This is #NotGoingWell
My goal is to get the deficit gone this weekend.
Patrick wasn’t entirely sure where he wanted to take Finn. He could only keep Finn asleep for so long without Finn getting suspicious upon waking up. Patrick knew that he wanted to keep him away from the rest, but the exact location was unknown.
Rather than give Finn the dignity of any number of transport methods Patrick could have conjured up: levitation, golf cart, he had Robin track down Caleb to deadlift Finn through the woods. It amused him to watch Caleb’s struggles. Finn had at least twenty pounds on Caleb soaking wet, and he was indeed soaking wet. Caleb wished to complain about the rainwater dripping from Finn’s clothes onto his, but he knew better.
“So while I was out and about creating the storm and moving people around, I became privy to some piping hot tea,” said Robin, waving about a stick they had picked up off the forest floor.
Caleb glanced over with a confused expression of “you created the storm?” only to have his immediate memory removed and face fall numb at the reluctant clap of Patrick’s hands.
“Tea, Robin? Tea?” Patrick said condescendingly. “You kids with your lingo these days.”
“I’m a thousand-year-old spirit,” Robin said. “But I do appreciate knowing that I could pass for twenty”
“What’s the tea?” Maria asked, genuinely interested.
“Well, it appears that this one’s mother…”
Robin prodded the unconscious body of Finn with the stick.
“…is soon to be married,” Robin said. “Like, very soon. Next weekend soon. Were you invited to the wedding?”
Patrick made a look of shock that Maria saw through immediately, in the figurative sense. Maria did possess the capability of staring through solid objects, but she was focusing on the surface layer expression on Patrick’s face that didn’t have an ounce of honesty.
“You didn’t tell me that they were getting married,” Maria said. “Is this why we’re doing this now?”
Maria stopped in her tracks. Patrick, Robin, Caleb, and the limp body of Finn continued for a few more paces before, fully aware that Maria had halted her own progress, before they were commanded to a halt by the sound of Maria clearing her throat. They stopped out of a sense of social obligation, not some kind of magic.
“You want her back, don’t you,” she said. “Here I was thinking that you just wanted to be a dick to Al, but you’re trying to stop a wedding.”
“I am doing nothing of the such-”
“And here I was thinking I was the one who cared a little too much about these non-magical human shitbags,” Maria said. “And you’re over here trying to get back with Heidi.”
Patrick tried to speak but Maria was on a roll now and offering no spaces for outside commentary.
“You’ve told me every day since you divorced that woman that human beings are shit bags and that we are only worse off if we interact with them,” Maria said. “And now you’re trying to get back with one of them. You’re a laugh riot, Patrick. What else have you been lying to me about? I’m not going to be having any part of this.”
“Maria, you have the free will to do what you wish,” Patrick said. “Well, the illusion of free will anyway. But I ask that you please don’t tell them.”
“I’m not an idiot, Patrick,” Maria said. “But I’m not going to help you either.”
Maria spat on the ground violently, spun in a circle and disappeared in a cloud of thick mist.
Patrick swore loudly and clapped yet again. Caleb’s head sagged as before. Robin looked at Patrick with the same mild amusement one has while watching a particularly intense scene in a trash reality television series.
“She read you for filth,” Robin said. “Like straight through you. They should have called you Mr. Cellophane.”
“Please, enough with the youth speak,” Patrick sighed, angrily.
“The musical version of Chicago hit Broadway in 1975…”
“I don’t care, Robin,” Patrick said. “I really, truly don’t care.”
Without Maria on his side he wouldn’t have someone that could get close to the kids. He briefly considered burying Finn under these circumstances, but the feeling passed.
“Like, she wasn’t wrong,” Robin said. “That was your plan, right?”
“She’s too young,” Patrick said, ignoring Robin completely. “She’s too young to understand what it’s like to fall back in love with someone, something, that you definitely shouldn’t. It eats away at you Robin. It really does.
Robin increased their distance from Patrick a bit, mildly disgusted with this offensive spontaneous display of powerful emotions flowing out the typically much more reserved Patrick.
“Buddy, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt anything like that,” Robin said. “The last time I fell in love, it was with Jesus Christ himself. Like the actual Jesus.”
