I walked out of my cabin, it was 6 am and I was about to go for a little run. I had my running top and shorts on, my hair was in a high ponytail and I was about to tie up my laces when I heard someone yell, "Hey teammate!" I turned my head to see Quinn walking over to me with a smile. I felt butterflies tickle my stomach and I quickly tied my shoes up and jogged over to him.
"Hey Quinn," What was he doing up this early? He usually liked to sleep in, "What are you doing up at this hour?"
"I could ask you the same thing," he smiled. He was so attractive, especially with his hair a bit scruffy like this in the morning. He had the most beautiful brown eyes, which were staring into mine.
Laughing lightly, I said, "I was just about to go for a run."
"Seriously?" He asked, "Me too."
I nodded, "Yup, want to join me?" I secretly prayed he'd say yes. I'd get to be alone with him, and see him running. How much better could my morning get?
"Sure, let's go," he smiled and we started running off into the woods side by side.
After a while, Vivian and I found our way back to our cabins. We parted ways to go shower, and I told her I'd see her at breakfast. Vivian was so beautiful. She had long brown curly hair which she had in a ponytail for our run. She was athletic and could be girly at the same time, which made me even crazier for her. No one knew about my crush on her, not even Justin. I planned on keeping it that way. I knew Vivian didn't feel the same towards me, I mean, why would she?
At breakfast, I sneak peeks at her from across the table. She was never looking at me when I looked at her, which was a relief, because it may have gotten a bit awkward. And Vivian and I couldn't get awkward with each other. We were teammates for the Summer Challenge and determined to win.
Directly after breakfast, Spencer and Mara walked off towards the tree house. I saw that Justin's eyes were following them as well as mine so I nudged him.
"Let's follow them," I said with a smirk.
Justin nodded and we took a different way to the tree house. Once Mara and Spencer were inside the tree house, Justin and I stood underneath, out of sight. We could only hear, not see so we tried to situate ourselves in a different place, but soon that didn't matter because we heard Spencer started to speak and we froze and listened quietly.
"So, Mara..." He started slowly and a bit nervously, "I just wanted to say that I like you, a lot. And I have for the longest time."
Mara was silent and I couldn't see her, but I'll bet you anything she's blushing right now.
Spencer continued, "And, well, I wanted to properly ask you to be my girlfriend."
I looked over at Justin and he had a shocked look on his face. I listened carefully again as Spencer finally asked, "So Mara, will you be my girlfriend?"
"Oh Spencer, of course I will!" She said happily. I half smiled, not letting Justin see, she's wanted this for the longest time, and I could tell how happy she was.
I looked over at Justin, but he was already walking back towards the lake. Making sure Mara and Spencer couldn't see me, I walked over to him.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
I knew Justin was head over heels for Mara, so I didn't know whether or not to be happy for Mara or mad for Justin. I've tried to help him out, but of course he didn't let me drop hints to her. He always wanted to do it on his own, without anyone's help. He told me that if she were to like him back, he wanted to make her like him for who he was, not for what other people said. He didn't want her to be convinced by me or anyone else, so I had to back off. Justin's crush on Mara started when we were little. The first summer we met, he and I instantly became friends. Since Mara and I are so close, Justin befriended Mara. He's cared for her like this ever since. He didn't tell me until we were 10, but I already knew before that.
He shrugged, "I don't know man."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Nah, I kinda just wanna be alone." He looked at me apologetically.
"It's fine, I get it," I nodded at him before I walked away towards the cabin.
I entered the cabin and walked up and into Paul's room. Paul was pulling on his swimming trunks, "Hey Quinn," he said.
"Hey," I said and sat on his bed, "Can I borrow Shelby?"
Paul got his own jet ski last year when he and Emily won the Summer Challenge. He named the thing Shelby, so if I wanted to borrow it, I'd have to suck up to him and use that stupid name.
Paul eyed me, "What for?"
"No pranks. I swear." I held my hands up in surrender, "I just wanted to go to the General Store."
The General store was on the opposite side of the lake, and it takes about half an hour to walk to the other side of the lake, so if I had the jet ski, it would be so much faster. I wanted to buy Justin some twizzlers. They were his favorite, and I hoped they would cheer him up.
"You better take good care of her, and when you go into the store, don't keep your eyes off her. And if she comes back with a skid, scratch, dent, or pieces missing you're getting punched." He threatened me but allowed me to use Shelby, so I promised to take care of her and walked out.
