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Kevin stepped out onto the deck and looked down on the tops of the trees in the deep valley below. Beyond that, the Smokies stretched out before him. The brilliant fall colors of the trees were bright against the blue of the sky.
The air was crisp and it wasn't long before his breath came in puffs in front of his face. His cell phone vibrated and he looked to see who was calling. When he saw who it was, he smiled and answered it.
"Hi. Did you make it okay?"
"Yeah. I was just standing out on the deck. We got a good location this year. The view is beautiful. There's even a hot tub out here."
"Sounds nice," Thomas said. "Wish I could be there."
"Well, your plane gets in tonight," Kevin said. "You'll get to wake up to it tomorrow morning."
"About that," Thomas said.
"What?" Kevin tensed.
"Well, something's come up." Thomas hesitated. "I'm not going to be able to make it."
"You're shittin' me, right?" Kevin gave a laugh. "I've been planning this trip for weeks." Kevin felt the old resentment creeping in.
"I know. But I just found out that I have to work."
"Thomas, please don't do this..."
"Kevin, it's not like I want to miss our trip. I've been looking forward to it."
"Have you, Thomas?" Kevin tried to calm down before his anger flared. He paused and then tried another tactic. "This was supposed to be for us. To give us some time alone together. To work on things between us."
There was silence from Thomas' end.
"Thomas? Are you there?"
"Yes." He heard Thomas sigh. "Look, Kevin. I should have said something sooner. I don't think it's working anymore."
"What are yousaying, Thomas? Are you breaking up with me?"
More silence from the other end.
"I see," Kevin said. "You know you could have told me before now. Before I made all of these plans. Before I drove up here."
"I didn't know what to say," Thomas said. "How to tell you..."
"You don't seem to be having trouble right now."
"Kevin, don't be that way--"
"You bastard." Kevin stopped any pretense now. "Don't tell me how to be."
"Fuck you, Thomas. I've had enough of your indecision and bullshit." With that, Kevin disconnected the call.
He stood with his hands on his hips and looked around the small cabin. His bags were still where he had left them, on the floor just inside of the door. He sank down on the couch and rested his head in his hands. It wasn't long before his shoulders started shaking and he began sobbing quietly.