Chapter 4 ~ The First Night
“Here we are!” Matthew turned into a relatively large clearing almost completely surrounded by trees the only way in was a small opening facing south. Katherine looked out the window at the beautiful clearing,
“Oh my gosh! It’s so cute!!”
“Parfaitement belle!” Joy cried out, opening the car door and jumping out. Emilie and Katherine were right behind her; Emilie looked confused.
“What did you say, Joy?”
“I said ‘Perfectly beautiful’ in French,” she replied, gazing up at the sky which was a perfect blue not a cloud in sight. She shivered. It may be nice and sunny and beautiful, but it was also chilly. Emilie turned back to Matthew and Adrienne who were standing next to the truck.
“Matthew, can we set up the tent now?” Emilie begged. He nodded and headed to the trunk and opened it up and pulled the tent out. Matthew walked over to a spot towards the side of the clearing,
“Here Emilie” He gestured to the tent, “one of the privileges of camping is getting to set up the tent. Let me show you.”
Emilie hurried over to Matthew and watched closely while Katherine and Joy helped set up the kitchen tent. He showed her how to put the poles into the tent and put it up. Adrienne had Joy setting up the portable grill and Katherine was helping Adrienne attach the netting to the sides of the kitchen tent.
“Matthew?” Emilie looked up from trying to force a pole into a socket, “Matthew, can you help me with this?”
“Do it like this...” He showed her how to put it into the socket without breaking the pole. Emilie laughed.
“Oops! Okay I think I’ve got it now.” She took the pole back and put it in the way he had showed her. Matthew walked over to Adrienne.
“You have everything figured out, Adrienne?” He looked deep into her brown eyes. Adrienne looked up and fumbled with the pole, then looked quickly back to the netting. Matthew began helping her with the rest of the netting leaving Katherine without anything to do so she went over Emilie to help her out.
Emilie wasn’t working, she was watching Matthew and Adrienne. No! Not him too!
Katherine looked at Emilie’s stricken face and then followed her eyes to Matthew and Adrienne. Mhm, thought so. She thought.
Katherine sighed and touched Emilie’s shoulder. Emilie walked away and sat down under a sycamore tree and hugged her knees, hiding her face with her arms. Joy looked up from finishing setting up the grill and saw Emilie walk to the tree. Joy sighed and stuck her tongue out slightly.
Matthew turned around and looked at the tent which Emilie had partially erected and had been finished by Katherine.
“So, girls, are you ready for dinner?” Matthew looked around the silent clearing. Joy was sitting silently and thoughtfully at the picnic table, Katherine was standing by the tent awkwardly. He looked around. Where’s Emilie? He looked around the trees and saw her sitting underneath the sycamore. He sighed. Joy pushed herself off the bench and wiped her hands on her jeans,
“Sure!” she grinned, “What’s on the menu?”
“Well I was thinking we could go fishing.”
“I think I’ll stay here, okay?” Katherine asked Matthew, silently praying he would say yes.
“Sounds like a plan!” Matthew rubbed his hands together. “I’ll grab the fishing poles, Joy.” He looked over at Emilie, but went to the back of the truck.
“Emilie, you gonna come with us?” Joy walked over to Emilie and knelt down beside her.
Emilie shook her head no. Joy looked up at Katherine, who shrugged and shook her head. Joy stood up and walked over to Adrienne.
“You coming with us, Adrienne?”
“I’ll stay here with Emilie and Katherine.” Adrienne looked at Matthew, who quickly nodded that would be fine.
“Alright Joy! Let’s go.” Matthew led the way onto a path that led to a running river a couple minutes down the mountain. Adrienne walked over to Emilie.
Emilie absently fingered a strand of her straight, chin-length brown hair. Adrienne and Katherine exchanged worried looks. Emilie got up and walked agitatedly around the clearing.
“Emilie?” Katherine ventured.
Emilie turned around and stared at Adrienne; her face showed both fear and sadness.
“You know he likes you!” she exploded.
Adrienne started. “What?”
“Matthew likes you! That’s what! He likes you, and I don’t know if I can stand any more marriages. I can’t lose another brother, I can’t!” Emilie broke down crying.
Katherine walked over to Emilie and hugged her tightly. Adrienne looked slightly uncomfortable; she pulled on a strand of her brunette hair. Is it true? Does he really like me? Oh he does! And I like him too! Adrienne jumped a little. She did? She had just admitted to liking him back. She looked over at Katherine and Emilie. Emilie was sobbing her heart out. Adrienne went over and hugged both girls tightly. Emilie sniffed loudly.
