Natalie Grant and Brian Beaumont have been living for 16 years now, and for 10 years, the two have loathed each other. Brian is the rich, spoiled and singular child of the bloodline of people who actually built Beaumont County, California (the Beaumonts). Not only that but he has it all - the car, the chicks, the charisma, the class and the cash. Natalie is from an average family; her single father is Beaumont County's resident minister and the Beaumont County High School Sunday School teacher. Both Brian and Natalie are popular - more so with Brian, of course, him being son of the richest man in all of California, what more Beaumont County. Nobody really knows why they hate each other so much. They just do.
But what happens when two enemies push one prank on each other too far, and, therefore, are forced to spend a summer together (they have to share a cabin) at a Christian summer camp called Camp Capella?
Golden brown-haired, blue (with some violet)-eyed, tall (5-foot-8), with a sweet smile and a ski-jump nose
Smart, smart-ass, sarcastic, likeable (if you aren't Brian), understanding (if you aren't Brian), accepting (if you aren't Brian), funny (if you aren't the butt of her jokes - like Brian is), charismatic and very talented in the arts (singing, acting, dancing, playing instruments, writing music, etc)
Daughter of Reverend Samuel Grant and the late Hannah Parker - Grant (deceased)
Brown-haired, hazel-eyed, tall (6-foot-1), with a sweet and very flirtatious smile (that has girls drooling) and a ski-jump nose
Smart, smart-ass, sarcastic, likeable (if you aren't Natalie), understanding (if you aren't Natalie), accepting (if you aren't Natalie), funny (if you aren't the butt of his jokes - like Natalie is), charismatic and very talented in the arts and in different kinds of sports (singing, acting, playing instruments, writing music, etc; football, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc)
Son of Geoffrey Beaumont (owner of Beaumont Enterprises, founder of Beaumont Charity Fund, and great-great-grandson of the founder of Beaumont County - a suburban town in California) and Liana Di Angelo - Beaumont.
I flew through the halls in school, dodging people making out on their lockers or asking for help with homework. Two more days till summer and he chose now to piss me off. I'd already been quite happy with my life, but no he had to pick today - the day that already hadn't started out all that great. First, I wake up thinking it's Saturday so I went back to sleep, then Dad woke me up and had to drive me to school because I was so sleepy. Then, turns out, I'm thirty minutes late for first period. So, of course, I missed half the pop quiz. Now I have to go to detention this afternoon to retake the quiz and stay an extra hour cleaning classrooms for being late for no valid reason. Then he has to go and do what he did! Who does he think he is? God? Oh, I'm so sure.
I'll show him, I thought, biting my lip to keep from screaming at some transfer student asking for directions from this nerdy guy with big buggy glasses - they got in my way.
Just then, just as I was about to crack, my best friend, Claire Hurst, appeared in front of me.
"What happened?" she said, immediately concerned.
"Where the hell is that little shit?" I fumed, but I made sure to keep it down. Teachers could be anywhere and swearing in school is sort of against the school rules.
"What did Brian do now?" she asked, unalarmed. She grabbed my arm and led me to the library - our next class was Study Hall. Thank gosh cause I don't think I'd be able to stand another class with teachers asking me, 'what's wrong, Natalie', like I got hit by a car or something, I've just been having a bad day.
We sat down in our usual spots and pulled out our books, pretending to read. Mrs. Price, the librarian, supervises junior year study hall and she's super strict - "If I see you reading something inappropriate (meaning porn, she's already caught two guys from my class) or doing something other than studying (meaning talking, humming, reading books not related to school, etc), it's two weeks of detention for you!"
"Well? I want to know what Brian did!" Claire insisted softly.
I took a deep breath, calming myself. "He filled my locker up with water again - everything's drenched and I could barely make out my World History homework, I had to do it all over again. I had to call the janitor to dry up my stuff and I even reported him to the Principal but no, there was no evidence. The only reason Principal Beaumont doesn't want to suspend or expel or send Brian Beaumont to detention is cause he's his goddamn uncle." I shook my head, fuming inside, "Uncle! Ha! What an excuse! I bet Brian's dad pays the entire faculty to give his wonderful son special treatment. Ha! I'll show him. Special treatment my ass."
"No way!" Claire hissed when I finally gave her a chance to talk, "The little jerk."
I didn't bother to point out the obvious fact that "jerk" is a total understatement of who Brian Beaumont is, I'd just go right ahead and call him a "son of a bitch". Instead I just hurried on; "Who the hell does he think he is? Huh? I just don't get it! He's such an asshole!" I sighed, putting my head in my hands.
"Don't curse." Claire said pointedly. She's really religious and thinks it's totally blasphemous to curse - and to think I'm the reverend's daughter. Well, I'm usually really "pure" and "sweet" and "angelic" but today just wasn't my day.
Then an idea came to mind. It was like a light bulb went on and everything was good and happy again.
