Happy Trails

Chapter 1

I hate camp. All the fucking lame camps I went to as a child made me hate them, but now look at me: I'm a councilor at another camp; I get to spend the next eight weeks with fucking annoying kids, other peppy councilors, and all the other shit they have going on here.

Grudgingly, I pulled in through the gates and under the wooden sign, parked my car with the gravel parking lot, and headed towards the large gym where sign up was for the councilors and campers. I don't know how other camps are laid out or what they're like; my old ones were always the same, with six boys crammed into a cabin and the councilor living in a connected room the size of a closet. This camp, I'll admit, is nicer. When you pull in, everything is pretty much in a large oval: to the left is the lake, next to that the gym and cafeteria, then this huge open field with soccer goals on it, then the cabins for the campers. Then you have, behind those cabins on a little bit of an incline, four more cabins that are larger; these house the councilors. Back behind it all our mountains framing the sky; I read that the councilors take the campers on hikes over them, but I was praying not to.

After taking it all in, I got in line in the gym and told the lady behind the table who I was. She smiled and welcomed me, giving me this nasty fake smile; she has lipstick on her yellow teeth.

"Ok, you'll be staying in House 2, where you'll choose your roommate. You and another councilor will be in charge of Cabins 5 and 7; here's your t-shirt, nametag, whistle, and guidebook. Glad to have you here, Anthony."

I scowled and said, "It's Antony." Rolling my eyes, I took the bundle she handed me and walked out, passing other councilors that were just signing in. We had to be here a day before the campers to get assigned, organized, and lectured on exactly what we were doing. Some of the people had been working here every summer since they were seventeen and officially allowed to be a councilor; I was here because my mom threatened me that if I didn't have a job, she'd kick me out.

Heading up the hill (which is actually bigger than it looks), I finally saw my House. Each House has four rooms with two beds and then a living room/open room type thing with a couch; we're allowed to hang out in here when the campers are asleep or not here, like on the weekends. I was the first guy to arrive, so I chose the first room on the right, grabbing the bed nearest the window so I didn't feel quite so trapped. I'd just started unpacking my stuff into the tiny dresser they provide when another councilor came in the door.

He walked into my room and asked, "You want to be roommates?"

I shrugged and said, "Whatever," without looking up. When I finally did, however, my jaw dropped because standing across from me was the most gorgeous guy I'd ever seen. He was at least five inches taller then me, although he couldn't have been but 5'6''; he had dreadlocked hair down to his shoulders, part of it pulled back so I could see his fucking gorgeous face. With his striking blue eyes and angelic lips, wide jaw and straight nose, he was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen, let alone the most beautiful guy.

When I finally realized I was drooling, I quickly looked away, back to the bags I was supposed to be unpacking. "So, what's your name?" He asked a few minutes.

"Um, Antony," I mumbled.

He smiled and held out a hand. "Hello, Anthony, I'm Mitchell."

I took his hand with a slight scowl. "It's An-TONY, so just call me Tony for short." He grinned sheepishly at me and apologized. "Don't worry about it; lots of people get it wrong."

He nodded and went back to unpacking. Once we had everything in the drawers, he sat on his bed and faced me. "So where ya from?"

I sat on my own bed, leaning against the wall to I could look straight at him and all his gorgeousness. "Georgia; you?"

"Ohio; isn't it amazing how many people travel to come here?" He asked, a smile tugging at his lips.

"Well, it's supposed to be one of the best camps on the East coast, plus the pays great," I pointed out.

"True, it's just, I heard one girl talking and she came all the way from Colorado."

"Wow," I said, truly surprised; I couldn't imagine traveling half way across the country just to come to a fucking camp, but then again, I could barely make myself travel the short distance I did, so maybe it's just me.

"How old are you?" He asked, interrupting my thoughts.

"Nineteen," I said with a small chuckled; I'm extremely short for my age, barely an inch over five feet, plus I'm really thin, so it makes me look younger.

"Oh," he said, eyebrows raised, "that's cool; I am too, I just didn't…"

"Yeah, I know I look about twelve; it's ok," I interrupted with a grin. He smiled back at me, then glanced at his watch.

"The meeting will be soon."

"How do you know? I didn't see it in the guidebook," I said, picking up the book with mild disgust and flipping through it.

"Oh, it's always at five when everyone's eating dinner," he said with an off-hand tone.

I stopped flicking through the book and looked up at him warily. "You've been a councilor before, haven't you?"

"Oh yeah," he replied, smiling, "been one ever since I turned seventeen!"

I groaned and leaned my head back, disappointed that he was one of those people. He didn't seem fazed, though, as he went on to tell me how everything worked; how we'd be in charge of a couple of cabins, which meant twelve kids. The guy councilors were in charge of the boy campers, even though there were girl campers and councilors, too. There were group activities, too, that included several cabins, and at the end of the week, there was always a camp wide Fun Day which didn't sound so fun, at least for me.

