Bugout! California Part 60 – Tisha

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Trevor was at the wheel of his motor home, Kaylee watching him drive from the passenger seat.

“We’re only a few miles from city limits,” Kaylee said. “Thank God. I was so sure we were gonna get hit on the road.”

“We might have hit them a lot worse than we thought.”

“Hope so,” Kaylee said. “Hope we get a few days before we have to fight again.”

“I’d rather get it over with quicker,” Trevor said. “I’ll be on pins and needles the whole time if we have to wait.”

“Well, there is that, I guess. Think we’re gonna get this rig to ourselves?”

“Probably not right away,” Trevor said. “We’ll see.”

Kaylee’s phone dinged. She looked at it. “Looks like a broadcast text message from my uncle.”

“Directions?”

“Yeah, keep going on 79, then take a road to the right called KQ Ranch Road.”

Trevor grinned. “I know that place. It’s a big resort. They’ve got RV spaces, lots of tent camping spots, and small cabins. It’s a little ways outside of Julian. It’s also pretty pricey, as I remember.”

“Hell, my uncle will probably pay for everybody.”

“That’s a lot of money, and he just lost his house,” Trevor said.

Kaylee laughed. “That house was nothing to him from a money standpoint. He’s very wealthy. He could probably buy this place if he felt like it.”

“Oh. Yeah, I should have realized that, I guess.”

Think this place is safe? Defendable?” Kaylee asked.

Trevor thought for a moment, the memories of camping with his family covering him like a warm blanket.

“You have good memories from there,” Kaylee said. “I can see it all over your face.”

“I do. This rig has been there, although by that time I was staying behind to work while the rest of the family went on vacation. When I went we only had a tent trailer and some pup tents.”

“But is it defendable?”

“Yes and no,” Trevor said. “There are some ridges the enemy could use, but the park is in a pretty dense forest. Snipers would have a hard time. They could lob mortar rounds in there, I suppose, but they could do that almost anywhere.”

“Sounds nice. I like the forest more than I like the desert.”

“Me too, for the most part,” Trevor said. “Can you tell how far the turn is?”

“Just a sec.” She brought her phone up and moved her fingers on the screen. “It’s really close. Turn right at the next place you can. It’s after a curve to the left and a curve to the right.”

“Really pretty back here,” Trevor said. “I could get used to this.”

“Me too,” Kaylee said. “Where do you want to settle down, after all of this is over? Back in South Bay?”

“I’ve always kinda wanted to re-locate. Probably depends on where I can get a job. How about you?”

“Hard to think very far ahead. You know how things change. Right now, I’m okay with following you wherever you go.”

“You think that’ll change?” Trevor asked.

“No, but I’m not an idiot. We’re just starting. We know each other as friends, but we haven’t been in this kind of relationship for very long.”

Trevor nodded. “That’s true. We don’t even know if we work yet.”

Work?” she asked, looking at him.

“You know.”

“Oh,” she said, face turning red. “I’m not too worried about that. It’s all we can do to keep our hands off each other.”

“True, but still,” Trevor said. “Look, there’s the road.” He made the turn, following the other vehicles, Ji-Ho’s massive rig still in the lead, ahead of them by five vehicles.

“The trees are getting denser,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah. I think they’ve expanded this park since last time I was here. I don’t remember spaces down in that valley before.”

“Maybe it’s a different park,” Kaylee said.

“I don’t think so. We’ll see.”

They followed the road. It curved sharply to the right.

“My uncle is slowing down.”

“The gate is right up there,” Trevor said. “One thing I forgot about this place. It’s a membership park.”

“You have to be a member to stay?”

“No, but you can buy into the place and even leave your rig here full time. There’s a mixture of short term and member spots. My dad was considering the membership deal, but it was a little too expensive, and the weather is a problem.”

Kaylee watched as Ji-Ho’s rig went through the gate and parked in the check-in lane. “What about the weather?”

“It snows. Every year. That means you have to be careful about winterizing your rig.”

