Go To Chapter 6
Monday, September 17, 2012
Extended Family - Chapter 5
Joss found himself in an honest to goodness water wrestling match! This had never happened to him before, though he had seen other boys do it during swim lessons at school... until the teacher inevitably put a stop to it.
Hunter was part of a splash-fight, but didn't have the years of practice the camp kids had. Sadiya and another girl were each on a different pair of shoulders trying to knock each other over. This made Hunter lose his fight as he kept stealing glances at them.
“Look but don't stare,” Trevor, the guy that had thrown Sadiya into the pond advised him. “Sadiya especially can kick your ass if you don't keep your eyes where they belong.”
Hunter nodded. “I know, I've seen her spar.”
“I win again!” Sadiya roared in triumph. The shoulders she was sitting on suddenly shifted, tossing her up into the air and then throwing her back into the pond. She screamed because it was part of the fun.
Eventually, the whole place started to smell like one fantastic barbeque, and moms started calling out that it was time to eat. This was the official first day of camping for the summer, and traditionally that meant that everyone gathered together in the clubhouse for a potluck.
Ron and Emily stood next to Jeremy and Hayleigh as they waited for Sadiya and the rest of the teens to get out of the pond. Each adult held at least two towels.
Ron's oldest daughter grabbed a towel from him as his younger one grabbed one from her mom. Sadiya took one from her uncle, giving him a grateful smile in return. Joss and Hunter each snagged towels – as did a couple other teens – before the adults ran out.
Almost as if they had practiced it, the camp teens all dried off and then wrapped the towels around their necks. These were spares provided by the camp, but each person had their own that they carried with them at all times, so the teens wandered off to find theirs.
“Did you show them around my cabin?” Sadiya asked Emily.
“Not yet, I wasn't sure if you wanted me to.”
“We'll be at the potluck in a couple minutes,” Sadiya informed her with a smile.
“I'll save you a seat!” Ron joked, patting his lap suggestively.
Emily snorted. “In your dreams!”
Sadiya waved, and then led her family to her cabin, talking as she went. “So it was built in 1958 by my grandpa on my dad's side. It's pretty basic; two bedrooms and one kitchen slash living room. One entire wall is a closet to store things like towels and spare blankets. I even have an apron that my grandmother embroidered by hand!”
“Why didn't you tell us that you were needed to help them get this place ready for the summer?” Jeremy wondered.
“So you heard about that,” Sadiya muttered, then sighed. “It wouldn't have made any difference. Until I had things situated at Sacred Earth and Healing Hands, I wasn't able to come. I was also too stressed out to argue, and I knew you'd argue about it!”
They stopped abruptly just outside her cabin.
“Any other businesses I should know about?” Jeremy wondered.
“Not unless you count the building my shops are located in,” Sadiya answered with a shrug.
“So...” Hayleigh voiced her curiosity. “Does this make you rich or something?”
Sadiya laughed. “No! With all of the businesses, they barely make enough money to stay in business. The profit always goes into a bank account each month, and in the case of the shops, I can draw an allowance off them if I need to, but mostly the money has to stay there for the inevitable emergency repairs. As for this place...”
She sighed as if not wanting to admit this. “Yes it does make a bit more money, but it also has a bigger cost for maintenance and operation. At the end of each season, a portion of any money that hasn't been ear marked for repairs or improvements gets split into three and paid out to the co-owners. When all is said and done, my parents – I mean I – earn a pretty average income for middle class Americans.”
“Wait, you mean you own this place too?!” Hunter asked incredulously.
“Wow!” Joss exclaimed, impressed.
“Co-own!” Sadiya clarified. “Which means nothing more than extra work for me! At least this place has had the same excellent manager for about 10 years.”
“And I plan to stick around for at least another 20!” A woman in her middle 30s stated with a laugh.
“Barbara!” Sadiya squealed and launched herself into the woman's arms.
“Sweet little Sadiya,” Barbara murmured soothingly. “My heart nearly broke watching you at the funeral. I'm so happy that you have moved on from that pit of despair.”
“Thank you,” Sadiya murmured, her face in Barbara's chest as she took a moment to not start crying.
“Did you get my card?” Barbara asked. “Your lawyer was the one who wrote the thank you note.”
