Title: Summer Days Drifting Away (…yes, I did use lyrics from "Grease" as the title)
Pairings: Ren/Tawny with some Louis/Tawny
Disclaimer: I (obviously) don't own "Even Stevens" and I (even more obviously) don't own the lyrics from "Grease" that I used as the title of my story.
Author's Note: Okay, so I really had no clue where to take the other R/T story I had started –and I hate not knowing where I'm going with a story so therefore I started this story. I know exactly where this story is going from chapters 1 to 12. Whoot! And, btw, each chapter will take place during a different summer (hence the title) and sorry if this chapter sucks –the story will get more interesting, I promise.
Chapter 1: Wombat Creek
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Her fingers were beating on the window of her dad's station wagon. She was sitting in the backseat just staring out of the window –and tapping her fingers against it. She always did something with her hands when she was nervous.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Her dad said that it would help her to deal with her grief, that it would be an "enriching and positive experience". She, however, couldn't see his logic.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
She had blue eyes and jet black hair. She was eleven years old, but small for her age –she didn't look like she could be a day over nine. Her pale skin gave her an angelic appearance, or at least it would have if her face hadn't been scrunched into a scowl.
"I hate you." She said quietly, but loud enough to be sure that her father would hear her.
He smiled. "You don't mean that, honey."
"You're wrong." She crossed her arms over her chest. "I really do hate you," she stated firmly.
He shook his head solemnly as he pulled into the parking lot of an unusually crowded campsite. There was activity going on in every direction around his old station wagon. Skipping, jumping, playing. Hello hugs, goodbye hugs. New friends, old friends. Parents, kids. Counselors. It was summer camp, and everyone seemed to be just so happy. Everyone, that is, other than the small, pale, blue-eyed girl and her father in their 1972 Ford Country Squire.
Without a moment's hesitation, a man wearing a pair of bright red shorts and a striped orange tank top approached the car. He waved for them to stop and motioned for them to roll down the window. "Well, hello. Hi there. Nice to meet ya'. The name's Steve Stevens and I'm Head Counselor here at Wombat Creek," the man greeted the pair, stretching his hand out. When he realized he wasn't going to get a handshake, Steve cleared his throat and continued with his greeting. "Um… right…" He smiled warmly, pausing to think of what to say –not getting a handshake really threw him off. "Well, I'm sure little um, little uh, little…"
"Tawny," Mr. Dean helped.
Steve scanned over the list on his clipboard. "Ah, Tawny Dean. Well, I'm sure little Tawny's going to have a great time here," he said and turned his happy gaze towards the very angry little girl in the backseat. "We sure are going to have a Wombatastic time, right camper?"
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever," she sighed, opening the door and stepping out into the bright June sunshine. She wasn't in the mood for this. It wasn't fair. She never had to go to summer camp before. Tawny sighed again as she waited for her dad and Counselor Steve to get her bags out of the car. She glared as she watched them.
I bet mom wouldn't have made me come here, she thought as she continued to glare.
"Well, I guess I'll just take these bags over to the cabins while you two say your goodbyes," Steve said, still in the same annoyingly chipper tone of voice, as he walked away.
Mr. Dean took a step towards his daughter and knelt down in front of her, so that they were eye level with each other. When Tawny turned her face away from him, he just smiled sadly. "I… I know this is hard, Tawn…" he said, the slight quiver in his voice proving just how true his words were. "I know you don't want to be here… but trust me, sweetie. This is for your own good."
Tawny kept staring at a random tree in the distance. She wasn't going to look at him. He's just lying to try and trick me, she thought. She didn't say a word.
Mr. Dean tried to hug his daughter goodbye, but she pushed him away. Hurt, he sighed and got back in his car. He wanted nothing more than to see his daughter happy again. He wanted nothing more than to see a smile on her face like he had seen so many times in the past. So, as hard as it was for him, he put the station wagon in drive.
Tawny watched it speed away until it was only a speck in the distance.
"Hi, what's your name? My name's Ren Stevens. I'm Counselor Steve's daughter," a girl greeted her. The girl had brown hair and eyes, and was lanky and tall for her age –she nearly towered over little Tawny. The girl didn't look much like her father, but her horrible outfit and disgustingly peppy attitude were both almost identical to his.
Tawny felt like throwing up. I can't believe I'm stuck here for a whole two weeks, she thought -brushing Ren off, and walking towards the tree she had been staring at. She'd decided to go sit down under it in the shade. The sun was starting to bother her. "Hey, where are you going?" the lanky, peppy, annoying, brown-eyed girl called after her. Tawny had already forgotten her name.
When she reached the tree, Tawny sat down and was instantly relieved. Shade. Her relief, however, was only temporary. The Counselor's daughter girl had followed her. She huffed and sat down next to Tawny. "You could at least try to be friendly."
The small girl turned to look at What's-her-name, and glared. "Do you consider stalking me to be friendly?" she asked with sarcasm well beyond her years.
What's-her-name rolled her eyes. "I'm not stalking you. Stalking is repeatedly harassing or otherwise intruding upon a person's privacy in a manner that causes fear," she spouted out as if she were a dictionary. "Are you afraid?"
"No. But I'm annoyed, does that count?" Tawny got up, walked over to a tree a few paces away and sat back down in the hopes that she'd be left alone.
No luck. What's-her-name simply followed her, and sat down next to her again. "You know, you never told me your name."
"True," Tawny stated simply. Her plan: talk as little as possible until What's-her-name just gives up and goes away.
What's-her-name waited a few seconds before speaking again. She stared at Tawny impatiently –waiting for Tawny to respond was not an effective time-management strategy. "So… are you going to tell me what your name is?"
