|Codey’s World||Story Collections||Best of Friends||Ending by Ronyx|
The mini-van pulled into the parking area at the trail head and three excited teens piled out and began unloading their gear for the three day hike and camping trip. The three had been camping alone before but their parents had never let them be too far from home on previous camp outs. Now, at fifteen, their parents had agreed to a three day, two night hiking trip through the national forest. They would be on their own in an isolated area and even though their parents had some misgivings, all had agreed that the boys were mature enough to take this trip.
Jason and Jared Turner were identical twins and Logan Matthews was one of the few people, outside their family, who could tell them apart. The three lived on the same cul-de-sac in Circle City and had lived their entire lives there. When they were five and in kindergarten, something had clicked in Logan's brain and he just knew which twin was which.
When they reached seventh grade and were no longer in a single classroom all day, Jason, who was a math wiz, and Jared, who found History and other Social Studies to be no problem, would change clothes in the boys room and take tests for the other in the classes they were good at. As far as they knew, Logan was the only person on to their little scam and, since they were all so close, he'd never said anything. In fact he thought it was cool that they were able to fool the teachers like that. Logan was no slouch in school either and all three got decent grades.
The twin’s dad watched as the boys unloaded the car and piled their gear on the grass. “Have you got everything? You won't want to be out in the woods and find that you've forgotten something crucial.”
“Yeah, Dad. We're sure. We've triple checked the list and packed everything.”
“Okay boys, have fun and remember the rules. Stay together and stick to the route you marked out on the map for us. Remember, there's a lot of bears out there and they're filling up for the winter. We don't want any of you to become bear chow.”
“Awww Dad, we’re not little kids anymore.”
“I know,” he said grabbing the twins into a hug, “but you’ll always be my little boys no matter how big or old you get.” Then he reached over and grabbed Logan pulling him into what became a group hug. “You’ll all always be my little boys.”
Jared was the first to pull away. “So, Dad, don’t you think it’s about time for you to leave?” he asked with a grin.
“Ha ha ha. Okay, I can take a hint. You boys have fun and stay safe. Logan’s dad will pick you up the day after tomorrow at the Willow Lake trail head at four pm.” As he was pulling out of the parking area, he gave the boys a honk and a wave.
“Jeez! I thought he’d never leave.” Jared said. “Come on dudes, the wild is calling us.” The first couple hours were an easy climb but then the trail became steeper. The easy chatter and joking that had passed the time away in the beginning were replaced by heavy breathing and an occasional grunt as the trail wound its way to the top of the ridge. As they passed a milepost, Jared pulled out the trail guide and looked at it. “Just about a mile left to the ridge, guys. We can have lunch there.”
“A mile?” Jason moaned. “Oh God, why did I let you guys talk me into this? I can’t go any farther until I rest some.”
“Come on Jase, it’s only a mile and then it’s an easy hike to the trail fork for Devils Canyon. We can rest awhile after we have lunch.” Logan said.
“No way! I’m not moving another step until I rest some. Why aren’t you guys as wasted as I am? I know I’m in as good condition as you are.” Jared never answered, he just smiled. Jason frowned at his brother, “Okay dickhead, what’s in my pack?”
“Just regular camping stuff.”
“Regular camping stuff like what?”
Jared shrugged his shoulders. “You know just regular stuff. Toilet paper, ground cloth, some dried food, a couple bricks, canned food…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. A couple bricks? You put a couple bricks in my pack?”
“Well, actually it was three.”
Jason glared at his brother and dropped his bag on the ground and started unpacking it. “Why the hell did you put bricks in my pack?”
“It just seemed like the right thing to do.” Jared said, shrugging his shoulders.
“You are such an ass sometimes.”
Logan was sitting on his pack and laughing at the twins antics. What made it even funnier was that he knew, if Jason had packed the bags, he would have done the same thing to Jared. For over ten years he’d been watching the twins pull dirty tricks on each other. They’d fight about it and, as soon as they calmed down, they’d just go on like nothing had happened.
He envied them for the closeness they shared. He had a younger sister and they were close but it was a different kind of closeness. It was more of a protector closeness and not a companion/confidant closeness. He and the twins were the best of friends but even that paled next to the relationship the two of them shared. He often wondered what it would be like to be so close to someone you could share secrets without worrying that they’d tell someone else. His laughing stopped as soon as the word secret manifested itself. He couldn’t laugh anymore.
