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CHECK-IN DAY

When you're not quite fifteen, life's issues tend to be the social ones. The big issue, of course, is boys. That's pretty much the reason for coming to camp, to meet boys your folks won't even know about, to discover stuff. Back home, everybody knows everything, but camp's what you make of it.

It wasn't as if Sandi hadn't been to camp before. She'd been lots of times. Well, three actually: after fifth, sixth and seventh grades. It's just that after eighth, it's Senior Camp because you'll be ninth and tenth graders. Older than that, kids have summer jobs or maybe just think they're too old. So camp's where you can be seniors when you're really freshmen. That part was neat.

Being just a ninth-grader in the senior group is a little intimidating, Sandi might have admitted to her closer friends. Not having actually been to high school puts you at disadvantage to start with. Colored laces in your tennies may have expressed your personality in mid school, but maybe they mark you as a geek in high school. You just aren't sure. Maybe they do things differently in bigger towns.

The way to handle such dilemmas is to pay attention. While you're still saying, "Hi, I'm Sandi," you process what they're wearing, if they're chewing gum, the size of their makeup kit, clues all. Sandi didn't define her life around conformity, but she'd rarely opt for the bold opposite. She'd leave her bags shut in case something visible might identify her as being past tense.

A few girls would have boyfriends from the previous summer, but on the whole, every year's an open, if temporary, season. Lots of girls would have boyfriends back home, so camp's the chance to try somebody different. They'd go back to their old ones, to be sure, but they'd go back a bit more experienced. Just here you have to cover a lot of distance fast. When Dianne had said that last year, she drew her hand up her thigh and the girls laughed.

Sandi had never had a hand there. At Junior Camp, they'd pursued the breast part. To that end, girls would bring their dress-up bras, otherwise lacy attire with their fashionably-stonewashed outfits. Sandi had tossed in hers in, not that she'd even find a boyfriend, probably.

Their counselor Lee Anne Sandi remembered from last summer. Maybe a little rah-rah, but that's how college girls get to be counselors. From the paper on the door, five or her cabin mates she already knew: Dianne and Tara were her age. Tish, Becky and Shannon, a year ahead.

Sandi interpreted Antler's schedule to Mona and Bets, in ninth like herself. "No, we don't actually eat then, but we're supposed to be on the way." Somehow she already knew that these two were like her, not that experienced with boys.

Kara was going to be in tenth, but this was her first year because she'd just moved from Michigan or Minnesota, Sandi immediately forgot which. As soon as the parents left, but without even bothering to shut the cabin door, Kara changed her bra. Sandi wished she were as fully shaped. She hoped Kara's smile didn't mean that she'd caught her looking.

SNIPE HUNT

Every camp every year started off with a snipe hunt. The cost of being new was your credulousness. Veterans, having been new once themselves, would never reveal the one camp secret that stayed secret.

"Listen up," enthused the Activities Director after campfire. "We want to catch a bunch. Your counselors will team you up in twos." The staff, winking at those who knew, paired their charges, none of the new campers noting that their partner was likewise novice.

"OK, sneak out in a circle. Go for ten minutes and then sit tight, as quiet as you can. When you hear the whistle, everybody jump up and yell and drive the snipes back to the middle. They're hard to see, so just keep them moving."

Sandi and Tara giggled, watching Kara and Mona look expectantly for more guidance. There was none.

"Let's go!"

The pairs faded into the woods. Not three minutes later, those in the know were back. Sandi and Tara made themselves comfortable poking the coals. Much, much more than ten minutes later when the whistle signaled, the campfire crew heard the distant shouts of crashing snipe herders. The new campers were befuddled to see the marshmallows in process when they converged on the center. Next year they'd be part of the trickery.

Sandi passed Mona a gooey s'more. "So now you're one of us experts."

"Guess so. The thing is, though, that Kara saw it coming and so we hooked up with these two guys. It wasn't that long, but long enough to see how they kiss. Kara's tried to get her unsnapped, but she wanted to make it harder. Ask her, if you don't believe me."

Maybe being an old-timer wasn't better than being a new-timer, Sandi realized. Nobody had tried to unhook her bra. Of course, she'd have suckered and missed out anyway.

Sandi roasted a marshmallow for Kara too. "Guess you sorta tricked us in reverse."

Kara inspected Sandi's roasting ability. "Perfect! Crusty outside and melted inside." She ate the outside and then the inside, one bite each, and licked her fingers.

The race was on and Sandi was already seeing dust. At least she got her s'more right.

FORETASTE

Becky leaned down from her bunk and announced with authority, "Antlers gets the boatyard, everybody."

Sandi missed the significance, but figured it might be well not to reveal her ignorance. Bets, being new and thus excused, had no such inhibition, "What for?"

Becky was only waiting to demonstrate her status as second year. "For 'Do it till Dawn'. We get the boatyard."

Authority Becky awaited Bets' obvious follow-up, "What's 'Do it till Dawn'?" The ninth-graders were ears.

"You know, where we do it all night. You know, get together with our steady."

Sandi already felt left out. Not wanting to announce that she had no boyfriend, much less a steady one, she phrased her concern obliquely, "Well, it's not like we can bring our steadies from home."

"No, and even if we could, you know, who'd want to? Like here, maybe your steady's just for here." Becky had one waiting at home, it seemed.

As Sandi and the other new girls didn't want to expose too much ignorance about the ways of Senior Camp, discussion turned toward whether Lee Anne would enforce the No-Talking-after-Lights-Out-plus-15 rule. They figured she wouldn't.

When the archery instructor got waylaid next day at the equipment shed, Becky passed on the next bit of information. "So here's what you need to know. The campers and the counselors both have it, but it's separate. Like you both know, but pretend you don't. Lee Anne's date I'll bet will be Sal."

The girls knew Sal, counselor at the boys' cabin Bear Paw. He was the hunk swimming instructor who Shannon claimed last year had slid his hand in her top. The others found this plausible both ways. He'd brushed several of them in more-accidental manners and Shannon would be one who'd twist to help. She'd as much as said so. "Have him float you one hand on your stomach, one up high. It's easier to get under your elastic." Then she paused, looking the conspirator. "His bottom hand, oh God!" The others figured that Shannon was probably still waiting. Otherwise she would have told about the hand.

