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Big thanks to Jack Orff for his editing!
As I walked through the main door of the lodge I could not help the flutter of excited nerves that danced in my belly. Since I was 14 years old I had been going to this camp every summer, now I was old enough to work as a camp counselor here.
Ever since my 18th birthday last April, I had been looking forward to this summer. Hidden Woods Camp was a great camp with all the activities they offered . Canoeing; hiking; the ropes course; swimming; horseback riding and much more. That was not what I was looking forward to though. The main reason that made me want to be on the staff list and off the camper list… was Jared. Yeah, I wanted to do the counselor thing too, but he was a bonus I could not pass up. His first year at camp as a counselor was my second as camper, I had the kid crush from the start, and I would only admit that to myself.
“Hi!” A perky voice interrupted my thoughts and startled me into dropping my duffle bag. “Welcome to Hidden Woods Camp, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” The voice belonged to a petite blond middle aged woman. She had a name tag on her T-shirt that said her name was Judy, and with a smile she held out her hand. “I’m Judy Dancy, the Camp Owner. You must be Kayla. I’m so glad you decided to join our staff this year.”
“Thank you.” I smiled and shook the likeable woman’s hand. “I’ve always loved this camp. And you didn’t scare me, my mind was just wandering.” I pushed a lock of brown hair behind my ear that had fallen out of my ponytail and into my eyes. Judy nodded and shifted the small stack of papers in her arms, and stepped up beside me. I am about 5’6″ and I could almost see over her head.
“I do that at times too.” The older woman said with a wink. “Well, let me show you where the staff rooms are. I remember you from your past years here, so I don’t think I will need to give you the full tour.” With that said, Judy started off down the long hall towards the stairs at the end. I picked my bag up, shifted my backpack to a more comfortable place on my back and hurried to catch up.
“The staff bathrooms are here on the right.” Judy spoke in a tour guide voice as we left the stairs. “The girl’s rooms are on the far end of the common room, and the guy’s rooms are on this end.” She said, and pointed to the back corners of the room as we stepped into the open space. Looking around I took in the brick walls, big windows showing the trees and pathways surrounding the building. There was an old upright piano against one wall with a seating corner near it. Wooden armed couches and chairs gave it the ‘good old cabin’ feel. A ping-pong table dominated most of the space between the doors leading to the bunk rooms.
“There will be dinner and ice-breaker time starting at 6 o’clock, and we will go over the schedule for the Counselor’s Week after that. Get yourself settled in; Summer and Mary are already here, but Amber is on the way and there are still plenty of bunks left to choose from. I have to go, so we will see you later!” After finishing her lines, she winked at me again then headed back up the stairs.
Once Judy was gone I took a deep breath then wandered into the girl’s bunk room. There was one bunk with the top and bottom already claimed, leaving all the others open for me to claim one.
“Guess that’s Summer and Mary.” I said to myself as I looked down the rectangular room. Deciding that I wanted to be near the door, I dumped my stuff on a bottom bunk just inside the room, and rolled out my sleeping bag. I stowed the rest of my stuff under the bed then went back into the common room. I couldn’t hear anyone else, and curiosity got the better of me, so I silently slipped over to the guy’s bunk room and peeked inside the door. From what I could tell there were 3 beds with stuff on them. One actually had a pillow and blanket laid out, the others were just piles of bags and bedding.
After glancing at my watch and seeing that I still had about half an hour before dinner I decided to explore the grounds. I turned to go up the stairs and about ran into the young woman coming down. She jumped and squealed a little.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” I gasped as I tried to catch the book she dropped.
“No, no. It’s ok. I get scared easy!” She giggled. “I’m Mary.” She stated, and held out a hand with bright red fingernails.
“I’m Kayla.” I replied as I shook her hand then passed the book back to her. My hands were plain, well, all of me was plain next to her I thought. She was a pretty red-head with blue eyes, pale skin and freckles across her nose and cheeks. We were about the same height, but she had a much slimmer body. She made me think of a suburban-house-wife to-be. I had more of a tom-boy with curves look, and I was fine with that. There were times that my well developed breasts made things interesting.
“First time as a counselor here?” She asked.