“Oh,” she said. “That kinda sucks. Is this place accessible during winter?”

“Well, they plow the roads, as I remember. Might get stuck here a little while after a good snow, though.”

“Sounds cozy,” Kaylee said, stretching in her seat. Trevor parked behind Ji-Ho’s rig.

“Ready?”

“Sure, let’s get out,” Kaylee said. They left the coach as other vehicles parked around them.

“Nice place,” Ji-Ho said as he came out of his rig. Clem followed him with James and Tyler.

“Smell this air,” James said.

“It’s nice,” Clem said. “Altitude bothers me sometimes.”

“Hi, uncle,” Kaylee said, hugging him.

“How Trevor’s rig?” he asked.

“Great,” she said. “I could see myself living in it for a while.”

“Life on road nice,” Ji-Ho said. “I love it.”

“Me too,” Trevor said.

“I cover rental,” Ji-Ho said, “but we need to go in to get space assignments.”

“Thanks for the cottages,” James said.

“Yes, thank you,” Tyler said. “We’ll set mine up as a headquarters.”

Seth and Angel walked over, Kaitlyn and Megan following, chatting happily.

“Hey, Trevor, how’d the rig work?” Angel asked.

“Runs like a dream, but it’s only a few years old,” Trevor said.

“You’re lucky you have that to live in,” Seth said.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you warm in our tent,” Kaitlyn said. Megan snickered.

“You gonna do that too, Megan?” Angel asked.

“That’s for me to know and for you to find out,” she said. “C’mon, let’s find out what space we’re in.”

“There’s less tribal folks with us,” Trevor said, as he watched people approaching.

“The elders and some of the women took the children to an alternative location we have,” Tyler said. “We’ll join them there after we’re done.”

“Where is it?” Angel asked.

“Sorry, not saying,” Tyler said. “If you’re still with us after this, we’ll allow you to go, but until then we have to keep it secret.”

James looked at Kaitlyn and Megan. “That means you two need to keep your mouths shut about it, okay?”

“We know,” Kaitlyn said.

“No problem here,” Seth said.

“Same here,” Angel said.

Trevor and Kaylee followed Ji-Ho and Tyler into the office.

“Good afternoon,” said the woman behind the counter. She was in her late sixties, with an impish smile and hair dyed black, shoulder length. “I’m Anne. You Ji-Ho?”

“Yes, am,” Ji-Ho said. “Sorry, my English not perfect.”

“Well neither is mine,” she said. “I’ve marked up a map with the tent spaces and the cabins you rented. You can pick spaces for the RVs. I’ve circled the open ones.”

“You have a lot of members living her full time?” Trevor asked.

“Most take off during the dead of winter,” Anne said. “This year has been different, though. More people living here than normal. Probably all the trouble in the cities.”

“You don’t have problems with the UN throwing their weight around?” Trevor asked.

“We were just starting too when the townspeople of Julian kicked them out,” Anne said. “Still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that, though. These creeps seem to have a pretty good hold on the state government.”

“Not for long,” Ji-Ho said. He fished out his credit card and handed it to Anne. “I take this space, near top of ridge. Trevor and Kaylee, pick somewhere down below, in nice forest area near pool.”

“You aren’t expecting trouble, are you?” Anne asked.

“No, not at all,” Ji-Ho said. “This just stop-over for while. Week, maybe slightly more.”

Anne looked him up and down for a moment, then smiled. “Okay, no problem.” She ran the credit card as Trevor and Kaylee looked at the map.

“How about this one?” Trevor asked, pointing to a spot left of the swimming pool.

“I like it,” Kaylee said.

Ji-Ho looked. “That perfect. Close to the cabins that Tyler and the council are in.”

“Great,” Anne said as she handed back the credit card and a receipt. Ji-Ho signed her copy and slid it back to her. “Your space is remote, but there are two ways to get there.” She traced it on the map. “Look okay?”

“Perfect,” Ji-Ho said. He took out his cellphone and took a picture of the map, then handed it to Trevor, who did the same. They went outside and Trevor handed it to Tyler.

