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       A Way West, p.1

           Peter Westaway
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A Way West
A Way West

  copyright 2014 Peter Westaway

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  Chapter One

  He twists the throttle, and instinctively leans slightly into the onrushing wind as the bike below instantly responds. He grits his teeth a little and thinks, “Right on! We are doing it! We’re really doing it!” He has pointed his Yamaha directly to the west and wishes he didn’t have to stop until they got to their destination. But… since it was going to take several days to get there, he will have to think about where to stop for the night, when the time came. The sun was just showing itself on the city’s horizon behind them in a cloudless sky, so that won’t be for many hours. By then they will have gotten many miles from home and onto this great adventure and their new life together.

  Behind him, she hears the motor growling louder as she feels the acceleration. She leans into him a little more and squeezes her arms around his waist a little tighter. She says to herself, “I can’t believe I did it! I’ve ran away from home!” Our two young lovers are on the speeding motorcycle, both with anxious, but quite different thoughts. He is excited that he is finally leaving his drunk, depressed mom, and his shitty job behind, and thrilled his baby is with him. While she is only worrying about leaving her cat behind with her sweet mom, who will now have to deal with her even more pissed off dad all alone. Her big brother Tony won’t be of any help to anyone.

  “We are not turning around! Your mom and Juniper will be just fine. C’mon baby you promised me you wouldn’t do this.” Jeff couldn’t believe how the best day of his life lasted less than three hours. They are at the Esso Gas Station in Wilno. They had stopped for a cold drink and a pee. They are finally out of Ottawa and heading out west as they had both been obsessing about. But now Monica is thinking of going back home already! They had been discussing this trip constantly for the last six months and this was the last thing he expected. And it is still all about her damn cat! He will never forget the day he had strapped the cat carrier to the back rack of his bike, to see if it was feasible to take it with them. He rode up and down the street feeling like a complete idiot. It took up too much space though, and Monica wouldn’t dare let Jeff even take the cat along for a little test ride. Of course, he offered to buy her a new cat after they are settled out west. But nooooo, that only made Monica sadder, and worse... madder at him. So, they then considered flying Juniper out after they got there. And he thought that would be good enough to appease her. But now less than three hours into the REST OF THEIR LIVES the stupid cat is still the only thing that matters!

  “I only want to phone home and see how my mom is.” Monica declares, trying to assert herself, but not feeling very confident about anything, at the moment.

  Jeff takes a deep breath and reminds himself to try hard to be patient. “Look, we have discussed this every day for months now. Your mom is just waking up now and probably hasn’t even seen the goodbye letter that you left on your pillow. So please baby let’s do what we agreed. My mom isn’t going to really care when she reads my letter, but your parents are going to freak. We have to let them digest this before we contact them.” He pauses, and tries to take some deep calming breaths. Everything was so perfect to start this glorious Freedom Day, and now the same issue he thought they had figured out is threatening to destroy it all. They are sitting on a picnic bench outside the gas station, drinking a couple of Cokes and sharing a small bag of chips he just bought in the little store.

  Monica takes a sip of hers and looks up at Jeff with those big gorgeous brown eyes that enchanted him when they first met three long years ago. He relaxes a little, and falls in love with her all over again. He reaches across the table and grabs her hands and tries to give her a reassuring smile.

  She seems to relax a little with this and says, “I am sorry sweetie but not only are my mom and dad about to freak out, but I am starting to lose it a little myself. You know I was set on going to University. If only my dad wasn’t turning into such a mean bastard. I don’t know why my mom keeps putting up with him.” They stay like that, with Monica staring down at their clasped hands and Jeff staring up at Monica.

  She looks so pretty when she’s sad, almost as pretty as she does when she’s happy. Jeff is getting better at handling these moods. He used to jump in with one of his attempts at common sense advice. But she almost always got more upset no matter what he says. So, he has learned to keep his mouth shut, more often anyway, and to show concern on his face. Jeff wants to get back on the highway and put more distance between them and Ottawa. Monica has no idea what she wants. She is usually the more self assured one, but not now when they are this far from home and about to head farther.

