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Summer Lovin'

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It takes Summer a full night’s sleep, an extremely late breakfast (face it, it was basically “brinner” at that point), and two cups of coffee to realize she actually hated the outdoors. Woods of an odd, small town included.

“Oh my God.”

Her mother looks up from her eggs (courtesy of Summer) and raises an eyebrow, eyes squinting, “What’s up, sweetie?”

Summer sighs and drops her head in her hands, elbows propped on the table, “S, last night I was talking with a girl, a local. Her family, like, built this cabin or something. We were chatting and maybe flirting and she offered to show me the woods while I was here. Except two things. One, I don’t care about the woods. Or anything like that. Two, I think she’s probably straight?”

Beth paused, then chewed slowly.

“Long-haired red-head?”

Summer nodded.

“Wearing flannel?”

Again, she nodded.

Beth took a deep gulp of her black coffee, “I think you’re fine, Summer. Girls from areas like these don’t wear flannel to formal events unless they’re extreme hicks or aren’t straight.”

Summer chewed on her lip, thinking. Maybe her mom was right. Wendy didn’t seems like an “extreme hick” but could she really trust her mom? This was the same lady who tried her hardest to avoid confronting her own flaws in family therapy. Summer was big enough to admit that while she loved her mother, Beth was also a bit egotistical when it came to how much she knew. In her mother’s world, what she knew was the only truth and everyone who disagreed was wrong.

How much did she really know about the locals and how they acted?

Finally she shrugged, letting her mom think what she wanted before taking a bite of toast. As she chewed, her phone buzzed, and Wendy’s contact appeared on the screen.

‘hey, just got your text. down to hang today? i can show you around town if youd like.’

She eased a bit. Maybe they wouldn’t go in the woods at all and they could become a thing then be long distance girlfriends and avoid the woods until Wendy’s in love with her-

‘then maybe tomorrow we can hit the woods >:) you ever been camping?’

Ooooohhh shit. Fine, she would deal with the woods tomorrow, if today went well.

‘sounds great! my family doesn’t have anything planned, so we can hang whenever today :)’

In her four years of high school and one year at university, Summer had perfected her art of using a smiley face. She knew the differences between when you use an emoji from your phone keyboard and when you type one out manually. Wendy didn’t seem like the type who would use the emojis from phone keyboard, not unironically.

‘cool. like i said, there isnt much to see around here but youll be able to get used to seeing the area so you arent lost if u ever visit stan and rick here’

There was a brief paus, when another text bubble appeared.

‘does 2 work for you?? I can meet you at the shack, if that works too’

Summer sat back and thought. That was an hour and a half from now. If she pushed it, she could be ready in that time.

‘awesome! two is perfect!’

‘see you then!’

Okay, shit. She had to work fast if she wanted to pull this off.

Shouting out a half-explanation that she was going out in a bit, she rushed to the bathroom as she started tugging her top off, passing a bleary-eyed Morty as she did.

She finished showering in what was probably record time, managing to get her entire self cleaned and conditioned. As she plugged her hair dryer in and turned it on, she looked in her half-open suitcase. Her dress from the night before laid on top of everything and she gently nudged it to the side with one foot.

As much as she loved them, her signature white pants were most definitely not the way to go. As cute as the quirky town looked, from what she saw while briefly driving through, it was also dirty. She would sooner die than destroy those pants.

After a minute of scooting clothes and drying hair, she struck gold. Or more accurately, blue. Her light blue blouse! Duh. It was cute as hell. She also managed to find a pair of shorts that worked and she felt giddiness hit. Everything would turn out great, she’d look super cute, the girl would totally fall in love with her, and maybe even decide not to go in the woods with all the gross things.

Her hair dried, body deordorized, and clothes jumped into, Summer was ready to hurry and finish up.

Obviously, she didn’t want to apply too much. It was gonna be a hot day, and while she could theoretically make it last, she didn’t want to test that theory.

Glancing at the clock, she realized she had to start walking, or she’d be late. Shit.

“I’m hanging out with a local girl and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!” she called as she hurried out of the cabin, pulling the door shut behind before anyone could respond.

The trip to the shack was short and she arrived just as Wendy was pulling up in an older truck. Wendy noticed her as she got closer and waved her over.

“Hey,” the taller girl grinned, “You ready for some summer adventures? Town is boring, but we’ve got some cool shit here in the forest. Wanna check that out after the tour? Promise it’s worth it.”