I walked onto the dock, slipped a life jacket on and hopped on the jet ski. I was about to start it up when I heard someone call my name.
I turned around to find Vivian jogging towards me. I smiled at her and she smiled back at me, "Quinn, where are you going?"
Vivian was in a neon pink triangle bikini and she looked amazing in it. She was petite, fair-skinned and had big blue eyes, she mesmerized me. I looked up at her, "General store."
She nodded, "Oh, do you think I could come? I lost my sunglasses last night at the karaoke thing, so I wanted to check the lost and found."
"Hop on," I smiled at her. She grabbed a life jacket, climbed on and sat behind me, "Ready?!"
She nodded, "Yup!"
"Hold on!" I said before zooming off into the middle of the lake.
She wrapped her arms around me, and I smiled secretly. She was so close to me, I could smell her vanilla shampooed hair. I purposely went a bit slower so we could stay like this for longer. After a short trip across the lake we parked Shelby by the dock and walked over to the store.
I walked in and bought the twizzlers and some gummy worms (those were my favorite). I paid for the candy and walked over to the lost and found located in the back of the shop. I saw Vivian bent down looking in a box and I, being the prankster that I am, quietly came up behind her and gave her sides a squeeze. She screamed and jumped up, throwing everything that was in her hands all over the floor. I laughed and she gave me a Oh-No-You-Didn't look, her mouth open a bit in shock.
"Quinn!" She shook her head and smacked my arm playfully, "Look, what you did."
She gestured to all the mess on the ground, "I couldn't help myself, you set yourself up for that one, Viv."
"How?!" She started to pick up all the items that were sprawled all over the place. I bent down to help her.
"You were like this," I imitated her and bent down by the boxes, "And you couldn't see me, so I just went for it." Then I copied what she did when I tickled her.
She shoved me with her elbow, "Oh my God, I did not look like that!"
"You totally did!"
"I did not!"
We both laughed and put all the things back in the box.
"So did you find your sunglasses?"
"They aren't in here..." She said upset.
"It's alright, we'll find them sooner or later."
I patted her back and offered her a gummy worm. She saw my big bag of candy and laughed, "My God! Did you just come here for candy?!"
"Erm... Yeah," I smiled foolishly.
She laughed loudly as we walked out and she bit the head off her gummy worm, "You would."
"And I did." I laughed and nodded.
We got back to the jet ski, and had a brilliant idea.
"Viv, you wanna drive it?"
"Really?" She beamed at me excitedly, "Will Paul get mad?"
"Nah, as long as Shelby comes back without skids, scratches, dents, or pieces missing," I imitated Paul's voice.
She smiled and teased, "Well, I better be extra cautious with Shelby."
We got on, this time, her in the front and I was behind her. She started it up and zoomed away from the dock. I wrapped my arms around her thin waist and sat closely behind her. I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable with me so close to her, so I said over the loud engine, "Sorry, the seat is small back here!"
She turned her head back and smiled, "It's fine!" She yelled back. I nodded and I kept close to her, her back pressed against my chest the whole time as we traveled back to our own dock. I wished we could stay like this a bit longer, but she was a fast driver. We brought Shelby back to her original place and Paul ran up to us. He pushed past us and observed Shelby closely, making sure we didn't skid, scratch, dent or take pieces off. I rolled my eyes and Vivian and I walked back.
Everyone was about to eat lunch, so we joined them at the table. Vivian sat next to Mara, who sat next to Spencer. I didn't see Justin anywhere so I walked into the Westin's cabin. I climbed the stairs to his room and found him lying face down on his bed. I rolled him over and smiled, "Hey bro."
"Hey." His voice was monotone.
"I bought you something, I thought it would cheer you up," I tossed him the bag of twizzlers.
He smiled, "Thanks man."
He sat up with me and took one out and bit it, "C'mon," I stood up, "Lunch time."
We both walked out and sat down at the table and we started lunch.
As soon as Spencer asked me out, I ran over to Vivian and Emily. I told them and they were ecstatic for me. I am so happy! I've been waiting and wanting this for like 5 or 6 years. I'm Spencer's girlfriend. Spencer is my boyfriend. It feels amazing to say that! At lunch, Spencer was going to clear everything up, since he told everyone that we were going out like a couple of days ago.
