9. Shirts and Shoes

5 0 0

The first noise: papers and tough board clattering down the stairs

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.

The first noise: papers and tough board clattering down the stairs.

The second noise: Isaac cursing. Feet shuffling. Furtive glances.

And when I say "cursing," I mean a quiet, absentminded s-bomb; he wasn't as focused on Alyssa's shock as the new elephant in the room.

Or person. Human being. Whatever. I just wanted to know what cabin I was going to be assigned to. Seriously, was it that difficult to get back on track?

"Fraser," Alyssa said, her hands on her hips—or as much hand-on-hip action she could perform with crutches. I thought she'd start clucking her tongue, but then I remembered I grew up with weird parents and normal adults didn't do that. "Please put your shirt back on. We don't want to traumatize the new counselors."

Who cared? I crossed my fingers. Please get me in a good cabin. Not with this complete son of a—

"Sorry," Fraser said, pulling his shirt over his head as Isaac frantically tried to gather his things—to no avail, because he was a giant klutz. I almost pitched in to help, but I was afraid to move. I didn't know why. It was like some presence from above had ducked in and gone Frozone on my guts.

I held my papers tighter.

Fraser twisted his watch, eyes lingering on Isaac. He reminded me of a cyborg. Prosthetic leg. Prosthetic hand. Both on the right side of his body. "What's going on in here?"

"What's going on," Alyssa continued, her eyes wide and disapproving, "is that I was just informing these poor kids of their cabin assignments. Like I said, Isaac's in charge of Pearl Cabin, and Ivy...you're going to work with Fraser here. Amethyst Cabin."

"Really?" was the first thing I said, incoherent and sitting in a giant vat of disbelief. No way was Alyssa making me work with this guy. I mean, he'd walked into a room filled with a bunch of strangers half-naked. That told me all I needed to know about his willingness to work.

Alyssa chuckled, rubbing my shoulder. The burbling from the water flowing down the glass grew louder. "Don't worry. Fraser is more mature than he looks."

"Sorry," Fraser cut in. "Again. I just got back from the pool."

"Yeah." Alyssa shook her head. "Now, where were we?"

"Cabins?" Isaac said, his things balanced precariously in his arms. His voice had risen immensely, like he'd gone through reverse-puberty.

"Are you sure you've got the assignments right?" Fraser snuck another look at Isaac. "Because—"

"Yes," Alyssa said. "I'm sure. Now, Fraser, let's show our guests their new homes, okay? Ivy, Isaac, I'll be giving you your day-to-day schedules soon. Right now, it's all about knowing the other counselors and getting used to being a leader. Got it?"

Isaac and I nodded. He wasn't talking, which was not him. At all. A silent Isaac was like walking into an empty house at noon. Weird.

Alyssa ducked back into her office, whispering "good luck" into my hair before disappearing forever. That was when Isaac decided to snap back into action. He looked like nothing had happened. Like three people hadn't watched him lose his cool.

Camp LibertyRead this story for FREE!