Stranded Ch. 03byRabbitrunner91©
Kathy had become the unofficial cook. I only knew how to make pancakes and they weren't very good. Kathy was cooking tortillas, some plain cookies, and had tried a non-rising cake.
Late one afternoon I came in from shoveling our path and sat to remove the snow from my clothes. Kathy was busy preparing a meal and I sat, watching. I started to hum the tune and she looked at me with a raised eyebrow. Then she said two words which gave me pause. "Do you?"
When I didn't answer, she added. "Sing the words, please Peter."
As I still didn't say anything, she pleaded, "Peter, sing them for me. Just for me?"
Not knowing what else to do, I sang the second verse with a cracked voice.
Sometimes in the evening when you do not see I study the small things you do constantly I memorize moments that I'm fondest of My cup runneth over with love
"So, do you?" again she asked.
Still not replying, she intoned, "I'll wait for your answer. I'm patient."
Changing the subject I talked about the snow, the cold, and the weather. As I look back on this, I believe she knew I'd changed the subject. She simply went along with my conversation. I stepped over to the stove, stooping down to warm my hands and she stepped behind me and began to rub my shoulders to loosen the tension in my back from shoveling snow. She chatted for a while before returning to finish the meal. We quietly ate and I complimented her cooking. She smiled, saying 'thank you'.
Afterwards and we'd cleaned up, she began to sing. It was one of those simple child songs she'd learned but the tune was pleasant. Bowing before her I asked, "May I have this dance?" I didn't expect her to accept, but she did. We cleared a space on the floor, I took her in my arms and we did a slow dance as she hummed one of her tunes. She changed tunes with a faster one and we speeded up the pace. I enjoyed this, she was fun. When she stopped, we stood in the middle of the room, holding each other. I reached up and stroked her hair as she placed her head on my shoulder. She held me tight like she'd never let go, I wasn't complaining.
"So do you?" she asked.
"Maybe I do."
She just giggled and snuggled closer.
That night as we lay together on the cot she stole a kiss from me and asked, "Am I pretty to you now?"
I was thinking of how to answer her when she poked me in the stomach, "Peter, am I pretty to you now?"
Teasing her I answered, "You dress like a lumberjack…"
I'd been planning to add 'I thought she was pretty anyway', but she took to tickling me. Mind you, I'm very ticklish and before long we were both rolling and twisting and turning on the cot. Eventually I was able to grab both of her wrists and hold her. She stopped and looked me in the face. Man, she looked beautiful right then, and I quickly kissed her. I wasn't thinking and she broke out of my holds to tickle me unmercifully. I was laughing so hard and she wouldn't stop. "Answer my question? Do you or don't you? Do you love me or not?"
"Come on, give me an answer. I won't stop till you tell me." Her hands were constantly moving and I was laughing so much that I could not stop her.
Finally I gasped "Yes, yes I do."
She stopped and asked, "You do what?"
Still trying to catch my breath, I didn't answer right away. Sooo, she began tickling again. "You do what? Tell me, you do what?"
Still being tickled and laughing uncontrollably I manage to gasp out, "I love... love..... I love you"
With that she stopped. "Tell me again, Peter."
Still trying to catch my breath I'm slow in giving an answer.
"Do you want me to tickle you some more?"
Gasping I shake my head 'no'.
"Then tell me. Give me the answer to my question."
"I ... Love ... You, you little vixen"
"Do you really mean that? Or are you just saying that so I won't tickle you more?"
I take a deep breath, "Kathy, I love you. I'm in love with you. But please don't tickle me any more." As I sigh.
She giggles then giggles some more.
"Do you think I am pretty?"
"To me you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Honest."
During the past few minutes, she had somehow ended on top of me and she is looking me directly in the face. She takes her hands holding my face; she kisses me with passion. I return her kiss and wrap my arms around her, holding her close. She lays her head on my shoulder and kisses my cheek.
"You don't want to sleep right now, do you?" I asked.
"What did you have in mind?"
She lifts her head from my shoulder and looks me in the eyes. It was a searching look and for the longest time she says nothing. I wait, suspecting what she wants, but say nothing.
"I want you to love me, to make love to me."
"What if I leave you afterwards?"
For a moment I saw fear in her eyes. Not fear of danger, but fear of being left alone. Her look turns into a look of desperation. "You said you loved me."
"Kathy, what do you want most of all?"
"To spend the rest of my life with someone, who'll care for me."
"Is that what my love offers?"
Suddenly her eyes lit up. "Yes. YES!! You said you wanted someone to spend the rest of your life with. Someone you could love with all your heart. You mean me."
For the next few minutes I had trouble breathing. She was smothering me in kisses so much, I couldn't get my breath. Every time I started to breathe, she'd plant a kiss. Finally she slowed and lay there hugging me.
"Would you give me the same love in return?" I asked
"Yes, one hundred percent. Now, would you give me what I asked?" she asked
"I want you to make love to me."
For the first time, we were intimate.
We rested for a while. "Thank you again. I needed that, I wanted that." We relaxed in each others arms.
Afterwards we moved to our usual sleeping positions, still in the nude. All of the blankets were over us and we hoped to remain warm through the night. Kathy made one change with our positions; she placed my hand over one of her breasts. When I attempted to move it, she said "I want it there."
We slept soundly, waking to a cold room. I slipped off the cot, quickly dressed, and stoked the fire. The cabin warmed slowly. Kathy was awake and got dressed; we hugged and warmly kissed. Our love for each other was in the open and we expressed freely in various ways.
