How Did You & Zach Start Dating? (Part 5)

As always, you can get caught up here: [part 1] • [part 2] • [part 3] • [part 4]

• • • • •

So... what was that all about?

Alyson looked over at me as I pulled out of David's driveway. We had stayed up all night doing laundry, finishing just as the sun started to come up. Following the boys in David's car in front of us, we began making our way back to camp, eager to catch up on some much-needed sleep. I replied nonchalantly with a:

What are you talking about?

Alyson didn't miss a beat.

Oh, you know, you and Zach looked pretty cute together...

Darn it, she had noticed. On one hand, that was good. Reassuring. I wasn't just making the entire thing up---there was definitely something there. But still, I didn't know what that something was. All I knew was that the second our hands touched, Zach didn't keep his there. He moved it... toward mine. Interlocking our fingers, he clasped my hand in his and held it for the rest of the night. Alyson continued:

He's a really great guy, Beth...

He most certainly was, no doubt about it.

Then why was I trying so hard not to like him?

• • • • •

After sleeping all morning, a large group of camp staff piled into cars and headed out for an afternoon trip to Panther Falls. Alyson and I had gone to Panther Falls the summer before with her brother and a couple of friends, so we were excited to introduce the rest of the staff to the waterfall sandwiched between two giant rocks/mini-cliffs---perfect for jumping into the creek down below. Everyone loved it as much as we had, and I spent the afternoon watching my friends shriek and scream as they flew through the air. Since I had jumped plenty of times before, I made sure everyone else got the chance before I made my way through the woods and up the rocks. As I perched myself at the very edge overlooking the water below, I froze.

This is ridiculous, I thought. I've done this plenty of times.

But still, there was something so unnatural about telling your feet to remove themselves from their firmly planted spot and lurch through the air, sending yourself falling toward the earth at a rapidly increasing speed. I stepped back and let a few people jump in front of me. And a few more. And a few more.

Why couldn't I work up the courage to jump?

As I sat atop the rock for nearly an hour, watching everyone else jump without a problem, I didn't remember my first time being quite so terrifying. I knew we would be leaving soon, and I was not about to turn around and climb back down the rock. Not a chance. There was only one way down; I was going to jump.

I'll go with you.

I turned around. It was Zach. He had been sitting up there with me almost the entire time. Every so often, he would jump (or flip---boy is a daredevil) off the rock, but he would always climb back up and sit next to me. After I had freaked out, other friends had tried to coax me or pressure me into jumping, but he just sat there. He knew I would jump when I was ready.

This is it, Beth, I thought to myself. You have to do this!

I walked to the edge of the rock with Zach by my side. After peering over the edge for a minute, I took a deep breath and looked at him.

One... he began.

What was I doing?! The thought of jumping was still just as terrifying as it had been all along.


There's no way I was going to jump. He was going to say "three," he would jump, and I would be left standing at the top of the rock. I couldn't do this.


At that very moment, something happened. I instantly felt a hand slip into mine---the same hand that held mine in between loads of laundry at David's house the night before. He grasped it tightly, and before I even had a chance to think, we were off the rock and soaring through the air together. And I wasn't scared a bit.

• • • • •

• • • • •

It took about an hour to get back to camp. Zach and I were in different cars, so I had the entire time to reflect on what had just happened. What had just happened? I wasn't exactly sure. Staff meeting, getting lost in downtown Roanoke, laundry escapades, Panther Falls---all of that had happened in the past 24 hours. 24 hours! And while I didn't know quite to what extent, it was a 24-hour period that would completely change my life.

Everyone hung around main camp when we got back---it was still early evening. I was glad to have the opportunity to spend more time with Zach and see where things were going when Alyson's brother spoke up:

Come on, Zach. I'll give you a ride up to Graybill.

(Graybill was the staff house where the boys stayed during the summer.)

What? No! It was barely 8PM---what was going on? Before I knew what had happened, the boys were gone and I was left standing on the office porch with Alyson.

This was not how I had anticipated spending my evening. Talk about anti-climactic...

Alyson and I figured it best to return to our cabins. We hadn't gotten a lot of sleep the night before anyway, and a brand new week of camp was starting the following afternoon. Might as well. I dropped Alyson off at Willoro and continued up the hill to Wildwood. After getting ready for bed and trying to block out the events of the day, I tossed and turned in my bunk. Who was I kidding---I was obviously not going to sleep any time soon. There was no possible way, not after the day I had. I finally got out of bed and went outside to call my best friend, Kacey.

Kacey didn't answer, so I proceeded to leave the longest voicemail in the history of mankind. I talked a trillion miles a minute about broken laundry machines and Braveheart and jumping off waterfalls and this boy named Zach. Kacey would love Zach, I just knew it. I continued freaking out about not knowing what to do and about not wanting to get attached to anyone before leaving for college in the fall, etc., until I apparently reached the six minute mark and the voicemail automatically cut off. I considered calling back and talking for another six minutes, but I knew Kacey would call back soon. She would make everything better---she always knew exactly what to say.

I sat on the front porch of the cabin and stared at my phone. Come on, Kacey, I thought. I need you right now!

As if by my sheer will, I felt the cell phone vibrate in my hand.

Yesss! I looked down---It was a text message. But it wasn't from Kacey. It was from Zach.

"Hey, what are you up to...?"

(to be continued)