Keep the Beat

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Chapter 2

First day at camp was dramatic. Instead of it being a loving reunion with my best friends, it was an entertaining show for the rest of the campers.

“Are we there yet?” I whined for the fiftieth time.

“Does it look like we’re there yet?” Kelly snapped in reply for the fiftieth time.

“All I see is tree’s.” I shrugged. We’d been driving for a couple of hours, and I was bored. Melissa had fallen asleep in the back seat, which I personally found impossible. I couldn’t sleep in something moving.

“Why can’t you be like Melissa and just fall asleep?” Kelly groaned.

“Because I’m awesome.” I stared out the window, hoping to get a glimpse of some clue that would tell me we were close. We were surrounded by tree’s and fields. Melissa stirred in the back seat, but still didn’t waken. I groaned and lay back in my seat. Kelly had decided to drive us up, because she was going anyway. She was going to be working as the chef this summer, mostly just so she can be close to Chris. Whipped.

“I think we’ll be around twenty minutes.” Kelly muttered as she took in her surroundings.

“Seriously?” I straightened up and grinned. She nodded, “You better wake missus up.”

I turned around in my seat, hoping to get a better view of Melissa who was still sound asleep, her head pressed against the window. “Mel.” I whispered. “Wake up.”

She didn’t move. “Mel!” I repeated, louder. “Melissa!”

She jumped awake, her eyes wide and alarmed. “What happened? What, I didn’t-” She stuttered looking around. “Jesus May! Don’t do that!”

I was too busy laughing my head off to reply, Kelly was giggling in the front seat while Melissa glared at us. “You suck!”

I wiped the tears from my eyes, listening to Melissa mutter to himself. “Wait look at that.” I gasped, jumping forward in my seat and pointing over the hill. There was a small glimpse of a wall in the distance.

The camp wall.

“We’re here!” Melissa squealed.

A grin formed on my face, and I could feel my heart flutter in excitement. Kelly began to speed up, and drive up the lane towards camp. “We’re here.” I whispered. I anxiously waited for Kelly to hurry up and park the car.

Once the car was stopped, I hopped out, followed by Melissa and sprinted to the ‘welcome back’ gate.

I glanced around the welcoming field. Usually it was the concert area, but it was transformed by sobbing and over dramatic family members, hyper kids, and decorations.

“May?” I heard Shannon cry. I grinned and ran to the girl beside the food table and wrapped my arms around her. She gripped me tight and squealed. “I missed you so much!”

I pulled back and looked her up and down. She was still as beautiful as always, her clothes were fashionable, her hair short and- “Your hair’s pink!” Melissa exclaimed, racing forward, and reached her hand out to touch it.

“It’s pink!” I repeated in amazement.

“Yeah.. It’s pink.” She smiled nervously, and ruffled it.

“I love it!” I cried. I was in awe, it was so weird and unlike Shannon, but it looked amazing. Shannon smiled at me and pulled Melissa and I back into a hug.

“Is everyone here?” I asked, looking around. The field was still crowded with people, and music was playing in the background.

“Yeah you guys are late.” Shannon grabbed our hands and began to pull us through the crowd. “We all found a spot to sit, and to you know… Not get trampled.”

“Good idea.” I snorted, as I dodged a random person who went sprinting past. Soon we approached a small group of people, who were all huddled together in a circle. I smiled once I saw my gang. Shane was arguing with Caleb about cheese, Cassie was sitting on Max, both watching the argument with amused expressions. Cassie’s hair was also a different color. It was blonde, but it was obviously her natural color.

“Hey guys!” I laughed, cutting into their heated discussion.

Cassie squealed an leaped of Max, and lunged herself at Melissa and I. Melissa chuckled and hugged her back. “I missed you guys so much! I haven’t seen ye since… Christmas?” She rambled, still clutching us.

“I missed you too.” I replied, yet attempted to pull myself out her hold. She was strong. “Cassie, I love you and all, but you’re gonna kill us.”

Cassie laughed and released us from her hold, “Josh isn’t here.” She explained. “He has a family problem and won’t make it until next week.”

