Homesick
A short story by Niklas
(split up to two parts due to its length)
 


Fabian sat down on his bed and sighed. He was heading for his last night in this familiar room, the last night in his big soft bed; and then there were eight long days and seven uncomfortable nights in a summer camp waiting for him. He took his backpack, opened the long zipper on its top and sat the backpack ready for packing on his bed. Around him lay the things prepared for him to pack. First of all a huge pile of clean boxers that his mother, naturally, found the most important. He could get lost in the wilderness, washed away over a waterfall or bitten by a snake, but it wouldn't be so bad as long as he had clean underwear on. That's how mothers are. Men would rather think of fish-hooks and nylon string to feed themselves in the wilderness as necessary, but wouldn’t waste any thoughts on the state of their underwear.

Fabian opened his backpack

Fabian flipped through the pile and counted roughly eight boxers. So, his mom thought: Eight days = eight boxers. But then she’d forgotten that Fabian travelled there in a clean pair of undies, and even if he changed every morning he needed just seven.
Shaking his head Fabian drew the flyer for the summer camp out of his pocket and unfolded it. Waving this flyer his mom had come into his room two weeks ago, doing this as if it was a very special and generous surprise for him. "Aren't you always after going camping?", she had said. "This is a real ex-cel-lent summer camp, and real expensive!" Of course, she’d never asked him before if he wanted to go to a summer camp. And even when she held the flyer right under his nose, she only asked him casually, "This is okay for you, isn't it?"
She always asked Fabian afterwards, when everything was already ordered, subscribed or paid, so that he could hardly ever say no. And if he ever actually refused, it meant big trouble for him.
The actual reason for this "generous surprise" was the business trip that his mom would be on during that time. Five days on a conference tour at a hotel with her boss. And this meant four nights with her boss, too. Fabian knew this guy, he had already been at the Waitaweill's twice before for dinner. A nauseating guy. Always wearing a sharply ironed suit and a silky tie. He smelled like loads of after shave, so much that you got dizzy if you sat next to him.
"Wildwater Camp" was written across the flyer, with a jumble of computer clip-art printed below. High mountains, soaring pines, a waterfall, a canoe, a number of animals - each in an arty style, so that Fabian could hardly guess what some of them were supposed to be - and above all that, a sun with a 'smiley' face.
The flyer read:
"Dear wildwater traveller,
we'd like to invite you to a journey full of adventure. Come to our log cabin camp and have a time far away from the noise of the city, surrounded by nothing but pure nature. Come and sit at our camp fire under the gleaming stars..." and so on and so on.
At the bottom of the flyer was a checklist for all the things that you had to pack, and Fabian began to work his way through it. "Solid footwear" was the first thing on the list. In Fabian's opinion his sneakers were solid enough to face the wilderness, or any other challenge, and he had already decided that he would not only arrive at the camp in his sneakers but wear them the whole eight days there. But grown ups meant by "solid footwear" a certain kind of trekking boot made of brown leather - just the kind that lay brand new and smelling like shoe-polish beside Fabian's knees. He nodded and marked the checkbox by "solid footwear" with a pencil stub.
Next was: "Socks", "underwear" (tons of it, thought Fabian), "two or three pairs of pants", "washing things", "tooth brush", "swim trunks or speedos", "gym shorts" and "leisure suit (optional)". They'd provide T-shirts at the camp, so you didn't need to pack those.
The last checkbox on the list was "lots and lots of fun". Fabian made a face. He'd surely not check this one off. It sounded as if you had to take all your fun there with you. He stuffed his backpack with everything - the pile of boxers at the very bottom. Of course, the real life-saving stuff wasn't on that list. There was just a note that one shouldn't take cell phones, pocket computers or gameboys to the camp, since each time some of those things got either lost or stolen and they'd only cause trouble. Knives and lighters were strictly forbidden. But Fabian needed to take something with him to survive eight days and seven nights so far away from home: his small portable CD-player with earphones and freshly charged batteries.
It wasn't easy to pick some proper CDs from the bookshelf where Fabian stored his music. His all time favorite album had to come with him, that was no doubt. Its plastic case was rather covered in scratches and its booklet nearly falling apart. Fabian took it out of the case and put it into the CD player just to test it. He plugged the earphones in and leaned back against the wall.
Slowly, a somewhat dreadful, lurking guitar solo faded in until suddenly the band fell in with a heavy rhythm and dragging drums. His friends teased him sometimes because he liked to hear that "air guitar music" - stuff you couldn't dance to but just play on an imaginary guitar. Fabian hated hiphop or similar stuff. Just the fact that quite a lot of this kind of music was made by DJs was clear evidence to him that it couldn't have anything to do with art.
Fabian shrugged heavily when he noticed that there was someone standing in the doorway to his room. It couldn't be his mother - he always knew when she was near by the smell of smoke that was always around her. It was Niklas, his friend who lived close by. Fabian stopped the music.
"Hi", he said.
"Hi", said Niklas and closed the door behind him.
"I'm packing", Fabian explained and sat the backpack up on his bed.
"I see", said Niklas, who went half way around the bed and slumped down into an old armchair that Fabian had kept back from their last living room furniture. Just because he was used to it, Niklas took the E-guitar that stood in the corner and strummed softly across the strings. He never got tired of saying that he found guitars screwy and unnecessarily complicated to play, and that no real rockstar would play guitar anymore. Just keyboard. But somehow he couldn't keep his hands off Fabian's E-guitar.
In return Fabian used to say, the way Niklas played piano he'd end up as a bar pianist and never become a rockstar. As far as music went those two could never agree.
Niklas asked: "Are you really waiting for that summer camp?"
"No", grumbled Fabian, rather dully.
"I have never ever been to a summer camp", said Niklas trying to look envious.
"Be happy", replied Fabian. He took a bunch of CDs from his bookshelf, looking for life-saving music for the wilderness.
"We're not going on vacation this year", said Niklas without taking his eyes from the guitar strings. "It was so expensive to repair our car. Just maybe we're going to the theme park for a weekend."
"Doesn't sound bad to me", said Fabian. How he'd like to give away that stupid summer camp for a weekend at the theme park!
"Yeah, but it's only two days! Is that a journey? I mean, a real journey goes at least to the sea for swimming, and then at least for one week, or even better for two. Just like our journey last year."
Fabian looked over at his blonde friend. He could remember well how tanned Niklas was when they came back from that journey. His freckles had turned almost invisible on his brown cheeks, just his nose looked as if there was still some sand sticking to it. And it took months until Niklas faded out again to his usual pale color.
Fabian said: "I know better things than going to a summer camp. It's just because my mother goes on a business trip and she doesn't want to leave me home alone."
"Pity", said Niklas and he had to giggle. "But why don't you just come to us for as long as your mother's away?"
"She says, we've done that too many times before, we can't bother you again for such a long time." Fabian sighed. Five days and four nights with Niklas would have been too nice to be true. "And besides, she already paid for the camp. She would never listen now." He sat down on his bed again and spread the CDs out on the blanket. "If it was my decision, I'd just visit Walter and Jeremy." Walter had been a friend of his mother and Jeremy his son. They had lived with Fabian and his mom for a couple of years. Fabian was deeply convinced that Jeremy was his little brother, just his mom and Walter forgot to marry, somehow. Now those two lived in another town, pretty far away. Fabian was sending letters to Jeremy quite often, and only two mere postcards had come in return since. He thought to himself, boys of Jeremy's age don't know what to say in a letter.
Those two postcards were pinned to the wall above Fabian's desk.
Niklas played the only guitar chord he knew - G major. He preferred to say nothing when it came to Jeremy. He'd always taken the dark haired boy for Fabian's real brother, and the way Fabian had favoured him all the time, had been geting on Niklas' nerves. Jeremy here, Jeremy there. Fabian cheated in play to make Jeremy win. Each time Jeremy got hurt Fabian went away too, to take him home. If Jeremy didn't want to play soccer Fabian didn't join in the game either. But Niklas was never really mad about Jeremy, and when he was suddenly gone and Fabian cried for days, Niklas felt sad about him too. Even if his little sister was a pain in the neck, the thought that his family could get torn apart some day made Niklas frown.
"Which one would you take with you?" asked Fabian and held up two CDs.
Niklas bent over, ignored the two disks in Fabian's hands and looked through the pile on the bed. Finally he drew out a movie soundtrack that Fabian surely didn't like too much and said: "This one!"
Fabian moaned and looked at the ceiling. "You're a great help!"
Niklas smiled wearily and asked: "So, what's up? Will you come out to ride around a little on our bikes or do you wanna spend the whole evening with packing?"
Fabian shrugged and put the CDs aside. "Okay, I’ll come."
Once Niklas had already ran out through the bedroom door, Fabian once again leant over his bed. There was one thing that he should never forget to pack, but it wasn't necessary that Niklas knew about it. It was Jarvis the butler. A small stuffed animal in the shape of a penguin. Once it was a gift from Jeremy and now it was something like Fabian's lucky charm. Even if this lucky charm hadn't prevented a piece breaking from Fabian's tooth when he fell on the ice, the little stuffed penguin always lay right beside his pillow. Quickly, Fabian let him slip into the backpack.
Now he could be sure he'd survive the wilderness.

