A cushion arched through the air and landed on Rachel’s face, which had up until then, had been scrunched up in concentration as she tried her best to ignore Joey and tutor Anthony. The tension between the two was tangible but no one in the Cabin made an effort to get them to reconcile,
Mark let out a victorious “Yes!” while Rachel threw it back at him, asking him what the big idea was.
“Wesson wants to see you.”
“Ooh!” Anna nodded, “The prank was her idea.”
“Hey!” Rachel hit her over the head
“I’m kidding!” she put her hands up, “Don’t sweat it, it’s probably no big deal.”
Rachel nodded and assured herself that yeah, it was probably no big deal. She rolled her shoulders and grabbed her jacket on the way out.
Rachel knocked on the door, opening it just a crack to take a peek. Wesson was sitting at his desk, working on … what was that? Rachel gulped-report cards.
“Come in, Rachel.”
He motioned for her to sit down. “Do you know why you’re here?”
“Not for the prank, don’t worry.” He smiled, “It was genius though.”
Rachel’s shoulders relaxed until he mentioned the real reason he called her, “It’s about your result.”
He handed her a copy of her card. A lump formed in her throat as part of her wanted to cry. She used to be an A grade student and now as her eyes moved slowly over the sheet one more time she had to accept the numerous B’s and C’s that greeted her.
Well, it wasn’t like she put in any real effort the past few months, she bit the inside of her cheek and nodded her head as she accepted the grades. It wasn’t like she had anyone to take it home to anymore.
“Well?” he asked her
“I think I did okay.”
Wesson’s arched eyebrows climbed higher, “I don’t think so.”
Rachel just shrugged, “Rachel, you’re a good kid! The teachers adore you.” He paused to look at her but she looked unconcerned, “Rachel” he began in the low sweet tone that grownups use when trying to pry something sharp out of a toddler’s hands, “I’ve seen your reports. You used to be a smart kid! What went wrong?”
His concern was nice, Rachel had to admit, but she didn’t want any of it, “I – just don’t see the point.” She shrugged nonchalantly
“I don’t have anyone to make proud.” She said simply
The frustration on his face was evident, “Who are we to you, then?”
“People who consider themselves family even though you don’t know jack about who I am. People who will provide me with a roof above my head and will only be part of my life till the age of eighteen after which, I will, gladly, be on my own.” she smiled all too sweetly.
“So, Joey? Connor? They aren’t special to you then? No one in the cabin is?”
“People lie. People judge and people act! They pretend to care. They’re nice to the new kid who just lost her Nanna. They’re nice to the new kid who just so happens to be the daughter of the man who built this damn place!”
Wesson was unrelenting, “Rachel, I understand that losing your Nanna was a traumatic experience but that doesn’t mean you give up on everything!”, Wesson’s voice finally inching higher.
“Why not? Other than her, there’s Nate. But he’s probably gonna get married soon and has his own crap to deal with…”
“But – wait … Nate’s gonna get married?” he looked offended.
“Yeah, maybe this summer.” She nodded but then her facial muscles tensed again, “But that’s beside the point!”
“Rachel, you have us!”
And she did not fight the urge to roll her eyes in front of him this once.
“I don’t get it! You seemed happy!”
She snorted, “It’s called acting! It’s called not being pathetic! It’s called avoiding those looks of pity that everybody gives you! Why are you insistent on keeping me here!?”
He sighed and leaned back in his chair, running a hand over his tired face. He took off his glasses, “I know what this is”
“It’s called being stubborn.”
“What?” she repeated, confused.
“It’s because your father, the man you never knew, wanted this for you. Because you have convinced yourself of the lie that he did not love you! That he abandoned you as a child! The only way that you can think of getting back at him… is by rebelling. It’s by thinking that if you fight this, you’re getting back at him somehow.”
“You don’t know anything about me.”
“He’s a dead man, no amount of rebellion is going to change that.”
She got up and stormed out of the office, slamming the door on her way out.
Wesson cringed and picked up his phone, dialing one of his best friends.
“Nate, it’s me.”
“Oh! How did it go?”
“She hates it here.” He massaged his temple with his free hand.
“I talked to her last week, she seemed happy…”
“Thank you!” he paused, “I mean she seems just fine whenever I see her but talking to her is like watching a time bomb tick the final seconds.”
“Yeah, she’s the bottling up type”
“You’re telling me. She’s more like her father than I ever imagined” he groaned
Nate laughed, “You have no idea.”
Wesson nodded his head as he thought about whether or not ask Nate about this newly acquired knowledge.
He took a deep breath, “So Rachel tells me you’re getting married?”
Wesson grinned, “Dude …”
“Fine. Hannah and I got engaged a year … shut up.” He mumbled
“A YEAR? And you didn’t bother telling me?!”
“Yeah, next thing I know, you’ll walk in here with your wife and four kids and go ‘I forgot’” he mocked
“Rachel was the only one who knew. Shut up.”
He pictured Nate turning red, he grinned at the thought, “No excuses, you hear?”
“Yeah, yeah. You can be my best man. Don’t you have a frustrated kid of your own to deal with?”
He ended the call, brow furrowed at Rachel’s report card.