The Summer I Fell in Love

When a young man and lifetime mommy's boy goes away to sleep away camp, the last thing on his mind is meeting a girl. But when he meets Taylor, he is thrown a curveball as he finds himself falling in love. Now, plagued with jealous best friends and hormonally charged emotions, Kevin must make the biggest decision ever: let Taylor go or go after her?

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8. The Storm of Rain and Emotion

   We parted ways and I headed into my room, throwing on warm clothes and drying myself off thoroughly. After I was changed I headed to the mess hall, sliding into a table next to Ty, Ryan, Izzy and Taylor (who greeted me with a peck on the cheek). Luckily, lunch that day was a warm chilli in a bread bowl, which I devoured ravenously and being the first to finish at my table, I decided to head into the main lounge for a game of solitaire.    I entered the empty main lounge and plopped myself on a couch facing the roaring fire. As I dealt myself the cards I heard the door open and then close behind me and a small voice say, “Can I join?” I turned around and to my surprise Casey stood there.    I agreed and she came over and perched herself on the arm of a massive chair next to me. She said, “Ryan and I really love each other but I don’t know if I should take it to the next level!” Suddenly I noticed tears pouring down her cheeks and I said supportively, “I would go with my gut on it. If you feel like you are in love with him enough to take it to the next level, then that is exactly what you should do and I can guarantee you it will work out. But I just want you to know that I will always be here supporting whatever you want to do because we are friends.” I wiped the tears out of her eyes and she wrapped her arms around me in a hug and said, “Thank you so much!” I thanked her and suggested, “Do you want to get to the basement lounge, that’s probably where everybody is! Plus I wouldn’t mind a Mars bar.”    She agreed and we headed downstairs. As we entered the room we were blown back by the usual shriek of excitement that was ever present in the lounge. In the crowd of people I spotted Ty, Ryan, Izzy and Taylor talking in a corner. We squeezed over to them and I said, “Hey guys do you want anything from the canteen while I am up there?” Taylor asked for a bag of Skittles and so I walked up to the canteen and got a Mars bar and a Gatorade for myself and balanced the bag of Skittles between it all.    I sat down at a nearby table to lighten my load and so I ate my Mars bar and chugged my Gatorade quickly. Then I got up, threw my stuff in the trash and scanned the room to find the guys. I spotted Ryan and Taylor talking intently in the corner. I walked over to them and as I handed Taylor her Skittles she turned to me and gave me a startlingly grave look that was so passionless and fearful. She quickly changed her expression and before I could question her she walked away to go meet a group of friends.    I tried time and again over the course of the day to decipher what Taylor was thinking when she threw me that look. I had tried several times that day to talk to her and we still talked like best friends but something told me there was tension there, tension that was not there before. It appeared as though I had done something without my knowing, something that hurt our relationship. I was still baffled as I slid into my room, tiptoed past all of my sleeping mates and crawled into my bunk fully clothed. As I slid into a deep sleep, the only thoughts on my mind were thoughts of confusion and deceit, which led to a fitful sleep.    The next thing I knew, I was face down on the floor with a very sore back. I groaned as I sat up, half out of my sleeping bag. I looked around the room, feeling spent and wondering if I should just fake sickness to avoid the day. Unfortunately, I lost that battle as I pulled on my glasses and headed blindly down the hall in the direction of the mess hall.    I sat down at a table with Izzy, Ty and Ryan and began to eat my cereal without milk, knowing that was a bad idea because Vector without milk was hazardous. Casey sat next to me and I looked up and noticed a large red hand mark on her face.    I said, “Where is Taylor and why do you have that red mark on your face?” Casey replied, “The two go hand in hand. Taylor woke up this morning, slapped me in the face and called me a conniving snake, and then sped off in the direction of the beach.” My senses completely awake, I asked in a concerned tone of voice, “Did she say why?” Casey said coldly, “I heard her mention something about how Ryan made it all happen.”    In an instant, I turned angrily on Ryan, demanding to know what he said. He stood up and knocked his chair over and I did the same, getting the attention of the whole room, of course the counsellors were staying out of it out of fear for their own safety. He said, “I may have told her the little white lie that you and Casey’s cosy catch-up in the lodge was no coincidence, maybe that you were talking about something a little deeper. And I may have said some other things.” Anger invaded every recess of my body and I reacted by balling a fist and hitting him hard across the cheek.    He fell to the ground swearing and I said, “Don’t mess with my girl. Or I can assure you it will not end well!” With that I ran out of the room and I knew exactly where I was going: the canoe beach. I tore outside while pulling on my sandals and began to sprint breathlessly to the beach. I knew she was trying to stay ahead of me so I had to catch up.    