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What Lies Behind the Mountains

I was shot… I wasn’t gushing out any bright red juicy blood, but it was a vibrant orange blotch of paint right on my left knuckles. It was an excruciating pain. This is how I met Ian Patterson, on the paintball field.

It was time for the annual Mt. Lemmon family and friends paintballing trip. It was July 2nd 2009 that my family went up the road to the turn off of White Tail camping ground. I argued and argued that I only wanted to stay for one night because I wanted to be in town to hang out with my friends for the 4th of July, but no my parents said, “We are staying for 2 nights” and they also told me I wasn’t allowed to drive up because it’s too curvy and treacherous for a new driver. I had to stay on the mountain with no phone service, friends, or civilization. I was so upset my face was red with tears running down it, and my hair all tangled like a birds nest.


It was time to get in the truck with my family for the drive up. At this point I was steaming because everyone I had invited fell through; it was pretty much the end of the world to me. On the drive up I sat quietly in the truck not speaking a word to my uncaring parents. Only to my 14-year-old sister Sara, she was about to be a freshman. I thought to myself what has my life come to? All I’ll have for 3 miserable days and 2 nights is my younger sister who has always picked fights with me. I wondered if the kids that were up there last year would be up there again, that would be the only positive.

Finally we were there. I thought thank God, because I was sick of listening to my parents’ “old people” music and their talking of how great this was going to be. I was happy the weather was perfect, breezy and cool with the warm sun shining through. Before we got out of the over packed truck I saw this Really Hot Guy carrying firewood. He looked like a hot mountain man. I was like Sara, “Look at that guy he is super hot.”
Sara, puzzled, said, “You’re so weird Amanda.”
I claimed, “No Sara, I think this trip could be one to remember now.”
Sara, being the pessimistic outsider, complained, “Whatever, we will see.”
We unloaded the truck and picked a spot to set up camp. My family was arguing the whole time because that’s all my family does. We are like a family of raging bulls always butting heads.
After camp was set up Sara and I went to the giant ramada to say hi to everyone. I saw some kids I remembered from last year and I started talking and hanging out with them. These kids were my sisters age and younger. I was with them because I was too shy to go over and talk to the kids closer to my age. The Really Hot Guy was over there too. Sara taunted, “Amanda you’re a big baby you should really just go make new friends.” I finally asked one of the boys I was hanging out with who looked a lot like the Really Hot Guy if he knew him as I pointed to the Hot Guy. I thought to myself I am sure he knows The Really Hot guy, there is no way he doesn’t. The kid I asked was Neil. Neil just looked at me as if I were just a dumb blonde, which is not true at all.
I said to myself, “Wow, that didn’t work.” I looked at him with a rude face and said, “Never mind you’re not very helpful.”
I finally got the nerve to go say hi to the older kids. Some of them remembered me from last year. They all told me hi and welcomed me back. Wow, I was so mad at myself. I was
beating myself up inside, I still didn’t get the guts to even say hi to the Really Hot Guy because I was too shy! Being shy isn’t normal for me. I was so shy because just the sight of him made me speechless, it was ridiculous. I needed to get out the stupid butterflies out so I could be me again.
Mr. Roberts (the guy who set the trip up) yelled, “It’s time to paintball!” Everyone’s eyes lit up as if they were glowing. Everyone was so excited like little kids when they get candy. Everyone put their camouflage on, got their guns and ammo ready. We walked to the paintball field that seemed to be a mile away. Step by step we all marched on. I saw the Really Hot Guy off in the distance as well. Finally we reached the destination. We picked teams and thank God I got picked to be on the older kid’s team.
We started the violent shooting game with a 1, 2, 3… go! We started shooting the freshmen and the younger kids. One by one they got out. It looked as if we were winning. Then all of a sudden I yelled, “Ouch.” I was hit. A giant orange paintball had hit me directly on the knuckles of my left hand. I whipped it off and my hand had a huge welt on it. I was out. I walked over to the out of bounds where I saw the Really Hot Guy walking behind me, he was now also out. We started talking; it was like a dream come true. I lit up like a shooting star. I was so happy that I finally got to talk to the Really Hot Guy. We talked about paintballing. Then I asked, “Who hit you?”
He admitted, “My brother Neil.”
I explained, “Weird me too. I asked Neil earlier if you two were brothers and he just looked at me funny.”
He smiled and said, “I am Ian.”
I blushingly said, “I know.” With a big smile.
