Viscaria

By @UnmaskedDreams

Viscaria

By @UnmaskedDreams

When tragedy strikes, the hardest part of moving on is learning to forgive yourself.

Chapter 12

Mellifluous

Mellifluous — “sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet sounding”

Camp Day 1

0600 hours

               “Your coffee, co-captain,” Will greeted her as she climbed on their designated bus with a duffle bag half her size slung over her shoulder.

               She took the steaming cup from him gratefully and exchanged it for her duffle bag which he took with no question.

               “Rough morning?” he asked her with a grin as he walked down the aisle of the bus to their team’s assigned seats.

               Alyssa groaned. “You have no idea. This is the first time my sister and I are both attending camp. Our house looks like a tornado tore through it with all our last minute packing.”

               He laughed as he swung her duffle overhead their designated row. “Where’s your sister then?”

               “Other bus. She’s on Danny’s team.”

               He nodded. “Erica’s their co-captain, right?”

               Alyssa nodded. “Yup.” Her eyes scanned the rows ahead of them and found every member of their team already present. “Looks like we’re all here.”

               “You’re late, Alyssa,” one of their teammates shouted jokingly. The sentiment was echoed the rest of their team jokingly.

               Alyssa laughed and waved them off. “I arrived on time, guys.”

               “But, on time is late, right?” another jokingly called out.

               “But, she still managed to arrive earlier than I did,” Tori said announced over the noise, coming to Alyssa’s rescue.

               Alyssa rolled her eyes at her best friend who leaned against the chair of the row behind her. “I always arrive earlier than you do.”

               “And apparently you still had enough time to get coffee,” Tori noted, nodding at the cup Alyssa held.

               “This is from Will,” Alyssa said, lifting the cup slightly.

               Tori raised an eyebrow at that announcement.

               “What about us, captain?” another one of their teammate’s called out.

               Tori turned to Will. “Yes, Will. What about us?”

               “Uh,” Will stuttered.

               Alyssa rolled her eyes at Tori. “Go ask MJ –“

               “Ask me what?” MJ asked as he came up to them.

               Tori blushed and glared at Alyssa.

               MJ cleared his throat.

               Tori turned to him. “Uhm, I was going to ask about –“

               “—coffee—“ Alyssa coughed.

               “—about the—“

               “—coffee—“ Will coughed this time and threw a mischievous grin at Alyssa.

               “I just wanted to ask about –“

               “All right, ladies and gents,” Kelly announced as she climbed up the bus with two more facilitators, “strap in. We’re leaving in five minutes.”

               Tori sighed in relief.

               Alyssa and Will grinned.

               MJ just looked lost.

               “Watch your back,” Tori muttered as MJ ushered her to their seats a couple of rows in front of them.

               “Window or aisle?” Will asked her.

               “Window,” Alyssa decided. “You’ll probably need to be able to check on our team throughout the duration of our trip.”

               “Don’t you need to do that, too?” he asked her with a raised brow.

               Alyssa grinned. “I’ll probably be asleep the whole time.”

               He rolled his eyes. “Sure, leave me with all the work.”

               She laughed, settled on the window seat, and curled up. “I’ll pick up the slack when we get there.”

0900 hours

               “Had a good sleep?” Tori asked Alyssa with a teasing smile.

               “Yes?”

               Tori smirked.

               Alyssa froze. “Did something happen? Did I do something?”

               Tori laughed and brought out her phone. She swiped a few buttons and handed her phone to Alyssa.

               Alyssa gasped as she saw the picture. It was clearly taken just hours before. It was clear she was asleep. But, that wasn’t what caused her to gasp. It was the fact she made Will her pillow. She remembered falling asleep with her head on the window, not Will’s shoulder. But the picture told a different story. Her head was on his shoulder and she was curled up facing his direction with her hands clasped together on his chest.

               “I have to apologize for this and never talk to him again,” Alyssa groaned.

               Tori softened. “Chill. I may be assuming, but look at the way he’s looking at you. I haven’t seen anyone look at you like that since Kade.”

               Alyssa hesitantly looked back at the picture, this time focusing on Will. He looked down at her with a fond smile she’s never seen before. His body was slightly turned towards her. If he shifted just a little bit more, her head would already be on his chest.

               “He doesn’t know you took this picture,” Alyssa realized. “He looks so free – so unburdened.”

