Chapter 6 ~ Where are they?
“Matthew?” Adrienne stood up and paced around the edge of the campsite, “They aren’t back yet and it’s…” She pulled her watch out of her pocket and glanced at it. “It’s four o’clock and they have been gone since nine o’clock this morning.”
Matthew looked up.
“They’ve been gone that long?!”
Adrienne sighed and nodded.
“Okay,” he sighed” We should go look for them now; do you have a flashlight?”
Adrienne nodded quickly and hurried to the truck to get it. Matthew pulled his flashlight out of his pocket and they headed up the trail. Matthew flashed his light around the trees looking to see where the girls were. Mom’s gonna kill me for letting them get lost. He glanced over at Adrienne who looked rather worried and was fiddling nervously with her brown hair.
“You sure you want to come with me to look for them? I could send you back home.” Matthew stopped and looked at Adrienne, waiting for her answer. Adrienne shook her head.
“I’m staying with you; besides your mom would find out sooner, so let’s keep going.”
She spoke with such confidence Matthew was surprised; if it had been light out you would have been able to see the prideful sparkle in his hazel green eyes. His eyes to some people would be considered gorgeous and kind, but to others they might only see the prideful sparkle and not the kindness. Adrienne on the other hand was the kind of person who noticed the gorgeousness and the kindness first and the prideful sparkle later on. Adrienne’s brown eyes, at this point, were very nervous and almost shy still, even though she had spent the whole day by herself with Matthew. She glanced hesitantly over at him, but all she could see was his brown hair that had grown slightly longer than usually, making it curly. She smiled softly, reflecting on the fact that Matthew liked her. The thought was too much to comprehend.
Emilie lay on the ground, thinking about her family. I wonder how Christopher and Mairead are doing? I wish I could visit Ireland and see Mairead’s parents. It’s so cool that Mairead was born in Ireland! Mairead Kathleen Maureen O’Callaghan Cherveaux her name is beautiful! Much prettier than mine: Emilie Clare Rosalind Cherveaux. Mine is so very simple compared to Mairead’s. She stuck her tongue out. But I guess if my name was different I wouldn’t be Emilie Clare Rosalind Cherveaux, I would be someone else, like Jane or Anne. So I guess that means if Mairead wasn’t Mairead Kathleen Maureen O’Callaghan and she hadn’t married Christopher, I wouldn’t have two adorable nieces and two adorable nephews! Oh I wish I could see Liam and Chase and Alaia and Caitlin! Especially Caitlin and Chase, they are so cute! Emilie sat up and began taking twigs and. Oh! And Becca! And Devon and Stephan. Henry and Amelia and Dominic and Elodie…oh I miss them so much! Emilie burst out crying. I mustn't let Joy hear me! Emilie scrunched herself up into a ball, trying to silence her sobs. A hand ran up and down her back. She got the feeling that it was Katherine.
“Shh it’s okay.”
Mhm, it’s Katherine, was Emilie’s last thought as she fell asleep.
“Okay honestly, really?” Matthew muttered. He glanced at the watch on his wrist. Midnight! He kicked the dirt. Adrienne placed a gentle hand on his arm; her look asked the question she didn’t dare breathe for fear of what he might do. He smiled grimly and walked to one of the trees a little bit away. His whole body shook with the sigh he heaved as he turned around and stared at her.
“Adrienne, I’m sending you home. You need to tell my mom.”
“You have no choice.” He sighed again. “I’m sorry.”
Matthew handed the keys to her and pointed back the way they came. “If you head back that way you’ll hit the campsite. Just follow the road down. Be careful, Adrienne. I –“ he paused, “want you in one piece when I come back.”
Her breath caught in her throat. He turned and headed quickly into the dark, his flashlight flashing up and down as he disappeared in the trees. Adrienne took a deep breath and turned around, heading back the way they had come. He said he wanted me back in one piece! Did he really mean it? Of course he did, why wouldn’t he have? Adrienne quickened her pace as she hurried along in the cold dark. Her flashlight glowed dimly, the light bouncing up and down in front of her as she jogged along the path. She was almost there, she could see the glowing embers from the campfire creating a hazy glow up ahead. She could see the flashlight glinting on the pickup truck. She broke into a run and pulled open the door on the driver’s side and hopped in, started the engine and was soon racing down the mountain before she realized it had started pouring rain. The truck felt uncomfortably chilly and damp, forcing her to turn the heat on, which seemed absurd in July.
‘I want you in one piece when you get back.’
Adrienne slowed, slamming her foot onto the brake pedal. The wheels screeched as she tried to stop it, but it kept sliding down the mountain. She bit a scream back and tightened her grip on the steering wheel. The pickup truck finally came to a stop; she was breathing heavily. Okay calm down, Adrienne Annmarie Lesching. She sat silently listening to the rain pouring down in torrents, and thought of Matthew, Emilie, Joy, and Katherine out there in the dark and pouring rain. She sat up straight, determined to get home and to the Cherveaux’s mom by morning. She hit the gas pedal and shot down the mountain barely going more than sixty.