Neither of the twins noticed he wasn’t laughing as they continued to bicker. “Look at all this canned stuff.” Jason complained. “This is way more than I could eat. You’ve given me two of everything.” The realization hit Jason like a slap at the back of the head, “You turd breath! I’ve been carrying your food too! You are so gonna die!” Jared just smiled a sheepish smile and then started ducking the cans being thrown at him, “If you’re gonna eat it, you can carry it!”
Jason carefully replaced the gear from his pack while Jared picked up cans and dumped them in his. Although the twins were so much alike physically that few could tell them apart, there were differences in their personalities that were very pronounced. Jared was more impatient and tended to just jump into things as well as being on the hot head side and was a poor loser. Jason was more reserved and tended to be calmer in his reactions to new or unusual situations. Jason also tended to defer to his brother nearly all the time. It wasn't that Jason was a follower as much as he disliked confrontation.
Jason put his pack back on and fastened the belly strap but Jared was kicking through the weeds beside the trail like he'd lost something. “Come on, Jared, Let's get moving.”
“I can't yet. I can't find my fruit cocktail. You know I like it...where the hell did you throw it?”
“How am I supposed to know where it is? If it'd been in your pack, where it belonged, you wouldn't have lost it.”
“Damn!” Jared said pulling his own pack on, “what kind of camping trip will this be with no fruit cocktail?”
“Hello, Earth to Logan. Anyone in there?”
Logan was still lost in his own thoughts when he realized Jared was talking to him. He looked up into the smiling face of Jared. “Sorry, I guess I was day dreaming.”
“Well, wake up then, dude, and let's get a move on.”
Jared started up the trail, and Logan fell in a few paces behind him, with Jason bringing up the rear. They'd gone a couple of hundred yards when Logan noticed Jason now walking beside him.
“Hey,” Jason said.
“You okay dude?”
“Yea, I'm doing okay. Why?”
“Well, you just seem a little out of it today. If something's bothering you, you can talk it over with us, you know.”
“No...I'm fine. I've just been thinking about some things lately.”
“Well, when or if you need to talk, we're here to listen.”
“I know, dude. Thanks.”
It took them a half hour to reach the ridge and they stopped to eat the sandwiches their mothers had fixed for their first lunch.
“What did you get?”
“Peanut butter and jelly and a ham and cheese. What about you?”
“She made me the opposite.”
“Yea, ham and cheese and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“You guys are so whacked!” laughed Logan.
“Yea? Well at least we have some variety in our lives Mr. roast beef sandwiches.”
“I don't always have roast beef.”
“Oh yea? What have you got then?”
“I haven't looked yet.”
“Well then, look.”
Logan was laughing inside because he knew what he'd find. His mom always made him roast beef sandwiches when he needed a packed lunch. He pulled a sandwich out, unwrapped it, and took a bite. “Well, what is it?” Jared asked.
“I’m tasting it to see right now.”
“You don’t have to taste it, just look at it and you can tell.”
“It looks like a piece of meat in-between two slices of bread.”
“Quit stalling, asshole. What is it?”
“Okay, okay, it’s roast beef,” Logan said, laughing.
“YES! Jared is right once again! When will you losers learn not to disagree with me? I’m not wrong very often and, even when I’m wrong, I’m more right than either of you.”
Logan just rolled his eyes and continued eating his sandwich but Jason was giving Jared an angry look. “You know, your crap gets really old these days. Why don't you grow up?”
“What the hell are you taking about?”
“Your attitude. Jeez, Jared, you act like a two year old. If you're right about something or win a bet, you gloat. If you're wrong or lose a bet, you go berserk and accuse people of cheating just to make you look bad. You, seriously, need to grow up.”
“It's called self confidence, Lil Bro.”
“No, it's called arrogance, and being five minutes older doesn't make you my big brother. We're the same size and those five minutes don't count because you used them to tell the doctor what you think he did wrong in delivering you. You're a 'know it all' that can't stand to be wrong about anything.”
Logan listened to the two brothers arguing but didn't say anything. He'd heard them argue about this before and he wasn't about to take sides, although he did agree with what Jason was saying. Jared's temper was legendary at school and in the neighborhood and had landed him in detention more times than he could count.