The bus was supposed to stop at the small parking lot in front of the church to pick up the children that lived in the small town where Fabian and Niklas lived. And of course, it would do this early in the morning. Fabian was almost constantly yawning while his mother drove him to the parking lot. Why did those buses always go so damned early? The drive to the camp wouldn't take so much time that that’d be the reason. And on top of that Fabian hadn't slept that well that night. It was really time that he became a rock musician. Those cool guys used to sleep until noon, and anybody who disturbed them was shooed away by their bodyguards.
There were three girls waiting with their parents, but no one Fabian knew. About five minutes later a big coach came around the corner and stopped, hissing, on the parking lot. All the parents, including Fabian's mother, did the same farewell ritual: One last time they hugged and cuddled their children, then held their shoulders and said with a straight, serious look: "Take good care of yourself! I'll wait for you!" Then a short tender touch of their cheeks and a silent "I love you" and then they left them to their own fate; which meant they pushed the kids towards the door of the waiting bus. One last wave, and the door closed, hissing behind them.
The coach was already full of children from the big neighboring city where it had started. The front part was occupied by a number of girls who seemed to know each other. From time to time they started a song that usually died down after half a verse as they all forgot the lyrics. In the back part of the coach were boys who obviously knew each other too. They all talked loud at the same time and shoved each other from their seats. The center of the coach was neutral zone. Here were most of the remaining seats and it was, accordingly, quiet.
"Sit down!" the driver called in a bad mood, watching the wild bunch in the mirror.
Fabian was just about to take a seat next to a rather fat boy absorbed in the music on his earphones, when he noticed a barely conspicuous sandy-haired head out of the corner of his eye. It was the head of a boy who sat on the edge of his seat, looking outside, with his nose stuck to the window pane. He might have been half a head shorter than Fabian - just like Jeremy.
Without further inquiry Fabian let himself fall back into the seat next to the sandy-haired boy.
The coach started to move. The parents outside waved.
Timidly Fabian waved back.
Now his sandy-haired neighbor noticed him and turned around. He had freckles on his nose and his cheeks that were more numerous and more reddish than those Niklas had. And his skin was bright pink and looked rather delicate. Due to this contrast his lips looked a deeper red than the other boys' lips.
"Hi", said Fabian.

"Hi", said Fabian.

