Adrenaline had taken over, screaming for him to either jump out of the car or take hold of the steering wheel. Why wouldn’t his friend pull over? Where was he taking him?
“Get out,” his friend muttered after abruptly stopping the car in a field. A terrible feeling hit him in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t know where he was or what was going through his friend’s mind. Had he discovered the secret he’d been keeping from him?
For Mike and Jim, nothing was more important to them than their friendship. The pair had been best buds since they were eight years old, and their friendship had seen them through heartbreak, loss, tragedy, and new experiences.
If there was one thing Mike felt he knew for certain, it was that he could rely on Jim for pretty much anything. And most importantly, he knew he could trust him. Or so he thought.
It was a warm summer’s day when Mike decided to go to the city to spend a gift certificate he had been given for his birthday the previous weekend.
As Mike browsed the busy mall, he spotted Jim. Mike went over for a hug, but Jim pushed him off dismissively. What had gotten into him?
Although Mike trusted Jim, he hadn’t been entirely honest with him. He had been keeping a secret from his friend for two months now. He’d wanted to tell him, but he was terrified of how he would react.
Jim stared at him with a stern look on his face before swiftly walking out of the shop. Had he somehow found out? Was their friendship over? Mike’s heart sank into his stomach.
For the past two months, Mike had been secretly dating Jim’s sister Ronnie. Both Mike and Ronnie decided to keep their relationship under wraps because Jim would flip if he ever found out.
They had been super careful, making sure they never arranged to meet anywhere that Jim might be. Mike was certain their secret was safe. Unless…
Later that afternoon, Mike was sat in a local coffee shop when a strong rush of guilt started to work away at his conscience. He had to find a way to know for sure if Jim had found out about him and Ronnie.
He didn’t want their friendship to end over something like this – he actually really liked the girl. Mike waited nervously for Jim to answer his invitation to meet him at the coffee shop. Eventually, a notification appeared on his phone.
To Mike’s surprise, Jim replied and agreed to meet up with him. “On my way,” read the abrupt message. No emojis, no gifs, nothing.
While Mike was sat waiting, tapping his feet and nervously sipping at his second coffee, he realized that beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. This was not going to be pretty.
Mike had waited on tenterhooks for 45 minutes and Jim still hadn’t shown up. Where was he? Did he leave him hanging on purpose? Perhaps this was his way of getting some petty revenge.
He tried calling Jim, but his phone was off. If Jim was giving Mike the silent treatment to make him feel nerous, it was certainly working. Finally, a message from Jim flashed up on the screen – and now Mike even more stumped.
“Change of plan. I’ll pick you up and we can go somewhere else,” read the message, just as abruptly as the first.
Mike read the text back a couple of times. Was there a reason they had to go somewhere else? Were there too many witnesses to the black eye he had coming to him? “Sure thing,” Mike replied nervously, but he regretted it the second he hit “send.”
Mike waited outside the coffee shop for Jim, psyching himself up for the bruising his friend was about to lay on him. But little did he know that Jim had something much bigger in store for him.
He swallowed hard as he spotted Jim’s car pulling around the corner. This was it. Before he could approach the car, Jim rolled down the window. “Get in!” he barked.
Mike did what he was told and hopped in the car. Jim didn’t even say hello; no handshake either. Despite the fact they were sitting down, Mike felt intimidated by how much taller Jim was than him.
“Where are we going?” Mike asked. “You’ll see,” Jim replied distantly, his eyes focused on the road and his fists clenched tightly around the wheel. Mike watched as Jim pulled onto the highway. Then suddenly, it clicked.
Mike shifted nervously in his seat as Jim bombed along the highway. The sign marking the edge of the city flew by them. Where was he taking him?
An hour passed and you could cut the tension in the car with a knife. The sound of traffic grew distant as they drove down the winding, deserted roads. Mike was starting to panic. “Just wait,” Jim insisted.
Mike couldn’t take it any longer. Things were clearly not OK between them, so he might as well get everything out in the open, he thought.
Then, just as Mike was about to demand that Jim to pull over, the car screeched to a halt. Jim turned to Mike, his eyes bloodshot. “Get out of the car,” he muttered.
“What’s going on?” Mike pleaded. “Just get out,” Jim said in an intimidating voice. It was clear to Mike that his “friend” wasn’t playing around. Mike did as he was told and hesitantly got out of the car, his heartbeat pounding in his throat.
Mike had to make a decision. Instinct told him to run, but his legs had turned to jelly. Jim made his way over to the passenger side as an uneasy feeling crept up Mike’s spine.
“Turn around,” Jim demanded. “Jim, what’s happening?” Mike begged. Jim swiftly turned Mike around and placed a blindfold around his eyes before pushing him away from the car.
At this point, Mike didn’t see the point in struggling. Jim was much stronger than him. He led Mike deep into the woods. The sun was setting. Despite knowing his best friend was right behind him, Mike had never felt more alone.
As Jim pushed him further into the dark woods, Mike could hear the chirpipng of birds slowly fade into silence.
All of a sudden, Jim stopped dead. “Jim?” Mike called out. But there was nothing but the sound of the wind in the trees. Mike was sweating buckets as it dawned on him that he was now standing alone in the middle of a dark forest. “Jim!”
As Mike stood there blindfolded, the suspense was killing him. Did he deserve a smack in the mouth for sleeping with Jim’s sister? Maybe.
But you know what, thought Mike. We’re both grown adults, and I don’t need permission from anyone’s brother to date them. At that moment, Mike felt the blindfold whip off his face. And when he locking eyes with what was staring at him, his newfound confidence suddenly took a nosedive.
“Surprise!” Jim shouted, along with about a hundred of his close friends and family. As Mike’s eyes adjusted to the light, he was overwhelmed with relief.
Mike didn’t say a word as he scanned the scene of people stood amongst decorated tables ready for a belated celebration of his birthday. Then his eyes fell on Jim.
“Happy birthday, Mike!” Jim exclaimed. Mike was stunned. So much was running through his head at that moment, he couldn’t get his words out.
“Why didn’t you just tell me we were going hunting or something?” Mike eventually mustered. “Well,” Jim began, handing Mike a beer. “I figured if you thought I knew about you and Ronnie, there’s no way you’d suspect the party.” Beer sprayed from Mike’s nose at the shock of Jim’s latest revelation.
“You know about me and Ronnie?!” Mike asked, getting ready for that punch to the face he’d been dodging all afternoon.
“Of course,” Jim replied. “I’m not a moron. But you are if you don’t go over there and say ‘hello.’” Jim disappeared into the crowd, revealing Ronnie standing in the clearing in a stunning summer dress. What are friends for, eh?