complete (4 Parts) Sam, Ava, Liz, LifeJackets, F/FF, Non-Explicit
PART-1/4: A ballsy move
Sam was propped up on a rock, she was re-reading Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix she had probably read these books a hundred times, but it was hard to tell as she no longer read them cover to cover. Instead she simply flipped open to her favorite parts, revisiting those moments of the characters’ lives. Her friends often asked why she let her parents drag her out to their cottage every weekend when everyone else was going drinking. The truth was Sam was much happier sitting alone in the woods with a book; dirty blue jeans and an oversized T-shirt, her hair a messy ponytail, it didn’t matter out here. Lately though she found it hard to relax out here. Sam put the book down sighing and looked over at the boathouse.
Three weeks after her misadventures She had still not managed to find a way to get back into the life jacket. The family had been out to the cottage four times, but every time she thought she had a chance to slip away she got nervous and backed down. She had gotten away with murder once, she didn’t think if she was found a second time she would be able to pass it off so easily.
She had to find a way of wearing it that had a zero percent chance of backfiring. They had even gone boating once but her dad had gotten the life jackets for them and handed her a simple one with no long tail strap or collar. She couldn’t very well say she wanted the kiddy one; especially not after so narrowly escaping discovery last time. She had been unable to enjoy herself the entire boating trip, all she could think about while wearing the loose-fitting PFD was how good the life jacket had felt in the water, she had only experienced it for a few moments but the memory was vivid in her mind.
One thing that had been haunting her lately was the annual sailing camp she attended. They were required to wear life jackets but they were provided, and they were much like the ones her family had worn on the boat; loose-fitting, and uninteresting. She had never paid any attention to them in the past years, but now her attention was fixed, she struggled to recall if any had collars or the tail-like straps. Sam thought she had seen one once, when a friend's younger sister had come to the camp for a week, she was only 14 and Sam thought she had been giving a life jacket very much like the one she had tried on three weeks ago. But she had no way to be sure, and no way to arrange for that jacket to be given to her, or if it would even fit for that matter.
It was a long week later that Sam’s best friend Ava and her parents pulled up into Sam’s drive way to give her a ride to camp. Sam was wearing a pair of white nylon shorts and a tight fitting tank top, it was out of character for a girl who normally preferred jeans and baggy T-shirts, despite her athletic frame, but she knew she would end up in the water a few times and these sort of clothes would dry much faster than the kind she normally wore. Ava and Sam had been friends since 3rd grade and were close to inspirable in the summer months. Sam still had no real way of knowing if the smaller jacket existed at the camp, and no real way of getting to wear it, but she was fully determined to do everything in her power to make that happen.
The sailing camp ran every year in august and lasted two weeks, the second week was optional. Sam was a white sail 2 and was close to getting her white sail 3 Ava was also a white sail 2 but had only just gotten it at the end of year before. They arrived at the house on the water where the camp was held at a little after 9AM. Some of their other friends were already there, in total there were 15 people in the camp this year including Sam and Ava, Sam noted that this was a few more than most years. Tamara, the girl who ran the white sail section of the class, was their organizing people and taking an attendance of who had arrived. She was in her mid to late 20s and doubled as the camps lifeguard. The day started, as it always did, with an “ice breaker” everyone kicked a ball around and had to say something about themselves when they caught it. Sam thought it was kinda dumb but it usually ended up just being funny. After this at about 9:45 Tamara grouped everyone into their classes and sat down for the lecture/lesion part of the course. They mostly reviewed the basics, knots, tactics for sailing upwind, parts of the boat, and sailing courtesy. It was half way through this that Sam made up her mind to see if anything could be learned about the life jacket situation, she put up her hand and asked to use the washroom. Sam left the back porch where the lessons were held and entered the back door of the house, however instead of heading upstairs to the bathroom she slipped out the side door. Her heart was beating fiercely, she was desperately trying to think of what she would say if she was seen. Thinking fast she slipped out her phone and held it up to her ear, if someone approached her she would tell them her parents had called on her way to the bathroom and she wanted to speak with them in private . Given courage by this backup plan she made her way along the side of the building to the shed where the jackets were stored. There was a few trees between the shed and the porch where the lesions were given but the cover wasn’t as good as she would have liked, her phone plan wouldn’t help her if she was found nosing around here. Swallowing hard Sam forced herself to put the phone away and slip through the door as fast as possible, she knew it would probably be locked, or too loud and she would have to stop, go back.
She turned the doorknob, the door opened, there was no sound, she slipped inside. The inside of the shack was dimly familiar to the crawl space of the boathouse at her cottage, it was warm and humid, and a plastic sheet over a hole in the ceiling made for a makeshift sunroof. Sam put an ear to the door listening, she heard no one approaching, legs shaking she made her way over to the pile of life jackets and started digging, nothing, there where all adult jackets; boring PFDs. Sam was sure she had seen one that time. She looked around. There was some tools on a peg board, an old wakeboard, an inflatable tube, there was a plastic bin under the peg board, Sam pulled it out and pried off the lid, her heart caught in her throat, she felt cold excitement run though her arms and down her back, there was three life jackets just like the one she had tried on in the boat house, she lifted one by its side to see the back without removing it from the box, there was a long strap attached to the middle of the back, also in the box there was a horseshoe style jacket and what looked like an old tarp, or maybe another inflatable tube, it was a junk box, things they had that they never used. Sam quickly put the lid back and slid the box back where she found it. She bit her lip, heart beating more than ever before; she began counting the adult jackets on the floor. There were 18, there were 15 people, Sam knew what she had to do, she picked four of the life jackets up and slid them under her arm. She thought she should take the horseshoe one as well but that would be too suspicious; she would just have to hope Tamara would go for safety over convenience. It felt like her heart was going to burst from her chest. She opened the door and exited the shack.
