California

"Wake up!" Mackenna nudged the boys. "We made it. We're in California!" She said excitedly.

Joe and Steve sat up and rubbed their eyes. The train came to a complete stop.

"I can't believe I actually did this." Said Mackennea as they made their way towards the door, "I'm in California," She wrapped one arm around Stevens waist, "With my two best friends." and the other around Joe's. She smiled up at them.

They stepped off the train and made their way out of the train station. Once standing on the street, Steven took a look around.

"We've got to find a place to sleep tonight." He waved down a passing taxi. "Hello, Sir, can you tell me where we can find a place to sleep with an ocean view."

"Ocean views aren't cheap, kid." Replied the driver.

"Well if I was a kid I'd be more worried about prices, but as I'm not, I would like you to take us to a place with an ocean view."

"Right, of course." the driver looked at him skeptically, "Well, get in then." Steven motioned for the other two to get inside, then slid in behind them.

The drive seemed to take forever to Mackenna who was exhausted. It was taking everything in her to stay awake. Finally they pulled up to a beautiful hotel with a perfect view. Mackenna slid out of the car in a daze. Joe could tell how tired she was and slid his arm around her shoulders to steady her, while Steven payed the driver.

Then Steve went inside to work out a room while Joe lead Mackenna to a bench just outside the door where they both sat down, listening to the waves. Mackenna moved closer to Joe and layed her head on his shoulder, he slid his arm around her shoulders, pulling her in. She felt safe, her eyelids became heavier and heavier until they finally shut.

"Come on, I've got us a room." Said Steven as he came back out the door.

"Shh." Joe shushed. "Let's try not to wake her." Steven then noticed Mackenna was sleeping.

Joe slowly swiveled around keeping his one arm around her shoulders, then he slid his other arm under her legs and slowly stood to his feet. Steven walked over and gently grabbed her dangling hand and placed it across her chest.

"Come on follow me." Said Steven as he walked over and opened the hotel door.

They took the elevator up 2 floors to room 305. They had a room with a queen sized bed and a pull out couch. Steven pulled back the covers on the bed, then Joe slowly set her down. They pulled off her shoes then pulled the covers back over her. Steven walked over to the pull out couch and began setting it up, while Joe placed a gentle kiss on her forehead then walked over to help his friend.

**********

Mackenna opened her eyes, the room was bright and sunny, the sheets were soft and warm, she could see the door of the hotel room in front of her. She felt a soft breeze brush over her face. She turned over in her bed, searching the room. A TV sat at the foot of her bed. There was a triple couch with pillows and folded blankets set neatly on top of it. A coffee table was in front of the couch. Then she saw the door leading to the balcony was open. Steve and Joe were no where to be seen. She threw the covers back and slowly got up, the floor was warm on her barefeet. She made her way to the balcony and stepped out.

Steven entered the room carriying a tray with a blueberry muffin, 2 sausages, and a cup of orange juice. He immedietly noticed Mackenna wasn't in her bed. He then looked up and saw her standing at the railing of the balcony. He set the tray down on the coffee table and walked to the balcony door, he leaned on the door and just watched Mackenna. She was so beautiful. Her jet black hair was blowing in the wind, her hands were set gently on the railing. She was still wearing her grey sweatpants and red sweatshirt that she had been wearing on the evening that they had all met in the park. Steve knew that she probably felt extremley grimy, but she didn't look it.

He moved from the door and stood next to her at the railing. Her eyes were shut, she was just feeling the wind. Her makeup was slightly smudged from being on for almost 36 hours. Steve smiled at her appearance and she opened her eyes. She jumped back not expecting someone to be standing next to her. Then laughed and elbowed Steve in the side.

"Don't sneak up on me like that," She smiled at him and leaned on the railing.

"How long have you been up?" He asked as he also leaned on the railing.

"No long." she closed her eyes again.

"It's beautiful isn't it?"

"Mhmm," She opened her eyes and stared at the water. "I've never seen the ocean you know."

Steve looked out at the water and sighed, "Why do you think I chose california?" Mackenna looked up at him, searching his face. He looked back at her and smiled. She pushed her arm under his arm and around his waist, pulling herself into him. He put his arm around her shoulders and let her lean on him. It felt nice just holding her.

"Am I interupting something?" Joe cleared his throat from behind them. The 2 spun around to face him. He winked, Mackenna couldn't help but blush. Steve saw that Joe was carrying bags and went to take them from his friend.

"Mackenna are you hungry?" He asked as he started pouring the bags out on the bed.