“OH!” Emilie shot up from the ground and yelled at the sky, “COULD YOU KEEP THE RAIN TO YOURSELF UNTIL WE GET FOUND?!”
Joy laughed sarcastically at Emilie. Katherine shot her a look that showed fear, but Emilie appeared to not hear her. Katherine sighed and turned back to Emilie.
“Calm down, Emilie. Please?” she pleaded.
“Fine.” She went and stood underneath the shelter of the weeping willow.
Matthew hurried blindly through the rain; he looked everywhere, but he still couldn’t find them. He thought of what he had said back there to Adrienne. Had he really said that to her? Honest? What had come over him that would’ve made him say that? Was it true? Yes it was. A small voice in his head told him, Yes it was true and you know that. He continued his slow meditative pace playing the flashlight about the dark, damp, and cold forest. All of a sudden he heard a voice yelling something about keeping rain to itself.
“Is it?” He broke into a run. “EMILIE!! KATHERINE!!! JOY!!!”
Joy paused from walking in the other direction.
“Matthew?” Emilie perked up and separated the curtain of leaves and stepped out.
“Did you say Matthew?” Katherine grinned.
“Yes!” Emilie nodded and looked all around,
“Which direction?” Joy asked. They heard the tramping and thrashing of someone trying to get through the forest at breakneck speed. Emilie broke into a run heading towards the direction of the footsteps.
“MATTHEW!!!!” She saw him break through a group of trees and she flew straight into his arms. “Oh, Matthew!”
He hugged her tightly and rubbed his hand up and down on her hair. “Mom’s gonna be so mad when she hears you got lost.”
Katherine and Joy came up. “Where’s Adrienne?”
Matthew stood up. “I sent her back home.”
Emilie sighed, “So we have no way of getting home? I see.”
A grinned spread on his face and he laughed and gave her a one armed hug. “Oh we’ll get home alright. Do not worry. Come on.” They began the long hike back to camp.
Somehow miraculously Adrienne made it to the Cherveaux home in four hours without getting pulled over for speeding half the time. She breathed a sigh and turned the engine off and opened the door to find the rain had stopped. She barely gave it a second thought and hurried up to the front door. The glass window glinted in the moonlight as she pounded on the door. She pulled her watch out, checking the time. Four fifteen in the morning. Sighing, she pounded again. Come on! Someone wake up and answer the door! She heard footsteps approaching on the other side and Mr. Cherveaux opened the door. He stepped back in surprise.
“Adrienne? What are you doing here? Where are Matthew and Emilie and the girls?”
Adrienne sighed. “May I come in?”
Mr. Cherveaux stepped back, out of the way.
“Yes, sure, come in.”
He looked confused as he led her into the large, but comfortable family room. Adrienne sat down, but then stood up and walked flustered around the room. Mr. Cherveaux looked at her, confusedly, .
“Are you alright, Adrienne?”
“Could you get Mrs. Cherveaux, please? I might as well get it over with.”
He nodded as he headed out of the room and upstairs to get his wife. They were back in a few moments; there was a worried look on Mrs. Cherveaux’s face.
“Is everything alright Adrienne? Where’s Emilie?”
Adrienne sighed and fumbled with her hair. “It’s all three of them, Mrs. Cherveaux, not just Emilie.”
Mr. Cherveaux stood up. “What happened?”
“Well, they went on a hike. Matthew said it was perfectly alright if they went by themselves; so they did. But we didn’t really think about it until I realized it was four o’clock so we set off to look for them.” Adrienne sighed and sat down on a flowered couch. “Finally Matthew sent me home though, I know he- I mean I didn’t want to go. So he went on and I came home.”
Mrs. Cherveaux stood up and paced the room, then she turned to Adrienne.
“So you’re telling me they are lost???”
“Yes, I’m sorry Mrs. Cherveaux.” Adrienne’s face was so very pale, almost as pale as death.
Mr. Cherveaux patted his wife gently on her shoulder. “But I trusted you! I told you to take care of her! Of them! Adrienne, you said you could do it!” Mrs. Cherveaux yelled at her.
Adrienne gasped. “But!”
“How dare you! Leave this house at once!” Mrs. Cherveaux’s voice trembled with remorse, sadness, and anger. Mr. Cherveaux tried to calm his wife down, but she wouldn’t let him.
“Go Adrienne Lesching!”
Adrienne was breathing heavily and excitedly, she had never seen Mrs. Cherveaux like this before. Adrienne hurried out of the house as fast as possible. She ran down the sidewalk.
Adrienne stopped and turned around and saw Aden standing in the doorway.
“Don’t worry, my mom doesn’t mean what she said. Honest.” Adrienne shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s fine, I deserved it.” She turned and walked off down the street.