By Friday, Danni didn’t know how she was going to make it through an entire day of classes. The other girls all had a spare last block on Fridays, so she had no one to share her excitement with. They were leaving right after school, and the boys were coming out sometime the next day. All of them. That meant two days with nothing to get between her and Anson. Two days where he couldn’t be whisked away by introductions and classes like over the last few days. Where she could convince him how right they were for each other. Danni spent most of math class doodling and daydreaming. When the bell rang, she bolted from her seat and actually skipped out the door.
Closing her locker door, Danni turned to find Robyn standing behind her. The leather pants looked like they might actually be painted on and the bubble gum pink shirt she wore had only two of the buttons clasped. For Robyn to lower her standards to come to the grade ten hallway, she had to want something pretty badly.
“Can I help you?” Danni tried to step around the blonde but Robyn mirrored her movements, making sure to block her path.
“We need to talk about Anson.” She smelled of cinnamon gum mingled with the musky scent of her perfume. Yesterday had been Anson’s first day at Vincent Drummond High. Today, he was the talk of the school.
“What about him?” Danni hadn’t been able to exchange more than a few sentences with Anson since the night at the pizza parlour, but she knew she didn’t want him talking to Robyn.
“I hear you have quite the little crush on him.” Robyn leaned forward, placing a hand flat on the locker beside Danni’s head.
“What are you talking about?” She quickly ran through the people that knew about her crush. None of them would have said anything to Robyn.
“You should watch where you gush about your feelings, little one. The bathroom of a pizza parlour? At least check the stalls.” She chuckled, rolling her shoulders, “He’s out of your league. Leave him for the big girls to play with. Understand?” Her usually sparkling eyes darkened ominously.
“You’re not the boss of him, Robyn.” Danni ducked under the older girl’s arm and twisted around her tiny body, “Let’s let him decide who and what he wants”.
“Listen, little girl” She grabbed Danni’s arm roughly. “Do not get in my way.” Danni pried the painted nails out of her skin, refusing to let Robyn see how much it hurt.
“You’re not the only one who knows what she wants. Maybe you shouldn’t get in my way.” Danni turned her back on Robyn and walked away, hurrying towards the school’s main entrance. She pushed through the heavy doors, and saw Kyle’s car parked directly in front. In a few steps, she was down the stairs and in the seat beside Bianca.
“You’re late.” Rayne scolded. “You are cutting into s’more time.”
“As with most things, it’s Robyn’s fault.” She announced as she pulled the door closed behind her.
“Of course,” Kyle shot her a look in the rear view mirror “What did she do this time?
“She has her mind set on Anson,” Danni snorted “She told me to stay out of her way.”
“Bitch! Does she think she has claim to every guy in this damn school?” Bianca scoffed.
“Right!? I told her to leave it up to him. I mean he might not be into either of us.” Danni rolled her eye. “Except that he’s obviously into me. Right, guys? Right?”
“He’s a smart boy. He’s not going to choose Robyn.” Kyle changed the subject she knew they’d be discussing at length until tomorrow. “We have to stop by your house and pick up the food but other than that we’re ready to go.”
“The guys are bringing up more food tomorrow. Are you sure we have enough room for the cooler?”
“It’s going to be a tight, but we need to eat. We’ll have to put some stuff in the back seat with you guys, but the trip’s less than two hour. You can deal.” Kyle replied as she backed the car into Danni’s driveway. “Anyone who needs to pee, do it now. We’re not stopping after we leave.”
As soon as Danni opened the front door, Bianca beelined for the main floor washroom. Cordelia headed up to the one upstairs with Kyle following. Rayne and Danni headed to the back porch to grab the cooler Caleb had filled for them that afternoon. Bending down, each girl grabbed a handle and lifted. The cooler barely rose an inch off the floor. They both grunt from the unexpected weight.
“Holy crap this thing is heavy. How much food are we bringing?” Rayne groaned. The muscles in her upper arms popped to attention.