"No, no, no…" Claire said slowly. "No way. Nat, every time you get that look on your face it's cause you've got a good idea, and right now is not the time for good ideas! Especially if they involve - "
But I wasn't listening. I had to act fast if this idea was going to come into play…
"Grant must've run off crying!" my girlfriend, Tiffany Michael, was giggling her head off at the thought of Natalie Grant crying. She couldn't get over how I'd played another prank on Natalie - second this week and I never ever got detention for these things!
"Did you like it?" I asked her.
"Well duh! I bet the little bitch didn't even know it was coming!" Tiff laughed again, retouching her thick pink lipgloss.
"No, I'm sure she didn't. But that trick's one of the oldest in the book. I want something new." I sighed. We were in my car (a totally cool Jaguar) - which was strategically parked in the smack middle of the parking lot. We were cutting clubs. My club being the football club, I didn't need anymore practice. And Tiff's being cheerleading, she didn't need anymore either.
Just then we heard the bells inside school ring. "Let's split. I'll take you home." I grinned at Tiffany, turned the ignition and sped out of the parking lot just as the double door entrance-exit to our school flew open and all the high school students swarmed out.
A knock came at my door. I was in my bedroom lifting weights, shirtless. "Come in!" I hollered.
The door creaked open slightly. Nora, our housekeeper, stood there, "Your father's calling for you, sir."
I put the weights down, got off the bench (the one you lie down on and lift those god-knows-how-heavy weights). Nora bustled around the room, handing me a clean shirt, a towel, my hairbrush. "You have to look presentable, sir. Mr. Beaumont isn't in a good mood today."
I wiped off my sweat, pulled on the shirt, washed my face, brushed my hair and followed Nora down to my father's study.
I knocked twice as Nora hurried back to the kitchen to finish cooking whatever we were having for dinner.
"In." my dad's low, powerful voice called.
I walked into the office and stood attention in front of my father's desk. "You called for me, sir?" I'd learned earlier on not to piss off my father - and to do that, I had to address him as 'sir', do as he pleased, come when he asks, answer all his questions - no matter how difficult, and take up law when I grow up. All these were things I didn't want to do - and they were key ingredients in the reason why I absolutely positively hate my father.
"What's this?" my father pulled a folder out from inside his drawer. It was my folder. A school documents folder.
"Oh. Nothing." I answered, wide-eyed, "Sir." I added, almost as an afterthought. Oh no, I thought, I'm in for it now.
"Who is this Natalie Grant? Isn't she the reverend's daughter?" my father asked me.
I nodded mutely. Well, what was I supposed to say?
"You two used to play when you were little. Why?" Father asked.
I shrugged. "What's done is done, sir. I'm not little anymore. We have differences, sir. We don't enjoy each other's company." I added, "Sir."
"Look," my father's voice had raised at least four notches; "I don't give a damn if you don't enjoy her company!" He stood up, pushing his chair back forcefully. "Why? Why did you do this? Do you know how bad this is for the family name? You think straight-A's and personal relations will get you out of this now? Have you any idea how thick the folder of your pranks toward her is?"
I blinked at him momentarily. "I…I hate her, sir."
Of course, the reason behind this hatred remains unknown. I just remember going to her house to play once…and seeing her and her father cuddling up together. There were pictures of her and her parents (her mother died when she was 2) hugging and kissing all over the room. And when she said, "Daddy, I love you" to her father, he didn't hesitate to kiss her on the nose and say, "I love you to, princess." When I went home that day, I said, "Daddy, I love you" to my father. And all he said was, with teasing smile - but he was dead serious, "It's sir to you, sonny." I'd tried again, with, "Okay, then. I love you, sir." Then he just looked at me like I was being weird and told me to "go play or something" because he was "way too busy to entertain my childish and unnecessary questions" at the time.
"Hate?" my father just looked at me for a few moments.
"Yes, Sir." I blinked at him. My thoughts faltering. Did I really hate her? A small memory played in my head. Once, just recently, Natalie was in the cafeteria with her friends discussing Greenpeace and Red Cross and Peace Core. I'd been watching her. Then she met my gaze and she did something strange. She smiled. She smiled at me and flipped her silky, long (and slightly wavy) golden brown hair. Her blue-violet eyes twinkling. Then she turned back to her friend, who was saying something funny, and she threw back her head and laughed. She was so beautiful…did I hate her then?
…Yes…I definitely hated Natalie. Definitely. I am 99.9% sure I hate her. No, make that a 100% sure. I am sure I hate her.
"Hate?" my father repeated himself. He sat down and put his face in his hands.
"Sir, I'm sorry." I said, but I wasn't all that sorry. My father didn't deserve anything - especially not my forgiveness.
"Go." He barked at me. "I'll call on you later."
I turned on my heel and tried to walk out of the room as calmly as possible. Once I was outside his office, I broke into a run. I wanted out.
I was jogging around, my usual afternoon exercise, when I spotted Beaumont's car parked in front of the burger joint on Main Street. Jogging that way, I walked into the burger joint, scanning the room.
Beaumont was, surprisingly, sitting all alone in the very last booth in the restaurant. He was eating some French fries and staring out the window absently.