Sadiya blushed, and mumbled. “Yeah, I couldn't face any of it. But he tells me that he has put all the cards in a box to wait until I feel like reading them. He also put all the gifts and donations to good use by paying for the funeral and apparently the rest went into my bank account.”
Barbara nodded. “That's as it should be then. I'm surprised you didn't come to visit me first thing upon arrival!”
Sadiya laughed. “I was forcibly thrown into the pond!”
“I saw that!” Barbara giggled, then turned and let out and ear splitting whistle. Two massive dogs started barking as they raced each other.
Sadiya dropped to her knees and held out her arms. “Oh my babies!” They practically mauled her in their enthusiasm to kiss her. “God! I missed you so much!”
Barbara stood back watching them with a giggle, then she went to stand next to Hayleigh – who looked aghast as if the dogs actually were mauling the girl.
“She bought them as puppies and trained them as show dogs for her homeschool project three or four years ago. They're mastiffs and even though they look a bit terrifying at first, they're big babies at heart,” Barbara explained.
Shouting so that Sadiya could hear her, Barbara imparted happy news. “Diamond is pregnant again!”
“Ah!” Sadiya squealed, sitting up as best as she could on her knees while under attack. “Sit!”
Both dogs promptly sat.
“Onyx stay,” Sadiya commanded, reinforcing it by pointing at him. “Diamond, roll over!”
Diamond flopped to the ground and presented Sadiya with her belly. Sadiya rubbed it appraisingly, and then pressed her ear to the slight bulge.
“Sweet! You're gonna give birth after my tournament but before the resort closes for the year. I'm so gonna be here to help birth my grandbabies,” Sadiya informed the dog, saying the last word as if talking to an actual baby.
Barbara sighed as if aggravated. “You know, those dogs are incredibly well trained, but they simply won't snap-to for me like they do for you.”
“That's cuz I'm their mama,” Sadiya stated as she leaned over to hug Onyx once more.
“Well I'll leave them to you. Just send them back to me whenever you need a break!” Barbara laughed and then walked away.
“I didn't know you had dogs,” Jeremy remarked, puzzled.
Sadiya shrugged. “I asked Barbara to look after them for me while I was too sad and shocked to do so, and then I realized that there wasn't enough room in your house for both of them, so I just left them with her.”
Getting to her feet, Sadiya brushed the bits of grass off her body. “Stay!” She commanded both dogs before leading the way into her cabin. They both whuffed softly in protest. “And no whining!”
They snorted unhappily, but obeyed.
“I figure that if you want to stay, Uncle Jeremy, you two can have my parents room and I can share with both Hunter and Joss,” Sadiya explained.
“Or I can sleep on the couch,” Hunter offered, pointing to the older, simplistic couch that was definitely long enough to accommodate him.
“I guess we can stay at least one night,” Jeremy capitulated after seeing the hopeful looks on both the boys' faces.
“Cool,” Hunter grunted as if he wasn't interested either way, but Joss jumped up and down and shouted, “Yea!”
Sadiya handed them each large towels – that had been stored in plastic bags inside plastic boxes to prevent pests from ruining them during the long winter – and then pointed at the door.
“We can “unpack” later. Right now, I'm starving!”
The potluck in the clubhouse was like one big family reunion. Everyone ate and talked about everything that had happened since the last time they'd seen one another. All the food tasted fabulous, but then again, grilling something always made it taste fabulous!
Sadiya's dogs walked at her sides obediently, but they obviously wished that they could attack the tables full of food as she dished up. They then sat at her feet and patiently waited for her to give them chunks of meat and other scraps from time to time.
Someone set the sound system in the clubhouse to play a nice variety of music – a little something for everyone. The younger kids inevitably finished eating first, and migrated back to the playground to run off all their newly acquired energy. Teens started organizing games of lawn darts or Botticelli ball.
Adults took turns introducing themselves to Jeremy and Hayleigh, and then promptly shared the basics of their lives. Such as: “We're Bill and Edith. I'm a fast food manager, and she's a teacher. We have those two rambunctious imps over there!”
Sadiya smiled in relief that her uncle and his wife seemed to be getting along great with everyone.