“Jesus! I had no idea food could weigh this much.” They made it only three steps before they had to put the cooler back down, “We need to choose some stuff not to take, there’s no way we can lift this into the trunk.” Rayne pulled the lid open and immediately started laughing. “No wonder it’s so bloody heavy.”
She stepped aside and showed Danni the contents. The entire cooler was full of bricks.
“I’m going to kick his ass. CALEB!” Danni screamed, turning to run upstairs to his room. Laughter burst from behind the dining room doors. “You son of a bitch.”
“Hey, hey, no need to call Mom names.” He laughed, nearly doubled over. Greg and Blaine were in tears on the chairs at the table. Greg taking a shaky video. “Here’s the right one.” He kicked the red container at his feet.
“You are a gigantic pain in my ass” She tried to stay angry, but their laughter was contagious. “For that, you can carry it out to the car. And you can do it without making a production of it!”
Gathered in the driveway, Cordelia had multiple bags hanging from her shoulders. Bianca was holding the front door open as Kyle rearranged stuff in the trunk. With Blaine’s help, soon everything was loaded and nothing needed to go in the backseat.
“You guys are joining us tomorrow, right?” Danni turned to Caleb.
“Yup. Murphy’s Point, stalls 36 and 37?” He glanced at the paper in his hand.
“Right. If you have any problems finding it, just call me. Any idea on a time?”
“Nope. Greg and I have football practice in the morning, so some time after that.”
“Coolio.” Giving her brother a quick hug, Danni hopped into the back seat.
“Bye, Caleb. See you tomorrow.” Rayne leaned out her window and waved. “Bye boys!”
“Bye Caleb.” Danni teased as they pulled away from the house.
“Shut up, Danni!” Rayne slapped her friends arm playfully and settled into her seat.
Soon they were speeding down the highway, singing loudly to the radio. In the middle of some cheesy boy band song, Rayne awkwardly contorted herself to reach through the front seats and turn down the radio.
“Time to gossip” Her elbows perched on her knees, “You will never believe what I heard today?” The four girls looked at her anxiously.
“Are you actually waiting for us to guess?” Bianca raised an eyebrow.
“Blaine is killer in the sack. Like amazingly good!”
“Says who?” Kyle asked from the front seat.
“Dalliah. They dated over the summer. She was talking about it in gym today. She said he’s hung like a horse!” She giggled.
“No way!” Bianca looked awed. “Blaine? Huh.”
“Really!!” Rayne insisted.
“The girl’s full of crap.” Danni stated matter of factly. “Like actual crap.”
“How do you know?” Rayne smacked her in the arm. “Have you and Blaine been… you know.” She made a couple explicit hand gestures.
“Jesus, no! Nothing like that. First, Blaine is one of Caleb’s best friends, so I know he wasn’t here for most of the summer. Second, and you guys can’t tell anyone this. Seriously.”
“Pinky swear serious?” Bianca joked.
“Actually. Pinkies.” Danni held hers up. The other four did the same and they linked together quickly. “Okay. So, he’s not exactly into things like that…”
“Per-marital sex? Don’t tell me he’s a closet bible thumper!” Rayne looked shocked.
“Not that kind of closet.”
“What?” Rayne’s forehead crumpled in confusion.
“No way!” Kyle exclaimed “He’s gay! I never would have guessed.”
“Dude! Watch the road!” Cordelia grabbed the wheel to hold the car steady.
“Shit. Sorry.” Kyle grinned sheepishly and turned to face the windshield. “He’s actually gay?”
“Do you mean actually like running around and re-decorating shit? Then no. But he really likes penises.” Danni nodded.
“How long have you known this and not told us?” Bianca’s eyes widened.
“About six months.” Cordelia replied absentmindedly from the front seat.
“You told Cordi and not the rest of us?” Rayne looked a little hurt.
“No, I didn’t. And I’ve only known for about a month.” Danni sounded agitated. “How do you know?”