  She finally pulls free of Jeff’s light grasp and pushes away from the picnic table and stands straight up and crosses her arms on her chest. She looks like she has made a decision. Jeff looks at her and braces himself for whatever she is about to say. “My mom has read the letter by now, I just know it! I didn’t close my door all the way… I was so scared of them waking up. She would have looked in by now, and saw that I wasn’t there.” She is staring down at Jeff who is still sitting with his empty hands on the table.

  Jeff is trying hard to not frown and roll his eyes. Why did they even bother spending all those nights planning this trip? He thought for sure that they would have had at least one day of fun with this new adventure. He knew she would have regrets and be homesick, but not so soon. And not so close to home.

  “She’s probably crying right now Jeff!” And with this she uncrosses her arms, turns and heads towards the old phone booth standing by itself at the edge of the parking lot.

  AHHHH! Jeff wants to yell! They both left their cell phones back at home. He figured it would save them both the hassle of getting texts and calls from Ottawa bugging them to come back. His mom will probably miss him a little bit but she is probably more relieved than anything that she can now live by herself. But Monica’s mom is a different story. Those two are real close and the two of them talking together this early in the trip is not good. Not good at all! He knows that these next few minutes are crucial to whether they are going to keep heading west or are going to head back east. If he shows the anger that is creeping up on him in any way, he knows that one of them at the very least is heading back home. But he must try something.

  He jumps up from the table and runs after the smart, beautiful, but very young girl that he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But just not in Ottawa. Not for awhile anyway. He catches up to her as she is about to reach for the door to the phone booth. He jumps in front of her and tries to put his arms around her in a hug. She manages to grab his wrists and doesn’t allow this, and tries to step around him. Losing control of the situation fast, not that he ever had any, Jeff pleads, “Monica baby please don’t call her yet!”

  Monica spins out of his attempted grasp and flings his hands away, “I have to talk to her now, we can’t do this to her! She will go crazy with worry, and after she phones my dad at work the shit will really hit the fan!”

  Jeff steps back and Monica turns around and goes into the old dirty phone booth. Jeff’s heart is racing and he isn’t sure what to do. He had been planning this day so carefully for so long now and he is starting to freak out that it isn’t going as planned. He walks towards his bike and contemplates jumping on it and leaving his wishy washy, immature girlfriend in the d
amn booth and getting the hell out of there. He glances back at the phone and sure enough it looks like Monica is talking to somebody. He feels his blood pressure rise as he is trying to picture the conversation between her and her mom. He is sure her mom is begging her to come home and to not go anywhere with him. He tried to get along with her parents, but they never seemed to like him very much. He guesses they think their perfect little daughter deserves somebody better than a bicycle and ski technician. They don’t seem to care that he has dreams of his own, they only seem to care that he hasn’t gone to university. Well fuck them he’s thinking. And fuck her too if she doesn’t want to come with him.

  He increases his pace and goes straight to the bike. He puts his helmet on and locks hers on its hook. He swings his leg over the bike and starts it up. He looks over and she is still on the phone. He guns the engine and pops the clutch. The back tire predictably spins a little on the asphalt and squeals as he races towards the booth. He is losing it a little himself and for a second contemplates ramming the damn booth! Instead he stops in front and cuts the engine. He sits there looking at Monica through the filthy, scratched booth glass as she is having an animated talk with, he assumes, her mom. He takes his helmet off and tries to calm himself down. He can now hear Monica screaming into the phone.

  She then slams the receiver down and slams her way out the door. “My dad’s such…AN ASSHOLE!!” She walks directly to where her helmet is locked. He reaches back and unlocks it. She puts it on and gets on behind a suddenly very relieved Jeff. She squeezes her arms tight around him and says, “Let’s go sweetie! I am sorry I phoned home.”

