The Sierra sun caressed Caleb's face as he watched the torrents of water cascading before him. The roar of the waterfall echoed the cacophony already bouncing around his brain. He stared at the tumbling water, thinking about what had transpired that summer. His life would never be the same. Because of her. Because of what happened.
Caleb had taken a job in the Sierras working as a camp counselor. He had just finished his junior year in film studies at Berkeley and was on his summer break. He needed a summer job to help pay for his college expenses. Besides, he thought some time in the mountains would be a nice respite from school and city life. He might even meet some interesting people. That turned out to be the understatement of his life.
Working as a counselor at Camp Golden Bear was a popular job among students. The pay wasn't half-bad and it was in a great locale — the Lakes Basin, some fifty miles north of Lake Tahoe. Caleb was hired, in part, to shoot and edit the camp video which would be distributed to the campers at the end of the session. He'd use his own equipment and edit the film on his laptop. It was a good way for him to practice his craft and get paid at the same time.
In the parking lot where the bus stood waiting to transport them, Caleb got his first look at his fellow counselors. There were about a dozen in all, a mix of local and foreign exchange students. The government subsidized the foreign students as part of a good will program.
As Caleb scanned the group, he wondered about each of their stories. Where were they from? What were they like? He'd find out soon enough.
That's when he saw her for the first time.
She was standing by herself—a stunning woman in her early 20s with dark hair and green eyes. She was slender and exotic-looking with discerning, intelligent eyes. She had an amazing body too. He took in her pert breasts and round ass. He gazed at her long, slender legs.
Suddenly, he looked up to see her looking back at him, a look of mock admonishment on her face. Caleb smiled sheepishly and nodded. Oops. Busted.
After loading their gear into the luggage compartment , Caleb worked his way over to where she was standing.
"Hi, I'm Caleb."
"Monique," she answered, simply.
She had an accent. One of the foreign students, he thought to himself.
"Where are you from, Monique?" Caleb asked, making conversation.
"From France," she answered, warmly.
She was even more beautiful up close. Beautiful skin and sparkling, cat-like eyes.
"I'd love to go there someday. I've never been. I was hoping to study there but ... I didn't get in."
She made a sympathetic face.
"Merci," he answered, smiling back at her.
She raised her eyebrows.
"Alors, tu parles Français?"
"Non, malhereusement. Seulement un peu," he replied.
"Non, c'est pas mal!" she answered. "Ton accent est très bon."
"Tu es gentille," he laughed. "I'm sure your English is much better than my French."
"I don't know about that," she answered with a laugh. "English is ... very mysterious to me. I'm still learning."
"To be honest," he said under his breath, "sometimes it even baffles me."
She laughed again. It was an honest laugh and he liked it. She leaned into him, conspiratorially.
"We'll have to practice together," she said with smiling eyes.
Caleb smiled back. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest.
As he boarded the bus, Caleb was hoping to sit with Monique but she was already sitting with another counselor from the U.K. named Caitlin. Instead, he sat next to Zach, a gregarious American with shoulder-length hair. Zach was quick-witted and Caleb liked him immediately.
A fine arts major, Zach was a sculptor with a ready and raucous laugh. He noticed Caleb glancing over at Monique and Caitlin.
"Wasting no time, Dude!" he said to Caleb. "Hey, if I had your swarthy good looks, I'd be going for it too."
Caleb was indeed blessed with good genes. He was of Black Irish descent and had strong, dark features, dark curly hair and kind, brown eyes. Bedroom eyes, he was told. He was athletic with broad shoulders and a toned, sinewy body.
"I'll tell you what," Zach said, leaning in. "I can make it happen. Who do you want to sit with."
"No, that's okay," answered Caleb.
"No, don't worry about it," said Zach, waving his hand. "I'll be subtle."
"The dark one. Monique."
Zach turned to look at the two women.
Zach stood up and walked over to the women, leaning against the backrest. Caleb couldn't hear what he was saying. In a moment, Monique was standing, letting Zach sit in her seat, and moving over to sit next to Caleb.
"Zachery said you wanted desperately to speak to me?"
Caleb closed his eyes.
"So very subtle," he muttered.
"Pardon?" she said, sitting next to him.
"Nothing. Ça ne fait rien."
He smiled and she smile back.
