Word Count: 3,642
AN: This chapter is only like what, half a year in the making? Its been eons since FS has been updated but the important fact is that I'm still updating, right? Hee. Again I'm posting on here first since I love BP and livejournal is a God when it comes to autoformatting. Also this chapter ended in a completely different direction than I had planned and wanted to but what I had orginally planned at the end but didn't want you guys have to wait even longer for an update so it will be penciled in next time. Loveness and hope you enjoy...!
Chapter 8: Dance, Dance
Sydney watched from the window as James half heartedly chased after one of the younger boys who was running across the clearing with a football clutched for dear life in his arms. Looking at them, she had to smile to herself. She loved camp with all its nonstop, continuous activity. Camp seemed to be separate from “real life.” It was a time and world unto itself… a place where no one cared if you ran and jumped and acted like completely lunatic all the time. It was a time where you got to revisit all those random inside jokes that people you only saw once a year understood. It was summer camp, simple as that. The kids her age here were awesome to hang out with, but the little ones were the people who really lit her heart on fire. They were always so sweetly naïve, so energetic, so full of life. Especially a certain brown headed six-year-old in particular.
“Sydney can be my camp Mommy and Vaughn my camp Daddy.”
Honestly, Sydney didn’t know how to even begin to process Isabelle’s ever so innocent statement. Chalk it up to a little girl’s constant desire to play house? Doubtful. At the time it had been said, all she could do was sit and stare incredulously. She swore that she saw Weiss make some type of comment, and she knew that Ellie would gladly voice her opinion on the matter as soon as she was given the chance.
“Do you need any help with those?”
The voice had been low, and Sydney jerked her head around to see Nick standing there staring at her as she stared aimlessly out the window. She blinked and looked down. It took her a moment to realize that he must be talking about the box of Christmas lights that was holding limply in her hands. She glanced back up to him, and even though his tone had been even and neutral, his dark eyes seemed to hold a hint of humor in them.
“I think I got it,” she said, yanking a strand free from the pile in an attempt to look less spacey and more productive. “Although if you wouldn’t mind, it’d help if you could hang these in the empty spots over the drink table.” She added as she handed him the now balled up but nevertheless separated string of lights.
He simply nodded as he took the lights and walked away without another peep. She followed him with her eyes as he moved across the room, thinking that he was truly a boy of minimum words. In the back of her mind she noticed that he was tall enough that he didn’t even have to stand on anything to reach the ceiling to hang the lights.
As designated by the schedule, a small group of them had been assigned to “work” the camp event for the night. Basically, that translated into her, Nick, along with a half of handful of others, had been stuck in activity hall since after dinner to set up for the dance. The first dance always seemed a little stiff, hesitant, and Sydney had been trying her best to make the room as lively and inviting as she could. By the second night of camp the new people still didn’t know everyone enough to willing let down their defenses and relax to have a good time. The new campers, CITs, and other staff were still trying to feel out the atmosphere to see where they “fit in.”
So as she moved to kneel on a dust ridden chair to crack open a window, brushing away the sweat from her forehead as she did, Sydney knew that more than likely most of the girls thirteen and older were rushing to get ready to look their best. She could nearly picture them as they dressed in their cutest skirts and tops while others clamored and battled for the limited mirror space in the bath house. Meanwhile, she really didn’t care one way or the other how she looked. As it was, her shoes had already been a lost cause to the effort. Soon after they started working she had thrown them somewhere in the direction of the back storage room.
However, even if she was nil on the subject of her appearance, Ellie insisted that she at least try. The blonde had forced a deep red halter top upon her, so Sydney got pay back by pairing it with a pair of ratty, holes-in-the-knees jeans. She also neglected to fix or blow dry her hair after her shower earlier. It always fell mostly straight anyway.
Rising to now stand on the chair to put up another string of lights, Sydney mused that her lack of effort in her appearance wasn’t necessarily because she didn’t was to look nice. In all honestly, she did. Yet, it was only that with everything else going on at the moment… the bet, Vaughn, Izzy’s comment, she simply wanted to blend in. Not be noticed.
