Last year around this time, I fell in love with a boy. From what I could tell, he loved me too. Maybe that's what was so frightening to him, I don't know. Long story short, the relationship that we had didn't last for too long, and before I knew it, I felt like I didn't even have an impact in life anymore…
"So how long are you gonna be here at this…"
"Camp? Is that the word you're looking for? Camp?"
"I was going to say… activity vacation."
Ugh. No matter how much the truth stared her in the face, my mother had a hard time with accepting things with the way they really were. Though I didn't think that she would change her reception of my leaving for the summer, I hoped that she would at least have enough maturity to adapt gradually to it. No such luck, however. Even now, while she's dropping me off at the train station, there is still a bleak look on her face.
I'm in my second year of college, and she still treats me like I'm her whole world. It's like she's afraid that I'll just leave her and forget about her or something. But, that was the whole reason that I moved back home in the first place. I mean, it's not like I had that many friends, or that my roommate and I were actually getting along, which is the truth. I just felt like I had to start over again, but after the incident of last year, AKA, Winter of Heartbreak, I knew that I needed to prioritize my life once again.
"Take care of yourself, mommy," yes, I know. Tease me all you want, I still call her that.
I bring my three bags of luggage on the train, while standing in the doorway. I find it a little bittersweet- especially since I can now say that I'm about to leave my best friend.
"Oh, you too honey." We hug each other, and as we part she gives me that almost-crying-whimper face. I hate it when she does that face.
"I'll be back in three months, mom."
"I know, but… MY ONLY BABY'S LEAVING ME!" Loud, much? Unfortunately, everyone looked over at us, and as they walked past, a black couple gave us the look of shame. I know, I know, I forgot the rule: Never embarrass your race in a public place. Because then people will be expecting it and buy into the stereotypical hypes.
"Calling train train 154."
"Mom, that's me. I've gotta board now." Thank God.
"I love you, Breena."
Sigh. This was going to be harder than I thought. "I love you too, mom."
We hugged one last time before I went to sit in my seat. Even then, I was able to wave at her. Gotta love window seats. As the train started to speed off gradually, I found it hard to keep my eye on her. It was kind of heartbreaking- and I was the one who was leaving! Before long, we were past the train station, then the street, and finally the city. I felt myself smiling, and even felt a tear in my eye. Lame, huh?
Oh well, I really hope that this camp will really be worth taking me out of the comfort zone that is my life…
As the bus dropped me off at the designated stop, I became anxious. This whole extra credit project is starting to seem off kilter, and a little… stupid. Really? Really? NOW it was seemed stupid? What am I thinking? OF COURSE it would be stupid! It was a summer camp… for high school kids!
With pre-K children all you have to do is lie them down for naps. You give elementary kids some candy and they'll be nice to you. Hand the middle schoolers some video games and they'll leave you alone, but High School kids? Totally different genre. All that they wanted to do was talk… about boys and sex. I've been there and done that. Didn't totally move on, which was the reason why I didn't want to reminisce about the good ol' days, especially when there weren't any.
"Maybe if I run, I can still catch that bus…"
"Breena? Breena Jones?" A voice calls my name, just then the thought of running seemed like a great last ditch effort.
I decide against it however when I think about how fast I'd need to run- and besides, exercise isn't in my forte.
When the guy caught up to me, he placed his hands on his knees to regain his breath, and then stood upright while flashing me a charming grin.
"Are you Breena?"
"Yes, I am."
"Good," he let out an exasperated breath. "The last two women that were here all looked at me like I was crazy and ran…"
' There were others? Maybe I should've joined the trend. But…'
Now that I look him over, he is pretty cute. Must be my senior by a couple of years.
"My name is Yamato. I'll be your escort for today."
"Escort? Nobody said anything about needing an escort. Are things that bad here?"
"No! No. It's just that you'll find things more complex than your typical summer camp."
"Ah… I'll let you see for yourself. But just to make sure I don't get you nervous, you can actually think of me as more of a… tour guide."
He then grabbed all three of my bags and carried them over his shoulder like they were nothing. Damn men.
As we opened the gate, my eyes delighted in seeing nothing but green pasture. It wasn't until a moment later when I noticed the huge compound full of cabins. Some kids were running around all over the place, while some *gasp* adults stood by to make sure that no one got hurt. Maybe there was some sorta game going on…
"Stay along the path, miss."
"Huh," I barely noticed the pavement that we were walking along.
"If you don't, you'll also be a target."
For some reason, the people that were playing stopped, and gained mischievous looks in their eyes, especially one blond kid who had his hands full of water balloons.
"The campers love to play tricks on us counselors. Some of which can leave marks."
Wow. "Marks from a water balloon fight? What are the adults, total pansies?"
Shit. Can't believe that I came right out and said that. I'm totally gonna get kicked out.
However, instead of getting upset, he just smiled and said, "Maybe we are."
Sigh of relief. Thank God for favor, though I really have to watch my mouth.
"Um… Mr. Yamato? I just noticed something."
As I turned my head towards the cabins, I noticed something.
"There are a lot of cabins, but they're divided, and colored differently. Why?"
He turned towards me a bit, "Ah… I think that I'll let Mr. Mifune explain that one to you."
"Mr… Mifune? Why? Is there some kind of dangerous secret that I can't know about in the open? Is this camp really a bad one for delinquents?"