Becky continued, "The counselors sneak out after they figure that we're all asleep. Of course, they know we're not, but we act like it so they can go. Then we sneak out too, except I guess we aren't sneaking, since they're gone."

"So where're they sneaking, the counselors?"

"I think the Craft Cabin, but we're not supposed to know."

"So where do we sneak, then?"

"We get the boatyard, like I said before, where they pull the rowboats on the grass. Chris says I'll like it there." Becky had to make it known that she'd already secured her date. "He'll get the guys to bring blankets and stuff."

The boatyard, thought Sandi? Antlers had to cease their discussion, as the archery instructor had found the extra bows.

Bets pulled Sandi aside when they were retrieving arrows that missed the hay bales. More that missed than hit. "Is she taking about making out?"

"I guess."

INSTRUCTIONS

That evening the "Do it till Dawn" conversation resumed.

"The guy you're dating knows where we'll be," explained Becky triumphantly. "The boys' cabins get all mixed up, but Antlers stays together. It's better with your girlfriends to talk to. There's grass between the boats and we each get our own place. We sit up for a while and do things like wave at each other, but then he pulls you under. Well, actually, maybe you pull him. Doesn't matter."

Bets giggled, "Like do it by the water?" with the pride of being first to get the meaning of "it", as in "do it."

Becky gave a nod, "Us and our dates between each boat."

"So it's boat, boy-girl, boat, boy-girl, boat. That way?" queried Bets.

"That's how I said it," a bit defensive, the reply.

"Just checking. I thought maybe you got in a boat. Then the bench where you oar would be in the way."

"We 'row' with 'oars'. We learn all these boat words, but we still have to wear life preservers," from behind Sandi.

Sandi phrased her next comment on the fly, a safe guess, "And we sneak back before dawn. That's the 'dawn' part."

"Right. The girls one rowboat on each side of you come at the exact same moment with you," Becky beamed. "I like to come once, really great. But after that we all decide for ourselves."

Afterwards, Sandi and Tara compared notes.

"She said 'come', I think." Sandi wasn't sure if Tara was a virgin too.

"Well I haven't" admitted Tara, answering that one.

"Me neither."

This endeavor seemed both enticing and frightening. Lots of Sandi's friends had lost their virginities in hasty moments with boys interested in little more than gaining experience themselves, more a mental rush for having done it that a physical one.

Sandi and her friends had figured out the mechanics from movies. Sandi's folks might think twice about her renting an R, but other girls' folks didn't check. They'd even watched X-rated at slumber parties. They knew about women who razor, how they moaned impaled time and time again. Some of the girls had seen movies showing the penetration, but nobody ever brought one to watch. Anyway, Sandi but knew that the video stuff was probably faked.

But faked or not, it seemed real to girls in their pajamas.

At twelve she liked to think about how a penis could get long. She didn't like it, though, when boys looked down her dress. At thirteen she learned to kiss. Only Michael, though, she'd let feel her blouse. In the almost-year since turning fourteen, he'd made it inside. Lots of slumber party talk dealt with getting felt up. It's sexy to get unhooked, but if he just pops you out and something happens, you can just pop yourself back in.

"Getting fingered" was good for whispered sleeping-bag discussion. As Sandi's friends used insertible products of various Miss designations, having someone's digit instead didn't seem impossible. But what if it was your period? A finger is just a tampon with personality. It's all about personality.

Sandi knew that girls played with guys too. You pulled on them up and down and made them come. If it got on your clothes, your mom could tell. Of course, if it got inside you, they agreed, your mom would know when you missed your period. Either way, it's hard to fool a mom.

Some girls said that you didn't have to play with it, just make it really hard and let him put it in you. But then he might push too hard and you'd get everything bloody. There was the size thing. Her friends had pictures of males far in excess of what they presumed to be their own dimensions. Sandi once saw a male dog stuck in a female.

Sandi figured it might be with Michael. But maybe Randy. They'd held hands in the bus. Screwing seemed far away from holding hands in the bus, but once these kids did it right there in the very back seat. She'd seen the stain.

But now they were talking about doing it right here in camp!

Sandi wasn't sure.

FREESTYLE

The Antlers-Bear Paw war began the evening following. Returning to their cabin after campfire, the girls' opened bags signaled something amiss. Their initial consternation about snack shop money, cameras and jewelry (which they weren't supposed to have brought anyway) seemed to be misplaced. Things just seemed to have been rummaged.

In the midst the confusion, Mona again looked at her possessions. "Hey girls, count your panties."

Kara was the first to complete her inventory, "My black ones!"

To a girl, a pair was purloined.

Lee Anne spoke with some certainty, "Some pathetic boys' cabin raided us."

The thieves weren't long unannounced. At lunch, Lee Anne told them what she'd been informed. "Bear Paw did it and we have to earn them back freestyle. Like wrestling. One of us takes on one of them. We each choose who."

Sandi found this rather extreme for the return of their panties, but didn't say anything.

Becky turned toward Kara, "How 'bout you. You're probably the strongest. Ever wrestled?"

"Psych 'em out is how," Kara deemed. It was decided. Lee Anne sought the representative of Bear Paw to accept the challenge.

That evening during free time, Antlers slipped toward a grassy enclave around the corner of the lake. Sandi was nervous, but there was safety in numbers. When Antlers arrived, the arena was festooned with a clothesline on which hung nine pairs of panties, Sandi's near the middle. The boys were huddled, guffawing, but mostly looking at the ground.

Sal and Lee Anne joked as they settled on the rules, or in the spirit of freestyle, a lack thereof. Kara and Martin, a tenth grader who wore braces, would have at each other until one surrendered. No hitting or anything that would leave a mark. That was it.

"Come on Kara, nail his ass," Tish encouraged.

Sandi heard comments from Bear Paw regarding squeezing Kara's breasts. That didn't seem fair. Goosing a guy wasn't far from the girls' minds, but they'd not say it.

The two contestants circled one another for a moment, concentrating. Martin dived and missed, Kara's sidestep establishing her agility. Martin's next maneuver lacked any sense of finesse. He rushed Kara directly, grabbed her shoulder and tripped her. On the ground, Martin had little trouble lying across her back, pushing her into the grass. Bear Paw cheered.

