The next morning Lissa woke up scratching her arms. She pushed her sleeping bag aside and peered at her skin.
“Oh, nuts.” It looked like poison ivy. She tried to remember when she would’ve been dumb enough to not notice poison ivy—and the events of the previous night came rushing back. She shook her head, trying not to cry again, and pulled her legs out of the sleeping bag.
Ma Shannon came up, tying on her bonnet. “Lissa, look at your arms! Did you get into poison ivy last night? Well, go to the infirmary before breakfast.”
She went over, scraping her hair back into a ponytail. Thankfully the infirmary was busy with an assortment of war wounds garnered during the night, ranging from a black eye on a boy from Cocoa Beach to a row of stitches being sewn into Garrett Singer’s lip. Lissa looked away. Clearly Justin had won the bet over whether someone would run into the barbed wire fence.
“Lissa, what can I do for you?” Sister Walters, who worked at the hospital in Cape Canaveral and had volunteered her services for repairing broken-down Trekkers, came up.
Lissa held out her arms. “I think I ran into some poison ivy last night.”
Sister Walters tssked. “Looks like. Come over here, I’ll get you some aloe and calamine.”
Lissa sat on a bench and waited as Sister Walters rummaged in her box of first aid supplies. Alex thunked down next to her, holding out an arm with an impressive gash on it.
“Yeah dude, definitely ran into that barbed wire fence last night. Getting me a fresh Band-Aid.” He grinned, floppy ginger hair falling over his eyes. Lissa shook her head.
“How dumb are you? I knew that was gonna happen.”
“Yeah, well, at least my face is fine. Unlike G-dude over there.” Alex jerked his head at Garrett, who was managing to pout even through his stitches. Then he turned his attention back to Lissa. “So how’s it going with you and, uhh, Justin?”
Lissa’s heart stopped for a beat. Did he know? Had Justin told someone—told everyone? What if her bishop heard…or her mother? But Alex’s face was questioning, not knowing.
She brushed the question away. “You don’t want to know.”
“Oh my gosh, something happened?” His eyebrows were waggling.
“No!” Lissa burst out, annoyed. “Nothing happened, nothing’s going to happen. He doesn’t like me, Alex, just get over it.” She didn’t know why she was lying, exactly. Becky had told her stories of guys she’d kissed at youth conference and EFY or on the stage at basketball games, hidden behind the curtains. She’d heard similar stories from and about other kids too. No one really got in trouble for it as long as nothing serious happened.
But she couldn’t bear to think of herself that way. She’d prayed again and again last night, begging for repentance. It wasn’t ok for her to sin. She didn’t know why, but it wasn’t. She remembered all the things she’d said the night before, and all the things Justin had said. She wondered, miserable, if her friends ever felt like this.
Alex looked uncomfortable. “Ok. Sorry. Geez.”
Lissa ignored him while Sister Walters spread calamine lotion on her arms and gave her a small tube of aloe. “Now don’t scratch! I know you’ll want to, but when you do, just spread some aloe on.”
Lissa nodded and went off toward the bonfire circle, leaving Alex behind to get his bandage. The Leaders That Be instructed the assembled Families to attend Relief Society or Priesthood, as today was apparently “the Sabbath.” Lissa tried to ignore the fact that it was actually Thursday and went off toward the Relief Society clearing with her sisters. Ma Schwartz and Ma Green gave the lesson together, talking about what everyone could do to preserve the spirit of the Trek in their everyday lives when they went home. The lesson made her feel uncomfortable; worse yet was her assurance that had it been given the day before, she would have felt wonderful.