Escape From Rochester (Camp Nano July’14 project) Prequel Vignette: Jennifer

Third in a series of stories leading up to my Camp Nano Project – this one features Jennifer and is a practice at finding Raven’s First-person voice.

Jennifer made it first to the Thursday Fire this week, which was a first. She’d been coming to my gatherings – and other people’s – for almost a year, but this was the first time I’d actually been alone with her.

“I brought bitch beers.” She held up the six-packs: Mike’s Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice. “And a bunch of stuff.”

“Stuff?” I popped open the cooler for the beer, and tried, “You’re here early.”

“I know.” She flopped into a chair to my left and started unpacking a Wegman’s bag onto the ground. “But I had to hit the bakery before it closed, so I thought I’d just come here. Hope you don’t mind.” She glanced over at me, her hair falling into her face and making her look, for once, a little bit vulnerable.

“Not at all.” It wasn’t a lie, not really, even it it wasn’t the whole truth. “Just, ah, surprised me.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m not really good at the whole social thing, you know…”

“That’s the point, more or less.” I gave her a smile, one of the sort that at least mostly feels genuine. “None of us really are.”

“You started a social gathering for people who are bad at being social?”

“Well, technically, I started hanging out with Ess and ‘Nelle, and ‘Nelle collects people…”

“Looks to me like you collect people.” She popped open a bottle of the lemonade. “Want one?”

“Sure.” I couldn’t get drunk that easily, anyway. And Ess and everyone should be here soon… hopefully. “Nah. Anelle collects. I just.. hunh. Coordinate.”

I liked that. Coordinate.

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