Sandi abjectly decided that the contest had cost her one pair of white panties. Boys have the brute strength. But the counselors seemed in no hurry to declare a winner. Perhaps sensing the referees' acquiesce, Martin pulled Kara up enough to reach under. The boys hooted at Kara's struggle as he fondled his targets.

Sandi looked at Lee Anne cuddling against Sal. Sandi looked back at Kara, now giggling at Martin's attention. It wasn't like he was inside her clothes or anything, Sandi realized and relaxed just a bit.

Perhaps due to their initial exertion, the two almost rested together, Martin's hand now freely roaming up from her waist under her attire. Kara was, if anything, lifting herself to afford him better access.

A bolstered Martin rolled Kara on her back and used his wrist to work her fabric upwards. He pulled her left arm upward enough to jerk her sleeve over her elbow, exposing half of Kara's bra.

The boys were laughing, "Take it off. Let's see 'em."

Sensing dominance, Martin left her shirt hanging and drew his free hand around to her bra hooks. Kara wiggled in resistance, but not enough to dissuade him. To Sandi, it didn't look like an attempt to escape. The unfastening clumsily accomplished, his hand returned to pull her cups upward. Martin straddled her to show his buddies her pale breasts, rising and falling, rising and falling. Her areolae were pink; her nipples stood erect for two cabins' pleasure.

Sandi pressed her legs together.

The boys hooted even more as Martin began to extract Kara's other elbow from its sleeve. Sandi knew she should be distressed at such public spectacle, but knew that unless Kara called it quits, she'd watch.

Someone snickered, "Pants her."

Oh God, thought Sandi, but she still knew she'd watch. She hoped that nobody could tell that she didn't want Kara to concede yet.

After a long moment, perhaps sensing Martin's diverted attention, perhaps sensing the hungry eyes, Kara made her move. She twisted to the side and rolled her opponent over her. Martin was still trying to extract his hand from her top when she had him reversed, her thigh wedged between his legs, her arms grasping him in battle embrace. No camper had expected this.

The girls cheered at their Amazon fortune.

Sandi sensed that even from the bottom, Martin could yet retopple Kara. She lacked the weight to pin him. But he didn't rise. Rather, as could be seen from Sandi's angle, Kara was thrusting her leg again and again against Martin. He tried to keep her at bay, but again best seen from Sandi's vantage, soon was rocking against her pressure. As Martin succumbed to Kara's cadence, she covered his mouth with hers. His right hand reclaimed her breast while his other hand al last freed her right elbow from her tangle of clothing. She lifted her neck so that he could push off her shirt and pulled her arms inward so that he could at last remove her bra.

Topless Kara controlled the rest of the match. Again and again her thigh drove against her surrendering victim. Some of the girls begin to count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven until Martin gasped and shuddered, his face flushed. Kara grinned wildly and thrust her leg more slowly against him until he lay still. She gave him a kiss. Breasts proud, she flopped on her back beside him.

After several moments, she nestled her head on his shoulder and pulled his arm around her to shield her chest. The two contestants were whispering to each other. Kara rested a knee over his pants, but not before Sandi could see the spot.

Sandi too was as wet as when she masturbated. Wetter, even.

Antlers, knowing they had witnessed an orgasm, cheered and claimed their underwear. Sandi, who had never seen a male climax before, was surprised at its suddenness. She was more surprised at her own arousal that begged completion.

The Bear Paw boys faded away. Sandi heard one of them say that Martin may have lost, but he'd had the most fun.

The counselors seemed pleased too. Sal's arms were around Lee Anne's shoulders, Lee Anne not seeming to care that anyone could see Sal massaging her breast. Sandi figured that given the event, maybe it wasn't even that big a deal.

Walking back, Kara analyzed, "Show 'em some tit and they're sunk. But you don't want to win by too much, you know. I gave him my panties that they stole for doing a nice job getting my bra off." Looking around, she added, "It's fun to watch, girls watching a girl, I mean. Makes us want to get naked ourselves."

They walked on. Kara thought again, "Hell, maybe I just should have lost all the way. Win the damn thing and your end up the horny one." She laughed at the irony.

After lights out, Sandi replayed the contest in her mind to protract her arousal. Kara being stripped, wide eyed and laughing. Kara's breasts. The turn-about. Kara's leg. Martin panting. Holding each other at the end.

ENCOUNTER

Sandi wanted to meet boys, any boys, so when she passed Sean and Jacob from Bear Paw on the campfire path she smiled big. "Hey!"

"What's up?"

"Not much. You guys?" She hoped they could tell she had on her black bra.

"Just looking around, wanna come along?" the boys exchanging glances.

"Sure."

"Martin damn near gave Kara the kinda freestyle she needs," surmised Sean inaccurately, but adequately conveying his bias as they walked. "He was just a little too quick."

"She did OK," countered Sandi, titillated that he'd opened the subject.

They headed toward the fire site, then across the creek. They chatted about camp food. Sandi liked how they laughed when she described the spaghetti as dead white worms. Sean had a fun laugh, she decided.

Arriving at a mossy patch behind a fallen log, Jacob flopped down, "Rest time."

Sandi sat down beside Jacob and Sean claimed the spot to her other side. They gossiped about the counselors. They were pretty sure that Sal and Lee Anne were "going out". Sandi laughed with them at the verb choice.

"Come on, Sandi, it's rest time," suggested Sean, stretching out. She followed suit. A boy on either side, the sun through the branches, this was pretty fine. Jacob and Sean seemed to have more "inside information" (they laughed when they called it that) on their counselors, but Sandi changed the subject when things drifted too much that way.

"Hey, Sandi," asked Sean, turning toward her. "Your cabin set for 'Do it till Dawn'?"

She wasn't prepared for that one, but managed "Sure," so as to not sound fazed.

"Us too," the reply. Then another surprise, "Ever been kissed in the ear?"

Kissing was her business. "Maybe." She started to sit up.

Sean rolled his shoulder enough over hers to thwart her escape and ran his tongue upward against her ear. "Like this."

"Don't". It tickled, she decided, but didn't tell them. She tried to act like it was no big thing, a guy kissing her ear.

"Like this, then?" running his tongue inward. She realized he was pinning her tighter with his shoulder and that Jacob's weight was restraining her other. She minded the closeness, but found it exciting to be between two boys.

"I said, don't", she repeated with what she hoped was enough conviction.

"Ever done the rest?" Sean hooked a knee over hers.