"No. I just don't want for you to late for your orientation. And honestly, Lady Tsunade would get very angry at me if I'm late getting to the soccer field to help her out today. I did promise her, after all. I mean-"
He turned all the way to face me. A bizarre shadow grew on his face and he became serious. "You don't want for me to break my promise, do you?"
Oh my gosh! What is he? "Um…. N-no?"
"Good." He turned back around and continued walking. "Then let's be on our way."
I tried to put my bugged out eyes back into their sockets. What the fuck? I tried to regain my composure by looking for someone nearby . I actually think that I need an adult… or another one.
"Bri-Brina Jones? Welcome to Shinobi camp, the fantasy summer camp designed for youngsters with vast imaginations."
"Thank you. Actually, it's Breena."
The old dude with the long hair stared at me unimpressed. "That's what I said, right? Brina?"
"No, sir. It's pronounced Bree- in- uh."
"Hmm. Breena? Irish name?"
"I doubt it. I think my mom was trying to be 'original'. Didn't work out too well for me."
I shrugged. "Eh. Didn't turn out too bad."
"Hmm. So, Breena," He stood up from his seat behind his desk and walked towards large windows facing the compound.
"I'm sure that you've noticed our little arrangement."
Hard not to. "Yes, sir."
"Good. Then I'll explain this in simplest terms. Each section of the camp uses a color. There are five sections, each of which is represented by a counselor. The counselors select the activities of their group and are helped by subordinates and volunteers. You are one of those volunteers."
"It is your responsibility to monitor these rascals and make sure that no pandemonium occurs. You'll be working with Tsunade based on the prerequisites, of course."
Prerequisites? "That sounds good."
"I've been indicated of your situation by Ms. Richards. She told me about what happened to you last year, and hopes that this will be a therapeutic experience."
"I do too, believe me."
He grew somber as he turned to me, "I'm sure that you'll find that at this camp, second chances are given on the daily basis."
"Yes, sir. Thank you."
He smiled. "Alright. Now it's time for your tour guide to show you around."
"What? I thought that Yamato had to help out with soccer or something?
"He is. That's why we got a replacement."
Suddenly a knock came from the door. "Mr. Mifune? Can I come in?"
Oh gosh. Another guide? I was just trying to get over the first one.
But when door opened, and I found that I suddenly couldn't breathe. A gorgeous, tall guy with… (white?) hair walked through. His hair was covering over one eye, the other which looked uninterested. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt, which showed two tattoos on both of his buff arms.
"Hope that I didn't interrupt anything important?"
Wow. His lazy, apathetic voice was music to my ears.
"Not at all, Darui. You're just in time. I was just explaining to Breena the basics of our 'special' facility."
Darui? What an interesting and… weird name.
He looked over to the side and put a hand through his hair, "Yeah. You got that right. It certainly is… special."
Mifune gave him a bored, sarcastic look, "Isn't it, though?"
Wait. Is it me, or does Mifune seem as uninterested as Darui?
"Well. I should introduce you two. Darui this is Breena; Breena, Darui."
I thought that he would be cold, but it caught me off guard when Darui reached his hand out to me and smiled.
"Hi. How's it going?"
I slowly accepted the hand, and shook it. "Um…hi…"
"Darui is one of our most trusted and excellent volunteers. He's been with the camp since he was a child; and from there he was given the benefit to be a part of this…um… thing."
"Didn't have your coffee, huh?" Darui asked Mifune.
He yawned before responding. "…No. That was a dumb decision on my part. After all, who can stay awake amongst all of this… excitement?"
Are these guys for real? It's just utter sarcasm with them.
I decided to take a risk and ask, "Does this camp… suck?"
Both of them looked at me like I just flashed them my breasts. It looks like I still hadn't taken my own advice to shut up.
Finally, Darui rubbed his head again, and turned to Mifune. "Eh. Newbie will get the hang of it."
Mifune grinned at his accomplice in the hidden humor. "I hope that she doesn't. If so, then we'll have more chaos than we do now."
Chaos? How is there chaos? Through arts and crafts… and balloon fights?
The camp leader sat down at his desk and held his head up by the leniency of his propped elbow and hand.
"To answer your question, no. This camp doesn't suck. In fact for new comers like yourself, I'm sure that you'll find things to be special."
There was that stupid word again.
"Well," I started. "There has to be a reason for you both to be so…"
"-Enthused?" He finished for me.
"Yeah! I expected for you to be like those over- excited camp counselors that do children's' camps."
"God, I hate people like that," he said with a dreary tone. Darui nodded in agreement.
"They're all 'let's sing and hold hands all day'," Mifune rolled his eyes at the thought of it.
I went out on a limb, "I take it that you've done that before. Based on your accurate portrayal, of course."
I thought that he would punish me for being so trite, but then I heard him laugh at my comment. "I can tell that you're going to be an interesting volunteer, Ms. Jones."
He looked over at the really fine guy, "Take her to her cabin, will you?"
Darui grinned, "Yes, sir. Where do you want for her to stay?"
"Eh, take her to Hatake. He'll know what to do with her."
What the hell?
Darui lifted my bags over his shoulder, just like Yamato did. Damn men. Then he nodded at me to join him while he walked out of the office. Before I followed him, I bowed to Mifune. As we went through the double glass doors, I looked around. Anxiety began to fill my being. That's when I could tell that this whole summer was going to be special. Hopefully, that was a good thing.