“Well! Look who’s here!”, Mike exclaimed as Stacy and Jessie were stepping out to help Alyssa pull the boat further onto the beach. The girls all turned and looked in surprise at the two handsome guys walking toward them.

Jessie spoke up. “Mike! Rick! What are you doing here?!” She hugged Mike and glanced shyly at Rick. “Hi, Rick.” Rick mumbled a greeting, once again feeling like a lovesick schoolboy in her presence.

“Hi, Alyssa!”, Mike said, hugging the busty brunette. Then his eyes settled on Stacy. She looked incredible! She had replaced her khaki hiking shorts, but only wore her white bikini top, revealing a good portion of cleavage. Her blue eyes met his and he smiled warmly. “Hi, Stacy.”

Stacy held his gaze for a few seconds, then said quietly, “Hi, Mike. Nice to see you again.” She’d had a crush on him since the first time they’d met at Jessie’s two years ago. But there was an age difference. Mike was seventeen at the time and she was barely fifteen, a shy, skinny kid with only small bumps for breasts. It had seemed insurmountable then, but now. . .who knew? She wasn’t the same flat-chested skinny kid anymore. She pulled her gaze from his blue eyes and began unloading the boat.

Jessie looked at them, her hands on her hips. “I thought you guys were going to wait until Mark could come?”

Mike shrugged. “We were. But I’ve been telling Rick about this place for months and he was anxious to see it; try the fishing.” Rick finally found his voice and spoke up.

“He tells me even he can catch lots of fish here. I figured they must be practically jumping into the boat!” He grinned and elbowed Mike, who pushed him away.

“Get bent!”

Rick laughed and was pleased to see a smile on Jessie’s face.

Alyssa looked around at everyone. ‘This could be interesting’, she thought, smiling to herself. Then out loud, “So. . . . do you guys mind if we join you?” Jessie looked questioningly at Mike, while Stacy stared out over the water.

Mike glanced at Rick, who shrugged approvingly and tossed a pebble into the water.

“Of course we don’t mind!”, he said with a smile. He looked at Jessie and Alyssa, then over to Stacy. “We’re all friends, right?”

“Great!”, Jessie replied with a grin. She looked at Alyssa then Stacy. “You guys mind hanging out with these two good-looking guys all weekend?” Alyssa grinned and shook her head.

Stacy blushed slightly, her eyes glancing quickly to Mike, then to Jessie. “No. . . . I mean, yeah . . . uh, sure.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Let’s stay.”

“Well, all right then!”, Mike exclaimed and grabbed Rick’s arm. “C’mon! Let’s get their gear up to camp and set up their tents before it gets too dark!”

The guys began unloading their boat while the girls carried some of their gear up the path to the camp. Jessie winked at Alyssa when they were out if earshot of the guys. “So, see anything you like down there, Stace?” Stacy’s face turned bright red. “Uh-huh! Thought so!”, Jessie said as she and Alyssa started giggling.

Alyssa poked Jessie in the ribs. “I wouldn’t laugh too hard, Jess. I believe Rick was a little more than taken with you, too!” She grinned at her best friend.

“Really?,” Jessie asked, blushing a little. “What makes you say that?”

They arrived at the campsite and Alyssa dropped her duffle bag. “Well, uh, let’s see.” She put a finger to her chin and looked thoughtful, winking at Stacy. “Maybe it was the way he couldn’t take his eyes off you.” She paused, still looking thoughtful. “Or maybe it was the way he seemed to lose the ability to speak coherently around you, or maybe . . .”

Jessie cut her off. “Ok, ok! That’s enough!”

She continued anyway. “And if I’m not mistaken, you seemed a little shy around him, too!”

“Alyssa!”, Jessie cried, then smiled demurely. “Well, he is kinda cute!”

Alyssa pouted. ” And poor little Alyssa has to sleep all alone tonight!”

“Alyssa!”, they both cried and started throwing sleeping bags and pillows at her.

Just then, Rick and Mike came up the path, loaded down with gear and carrying the girl’s cooler between them. They set the heavy cooler down and shrugged off the backpacks and other gear.

