Hey everyone! Thanks for the positive reception to Chapter 1. I really appreciate it and writing this story brings back lots of good memories. Hope you enjoy Chapter 2. Please comment if you want me to continue!
Chapter 2: Part of the Gang
"We welcome you to Potomac Ledge. We're mighty glad you're here. We send the air exhilarating with a mighty cheer! Ra ra! We'll sing you in, we'll sing you out! To you, we raise a mighty shout! Hail, hail, the gang's all here and we welcome you to Potomac Ledge!"
The returning staff finished their cheer as the camp director stepped in the center of the dining hall. "Welcome, Camp Potomac Ledge staff 2011! My name is Will Schuester and I'm your camp director. You've all gotten my e-mails and we are going to have a great summer here. This is my sixteenth summer working at camps, my fourth summer at Camp Potomac Ledge and my eighth summer as a camp director."
Rachel looked around nervously as the administrative staff were introduced. There were at least seventy people here and the dining hall was noisy. Flags for each state or country there was a staff member from hung around the hall. The lunch they ate would be the dinner served to the kids when they arrived every Sunday: burgers, hot dogs, fries, corn, watermelon and brownies. Being a vegan, all Rachel ended up eating was the corn and watermelon. She sighed. Maybe this summer she'd have to change her diet.
The first few hours at camp had been quite fun. She really liked Quinn, Santana and Brittany so far and was glad she'd gotten them for her roommates. Mercedes and Tina seemed cool too, but Rachel hadn't bonded with them yet. Quinn was a dancer back home in Michigan. Santana and Brittany lived in West Virginia, had been best friends since preschool and were going to be co-captains of their school's cheerleading team this year.
Quinn tapped Rachel's shoulder and pointed to the boy with the Mohawk at the table next to them. "He's so cute!"
"What?" Quinn whispered. "I worked at an all girls camp last summer. I'm just so excited to be at a camp with boys."
As Will finished talking about the ad staff, the staff got their first activity: a photo scavenger hunt around the camp. Each team of four would use a set of hints to find places throughout the camp. The first team to finish would get a prize.
"Want to be together?" Quinn asked Rachel.
Rachel smiled, thrilled to have a friend already at camp. "Sure. Who else should be on our team?"
Quinn tapped the boy with the Mohawk. "Hey, you. How about you and your friend be on the scavenger hunt team with me and my friend?"
"You've got yourself a deal," the boy said. "I'm Puck."
Quinn blushed. "I'm Quinn." Rachel could tell Quinn liked this boy. Rachel thought his friend was the cuter one. He was very tall, at least six feet, maybe 6'2 or 6'3, with dimples, cinnamon eyes and wavy brown hair.
The taller boy smiled at the two girls. "I'm Finn."
"And I'm Rachel," Rachel told the boys.
"Wow Rachel, you're short," Puck said.
"Yeah, I know," Rachel said. She was only 5'2, she'd always been the shortest in her class.
"We have our team," Quinn told Will. Will gave them the list of hints and the four set off for their scavenger hunt.
"So, where are you from?" Finn asked Rachel.
"New York City," Rachel said. "What about you?"
"Cleveland, Ohio," Finn replied. "I've always wanted to go to New York."
"You'd love it there," Rachel said with a smile. "I've lived there my whole life. The museums, the restaurants, the parks, the stores, it's all amazing. My favorite part is Broadway. I go to shows there all the time."
"That's so cool," Finn said. "My brother's a big Broadway geek. He even got me into it. He's working here this summer, actually."
"That's really neat," Rachel said. "What's his favorite show?"
"Wicked," Finn said. "I like it too. Kurt plays the soundtrack of it constantly. We went to New York during our spring break just to see it."
Rachel held back from telling Finn that her mom had played Elphaba in Wicked. They were distracted when Puck told them that they'd just found the first location on the list, "a tree with female parts." This, Puck had heard from his cousin who worked there a few summers ago, was the "boob tree." "We should take a picture of the girls hanging off the boobs of the tree," Puck said.
Rachel and Quinn looked at each other, making faces. Luckily, Finn had a better idea. "Rachel's really little, and I'm really big. How about she get on my back for the picture?"
"That's lame, Finn," Puck said.
"I think it would be cute," Quinn giggled.
"I guess I lose," Puck sighed. Rachel hopped on Finn's back, for their picture in front of the boob tree.
The foursome found their way around camp pretty easily, posing for pictures at all the areas on the map. The camp had access to the Potomac River, as they'd claimed online, but Rachel didn't know how amazing it would be until she actually saw the river. It was so beautiful…. It moved slowly and peacefully. At the camp they took the kids down to the river for wading, playing in the sand and ecology and Rachel knew she couldn't wait to do that.
When they went to the horse barn, Rachel was a little scared at first. She'd never been this close to animals this big before. But the horses seemed so gentle, she couldn't help but pat the nuzzle of one of them. She made up her mind she'd ride one before the end of the summer.
The pool was amazing! There were plenty of nice pools back in New York, but Rachel never dreamed there would be one this nice at a camp. The pool had a small waterfall in the shallow end, a vortex in the middle end and a slide and a diving board in the deep end. Being near it just made her want to jump in.
