LaPaige's prompts. Purple. In a very roundabout way. This is what my youth minister used to say to us when we went on retreats.
"Counselors, gather 'round. We need to go over the rules for this summer," Brown said as he stood up at the front of the dining hall.
The excited chattering faded out and everyone sat down and paid attention to Brown.
"Right then. Okay. You already know curfew and lights out for your campers, but for you guys, there are some other rules."
Caitlyn rolled her eyes as she shifted positions on the table she was currently sitting on.
"For starters, Caitlyn, don't sit on the table," he said.
Laughter broke out and Caitlyn blushed. She scooted to the edge of the table and flinched slightly when an arm was stuck out in front of her.
"Don't worry, he got onto me too," Jason said.
She smiled and grasped his wrist as she slid off the table.
"Now. As I was saying…" Brown said, sweeping his eyes over the heads of this year's counselors. "Your curfew is at ten and lights out is at ten-thirty—"
"But that's a whole hour earlier than it was last summer!" Shane shouted.
"And for that, we thank you, Shane," said Ella.
"Back to me, ladies and gentlemen. Keep the volume to a minimum in the rehearsal cabins, don't scare the wildlife, and please, for the love of God, don't lose your oars in the middle of the lake."
"Why are you targeting me?" Shane exclaimed.
"Shane, be quiet and let me finish. No sneaking off camp grounds, unless you're going to Camp Star, no stealing food from the dining hall, no food in the cabins."
"Is that all?" Mitchie asked.
"No. One more. I know some of you guys and girls are…involved…but do not use your breaks as excuses for 'nature walks', alright?"
"When you say nature walks…" said Jason from next to Caitlyn.
"I mean, Jason, boys are blue and girls are red and when they get together, they make purple. No purpling and/or nature walks on your breaks, okay kids?"
"But we're in nature! Why can't we take nature walks?" asked Jason. "I want to see the birds."
"You can see the birds without a girl's help, mate." There were more giggles and Brown clapped his hands together. "Okay, well, that's it. Your campers will arrive tomorrow starting at eleven. Have fun."
Everyone started filing out, and Jason caught Caitlyn's eye before she left. Hanging back, she waited until the dining hall was empty before she gave him a hug.
"Hey, Caity. How's your year gone?"
"Pretty good. Better now that I'm here. What about you?" she asked, looking up at him.
"I'm mad," he said when she dropped her arms and stepped back.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because. I like it when you watch birds with me."
She smiled. "We can still watch birds together. We'll just have to get some of the others to go with us."
Jason gave her a look. "Do you really think Nate or Shane are going to willingly watch birds with us?"
She smirked. "They will when I convince their girlfriends to come hang out with us."
"That's sneaky and devious."
She walked out the door and waved good bye to him. "Can't be anything but."
Caitlyn enjoyed her breaks. It was virtually the only quiet time she got until the evenings. She would usually sit on one of the picnic tables out on one of the paths no one used with her guitar and her comp book.
"Didn't Brown tell you not to sit on the tables, Caity?"
She jumped. And dropped her pick into the guitar. She spun on Jason and gave him a glare. "Thanks," she said acidly. "My lucky pick is now in my guitar. And it's your fault. So here," she said, hopping off the table and handing him her guitar. "Get it out."
Jason smirked and took the guitar from her. "Piece of cake."
Caitlyn lay down on the table and looked up at the trees as she listened to Jason mutter under his breath while he tried to get her pick out. She rolled over and opened her notebook when she heard strumming. She turned her head in Jason's direction and he gave her a sheepish smile.
"Sorry…I couldn't help it…" he said with a shrug. "I mean, you sort of did hand me a guitar…"
She smiled. "It's okay. You did get the pick out, after all."
"You working on something?" he asked, pointing at her notebook.
"Sorta. It's not going anywhere though."
"You want some help?" he asked.
Caitlyn's eyes went wide as he scooted closer to her and tried to get a peak at her writing. She slammed her comp book closed. "No. No, you don't have to. It's okay."
He really didn't need to see the stupid song that described how sometimes his curls would fall in his eyes.
He was probably well aware of that fact.
He was probably less aware of the fact that she had counted at least five different colors in those curls.
She didn't need to bring his attention to that.
Jason smiled at her and put his hand on the cover of the notebook. He opened his mouth to say something but—
"Hey! No purpling you two."
Caitlyn turned and glared at Shane. "Shut up, Candy Shane. You're the reason why we have these rules now."
"It takes two to purple, just remember that." He walked off, tripping over a tree root.