“Pinky promise?” Summer asked, leaning against Wendy’s door, sticking her pinky out in the open window.

Wendy nodded, grin still present, and touched her pinky to Summer’s, “Pinky promise. Hop in, city-girl.”

-

Summer enjoyed the ride into town, letting the breeze wash over her in the open window. She glanced over to Wendy and felt herself go breathless for a second. The taller girl was driving with one hand, the other arm propped against the open window frame, hand holding her head up. A lazy smile rested on her face, sunlight washing over her freckled skin and vibrant hair. After a brief moment of comfortable silence, she started talking.

“Thanks for hanging out with me. Seriously, you didn’t need to deal with the city girl whose grandpa’s marrying into the town, but you did. It’s cool.”

Wendy’s eyes left the road and landed on Summer, “You kidding? New faces are welcome here. For me, anyways. My friends are cool, but we kinda fall into routine, even as a bunch of badasses. Y’know?”

Summer made brief eye contact before looking away, “Really? That’s surprising. How many of you are there?”

Sucking in a breath, Wendy’s eyes went up to the roof of the truck in thought, “Lemme see… There’s Tambry, my best friend. She’s great, but also doen’t really care ‘bout much. Except Robby, her boyfriend, who’s waaay to edgy for the rest of us. He and I used to date, but we were, like, fifteen and it wasn’t even really a month. So, no biggie. Um… Nate and Lee, they’re together. Best friends and boyfriends, they’re also idiots, but that’s not connected. That’s just them. Um… Oh, Thomson! He’s hilarious. He’ll eat gum off the floor for a quarter. He’s done it before. Swear. Then there’s the twins, but you’ve met them.”

“Huh,” Summer breathed, falling back in her seat, “That’s a lot of friends.”

Wendy shrugged, eyes back on the road as they entered town, “Yeah, I guess. What about you? How many friends ’ve you got?”

“Just one or two,” Summer shrugged, “I’m kind of focused on school, so I don’t have too many close friends. There’s my roommate, Nancy, who was a friend in high school. She’s kind of geeky, and I was a bitch to her in high school, but we’re good now. Um... Oh! Tricia too. She’s really sweet, but also don’t watch sad movies with her, cus she’ll cry. A lot.”

“Sounds like a party,” Wendy commented absentmindedly, small smile on her face now, “Hey, we’re here. Wanna walk? It’s not a lot, swearsies.”

There really wasn’t much in town, but walking with Wendy was fun enough in itself. The taller redhead had what felt like an endless amount of jokes and stories. She pointed out different places, each having its own adventure that came with it, typically involving her and her trouble-making friends. Summer playfully offered dry responses to some of the stories, making Wendy eventually bump her with her hip.

“Shut up! You know it’s totally true, Smith. You’re just jelly I haven’t had any adventures with you yet. You’re totally putting up walls to avoid the hurt.”

“As if,” Summer rolled her eyes, “Jealous of not having an adventure with you, Corduroy? Get real.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Wendy replied smugly, “We’ll go on one tomorrow and you’ll have your own adventure with me.”

The way she looked down at Summer made her vest tighten and her face red. But she smiled back, “I’m looking forwards to it.”

“Solid,” Wendy hummed, then added, “By the way, you got any warm clothes, like flannel? It gets pretty chilly at night and I’d hate for you to get cold, or anything. Stan would kill me if I killed hid new step-granddaughter.”

Summer stopped and sighed, head falling back as her eyes shut, “Shit, no. I packed for a couple days in the heat. Even my pajamas are meant for the heat. This blouse is the only long-sleeved shirt I brought.”

Wendy stopped with her and slung an arm around her shoulder, “It’s totally fine! I have plenty. Flannel is literally my entire closet. I’ve got ya’ covered, city girl.”

Laughing and falling into Wendy, Summer smiled, “My hero, saving me from freezing.”

“I’ll come pick ya’ up a bit earlier tomorrow, before we go camping so I can get you some warm clothes.”

“Sounds great,” Summer replied, face still a bit red. Looking up at Wendy’ face, she could see it was red too. A good sign. A great sign, in fact.

Suddenly, the other girl straightened up and pointed, “Yoo, Greasy’s diner! One last stop, I’ll get us ice cream. Most because I want ice cream. You down?”

