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Theo's heart thudded faster.
“Theo, take a picture with me.”
Ana approached him with camera in hand. She was so pretty. Radiance seemed to emanate from her, and it was not because of her fair white skin. She was a few inches taller than Theo himself. Her shiny brown hair that came to her shoulders and bright blue eyes added to her beauty. She was smiling too, her cheekbones could be seen. She walked gracefully, like she was walking on air. She was walking towards him.
Theo's heart beat a little faster. He didn't like Ana in that way. He just found her really beautiful. How he hated how girls could just make him so weak; how he disliked that a pretty girl's smile could make him melt. A pretty girl just seemed to be able to make him nervous in a way that made it feel as if someone was sneaking up behind him. Maybe it was because he was a sixteen-year-old boy. No, that wasn't it. Girls just had some magic way to pull his heartstrings. He just couldn't say no to a nice request or a question for help. Desperation, that's what his best friend Irwin called it. He hated not being able to say no to helping a girl ... or taking a picture with one.
He hated pictures. They always came out bad when he was in them. He looked thinner than he actually was, although in truth he wasn't that muscular. His jet black hair always jutted out at weird angles, and his brown eyes always seemed lazy in pictures. He wasn't so fond of his round face or small lips to be captured in pictures either. That's why he hated this moment. So many people were taking pictures, since they just arrived at their destination. People were taking pictures of the cabins and the lake that they were to stay at for their school trip for the week. The lake was like glass, surrounded by sparse trees. The lake's surface was calm and peaceful. The sky was imprinted on the lake's surface. It seemed like the sky was peering into the lake as if it was the only thing fit to be the sky's mirror. Ana came over and stopped beside Theo.
Ana placed her arm around his shoulder; Theo hesitatingly did the same. He smiled best he could.
Ana inspected the digital picture and smiled. She was apparently satisfied with it. Dumbly, Theo silently turned and began to walk toward his friends, Irwin and Arthur. He glanced back at Ana, who had a quizzical look on her face, searching for Theo, who had abruptly disappeared. Then, he saw her quickly pivot on her feet and sprint back up to her friends. He looked at her a bit longingly because that was the kind of girl that he absolutely had no chance with.
“Desperate,” teased Irwin as he tapped Theo's shoulder.
“You just agreed with him by doing that, Theo,” chimed Arthur, sniggering while saying it.
Theo just flipped up the hood of his black hooded sweater, a defense mechanism. In defeat, he picked up his suitcase and followed Arthur and Irwin up to the cabin they were assigned to where they would spend the week with about four other boys.
As Theo entered the cabin, it rang out, “Desperation!”
Theo sighed. He looked around to see who he was going to spend the week with. Arthur, short with his distinct black ponytail, and Irwin, tall with his orange fire hair, was there of course. David, tall with his blond hair covering the top of his face was there, he was always annoying at times. Adam, Ana's brother, was there, his best friend Zeke, next to him. Theo swore those two could be twins, the fraternal kind for there were too many differences. Adam had short buzz-cut hair with Zeke having long hair curling at the bottom. Adam had a gaunt look most of the time while Zeke had a happy entertained look on his face. Finally, there was Tim, the short black-haired Asian boy who was as smart as Theo. What a great bunch of people to be stuck with.
“Come on guys, leave him alone,” Adam sighed, sticking up for him.
“Aha, ha, ha,” laughed Tim, pointing at Theo with his face contorted in laughter.
“Come on, Theo. She’s not all that pretty anyway,” Zeke chimed in.
Theo looked up at the ceiling in exasperation. He yelled, “For the last time, I don’t like her like that anyway!”
“Calm down, man. Still, I think you got a good shot with her. Come on, glassy lake, beautiful trees, it’s a good setting for you to romance her” argued Arthur.
Irwin snickered again, “I still think he has no chance.”
Arthur raised his eyebrow, “Bet on it?”
That’s what made everybody jump. Arthur held out his hands and everyone started yelling their bets.
“My money’s on she flat out refuses him, he, he,” said Tim in his weird evil voice he used sometimes.
“I’m with Tim and Irwin. No chance, Theo sorry,” interjected David.
Zeke and Adam nodded to each other and said in unison, “Money’s on Theo getting the girl.”
Arthur put his money for Theo, too. Great, one best friend bet for him, the other against him. As everyone unpacked their bags, Arthur came over to Theo.
“Listen, man, don’t worry about the bet, just go for it.”
Theo sighed in exasperation. “I’ve got about as much chance with Ana, as I’ve got finding a dwarf in my room,” he stated, “oh wait there’s one right next to me. Maybe I will get the girl.”