“Yeah. I’ve been a camper here a few times, though.” I replied.
She smiled. “That’s cool. This is gaziantep escortları my first time here – ever. We are getting ready to set up for dinner. Care to help?”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
“Awesome. Let me put my book up and we’ll head over to the kitchen together.” She said as she trotted off towards the bunk room.
As we walked back up the stairs and to the kitchen Mary kept a running commentary on what she saw, what she thought about what she saw, and what she thought about the guys she had seen. I didn’t have to say much other than the appropriate sounds. We walked in the kitchen and I saw that dinner tonight was going to be hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and dip. Judy was there, along with a blond girl and two brown haired guys that I had seen working here last summer. When I was introduced to Summer she smiled and said she was looking forward to working with me, she liked my creativity when it came to the crafts.
One of the guys, Brandon, was a tall basketball player sort who flirted like crazy with Summer. The other guy was average height, still taller then me, slightly overweight and joked a lot. His name was Chris and I could tell that he would be the clown of the group.
“So, Kayla.” Chris said as we set the food stuff on the serving table. “You have heard of the ghost that haunts the pond, right?” Summer, who was walking by with the bowls of chips swatted at him.
“Oh, hush Chris.” She said then looked at me. “Don’t believe a word this goofy dork says to you, Kayla.” She hooked an arm over my shoulders. “He is always trying to start trouble, and one day is going to find himself in more then he can handle.” Chris tried to look innocent.
“Not me! I am just trying to make sure she knows the local legends.” He held up his left hand and set his right over his heart. “Scouts honor!” Everyone laughed, and he grinned at me, winked then went to get the sodas to set out. At that point I heard a voice from behind me that I would know anywhere.
“You were never a scout, Chris.” The voice that said that sent shivers through my whole body. “And I am sure anyone who spends more then 5 minutes around you will be trying to think up ways to scare the living daylights out of you.”
I turned to look at Jared Cross as he strolled into the kitchen, and felt my stomach tighten and my heart start jumping. I made sure to keep the expression on my face as normal as I could, but I know I blushed. I could not help it, and that always made me a little irritated at myself.
He walked with the grace of an athlete and had the body to match. His green eyes and black hair, just long enough to fall into his eyes, always made me think of some Irish star in one of the romance books that I read. At just over 6′ he was the tallest person in the room and when he walked over to Judy it was almost comical. He rested his arm over her shoulder and kissed the top of her head.
“Hello, Judy. I’m officially here now, so we can start the party!” After he said that Chris whooped and gave him a high five. “Amber and Mike are here too,” He continued. “They are stowing their stuff and will be up in a moment.” The food was all set up and ready for us to dig in, so we all headed out to the serving hall and the dining room.
Jared knew there was something familiar about the new girl, but he could not put a finger on it. Her long brown ponytail bounced as she walked out of the kitchen and he could not help as his gaze slide lower and he admired the way her smooth heart shaped ass filled out her shorts. She must be about 18 or 19, he thought, but her body was already showing what a beautiful curvy woman she was going to be.
He had noticed her the moment he walked into the kitchen, he just could not figure out why she was blushing when she had turned around to look at him. Something must have been said just before he got there.
When he found his mind wandering, imagining how her body would look without the tight t-shirt and jean shorts she was wearing, he shook his head and tried to focus. Relationships between staff were not really encouraged here. They were not truly forbidden, but you were not supposed to go there, so he focused instead on trying to figure out why she looked familiar to him.
As he was thinking this she glanced over her shoulder at him and their eyes met, he felt a shock of desire hit him in the chest. Those blue eyes, shy but with a hint of deeper thoughts just captivated him. He was amused to see her blush again, and she snapped her head back around to look at the food as she started filling her plate.
I could feel his eyes on me, the small hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. When I glanced over my shoulder I caught him looking he wasn’t admiring my hair. I felt the blush heat my cheeks again, and had to break the contact of our eyes. I grabbed a hotdog and some chips without really thinking about it, snagged a cup of soda then hurried into the big dining/meeting room. There were tables set up in a square in the middle of the room, and there were name cards set on the table. I found mine and saw that I would have Chris on my right and Summer on my left.
