1. Off to camp

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*I am a Dutch author trying to write my first book in English. I normally write YA fantasy, this is my first teen romance comedy novel. If you see any errors, please shout out as it helps me to develop as an English author. Much appreciated. This story just popped in my head after a friend dared me through WhatsApp to do something I am really scared off (and still): picking up a spider. I hope you enjoy reading it and love to read your feedback, good or bad*

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The phone buzzed at exactly seven in the morning, just as he'd predicted. I glanced at the enlightened screen and touched the WhatsApp icon. A message from Bones appeared.

'First challenge: just before you go to bed tonight, open the front door of the cabin and howl like a wolf for thirty seconds.'

Shit. I clenched my jaws. I just knew he had that trademark smirk on his face right now. My fingers tapped hastily at the screen. 

'Challenge back: remove your socks with your teeth tonight.' 

A sly smile slipped onto my face.


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''Bree is waiting!''

Mom shouted up the stairs while I was trying to fix the annoying bump that spontaneously rose in my chocolat brown hair like a freaking Mount Everest. It was too late to open the suitcase to search for my flat ironing. 

''Yeah yeah, coming in just... just a minute!''

I knew I needed more than a minute but it would definitely postpone the next step: having her bouncing up the stairs to find out what the hell I was doing. You never get a second change for a first impression. My dads' words echoed in my head while I was desperately trying to fix the flaws that for some stupid reason were highlighted by the worst outfit ever: too tight jeans, only shallow breathing was an option, and a green shirt that had a hole at one of the armpits. It was my favorite... obviously. No time left to change.

I gave up. Who was I kidding?

I grabbed the book that was lying on the bed, stuffed it into my canary yellow back pack and took a final eye-tour through my room. As far as I knew, I took everything with me that was necessary to survive the coming weeks. I glanced one quick look in the mirror, what on earth was I thinking when choosing this outfit, before I yanked my bedroom door open.

''Honey, seriously, this is taking...''

''Coming!''

I ran of the stairs, skipping a few steps on my way down and jumped on the tiles of the hallway with a fake smile planted on my face.

''Damn! You look stunning, as always.''  I gave Bree a high five.

''What took you so long?''

Bree raised an eyebrow, trying to throw me her best imitation of Miss Wheelers' face. Thank God we would not see that witch for three months! Finally, vacation had arrived.

''My hair and the story of the mysteriously rising Himalaya that refused to be flattened.''

''Lol. Love my curls.'' 

As long as I knew Bree, from kindergarten it was, her freckled face was surrounded by an aura of ginger curls. It was foolish to try to control them and Bree'd never done so.

''At least your hair decided for some look. Mine is still in doubt to be flat or curly.''

''Are we excited?'' 

Bree's mother clapped her tiny hands with a large grin on her face. With we, she probably meant mom and herself.

''If we are not allocated to the same cabin, we are not excited at all.'' Bree sniffed her nose.

Today was the first day of an international summer camp, an idea my mom came up with as she thought it would look good on my CV for college. It was summer vacation and both our mothers had to travel for work the coming weeks. My dad had decided, so last minute, he'd rather spend this summer with the kids of his new girlfriend than with me, because a two and four-year-old are much easier to command than a sixteen-year-old. 

Sure.

''You'll both be fine. They won't put you in a cabin with complete strangers.''

Bree's mother pulled up her nose before she turned around and walked to her car, parked on the driveway with the doors wide open to have some cool breeze flow in.

''I'm not so sure about that.''

From the beginning I had a bad feeling about this whole plan. I'd rather stayed at home, as I supposed to, but Bree's mother had convinced my mom to have me accompany her daughter to the camp. It would be the fourth time that Bree had to attend this camp. I really felt sorry for her, but even more for me, now also stuck at a piece of forest, with absolutely no privacy or control of how my day was going to end up. Not my idea of a well-earned vacation.

''You'll love Juice.''

Bree grabbed my hand and squeezed in it; she must had seen I was in serious doubt. She started pulling me to the car with a large grin on her face.

I raised an eyebrow. Yeah, she told me all about Juice, a whole year long. She'd used every occasion to babble about his strong muscles, his extremely blue eyes, blond hair in different tones, his body that was built as if he'd just walked out of Gladiator and his lips that were perfect and meant to be kissed. He sure sounded juicy. I hated him already.

''I doubt it,'' I mumbled.

My mother gave me a last kiss on the forehead before I got into the car. Unfortunately, the car of Bree's mother didn't have air-conditioning, and suddenly I realized that all the morning efforts to perfect my first impression were a waste of time. After one hour and a half I would look like a poodle who ran into a bulldog on a rainy day.

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