“That’s everything!”, Mike said. “Rick moved your boat over next to mine.”

Jessie smiled at Rick. “Thanks, Rick,” she said quietly.

He smiled back. “No problem,” he replied, gazing into her bright green eyes. ‘Holy shit! She’s gorgeous!’, he thought. They continued staring into each other’s eyes until Alyssa spoke up.

“Ahem. . . Uh, shouldn’t we be starting supper?”

That broke their trance and Jessie turned to Alyssa. “Good idea! I’m starving!”

Jessie and Alyssa started supper while Mike and Rick helped Stacy with their large dome tent. After it was up, Mike stayed to help Stacy get their sleeping bags and pillows spread out. Rick wandered back to the ‘kitchen’.

“Anything I can do to help?”, he asked. Jessie’s warm, friendly personality was helping him to feel more comfortable around her. Mike was right. She was really a great girl.

“We could use some water,” Jessie replied, pointing to a large pot. “Do you know where the spring is?” He smiled and nodded.

“Uh-huh. Be right back!” He turned to go and Jessie watched his nicely formed butt as he wandered off down the path to the spring by the waterfall. After he was out of sight, she turned around and glanced over at Alyssa, who was grinning at her, her arms folded over her ample breasts.

“What?!”, Jessie asked, trying hard not to blush, but failing. “Are you gonna tell me that you didn’t look?!”

Alyssa’s grin widened. “Oh, I looked! But you stared!”

Jessie’s cheeks reddened even more. “Too obvious?”, she said with a sheepish grin.

Alyssa scrunched up her face and held up her hand, her thumb and forefinger a half inch apart. “Just a little!” She moved closer and whispered, “You’re making me jealous!”

Jessie’s smile faded. “Alyssa. . .”

Alyssa held up a hand, the smile returning to her pretty face. “Relax. I’m only joking with you!”

Jessie set down the spatula she was using to flip the burgers and turned to her. Her face was solemn. “No. I don’t think you are. And we need to talk. . .about what happened.” She glanced around to make sure they couldn’t be overheard. “I don’t want to hurt you, and besides. . .” She paused, gazing into Alyssa’a large brown eyes. “I really enjoyed. . .kissing you. . .and. . .” She touched Alyssa’a arm. “I’d like to . . . I dunno . . .try to. . .”

Alyssa smiled and put a finger to Jessie’s lips. “I know. Me, too. But don’t let that stop you from going after Rick, ok?”

Jessie frowned, her eyes searching Alyssa’a. “Are you sure? Because. . .”

Alyssa nodded. “I’m sure,” she said with a smile. “And besides,” she added. “You could always share! I’m sure he’d be up for it!” She grinned broadly.

“‘Lyssa!”, Jessie cried. They both started laughing.

Mike and Stacy were arranging the sleeping bags and pillows in the girls’ tent, with Mike passing them inside while Stacy organized everything. She moved around in the tent, straightening blankets and sleeping bags. Mike, trying to be a gentleman, was doing his best to keep from staring at her cute little ass as she crawled around on her hands and knees. ‘Damn!’, he thought. ‘She’s really grown up since last summer!’ He knew she was only two years younger than him, but her petite size always made her seem younger. Until now. Suddenly, two years didn’t seem like such a wide gap anymore.

Stacy fidgeted with the bedding, not really paying attention to what she was doing. She was purposefully looking away from Mike, hoping he’d notice her svelte young body and realize that she wasn’t a kid anymore. She couldn’t believe she was actually flirting so openly! ‘This is more like something Alyssa would do!’, she thought.

Eventually, she had to stop before it became too obvious what she was doing. She stretched out across the sleeping bags, her head propped up on one elbow, and looked out the flap at Mike. “Well, what do you think?” She smiled warmly.

Mike looked in at the pretty blonde in the tight shorts and skimpy bikini top and without taking his eyes off her said, “Looks perfect to me!” He smiled, winked and stood up so all she could see were his well-toned legs. “You coming for supper?”

Stacy’s face flushed red. He knew!

