"Dam... dang straight," she said, fixing her slip.
"That was a close one," Rick teased, making a production of looking for Louise.
"After a story like that, I should get brownie points for my effort," she muttered, dragging me toward our cabin.
I laughed, feeling lighthearted. Camp Unlikely Allies was definitely growing on me.
When Rick found me, I was prepping the art room for the campers' arrival the following day.
"Hey," he said, standing in the doorway, taking in the long skirt I was wearing, despite the cooler morning temperatures. Practical or not, I still had my own style, what could I say? At least I was wearing some leggings and one of the soft long sleeved flannel shirts I was beginning to tolerate. They didn't match my skirt, but I felt much more comfortable.
"Hey yourself," I teased, feeling more at ease with him than I had just three days ago. I gathered my hair into a bun at the nap of my neck, using a pencil to hold it in place. It was easier to work with my hair out of my face while I moved supplies around.
"I need to make a run down the mountain to get some last-minute supplies and thought you might like to go with me," he said, leaning against the door jam.
"Sure," I said, jumping at the chance for a little alone time with him. "Will I be gone long? I just need to know what to tell Amy."
"We'll be gone most the day. It's a shorter trip than coming from the airport, but it'll still take us about three hours to get there."
"Okay, I'll go tell Amy," I said, heading out of the room.
Fifteen minutes later, I met Rick outside by his Ford Expedition.
"Ready?" he asked as we climbed into the vehicle.
"Definitely," I said, ready to see a little civilization. I missed my normal haunts back home.
"Missing the city life?" he teased, pulling down the dirt drive.
"A little, but not as much as I originally thought I would," I said, remembering how I felt when I first arrived.
He arched his eyebrows at me. "Really?"
"Yeah, I guess you could say mountain life is growing on me," I said, watching the passing landscape out the window. I missed most of it the first time because I had slept the majority of the trip up the mountain. I could see why too, the sharp twisty turns and the way my ears kept popping had an almost hypnotizing effect. We had our share of mountains in California, but I pretty much avoided them.
The silence between us lingered on, but didn't feel stilted or awkward.
Finally, after we had been driving for more than an hour, I broke the silence. "It really is pretty here."
"I think so," he answered, almost appreciatively.
"You know, California has some pretty spectacular mountains too. Have you spent much time there?" he asked.
I snorted. "No, Mom and I don't do the outdoors."
"That's a shame," he chuckled.
"I wish we had though," I said after several more minutes of silence. "It's actually kind of inspiring. I'd love to put it on paper."
"What's your normal muse?" he asked.
"Anything really, I guess. Anything I can sketch or paint."
"I've always envied artistic types. I'm strictly a stick figure man."
"Ha, just because you can't sketch doesn't mean you're not an artist. What you do at the camp takes a special touch. You're molding and changing lives and that means something," I said in rush.