Theo always made jokes about Arthur’s height, but this one was full of insult. He was angry at Arthur for making that bet. Arthur wasn’t fazed, though.
“That’s positive thinking!”
“Arthur, I was being sarcastic.”
“Sarcastic or not, you’re gonna get that girl to like you.”
“Whatever you say.”
Adam finished getting his bunk ready first. He announced, “Alright guys, we still have class even though it's a field trip. Um,” he paused to stare at a paper at his hand, “first science session is at the lakeside and it's for group A at 10:00. So who's in group A, besides me, and what time is it?”
Arthur, Irwin, Zeke, and Theo raised their hands. Theo then, grabbed his cell phone, “9:45 a.m.”
“Let's hurry, then.”
All who were going started to head for their cabin door. Theo quickly said aloud, “I'm so glad that this trip was only for good kids and such. I wouldn't want to be stuck here with a bunch of idiots.”
“I hear that,” replied Irwin. Then, all five boys went out their door, waved their remaining cabin mates goodbye, ran down a hill and off toward the lake.
They all arrived at the lake with where a good-sized crowd was already standing. The lake was beautiful and clear like glass. Theo saw Ana standing and chatting with a few of her friends. Gosh, she was beautiful. He knew now that he had to impress her in some way because a, his pride was on the line, and b, Arthur's money was on the line, too. The tall, long brownish blond haired teacher stood on a pier that stretched into the lake. She was slightly old and a hard face, but she also had a kind smile. She had a box next to her, and she called her “class” to attention.
“Alright, everyone, we're gonna cover all kinds of sciences this week. Today, is biology and,” she crouched and picked up a camera from a bag, “you will be taking pictures of life today. And I don't want no pictures of just trees and grass. Get something interesting such as a fish or insect. Also, break these cameras and it'll be a hundred dollars from you. Now, since there's about twenty of you, pair up into two, get a camera, and be back in forty-five minutes.”
At that everyone paired up quickly. Zeke and Adam stepped next to each other, Arthur and Irwin, too. Everyone seemed to have a partner. Theo however stood alone. He put his hands in his pockets and started kicking at the pebbles in the grass of the lakeside at his feet. Then, he felt a tap on his shoulder and saw Ana standing right in front of him. Her blue eyes were gorgeously stunning this close. His heart began thudding loudly again.
“Um, no one seemed to wanna partner with me, so how about it Theo?”
“Uh, uh, uh, uh,”
Ana tilted her head to the side and put on a questioning face, “Well?”
Then, the groups set off around the lake and the forest around it. All Theo could think about was impressing Ana and getting her to like him to win that bet. Still, how could he impress such a pretty girl?
“So how are you doing today?”
Theo snapped out of his daze, “Good, I guess.”
“Okay, so why'd you leave so suddenly earlier? A few more pictures with you would have been nice.”
“Oh, sorry, Ana. I really don't like pictures that much. They're always bad when I'm in them.”
Ana smiled slightly. “I liked the one I got.”
“I guess you're a lucky photographer.”
As they started to take pictures of the life around them, they continued to talk, about music, movies, nonsense things, and life. Theo seemed to fall into some sort of spell as he spent more time with Ana. She seemed to become more beautiful and entrancing with every word she spoke and every laugh Theo somehow got out of her. He forgot trying to impress her and simply continued to enjoy his conversation with Ana.
“Oh! Theo we've got to get back, we were supposed to be back ten minutes ago.”
“Ok... let's go,” said Theo, trying with all his might to hide the disappointment on his voice. They ran back to the pier and found that half the people had already headed up to the mess hall where lunch was to be held. Only the teacher and Theo's and Ana's friends remained.
“Ana, where have you been!?”
“Sorry, girls, I got distracted,” Ana yelled back as she placed the camera back in the box. She turned to the teacher, “Sorry, we were late Mrs. Berry.” Ana turned to Theo and said, “If you want, you and your friends can sit with us for lunch.”
Ana sprinted to her friends and they ran up the hill to the mess hall, squealing as they went. Theo felt a mixture of fear, happiness, and a bit of longing on his part. Then, he and his friends raced up the hill as well.
Theo and his friends arrived at the mess hall and got in the line. Ana was in front of him talking to one of her friends. He didn't know why he did it but he said,
Ana turned around and looked at him, as did the girl she was talking to. Theo had his arm at a right angle and waving with an awkward smile on his face.
“What a dork,” laughed Ana's friend. The girl was barely taller than Theo. The light brown skin of her face was slightly concealed by her jet black hair that contained streaks of yellow. Her brown eyes were behind black and pink rectangle glasses. The look on her face almost asked, why is he talking to us?