“We adults will probably have a couple of bonfires tonight,” referring to small fires in portable metal pits that were popular with the campers, as well as a couple of official stone fire pits. “You're welcome to join us, drink a few beers, and just generally ignore the kids as they run around like heathens.”
Sadiya laughed, and added. “Dripping in bugspray as we play hide and seek or tag in the dark. The mosquitoes can be ferocious!”
A random man called out to Sadiya. “Hey, have you seen Barbara? There's a light out in the men's room.”
“I'm pretty sure she's swimming in the pond,” Sadiya informed him. “I'll change the bulb in a minute.”
She lightly kicked one of her dogs and then commanded, “Bring me my keys!” Onyx jumped up and raced off, knowing how to sniff out her purse and grab her clip full of keys without spilling the rest of its contents.
“That reminds me,” Jeremy stated, catching Sadiya's attention with his hand. “Why are the bathrooms so, um, open?”
Sadiya tried to think about the camp bathrooms from an outsider's point of view. There were two buildings on opposite side of the camp. One had been built when the place was first founded, and was pretty basic with two areas for toilets that were somewhat private from each other, and then a screened in porch-like area for the showers. It was fully open and visible to anyone walking by.
The second building doubled as a storm shelter if necessary, and was basically one large unisex shower room with a couple of stalls off to the side. In both buildings, there were no doors on the stalls, only curtains if the occupant wanted a bit of privacy while sitting on the toilet.
When the man referred to men's room, he really referred to the portion of the first bathroom that had a urinal-like communal trough next to the stalls.
“I don't really know,” Sadiya replied with a shrug.
An old woman laughed, her voice gravelly with age. She was one of the three co-founders, and Sadiya had been raised to consider her an honorary grandma. She kissed Sadiya on the cheek, and then looked at Jeremy.
“What would be the point?” She cackled. “Wouldn't it be a bit ridiculous for a group of say two women and two men to walk up to the bathroom butt naked and then separate into genders to take a quick shower before getting back together to go relax naked in the hot tub?”
Jeremy looked to the sky as he thought this over. “I guess you have a point.”
Onyx returned with Sadiya's keys and she gave him a chunk of steak as a reward. “Good boy!”
He and Diamond followed her as she walked to the bathroom in question. Joss and Hunter also followed her because they didn't know anybody well enough to just hang out yet, and didn't want to feel like losers who sat next to their parents all night.
In the bathroom, Sadiya unlocked the supply closet – which was only locked because supplies used to get used up faster than the manager could keep up with, and now she literally had to take inventory every time something was needed. So she always knew when she needed to buy more supplies and no longer ran out unexpectedly.
Selecting the appropriate light bulb – bulbs for the nearby street lamps were kept in here too – she realized that she'd need a ladder to actually change it. She squinted her eyes at Hunter.
“You're pretty tall... do you think you can change that?”
He nodded and took the bulb from her.
Joss hummed in thought. “You know, this place is pretty interesting. I actually keep forgetting that we're all naked! Not even the chubby kids get picked on...”
“That's because the common belief shared by everyone here is that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that no one should be ashamed of their 'flaws.' When you grow up seeing nudity, it's normal... you know?” Sadiya tried to explain.
“I think I understand,” Joss replied, pulling her into an impromptu hug. “Thank you for bringing me here. For the first time ever, people just assumed that I belonged. I wasn't avoided for being gay and dressing girly.”
“But your sense of style is what makes you so awesome!” Sadiya protested.
Joss laughed. “True, but it's still nice to fit in every once in a while.”
Hunter finished changing the light bulb, inexplicably relieved that Joss hadn't been staring at his butt the entire time. He tossed the burnt out bulb in the recycling bin.
“You don't know this, but before our school formed the anti bullying club, Joss got picked on pretty cruelly,” Hunter informed her. “Even I am glad to see that none of the kids here are being mean to him.”
Sadiya shrugged. “Parents around here have come up with some pretty creative punishments for anyone that picks on another.”
A girl named Sarah poked her head into the bathroom. “There you are! Wanna play volleyball with me?”
Sadiya bounced over to her and gave her a high five. “Sadiya and Sarah; undefeated champions!”
Sarah grabbed Sadiya's hand and dragged her off to the sand-filled volleyball court. Sadiya dug in her heels and resisted just long enough to call out to her cousin.