Without really thinking about it, her gaze flicked over her shoulder to glance at Nick. She wondered how he seemed to stand out even while wearing nearly all black. There was something about him that intrigued her, but she was unable or unwilling to put her finger on exactly what it was. Maybe it was that his quietness gave him that mysterious air? Was there really even such a thing as a mysterious air? She had already heard a few wild storied rumored about him… things that were too bizarre to possibly be true. Not to mention that Ellie had already frantically whispered that he had the smoldering, tall, dark, and hansom thing down to a T. Yet, Sydney knew it was more than that. There was an indefinable something about him that lurked beneath the surface that seemed familiar to her. Finally, she rolled her eyes at herself.
You’re being ridiculous.
In a snap decision, Sydney chose to blame her ridiculousness on the heat. You couldn’t be outside all day in over hundred degree weather without it getting to you. Simply thinking about the stifling hot air outside made her throat dry and body sweat. She jumped off the chair and headed toward the back table where the drinks were already set up. She snagged a cold Sprite from the bottom of one of the ice chests and rested it against her forehead. She jumped when she suddenly felt an ice cube land on her neck and slide down the back of her shirt. Whirling around quickly, she saw Sam standing there plain as day sporting a large grin.
“You better be glad that the ice actually felt good otherwise I’d be so mad at you right now.”
“Well, you know me… always trying to help out a friend in need.” He said, flicking his fingers at her, making water droplets splash on her face.
Sydney smirked. “Thanks. And I just look like I needed an ice cube shoved down my shirt?”
“Hey now,” Sam said as he threw up his hands in a defensive manner. “Let’s not make it sound so lewd. My innocent ears are listening.”
“What!” came a surprised laugh from the small supply closet behind them. After a moment, dark haired girl with a speaker under each arm filled the doorway. “Sam, I’m so sure you got that good of aim into her shirt from being innocent.”
With a parting wink at her, Sam took off like a shot after the girl. Sydney smiled as he attempted to jump over one of the chairs and missed, landing face down on the floor. Her mouth dropped open as Kara dropped the speakers and ran towards him. She had just gotten to his side when he rolled onto his back, shook out his left leg, and let out a strained but mainly, “I’m alright.” Kara raised an eyebrow but before she could insist on helping him, he jumped up and grabbed another string of lights and went in search of more spots to put them.
“Good Lord! Holy sh—Guys!” Vaughn yelled as he ducked his head and rolled out from under the top bunk. “I don’t want to know who told you that the showers on the boys’ side were broken but they lied. You’re not supposed to fricken bathe in cologne.”
His comment was met with scoffs and Ace’s yell of, “Got to smell good for the ladies!”
They wanted to smell good? Vaughn wondered wearily as his nostrils flared. The cabin reeked with the overwhelming mixture of Ax and Tag. It definitely disproved the theory that you can never get enough of a good thing. Breathing in through his mouth, he grabbed his duffel bag from the floor, slung it over his shoulder, and walked outside. He tossed his bag onto the picnic table right outside the door and grabbed the back of his t-shirt to pull it over his head.
“Mike, you know that not everyone likes it when strange guys strip randomly in the middle of the outdoors.”
Vaughn turned to see Weiss walking up the dirt pathway toward him with Tevy in tow. He noticed that Weiss had a hand flung over his eyes while Tevy was… while she was giving him an appreciative once over?
“Eric obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Tevy said glaring at Weiss. “You could surely keep striping. Tight abs, lean, strong arms,” she let out a short cat-call whistle. “Second best body at camp, I’d say. Only think lacking is that Rhett has got you beat in the butt department.”
Not really sure of what else to do, Vaughn laughed nervously. He wondered how he could have possibly forgotten about Tevy’s lack of subtly. She was special in that way. She had the confidence to be “one of the guys” while still never failing to lose her femininity. It was a deadly combination to be sure. Also probably the reason why she was the most crush on at camp, even over the a-typically pretty girls like Kara and Dee. Now it seemed laughable, but back when they were his campers’ ages and hormones ruled their every thought, he remembered him and Weiss definitely having a few conversations about Tevy and her femininity. Like so many people at camp, she marched to the beat of her own drum. She was a punk rock goddess, frequently dying her hair with Kool-Aid and wearing miniskirts with striped tights. It had shocked the hell out of all of them when she fell for the mild mannered, most likely to wear sweater vests, Rhett.