The sandy-haired boy looked around quickly and with seeming astonishment, up at his skinny neighbor with the dark brown, rock-musician hairstyle and said, with a thin and somewhat husky voice: "Hi!"
Then he turned back to the window and stuck his cheek to the pane again.
Slowly and ponderously the coach moved through the narrow streets of the small town and finally it left the houses, the garden fences and the parked cars behind. Fabian had a strange feeling in his tummy. He knew it would be eight days until he'd see all this again.
His small neighbor seemed to be fascinated even by the flat landscape outside. He kept sitting on the edge of his seat, one hand on the window pane, the other hand on a handle, looking at where the coach was heading.
Fabian watched him for a while since the smaller boy more or less occupied his view. Funny, the way he clung to that handle and the window pane beside him as if he needed it not to lose balance and fall from his seat. Fairly possible that this boy sat travelling in a coach for the first time. After a while he seemed to relax a bit and occasionally he even leaned back into his seat, exhaling with a deep but silent sigh.
Fabian couldn't fight the impression that his sandy-haired neighbor was somehow depressed.
The noisy boys in the back part of the bus obviously had something like a leader. At least they called his name again and again: Angelo!
"Angelo, look here!" - "Angelo, just look!" - "Eh, Angelo! Angelo!"
Fabian turned his head and peered down the central aisle. There were three or four boys running from one side to the other making that noise. One of them was wearing a red baseball cap back-to-front, this seemed to be Angelo. The others did what he did. Camp followers. When Angelo climbed onto the back of his seat, the others appeared on theirs. When Angelo stuck his head to the rear window and made faces, the others came next to him and made faces, too.
"Hey, Angelo, check this out!"
Fabian sank back into his chair and muttered: "What a jerk!"
Then he noticed that his sandy-haired neighbor looked at him. His turquoise eyes were shining and a faint smile flitted across his lips. 'Jerk' - that seemed to amuse him.
"Do you know those dudes?" asked Fabian and pointed behind him with his thumb.
The turquoise eyes wandered a little between Fabian's face and his thumb, then the sandy-haired head was hesitantly shaken. "Not really", said the boy, finally.
"Is that Angelo at your school?" Fabian wanted to know.
The boy still looked a bit uncertain. "Yup", he said, almost inaudibly.
"Any idea why the others are so fascinated by him?" asked Fabian.
His sandy-haired neighbor shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno", he said. And since he probably had nothing more to say, he turned back to the flat landscape that followed the highway trail, his fingers playing with the zipper of a colorful nylon bag that was strapped to his tummy.
Fabian sank deeper into his seat. If he slipped down to eye-level with his neighbor, his knees bumped against the back of the next chair. The summer camp was for youngsters from 10 to 14 years. Surely, they would count Fabian with the older boys, the "big ones", just because of his height. And the sandy boy next to him with the small ones.
"Do you know anybody coming with us here?" Fabian wanted to know.
The boy next to him turned around for a glance and was surprised by finding Fabian on eye-level with himself. For a moment he looked down at Fabian's skinny stretched out body, which was the reason for the sudden loss of height. Then he shrugged his shoulders again and said: "Not really."
Fabian stuffed his hands into the pockets of his khaki shorts. "Me neither", he said and sighed. "I'm the only one here from my neighborhood." He looked for a moment to see if his neighbor showed any sign of empathy and found none, but the sandy-haired boy seemed to relax a little more instead. He sank down in his seat like Fabian until his knees almost "bumped" the chair in front. Then he looked up to Fabian and smiled shyly.
Fabian explained: "My mother goes on a business trip, and so she just sent me away to this summer camp." Still no reaction to Fabian's tale of woe. His sandy-haired neighbor had almost slipped from his chair and now he was working himself up the seat again. Fabian asked: "Have you ever been to such a camp before?"
The sandy boy with the freckles nodded extensively. "But never that long." And after thinking for a moment he added: "And never without my dad."
"Oh, I see", said Fabian. With a real dad by his side he probably would have found such a summer camp quite acceptable. Walter had been out camping with him and Jeremy once, that had been real great. Though, Fabian never called Walter his "dad", and he wasn't sure how it probably felt to have a real dad, he was badly missing something since Walter and Jeremy were gone. And it wasn't just those small things like the smell of the strong coffee that Walter liked to drink, or his shaving stuff in the bathroom. Fabian felt somehow vulnerable ever since. If, for example, there appeared an "evil" letter in the house, such as an excessive bill, his mother would moan about it for days, calling friends on the phone, crying for advice, and in the end she'd pay in full. Walter would just grunt and then make a complaint about it the next day.
Somebody held an open pack of sweet smelling jelly beans under Fabian's nose. His neighbor had dragged it out of his nylon bag and offered it now with a grin.
Fabian had to grin too, and pushed some jelly beans between his lips.

For quite a while now the coach drove along a country road winding through wooded hills. The jelly beans were eaten, and Fabian had found out that his neighbor with the sandy hair was called Patrick. Or just Paddy. And Paddy now knew Fabian's name.
At a big “day trippers” restaurant, in log cabin style, the coach turned off onto a gravel road that led into the woods. Then it stopped on a parking lot in front of a wooden archway, lined left and right by stakes. "Camp Wildwater" was written across the arch.
"We're there!" the children called across the bus and leaped up from their seats.
Fabian was pushed towards the exit by the crush. Paddy stayed somewhere behind him.
Once outside, Fabian took a short look around. So, this was called "Wildwater"? There was just a quiet green lake stretched out in the woods, a simple public campground on one side and "Camp Wildwater" to the other side. No trace of the big mountains that the flyer showed. Only hills around here, overgrown with pine forest. What else did the flyer say? "Far away from the noise of the city... nothing but pure nature..." Well, the camp was just far enough from the country road that you couldn't see the cars rushing by, and the restaurant at the junction would surely contribute some "night life" to the scene. But this was rather calming to Fabian. Civilization was only a stone's throw away.

