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A Spectrum of You

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A SPECTRUM OF YOU

 

 

Lou looked up from her phone as her mom turned off the car’s AC and rolled down the windows. She took the hint that her mother wanted her to get off her iPhone and pay attention to the “great outdoors” of the Catskills going by as they drove along the winding state route. Lou let out a resigned sigh; her phone had crap reception out in this part of the boonies anyway, so it didn’t matter. She pulled her feet up and wrapped her arms around her legs and looked out the window letting out another sigh.

“Okay, quit that.” Lou’s mom Jay was giving one of her most disappointed looks right now.

“What?” Lou gave her mom her best affronted look back.

“I’m tired of this sour attitude you’ve had for the past month, young lady! You’ve been sulky and angry and none of your behavior is going to change the fact that you messed up when you got caught vandalizing your school, and you’re lucky that the juvenile court judge is letting you off the hook by letting you have a job, a paid job I might add, at this camp. I wish I could be off at a fun summer camp in the New York countryside, frolicking around for the next six weeks, swimming and tanning and doing whatever else I wanted, and getting paid for it.” Her mom sounded so angry, and Lou felt chastened.

“Yeah mom, you’re right. I’m sorry okay?” Lou looked back out of the window and let the tears that were pricking her eyes dry in the warm breeze.

A little over a month before on the night after her high school graduation, Lou had taken her anger at her school and all of the teachers and students in it, out on one of the outside walls of the newly dedicated sports center. Lou hated all sports, except for skateboarding and snowboarding, and she especially hated ALL of the jocks at her school who called her a dyke and bullied her in the halls for “dressing like a dude”.

Lou had spray-painted “Fuck the Patriarchy” in large 5ft high florescent orange letters on the wall of the center that faced the school’s stadium and track, and had removed all of the football equipment and put it in a huge pile at the 50-yard line and set the entire heap on fire using lighter fluid and a set of matches that she’d stolen from her stepfather. The one thing that Lou forgot to consider was that there might be security cameras set up on campus that would capture the entire thing.

The principal of her school was sympathetic to Lou’s plight and understood her motives for the act of vandalism; he argued on her behalf with the school board, explaining that years of bullying had led Lou to this behavior. The school had agreed not to press charges; Lou’s punishment was two-fold: repaint the brick wall of the sports center, and agree to work as a camp counselor at Camp Spectrum for the remainder of the summer. In return for this minor felony not showing up on Lou’s record or high school transcripts for Barnard admissions to see, Lou would help youths like herself and maybe harness the anger that she felt into productive activism and social justice causes.

Lou picked her phone up from her lap and opened the email that the camp director had sent Lou and her mom a few weeks ago. She skimmed over the details about what her responsibilities would be, having gone over and memorized them days ago, and instead opened the pdf of the camp’s information booklet. The cover had the Camp Spectrum logo with a large rainbow and then a whole bunch of flags listed underneath. Lou recognized the traditional pride flag of course, and the bi and lesbian flags, but felt a little ashamed that she couldn’t definitively name any of the others. She thought the light blue, pink and white one might be the Trans pride flag, but the others weren’t familiar to her at all. She wondered for the hundredth time what would be waiting for her at this camp. All that Lou really knew for sure was that she was going to be one of 3 counselors in charge of the 3rd – 5th graders, and that she was taking the place of a counselor named Georgina who had unexpectedly had to leave Spectrum early when her mom had taken a fall and broken both of her legs.

Lou knew that she was good with kids; she had four younger sisters who loved her and had countless experience taking care of and playing with them. The camp’s director Nick, and the head counselor, someone named Liam, had told Lou that she’d be doing things like supervising swim lessons and helping with some of the music activities. Lou had wanted to perhaps teach skateboarding lessons but Nick had seemed wary about that and had mentioned something about liability and insurance. What Lou was the most nervous about was meeting a whole bunch of new people and having to integrate herself into a group that had already bonded over the past 6 weeks; her showing up with only a month of camp to go seemed daunting.

Lou’s mom turned the car through the entry gate of Camp Spectrum and followed the paved drive to the main parking lot. Once she’d parked and helped Lou get her large duffel bag and guitar out of the trunk, while Lou grabbed her backpack and skateboard, they were greeted by a young man wearing cargo pants and a yellow polo shirt with the Camp Spectrum logo on it. As the guy introduced himself as Liam (from the emails) and shook both of their hands with a charming smile that crinkled his soft brown eyes, Lou noticed that Liam had a plastic name plate pinned to the polo just under the Spectrum rainbow. It said “LIAM” they/them/their and then underneath that was a tiny trans pride flag. Lou’s eyes widened in understanding and suddenly felt hyper-aware about making sure she used the right pronouns and words to greet and talk to Liam.