“Tevy, spare us on your fondness for Moony’s ass please.” Weiss whined as he thumping her on the back of her shoulder, “I think it’ll scar me for life.”
“Fine,” she stated simply, too simply, giving Weiss the feeling that she might now bring up the subject again at the precise inopportune moment… such as the middle of dinner or something. “Mike, why are you getting dressed outside anyway?”
Jerking his thumb back at the cabin, Vaughn smirked. “The guys went trigger happy with cologne.” He pulled a clean white pinstriped button down shirt from his bag and popped it in the air to shake the wrinkles free. “I thought if I dressed out here then maybe I wouldn’t smell as if an Ax can had exploded on me.”
“Yes, but the au du squirrel shit will be a nice compliment.”
Vaughn gave Weiss the bird before flinging open the cabin door with his foot. “Guys, two minutes and then I’m heading to the dance. Stop acting like a bunch of girls and hurry up.”
He hated that he had to baby them, and knew that they’d be perfectly fine in the cabin alone. But, rules were rules. He understood to a degree why he was supposed to know and usually be within eyesight of the dozen boys he was in charge of. It was the fear of one them and a girl alone for an extended period of time. Or one of them jumping off one of the piers, hitting their head on a rock, and drowning because no one was around to save them. Safety issues were priority of camp administration, but Vaughn also knew that a pack of teenage guys were unpredictable. No matter how hard you monitored them one would get his first make out session and they nearly always had one get at least sprain a sprain or fracture before camp was over.
Thinking of the summer when Weiss broke his arm and made out with Lindsey Gavial, Vaughn grinned to himself. After tucking in his shirt, he got out hair gel from his bag and ran a little of it through his hair with his fingers. Then he rummaged through the side pocket to find the midnight blue bottle that was his cologne. He didn’t know the name but he knew his father used to wear it and his mother bought it for him for Christmas every year. Putting it on, Vaughn also remembered that Sydney once said that it smelled nice.
Thomas was the first one to emerge from the cabin, and Vaughn convinced him to throw his bag back inside and grab the rest of the boys. Vaughn walked a foot or two of head of them (still trying not to be overwhelming tainted) as they headed to the dance.
His eyes found her instantly. She was talking to Lucy while managing to balance one of the little kids on her hip. The true dance hadn’t started yet. There was always an hour or so to “mingle” before the first age group was put to bed. By that time the sun would have gone down, the music would be cranked up, and the let’s find a camp girlfriend/boyfriend hunt would begin.
“So Mike,” James said appearing beside Vaughn as if he had read his thoughts. “You may have noticed that it’s the first dance. Got a plan for our dear Sydney yet? You know that there is no way in hell that you’re losing this little bet, right?”
Vaughn let his mouth tilt up into a slight half grin and hummed, “We’ll see.” He did have a resemblance to a plan but he was only ready to reveal it to one particular person. Over the past several weeks he realized that he and Sydney basically went from long time childhood friends to dating. There was a very short in between stage. That one where you get all worked up wondering how the other person feels, and flirting with them even a little bit makes your day. And although he’d never trade it for the world, their first kiss didn’t happen spontaneously in the midst of a sentence because he couldn’t hold back the urge any longer. It was stupid, but he felt like they had been cheated on all those little things that made him sound way too sentimental. Now he was determined to make up for all of that, starting with ‘wooing’ the pretty brunette in the red halter top.
There was a tap on her dance partner’s shoulder, and Sydney twisted to see Nick gesturing to them. “Switch?” he asked in an almost non-question. “Maggie’s gonna break her neck to look me in the eye.”
Maggie tried to look indifferent at the prospect of switching, but Sydney could see the trace of blush in her face as her eyes moved from Bo to flick to the floor. Bo slid back away from her and stepped up to Maggie as Nick took his place in front of Sydney. The two younger teens then shuffled away, a nervous smile on both of their faces.
“So,” she said as she reached up to place her hands on Nick’s shoulders. “How long did it take you guys to plan that maneuver out?”
“’Bout two minutes,” Nick answered simply as his hands came to rest at her waist a few inches above her hips.
