Kendall Lynn Payton
Known to Paul and his friends at camp as “The Goddess Kendall,” she is a tall brunette with lustrous hair, standing 5’9”. Kendall has a large bust, an hourglass figure with wide hips, and very long legs.
Kendall comes from a loving family of four. Her father, Adam, is a police officer in Chattanooga. Her mother, Melissa, is a stay at home mom. Kendall also has a younger brother, Drew, who is a college freshman on a football scholarship at UTK as of Book 4.
Kendall is by far the most analytical major character within the Summer Camp series. Her love of reading, particularly long novels, has driven her to observe those around her very closely. She is the first person to discover and confront Paul and Gina about their growing relationship, and frequently the first to piece together clues or decipher meanings behind cryptic statements. Susan often relies on Kendall to help Paul understand the various events within their lives, especially in regards to women. Kendall's brother Drew also has this uncanny ability to "read" people; according to them, they got it from their father.
Despite her sharp mind, Kendall's reaction to surprising, traumatic or even disliked information is generally to flat-out ignore it. While she loves and respects her parents, she considers them to be too sheltered in the matters of sex. Kendall maintains for many years that if her parents had even a hint of any part of her relationship, they would go ballistic. Despite this belief, both Melissa and Adam have made it clear to Paul that they are aware of their daughter's sexual relationship with him, though not necessarily of the three-way triangle formed with Gina. Drew, on the other hand, knows the whole story of P-G-K. While Kendall is unaware that he knows, Paul and Drew have come to an agreement to let it lie.
An incident early in college has led her to have a very strong dislike of fraternities and the Greek campus lifestyle in general, prompting her to make snap judgments about their members despite evidence to the contrary. She is also utterly apprehensive about Paul's piloting skills and love of flying, attempting to dissuade him from the skies on the assumption (incorrect) that flying will get him killed. Finally, after Paul breaks up with her, she refuses to admit that he has done any such, acting as if their relationship is ongoing (and pretending the break-up was merely one in a series of fights). For all her rationality, Kendall is extremely stubborn about these "blind-spot" issues; as Paul puts it in Book 4, Chapter 9, "[she] has her own version of the truth."
Like Gina, Kendall is extremely studious, pursuing a doctorate in Psychiatry. Though only a year older than Paul and Gina, she skipped a grade early on. She wants not only a successful career as a licensed doctor but a husband and family. She thinks (incorrectly) that Paul is jealous over the importance and difficulty of her field (medicine) versus his own (architecture), and that he is unwilling to accept that, in their presumed household, she would be the breadwinner.
Because of her good looks, imposing physical stature, and intelligence, Kendall often struggled to fit in as she grew up, leading to deep-seated insecurities about self-worth and an abiding paranoia as to others' motivations. Even at The Pines, she was shunned by the teenagers who thought she was several years older, and the adults who still saw her as a child. This isolation led to a stronger desire to form a connection with someone, to the point of which she finally approached Paul and Gina to initiate a friendship. It was this same need for companionship which drove her to initially explore the possibility of joining a sorority. During this time, she, like Gina, was introduced to cocaine, and was still willing to use it (if sporadically) despite her disaffection with Greek life; as with Gina, cocaine puts Kendall into a sort of "sexual overdrive."
Finally, Kendall is willing to use subterfuge and manipulation to get her way, and is quite skilled at it. While Gina attempted to include Kendall fully in her relationship with Paul, repeatedly offering friendship, Kendall rebuffed those advances and began a campaign of cold-shouldering Gina and planting doubts about her in Paul's mind, using her powerful insight to criticize "her rival" in an effort to remove her from the picture. Paul and Gina did eventually break up, but it cannot be said that Kendall's machinations were completely responsible; the situation was exacerbated by Gina's loneliness, Kendall's disdain of sororities, Paul's indecision and the sheer incompatibility of Gina's and Paul's class schedules (with one being invariably busy while the other was available). Nonetheless, she did undermine the relationship, and with such subtlety and cleverness that Paul (by his own admission) didn't realize she was doing it at the time. She also uses this pattern when Paul attempts to mend the cracks in their relationship, deflecting his arguments, turning them back so that they sound like his problems, and generally dodging all confrontation so that she can do as she likes.
After graduating from high school, Kendall attends the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on a full scholarship (Book 2, Chapter 22), having chosen it because it has a great medical program. Intending to become a psychiatrist, Kendall is currently in the undergraduate medical-sciences portion of her college career. She plans to move to a medical school in Memphis after graduating.