He picked up his backpack from the luggage compartment of the coach and followed the excited bunch of children through the wooden archway. The arch was flanked by two grown ups: a man with a beard and glasses who welcomed the kids with some mumbled words, and a young woman with short cut hair who counted the children. They stopped on a sandy yard in front of a flat building, that was definitely the biggest house in the camp and therefore seemed to be the main center. Spread around it stood a number of small log cabins.
The man with beard and glasses drowned out the children's giggling and whisper with a loud and confident voice: "Well, it looks as if everyone's present, very well, now. We welcome you at Camp Wildwater with warm greetings. My name is William, I'm the director of this summer camp. If you ever have any trouble or questions you can come to my office. There's also a telephone, a fax or e-mail, if you like, so that in case of EMERGENCY...", he said this word with emphasis and paused for effect, "...you can call your parents. If you just want to tell them how much you like it here, please use the public phone in our camp center's corridor. You may only leave the camp in the company of a group leader. And now I want to introduce our group leaders." The bearded man named William went around the kids to the entrance of the center building, where two men and two women had grouped themselves on the steps.
Beard-William explained: "You will now split up to four groups - two for the girls, two for the boys. Then you'll get two T-shirts and a sweatshirt in the color of the group you picked. Each group has a different program for the following days, and you should choose a group with a program of your interest. The group leaders will now introduce themselves and their group. Let's start with the groups for the girls."
The woman with the short cut hair who had counted the kids under the archway held up a white T-shirt that was printed with the drawing of a long-necked bird. "My name's Marion and I'm the leader of the group of the swans."
"Geese!" interrupted a boy's voice, causing laughter all around. That voice probably belonged to that well-known Angelo from the bus.
Short-haired Marion didn't care and continued: "The swans are familiar with water, they like to swim and row, but they also have a sense for everything beautiful and graceful."
The girls now whispered all at once. It seemed as if most of them felt already like swans.
The other female group leader had longer, curly hair and wore a red T-shirt and held another red shirt in her hands. "I am Christine and I'm a racoon", she said with a less confident voice than her work mate. This caused a lot of laughter, especially among the boys.
"So, where's your tail?" a well-known boy voice called. Which gave rise to even more laughter and caused quite a commotion. Finally the loud voice of Beard-William cut through it: "Now, quiet please, really!"
Then Christine, the racoon-woman, could continue: "The racoons like to canoe, go on a trip to the other side of the lake and do some arts and crafts. Us racoons help each other."
Again there was a lot of whisper among the girls. It was clear that they had to choose for a group. The white swans were for girls who were good at swimming, and the red racoons for those who were scared of water.
Now the first group leader for the boys stepped forward, a slender young man of the "surfer guy" type. He had long frizzy blond hair that he had bound in a ponytail. He wore a black T-shirt printed with an eagle in white. An admiring murmur went through the ranks of boys. The surfer guy said: "I'm Hank and I'm leading the eagles. Us eagles are brave hearted but not careless. We'll learn to dive in the lake and we'll build a raft together."
A certain restlessness went through the group of boys and quite a number already pushed a little into the direction of Hank, the blond surfer guy. It was clear that the group of the eagles in their fabulous black shirts was for the "real" boys. Whatever came after it could only be for sissies.
And that was exactly what the fourth group leader looked like: quite like a younger Elton John in shorts and sandals. He wore glasses and a plain hairstyle with a fringe. His chubby belly was clothed in a dark green T-shirt with something printed on that one could hardly recognize. "My name's Brian, and the beavers belong to me. We'll explore nature and we'll go to a nearby game park to feed some animals. We'll go fishing in the lake and light campfires."
Chubby Brian of the green beavers didn't get much attention. His introduction almost drowned in the whispering and excited chatter of the kids. The gangs and cliques of those who knew each other before tried to agree on one group. Around Angelo with his red baseball cap, there seemed to be some disagreement. "But I want fishing and a camp fire, too!" one of his followers protested. "Are you nuts?" the meanwhile familiar voice of Angelo shouted, "that stuff belongs to those beaver-dummies!"
"Listen!" Beard-William called right into the commotion. "I want to say that EVERY group will have camp fires, a nocturnal ramble and our all-camp lantern party. Nobody's going to miss something!"
"Have you heard?" Angelo barked at his pal.
"And now I'd appreciate if you choose a group and - one after another - get your shirts from your group leader. Anybody who can't make up his mind will be sent to the group with the least members so far."
The four group leaders went to some desks with piles of T-shirts and sweatshirts in their appropriate color, followed by the pushing and shoving kids. Naturally, short-haired Marion of the swans and surfer-guy Hank of the eagles got pestered first.
For just a second their eyes met.Fabian wasn't that type of boy who usually pushed forward to the front, but somehow the whole pack led by Angelo dragged him with them to the desk of the eagles and promptly he got a set of black shirts pressed into his hands by Hank with a wink. No question, Fabian was long and skinny, which looked sporty. Naturally, he had been chosen to be an eagle. Suddenly, right next to him a boy voice yelled. That was Angelo and for the first time he had a close look on him. A tanned boy of Fabian's age and almost his size with dark and slightly curly hair who triumphantly waved a bundle of black shirts. One couldn't deny that Angelo was real handsome, Fabian noticed with a strange kind of concern. For just a second their eyes met, and by the look of his lively brown eyes and his open smile Angelo was apparently glad that this skinny boy with the musician's mane belonged to the eagles like himself.
Hank had just handed out his last set of shirts when the Elton John double, Brian, approached him and whispered something into his ear, showing him a piece of paper. Then both group leaders went to their chief - Beard-William.
"Uhhh, we seem to have a little problem with the groups of the boys", the camp director announced with his loud voice. "There're three cabins for each group with six beds each, which is 18 beds per group. Unfortunately we gave out shirts for the eagles two times too many. Now we have 20 eagles but only 14 beavers. I have to ask you to find two volunteers who'll go from the eagles to the beavers."
After this announcement a couple of boys holding black shirts in their arms drew one or two steps back, as if the grown ups could take away their shirts again.
Fabian looked at that poor bunch with the green shirts of the beavers in their hands. A group of chubby, slow and timid kids. What a bunch of losers, thought Fabian. But there were also many small ones among them, and Fabian could see the sandy glowing shock of hair that belonged to Patrick, his neighbor on the bus, shining behind some chubby shoulders. And when Patrick noticed Fabian, he shortly lifted his hand as if he wanted to wave.
Fabian sighed noisily and went over to Hank, the surfer guy, and gave back his black shirts. "God damn it, who cares", he said.
The blonde group leader of the eagles looked a bit disappointed that it was Fabian who changed to the beavers voluntarily. With a short nod he accepted the shirts.
Fabian felt rather bad. The whole procedure reminded him of the gym at school, when two leaders had to pick players for a basketball team and the fat or slow-moving boys had to sit and wait until finally somebody "wanted" them. Fabian hated that.
A big chubby hand slapped him on his skinny shoulder. "Welcome to the beavers", said Brian, the group leader, and gave him a bundle of dark green clothes.
Trying to ignore the looks of the boys behind him, Fabian trotted to the beavers. A few times Patrick gave him a short look and he seemed to be unsure, if Fabian even remembered him. "Hi", said Fabian into his direction and Patrick almost jerked and said "Hi", too, and then smiled a little bit relieved.
They had to find a second "volunteer" by drawing lots, and Fabian said silent prayers that it wouldn't hit Angelo, because that would cause constant trouble and might spoil the whole time at the camp. Fortunately they drew a rather calm, big guy who didn't protest too much.
"Okay, here we are", said Beard-William finally. "By the way, you can keep the shirts later as a kind of souvenir of what will hopefully be a nice time. Now the group leaders will show you the lodgings and you'll get time to settle down. You'll see us later for lunch."