“Uh, yeah. Be right there!”, she answered, taking a deep breath to slow her heartbeat. She waited until her cheeks stopped burning and poked her head outside. She was relieved to see that he had gone over to where Jessie, Alyssa, and Rick were standing near the picnic table.

‘What’s the big deal?’, she told herself. ‘I like him and he knows it. He likes me and I know it!’ She crawled out and stood up. ‘So why am I so nervous to see him?’

Mike saw her and waved her over. She lowered her eyes and walked over to the table. Mike was sitting in the middle of one side and slid over so she could sit next to him. Jessie and Alyssa served up the burgers and they all ate their fill.

After everyone finished eating, Mike nudged Stacy. “Since they cooked, do you wanna help me do the dishes?” Stacy nodded with a shy smile.

“Sounds good to me!”, Alyssa said, getting up from the table. “Who wants a drink?” A chorus of “I do’s” was her reply. She took everyone’s order and went over to the coolers to make them. Jessie went over and sat on one of the logs next to the fire pit. After a moment, Rick wandered over, knelt next to the ring of rocks and started breaking up kindling. He and Jessie began chatting quietly, laughing every once in a while.

A few minutes later, Mike looked up from the basin of soapy water and passed another plate to Stacy to dry. “Hey, Jessie! You still play guitar?”

She looked over at him. “Yeah, but I didn’t think to bring it.”

Rick looked up at her as he tossed the remaining kindling into the pit and dusted off his hands. “You play?” Jessie nodded. “Me, too.” He grinned. “And I remembered my guitar!” He sat down next to her, but not too close. He didn’t want to come on too strong and scare her away. “I’d love to hear you play something.”

“She’s really good!”, Alyssa called from the cooler. “And she can sing, too!”

Rick’s eyebrows went up. “Really?” Jessie blushed.

“She’s exaggerating,” she said with a laugh. “I’m not that good!”

“Bullshit!”, Alyssa called back. “Stacy, what’s that song she does? ‘When you. . .’ something?”

“‘When You Say Nothing at All’,” Stacy replied. She looked over at Rick. “And Alyssa’s right. She’s really good!”

Rick grinned at her. “Beautiful, talented, and humble!” He was really starting to relax around her. Jessie’s face reddened even more. “Can I talk you into a song or two?” She turned to him and their eyes met. He had the warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen. She smiled and nodded.

“Ok. You asked for it. But let me have a few drinks first.”

Rick grinned. “Liquid courage?”

Jessie laughed and playfully pushed his shoulder. “Humor me, ok?”

Rick chuckled and nodded. Jessie rubbed her arms. “It’s starting to cool off. I think I’ll put on a sweater.” She got up and walked toward their tent.’

“I’ll light the fire,” Rick said, kneeling next to it. By the time Jessie returned, the kindling was burning and he was adding some larger pieces to the growing flames. He watched it closely, adjusting the burning pieces and adding larger and larger pieces to it. Finally, he spoke up, still staring into the leaping flames.

“So, uh. . . are you . . . seeing anyone?” She didn’t answer right away so he turned to her. She was watching him, her long blonde hair falling across her shoulders and down her back. The firelight lit up her face, making her eyes sparkle and her hair shimmer as it blew gently in the faint evening breeze. She had put a white cotton buttoned shirt over her bikini top but had left it unbuttoned. The overall effect took his breath away. ‘How could someone like her ever be interested in someone like me?’, he thought.

She smiled softly and the firelight danced in her eyes. She shook her head slowly. “No,” she said quietly, staring into his eyes. He got up from his kneeling position and sat on the log next to her, about a foot apart. After a few seconds, Jessie slid over so that their hips were touching.

Rick couldn’t believe it! His heart leapt as he felt her soft warm body touching his. He’d been pretty sure he was reading her signals correctly, but there was no mistaking this one! He gazed into her pretty face and took her hand in his. She squeezed his hand softly and laid her head on his shoulder. His heart skipped a beat. He’d been hoping to get to know her, maybe get her phone number, but this was totally unexpected!

“Looks like you made a friend!”, Alyssa said as she walked up with Rick’s beer and Jessie’s rum and coke. Jessie raised her head but continued to hold Rick’s hand as she took the drink.