“Just took a picture of it. Pass it around. The spaces and cabins we have are on here.”

“Perfect, thanks!” Tyler said.

“Shall we?” Trevor asked.

“Maybe we ought to go up with my uncle and help him get set up.”

“Good idea,” Trevor said.

“Don’t worry about,” Ji-Ho said. “Clem will stay with me. We can do. We both old RV people.”

“Yeah, we’ll be fine,” Clem said.

“Okay, great,” Trevor said. He took Kaylee’s hand and they walked to their coach.

“This is exciting,” Kaylee said. “Wish we didn’t have a battle coming so soon, though.”

“I know,” Trevor said. “Let’s just make the best of it for now, okay?”

“Okay,” she said, hugging him before they climbed into the coach.

Trevor got back behind the wheel and drove. “This is a back-in spot, so you’ll have to watch for me.”

“No problem, I’ll guide you in. We doing all the hookups?”

“At least the water and electrical,” he said. “The holding tanks hardly have anything in them. We’ll have to take the long way around from here. Past the swimming pool and the big grass field.”

“Let’s see your phone,” Kaylee said. He unlocked the screen and handed it to her. “Oh, yeah, I see. This park is huge.”

“Yes, it is. They did expand it. There were no RV spots up on that ridge where Ji-Ho is parking.”

“It’s good that he’s up there. He can watch over everybody.”

“Yep,” Trevor said. “I’ll bet he’s been here before, and knew about those spots.”

“There’s the pool, to the right,” Kaylee said. “See those cabins? I’ll bet that’s where Tyler and the others are staying.”

“Wonder where the tent area is?” Trevor asked.

“I see it on the map. On this big flat area. It’s to our left, just about now. See it?”

“Oh, yeah,” Trevor said. “Surprised Seth and Angel didn’t ask to stay in here.”

“I’m not. They probably want their privacy.”

Trevor looked at her.

“Watch the road,” Kaylee said. “You can stare at me later. See where the baseball diamond is? Make a right there, then follow the road past the big open field and make another right.”

“Got it,” Trevor said. “You’re gonna like this place.” He made the right turn, then took the next right and drove a little past the diagonal space. “Okay, you can guide me in now.”

Kaylee nodded and went out the door, getting into the space. Trevor backed the coach in with her direction, and shut down the engine. He joined her outside.

“This is great,” he said, walking over to her.

She put her arm around his waist while they looked around. “Look, there’s my uncle. They’re pretty high on the ridge. He’s gonna want one of his Jeeps up there, I suspect.

“Yeah, probably. Let’s get hooked up.”

Kaylee nodded and they got to work, as others around them were taking their spots and pitching tents.

***

Gil carried weapons into the blue coach, along with the few personal items and pieces of clothing he’d brought from the house in Lomita. Karen was avoiding him now, angry that she didn’t end up riding with him. Tisha hadn’t been spending the after-dinner time with him either. She sat with Brianna and Haley, but Gil noticed her glancing at him often. They locked eyes several times. Something about her made his heart flutter. He came down the steps and saw Robbie and Morgan headed to the red coach.

“Hey, man, how do you like it?” Robbie asked.

“This thing is insane,” Gil said. “Can’t wait to give her a test drive.”

Morgan got a wicked grin on her face. “Gonna test drive anything else?”

Robbie laughed out loud, then covered his mouth. “Crap. Sorry.”

Gil shook his head. “You two are terrible. And by the way, she isn’t giving me the time of day.”

Morgan got closer. “I saw her looking at you, and I saw you looking at her,” Morgan whispered.

“Of course,” Gil said. “I’m trying to understand why she asked to ride with me, I guess.”

“She’s your type,” Robbie whispered. “More so than Karen.”

“I don’t have a type,” Gil said. “You guys are gonna tease me, aren’t you? If Tisha was interested in me, she would’ve talked to me.”

“She expects you to approach her,” Morgan whispered. “If you want her, you’re going to have to be more aggressive. Known a lot of girls like her.”