“Always,” Summer answered, eyes following Summer’s finger. The diner definitely matched the name. Not that she was complaining. Ice cream was ice cream, and free ice cream was even better than normal ice cream. It came at absolutely no price to her. Which made it the best kind of ice cream.

They went in and Wendy quickly ordered them both some soft-serve, plain vanilla. Summer had no complaint, since she wasn’t paying. They left quickly, to avoid talking to too many locals. They were fine, Wendy had explained once they were out, but they also liked to drag things out, as small-town locals were wont to do.

“Okayyy, so, we’ve come full circle,” Wendy announced as they approached her truck, each holding a cone of ice cream from the diner.

“Very full circle,” Summer agreed, taking a bite. They settled in the truck quickly, and Wendy was off.

“I had fun,” she blurted suddenly, “Like, this was probably the highlight of my summer. Back home, I focus on school and going to parties with people I don’t know who don’t want to know me. When I’m at school, I just focus on classes. So hanging out with you, one on one, talking… It was… great.”

She finished awkwardly and wanted to shove her face in her ice cream. Usually, she was a lot smoother than this. She would smile and drop off at a good point, letting the other person catch her drift. Which was always flirtatious. God, this was awkward.

“Hey, no, I did too,” Wendy responded, sitting up straight in her seat as they went down the road, “Summer, you’re a really cool person. Like, you’re really funny and you’re different than the people here. Like, savvier. Hanging out with someone who goes along with my jokes and doesn’t just laugh, it’s nice.”

She paused, and made a thoughtful face, “Shit, we’ve been hanging and I didn’t even ask what you study.”

“It’s cool,” Summer responded, face burning from Wendy’s compliments and her soon reveal of how much of a nerd she truly is, “Um, I’m studying Chemistry at Stanford right now. But I wanna go on into nuclear studies in the future.”

Wendy’s eyes widened as Summer explained, “Holy shit, you’re really smart, then. Damn, city girl! You’ve got it going on.” She reached over and playfully punched Summer’s arm.

Summer responded in kind, giggling, “I guess. I mean, it’s whatever. What about you, Corduroy?”

Wendy snorted before talking, “I took a year off to figure out what I want, so I didn’t waste a year in school, in case I ended up not wanting to go. But I ended up wanting to go into forestry, so I applied to Oregon State. I’m headed there this fall.”

“That’s great!” Summer exclaimed, “I know so many people who went to school for a year, racked up debt, and realized they didn’t even like what they were doing. Waiting a year to figure it out was smart.”

“Thanks,” Wendy replied, smiling over at Summer, “Lot of people thought it meant I wouldn’t be going, period. My dad kept asking me about going upstate to my cousin’s logging camp fulltime. Tyler, my step-dad, he was cool ‘bout it.”

They chatted for a few more minutes until Wendy pulled up next to the cabin Summer and her family had been staying in. She was silent at the wheel for moment, staring at Summer with a funny look on her face. It had a tiny smile and a look in her eyes like she knew something, but wouldn’t say it outright. Were it someone else, Summer might have been infuriated. But with Wendy, it felt right. Finally, the taller girl broke her silence.

“It’s been fun,” she said, sunset shining in from behind her, making her hair a million different shades of red, “Can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Summer took the sight in of the girl she was just learning more of since meeting her last night. The first real connection she had made in a while. It was worth the possibility of getting burned. Even if Wendy didn’t end up, like, in love with her, she still made a kickin’ friend. Summer could totally deal with that.

“Me either,” she smiled as she stepped out, “What time’ll you be around?”

“Noon sound good?” Wendy asked, “That’ll give us time to swing back by my place and grab some warm stuff for you and we can have a quick lunch. Then we can get going and set up at a good time so we can hang a bit more before it gets dark.”

“Sounds awesome!” Summer waved as she shut the truck door, “Tomorrow at noon.”

As she walked up the step, Wendy suddenly shouted, “Oh! Bring a swimsuit! The lake’s gonna be perfect for swimming in!”

The lighter-haired ginger stopped in her tracks and turned back. Wendy was already driving away with a wave, but it didn’t matter. All she would have seen was a freshly red-faced teen who could only wonder how she could keep herself from hiding how gay she was while swimming?

There was no way. She was still going, of course. But there was absolutely no way Wendy wouldn’t notice how much she liked girls during the process.

She was, as Morty would say, effed in the ay.