"She got a flat ass but Lauren'll still grab it like it's eighty inches around," the playful Brit teases as she records Camila and Lauren from behind as they hike through the woods with their boisterous girl gang.
Lauren had been walking close to Camila and the group were excellent at constantly teasing them for being even a foot apart from one another. They were the premium target for gay jokes, and camping outside with no escape from the torment was going to make for a long weekend.
"Leave 'em be, Cara," Taylor Swift says, though she's hiding a smirk too. And her tutting comment only leads to more immature giggling from the group. Taylor was the mother friend. She was always telling people off for getting too mean or dragging the dumbasses away from dangerous situations like hanging out a car window. She likes to be especially in charge when they go on hikes in the private woods on the edge of her farm.
Eventually the group make it to what Taylor called "home base" and she scoops out her phone to start role call. Once all the squealing and chattering dies down she clears her throat,
"Okay, Cara and Ella?"
"Here," comes her unison reply.
"Great. Georgia May and Jourdan?"
"Here!" Georgia May grins. "Yup," Jourdan adds.
Taylor nods approvingly and moves on, "Karlie?"
"Right here behind ya," Karlie says and squeezes Taylor's shoulders, making the blonde jump.
"Not funny," Taylor blushes, hating to be scared like that. She brushes herself down and clears her throat again, "Um, Camila and Lauren?" she says.
"CAMREN IN THE HOUSE," Jourdan chants, making Cara snort with glee.
Camila rolls her eyes, "Quit it," She grumbles. Lauren doesn't speak.
"They've had enough, guys," Taylor sighs. "All right, we're splitting into two groups. Ella, Cara, Jourdan and Georgia are team A. You'll be putting up the tents. The rest of us are team B. We'll be setting up the campfire and supper."
Group A groans, knowing they got the least fun job because of Cara and Jourdan.
"Can we go swimming after? The lake is screaming to me," Georgia May says, staring longingly out onto the still waters just beyond the trees. Taylor assures they can mess around all they want after "priorities are put in place."
As the teams split and get to work, Camila notices that Lauren has taken off down a small path, an axe slung over one shoulder.
"Where's Lauren going?" Camila asks aloud.
"I said she could get firewood. She likes that job," Taylor replies as she sits with Karlie to sort out their weekends food rations. "Maybe you can help her with that? Or you can sit here and—"
"I'll do that," Camila says with a soft smirk. She heads off in the direction Lauren went and ignores the wolf whistle from Cara.
Camila fears she has lost Lauren but the sound of chopping wood leads her into a tiny clearing. She moves aside some branches and spies Lauren with her grey plaid shirt sleeves rolled up to her shoulders. Her hair is brushed back from her face with a deep indigo bandana. She's already sweating and she seems to have only cut a few sticks. Camila watches silently as Lauren hacks away. She notices how the tendons in her arms tense up with each blow. How her biceps flex with each bend and release. Camila has to shake her head around in order to come back to Earth because now she's staring at Lauren's legs. And how God damn toned they look. It isn't helping that she's wearing denim shorts. Shorts that are revealing a little more upper leg than Camila probably deserves to see.
"Christ," Lauren exclaims when she turns around, "How long have you been standing there?"
Camila frowns. She and Lauren didn't exactly get along, well, perfectly. And yet they usually hung out together. Lauren was a grumpy goat that always seemed to have a stick up her ass. And Camila was the quiet bookworm type that Lauren, for some reason, would tolerate. The two had the worlds weirdest friendship. And yet it worked.
Their friendship was a few years strong, and they were the pair always seen together. Always buying each other coffees, always sharing clothes, always studying together. This of course resulted in endless questioning and playful teasing from their piers. Camila wouldn't have minded at all if she didn't have the most pathetic crush on Lauren. A crush that was definitely not reciprocated, she was sure of that. So she suffered in silence, never telling anybody for fear of word slipping out to her secret love. And losing one of the most genuine friendships, however strange, she'd ever had. None of her feelings mattered. Camila was okay with just being a wishful thinker.
"Been standing here long enough to want to go back," Camila mutters.
"I don't know why I came out here to be honest. I can't stand half of our group. They're a load of jerks," Lauren grumbles as she hacks away at more tree log.
"They only kid around," Camila shrugs, silently disagreeing with Lauren's comment. She knows she doesn't mean that and this is just a mood.