"Let me up!" Fooling around was one thing, but not here.

"Like had something funner than a tongue inside you?" Sean now had a leg between hers, his shorts wedged across her knee. She knew that he wanted her to wiggle. But lying still might encourage him, too. Visions of Kara's freestyle came to her, but she knew she lacked Kara's attitude.

"Come on," suggested Sean, straddling Sandi's leg more fully. "You'll like it."

They weren't really doing anything, she hoped. She didn't want to be a prude. It was mixed up, what to do. She pushed back just a little until she sensed the lump in his pants. She hoped that it looked like she was just trying to shove him off.

"I'll bet mine's the first big one you've felt, even!" Sean grinned, now more aggressive with his hips. "We're just goofing around together," as his palm crept to her chest. "How 'bout you be my date at "Do it till Dawn'?" seemingly serous.

That didn't seem right, making her decide right now. "Don't know." Sandi didn't realize how hard her heart was pounding until she felt its throb against Sean's hand. Jacob's hand was on her other side. It wasn't fair, she thought, two against one. It had to be fair, like it was for Kara.

One of the two was tugging her tee-shirt upward. "Wanna give us a little souvenir?" Jacob was reaching for her bra. "You donate or we liberate."

She tried to buy time. "No fair!" Their intent made her almost giddy. Maybe they'd let her take her bra off under her tee-shirt, she wondered. It would be because they made her. She pictured Kara's breasts, how everybody watched.

Sandi's nipples showed through her now-exposed bra. She wanted them to see.

"Lift up," interjected Jacob. "We just want your bra, is all. Come on. We'll give it back."

She remembered how she'd become damp when Kara was bared. Kara just laughed afterwards. Sandi arched her back so he'd find her hooks.

"Our cabin's rematch," declared Sean, letting her knee stoke him. "You'll love getting your cherry popped," Sean spoke in seriousness. "I'm not like Martin. I'll hold my horses, help you come too."

"She going to fuck us," laughed Jacob. "She really is!"

Oh my God, Sandi realized. With breath she didn't know she possessed she yelled, "Stop it!"

There'd been nobody to hear, she realized afterwards, but the two boys looked startled and sat up, letting Sandi scramble free.

"Hey, we were just kidding."

"Well it wasn't funny," pulling her top down.

"Remember our date," offered Sean, regaining his coolness. "Bye bye, nice leg, till 'Do it till Dawn'," drawing has palm across his crotch.

She realized that her knee hadn't minded, just her brain, just when Jacob said, "fuck."

RETRIBUTION

The boys were braggarts; the story was already circulating how the two had laid this girl who dared them. It was true, Sandi knew, that she'd gone along at first. Sean's lump stroking against her. Him knowing that she was pushing back. Them trying to get her bra off. Scary, but exciting.

But everyone would believe the exaggeration; it wasn't how she wanted to be known when they said whom. Guys like that never shut up.

It was Kara who could tell she'd been the one. "Sandi, you didn't give it up for those losers, did you?"

How did Kara know she'd have "given it up," wondered Sandi? Was her virginity that obvious?

Kara read her mind. "I can tell. You're too precious. That's not the point, though. If it's bullshit they're saying, we shut 'em up."

Sandi told the story, even the part about pushing back. That was the hard part to admit. She hoped that Kara would understand, wouldn't think that she was a prude and wouldn't think that she was a slut.

"They're assholes," summarized her friend. "You were just swimming way too far from shore, sister. If you hadn't yelled, they'd have raped you and left you with the blame. So maybe you learned something. But they'd didn't learn crap."

Antlers began its quest for justice. By the next evening, Lee Anne had conferred with Sal. "OK, listen up now. Sal doesn't want to know details, but you just tell me where you want to get them."

After tactical discussion, Becky told Lee Anne that the boys might enjoy a little hike up to the Lookout Tower. Sal accordingly sent the pair to retrieve a six-pack said to be stashed.

Sandi could have participated, but Kara said she didn't have to. "You've dealt with those farts enough." Thus what Sandi knew about the retribution was what her cabin mates shared.

Shannon and Becky had met the boys on the path and induced them into the trees. "Salivating," said Shannon. The waiting Antlers had the boys on the ground before they'd sorted out the turnabout. The girls who'd suggested kicking their genitals blue had been outvoted, at least temporarily. They'd wrenched the boys' arms backwards and used duct tape to bind their hands.

"So we hear that you two are pretty good," Becky had said. "Sandi even said she felt your cock," looking at Sean, "and helped you come."

Sandi was dismayed. She'd just bumped it a few times.

When Sean denied coming, "That's not what you told Bear Paw. You can't lay a girl without coming," ruled Shannon.

Becky and Shannon goosed their captives. "Zilch down there. Guess we gotta go the other way, then," ordered Shannon. "Roll 'em over."

Shannon had a wooden spoon. "Vaseline?" she'd asked, using the handle to dab petroleum jelly around their butt holes. "Got the camera ready, Dianne?" But not inserting was the girls' choice of victory, something for the two to think about.

The parting words were the best, Sandi thought. "You guys figure out the tape. Watch out, though. Sometimes when prisoners get free, the first one untied fucks the other." Becky said she just made it up on the spot.

In the report, Bets took her Sandi's hand. "Now they're historical assholes, at least."

Back in the cabin, Kara told everybody that Sandi was one smart cookie, the way she'd yelled to stop them. "Even if nobody can hear, chickenshits get worried."

For the rest of camp, Sean and Jacob lived in the shadows.

DEMO

"Listen up!" It was Lee Ann's counselor voice. "Tonight at lights out we have a demo on dating procedure." Needless to say, Sandi was curious.

That evening the girls, flashlights ready, gathered around Lee Anne's bed. Their counselor produced a banana. "So let's say that your steady is ready."

At first Sandi missed the connection, but the surrounding giggles signaled the obvious -- this was a penis, a big one at that.

"So maybe you already know this stuff," looking at Shannon and Becky, girls she knew did know. "Well the tennis pros never stop practicing. Or maybe you don't plan on needing to know for a while," glancing at Sandi and several others. "Things sometimes just happen. Maybe a guy pressures you but you can do something to stay safe. So the thing is that no matter what he says, you're not going to do him unless he wears a rubber. We're talking non-negotiable, OK?"