"Yes, but I'm more in need of a shower." She laughed as she stepped back into the hotel room.

"You don't look that hideous." Joe ruffled her hair and winked again followed by a blush from Mackenna. She was gonna have to get this blushing thing under control.

"Oh thanks." Mackenna said sarcastically. She elbowed Joe.

"Well come take a look at what Joe got for you." Steve was at the bed rummaging through a pile of clothes.

"You bought new clothes?" Said Mackenna with a smile. She moved to the bed to examine Joe's choices. "Where did you get the money to do all of this, Steven?"

"I've been saving." He clipped the bottom of her chin. Mackenna picked out a creamy white dress with blue and pink flowers and green leaves decorating it. There weren't any undergarments to be seen. Mackenna was partly grateful that Joe hadn't picked her undergarments for her but also discouraged that she was going to have to wear the same underwear that she had been wearing for the last 2 days again.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a long, hot shower." She said with a smile.

"You don't want breakfast first." Asked Joe.

"No, thank you, but all I care about is being clean at the moment." she stepped into the bathroom and shut the door.

Steven could hear the water turn on. He hoped Joe had gotten the right sizes. He grabbed a pair of kaki shorts and a red T-shirt and began dressing himself.

"Where ARE you getting all of this money, Steve?" Joe asked as he also started rummaging through the pile of clothing.

"Does it really matter?" Joe selected a pair of jeans and a green button up shirt.

"I guess not. It just seems like a lot more then you just 'saving' it." He said as he also began dressing himself.

"Look, man, I've been working my butt off for this money so that I could make you guys happy. I mean look at how happy Mackenna is. I haven't seen her this happy since before her parents died." He bundled up his old clothing and discarded them in a plastic bag. "Now if you're trying to accuse me of something, just say it." Steve turned to look at Joe with a hard look.

Joe nodded, "I'm sorry, dude, I wasn't trying to accuse you, I was just," He paused looking for the right word, "curious." He grabbed a black tank top out of the pile to wear underneath his button up and slipped it over his head, "So, what's the plan now that we're here?"

"Not really sure, I guess we'll just take it day by day." He switched on the TV and flopped himself down on the clothing cluttered bed. "I thought we should visit the ocean today, so that Mackenna can see it up close. Did you get any swim suits?"

"I got both of us one, but I thought Mackenna would want to pick her own." Joe sat next to Steve on the bed, grabbed the remote from his hand and started flipping channels.

Steve punched Joe in the arm, "Punk."

Just then the bathroom door opened. Mackenna's voice could be heard from around the corner. "I don't suppose you thought to get a hair brush, did you, Joe?"

"Actually I did. It's in that bag." He said as he pointed at a bag that was tossed on the floor in front of the TV.

"Did you maybe want to get it for me?"

"Nah." He said without taking his eyes off the TV.

"Steve.." She began but was cut off by Steve's blunt reply.

"Shh. I'm watching TV!" Joe and Steve high fived.

"Come get it yourself." Joe said.

"Come on my hair looks horrible. Just kick the bag this way."

"Let me see." Replied Steve.

"If I wanted you to see it I would just come out and get the hairbrush." Mackenna said. Joe could hear the edge in her voice.

"Alright, I'll bring it to you." Joe said as he stood to his feet. He grabbed the bag off the ground and looked inside. It contained two hair ties, a comb, 3 headbands and a brush. He walked to the bathroom door. Mackenna had only her hand sticking out the door waiting to take the brush from Joe. He put the bag in her hand, she grabbed it, pulled her arm back in and closed the bathroom door. Joe flopped back down on the bed.

Five minutes later Mackenna finally came out of the bathroom. Her hair was brushed out smoothly and laying flat down her back, she had a blue headband with a bow on it, in her hair, and her bangs drooped in front of her left eye. The dress straps tied behind her neck, and it fell down to just above her knees.

"So whats the plan." She flopped down on the bottom of the bed.

"The beach." Replied Joe, not taking his eyes off the TV. Mackenna stood up and looked for some shoes. She then saw a pair of pink flip flops sticking out from underneath the bed. She slipped them on her feet, shut off the TV and walked out the door.

"Hey!" Steve exclaimed.

"Lets go!" She called over her shoulder then let the door close behind her.

Joe jumped off the bed, threw on a pair of convers, and followed her out the door, leaving Steve sitting alone on the bed. He slowly dragged himself off the bed, located flip flops underneath a grey shirt, grabbed the 2 pairs of swimming trunks and plodded out the door after the other two.

The End

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