"You look like you just saw a ghost."
I shut the door behind me and lean against it, trying to catch my breath. My fingers meet my lips and brush over the smooth surface, still feeling him there, even though we didn't kiss. I can't seem to look Martina in the eye, wishing for once she was somewhere else right now.
"No, just t-tired from all that exercise." My response doesn't hold much merit, given my sweat-less clothing and pale face.
She yanks on a sweatshirt and pads across the room. The twinkle in her eyes screams trouble, and I brace myself for the worst. "Wait a second," she begins, wiggling her eyebrows, "did Axel, finally, you know, bend you over some equipment and give you that good—"
"Martina, what the hell?" I snap, dropping my hand to my side. "That has never once even crossed my mind. I have some self-respect." Somewhere...
She shrugs and holds her hands up in her defense. "Hey, no shame in exploring your raunchy side. There are other workouts beside running, after all."
I shoot her a glare but find it hard to hold back my laughter. The two of us walk over to our beds and take a seat on the edge of our mattresses. I sigh and ponder the possibility of revealing all that worries me, but I don't know if I can trust anyone anymore at this camp.
I decide my most pressing concern isn't all that much of a secret, given someone here is behind it, and open the drawer of the side table that separates our beds. I pick up the folded note and drop it into Martina's hand.
"Wait, what is this?"
She takes a few moments to digest its contents and snorts. "What is this, a note from an eighth grader's burn book?"
"No, apparently an adult's," I mumble, pressing my fingers into my temples. "I know this is going to sound absurd, but this is just one of several notes I've found on my side of the room since I came here. As in, someone has enough of a vendetta against me to sneak in here and drop one off every five days or so."
She stares at me blankly for a solid ten seconds, not blinking once. "You're not actually being serious...are you?"
To prove I'm not lying, I pop the case off my phone and dump the rest of the notes onto my blue bedsheets. I hand her a couple more. "Believe me now?"
She reads two more and buries her mouth into her fist, concealing obnoxious laughter. "I'm sorry, gosh, I know this probably a little traumatizing for you, but this can't be real." She lets go of her mouth and lets out a bellowing laugh, throwing her head back. Finding it hard to breathe, she adds, "You're literally living a low-budget, real-life spinoff of Pretty Little Liars. X? Like come on, think of something a little more creative than that."
"Trust me, I've had plenty of time to wrap my head around this," I say, waiting for her to stop coughing her lungs out from laughter. "I've also wasted equal amounts of time coming up with a list of people behind these notes."
"Who do you suspect?" she asks and guzzles half her water bottle. She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. "God, imagine if it's Bob. That would be one hell of a plot twist. We should pitch it to Netflix at this point."
I'd be lying if I said that didn't cross my mind once or twice. "No. But that would be hilarious." I'm not sure how to verbalize what's on my mind, afraid of coming off too impudent. "Look, I don't want to offend you or anything—and I actually might—but at the top of my list is...Adriana." I suck in a breath as I await her reaction, realizing I wouldn't take a stalking accusation against my sister too well either.
She picks up the note again and squints. "But this isn't her handwriting, Whitney. No way."
"Are you sure?" I ask, desperate to put an end to this headache.
"Whitney, I went to school for fourteen years with her—shared a womb as well, but that's a different story." We both laugh at her remark, and I feel relieved, realizing I didn't offend her in the way I thought. "Adriana is left-handed. Her handwriting has a very distinct slant and isn't nearly this awful. Why do you suspect her, anyway?"
"It's stupid and convoluted," I mumble, turning onto my side on my bed. "After some reflection, social media stalking, and asking around, I think she has a...very misconstrued idea of my relationship with a guy that may have been in both of our lives."
"Does he have a name?"
I nod. "Yeah, Jonah. Jonah Beckett."
She blinks, seeming to replay the name in her head. "You mean Adriana's eighth-grade boyfriend? No fucking way." She slaps her hands together but then pauses, "Wait, do you have any more details before I can confirm we're talking about the same person?"
"I mean, I didn't get to know him all that well, but he was on the golf team and had the nicest lashes I've ever seen on a guy. Worst pick-up lines, on the other hand." I excuse myself for a moment and scroll through Willow's Instagram to find his handle and show Martina an actual photo of him—one of only three on his abandoned account.
She takes my phone from me. "No, yeah, that's him. His parents own country clubs for a living, which explains the odd taste in sports." She hands me back my phone and leans back on her hands, eyeing my awaiting expression. "Honestly, if you're hoping I have a lot of juicy details, I don't. All I can say is she was head-over-heels in love with him at fourteen, to the point she'd humiliate any girl who dared talk to him, even though she was the only one in our grade who wanted to date his scrawny ass. He switched schools the next year, which ends the story."
"That's it? God, I must be way off then. Did they never talk again after that?"
She shrugs. "I was too caught up in my own drama in high school, so I never paid much attention to her evolving crushes. All I know is that she started mentioning him a lot more in junior year, but I never once saw them together."
Junior year: the year between the grades both Willow and I spent some time with him. Something must have happened between Adriana and Jonah that year; it only made sense.
"What ties you to Jonah? The dude isn't all that, especially compared to that hunk in your life right now."
I roll my eyes, realizing she probably won't ever stop making bawdy comments about my trainer. "We went through a weird three months of 'flirting' senior year, if you will, after he randomly asked me to be his homecoming date. We never formally dated or did as much as kiss, but I know someone who he has definitely called his girlfriend before." I scoff and clarify, "Willow, of course."
Martina scrunches her face up, seeming bewildered. "Willow? Oh, come on, I hate to flatter her, but you can't tell me the same girl who dated an IMG model last summer went for Jonah, who was also her best friend's middle school sweetheart."
"Hey, Jonah's not that ugly," I say, but I also have to admit he has nothing on a professional model. "But I'm glad you're just as confused by all of this."
She releases an empty sigh. "Look, as her sister, I don't want to believe she would waste her time sending cringeworthy notes to someone who has nothing to do with her—but there is a possibility she is behind this, despite not physically writing the notes herself." She dribbles her fingers against her chin. "I mean... I could always ask her, Whitney."
"No—God no, don't," I say, holding up my hand. I want this scenario to end in the most organic way possible, and her sister's interference will only thwart that plan. "I have to figure this out myself eventually."
"If you say so," she says, rolling over onto her back.
I gather up the notes and then stare at the ceiling, wondering, for once, just once, if this camp has created more problems in my life than it's solved.
YOU ARE READING
Boot CampTeen Fiction
After running away from her problems for four years - her inability to run a mile ironically being one of them - Whitney Carmichael knows a fitness camp will kick start some change in her life. Little does she expect her high school archenemy will...