"So," said Caleb. "Tell me about you."
They spent the next two and a half hours talking about everything under the sun. Their families, their interests, music, movies, politics. He learned she was the oldest of five kids, an environmentalist, and a lapsed Catholic. She learned he had an older brother and sister, that he played Ultimate Frisbee and was really into indie film. She found him interesting, passionate about his art, and very attractive. He found her smart, easy to talk to, and incredibly sexy.
"OK, listen up guys!" a voice blared over the bus public address system. It was Steve, the coordinator. He was in his late 20s and strapping.
He welcomed everyone, went over the schedule, the housing details, and what needed to get done before the campers arrived in a few days. He reviewed the rules and regulations (no fires outside of fire pits, no illegal drugs, no conduct unbecoming, etc.) and generally let it be known in no uncertain terms that he was, in fact, the boss.
Arriving at Lakes Basin, Caleb was unprepared for how beautiful it was. Pristine High Sierra lakes of azure water nestled between chiseled grey granite cliffs. Occasional dashes of green conifers and white snow and adorned the peaks. He was excited to shoot footage of this remarkable place.
The camp itself was situated in a grove of redwoods on the southern shore of Gold Lake. A smattering of buildings, a fire ring, and a volleyball court overlooked the lake and the backdrop of craggy peaks. A small dock with canoes and rowboats lay below at the lake's edge.
There were two bunkhouses for male and female counselors but many counselors set up their own tents to sleep outside. Caleb picked a secluded spot to pitch his two-man tent. Out of earshot from the others, it afforded a nice view of the lake and mountains and was protected from the wind. A full-sized air mattress covered much of the tent floor and provided a soft bed for his down sleeping bag and pillow.
Later that afternoon, there was a barbeque on the dock for the counselors to get acquainted. The campers wouldn't arrive for a couple of days yet, giving the staff time to get the camp ready. This was their chance to hang out, swim, and get to know each other.
Caleb walked down to the dock in his baggy swim shorts and flip flops. The other counselors were sitting in the late afternoon sun in their bathing suits, dangling their feet in the water. The light reflecting off the lake cast them in a golden glow.
Steve was manning the grill, an apron tied around his incredibly buff body. A picnic table held a cooler, some plastic cups, chips and salsa. Caleb poured himself some punch and joined Zach, Caitlin and Monique sitting on the dock.
"How's it goin'?," he asked, as he sat next to them. They smiled and said hi. Zach reached in his knapsack for something.
"Here, let me fix you up."
He surreptitiously pulled out a flask and unscrewed the top. Caleb glanced over at Steve and reached his cup out to Zach. Zach gave him a healthy shot.
"What are we drinking?" he asked.
"Jamaican rum," Zach replied. "Only the best."
"Cheers," Caleb said, smiling. They responded in kind.
Caitlin and Monique were in their bikinis, splashing the water with their feet. Caleb was immediately struck by how good they looked. Monique, especially, had tawny skin and a lithe body. Her bikini was skimpy and she wore it well. He had to make an effort not to stare.
As they got more and more relaxed, Zach was regaling them with a funny story about a camping trip gone horribly wrong. Caleb was watching Monique: her inquisitive eyes, her charming laugh, the way she moved. He felt his cock stiffening.
Suddenly, Zach was inviting everyone to swim. They stood up and moved to the spot where others had been diving into the water. Caleb was right behind Monique. She had a beautiful, swayed back with a perfect ass. She turned to Caleb.
"I love to swim in mountain lakes. And you?"
He basked in her gorgeous eyes, his cock twitching.
"Me too," he answered. "Especially this time of day. The light's incredible."
She looked out at the lake.
"You're right. It's luminescent."
Caleb watched her look out at the lake. He looked down at her perfectly shaped breasts, her flat stomach. His cock was starting to slip to the side, long and full. He'd better get into the water fast, he thought.
At Zach's insistence, they dove into the water together. The water was silky and refreshing. They swam together, laughing. It felt good to be totally immersed in the cool, dark water. At least his bulge was out of sight.
Getting out of the water and back on the dock took some doing. There was a thick rope with knots in it and a set of horizontal planks. You pulled yourself up with the rope as your feet navigated the steps.