Each group leader directed the wild bunch belonging to him into another part of the camp. The three cabins for the beavers stood on the edge of the woods and looked quite comfortable from the outside.
"Listen", said Brian and adjusted his glasses, "I leave it up to you who'll share a cabin with whom, just don't make a drama of it. All cabins are of the same size and quality. And besides, we're only 16, that leaves us some space. Restroom, showers and toilets for the boys are over there at the back of the center building. Now, go and get your cabin, I'll come to you later to write down your names."
The beavers looked around undecided, only a small gang that seemed to know each other before rushed for the first cabin. Fabian noticed somebody timidly clinging to the back of his shirt, and he didn't have to guess who that was. He looked back over his shoulder and said to Patrick: "`kay, let's go." And then they went together to the next cabin.
It was rather dark inside and there was the smell of old wood. To the walls stood three sets of very simple bunkbeds, each covered with a thin mattress and a pile of bed sheets and wool blankets. The usual lousy beds, thought Fabian. Apart from that there were a couple of chairs and a table.
"Stench goes upwards", said a big, plump boy with bright, close-cropped hair and threw his backpack onto one of the lower beds as a sign that it was now his.
Fabian and Patrick stayed by the first stack of beds that was closest to the door and the small window so that it received most of the poor lighting. "Where do you wanna sleep? Top or bottom?" asked Fabian.
Patrick shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno." He looked at the bed and he was obviously not enthusiastic about it. The matresses were stained, the wool blankets were cheap, dark grey stuff that looked pretty itchy. Finally, he sat down on the lower bed.
Fabian unloaded his backpack onto the upper bed. Then he looked all around him. Two other boys had joined them apart from the big, plump youngster, so that there were five of them in their cabin and one bed remained free. One of the other boys was almost smaller than Patrick and with his chubby cheeks and his shoulder-long black hair he appeared rather girlish. The second one was a weedy little guy with brown hair and glasses. Since Fabian didn't know the names of their fellow occupants yet, he gave them nicknames, silently. To him, the big, plump one was the "walrus", the girlish chubby cheek was the "señorita" and the weedy lad was the "swot". The señorita and the swot shared the third stack of bunkbeds. For a while all five boys looked each other up and down in silence.
"Hi", said Fabian.
"Hi", said the others.
"It looks as if we'll spend the next eight days together", Fabian continued just to start at least some kind of conversation. But the others didn't know anything to reply.
Suddenly, Brian, the group leader, burst into the silence. Panting he came through the door and laid some writing things on the table. "Sooo", he called and pulled up a chair, "let's get your names now. I'll make a name badge for each of you that we'll stick to one of your beaver shirts. And you'll kindly wear it for a while so that we'll get to know each other." He adjusted his glasses, took a quick look around and pointed with the thick marker in his hand at Fabian who was closest to him. "Christian name and surname!"
"Fabian Waitaweill", said Fabian.
Brian looked at his list. "Waita-what? Ah, here! So, you're Fabian..." He checked a name on the list and scratched something with his squeaking marker on a sheet with yellow stickers. Then he peeled off the sticker and held it with his finger tips. "A beaver-shirt, please!"
Fabian held up one of his dark green shirts and Brian stuck the badge to its upper side.
"Next one", said Brian and pointed at Patrick.
"Patrick Finn" said the sandy haired boy rather quietly.
"Pardon?" asked Brian who had drowned out the answer with his own panting.
With some emphasis Patrick repeated: "Patrick Finn!"
"Ah, yes", said Brian and checked another name. On the badge he just wrote "Pat". Patrick didn't protest, although he had said on the bus trip that his nickname was Paddy.
The walrus was named Dan, the señorita turned out to be Julio and the swot was better known in real life as Michael, and he got a badge with "Mike" stuck to his shirt.
Brian gathered his stuff again and stood up. "Okay, that's it. Making the beds is no problem for you, is it? You can handle that on your own?"
Fabian nodded. That procedure was quite familiar to him.
"Okay, then we'll see you later for lunch", said Brian and set out for the next cabin. In the doorway he turned to the boys once again. "And, please, put on the shirts with the badges. You're beavers now!" Then he disappeared

"You're beavers now!"

The boys looked at each other in the quiet semi-darkness of the cabin. Fabian lifted his arms, stripped off his polo shirt and folded it carefully to put it away into his backpack. Patrick kept sitting on his bed undecided and watched Fabian's bare chest. Fabian noticed this with a slight tingle, almost like goose bumps. How would he seem to the approximately two years younger Patrick, he asked himself. Fabian was softly tanned by all the games in the garden of the Edlunds. Maybe Patrick was ashamed of his pale, freckled skin?
The sandy-haired boy sighed and then took off his shirt, but he had a vest on underneath which he kept on. Then he pulled on the green T-shirt of the beavers which proved to be a little too big for him. No matter how he pulled the T-shirt there was always a white piece of his vest sticking out of its neck.
On the walrus named Dan the green shirt looked too short. And the other two, señorita Julio and Mike the swot, could have used their shirts as tents. The boys made jokes about this and laughed. Then they started to make their beds.
Mike - the swot with glasses - gave an involved lecture about it, as if he had to explain the use of bed sheets for everyone. There were two sheets. One was to cover the mattress the other one was to prevent the grey wool blanket from itching on your skin. At last, there was a cover for the small, miserable pillow that belonged to each bed. Walrus Dan was done with covering his bed with sheets and blankets pretty soon and pretty untidily, and now he spread himself over it. "Wake me up for lunch."

In the center building was a dining hall with long tables and benches. Everybody came together there at lunch time. The meal consisted of simple noodles, a mincemeat sauce and pudding for dessert.
No surprise that the members of each group kept themselves to themselves at those long tables. There was hardly a different colored shirt to be seen among the rows. The table with Angelo and his cabin companions, dressed in black shirts, stood out by the unsurprising amount of noise. "Ewww, what do you call that muck?" - "Hey, Angelo, watch this!" - "Uuurgh, that looks like the shits!" They hardly stayed on their benches at that table. When finally a portion of pudding from that table splashed down on the floor, Marion, the short haired group leader of the swans, came there and firmly upheld law and order. And this worked. If one managed to make Angelo shut up and sit down, the whole pack was quiet in no time.
And actually it was Angelo - that handsome Angelo - who had to wipe up the patch of pudding with a cloth and bucket after lunch.

In the afternoon everyone went hiking to explore the lake and the surrounding woods. Each group took a different route. Brian led his beavers on a path through the woods which became gradually narrower while leading up into the hills. They were going to look for the source of a creek, said Brian to the boys, and he told them the names of some particular bushes with red or black berries and if those berries were edible and so on. Almost like a museum guide he droned out his explanations, sometimes he didn't even look at the bushes he was pointing at.
But when they reached the highest point on their route, Brian stopped and took a deep breath but said nothing. They had a view over the whole lake, which looked real beautiful from up here, as Fabian had to admit to himself.
"You didn't forget your swim trunks, I hope", said Brian and looked at everybody inquiringly. "If the weather stays like this, we'll have the chance to go swimming in the lake quite a lot. The water’s great!"
Suddenly, almost every "beaver" looked somewhat depressed but nobody said anything. By now, none of the leaders had talked of swimming when it was about the program of the beavers. Surely, some of the boys thought they'd be able to get out of it when they chose the green shirt.
Back in the camp the leaders announced that they'd prepare a camp fire and sausages for a barbecue instead of supper and that the kids could spend the remains of the afternoon settling down and getting familiar with the camp.
The black-shirted gang around Angelo quickly agreed that they'd spend the time until dawn bathing in the lake. Though the weather wasn't too sunny, there was a kind of stifling heat making the boys sweat since they had left the coach. They really needed some refreshment.
Fabian was in the mood for swimming, too, but he’d probably have to go alone because his comrades didn't look at all eager to put on their swimming trunks. All, including Paddy, preferred to retire to the cabin and play cards. Fabian followed them, murmuring, to change clothes, which he did without shyly seeking cover behind the bunk beds or something. Fabian had no problem if they peeked at his naked butt.