I merely shrugged at that, and made my way over to hug Shane. Don’t get me wrong, I had forgiven Josh for being a jerk a long time ago, but I still couldn’t forget the way he acted. He was a playboy, and of course I can be friends with that if he’s not messing around with me or my friends.

Shane pulled me down to sit beside him, and offered me a chocolate bar which I gladly excepted. “I love you.” I sang, as I bit into the chocolate.

“You’re only saying that because I gave you food.” Shane smirked.

Melissa laughed at that. She knew as well as any one how much I loved my food. “So what about cheese?”

“I hate cheese!” Caleb announced.

“I love cheese.” Shane added.

“Shane thinks cheese is the best food in the world.”

“Because it makes so much stuff. You can have a cheese toasties,omelette, cheese sandwich, pizza, cheesy cream-“

“But you can also do a lot of things with chicken.” Caleb retorted. “Chicken is so much better than cheese!”

Shane sighed and turned to Melissa and I. “Choose.” He ordered.

Melissa shrugged and lay back down, her head on the grass. “I am not getting involved in this.”

Caleb turned to me eagerly.

“Well.” I hummed. “I like pizza… But I also like chicken.”

They both stared at me, waiting for a clear answer. “But I only like cheese when it’s used for pizza. I like all types of chicken.”

“Yes!” Caleb jumped into the air, obviously pleased with his victory. He ran up to Shane, and pushed him over before running off through the crowd of people. Shane clambered up, and took off after him, yelling about cheese. I snorted with laughter, while everyone else shook their head in amusement.

“This year is going to epic.” Cassie smile in satisfaction.

“Watch it!” I heard a voice squeal, a voice that I am very well acquainted too. Keara. I looked up and watched Caleb laugh his ass off while Shane attempted to pull Keara to her feet, also in fits of laughter.

“Shane just tossed the new girl!” Max snorted.

I didn’t reply, I stood and watched Keara as she complained. It sort of reminded me of her first day at my dance class, Marc and I were doing our usual routine when Keara entered, complaining about the facilities.

And even though she was a snob, and wasn’t even the best dancer there. She still came out on top, as per usual.

“I’m sorry.” Shane spluttered.

“You better be. God!”

I rolled my eyes. She was never going to fit in if she kept acting like this. Even Jessica wouldn’t make such a big deal. She’d roll her eyes and walk on.

Shane raised his head in defense, and turned his head to us in a ‘check this one out’ sort of way. Keara followed his gaze until her eyes fell on me, then Melissa. Her mouth dropped open.

“Why is she staring at us?” Shannon mused.

“Because she’s an asshole.” Melissa grumbled.I nodded at that, “Nicely put.”

“Wait you guys know her?” Cassie glanced between our glares.

“You can say that.”

Keara began to storm over, and towered over us. “Why are you here.” She hissed to me, completely ignoring Melissa.

I rolled my eyes, “I was playing hide and seek in my wardrobe and ended up here.”

Keara stared at me in clear confusion.

“It’s a Narnia reference.” I added, hoping to ease her confusion. She continued staring at me.

“Talking lion and stuff?”

She pulled a face.

“A book and a film.” I deadpanned.

“I don’t care!” She snapped.

“Why ask then?” I muttered.

“You knew I was coming here. What did you want? To try and ambush me!” She screamed.

Everyone was now watching us, I could see Jessica laughing slightly at the tantrum being pulled by this girl. You know it’s bad when Jessica’s laughing.

“Okay calm your head there cupcake.” I heard Shannon snort, and I couldn’t help but snicker. I was training her so well.

“Excuse me?” Keara snarled.

“I said, calm your pretty head. If you shake it one more time, it’s gonna fall off your shoulders.”

Caleb snorted at this, and sat down beside Shannon.

“Okay Keara. I’m going to make this simple. You stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours.” I tried to reason. “We’ll all be happy.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” She whispered harshly, “I’m never going to let that happen Riley. I’m the leader, you’re just the little bitch who won’t get out of my way.”

Melissa, Shannon and Cassie all made an attempt to get up and bitch slap her, but the guys held them back. Damn.

