Serena couldn’t stop the feeling of longing as she stepped off the front porch. She wasn’t sure why she felt that way. It wasn’t as if she had any friends to miss. The only sibling she generally liked was going with her. Her parents she would miss but not terribly, and she could always call them. Perhaps it was because she would miss her bedroom. Miss being able to stay in bed as long as she wished. Miss sitting at her desk and writing in her journal.
She climbed into the back seat next to Noah. Her parents occupied the front seats. They had insisted taking them. Her mother and father wanted to see her off. Serena found it annoying. They were acting as if she was never coming back. It would only be for six weeks and then she would be coming back.
But her parents were always overprotective of her, she was their youngest daughter. She had accepted that they were always going to be overwhelming. She just hoped when the time came that she met her mate that they would back off. She didn’t need overbearing parents and mate.
“You two have everything you need?” Her mother asked.
“Yep,” Noah responded and Serena nodded. Her father began to drive.
Serena looked out the window, watching the scenery go by. She found it oddly soothing. She was glad it didn’t make her car sick like her brother.
“I really think you’re going to enjoy Ember Moon Camp. It’s a good opportunity for you to branch out and meet new people. There’s going to be lots of activities for you to do and you’ll get some quality bonding time. You might even meet your mate,” her mother chatted.
“I get it mom. People, activities, sun, mate, opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I just want you to put yourself out their honey. I hate seeing you like this. I just want to see you happy.”
“I know mom. I’ll try.” It was the best Serena could give her mother. She would try, though she was unsure of how long she would try. It depended on how far her patients was tested.
Her mother seemed satisfied with that. She turned her head away and started to converse with her father in quiet voices. Serena took it as an opportunity to plug in her ear phones and music.
She watched as the sun began to rise. Her brother being a counselor meant they had to get up unnaturally early so he could get there before the other campers. Noah had to help out with registration and helping out the new campers, such as herself.
Serena understood why she had to get up so early, it would have been pointless to take two trips. She still wished she could have gotten more sleep. It wasn’t as if she could fall asleep in the car, it was too uncomfortable to do.
She couldn’t feel her butt by the time they made their first stop. She got out of the car as soon as possible. She stretched her aching limbs and grabbed a snack inside the gas station. Serena made a face as she got back into the car. Her limbs protested. Sitting in a car for long lengths of time was not a smart idea, nor a comfortable one.
They stopped two more times before Ember Moon Camp came into view. It was hard to miss, there was a giant sign.
Serena sat up, attentive. She took in every detail of the camp. There were large cabins arranged in a half circle. There was a large building in the middle that she assumed was the mess hall. There were several other buildings scattered around. There was a volleyball sand court. There was also a fire pit surrounded by logs with the intention of being sat on. She was sure there were other activities scattered throughout the forest and out of eyesight.
She knew for a fact that there were several ziplines, a lake for swimming and canoeing, and an obstacle course. Noah liked to talk about them when he came home from camp.
Serena got her suitcase out of the trunk before her brother. He was too busy meeting with some of the other counselors. She rolled her eyes. It was one of the few things Noah and her did not agree on. He was very social and she was not. Hence why he had already ditched her for his counselor friends, leaving her to fend for herself with their luggage.
Grabbing Noah’s suitcase, she found it a lot heavier than expected. She had to use two hands to pull it out and her arms shook afterwards. She stared at it in bewilderment.
Marching up to her brother, she demanded, “What the hell do you have in your suitcase? Rocks?”
Noah snorted. “Unlike you, not everyone can survive on clothes and music alone.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Maybe it’s none of your business.
“Oh, please don’t tell me you got any kinky sex toys in there. This is a summer camp for god’s sake,” Serena flew her hands up in exasperation.
“I didn’t bring any sex toys!” He yelled, his face turning red.
“Ah ha! So, you admit to owing sex toys!”
“I don’t own any sex toys!”
Serena started cackling. Noah had turned so red and looked as if he was contemplating dying in a hole or strangling her.
Thankfully, their parents had interrupted before he decide. Her mother and father stood before her, guiding her a few feet away from her brother and his friends.
“Serena, be good for your brother alright? I don’t want you picking any fights with anybody and I want you to try and get along with the other campers. I want you to participate in all the activities as well. And if you have any problems or your nightmares get bad, tell Noah.”
“Okay dad. I’ll try my best. But if someone tries anything, you can’t get mad if I pick a fight.”
Serena threw her arms around the necks of her parents who hugged her in turn. She pulled back, discreetly wiping her eyes and nose. “I’m going to miss you.
“We’re going to miss you too. Promise me you’ll call us every night. I want to know everything that’s happened,” her mother said.
“Alright, I think it’s time for your mother and I to go. You’re in good hands here. I love you butterfly.”
“I love you too.”
Her parents both pressed a kiss to her cheek. They said their goodbyes to Noah before getting in their car and driving away.
“Come on, let’s get you signed in and everything,” Noah said, waving goodbye to his friends.
She followed her brother over to where some tables were set up. She stood back as her brother talked with one of the counselors at the table. He waved her forward to sign her initials, stating that she was there and checked in.
“You’re going to be in Otter cabin, which is surprisingly suitable for you. You may look cute and cuddly but you’re aggressive.” She glared at Noah for that comment. “Your counselor is Charlotte. She’s really cool. I think she’ll be good for you. I’ll take you to get settled in then I’ll show you around, introduce you to some of the other counselors.”
Noah showed her to a cabin with the words “Otter” written on it. “Since you’re one of the first ones here you get first pick of the bunks. This way you can test them out to make sure you don’t get ones with any lumps or weird smells.”
“Are you bad mouthing my cabin Noah?” An unfamiliar voice spoke behind them.
Serena turned and saw a woman she guessed was her counselor.
“Pfft, what? Of course not. Why would I bad mouth your lovely cabin Charlotte?” Noah backtracked in an attempt to get himself out of the hole he dug.
“Mhm,” Charlotte looked at Serena, “You must be his sister, Serena. I’ve heard a lot about you. All good things I promise. We’re going to have a lot of fun you and I.”
“Okay,” Serena said, not wanting to voice her doubts on that. She doubted that she was going to have fun at the dreadful camp, but she didn’t want to ruin their moods so she kept quiet.
To relieve herself of an awkward situation, she walked into the cabin in search of her bunk for the next six weeks. She chose a bottom bunk next to a window. She couldn’t be on the top. She was afraid of falling off during a nightmare.
She made the bed and shoved her suitcase under the bed. She could sort through her things later. Serena exited the cabin where Noah and Charlotte were chatting. They quieted when she emerged.
“Fixed your bed up?”
“Good. Let me introduce you to some of the cool counselors.”
Charlotte whacked him upside the head and Serena couldn’t help but thank that she was going to get along great with her counselor.
“I meant the other cool counselors!” Her brother tried and failed to amend.
“Get out of here Noah, I don’t want to see your face anymore.”
“I’m going, I’m going.”
Serena followed behind a laughing Noah, shaking her head at him. Sometimes she wondered how they were related.
A male came jogging towards them, greeting Noah. He must be another counselor. The two chatted for a moment until Noah realized that his little sister was there with them.
“Serena, this is Skyler. He’s the counselor of Eagle cabin.” Noah introduced the two.
“Nice to meet you Serena.” Skyler held out his hand.