There was a lake at this camp, too, it wasn't as impressive as the river, but looked pretty cool nonetheless. The boats were lined up along the lake, canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and rowboats. Rachel decided she wanted to try every boat at least once this summer.
The challenge area of the camp was almost terrifying at first. Some of the obstacles were 50 feet above the ground. There were two rock walls, one with plastic rocks and one with real rocks. She was afraid to even enter the area, saying she'd step back. As Quinn and Puck went to take the picture, Finn nudged Rachel and whispered, "I'm terrified of heights."
"YOU?" Rachel gasped.
Finn smiled guiltily.
"So am I," Rachel admitted. "I don't know how I'm supposed to encourage the kids to do this when I myself am just afraid to be near it."
"Well, at some point we'll have to do it during pre camp," Finn said. "How about you and I conquer our fear of heights together?"
Rachel smiled at Finn. "I'd like that." She then stared at the ground.
"What is it, Rachel?" Finn asked.
"Nothing," Rachel said. "It's just – I feel so – accepted here. I feel like I suddenly have friends. Back home not a lot of people like me."
"Really?" Finn said. "That's crazy. It's the same with me. I basically have no friends back home."
"How?" Rachel asked. Finn, this sweet, gentle boy – having no friends?
Finn shrugged. "I don't know, people just don't like me."
"I like you," Rachel said to Finn.
"And I like you," Finn said back.
"Aww, Quinn, they're bonding over their fear," Puck teased.
"Shut up, Noah, Rachel and I decided we'll conquer or fear of heights together! Isn't that right, Rachel?" Finn said.
Rachel smiled and hugged Finn. "Yes it is!"
"I'm just messing with you two!" Puck said. "Seriously, I think you're both really cool."
The group finished touring the camp – the archery range, the arts and crafts center, the staff cabin, the nurse's office. The nurse, Sue Sylvester, her name was, gave off a very cold vibe. She had a hard, angry look to her. Rachel made up her mind then and there to stay healthy this summer.
It turned out that Rachel, Finn, Puck and Quinn were the first team to make it all the way around camp – earning them ice cream cones. As Finn, Puck and Quinn were given theirs, Rachel hesitated. All her life she'd been a vegan. But maybe this summer it was time to give dairy and meat a try. Her menu was already limited enough.
"Rach, what's up?" Quinn asked, noticing Rachel just staring at her ice cream.
"I've never had ice cream before," Rachel admitted.
"Never had ice cream?" Finn asked.
"But now I'm going to," Rachel declared. She took a lick. "This is great!" She blushed as she admitted, "I've been a vegan my whole life, but this summer is about trying new things and breaking outside my comfort zone. If there's meat for dinner tonight, I'm eating it."
Other groups began arriving back and as one group approached, Finn nudged Rachel. "Rachel, you've got to meet my brother. I was telling you about him, he likes Broadway and musicals."
Rachel smiled. "I'd love to." She remembered her mental promise to herself not to brag or show off.
Finn led Rachel to a much shorter boy with a different face shape and eye color. Finn looked nothing like this boy, Rachel had a hard time believing they were related. The boy was wearing a Marc Jacobs t-shirt and a scarf.
"Kurt, this is Rachel, she likes Broadway and she was on my team. Rachel, this is my brother, Kurt," Finn said.
Kurt began jumping. "I love Broadway! What's your favorite musical, have you been to any?"
Rachel reminded to sound modest. "Yeah, I live in New York so I've been to lots of them. I've even met some of the actors…" She stopped herself.
"That's so cool!" Kurt explained. "My favorite's Wicked!"
"That's mine too," Rachel said.
"Have you ever met Shelby Corcoran, who plays Elphaba, she's like my idol!" Kurt shouted. "She was in Rent and West Side Story too."
Rachel couldn't lie here. "Yeah, she's my mom."
Kurt gasped. "Are you serious?"
Rachel got out her digital camera and showed Kurt pictures.
"Okay, Rachel, I'll HAVE to meet her at some point," Kurt shouted.
"She's coming to visit at some point this summer," Rachel said.
"Then I'll meet her then," Kurt said, as the two talked about Broadway until it was time for dinner. All the girls from Rachel's cabin sat at a long table with the boys from Finn's cabin. Rachel sat between Finn and Kurt. Sitting with so many people was a bit overwhelming, but at least these kids were accepting her. She tried to learn all the names. She knew her roommates's names – she'd already talked a lot with Quinn, Brittany and Santana, Mercedes was the diva African American girl and Tina with the Asian, goth one. Then with the boys – Mike was the Asian from North Carolina, Matt was the half white half black one from New Mexico, Sam was the blond with the big lips from Tennessee, Artie was in the wheelchair (but said that wasn't going to stop him from working at camp) from Vermont and Blaine was the shortest one and from Pennsylvania. She already knew Finn, Puck and Kurt. At dinner Rachel ate the first non-vegan meal of her life (pizza, broccoli, garlic bread and brownies) and she loved it!
After dinner was the very first campfire of the summer, the very first match Rachel lit and the very first marshmallow she ate. When she went to bed after the campfire, she knew two things: she loved the other counselors here, therefore, this was going to be an amazing summer.