A part of the lake shore belonging to the camp had been covered with sand to become a small beach. Next to it stood a landing stage sticking out into the lake, inviting him to take a run up and dive in. Fabian was passed by a couple of running boys he didn't recognize without their black T-shirts for a moment. But even without that baseball cap back-to-front he could tell Angelo from the others. He was quite a lot more tanned than his pals and he was wearing swim trunks in conspicuous neon colors. They raced down the landing stage and jumped with a loud yell into the greenish water.
Fabian strolled behind them, sat down on the edge of the landing stage and dangled his feet in the water. It was warmer than Fabian had expected and clearer than its green color purported.
The other boys wildly kicked their feet and made the water splash and spray around them. Then they climbed up onto the landing stage again to take another run-up and jump into the lake. They seemed to ignore Fabian, although they sometimes missed his shoulders by only a hair's breadth while jumping.
Suddenly, he felt two cold wet hands on his back shoving him forward, and the next moment the sunshine and the loud laughter around him was swallowed up by the green water. When Fabian surfaced again, the boys were still laughing.
"What's up with you, eh?" he heard a voice coming from above. "Can't you swim or are you scared of water?" Up on the landing stage stood Angelo in his neon trunks. He had shoved Fabian into the water.
Fabian cleared his eyes. "If I was scared of water, why should I wear swimming trunks?"
"Aren't you one of those beavers?" Angelo inquired.
"Yeah", said one of the others, "he's the one who changed to those losers."
"You'll make something nice out of pipe-cleaners while we... we..."
"We build a raft! A real raft made from wood logs, that's what Hank said!"
Fabian wished that it rained for the entire week so that these "log heads" would have to stay in their log cabins staring at the wall.
"Hey, why did you go to the beavers?" Angelo still insisted. He sat down on the edge of the landing stage, next to Fabian's and splashed the water with his toes, so that some drops landed on Fabian's face.

"Why did you go to the beavers?"

Fabian screwed his eyes up. "Well, I thought if they sent YOU there, there'd be trouble the whole eight days. Or if they'd have picked one of your pals." He looked all around. The followers seemed to appreciate being called Angelo's pals. They grinned and swung their arms in the water.
Angelo stopped spraying at Fabian. His dark brown eyes scrutinized Fabian's face, and for almost a little too long their eyes met, and Angelo looked as if he wanted to say something in reply. But he didn't say anything, instead he just let himself fall forwards into the water.
One of his pals, a blond boy with braces, called: "Let's try and see who can do the longest jump from the landing stage!"
"Yeeeaaah!" the others called and leaped back splashing to the landing stage to climb out of the water.
Fabian felt somebody grab his ankles under water and drag him from his feet. Bubbling, his head sank back down again into the cool, greenish water. He paddled his arms and legs under water until he knew where up and down were again. To one side a shape passed by, a shape with neon colored swim trunks. That was of course Angelo, who gave him a roguish look under water before he turned around to go up. The swimming trunks and those tanned legs belonging to them climbed up onto the landing stage on the other side. "That guy has it in for me", thought Fabian before he went to climb up too.
"Out of the way!" the blond guy with braces yelled and flew through the air until he crashed into the water with bent legs.
"Ass-bomb!" the next one shouted, a somewhat sturdier boy. He didn't jump too far, but he caused a real big splash.
Fabian wasn't sure if he should make a jump, too, or if he was just disturbing the others. But actually Angelo waited until Fabian had climbed up the landing stage and he even let him go first. "Come on, show us something", he said.
Fabian took a run-up. "Yahooo!!!" he shouted and made a far leap. For a moment his slender body flew on the warm summer air, for a moment it seemed as if he could jump across the glistening reflections to the other shore. Then he crashed into the cool whirl of bubbles and murky green shimmer. The skin on his feet and thighs burned a little from the hard impact but in the cooling stream of the water it let up quickly. Fabian made a few swimming strokes under water, using the momentum of his long jump. Stroke by stroke he came up again to the surface. He had come quite far, there was no chance to stand on the ground where he was. The water under his feet was dark from green algae growth. He paddled with his arms and turned around. He was at least 25 yards from the landing stage.
The figures that stood there on the landing stage made an appreciating murmur. The one with braces even whistled. Apparently, Angelo couldn't put up with his pals being impressed by somebody else but him. He took a run-up. With powerful, thumping strides he moved over the landing stage, then a neon colored tracer bullet cut through the air, and with a far spraying splash Angelo disappeared. Some smaller waves and ripples spread out and faded, and for a couple of breaths the water remained quiet. And then even a little bit longer.
Finally Angelo's head came up, not too far from Fabian. But clearly a little closer to the landing stage. Snorting and paddling Angelo looked around.
His pals on the landing stage remained in embarrassed silence.
Angelo couldn't believe this. "You swam while I was under water!" he called at Fabian. "Say that you moved!"
Fabian just smiled. The same roguish smile that Angelo gave him, when he had dragged him from his feet. Then he swam back to the landing stage.
"Hey, by the way, what's your name?" asked the one with the braces.
"Fabian", said Fabian.
The rest of this afternoon went by pretty fast. The boys competed with each other in doing the longest dive or just in staying under water and holding their breath, and since they didn't have any stopwatch they had to count slowly, which caused some quarrel. Fabian wasn't too good at holding his breath, and so Angelo got over his little defeat pretty soon. And in the end he even called Fabian by his name and not just "hey".
Rather tuckered out Fabian walked back to the cabins of the beavers. On the lawn yard behind the center building he saw the group leaders Brian and Christine piling up logs and twigs for the campfire. A nice crackling fire and a smoky grilled sausage - that could be the right stuff for him now!