When they were eleven, and in fifth grade, Jared had gotten angry over a lost dollar bet on the World Series and had broken Jonny Walker's nose. Jon's nose still has a crook in it and Jared ended up in anger management counseling before they would let him back in school. After only three or four sessions, he'd convinced the therapist it was just two boys fighting and the therapist gave him a clean bill of health and allowed him to return to school. This incident had given Jared a “bad ass” reputation and, although he wasn't a bully, most kids steered clear of antagonizing him.
The twins finished their argument and sandwiches and the three boys put on their packs and started up the trail along the ridge. “Only about an hour to the Devils canyon trail spur so we should get to our campsite for the night with plenty of time to spare.” Jared said.
The boys made sure to make plenty of noise, as they walked, to warn bears and other wild animals they were there. It wouldn't be much fun to surprise a bear eating berries along the trail. Jared was in the lead and was singing “99 Bottles of Beer” over and over. Logan was next in line and he'd, occasionally, join in the song but mostly was quiet. Jason brought up the rear and nervously kept checking the trail behind them. He wasn't so worried about bears but he knew cats were curious and was afraid some cougar would decide to see what all the commotion was about. He was last in line so if the cougar decided it needed a teen for dinner, he would be the most likely target. The fact that no cougars had been seen in this area for twenty five years, didn't impress him. Cats are sneaky and are only seen when they want to be seen.
“Looking for cougars?” Jason hadn't realized Jared and Logan had stopped and was startled to hear his brother's voice so close. Jared knew of his brother's fear of cougars and delighted in teasing him when they were camping. Jared was standing there smirking at him and even Logan looked amused.
“Screw you, Jared.”
“Come on guys.” Logan said. “You can argue later. We're at the cut-off and still have an hour to go to get to the camping area.”
“Cut-off?” Jason asked.
“The Devils Canyon Trail.” Jared told him.
“We're not supposed to take that trail. We told our parents we'd stay on the main trail.”
“The main trail's for little kids and old people.” Jared snorted. “We took a vote and decided to take the Devil's Canyon Trail.”
“No one asked me to vote.”
“You weren't there when we voted and it wouldn't have mattered if you were because you'd have lost since we both voted yes. That's how democracy works lil bro. The majority rules.” Jared told him.
“I don't like this guys. Our asses will be in the wringer if our parents find out.”
“They won't find out.”
“What if something happens to one of us? If the rangers have to come rescue us, they'll find out.”
“The only thing that might happen is that you'll get eaten by a cougar and Logan and I can just say it carried you up there to eat you.” Jared said with a laugh.
“Come on, Jason.” Logan spoke up. “It'll be okay. That trail's shorter and has more to look at. All the main trail has is trees.”
“Okay, but I want it clear that I'm only going under protest and because Dad told us to stay together.”
“Gotcha, Bro. Your protest is noted and your ass duly covered.” Jared laughed.
“If we get there before it's to late, we can pick some berries for desert with our dinner.” Logan said.
Jason looked at him in shock, “You have got to be kidding! You want us picking berries in bear country? We might as well print some signs in bear talk, and hang them on our backs. 'Today's special meat, teen boys to go along with your naturally sweet berries'.”
“We'll sing while we pick.” Jared laughed. “Come on guys, the devil awaits us.”
“God, I hope not.” Jason said.
Devil’s Canyon Trail was steeper than the main trail. The boys trudged upwards for another hour before finally coming to an overlook.
“This is perfect,” shouted Jared enthusiastically. “We can set up camp here tonight.”
“Let’s rest awhile,” moaned Jason. “My legs are killing me.”
“Why don’t you stop being a wuss?” responded Jared. “Logan and I aren’t complaining.” He looked over at the other boy for a sign of support. Logan looked at Jared and shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t want to get involved in another of their frequent arguments.
“Logan.” Jared immediately began to bark commands. “You and Jason set up the tent and I’ll find some firewood.”
“How come you get the easy task?” complained Jason. “Why can’t I go get the firewood?”
“Go ahead,” said Jared smugly. He began to sing, “Lions and cougars and bears, oh my.” Logan began to join in. “Lions and cougars and bears, oh my.” They began to dance and circle around Jason, knowing he was becoming upset.
