I'm not an especially religious individual. If you get offended or whatnot by my offhanded use of "God" then all I can tell you is to buzz off. Also, I don't much care for being politically correct. If you're looking for "nice" terms like Caucasian or African-American, look somewhere else. You have been warned.
Summary: My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me. So won't you kill me? So I die happy... My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or bury, or wear as jewelery, whichever you prefer.
Disclaimer: Nothing's changed. If you have any questions, refer to chapter one.
After unlocking the cuffs and removing the chains, the guard once again took hold of her shoulder, shoving and pushing Lior in the direction of camp. "C'mon Darlin', get movin'. Just 'cause yer a girl don't mean ya get no special treatment." Lior couldn't help but roll her eyes at the man's deep Southern drawl, stereotypical and clichéd for any law enforcer in Texas. But even such a voice could not distract her from her obvious ragdoll treatment and she tore herself from the man, continuing in the direction she had been lead (and possibly leaving the guard wide-eyed, if you could see through those mirror-shades of his, that is.)
"If you're in such a big hurry, Darlin', then I suggest you get moving."
Immediately after stepping into the building, Lior was attacked by a strong breeze of cold air, an almost welcome change after the intense heat outside. The cabin was small, only intended to be an office, if the desk and filing cabinets were meant to be a clue. But what caught the girl's eye was the massive bag of sunflower seeds laying across the table... next to a wannabe cowboy, boots and hat included. Lior had to coast her gaze to the side, lest she end up laughing in the man's face.
"So you're Lior Angelina Dina... not too much of an 'angel' if you ended up in a place like this."
Lior's eyes snapped back to the man, narrowing themselves into a glare as she plopped herself into a seat.
"Never claimed to be, Cowboy."
It took everything in her not to trade her glare for a grin. Instead, she chose to silently revel in the nice shade of red creeping up the man's neck.
"When you speak to me, you'll address me as Mr. Sir."
"Oh, of course I will Mr. Sir. Anything you say, Mr. Sir."
Lior could practically hear the grinding of his teeth from across the desk as the red grew further. It would probably only take 2, maybe 3 more comments for the man to bust a vein… Lior could hardly wait.
"Ya know," started the cowboy, struggling for a moment with an obvious strain in his voice, "we weren't expecting another camper, let alone a girl. We just got one in two days ago, so the camp's full up." Lior's brow twitched at the man's words. She had just spent the past 3 days fighting off a horny crackhead in holding, waiting for the court to rally up an AC-less, rust-bucket bus to take her the 9 hours into the middle of the fucking desert… and now the camp was full?! If she ended up having to go back… God help the men to transport her.
"So what's that mean for me?"
"Well, we obviously can't send ya back. Quite a record ya got." He paused in his speech to pat a folder in front of him, Lior's full name scrawled across the tab. "You're just gonna havta share that last spot with the other kid, his name's Stanley Yelnats."
'Stanley Yelnats, huh? Weird name.'
Lior was knocked from her thoughts when Mr. Sir took to standing, noisily moving around the desk and towards the door. "C'mon kid, let's get you set up."
Lior bit back the groan, but stood and followed the man out the door. It was mostly a silent walk, simply the scuff of shoes through dirt, but it was better than actually conversing with the man. Lior had always hated adults in power and Mr. Sir was the worst kind.
Eventually their walking led them to an old shed of sorts, housing what seemed to be a washing/drying unit and many orange jumpsuits. Staring upon the prison wear brought one and only one thing to mind.
'This ain't the Girl Scouts…'
"I ain't doing it old man!"
"Old man?! Now you listen here, just 'cause yer a girl don't mean you're getting any special treatment!"
"Ya friggin' pervert! I ain't doing it!"
Both Lior and Mr. Sir stood at opposite sides of the laundry shed, anger plainly evident on both faces. In the great expanse of 10 minutes, Mr. Sir had instructed Lior on the happenings of Camp Green Lake.
First off, she would be given two jumpsuits. One would be for work while the other was for relaxation. Every three days is when the laundry was done. That's when her work set would be washed and when her relaxation set became her work set.
Secondly, she'd have one hole to be dug each day; 5 feet wide, 5 feet deep. It didn't matter how long she would be out in the lakebed, but she would not come back until it was done.
While these two… conditions were twitchy irritations to the girl, it was the man's last instruction that got the girl heated, nearly causing Lior to take a swing at the cowboy's head. What was the instruction, you ask? He had instructed her to undress under the premise that he would "search her for hidden items." That, dear reader, is what set the girl off.
The pair continued to stare each other down, neither one blinking or willing to give in. It was only at the sound of scuffled footsteps and the heavy wheeze at the door did they break contact, albeit, very reluctantly. Standing in the doorway was a squirrelly little man, granted he was still a few inches taller than Lior's 5'4 self. The man's head was completely shaved, though his face was covered in a thick black beard. At the furiously questioning look on the duo's face did the man explain his sudden appearance.