“Hey Joss! Will you lock up the closet for me and hold onto my keys?”
“No problem!” He called after her. He was amused that her dogs followed her as calmly as ever despite her bubbly excitement.
A boy named Daniel entered the bathroom just after Sadiya was dragged out of it. “Either one of you want to help me kick their asses in volleyball?”
“I wouldn't mind,” Hunter volunteered.
“Now I'm not sure who to cheer for,” Joss lamented.
Daniel laughed. “Cheer for us! We're going to need all the help we can get!”
It was a fierce battle until Sadiya put way too much oomph into spiking the ball and it went flying into the pond.
“That's an automatic loss!” Daniel exclaimed.
“It is not!” Sarah argued. “It just means an early end to the game, which means we win!”
Sadiya laughed, then stretched and yawned. “I'm beat. Let's have a rematch tomorrow.”
“Okay!” Both Daniel and Sarah agreed easily.
Sarah grabbed Daniel's hand and pointed towards the trailers. “My parents brought some wine coolers for me to drink. If your parents say it's okay, wanna come drink a few while watching the stars?”
“Yeah sure,” Daniel agreed. He put an arm around her shoulders and they waved goodbye to Sadiya and her cousins.
“Isn't it a bit early to go to bed?” Hunter wondered.
“Not for me,” Sadiya answered with a small laugh. “I have things to do bright and early in the morning.”
“Like what?” Joss wondered.
“The traditional first morning of camp breakfast bonanza!” Sadiya grinned. “I always help cook it.”
“That figures,” Hunter muttered.
“You two can feel free to find a couple of kids to hang out with. There's usually someone playing video games in the clubhouse until after midnight,” Sadiya advised.
“I think I'll go check that out,” Hunter agreed, hoping that they had games he was good at.
“I'm just going to wander around for a while,” Joss stated.
Sadiya bit her lip in thought for a minute. “This place is really safe most of the time, but after dark when everyone tends to get a bit drunk, it can get rowdy and the older teens tend to start roughhousing. I'd feel better if you had Onyx and Diamond with you... Just in case someone gets drunk and turns into an idiot.”
“Okay,” Joss accepted the offer with a shrug.
“Diamond, Onyx!” They sat at rapt attention. Sadiya pointed to Joss and commanded, “Guard!”
They both whuffed softly as if saying, “Will do!”
“Good night,” Joss bade her with a wave as she walked away. “I'll try not to wake you when I come to bed.”
“Have fun!” Sadiya wished as she returned his wave.
Joss wandered around simply watching others as they bonded around campfires and gratefully accepted bugspray when it was offered to him. People were friendly and often stopped to pet Sadiya's dogs.
These weren't the only dogs at camp. There were a ton of others; more than half the campers had brought a pet with them. Joss was nervous that he'd be caught in the middle of a dog fight, but anytime a dog started growling at the mastiffs, they simply stayed far enough away that the growly one/s couldn't reach them.
This made Joss wonder if Sadiya's were the only ones not on a leash of some sort because she was the owner or if it was because she had trained them exceptionally well. His silent question was answered when he realized that any dog not prone to getting into fights and also happened to stay in their small yard was actually allowed to roam free.
A girl started walking with him after the sun had completely set. “Your name is Joss, right?”
“Yeah,” he confirmed.
“I'm April,” she introduced herself with a shy smile. “You're pretty cute! Do you wanna makeout with me?”
Joss stopped walking abruptly, shocked by her straightforwardness. “I uh... I have a boyfriend...”
“Damn! Why are all the cute ones gay?! Is it me? Are you just saying that to let me down gently?” She wondered.
“No, I'm serious,” Joss assured her.
“Well, I still wanna hang out. Come sit by our campfire,” she invited, pointing to a trailer not too far away.
“Yeah okay,” Joss agreed, happy to have made a new friend. He waved to his parents as he passed them by.
“You have no idea how strange it is to see my son walking around naked with a girl,” Jeremy muttered to Ron and Emily.
Ron laughed. “Yes I do! Emily was the one who grew up here. I can clearly remember the first time she brought me here before we were married, and all I could do was gape at all the teenagers just hanging out completely naked! I was 21 and in college, and not even the wildest frat parties got quite so free with nudity!”
