“Hey guys, about time you arrived,” Peter jokes, standing up and wiping sweat from his brow.
“Where's Mark?” Lewis asked, searching our surroundings. There were so many people milling about the large clearing I doubted I could pick out any single face. I let my eyes wander over the crowds, wondering if we could find the tallest tree to climb. I felt s shiver travel down my spine and blinked, refocussing my eyes. He was maybe twenty feet away, but he had paused mid-step as well, dark, soulfully blue eyes gazing into mine. I blinked again and looked away, feeling an unexpected blush rise in my cheeks. What the hell was that about? I glanced back to where he had been, but he'd disappeared.
“Daddy, can we go to lake please?” Kevin cried, jumping up and down on his toes, his curls going crazy as he did. Uncle Peter laughed, shaking his head at his youngest son. Kevin had just turned ten, but he still looked seven.
“C'mon then shorty,” Mark said, appearing behind us and picking Kevin up swiftly, curling him into his chest. Behind him was a nervous-looking girl with long brown curls and pale freckles across her nose and checks.
“You must be Sophie,” Penny smiled. “How are you doing?” She asked.
“I'm good thanks,” Sophie replied, a strong South Dakota accent leaving her lips as she spoke. We left the crowded areas and walked through the trees. I tried to test my sense, but I wasn't able to smell anything more than tree bark and dirt. Mark could probably smell the fresh water of the lake from this distance as he guided us through the trees.
“Are our forest better than Americas?” Bryan asked Sophie.
“You haven't seen a forest until you've visited Yellowstone,” she replied with a short laugh.
“Is that how you and Mark met then?” Penny asked, her curiosity piqued. We had known of Sophie, but she and Mark hadn't flown back until now for the Blue Moon.
“Nah. My dad owns a gun range and I was helping Mark not suck at shooting,” Sophie joked.
“I wasn't that bad,” Mark muttered.
“You were honey,” she said, moving closer and looping an arm through one of his. “Lucky for you I don't consider being good at a gun an essential skill for my soulmate,” she finished, fluttering her eyelids cutely. Mark shifted Kevin so he was in his other arm and leaned over to kiss Sophie.
“Eww,” Kevin yelped, making grossed out faces and causing everyone to laugh. A few moments later the tree line broke and there was a glistened lake before us. The summer heat beating down on us. There were some buildings around the lake, presumably the commercial ones for the popular area. They were completely empty. We really were on our own in this huge forest.
“Let's go swimming!” Kevin bounced out of Mark's arms, he leaned forward to catch him in case he tripped but he landed fine. Mark laughed, shaking his head.
“Last one in has to babysit him during the blue feast,” Bryan murmured, glancing at me. Shoot. We both took off but Bryan was far faster than me. I watched Kevin jump in, yelling happily as he did. Bryan reached the edge of the deck and I gave up, trying to catch my breath.
“I win,” he yelled, facing me as he fell into the water backwards.
“You always do,” I muttered, pouting.
“Don't worry, it won't be that bad,” Naomi said, ruffling my hair lightly. I signed at the gesture.
“Just don't let him out of your sight, he likes to sneak off and explore. Then he gets lost,” Naomi added, her voice tired and speaking from experience.
“It's not like I have a huge interest in getting drunk anyway,” I shrugged.
“Not after last time you don't,” Lewis joked, he and Penny joining us.
“It wasn't that bad,” I murmured, feeling my cheeks blushing again. I glanced back, wondering where Mark and Sophie were. They were sitting in the shade of the trees, smiling and talking. I'd often wondered what it was like to find your soulmate. Maybe I could ask Mark about it.
“You guys planning to get in here or what?” Bryan asked, having pulled himself up enough to rest his arms on the deck.
“Hell yeah,” Penny said. “But unlike you barbarians, me and Naomi need swimsuits,” she said. They both laughed and headed back towards the main camp.
“As if any dudes are going to check you out guys out,” Bryan catcalled. I shuddered at the idea of guys looking at my sister and cousin that way.
“Are you saying I'm not cute?” Lewis asked.
“Nope, both you and Penny have ugly faces, it's the truth,” Bryan said, before laughing.
“Tosser,” Lewis muttered, kneeling onto the deck and easing into the water without splashing. I shook my head at them and did the same as Lewis, not wanting to make a lot of noise.
“I wonder how deep I can swim down,” Kevin said, grinning.
“Me too, but be careful,” Lewis said, shooting him a measured glance. Both me and Bryan did the same thing. Kevin's lips jutted out a bit at us.
“I will,” he finally promised, signing. “You guys are so boring.”
“When you're fourteen that opinion will change,” Bryan said, shrugging.
“I don't want to get old enough that I want to kiss girls, eww,” Kevin said.
“Then maybe you want to kiss guys instead,” Lewis joked. Bryan burst out into laughter at the sentence, then started coughing.
“Good one,” Bryan said, having coughed up most of the water he'd swallowed by accident.
“Is that meant to be grosser than girls?” Kevin asked.
“I wouldn't know kid,” Lewis laughed. I frowned, keeping silent. I remembered the boy from earlier and the weird collection of emotions he had made me feel. Had I been attracted to him? No, that couldn't be it.