On campus, Kendall spent her first two years in Clement Hall, but moved in the Andy Holt Apartments on Andy Holt Avenue (otherwise known as The Apartment Residence Hall) for her junior and senior year. Her roommates have included Abby, Phoebe, and Vivian, Bridget and Toni, though Bridget and Toni are no longer living in her apartment. With the exception of Abby, we see relatively little of Kendall’s roommates during the course of her college career.
Kendall greatly enjoys elective courses, and other campus activities, and seeks to enrich herself through them. She fulfills one of her longtime dreams by signing Paul and herself up to be nude models for the Life Drawing class, though she herself is unable to pose the first quarter.
Though she has only had one serious relationship thus far in her life, Kendall is no stranger to sex. While her preference may be toward men, Kendall has shown interest in a number of different women as well. In addition to her deep love of Paul, Kendall has harbored a crush on Susan's son Kirk for many years. While attending UT (but before Paul's matriculation), Kendall dates 3 men, two of which are described in One in the Hand is Worth... Kendall also develops an interest in Paul's modeling friend Wren, partially due to the fact that both of them love teasing him.
Kendall is a member of the Paul-Gina-Kendall relationship triangle which forms the heart of the Summer Camp series. Though Kendall joined the triangle later than Gina, she is a strong influence in Paul and Gina's life, often providing the stable and rational point of view when conflicts arise. It was Gina's idea to invite her in, though Paul readily agreed, and the bonds between the two girls (however tenuous) made the three-way relationship work. Kendall gave her virginity to Paul at the Quarry Lake, with Gina's encouragement. However, Kendall has been known to be selfish and manipulative, pointing out the flaws in Paul's and Gina's relationship when she could. After the break-up of P-G-K, Kendall was left as Paul's sole girlfriend, a place she was happy to claim.
Though not much was initially said of Paul's and Kendall's relationship in light of Gina's departure, major issues eventually made themselves known. Paul, during the summer between his freshman and sophomore years of college, entered into a business partnership with his best friend Trip, renovating houses for fun and profit and requiring him to live apart from Kendall for long periods of time. This is a marked shift from the school year, during which meshing class schedules allowed them to eat, study and relax together. Their now-long-distance relationship is markedly different from that of the previous year: Paul begins to feel that his relationship with Kendall features too much "girl" and not enough "friend", as their infrequent contact revolves around sex (though, by Paul's admission, it is fantastic sex), she knows less about his life than Gina does, and she shows little-to-no interest in rectifying that gap. (Ironically, Gina's treating Paul like a "convenient penis" was one of the flaws Kendall cited against her during the slow dissolution of P-G-K, only to have Paul fling it back at Kendall herself.) Paul's attempts at reverting their relationship to its more emotional state were met with deflections, denials and sometimes outright hostility, making it clear that Kendall, for reasons of her own, did not miss the intimacy they once shared.
The threatened break-up, which had been building up from the beginning of the summer of 1982, finally occurred shortly after Stacy's wedding, itself revealing further insecurities: she accuses Paul of continually comparing her to Gina (whom he had not even mentioned), and of being jealous that her field is more important than his. Despite declaring that she never wants to see him again, Kendall reappears the very next day, under the impression that she and Paul are still together, and Paul must (essentially) dump her several more times before she gets the message. After Christmas (3 months after their breakup), Kendall sees Paul in the Financial Aid office, glaring at him and later smirking when she breezes through the process, cementing Paul's understanding that he and Kendall won't return to being friends in the same manner that Paul and Gina have reconciled.
The Proposed Threesome
Kendall shared many fantasies with Paul, some of which the two were able to carry out. One fantasy first mentioned in Book 2, Chapter 35, required some planning beforehand: in it, Paul seduces a woman neither of them know, 'forces' Kendall to have sex with this woman while he watches, and then has sex with both of them. Throughout their relationship, Paul and Kendall remained on the lookout for a woman with whom they could realize this fantasy; eventually they talk about Wren Hilliard as a potential candidate, but end up playing it out with a salesgirl from a high-end lingerie store in Atlanta, where Paul gets firsthand knowledge of the effects and symptoms of cocaine use.
While Kendall and Paul have generally appeared to have a promising future through the story, fans of the series have known for some time that their relationship is doomed. A clever detective suggested that the height of The Wife (up to Paul's chin) makes Kendall (nearly eye-to-eye) an impossible candidate, which Nick confirmed on his Forum. Nick is on record as regretting this admission, possibly due to the increased role Kendall has played overall; while originally a foil character, she expanded in the telling, and to accommodate her Nick split his proposed Book 3 in half, moving the original title to Book 4 and giving Kendall the third subtitle spot.