“Well, that’s just great,” Brent said angrily. “You lead me on and then drop me.”
“I’m sorry,” Cari told him. “I want to go back to Steve if he’ll take me.” She got up and started to leave when Brent grabbed her by the arm and turned her around.
“I don’t like to be treated like dirt,” he said in a low voice. “You’re not gonna leave me that easily.”
“You wanna bet?” Cari asked.
Brent tightened his grip on Cari’s arm. “You’re not leaving,” Brent told her.
“Oh yeah?” she said, and brought her knee up to Brent’s stomach, sending pain all through his body.
Steve, who was still hiding in the trees, was doubled over with laughter. But he wasn’t laughing long when he saw Brent chasing after Cari. Brent caught up to her and tackled her just as Steve came running out of the trees to save her.
“You didn’t think you were going to get away with that, did you?” Brent said to her, panting for air. He slapped her in the face. “You dirty, cheating dog!” Brent was going to hit her again, when Steve came up behind them.
“Steve,” Cari cried.
Brent turned around and was greeted with a kick in the face from Steve. Brent picked himself up and ran at Steve, who stepped aside and punched Brent in the stomach as he went by.
“Are you all right?” Steve asked Cari.
“Yes,” Cari said. “I’m fine.”
Steve thought that Brent had been knocked out, but he was wrong. He found out when he was whacked in the back of the head with a stick. Steve stumbled, but picked himself up and took the stick from Brent. He cracked it when he hit Brent in the shin with it. Brent grabbed his leg and stood on the other one. To finish him off, Steve hit him again in the stomach and brought his hand down on the base of Brent’s neck like a karate chop. Brent fell unconscious into the sand. Steve picked him up and carried Brent on his back all the way back to camp.
Steve and Cari were now back together, because Steve knew that Cari really did love him. But this wasn’t true with Cathy and Brent.
Kris had awakened long before Brent, Steve and Cari had returned. Kris said she had passed out from the heat, but Lance made her stay in bed in case she was sick.
Cari told everyone the whole story while Brent just listened in shame. Pretty soon he couldn’t stand it anymore and went into his own hut. Cathy followed.
“What would you have done to her if Steve wasn’t there to save her,” Cathy asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Would you have beat her up, let her go, kill her or what?” Cathy yelled.
“I said I don’t know,” Brent yelled back.
“Well, let me give you a hint,” Cathy said as she lowered her voice. “I think that if Steve hadn’t been there, I’d be engaged to a … a ..”
“A what?” Brent asked.
“A murderer!” she yelled. “After hearing Cari’s story, I think that’s what you would have done.”
“Well, you’ve got the whole thing wrong,” he yelled.
“That’s not what I meant to say,” Cathy said.
“Then what did you mean?” he asked.
“I really don’t know,” she told him. “All I know is that I can’t love you anymore.”
There was a long silence as Brent just sat there and let the words sink in.
“I understand how you feel,” Brent said. “I guess I just wanted to see if I could still get a girl to like me.”
“I don’t believe you,” she told him. “I think you just wanted to get away from me.”
“No,” he disagreed. “I just wanted to test my masculinity.”
“Oh, sure,” she began, and then she changed her mind. “Really?” she asked.
“I didn’t expect you to believe me,” Brent said. “I just wanted you to know the truth. Cari doesn’t mean anything to me.”
“How can I be sure you’re not lying?” she asked.
“You can’t be,” he said. “I just had to tell you. I have to admit it was a little exciting there for a while, but then I realized that it was you who I really loved.”
Cathy began to cry. “I don’t know what to think,” she sobbed. “How am I to know that you wouldn’t have done anything with Cari? But on the other hand, I do want to believe you.”
“It’s your decision,” he said as he walked out of the door. “I’ll be at Darrel’s.”
Brent knocked on Darrel’s door. “Come in,” James said. James had just turned three years old.
Brent walked in and saw James sitting on a chair that was on top of the table eating pineapple that he stirred together with some kind of cream.
“What are you eating?” Brent asked.
“Pineapples,” James told him.
“I know that,” Brent said. “But what is that other stuff?”
“Mooshy bananas,” James said, smiling. “Want a bite?”
“No thanks,” Brent told him. “Where’s your Pop?”
“Oh,” Brent said. “Where’s your mom?”
“At Kwis’s,” James said. “Her is sick.”
“Really?” Brent said. “How sick?”
“Her’s frowing up,” James told him.
“She must’ve eaten some of that stuff you’re eating,” Brent said to himself.
“What you said?” James asked.
“Nothing,” Brent told him as he left and went over to Kris and Lance’s hut. He got there just as Candy was coming out.
“James told me that Kris was sick,” Brent said to Candy. “How is she?”
“Not good,” Candy told him. “She has a real high temperature and she’s delirious.”
“She always seemed delirious to me,” Brent laughed.
“That’s not funny,” Candy said seriously. “She is very sick and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Maybe I should go inside,” Brent suggested.
“Lance is pretty upset,” Candy told him. “I think you should stay outside. There’s enough people in there already.”
Inside the hut Kris was talking to herself, Stephanie and Cari were putting wet blankets on her to try and break the fever. Darrel and Kevin were trying to comfort Lance.
“She passed out again,” Stephanie said.
To be continued …