Glancing up at him, I saw that he had his arm thrown over his eyes, obviously torn between desire and pain.
"Teasing," I said, removing my hands as he protested. "That's the last thing we should be thinking about," I said, still chuckling.
"Knowing and telling your body are two separate things," he said, smiling at me in return. "You look exhausted," he said, brushing my hair back off my forehead.
"I'm good," I lied.
"Come here," he said, holding his arm up.
I crawled up under his arm and lay down beside him. He wrapped his arm around me, pulling me in close. I knew I should get up and figure out a way to start a fire, but all the work today had caught up with me and my lethargic limbs groaned in protest at the thought of moving. I curled up as close to Mason as I could get without actually touching, falling asleep almost the instant my head hit the backpack I was using as a pillow.
I woke several hours later, disoriented by the dim light that peeked in through the opening of our shelter. Checking my watch, I was surprised when I saw that it was almost five o'clock in the evening. I had slept for more than two hours.
I glanced over at Mason and saw that he was awake and watching me.
"How are you feeling?" I asked.
"Not bad," he said.
"Really?" I asked, even though I could tell he was lying.
"I could go for a nice steak and a loaded baked potato, but otherwise, I'm fit as a fiddle," he teased.
"Well, you're in luck, I just happen to not have either of those in my pack, but I do have a nice chunk of beef jerky," I said, pulling the economy-sized bag of jerky out of my pack.
"That's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me," he said, tearing the tab off the jerky and opening the bag.
The smell of the jerky filled our small shelter and my mouth began to water. Since I had puked up my last meal hours ago, my stomach was painfully empty. Mason handed a large chunk to me and pulled one out for himself before resealing the bag. While munching on my jerky, I dumped out the contents of my bag in front of me to get a stock of what else was inside. Two filled bottles of water, a dozen energy bars, a bag of shelled peanuts and the bag of jerky. At least we had enough food, not to mention the first aid kit and box of waterproof matches. The last items in my bag puzzled me until Mason explained them.
"They're like glow sticks you might get at Halloween, but these are battery activated and will glow for several days."
"That's cool," I said.
"They'll help a search party find us if it's dark outside," Mason explained.
"That's good, right?"I asked.
"Yeah, that's good," he reassured me. "I think we should try to mark where we are since we're hidden from view in here. Are you up to going back out in the rain?"
"Of course," I said, ignoring my protesting muscles. "What do I need to do?"
"I think we should use my raincoat as a sort of beacon. It's pretty much tore up from my graceful tumble down the mountain anyway. I figure if you climb up onto the rock we're under, you can anchor it there by using heavy rocks. We'll use one of the glow sticks at night as a beacon, although I doubt Rick will send out a search party at night, especially with all this rain."
"Do you think they'll find us?" I asked, fiddling with the zipper on my jacket.
"I know they will. No one knows these mountains better than Rick. Not even me. The only problem is, they may not know we're lost or hurt yet," he said as he struggled to take off his raincoat.
"How can that be?" I asked as I reached over to help him. Several pain-filled curse words later, we finally wrestled him out of his bright yellow coat. He panted in pain from the exertion and I felt sick for causing him so much pain. Without consciously thinking about it, I leaned over to lay my head lightly on his chest to offer some kind of comfort. The moment my head rested on the rock hard planes of his chest, I second-guessed my movement. I didn't want to start something up again. His hands snaked up and tangled themselves in my hair holding me in place.
"Not yet," he said gruffly.
I smiled slightly and pressed my head back down. Though his chest was hard and lacking any kind of padding, it felt insanely
comforting. Maybe it was the steady heartbeat beneath my ear or the way my head seemed to fit the contour of his muscles. I closed my eyes with pleasure as his hands massaged their way over my scalp kneading away the tension that had gripped me since the night before. My breathing quickened as he continued to move his hands over my head and down my neck.
I moaned with pleasure at the feelings he was evoking in me. I felt him chuckle softly beneath me and I pulled back, embarrassed at my wanton behavior. I knew I had been had. He had turned the tables on me. Without looking at him, I snatched up one of the glow sticks and his raincoat and scurried out of our cave. I could hear him chuckling behind me, but I ignored him as I pulled on my raincoat. Heat flooded my cheeks. I didn't like not having the upper hand and it wasn't until I was standing in the rain that I realized I had left my shoes and socks inside.