“Screw you, Jared.” He shouted angrily, as he unfolded the tent and dropped it on the ground. “I hope you do get eaten by a cougar. It would serve you right.”
“I’ll be back,” he replied as he headed into the dense forest in search of dead branches.
“Help me with this, Logan,” pleaded Jason as he struggled to put the tent together. It was a small pup tent that was designed for two adult people; but since the boys were rather small, they figured the three of them could share it. Besides, it was easier to carry than a larger one.
They spend the next fifteen minutes hammering the stakes and anchoring the tent to the ground. Once finished, Jason and Logan sat on a dead tree stump and rested, admiring their work.
Suddenly, they heard a rustling behind them. “ROARRRRRRRRRR!!” Jason jumped from the stump and tore off down the path. Jared threw the firewood down and fell to the ground laughing.
“That was priceless!” he screamed. Logan tried to hold back a laugh, but he too was soon joining in. After a few minutes they stopped, realizing that Jason still hadn’t returned.
“Where do you think he is?” asked a worried Logan.
“Damn if I know,” responded Jared. “He’s probably halfway down the trail by now.”
“We’d better go find him,” said Logan, as he headed down the worn path. Jared ran up beside him.
“He’s probably just hiding from us,” insisted Jared.
“I don’t know,” said Logan. “You scared him pretty bad.”
They continued on for ten minutes, looking for Jason. They called his name, but he never responded. “You don’t think he’s lost do you?” asked Logan.
“I don’t know,” replied Jared. For the first time a worried look appeared on his face. “We should have run into him by now.”
“ARRGGGGG!!!!!!!!” Suddenly, Jared was on the ground with Jason clinging to his back. He had jumped from a nearby tree; landing solidly on his brother, knocking him to the ground.
“Damn it, Jason,” he screamed as he fought to get his brother off his back. “You scared the shit out of me.” Logan stood nearby howling with laughter.
“Good,” shouted Jason, still pinning his brother to the ground. “Now we’re even.”
“Let me up so I can kick your ass,” threatened Jared. He started wiggling around, attempting to toss his twin brother off. After several minutes of struggling, they both lay breathless on the ground.
“Truce?” asked Jason.
“Truce.” responded Jared. Jason climbed off his brothers back, and then extended his hand to help his brother up. Jared took it and then pulled him down and began pounding him lightly in his sides.
“Hey, no fair,” said an angry Jason. “You said truce.”
“I had my fingers crossed,” giggled Jared. He stopped the playful assault and got off the ground, brushing himself off.
“Let’s get back to camp,” he ordered. “Let me check out the tent. I don‘t want it falling on us in the middle of the night.” He started plodding his way up the path with Jason and Logan trailing behind him.
“We should make him sleep outside with just a sleeping bag,” whispered Jason. “Maybe a bear will get him.”
“I don’t think they eat shit,” giggled Logan. Jason threw his arm around Logan and said, “You got that right.”
When they returned they began preparing the camp for the night. They pulled out their sleeping bags and placed them inside the tent. It was decided that Logan would sleep in the middle. He didn’t object because he had spent many nights in sleepovers at the twin’s house.
The twins shared a double bed, and the first few times he spent the night he would sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. One night there was a terrible storm outside; and being six years old, he was naturally scared. After one exceptionally loud clap of thunder, he found himself jumping into their bed and nestling himself between them. After that, every time he spent the night, he’d sleep with them as book ends.
After hiking the trail all day and then setting up camp, hunger soon crept upon them. They each pulled out their sandwiches- peanut butter and jelly for Jared, ham and cheese for Jason and roast beef for Logan. After hungrily devouring their sandwiches, Jason and Logan dug in their backpacks and pulled out a cup of fruit cocktail. Jared sat quietly watching them with a pouty expression on his face.
“Here.” Jason reached in his back pack and pulled out another cup. Jared started smiling as he took it.
“What!” exclaimed Logan. “Jared said thanks. Watch out, Jason. A meteor might drop out of the sky and hit you.” Jason looked anxiously into the sky, causing all three boys to start laughing.
With darkness approaching, the boys set up a campfire and lay down around it. “What do you want to do now?” asked Jason.
“Let’s tell spooky stories,” shouted Logan with enthusiasm.
“I’ll never fall asleep if we do,” complained Jason.
