It didn't take long for my cabin to smell like sweaty feet and potato chips. I remembered Chaz warning us that if we left any crumbs on the floor that the mice would start snuggling in with us during the night. I don't think anyone could take the guy seriously, with exception of course to his Riley Grayson story.
Brandon and Markus sat up in the their bunks on the opposite side of our room, shining their flashlights around the cabin. My mind was preoccupied with Michelle and the weird person hiding in the woods to even care what they were doing or talking about. I never did find out who was out there, as Brandon started sending me stupid texts wanting to know where I was.
Apparently the trivia game at the fire was pretty cool, and my group of so-called friends managed to win second prize. We all got a Stoneway T-shirt and a wrist band. Brandon, the jerk that he was, convinced everyone in our cabin that I didn't deserve it because I was out looking for 'my new best friend'. He ended up giving the shirt and wrist band to Sarah.
Man, I disliked him sometimes.
I turned on my phone and opened one of my favorite games.
"So, did you find your friend Simon?" Brandon shined the light in my face and threw a dirty sock at me.
"No," I mumbled.
"We should put Simon's bed on that raft tonight while he's sleeping and push him out into the middle of the lake." Brandon tossed his flashlight on his pillow and reached into his chip bag, picking out the leftover crumbs. "Can you imagine the look on his face when he would wake up?"
Markus jumped off his bed and opened up the video recorder on his phone. He climbed up onto my ladder and shoved the camera in my face. "So Wesley, tell us, what is it like being friends with Ravensdale's biggest loser?"
"Very funny," I replied.
Brandon stepped down from his bed and stood in the middle of the room. "We should totally do this. We can bring him to the point where that Grayson kid is supposed to jump out of the water every night."
"And how do you suppose you're going to get the raft out there? Do you plan on swimming?" I blew some strands of hair out of my eyes, focusing on my game.
"No, we'd hijack a canoe." Brandon laughed, rubbing condensation off the window by his bed. He covered the sides of his face and peered out toward the lake.
"Good luck.” I turned over and faced the wall.
Brandon was relentless. I had no idea why he had to find every possible opportunity to tear this poor Simon kid down. I did my best to tune them out. Michelle was right, there really was nothing I could do to stop them, and the last thing I wanted was to be kicked out of a group that I worked so hard to build.
Our cabin stayed up quite late that night, playing video games, talking about girls and playing truth or dare. Thankfully the topic had steered away from Simon and the ridiculous idea of putting him out in the middle of the lake.
I was half asleep when Markus shoved his camera back in my face. “Okay, your turn Wesley. Truth or dare?”
I was done for the night, but didn’t want to stir up any negativity, seeing that I was already feeling a bit of tension from the guys. “Truth,” I replied.
“Who was the last girl you kissed?” Markus looked intently through the screen of his phone. His thick black eyebrows squeezed together as he waited for my response.
I thought about his question. I knew I had to tell the truth, but I didn’t want to be the type of guy to kiss and tell - not that I actually kissed Michelle, but hugging her was pretty awesome. I mean, it was almost a kiss - sort of.
“Face it dude, you haven’t kissed anyone except your mom.” Brandon didn’t take his eyes away from his phone. The one wrinkle in his forehead and the half grin on his chops just boiled me up inside.
I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up ready for a busy day. “Michelle Heartly,” I muttered under my breath. “I kissed Michelle Heartly.”
I’m not sure what the guys talked about after that because I pulled my sleeping bag over my face and plugged my earbuds into my phone. I could only remember hearing a couple songs before falling asleep - only I didn’t sleep very long. I woke up sweating and desperately needing to go to the washroom. I guess downing three cans of soda before going to sleep wasn’t a bright idea.
I slipped out of the cabin and stepped onto the sand. I was surprised how quiet the guys were, considering Gus and Clay were notorious for snoring louder than a herd of elephants. At least that was what it sounded like at Brandon’s sleepover party in the summer.
As I finished up washing my hands in, I saw a girl creeping out of the girl’s washrooms in the corner of my eye. When she stepped under the light by the path, I saw that it was Michelle.
“Hey,” I poked my head out of the boys’ washroom and, closing the squeaky door behind me. “What are you doing?” I knew it was a stupid question, but I didn’t know what else to say.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she replied. “Thought I’d get some air.”
“Yeah, me too.”
The branches from the red pines rustled over us as a light breeze pushed by. It felt as though they were whispering to each other, spreading their wisdom around the lake.
Michelle fixed the button on her baggy pj-shirt and pointed to my cabin. “Is that where you’re sleeping?”
I nodded and kicked a stone across the path. “Yup.”
Tiny moths and bugs fluttered about the lights surrounding the cabins and boardwalk.
"Well, I guess I better get back before Mackleby notices I'm gone."
"Seriously? Is he still checking cabins?"
Michelle pulled on her hair, stroking it between her fingers. "Probably."
Along the path, near the lake, a group of shadowy objects scampered past one of the light poles. The sound of muffled laughter eased up over the roofs and down to Michelle and me. We stepped away from the light and ducked around one of the girl’s cabins. I wasn’t sure right away who was out there, but when I saw the silhouettes of four boys racing up the sandy path and into my cabin, I quickly figured it out.
“Oh man, I got a bad feeling,” I muttered.
Michelle grabbed hold of my arm and squeezed it. She smelled like flowers and shampoo. “What’s going on? Was that Brandon and the guys?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“What were they doing?”
The cabin door closed and Brandon’s flashlight beamed out through the window. “I can’t believe they actually followed through with it.”
“Followed through with what?” Michelle let go of my arm and fixed her flip flops.
“We need to go to the lake, right now,” I said. “Come on, follow me.”
We skipped over the sandy path and cut through the trees. I figured the guys would notice I wasn’t in the bed, but I didn’t care. For all I knew, poor Simon was out there drifting into the middle of Lake Stoneway.
“What’s going on Wesley? I’m scared.
I grabbed Michelle’s hand and raced along the shore toward the fire pit. Fresh foot prints scattered out around the sand leading to the docks. I scanned the darkness, relying on the light from the moon. As I got closer to the canoes, a faint murmur stirred out through the silent air. Near the point, the outline of a dark figure crept over the rocks.
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