The soft whistling of the evening breeze was the only sound that reached Tobias’ ears as he stepped out into the crisp night air. His eyes looked up at the thousands of twinkling stars above him and he took a deep breath, relishing in the sharp scent of the pines that lingered in the air.
I’m really gonna miss this place. He thought sadly as he tiptoed carefully down the worn wooden steps.
This was it.
Tonight would be his last night at camp. Ever.
No more stories and jokes around the campfire.
No more football matches after dinner.
No more swimming in the crystal-clear lake.
No more playing pranks on the counselors.
And worst of all…
No more Colette.
Tobias let out a soft sigh as he crept between the rows of old cabins, fighting away a wave of nausea in his stomach.
Every year, ever since their first summer at camp, he and Colette had chosen a night or two during their stay to sneak off and spend time together, just the two of them.
But tonight would be different.
Tobias had been avoiding this moment for the past three weeks, brushing off Colette’s attempts to arrange one of their secret meetings. He couldn’t quite explain why he was so terrified, but time after time, he’d panicked and made up some lame excuse.
But a few hours ago, at dinner, he’d finally found the courage to slip her a note as they walked together to clear their plates. This is my last chance. He’d realized. It’s now or never.
As Tobias reached the open clearing that overlooked the lake, he found her. Colette was waiting for him exactly where she always was – laying in the soft bed of grass and staring up at the endless night sky.
His heart pounded relentlessly in his chest at the sight of her. She’s so damn perfect… How the Hell am I gonna do this? Tobias wasn’t sure quite how long he stood there staring before the sound of her sweet, musical voice broke through the silence.
“If you take a picture, it’ll last longer.” She teased.
He couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “Very funny.” Tobias smiled as he drew closer and lowered himself gently into the grass beside her.
Neither one of them spoke for several minutes. But it was not one of the usual, comfortable silences they so often fell into when they were together. There was something strange and almost tangible in the air between them. Something unspoken. Something electrifying.
But something scary as Hell, too.
Just suck it up and DO it! Tobias told himself firmly. Don’t pussy-out on this one.
“H-hey Lettie?” He asked softly, breaking the silence at last. He hadn’t called her that since they were kids.
Beside him, Colette turned to face him, raising an eyebrow curiously. “Mm?”
“D-do you wanna sit and talk for a minute?”
“Sure…” She replied uncertainly, rising to her feet when she saw him do the same.
He led her to one of the camp’s old log benches – the very same one they’d once sat on together six years ago.
And once again, they fell into that same, strange silence.
Get a friggin’ GRIP. Tobias ran a large hand nervously through his long blonde hair and took a deep, shuddering breath.
“Look, Colette, I – ”
“Tobi, listen – ”
They couldn’t help but laugh softly as they each spoke over the other.
“You first.” Tobias said softly, his smile quickly fading.
Colette cleared her throat before speaking. “Tobi…” She began nervously. “We both know this is our last summer together. And after tonight, well… Who knows when we’ll see each other again?” The girl shrugged sadly.
“I know.” He let out a soft sigh. “And… Look, Colette. I want you to know that I don’t give a shit what my Mama or your Papa say. I’m gonna find a way to see you again. I have to. I mean, if I don’t, it would… It would really suck and stuff… Y’know?”
Oh my God, that was so much smoother in my head. Damn it.
Tobias lowered his head in embarrassment. No matter how hard he tried, he’d never been good with words… Not out loud, at least. Not the way Stefan was.
“I do know.” Colette agreed sadly. “And… I was really happy when you asked me to come out here tonight.” Tobias could tell she was trying to smile as she spoke. “Just in case this really is the last time…”
Tobias nodded. “A-and… if it really is, then I…” He paused, swallowing back a lump in his throat and ignoring the sudden twisting sensation in his stomach. “I need to tell you… That…” He paused. Now or never.
“I love you. Like, really love you. Like… you’re the most amazing person in the entire world. And I just needed you to know that… Just in case this is my last chance to say it, y’know?” He paused, staring down at the ground for a moment. “So… Yeah. T-that’s it, I guess.” He finished lamely, finally lifting his gaze to meet hers.
She looked at him for a long time, saying nothing. Tobias felt his cheeks begin to redden under her gaze as he wondered what she could possibly be thinking.
Then finally, with a crook of her finger she beckoned him closer. Tobias slid across the bench toward her uncertainly. Colette leaned into him, pressing her soft, warm body against his. She turned her head, and whispered softly into his ear. “I’ve been waiting years to hear you to say that.” Her hot breath tickled his ear as she spoke. “Tobias Rosebrook, I’ve loved you since the moment we met.”
“R-really?!” Tobias felt as though his heart were about to burst from his chest. He reached out and took one of her soft, pale hands in his. “You have no idea how it feels to hear you say that… Holy shit…” Tobias laughed softly to himself before continuing.
“Look, Colette, you know I’m no good with words… Especially talking about feelings and stuff…” He felt a soft warmth come to his cheeks as he spoke. “But… I think this is the happiest moment of my whole life. Like, seriously. I mean it. I love you so damn much, and I’ve been waiting forever to finally tell you.”
Tobias saw a shimmer of tears sparkling in her beautiful eyes as they looked into his. Colette said nothing, but placed her other hand gently over his, and gave a small squeeze.
Holy shit… She’s hot as Hell. He thought as he stared at her, amazed that somehow, year after year, she only managed to get more beautiful. And she loves me. She actually loves me.
For a moment, it felt like he was living in a dream – the most amazing, perfect, unbelievably awesome dream anyone had ever had.
But… What if tonight really was the last night?
What if their parents didn’t stop trying to keep them apart?
What if they had to wait until they both moved away from home before they could see each other again?
I’ve gotta make it count. He thought, recalling the advice his Papa and brother had given him. I’ve gotta go for it.
Trying to hide his nervousness, Tobias lifted his arms and wrapped them gently around her tiny frame, pulling her close.
And then, he kissed her.
Colette melted into his embrace as her mouth moved against his. Tobias moved his tongue gently along the seam of her lips, and she eagerly accepted his invitation, sighing against his open mouth as she did so.
He had absolutely no idea what he was doing… And he had a feeling neither did she. But it didn’t matter. It was exciting. Amazing.
But he needed more.
Tobias wasn’t sure what came over him… He felt this passion, this hunger unlike anything he’d ever felt before. “Go for it.” The words seemed to echo in his mind. “Make it count.”
As their kissing continued, he allowed one of his hands to slide up the side of her body toward her chest, while the other worked its way ever-so-slowly downward. Tobias’ heart pounded violently within his chest. It was electrifying – like his entire body was on fire. But he knew he had to stop himself – he had to be sure this was what she wanted too. Tobias paused uncertainly before going any further, waiting anxiously for Colette’s reaction.
After a few moments, she finally pulled away from him. And Tobias could not help but feel his heart sink as she did so.
“Why did you stop?” Colette asked him breathlessly. “Is everything okay?”
Tobias’ eyes widened at her words. “What?”
“You stopped.” She repeated, her brow furrowing in concern this time.
“S-so… So you’re cool with this?” Tobias asked nervously. “I mean… You… You wanna keep going?”
Colette nodded slowly, and the way she looked at him sent another wave of white-hot fire coursing through his entire body.
“Y-you’re sure? Really?”
She answered with another kiss.