Ray hates car rides. Well, he hates long car rides at least. He almost wishes he'd stuck with his original plan of just staying home and ruining his eyesight further with unblinking hours of Call of Duty. Almost. The only thing holding it back from being full blown regret is his desire to not actually go blind before the age of 30. His last trip to the eye doctor proved his eyes weren't getting any better and his already strong prescription only got stronger.
That and he didn't actually want to be left out from another company outing. He'd missed the last one, which apparently was the second best one they've had. It's only second to the great Lake Party of 2012, where everyone except Ray himself got shit faced drunk and partied till 1 in the afternoon the next day. Even without having been intoxicated to the extent of poisoning, Ray can easily say it was one of the best times he had in his life. If there was one thing you could say, it was that if it was a Roosterteeth party then it's a great party.
The only downside is that they were almost always held somewhere super fucking far away that took hours to get to. Which brings us back to our earlier topic. Ray hates long car rides. They make him antsy and feel closed in and just limited. He squirms around in the backseat of Geoff's car, not caring about disturbing a sleeping Gavin who's currently leaning heavily on Ray's shoulder, snoring loudly in his ear. Ray opens his mouth to ask for the millionth time since they picked him up if they're there yet. Before he can even take in a breath Geoff stops the car in a nice forest-y area. There are other cars parked there too, all belonging to a Roosterteeth employee. Ray can see Michael and Lindsay unpacking their car just a bit away from them.
"Alright assholes, everybody out." Geoff said, unbuckling himself and unlocking all of the doors. Griffon looked at him with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.
"I mean assholes and my lovely wife." He grinned at her, laughing when she nodded got out of the car.
Ray opened his door and stepped out, making Gavin fall on the seat and wake with a startle. He blinked owlishly before his mind caught up with the situation and he stretched, stumbling out of the car and following Ray to the trunk where Geoff and Griffon were unloading their things.
They managed to get everything out without needing to take more than one trip back. Ray carefully followed Geoff as he led them to the clearing where the campsite would be and dropped his load of supplies as soon as he was given the okay. Gavin did the same whining that he shouldn't have to carry all that stuff after just recently waking.
"That's all your shit, dude." Geoff told him while starting to set up the tent. After a few unsuccessful attempts Griffon went over and helped him, and soon there was a nice tent all set up and ready to go.
Ray wandered around the campsite, admiring the nature and helping out whenever he was needed. Almost everyone could handle their own business, but every once in a while an extra hand was needed and Ray would offer to be that extra hand. Soon enough everyone was settled and started doing some exploring of their own. Ray ended up running into Gavin, and after goofing around with him for a while, also found Michael and Lindsay. They all sat together on the grass near the trees in their own little group, laughing and joking around.
"Why are we just sitting here though? Why don't we go do something like look around the forest or even this bloody huge clearing? I can't even see to the other side of it!" Gavin said, leaning forward and squinting off in the distance.
"Yeah, Gav's right lets go do some explorer shit. Even though I'm sure pretty much everyone else but your lazy ass did that earlier. Let's go find fucking mordor or something." Michael agreed with a snort. "But like lets maybe follow the path so we don't get lost like a bunch of bustas."
Lindsay shrugged and stood up, dusting off her jeans. "I'm game. Let's go find shit."
"I'd rather not find literal shit, Lindsay. Thanks." Her fiance said, standing alongside Gavin. They all turned to Ray who had yet to agree to the group outing that seemed almost in action.
"If I come with you guys do you promise not to turn it into some threeway and leave me as the dude who doesn't get laid?"
Lindsay pats him on the shoulder and grins. "Nah Ray we'd let you join. Or you could even be the guy who comes in and wipes stuff up and dabs us with damp towels when we finish."
Michael laughs, "You could bring us water bottles and lube."
Gavin giggles next to Ray, nodding excitedly. "Ray you could be like a pit crew! Only for sex instead of cars!"
Ray grins up at them, still sitting Indian style on the grass. "Do I get a hat that says 'One Man Pit Crew with a picture of a packet of lube and a water bottle? Or a T-shirt?"
Michael nods. "For you Ray, both."
Ray hops up and laughs. "Alright, I'm in lets do this."
- * -
They decided that they'd rather explore the clearing than the forest, seeing as Burnie was starting to grill in the middle and they didn't want to be too far away when the food was ready. They were a huge group of people with many bottomless stomachs. When there was food around you had to be there and ready or you're not going to get all you want. No matter how large a meal Burnie served, which was usually enough to feed a small army of bears.
They'd managed to get to the other side of the clearing, and after sufficiently terrorizing as many people as possible, (including Ryan, who ended up chasing Gavin around area until he caught him and threatened to throw him in the nearest body of water,) they wandered over to Burnie, Joel, and Geoff and Griffon. Michael and Gavin immediately began playfully harassing Geoff and Burnie. Griffon and Lindsay laughed at their antics, joining in every now and then to help them.
Ray walked up beside Joel and looked up at him, squinting when the sun flashed behind Joel's head. "What's up, Heyman?"
Joel looked down at the Puerto Rican, cocking his head. "Certainly not gold stocks I can tell you that right now."
Ray snorted. "I guess not many people are going for the gold." He tried to hold back a laugh at his own bad joke, but he couldn't help himself, especially not when Joel started laughing along with him, flashing white teeth at him.
"How long have you been waiting to say that to me?"
"Ever since I first heard you rant about gold."
Joel grinned and took a drink for his beer bottle, nodding thoughtfully.
"Got any other bad jokes?"
Ray's eyes lit up. "Oh you know I do, and they're all golden."
- * -
QBy the time Burnie had finished cooking, Ray was no where near done with his gold puns, and even started adding some stock references in there too. To be completely honest he didn't understand like half of his own jokes but, hey, he found them on the internet and thought they were funny, and obviously so did Joel.