A few nods.

"Like he forgets to bring one, you have one ready. Like he forgets to put it on, you put it on him, OK?" more emphatically.

They all nodded, Sandi fully. She'd learned about condoms in Health Ed, the theory, anyway.

"I've got lots more in my blue bag, so you know where." Lee Anne dumped a selection of foil wrapped packages onto her pillow. "Take one and open it. Just put the wrappers back and I'll get rid of them."

Sandi selected a Trojan, a brand of which she'd heard, and unwrapped her package. The latex felt slippery.

"They have expiration dates, even. Some of yours have little ribs and stuff. They say it's for us, but it's not really. Push the middle with your thumb. If it doesn't act like it'll unroll, turn it around. It's hard to see sometimes. Try it."

Sandi realized that it was hard to tell, even with a flashlight.

"See the little pouchy place? You don't want a bunch of air in there, so sort of pinch it down when you start. Like this." She deftly deployed the condom on the banana. "But use two hands. He likes your hands on him anyway. Now pass around Mr. Banana and put yours on him. Just roll it back off when you're done. They say don't reuse 'em, but it's up to you. They can slip off afterwards, so get it out of you before stuff spills."

Some of the girls giggled at their efforts, but Sandi was dead serious in her practice roll. She'd heard that gel was a good idea the first time.

"You can go home with poison ivy, but you can't go home with a baby. That's the camp rule not on the wall."

At breakfast, she caught Bets also slipping a banana into her pocket. They blushed and then laughed.

JASON

Jason was a cute guy, both Sandi and Bets agreed -- nice looking, funny, not stuck up. Best the girls could tell, he wasn't taken, but sometimes that's hard to know for nice guys. They laugh around with everybody, not huddle in a corner with their chick. The word was that he was available, anyway.

Sandi and Bets debated the possibility of dating Jason, "dating" in the camp sense, that is. You talked, got seen together and made. You could end up doing it till dawn. Maybe.

"Go ahead, Bets." And Bets did just that. The talking. The walking together. The petting.

"What's he like?"

"Oh, just regular."

"No, I mean what did he do?"

"I guess he kissed me."

"So you kissed him back, right?"

"A little bit."

"Did he, you know, try to?"

"Yeah."

"Like inside your top?"

"Just a little."

"You think he would?"

"Maybe."

Bets had her steady. Sandi had missed a chance, but at least Bets got there. When Sandi realized that she wasn't even mad at Bets, she realized that Bets was really her friend. The two held hands as they walked to breakfast.

KARA

Ever since Kara had beaten Martin at freestyle, Sandi presumed her to be master of the male race. Sandi had even asked her about testicles, functionally explained in Health Ed, but practically yet confusing. Kara seemed neither inclined to under- nor overstate her experience. "I've maybe ping ponged five or six, guys that is. Twelve balls, we'll call it. They never say don't. Don't squeeze them or anything, is all I can report."

A tenth-grader like Kara would have her pick at camp, Sandi figured. There wasn't a Bear Paw boy, Sal told Lee Anne, that didn't jack off after the freestyle match. Antlers roared at the thought of a cabin-full of boys huffing and puffing in their sleeping bags as they dreamed about Kara's breasts.

Sandi finally got up the nerve, "You know how you pinned Martin, that time? Your leg did it, right?"

"Our secret weapon, I call it. That and his brain. My buddy, Martin. I guess we have a little history now, right? Everybody thinks we fuck, I guess."

"I thought maybe since..."

Kara looked at her a moment and hit her shoulder. "Jeeze, Sandi, it's no secret in Antlers, anyway."

"What's not?"

Kara paused a moment, "Tish, you know."

"Tish?" Tish was the reserved one. She knew a ton of bad jokes, the standard prank menu.

Kara saw that Sandi didn't know. "We're in love, I mean. The girl way."

Sandi gulped. Kara and Tish, the girl way? She more-or- less knew the disconcerting translation. Sandi figured that she'd know one when she saw one. "Are you lesbians, then?"

"When we get naked, anyway. I've done it more with boys, but Tish makes me mushy."

Sandi must have taken an inadvertent step backwards.

"Shoot, Sandi. I know you're not."

"How?" Witnessing Kara being stripped had led to her own sleeping-bag fantasies. When they'd joked in the cabin about Martin, she'd lain awake until the others were asleep, not thinking only of Martin.

"I pay attention," volunteered Kara, more explanation being superfluous. "It's OK, thinking about each other. It's about being girls. The thing is, though, I'm still a shit-load smarter than you about boys, so you just consider me a resource about long funny looking things."

Sandi nodded.

"And balls too, of course." Kara fluttered her eyes. "And here's the way we can test the alternative." Kara leaned forward and kissed Sandi on the lips.

Not knowing what to do, Sandi stood there, nipples hardening.

"See? It proves it," confirmed Kara.

"Proves what?"

"If you were waiting for my move, you'd have melted like your marshmallow. Nips are just a reflex thing. If you thought I was weird, though, you'd be outa here. So you need a funny long thing and figure I know what I'm talking about."

Sandi grinned.

"I told you I'm a shit-load smart about this stuff," Kara returned to her deadpan. "Probably you want to feel my tits maybe? Nip on nip, us part-time dykes call it. But sorry, sister," ruled Sandi's first known lesbian, if only part-time. "So I'll blow you a kiss," which she demonstrated with theatrics, "in your dreams every time you remember me under Martin."

"Remember what?" countered Sandi, scratching her head.

"Freestylers on both sides remember. In their sleeping bags. Time to get you out of yours."

Sandi had a full-time friend.

It was a few days later when Sandi took Kara up on her resource offer. It was only a week till "Do it till Dawn". Were there just the Seans and Jacobs?

"Well," weighed Kara, pleased, "you gotta tell me exactly what to shop for. I know both aisles, right?"

"Like help me find a boyfriend."

"Now how did I know you'd say that? Smarter than shit, I tell myself when you forget to."

"You won't tell everybody, will you, that, you know, that I..."

"Got a little coaching? Trust big sister on that one."

STEPHEN

Lunchtime the next day, Kara cornered Sandi. "See that guy at the table behind us, red and black shirt?"

"His name's Stephen," offered Sandi. She knew every boy's name.

"Right. Well he needs a girlfriend."

"You mean...?"