It was quiet in his cabin, as if his roommates were already gone to bed. Actually, Dan the walrus was lying on his bed listening to music. The others seemed to have gone out to explore the camp or something. Still dripping, Fabian fetched a towel from his backpack.
"There you are, at last", said a high voice behind him.
Fabian spun around. Patrick sat at the table in the dark corner of the room, where Fabian couldn't see him at first.
"Hi Paddy", said Fabian and rubbed his musician's mane reasonably dry with the towel.
Sandy-haired Patrick shuffled the stack of playing cards listlessly in his hands. "Have you been swimming the whole time?"
"Yep!" said the head under the towel.
"The whole time? Three hours swimming?"
"We didn't swim too much. Most of the time we jumped from the landing stage. Or we held our breath under water and somebody else counted."
"Okay." Patrick spread the cards slowly on the table just to gather them up again.
"I'm sure it would have been fun for you, too, if you had come with us", said Fabian and dried his arms and shoulders.
"Nooo", said Patrick rather quietly.
"I mean, even if you aren't good at swimming. You don't really need that. Actually, we only did wild jumping, into rather shallow water where you could stand." Fabian hesitated and watched little Patrick, who looked up after a while because he noticed that Fabian was watching. Motionless he looked into Fabian's eyes. Had Fabian been right about the reason why Patrick might not want to go swimming?
Patrick lowered his eyes. His freckled cheeks started to glow reddish.
"Myself, I can swim quite well since my... my dad showed me how to do it right", said Fabian and blushed slightly, because he meant Walter who wasn't actually his father. "And I was 11 already, back then."
"Okay", said Patrick and stirred the pile of cards slightly with his finger.
"I can show you how to swim, like my dad did. If you like."
Patrick said nothing, he just stirred with his finger and watched the cards turning.
"Just when the coast is clear and nobody else is swimming. Just the two of us." Fabian sat down on a chair on the other side of the table.
Patrick looked up. For a while he seemed to be unsure if he could trust Fabian.
"Okay?" asked Fabian. "Just when the coast is clear."
Patrick sighed somewhat with a heavy heart. "Okay."

The campfire popped and crackled and exuded a fine smell of smoke and pine wood. The group leader of the racoons, curly-haired Christine, had hung a guitar around her and sang the inevitable campfire songs together with some of her girls, from "Row, row, row your boat" to "Kumbaya, My Lord". Most of the children had rumbling tummies already, and the boys especially couldn't keep themselves from holding the white bread over the fire, which just left some black marks on it.
"Wait until the fire’s burnt down!" warned Hank the surfer-guy time and again.
Naturally, the boys around Angelo were the most impatient, and when the blond pal with the braces, whom Fabian now knew as Ryan, even let a piece of bread fall into the fire and shook his fingers, Hank became so angry that he almost slapped Ryan in the face.
"I can't believe it, god damn it!" swore Hank, and Ryan rushed quickly into a less well illuminated part of the barbecue area.
Brian had roped in his green dressed beavers to care for the fire, to prepare the sausages and to serve drinks from big lemonade bottles. Fabian, Patrick and the "señorita" Julio stood behind a table with the drinks. This was quite convenient for Fabian, since he was very thirsty from all the romping in the lake, so he served himself first with some paper cups of lemonade.
Soon, Angelo appeared at the table with the drinks. "Hi", he said to Fabian.
"Hi", greeted Fabian in reply.
Angelo had left his red cap in the cabin, his dark, slightly curled hair had dried in the meantime and looked a little bit untidy now, just like hair always looks after being at the beach. He grinned with his white teeth and beautiful, light brown lips. "Don't you have any cola here?"
"Nope. Just orange and lemon. Brian said cola always gets us in trouble with the parents", explained Fabian and shrugged.
"Well, then give me lemonade", said Angelo.
Fabian filled a paper cup with clear, fizzy lemonade.
Angelo tried a sip. "Ugh, well, not really my brand." He giggled, but kept drinking.
Paddy got no customers and so he stood there and watched that tanned Mr Handsome in his black eagle-shirt with suspicion. Someone had written "Angie" on his name badge and stuck it upside-down on the black fabric. Angelo had probably done it himself to be funny.
"Your badge is wrong", criticized Patrick.
"You’re just seeing it wrong, you garden gnome", replied Angelo, "maybe for you I should put it on the fly of my pants!" He laughed about his answer and then sent a loud belch from the lemonade after it.
Patrick gave him a black look and stuck out his lower lip.
"Hey... hey, er... Fabian!" said Angelo, who seemed to have forgotten the name even though it was written on Fabian's T-shirt. "Will you go swimming with us if we happen to get time tomorrow?"
A little nervously, Fabian's eyes went from Angelo, to looking at Patrick and back. "Um... I... I dunno yet..." Didn't he promise to go swimming with Patrick - and only with Patrick - right before?
Angelo said: "See you later", and then took himself off.
Patrick glared after him. "Dork!" he grumbled.
For the rest of the barbecue party Patrick stayed around Fabian and more and more he realized, that Angelo's pals and Fabian knew each other pretty well and talked like he was one of them and that they ignored little Patrick, at best.
Close to the end of the barbecue when everyone was just sitting bored in the grass and looking at the dying embers, Christine, with her guitar and some racoon-girls sang a song for goodnight. Finally Hank announced that his eagles had to stay there and clean up the place - which got some yammering and booing from the boys.
"Behave yourself the next time", he replied unmoved.
"That's just because of that stupid Angelo!" someone moaned who obviously wasn't one of the pals.
The girls and the beaver-boys made off.