Emily laughed, and then assured Jeremy that he had little to worry about. “There's almost nowhere for the teens to hide for a bit of privacy. That's one of the reasons everything is so see-through. Unless your son is willing to risk getting caught by half the camp, the most he can do is makeout for a bit.”
“No, I mean...” Jeremy fumbled to explain this without making it sound like he was unsupportive to his son. “He's naked with a girl! He's um... He has a boyfriend.”
“Oh! Well then, at least you don't have to worry about him at all... unless he's a cheater...” Ron remarked with a shrug.
“And that doesn't bother anyone here?” Jeremy asked incredulously.
“One of the founders is gay. He and his life-partner made sure that it was in the charter that there will be no intolerance,” Emily explained. “That's why one of the rules we explained to you stated that you would be banned for life if you committed any hate crimes while here.”
Ron sighed. “But there are a few people here who don't actually accept gays. They keep it to themselves because they don't want to be kicked out. But there are a few that might heckle your son. So long as it's not malicious and not a frequent occurrence, heckling tends to be forgiven...”
“Aha...” Hayleigh murmured in understanding. “That's probably why Sadiya sent her dogs with Joss.”
Emily grinned in agreement. “She's one smart girl! We don't often have trouble here – we all come here to relax after all – but from time to time, things can get out of hand. Having guard dogs is a great idea for your son, especially if he's not able to defend himself.”
Joss spent a couple of hours just talking with April before Hunter eventually joined them. “It seems like such a shame to spend any time indoors when it's so warm and beautiful out here,” he told them defensively when Joss cast him a curious glance.
A few other teens had gathered around April's fire since it was one of the bigger ones. The big guy that had tossed Sadiya in the pond growled in frustration. He leapt to his feet to roar his displeasure for all to hear.
“I wish I could have brought my drums with me!”
April giggled and then razzed him playfully. “You say that every year, Trevor! I'm beginning to think that you don't actually have any drums and just say you do to impress us!”
Trevor stuck his tongue out at her. “Well if I'm lying about my drums, then you're lying about your guitar!”
“As it happens...” April smirked and then rushed to grab her guitar from the trunk of her parents car. “I brought it with this time!”
Trevor snorted. “Well, drums aren't quite as portable!”
“I also brought my keyboard,” April informed him, holding out the good-sized yet easy to travel with piano. “Do you play?”
Trevor shook his head, but Joss held up his hand. “I do!”
“Then let's make music together, baby!” April burst into a bad imitation of an alligator from an old cartoon; All Dogs Go to Heaven. They bickered for a minute until they decided on a song that they could both play.
Joss liked how this impromptu acoustic melody sounded, and decided to sing. Hunter started singing at the same time, and then laughed before continuing.
“I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar. I am the son and heir of nothing in particular. You shut your mouth! How can you say I go about things the wrong way? I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does!”
Others joined in, mostly singing the easy to remember parts. When they were done, April clapped enthusiastically.
“Wow! You two sound like you could be part of a famous band!”
Hunter blushed, waving away her compliment. “Nah! We just happen to be in the choir club.”
April gasped. “Wait! I recognize you now! Your group almost made it into the top ten at the Show Choir Competition! I was visiting my cousin in New York at the time, and she took me to watch... I thought you should have won...”
“Thanks!” Hunter stated with a grin.
A couple of others raced away to grab the various instruments they'd brought with them, and soon they had a pretty cool jam session going.
Jeremy shook his head in amusement. “Even here they do nothing but sing!”
The entire family stayed until Monday evening, but then had to go home. Jeremy was surprised to find that every time one of them brought up the subject of going home, another would promptly come up with an excuse to stay. Little reasons that seemed perfectly logical at the time.
Hayleigh spent most of Sunday helping Sadiya sort through everything in the cabin. Most of it was things she needed to keep, such as towels and spare blankets. Some of it was things she wanted to keep, such the hand embroidered apron. There was only a couple of little nicknacks that Sadiya found tacky that she packed up and decided to store with the rest of her parents belongings.