She’s the one who asked to ride with me,” Gil said.

Morgan chuckled. “She got herself on deck. You’ll need to do the rest.”

“So, were you putting yourself on deck when you came to live with me?” Robbie asked.

Morgan smiled at him. “None of your business.”

“None of my business?” Robbie asked, grinning.

“Remember what I told you?” she asked. “You could have had me months ago. You came up with that out of my league nonsense.”

“I know, I was stupid,” Robbie said. “I’m glad I have you now.”

“Let’s go to our coach and make sure everything works,” Morgan said, gleam in her eye.

“We’re probably leaving soon, you know,” Gil said.

“We are,” Robbie said. “Ted just told me. We’ve got about half an hour.”

“Okay, then I’ll get finished,” Gil said. He watched them walk away, then went back in the coach. After a couple minutes, there was a knock on the side. He went to the door. Tisha was standing there.

“Hey,” she said, climbing up. “Didn’t want to startle you.”

“Hi,” Gil said, heart hammering in his chest. “You have anything to carry in?”

“Just me,” she said. “Can’t wait to get some new clothes, or at least wash these. Sorry I stink.” She studied his face for a moment.

“I don’t mind,” Gil said.

“You didn’t come talk to me.”

“I thought you were busy with the women you were talking to,” he said.

“Don’t look down, look at me,” she said. “I don’t even care where on me you look.”

Gil’s face turned red. “Sorry.”

She giggled, then came over to him, pulling him close, planting a tender kiss, the passion between them rising in a flash. She moved back and looked him in the eye. “Thought so.”

Gil stared back at her, eyes wide, not knowing what to say.

“Oh, I’m gonna have fun with you,” she said. “Let’s push the BS to the side. We don’t have the time. Okay?”

“Okay, I guess,” Gil said. “What do you mean?”

“You were checking me out, after we first got here. Seen that look before. Usually I’d let you slowly ease into talking to me. We don’t have time for that now. We might be dead within a week. Hell, maybe tonight if we get hit on the way out of here.”

“You’re something,” Gil said, smiling at her.

“You gonna deny that you’re interested?”

Gil felt the passion rising in him, staring at her beautiful face and long straight hair. She looked scared for the split second before he grabbed her and kissed her again, hard, holding her almost too tightly.

“Oh, God,” she said as they broke the kiss. “I think I had you figured pretty good.”

“I think you did,” Gil said.

“What were you doing with the other girl?”

“I wasn’t with her, she was with me,” Gil said. “Her dad was my boss.”

“So, you knew her before?”

Gil chuckled. “No, I was the help. She wouldn’t give me the time of day.”

“Then why’d you let her hang around you?”

“She was scared, and I hadn’t seen you yet,” Gil said, bringing her in for another hard kiss. He had her off balance now, her breath coming hard. She noticed his confidence and snickered.

“Think you’ve got me under control, huh?” she asked.

“I don’t think anybody can have you under control. That much I can tell already.”

“We’re gonna have fun, she said, locking eyes with him again. “When we leaving?”

“Half hour, from what I’ve heard.”

“Okay,” she said, sitting down in the passenger seat and looking at the controls. “Diesel. You’ll have to show me how to drive this.”

“I will,” Gil said, sitting behind the wheel. “This thing is the bomb.”

She smiled at him, then looked out the windshield. “By the way, I’m taking the bedroom.”

“Okay,” Gil said.

“So are you.”

Gil smiled at her, heart beating quicker again. “Wish we had more than half an hour.

“I don’t think we even have that,” Tisha said. “Look, they’re opening the big door.”

“Okay, everybody, let’s fire these babies up,” shouted Sparky.

“Yeeeeehawww!” shouted Tex.

“He’s crazy,” Tisha said.

Gil saw Karen following Tex and the two women who were leaving to his rig. Then he looked over at Tisha, and a smile washed over his face.

“Yes, you did make the better choice,” she said. “Or rather I did.”

The coach engines started, Jules in the black-striped coach leading the way out the door.

To be continued….

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2016

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