There was no one there, Sam forced herself to walk slowly, casually, holding to the idea that if she didn’t look important no one would notice her, no one was looking though. Sam dropped the jackets behind a plant by the side door, it was conceivable that they could have been dropped there by anyone, but it was a hard spot to see, and no one would look there. She had no idea what the ramifications of these actions would be, but she could hope. She returned to the lesson unnoticed and sat down, Ava looked at her.
“Are you ok?”
“What? Ya fine, why?”
“You look like shit.”
“Ya well, you too” Sam gave her friend a face and they both laughed, Sam nervously.
Ava went back to listening to the lecture and Sam thought about her plan, she knew that for there to be any chance of this working she had to be the last one to walk over to the shed, she had her close toed shoes in her backpack, if she acted as though she had forgotten them it would certainly buy her some time.
She was still mulling this plan over in her head when Tamara announced that the class was over and told everyone to go head over and get the boats ready, most people went to grab a life jacket first, Tamara took position at the door of the shack and handed them out by two or threes to people as they walked past to the boats. Sam diddled as much as she could, pretending she was looking for something in her bag. Ava was talking to her about some shenanigans her brother had gotten into but Sam wasn’t listening, she was trying to find the right moment to say I forget my shoes. She turned to do a quick survey, everyone was either in line at the shack or was wearing a jacket, the boats were almost ready, it looked like she wouldn’t need to pull the shoe card after all.
“You two let’s go!”
That was Tamara, not unkindly, she was directing it at them.
“Ya common” Ava started moving.
Sam slipped on her running shoes and followed, standing in the back of the line with Ava. Her heart was beating again, this was happening really fast now that it was happening. She was standing next to Ava not behind her, but that was ok, she would simply let Ava have the last jacket and act all oblivious to the fact that there were no more normal ones.
Suddenly someone called to Ava to help with a boat, she left the line and went to help, Sam was about to follow unbidden but she was suddenly at the front of the line. Ava was the only one without a jacket. Sam could see the one adult one left, it was lying on the floor of the shed, but Tamara wasn’t moving to grab it, Sam was frozen with tension.
Tamara was calling the other instructor, the one for the higher levels.
Kevin walked over a moment later and Tamara picked up the last jacket handing it to him
“Can we use this?”
Sam saw what was going on as she handed it to him, the side was ripped open.
“No way, not legal, toss it” Kevin gave it back
“It’s the only one left, Sam doesn’t have a jacket.”
“Really? There should be extras” Kevin passed Tamara and entered the shack to look, Sam put on her best “I don’t know what’s going on here face” her limbs were cold but no longer shaking, she knew that however this went there was no longer any way it could come back to her, the cold excitement was still there though, and a heightened awareness of the situation, it was like being on a drug.
It was then that Ava returned.
“Hey Tamara I need a Jacket”
“You too? Ok hold on we're missing some, give us a minute”
Kevin was opening the Tupperware box. “Here” he pulled out a pair of the horseshoe life jackets, Sam hadn’t seen the second one, her heart was sinking, this was worse than the PFD.
Tamara frowned, taking one, she looked into the box, Sam felt hope.
“Hold on those would be better”
“They probably wouldn’t fit them, up to you though” Kevin took the damaged PFD and left the cabin. Tamara stood holding one the horseshoe jacket in her left hand and the kiddy one in her right. Sam and Ava stood in the doorway, like convicts at trial, awaiting their fate, each praying for the opposite outcome.
“We should try these at least” Tamara put down the horseshoe jacket and opened up the smaller one, the tail dangling from the back of it; it's end so far down it was still in the box.
“What do you girls weigh?”
Ava looked like she was about to exaggerate her weight, Sam stepped in, she was clearly bigger and taller than Ava. “I’m 120” She was under selling herself 5lbs, she had looked at the label when she confiscated the extra jackets, 120 was the weight limit printed on the label.
“Well these should work for both of you then” Tamara picked up a second one and carried them towards the girls, she dropped one to her right and held the other open in front of Ava.
“Here you wanna try this, see if it fits you?”
Ava didn’t look happy about it at all but she complied, turning around and sliding her arms through the bright yellow vest, Tamara spun her around to face her again and knelt down in front of her.
“Ok let’s see, this might be too small for you” Tamara inspected the sides of the jacket and then connected them at the bottom doing the zipper up and securing the thin girl into the jacket. She stuck two fingers into each arm hole, the neck hole and the waist, pulling to check how tight it was.
“Doesn’t seem too bad, let see here”
Tamara had to let some slack out of the waist strap to get it connected, she then snugged it up a bit and bent down pulling the drawstring around the waist tight and tying it in a double knot, she checked all the holes again for tightness. Satisfied she stood up brushing the dirt from her knees, Ava rolled her shoulders in the tight-fitting-vest and turned to walk away, as she did so Tamara noticed the long yellow tail dangling from the middle of her back.
“Oh, hold on Ava, we missed one” Ava turned unsure of what Tamara meant, The older girl rotated her and took hold of her tail, passing it between her legs, it was not nearly long enough but Tamara took a moment to lengthen the strap just enough to get it buckled into the front. She gave her one final check and made an approving sound.
Ava shifted and pulled at her new jacket, clearly unsure about it.
“Ok Sam let’s try you, you’re a bit bigger but I think we can squeeze you in”
Sam turned from Ava to look at Tamara, she was standing directly in front of her, jacket open, waiting for her arms to slide through the holes”