"I could hear the yelling all the way in F Tent."
Lior just scoffed angrily, crossing her arms over her chest and redirecting her glare at the cowboy.
"The old man was tryna get off on watchin' me get undressed… fuckin' pervert."
The speed at which Mr. Sir snapped his head back to her was so fast, Lior was sure he'd given himself whiplash. And to add to it all, his face was turning an interesting shade of red and purple… puce maybe? In any case, the newcomer could tell the cowboy was ready to explode. With hurried speed he quickly gathered up the clothes and ushered the girl out before the gun Mr. Sir carried would gain a new target in lieu of those notoriously dangerous lizards.
It took Lior several deep breaths to calm herself down, her adrenaline still pumping wild through her system. Even as they passed by tents the alphabet tents she could still feel her arms shaking with the need to fight. The pair finally stopped outside a tent marked with the letter "D".
"Alright, Lior… it is Lior, right?" He paused a moment for the girl's affirmation, smiling wide when she nodded. "I'm Mr. Pendanski. I'm gonna be your counselor during your stay here at Camp Green Lake. I look after the boys, and you, here in D Tent. 'D' stands for 'diligence'. Now hurry and get changed. Whoa, I'm not gonna search ya!" He added the end quickly, seeing Lior's eyes narrow again as her arm reeled back. It was at this point that she slipped inside the tent, but not without making sure he wouldn't pull a pervert move like the other.
There wasn't much to the inside; 7 cots laying two feet from the next and across the way stood a stack of crates. Each crate was already full, adding to the emphasis that she was an extra camper. This didn't faze her though. Instead, she dropped her bag onto a nearby cot and quickly changed.
Lior's nose wrinkled in disgust at her look. While the girl was neither petite nor hefty (often straddling that line where she could "lose just a few pounds") the suit was at least 3 sizes too big and made her look like she was drowning in it. If that weren't bad enough, the shoes given to her looked eaten through and the hat seemed to be over worn. Tossing the shoes and hat away, she opted to wear her own sneakers and the DC hat "borrowed" from Moseley before her arrest. Any consequences they could come up with didn't even come close to the possibility of head lice or athlete's foot.
Giving her original clothes a forlorn look, she packed them away into her satchel and tossed them across the side, simply watching as it crashed beside the crate tower. 'Best get this over with,' came her moody thought but she walked out none-the-less. Hearing the ruffle of the tent flap, Mr. Pendanski turned towards the girl, a cheesy smile forced on his face.
"Now that that's done, I'll give you the tour!"
And so Pendanski the Counselor turned into Pendanski the Tour Guide. He pointed out each of the other alphabet tents and explained that F Tent was for counselors only. He brought her to the Rec. Room, which sadly lived up to its which sadly lived up to its name, and the wooden shower that, even more sadly, wouldn't provide the girl much, if any, privacy. Already she knew she'd be bathing in a swim suit.
At the end of the tour, he explained that the rest of the boys were still digging out on the lake bed and, with it being so early into the afternoon, it was too late to start her digging. Simply leaving her to her own devices, she wandered back to D Tent. Lior wasn't one to stay in the heat or cold too long, both extremes making her lethargic and sleepy. Entering the tent, she dropped onto the nearest cot. It wasn't comfortable and smelled strongly of sweat, but it was better than sleeping on the floor… or ground, whichever way you decide to look at it. It didn't take more than five minutes of closed eyes til the quiet noise of the desert faded and Lior fell into comfortable oblivion.
The courthouse seemed much larger than it really was as Lior sat in the courtroom. Beside her fumbled a court-appointed lawyer, fresh into the job if she remembered the woman's introduction correctly. Lior lacked the personal funds for a decent lawyer and while her mother could have funded a few, the woman was nowhere to be seen. Lior had disobeyed the tiny Asian woman that was her mother and went out even after she was told not to. There was only one thing her mother could say when she'd gotten the call from the police.
"It's what she deserves."
Lior's eyes narrowed at the thought of her mother. Really, what kind of mother just abandons her child like that? If it had been Daryl, Lior's eldest brother who was constantly in trouble, their mother would've put everything on hold, run out the door, and rallied every lawyer possible. Even James, her elder brother, but middle child between her and Daryl, garnered more attention than Lior. And he tended to mess everything up! Good God, either of them can rebel or screw up with Mother Dearest running to their aid, but God forbid Lior mess up. Then it's her problem and Mother can't be bothered.
The skittle-haired girl was so far deep in thought she failed to hear the judge tell her to rise stand for sentencing. Only when Artemis, who sat right behind with Jake, poked the girl in the back did she remember her situation and she shot up.