"It's annoying," Lauren bites back. And with one final swing of her axe she stabs it into the wood and begins to pick up sticks.
"Need help?" Camila asks, approaching to do so anyway.
"I need whiskey," Lauren grunts as she carries a sizeable load of sticks in her arms. Camila tries not to stare at her biceps.
They silently walk back to base, Camila holding her breath with each movement Lauren's shoulder blades make. Lauren drops the wood into a small dug out circle. She plops down cross legged on the dusty forest floor and starts to work at arranging the wood into a pyramid. Then she starts to spark up the flint and flame. Camila watches intently from across the carefully arranged sticks. The constant bitch face Lauren wears always captivated her. She always looks like she's hiding something dark. Or planning a murder. And for some reason Camila likes that. Freakin' weirdo, she thinks to herself, shaking herself at her own intrusive thoughts.
"Cold?" Lauren mumbles, not looking up from her work.
Camila is snapped from her daydream and looks up, "Uh, no I just shivered."
Lauren raises an eyebrow, still not moving her gaze from the smoking sticks, "Just shivered? For no reason?"
Camila blushes a cherry red hue, "For...fun."
Lauren hides a smirk by chewing her lip. She doesn't smile. Not even when Camila acts like a cute dumbass. "For fun, huh?" She murmurs.
"Shut it," Camila sighs grumpily.
The sun begins to set quickly, enveloping the campsite in a soft honey glow. Many of the girls have taken to swimming, splashing about in the coolness of the lake like big kids. Karlie, being the geek that she is, has set up the WiFi signal and music stereo, something she gains uproarious praise for each time. Taylor isn't too fond of it, the whole point of stepping out into nature being tampered with and all. But she isn't bothered by it too much. Especially because she gets to secretly go off on the group to Karlie through Snapchat.
As Cara, Georgia, and Jourdan emerge from the lake and clamber down the rickety board walk in a dripping, giggling heap, Ella suggests everybody tell ghost stories.
"Ella the bundle of nerves wants a ghost story," Cara laughs, her damp hair turning curly and sticking to her skin in places. "Do you store all your bravery in your hair and only take it out for ghost stories?" She asks, tousling Ella's head of wild brunette locks.
Camila is in the middle of a very intense game of monopoly with Taylor and Karlie. Lauren had been standoffish earlier and Camila knows when it's best leave her alone. The dark haired storm cloud swings idly in a hammock a few feet away, some old book in hand. Once everyone has towelled off a circle is formed around the little bonfire. Mugs of hot cocoa are heated on a tiny barbecue. Karlie turns on a couple fairy lights and hands out soft blankets. And soon enough the atmosphere is a solid campsite at its finest.
"You joining us, Lauren?" Taylor asks from across the way.
Lauren looks up from her book and looks the scene up and down, "Uh, I'll join in a minute," she mutters.
"Come on, sourpuss," Cara calls. And before she knows it Lauren is being chanted to join everybody. She grunts quietly to herself and then swings off of her hammock. The girls cheer for her as she sits down beside Camila, who gives her a mug of leftover cocoa.
"Say thanks," Camila teases.
"Is there Bailey's in this?" Lauren asks as she takes a sip.
"All right, who's first?" Ella asks.
"Me," Cara says firmly. She grabs her flashlight and places it under her chin, illuminating her face into odd shadows. The fire light flickers ominously, making her appear especially mysterious.
"You wanna hold my hand Tay?" Karlie smirks, noticing the usually talkative blonde's change in demeanour. Taylor huffs at the comment but snuggles in a little closer beside Karlie all the same.
"This is the story of Dead Man's Lake," Cara says in her best creepy voice.
Lauren rolls her eyes and sighs. Camila lightly taps her arm defensively. They share a brief look before turning back to Cara.
"So, a few years ago this group of hikers were heading to a friends cabin in the woods. They abandoned their car at the entrance of the woods and began their hike. On the way they stopped at a lake—"
"Wow, how extremely similar to our situation right now," Lauren interrupts, gaining a giggle from Jourdan and Ella.
"Hush!" Cara exclaims in a comically dramatic voice, "As they stopped to play in the lake one of the friends, Kate, started thrashing about, yelling that something had their leg. This was a prank the group used often and so no one believed her. She sank underneath and did not resurface. The remaining group panicked and packed up their things to run the rest of the way to the cabin for help."