By the time he finished telling me all about it, it was five and time to head to the cafeteria for dinner. I stuck close to him on the walk down there, surprisingly nervous and shy around all these new people calling out hey to each other. When we got to the dining hall, I stayed at his elbow all through the line and back to the table we were assigned to; that's another thing I hate about this camp: each cabin has to eat together, so six other guys were going to be joining us soon.

"You really don't like this, do you?" He asked, amused, as he reached for a napkin.

"No," I said flatly. "This is what my hell looks like."

"Ah, then who's the devil?" As he asked, the camp leader stepped up to the podium and started talking, giving me my answer. "Him." Mitch just laughed at me, taking a bite out of his sandwich before leaning forward to catch everything the director said.

"Welcome to Walborough!" The man boomed; he was tall and probably in his forties, with cropped graying hair and brown eyes. "It's thrilling to see all of your eager young faces here today! I would like to welcome back all the returning councilors and extend my warmest welcome to the newcomers who are sure to find our camp exciting!" Every word was light and happy, spreading out over the cafeteria like a disease. "My name is Wilson McGregor and I encourage anyone who has questions to come to me or one of the other experienced councilors."

After that, he rambled on about the history of the camp, how some freaking ancestor or another of his had wanted a place for orphan kids and it had spread till it included kids from all over the country, sheltering them for two weeks before sending them home with happy (yeah right) memories.

Mitch focus stayed on McGregor the whole time, even though he'd heard this speech two other times, and my focus drifted to him; it was amazing how you could honestly love someone without knowing a single thing about them. Who cares if this guy had been to jail, did drugs, molested kids—he was my roommate! Ok…I take some of that back. But still, there's love.

After the speech, we were done eating and our six roommates had all joined us. There was a blonde guy named Alex, two guys with black hair named James and Cory, and three brunette guys named Brad, Michael, and David; they were relatively nice, in that standoffish I-doubt-we'll-talk-anymore-than-this type way, but you know how that goes.

As Mitch and I were heading back to our cabins, talking animatedly about the area (ok, maybe that was just him), a girl fell into me, making us both topple over since she was taller than me. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry!" She cried with a blush as she quickly got off me. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm fine; are you?" Mitch pulled me up and helped brush the grass of my back which made me blush.

"Oh, yeah, I'm good; my name's Rainie, by the way," she added, sticking her hand out. I chuckled and took it, introducing myself. "Nice to meet you, Tony; so which House are you in?"

"House Two, and this is Mitch, my roommate," I added, seeing as she hadn't addressed him yet and didn't look like she planned on it.

"Oh, hey! Sorry, I didn't even see you; god, I swear I'm going crazy…anyways, I'm in House Eight, but maybe we'll see each other around, huh?" She stared at me with her large black eyes that were framed by pixie black hair.

"Uh, yeah, see ya." She gave us one last smile before running off and joining another group of girls. "Well…she sure was interesting."

"Nice though," Mitch said as we started walking again and I agreed. We made it back to our room without any more incidents and changed into pajamas; the campers would be here around ten tomorrow, but we had to be up early to get ready and greet them, plus have everything organized for the rest of the day.

As we sat on our beds facing each other again, I began to wonder about this stranger I loved. Curious, I asked him, "So…you like camp, huh?" It was weak, I'll admit, but at least I had got the ball rolling.

He chuckled. "Yeah, I do; and you hate it, huh?"

He was mocking me, but I let is slide. "Come here as a kid?"

"Yeah, every summer; it always amazed me my mom could afford to send me, but I never questioned it. Once I was seventeen, I knew I couldn't survive without getting away for the summer, so I signed up as a councilor—not the ideal job, but it's not too bad. Really."

I was still unconvinced. "My camps always sucked; they lasted a week, there was always a bully who picked on me, and I couldn't swim, so I had to sit out of the pool. "

His eyebrows raised in surprised, he asked, "You couldn't swim?"

"Still can't," I said with a shrug.

"You can't swim?" I shrunk down some, uneasy and embarrassed; it'd never been that big a deal before—well, besides at camp anyways—so I didn't understand why Mitch was so shocked. "Did you just never learn?"

"No, I learned, like, a really, really long time ago, but I was scared of the water, so I never swam and eventually I just got where I couldn't."

He tilted his head to the side, intrigued. "That's kind of odd, don't you think? I mean, isn't swimming like riding a bicycle: you never forget how to do it?"

"I guess not," I murmured. He dropped the topic, asking me about my family instead; to me, this is just as uncomfortable to talk about. "Oh uh, I live with my mom."

"That's cool; I used to just live with mine, as well." Even though he said it lightly, I knew there more to his mom than that; but not wanting to push for an answer out of respect for his personal life, I instead asked, "Where do you live now?"

"With Kady," he answered with a smile.

"Oh, who's she? You're sister?" I asked, truly curious.

He laughed. "My wife."

Oh fuck.

A/N: Well let me know what you think! I'll try and update regularly, but I'll only continue if I get some feedback :)