Chapt. 1 -
The three-hour bus ride to Lake Marshetta was finally over. Groans of relief sounded, even from the driver, when the glistening water of the lake came into view and the tyres screeched to an ear-wrenching halt.
Alex Stone was asleep, with his right cheek pressed up against the glass. Deak stood up and, realising Alex was still asleep, wacked him over the back of the head.
Alex's hand immediately went to his head as he was startled awake, "what the hell, man?" he grunted, wiping the sleep from his eyes when he saw the picturesque image of the lake outside. "Finally," he groaned again as he pulled himself up and out into the aisle.
Alex followed Deak out of the bus to see that there must have been over one hundred teenagers running around, all from different schools. Instead of wearing the usual camouflage green the students wore different colours to show which school they were representing. The boys of Madison Preparatory School wore navy blue pants and a white t-shirt with a navy coloured M on the chest.
"I wonder where all these squads are from." Deak said as they walked over to side of the bus to grab their bags.
Alex just shrugged as he bent down to snatch his yellow and green duffle, before the smaller cadets got in his way.
"Does anyone need to go to the bathroom?" Miss Walburn yelled, causing a couple of teenagers from another school to chuckle. The cadets from Madison groaned and mumbled 'no' before taking their own luggage.
After having a final word with the bus driver, Major Payne stepped off of the bus appearing to be both tired and moody from the long trip.
He didn't utter a word as he stood and waited for the cadets to grab their own luggage. When he saw that everyone was ready he nodded to the bus driver, still seated at the wheel, who then drove off towards the exit of the campsite.
"All right, maggots!" Payne called to the group. The cadets walked slowly towards him before stopping to hear what he had to say.
"You should have all been given maps of Lake Marshetta," Payne said.
Alex grabbed his map, which he had folded and scrunched in his back pocket, and looked at it. The map was simply drawn and colour coded. The buildings on the map were shown in the form of coloured rectangles and had numbers on each to indicate what dorm they were.
"The rectangles that are red are the cabins y'all be staying in." Payne explained.
The cadets all looked back down at their own crinkled maps and saw that they were going to be occupying cabins twelve to fourteen.
"It's four or five to a dorm. Select your dorm and unpack your shit – " Miss Walburn cleared her throat, "Uh - I mean your stuff." Payne corrected himself.
"Before you all go," Miss Walburn spoke, "there is going to be a meeting with all the other schools. It'll be in the main hall at twelve, so don't be late."
Alex and Deak simultaneously rolled their eyes and turned around to make their way to a cabin when a small black coach with heavily tinted windows drove up the campsite entrance.
Ignoring it at first, Alex continued to walk towards the buildings when he noticed that Deak had stopped.
"Whoa, shit." Deak gasped causing Alex to stop.
"What?" Alex asked as he turned his head towards the black coach, his jaw immediately dropping as a young woman, who looked to be about Alex's age, stepped off the bus. More girls around the same age, some younger, followed her soon after. They were each wearing matching black cap sleeve t-shirts with a white K on the chest and red gym shorts or pants.
Alex dragged his eyes away from the girls to look around at the camp and realised that he and Deak weren't the only ones to notice. Students from other schools kept turning their heads as they paced towards the cabins, one cadet bumping into a tree as he did so.
"Looks like camp just got a little better." Deak said, a smirk appearing on his lips.
A smile also crept onto Alex's lips when his gaze went straight back to the first girl, who was leaning against the side of the bus with her arms crossed. She had long chestnut brown hair and her skin was fair; her eyes were hidden behind a pair of black Ray-Ban Wayfarers. She was shorter than most of the other girls but she had long, toned legs.
"Ahem," the boys jumped, as Major Payne seemed to appear out of nowhere, an unimpressed expression remaining clear on his face.
The boys didn't say anything and tried to look innocent as they turned back around and made their way to their cabin.
"Oh crap." Payne grunted, scrunching his nose at the girls.
Kempsey Academy squad leader Angie Moretti stood against the coach as she, and the rest of the girls, waited for Major Harrison to finish speaking with the driver so they could grab their belongings.
After almost five minutes the only male within the group finally stepped off the coach and opened the side compartment that contained all their bags.
Angie quickly grabbed her royal blue duffle and lingered while her friend Ruby went to grab hers. While waiting she took in the beautiful view, her eyes landing on the large lake starting near the entrance, tall trees lined along the entire lake. The clear blue sky seemed to compliment the lake even more. Angie couldn't help but fantasise about just lying lazily by it for the entire eight weeks of camp but knew that wouldn't happen.
"Don't you look excited?" Ruby remarked sarcastically as she made her way over to Angie and noticed the nonchalant look on her face. As they began to walk a yawn crept out of Angie's mouth.
