"Mr Garret, Mr Garret!"
The husky man at the desk looked up from his papers, fountain pen in hand, a frown furrowing his slightly shaggy mahogany brows. "Yes Jenkins? What is it? If you have any problems, I told you to talk to Danny in human resources if you do. What's so important that you had to come running into my office like this?" he asked, adjusting the shiny gold nametag on the breast pocket of his suit: William H Garret – Manager.
"Those kids are back. I uh, I know you told me last time to tell Danny in Human Resources but he's out sick and Jean's in his place… and you know the quality of work Jean does; those kids walked all over him... I'm sorry to have to disturb your work sir," the nervous, jittery newbie to the electronics company apologised, watching the tall man in front of him stand up from his desk, straighten his tie and trude out from behind his mahogany desk the exact colour of his hair – spare for the red streaks through his hair.
William turned to Jenkins and patted his shoulder with a supportive smile "I'll deal with this. Go back to your office and continue what you were doing, and I might send Tania off for doughnuts and coffee for lunch tomorrow, sound good?" he offered, seeing his new employee perk up and nod "Sure, I-I'm half way done filing those reports anyway." He said, a half giddy grin on his face as he watched William exit his office.
Walking briskly down the hall with each footstep making a small buzz in a loose floorboard, the mahogany haired manager turned the corner with his fists clenched, breathing in and out to maintain a calm look. He could practically imagine the teens making noise and the Vietnam Flashback of sorts of them kicking over the water cooler onto an interested investor's wife, injuring her leg and soaking her to the bone. Needless to say there was no deal that day, and William's boss had made sure he knew it every day.
The emotional stress reflected in his eyes the exact colour of olives, and the slight crows-feet at the corners of his eyes. He was only thirty, yet he felt he was too old for 'this'. The elevator came into view at the end of the blue carpeted hall with rows of numbered offices along both walls leading to the silver looking elevator that had a broken twelfth floor button, leaving the staff to have to go to the eleventh floor and take the stairs.
However, this commotion was going on in the lobby, and thankfully the elevator worked taking people to that floor. William was a walker, and walked quite a bit, but he shuddered and felt out of breath at the simple idea of going down nearly ten floors from his office to the ground floor by the stairs. Thankfully he didn't have to do that, and got onto the elevator by himself and pressed the ground floor button, sighing as he knew what he had to do.
How much damage would the kids cause this time? He didn't want to know but did at the same time, especially as he was the one sorting things out. As the elevator whirred and went down with the smallest feeling of dropping, which also made the mahogany haired male's gut drop as well – as it did every time he used the elevator – and he was left with at least three minutes to think.
"I think I left Jess' papers on the copier again, forgetful me. I'll get them next time I'm passing the copier. Hmm, and I think I should bring in some new coffee for the break room, and those doughnuts I promised. Maybe I'll go out for them and pick a box or two up tomorrow morning. Everyone works so hard here, well, some more than others, but doughnuts have been earned and doughnuts shall be delivered."
Two more minutes, William thought, hearing the dull elevator music that played on loop… erm, play on loop, making the male groan to himself. 'Maybe I should try to get the radio to play over these speakers so people aren't so mind numbingly bored when they use the elevator' he thought, rubbing his chin and feeling stubble, knowing that he'd have to shave when he got home. It was only a two o'clock shadow, so it wasn't too bad.
One more minute. The elevator ride didn't take too long normally, but now, as the male imagined those rowdy teens from a while ago coming back and trashing the lobby and having the blame on his head for not preventing it. His boss wasn't there often, but when he was, everyone knew it.
The elevator stopped moving once it reached the bottom floor, the two doors opening to show the lobby… completely untouched, the receptionist Ronald Beckam at the front desk answering and redirecting calls, people and businessmen by the water cooler that had been replaced so it couldn't be tipped over so easily… and William's boss standing beside three other people dressed in suits, a coffee in hand talking to them calmly and reservedly. One of the businessmen notified the man of William's presence and he turned, seeing the mahogany haired man there.