  Back on the highway Jeff is starting to feel good about the day, this trip, their life, again. He takes his left hand off the handlebar, grabs Monica’s clenched hands and squeezes them emphatically. He looks forward and guns the engine in celebration. Yaaaaaa! He now wants to get as far away from Ottawa as he can, as quick as he can, without attracting any cop’s attention of course. He comes up to a camper blocking his view in front of them. Swerving a little to the left, checking to make sure the coast is clear, he pulls out into the oncoming lane and makes quick work of blasting by the large motor home. He feels Monica clench his waist tighter. He knows the quicker speed makes her a little nervous. The speed has the opposite effect on him though, the faster he goes the happier he is. But for her sake, and any possible waiting police radar, he slows down a bit and settles for going just under one hundred and twenty kilometres an hour, figuring that most cops ignore any speed below twenty kilometres over the speed limit.

  Monica gets very nervous every time that Jeff pulls out to pass a vehicle, and closes her eyes tight every time. As they successfully overtake the motor home like it is standing still, she thinks about a time when Jeff once impressed her about a year ago, and made her love him even more. He had confidently explained to her very concerned father that it is actually safer for them to travel on his bike on the highway than it is to travel down a city street. Jeff had carefully explained that on a city street there are many more variables to worry about such as cars pulling out from the side streets, intersections where anything can happen, and pedestrians and cyclists jumping out at anytime. But on a highway, such as the Queensway in Ottawa, there is much more control of your surroundings. So even though you are going at a greater speed there is much less chance of something unpredictable and dangerous happening. Jeff would have made a great lawyer. In fact, Jeff, could be great at anything he tried, she knew. But her boyfriend didn’t seem to want to do anything at the moment except for the moment.

  And her dad! She loves him, yet she hates him. She thought for sure that he would have gone to work by now. But instead he had apparently woken up when she was trying to sneak out at four thirty that morning. He was the first one to find her note! She wrote that note for her mom to find! What a mess now! Well screw them! She is only a week from her eighteenth birthday and she can lead her life any way that she chooses. And if he hadn’t recently become such a jerk she would not be going on this crazy trip anyway. He yelled at her on the phone to get her ass back to his house. What a condescending asshole! She had been hoping to be able to console her mom on the phone, but instead she ended up fighting yet again with her dad. She decided that she won’t be phoning home again until they are on the other side of the country. She knew that her mom would take care of her sweet Juniper until they arrange to fly her across the country to join them in their new home out west. How she was going to cope waking tomorrow without hugging her big beautiful cat she wasn’t sure, but it looked like she was going to have to get used to it. She gives her boyfriend a reassuring squeeze and watches the farmer’s fields go by.

  Jeff can now go back to concentrating on their plan. He and Monica have been on Google Earth for probably a hundred hours fantasizing about this trip. They left early in the morning so that they could hopefully make it to their first night’s destination in the early afternoon. He has spent many summers at his grandparent’s old house in Southampton on Lake Huron, underneath Georgian Bay. Their route on this trip is taking them over the top of Lake Huron. He is planning to set up their tent tonight somewhere in that area, maybe on Manitoulin Island. And if they find a real nice place to camp they might spend an extra day if the weather cooperates. The whole trip is going to be a little over four thousand kilometres. If they never got off the bike they could make it in two days. But they are planning to take seven or eight days so they can enjoy themselves and do a little site seeing. The goal is to be on Tom’s farm in nine days to celebrate Monica’s eighteenth birthday on July 13th. They bought their little tent and matching summer sleeping bags a few weeks ago, at Canadian Tire. They picked out a small camp cooking set, and even a very small propane stove at the same time. They had hoped to go camping near Ottawa for a night or two to try out the new equipment but it seemed to be raining on the few days that were available to them. He was working for a big jerk of a boss right up until two days ago. Both Jeff and Monica had done lots of camping with their respective families when they were much younger. But this will be the first time that they are camping together. Jeff can’t wait to make a double sleeping bag out of their identical Coleman sleeping bags and make sweet sweet love. Oh yaaa! He feels like he is the luckiest man on earth.