"I'm just tired." Angie stated, rubbing her eye underneath her sunglasses. "It's beautiful here though."
"It is, isn't it?" Ruby said. The dark olive skinned girl kept hers eyes on the sparkling water of the lake.
As they pulled out their folded up maps Angie and Ruby started to make their way to choose a cabin when Harrison started to speak.
"Before you all get settled," he started, "remember that all the schools will be meeting in the main hall at twelve. Don't be late." He raised his voice on that last part. With that Angie and Ruby spun on their heels and went to find a place to stay.
As they made their way through the crowd to find cabin sixteen Angie noticed the looks she and Ruby were getting from the other schools. Heads turned and sly grins appeared every time they walked past the male cadets. Angie furrowed her eyebrows as she realised something.
"Rubes," She drawled as two male cadets greeted the girls with a flirty "hello" as they walked past.
"Yeah?" Ruby looked at Angie.
"Do you notice anything?" Angie continued to speak slowly as a wolf whistle sounded from behind her causing her to turn for a quick glance.
"Like what?" Ruby peeked in every direction that Angie had turned her head to try and see what she was looking at.
"Like the fact that we seem to be the only girls here." Angie stopped walking and looked around her to gain a better look at the campsite.
Ruby halted a few steps in front of Angie as those words sunk in. "What?" She exclaimed. "No." She scoffed as she backtracked to stand next to Angie.
"Look around." Angie waved her hands around before taking off her sunglasses and placing them on top of her head.
"There has to be other girls here." Ruby stated. "We- we just haven't seen all the schools yet. We'll see them all at the meeting."
"I- I guess." A hint of uncertainty appeared in Angie's voice before she began hiking up towards the buildings again.
When they finally found their cabin Ruby immediately ran towards the bed near the window at the far end of the room and threw her bag on top. Angie laughed as she walked towards the bed next to Ruby's. The four beds were simple white mattresses and white pillows covered with green sheets.
As Angie started to fill the trunk at the foot of her chosen bed the door opened and in stepped Elizabeth, a tanned girl with shoulder length blonde hair who was about two years younger than Angie and Ruby, and Samantha, a girl with curly auburn coloured hair who was the same age as Elizabeth.
"Hey," Samantha greeted the two other occupants in the room as she made her way to the bed next to Angie's.
"Hi Sam," Angie briefly turned from her trunk.
Elizabeth made her way to the bed nearest to the door and threw her bag on top before walking towards the window near Ruby's bed.
"Are we the only girls here?" Samantha questioned as the girls each started to pack their trunks. She looked to the squad leader for answers, thinking she would know. "It looked like…"
"I honestly don't know." Angie shrugged without looking up from her trunk.
"Why would Harrison send us to an all boys camp?" Ruby asked as she folded her shirts on her bed.
"Would they allow that?" Elizabeth chimed in.
It was five minutes to twelve and the boys of Madison Preparatory School were making their way towards the main hall for the camp meeting.
"When do we get to eat?" Asked Heathcote, rubbing his round belly as they made ambled over to the large hall. "I'm starving."
"Me too actually." Said Deak, for once on the same page as his fellow cadet.
Alex just shook his head as he glanced at the other squads.
"Out of the way assholes." An eerily familiar voice grunted behind them. Alex's eyes widened when he realised whom that voice belonged to and turned to see that he was correct.
"You've gotta be kidding." Deak mumbled when he saw the boy striding towards them.
"Dotson?" Alex groaned as his former squad mate, along with other cadets from Wellington Academy pushed their way through the crowd to get to the hall first.
"How did you jackasses afford to come here?" Dotson smirked.
"We don't need this place to whoop your asses anyway." Said Deak.
"Just stay outta my way." Dotson threatened before rushing towards the entrance of the hall.
"Don't worry." Alex said. "I plan to stay as far away from you as possible."
The Wellington Academy cadets sat at the back of the hall on the right side of the aisle.
Alex and Deak made their way to the back left, with the rest of the boys following. Just as they sat down the brunette girl from before walked into the hall, followed by what was presumed to be the rest of her squad.
Every head in the hall was turned to look at them as they sat down on the right hand side of the hall. Alex briefly looked towards Dotson and saw that he seemed to be eyeing the same girl.
The girls of Kempsey Academy felt all eyes on them as they settled down near the back of the spacious hall.
As the hall began to fill, Angie's neck quickly became sore as she checked out each school to see if there were any girls. Not a single one. The only other females she saw were presumed to be working for the schools they were with, either as nurses or councillors.
Angie and Ruby simultaneously slid lower into their chairs, growing self conscious under the staring of the other squads.
"I think it's safe to presume we are the only girls." Angie whispered as a man walked up to the podium.