After an hour in Liam’s company, in which they had shown Lou around the entire camp grounds and introduced Lou to so many other counselors and campers that her head was spinning, Lou realized that she needn’t have worried about how to speak and act around Liam; they were laid-back, open and probably the most understanding and generous person that Lou had ever met. Liam had shared their story with Lou as they made their way through the camp, dropping Lou’s stuff off in the counselor cabin that she would be sharing with the two other counselors assigned to her camper group. Lou had barely had time to take in the too warm, slightly stuffy space outfitted with three full-size beds and a large wooden dresser placed against the wall under a row of screened windows. She’d just been able to gently place her guitar on the bed that Liam pointed out was hers, and then they were off again, with Liam taking them down towards the main lake where most of the camp’s activities centered around.

As they approached the lake, which was much cleaner and less smelly than Lou had expected, Liam was just finishing up telling their story of being born Lianne, and the journey that they’d taken to become Liam. Lou was amazed by Liam; she couldn’t believe how much strife and hardship Liam had gone through and yet they were so positive and sweet. Lou felt chagrined about her fairly permanent cynical and pessimistic attitude; if Liam could have a sincere, beaming smile on their face despite all of the crap they’d been through, the least that Lou could do was try and get through the next month and a half without scowling and complaining.

Liam and Lou walked up onto the large dock that had a few canoes and kayaks tied to one side, while on the other end were several ladders and ramps that led into the water. There was a large group of kids that seemed to range in ages from 7 to 11, some wearing water wings or with life preserver rings around their waists, cavorting in and out of the water. There were a few older people around as well that Lou assumed were other counselors like herself; a couple were in the water while others stood along the edge or on the dock chaperoning. Lou and Liam drew near to one girl wearing a black tank top paired with a white and black striped cotton skirt that fell to just above her delicate feet wearing black leather gladiator sandals. She had olive toned skin and long, dark hair that was pinned up in a bun. She turned around and pushed her sunglasses up off her face and into her hair with a smile and a wave.

“Hey Liam, who’s the fresh face?” Lou felt the girl assessing her with her cool amber eyes. Lou was struck speechless with how beautiful the girl was.

“Zayn, this is Lou. Lou, Zayn. She’s a counselor for our teen group; specializes in art.” Liam said this last bit to Lou as if she understood what any of it meant. “Zayn, Lou is taking Georgie’s place in Cabin 2 and will be working with primarily the 7 to 9 year olds.”

“Oh! That means that you’ll be working with my Niall. Well, and I guess living with them too.”

This time Lou picked up on the use of the gender neutral pronoun and asked politely, “Is Niall around? I’d like to meet one of my roommates and find out more about what I’m supposed to be doing.”

“Yeah, they’re goofing around with Harry and the kids in the lake.” Zayn pointed towards the lake with one of her graceful hands and Lou saw two people in the water cackling with laughter as they splashed each other and figured that’s who she meant. Zayn then called out to them in a voice as clear as a bell. “Niall babe! Harry! Come here and meet your new cabin mate!”

Niall and Harry swam the short distance to the dock and while Niall used one of the step ladders to climb out of the lake, the other girl pushed herself out of the water in one graceful movement and then moved towards their group of three looking like a gorgeous sea nymph turned princess approaching them. Lou felt her mouth drop open on a sigh as a warm tingly feeling traveled through her body from head to toe. This Harry person was the most breathtaking thing that Lou had ever seen. She was tall and slender, but her lithe body also had a tiny waist that curved out to lovely hips. She was wearing an orange paisley bikini top that she’d paired with tiny, yellow swim trunks that just brushed her muscular upper thighs. Her legs were long and tanned and her toes were painted a bright fuchsia. She had long, chestnut colored hair with lustrous curls that Lou immediately envied, and wanted to run her fingers through, in equal measure.

Niall got to them first, brushing their hands against their neoprene shirt to dry them off a bit before they reached out a hand to shake Lou’s.

“Nice to meet you. How’d they sucker you into coming here for just the last month? The best part of camp is over! It’s now mostly just cleaning up the mess we’ve made for the last couple of months and doing it during the hottest and muggiest time of the year.” Lou could see Liam behind her running his hand across their throat trying to get Niall to shut up, but Lou figured that everyone was sure to find out anyway so she might as well spill.

“It was either come here and work with you lot, or go to juvie. I chose this lovely enclave of queerness.” Lou winked at Niall as she said the last word.

For a second it was quiet and Lou inwardly cringed that she should just keep her mouth shut and try not to offend everyone she met when Niall let out a loud cackle followed by Liam and Zayn both giggling.

Just then Harry came up to their group, having been waylaid by a 8 year old or two, one of which was currently holding her hand. Harry waved at Lou and gave her a big smile displaying dimples (dimples! Lou knew she was done for), and seemed just on the verge of speaking when a young boy around 10 came running down the wooden dock and jumped onto Harry’s back; she just barely had time to move her hands up to catch hold of his legs so that they both didn’t go toppling to the ground.

“Harry, you promised Sabrina and me that you’d paint our nails before dinner!”

“That I did Toby, that I did. Well, let’s go find Bree and get on with it.” Harry gave Lou a consolatory smile and shrugged her shoulders before heading off with both of her charges in tow.

