Later that evening the girls returned to their cabin, finally refreshed and clean after being in the wild for so long.
All except Emma, that is.
Emma was gone most of the day so she didn’t take care of her janitorial duties as she should have, therefore the teachers reprimanded her and forced her to stay behind and clean up the area around the hot springs, the lockers, the dining room—which had the plates that were used the entire day—and she was not allowed to take time for herself until she was done.
Thankfully, Emma didn’t mind this at all.
She did everything gladly, and her enthusiasm annoyed the kids who looked forward to having a slave for a weekend.
Because of this, most of them switched targets.
Once she was done cleaning the girls’ side of the hot springs, she was heading into the boys’ side.
She could hear a few guys laughing and being loud inside for a few minutes before they all walked out and left, still having a good time.
She stayed outside and yelled to check if anyone was still in there.
“Helloooooooo! This is Emma Lovecraft! I’m here to clean up! Is anyone still heeeere?”
There was no answer.
She smiled, pushing inside the cart filled with cleaning supplies. She adjusted her headband on her head and her apron, and made her way in.
Only to stop in her tracks as soon as she did.
In the middle of the changing room, Adam was standing there with nothing but a towel around him. He had his back to the door, so it took Emma a second to realize it was him.
“Adam!” She called out cheerfully. “You’re still here! I’m here to clean! They told me to wait until everyone was gone, but maybe I should have been louder when I announced myself, hehe!”
Adam didn’t reply. He didn’t even acknowledge her.
His hair was dripping wet, as if he had just come out of the water.
Emma walked in anyway, looking all around the baskets on the sides of the room.
“Where are your clothes?”
Adam was quiet for a long moment before answering.
“...They took them.”
“Someone mistook your clothes for their own!?”
“They just took them for no reason!?”
“......They took them because they’re afraid of me.”
“Huh? Why would they be scared?”
Adam looked at her, wondering for a moment if Emma was mocking him.
But it was obvious in her eyes that she was being genuine.
He looked away from her.
“If you don’t know, then it’s fine.”
“Hmm. That’s no good,” Emma said, rubbing her chin and shaking her head.
Adam frowned, wondering if this meant Emma was judging him as well even before knowing about the rumors around him.
His eyes widened in surprise when she took off her apron and hung it from Adam’s neck instead.
“You can’t go back like this to your cabin. You’ll get eaten alive by mosquitoes!”
Emma wrapped her arms around him to tie the apron behind his back.
His heart skipped a beat.
Her reason to help him was strange, but it was easy to tell she was being genuine.
He looked away from her eyes, mumbling.
“...I need more than just an apron.”
“Ah,” Emma gasped.
She pulled away from him and dove into the cart, pulling out a pair of cheap slippers.
“Here! You can have these, too!”
Adam meant he needed pants and a shirt, but… it felt like there was no winning against Emma.
He resigned himself and put on the slippers.
Emma looked very pleased.
It was already dark out and only a few lights from outside the cabins were still on, so when Emma walked Adam (wearing nothing but the apron, the towel, and the slippers) back to his cabin, there wasn’t anyone outside to watch the ridiculous scene.
“Here you are!”
She pointed to his door cheerfully with the hand that wasn’t pushing the supplies cart.
Originally, she hadn’t planned to bring it along, but Adam asked her to do it - mostly so he could walk next to it and use it to hide himself if needed.
He nodded at her, and she waved him goodbye.
“See ya tomorrow, Adam! I heard there’s gonna be fireworks! I can’t wait!”
Emma left to finish cleaning the boys bath in a hurry; she looked forward to finally taking a dip herself, too.
Adam watched her push the cart at full speed making motor noises and disappear into the dark.
She was already too far away to listen.
When he walked into the cabin, the other boys were all doing their own thing: Julius was reading a non-fiction book, Yusei was lying on his bed, throwing a bouncy ball at the ceiling and catching it, and Ren was going through the camp’s itinerary. The other boy was nowhere to be found, as usual.
Yusei was the first to notice Adam had walked in, so shocked to see him that his bouncy ball hit him on the head.
Everyone looked at the door right away.
“S-Stoker,” Ren blinked a few times.
“What are you wearing?” Julius looked at him with disgust.
Ren approached him quickly, offering him his own towel so Adam could dry his hair.
“What happened to your clothes?”
Adam stayed quiet.
He looked sharply into Ren’s eyes without accepting the towel.
It sent a shiver down Ren’s spine.
Adam circled around him towards his side of the bed, pulling out his suitcase to get dressed for the night.
Ren gave him a few moments to reply, but Adam never said a word.
He finished getting dressed and jumped into his side of the bed, covering himself up with the sheets like a cocoon.
Ren looked at the others, and they just shrugged and shook their heads.
Adam was hard to talk to sometimes, but maybe he was just exhausted, Ren thought.
However, he couldn’t help feeling like something was very wrong.
It wasn’t too late at night yet, but with no smartphones and a curfew, there wasn’t much to do in the cabin.
Besides, Julius and Yusei’s thoughts were currently consumed by one single thing and could barely concentrate on their own activities - the same single thing, but they didn’t know it at the time.
So when Ren asked if he could just turn off the lights so Adam could sleep, no one protested.
And so, the third and final day of the camping trip came.
A perfectly good, ordinary day… until it wasn’t.