Patrick stared at Robin unblinking.
“Casual reminder that I’ve existed for like, a very very long time,” Robin said. “I’m obviously not going to tell you what to do with this whole plan you’ve set up—contractually I don’t think I even have the ability to do that—but consider the possibility that your love for this shitbag may be a phase, it may pass.”
Patrick laughed a jaunty laugh.
“Here’s a thought. What if instead of making me the one in the wrong here, you take my side and make her in the wrong?” Patrick suggested.
“I don’t understand,” Robin said honestly.
Patrick waved his hands and reconjured the crate of vials from earlier and once again plucked out the tall vial with a wide base. He thrust it into Robin’s hands. Robin held it like an individual with no experience handling infants holds an infant.
“Take this,” Patrick said. “And make her feel how I feel.”
“I thought this stuff didn’t work,” Robin said tentatively.
“Don’t question me, just carry out my orders,” Patrick spat. “And make sure that the others stay separated while I figure out what I want to do.”
“What the actual fuck was that?” Caleb asked.
Patrick clapped his hands. He and Caleb vanished. Finn fell to the ground and woke, very daze, very confused, and still very wet.
“I have literally never been more cold in my entire life,” Grant said, shivering violently.
While this was indeed a dramatic overstatement, Grant had grown up in Florida, so being wet next to a light breeze was enough to make his blood turn to slush.
“Finn where the hell are you!”
It was perhaps a half hour after the flash flood, and though they even more lost than they had been originally, Al, Heidi, Grant, Francine, and Darian had all succeeded in grouping back together. Heidi had taken to apologizing constantly, feeling fairly guilty that things weren’t going down as she had hoped. And with Nicky and Stephanie unaccounted for, they didn’t even have that giant tent. All they had were each other and the four gallons of water that currently saturated their clothes and skin.
“I feel like I’m in a rainforest, except it’s not hot, I’m getting wetter by the second, and there aren’t any cool birds or anything,” Darian said.
“Wetter by the second. Same,” Francine said.
Grant chuckled. Francine kicked him in the back of the ankle. She wasn’t joking. The water that hung in the air was alarmingly dense.
“Being this lost sort of puts all the car ride beef in a different perspective doesn’t it,” said Al, shivering. “I’m sorry for being an asshole.”
“You don’t need to apologize, Al,” Grant replied, also shivering. “I should apologize for prodding. It’s not a cute look on anyone.”
Francine and Darian exchanged looks that said ‘we were in a different car. I don’t know what’s going on’.
Grant was both worried that Finn had gotten himself in to some sort of trouble, and jealous of Finn in the extensive escapism fantasy he had created over the past half hour where Finn had found the cabins and was dry in a nice plush warm robe. This was entirely inaccurate for Finn, but eerily accurate for Nicky and Stephanie.
Francine, while miserable as the rest, was glad for the tightness of the trees. It forced them together and allowed for an organic reason to be fairly close to Darian, even if Darian was ice cold and miserable.
Darian was just miserable miserable. Finn was the main reason that he had come on this trip, and now he found himself wet, freezing, surrounded by two exes, the mother of his most recent ex, and the soon-to-be stepdad of that same ex, but Darian thought of him more as ‘that friend of my dad’s that’s over a lot.’ It was like all the worst parts about camping with your exes, bear mauling excluded, compressed into one miserable, half hour.
Heidi’s guilt took a back seat to fear for her son, and fear for herself. She had definitely overestimated her abilities to navigate without any kind of cell reception. Heidi was also very stubborn at heart, and didn’t want Al to have been right in questioning their excursion. That would set a dangerous precedent for future arguments that she couldn’t have.
Al was mostly just cold.
Nobody was really having a good time.
Robin floated above the trees as a butterfly. They could have been invisible, but there was no excitement in that. Robin had located the five guests that had regrettably found their way back together again. Robin considered separating them once again, but were they to split up that many people at the same time without another grand distraction, there was a greater chance they would collectively recall the mysterious act which would be undesirable. That’s how religions start, Robin thought. Rather than change their location, Robin resolved to make them split of their own accord.