"Why didn't they just check to see if their friend was all right—" Camila begins, immediately silenced by a theatrical hush from Cara, followed by another chorus of girlish giggles.
Cara continues, "Once they were in their friends cabin they called the police. They were told to stay indoors while the police scoped the lake. They were later told their friend couldn't be found. When they went to bed that night one of the girls, Lisa, heard scratching on the door of her room. And when she went to check it out nobody was there. She then began to hear tapping on the walls and eventually her window."
Camila looks around and notices the group have grown quiet, the crackling of the fire suddenly very loud. Taylor is nestled under Karlie's chin. Georgia May and Jourdan are holding each other with wide eyes. And Ella is huddled up to Cara whilst Cara's hand lies on her lap. Everybody seems to be interacting in some way. Camila doesn't dare look at Lauren. Stone cold, somber Lauren who doesn't want to be here and yet she does at the same time.
"After Lisa heard the tapping on the window she ran to her friend Jake's room. Jake went to check outside and came back with no sign of anyone being out there. When Lisa went back to her room she noticed wet, muddy handprints on the window. Suddenly, she heard her name being called outside. It sounded like Jake but he was far away. She ran for him, thinking he was in trouble. And she came to the lake—"
"Dumbass," Lauren murmurs, lightening the tense mood.
"Lisa approached the bank of the lake and peered in. Just when she thought she ran all the way down for nothing...a muddy hand rose from the water, grabbed her ankle, and dragged her under," Cara says in a low and unsettling tone. She begins lowering it even more until it is just an audible whisper.
"So the next time you swim in a lake, make sure it isn't Dead Man's. Because some say they still see Lisa and Kate swimming around late at night. And if you feel something brush against your ankle while you swim, make sure...it isn't...A HAND," Cara yells, making the entire group scream in unison.
"Ay, Dios mío," Camila breathes, hands over her face.
"Fuck off Cara, you're such a jerk," Ella giggles, shaken but adoring of the Brit's unnecessary jump scare ending.
"All right, it's getting pretty late. I think I'll hit the hay," Taylor says, glancing at her watch. The group are stunned to find that it's nearing 1:30AM and agree to pack it in.
"There's three tents so two can house three people and then theres one more for two people," Taylor informs.
"Gee, I wonder who those two people will be," Cara grins.
"I gotta share a tent with just Camz?" Lauren asks to no one in particular.
Camila wishes it didn't sound so unenthusiastic. "Does that bum you out?" She asks in an equally unimpressed tone.
"Whatever," Lauren mumbles and drags her hiking bag into the tent.
Camila rolls her eyes and says her good nights to everyone, giving kisses on cheeks and hugs all round. Once everyone else has retired to their tents she sighs and unzips her own.
"Jesus, can you knock?" Lauren exclaims as she just finishes putting on her pyjama shirt.
"Sorry! Geez, I didn't know you were still changing. No seas una perra," Camila says, murmuring the last part.
"I know what that means," Lauren grunts.
"Will you relax? You're acting extra uptight this weekend," Camila says, finally snapping at the woman. She's sure she can hear quiet laughing from beyond the tent but she doesn't care. She has officially Lost It™️.
Lauren furrows her brow in her signature scowl. "No I'm not," she says in a quieter volume, aware of the surrounding laughter their little argument is gaining.
"Yes you are," Camila says, matching her sound level, "You've been so distant! You're barely talking to anyone. I mean, I know when you usually talk you're being sarcastic or rude but it's still interacting with people. Taylor told me even she was worried about you earlier. Something is wrong and you're not talking about it because you're a stubborn mule. What the hell is up with you?"
Camila does not expect the rough kiss that ensues after reading Lauren like she's preaching a God damn bible verse. She does not expect Lauren's hands aggressively tangling into her long dark hair and then bunching it into hard fists. She does not expect it when she's slammed down onto her sleeping bag and held there with Lauren's centre.
And she does not expect it when she kisses her back.
Camila is just about to place her hands on Lauren's shoulders when she pulls away.
"Shut the fuck up. I'm going to sleep," the green eyed girl mutters before crawling off of Camila, sliding into her sleeping bag and not saying another word for the rest of the night.
Camila is left dazed on the tent ground, hair a fluffy mess and sweating like she's after running a mile.
"What...the...fuck," she mouths to herself.