"So, I just want to clear something up," Spencer said, when it was quiet, "I told you all that Mara and I are going out, last week. But that was just a joke, we weren't going out back then. But we are now, officially."
He smiled at me and took another bite of his spaghetti. I slightly blushed and smiled. Everyone was talking now, Emily and Vivian sort of cheered. Our parents were smiling and murmuring amongst themselves, Quinn, Paul and Tanner gave each other weird looks, Hanna and Denise were smiling at me and Abby gave me a thumbs up from the other end of the table, and Spencer high-fived Matt. I looked across the table at Justin who just silently ate his spaghetti. He didn't look up or anything, he just twirled his spaghetti on his fork. I wonder what was up with him. Wasn't he happy for me? I'm not sure if he knew how much I liked Spencer, but I'm sure Quinn's told him in the past. Well, he must have his own things going on, I shouldn't pry.
When Spencer announced that he and Mara were officially dating, I wanted to throw my spaghetti at his face. I gritted my teeth together and sat there, not able to look up at either of the two. I couldn't. I was absolutely heartbroken. I had a huge lump in my throat and I felt my hands clench. Thankfully I was beside my mom and Quinn, who both wouldn't say anything about it. Lunch was so painful. I had to sit in front of her the whole time. I couldn't even look at her. She was Spencer's girlfriend. I wish she was mine instead. I would be a much better boyfriend than Spencer!
He doesn't know anything about her! I'm Mara's best friend and I know literally everything about her. Who's the one she calls in the middle of the night when she's upset (even if it's the call is charged for long distance)? Me. Who did she come running to the day that she, Emily and Vivian were fighting, three summers ago? Me. Who knew that she was afraid of the dark? Me. Who knew that she hated sleeping in Tula Hills for the first couple of days she arrived each summer? Me. Who did she ask for a piggy back to the lake the other day? Me. Who covered up and pushed his emotions away whenever she came crying to him, just so he could make her feel better? Me. Who took a 4 hour bus ride to see her on her birthday? Me. Not Spencer.
She doesn't even know the real Spencer. He can look so sweet and sugar-coated when you first meet him. But try living with him. Mara didn't know about the many girls he's had in the past. He goes through girls like Denise goes through hair spray (which is quite a massive amount). Mara had no idea what a womanizer he is when we're back at home. She didn't know about the trail of broken hearts he's left. Usually, I don't really care about all the girls he's been with, I'd take no interest in Spencer's personal life. But this is Mara. Mara's different. She can't get hurt by him.
What will happen after the summer is over? Will he dump her? Stay with her? Stay with her and cheat on her? (I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he did that, he's done it before.) Mara just can't be with Spencer. There's too much she doesn't know about him. He wasn't good for her. He'll hurt her. If only she saw how much I loved her, she'd realized I'm the one for her.
It was finally time for the next Summer Challenge activity. I was really pumped because, well obviously Quinn was my partner and I would get to hang out with him some more. And I felt like he and I were really getting somewhere, especially after we went to the general store today. I felt like that went really well.
Mr. Taylor rolled over a big whiteboard with all our team names on it, Quinn and I had chosen "Quivian", with the points. So far, Mara and Spencer had 0, Paul and Justin had 2, Hanna and Matt had 4, Denise and Emily had 6, Abby and Tanner had 8, and Quinn and I had 10.
Mr. Taylor told us that the activity for today was a scavenger hunt. There was six, two person kayaks sitting by the dock, each one was a different color. Each kayak had a map of Tula Hills, and a clue (each team had a different clue). So basically, you have to use the clue to gather other clues. Each clue that you find comes with an item, which you must need to bring back to the finish in order to win. In the end, you must come back with all 5 of your items, and hope that you're the first to arrive.
So Mr. Taylor blew the whistle and everyone ran towards a kayak. Quinn and I chose the blue kayak, and read the clue - To find item one, find the area where you weigh a ton.
I scratched my head, trying to think hard about this clue. I looked at Quinn, "Any ideas?"
He shook his head, "Not at all."
I looked around and most of the people were still stuck on their clue, but Hanna and Matt had already gotten in their kayaks and started to paddle off, as well as Justin and Paul. I thought and thought, tapping my chin, pacing back and forth.
"The place where you weigh a ton..." I murmured to myself. Hmm, if you weigh a ton, you can.. break something... Where can you break something around here?