They swayed to the music in comfortable silence. They were standing a suitable distance away from each other. It wasn’t so far where it was an awkward half hug, but also not so close that Sydney felt uncomfortable or as if her personal space was being invaded. And the music was slow, but not like a cheesy 80’s prom night or something they’d play at an outdated skating rink. It had a good, flow-like quality to it. It could have been something from The Fray or some other such band. As they moved, she peered over Nick’s shoulder to the other people who were dancing together. Maggie was of course with Bo (both looked equal parts pleased and nervous), Weiss had somehow gotten shy Alice on the dance floor, Lucy was dancing with some boy with a name she didn’t know, and Dee looked as if she were dancing with James against her will. They caught eyes for a moment, and Sydney tried to conceal a smirk at the pleading looks Dee was throwing at her.
Unsurprisingly, half the song had passed without any more words from Nick, so Sydney decided that it was solely up to her to steer the conversation.
“It’s glaringly obvious that Bo and Maggie like each other. Why the ruse?”
Nick lowered his dark eyes to hers. “Fear of rejection, pride, public embarrassment. Take your pick.”
Sydney had to scoff. “Why do all guys say that? One – she wouldn’t have said no. Two – having too much pride can get in the way of what you want. Three- it’s camp. No one would have even noticed if she would, which she wouldn’t of, said no.”
A smile formed on his lips. “Really?” he asked in a highly amused tone. “You make rejection sound so trivial. When is the last time you swallowed your pride and took a risk to get what you wanted?”
There was a lapse as her brain took its time to comprehend what he had said. A part of her felt like she should be offended (what for she wasn’t sure), while another part wanted to clap him on the back for having the balls to call her out. “Fine,” she conceded as a smile found its way onto her face, “point very well taken.”
When was the last time she took a risk? Vaughn, some rain, the pier, and a well place scarf. A small shiver rippled across her shoulders reminding her that she didn’t want to think about that night now. How something so good had come to a crashing end. How her it ended because she couldn’t cope with being the daughter of a murderer. That she was the daughter of the cold-blooded woman who had to be the one who killed his father.
The emotions she was feeling must have shown on her face because she felt Nick’s gaze pin her and he stopped moving along with the beat of the music to ask, “Okay?”
“Fine,” she said as she attempted to smile, shaking her head to rid herself of distraction. The music now sounded less flowy and more mournful to her, making her angry that she let the bad thoughts so easily plague her. She knew that she wasn’t over what had happened, not really. She didn’t think she would ever be truly over it.
A laugh echoed inside her head. Now she had something to be offended by Nick. He had to bring up risk, taking changes. Pride. He made her think about the bad things. Damn him. She looked away again, refocusing her thoughts. For some reason, even though she wanted to, she felt that she couldn’t blame Nick her messing with her mood.
There. A half of minute of starring at the activity hall’s dirty cement floor and she had successfully recompartmentalized her thoughts back where they belonged.
“So,” she said, trying to regain their sync with the music, “why do people call you Fang?”
“Great Warrior didn’t stick.”
Sydney’s eyes bounced to his and she had to smile. “Great Warrior do you know if they have any cake left.” She said, testing the name on her tongue. “Yeah, that would have been awesome.” They both smirked. “Really though, what’s the reason.”
“I just told you.”
Deliberately rolling her eyes at him, Sydney let the subject drop. The song was ending and people who had been dancing together were starting to separate. They moved more towards where she had been standing before she had danced with Bo. Her hands dropped from his shoulders and his lifted from her waist. She then took a step back to where they weren’t of dancing distance anymore before leaning back against the table behind her.
“Thanks for going along with our plan,” Nick said, giving her a little half grin as he turned away. She nodded in returned and noticed for the second time in two days that he had a nice smile. Odd. With his back still turned to her, she heard his low voice drift over his shoulder to say, “The Great Warrior is offended that you don’t believe him.”
She laughed and felt that unnamed tingle run through her. She suddenly understood what possessed her to say “No older than you, Mr. Acewalden” to Nick yesterday because right now she felt like calling him back and finishing their conversation. Realization dawned on her quickly and she bit her lip so hard that it hurt. She fell into the nearest chair, feeling as if she just ran a mile.
This can’t be happening.
She had crush.
Shit! No. No. No.
On a guy that wasn’t Vaughn.
Why did that feel so wrong in life?
I am so scewed.
And what the hell was she going to do?