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Camp Lore - 26. Chapter 26

“I’m kind of torn about this,” Brian said.

We were driving to the car shop near Guildford Center – to get a final bid on the paint job. But he wasn’t talking about his car.

“In one way, seeing Laura should be fun – something we’ll enjoy then easily be able to forget. In another, I don’t like lying to Julie.”

“I understand.”

“It’s not like me – at least, I don’t think it is. And it makes me feel lousy.”

“Have you done it before?”

“What?”

“Lie.”

“No.”

“You made it sound...”

“No – not about something like this. I’ve lied a little... very little. When I wanted to do something like go back to my room and watch a game – or even play one.”

“You don’t have to be on top of each other all the time.”

“You understand that. But I should be able to tell Julie.”

“What would she think?”

He quickly smiled.

“She likes having me around... And I like being around... But sometimes...”

“It’s not like you were seeing someone else – that you’ve mentioned.”

“Absolutely – at least, not after the beginning. And I really don’t want to. If I could just hold Laura to dancing – and talking – I think that would be fair. For the summer.”

“And flirting?”

He grinned. “Well, that’s part of talking and dancing.”

We laughed as he pulled into the parking lot. As with the first time, I followed him into the shop and listened while he talked.

“I don’t mean to be cheating you on this,” he told the guy behind the counter. “But I’m only a student...”

The guy grinned. “A student with his dad’s credit card.”

Brian had shown it to him.

“Mom’s actually – it’s her account. You’ll have to call her to verify...”

“Don’t think I won’t.”

They both laughed.

“But it’s a deal, otherwise?” Brian went on.

“Just sign the paperwork, and I’ll make the call.”

Brian glanced at the time. “I told you it’s overseas. Now wouldn’t be good.”

“When?”

“To make it easiest – on you – tomorrow – between 8 and 10 in the morning. We’re seven hours earlier.”

The guy wrote that down.

“And if you can’t get through to Mom, call my dad. He’s on the same account.”

The guy looked at his notes.

“That’s your mom’s number?”

“And that’s my dad’s.” Brian pointed. “And that’s mine.”

“I’ll call one of them tomorrow and get back to you.”

“Great. Then I can drop off the car.”

“Will you need a ride back?”

“Nah, it’s just a couple of miles. I’ll bring my sidekick,” – he thumbed toward me – “and we’ll hike. But thanks.”

The guy laughed. “You’re a lot less lazy than some of the kids at that camp.”

“They’re pretty athletic,” Brian defended.

“Then not as soft.”

“Thanks,” Brian repeated.

We both knew we’d been gently insulted, but Nate had warned us. Besides, from what Brian had told me, the guy’s work checked out, and he was offering a good price. That was most important.

Driving back to camp, we went back to talking about Laura.

“The thing is that in almost every way, she’s terrific,” Brian said. “But I still can’t shake the feeling she wants me out of my clothes.”

“It’s not just something you’re hoping for?”

“I’m not that stupid.”

“Then why? Especially if you’ve agreed...”

“Kind of...

“Not to do that.”

“I know.”

I waited, but he didn’t go on.

“So?” I had to ask.

“He shook his head. “I haven’t figured that out – I mean, there are plenty of other guys around – guys who are probably more interested.”

“Maybe you’re a challenge.”

“The more I resist, the more she’ll try?”

“Or maybe she’s bored. Or surprised.”

“Any normal guy would jump?”

“You are normal.”

“Thanks.”

Then he considered.

“I’d love to just talk with her about it,” he went on. “But whenever I try, she turns it into a joke.”

“Like Nate.”

“In a way – yeah. Joke about what you can’t get – so you’re not disappointed.”

“Maybe she’ll give up?”

“That would be great. Then we could just dance – she’s good at that.”

“I’ve noticed.”

“And I’ve seen you dancing with her.”

“Why not?”

“You just can’t let her body get against yours – at least, I can’t. I’ve got more control of myself when we’re just talking.”

“Nothing’s gonna happen,” I assured him. “We’re all right there.

“Then keep a hose ready.”

“That bad?”

He laughed.

“Enough so I’ve imagined it.”

I laughed

“I shouldn’t’ve told you,” he admitted.

This time, I simply smiled.

“I’m glad she’s not interested in me,” I said.

He disagreed. “You’d know what to do.”

“I might. But I wouldn’t bet I’d do it. I’m a lot weaker than you.”

He didn’t need to know I’d slipped within hours on the train.

“But you love Katie...”

“Maybe not as much as you love Julie. And I can’t see the future.”

“Rob, the fortune teller.”

He grinned. “What do you see for me?”

“I just think you should talk with Laura – try to. Though it’d be good to know what Julie thinks, too.”

“She dump me the second she found out.”

“Then there’s you answer.”

“I know... But...”

And we pulled into camp.

“What if Julie dated some guy this summer?” I asked carefully. “More than dated.”

“She wouldn’t,” he insisted. “She almost couldn’t. She’s in a tiny town in northern Michigan. Living with her family and working in their coffee shop ten hours a day.”

“And no guys drink coffee?”

“She knows every one in town – she was raised with them. That’s why her parents sent her to prep school. They want her in a better university.”

“Nothing wrong with the U of M.”

“That’s where her parents met. They want her a step up.”

I laughed. “It’d be really awful if you were both at the same school next year and had broken up.”

“It’s a huge university. Though – for a while, at least – we’d be in the same dorm.”

“At least, not the same suite.”

“It doesn’t matter. We’re not breaking up over Laura.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

“Then stop flirting with her.”

He shook his head. “That’s probably a good idea.”

And he tried that night. He kept dancing with other girls and let other guys dance with Laura. But finally, I watched her pull him aside, and they went outside to talk. I could see them through a window, sitting on a bench.

“What did she say?” I asked, back in the bunk.

“She’s really great,” he admitted. “I like her more in every way.”

“That’s not good.”

“I know.”

Then he seemed to consider.

“She didn’t flatter me or anything,” he went on. “She just said that if there was one guy in camp she’d like to stay friends with after the summer, it would be me.”

“That’s not flattery?” I joked.

“Not the way she said it. It was honest.”

“I’m not sure.”

“I’m not being manipulated – I know how that feels. And this isn’t it.”

“Would she say the same things in front of Julie?”

He just looked at me.

“You’re really riding me on this.”

“I don’t want you kidding yourself.”

“There is that.”

Then he was quiet. And he settled into bed before he spoke again.

“I told you. I’m really torn.”

Copyright © 2020 RichEisbrouch; All Rights Reserved.

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Teenage angst at its best.... Or worst. 🤗🤗

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Teenage angst at its best.... Or worst. 🤗🤗

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I suspect there are far more serious things to get anxious about than worrying about having sex with someone other than the person you've been steadily seeing.  But it's fun to watch Brian sweat.

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