CHAPTER ONE: EXIT HARVEY
If it were up to Ingrid, Harvey James Hunter would never not be by her side. Not that she was an obsessive girlfriend or anything, but it hurt her so much to not be able to see him whenever she felt like it. She wouldn't be able to just pop over to his house or message him in the middle of the night. Harvey was going away for a whole month and what was worse, was that he wouldn't have any method of communication with anyone outside of Aero Camp.
So Ingrid found herself on Monday morning, the first week into Summer Holidays, begging Harvey not to leave.
"Do you really have to go?" She rubbed his bare arms gently, smiling warmly at him.
Harvey sighed, lowering his head slightly. His fringe flopped into his eyes, and he jerked his head to clear his vision.
"Yes… Mum's paid for it, Ing."
"Can't you get a refund?"
"On the morning I'm meant to go?" He chuckled. "I don't think so. Besides, I really want to go to Aero Camp."
"Aero Camp." She snorted. "Sounds lame."
A look of offence cast over Harvey's face. "It's not. It's interesting and I'm sorry, Ingy, but I'm going, and that's that."
The offended look moved onto Ingrid's own features. Her hands fell away from his arms and she stepped back.
"You're leaving, just like that?"
"Ingrid. I'm not just leaving without a goodbye. I will miss you so much…" His voice cracked. "I-I just want to go to this C-Camp so badly. Mum said that now I'm eleven, she trusts me enough to let me go, and I'll e-enjoy it more…"
He swiped an arm across his face, mumbling: "I will miss you, SPLAT and M-Mum and Dad, but I'm glad it's not local. I wouldn't w-want to run into anyone who I know there…"
She understood who her boyfriend was referring too, and quickly did her best to reassure him.
"Harv-Harv, if Jeff or anyone who has teased you in the past is there, punch them right in the face."
Harvey cringed. "I thought you were going to say ignore them and walk away…"
"I'm not Mandy, am I?" She sniggered. Harvey beamed back, before drawing her into a hug, whispering into her ear;
"I'm going to miss you so much. P-Promise you w-won't forget me…?"
Pulling back, Ingrid whacked Harvey in the arm. "Moron! You're my boyfriend! I would never forget about you, dump you or cheat on you! I love you too much to do any of that! You've got to be more confident in yourself, Harv-Harv!"
"Yeah, well… it's hard."
"I know." whispered Ingrid, but she couldn't really relate, as she had always been filled with confidence, sometimes too much for her own good.
A car horn honked nearby, and Mrs Hunter stuck her head out of the open window.
"Come on, Harvey! We need to get going!"
"In a minute, Mum!"
He stared at Ingrid lovingly, before encasing her lips with his own. They snogged passionately for a full minute, before Harvey broke away with a gasp, asthma pump wrenched out of his pocket.
Ingrid smoothed her tongue over her lips as Harvey pocketed the inhaler and pressed a chaste kiss to her forehead.
"Love you. See you later."
She folded her arms over her chest, tilting her head in amusement as Harvey made his way over to the family car and climbed into the front passenger seat. Mrs Hunter called out a goodbye to Ingrid from the driver's side, before starting up the engine and backing out of the drive. Harvey waved at her from behind the wind screen, and Ingrid returned the wave with a waggle of her fingers, smile dropping as soon as the car was out of sight.
Not wanting to stick around and lament her boyfriend's departure, Ingrid returned home, preparing to lock herself away in her room, stuff herself silly and watch dozens of comedies.
Alas, her plans fell through as soon as she arrived home. For Mandy was waiting for her in the living room.
"Hey Ingrid, did you get to see Harvey before he left?"
Masking her pain, Ingrid nodded and sat down on the sofa beside her neighbour and friend.
"Yeah. What you here for?"
Mandy was used to Ingrid's blunt way of speaking, so pressed on with an answer.
"Lloyd wants everyone to gather at the Shed. We're going to be discussing our plans for the Summer. I can't wait! I love Summer!"
"Same… when Harvey's around. Why are we having a SPLAT meeting without Harvey? Oh, this is going to suck! I already miss him like mad!"
Mandy slung an arm around the younger girl's neck and said warmly: "Hey, I know it'll be hard for you without Harvey, but you still have us! We may be a member down, but Harvey would want you to enjoy yourself with the rest of SPLAT! He's been looking forward to this trip for ages, Ingrid, and if it comes to it, you can always write to him. I know the Camp doesn't allow anyone to get in contact with any of the members unless it's an emergency, but you can always try."
"Mmh, true." Ingrid smiled. "Actually, you've really cheered me up. Thanks, Mands!"
"No problem. Now, should we go to the Shed?"
Mandy slipped her arm from around Ingrid's neck and stood up. "Great, and don't worry, before you know it, Harvey will have finished Camp and be back home."