Lou startled as Niall put their arm around her shoulder, the sleeve of her rash guard top getting Lou’s t-shirt damp. “Well that’s the enigma we know and love called Harry. She’s really great once you get to know her. She’s probably my best friend here besides my lovely girl, Zayn.” Niall reached out their other hand to Zayn who took it with a smile. “But fair warning Lou, Harry snores like an 70yr old man, so try your best to fall asleep before she does or you’ll be out of luck.”

 

It was hours later and everything at Spectrum had become a bit of an overload on her senses, so Lou had fled to the smaller of the two lakes that Liam had shown her on the tour of the camp earlier in the morning. She sat by the water, birds chirping in the trees around her and the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the leaves. It was already almost August 1, and Lou felt even more awkward than she’d thought she’d be, arriving to camp so much later than everyone else; the summer in full swing. All the kids that she’d met so far seemed distant and shy around her, yet so open and jovial with all the other counselors. Lou was typically great with kids, so this was a blow to her ego. Lou didn’t know what to expect for the next five weeks, but she definitely wasn’t looking forward to it. She also missed her car; her parents had temporarily taken it away from her until she needed it to drive to New York in September to begin college. Lou may have loved her skateboard, but she adored her car; it was a 1974 bright green Ford Torino that she had lovingly restored herself over a period of three years. Now she was stuck in the middle of nowhere, with only her feet and her skateboard to use to escape to be on her own.

A hand grabbed her shoulder lightly, but it still startled Lou out of her thoughts. She immediately grabbed the wrist and whirled around to see who it belonged to. She was a little embarrassed to find Zayn now clutching the beaded necklaces around her neck and catching her breath as she crouched down behind Lou.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry, you just really took me off guard!” Lou exclaimed, rushing to stand up and offer a hand to pull the beautiful girl up to her feet.

“It kinda looked like you were a little too on guard to me,” she said dusting her skirt off with a chuckle, but a slightly cross look on her face.

“Yeah I should probably work on that. I’m used to having to have my…oh never mind, I’m sorry I’m so skittish, this is such an unfamiliar place and I’m so used to being in the city and I…well I’ve had to learn to protect myself, y’know. I never camp or hike or really do anything “outdoorsy”. I just came out this way to think,” Lou said, scratching the back of her neck sheepishly.

“Don’t worry about it. You just got here, and your city instincts just kicked in I guess. Things’ll get better the longer you’re here and the more you get used to the peace and tranquility out here. I know all of this might be a lot to take in now but trust me, you’ll settle in soon enough. I’ve seen so many campers go through the same thing, you’re not alone,” Zayn said, and then surprised Lou by pulling her in for a brief hug. Lou couldn’t recall anyone other than her family members ever hugging her, so it felt strange.

They had only been walking for a few minutes before Zayn was sharing her own story. She told Lou that she’d first come to Camp Spectrum three years before, after her father had caught her kissing another girl and had kicked her out of the house. She had moved in with her aunt who happened to live next door to another teenager named Niall who had been coming to Spectrum since she was a little kid. Zayn and Niall had bonded quickly as friends and now seemed to be perhaps more than that, but Lou wasn’t sure and didn’t want to assume anything since she’d only been able to meet Niall those brief minutes at the lake before they’d had to go meet with some campers for a music class. Zayn’s name tag had her name then the words LESBIAN and DEMISEXUAL in small capital letters underneath but without a flag. Lou was still a little confused as to how the nametag thing worked and wondered briefly if she would be given her own, or if they were just provided to more permanent staff. She wasn’t even sure what she’d list if asked; she’d never really defined her sexuality officially, it had almost been decided for her, before she really even knew herself.

Lou could easily see why Zayn and Niall seemed to be so popular here; she’d only known them for a brief time and already felt like she could trust them both with secrets that she’d kept to herself for far too long.

“Thanks Zayn, I really appreciate you saying that. Um, did you need me for something? I’m sorry if you were looking for me, I kinda wanted to have some time alone to think.”

“Oh! Right, I just wanted to come get you for dinner! Liam had started to go look for you, but I had a feeling this was where you’d be,” the brown-eyed beauty said with a smile. Lou’s stomach chose that moment to growl, and they both laughed.

“Well it looks like someone’s hungry! C’mon let’s go get some food,” Zayn said, and Lou trailed along behind her all the way to the main lodge. She made sure to note the route they took; she was still trying to find her bearings around camp.