"Right. Just doesn't know much about taking initiative. I think he's cuter than shit."

"You think so?"

"Remember who's the expert here. Look at his eyes. So just go talk to him. Not about going out or anything, just stuff. But work the word 'dawn'."

Stephen wasn't that hard to chat with. Talk bounced between school, music, movies, camp and life in general. She liked how he didn't try to sound big-time.

But she had to find out. "Oh, gross, Stephen. I can't believe your cabin ate that many Skittles. That you didn't all barf in your sleeping bags." Then she took the plunge, "That you weren't barfing it up till dawn." She paused, red faced.

Stephen paused too. "Uhh, no. We were just having a good time till dawn." Sandi detected the drop in his voice. He was as red.

Sandi knew she had to be decisive. "So, wanna' go for a walk?"

At the appointed time the two headed along the lake front. Sandi was nervous, but Kara said just be herself, that she couldn't do better than that. Kara had looked at her and said that with no make up, no special outfit, no nothing, Sandi was one sexy girl.

"Stephen, you going steady or anything?"

"Hardly. You?"

"Hardly."

The two walked silently for a bit. "Stephen?"

"Yeah?"

"You ever wanted to go out?"

"I guess."

"Me too."

After another pause, Sandi pursued. "Maybe just at camp, you know?"

"Maybe. But sometimes you just don't..."

"I know." She took his hand and they walked on.

"Sandi?"

"Yeah?"

"Maybe, I mean, maybe we could hang out or something. You're kinda nice."

Sandi recognized his thought as a compliment, not a pick-up line gleaned from boasts in his cabin. "If you wanted to. Just for here, you know."

Stephen laughed, "Just for here." He squeezed her hand.

Sandi liked him. She thought another minute and decided to come clean. "You know how I said about you guys barfing till dawn, the dawn part?"

He looked down, "I guess."

"Somebody put me up to it, to check you out."

"Somebody wanted to check me out?" now looking at her curiously.

"I mean somebody was trying to help me check you out. About the dawn part," she added. "It doesn't matter."

Stephen tried to release her hand, but she held fast. He looked down again. "I don't know, I mean I do know about it, but not about me."

"OK. The funny thing is that the someone who tried to help me just told me you were cute. The thing is, you're more than that. It was the wrong reason, this dawn deal, but I'm glad she got me to try."

The two faced each other and kissed. It wasn't like Michael's back home. It wasn't like Sean's precursor to assumed dominance. It was their way to think together on the lake front.

Sandi swallowed, but had to know, "Are you a virgin too?"

PREPARATIONS

"Do it till Dawn" was one day away. Walking to crafts, Sandi turned toward Kara. "What are you and Tish going to do?"

Kara looked upward, "Well, sure as shit, not show up at the boatyard and give birds like you pointers."

"Oh." For some reason Sandi felt sad.

Maybe her tinge showed, as Kara followed up, "I think there's four of us not going, so we'll be OK, maybe have a girls' party ourselves."

Sandi started, stopped, and then started again. "Tara and Mona?"

Kara saved the difficulty of ending. "Me and Tish are just girls too. We're going to tell stories and eat stuff. Give me a break!"

"You're not going to do it?"

"Do it? Are we talking about sex, per chance? Shoot, no. It's going to be a girls' night, what half of you in the boatyard will wish you stayed for." Kara laughed at her prediction.

Kara continued. "For me and Tish, it's pretty much whenever. It's not like anybody notices when two girls wander off. Not all the shit they'd think if you slipped off with a boy." She looked at Sandi, "Ever think anything when you'd come back and me and Tish would be reading side-by-side on her bunk?"

"You were just reading."

"It's best on your own pillow," with a flutter of Kara's hand.

Later that afternoon, Kara signaled Sandi to wait in the cabin till the others left. "You know, Sandi, what I think is that maybe you should let them see your tits at the boatyard."

"Like you let Martin undress you that time? You wanted him to, right?"

"Like I said, girls like to see each other get stripped. It's not like here in the cabin where we just walk around naked."

"I've never done it before. Been stripped, I mean."

Kara reached around Sandi's jersey, unhooked her and slipped a hand over Sandi's breast. "You're so pretty. So sweet."

Sandi put her hands on Kara's shoulders.

"Afterwards you tell me, OK?" Kara concluded. "We'll go for a walk. Like I said, nobody notices when two girls go off."

That night, Becky let everybody know that she couldn't hold off another 24. The rest saw it for what it was, an opportunity to stay her self-perceived role as leader in things illicit. Let her, thought Sandi.

When Lee Anne was in the shower, Becky made known her plan. "Chris can't go another 24 either. Once you get in the regular groove, you know." Sure, thought Sandi. "So Lee Anne's promised to sleep right through a little activity. Don't hear; don't know, you know. 'Course maybe some of you sleep lighter." She laughed for effect.

Becky made sure they all knew when she let Chris in sometime after midnight. She made sure they all heard her toss her sleeping bag to the floor. She made them hear every possible zipper and snap. She made sure they all heard the condom process. She made sure they all heard her gasp. She made them hear how actively she finished.

Even Sandi could distinguish noises made in heat from noises made for broadcast. The actual coupling lasted not that long, not what Sandi had been led to believe from the sagas she'd attentively heard Becky document.

Sandi knew the floor-rolling was for effect, but she couldn't refrain projecting herself expert in Becky's role. Sandi sensed that Kara knew when her hand took the male role in her own sleeping bag. Sandi sensed that she wasn't the only one.

The next morning, Becky was pleased to make it known that Chris would bring plenty of rubbers for all the guys. "Free, even, 'cause he kyped them. We can't just keep borrowing from Lee Anne."

When Sandi saw Bets, she knew that her friend had masturbated too. The two held hands on the way to breakfast.

Later that morning, Kara ended a wry observation about mice in their cabin, "and the main thing is that tonight's your thing. Not just 'you' you, but you and him." She pondered a possibility, "If we knew which boat, maybe I could get under the one beside you and we'd have this cricket noise code. Like one chirp means slow down."

Sandi did her best to look thoughtful. "So what's the code if I'm facing the wrong way?"

"I'll croak like a frog that swallowed our mouse."

The laughing pair sat down with an arm around the other's shoulders.

Kara's demeanor turned less frivolous. "Seriously, Sandi, can I touch you just to remind me how pretty you'll be?"

