Episode 16 – Encounters and Revelations

Hadley, her girls, and I work our asses off cleaning up debris. The girls are 10-year-olds and really like having me around. I guess it’s obvious Hadley and I have a thing for each other, because they stare and giggle, especially when we hold hands. It’s probably a no-no, but happens almost unconsciously. Basically, we’re all having a super time.

All of a sudden, pine cones start dropping from the sky. We look up and don’t see a thing. “Must have got loosened during the storm,” I remark. “Maybe I’m a pine cone magnet.”

It keeps happening. “Psst,” Hadley whispers. Points to a cabin nearby just as a hand tosses another pine cone.
“We’ve got company. I think you know who.”

“Oh, fuck,” I whisper. Obviously, saving a kid doesn’t earn me squat. No matter what, the jocks are determined to make my life miserable. It’s like they’re compelled.

Suddenly, a bunch of pine cones hits me hard. One bounces off Hadley. The girls turn and scream…”Hey, stop that!!!”

“Come on, guys,” Hadley calls. “Cut the crap.”

Lowell and Kyle come swaggering out, laughing their asses off. None of us think it’s funny, and the campers are confused by their weird attitude…pretty arrogant and unfriendly.

“Hey, Jesse,” Lowell says. “Watch your ass. Pine cones can be deadly.”

Kyle chuckles, “guess you don’t see ’em in the city.”

They shuffle up, Lowell winks at Hadley. They’re still fucked up….smell like beer.

I shake my head. “Can’t you hotshots leave us in peace?”

They look at me with stunned surprise. “Whoa, I can’t believe what I heard,” Kyle says. “Were you speaking to us, city boy?”

Hadley steps forward. “Why are you guys acting like this? You heard Alden describe all the work that needs to be done. Go help somebody.” All the girls circle around, staring at Lowell and Kyle.

“Hey, Jesse,” Kyle says. “Wanna go in the woods and settle this like a man.”

My anger rises. “Let me get this straight. You want me to fight both of you?”

“No,” Lowell says, “take your pick.”

“Get out of here!” Hadley cries. “You already got him once. Let it go!”

“Yeah!” A girl shakes her rake. “Get lost. We’re having fun.”

The two goons stare blankly. “So, you’re backing down?”

“No,” I reply. “I’m doing my job.”

The two know they look stupid. “You’re in for it, Jesse boy,” Kyle whispers.

“How about a race across the lake?” I suggest. “Right now. We’ll get this over with once and for all.”

“I thought you had to work.”

“Listen, if I can settle this for good. That’s fine with me.”

Lowell and Kyle glance at each other. “No way. We’ve got better shit to do.” Shuffle off.

I know where they’re headed…Kramers’…where they’ll get more fucked up and have an orgy. Can’t believe the Kramers are into shit like that.

“Thank god!” Hadley says. “What pains.”

“Yeah!” The girls cry, shaking their rakes in the air.

Hadley turns to me. “I used to think Lowell was cool, but not anymore.”

I stare at her. Feel like a bomb dropped.

“Did you two date?” I ask, wondering if they hooked up…don’t really want to know.

She blushes deeply. “Not really.” Leaves it at that, which is just as well. I’m afraid if I knew, I might not like her as much…but it gnaws at me anyway. Fuck!

To be continued…Read next episode