I rolled my eyes and plopped down next to him. "Hey, Your Majesty, why are you alone? Your football friends not here to celebrate your last prank on me?" I grabbed a fry from his tray. My voice came out more bitter than I wanted it to. I didn't want Beaumont to think he got to me that easily. But he did. He always did, but more so now than ever before. It was so easy for him to trigger me; it was close to amazing.
"Grant, leave me be. I'm not in the mood." Brian turned to me. His green-gold eyes blazing.
"Oh yeah? You ever leave me be when I wasn't in the mood?" I snapped.
"Grant…" Brian looked at me, his tone suggesting he really wasn't in the mood.
It almost made me falter - about the prank. I mean, if something wrong was going on with him, then…should I go on with the prank?
I didn't want to soften up so I just stood up. But I couldn't help saying, "You can talk to me sometimes, you know. Too bad you have to make me feel like crap all the time."
"Fuck you, Grant." Brian muttered, but not soft enough for me not to hear.
I woke up all set with the prank. I dumped all my materials in my backpack, ate a quick breakfast - just a piece of buttered toast and milk, kissed my dad good-bye, and headed off.
When I got to school I searched the parking lot. Sure enough, Beaumont was in already. I got to his car - a beautiful black Jaguar that I would, personally, kill for (especially next to my boring old Toyota Corolla), and pulled a can of spray paint out of my backpack. I painted a funny face (a really ugly dude) on the hood of the car and sprayed the words "Brian B. the Ugly" on it in bright yellow. Then I split for my first class.
My name got paged halfway through fifth period.
"Natalie Grant - junior year! Please proceed to the Principal's office. NOW." The PA system called out.
Everyone in the room went "ooh". I'd never gotten in trouble for anything - except for one time when I got a week of detention for petitioning the school to come up with stricter rules against littering because the football field and the front of our school were starting to resemble that of a dump.
I pretended to be surprised - although I was sure Brian ratted on me. I got up, picked up my stuff and walked out of the classroom and down a flight of stairs before I finally got to the Principal's office.
"Natalie Grant?" the Principal's secretary chirped at me, looking at me over her tiny squared spectacles.
"Yes." I answered politely.
"The Principal will see you now." She motioned toward the door to Principal Beaumont's office.
I nodded to myself and walked in. When I got there, Brian and his parents were already seated at one end of the room and my dad was sitting on the other side of the room. He didn't look too happy with me.
Great, I thought to myself - finally realizing how much trouble I was in. And I picked the day before summer to do this.
"Sit down, Miss Grant." Principal Beaumont was sitting behind his desk with his head in his hands. I sat down and he sat straighter. "Okay. I'd like to ask you a question, Natalie."
"Sure." I said, biting my lip.
"Did you vandalize Mr. Beaumont's car?" Principal Beaumont didn't look too happy with anyone at the moment.
"Yes, sir." I said, my head bowed.
"Would you like to explain yourself?" my dad snapped at me.
"Yeah, would you?" Brian snapped.
I shot him a don't-mess-with-me look.
"Do you have a reason for doing this, Natalie?" Principal Beaumont said patiently.
"Yes." I said, glaring at Brian.
"We'd be delighted to hear it." Principal Beaumont nodded at me to go.
"Well, everyone knows Brian and I don't get along - and haven't for some time now. But only now, his pranks have escalated. He's filled my locker up with water a total of ten times this school year. And I've relocated my locker five times already. He's already spray-painted blasphemous language on my locker three times this school year. He's already stolen three of my things - some money, a school notebook, and, once, my lunch." I took a deep breath, "Each time he plays a prank on me and call me foul names, I do little things against him - but, mostly, I leave him be. But the last prank - filling up my locker with water yesterday - was the last straw. I couldn't take it anymore. So I retaliated - as in really retaliated - for the first time."
"Now, Brian, would you like to explain yourself? Why do you play pranks on Natalie?" Principal Beaumont said, after letting what I said sink in for a moment.
"No. I have nothing to say." Brian said. He sounded so confident. "I just dislike her."
"Does that give you reason to hurt her?" Mr. Beaumont shook his head. He looked so disappointed in Brian, I almost cringed for him.
"Brian, I have to join your father in this, do your feelings toward Natalie give you license to hurt her feelings?" Principal Beaumont looked tired all of a sudden.
After a few moments, Brian replied, his tone icy, "No, sirs."
"Good. At least you know that. We'll have to discuss your punishment now." Principal Beaumont leaned back in his chair for a moment.
Then Dad suddenly looked like he had an idea. "There's this Christian teen summer camp in upstate New York…It's only around six weeks long. And it's very enjoyable."
"That would be a great idea! Christian? Well, it'll work just fine!" Mrs. Beaumont was smiling widely at the thought.
"Not a bad idea, reverend." Mr. Beaumont nodded in approval.
"Yes. You could send both of them to the camp and have them placed in the same cabin. I'm sure it will give them an opportunity to sort out their differences and work out some of their issues together." Principal Beaumont said.
Brian and I turned to each other, positively mortified.
"Six weeks of summer camp?" we said in unison, "TOGETHER?"