“Thanks, ‘Lyssa.”, she said with a smile.

“Yeah, thanks!”, Rick said, taking the beer.

Alyssa looked sternly at Rick. “You better be nice to her!”, she scolded. “Or I’ll whoop your ass!”

Rick grinned and squeezed Jessie’s hand. “Yes, ma’am!”

Mike and Stacy walked over. They’d finished the dishes and Mike was carrying Rick’s guitar.

“Well, now! What have we here?!”, Mike asked, raising his eyebrows at Rick and Jessie.

Rick shrugged and tried to look serious. “Hard to believe that with such pretty eyes that her eyesight could be that bad. But, hey! Who am I to complain?” Everyone laughed and Jessie elbowed him in the ribs.

“Don’t worry, buddy. She’ll get a better look at you in the morning and run away screaming!”, Mike said with a grin and they all laughed again. Mike passed Rick his guitar. “Here. . . You can hold her later. Try this on.”

Rick sighed. “It never fails,” he said to Jessie. “They find out you can play and someone produces a guitar!”

Mike rolled his eyes. “You brought the guitar, knucklehead! Now play something!”

Rick reluctantly let go of Jessie’s hand and took the guitar from him. “I don’t suppose you tuned it for me?”, he said as he slipped the strap over his shoulder.

Mike rolled his eyes again. “Do I have ‘Roadie’ tattooed on my forehead?”

“I’ll take that as a ‘no’,” Rick said with a wink to Jessie. He plucked at the strings, tuning by ear. When he was satisfied with the tuning, he began playing ‘When You Say Nothing at All’. Jessie swatted his arm.

“I said later!”

He grinned. “Can’t blame a guy for trying!” He played a few songs; Cover of the Rolling Stone, Night Moves, Simple Man, and a pretty good rendition of Zeppelin’s Going to California. Everyone clapped and cheered after each song. After the Zeppelin tune, he leaned the guitar against the log and flexed his chording fingers. Jessie hugged his arm. “You’re really pretty good!,” she exclaimed to a chorus of agreement from the others. He smiled and nodded his thanks. He looked at Jessie and nodded toward the guitar, but she shook her head. “Not yet, ok?” He nodded and picked up the guitar again.

Several songs and several drinks later, he passed the guitar to Jessie. “Your turn. I need a break!”

She sighed. “All right. . .But don’t say I didn’t warn you!” She took the guitar from him and strummed a few chords, getting a feel for it. She began playing When You Say Nothing at All, plucking the strings perfectly without dropping a note. When she started singing, Rick watched her in total amazement. The girls were right. She had a beautiful, angelic voice and sang the song perfectly.

Everyone applauded enthusiastically when she finished and Rick just stared in awe at her.

“They weren’t exaggerating, Jessie! That was perfect!”

“Aw, c’mon. I’m not that good!”, she said, blushing slightly. The others all left to replenish their drinks.

“I’m serious!,” he said. “You’re a natural! You played and sang that song perfectly, without even having to think about it!”

She leaned closer, looking deeply into his warm eyes. “You don’t have to try to flatter me. Believe me. I’m interested!,” she whispered. She smiled at him, her emerald eyes sparkling.

He returned her smile, lost in her beautiful eyes. The others returned and the spell was broken. Stacy spoke up. She must have been feeling the effects of the four or five vodka coolers because it wasn’t like her to speak up in a crowd. “Ok. You guys look way too serious! Somebody play something!”

Everyone laughed and Jessie said, “Ok, one more.” She played Strawberry Wine, once again to a round of raucous applause. She laid the guitar back in its case to several disappointed cries. She shook her head and held up both hands. “Sorry! I’m on break!” She turned to Rick. “Want to go for a walk?”

“Sure!,” he replied, standing up and taking her hand. He was a little nervous. This would be the first time they were alone together and he hoped he wouldn’t do something stupid.

“See you later!,” Jessie called as they disappeared into the darkness, walking toward the beach.

“You have her home at a decent time, young man!,” Alyssa called out.

– To Be Continued… –