The whole group migrated over to a group of logs surrounding a camp fire. Joel and Ray ended up sitting next to each other while they ate in front of the fire, Michael and Lindsay sat on the same log as them, beside Ray. Gavin and Ryan sat on the other side of Joel on the log next to theirs with Geoff and Griffon. Ray was halfway through his third hotdog and listening with rapt attention while Joel told him the story about how he had to eat an entire bowl of bacon bits when he realized he didn't have a place to sleep.
He didn't get the chance to dwell on it because he started laughing his ass off at the thought of Joel stuffing his mouth full of disgusting faux bacon just so he didn't seem like a pussy.
"Dude I'm sure there was some other way! You could've just not eaten it!"
Joel shook his head earnestly. "There really wasn't though! If I didn't eat it, I'm sure there would've been some kind of like, catastrophe or something."
Ray snorted, finishing his hotdog. "You can't even think of one thing that could've happened, can you?"
Joel drunk the rest of his beer and smiled. "Nope."
The sun was almost gone and Ray still hadn't figured out his sleeping situation. He was standing around thinking about it when Michael and Lindsay came up to him. He greeted them distractedly, a quiet 'Hey guys' all he could offer. He thought about asking them if he could share their tent but immediately pushed that thought away. He didn't want to intrude on them. Which is really why he can think of anyone to share with; either their tent already had enough people sharing it or they were a couple and he wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with them. So that ruled out Gavin and Ryan. Jack was with Cati, and of course Geoff and Griffon were sharing. Who could he possibly ask?
"Hey guys, is there anyone who I could maybe bunk with? I don't have an actual tent to sleep in." He turned to Michael and Lindsay, who shrugged.
"Maybe you could share with Miles and Kerry?" Lindsay suggested.
"Or Joel. You two were getting pretty cosy over by the fire earlier. And when Burnie was barbecuing." Michael smirked nudging Ray with his elbow.
Ray paused before shaking his head and blush, Joel wouldn't want to share with him. "Nah I don't think he'd be into it. And we weren't getting cosy, we were talking."
This prompted Lindsay to grin and join Michael in his teasing. "I think it'd be great for you guys to share a tent. Think about it Ray; under the same cloth roof as Mr. Joel Heyman, touching tips and such."
Michael cut him off. "No use denying the truth, Ray. You wanna touch his butt. That's life."
"But I don't-"
"Anyway Ray, we're gonna go to our tent, we're tired as dicks and plan on actually being awake tomorrow." And with that they left him standing in alone, still processing what just happened.
Just as Ray was weighing the pros and cons of just sleeping without a tent, Joel walked up to him, an unsure expression on his face.
“So I heard you need a place to sleep.”
Ray laughed awkwardly and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, uh, I was just thinking about not using one. I always thought it’d be cool to sleep under the stars.”
Joel’s eyes widened and he shook his head vehemently. “No!” He paused, then blushed and spoke in a calmer tone. "I mean, you shouldn't do that, just incase it rains or something. Or what if a bear comes and is looking specifically for anyone not in a tent?"
Joel continues to ramble on about other impossible possibilities while Ray watches, amused and tempted to let him continue just to see what else he comes up with.
"But anyway what I mean is, you should share with me."
Ray pauses, looking down and shaking his head. "No, no I wouldn't want to bother you or anything by taking up your space and I-"
Joel cuts him off quickly. "No really it's fine. I insist. I'm not sharing with anyone else so there's plenty of room, and I even have a really cool lamp too. It's shaped like a block of glowstone and it's bright enough to read by at night and I promise I'll turn it off when we go to sleep and everything."
Joel looks like he's going to say more, and Ray finds it adorable that he's trying so hard to convince him to sleep in his tent. Adorable? Yeah, definitely adorable, Ray thinks. He smiles and nods at the taller man, "Okay."
"I ask have an extra pillow if you n- what? Oh. Oh! Oh okay yeah, cool. Awesome. Let's go then." He looks a bit caught of guard at first, and then he's returning Ray's smile with one of his own, the kind that makes Ray's cheeks heat up and stomach flip a little when he thinks about them.
After they swing by Geoff and Griffon area to get Ray's clothes and sleeping bag, they head to Joel's tent. It's near the edge of the clearing, far away from others for that extra bit of privacy. Ray tries to bite back a grin when he sees Joel pull out a glow stone shaped lamp and place it just inside the entrance of his tent.
Ray goes behind the trees to change into his pajamas while Joel struggles with taking off and putting on clothes in a tent he can't stand in. Maybe he should have gotten a taller one, but he didn't see the point if he was just going to by laying in it and that's it. Next time he'll get one better suited to his height. Ray comes out from behind the trees, his clothes balled up in his arms.
"Joel? Can I come in or are you still O-Natu-Ral?"
"I'm decent." Joel replied. Ray crawled into the tent, dropping his clothes into his duffle bag before he started unrolling his sleeping bag. When he finished he noticed that Joel had already tucked himself into his own sleeping bag and was on his side, facing away from Ray.
Stretching, he slid under his blanket, turning on his side and pulling the cover to cover him all the way to his nose. He took off his glasses and closed his eyes, letting out a tired breath. He played there quietly for a bit, just listening to the relaxing sounds of the forest which were so different than the usual city noises he's used to. The sound of crickets and frogs from the lake not to far away lulled him into sleep.
Just as he was about to finally let himself drift off, he heard something whispered softly, and he wouldn't have heard it if the tent hadn't been as quiet as it was.
'What does that mean?' Ray's tired mind spared a second for the thought before it decided that sleep was more important than anything else.
He'd worry about it later.