Crickets chirped in the evening winds of November. Not far from where they laid the buzz of a party in full swing could be heard.
The smell of fresh cooked meals and camp fires wafted towards them by the wind.
All was peaceful, no stress of the day weighing down upon them, away from the pressures of society, never having to worry that somehow everything will go wrong. All was quiet and serene.
“AHHHHHHHHHH!” a maroon haired blur passed by nearly trampling them along the way. Both groaned in annoyance.
“What did Nikki get his hands on?” Charlie grunted, sitting upright staring at the afore mentioned man. Blazing his way to the center of the field yelling the whole way.
“Either a pot brownie or drunk.” Propping himself up, Leon lightly brushed grass off him before helping Charlie pick a few pieces out of her hair.
“ LOOK AT ALL THESE FIREFLIES GETTING LAID!” Nikki collapsed spread eagle in the center of the field his olive skin standing out amongst the dark blades of grass.
Barely thirty seconds later his snores cold be heard.
“Drunk.” Leon and Charlie agreed.
With a grunt, Leon stood up offering his hand to Charlie. Flicking his blond hair back he cracked a smile. “C’mon let’s get him before we’re so wasted we don’t remember we exist.”
“Or remember he exists.” Charlie accepted Leon’s hand, making their way down the hill to the unconscious Nikki. Upon reaching him, both had to laugh. He was sleeping like a babe.
Snoring lightly, drool trailed down his cheek and pieces of grass somehow ended up in him mouth.
Charlie snapped a few pictures, trying her hardest not to laugh loudly in fear she may awaken the drunken boy. Though there was a low chance of that happening.
Leon groaned when he lifted Nikki. “I swear, do people just become potato sacks the second alcohol enters their system? I don’t ever remember Nikki being this heavy.”
Charlie laughed at his words. Spinning around to face him, Leon saw her phone out recording everything. Leading the way to the party that was practically hidden from sight.
All that could be seen was the faint, soft glow of the campfire among the trees. As they reached the base of the hill, Charlie paused to stare at the full moon glowing brightly in the sky.
“Do you know that this moon is called?” she asked quietly. Leon reached her side, carefully placing Nikki upon the ground before sitting down, Charlie following his stead.
“Um, the full moon?”
“It’s called the Hunter’s Moon. The moon is so bright that hunters can use the light to hunt without needing fake light. It’s why I don’t have my flashlight on.
” She whispered beaming up at the moon in awe. She then made her phone face the moon, trying to focus the camera on the glowing dot in the sky.
For a few minutes, Leon watched as she stuck her tongue as if that would aid her endeavor to get the camera working.
“Why do you do that?”
“Do what? Stick out my tongue?”
“No, record everything? Are you planning to become a journalist or something?
” Charlie looked at him with this wide smile, the excitement and wonder of a kid in a candy store shined in her eyes.
A few disbelieving giggles escaped as she directed her eyes back to the field before them. Leon cocked his head sideways wondering how his words caused such a reaction.
He took note how a halo of moonlight formed around her wavy blond hair, her pale skin held an eerie glow.
All the girl needed was a flower crown, she could be mistaken for a forest elf and this land was her kingdom…or perhaps it is the full moon that is causing the enchanting scene.
She never answered his question. No matter how simple or innocent it was, Leon wondered if she took it in an entirely unique way. Whether that was a good or terrible thing he will never know.
So entranced by his own thoughts, the fact that Charlie and Nikki disappeared from his side did not gain his attention. It was when a branch snapped that Leon realized he was alone.
Looking behind him, he was greeted with a sight. “What the hell! What are you? The Hulk?”
Scrambling after the five-foot-two girl, he could only watch in amazement as Charlie carried a man twice her size piggy-back, up a hill without a single complaint.
“C’mon Leon! It’s getting cold, hurry to the fire.” In truth, it was rare for Leon to ever feel the cold, but touched by her concern he obeyed.
As he followed her he noticed something glowing in Nikki’s back pocket.
“Did you put your phone in Nikki’s pocket to be able to record things hands-free?”
