Katie looked out into the wilderness. She paddled her feet slowly through the warm water. A rustling came from the trees nearby. She turned, nothing there. Must be my imagination, she thought. She turned her attention back to the river, ran a hand through her strawberry blonde hair and stood up. The lunch bell rang in the distance. She pulled on her flip-flops and unrolled the bottom of her jeans. She tied her towel quickly around her waist and pulled her graphic tee on over her head. The wind picked up her hair and threw it back in her face. The rustling came back. She walked slowly towards it.
″ No one is gonna scare me.″
Jake jumped out at her. She yelled, slapped him playfully on the arm, but only to make him think he had scared her. He didn’t even make her flinch.
Jake and Katie had been friends since kindergarten. Their moms had been close friends all through high school and had given birth only two weeks apart. They were still close friends, finding time for brunch every week to catch up. Jake and Katie were now teenagers. When they were younger, Katie thought Jake was a pimply little nerd. Now, however, he called her Kate and made her feel special when he was around. Like she was the only girl in the room. He got stares from many girls, but never acknowledged them. Katie didn’t tell him how she felt. She could talk to him about anything. Why ruin a very good friendship? He knew her better than Christin did, her own sister.
″Hey Jake. You scared me.″
She walked past him, following the path towards camp.
″I did not. Nothing scares you Kate.″
He caught up to her and they walked side by side.
″Who knows, probably climbing a tree somewhere.″
Katie laughed at his remark.
Her sister was known for being a daredevil. She was only a year younger than Katie, but they were so different. Katie liked peace and quiet, Christin was an adrenaline junkie. She had never gotten hurt, so she continued her escapades and thought she was invincible.
″You’re walking too fast Jake.″
He stopped and waited for her. He took her hand and pretended to pull her. She stumbled a bit, let go of his hand and fell forward right on top of him. They went tumbling down, Katie screamed as they hit the ground together. He had broken her fall, but not a single sound had come from him.
″Jake, are you okay?″
She pushed herself to the side and looked at him.
″I’m built tough.″
″Like a Ford?″
They both laughed, Jake grabbed his side and groaned.
″You are hurt. Let me take a look.″
She lifted his shirt slowly and discovered a deep wound.
″Jake, we have to get you to camp and clean it. It could become infected.″
″Aye aye, captain.″
Jake pulled his shirt back down and looked at Katie. During the whole fiasco, their faces had gotten close, now they were only inches away. Katie was still puzzled over how she was feeling, having seen his beautiful chest and all.
She nodded. He brought his hand up to her face and touched it lightly. The moment passed, Katie stood up and looked away.
″We have to get back Jake.″
She started walking in direction of camp, leaving him stunned and wounded.
″Pass the potatoes.″ ″The salt please.″ ″I need some ketchup!″ Katie waited in line at the lunch table. Her sister Christin was standing beside her. She was taller than Katie, with cropped black hair and a tomboy demeanor.
″I’m going to take a walk later, you want to come with?″
Katie nodded. They both came up to the table, filled their plates and found a place to sit.
″You seem far away Katie.″
Katie looked at her and smiled.
Christin eyed her and lifted an eyebrow.
″If you say so.″
They ate their food in silence.
″Pass the ball Christin!″
Katie leaped into the air, serving the ball back to the team on the other side of the net. A game of volleyball was in full swing and Katie’s team was winning. Katie gave Christin a high five and stepped back into serving position. Katie held the ball in her hand, prepared her arm to serve, but something caught her eye. It was Jake. He was sitting on a bench watching the game. A group of girls came up to him and started talking. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she could see Jake was interested. She served the ball, but didn’t wait to see where it went. She walked out on her team, leaving them screaming her name. Christin ran after her. Katie reached her cabin, opened the door and went inside. Christin reached the cabin a few seconds after, just as Jake came running towards her.
″Jake! What the heck is going on with her?″
″I think I can answer that.″
Christin and Jake were sitting on the cabin steps.
″It’s very complicated isn’t it?″
″Does she feel the same way about me?″
″I don’t know Jake.″
He looked vulnerable all of a sudden, she couldn’t look at him anymore. She turned away from him.
″I think of you as my brother. I’m pretty sure it’s the same for Katie. She’s never mentioned you that way.″
He sounded hurt, looked like a wounded puppy.
Their was a long stretch of silence, followed by a door opening behind them. Katie stepped out.
″Jake? What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be on the girls side.″
She made it sound like he had committed a major offense.
″Hi Kate. Good to see you too.″
He said goodbye to Christin and walked back towards the volleyball game. Christin turned to Katie and frowned.
″What the hell has gotten into you?″
″Watch your language young lady!″
Christin stood up, opened the door and pushed Katie inside.
The sisters were sitting side by side in the cabin.
″Do you like Jake?″
″I don’t want to talk about this with you!″
″If not me, then who? I’m your sister, you should be able to speak to me.″
Katie looked around the cabin, unable to form her words.
″Jake told me that he loves you. He wants to know if you feel the same way.″
A tear slid down Katie’s cheek.
″I do love him, but I will never tell him.″
″Why not Katie? He loves you, what more do you want?″
Katie stood up and paced the room.
″He says he loves me. What if we try to be a couple and it doesn’t work? What then? I do love him with all my heart, but what if it’s not enough? I don’t want to lose my best friend. I just can’t lose him.″
She sat down and buried her face into her hands. Christin held her and wept with her. She felt her sisters silent emotion.
″I don’t know what to do.″