"Ah, Mr Garret. It's good to see you, now, I have something very important to talk to you about" the balding man said, walking forward towards the manager of this particular building with a stern look on his face "You've worked here for ten years straight, you've only used a day and a half of your sick days and one vacation day out of the plenty you've stocked up… and despite you being my best manager in all my buildings, I'm afraid I'm going to have to-"
"W-wait! You're going to fire me? A-after everything I've done?" William said, shocked, feeling his heart sink, eyes widen and slightly prickle with tears.
The balding man, Mr Denver, shook his head and laughed "No boy, I'd never fire you. You're one of my hardest workers, a model image for the rest of the company to look up to. I'd never dream of doing something so careless, but what I was going to say was… I'm afraid I'm going to have to send you on a vacation to relax. It's obligatory, I'm afraid. If I work you too hard and you don't take the odd day off to relax and kick back as the kids say, I could get into lawsuits over it. All you have to do is spend a few of your vacation days relaxing at home or at a resort, and then you can come back and finish working, alright?"
William slightly frowned, a conflicted look upon his face "You mean… you're sending me on vacation? B-but I've got tons of work-"
"That you can finish when you get back, ok William? I don't have the time for lawsuits over this, so just take a nice vacation for as long as you like. Thirty days of vacation time I think you have, and I'm not saying you have to use them all up at once… but there's a nice place north of here, a little camp like resort in the woods. You get a nice wood log cabin, heating, electricity, a Jacuzzi you name it and it's there. It's a quiet little place where you can relax and ease any tension you have, so please, as your boss I order you to take a nice relaxing vacation!" Mr Denver chuckled "Here's the pamphlet I got in the mail for it. I insist you give it a look. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few things to take care of. Goodbye, William!" he said, walking off before William could argue.
His eyes fell to the glossy green pamphlet he'd been handed, seeing the name of the establishment in the forest-y area north of the city: CAMP FORTUNE ~ A relaxing break from the hustle bustle of city life. Turning to sit on a nearby seat and taking out his reading glasses, William folded out the rectangular piece of paper and read on about how the camp offered many relaxing activities such as hiking, birdwatching, swimming, water-skiing, arts and crafts, meditation and so on and so forth. A plethora of options were scrawled down each page in a cheery font, pictures of kayaking couples and ducks in clip art, littering the page.
"Forced to take a vacation? Ooh, sounds utterly terrible!"
William looked up to see Roland the receptionist grinning at him, headset off with a pen in hand and paper in front of him on the desk. "Yeah, it's horrible. There's this camp resort Mr Denver suggested, Camp Fortune. They have kayaking!" he said in mock fear, making the blonde at the front desk gasp fakely and laugh it off with Will. "But no seriously man, you deserve this vacation. From the five years I've been here, I've never heard of you taking a single day off for yourself. Don't you have any family to visit? Friends? Restaurants you've always wanted to eat at? Come on, take the vacation man, you deserve it ya overworking fool you."
"Sure, sure" William smirked to himself, taking off his reading glasses and pocketing them, standing up to go to the elevator to go back to his office. "Ah-ah-ah! Go on, go home and pack your things William!" Mr Denver's voice startled the mahogany haired male from behind him, sipping his coffee. He turned "But I have a few papers crying out to be finished laying on my desk. Who's going to fill in for me?" William asked, itching to get back already and start doing his paperwork. The balding man chuckled "I'll find someone, Will, don't worry. Go home and start packing, ok? Things will work themselves out, now go."
With a sigh, the mahogany haired man sighed and nodded, accepting his fate of vacation and walking towards the front doors of the establishment, walking out and to his car parked outside.
"Enough t-shirts for two weeks, check. Enough pants for two weeks, check. Enough clean underwear for two weeks, check… hmm… what am I forgetting? Toiletries! That's it!" William said as if he were having an epiphany, running into the bathroom and grabbing his shampoo and conditioner from the shower rack and putting them into the suitcase he was planning to take with him, also grabbing his toothbrush and toothpaste and even a spare roll of toilet paper just in case. He also threw in a few pairs of socks and a spare pair of shoes just in case, not wanting to be caught out during a hike with a busted shoe.
