Chapter Seven: School Camp.

“Sammy, get in the canoe.”

“C'mon Sammy, it'll be fun!:”
“Sammy please, you got to at least try.”
Sammy stood well away from the lake where Daniel and TJ were trying to coax him into the water and into the canoe. Ever since the car accident that had taken Tammys voice, Sammy had been terrified of water, especially big bodies of water such as pools, lakes and the ocean. The car (driven by their erratic uncle) had gone speeding into Lake Pleasantville. Thankfully, the car had landed in shallow water, but it was still enough to cover the car. Tammy had slept through the whole thing, but Sammy remembered everything, from the water flooding into the car to the people who had rescued them.
“Sam, come on, you have to face your fear sometime.” Daniel tried.
“No.” Sammy sat down firmly on the dry grass. “You can't make me!”
“Come on, we'll get a canoe with Petunia.” TJ sighed.
Tammy grabbed Belles hand.
“Of course you can come with Charlie and I!” Belle grinned at her.
They picked out a pair of canoes and headed down to the lake. It was a beautiful day at Camp Tall Parakeet on the Silver Coast, great for some fun out on the water. The school had arrived at the camp the day before, and the scholars were looking forward to a week of fun and sun!
“It's ON!” Daniel cried, splashing water at Tammy, Belle and Charlie. Tammy steadied her paddle, then swept it through the water, sending a considerable amount over Daniel, Petunia and TJ.
“Who knew the littlest of us was the strongest!” Belle laughed.
“You gotta watch that one, she's a fierce little tiger!” Petunia splashed at her.
The friends were having a good time, even Sammy cheered from the safety of the shore. Of course, it wasn't to last.
Sunny and Daryl had also come to camp. Since the day at the tip, the Jones siblings had found it harder to pick on Belle and Charlie, owing to the fact that they now had the numbers behind them to defend themselves. However, the Jones siblings still took advantage of every chance they could get to make the lives of the seven friends miserable.
The two Jones siblings had a canoe to themselves, and were watching the frivolity from afar. They saw Belle and Charlies canoe swing away from the other canoe, trying to put some distance between them so they could launch another attack.
“Start paddling.” Daryl grinned at Sunny. Sunny simply grimaced, nodded, and began to paddle. She had grown into a tall, determined, beautiful teenager, although she still had a tiny scar under her eye.
The pair made a beeline towards Tammy, Belle and Charlie. The two canoes crashed and the three friends were sent flying into the water.
“TAMMY!” Petunia cried, reaching over to grab her best friend. Tammy held on to the side of the canoe and glared at the Jones siblings, who were laughing hysterically. Suddenly, the pair were launched into the water – Belle and Charlie had swum underneath the siblings canoe and overturned it!
The friends all roared with laughter. Belle swam over to their overturned canoe, planning to right it and get back in, when she felt something grab her foot. Without warning she was back under the water, struggling to get back to the surface and fill her lungs with air. Whatever had her was dragging her down as far as it could. She saw a shadow move up past her, pushing her back down into the depths of the water before surfacing.
She struggled as fast as she could to get back to the surface, her lungs burning. The light of day seemed so far away!
Something grabbed her hand, and pulled her up into the air. She spluttered and gasped for air, holding on to Charlie who had pulled her out. Daryl was wearing a smirk, and Sunny was trying to get back into her canoe.
She looked up at Daniel, TJ and Petunia. Together, the seven friends headed back to the shore. Sammy hugged his sister the moment they were on dry ground, then suddenly he hugged Belle too.
“That was mean what they did.” He said. “I saw Daryl duck you.”
“I know. It wasn't very nice.” Belle hugged him back. They all made their way back to the camp to dry off and lick their wounds.
Soon, they were hard at the table tennis. Belle and Charlie lost every game they played, including the one they played against each other.
“That…that…” Daniel looked stunned.
“That is REALLY bad.” Sammy filled in.
“At least we're trying, right?” Charlie asked. Everyone groaned.
They heard some noise outside. Belle poked her head out of the door. “Everyone's heading back now, we'll have to go to assembly soon.”
“Ah well.” TJ yawned.
The group headed out and followed the crowd back to the cabins. Along the way, they saw something that would change things forever.
“Daryl, cut it out!” Sunny cried as Daryl flicked her with a towel behind some bushes. His moronic friends laughed.
“Don't be mean Daryl, stop picking on me Daryl.” Daryl mimed his sister cruelly. “You wouldn't even duck that unwanted bastard!”
“We'd already gotten her and her stupid boyfriend, why make things worse?” Sunny argued.
“I'm not your boyfriend.” Charlie looked at Belle indignantly. Belle looked back, just as peeved.
“You've always been soft. I remember that stupid kitten you got upset at me about.” Daryl sneered.
“Meow…” Belle whispered, turning back to the argument.
“Anyway at least I'm not like you. YOU actually hate her!” Daryl laughed.
Sunny growled. Belle looked at her from behind the bushes in horror. Sunny looked towards her feet. It wasn't hate. It was a million times worse.
“You can't even deny it.” Daryl shoved her to the ground. “You're just as unwanted as her – you weren't even meant to be born. Mum and Dad wanted another boy too.”
“Daryl is REALLY mean!” Petunia whispered.
Belle wanted to be happy. She wanted to revel in Sunnys pain. She wanted to walk away and leave the scene. But something stopped her.
A Masters never holds back.
It was wrong what Daryl was doing to his sister. Belle couldn't stand back and watch it happen.
She bolted out of the bushes and slapped Daryl hard.
Your sister may be a cow, but she didn't do anything to you!” Belle roared.
BELLE!” Charlie ran out beside her. Petunia and Tammy ran to help up Sunny (who shook them off) and Daniel, TJ and Sammy stood with Charlie.
How pathetic.” Daryl sneered. “Two unwanted children.”
Belle IS wanted thank you!” TJ fumed.
You should see how much her father loves her!” Daniel added.
And she's our friend!” Charlie finished.
Whatever.” Daryl walked off, his friends in tow.
Are you okay?” Belle asked, turning to Sunny.
Sunny was blind with rage. This girl, this stupid little girl who had been dumped on her fathers doorstep as a baby with pneumonia and on the brink of death, this stupid little girl whose father would do ANYTHING for her, this stupid little girl who had best friends and an uncle and a grandfather and now she'd really ticked off her older brother and she had no right to do that and she had no right to care and…
DON'T you DARE speak to me!” Sunny thundered. She knew she was crying, but she was beyond caring. “You don't know ANYTHING!”
She shoved Tammy and Petunia to the ground in anger.
Sunny, what's going on?” Petunia asked.
Just…Just shut up!” Sunny roared. She glared at Belle.
You have everything. A father who loves you, an uncle and a grandfather who would die for you, a friend who you've had for life, MORE friends who think the world of you! Why did YOU get that?! You weren't meant to be born either! I bet you never have to be silent around the house because you're a disturbance, or have to do all the chores because you're one mouth too many!” Sunny was beyond anything at that point. She ran off, crying.
The friends stood there in shock, all of them troubled by what had just happened.
What on earth does she mean, 'not meant to be born'?” Belle looked confused.
Beats me.” Daniel said. “But I think we've figured out why she's so mean to you.”
Explains Daryl too.” Charlie said bitterly. Belle thought of something.
Have you ever noticed that Sunny always has a cut or a bruise somewhere on her?” She asked.
The others looked at each other.
You know, I think you're right.” Petunia said slowly.
I really wonder what goes on in that Jones household.” Charlie said.
The old bell on top of the camp hall rang out, and the seven friends made their way over for the assembly.

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