Chapter 7 ~ We’re Almost There.
They continued the trek down the mountain. They were all incredibly tired, especially Matthew, even though the girls had slept for a reasonable time.
Emilie had gotten over her grumpiness and while they were walking she sidled over to Joy and whispered, “I’m sorry Joy.”
“I am too.” She put her arm around Emilie’s and squeezed her tightly. “I didn’t really think he would do anything to me, though I was really worried and nervous still from the shock of being lost.”
Emilie sighed. “Mhm, I was a nervous wreck, but I think I’m okay now.”
In the dark, Joy could just make out the grin on her small thin face. Katherine wandered over.
“Getting reacquainted, girls?” Katherine joked, laughing a little bit. Emilie and Joy joined in with her. Matthew looked over, shining his flashlight on them.
“Uh,” Joy looked over at Emilie who shook her head no, “just talking.”
“Matthew, can I ask you a question?”
“Um, what kind of question?”
“Uh,” Emilie glanced over at the other girls. “A very personal question.”
“I guess so.”
“How much do you like Adrienne?”
“Ahh, um, you want me to answer that, Em?”
“Uh, yes, please.”
Matthew continued walking along the faint path that you could barely see in the dark.
“Do you like her enough to marry her?” Emilie asked quietly.
“My question for you; do you like her enough for me to marry her?”
Emilie paled and sighed.
“Yes, I-I think.”
Matthew turned over to her, his face looked slightly tense.
“Are you positive?”
“Yes, Matthew, I believe so.”
A grin broke out on his face and his eyes lit up.
“Thanks Em!” Emilie couldn’t help grinning, but the light suddenly left his face.
“What if she doesn’t like me?”
The girls grinned at him and said at the same time, “Oh I wouldn’t worry about that!”
He heaved a sigh and then the grin broke out across his face again. “How do you know?”
They winked at him and said in unison, “Trust us!”
“Um, is it worth it? To trust you I mean?”
“Totally!” Katherine burst out excitedly, her grin as wide as can be. Emilie giggled and winked at the girls.
Matthew threw up his hands and exclaimed, “Okay what is it? What do you know that I don’t?”
Joy playfully punched Katherine and whispered in Emilie’s ear, “Great now he’s going to try and find out.”
“Sorry.” Emilie whispered back in Joy’s ear.
Matthew put his hands on his hips and stared at them waiting for them to say something. Katherine jumped forward.
“Um, we can’t tell! We promised!”
“Hmm, fine well I…I’ll find out sooner or later.” He winked at them and their faces instantly switched to half innocent and half worried.
“We should continue on.” Matthew said as he turned back to the trail and they continued on the long, tortuous walk.
“AHHH!!” Katherine cried out in pain as she fell to the ground. Emilie and Joy were instantly at her side.
“Are you alright?” Emilie gasped out, worried.
“I think I might have twisted my ankle,” she winced as she touched it gingerly.
Matthew knelt down, took off Katherine’s shoe and felt her foot to make sure it wasn’t broken. He sat back on his heels.
“Nothing broken,” he confirmed. “Can you walk?” he asked her patiently.
Katherine shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Matthew helped her gently up and Katherine took a small tentative step.
“Oh!” Katherine gasped in shock at the pain that shot through her foot; she fell backwards and Matthew caught her before she landed on the ground.
He sighed. “Okay.” He thought for a moment. “I guess I’ll just have to carry you, then.” He picked her up and cradled Katherine in his arms. “Shall we continue?”
“Yes the sooner we get started, the sooner we can get back the camp site.” Emilie said and they continued on down the mountain.
Adrienne was heading down the street to her house when she suddenly she changed her mind and turned around and headed back the way she had come. Her thoughts were muddled, but she was trying not to think about what had just happened in the Cherveaux’s living room. But the scene kept playing in her head.
“So you’re telling me they are lost???”
“Yes, I’m sorry Mrs. Cherveaux.”
Adrienne tried to block the scene again and again, but it wouldn’t work.
“I trusted you! I told you to take care of her! Of them! Adrienne, you said you could do it!”
“How dare you! Leave this house at once!”
Adrienne quickened her pace. If someone had looked out of their window at exactly five o’clock they would have seen a girl walking rather fast up the street and might think she was angry and determined. She was determined, but not angry. Adrienne hurried back to the Cherveaux’s house, and hopped into the car again. She turned the car up and back out of the driveway and headed back the way she had come about a half an hour ago. she opened the door and walked into the cool dark narthex of the large church. Adrienne paused for a moment to catch her breath. Please let Father be here!