“Adrienne, do you like Matthew?”
Adrienne sighed and sent a small prayer to heaven. “Emilie, look at me.”
Emilie looked up at Adrienne, she quivered.
“Emilie, I like your brother, I think I even love him a little.”
“Oh.” Emilie’s voice shook. “He would grin to hear that.” A small smile played on her own lips.
Katherine grinned. Adrienne laughed and hugged Emilie tightly.
“I think you’re right!” Her eyes sparkled merrily.
“Why don’t we get the sleeping bags set up and such and then we can take a walk and find the bathhouse,” Katherine suggested.
They headed to the truck and pulled out the sleeping bags and pillows then headed to the tent. The tent was on the larger side and it was several shades of blue and brown. It had two doors and a couple windows on it.
“I claim over here!” Emilie cried out, rushing to a perfect little alcove that fit her sleeping bag and stuff well. Katherine grabbed another alcove and said it was hers.
“Okay girls, here’s your sleeping bags and pillows.” Adrienne handed them to the girls and then took her own to an alcove to set it up.
“Done!” Emilie cried out triumphantly sitting back on her heels. Katherine stood up.
“I’m done too.” she said.
Adrienne looked up at the girls. “Could you do Matthew’s and Joy’s beds?”
Emilie grabbed Matthew’s sleeping bag and pillow and laid it out in an alcove and placed his pillow on top of it. Katherine had taken Joy’s pillow and sleeping bag and carefully laid it out and smoothed it down.
“Alright, let’s go find that bathhouse!” Adrienne said; they got out of the tent to look at the map.
Joy sat on the edge of a dock attached to the shore of the river. Her feet hung in the cool clear water; the fishing pole sat comfortably in her hands. Matthew sat comfortably next to her on the old dock.
“Matthew!” Joy yelled excitedly, pointing to his line which was being tugged on. Matthew skilfully pulled it in and took a hold on to the line.
“Joy, pull your line in carefully,” he instructed; Joy pulled it in real careful like.
“Look! Two! How strange.” She swung it slowly towards Matthew. “Here, Matthew.”
Matthew looked up and the fish smacked him in the face.
“Oh!” he cried out. Joy giggled.
“So the map says it’s down this trail.” Katherine pointed in the right direction and led Adrienne and Emilie down the path. Emilie moved next to Adrienne and took her hand. Adrienne squeezed it gently.
“I know it’s around here somewhere.” Katherine looked around in the trees. Emilie let her eyes rove about the peaceful setting,
“Oh wait, is that it?” Emilie asked Katherine pointing to a building in the trees that was around a curve in the trail.
“Yep, that’s it!” Katherine said, glancing down at the map and back up at the building.
“Wanna race, Katherine?” Emilie challenged, looking competitively at Katherine who looked back at her with the same competitiveness showing in her eyes. “Adrienne, could you please say go?” Adrienne looked at the two girls.
“Yep!” they cried out.
“Then on your mark, get set…GO!!”
Emilie and Katherine took off running; they both rounded the bend skilfully and made it to the building at the exact same time.
“It’s a tie!” Katherine yelled happily, she high-fived Emilie who slapped Katherine’s hand so hard it hurt both of them.
“Ouch!” Katherine winced. Emilie giggled at her.
Adrienne walked up to them and asked, “Who won?”
“We tied together.”
“Awesome!” she said and gave them both a high five. “Congratulations girls.” Emilie pushed the door opened and walked in.
“Wow! It’s super clean in here for being up so high in the mountains.”
“Whoa! You’re right, Emilie, it is super-duper clean.” Katherine exclaimed, amazed.
“You did that on purpose, Joy!” Matthew exclaimed.
Joy continued to giggle as she tried to speak, “No, I didn’t honest, I didn’t,” she gasped out.
“Right, you didn’t.” He made a face at her which made her laugh even more. After a while, they became quiet and caught five more fish and they didn’t have any more slapping the face episodes.
“I think that’s about it, since we have seven total,” Matthew stood up and handed his fishing pole to Joy and picked up the bucket which held the fish in it. “So Joy, how did you like your first fishing experience?” He looked at her as they continued walking to the path.
“It was interesting, but don’t make me skin the fish; that would be disgusting, ugh!” she shivered in disgust thinking how gross the scales were on a fish.
“Oh I was planning on having you skin all seven fish,” he teased her playfully. She stuck her tongue out at him.