“You love going from one to a hundred real quick, don’t you?” I murmured to myself.

“I mean it May. Go away.”

“Hey that rhymed.” Caleb sang.

I watched the expressions of everyone around us. Nearly everyone was shocked that this girl actually talked to me like that, others were amused by her. I gritted my teeth, I had built my very own reputation here. And it was that I could stand up for myself, and other people. That I could help people out. I couldn’t falter just because this cow was here.

I honestly wanted to give Keara a shot, maybe let her fit in. She might change after a while, but that thought was clearly going down the drain.

I sighed and got to my feet, standing face to face with Keara. “Okay sweetheart. How about I tell you like it is. This my home, and these are my peops. And I am not going anywhere. Don’t test me, because I will ruin you if I have to.”

The audience all had small grins on their face, as they leaned forward waiting for more drama.

“How dare you try and threaten me!” Keara screeched.

I face palmed. “Keara! This isn’t like home! You have to earn your respect, you have to earn everything. You might be able to buy your way into this place, but look around. You have no friends here. Stop thinking your some sort of hierarchy, because you’re not!”

Keara stood rooted to the spot, in shock. “I hate you.”

“Glad we have something in common!” I snapped. I sat back down, and crossed my legs. “You can go now.”

“Well wasn’t that dramatic.” I turned around and saw him. He was leaning against the fence behind us, with a wide smirk on his face. “Hey superman.” He winked at me and made his way over.

I couldn’t help the wide grin that formed on my face, as I looked up at him and stretched my arms up like a child. He snorted and grabbed my hands, pulling me up slightly so that he could sit down and let me sit on his lap.

“Hey guys!” He greeted, fist bumping Cassie, and smiling at Melissa. “I like your hair Shannon.”

Shannon blushed as pink as her hair, “Thanks.” She murmured shyly, tugging on it. I chuckled, and leaned back into his chest.

“Oh hi best friend, how are you? I’m fine Chase, thanks for asking.” Caleb grumbled to himself.

“Chase?” Keara asked in bewilderment.

I frowned and glanced at Chase. “How do you know her?”

“She ambushed me after you left with the knight in shining armor.” He whispered into my ear. “She wrote her number down on her face.”

I let out a snort of laughter at that. Of course Keara ran after Chase after seeing him talk to me, even in his delivery guy uniform, she could tell he was cute.

“Hi Keara. Are you still here?” He mused.

Keara looked between us, shock written across her face. “Is he your boyfriend?” She demanded to me.

I furrowed my eyebrows, and tried to think of a way to reply. “Well…” I looked to Chase to see he was equally troubled. “Not-“

“Yes.”Shannon snapped. “They’re together. Basically anyway.”

Melissa bellowed a laugh, while Max coughed violently. Cassie shot my a sympathetic look as she tried to hold back her smile.

I blushed and hid my face in Chase’s chest. I hated blushing, my face went bright red. It wasn’t a cute blush where your cheeks go warm, but my face basically goes on fire. Chase’s chest rumbled, as he laughed at my reaction. “Why you gotta be so awkward.” He smirked at me.

“Shut up, or I’ll punch you in the face.” I grumbled.

“Not the face! That’s your ex- jerks place.” He mocked. I growled in frustration, which made him laugh more. Why did I even like this idiot?

“Okay guys leave my May alone!” Shane announced. I smiled at him. That’s why I love Shane.

Keara continued to stare at us, in shock. I could tell that everyone was beginning to get irritated, especially Cassie, who finally stood up and glared at her. “Okay. This is how it’s going to go, yeah? Stay away from us. Because if you don’t, I will beat that ass of yours.”

“Strictly no violence.” I coughed a reminder.

“Verbally. I will verbally beat your ass.” Cassie corrected.

“Just go Keara. You’re not doing yourself any favors.” I yawned, “You’re just boring everyone.”

Keara clenched her teeth and glared at Cassie. “Fine.” She hissed, before turning on her heal and stalking off. A few people throughout the crowd chuckled, as I rolled my eyes.