"Miss Dina, I must say, it is quite sad for someone so young to fall so fast… And you didn't even have a record before this." The judge seemed to heave a sigh of sympathy, almost genuinely sad for the girl. But the look was quickly gone and the sentencing began. "I have looked over every account. You have performed several misdemeanor felonies in the course of a single night. While this was your first time before me and any other judge, this cannot go overlooked. I believe sending you to jail will straighten you out, perhaps even keep you from appearing before me again."
Lior could feel her heart jump into her throat before plummeting into his stomach. She had been ready for community service, house arrest even, but jail? She'd seen too many after-school specials, too many "real-life" movies… she did not want to become some bitch's bitch.
"Is there no other option?"
The judge leaned back, his eyes regarding her silently. Perhaps it was the genuine look of hopelessness on her face or the great fairness he was known for (but more-so because she looked so much like his own daughter at that age) did he even consider Option B. But it was there on the table, and he'd offer it, as unorthodox as it was.
"There is another…"
-End of Dream-
"Whoa, is this an early birthday present?"
"No way. You don't get girls as gifts."
"Then what about Christmas? This has to be an early Christmas present."
"Man Zig, you only get Christmas presents if you're good. If you're here, you ain't getting any present."
"Hey, the chica's waking up!"
Lior opened her eyes to find six faces staring down at her. Her first instinct was to panic and start swinging, but considering they outnumbered her and she was on her back, that would probably only turn out bad for her. Instead she sat up slowly, eyeing the boys as they gave her some space. Beneath the layers of dirt and dust, Lior found a hint of color… One latino boy, two black, and three white… Shaking her head free of the '1, 2, 3' count, the skittle-haired girl stood and faced the boys. "So, uh, ya'll would be…?" Going around they introduced themselves as X-Ray, Armpit, ZigZag, Squid, Magnet, and Caveman.
Despite his small stature, X-Ray seemed to be the leader. He didn't really strike Lior to have some hidden toughness, but his speech and mannerisms suggested his alpha role was due in part to him being here the longest.
Next in line was Armpit, X-Ray's right-hand man. He was the biggest in the group and with the added funk in the air, one could easily assume that was how the boy earned his nickname.
Then there was ZigZag, a tall boy with a cute face, but sadly, his good looks were overlooked by his wild blonde hair and wide-eyed stares. Lior couldn't help but note that there was something unnervingly harmless about that boy's stares.
It took a few moments of silence and a strong nudge from Armpit before the next boy spoke. He had both the attitude and glare to match Lior's, something that she delightedly noted as a challenge. This rival went by the name of Squid.
Once it came to his turn, Magnet grabbed hold of Lior's hand and gave a swift kiss, leaving a dirt-print kiss mark. He was flirtatious to a fault, claiming that "Magnet" was simply short for "Chick Magnet". She promptly brushed him off, but one had to admire him for trying.
The last in line was Caveman. He was a stringy kid with a strong air of awkwardness around him. It was this boy Lior assumed to be Stanley Yelnats, her "spot-mate" the old perv mentioned.
"And you? What's your name?"
"I asked for all of your names. You left one."
To emphasis her meaning, Lior tilted her head in the direction of the far corner where their last and final tentmate lay. To be truthful, she hadn't noticed he was even there til the scene with Magnet, but she simply blamed the flirty Mexicano for blocking her sight in the first place.
"Him? That's just Zero, you don't need to worry about him."
A frown instantly formed on Lior's face at X-Ray's disregard and she crossed the room. From her place beside the bed she realized he was another black boy, much smaller than any of the others with crazy-curl hair to rival ZigZag's.
"Doesn't look like much of a zero to me…,"drawled Lior as she leaned over the boy, blocking his view of the ceiling. While he had been doing his best to ignore the others in the room, he could not ignore when a face suddenly appeared naught but three inches in front of his own. The pair locked eyes and any glare Zero had directed towards her was instantly lost.
They say that the eyes are windows to the soul, that they can tell stories without even saying a word. If Lior was reading correctly, this boy's story was marked with anger, trouble, and sadness.
"They call you Zero, what do you call you?"
Lior watched as the boy fish-gaped at her, trying multiple times to find the right answer before simply giving up, getting angry, and shoving the girl away. Without waiting for rebuttal or retribution, the small boy fled the scene, pushing past the other boys and leaving the girl to frown at his retreating form.
"Well that went well."
"What'd you expect? Zero don't know nothin', the boy ain't got no brain."
"Yeah, just what were you tryna do anyway?"
All Lior could do was stare at them. The only answer she could give was a shrug of her shoulders as she crossed the room. She passed the boys silently, but did leave a lingering sentence as she made it to the door.
"Don't try an' understand me. I'll make your head spin."