She walked slowly to the door to the main part and pulled it opened. The church was still and dark not a noise could be heard. She looked at the candles; their flames licking away at the dark, making the church feel like safe haven from the dark world outside. Adrienne jumped and turned around.
She turned, nervous, and hurried back out of the church.
“What time is it?” Joy groaned from exhaustion.
Emilie flashed her light on Matthew’s wrist and stared at his watch for a few seconds. “It’s four twenty AM. Are we almost back Matthew?”
Matthew glanced around and up ahead he saw the tent peaking through the tops of the trees.
“It’s right there.” Matthew pointed up ahead. The girls, though tired, broke into a run. In the clearing they pretty much collapsed on the picnic table. Matthew followed behind them.
“You three should get some sleep it’s been a long day.” Matthew told them right away. The girls stood up slowly,
“Okay, Matthew.” Joy said as the girls headed to the tent and ducked in. They flopped down on their sleeping bags and were asleep in minutes. Matthew followed them in a minute later.
Adrienne, tired from the long day, flipped the radio on. Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” came on. Adrienne smiled, she loved this song. Adrienne sped a long the highway listening to music and thinking. She made sure she wasn’t going too fast but fast enough to get there quickly. Every once in a while she would check her speed.
The miles seemed to fly away behind her. Adrienne’s thoughts were filled with Matthew and his mother. I really hope getting them back safely will change her mind. I mean if it didn’t I wouldn’t know what to do. Her thoughts changed to Matthew. He’s so sweet and kind, he sure takes care of his sister well. She is pretty young but she is such a sweet, pretty girl.
Before she realized it she was heading up the mountain about a half hour away. She slowed down a bit as the roads got bumpier the higher she went. Soon she knew she was close by.
The sound of an engine woke Matthew up. He sat up and left the tent to see who it was. The car light’s cut through the trees as it pulled into the clearing and stopped. The driver’s side door flew open and Adrienne jumped out and hurried over.
“Where are the girls? Did you find them?” She looked worried. Matthew smiled and nodded his head.
“They are sound asleep in the tent. I was also, but when I heard the truck and came out to see what it was.”
“I’m sorry I woke you up, Matthew; I would have anyways.” Adrienne smiled and winked at Matthew. They heard a rustling from inside the tent. Katherine peeked out of the tent, stretching.
“Matthew, who are you talking too?” Matthew turned around and replied,
“I’m talking to Adrienne.” Katherine almost tripped out of the tent at Adrienne’s name. She smiled,
Katherine went back into the tent and woke Joy and Emilie up. They hurried out of the tent and back to Matthew and Adrienne. Emilie stood sleepily before Matthew and asked him,
“Can we go home?” Matthew laughed at her and replied.
“Yes we can go home as soon as we pack everything up.”
“Alright, let’s get to work!” Joy said. The girls began to take down the tent as quickly and efficiently as possible. They packed up the sleeping bags, pillows, and food.
Soon everything was packed and in the trunk of the truck. Emilie climbed into the back seat of the truck and sat down. Joy and Katherine got in and sat down on either side of her. Adrienne got into the front seat and turned off the radio since she had forgotten to do it before. Matthew walked around the clearing just to make sure that they had gotten everything in the truck. He headed back to the pickup and got into the front seat and shut the door. He took the truck out of park and circled the edge of the clearing and headed down the mountain. The car was silent for most of the ride since the girls were sleeping most of the time.
At about a half an hour away from home the girls woke up feeling excited for being home after such a long stressful day, yesterday. Emilie leaned forward and tapped Matthew on the shoulder and asked him,
“Matthew may I please have my cd from the player?” Matthew leaned forward and popped the disc out and handed it back to Emilie. She placed it in it’s case and tucked it into her purse. The three girls were almost bouncing in their seats waiting to get home. Matthew pulled onto their street; they passed the Haleys’ house and the Larks’ house. Up ahead Emilie could see her house coming into view. Only Adrienne dreaded going to the Cherveaux’s house because of that episode earlier. Matthew pulled into the driveway and parked the truck. The three girls flew out of the truck and ran for the front door.
“MOM!!! We’re home!!!!!!!” Emilie screamed out excitedly banging the door open. There came a thundering of footsteps on the stairway. Emilie was enveloped in a huge hug from her mother. Her brothers stood on the bottom step grinning. Her father smiled and said,
“You all must be tired. Why don’t you girls go into Emilie’s room and lay down. Adrienne you can have the guest room.”
“Oh that isn’t necessary.” Adrienne said quickly glancing at Mrs. Cherveaux. Mr. Cherveaux nodded,
“Yes it is.”The girls went upstairs to take a nap. They kinda just lay down on Emilie’s bed; somehow they all fit. Soon they were all fast asleep.