"Mom, Dad, Simon asked me to come over to his campsite for breakfast. Is that okay?" Terry asked.
"Sure Son," his father replied. "Just remember that we're going fishing later on this morning, so be back by eleven okay?"
"I will Dad. Maybe Simon could join us?"
"Of course he can Son," his father said, smiling.
"Okay, bye then! We'll be back soon," Terry said, sprinting off out of the campsite.
"Bye!" I called out to his parents as I rushed to catch up to Terry.
It didn't take us long to reach the path that led to my campsite. I wondered if my parents had woken up yet. If they had, they were probably wondering where I was, so I sped up my walking, Terry following closely behind. When we entered the campsite, I was relieved to see that my parents weren't up yet, or at least I didn't see them outside their tent.
Terry sat down at the picnic table as I went over to the supplies and took out the bags of instant coffee. I knew that my parents were going to want coffee when they woke up. My father always has at least two cups in the morning. Since I was an experienced scout, I knew how to build a fire, and did so, building it up just enough to heat the water in the kettle. Placing the kettle on the rack which was over the fire, I waited for the water to boil. While it was heating up, I grabbed my parents' mugs and sat them on the table, placing the packets of instant coffee, milk and sugar in the middle of the table.
Sitting at the table, I talked to Terry a bit, finding out as much as I could about him. I learned that he played softball for his high school. He was a pitcher, and from the sounds of it, his team was well on its way to winning their first season. Even though Terry liked to brag about his pitching skills, and the batters that he struck out, he had a great sense of teamwork and never once thought that he could do it alone. I could tell he was very proud of his accomplishments, and of his team mates.
All too soon, the kettle began its distinctive whistling, signaling the water's readiness to be poured into the mugs. It was that whistling that caused my father to come out of his tent, I think. I must have woken him up.
"Hi Simon, what are you doing?" he asked me.
"Just getting the water boiled so you and Mom can have some coffee," I answered.
"That was very thoughtful of you Son," he said, smiling at me.
"Thanks Dad, let me just put the kettle on the table, I've already put everything out for you and Mom."
"I'd put more wood on that fire Son, your mother wants to cook breakfast today."
"Okay Dad, I'll get it ready for her."
"By the way Son, I don't think I've been introduced to this fine young man here," my father said looking at Terry.
Terry stood up from the table and held out his hand for my father, who shook it. "Sorry. Dad this is Terry," I told him. "Terry, this is my father."
"Hello Terry, my name's Craig."
"Hi Sir," Terry greeted almost shyly.
"Nope, that won't do," my father said, causing a puzzled look to appear on Terry's face. "Call me Craig. The only one I've ever known to be called 'Sir' was my father."
While my father and Terry were talking, I went over to the fire pit and put more wood into the already dying flames. It didn't take long for the fire to build up again. Having built the fire up as much as was needed, I once again went to the supplies and grabbed the frying pan. It was a cast iron pan, perfect for camping, even if it was a little heavy. I placed it on the rack above the flames to let it heat up for my mother.
It wasn't long before my mother emerged from her tent. She saw what I had done for her and gave me a hug. "Good morning dear," she said to me. "Thanks for getting the fire ready for me."
"That's not all he did honey," my father spoke up. "Coffee's on the table."
"My, my!" she exclaimed. "Aren't we full of surprises?"
"I just had to go to the bathroom and thought I'd get the water for your coffee at the same time.
"Well we appreciate it a lot Son," my father said. "Now... what do you want?"
"Huh? What?" I stammered, surprised at my father's blunt question.
"You've never done this for your mother or I before, so come on, what is it?" he asked again, smiling at me.
"Uh, well, I just thought I'd do something for you guys because of the way I was acting before we came up here," I answered shyly.
"Now Son, we've been over this yesterday. You had every right to feel the way you did. You don't have to do anything for us. We appreciate it though. It was very thoughtful of you." my father said.
"Um, well actually there is one thing," I said.
"Oh oh, here it comes!" my mother said.
"It's nothing bad Mom," I said, rolling my eyes, and hearing Terry snicker a bit behind me. I gave him a quick playful elbow to his stomach which got him to stop, although I could almost feel his wide grin beaming behind me.
"Terry's dad is going to take Terry fishing later on, and they wanted to know if I could go along with them."
"Well Son," my father said. "I'm going to do some fishing as well today. Why don't we all go together? What time did he want to go?"
"My dad said to be back at our campsite by eleven," Terry said.
"Hmmm, that gives us a couple hours to eat and get something packed for lunch. What do you say dear?" my father asked, looking at my mother.
"No, it's okay. I'll help you get a lunch packed after I make breakfast and you boys can go do some fishing."
"Mrs. Campbell, my mom and younger sister will probably be staying at the campsite or go to the lake for some swimming, I'm sure they'd love it if you joined them."
"Now that does sound like a good idea. But first breakfast," my mother said, smiling. Heading for the cooler that was stored beside my parents' tent, my mother opened it up and took out some bread, eggs, and bacon. The frying pan was now very hot and it wouldn't take long to cook breakfast. In short order, she had four large servings of scrambled eggs and bacon and quite a few slices of toast ready to eat.
Once everything was at the table, we all began to dig in like we hadn't eaten in days. Or at least, that's what it felt like to me. I finished off a good amount of eggs and bacon, and had quite a few slices of toast on which I had spread some raspberry jam that my mother had also taken out of the cooler earlier.
Wanting my parents to have plenty of time to get everything ready, Terry and I made our way to the washrooms with the frying pan, dishes, and dish soap. Once there we began to wash the dishes under the outside tap, scrubbing the frying pan clean of all the grease then rinsing everything off.
Gathering up the dishes, we hurried back to my campsite where my mother had already packed a portable cooler full of sandwiches for lunch, and my father had gathered up the two fishing rods and his tackle box. Looking at my watch I saw that it was almost ten thirty, and realized that we had actually cut things a little close.
"We ready to go guys?" my father asked.
"Yeah Dad," I replied.
"Good. Simon, you grab the cooler, and let's go," he said. Picking up the cooler, I began to walk with my parents and Terry towards his campsite, and my first time fishing with anyone other than my dad.
This story is the third story I have published on Nifty, if you would like to see more, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also don't forget to visit my website at: www.geocities.com/jasonfinigan