Riley threw the frisbee as hard as she could. Nevertheless, it still fell short of the pole. She sighed and picked up another bright green disc. Another miss. She groaned. Why did there have to be a frisbee toss on the obstacle course? She picked up another frisbee, about to chuck it, when a hand was laid on her shoulder.
“You know, it would be easier to hit the pole if you actually held it the right way.”
Riley turned to find a red-headed counselor behind her.
“Hi, I’m Anna.”
She introduced herself.
Anna rearranged Riley’s grip on the frisbee.
“There. Try that.”
Riley threw the frisbee, and was surprised at how easily it glided out of her hands. It soared through the air and hit the pole smack dab in the middle. Anna grinned. Riley smiled.
Riley yelled over her shoulder as she ran off to the next station. She was handed a broom as a tennis ball came rolling up to her feet. She looked up. Another girl who looked way too little to be in a Middle School/Junior High camp was tensed with broom, waiting Riley’s move. Street hockey. Riley smiled. Her favorite sport. She handled the ball with ease around the girl and into a goal.
Riley yelled in mock victory. The girl turned and looked at her. Her sleek dark hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail, and she was wearing a turquoise shirt.
“I wasn’t trying my best, but good job anyway.”
“I play Hockey all the time.”
“well I think I’m perfectly fine at sports.”
the girl declared, throwing her broom down. She eyed Riley.
“your’e not from around here, are you?”
“Actually, I live in San Fransisco.”
the girl stretched out her short arm.
she paused, waiting for Riley’s name.
“I’ll probably see you again some time.”
Vanellope concluded, turning to face her next opponent. Riley ran to the next station laughing silently at the little girl’s arrogance. Vanellope wasn’t a counselor, yet she had to man the street hockey station.
“Must be some counselor’s kid.”
She concluded. The rest of the day went by in a blur, finishing the obstacle course, eating lunch, then dinner. At the dinner table again, Riley sat with Tip and Penny. They were eating sandwiches, when Riley spotted Vanellope sitting alone at a table. She looked lonely.
“Hey, do you guys think we can fit another person at the table?”
Riley asked the others.
Tip asked suspiciously.
“Just a girl I met today.”
Riley explained bluntly.
Tip didn’t say anymore, so Riley figured that meant yes. Penny seemed hesitant, but nodded. Riley stood up and walked over to Vanellope’s table.
Riley addressed Vanellope quietly. Vanellope looked up.
“Oh, hi Riley.”
She answered. The sparkle Riley had seen in her eyes before was now nowhere to be found.
“Is everything alright?”
Riley asked cautiously.
“What? Oh. Nothing really, I just learned that Ralph isn’t going to be a counselor this year.”
Riley had no idea who Ralph was, but she figured that maybe she should cheer Vanellope up.
“Hey, you want to sit at our table?”
Vanellope brightened up.
Riley and Vanellope walked over to the table to find Tip and Penny laughing with a red headed counselor.
“Oh, hi Riley! Is it okay with you if I sit at your table?”
Riley answered. She sat down with Vanellope. As soon as Vanellope sat down, she seemed to have a more confident, almost scorning air about her.
“Everyone, this is Vanellope. Vanellope, this is Penny, Gratuity, and Anna.”
“I know Anna.”
Vanellope said quickly in a way that made Riley shrink back. Vanellope continued eating her food.
Riley faltered. Vanellope had said hat so…rudely. She sat down distractedly.
“Anyways, so girls, how was today?”
Anna asked excitedly. Everyone said how much they liked Summer Camp, as Vanellope continued eating silently. Riley suddenly felt uncomfortable as though she was responsible for all of Vanellope’s actions.
“How about you, Vanellope? How do you like Summer Camp?”
She awkwardly prompted Vanellope. Vanellope muttered something under her breath.
“Sorry, didn’t quite catch that.”
“I just said it was great. Okay?”
Vanellope said, put off.
“Vanellope is everything alright?”
Anna asked, concerned. Riley’s cheeks started burning up. Vanellope rolled her eyes. This all seemed too familiar to Riley. She suddenly flash backed to a fight she had had at dinner after the first day of school with her parents. it had not ended well.
Riley began, but Vanellope abruptly stood up and walked away, not even caring to finish her food. Riley stood up.
She called, running after her.
“Vanellope, that was totally unnesecary! Was it something we said?”
“Just leave me alone!”
Vanellope yelled, storming off down the road. Riley stopped, feeling defeated and confused. Something was definitely not right.
“Is it okay if I go visit someone?”
Riley asked as everyone lounged around the cabin during free time.
“Just remember, bed time’s in half an hour.”
Riley nodded, thrust on her shoes and walked out the door in search of Vanellope’s cabin. After a considerate amount of questioning counselors, Riley arrived at cabin #1. She gingerly knocked on the door. A girl opened it.
“Is Vanellope here?”
Riley asked. The girls’ face distorted with worry as she quickly looked over her shoulder. She nodded timidly. Riley smiled warmly as she stepped inside. On a bed sat Vanellope with her back turned, facing the wall. Riley suddenly felt afraid. Should she really do this? What if Vanellope didn’t want her here now? What if the problem really had been no big deal, and she was making a fool of herself? Riley pushed the anxious thoughts away as she advanced closer. She sat on the bed next to Vanellope, and placed her hand on her shoulder. Vanellope didn’t say anything, but continued to gaze stiffly at the wall.
“Vanellope, I can tell something is wrong. It was like you suddenly switched personalities at dinner. One moment you were sad, the other you were excited, and now your angry. Is there anything I can do to help?”
Riley held her breath, awaiting an answer. Hopefully she had said everything right. For what seemed like forever, Vanellope did nothing, but slowly turned her head to look at Riley. She could see hurt in the little girl’s eyes.
“I’m sorry. I should have apologized. It’s just that…”
Vanellope paused as if making up her mind about whether to continue or not,
“Ralph is the only friend I’ve ever had. He’s always made me laugh, and made me feel safe. No one’s ever really liked me that much, not even the caretakers in the orphanage,”
Riley felt a little blow dealt to her heart. Her entire being now glowed with sympathy and love.
“And whenever I’m around people… I don’t know. I guess I just feel scared that they’re going to be mean to me, and I always feel like I’m the worst, so I have to be tough. I guess I got carried away tonight.”
Vanellope finished slowly, tears flowing silently down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry. You’re the only one here that’s actually cared for me…”
Vanellope leaned against Riley, gently crying in her arms. Riley felt so motherly then, she didn’t exactly know what to do, or feel, and felt tiny tears forming in her eyes as well. After a while, Riley lifted Vanellope up, and hugged her tightly. Vanellope clung to her.
“Vanellope, you are a wonderful, beautiful little girl, and I think you need to be able to trust people a little bit more. I can’t imagine someone not wanting to get to know you for who you are. Remember that you are my friend.”
Vanellope was silent as she gave Riley a last squeeze and sat back up, wiping her eyes. She smiled.
“Thank you Riley.”
She sniffed. Her face suddenly hardened again.
“But don’t tell anyone about this.”
She stated firmly, giving Riley a playful punch. Both girls laughed.