I untied the canoe from the rack and launched it noisily into the water and then, grabbing a paddle I hopped into the boat and began to row. Where I was rowing was unbeknownst to me, all I knew was I had to find Taylor. I paddled hard through the pea soup fog and suddenly wild waves.    I paddled between the islands that dotted the vast lake, until a half hour after I had launched from the dock I saw it. A fibre glass canoe pulled up on shore. I neared the shore and hopped out of the canoe yelling an apology to no one in particular.    Then, the impossible happened. As I stepped up on shore dragging my canoe behind me, my sandals slipped on the wet rock and I was thrown into the water. My face dragged on rocks and substrate as I attempted to push myself to shore, but my head was spinning from the connection with the rock and the fact that I was holding my breath.    I managed to push to the surface and yell for help before sinking back down again. I fought to hold my breath, but my lungs were bound to burst in moments. This was how it was going to end then, I thought to myself. I was going to die trying to save a relationship with the one girl that had given me the time of my life.    Finally, my body refused to fight anymore. My muscles gave up and I floated dead in the water, my mouth opened wide and water filled my lungs. Darkness began to envelope me and I couldn’t breathe at all. Suddenly, with my fading vision I saw an arm reaching for my own.    I attempted to reach out to it but was much too fatigued to do so and blacked out. The visions that followed after my black out were visions sent straight from hell. Darkness, endless darkness consumed me with a tiny ball of light, a sliver of hope just out of reach. I heard Taylor’s incredible voice, then a voice I swore was from an angel, then my mother’s voice telling me it was okay to let go.    As I grasped desperately for the ball of light it began to move toward me. Hope was now within my reach, I had a chance! The ball of light touched me and I felt an electric shock rip through my very aura, my veins filled with hope and life.    I shot up straight, alive and well now. I groaned for a moment and began to swing my arms in a swimming motion before realizing I was no longer in the water. I was laying under a tree, inches from the water that had temporarily taken my life.    I backed up against the tree and clutched my knees to my chest, then fainted once again. This time, when my eyes fluttered open Taylor sat there with extreme nervousness on her face. I opened my mouth to apologize, realizing why I had risked my life, but she put her fingers to my lips.    Then, she kissed me full on the lips. Immediately I was nursed back to life, and I was oblivious to the fact that I had nearly drowned in a raging storm. I cupped her face with my hands and returned the sentiment. We kissed passionately; as I had seen done in the corny romance movies I never bothered to watch, and then sat back, exhausted from the effort. I stared into Taylor’s eyes and whispered, “I love you Taylor.” Taylor smiled as wide as a saucer and whispered back, “I love you too Kevin.”    At this I smiled and was about to respond when I heard the low rumbling of a fishing boat laden down with camp officials who had come to our rescue. We hopped into the boat hand in hand, and although I was a little nervous on the slippery shore, Taylor helped me through it.    They wrapped me in a thermal blanket and handed Taylor and I hot chocolate, which we sipped cautiously as the boat bounced on the unruly waves. Despite the fact that I had mild hypothermic symptoms, my insides were on fire and I knew it was from the kiss. I was about to comment on this to Taylor, when the camp director Brad, a beefy man with an incredible beard, asked me, “Are you okay kid?” I looked at Taylor, recounting the past few days and said without breaking eye contact with her, “Fine. Just fine.”    Brad began talking mumbo jumbo but I spaced out after the few sentences. I was distracted by Taylor’s beauty. Her hair was damp with the spray of the waves. Her cheeks were red, her lips slightly blue, with eyes so full of life they reminded me of a farm yard in the spring time.    Then, to the shock of everyone I leaned in and planted a kiss on Taylor’s lips. Due to the fact that this was a bible camp, connection with the opposite sex was prohibited. The director’s jaw dropped, and everyone stopped what they were doing.    Taylor began to giggle slightly and pointed somewhere behind me. I spun around and saw the entire camp standing on the lawn awaiting our arrival. I saw Casey, Izzy and Ty waving and I knew they had sent Ryan home after bandaging him up.    Taylor and I looked at each other and laughed hysterically, amused by the context of the situation. Then, we turned to a red faced Brad who had his hands on his hips. Then we looked back at each other and kissed once again, to the roar of the crowd.    The both of us were enjoying this attention so as a grand finale, I scooped her into my arms and stepped calmly off the bow of the boat. I had aimed to land smoothly on the dock but we slipped backwards and landed chest deep in water. The both of us laughed and looked at each other, kissing there in chest deep wavy water. In that moment, one thing was true: I was head over heels in love with Taylor and the feeling was mutual.  

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