A handful of people planned to stay the entire summer, and a couple more were staying until the end of the next weekend. However, the majority of the campers had left Sunday night, adding to the traffic from several other campgrounds in the area that never failed to conduct a mass exodus on Sundays.
This was why Jeremy and Hayleigh had agreed to stay another day. They simply didn't want to have to deal with the stop and go of thousands of cars trying to make it through various stoplights along the highway. Sadiya ultimately decided to go home with them when they left since there wasn't much to do during the week at the campground.
As a result, the two vehicles were loaded up with their small collection of belongings, and the family got dressed so they could leave. The weather had been gorgeous all weekend, and they now all had a pretty good tan! Even Joss – who had slathered on sunscreen fairly frequently to preserve the creamy complexion he was so proud of. He now looked lightly golden.
Sadiya ruffled his hair affectionately after he finished getting completely dressed. “You look positively radiant in that outfit right now!”
“Thanks!” Joss smiled at her. “I'm surprised by how strange it feels to be putting clothes on after wearing nothing for almost 4 days straight!”
“Yeah,” Jeremy agreed, scratching his side. “My clothes feel itchier than I remember them.”
“Maybe now you understand why I occasionally start scratching myself with a frustrated growl!” Sadiya laughed.
Jeremy tilted his head side to side in a gesture that meant he did somewhat understand.
Sadiya dropped to her knees to wrestle on the floor with her dogs for a few minutes. They had stayed with her while she was here, but were going to return to Barbara as soon as Sadiya finished saying goodbye to them. They seemed to read her mind, and tried to pin her to the floor so that she literally couldn't leave.
All too soon, she sat up and gave them one last hug. They followed her outside, and then stared at her expectantly.
“To Barbara!” Sadiya commanded, pointing in the direction of the main office where Barbara lived. “Go!”
They whuffed softly in protest, but then sighed and started walking slowly. They had their heads down and slunk along as if they hoped they could simply wait until she wasn't paying attention and then sneak into her car. She snapped her fingers and repeated, “Go to Barbara, now!”
They obeyed reluctantly, picking up speed until they were standing by Barbara's side. She waved at Sadiya. With a wave in return, Sadiya turned to face her car.
Hunter gave her his poutiest face, which made her laugh. “Fine! You can drive us home!”
Jeremy watched Hunter catch the keys ecstatically and hop in the car. Before Sadiya had a chance to move, he placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him curiously.
“I wish we had room in our house for your dogs. If they were smaller, or if there was only one of them...”
Sadiya smiled sadly. “I know. I take comfort from the fact that it's not forever. I'll turn 18 soon enough, and then I'll be able to move back home with them.”
“You don't have to move out right away...” Jeremy informed her, cautiously hopeful.
Sadiya gave him a sparkling smile. “I know.” She kissed his cheek, and then got into the backseat of the car – Joss had already called shotgun and claimed his seat.
They sang more on the way home, arriving just as the sun was going down, and even though they were hungry, the teens all promptly went to bed. Sadiya was genuinely tired, and fell right to sleep. Joss wanted to think about how much fun he'd had, and so wasted a massive amount of time brushing his hair and caring for his skin before going to bed.
As for Hunter, he immediately called his girlfriend to tell her all about his weekend. Everything except the fact that everyone was naked. She was prone to drama, and would almost certainly cry and wail over that fact as if it somehow meant that he had cheated on her. He really hadn't!
Joss texted his boyfriend and promised to call him for a lengthy chat in the morning, and received a sweet little lovey-dovey text in response. Feeling his heart beat just a little bit faster, Joss climbed into bed and gave Sadiya a light kiss on the cheek.
“Good night,” he whispered, but she was too asleep to respond with anything more than an incoherent mumble.
The next morning, Joss and Hunter woke up at the modest hour of 9 am. They served themselves breakfast, and ate it in silence for a few moments.
Jeremy was at work, and Hayleigh was off doing research for something she was writing – as evidenced by the note she left them. Joss' cell phone jingled, and he was giddy to find that his boyfriend had sent him another cute text.
“Oh yeah!” Hunter blurted out. “Hey, I asked Amy to come over today, and she told me that she wanted to invite the rest of the club. I don't think they'll all come, but if they do, we could have an impromptu concert... just for fun.”