"THE OLD DOCK." I said to Quinn, holding onto both of his arms, suddenly realizing that if you stand on the old dock, you'll break it and fall into the water (it happened to Mara a couple of summers ago when we went for a walk and came upon this old, abandoned dock).
Quinn clapped his hands together and we got into the kayak. We grabbed the clue and map and paddled away.
"Vivian, you're a genius." Quinn said to me, high-fiving me.
"Not yet... If we get there and find our next clue, then I'm a genius," I laughed and we paddled fast across the lake.
Quinn and I were able to reach the old dock in about 5 minutes. I got out, and he stayed in the kayak. I walked around the dock, not wanting to walk on it, fearing that it would snap under my feet. I looked around until I saw a piece of paper. I snatched it and grabbed a little homemade detail. It looked like a bunch of twigs and leaves tied together to make some sort of token.
I got back into the kayak and read Quinn the clue, "Where projectiles are flung, don't step in the dung."
I had absolutely no clue. Quinn looked at me for a second, and then scrunched his eyebrows and lips. I could tell he was thinking, maybe he knew where the next clue was leading us.
"Archery field." He snapped his fingers and nodded before paddling quickly in that direction.
"Perfect!" I patted his back and then joined him in paddling. The archery field equals "projectiles are flung" and in the archery field, there is always dog poop, always. I guess the people whose cabin is next to the archery field own a dog, or maybe two.
On our way there, we saw everyone scrambling to get to their destination, rowing so fast that all I could see was splashes of water. Quinn and I had a nice rhythm going on, so we had no problems with our mode of transportation, unlike Emily and Denise. They seemed like they had no idea how to work the kayak. I laughed at Emily and pointed at her from where I was. She looked at me, unimpressed by my laughter. She gave me the middle finger and I laughed even harder.
We reached the archery field and this time I stayed in the kayak and Quinn went to look for the clue and token. Quinn easily found it, the clue was stabbed into a target board with an arrow, the leafy item also nearby.
As he ran back to me I high-fived him, "Good job Quinn!"
He smiled and read the clue out to me, "Tired yet?"
How vague. "What the hell does that mean?" I asked, leaning back in the kayak, we were never going to figure this one out. There was a couple of minutes of silence as we both thought about this clue.
"The cabins? Maybe tired refers to our rooms?" He suggested.
I nod, that's better than what I could come up with. We head over to the cabins, Quinn agrees that he'll search his cabin and the Westin's cabin. I'll take my cabin and the Taylor's cabin. First I go into mine and walk into my parent's room. Everything was neat and tidy, most likely my mother's doings. I looked around and couldn't find any clue. Then I ran up the stairs into my room, and I'm sure there was nothing out of place. My blow dryer and iPod were on my dresser. A few shirts were on the floor, and my wet bikini was hanging on the window's ledge so it could dry. My bed wasn't made, I hadn't bothered, I was just going to sleep in it later. Then I shook my head, deciding that the clue was not in my room. I walked across the hall into Denise's room and saw it was just like my parent's room. Absolutely spotless. The bed was perfectly made, her clothes were all hanging in her closet. Nothing on the ground or on her dresser. The clue could not be in here. I walked out of her room and out of the cabin.
Time to check out the Taylor's cabin. I walked in and went into Emily's room and saw it was an absolute mess. Clothes lying everywhere, bathing suits on her bed, a couple of magazines on the floor. Her hair products were sprawled out on her dresser and a picture of me, Emily and Mara sat on her bedside table. I smiled and sat on her bed, taking the picture in my hands. This picture had been taken when we were 12. We all in that stage where we thought high pigtails were in style and we wore our hair like that every day. I smiled and looked at us. Where has the time gone? It seems as though it was yesterday when the three of us were taking swimming lessons together. I heard someone coming up the stairs quickly, so I put the picture back and walked out of Emily's room. I found Tanner and Abby in the hallway. They looked at me, a bit shocked, I guess they thought no one else was in here.
"Hey guys," I smile at them.
"Hi Viv," Abby waves a little, "Did you get the "Tired yet?" clue?"
"Yeah, do you think it's here?"
"Well, let's hope!"
Abby and Tanner walked into Matt's room and found nothing, and then into Abby's own room and again we didn't find our clue. I walked out of the cabin to find Quinn walking out of the Westin cabin. I looked at him hopefully, but he just shakes his head to me, "Nothing, you?"
"Nope. Not a thing." I say and sigh, "Tanner and Abby have the same clue, maybe we should work together."