By the time they made it to the dining hall, there was already a flurry of activity happening inside. Campers were scattered among all the tables, talking and laughing. Zayn squeezed her arm and told her to come find their table after she’d grabbed some food, and then skipped her way through the room finally placing herself lightly in Niall’s lap with her arm around their shoulders as she stole what looked like a slice of peach off their plate. Lou grabbed a cafeteria tray and made her way into the line for food. It was sort of set up like a buffet, with different bowls of sliced fruit, sliced veggies and different salad greens at one end, and what looked like a couple of types of pasta dishes, with vegan and gluten-free options, and then hamburgers with all the fixings at the far end. Lou wasn’t a huge vegetable eater, but liked fruit, and would certainly munch on a few carrots. She filled a small bowl with sliced peaches and nectarines and put some baby carrots on her plate with some ranch dressing for dipping. She bypassed the pasta options and went straight for a burger, but was a little disappointed to find that they only had gluten-free buns available. Lou sighed but grabbed a burger anyway because they looked nice and juicy and fresh off the grill, and squirted ketchup and mustard on the bun hoping that the non-gluten bread wouldn’t taste as dry as it looked. Lou made her way through the crowded jumble of tables to the one that Zayn, Niall and their friends were at, smiled at everyone in greeting, then sat down next to Zayn to dig in. She took a bite of her burger and felt her eyes light up at how tasty it was, even with the ridiculous bun choice.

A figure plopped down in the empty seat on her other side, and Lou found herself sitting next to the gorgeous sea nymph from before. She had yet to be formally introduced to Harry, and Lou was hoping that could be fixed now.

“Hiiiii! Lou right? You were being corralled by Liam this morning so I don’t know if you remember seeing me at the dock? I’m Harry! I’ve been told we’re in the same cabin,” she said with a cheerful smile.

“Hi Harry, it’s really nice to meet you.” Lou smiled in return and read the nametag that Harry had pinned to the front of one of her tank top straps. It read “HARRY” with little flowers hand doodled around it – cis – she/her and then a lesbian flag underneath. She also wore a separate flag pin that displayed the traditional rainbow pride flag with written descriptions of what each color meant. Lou found herself staring at the words, and blushed when caught by Harry, who only smiled at her in return. FLAGS

Lou was introduced to the other people at their table: Ed, cis/he/him Pride flag; Maria, cis/she/her with a flag that was pink, yellow and light blue striped; and Tom who just had the word “Intersex” under his name with no flag or identifying pronouns. Niall’s pin had Non-binary They/Them/Their printed on it with a flag that Lou didn’t recognize that had a lavender, white and green stripe. Lou took a moment to let these new pieces of information sink in and found that she was even more intimidated thinking about what she’d put down on her nametag, if given a chance.

After dinner, Liam led Lou to the crafts room where Niall and Harry already were, about ten children seated around them, either talking or working on projects.

“Alright everyone, let me have your attention”, Liam called out, “I want to introduce you to your new co-counselor who will be working with Harry and Niall to mentor you for the remainder of the summer. This is Lou.” Liam extended their arm to invite Lou to stand next to them. “Lou, tell the gang a little about yourself.”

Lou gave a nervous cough and swallowed the nerves in her throat, looking down at the floor and then chiding herself to look up and out at the group of kids sitting in front of her. “Hi, I’m Lou. I’m from Buffalo, NY. I don’t know much about arts or crafts, or like hiking in the woods and what not, but I play the guitar and the piano pretty well, and I love to skateboard, and I have 4 younger sisters who I adore, and I hope we all have a cool time together for the rest of the summer.” Lou looked around at the young, rather expressionless faces staring at her and tried to smile anyway.

There were a few awkward seconds of silence before Niall took over, clapping and doing a little dance movement that ended in a twirl; the kids loved it and started whooping with laughter. Lou tried to join in as Niall talked about the plan for the rest of the night that included ghost stories around the fire pit, and outlined what they’d be doing the next morning which sounded like Lou would be helping with some kind of music class.

“A fire pit?” Lou exclaimed.

“Yep! We have bonfires every few days. All the campers gather and sing songs, get updates on what’s happening around camp, and all sorts of stuff.” Niall explained.

As they gathered the kids together and Harry led the way out of the crafts room and down towards the clearing near the lake where the fire pit was set up, Lou hung back and spoke briefly to Liam.

“Liam, um, do you think it would be alright if I just went back to the cabin? I mean, am I required to do the campfire thing?” Lou asked hesitantly.

“Sure. You don’t have to do the fire pit; you can turn in. You’ve had a long day, and I bet you’re exhausted. I thought that it might be a nice chance for you to meet most of the camp, but there’s plenty of time for that. Typically, we ask that at least two of the counselors be with their groups at all times, and that it’s fair, so that the same two people aren’t constantly having to do all of the work with the kids. But yeah, for sure tonight go ahead and head back to your cabin. Have a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you in the morning. You’ll need to be getting your two cabins up, bathed and dressed, ready for breakfast by 8:30 at the latest, so set your alarm accordingly.”

Louis blanched at the earliness of the time; gone were the lazy sleep-filled days of her summer vacation. After assuring Liam that she could find her way to the cabin without assistance, Liam waived her off and ran to catch up with Harry and Niall. Lou dug her phone out of the pocket of her tight jeans, lamented with a slight groan at the lack of service, and turned the flashlight on to light her way along the path to the cabins. She used the key that Liam had given her earlier to unlock the screen door and the glass paned door beyond that and released a relieved sigh as she leaned back against the closed the door, feeling some of the tension leak from her body, and her shoulders loosen. She pushed herself off the door and went over to the dresser opening the drawers to find the one that was empty and waiting for her clothes and other items.

