Episode 18 – New Perspective

I’m awakened by banging on the cabin door. Jump up pulling the sheet around me. The sun’s out so it’s got to be fucking late.

“Come on in,” I say, hoping it’s not the Kramers.

Whew! It’s Courtney. “What’s going on?” She asks. “You’re supposed to be down at the dock.”

I hang my head. “Yeah, I know. I’m really sorry. Gimme a second and I’ll get my suit on.”

I balance on one leg trying to squirm into my suit underneath the towel…lose my balance and fall on the bed. Fuck!

Courtney smirks at me. “So…I see you’re a mess too.”

“What?” I ask like a moron.

“Don’t you realize Hadley’s in tears this morning. She’s worse off than you.”

“Seriously?”

“Of course, dodo. What do you think? She hardly ever lets guys get close, until you showed up.”

I’m stunned. Realize I wasn’t focused on Hadley at all…was wallowing in sorrow. Had no idea I was a major commitment…figured she was so beautiful, there had to be a zillion guys waiting in line….even entered my mind she’d go back to Lowell.

Bathing suit finally in place, I stare at Courtney…feel like a total jackass. “I’m a total fuck-up,” I confess.

She rolls her eyes. “Jesse, no way. You’re just like a lot of paranoid guys that date beautiful girls….assume beauties are unreliable, because everybody thinks they’re hot.”

“It’s not only that. She dated Lowell, and already has a boyfriend back in the real world.”

“Jesse, she was only being brutally honest because she cares so much. Lowell’s a self-centered shit, and her boyfriend, Kurt, is another ego maniac who cheats on her. She definitely hasn’t made great choices, but she realized you were totally different, the best thing that ever happened. That’s all she’s been talking about. She couldn’t believe a sexy guy could be so sensitive and artistic….but now, she figures you’re like the others…commitment phobic.”

I hold my head in my hands. “Shit, I’m so paranoid, I made my worst fear happen. I totally panicked when she said she’d been tight with Lowell..figured there was no way she’d stick with a guy like me…I’m rejection phobic. I’ve gotten so stung by popular kids, I try to keep my distance.”

Courtney puts her hand on my shoulder. “Look, Jesse, I understand, but Hadley’s totally committed to making it work.”

I study her face. “Do I still have a chance?”

“Maybe, I don’t know. She said you acted really suspicious, not like the gentle, trusting guy she expected. I think she’s afraid if this issue gets resolved, another will pop up.”

“Fuck! Where is she now?”

“Our cabin’s at tennis, but it’ll be over in fifteen minutes…then we’re off on a hike…you’ll need to sub at the dock.”

“Okay,” I say grabbing my flip-flops and shirt. “Give me ten minutes and I’ll be at the dock.”

Without a minute to waste, I sprint shirtless to the tennis courts. Hadley’s volleying with campers. I stand at the fence in plain sight, wave, but she doesn’t respond. Damn!

They continue for ten minutes like I’m not there, then Courtney joins me. “We’ve gotta go soon. What’s going on?”

I shake my head. “Nada.”

The tennis ends. Hadley lingers on the court gathering balls while Courtney rounds up the girls.

“Can we talk?” I ask.

Hadley looks up…brushes the hair out of her eyes. A big tear’s sliding down her cheek. “What do you want?” She asks coldly.

I’m stunned, hesitate. Got to make the words just right. “Hadley, I’m sorry. I totally fucked up. I love you so much I couldn’t deal with the possibility of losing you.”

She stares at me, trying to gauge my sincerity. “You didn’t trust me, Jesse. I was just being honest.”

“I know. You’re right. Nobody like you has ever given a shit about me, so I was paranoid. It was…like…too good to be true.”

“What made you change your mind?”

“Honestly…Courtney came looking for me, because I didn’t show at the dock. I was ready to stay in bed all day. Everything seems pointless without you.”

“So, that was it? Courtney forced you to talk to me?”

“No way, but we talked the whole thing through and I realized I’d totally jumped to conclusions without listening to you. It just seemed hopeless because of Lowell, and your boyfriend….and who the fuck am I? A loner who catches beaucoup shit because I’m not macho and totally into fashion.”

“But that’s what I love about you.” Her voice is suddenly soft and kind. Thank god!

“Jesse, I catch shit too. People assume I’m dumb and into all the typical shit…it’s hard to be myself.”

Unfortunately, Courtney and the campers are nearby waiting. “Hadley, come on. We’ve gotta go.”

Hadley walks by me, smiles, brushes her fingers against mine.

“Let’s talk later, okay?” I ask.

“I’ll swing by when we get back.” She’s suddenly perky…happy again. I’m stoked.

I watch them head out. “Have a great time guys!”

To be continued…Read next episode!