When Jared came in with his plate of food and found his place, he was sitting straight across from me. While we ate I watched him out of the corner of my eye while I listened to Chris’ joke. After the food was finished Judy told us to clear the table so we could play some icebreakers. I learned that Chris was the middle child, Summer was born in the winter, Mary’s dad was a Marine and Brandon had a scholarship to play basketball for Duke. Judy had 5 kids, Amber and Mike were from Jamaica and were fraternal twins, and Jared was a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.
They all learned that I was a lifeguard and that I had been a camper here for the last few years. When that tidbit of info came out I saw the look of recognition flare in Jared’s eyes. The slight shock, which he quickly hid, and the sudden appraising glance. I felt my breath catch a moment as I realized that he did remember me, and I wondered what he remembered the most. I hoped it was not the super klutzy dork that I used to be.
We played some other icebreakers, tossing a ball of string around to make a spiderweb, a scavenger hunt of little known facts about the other counselors, and some other games. At the end of it all we drew names for a secret Santa and I got Mike. I folded the slip of paper up and put it in my pocket then looked up as Judy called for attention.
“One thing that we do here that most of you probably already know, is that we have an evening patrol of the grounds.” She stated. “It is for the safety of the kids who will be staying here, so it will be doubly important once they are here. We will have patrols now, so you will know who you will be on shift with and so you can get to know the grounds. There is no set pattern that you have to take, but you have to check every area, and sign out on the clipboards in the buildings.” She picked up her own clipboard and wrote something on it.
“We will have a girl and a guy on each patrol to also ensure your safety.” She continued. “The team leader will be the one with more experience here at the camp. This year it has fallen that the guys are the leaders.” Then she started calling their names and had them stand next to her.
“Mike, Chris, Brandon, and Jared. Ok, now I have the other names in the hat, and you will draw your team partner from that.” Mike reached into the baseball cap and drew a slip.
“Summer, you’re with me.” He said and winked at her. Chris made a show of rubbing his hands then closing his eyes before reaching in the hat.
“I have Mary.” He read her name and I heard her giggle softly next to me. Next came Brandon and he read off the name of his partner.
“Amber. Looks like it’s you and me babe, just like last year.” He walked over to her chair and started massaging her shoulders. It wasn’t until then that it sank in that I had not heard my name, and Jared was still waiting to draw. I would be on patrol with Jared. He pulled the last slip out of the hat and I saw his eyes barely glance over it before he looked straight at me.
“Ok, Kayla. You’re on my team.” He said in his rich voice. I just nodded and gave a small smile. Judy, who had been writing on the clipboard now looked up at us.
“Ok, since you guys got to pick names, the girls get to pick the order. Come on up girls.” She said as she put new small slips of paper in the hat. We all got to our feet and one after the other reached in and pulled out a slip. I looked at mine, swallowed, and heard Summer speak up.
“I have number 3.” She said as she walked back to her seat.
Amber was next, “We are team 2, Brandon.” Then it was my turn.
“I’ve got number 1.” I said and was proud that my voice was even. I could not shake the thought of Jared and myself out wandering the grounds alone… in the dark… alone.
“That leaves me with 4.” Mary stated, and we went to sit down next to each other. Chris leaned over towards me and whispered to Mary.
“Don’t worry about being in the dark. I’ll keep you safe.” He said with a grin.
“Safe from what?” Mary asked in her cute voice. “Is there something out there?”
“Oh, not much. Just some stray cats, maybe a dog or two. Might see a racoon or a bear.”
“A bear?” She squeaked.
“Don’t worry, Mary.” I said and slapped at Chris’ arm. “He is just trying to scare you.” Chris gave me a pained look.
“Aww, that’s cruel. I am not going to scare her.”
“Yes you are,” Jared said from right behind me, I didn’t even notice that he had walked over. And yet again, his deep voice sent a chill through me that I just barely kept from showing. “And that’s not nice.” He said as he squatted between my seat and Chris’s. Then he turned his face with those sexy green eyes to me.
“Since you pulled number one that means we have the first night.” He said. “We have to head out right at dusk and the walk takes about three hours, give or take, to be able to cover the grounds. Be sure to wear pants, good walking shoes and bring a flashlight.” I got irritated and frowned a little.