“Good, now we know how to get here and nobody will have to worry about spiders and snakes.” Adrienne teased. Emilie shivered in disgust.
“I am very thankful there are no spiders and bugs in here.” Katherine agreed wholeheartedly.
“Well, we should head back and see if Matthew and Joy are back from fishing.”
Adrienne led the way out of the door and back down the path into the campground.
“Hiya Katherine and Emilie! We caught seven fish!” Joy called out to them from across the clearing.
“Cool!” Emilie called back, “Matthew, don’t make me help you skin the fish!”
Matthew laughed at her.
“That’s what I said.” Joy laughed. Emilie and Katherine started to giggle along with her.
“So who is going to skin the fish?” Adrienne giggled along with them.
“Matthew!” they giggled.
“Oh right give me all the chores, huh?” Matthew snorted in fake disgust. “If you’re on this camping trip, you better help out.”
“Uhuh!” Emilie giggled keeping up the game. “I’m here to relax and have a fun time; you’re here to do all the work.”
“Oh really?” Matthew set the bucket down and walked over to Emilie and began to tickle her. Emilie burst out laughing.
“Girls, save me! Adrienne! Someone!!” She couldn’t talk, she was laughing so much. Katherine signalled to Joy who ran towards Matthew from one direction and Katherine ran towards him from the other. Adrienne took the bucket of fish and set it up on the table out of their way. Matthew grunted out loud when Joy and Katherine ran into him to get him away from Emilie.
“We will save you, Emilie!” Joy cried out giggling, and Katherine laughed.
“I’m done! Let me go get dinner ready.” Matthew shook the girls off of him and walked over to the table where Adrienne had set the bucket, grabbed it and walked off into the woods. Emilie looked slightly dishevelled, her jeans now had dirt stains on it and her shirt was wrinkled. She tried to straighten herself up and walked over to Adrienne.
“So Adrienne, what can we do for dinner?”
Katherine gasped playfully. “Emilie! You’re asking to help with dinner?”
“My word!” Joy giggled.
Emilie made a face at Katherine who waggled her tongue back at her.
“That’s enough girls,” Adrienne said, pulling out a pot for the corn. “Emilie, could you go fill this up a little bit with cold water? Katherine, please go with her.”
Emilie took the pot and headed onto the path with Katherine.
Joy turned to Adrienne and asked her, “What may I do?”
“Um let’s see,” she looked around thinking. “Could you make some lemonade?”
“Sure!” Joy answered.
She got the sugar out of the bin and the lemon juice from the cooler. Joy carefully measured the sugar and lemon juice into the gallon jug. Adrienne got a rag wet and began wiping the picnic table off and then got out the plastic tablecloth and placed it on the table.
“Let’s sneak up on him!” Katherine whispered, pointing to Matthew.
Emilie giggled. “Yes!”
The girls were on their way back from getting water in the pot for the corn. Emilie set the pot quietly down on the path and skirted around the area where Matthew was sitting and snuck up behind him. They waited until he had set the knife down and was going to grab another fish. Emilie led Katherine up right behind him and cried out, “BOO!”
Matthew jumped off his seat and turned quickly around.
“You girls! I’m going to get you back!”
Katherine and Emilie giggled hysterically. They leaned into each other gasping for breath.
“That was awesome!” Katherine giggled breathlessly. She high fived Emilie who almost fell over, she was laughing so hard.
“We better go back. Adrienne will be looking for us.”
“Goodbye Matthew!” they called out cheerily.
They grabbed the pot and hurried back down the path and burst into the clearing still laughing uncontrollably.
Emilie gasped out, “You should have seen his face! It was perfect!”
“What did you do?” Joy asked excitedly.
“We snuck up behind Matthew, waited until he had put down the knife, and then we scared him out of his wits! It was great!” Katherine informed Joy who had started laughing with them.
“His face was priceless!” Emilie said.
“Did you get the water?” she asked them.
“Yes, we got the water.” Katherine answered.
Emilie handed the pot to Adrienne who put the corn in it. By the time the corn and noodles were done Matthew had grilled the fish and Emilie had set the table.By the time they finished eating, the sun had gone down and the evening was chilly, but peaceful. Joy washed the plates in the warm soapy water. She handed a plate to Katherine who rinsed it and dried it off, then handed it to Emilie to put it away. The girls completed the chores quickly and then relaxed on the ground by Adrienne. Emilie leaned against Adrienne’s knees and tucked her legs up. She stared up at the stars that blotted the sky with their cheerful light. Katherine and Joy leaned against each other sitting on a blanket. The moon shone brightly that night; it brightened their hair and shone in their eyes. If someone had come across them, they would have seen a very peaceful, but happy group.