Compared to the cool night air outside, the small cabin appeared rather warm and stuffy. "Could somebody open the window?!"
"I think we don't got it bad as beavers", said Julio in his high voice.
Agreeing murmur from the others.
"Those stupid eagles have to clean up all the trash."
Patrick hung his shirt over a chair.Fabian stripped to his boxers and sat upon the edge of his bed on the upper level. A bit below Patrick made a fuss about undressing. Apparently, he didn't like to change clothes while others could watch him. As long as possible he kept sitting on his bed while he stripped. And he kept his underwear and even his white socks on for the night. At last, he stood up and hung his oversized beaver-shirt and his pants tidily over the back of a chair. Fabian watched him. His underwear was white with small blue elephants on it. The skin on his arms and legs looked so bright and delicate. Fabian got a rather weird feeling while looking at Patrick. He looked so defenseless, so vulnerable. When Angelo had asked Fabian at the swimming that afternoon why he changed to the beavers, he couldn't say a real reason. Fortunately, Angelo was satisfied with an evasive answer. But the actual reason was Patrick, and Fabian knew this very well. He liked to be together with Patrick, and of course, he wasn’t going to let the other boys in on this.
Meanwhile, all five boys were in their beds, with just Fabian still sitting on the edge, watching. None of the boys made a move to go to the wash room and brush his teeth. Those sort of irksome things got ignored in unanimous silence.
"Shall I turn out the light?" asked Fabian.
"Actually, I'd say... we should do some... stuff before we sleep", said big, heavy Dan with the close-cropped blond hair.
"Do..... stuff?" asked Fabian.
"Ah, you know, things that you usually do when you're on a summer camp", said Dan, uncertain.
Hundreds of things that one could do on a summer camp went through Fabian's mind, but all of them were naughty, and he'd surely never suggest anything like that.
"Aw, come on", Dan tried to push a little, "what would you do at a summer camp?"
Fabian asked: "Tell ghost stories?"
"Ohhh, noooo!" the three smaller boys wailed.
"I couldn't sleep then", said Julio.
"A pillow fight?" suggested Mike, who didn't look like a swot any more without his glasses.
"Oh, come on, guys", Dan interrupted, "there has to be a little hotter stuff!"
Fabian thought to himself, he'd know quite a lot of 'hotter stuff', like 'catch me if you can' in the dark and without pyjamas.
Finally, Dan came to the point: "Why not tell dirty jokes?"
At first, the others didn't know what to say about this. Julio was beaming expectantly all over his face, but said nothing, and Mike giggled smuttily.
Then Fabian said: "But, do you know any dirty jokes?"
"Sure! But I won't tell them, unless you tell some, first", replied Dan.
Mike laughed even smuttier and curled up on his bed. He seemed to enjoy this subject pretty much. Little Julio in the bed below suddenly said: "I know one, too! But maybe it's not really dirty."
"Well, we're listening!" said Dan.
Julio tells a dirty joke.Julio sat up in his bed to tell the joke. He was wearing colorful children’s pyjamas. "Uh, just a moment, how did it go? Ah, well, there were two Indian chiefs sitting together. One says: 'I have four sons' and he shows the other chief four Indian boys. He points at the first son and says: 'His name is Black Buffalo, cause I fathered him after I shot a black buffalo.'" Julio tried to imitate the deep voice of an Indian. "Then he pointed at the second son and said: 'His name is Crying Falcon, because I fathered him at night, when a great falcon cried. This is Rolling Thunder, because I fathered him during a thunder storm!' And then..." Julio had to laugh a bit, and Mike in the bed above him almost squeaked, cause he knew that now came the dirty punch line. "...and then the fourth son said: 'We all have names that have to do with our procreation!' And the chief says: 'That's right, Bursting Condom!" Julio and Mike giggled so much that their bunkbeds were shaking.
"That one's an old one", said Dan, "but still a good joke."
"But what's a condom?" asked Mike, who still had to giggle about the punch line, even though he didn't understand it.
"Awww, you stupid!" called Julio rather loud and almost yelling, "those are those rubber things that..."
"Quick…stop it, there's somebody coming!" Dan interrupted, as he heard steps outside the cabin. All at once everyone lay back in his bed and stuffed his feet under the blanket.
After a quick knock the door opened and Brian, the group leader, put his head round the door. "Everyone in bed?"
"Yeah", some boy voices murmured.
"Then, good night, beavers!" His chubby hand reached for the light switch and it went dark inside the cabin.
"Good night, Brian!"
The door closed and the boys could hear Brian going over to the neighboring cabin. For a while they remained in utter silence. Then Mike said in the darkness: "Fucking!" and burst into laughter. One could hear Julio's high voice giggling, too.
"That's not a joke, Mike!", said Fabian.
"Sex naked in bed!" squeaked Julio and laughed his head off. Those two were already having fun by saying out loud dirty words.
"Why don't YOU tell us a joke, now, Fabian?" demanded Dan.
"I thought you know a lot", replied Fabian. "And wasn't it your suggestion? Now, you should tell us one!"
"Hey, Mike!" squeaked Julio, "do you know what happens when you're horny? Your dick gets stiff!"
Mike laughed, squawking so much that he almost choked.
"What's up with Pat?" asked Dan. "Why doesn't he tell us a joke?"
There was no sound from the bed below Fabian's. Actually, it had been totally quiet there the whole time, but Fabian hadn’t noticed until now.
Dan sat up and called: "Pat! Hey, Pat! Are you sleeping?"
No answer.
Fabian bent down over the edge of his bed and tried to recognize something in the faint gleam of light that came from the small window. Patrick lay in his bed, motionless, but Fabian thought he could see his open eyes shining in the darkness. Though he couldn't really see Patrick, he felt for sure that the sandy-haired boy was somehow intimidated. Could it be that he got scared by telling dirty stuff?
Fabian lay back in his bed and said to Dan: "Let him, he's sleeping."
The boys calmed down now, gradually. Julio and Mike seemed to have already run out of dirty words, and Dan wouldn't tell his dirty jokes, anyway. Besides, it seemed that Dan just wanted to provoke the other boys into saying "dirty" things. Or even doing them. Although that may have interested Fabian himself, to be honest, but he though better than to assume that all boys thought like that. What would they think about him if he made a suggestion like: "Let's all strip stark naked in the darkness, and then we could run at the same time and change beds and if a bed is already occupied it's just 'bad luck', hehe!" Would they think he was a dirty pig…somebody who wanted something from the boys?
He wasn't even sure that Niklas and Jason would ever want to do any "dirty" things. Sure, they had agreed that kissing and hugging was allowed among them, but they had never talked about what could come next. Niklas' opinion was just that little kids kissed and hugged each other, too, and that it had to be possible in a free country to do that even when you grew a little. But if that stuff was "allowed" too… the thoughts went round and round in Fabian's head and left him restless. He actually didn't know. Maybe he was the only boy who really liked to do that?
What made him a little sad was that their behaviour seemed to scare Patrick. Fabian had to be careful if he didn't want to hurt that shy sandy-haired boy.
He was half asleep when he remembered the roguish looks that Angelo gave him. Ever since their eyes had met for the very first time Fabian had the impression that there was a very special shine in Angelo's beautiful dark eyes. A shine that said: It's you! You and nobody else! You got to be my friend! Fabian turned on his side and sighed deep into his pillow. Angelo was the right one to dream of. He had such fine tanned skin, such wonderful light brown lips, and real long legs... Angelo wouldn't be scared. Angelo knew what he wanted.

In the night Fabian woke up for a short time because there was a lot of noise going on outside in the camp. Boy voices yelled and laughed at the same time, doors slammed, things fell clattering to the ground. Eventually, the noise lowered a little but then started again. Finally there were men's voices shouting, real angry men's voices. First there was Hank and then the voice of William, the director of the camp.
They made sure that quiet returned to the camp.

 

 
(Continued next page!)Next part!