Caitlyn rolled her eyes and turned back to Jason. She smiled shyly at him.
"Tell me something, Caity. You call Shane Candy Shane and Nate Nater Tot. Where's my dorky, food-related nickname?" he asked.
She blushed and looked down at her hands. "I don't know," she said with a shrug. "Nothing really works with Jason. I mean, the best I can come up with is Jason Jar. You know, like Mason jar?"
Jason laughed. "Jason Jar?"
Caitlyn hit his shoulder. "Shut up. Just take it as a sign I like you enough to not mock you mercilessly with a stupid nickname."
"Caity, I hate to break it to you, but Jason Jar is a stupid nickname."
"Fine. I challenge you to come up with something better for me."
Jason fell silent for a moment and looked up at the sky. He snapped his fingers and grinned. "Cait-Date."
She raised a brow. "Cait-Date?"
"Yeah, you know, like the dried fruit?"
"I know what a date is, Jase. I also know that they look like cockroaches."
"Didn't you see WALL-E? Cockroaches are adorable."
"If you're comparing me to a roach, I suggest you shut up now."
He smiled at her. "That's not very nice, Cait-Date."
She glared at him and wrapped her fingers around the neck of her guitar, bumping his hand. "Jason Jar…" she said warningly.
"I know you're trying to sound threatening, but Jason Jar just kind of…ruins it."
"Oh, and Cait-Date is so much better?"
"Yes. Because I came up with it."
"Just because you're a rock star—Jason Allen Gray! Get back here with my notebook!" she shouted, jumping off the table and running after him.
"See, now that sounds threatening, Caity-did," Jason called as he jogged around the clearing, trying to read Caitlyn's handwriting.
"Oh, so I'm either a dried fruit that resembles a bug or I'm an actual bug. Thanks a lot!" She had almost caught up with him, but then she went stumbling into a bush.
"Caity, are you okay?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm fantastic. Apart from the fact that I fell into a bush and my hair's tangled in a branch and I think I hurt my ankle and I have to go assist a dance class in the next hour…I'm fantastic." Not to mention that you totally grabbed my notebook and probably read that song about your hair and the whole thing about the dates and katydids.
She was aware of Jason sitting down in the bush next to her as he tugged on her hair. "Yep. That's stuck. But don't worry. I have a pocket knife."
"Why do you have a pocket knife?" she asked.
"Because we're in the woods and it just seems like a good idea?"
"You're not going to cut my hair, are you?" she asked fearfully.
Jason rolled his eyes. "No. I'm going to cut the branch and then pick it out of your hair."
When he finally cut the branch away and helped her out of the bush, he sat her down on the table again before he went to work on getting the branch out of her hair. Caitlyn sat there silently, watching his fingers untangle her hair from the branch. After a few minutes of working it out, Jason dropped the branch on the ground and tucked her hair behind her ear.
"You know…you have about five different colors in your hair too."
Caitlyn blushed and hid her face in her hands. "I can't believe you read that one…"
"It was adorable," he said, prying her hands away from her face.
"You're only saying that because it's about you…"
"Does that sound like something I'd do, Caity?"
"Well, no…but…I mean, seriously? I'm always the buddy…"
"Well, you're not the buddy anymore…"
Caitlyn stared up at him and smiled shyly. "Really?"
He leaned close to her and brushed his lips over hers. "I can't think of anyone else I'd rather purple with, Caity."
She burst into giggles and clutched her stomach as she attempted to correct her breathing. "You're such a dork, Jase."
"Forgive me for trying to be cute," he said sulkily.
Caitlyn leaned over and kissed his cheek. "You are cute. Just don't refer to kissing as purple again, okay?"
"With pleasure," he said softly, cupping her face and kissing her mouth. She slid an arm around his neck and scooted closer to him as he locked his arms around her waist.
"I thought I said, no purpling," a voice growled.
Caitlyn and Jason jumped apart and looked guiltily at Brown.
"S-sorry," they both said.
"You both have classes in less than twenty minutes. I don't want to hear that you were late…"
"Now, I'm leaving…I don't want to see this happening again…and also Caitlyn, off the table, really."
He walked off and Caitlyn snuck a glance at Jason.
"Well…I guess next time we should find a place further away from people…" she said uncertainly.
"Guess so," he said, sticking his hands in his pockets.
Caitlyn bit her lip and looked around. "The dance cabin's empty for an hour after this coming up class lets out."
He grinned and kissed her cheek. "See you then."