“Look! A shooting star.” Emilie gasped and pointed at the dark sky as a star shot across it brightening it up for a moment. The girls, unknown to each other, all wished for a wonderful camping trip; Matthew wished for Adrienne to like him, and Adrienne wished for Matthew to know she liked him. After the shooting star had disappeared and the sky darkened, Matthew stood up.
“Alright girls it’s time for you to go into the tent.”
“Aww!” Emilie whined. “Why?”
“Emilie.” Matthew looked at her in the dark.
Emilie, Joy, and Katherine stood up and went into the tent and got their pajamas and walked with a flashlight to the bathhouse. Joy looked around the dark and chilly forest.
“Where is the bathhouse?” she asked them curiously, turning to look at them.
“Wait till you see it!”
“It’s just around the corner.” Emilie and Katherine said at the exact same time. Joy laughed.
“It’s incredibly, super-duper clean.” Emilie told her, laughing at herself for caring if the bathhouse was clean or not.
“It’s right there.” Katherine pointed at the squat green building in the clearing up ahead. The girls ran to it and pushed open the door and hurried out of the chilly night and into the warm fluorescent lights.
“Wow! You’re right, Emilie, this place is spotless! Ya know, if you think about it, it’s sort of creepy having it so clean there not being a single soul around except us.”
“Joy! Don’t creep me out. I might not be able to go to sleep.” Emilie gently punched Joy in the arm.
Joy giggled, “Sorry Em, I forgot that you were such a scaredy-cat.”
Emilie stuck her tongue out at Joy while Katherine giggled . Emilie was the first one done so she stood in front of the mirror staring at herself.
“Ya know girls, I’m ugly.” She stuck her tongue out at the face staring back at her from in the mirror.
“No, you’re not. Everybody thinks they’re ugly, but they aren’t; don’t forget, we’re all beautiful in God’s eyes, so don’t think you’re ugly.” Joy reprimanded.
“Fine, I’m not.” Emilie stuck her tongue out again.
“If you keep sticking your tongue out, it will get stuck and people will think you look funny.”
Emilie jumped and spun around. “Katherine Rose Lark! Don’t you scare me like that again!”
Joy came up from behind them. “Don’t be what others want you to be. Just be yourself no matter how weird you are. That’s what makes you unique and special.” Joy smiled at Emilie who smiled back.
Katherine turned to Joy. “Where’d you learn that, Joy?”
“Don’t know,” she shrugged, “it’s a quote from somewhere.”
“Nice quote, I like it. It describes me exactly.”
“What do you mean, Em?” Katherine looked confused.
“The weird part.” Emilie answered.
“You aren’t weird.” Joy told her, Emilie shrugged.
“We should go back. Adrienne and Matthew will be wondering where we are.”
“Yeah, you’re right Em.” The girls headed back to the campsite and crawled into the tent.
“Ya know something, Joy?” Emilie whispered; the girls weren’t in their sleeping bags, but sitting, whispering together in the middle of the dark tent.
“What?” Joy answered excitedly.
“Matthew and Adrienne like each other.” Katherine grinned in the dark.
“But Matthew doesn’t know Adrienne likes him back!”
“What?” Joy asked confused,
Emilie carefully explained what had happened earlier.
“Wow.” Joy gasped and sat back, thinking for a couple minutes. “Em?”
“Would it really bother you for Matthew to marry Adrienne? I mean, he’s your brother, the fifth one to get married in your family.”
“Yes!” Emilie cried out, “It would.”
“Girls!” Matthew called to them from outside the tent.
“Joy, he’s my favourite brother.” Emilie’s face had gone pale, illuminated by the moon. Joy put her hand on Emilie’s arm.
“It’s okay, Em, I understand. I think I would feel the same way.” She nodded her head.
Katherine leaned forward in excitement. “I just got a good idea! Let’s go hiking tomorrow!”
Emilie and Joy both gasped and cried out, “Yes! That would be so much fun!”
“Maybe you will see a bear.”
“No thank you!” they shouted back in response.
“Alright girls get into your sleeping bags and go to sleep.” Matthew said as sternly as he could, but made sure they could still tell he was teasing them. The rustling in the tent told Matthew and Adrienne that they were getting into their sleeping bags.
“G’night Adrienne and Matthew.” they called out.