Florence and I stood near Railey as two other girls joined us. Our Camp counselor looks up and eyes us. Her almost black eyes are somehow piercing. Her wavy black hair is tied back into a low ponytail and her tan skin is heavily contrasted by her bright red polo and clean white jeans.
"Cabin 4?" She asks
We all nod. She glances at her clipboard and looks back at us.
" Madeline Macquoid?"
"Present." Her smooth British accent responds to the question. She's very pretty with straight brown hair, green eyes, and stands with good posture and serious face. There's another girl standing very close to her, she's slightly shorter with bleach blonde hair tied into two short braids and brown eyes. Maybe they're best friends?
"Here." The blonde one spoke. Well, Elise. She has an accent too. Maybe their sisters?
"What's up?" Florence responds. I shoot a kinda dirty look at her. Florence looks at me like she didn't do anything.
"It's here or present. Do it next time." Railey says softly but sternly.
Thankfully, she let it slide. Florence gave a shy smile.
"And Corinne Everglot." Railey gives me a quick smile. "Nice to see you again."
I smile back.
"Okay, since today is your first day we're giving you time to settle in. At 6 we'll gather around the bonfire at the garden. Just follow the signs. You'll introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about you. We're also eating dinner so don't fill yourselves with junk. Got it?"
We all agree. "Good. Have fun." She gives us a quick camp salute, we returned it and She left.
Well, Madeline, Elise, and I returned it. Florence looked at us with her hands on her hip, eyes wide. "And What was that?!"
"It's the camp salute." Madeline says.
"And no one told me." Florence gives me a look. "Sorry?" I say. "Whatever I'll learn it eventually." "I can show you now." I say. "Eh."
She starts walking towards the exit. She looks back when she realizes no one is following her. She throws her hands up in the air. "Let's go people! Power walk!" I smile and look at Madeline she grins and starts walking to Florence, Elise sticks close to her, and I follow.
We make it back to the cabin and figure out who gets top bunk. (Madeline and I are got the bottom bunks and Florence and Elise got the top bunks.)
I finally got Florence to put her things away and since we have a lot of time to kill we start chatting.
"Hey Elise!" Florence starts. "I don't think I heard you speak since you said 'here' for attendance." Elise looks at Madeline and she gives her and encouraging look.
"...I....I don't really like talking...I like drawing." She finally says. "Ooo! Can I see your sketchbook?!" Florence says enthusiastically. "No."
Elise climbs to her top bunk and lays down.
Madeline breaks the long silence. "She 's really sweet actually just really shy."
"How'd you two even become friends? She feels like really hard to open up."
"Florence!" I scold
"She's my cousin." Madeline responds.
"That makes sense."
I honestly don't understand how Florence doesn't see the problem with some of the things she says.
"So i've never seen you here before. How'd you find out about the camp?" Madeline smiles.
Florence kinda thinks a bit then answers. "Well, my neighborhood has really been extra ghetto these days, so Madeline's parents paid for me to come here."
Madeline's smile falters. "They paid...for you?"
"Yep!" Florence beams.
"Oh. So your family is...", Madeline searches for a nicer term for 'poor'.
"Broke." Florence finishes.
"Yea...." Madeline says awkwardly.
I join the conversation. "There's been a dangerous criminal around her area so I wanted to bring her so she could be safe." I explained. I don't mention Jaiden but I see Florence's face fall, she tries to recover. I know Florence is still in pain but she doesn't acknowledge it at all. She ignores it and pretends to be happy and I feel like one of these days she's going to break down. I hope not.
"It's fine honestly, It's not the most horrible thing in the world. There's this abandoned park at the corner of my street, it's kinda hidden, I like to go there sometimes and pretend it's like my own apartment or something . I even decorated it, I use some empty bottles as a curtain, I strung them altogether!" Florence says excited.
Madeline doesn't look impressed.
"That's nice." She says with a smile plastered on her face.
Florence's eyes get big. "I GOTS TO PEE!" she jumps up and runs to the bathroom.
Madeline looks at me. "So you two are..friends?"
"Yes...best friends." I add. "Her situation is so unfortunate." Madeline says. "Yes it is." I really don't know how to respond to that.
"Maybe bringing her here wasn't the best option."
Madeline's comment makes me instantly angry but I keep my composure. "Excuse me?" I say.
"She plays with garbage!" Madeline accuses. "What? The abandoned playground? Really?" I argue.
"She said she used empty bottles as a curtain." Madeline expresses. "She's not playing with garbage, she's using them creatively." Madeline shakes her head and looks down.
"I brought her here to keep her safe, I don't care what you think." I grit my teeth.