With a small struggle, the stubborn zippered suitcase was zipped up and bulged in places from the contents, but it stayed and didn't explode so William was happy. He looked to the pamphlet and rechecked the location of the camp, remembering driving past that huge cluster of pine trees on his way to visit his older sister last Thanksgiving since she loved to host the gatherings on holidays, though he didn't see the actual camp, realising that it might be further within the mass of trees. He chewed his lip, a nasty habit of his, and picked up his cellphone to call the camp.
He dialled the number and whoever was on the other end answered after the second ring. A lively female voice spoke "Hi, you've reached Camp Fortune's receptionist. How can we help you?" she asked. "I'm calling to book a cabin to stay, I uh, need to relax for two weeks and my boss recommended your establishment to me" William answered, laying back on his bed with the covers slightly pulled off one side and a pillow slightly off the bed, checking his fingernails – something he normally didn't do, but did during phone calls. His nails were slightly longer than he'd remembered, and noted mentally to clip them.
Or maybe to paint them.
He dismissed the odd thought, and continued to listen to the woman chattering. "Oh of course, we still have two cabins left. Cabin Sun and Cabin Lake. Which would you prefer?" the woman asked, the sound of nature a background to her voice. After some thought, though not too much as he didn't want to keep the woman waiting, William spoke "I guess I'll take the Sun cabin please. How much is it to stay two weeks?" he asked, noticing a few strands of his hair escaping the ponytail tied with a strip of leather, putting it aside for then. He'd fix it in a moment.
"Not too much, just roughly under three hundred dollars."
William almost choked on nothing at that price, but sighed. He had to use his vacation days up somehow, and as wonderful as his house was, he kind of wanted to get away from it. Besides, he'd stockpiled quite a bit of money as well put away from his years of working. Three hundred dollars wasn't breaking the bank or anything for him, so he accepted it "Good, so do I pay when I get there?" he asked. "Yes, camp starts tomorrow morning so it'd be best if you arrived some time today. Want a cab ordered for you, mister?" the energetic sounding woman asked.
"Uh, no thanks. I can drive there myself."
"Well… ok! We can't wait to see you at Camp Fortune!" Then she hung up. Ten minutes later, after quickly running to the bank to withdraw the money, William shoved his suitcase into the passenger seat and buckled it up, getting in the drivers seat himself. He slipped the key into the ignition just like he'd done a million times before, and his red car roared to life and the radio started playing songs as he backed out of the driveway and down the road, bound for Camp Fortune. As the ride would most likely take a while, he had time to think and think he did.
The thought of what the camp would look like crossed his mind, wondering if it would look anything like those camps from the cartoon he watched as a kid. Yogi Bear or something like that, yeah, he wondered if the place would resemble Jellystone Park. He chuckled as he remembered watching that TV show with his mom picking flaws with it, telling him that bears in reality were vicious and dangerous and would tear you limb from limb for food unlike the happy-go-lucky bear with a hat and tie he was watching. As a kid, he didn't really listen to what his mother had to say about TV. From Wheel of Fortune to anything else, it was all Greek to him.
A few times he had to slow down to come to the lights, and turn and indicate his turning direction, but eventually he hit a long strip of road and had the time to briefly think before coming to the thick mass of trees that huddled around the camp. There was a sign out the front reading: CAMP FORTUNE followed by a few Latin words and a symbol of the sun carved into the wood. Taking a wild guess, the mahogany haired male drove down the path winding through the trees, coming to what appeared to be a camp with a huge lake in view, cabins in one section of the clearing with a carpark in the other and a sign-in office at the closest part to the entrance path with a powered gate that had to be opened via the sign-in office. He drove up to the gate, seeing a metal box beside it resembling that at a drive in diner.
"Hello welcome to Camp Fortune, are you here for the two week camp?"
"Yes, I am. I've got the money, can I come in to pay?"
"Of course, I'm raising the gate now. Please come in and park your car in the east car park and proceed to the office, please sir."