  They finally pull into Batman’s Tent and Trailer Campground on Manitoulin Island at around six o’clock. Jeff had tried to find a more peaceful and private spot but he didn’t see any sites that he felt would be a decent place to set the tent. They had already found Batman’s when they were studying Google Earth. It took a little longer than Jeff thought, but pulling into this funny named campground was getting him very excited. It was a gorgeous evening and he was with his gorgeous Baby. This trip was starting to go even better than he could have hoped. Monica used to love going camping with her family, and pulling into Batman’s made her think about all the great times they had at similar campgrounds all over Upper New York State, and at some closer to home in Ontario. She just loves doing different stuff now with Jeff, and hopes that someday they will have their own children. They’re going to go camping, skiing, biking and hiking, and lots and lots of living and loving, and laughing all the way. She was even starting to get used to the idea of doing without her Juniper... for a little while anyway.

  It was a Wednesday so they had their choice of several different sites in the campground. They were both a little disappointed however that the old guy in the campground’s office wasn’t dressed up as Batman. When asked about it he went in to a long-winded explanation about how he wore a mask and cape for a few years back in the eighties when he was younger and more adventurous but got tired of the little joke. They picked out a nice spot that was close to the water, and it had about as much privacy as they were going to find. With a couple of hours left before it would be dark, Jeff wanted to get a fire going and cook the steaks and potatoes that they had bought a couple of hours earlier in Sudbury. They didn’t have room for a cooler, or fo
r any extra food for that matter. So, they were planning to buy food as they go. Jeff bought a bottle of red wine to go with the steak and potatoes to celebrate their first night away from home. They bought a small bag of fire wood at the campsite office and Jeff was now trying to get a fire going. They have that little stove but it is only for the times when they can’t get a fire going.

  Monica sat on the picnic bench a few feet away watching her sweetie show her once again how capable he is. “Hey Jeff I guess you could say that this is our first day of living together.”

  Jeff lets go of his little stick teepee, straightens up, and takes the three steps over to Monica. He leans over and kisses her softly on her wonderful lips, “Thank you so much for doing this baby, I am going to make you the happiest girl in the world. You’ve already made me the happiest guy.”

  She smiles wide as he goes back to building the fire.

  He looks back at her with his own big smile, “How about opening that bottle of wine and I will have the steaks cooking in no time. I haven’t cooked potatoes in a fire with tin foil like this since I was in the boy scout’s years ago so hopefully they will come out okay.”

  The steak was a little tough, and the potatoes were undercooked a bit, but how could that bother Jeff in the least? This was the by far the best meal he’s ever had! He finishes every morsel on his paper plate, finishes the wine that is in his little plastic cup and declares to Monica across the table as she is still working her way through her own food. “I am sooo excited that we are doing this. It is supposed to be nice tomorrow so let’s stay here the extra day. We can sleep in and then just go exploring. We have no idea when we will be back in Ontario again so let’s make our last two days here as memorable as possible.” They are about eighty kilometres from the highway. Jeff was hoping that they didn’t have to go off course like this too often but this was a very special night after all.

  Monica is chewing on her last piece of steak. She washes it down with a gulp of wine and looks into his blue eyes. “I am really glad we are here, I am sorry about acting up back there at the phone booth. I am not used to waking up so early, so it will be real nice to sleep in tomorrow. Then we will figure out what to do.” She pauses and looks around, “This is so beautiful here but I bet British Columbia will be even more beautiful.”

  Monica cleans up the dishes, tossing the paper plates in the fire and taking the few other dirty dishes over to the water tap a little down the campground road. And Jeff finally sets up the small tent. He had already set it up in his back yard so he knows just how quick and easy it is to do. They are both soon back sitting down at the table quietly enjoying each other’s company and the peaceful setting as the fire is dying down. Jeff finishes off the last of his wine and the bottle is empty. “It’s starting to get dark, let’s go for a little walk before we settle into our sleeping bags for the night. I am getting real tired all of a sudden.”

  “Well then let’s skip the walk if you don’t mind. I am sure we will be doing plenty of that tomorrow. I am real tired too so let’s get into that tent now and I will show you just how much I love being here with you.” Monica does here cute little eyebrow raising flirty thing as she is finishing this.

  “You don’t have to twist my arm for that!” Jeff jumps up from the table and scrambles around to her side and offers her both of his hands to pull her up from the table. They lock in embrace for a few seconds and then still holding hands they head to the tent. Jeff zips up the fly of the tent. He nuzzles his face into her warm inviting neck... and slips into his own private paradise.

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