The time had to be somewhere around seven. Colorful splashes of pink and orange, which once painted the sky with its playful sunset, were now beginning to fade away; a luminescent moon-lit sky growing in its place. Today is my birthday, nineteen and counting! The annual Evermore College Camp out had just begun, and though I would have settled for a simple "Happy Birthday," I had to admit it was a nice change to be out of the house for a bit. My grandmother, Nana Anne, fell two days ago and broke five bones in her body: one in her right arm, two in her left leg and two in her right. The doctor’s put her in a wheelchair, so while she was recovering, my parents decided to stay down there to help. She only lived thirty minutes down the old highway so it wasn’t as if they were unreachable.
Macy, one of my best friends, and I arrived, weighted to the max with almost every sort of camping gear one might need and gazed wide-eyed at something far greater than your average run of the mill camp out. Flooding the camp grounds in front of us, raged the most amazing array of sequenced campfires, all lighting the dimly lit night with flames that licked the cold, crisp, winter’s air. There were people as far as I could see, gathering in groups here and there: all laughing and all caught up in themselves. Off to each side, rows of tents lining the clusters of people, sat like a misshaped wall of canopied guardians protecting us from anything that might try to spoil this night.
“Hold on- ugh. I have to go. Uh-huh see you soon, bye.” Glancing over at Macy, it was clear by the tone in her voice, we would need more than guardian tents to save this night. I knew that look, and when I saw the frustration in her eyes, immediately I realized the person on the phone could only be one of two people: Mike, her drama-filled boyfriend, or Kipton, our other best friend.
“Mike?” I asked taking a lucky and hopeful guess. Lord knows I would never hear the end of it if it, was rather Kipton instead of Mike I mean.
“Oh yes, and like always he is mad about something.” She said, rolling her eyes. Hallelujah, I thought.
“What’s his problem now?” I asked
“Oh, he is upset that I invited Andrew to come tonight rather than Tate, his best buddy.” Macy paused after picking a spot closer towards the back, and dropped the bags she had been holding. I did the same. “But, as usual, he will get over it, and hopefully himself!”
Behind us the tree line faded seamlessly. The soft, calm water, of the lake rippled as pairs, and groups, of people edged their way in, daringly through the cool water. Per usual, there were drinks, though not your usual punch bowl or soda pop. They were real drinks. This wasn’t high school anymore; we were in the big leagues now.
“So, are you excited?” Macy’s overly enthusiastic voice cut through my inner babbling. “That outfit looks killer on you, by the way. Especially in this light!”
I glanced down, “Thanks,” I smiled. I hadn’t thought my outfit had been anything special. I was wearing a plain black dress, with my favorite boots and a jacket. Other than the fact that it was frigid outside, I thought the outfit seemed okay. Cute but, not oh my gosh cute.
“Oh, and guess who I hooked you up with tonight? Just guess,” Macy continued before I could get another word in. For a moment I sat there obviously knowing it was Andrew since she just said she had invited him two seconds ago, but I played dumb and let her tell me again.
“Who?” I smiled. By this point we were working at trying to put up our tent. We were trying, and failing miserably.
“Andrew Day! I know you don’t have to say anything. You’re so welcome.”
“Wow,” I smiled, snapped another piece together, and then stood up. “Andrew Day, huh?”
“Yeah!He just moved here from Ireland,” She said in between struggling to get an end to snap shut, when she paused suddenly, as if she said something she shouldn’t have. “I know this because I have him in speech, not because I hang out with him.” She quickly added. “I’m with Mike.”
“I know,” I said not truly interested in the idea of Andrew or that I was being set up with him on a date. “Mike would kill-”
“Hey, don’t start acting like Kipton now! You’ll see, tonight is going to be a lot of fun.” Macy interrupted. “Plus, if you really get bored and decide you want to leave, I made sure we all took separate cars.” She said. “Annabelle?”
Somewhere in the middle of everything, I got swept up in the view. In front of us, there is a fire that tops them all, it’s bold, strong burning flames, dance across the starry sky like the people who dance around it. Music booming through the air, came from a number of random radios stashed throughout the campsite, all tuned into the same catchy songs that brought the night alive.
Suddenly, feeling a strange warmth of the breeze that fed from a neighboring fire, I tucked a wave of my hair back behind my ear, and glanced up to see a pair of piercingly blue eyes, like ice, coming our way. Noticing the look of each girl he passed: eyes wide and drooling as they stared after him. From what I could see, he was wearing a pair of dark wash jeans, and a leather jacket, which was unzipped slightly in the front, a white shirt showing underneath. He walked with a sense of confidence, and for some reason something about him, made me nervous.
Quickly I adverted my eyes back to Macy, she hadn’t seemed to notice him yet. She had obviously given up on the tent, and had gone back to her phone (probably texting Mike.) I rolled my eyes and when I looked back he was gone, vanished practically within thin air. “Weird,” I said aloud to no one in particular.
“What?” Macy asked, by now she had come over to stand next to me and was staring out into the sea of people trying to figure out what it was I was looking at.
“Oh, nothing.” I paused. “I thought I saw someone.”
“Saw who?” Mike jumped out from behind us. Scaring the pee almost right out of me, the whole while Macy screamed. “Chill out , would ya?”
Beside him, Andrew stood blushing. From what I could tell in this light he was about 6”3” and about average size. He had crème colored skin and short blonde hair. Normal looking but, there was something more about him I could quite place. Macy, being Macy, went straight into the introductions. Thirty minutes later she announced her and Mike, were going to dance, which obviously meant it would be just Andrew and I left.