Lou spent the next half hour transferring the neatly folded piles of clothes that her mother had packed into her duffel bag into the bottom drawer of the dresser, brushing her teeth and setting her toiletries up in the bathroom that she shared with Niall and Harry, and then finally changing into her beloved Joy Division t-shirt that was more holes than cotton, and a clean pair of boxers that she used as her pajamas and got into bed, turning off the lights accept for the small lamp that was on next to Niall’s bed on the far side of the room. Sometime later, Lou wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep, she woke slightly to the sight of Harry coming out of the bathroom, a billow of lemon-scented steam following her as she tiptoed across the cabin to her bed. Harry had her long hair wrapped in one towel and held another one loosely up to her front, shielding her breasts and vagina but completely exposing her backside, which Lou now openly stared at, drinking in the sight of Harry’s long, muscular and tanned back and her cute, pert bum. Even in the muted light Harry’s skin looked luminous and so soft, Lou felt an almost unbearable need to touch it. She slowly turned her body towards the wall and tried to fall back to sleep, attempting to banish all further thoughts about Harry’s tantalizing form.

*******************************************************************************

Four weeks had passed and Lou Tomlinson knew three things for sure – she felt more comfortable in her skin than she ever had in her life, she’d made friends that she knew she’d have for life, and she was head over heels in lust with one lush goddess named Harry Styles.

She honestly had no idea if Harry felt even remotely similar feelings about her; one moment Harry would flirt overly with Lou, and the next she’d be so exasperated by Lou’s antics that she’d roll her eyes and loudly let out a disapproving sigh. Lou held on to those moments when their eyes would meet, Harry would smile showing off her dimples, and the butterflies in Lou’s stomach would flutter and give her an almost floaty feeling.

Lou Tomlinson knew one of the best ways to get Harry Styles to pay attention to her was to be as annoying, yet as charming as possible. Lou had mostly succeeded in this by coming up with new and inventive ways with Zayn to sneak out of the camp and go into the neighboring town to hang out. They did this all of this behind Liam’s back, who really was too nice and trusting for their own good, and finagled Niall and a very reluctant Harry into their plans whenever possible. Tonight, Lou was going to execute her best plan yet. A couple of days after she’d arrived at Spectrum, Lou had discovered an old VW Rabbit that had been abandoned in the back parking lot behind the dining hall. She’d also found a trove of old car parts, tools and equipment in the garden shed. She had asked Nick if she could try and fix the car, with a promise that she’d turn it into a class and a learning opportunity for the kids, and that she’d give the car to the camp as an extra vehicle for errands etc. Nick had been overjoyed with the idea, not understanding that Lou’s goal was to create an easy way for she and her friends to escape and go on adventures in and around the county.

Tonight was to be the maiden voyage of the car, and Lou had a special plan. She was going to ask Harry to accompany her, alone, to town where they’d buy some beer and bottles of liquor using Lou’s fake ID to bring back to camp for the next night’s bonfire celebration, which would be the final one of the summer. Lou was also planning on taking Harry out to dinner; she was counting this as their first date, even if Harry didn’t know anything about it.

Harry knew she was pretty. It wasn’t even in a vain way, because she had come to resent the fact a little, after one too many times having to turn people down. She radiated an effortless natural beauty that charmed people without even requiring her to say anything. It was very useful when worming her way out of uncomfortable situations, but also in usually getting exactly what she wanted. Once she discovered that aspect of her emergent skills, she’d promised himself not to do it very often because she felt it was mean. Harry was a lot of things, but she was by no means manipulative.

But her secret powers hadn’t worked on Lou Tomlinson at all. Sure, Lou flirted with her sometimes, and was always laughing with and teasing her, and really seemed to enjoy her company, but Harry had been turning on her full charm for the past month and was no closer to getting into Lou’s tight jean shorts than she had been when she’d first arrived, looking like the lesbian Angel Bright from “Little Darlings” of her dreams. Harry sighed as she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror putting her hair up and then down again, trying to decide if she was going to wear it in a bun tonight when she and Lou snuck off the grounds in the old, beat-up car that Lou had miraculously put together herself. She knew it wasn’t a real date with Lou, but Harry was struck with how much she wanted it to be.

Lou turned the headlights (well, the one working one) off as she turned into the gates of Camp Spectrum. She slowly maneuvered the car down the drive using the moonlight as her guide. Harry was quiet in the seat beside her; she’d been quiet since they’d left the little Italian restaurant in town. Lou thought the dinner had gone well; she’d had Harry laughing throughout and she’d really opened up about some of the fear that she was feeling about starting college in just a few short weeks. They’d both talked openly about college and what their plans were. Lou had shared that she wanted to go for her business degree, although she expected her family to be shocked about that because Lou hadn’t really shown any interest in that subject in the past. Lou hadn’t told anyone else about the business major thing, not even her mom, who she shared most things with. Lou felt closer to Harry tonight than ever before, but she still wasn’t positive if Harry felt even a tenth of the affection back.

