JJ was standing in front of the open fridge when I get home, staring inside as if considering what to eat. He was wearing cut-offs, a ratty t-shirt, and he was barefoot. I goosed him, and he jumped, grinning at me over his shoulder.
“Camping this weekend,” I reminded him.
“Thought we were going home to visit your mom?”
“We can do both at the same time.” He was still trying to get out of sleeping in a tent. “Just try it, babe.”
“What’s wrong with beds? And screened windows?” He pulled out a couple of tomatoes. “Pasta for dinner?”
“Sounds good.” I hugged him from behind. “I ever tell you how much I love it that you like cooking?”
“Many times, but I never get tired of hearing it.”
We smooched a bit, and then he put water on to boil. “I’ll be right back,” I told him. “Going down to the basement to get the camping gear.”
He groaned, and I left. The basement is where the washers and dryers are, too. It’s…a basement. Cement floor, bare bulb lighting. You can’t get to it from outside, which is good; who wants to trot down the stairs and maybe stumble over a drunk or homeless person?
I unlocked my storage bin, which was basically a tiny room made of wire and wood; there was one for each apartment. After rummaging for several minutes, I found the tent, camp stove and dishes, air bed and pump. Sleeping on the ground is overrated; there’s always a stone or branch sticking you in the back, and the cold seeps into your bones, even in summer.
Back upstairs, JJ gave me a look as I unpacked the tent and set it up, shoving aside some furniture to make room. “It’s…kind of cute,” he said, watching me run flexible poles through the tent sleeves.
“This is a two-man dome tent. Easy to put up and take down.” I pointed out the various features. “Seriously, you’ve never been in a tent?”
I pumped up the air mattress and pushed it inside. “Come here, try it out.” I kicked off my shoes and we crawled inside and lay on our backs, looking up at the curved top. “Not so bad, right?”
“I could do this.”
“Sure you could.” I linked my fingers through his. “But remember, no food in the tent, ever.”
“Bears. They smell it and come calling.”
He bolted into a sitting position, eyes staring. “You’re kidding.”
“Not at all. Black bears are common in many areas now, including northern Ohio.”
“Not camping!” He crawled out of the tent.
I sighed. That went well.