“Aren’t you coming?” they yelled
“Oh, no you go ahead. Annabelle and I are going to get to know each other.” He laughed, touching my hand. Glancing at Macy who just shrugged her shoulders, I sat back down.
“So, what do you like to do?” I asked.
“Well, that’s hard to say, I’ll try anything at least once.” He mumbled in between sips of his coke.
As I sat there watching Macy all snuggled up on her boyfriend I reached into my purse I grabbed my phone. “Annabelle, can I tell you something?” Andrew asked all of the sudden. Leaning in close.
“Sure,” I laughed.
“I think Macy brought me here tonight so I could meet you. I think she wants us to date.” He laughed.
You think, I thought to myself. “That’s Macy,” I laughed.
“I should thank her.” He smiled.
Smiling at how cute he was being, I felt bad. I already knew we were never going to happen. I know, that doesn’t make sense. But, ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamt about one man. He didn’t tell me his name and I never saw his face, but every time I thought about him or saw him somewhere. Goosebumps took over my body. Strangely in every dream I always ended up with him. Even if I tried not to, I just would. So, I figure that has to be a sign, you don’t dream about one person your entire life and it not mean something.
When Macy and Mike had had enough, they danced their way back over to us and collapsed. The wind from her fall brushing against my legs caused me to shiver. The temperature had randomly dropped from about sixty degrees to seriously two degrees. It was freezing. Shaking I decided to see if the car was unlocked so I could grab my jacket, so I excused myself and jogged out into the parking lot. Of course, it wasn’t. I watched my breath swirl through the air as I exhaled. Who knew that it was supposed to get so cold tonight? Texas weather is so random, one hundred and three during the day, then two degrees at night. I looked at my phone trying to keep my mind off the fact I was slowly developing hypothermia.
Looking around, I realized just sitting here wasn’t doing me any good. Standing up, I was about to leave when I noticed there was something stuck on the bottom of my shoe. Holding onto the side of a car I lifted my foot and found a wad of gum on the bottom. Awesome. Looking around I grabbed a piece of paper that was resting on the ground and removed the gum from my heel. Just when I was about to stand up I notice a pair of brown leather shoes right in front of me. Glancing up I saw the man that was waiting for me to acknowledge him. As I watched his face waiting for him to say something, I realized he looked upset. Thinking that maybe it was because it was his car I decided to balance myself with, I started to apologize.
“Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to touch your car, I was just trying to get the gum off of my,” his face stayed motionless and I started to realize it wasn’t his car. “hello. Sir, are you ok?”
“You need to leave Princess, now. You are in serious danger if you stay.”He said, his voice full of worry.
Confused, in how I was in “danger” I turned my head to the side while I tried to think about what he meant. “Umm, I’m sorry. What?”
“Enchanted is not a safe place for you anymore, please princess leave now.”As soon as he finished, he jerked his head around to every angle. Making sure there was no one around to hear him.
“Yeah, who are you again?” I asked, starting to get annoyed.
“Don’t concern yourself as to who I am! I’m telling you, if you want to live to see another day you need to leave now.”This time, his voice scared me. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I didn’t want to wait around to find out.
“Alright buddy, I think someone had a few too many drinks tonight. I’m going to just go back and-”
“No, you can’t.” he said stepping in front of me. “They know who you are princess and they will kill you.” He said as he reached for my arm, squeezing it under his tight grip.
“Ouch that hurts, let go!” I yelled.
“You don’t even know yet. Oh, no, you can’t tell anyone I came. No one must know I was here tonight. If they do, I will surely be the next one to die. Please princess, I know this is strange to you, but please, leave enchanted.” Then he sniffed the air hard and quick. Looking down at my arm I watched as he rotated it around, examining every vein. I will never forget the look he held plastered to his face, thirst. Scared, I jerked my arm back.
“I am not your princess and I don’t know what you’re talking about. But, I’m leaving now!” Moving aside he let me go. Nervous. I watched him from the corner of my eyes until I reached our tent.
“Macy we are leaving now!” I yelled. Macy looked at me for a moment trying to figure out what was wrong, “Please, I want to leave.” When she saw I was serious, she kissed Mike bye as Andrew gave me a hug.
“Bring my stuff by tomorrow babe?” she said rather than asked Mike. He nodded all the same. “Thanks.”
The car ride was silent, neither us of wanted to talk. When we passed the street that lead to our neighborhood, I figured it was time I broke the silence. “Hey, where are we going?”
“Dancing all night made me hungry and there is nothing to eat at my house and Denny’s is right down the road. I’m just going to drop by, I promise after that, we can go home.”
“Alright, that’s fine.” I mumbled while I relaxed a little more in my seat. Anywhere was better than the camp out. I can’t explain it but, that guys had seriously freaked me out. After five minutes, I could tell Macy was looking at me. So instead of waiting for her to gain the courage to ask, I asked her. “Do you need something Macy?”
“No. Nothing, I’m just waiting for you to tell me what happened tonight that made you want to leave so bad. You and Andrew were hitting it off, me and Mike weren’t fighting for once. I don’t see what the problem was.” She snapped. Her attitude was quickly making me mad, if she would have been there she would understood.
“It’s nothing Macy. I’m just, I just want to go home.” Hoping that didn’t sound as harsh as I thought it did, I leaned my head back waiting for her to respond.
“Well, I’m sorry Annabelle. I was just trying to be a good friend. Never mind, suddenly I’m not so hungry.” Just then Macy made a quick sharp turn that spun us around to the other side of the road.
“Macy, slow down!” I yelled.
“Whatever,” she hissed turning up the radio. I guess our conversation was over.