“Oh boy! I can’t wait to see Camille today and go swimming!” Sophie exclaimed.
“We’ll be leaving just after lunch. I’m packing a picnic for us to take along,” Victoria replied.
It was a beautiful morning when Victoria packed the kids swimsuits, towels, and a picnic lunch. They were supposed to meet Bradley and Camille at the Bluffs in the early afternoon. That left her just enough time to tend to her garden before heading up there.
“Come here you! I’m gonna toss you in!” Bradley threatened with a grin on his face.
“Ack no! Let me get used to the water first!” Victoria begged.
“No way! Just jump in, that’s the way to do it!” he laughed.
The kids had already been in the water, Sophie didn’t mind at all that there was a bit of algae and lily pads. She thought it made the water more interesting.
“All right, on the count of three I’ll jump in!” Victoria promised and blew him a little kiss for luck.
“1, 2…Argggh!” Victoria screamed as Bradley picked her up and jumped in the water with her in his arms.
“Hey!” Victoria splashed around laughing, “That wasn’t nice!”
“I never really said I was nice,” was his grinning reply.
“Splash fight!” Josef yelled after seeing Bradley and Victoria playing.
The girls screamed and attempted to cover up.
“Hey Victoria,” a familiar voice called.
Victoria looked around and saw Wolfgang and Lucas and a pretty girl approaching. She recognized Morgan from school but didn’t know her.
“Hey Wolfgang! Hi Lucas,” she replied a bit confused why they were there.
“Awesome! Lucas you made it!” Josef scrambled up out of the water to greet his young friend.
“Hey Josef! Hi Sophie and Camille,” Lucas greeted the other kids. He looked longingly at the water as if he would like to swim with the other kids.
“Ummm, Wolfgang, how did you know we would be here today?” Victoria turned and smiled a bit shyly at Morgan. “Hi Morgan.”
Morgan smiled looking a bit bored. “Hey Victoria, nice to meet you. I’ve heard a few things about you.”
“Apparently your cousin told my brother he should get me to bring him up here today. Josef told Lucas you guys would be here,” Wolfgang said with a shrug.
“Ah, cool,” Victoria seemed a bit at a loss. They didn’t seem to have swimsuits with them so she didn’t know if she should invite them to join their group or not.
“Hey bud, I’m Bradley,” Bradley waved toward Wolfgang and Morgan.
“Oh yeah! Sorry,” Victoria stammered awkwardly. “This is my friend Bradley. Bradley you probably know Wolfgang and Morgan from school huh?”
“I’m Tori’s boyfriend actually,” Bradley said a bit possessively.
“Cool story bro,” Wolfgang said with a sneer. “Hey listen, you mind giving us a minute? Victoria, Morgan and I need to chat.” Wolfgang made a shooing motion.
Bradley obviously wasn’t happy and gave Victoria an annoyed look before resuming his spot on the edge of the water.
Victoria pinched the bridge of her nose, “Was that necessary?” she asked softly.
“Meh, he doesn’t matter. I wanted to introduce you to Morgan. Leader of the Renegades. I know you mentioned before you were interested in our club.”
Morgan smiled, “Hi again. I guess…officially.” Morgan laughed.
“Hi,” Victoria said.
“So, Wolfgang mentioned that you may want to join the Renegades huh?”
“Well, I heard a bit about your club and thought it sounded like fun. I mostly wanted to get more information.” Victoria responded.
“Wait just a minute!” barked Bradley rushing over. “You’re thinking of joining the Renegades? Don’t you know they have a horrible reputation? They break shit wherever they go. They sabotage public areas and they are just down right mean most of the time.”
“Nah, that’s not us. You’re probably thinking of the Paragons,” Wolfgang said with a smirk.
“Oh really?” Bradley said. “Come on Tori, let’s get out of here.”
“Morgan I’d really like to talk to you more,” Victoria said a bit embarrassed. “Can we talk more later?”
“This is your interview now Victoria. Only one shot at the Renegades.” She said matter of factly.
“Bradley, I’m sorry, can we talk later? I’d really like to talk to them.”
“You know what Victoria? Forget it. I don’t need to hang out with someone who wants to hang out with this garbage.” Bradley turned and grabbed Camille by the arm. “Let’s go.”
“Braaaadley!” Camille whined. “I don’t wanna go!”
“Tough. Come on.” Bradley snapped.
Victoria watched Bradley and Camille go and felt horrible. She considered chasing after them. She started to move in that direction.
“Hey there,” Wolfgang said soothingly stepping in her way. “Let them go. Stay with us, talk to Morgan.”
He leaned in close and whispered, “He’ll get over it, he obviously likes you. I can see why too.”
“Just give us a chance, we’re a great club. You’ll really like us.” He pulled her close and she breathed in his scent. He smelled like spice and leather.
“Ok I guess. I can just talk to him later.” Victoria said softly.
The sun started going down and as Victoria and the kids changed clothes, Morgan and Wolfgang built a bonfire overlooking the sea. They were having such a great time they didn’t want the day to end.
Anytime Victoria caught Wolfgang’s eye he was staring at her with a heat she had never seen before with Bradley. The heat in that gaze made her feel warm all over. There was a sadness, a vulnerability about Wolfgang that drew Victoria’s attention.
“So, yeah…If you guys will have me, I think I would like to join the Renegades.” Victoria said a bit shyly.
“Of course we’ll have you!” Morgan said. “I think you’re exactly Renegades material!”
“That’s great! I don’t actually have to break stuff in town do I?” Victoria laughed.
“Nah, I mean you can if you want, but a few of us did that early on to really get our Rep going,” Wolfgang laughed. “We do like to play pranks, mostly on Paragon members, but we don’t do too many bad things.”
“Max does,” Morgan countered.
“Yeah, Max is going to end up in trouble one of these days,” Wolfgang said with a touch of sadness in his voice.
“So welcome to the Renegades!” Wolfgang cheered shaking off his mood.
“Woo! High Five!” Victoria shouted.
“Umm, that’s absolutely not how Renegades shake,” Morgan said rolling her eyes.
“Seriously? There really is a secret shake?” Victoria laughed.
“Absolutely! Now come here, it’s complicated.”
“Here, try it again,” Wolfgang said after the girls had run through it once. “Now you’re getting it!”
“Ok, Victoria, I have to get home. It’s getting late. Welcome again.” Morgan reached over and hugged her spontaneously. “We’re going to be great friends!”
Victoria hugged the girl back.
Wolfgang touched her hand briefly. She felt a sizzling connection. “I better get Lucas home too. I’m really glad you joined.”
While she was happy to have made new friends, and joined a club too while she was at it, Victoria couldn’t help but feel guilty having blown off Bradley like that. It was the choice she had made though. She would call him and try to explain tomorrow.
“Sophie, we should come up here again to celebrate our birthdays next month. Would you like that?”
“Oooh I love that idea Tori! I can’t wait!”
The three fell into comfortable silence with nothing but the waves crashing below.