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Chapter Two

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"Well, I think that wraps up tonight's staff meeting. Any questions?"

A collective silence fell over the group, gathered in the dining hall, as we looked around at each other. The wordless plea of thirty counselors was almost tangible in the air; it had been a long, painful day, and nobody was about to postpone collapsing into bed. When no one spoke, Shany clapped her hands together at the front of the room and smiled.

"That's it, then. You're free to head back to your cabins. See you all tomorrow morning!"

The words were music to my ears; like everybody my else, I was out of my seat the moment she finished her sentence. Sure, I had to head back to the kids rather than the comfort of the staff quarters, but even that held the promise of eventually making it to bed. Unfortunately, I only managed two steps before Shany's voice stopped me in my tracks.

"Ellie? Could you hold on a moment?"

Freezing on the spot, I tried not to wince. Several other staff pushed past me as I glanced over my shoulder. "Sure," I said, though hanging back was the last thing I wanted to do. "No problem."

I returned to my seat as the last of the counselors disappeared from the room, their footsteps and chatter carrying inside until the door closed behind them. Once we were alone in the dining hall, Shany sunk onto the opposite bench and faced me.

"So," I said, if only to break the slightly awkward silence that was beginning to settle, "what's up?"

Shany paused, placing her hands on the table. As my gaze flickered over her, my stomach gave an uncomfortable lurch; there was something about her expression that told me this was not going to be good. "Am I right in thinking you went on a cookout with your cabin this afternoon?"

I had spent the last few hours trying to push the memory from my mind, if only to avoid long term mental scarring, but it didn't seem like she was going to let that happen. "Yeah."

"With Benji?"

I nodded.

"He came to see me over dinner. He mentioned there was a little... incident with some of the girls in your cabin."

She already knew, and there was no point in pretending otherwise. I was aware Benji would have to tell the directors, and yet there had still been a part of me hoping the events of the afternoon would stay quiet. "Uh... yeah," I said eventually. "I guess you could call it that."

"What happened?"

I was already cringing internally, and flashbacks from the afternoon cookout threatened to make a reappearance. It had been horrible enough to live through the first time round; I hardly wanted to sit here and spell out what a terrible counselor I was to Shany. Her expectant look, however, told me I didn't have a choice.

"Well, the hike up there was fine," I said, feeling like I should at least try to redeem myself. "No problems there. We sent the kids off to look for firewood while Benji and I set up the tarp shelter."

"Okay. And then what?"

"We finished setting up the shelter, and by that time, they'd come back with enough firewood to start the fire. So while we were getting on with it, I sent them off to take a swim in the lake before we put the food on the grill."

Shany raised an eyebrow. "They were being supervised at this point?"

"Oh, yeah, of course," I said quickly. "We could see the lake from our spot, and all the girls had their life jackets on. Everything was fine."

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