"We'll pretend you're Stephen," Sandi grinned, but then added, "But if he's off somewhere, you can be Kara," turning inward.

"Nips like jewels," admired her friend, making them emerge with barely a touch,

"Kara, there's not like that because I'm... you know. It's because I care about you, sort of."

"I know. Sometimes we get confused. I got some shit to figure out too."

BOAT YARD

Lee Anne hadn't even bothered to change pajamas. She just waved them goodbye, pointed toward her blue bag and slipped out the door.

Tara, Mona, Tish and Kara, the four who'd opted out of the boatyard plan, arranged themselves so they'd be set to talk. The disparity didn't escape Sandi. Left behind were two girls who wanted to remain virgins and two girls who could rape them in concert. Sandi wasn't exactly sure how lesbians went about this, but she'd heard they know how. The ones they do it to rarely tell and sometimes become lesbians too. It helps to be raped the right way. But Sandi knew that wouldn't happen here, that Kara would probably help Tara and Mona figure out how to decide when it was right with a boy. The four homebodies had purloined a popcorn popper from the camp kitchen. "We'll save you some, we promise."

Sandi, Dianne, Bets, Shannon and Becky arrived at the boatyard two minutes after the appointed time. They didn't want to seem too intent. Stephen, Trace, Jason, Chris and Art were waiting, likewise doing their best to seem casual. Having made it there, no one seemed sure of the next steps.

"Hi, guys," offered Becky.

A few mumbles in return.

"So," prodded Becky, "just a time to get together."

She laughed awkwardly. One of the boys joined her, probably assuming an innuendo. This event could fall apart without more guidance, Sandi realized. Maybe that would be for the better, as Stephen wasn't even looking up.

"So maybe we just choose our spots." Becky looked at Chris. "We'll take the one close to the path. Anybody comes snooping, I'll stop them."

Actually, thought Sandi, that was generous. The first couple caught would be incriminated while the others could be getting presentable.

Becky and Chris made their way between the first boats on the bank. Shannon and Art were next, not looking at their fellow campers. When Bets and Jason, hand in hand, started for the third spot, Sandi caught Stephen's eye and bade him follow. He seemed relieved being told. Sandi wanted Bets as a neighbor. Dianne and Trace claimed the end space.

The blankets provided the boys' excuse for protracted arrangement. Sandi slipped off her flip-flops and sat down while Stephen minimized the wrinkles, then crawled on. Stephen sat beside her and the two looked across the upturned boats.

The other couples looked confident to Sandi, though she knew that Bets, for one, was nervous too. Bets caught Sandi's glance and mouthed, "OK."

OK, what, thought Sandi? Bets was OK? You're on your own OK? Stephen was still looking at the water.

Sandi let her elbow settle in the crock of his. "Hey, Stephen," she whispered. "You know I really like you for you, not what somebody tells you to do."

"Thanks."

"So we don't have to do anything we don't want."

"OK." He broke his lakeward gaze and looked at Sandi. "Maybe you'll kiss me, though?"

Sandi almost giggled in relief. Of course she'd kiss him! She gave him one on the cheek, just lightly. Bets and Jason were kissing too. On the lips. She twisted her head around to find Stephen's mouth.

He let her kiss him for just a moment, and then wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She beckoned her tongue against his. Sandi wanted Stephen.

Kara's being undressed came to Sandi's, how Kara had said that girls want to see other girls. It took but a moment for Sandi to pull her sweatshirt over her head. Bets followed suit. To Sandi, they were stripping one another. Somehow Sandi knew how Kara and Tish made love.

She wasn't sure if Stephen noticed her lace, but knew when he saw her nipples harden beneath. She gave him only enough time to barely squeeze before she thrust his wrist around her side. He fumbled with her snaps until a fortuitous squeeze disengaged all three hooks at once.

She started to tremble.

She lifted her arms so Stephen could remove her bra. The lake breeze swirled around breasts, ivory in the starlight, areolae no larger than a teaspoon, nipples pea-sized. She'd always seen them as pointy, a girl's, but here they looked rounder, almost a woman's.

She lifted Stephen's jersey and he pulled it off the rest of the way. His nipples were as hard as hers.

Looking to the side, she watched Bets bare breasted. As Stephen's tongue again found Sandi's, her friend disappeared with a salute.

HULLS

The rest would be about boyfriends. Sandi pulled Stephen onto their blanket so that whatever happened now would be out of sight. The stars magnified the sound of cold water lapping on the shore. Looking upward, hulls were their walls on either side. The constellations seemed close.

Stephen pushed his face to hers, "Sandi, you're beautiful."

Maybe I am beautiful, she thought. To Stephen. To Bets. To Kara.

Stephen bit his lip and placed his hand on her stomach. He hesitated, then whispered, "I can do it, but maybe not very good. Just if you want to."

Whispers, breathing, muffled promises and proclamations around them. Some Antlers were well on their way. She sucked her tummy in as much as she could. "I want to."

She worked her knee between Stephen's thighs. Stephen slid his hand to the snap on her shorts and twisted it open. "Chris gave me something."

Sandi lifted her hips. "Not this time." They both knew the meaning of "this time"; there'd never be another. Practicing on the banana seemed so long ago, so childish.

His hand played on her panties, her sparse hair bouncing within. When her shorts intervened, Stephen pushed them to her knees and then off. The two looked at the fabric bulge between her thighs, the span of ridge to dip to ridge. Sandi parted her thighs until Stephen could trace two fingers along the cotton's outer sides and a middle finger along the depression between. Her stripping should be perfect, as parley, not as conquest.

Stephen's touch pressed the cotton against her bud. Her hips rustled the blanket, a whisper in the sounds of the lakeshore, until he slipped within her panties, through her wispy fleece, between her parting lips and upon the seed-like hardness.

Sandi bounced with each tiny stroke. When his fingertip slackened, her pursuit returned him to her tiny organ. Her nose sensed a feminine overlay on the fresh lake air, as her ears registered the arousal of those around her. Her impending orgasm welled.

Sandi drew her hand up the inside of Stephen's jeans and had grasped his thrust before she realized what she was holding. It was distinct even within the folds of the denim, its hardness dispelling any question about it being a delicate organ. Her other hand attacked his belt. The button beneath required just a twist and he was already lifting so she'd find his zipper. Beneath that were his underpants, the final barrier just the elastic. She slipped her hand within.