“She was always one for dramatic exits.”

Chase laughed, and hugged me. “Your exits are better.”

“Don’t I know it.”

“Wanna go explore the new camp?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

“Okay parents and visitors.” Chris’ voice bellowed throughout the field, “It’s time for you to say your goodbyes.”

The crowd in the field began to shrink to a more reasonable size. Chris had redecorated the camp. The camp Turn Up The Beat and Step Up The Beat were joined together, there was a huge path through the woods connecting them together.

There was a dock now built on the lake, with enough chairs for a group to hang out. The dance hall was now in Turn It Up, as was some classes, and a new party area. Chris did an amazing job making the camp the place he always wanted it to be.

After about ten minutes, when the dramatic crying mothers who were worrying over their babies left, the camp turned silent, and everyone’s attention was on Chris. “Welcome, or welcome back to camp. I know it’s a little different now. Having the two camps joined together is probably strange, but you guys will learn to get used to it. I tried my best to make this place as homely as possible. The cabins are bigger than last year, and now hold three people. I’m probably not going to be able to go through the lists of changes, but they’re all posted on the map on the notice wall.” He gestured to his left. “The dining area is now in the old Turn It Up camp, while the cabins are in the old Step up the beat.”

Some people groaned things about the ‘long walk’, including Caleb who got an elbow in the stomach my Shannon.

“So that’s most of the boring stuff. Shannon, if you would like to do the honors?” Chris grinned in her direction, as she nodded frantically.

“Make a quick decision of what song you guys are going to sing.” She blurted out to us, before running up to the front of the crowd, and climbing onto a random table. The Stage hadn’t been set up yet, to make room for parents.

“Wait what?” Cassie cried. “She’s choosing us?”

“For what?” I frowned.

“The starting performance.” Shane groaned. Melissa jumped into action, “Think of a song we all know. Think!”

“Um..” I wracked my brains, “I’ve got American Authors stuck in my head.”

“That’s perfect!” Max announced. Chase began to hum the tune in his head, “That could work.”

“That could work?” I teased, “Glad we have your approval obi wan!”

“Hey guys!” Shannon smiled into the microphone. “So this year, for some reason I was chosen as leader.” I screamed my approval at that, and she rolled her eyes, shushing me.

“Basically I’ll be the one you guys come to if you need any help, or have any problems! But that’s not important!” She laughed. “Welcome to the first year of camp Turn Up The Beat!”

The crowd cheered, and clapped. When the noise died down, Shannon continued. “A few simple rules; No violence. Anything and everything is to be dealt with through music. Dance off’s, singing battles, you name it.”

I chuckled awkwardly. I may have broken that rule once or twice. “Yeah May.” Shane teased. “No violence!”

“Second rule; Try to go to your classes. Their there to help you improve, it’s not all fun and games around here. Third rule; No bullying. It’s a rule everywhere, and is to be followed. But I think most people know what to do when they’re being bullied. There’s a certain person who likes to sort that sort of thing out.

“No one’s allowed to leave the grounds without the permission of Chris. If you do, well there may be consequences. That’s basically it with the rules though-“

“Rule number five!” I shouted. “No trying to take over the camp. I’l bust you!”

The campers from last year all burst out laughing, knowing well I was referring to Dave’s failed attempt.

Shannon shook her head at me in amusement. “The names of and cabin numbers are being set up right this moment, so when we’re done here, you can check for your room mates over on the notice wall.” Shannon finished up with a smile. “Now, for the start of the year song, I don’t give you a band. More like a group of people who sing quite well together.”

“Team unicorns!” Max shouted out. “That’s what we’re calling us.”

“No! Team Cassidy!” Cassie argued, gesturing to herself.

“Ew no. Team chicken.” Caleb demanded.

“I prefer the rebels..” I intervened.

“How about the chasers?” Chase cried, jumping up and down. We all stared at him blankly, before chorusing, “No.”

“I hate you guys.”

“We’ll call them team ‘get your ass up and starting singing!’” Shannon snapped. The crowd was watching amused.