“Lanee, be nice,” Ana scolded, “so Theo, are you gonna sit with us?”
“If I'm allowed.”
“You're always welcome.”
Lanee's face contorted to surprise, “Ana! Why let this dork-”
“I said he's welcome, Lanee.”
“Fine,” Lanee said. She turned to the lady serving the food, “I want a sandwich.”
As they got their food, Theo left behind Arthur and Irwin to sit with Lanee, Ana, and a couple of other girls. Luckily, Adam and Zeke were there too, so he wasn't totally alone. He started talking and slightly eased into conversation with the people at the table. He mostly talked to Ana.
Then, he remembered that he had to impress Ana. He stopped talking for a minute, and thought of what he could do. Something small or something big? Well, he knew it had to be romantic at least. Romance could never fail. Then, a light bulb went off in his head. He always knew how to flatter a girl, but would flattery get him far. What if he meant it? What if he actually truly meant what he was going to say to Ana? Would she like him, then?
Ana stopped talking and turned around to look at Theo. He signaled for her to lean in so he could whisper something.
Theo spoke in a quiet voice, “Will you meet me at the pier at the lake tonight, please?”
Ana's face look puzzled, “What did you say?”
Darn it, why did his voice have to fail him now? He whispered in a slightly louder voice, “Will you meet me at the pier at the lake tonight, please?”
Ana's face still looked confused. She inquired, “What for?”
“Please, I want to show you something really pretty.”
Ana smiled, “Okay, right before dinner.”
Theo's heart jumped. There was something weird, however. He didn't know if he was doing this anymore to simply win the bet or if he was actually falling for Ana. She smiled at him again. He got in a daze and began to wonder what the bet was even about.
He got up to put up his tray, but in his excitement he got up too fast. He fell backward and landed on his back. Everyone who saw it burst out laughing. The only thing that hurt, though, was seeing Ana laughing hard. Theo's face turned red from a mix of anger, sadness, and embarrassment. He got up and ran out of the mess hall as fast as he could.
The last thing he heard was Lanee's voice saying, “What. A. Dork!”
That night, Theo sat at the end of the pier sad and alone. His hood was pulled over his head and he was staring at the glassy lake. How could Ana like him now? He sighed, and wondered how he so easily fell for Ana.
Suddenly, he felt his hood ripped down. He got up to yell at the person who did it, but then he saw who it was. Ana.
She smiled her gorgeous smile again. She said, “You promised to show me something pretty.”
“Why are you even here? I'm a dork remember or did you forget my spaz move back there?”
“I'm sorry I laughed. You have to admit it was funny.” She sat down, and patted beside her. Theo sat down immediately.
“I didn't think you'd come.”
“You're a sweet guy, why would I leave you here by yourself? Now, where's that pretty thing?”
Theo smiled. It was better than he thought. She wasn't just beautiful, she was kind, too. So, he remembered his plan and enacted it.
“There, and I was wrong. It's not pretty, it's gorgeous, more gorgeous than anything I think I've ever seen,” he said pointing to the lake right below their feet.
Ana leaned over and looked. Her face turned to confusion again. That look was so cute. “Theo, all I see is my reflection.”
“I told you it was gorgeous.”
Ana turned to him and blushed, her fair white skin turning apple red. “Theo. That's so sweet.”
“It's the truth Ana. I've never seen something as gorgeous as what I see right now.”
“Do you really mean that?”
“Of course,” said Theo. There he knew that he meant every word he said. He had fallen for this girl. She was kind and she was beautiful. He knew that over time he would get to know her even better, but all that mattered right now was this moment.
Theo grabbed Ana's hand, and they both blushed. They sat there for heaven knows how long, just looking at each other and holding each other's hand. They began to lean in and were so close until-
“Ana, come on,” yelled a voice from the top of hill.
Ana pulled back, a slight look of disappointment on her face. “Sorry,” was all she could say. “I'm coming, Lanee!” Ana got up and looked at Theo. She asked in a quiet voice, “Can we do this again tomorrow night?”
“Of course, anytime you want.”
“Great,” she said. She flashed him that gorgeous smile one more time, and then she leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. Then, she pivoted and ran up the hill to the mess hall. Theo felt like he wanted to jump and scream. He was so happy.
As Theo got back to the cabin smiling and his face still red, all his companions were there already.
When Arthur saw the look on his face, “Alright, Irwin, pay up!”
Theo looked quizzically at him. Oh, yeah, the bet. But that didn't matter anymore.