               “He does,” Tori agreed.

               Alyssa looked up. “What I wouldn’t give to really see him smile that way again.”

               “Well, you do have the next three days,” Tori reminded her.

               Alyssa grinned. “Now, what do I do to make him put his guard down?”

1200 hours

               Alyssa sat at a table with her team. Well, she was alone at the moment since she volunteered to take flag duty and watch their table while the rest lined up for their food. Slowly, their team returned to the table but the line wasn’t getting any shorter. In fact, just the opposite – it was getting longer.

               As she contemplated lining up to get her own food, a steaming plate was set down in front of her. She glanced up to see Will look down at her with a grin.

               “I hope I got everything you like,” he said as he sat on the vacant seat beside her.

               Alyssa smiled. “You did. Thank you.”                 

               From the corner of her eye, she could see some members of their team attempt to hide their teasing grins, but others weren’t too successful. She subtlety kicked one of them under the table and accompanied it with a warning glare. They got the message and the teasing grins disappeared to be replaced by a fascination with their food.

               “Hey, guys!” Hannah greeted as she approached their table, standing just behind Alyssa’s chair.

               A chorus of greeting followed Hannah’s.

               Alyssa looked up at her friend with a raised brow.

               Hannah leaned down and whispered, “You have a lot to tell us once we get our room keys, Aly.”

               Alyssa groaned.

               Hannah stood with a smile.

               “I’ll just text you later,” Alyssa said.

               Hannah grinned and waved goodbye to the rest of the table.

               “Oh, and Alyssa,” Hannah added, “Tori said to remember to bring your pillow.”

1400 hours

               Alyssa held a hand up to shield her eyes from the scorching heat whilst the other gripped their flag. Alyssa watched amused as her team worked quickly amongst each other to figure out the clue for the next station. It took a few minutes more and a couple more muttered arguments before someone yelled out their next station.

               A shout of victory went up and their team scrambled to move the next station. Alyssa smiled and encouraged the younger members to keep up with the rest. She trudged behind her team feeling weak due to the heat. The rest of the team went ahead, hyped up with energy. She looked up to see Will slowing down and matching his pace to hers.

               “You okay?”

               She smiled weakly. “Just slightly dehydrated.”

               He pulled his pack off and pulled out an unopened bottle of water. “Drink.”

               She took the bottle gratefully. “Thank you.”

               He grinned. “I need my co-captain in best shape.”

               She rolled her eyes. “I’ll be a much bigger help tomorrow during the water games and war games.”

               He laughed. “That’s true.”

               “Go lead our team, captain,” she told him.

               He pulled off his cap and handed it to her. “Wear it. You need it more than I do.”

               She put the cap on her head and looked up at him. The strain it put on her neck made her realize just how small she was beside him. She barely reached his chest. “So, how does it look?”

               A phantom of the smile she saw on the picture tugged at his lips. “It looks better on you than it does on me.”

1730 hours

               “So, how was the first day of camp for you, guys, so far?” Yna asked as they entered the cabin they shared.

               “Didn’t really participate in the games,” Hannah told them, as she settled on her bed.

               “I feel like I’ll have lost my voice by mid-day tomorrow,” Tori said as she grabbed a pack of chips and a pack of gummy worms for Alyssa.

               “Didn’t really participate, either,” Alyssa said, as she settled on Tori’s bed and took the pack of gummies offered. “You know I don’t do well in the heat.”

               Yna raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “So, that was why you were wearing Will’s cap earlier?”

               Alyssa blushed. “He offered.”

               “Did you return the cap yet?” Hannah asked.

               Tori nodded at the direction of the dresser where Alyssa had haphazardly placed the cap. “It’s still here.”

               “I’ll return it at dinner,” Alyssa protested. “Besides, he was too dirty from the games to take it back.”

               “Really?”

               “He said so!” Alyssa insisted.

               “Are you sure?” Hannah asked. “I mean, you did spurn his offer of help earlier.”

               “What help?” Yna asked, intrigued.

               Hannah smirked. “Little Miss Independent insisted on carrying her own duffle bag, which as we can see is more than half her size. But, once Will was out of sight, she called Danny for help.”

               Tori hit Alyssa on the shoulder. “Why did you do that?”

