Samantha Gwynn was outside the Spruces’ cabin, sending her last text. It was to Charlie—luv u miss u. She’d only been at camp for ten minutes, and already Uncle Don was taking away her phone, her lifeline. How would she survive eight weeks? Just this morning she and Charlie had been in the tree fort in her backyard, fooling around. Of course, Luke had followed them up there. Normally, she wouldn’t have minded her little brother horning in, but today was different. She wanted Charlie to herself. She wanted to savor every minute.
Charlie rode the “T” with her into the city. They kissed goodbye at the bus depot. “Will you write to me?” Sam said.
“You know I will,” Charlie said. He swept the bangs off his forehead and handed her his basketball jersey, number 13. “I want you to take this.”
His lucky jersey. She would wear it to bed every night, she promised. After all Charlie had done for her, she owed him that much. She owed him everything. Did he even realize how grateful she was?
“Sam!” Evyn was grabbing her arm, snapping her to attention. “The New York bus!”
“So?” Sam said.
“So?” Evyn stared at her. “The Boys are here!”
The Boys. Jono Hollander, Aidan Glass, Benji Steiner, and Seth—“The Dorf”—Dorfman. The Super Senior Boys. Their Boys.
Jono was walking toward them, leading the pack. It was Jono, right? This boy with dark hair and faded jeans who looked like Jono—but he was taller and broader, with biceps bulging under his white t-shirt, straining from the weight of his duffel.
“Ev!” He dropped his bag and lifted Evyn like she was a feather. He spun her around while she laughed.
“What’s up, Iz?” He fist-bumped Isabelle.
“Sammy.” Now he was looking at Sam. Was this really Jono? Skinny little Jono Hollander who juggled oranges in every talent show? Yes. That crooked smile, dimple on the left. For the five summers she’d known him, Jono had been smiling. Even the summer she was a bitch—her angry summer, the summer her dad started drinking again and she was mad at the world—Jono still smiled.
“Hey,” Sam said.
He was looking at her face, but now he was looking at her chest. This was not new, because Sam had had boobs since she was twelve and boys were always staring at them. She was used to it, so why was the heat rising up her neck? She couldn’t believe she was blushing here, now, in front of Jono Hollander—but a part of her was intrigued that he was so obvious. He wasn’t even trying to be subtle.
“Yo, ladies. Did you miss me?”
Just like that, the moment passed. The Dorf was upon them. Seth Dorfman—with his pink cheeks and crazy curls and Pillsbury Dough Boy body—had Sam, Evyn, and Isabelle in four-way hug. Then Aidan joined in. Then Benji. It was a Super Senior love fest.
“Who’s the new girl?” Dorf wanted to know. “She’s hot.”
There were supposed to be seven of them: Sam, Evyn, and Isabelle; Jono, Aidan, Benji, and Dorf. All veterans. All choosing camp over Teen Tours or summer jobs. Ashley was the surprise—which is to say the shock—Isabelle brought from home. Sam had heard about Ashley, obviously. Everyone at camp shared stories from home and taped photos of their friends on the cabin walls. But Ashley looked nothing like Sam remembered. She was all Goth and badass, black hair and biker boots. Who knew? Sam had tried making conversation on the bus from Boston, but Ashley wasn’t a big talker. She mostly listened to music and stared out the window. Which was fine with Sam, who mostly texted Charlie.
Now, on the patch of grass between Boys’ Side and Girls’ Side, Isabelle made introductions. Boys, this is Ashley. Ashley, these are The Boys.
Dorf was already working his moves, throwing an arm around Ashley, asking what she did for fun. Was there anyone Dorf didn’t hit on? Sam had to laugh. The Boys were so sweet and harmless, like puppies. Everyone at camp loved those four. There would be hookups this summer, for sure, and drama, too. But Sam wouldn’t miss being part of it. She had Charlie, and that’s all that mattered.