“I have been camping and hiked at night many times before. I think I will be alright.” I hated being treated like I was just a simple girl and could not take care of myself.
“I’m sure you will.” He said and held his hands up. “Didn’t mean to offend.”
Jared almost felt sorry for the dig he made at her, but when he realized who Kayla was he could not help it. This was the little girl that had been coming to camp about as long as he worked here. Only now she was not quite so little anymore. He remembered the first time he had seen her, the first year he worked here. He had been 23 and she was 14, all elbows and just beginning to truly bud out into becoming a woman. Then he had felt fraternal type of feelings towards her, and had tried to keep the kids from bullying the shy little thing too much. Now, she was something else, and he didn’t feel like a big brother at all.
“You don’t have to worry about me, I can handle myself. I’m not a kid anymore.” She said, with that cute frown still pulling her eyebrows together.
“I’m sure you can.” He replied as he stood up. “Then I will see you at the main doors at dusk.” With that said he walked out of the room. The moment he got out of sight and out of hearing range he let out a deep breath, and mumbled to himself. “I just hope I can handle myself.”
When Jared stormed out Chris turned to look at me, raised his eyebrows and gave a low whistle.
“What did you do to set Cross off?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged then looked out the windows. “Well, looks like I have just enough time to go change and get my stuff together. See y’all later.” I got out of my seat and headed for the stairs. I could hear Chris start in on Mary again.
“There isn’t much to worry about, but they do make sure that there is at least one guy on the patrol just in case the animals get too friendly…” Then I was in the stairwell, and could not hear any more. I hoped I would not have to calm Mary down after Chris was done with her. Then my thoughts finally cleared and I truly realized what was about to happen. I was going to be spending the next few hours with the man that had invaded some of my wildest dreams for the last couple years.
When I got to my bunk, and had pulled out my jeans I started thinking about how this could be a great chance to see what, if anything, he felt for me and see what I could do with it. I picked out a tight, low-cut t-shirt and decided to wear the black lacy bra and matching boy-shorts. Just in case, I told myself. I did wear my good hiking shoes, slipped my folding knife in my hip pocket, and grabbed my mini mag-light.
After glancing out the window and seeing that the sun was setting, I decided to head up to the main doors and start tonight’s ‘entertainment’. As I walked up the stairs I took a deep breath to try to still my racing heart and caught sight of Jared stepping outside into the dying sunlight. For a second the light brought out the almost blue shine of his black hair then the sun was hidden behind the hills. As I stepped through the doors I heard him talking on his walkie-talkie.
“Yep. I hear ya loud and clear. As soon as she shows up we will begin our rounds.” He stretched his tall frame and ran a hand through his hair, mussing it up and letting the wind play with the strands. I imagined it was my hand in his hair and just as my thoughts started heating up he turned around and spotted me. The blush heated my face instantly and I had to look away.
Those blushes were going to kill him, Jared just knew it. That, or the sexy shirts that she wore. He just barely managed to stifle a groan.
“You ready for this?” He asked, as they started walking away from the lodge. She nodded, and he hoped that he was. “Ok,” He said into the radio. “We are heading out.”
“Alright.” Judy’s tiny voice spoke back. “Y’all be careful. See you in about 3 hours. Have a good patrol.”
The first few moments were spent in silence. The only sounds were of their feet hitting the packed earth and gravel, and the crickets that were starting to sing.
Jared glanced over at Kayla as she looked away, admiring the view from the ridge road they were following that showed the country side for miles. He was admiring a different view that was just a few feet from his side. She had her hair up in that ponytail again, its silky length still managing to brush her shoulders. Her jeans fit like a second skin and he couldn’t see any signs of what type of underwear she was wearing, if any. The main thing that was driving him crazy was her shirt. It was low cut and he could see the creamy flesh of her breasts peeking out at him. He felt his body stir and firmly pushed those thoughts away. He had to keep in mind that she was just 18 years old, and he was just 3 years away from being 30. Jared cleared his throat and tried to start a conversation with the beauty walking next to him to get his mind off of how her well endowed chest was pushing at her shirt and bouncing with her walk.
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