“Good, I’ll start,” insisted Jared. The boys spent the next two hours telling the most horrific tales they could imagined. By the time they reached the final story, Jared had bears and cougars tearing into the tent and dragging a screaming Jason into the dark, never to be seen again.
“Thanks, Jared,” pouted Jason. “Now I won’t get any sleep tonight.”
“Mission Accomplished,” boasted Jared. “Let’s hit the sack. We have to get up early and break camp if we intend to get to our next destination before sunset tomorrow.”
“And just where is that?” questioned a puzzled Logan. “Your dad only mapped out the main trail.”
“We’ll get there when we get there,” said a confident Jared. “Don’t sweat it.” Logan gave Jason a skeptical look.
Jason was right. The stories had scared him and he tossed and turned, keeping the others awake. He only managed to fall asleep hours later when he wrapped his arms tightly around Logan and nestled his head into his neck. Logan didn’t complain. He liked the warmth of the twin’s body next to his. He slept comfortably with Jason breathing gently into the nape of his neck.
“Rise and shine, you morons!” Jared yelled into the tent as his brother and best friend slept tangled together. He said nothing as they unwrapped themselves and yawned.
“What time is it?” asked Logan.
“Six thirty!” shouted Jason. “Why are we up so early?”
“Since we took Devil’s Canyon Trail,” he explained. “we need to give ourselves more time. I figure its several miles longer than the main path.”
“Nice move, Sherlock,” spat an angry Jason. “We should have stayed on the trail Dad mapped out for us. You’re going to get us killed.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure, Guys?” asked Jared. “This will be more fun. We won’t be running into any people.”
“No, but we will be running into hungry bears,” lamented Jason. Logan just lay back and listened to the twins once again go at it. It was a scene he’d heard repeated so many times.
“Speaking of hungry,” Jared rubbed his stomach, “get up so we can fix breakfast.”
The boys hurriedly took down the tent and then pulled breakfast out of their backpacks- peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese and roast beef sandwiches. They completed the meal with another cup of fruit cocktail.
“Let’s go.” Jared got up and began to put on his backpack. Ten minutes later they were heading uphill, following the narrow path of Devil’s Canyon Trail.
They had hiked for about an hour when they came to a large lake. The water was crystal clear and looked inviting. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature had risen during the morning.
“Last one in sets up camp tonight,” shouted Jared as he threw his backpack off and began to hurriedly undress. Jason and Logan laughed as they watched a naked Jared run down to the bank and jump into the water.
“Come on, guys!” he yelled. “Last one in!” Jason and Logan took one look at each other and began a race to see who could disrobe and get into the water first. Jason was just a step ahead of him and jumped headfirst into the water, beating Logan by seconds.
“Loser!” squealed Jason as he pushed Logan’s head down into the water. The boys frolicked for about a half hour in the cool water. All three boys were good swimmers, having spent hours at a nearby pool not far from their home.
“Let’s swim out to that island.” Jared pointed to a small island out in the middle of the lake. The boys were exhausted by the time they reached the bank and lay down in the warm sun.
Logan looked over and watched as Jason’s chest rose up and down. He had lost most of his body fat and was now a lean young man. He let his eyes wander over his body as the twins lay with their eyes closed. Jared tilted his head slightly, and through squinted eyes, watched as Logan admired his brother’s body.
He raised his arms and yawned, causing Logan to break his stare. “We better swim back and head out. We still have a long way to go today.” The boys jumped into the water and raced back to the other shore. This time Logan beat the twins by several yards.
The boys dressed and put their backpacks on and began the long climb. They decided to rest at noon and eat lunch- peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese and roast beef sandwiches. Of course, a cup of fruit cocktail completed the meal.
“I gotta take a piss,” announced Logan as he rose and walked over to the edge of the overlook. Jason and Jared laughed as he aimed upward and let a steady stream shoot out and make a rustling noise in the leaves below.
As he started to zip his shorts back up, he stepped on a rock and lost his balance. He reached frantically for a branch, but it broke in his hands and he went tumbling down the side of the mountain.
“Logan!” screamed Jason as he jumped up and ran to the side and looked down. Jared was standing at his side with a panicked look on his face. They could hear their friend moaning several yards below.
They pulled the brush aside as they scurried down the side of the mountain, careful not to lose their own balance and fall. They found Logan lying against a tree, covered with leaves and dirt. He was holding his leg and grimacing in pain.