"She could've went to a summer camp that's.. more..her level." Madeline tries to say nicely but it comes out condescending.
"You could've went to a summer camp with campers that tolerate arrogance. Unfortunately, you didn't." My words came out sharper than I intended but I held my ground.
Madeline stays quiet for a moment.
I try to calm down by letting out a long sigh.
Florence exits the bathroom and notices the tense mood. "Um, did I miss something?" She says.
I smile "No."
All 4 of us entered the garden, it was perfect as always. Bluebells, butter cups, magnolias, roses, sunflowers, lilies, daffodils, all types of flowers littered the vibrant green grass and rich soil. There were Gentry Gray stained wood that decorates the edges of the garden. It calmed me right away.
I walk toward the raging bonfire contained with red brick. The satisfying crackles of the fire and intoxicating smell sent me to a world of peace....before it was interrupted by Florence.
A high pitched squeal pulled me from my trance. I look at her, "What?" "Henrryyyy." I instantly turn away from her and try to fall back into my peaceful state attempting to ignore Florence. I swear she's going to send me into an embarrassment coma....I mean at least I'll finally be at peace.
"Corinne!" I hear Henry's voice call for me. Look, I'm happy to see him and all but I have a potentially dangerous hazard sitting next to me so...
"It's been too long!" He beams. Henry leans in for a hug and I stand up to return it. He notices Florence. "And who is this radiant young lady?" He asks. "This is my best friend-" I begin but Florence pushes me out of the way. "Florence, Florence O'Connor, pleasure to meet you." She shakes his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you too and I love your hair it's so pretty!"
I'm pretty sure I see Florence quake at the compliment. She sits back down and stares off into space with a massive smile on her face. "So, I heard your parents paid for her to come here. How generous of them!" Henry says. My mood lowers for a second remembering Madeline and I's conversation but it instantly brightens happy to hear a positive opinion on the situation.
"Yes, my parents are the best, I'm so happy she gets to stay here with me." Henry gives me a thumbs up. "Oh, Corinne, so I know how much you love marigolds but they didn't make it on the gardening list this year." He says.
"I know, it sucks but there's always next year." I say.
Henry's face grows into a huge
smile. "What?" I ask. He continues smiling. I can't help but smile too. "What is it Henry?" He quickly runs off. I stand there confused but he soon returns with a small bouquet of marigolds. I hold my hands to my mouth in shock. "Oh my gosh! They're beautiful!" I exclaim.
"AJAJISHSBSNSKSIX?!" Nonsense comes out of Florence's mouth.
"Thank you, Henry."
"No problem boblem!"
"I don't want them to get messed up, is it okay if I leave it at the cabin real quick?" I ask. " Sure, I'll go tell Railey." He walks over to the other camp counselor and I continue to admire the charming arrangement.
"He's attractive and sweet??!!!" Florence swoons. I roll my eyes. "I got to go put these away, I'll be back soon." I hurry to the cabin.
3rd person POV
Railey stands up and gets everyone's attention. " Hello everyone, hope you guys are having a good evening. Tonight we will be going around the circle and everyone will tell us their name and a little bit about themselves. I'll start, then your camp counselors will go then we'll start on this side okay?" There was a low chorus of 'yes' and 'yes ma'am' and a few nods.
"I am Railey Packwood, I am a mother of two, I like to meditate, dance, and horseback ride." She sat back down on the sturdy log. Ashley stood up. "Hello! I'm Ashely Jennings, I like painting and collecting bracelets." She jangled the many bracelets on both of her arms. Dennis was next. "Hi. I'm Dennis Green. I like to sing and play my ukulele. I also like sleeping." The last comment earned a few chuckles from the campers. Henry sprang up. "Hello!! I'm Henry Walton, I like to have fun and give gifts and eat!"
Florence stared at the older man. He was your typical perfect blonde hair, deep blue eyes kind of guy. She followed his movements as he sat back down. Still smiling with his perfect white teeth. She was so distracted that she didn't realize it was her turn.
"Hey." Someone tapped her shoulder. She realized everyone was looking at her, including Henry. She quickly stood up. "What's up? My name is Florence O'Connor..um...i'm Irish and I like to make stuff with trash."
"Wow, you're Irish? How come you don't have an accent?" Ashley inquired. "It's very light, it only comes out when I say certain words." Ashley clapped. "I heard it! When you said out!" Ashley turns away satisfied and the circle continues.
Florence starts to feel...weird. "It's been forever, where's Corinne? The circle finishes and the camp cooks come outside to cook some burgers on the barbecue. Florence usually would be happy to eat burgers but she's worried about Corinne. "Hey." Florence's head whips up to see who's talking to her. "Got your burger yet?" It's Henry.