His penis seemed warm, moist, larger than she'd sensed from the outside. Sandi realized what her friends meant about masturbating a boy, how you could drive the looseness up and down, slack skin on ready substance.

"You're so big." She wanted to say something and didn't know what else to say.

She pushed off his pants and pulled him toward her until the back of his wrist lay on the back of hers. Each could manually satisfy the other's wide-eyed lust. But wanting to be now a woman, she pushed Stephen's wrist away and pulled him nearer until their naked erections caressed.

They held themselves so until the suddenness of her pelvis broke the kiss and propelled him from her clitoris, down her slickened labia and to her openness.

The woman part of her would know what to do, she prayed. Indeed, her instinctive muscular contraction succumbed to innate complicity as he penetrated. With each push, Sandi felt her muscles relax; her tissue soften; her juices smooth, her body tingle.

When Stephen was at last fully within, the two held each other in motionless acknowledgement. It was only after they were fully coupled that Sandi began again to raise and drop her hips, rubbing his masculinity within her flesh. Slowly they began intercourse.

Around them, muted cries of exhortation, exertion and ecstasy mingled with the night. The rocking sounds of boy on girl merged with the waves.

The two virgins concentrated on their stroking. Slumber party stories were always about either foreplay or climax. The time intervening was the delicacy of which she'd not been told.

At last they begin their ascent toward orgasm. Tenderness succumbed to puppy-like challenges unspoken. Follow me. Take the lead. Hang on till I let you go. Delighting caresses succumbed to smothering kisses.

His body drove against hers; hers thrashed back. The two were fucking.

Sandi heard nothing, though afterwards Bets told her that she'd gasped with each thrust.Sandi's orgasm soared above the boats, the boatyard, the camp, the lake, everywhere.

Stephen shuddered her so much that she feared she'd expel him, but she remained attached to accept his last seeds. She squeezed and squeezed, and to her delight, felt another wave herself.

Only in descent did Sandi realize that she was both energized and exhausted. She'd made love. Perhaps she hardly yet knew Stephen enough to love all of him, she later admitted to Bets, but whatever stage this was, they'd still made love. Bets had heard them and it was real.

The plan, of course, was to do it till dawn. But somehow all five Antlers knew that it was about doing it once together.

She'd seen Bets stripped and Bets had seen her. That was part of the story too. As Kara said, girls like to see girls. But nudity residual to lovemaking was for Stephen alone. The couple dressed lying on their backs.

Heads popped up between the hulls. With goodnight kisses, the campers retreated. Sandi and Bets held hands on the path to Antlers, each knowing that they were wonderfully older.

CHECK-OUT DAY

When you're not quite fifteen, life's issues tend to be the social ones. The big issue, of course, is boys. That's pretty much the reason for coming to camp, to meet boys your folks won't even know about, to discover stuff. Back home, everybody knows everything, but camp's what you make of it.

Next year Sandi would be back. So would Bets. The two didn't know about Stephen or Jason. If the guys returned, the girls would double date where they could strip together and hear each other's lovemaking. They'd make the guys use rubbers.

If Stephen and Jason didn't come back, at least Sandi and Bets would know how to flirt. But Bets added, "You know what? We'll have a good time whoever shows up."

The two would have a great time, acknowledged Sandi. They ended up sisters, hands held for mutual encouragement. The two checked in as girls who wanted to discover something about guys. The two found guys who were, in fact, the sort their parents might even like. The two showed their breasts and felt the breeze. The two lost their virginities just a rowboat apart. They'd given themselves freely and to boys with whom they wanted to share it. The fact that they both climaxed was cause for more popcorn after they returned to Antlers. Boys brag; girls celebrate, Kara had noted.

Kara had warned that afterwards Sandi would wonder if it was right. Physically Sandi was a proud little hen, but that didn't say much about validity. She was happy because Stephen was happy and she knew that he was happy because she was happy. She and Bets decided that some things are just meant to be circular.

Stephen had been so sweet; Sandi decided, that she might love a guy like him even if they didn't have sex. Bets countered that sex was biologically necessary. They both pointed out that the other was arguing from a very small sample size. They'd give it more thought. "No," said Bets, "more practice."

"Do it till Dawn", Kara had observed afterwards, was a camp activity like the snipe hunt; a "rite", she called it. She'd given Sandi her big-sister look, illustrating, "Like now you don't go goo-goo when you meet two assholes on the path."

Sandi and Bets were checking out as young women who realized they would never discover everything. That was the best part. Maybe next year they'd discover they were a super canoe team. Maybe they'd discover something more about guys, even. Probably about sex, but maybe more. They'd do it together. Sandi had never had a sister with whom to discover things.

She'd gained two sisters, actually. Kara's was the hand that led her to find her own pace, realize her questions, discover. Kara may have been a "shit-load smarter" about a lot, but was still a sister exploring the world too. Sandi had never had a sister to help her along the path. She'd never had a sister who after the deed could tell her that even when the "wonderful" dulls a little, it's still "neater than ice cream." How could Sandi not love her?

Sandi cried when she saw Kara stuffing her duffel. It didn't matter what the others thought. She ran over and gave her friend a big kiss on the lips. Quick as a wink, before any of the others could register it, Sandi flicked her tongue against Kara's. Kara flicked back. That's how they said goodbye.

As Becky wouldn't be back either, she took it upon herself to transfer her authority.

"So Sandi, you get it going next year, OK? My idea is you maybe draw names. Whatta you think? Horny, right? Maybe then everyone will want to keep at it till dawn, like it says. You gotta remind the new girls about using rubbers. The thing is, Chris had me going so much that I about peed. Really! He sucked me so hard that I came in his mouth. Ever suck a guy?"

Sandi's thoughts had already emigrated. Bets close by. Stephen asking. Stephen deep inside. How she squeezed him while he climaxed. How she and Kara the next day walked to the mossy patch by the fallen log. How Kara said nothing when Sandi put a blanket in her daypack and had then put Sandi's pillow in hers.How Kara stripped her and she, Kara. When they'd kissed, how she'd melted like a marshmallow.

Camp was about boys. She was pretty much about boys too; Sandi knew that much. Kara was about discovering that love's a larger issue.

THE END


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