“He told me. People confide in me. It’s a burden.” Her curly hair bounced as she shrugged nonchalantly “He needed to talk to someone. I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone, so I didn’t.”
“Oh.” Danni wanted to understand, but felt a little betrayed that her best friend hadn’t told her.
“Don’t look so hurt, Danni. It wasn’t my secret to tell. And you guys know I can keep a secret like nobody’s business.” Cordi smiled wide and reached under the seat for a bag of licorice. “Who wants some?”
“Okay, Rayne, interesting, more so once we got to the bottom of it, but was it really that big a deal?” Bianca reached forward and grabbed a piece of candy. “Was it worthy of interrupting song time?”
“Oh no! That was just a tidbit!” Rayne mumbled around a mouthful of licorice. “This one is much, much bigger.” She swallowed. “Some of the girls from the basketball team overheard Caleb and Zack talking about something Anson told them.”
“Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.” Danni bounced in place.
“I was going to.” Rayne stared at her until she stopped vibrating. “What I was going to say is that apparently he said that he has a thing for one of us.”
“Seriously?” In her excitement, Danni spilled half her bottle of water on her lap. “What exactly did they say?” She tried to dry her shorts with the edge of her t-shirt. ”Like the exact words.”
“All I know is what the girls told me.”
“Then as much detail as possible!” Danni gave up on drying her lap.
“Caleb asked Zack how Anson was settling in. Zack said he’s liking it better than he expected. Caleb asked if that was because of Robyn.” The distaste in her voice was audible. “Zack said not Robyn, but he knows his cousin and can tell when he likes someone. And he is definitely interested in one of the girls from the pizza night.”
“That is awesome!” Jumping around in her seat, Danni almost spilled the rest of her water, “Okay. Okay.” She took a deep breath, “Must calm down. There’s no guarantee it’s me”.
“Man, who else is it going to be?” Rayne replied, “B is taken. Having a thing for your very close cousin’s ex is just rude, so Kyle’s out. I hardly talked to him, same thing with Cord. So it’s unlikely it’s us. You guys spent most of the evening chatting, so it’s got to be you. He made the most effort to get to know you.”
“She’s right, Danni. It’s totally you.” Cordelia agreed from her seat in the front “You guys did seem to make a connection.”
Kyle glanced over at Cordelia, who was staring vacantly out the window. She remembered the exchange out the pizza between Cordelia and Anson and that unsettling feeling began to build in her stomach again. In the backseat, Danni still bounced giddily with excitement.
“I wonder how he’s going to ask me out.” Danni muttered.
“So, Bianca,” Kyle smoothly interjected “What about you and Greg? Is he like a horse?”
“Kyle!!!” B swatted her friend lightly on the head, “You know I don’t know! We’re not there yet. He’s started hinting and seeing how far he can go, but I’m just not ready yet. I’ve made it very clear to him that things will progress as we are both comfortable.”
“Really?” Rayne looked at her with genuine surprise “I thought you would have at least had a feel by now.”
“I can’t say I haven’t thought about it, but I just don’t… I know I’m not ready, so we’ll wait. It’s only been three months. We’ll do more at some point. I’m not like scared of his dick or anything. If we’re still together after I turn 16, maybe we’ll start talking about sex. Maybe not.”
“Four more months, think he’ll wait?”
“His problem, not mine.”
“Do you guys ever think we’re too young to be thinking about this stuff?” Danni asked “Sometimes I just wonder if we’re missing out on something else being so concerned with sex.”
Four heads turned to look at her with raised eyebrows. She looked at them seriously for about five seconds before she burst out laughing.
“Sorry, guys. I was really going to try and pull that one out a little longer, but come on, who doesn’t think about boys at least once a day.”
They fell into comfortable conversation and were still laughing when Kyle pulled the car into the campsite. Once everything thing was unpacked from the car, Kyle tossed the keys to Rayne. “You three go get enough firewood to last the weekend. Cord and I will stay here and set up the tents.”