               “I am perfectly capable of –“

               Frantic knocking on their door and the yell of her name cut Alyssa off. With a warning glare at her friends, she opened the door only to find one of the youngest members of her team pale, worried, and frantic.

               “What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Alyssa asked calmly.

               “It’s Will!” Emily burst out. “He’s hurt.”

               Alyssa went on high alert at that. She glanced at Tori. “My –“

               Tori moved quickly and handed Alyssa her first aid kit. “Let’s go.”

               “Can you show us where he is?” Alyssa asked the younger girl.

               Emily nodded.

               “Why didn’t you call one of the facilitators?” Alyssa asked as they followed Emily through the resort.

               “He said to call you,” Emily insisted.

               A few minutes later, Alyssa saw Will sitting on the grass with Danny laughing easily. Alyssa slowed down and turned to Emily. “I thought he was hurt?”

               Emily pointed to his leg, the color that returned to her cheeks had disappeared once again.

               “Thank you for bringing us here, Emily,” Tori said. “You did a good job. Thank you for coming to find Alyssa.”

               The young girl nodded and walked towards her friends.              

               “Is it too early to kill him,” Alyssa muttered, just as Will called her name.    

               “What happened to you?” Tori asked as she sat plopped down beside Danny.

               Will smiled sheepishly.

               “He was competing with Drew,” Danny told them.

               Alyssa took a seat beside Will, pulling at the leg with blood drying. “Drew Alonzo?”

               “You know him?” Danny asked surprised,

               Tori rolled her eyes. “Drew’s her childhood friend.”

               “Hand me a bottle of water, would you?” Alyssa asked Danny.

               “I bet you lost,” Tori said amused.

               “He won, actually,” Danny told them with a laugh and handed Alyssa a newly opened bottle of water.

               Alyssa shook her head and poured half the contents of the bottle around Will’s wound and on the cut itself, ignoring his wince. After the blood cleared, she saw it was just a graze. “Don’t think a victory was worth an injury.”      

               “Burn,” Danny muttered.

               “This cut isn’t even serious. It’s barely a graze,” Alyssa told Will, hitting him behind the head just strong enough to make him wince. “That’s for making me worried.”

               “Emily’s scared of blood,” he told her.

               “Oh.”

               Will smirked. “At least, now I know you care about me.”

2200 hours

               “Good job today, team!” Will commended during their team during their team huddle. “Third place is not so bad. We can still go for the win tomorrow!”

               Shouts of agreement came up from their team.

               “Let’s hit the hay, guys!” Alyssa said over the noise. “First round of games begins at 6A.M. and the call time is at 5:45A.M. First team to assemble gets an additional 100 points.”

               “So, let’s move!” Will said. “We have an early morning ahead of us.”

               “Great job today, guys,” Kelly commended as she approached their huddled team. “But, your captain’s right. You have an early morning tomorrow.”

               With a few “goodnights”, the team dispersed in groups leaving only Will and Alyssa behind with Kelly.

               Kelly handed them each a folder. “That’s the general guidelines for the games tomorrow.”

               “Thank you, Kelly,” Alyssa said with a smile.

               “Get some sleep, guys!” Kelly told them.

               Will mock saluted.

               Kelly laughed and walked away.

               Alyssa slung her bag over her shoulder and began her own walk to the cabin she shared with Tori, Hannah, and Yna.

               “Alyssa, wait up!”

               Alyssa kept on walking.

               “Alyssa!”

               She ignored him again. It didn’t matter much though. Since she was nearly a head shorter than he was, he easily caught up with her. Even if she quickened her pace, he would easily be able to match hers, his long strides easily catching up with her.

               “Come on, Alyssa,” he pleaded. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

               She kept on walking until she stopped at the door to her cabin. She paused and looked up at Will. She muttered a quick “good night” and turned to open the door.

               “I’m sorry,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

               She turned to him again, with a brow raised.

               He lifted his hand from her shoulder, pulled a something from his pack, and handed it over to her sheepishly. “I’m sorry.”

               She took the package with a glance. “Bribery?”

               He shrugged and grinned at her. “Got to use every possible option to make sure my co-captain’s in the best shape.”

               She rolled her eyes and turned to enter her room again.

               “So, I’m forgiven?” he asked hopefully.

               She bit back a smile. “See you bright and early, captain.”

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