Caleb went first, grasping the thick rope with his strong hands. As he pulled himself out of the water, he paused to figure out the footwork. The muscles in his arms and back were flexed. His swimsuit was clinging to his tight, firm ass. He looked over his shoulder at the others.
"It's a little tricky here," he said.
He glanced at Monique and, for a brief moment, caught a glimpse of her looking at him. Not at his face, but at his body. She was staring at his ass, at his strong back and arms. His thighs, thick and muscled. She looked away quickly but he definitely caught her checking him out.
Caleb pulled himself onto the deck. He stood over them, watching as Zach went next. Zach pulled his burly body up and hopped onto the dock.
The women were treading water, looking up at Caleb and Zach. The two men were soaking wet, with strong, athletic physiques, their suits wrapped around them like cellophane. The women smiled at each other.
"Maybe we'll just hang out here," said Caitlin.
"Enjoying the view," continued Monique. The two girls laughed. Zach struck a comical pose, flexing his arms.
Caitlin was first to start climbing onto the dock. As she slowly raised herself out of the water, it was like a gradual unveiling. Like Venus on a half-shell. She had full, round breasts and her suit top, having shifted somewhat, was having trouble holding them in. Zach reached down to offer his hand and she took it, with a slightly embarrassed look on her face.
"Thank you kind sir," she said.
"My pleasure," he answered, with emphasis. She gave him a knowing look and adjusted her suit top.
"Yeah, I'll bet," she answered wryly.
Next, it was Monique's turn and Caleb situated himself so he would be the one helping her out. She raised her body out of the water, her long, slender legs reaching for the wooden steps. Her wet bikini, what little material there was, clung tightly to her body. Caleb felt the blood rushing back to his cock.
He reached down to give her a hand. As he slowly pulled her onto the dock, he took in the beauty of every aspect of her body. When they were face to face, their near-naked bodies inches from each other, he sensed a spark of shared desire. She stood up tall, arching her back slightly. Her nipples, chilled from the cool lake water, stood out and were clearly visible under her top. Caleb thought his cock would burst out of his suit.
"Enjoying yourself?" Monique asked with a sly smile.
"A little bit of heaven," he answered.
She smiled. She liked his impish charm. A mix of gentleman, boy, and roué all rolled into one. Plus, il est très beau, she thought to herself.
After dinner, Steve gave a little speech covering some safety issues and reviewing, once again, the camp rules and regulations. He told them they had an early start the next morning so they should get a good night's sleep.
"Tomorrow, we hit the ground running," he intoned.
As the sun set over the lake, the counselors hung out on the dock, drinking and talking with one another. After sunset, the temperature dropped quickly and the group relocated to the fire pit in the main camp. It was an interesting mix of people from diverse backgrounds and Caleb enjoyed getting to know them. Zach kept his drink appropriately enhanced.
Someone set up an iPod with external speakers and Bob Marley was playing in the background. A small group of counselors were dancing.
Caleb, Zach, Caitlin and Monique sat by the fire talking about their respective assignments. In addition to being the official camp videographer, Caleb would set up and run the Frisbee golf course. Caitlin and another counselor got archery, and Zach got art class and would be a hike leader. Monique got something called "Camp Office Assistant."
"So, what's the Office Assistant do," Zach asked. Monique shrugged.
"I have no idea," she said. "It sounds a bit ... boring. I kind of wish I could change."
Caleb was sympathetic. It did sound boring.
"Why don't you talk to Steve," he suggested. "See what it's all about?"
She looked over at the cabin where the office was located. A light shone inside.
"OK," she said, flatly. "I will."
She got up and strode over to the cabin.
Zach gave Caitlin a nudge.
She put down her drink.
The two of them found an open space just off the fire and began to move together. She had changed into short shorts and a tank top. He was still in his bathing suit and a t-shirt. They moved slowly, sensuously.
Caleb stared into the fire and sipped his drink. He thought about the spark he felt with Monique. She seemed to like him too. He wondered if she was involved with anyone.
He looked over at Zach and Caitlin. They were enjoying themselves, dancing in the firelight, in their own little world. Zach took her hand and spun her slowly around, then back, pulling her close to him. Their bodies were pressed together, moving in unison. Then he spun her away again.
Caleb looked back at the fire and thought of Monique. He was so intrigued by her. Not only her looks, which were amazing, but also her personality. She was smart and seemed kind, had a quick wit. Just what he liked in a woman.