They parked the beat up VW in the back corner of the lot behind the dining hall and Lou followed Harry back to their cabin, keeping her eyes down to where the light from Harry’s phone was illuminating the ground to lead their way. They got to the door of their cabin and Harry hesitated as she put the key in the lock, almost as if she also didn’t want the night to end. Lou took a chance and placed her hands at Harry’s waist and squeezed lightly. She could hear Harry inhale a deep breath and sort of lean back into Lou’s hold, before the door was suddenly opened from the inside and they were greeted by a rather frantic Niall, wearing a pair of track pants with a bandeau top just covering their small breasts; Lou had the funny thought that Niall looked like a slightly demented and butcher Sporty Spice and almost started to laugh until she took in their concerned face.

“What took you so long?! Zayn’s been going out of her mind waiting for you to get back. She had to cover for you with both Nick and Liam. Nick’s none the wiser, but Liam I think suspects something because they keep coming around here for useless reasons like needing to borrow toothpaste, and hair gel of all things?”

“Uh yeah, Liam must be on to us, there’s no way Liam doesn’t have an endless supply of hair gel.” Lou agreed.

“Zayn also said that you and her need to move all of the beer and liquor you got tonight, from the trunk of your car into the garden shed tonight, instead of in the morning because Liam is making all us counselors do this special show or something for the last bonfire and we won’t have time to get the stuff in the cooler tomorrow.”

“Ugh, why does Liam always have to be so annoying and gung-ho about their job? Okay, text Zayn that I’ll meet her at the car in 5 minutes, k Niall?” Lou then went over to far right window of the cabin, unclicked and removed the screen, and climbed out to jump down to the ground a few feet below.

Harry checked her watch with a sigh. "It's almost 10 pm, hurry up, Liam will be doing the rounds soon to do bed check for the kids. I’m not going to cover for you again, Lou!” She whisper-yelled down to Lou.

"Leave the window open for me, then." Lou said before rushing away.

"Fine." Harry slipped off her tennis shoes and placed them on the floor at the end of her bed. She examined her pedicure with disdain. Normally, the bright and shiny electric blue color that she’d used a few days ago would cheer her up, but with only four days left of camp, the color now appeared dull underneath the cabin lamp lights and matched her mood. A sharp knock on the frame of the window behind her startled her and made her jump.

Harry huffed a sigh when she saw who was on the other side and shuffled over to the window. She pulled it up and raised an eyebrow at Lou standing there with an arm behind her back. "What?" Harry asked.

"I thought I told you to leave the window open for me.” Lou shook her head in mock chastisement, “also, I forgot something," Lou continued.

Harry looked down at the dresser next to her before rolling her eyes. "Your keys? Which I already told you 100 times not to leave on top of the dresser anymore?" she picked them up and dangled them in Lou's face before placing dropping them into Lou's outstretched hand.

"No." Lou shook her head, but she put the keys in the pocket of her shorts anyway. She moved her arm from behind her back and handed Harry a white rose bud. She then placed her both hands on the window frame before pushing herself up and quickly landing a kiss on Harry’s mouth.

"Lou," Harry whispered. Lou paused as she landed softly back on her feet. She bit her lip and looked into Harry's green eyes at the look of confusion hid behind the tiny flecks of gold. Lou lifted herself back up to sit on the sill and cupped her hands on either side of Harry’s face and pressed her forehead to Harry's before giving her another light kiss.

Harry's eyebrows rose as Lou pulled away. She quickly reached up and touched her lips with her finger tips and gave Lou a small smile.

“What was that for?”

"Isn't that what you're supposed to do at the end of a date? Lou asked incredulously.

"You kiss on the first date?" Harry asked. "How uncouth."

"A little birdy told me that you told Zayn that you wondered what a date with me would be like. Now you know." Lou shrugged. "Remember, keep the window open. I may not be able to come back in through the front door. Even if I remember to take the keys." She patted the cabin keys in her pocket and then jumped back down onto the ground and gave Harry a wave as she took off into the woods.

Harry slowly turned away from the window and sniffed at the rose before smiling brightly and placing it onto her pillow.

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The next day dawned hot and sunny, and the temperature and humidity only continued to rise as the day progressed. Everyone was walking around like wet, deflated balloons. Harry felt particularly gross, after having to be in the hot kitchens most of the afternoon with 10 young campers, teaching them how to bake cookies. She trudged back to her cabin after the last batch had cooled and been stored in the containers that would be taken to the campfire that night for the celebration. Harry wondered if there was such thing as a bonfire without the fire part? She couldn’t imagine sitting within 20ft of a firepit at this point, much less right next to one. And on top of it all, Liam had somehow suckered her, Niall, Zayn and Lou into singing with them tonight as a special little performance to thank the campers and other staff. They were singing “I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi, and although she thought the five of them sounded pretty great, especially on the harmonies, the dance moves that Liam had come up with for them had not been successful. For someone who was so graceful, Zayn had surprisingly no rhythm, and Lou and Niall didn’t take it seriously enough, which left Harry trying to keep up with an overly enthusiastic Liam. She let out a deep sigh as she got to her cabin and stepped inside the hot space. Ugh, she needed a cold shower, and she needed it now.