Leon sighed. Only recently she picked up the habit of recording all that was around her. She was like a little kid pretending to be on a safari hunting for the elusive Liger of the jungle.
Equipped with only a camera to record her adventure, Charlie alone in the jungle following an rare thing, living life along the way.
A few minutes of silence passed them. By now the campsite was in view, he could see a few people, shuffling around drunkenly or searching for a place to sleep.
The fire was fighting not to go out, giving what little warmth was left to those searching for it. Helping Charlie place Nikki in a truck bed, Leon started taking inventory of what was left.
Not much, not a single drop of beer was available, the s’more making kit had been left untouched, after much searching he managed to locate an opened pack of hot-dogs and buns.
“Charles, want a plain hot-dog? S’mores can be our dessert.”
“How much is left?” she tossed a log in the dying fire, hoping to stoke some life back in the flames.
“Four, two for each.” -he struggled to hold everything in his arms as he made his way to the fire. - “and the best part, endless supply s’mores.”
“Nice! This is the best unhealthy dinner in my life!
” Charlie cheered quietly, flapping her arms excitedly around her causing the sleeves of her over-sized red flannel to flail erratically and nearly smack him in the face.
Leon softly chuckled, placing the supplies beside Charlie. Preparing the hot-dogs to be cooked over the fire, she sat on the log behind him. Patting a spot beside her encouragingly.
“Thanks.” He accepted the offer. The second he sat down Charlie rested her head upon his shoulder, snuggling into his plain grey flannel shirt.
Charlie drew random patterns on Leon’s tattered up jeans, both watched as the flames occasionally licked their hot-dogs threatening to char the surface.
This went on for awhile, both content with the other’s presence.
Unbeknownst to Charlie, a frown begun to form on Leon’s narrow face. His nose twitched in irritation as the fire lit his blue eyes giving an orange glow to them.
All the complicated thoughts in his head grew and somehow managed to form into three simple words. “What is this?”
“Hot-dogs roasting over a fire.” Singing to the tune of some Christmas song that neither of them could name, Charlie grinned at her companion.
“No.”-Leon straitened up, shrugging Charlie off his shoulder. - “This. Us, what we developed. What is it?”
“Tom and Jerry.” Charlie answered without missing a beat.
“Tom and Jerry.” -Charlie gestured between them. – “We’re Tom and Jerry.”
Leon’s confusion only grew. Icy blue eyes pleaded with Charlie, while her own darker blue eyes searched his with amusement.
It was when that look was given meant the answer was painfully obvious, but no one could think of it save for the person who knew. Charlie knew it, Leon could not think of it.
“Damn it Charlie! Just tell me!” Leon raised his voice without control, gaining a series of cussing, groans, and even a few bottles thrown haphazardly in his direction.
Leon hissed as a stray piece of glass from a now broken bottle hit his arm.
Blood immediately seeped out of the wound, the glass embedded in his skin felt like it cut deeper with each movement made. “Fuck.”
“I’ll get a kit.” Charlie disappeared in search for a medical kit, Leon let his arm go limp in his lap. Turning his attention to the sky he could see stars peeking between the branches.
A sudden breeze caused him to shiver, his own breath clouded his vision. Rustling could be heard in random areas of the campsite as Charlie tried to locate a medical kit for Leon.
It made him scoff in slight amazement. After all he has done, he should be the top hated person on her list. Instead she’s running around looking for a way to help him, Leon, her enemy.
Always trying to bring her back to reality, away from that safari and back to civilization.
“Or maybe… She’s always in reality, and we’re the ones in the safari.” He mused.
“Found some!” popping back by his side, Charlie set to work on his wound. Head tilted, he watched her meticulously. If she noticed his staring, she did not show it.
Too fixated on cleaning his wound, Charlie stuck her tongue out carefully using tweezers to pry out the glass.
Leon tried his best to relax, let the warmth of the fire and the smell of smoke calm him. It was then when something occurred to him.
"What? Trying to save your life over here."
"Our hot dogs are on fire." Charlie was silent, only acknowledging his statement by glancing over to the fire.
Once she managed to pry the glass out of his arm and patch him up did she finally say something.