“Are you alright?” Jared reached out and tried to pull Logan up, but he howled in pain.
“OOOWWW!!” he screamed. “I think my leg’s broken.” He started crying while Jason leaned in and held him.
“What are we going to do?” Jared was frantic. “I should never have talked you guys into taking this trail. This is all my fault.”
“Jared,” screamed Jason. “We got to keep our heads. Logan’s hurt. He needs our help.” He continued to hold Logan and rock him in his arms while he writhed in pain.
“Let’s see how bad your leg is.” Jared knelt down and started gently running his hand down Logan’s leg.
“DAMNNNN!” Logan screamed as he thrashed around in pain. “That hurts!.” Jared looked at Jason and gave him a worried look. He had felt Logan’s bone almost protruding from the skin just below the knee. He knew his leg had been severely broken and there was no way that Logan could be safely moved.
“His leg’s broken,” he whispered into his twin’s ear. “I could feel it.” Jason’s face drained of blood and he felt like he was going to lose his lunch. He couldn’t imagine the pain his best friend was experiencing.
“We need to make him a splint.” Jared tore off up the side of the mountain and disappeared. Jason tried to calm Logan, and keep him from moving. He could see that Logan’s leg was twisted against the side of the tree.
Jared appeared minutes later with two large branches and a long sleeved shirt. He tore the sleeves off the shirt and handed them to Jason.
“This is going to hurt like hell,” he warned, “but we need to steady your leg.”
If there were any wild animals within miles of where the boys were, they would have fled when they heard the loud roar that came out of Logan’s mouth when Jared pulled his leg and straightened it and made a crude splint around his leg. Jason wrapped his arms tightly around him and cried while his friend screamed in agony.
When it was over, all three boys were emotionally spent. After an hour of writhing in pain, Logan’s breath began to become shallow and he quieted down. Jared motioned for Jason to follow him as they went back to the top to decide what to do next.
“I’m going to go for help,” Jared told Jason. “There has to be a ranger station around here somewhere. You stay with Logan, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
In fifteen years, Jason had never seen his twin so scared. He could see the panic in his eyes. “This is all my fault,” he cried. Jason reached out and pulled him into a hug.
“He’ll be alright,” he said reassuringly. He was trying to convince Jared, but he was unable to convince himself.
Jared broke the embrace and then walked over and put on his backpack. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. I’ll find a ranger station and bring back help.” Jason nodded as Jared started up the path. Since they had passed no station on the way, it only made sense to go forward.
Jason grabbed a bottle of water and carefully made his way back to Logan. He looked up with tears in his eyes. “I’m scared, Jason,” he sobbed. Jason knelt down and once again wrapped his arms around Logan. He positioned himself so he could get behind him and hold him from behind. After a few minutes, Logan relaxed and drifted off to sleep in Jason’s embrace.
They spent the remainder of the day in that position. Logan seemed calmer when Jason held him. They kept waiting to hear Jared returning; but as it began to get darker, their hopes for being rescued began to fade. Jason could feel Logan trembling in his arms.
“I’ll be right back,” he assured Logan. He carefully extricated himself from behind his friend and went to get his backpack. He returned minutes later and placed himself once again where he could hold his quivering friend.
He opened his backpack and pulled out a sleeping bag and wrapped it around them both. He pulled Logan close and rocked him. Again, he felt Logan’s body relax and assumed he’d fallen asleep. Without thinking, he kissed the back of Logan’s neck and whispered, “I love you so much. I couldn’t live if anything happened to you.” He pressed his lips again to Logan’s neck and kissed him while tears ran down his cheeks.
He felt Logan stir in front of him. “What did you just say?” Jason could feel his cheeks begin to burn with embarrassment. He thought that Logan had been asleep and didn’t hear him.
“I said I hope everything turns out alright,” he lied, hoping that Logan’s mind was focused on the pain in his leg and not on what he had just confessed.
“That’s not what you said,” Logan insisted. “Did you say you love me?” He felt Jason grip him tighter around the waist.
“I’ve waited two years for you to say that,” he sobbed. He reached down and grabbed Jason’s hands and held them in his. Jason could feel him shaking with emotion.