He said, “And you’re Amanda?”
I answered, “That’s right.” I knew his name because I had overheard someone say it. He knew mine because he asked one of the guys.
All of a sudden it started raining, so we all ran like mad people back to camp. We were like ants running for cover. It was time for a delicious lunch. Ian and I got our food, and we gave each other the flirty eye. Like the “come sit next to me” look. So we sat next to each other with gazing eyes, and I said, “Are you having a good time?”
With a smiling face he replied, “Now that you’re here and we are talking, yes.”
I blushed and said, “Aren’t you sweet?”
He commented, “Just to a pretty girl like you. I hate the outdoors I don’t even know why I am here.”
I said, “You’re adorable…and you’re weird. It’s not that bad.”
We asked so many questions like what each other’s birthdays are, favorite animal, color, food, number, and any other question you can imagine. We listened, laughed, and smiled at each other’s answers. We got closer and closer to each other. I felt like I knew him forever in just a day; it was an amazing feeling. All we had to do on the mountain was talk and we did. We were inseparable. We were two peas in a pod. Everyone looked at us as we got up together from lunch.
Everyone started noticing that we were hanging out a whole lot. I was all smiles and laughs when I was with Ian. There was never a boring awkward moment. Then dinner time rolled around and we all played fun camping games like spoons, Mexico, and these other interesting games I had never played before.
By this point it was pouring and our tent was flooded, there was even a waterproof cover on it. I saw water running down the side of the tent seeping into it. When you unzipped the tent there was a good 2 inches of water in it. It was horrible. I told my parents I was not staying in this wet cold tent. I would stay with the older kids in their tent. My parents didn’t want me to, but I finally convinced them with my great skills because there were other girls in that tent. The only reason I wanted to stay in that tent was to be close and warm with Ian.
During the whole trip Ian and I did everything together, we even brushed our teeth together. We got to know each other in every single way. The night before the 4th of July Ian and I went up to this place we called The Point. To get there you had to take a long walk through the dark woods where creatures could be. Once we got there you could see every single city light. Everything was so shiny and beautiful. Looking at the lights was mesmerizing. We were sitting on this huge rock where if you missed your step you would fall down into your death. I was leaning on Ian cuddling with him, and instinct took over I leaned over to kiss him, and he kissed me back. It was a magical first kiss. It was absolutely amazing. I think he was surprised that I kissed him, but I really liked him. What can I say? It was a perfect time and place.
During the rest of the trip, it was obvious that we both really liked each other. It was getting close to the end of this incredible trip. He said, “Give me your phone.”
I questioned, “Why? You could at least say please.”
He added, “Ok please, can I have your phone so I can put my number in it?”
“Ok I like that. Now can I have yours so I can put my number in it?”
“Mine died, so you will just have to call me when you get home.”
“Ok I can do that.”
We ended up staying another night. It took a lot of convincing of my parents, but I was having way too much fun to go back home. I just wanted to be with Ian.
Then the trip came to an end. We left back to Tucson. We live in the Tucson Mountains and he lives in Oro Valley. I called Ian right when I got back. I was so nervous my stomach started tossing and turning. I wanted to throw up even my head was pounding. I was thinking what if he never wanted to talk to me again. It was ringing and ringing and then he answered. He said, “Hello.”
I answered, “Hey, its Amanda what’s up?
He said, “Hey, I am really super happy you called, because I really like you and I want to see you again.”
“Of course I called because I really like you to. Let’s go see a movie soon.”
“Ok it’s a date.” We talked a while longer and I was so happy that he felt the same way as I felt about him. I looked forward to our movie date in the next few days.
We were inseparable. We did everything together for the rest of the summer. A month later he asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said yes. I smiled the biggest smile I had ever smiled in my whole entire life. Still, to this day he makes me smile all the time, because of the cute little things he does. For example the faces he makes, giving me piggyback rides, his honesty, the talks we have, the jokes we share, and the memories we have made together. I cherish every moment I have spent with Ian. It has all been absolutely breathtaking. I am so happy; he is the most amazing boyfriend in the world. Ever since our Mt. Lemmon camping trip we have been happy together. It has been 8 months and still counting…





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