"Oh well, at least you didn't have to shove your feet in them," I muttered to myself as walked up the incline. Small rocks and sticks dug into my tender feet. Ignoring the pain, I dragged several large stones up to the roof of our shelter. I laid the raincoat across the large flat rock and anchored it into place with the large stones. While I worked, I thought of the sparks that had flared up between Mason and me. Mixed emotions continued to twist and turn through me as I tried to remember that making out with him wasn't the best idea under our current circumstances.
I stayed out longer than necessary, waiting until the sun had fully set behind the thick clouds before I headed back inside. The inside of the shelter was pitch black, so I paused to flip on the flashlight I had stuck in my pocket. I swept the beam across the interior of the space and sighed in relief when I saw that Mason was once again zonked out. Shrugging off my dripping raincoat, I placed it down on the ground with the dry side up to have something to lie on. My eyelids drooped with exhaustion and I turned on my side with my back facing Mason.
I woke the next morning to rain pounding on the roof of our shelter once again. I was dismayed to find that although I was curled up in the same position I had fallen asleep in, I had obviously scooted as close as I could get to Mason while I was sleeping since my butt was snuggled up to his side and my head rested on his arm.
I started to pull away, but his arm held me snugly into place. "You're not darting away this time," he said, blowing gently on my hair.
"But I'm invading your space and you can't be very comfortable with my head crushing your arm," I said, trying to move away again.
"Why do you keep doing that?"
"What?" I asked confused.
"Um, I don't know, pulling away," he said with just a trace of sarcasm.
"Because, you're hurt among other things…" I said, letting my voice trail off.
"What other things?"
I sighed. "Like the fact that we're stranded in the middle of nowhere and no one knows where we are, which reminds me, you never answered my question yesterday. How could they not know we're missing?" I asked.
"They may be under the assumption we're holed up somewhere waiting the rain out. Rick trusts me enough to keep you safe until this cold front passes," he said, sounding bitter.
"You're doing the best you can."
"Right, because I'm some hero by letting us fall off the side of the mountain."
"That wasn't your fault. I thought we were going to die," I admitted, recalling my terror from the fall.
"So did I, to tell you the truth," he confessed. "Do you know what I was thinking as I careened down the mountain, crashing into everything imaginable?"
I shook my head against his arm.
"All I could think was that I was never going to experience the love my parents shared before they died and that scared me. I've spent weeks pushing you away, fighting the attraction I felt, convincing myself that you would only cause a kink in my life.
"Did you say 'attraction'?" I asked glibly.
He chuckled before asking his own question. "Are you trying to tell me it's one-sided?"
I merely shook my head, unsure of how I exactly wanted to answer that question. Our relationship was unlike any I had ever experienced. I was used to the typical four-step dating ritual—meet, flirt, date and then declare any feelings. Mason and I had blurred the steps and I was scrambling to readjust.
"Kimberly," he said, breaking into my contemplation.
Tucking my embarrassment away, I flipped over to face him. "No, you're not alone in the whole attraction thing," I said, ducking my head slightly.
He reached over with his free hand and lifted my chin. "I'm not used to this shy you. Where did the sassy girl go?" he teased.
I smiled at him "That sassy girl never existed before I met you," I admitted.
"Aww, so I bring out the rebel in you," he said, tugging me back down in his arms.
I snuggled in. I was done with overanalyzing the situation. "It's raining hard again," I said, voicing my concern over the never-ending rain.
"Yeah," he said in a strained voice.
"Is that bad?" I asked, tilting my head back to look at him.
"It just means we may be stuck here a little longer than I anticipated. Can you think of anything we can do to fill the time?" he asked suggestively.