Harry felt a little better after her shower and decided to put on some of the aloe after-sun lotion that her mother had sent her. She smoothed it over her aching feet. "Lou gives great foot massages," she thought to herself, thinking of the other night when they’d all been sitting around Liam’s cabin and listening to music and Lou had quietly taken each of Harry’s feet into hands and massaged them until Harry had been practically moaning. Now she moved her hands up her calves, attempting to work out the kinks. Advancing to her thighs, she applied more lotion and slowed down to savor the feeling when she reached the sensitive insides. She found herself wishing it was Lou's hands touching her instead.

She moved to her the bed, continuing to move her hands over her body and felt herself becoming aroused. She closed her eyes and relished the way her hands felt gliding across her stomach, surprising herself when a soft moan emerged from her throat.

Harry's nude body was fully exposed as she lay on her towel propped up on the pillows on the bed. The sun shone brightly through the window and she actually welcomed its warmth. She continued caressing her body and at this point her breasts were crying out for attention with her nipples becoming erect at the mere hint of a touch. Harry pinched the buds lightly, causing a jolt to her clit and her breathing to pick up. Harry let out a small content moan as her senses continued to become more alive. She applied more aloe lotion and her eager nipples throbbed while she lavished them with further attention. 

Her womanhood was moist, wide awake and craving the attention she was giving to her breasts. Harry decided to tease herself further and began to lightly caress her nether lips triggering her to take in a quick breath of air. "Oh yes," she hissed. The nipple she'd been working was very tight and so hard it was almost painful as she focused her attention on the other. 

Her tender fingertips continued stroking her sex and finally moved to her tingling nub. "Oh god," she cried out and her hips involuntarily moved upward, her body undulating in pleasure. Harry's hand increased in speed and her sex pulsed with its impending release. Her clitoris throbbed along with the beat of her heart and she arched off the bed. "Oh yes... I'm so close...yeah....yeah!" Harry's orgasm shot through her entire being as if it were no longer her own and she could feel the sweet release throughout her whole body. 

Harry took a deep breath, exhaling slowly as the rush subsided. Sweat had formed a spot on her pillow and she lay floating in a state of bliss, although she sort of felt like she needed another shower to cool her off. She looked towards the door and was extremely startled when she saw beautiful blue eyes gazing at her with fire. It was then she realized Lou had perhaps been watching her the whole time.

"Hey babe. Looks like fun. Mind if I join you?" Lou smirked as she strutted over to the bed. Harry felt paralyzed with a mixture of embarrassment and want.

Lou bent down and whispered hotly in Harry's ear. "I want you to touch yourself again."

"What?" Harry's eyes widened in horror. "I can't do that in front of you."

"Why baby? You're so beautiful, and especially so when you’re pleasuring herself."

"I...I can't," Harry blushed. She found the thought of it exciting yet felt embarrassed because that was something she'd always done in private and this was LOU.

"It's only me sweetheart," Lou gently coaxed. "Make yourself come for me." Lou sat on the bed next to Harry and picked up her hand, guiding it back to Harry’s pussy. "Show me how you do it." Lou felt herself getting wet from the mere thought of Harry touching herself.

Harry was still hesitant. "Lou...I..."

Lou held onto Harry's hand and began moving it slowly. "Look at me babe." Lou’s eyes were an intense blue and Harry found herself completely captivated by their spell.

Harry's hand continued to move with the gentle guidance from Lou. She finally let herself feel the touch of her fingers on her own nether lips causing a slight moan to rise from her chest. Lou loosened her grip.

"No," Harry urged. "Keep going."

She loved being under Lou's command and her breath became faster. Harry gave Lou complete control and it felt as if her body were no longer her own. Her pussy was swollen with desire and her evergreen eyes darkened with her increasing arousal.

Lou continued guiding Harry's hand and began lightly kissing her neck. There was a particular spot where Harry always sprayed perfume and Lou lingered there. The fragrance was both floral and spicy and it drove her wild. Lou could feel her own arousal rising while the tension built inside her. She nipped at Harry's collarbone with gentle pressure and Harry sighed. Harry found the feeling of her Lou's warm breath on her neck to be hypnotic and all consuming.

"Lou...oh Lou...Lou," she murmured repeatedly. She was so absorbed in what Lou was doing to her she didn't realize she was talking at all.

Harry's hard cluster of nerves throbbed where her fingers touched and she moaned at the delicious sensations. Moisture dripped from her center and Lou pushed Harry's fingers inside. Lou let go of Harry's hand and watched the steady, sensual motion. Harry moved her other hand to work her clit and Lou was mesmerized by the beautiful sight before her.

