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Boyfriend for the Summer
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Everything in life is a possibility…
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It is way too fucking hot to be doing this right now.
I know I should be happy that we’re only five miles from camp, but at the same time I’m furious that the bus couldn’t have waited five more miles before popping its tire. Then I wouldn’t have a bus full of hot, cranky teenagers sitting in the bus above me.
Not that they seem to really care. The chatter of thirty teen voices floats down from the windows as I struggle to place the jack properly under the bus. It’s the normal mix of emotions. Some of the kids are rude for the hell of it because they want to act like they’re too cool to go to camp. But of course, as soon as we get there they’ll be as excited as everyone else—and probably the first ones to jump into the lake.
Groups of girls are talking about guys back home and sharing secrets for how to get the best camp tan. I hear a group of guys in the back talking about the latest football scores for various leagues, and in spite of the heat, I find myself being swept back to my own trips on this bus.
Yes, it’s the same dusty green bus. I’m pretty sure that this bus has delivered campers to Red Rock Camp since it was founded. Or so the legend goes.
No one that I went to camp with is around anymore. They’re all off living more glamorous lives than I am. Especially while I’m on my knees in the dirt, trying to get my wrench to properly grip the lug nuts on a bus that’s easily fifteen years older than I am. And since I’m twenty-three now, this bus is nearing life as a senior citizen.
But when I was riding it six years ago, it didn’t seem so bad. The whole two hour drive out of Atlanta was full of fun and possibility. Bonding with friends and making plans. This road is full of memories for me, and they’re mostly good ones.
Hopefully this summer won’t be that bad. Being Director of the Red Rock Summer Camp was never my goal, but I think it could be good for me. Get away for a while. From everything and everyone familiar. Clear my head. And in spite of everything, they’re good kids. It won’t be that bad.
Fuck, this bus is really stuck. The muscles in my shoulders scream with the effort of fighting against the ancient metal. Normally it would be easy. But after playing a long—and physical—game of flag football with some of my childhood friends yesterday, and a workout this morning designed to numb my mind this morning, my body is sore. The good kind of sore that reminds me to be grateful for the body that I have. But still sore.
A curse flies out of my mouth when a soda can hits me in the head and spills soda across my shirt. Not an intentional hit—not nearly hard enough for that, and they know there would be hell to pay if they did that. No, it’s just someone littering, but it’s just one more thing that adds to my crummy mood. The liquid sinks into my shirt, and I can already tell that I’ll end up sticky. That’s what happens when soda dries in ninety-degree heat.
All my nostalgia disappears when that soda splashes on me. I don’t know why I let myself get talked into this. I’m not a teenager anymore, and even though it hasn’t even been a decade, the thought of spending the summer with a bunch of horny teenagers isn’t appealing right now. Especially not while kneeling under a bus by the side of a road.
Director of Red Rock Summer Camp. What the hell was I thinking?
Finally, the jack settles into place and I manage to get enough pressure off the tire to change it. The metal creaks under the weight of the ancient vehicle, and it crosses my mind that if I get crushed by the Red Rock bus right now, it will be the ultimate sign from the universe that I’m not supposed to be here.
I put the spare tire on. It’s not great, but we only need to go five more miles. If we pop this one, we’re walking the rest of the way. A little exercise can only be good for the kids on the bus, right?
Letting the jack down, the bus leans heavily on the spare, and I know why they call it a donut. It looks like it’s so full that it’s about to bust. Please, universe. Just let us get to the camp.
My shirt is still damp with coke, and my hands are black with grease. Getting back on the bus, the driver looks at me and does a double take. Her name is Mabel, and she’s been driving this bus since I was riding it. She’s the sweetest Southern woman you’ll ever meet in your life and has unparalleled sass to match. I can see her lips press together as she stifles a laugh at the sight of me.