Plus, he was incredibly attracted to her. She was so beautiful. So sexy. And that accent...
He was getting hard just thinking about her.
He looked back at Zach and Caitlin. They were dancing close now. Moving sensuously in time to the music. He was holding her by the hips and she was straddling his leg. He wondered if she was rubbing herself against him. Caleb looked back at the fire.
All the sexual energy in the air just made Caleb more determined. He was going to take the leap with Monique. Who knows when he'd ever meet a woman like her again? If she turned him down, well, at least he tried.
"Hey, Big C," called Zach. "I'm going to hit the hay. Early morning tomorrow."
"OK, see ya."
Caitlin was gathering her stuff.
"Yeah, I think I'll call it a day as well. Getting a bit tired."
She gave a little wave.
"OK. Sleep tight."
The charade complete, the two headed off into the darkness. Caleb wondered where they would go. Neither had brought a tent. Oh well, they'll figure it out.
Just then, Monique reappeared, looking glum.
"I have to help Steve with the paperwork."
"What?" Caleb answered.
"That's what the office assistant does. I came all this way to the mountains and I'm going to be an office worker."
"That doesn't sound very good," Caleb said, sympathetically.
Monique went on.
"Steve said it was a very important job, that I'd work closely with him and learn a lot. Oh, Caleb, I'm so disappointed."
She stared at the fire.
"I was hoping at least to be outside, you know?"
"Yeah," Caleb replied. "I mean, that's partly why we're here, right? To be out in nature."
"Exactly," she said, exasperated.
Caleb thought a moment.
"Listen. I've got an idea. I have to make the camp video, right?"
"What if I tell Steve that I need someone to help me. You know, someone to help organize the shoot, keep track of the shots, I don't know. I'll make something up. Then you could come with me. Help find the most beautiful shots. Explore this place."
Monique's face brightened.
"That would be fantastic! But will Steve let me?"
"There's only one way to find out. I'll ask him."
"Would you?" Monique asked, appreciatively.
Caleb stood up.
"I'll do it right now. No time like the present."
Monique jumped up, smiling broadly, and wrapped her arms around him. He held her for a brief moment, her scent filling his senses. A mix of jasmine and honeysuckle, sweet and succulent. He wanted nothing more than to keep holding her.
As Caleb walked to the Camp Office, he thought about what he was going to say. Inside, Steve was sitting behind his desk going through papers.
"Steve, can I talk with you a sec?"
Steve answered without looking up from his clipboard.
"What is it?"
"Um, you know how I'm working on the camp video. I had some ideas on how to make it really special. I wanted to run it by you."
Steve glanced up at Caleb, registered this, then looked back at his work.
"I was thinking 'how do I really do a great job with this?' You know, hit it out of the park."
"What if the video was more than just a run-of-the-mill highlight reel? What if it really captured the spirit of the place?"
Steve looked up, dismissively.
"Look, kid. Don't overthink it. All parents want is to see their kid's face. Just make sure you include everybody, show a few activities, and you're done."
"You're right. You're absolutely right. That's critical. But what if the parents who watched it were so impressed they wanted it to show it to their friends. Or share it on social media."
"As the word gets out, the demand goes up. The more applicants, the more successful the camp is. That would be a real feather in your cap, wouldn't it?"
Steve thought a moment.
"Yes, it would."
"Right. But here's where I'm stuck. What do you think is the biggest selling point of the camp? That's what I'm trying to figure out."
Steve thought a moment.
"Let's see. Organization. Attention to detail. My leadership."
"Definitely," Caleb answered. "Definitely. But I'm thinking about something visual. What can we show that's visual that differentiates this camp from the others."
"I dunno. Activities?"
"Absolutely. We have to show that. But you can get those in city camps too. What else? What is it that makes this camp unique from, say, a city camp?"
Caleb snapped his fingers.
"That's it! Location. That's brilliant."
"Sure. We offer an unparalleled access to nature. We give your kid the opportunity to experience nature in a way you can't at any other camp. I'm so glad you thought of that."
"Well, I've always been ... you know ... an idea guy."
"So, you think showing the natural beauty of the place, maybe some scenic shots in a montage, set to music, we can place the camp experience in a compelling context. Is that it?"