“So demanding.” I tutted. Cassie sat down on the ground, gesturing for her personal space. We had no stage, so we were going to have to make a show on the ground. She pulled out her laptop and found the song. “I’ll remix it, a bit.”

I nodded, and made my way out of the crowd, and looked around. “The walls.” I whispered, a grin forming on my face. Chase smiled in agreement, and we pulled everyone over, followed by the campers.

I boosted myself up onto the wall, and sat on it. Looking down at the camp. The wall’s surrounded the place was very tall, but had plenty of room to move around on top.

The music began playing, and the other members of the gang began to climb up. Shane was up next, sitting beside me. I dangled my feet off the edge, and grinned at the people below us. Chris watched anxiously, obviously not wanting us to fall off, while Kelly stood beside him, rolling her eyes at him. She knew I was fit to do a sprint around the camp on these walls.

“Ooh. Ooh. Ooh.” Caleb sang with Melissa and Max.

“I had a dream, so big and loud.
I jumped so high, I touched the clouds.
Woah, oh, oh, oh, oh.” I sang, as I kick my feet to the rhythm.

“I stretched my hands up to the sky!

We danced with monsters through the night,

Woah, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!” Shane sang along side me.

I jumped onto my feet, “I’m never gonna look back.

Woah. Never gonna give it up. No!
Please don’t wake me now.”

We froze for a moment, before the rest of the group jumped into a standing position on the wall.

“Wooh, wooh wooh!” The campers sang

“This is gonna be the best day of my life.

My li-i-i-i-i-ife!

This is gonna be the best day of my life,My li-i-i-i-i-ife!” Team ‘get your ass up and start singing’ sang together.

“I howled at the moon with friends,
And then the sun came crashing in.
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh!”
Chase sang, a smirk playing on his lips, probably making every girl in the camp want to pounce on him.

Nearly every girl.

“But all the possibilities.

No limits just epiphanies,

Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh!” Melissa added.

I twirled around on the wall. “I’m never gonna look back.

Woah, never gonna give it up.

No, just don’t wake me now.” I smiled, and blew a kiss to a sneering Keara. Max pointed to the crowd, giving them the go ahead to sing the chorus. Once the finished, Caleb jumped forward dramatically, and looked out into the distance as if he was in a play.

“I hear it calling outside my window,
I feel it in my soul.” He sang, and I smiled. I loved Caleb’s voice.

“Soul” I whispered softly.

“The stars were burning so bright,
The sun was out ’til midnight,
I say we lose control!”

“Control!” I cried, and began to dance to the rhythm of Cassie’s music.

Once the song was finished, and I had managed to get down from the wall, with the help of Kelly and Chase. I raced over to the notice wall, pulling Chase with me. “Who’s my cabin mates, who, who?” I sang.

“We could always be secretive cabin mates if you want.” Chase flirted, wrapping his arm around my shoulder, as I searched for my name.

“Only if you buy the food.” I shrugged, making him laugh.

Shannon raced over to us, and searched for her name, which ended up right beside mine. “Yes!” She squealed wrapping her arms around me. “Twice in a row, can you believe our luck?”

“Uh girls-” Chase attempted to talk, but we stopped him.

“This year is going to be amazing. I don’t even care if Keara’s here.”

“May look-“

“-We’ll have to decorate our cabins. What color will we paint it?”

“Guys!” Chase snapped. “Before you go and start pouring paint over your cabin, shouldn’t you see who your other room mate is?”

I frowned, and followed his finger towards the name sitting beside mine and Shannon’s. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I grumbled.

“This isn’t happening, I will never get any sleep.” Shannon wailed.

“Oh this is happening.” I nodded, “This will be fun.”

“No!” Shannon whined, and Chase held back a snort as he whispered our room mates name into Shane’s ear, who spluttered with laughter.

“This has to be a joke.” The voice behind me snapped. I turned to face Jessica, who’s jaw was clenched, as she stared at our names.

“Hey roomie!” I grinned, “This years going to be fun, huh?”

She groaned, “I hate my life.”

May Riley, Shannon Keys and Jessica Calls

Cabin 5

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