“I’ve been in love with you for so long,” he cried. “I just didn’t think you felt the same way.” He twisted his body so that he could look into the weeping eyes of his best friend. They brought their lips together and kissed their first kiss. It was short and gentle, but it expressed completely the love they felt for each other.
They sat quietly for a long time, reveling in their shared loved. Both had felt love for the other for years, but they were too afraid to admit it because they didn’t want to jeopardize their friendship.
“When did you know you were in love with me?” asked Jason.
“Two years ago when we went to the water park,” said Logan.
“I remember that,” responded Jason. “Jared was on punishment and we went by ourselves.”
“It was the first time we ever did anything without Jared.” He was careful to choose his words for fear of offending Jason. “It was so special, just me and you. When we rode through the tunnel on that boat; it was dark and I wanted to lean over and kiss you.”
“You too?” giggled Jason. “I was thinking the same thing.”
“Now you.” Logan said softly. “When did you know?”
“I don’t know.” he said. “There have been so many. I guess the first time it really hit me was last year when you spent the night and we sat up all night watching scary movies. I don’t even remember what we watched. I just laid there all night looking at you.”
Logan squeezed Jason’s hand and then twisted so he could kiss him again. This time the kiss lasted longer and was more passionate.
As it became night, the boys gave up all hope of being rescued. Jason had Logan lie on the ground and then he lay down beside him and wrapped their sleeping bags around them and snuggled in for a long night. Logan moaned throughout the night from the pain in his leg. Shortly before dawn they managed to fall asleep wrapped in each other’s arms.
That is how Jared and the rescue team found them early in the morning. Jared stood at the top while the men retreated below and brought Logan to the top. Within minutes a helicopter lowered a basket and they carefully put Logan in it. He was raised to the top and whisked away.
Seeing the distressed look on his brother’s face, Jason walked over and pulled him into a brotherly embrace. After several minutes, they were following the rangers back down the trail to safety.
Jason was holding Logan’s hand when the hospital door burst open. He dropped it, but not before Jared noticed. A smile soon appeared on his lips.
“It’s about time,” he grinned.
“What?” asked Jason; his cheeks red with embarrassment.
“That you two got together,” he smiled. “Do you know what it’s been like to watch you guys the past couple years.”
“You knew I was gay?” asked a surprised Jason. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“Because you had to figure it out for yourself,” he replied. “I guess I suspected it early on. You can‘t be a twin and not sense something like that. And as we grew older, you never talked about girls like the rest of us guys did.” He looked over at Logan and grinned. “You neither.” Logan could feel his cheeks begin to burn.
“That’s why I started acting like a bully. I knew if you were gay, then guys would tease you and give you a hard time. If they were afraid of me, then maybe they’d leave you alone if they knew I’d kick their ass if they messed with you.”
He walked over and stood in front of Logan’s bed. “And you’ve been so moody and sullen the past few years. We’d be having a lot of fun, and then you’d look over at Jason and suddenly become quiet and withdrawn. It dawned on me one day you were in love with my brother and didn’t know what to do about it. I guess it took a broken leg and a night alone in the woods to bring you two together.”
Jason walked over and took Logan’s hand in his. “So you don’t care?”
“Why should I?” he asked. “If you’re happy, then I’m happy.”
“Thanks, Jared,” said an appreciative Jason.
“Another thing - you never clear your history when you’re surfing the internet.” Jason started blushing, realizing that his brother had found some of the sites he had visited over the years.
“You’re a real horndog,” he laughed. “But one site you visit all the time, Codey’s World, helps me understand what you’re going through. By reading some of the stories on their website, it helps me deal with it better.”
Jason walked over and drew his twin brother into a embrace. “I love you, Jared.”
“You too, Little Brother,” replied Jared.
After a minute, Jared pulled away and walked over and looked down at Logan. “If you ever hurt him,” he threatened with a smile. “Then you have to deal with me.”
“I promise,” Logan held out his hand to Jason. Jason walked over and wrapped his hand around Logan’s. “I’ll never do anything to hurt him.”
“Good.” He walked over and checked himself in the mirror. “When I came in, there was a pretty girl sitting alone in the waiting room. I think I’ll go down and see if she needs company.”
Jason and Logan laughed as they watched him strut confidently out of the room. What he had said was true. It did take a broken leg and a night alone in the woods to bring two best friends together.