As Harry touched herself, she looked over at Lou causing a jolt to go straight to Lou's groin. Harry was so wet, Lou could actually hear the penetrating movement. As they looked into one another's eyes, Lou found herself to be utterly aroused. Lou was compelled to fondle her own nipples and she breathed heavily.

"Sweetness, I wanna see you come."

"Come with me baby," Harry panted, almost breathless. Her writhing body was covered in a sheen of perspiration and she knew she would soon reach her peak.

"Harry," Lou breathed, "you make me so hot. You're just so beautiful."

Lou stood up and removed her shorts and underpants and then lay back down next to Harry. She reached down and rubbed her own pulsing clitoris, groaning at the contact. It throbbed beneath her fingers and she felt like she would explode.

Harry began whimpering and her body tensed with its impending release. At this point her eyes had darkened to almost black and she stared right into Lou's soul. Lou was hypnotized by the view as Harry's fingers repeatedly disappeared into her wetness.

"Oh god Lou...this is for you!" Harry yelled out her release and she arched her neck, pressing the crown of her head into the pillows. The tremors traveled through her body causing her to shake uncontrollably as she gasped for air.

Lou's forehead was covered in beads of sweat while she furiously worked her pounding clit and her heart raced out of control. Her leg touched Harry's setting off a chain reaction. Lou's hips shot up and her orgasm culminated in a powerful shout. She continued to stroke herself, prolonging her own pleasure while watching Harry’s tremors subside.

They lay quietly just listening to one another's breathing. Harry spoke first, barely coherent, and barely at a whisper.

"Wow. That was...I...wow."

"Yeah, I know." Lou sighed deeply.

Harry's eyes were only half open as she sighed her contentment. Her entire body was tingling.

"My god Lou, I can't move," she chuckled.

Lou was floating in the same state of bliss. She knew she had to get up, perhaps close the door that she’d left wide open for anyone to walk by and catch them. She closed her eyes in embarrassment.

She moved to stand and head towards the bathroom and then turned and looked down at Harry.
“I’m going to take a shower. Join me?” Lou extended her hand for Harry to take.

Harry smiled and nodded her head, feeling shy despite what they had just done. The two young lovers couldn’t keep the smiles from their faces as they showered under the tepid water and lathered each other up with Harry’s lemon scented shower gel. And as they made their way down to the last bonfire of the summer and took their places next to their three friends before beginning their performance, Lou and Harry both knew that this had been the best summer either of them had ever had.

********************************************************************************************************************************************************

3 MONTHS LATER

Lou frantically hopped around her dorm room picking up random articles of clothes that she’d dropped or dumped on the floor throughout the last two weeks of finals, and shoving them into her laundry bag. As of an hour ago she was gloriously done for the semester and Harry was driving down the 3 ½ hours from Massachusetts to New York City to pick Lou up before driving them both to Lou’s family to spend the first week of Winter break with them before Harry drove on to her parent’s house in Westchester for Christmas.

It had been pretty fantastic freshman semester at Barnard for Lou. Not only had she done really well in all of her classes, she hadn’t felt any of the pressures or prejudices that she had in high school. Lou had felt free and completely herself at Barnard, and the bonus was that she got to have Harry, if not exactly by her side at least only a few hours north at Smith. Their relationship had only grown stronger and more intimate as the months had progressed and Lou had never been happier; she’d never even imagined that she could be this happy. There was a knock on the door just as Lou had stuffed the last piece of dirty clothing that she was taking home with her to wash. She jumped to answer the door and was greeted with Harry’s pretty face. She was wearing a bright purple wool hat on her head that she had knitted (poorly) herself, and the curls from her recently cut hair sprung from underneath it to frame her face. She unbuttoned the navy pea coat she was wearing and flung her arms around Lou to wrap her in a hug and kiss her all over her face, making Lou giggle with glee. Harry pulled back from her girlfriend and then looked down at her feet.

“You’re bring that huge sack of laundry home with you? You do realize that I’m not driving you back here after the break? You’re going to have to carry that giant thing on the train and look like some weird hobo.” Harry scolded but couldn’t keep the fondness or the smile off her face.

“Mom is finally going to let me bring my car to school, parking fees be damned! And you know what that means, don’t you? With two cars we’ll be able to make more trips back and forth between Smith and Barnard, so we can spend even more time together.” Lou wrapped her arms around Harry again and planted a smacking kiss to her cheek.

“Well I certainly like the sound of that. Spending more time with you sounds like a pretty great Christmas present to me.” Harry looked dreamily down at Lou’s gorgeous face and thanked her lucky stars for getting to have this beautiful force of nature that was Lou Tomlinson in her life.

“Now come on, I’ll grab your backpack and guitar and you heave that laundry bag down to the car.”

The two young women locked the door to Lou’s suite and walked towards the elevator, holding hands and feeling pretty darn lucky.

{FIN}