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⌚ 4:30 AM

El knows for a fact that if a person's day starts before 7 o'clock, it isn't going to be a good one.

So when her mother comes bursting into her room at the break of dawn, yielding a pamphlet and a smile, El tries her best to fall back asleep because she deserves this much doesn't she? It's barely been a week of summer, meaning it's barely been a week that she's been able to sleep in every morning. Then why, why is her mother sitting at the edge of her bed fanning a pamphlet at El's face and beaming as bright as the sun? (Which isn't even out yet.)

"Wake up wake up wake up!" she sings. "It's going to be a big, big day!"

El groans, burying her face deeper into her pillows. Maybe if she ignores her mother she won't have to -

"Elizabeth!" her mother says. "Wake up; I need to tell you something."

"Can't it wait?" El's voice is muffled.

"No. Now get up, or you'll be late!"

El springs up at the word 'late'. As much as she loves to sleep, she hates being late to anything. "What is it?" she asks, throwing her duvet off her body and crossing her arms.

"Well, I don't know how to say this..." her mother trails off, "but you're going to be a counselor at Camp Ashwood!"

El nearly falls off her bed. "What."

"It's your fault," her mother continues in an even cheerier tone and hands El the pamphlet. "If you'd have just passed your classes, then your professor wouldn't have had to give you work for extra credit. And since you're majoring in Psychology, he suggested community service. So I signed you up at Camp. It's gonna be fun, Elizabeth."

El cringes at the use of that dreaded name. "I don't care if it's for extra credit, mom! What makes you think I'm going?"

"You loved it there," El's mother looks slightly crestfallen now, her voice softer. El feels sorry, but that doesn't change the fact that she's pissed. "I just thought you'd want to have fun this summer -"

El can see in her mother's eyes that there's more to it. She doesn't pry, deciding instead to take one for the team and accept her fate. She's going to summer camp this year.

⌚ 7:00 AM

El inspects what she's packed, which is just underwear, female necessities, three pairs of shorts, five tee shirts, and flip flops. That's going to last a whole summer right? "If I do the laundry every fucking day," she mutters under her breath, zipping the duffel bag up and slinging it over her shoulder. Her hiking boots clunk on the steps as she goes down the stairs, continuing to mutter profanity at herself. She kisses her mother and father goodbye (her mother's smiling again, but she keeps on casting furtive glances at her father, who's grunting into his cellphone; but this has become normal now, as they're basically fighting 24/7).

"I hate myself," she grits her teeth, inserting her key into the ignition of her car. "What did I do to deserve this?" She turns the key, expecting her car to roar to life so she can just drive to camp and cry some more, but it merely sputters before dying out. "The hell," she turns it again, this time with more force. The same thing happens. "Shit," she turns it once more; this time the engine doesn't even make a single sound. But El does. "Fuck!"

She's about to cry when she trudges back into her house and throws her car keys onto the coffee table in the living room.

Her mother pops her head out of the kitchen. "Back so soon?"

El resists the urge to roll her eyes. "My car won't work. Can you get dad to jump the car or something?"

"Your uh - your dad left for work already," El's mother's voice is rushed. "And I don't know shit about cars," she mutters to herself, and somehow realizing her daughter's still there watching her, she beams. "We can figure something out!"

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