Joss nodded with a smile, and then texted an invitation to his boyfriend. Alex texted back that he would love to come hang out. The two of them went to different schools, and while they talked on the phone and texted each other whenever possible, they hadn't had a lot of opportunities to simply get together while school was in session. They had plans to spend every minute of summer together... or at least as much as they possibly could!
Everyone arrived right around 11, Joss kissed his boyfriend with shy hesitance. He felt secure in the knowledge that his friends accepted him and weren't bothered by this, but still couldn't bring himself to full out kiss Alex in front of everyone.
It was a testament to how much Sadiya had thrown herself into working for and having fun at her resort that she was still asleep. The noise woke her, and she grumbled as she descended the stairs in nothing but a pair of plaid boxers and a tight fitting black tank top.
“Hubba hubba!” Dan called out. Hunter was tempted to stop him, but then decided it would be more effective to just let Sadiya handle the situation herself.
Dan tried to corner Sadiya so that he could ask her out. She growled at him, still not quite awake. Even her hair was still a bit mussed.
“Move!” She warned him.
“I just want to ask if you have any plans later on,” Dan told her with a seductive purr.
“You should just go ahead and consider all my time booked up,” Sadiya stated coldly.
“Aw come on, don't be like that!” Dan put a hand out to stop her from simply walking around him.
More from reflex than actual desire to hurt him, she used his arm to flip him out of her way. He landed on his back, completely silent for one long moment. With a cough, he said, “Wow! I mean ow!”
Sadiya ignored him, setting about a cup of water to boil in a small pot. As it heated up, Sadiya felt an urge to cook. Taking a deep breath to evaluate if she really wanted to cook or simply wanted something to eat, she decided that she truly did want to cook.
Joss and Hunter ignored her, organizing their friends into performing several songs. A good half an hour was wasted bickering over which songs they wanted to do, and who would get to sing what. They finally decided that everyone could sing a song of their choice, and then provide backup as needed during other songs.
As they discussed this, Sadiya started cooking up a pot of chilli, sliced up some chicken and steak to marinate for a bit to make fajitas, and then seasoned a slab of prime rib so that it could be grilled slowly, rotisserie style.
Next, she started some chicken bones simmering in the crockpot to make stock. Finally, she pulled out another crockpot and set a meaty ham bone to cook for a little bit on low. To that, she added split peas, a handful of diced carrots, and a generous amount of seasoning.
The majority of what she was cooking was going to take a while, though the chilli would be done soonest. Sadiya looked through the fridge as if wondering what to make next when Amy blurted out, “Are you planning on having a party?”
“Nope,” Sadiya grunted.
Hunter laughed. “She just does this from time to time.”
Taking out a few veggies to accompany the marinated chicken and steak, she quickly sliced them up, and then stirred the chilli before heating up a frying pan full of seasoned oil. The meat and veggies were fried up pretty fast, just barely giving her time to warm up some authentic masa tortillas that she'd previously obtained from her grocery store.
Amy moaned. They were all still singing and dancing, but the smell was making them all hungry!
“You are planning on sharing that, right?” Amy asked.
“Sure,” Sadiya replied with a shrug, and then smiled at Amy. She'd long ago steeped and drank her tea, and now felt wide awake and much less crabby. “I always make plenty, and the chilli should be technically ready to eat now too, though it tastes better the longer it simmers.”
“Awesome!” Several of them exclaimed, and then mobbed the kitchen.
Sadiya hastily dished up and then got out of their way.
The rest of the week passed much the same way. The club members used the excuse of wanting to stay in top shape in preparation for the next year's choir competition, but it was obvious to everyone that they really just wanted to see what Sadiya would make next.
On Friday, she made a trip to her campground by herself, returning Sunday morning so that she could make sure that neither of her other businesses would need her for a while. Now that she had set the programs at both of her businesses to print the checks with her signature on them, she no longer needed to go in and sign them by hand.
Starting Monday, she disappeared to her gym for a good 10 hours a day. Starting at 8 am and continuing on until 6 pm, she sparred with everyone who agreed to it.
“It's been far too long since I last devoted myself so completely to working out!” She informed her personal trainer.
“Yes, it has!” He agreed, then promptly commanded her to work out some more.
Go To Chapter 6
Go To Chapter 6