The red and white striped gate lifted up and William pressed the gas and drove down the path to the car park seeing a few cars already parked in it, finding space and getting out. He grabbed his suitcase from the passenger seat, extending the handle and putting his wallet in his pocket, locking the car and walking down the path to the front office where at the desk sat a woman with her hair in pigtails typing away at a computer. She looked up, seeing William "Oh, it's good to see you. Have you got the money?" she asked, filing away a bit of paper. That made the mahogany haired male's eye twitch, remembering how much work he had to do back at the company.
"Yeah, I am. Here," William said, taking out his wallet and forking over the few bills, watching as the woman put them in a lockbox and locked it, turning to him with a friendly smile. "Alright, now the cabin you paid for is down the path to the right by the lake, it's very peaceful and I'm sure you'll get enough rest and relaxation there" she said, going back to her typing. With that, though feeling slightly ignored, William walked back out the door and noticed the cabin was supposed to be staying in by the lake yet not too close, walking towards it and noticing a sun mural painted on the outer wall of the cabin. "If that isn't the sun cabin, I don't know what is."
With a turn of the doorknob, the door opened and swung open to reveal the large room. There was a rug across the floor patterned with red and brown stripes, reddish drapes with beautiful wood plank walls, floor and ceiling. A floral light sat in the centre of the ceiling, turned off yet with a simple flick of the switch from William, bathed the room in beautiful, comforting butter yellow light. The room smelt sort of like dust and soap, but it wasn't too bad. With all the pine trees around, he'd guessed it'd smell that way inside, but he was pleasantly surprised.
He saw there was only one bed, but then again, one was all he needed. It was a king sized bed with a beautiful wooden headboard with plenty of carved intricate shapes and swirls and looked rather pretty, and the bedsheets looked comfy and so did the soft, cloudlike pillows that were fluffed to perfection. William set his suitcase on the floor and flopped onto the bed with his arms and legs spread out like a starfish, smiling to himself as he felt the soft mattress ease his worries instantly, rolling around on the bed and laughing. He was so into what he was doing that he didn't notice the door open and someone walk in with suitcases in their hands.
"Having fun there?"
William froze, looking at the door to see a figure there, a male figure that made his eyes widen and mouth go dry. Six foot two inches tall, slightly tanned caramel coloured skin, amazing amber orange eyes like peach daiquiri in sunlight, soft plump bronze lips, shiny crimson hair just past his collar. He wore a red button up shirt under a black jacket on top of black jeans and boots. He had a smile that seemed to light up the whole room, and tossed his suitcases onto the bed as well as William sat up and missed them hitting him in the back. "Can I help you?" he asked the figure that was making his heart race like a greyhound.
The redhead smirked "I'm bunking with you, big guy. Didn't you know that you share the cabin with one other person at least?" he asked, sitting down on the end of the bed and gently pushing William over, laying on the bed as well "Ahh, so soft! This was worth the money and the two-hour drive here!" he said with a giddy tone, looking up at the male beside him, seeing a look on his face. It was a mix between awe and slight anxiety, and he sat up and faced William. "My name's Bradley, you can call me Brad though" Bradley said, holding out his hand to the other male to shake.
William looked to Bradley's hand, seeing his slender fingers and effeminate hands and thin wrist and soft looking skin. He hesitantly extended his own larger hand and shook it nervously "William, you can call me Will. Uh, so why'd you come here? Stressed?" he asked, trying to start conversation. "Sort of, I guess. I came here just to relax. My vacation days were piling up and since I have a really good immune system, I don't get sick so my sick days are also piling up… so my boss said I had to take at least a few vacations per year; this is only the first. I mean, I'm not saying I don't want to be working… but I forgot how awesome it felt to take time off!"
"Oh, uh nice. So what do you do for a living?" William asked, trying to calm his thundering heart, feeling adrenaline rush through his veins for some reason. He felt his voice tremble with each word exchanged with the quite visually appealing man in front of him, and he wondered for the life of him why this was happening there and then. The only other time it had happened was when William was in high-school and he was putting a valentine letter into the locker of his crush… and she happened to see him do it and question him about what he was doing, and being the shy young man he was, he ran away crying.