"No way!" He shakes his head furiously, "We can't!"
"Why not? We can help each other!"
"No Viv, they'll mooch off of us," he says as we walk back towards out kayaks, "Let's just do this on our own."
"Okay then," I say, "But where should we look next, if it isn't here?"
"I honestly don't know..."
Soon I see Tanner and Abby running towards the tree house. I nudge Quinn and point to them, "Quinn, where do you think they're going?"
"Don't know, but we're following," he grabbed my arm and pulled me with him, following Tanner and Abby.
Quinn put his finger to his lips, telling me that I need to be quiet. I nod and follow him towards the tree house. Tanner runs over to our old tire swing. Oh, that makes sense, TIRE-d equals TIRE swing! Tanner looks inside the tire and he retrieves two pieces of white paper. He mutters something to Abby and she points up to the tree. Tanner grabs one piece of paper, and one twig token and puts it in his mouth. Then he starts to climb the tree, and as soon as he reaches the top, he puts the paper and token in the leaves. He climbs down quickly and they smirk at each other and run off back to their kayak.
When I'm sure they're out of hearing range I curse, throwing my hands up in the air dramatically, "Are you kidding me!? How could they do that to us?"
Quinn runs his fingers through his hair. I sort of stare as he does so, I couldn't help it. He looked so hot doing that. Ugh.
"Don't worry Viv, I got this." He walks towards the tree and starts to climb it, one branch at a time.
"Be careful!" I watch him climb each branch. I can see the outline of his biceps as he pulls himself up higher and higher in the tree. I have to watch myself and make sure I don't drool. Why did Quinn have to be so perfect?
"I got the clue!" He says to me, looking down. I clap and tell him to hurry down. Quinn tries to get down from the tree quickly, but with the token and clue in his hand he slips and falls down to the ground. My eyes widen in shock and run over to him.
"Holy shit! Quinn!" I get on my knees and put my hand on his arm, "Quinn, are you okay?"
He turns over and shakes his head, no. I look at his arm and I see that he's landed on a root and his arm is all twisted, with a couple scrapes. I gasp as I see it and cover my mouth with my hand.
"Oh my God, Quinn, here, let me help you," I try to sit him up, but he winces loudly in pain.
I look at him apologetically and see that he's in a lot of pain, "I'm going to go get some help, will you be okay here?" I ask him and he nods.
I hurry off towards the cabins and I tell Mr. Marquez and my dad to come help Quinn. They run over and help him up. They said that Quinn should be taken to the hospital to get his arm checked out because it looked pretty bad, I mean, I don't think an arm is supposed to bend that way. While Mr. Marquez tells our moms what is going on, I help Quinn get into the car.
"I'm so sorry Quinn," I said, a bit sad. If I hadn't told him to hurry he wouldn't have fallen and his arm would have been fine, I couldn't help but feel a little guilty.
"It's cool Viv," he reassured me, cradling his arm to his chest, "Don't worry about it, I'll be fine."
"I just can't help thinking it was my fault..." I say looking down at my feet.
Quinn faces me and looks me in the eye, "Viv, don't blame yourself, it was a total accident."
I nod and wish him good luck at the hospital. He told me he'd see me after dinner, since the drive to the hospital from Tula Hills was about an hour away, and who knows when the doctors will take him in. I watch the car drive away and as it disappears I turn back to the lake and watch as everyone else resumes the scavenger hunt.
Heera Mullins: Thank you!!
Manda: I know, everything is just spiraling downwards for Justin.
Sasha: Oh, thanks so much! Here's the next chapter!
Sanaya: Thanks! And yeah, I've been pretty busy, and I had writer's block for a little bit.
Jasmine: Thank you!
Ellie: I know! Mara's decision will be hard, but right now she is oblivious to the fact that Justin's crazy about her!
Hailey: Yes, I love that when the main character has a little secret talent as well! I think it gives her more character.
Yasmine: Thanks! And yeah, The new girl seems like she could be trouble! We'll have to wait and see!
Mollie: Thank you so much!!
Brooke: Yeah, the decision between the two brothers will be a tough thing to do for Mara, but I'm still trying to figure out how Mara will find out about Justin's crush on her!
ATSG: Thanks so much! I've been super busy, and I had a small case of writer's block, but have no fear, I'm back!
Jena: Here you go! Sorry for such a long wait!
David: Thank you so much! Here's chapter 8, hope you enjoy!