What's-her-name let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine, don't tell me if you don't want to. I still have to stay and talk to you –or at least pretend to."
"My dad told me to."
The two girls sat in silence for awhile. I hate this, Tawny thought. She didn't want to be at camp. She didn't want to have someone being forced to talk to her. She didn't want to be mad at her dad. She just wanted things to be back to normal. Back to how they used to be before her mom died. A solitary tear made its way down the small girl's face and off her chin, watering the grass beneath her. Before long an entire stream of tears followed it. Needing comfort, she subconsciously climbed into What's-her-name's lap and buried her head in the girl's neck.
"I forgot what your name was," Tawny said in between sobs, not knowing what else to say.
"Um… it's Ren," the taller girl said, awkwardly wrapping her arms around Tawny. Ren was smart –very smart- but that couldn't help her now. She'd never really had to comfort someone before, and she had no idea what to do.
"My name's Tawny," the smaller girl whimpered. "My mom died."
Oh, was all that came to Ren's mind as she patted Tawny on the back. Usually on-the-ball, Ren had lost her grip on the situation. Weird girl… sitting on my lap… her mom just died… Think, Ren… "Well, um… Tawny… uh… Why don't I show you to our cabin?"
"Ta-da!" Ren said stupidly as she opened the cabin door. The walk there had taken nearly five minutes, and during that whole time, Tawny had not even come close to sobering up. If anything, she had started crying harder. Come on Ren, there's has to be something you can do to cheer Tawny up, Ren thought, scanning around the cabin for ideas.
Glancing at the beds, Ren blurted out, "You can have the top bunk!"
The small girl sniffled. "I don't like top bunks." She sniffled again. "I'm afraid that'll I'll fall off."
Ren frowned. She was pretty sure that all she was succeeding in doing was making Tawny even more upset. "Uh… well, you can have the bottom one then…" she said lamely. Scanning the cabin again, she noticed the smell of barbeque seeping in from outside. Another idea popped into her head and she smiled broadly. "Hey! You know, it's lunch time. I could go get you a hamburger!" she said excitedly.
Tawny shook her head and continued to cry. "I'm a vegetarian."
Ren sighed heavily and sat down on the bed nearest to her. Gosh, why can't I do anything right? she asked herself. Tawny sat down next to her and Ren wrapped her arm over the girl's shoulders. At least I didn't mess that up, Ren thought –happy that she finally did something to make her new friend calm down a little.
"Hey, Ren! You in here?" a young, curly-haired boy shouted as he stepped into the cabin. "Hey, Ren. You seen Donny anywhere?" he asked, looking at Ren and then staring at Tawny. "Who's the crying girl?"
Ren rolled her eyes at her younger brother. "Louis, do you have to be so tactless all the time?"
Not having a clue what "tactless" meant, Louis just raised an eyebrow and took a bite of the hot dog in his hand. "Your face is tactless," he said with his mouth full of half-chewed food.
Tawny couldn't help but giggle at the boy.
And Ren couldn't help but feel a little jealous that Louis got Tawny to laugh and she couldn't. "You're so gross," she said with a cringe.
"Gross? Me?" he said innocently before taking another bite of his hot dog and chewing it with his mouth open. Louis then proceeded to walk up to Ren and stick out his tongue –with half of the bite he'd just taken resting on top of it.
"Eww," Ren pushed him away from her. "You're such a pig."
"And you are a dork," he stated firmly. He turned to look at Tawny, "Why is someone as cool as you hanging out with my sister?"
With that question, Louis managed to make Ren furious. "She's hanging out with me because Dad told me to go talk to her because she doesn't have any friends."
Louis took a seat in between the two girls and turned to face Ren. "Are you sure it wasn't because you don't have any friends?"
That's it! Ren thought before grabbing her brother and wrestling him down to the floor.
How dare he say that she didn't have any friends. She had friends. Louis grabbed Ren's wrists and tried to hold them behind her back, but Ren quickly squirmed her way out of his grasp. I have plenty of friends… Ren thought as she pinched Louis hard on the arm. There's Ruby… and… Ren grabbed Louis's leg to stop him from kicking her. And… Monique talked to me that one time… Louis grabbed his hot dog and smeared the mustard from it all over Ren's face.
"Uh!" she yelped before wiping some of it off her face and smearing it all over Louis.
"Hey!" he exclaimed. "No fair!"
"You started it!"
"Your face started it!"
"You're such an idiot!"
"Well, at least I'm not a nerd!"
"Enough!" rang the voice of Counselor Stevens –he was standing in the doorway looking far less cheerful than he had earlier. "What do you two think you're doing?" he asked his two kids sternly. He got no response. "You know better than to ignore a new camper!" he said furiously.
Again, Tawny couldn't help but giggle. The man was standing there in neon red shorts and an orange striped tank top (revealing an unmistakable farmer's tan), lecturing his kids –not on violence- but on the importance of welcoming new campers.
"Now, I expect you two to spend less time rough-housing and more time showing Tawny around," Counselor Stevens finished his lecture. He then turned to Tawny, his characteristic smile back on his face, "You know, wombats –or Vombatus Ursinus- generally move slowly, taking the time to really smell the roses." He placed his hand on Tawny's shoulder, "I expect you to do the same."
Tawny nodded with a smile on her face. It was proving rather difficult to take this man seriously.
"Wombatastic!" Counselor Stevens beamed. "And do you think you'll be alright with these two?"
Tawny looked over at Ren and Louis, both covered in mustard and clearly holding back the urge to start fighting again. She laughed and redirected her gaze back to Counselor Stevens. "I think I'll be just fine."