Bradley smiled at William's curiosity, tapping his hairless chin "I'm a teacher at a high-school in the next town over, I teach the senior history classes. Ha-ha, I'm a history teacher… so what about you? You must have a high paying job to get the money to pay for a place like this, let me guess… businessman? Executive?" he rattled off, looking to the mahogany haired male, staring into his eyes to look for the slightest indication he was close to the right answer. He was about to speak when William accidentally cut him off "I… I'm the manager of the Electrophonics Building a few miles away from here, in town, I'm just the manager…"
"Oh, far from what I was about to guess… he-he…" Bradley said, looking to the one suitcase that wasn't his. "You're a light packer, huh. I always overpack in case of emergency. Then again, I shouldn't have brought my student's Pompeii papers with me to grade, but I slipped them in by force of habit! Silly me," the redhead said, smiling as he picked up one of his two small suitcases and opened it to show a thick wad of A4 papers with clip art volcanos on them and scribbles of messy writing, and a few stickers on a few of them saying 'good work' or 'fantastic'.
Out of impulse, William leaned over to peer into the teacher's suitcase "Got any scratch and sniff ones? I loved those as a kid. My favourites were the cola ones and the hamburger ones!" he said, realising what he was doing, a red blush appearing over his face as he sat back and went quiet "S-sorry… I don't know what came over me, there… I had an inner child moment there," he said, embarrassed as he neatened his ponytail and felt blush burn on his pale cheeks. "That's perfectly fine!" Bradley chuckled, reaching into his suitcase for something, taking a small sticker and taking hold of William's hand, turning it over and placing a scratch and sniff cola sticker on the back of his hand "There, that's the last one I have. Those cola ones just fly out of my stationary drawer," he smiled, making William blush just that little bit more.
"EVERYONE! THE LAKE IS NOW READY TO BE USED. IT'S PRIME WEATHER SO COME ON DOWN TO SWIM!"
The voice that had come over the loudspeaker outside startled both the males in the cabin, and they laughed it off, William doing so nervously whilst Bradley chuckled heartily, standing up. "Come on, I've never swam in a lake before. It sounds fun. Wanna watch me fail and flail around in the water whilst trying to figure out how to swim?" he chuckled, extending a hand to William to help him off the bed. William swallowed hard at the kind gesture, nodding and gripping Bradley's hand… only to pull him onto the bed with his strength, pulling him on top of William into a rather compromising position.
William opened his eyes, blushing his reddest when he saw that he'd pulled the other male onto his lap, making it look like the redhead was straddling him, their faces inches apart. He had no words; William went silent as a library, unable to speak, unable to move. Bradley didn't move either, both afraid that the slightest movement might cause something bad to happen. Eventually William spoke in a hushed, almost silent tone "S-Swimming?"
"Yes," Bradley said in a blushing whisper, climbing off William's lap, looking to his suitcase and taking it with him into the bathroom "I'm going to change into something I wouldn't mind getting wet. I advise you do the same," he told William through the bathroom door after it shut, the sound of a zipper being undone sending William into action to start undressing into something he 'wouldn't mind getting wet', like the swimming trunks he'd packed, stripping down to his bare necessities before putting it on, also donning a white singlet and a pair of sandals.
With a small sigh, the male sat down onto the bed and put his face in his hands as he contemplated what had just gone on. He'd met a very pretty man that made his heart flutter and stammer like a buffoon, one thing lead to another and they were straddling each other and… now they were going swimming. Something didn't feel right, as if emotions were swirling around in William's mind, his heart confused and very disorientated about what was going on. These strange emotions only came around when William had been in high-school around his crush… so… why are they emerging nearly twenty years later? Why then? 'A-am I going… going gay?'
"I'm ready, I guess. I almost forgot this place had swimming and stuff, so I only have these… gosh, I haven't worn these in years. Do you think they still fit me?"
When William had turned to look at Bradley, he had expected a pair of swimming trunks or a shirt and shorts or even a one-piece swimming suit… he hadn't expected tight, red spandex speedos. Oh and an old looking t-shirt over it. William's eyes widened and his mouth went dry, his palms sweating, an ache in his chest and thundering heartbeat following.
With a slight shudder William choked out "Y-yes…"
'I am going gay…'