Winter weather had set in with a vengeance. The stream was frozen, even the swift flowing center. Snow lay deep over the woods and most of our time was spent keeping warm. Days flowed into longer days and we lost count of them. There was additional accumulation of snow but no large storms. Usually an inch or two would fall to add to what was already on the ground. We didn't recall a time where the temperature rose above freezing. Days became weeks.
Living together for an extended time, I developed a habit which we enjoyed. Daily, she took to preparing our food, which meant spending her time in the store room and around the stove. The first time, I slipped up behind her and placed my hands on the sides of her waist. I'd move my hands around her, embrace her by cupping her breasts, and kiss her on the neck. She'd lean her head over onto my cheek and hold my face next to her shoulder. Then she'd sashay her hips in a slow motion dance. This may have been a simple caress between us, but we enjoyed it.
Spring weather, a most anticipated arrival, started with a slow warming trend. The sun would shine and the snow changed to a wet mess which clung to the bottom of our boots. The days increased in length and the stream showed life as the current began to eat at the ice cover. Day by day the snow drifts shrank and receded with icicles hanging from the cabins eves. The wood supply was dwindling and I hoped it would last.
The birds returned from their winter migration and green appeared on the trees overhead. Spring was in the air and Kathy had designs on her mind.
"Peter, what're we going to do once we can leave here?"
"I dunno. Hadn't given it much thought." Seeing a chance to tease I added, "Maybe we could get a ride and I'd drop you off at your place before heading back to my job."
Bad move for me because she had daggers spewing from her eyes. I had to grin before she realized I was joking. "Come on Peter, be serious. We need to decide what we're going to do."
"We'd be limited as I won't have a job any more, you likely won't either, neither one of us has a car, plus no place to return to and no money. What do you have in mind?"
"I want to go with you wherever."
"We couldn't go far without money or transportation. Let's think about it."
A couple days later I was down in the store room looking for a tool. As I was rummaging, I moved the plastic rolls and spied that tin box. It had been covered up so I'd forgotten about it. Curiosity piqued my interest and I attempted to open it. Locked. I grabbed a screwdriver and pried. Holy mackerel, money, lots of it. I thumbed through the stacks of bills and estimated $87,000. The man was dead, so could we claim this money or not? Not wanting to get our hopes up, I decided to keep quiet. I wanted to think this over. Closing the lid, I placed the box under the plastic and went upstairs.
I sat on the stool to think. Kathy noticed my quiet demeanor and asked, "What are you thinking about?"
"Oh, about what we will do once we leave here?" I wasn't lying but not telling the whole story either. We needed money once we got out of here. Would the cash I'd found be something we could use, honestly? My folks raised me with a strong set of values and that money was not mine; and what, if any, claim would I have on it.
This quandary raged for two days. That man had imprisoned both of us and caused Kathy serious injury, perhaps this could be considered payment. If the money belonged to the man's relatives, I had no way to identify him. Looking at both sides of the issue, I wrestled with the decision. Eventually I reasoned we should keep the cash.
"Kathy, let's go for a walk." I asked after lunch.
She was agreeable and we left the cabin. As we walked, we held hands and talked of our future. Ever so subtly I moved the conversation towards money, buying a car, getting an apartment, new clothes, etc.
We'd reached a small glade with the sun filtering through the trees. I turned towards her and held her hands. "Kathy, I want to buy you a ring."
The parade of emotions crossing her face was something to behold. First she showed happiness, next uncertainty, joy, fear, and lastly doubt.
"Peter, how can we pay for this? We don't have any money?"
"Answer my question."
"Will you marry me?"
"Please answer my question."
"Yes, I'll marry you, but ..."
I placed a finger to her lips. "No buts. Will you marry me?"
"Yes I will; forever." and she kissed me.
Now I dropped the bombshell, "We've come into some unexpected money."
"Peter, what's going on? We don't have any money." The look on her face was priceless.
"Honey, we have almost $90,000."
"No way, you're joking. Aren't you?"
"Where is it? Where did it come from?"
"The man, well, he's decided to pay us for all the trouble he caused."
The range of emotions flew across her face. Anger, hate, how was it possible, I was joking, no way.
"Honey, believe me. It's true."
The joy on her face was worth a thousand words. We continued our walk, holding hands, and she was giddy with excitement.
"So where'll we go? What'll we do?" she asked.
"Where would you LIKE to go?"
"Some place where it stays warm. Where it's not cold." she responded without hesitation.
Our walk continued, heading back to the cabin. I produced the tin box and we spent the evening counting it. The total was a little higher than I'd estimated. The final total was $91,320, a nice tidy sum. Now we had the means to start our lives together.
Our next plan would be to get out of these mountains. The weather was fickle and we were uncertain how soon we could leave.
That evening we had another romp on the cot. Sometimes she'd giggle, holding me snuggly. Always she was passionate.
"I love you so very much." I whispered in her ear. We fell asleep holding each other.
The next morning we planned our departure. Collecting clothing, we bundled them into a parcel for her to carry. My wallet which I thought lost had been discovered among the items in the store room, along with Kathy's identification. I'd be carting the food and heavy items for our travel. Our difficulty was in not knowing just how far we would need to travel or how long before finding civilization. I examined her feet and after these many weeks, they were in good shape. True, there were scars, but the flesh had healed with no visible problems; she could walk fairly well. We didn't know what her stamina would be for walking extended distances, but we're going to find out. Right now we're doing the preparations for when the weather cleared.
Four days later we woke to a beautiful morning and the decision was made. Shouldering the packs we struck out in the direction we figured to find a road. We walked for about 4 hours and stopped for lunch. Her feet were sore, but she was holding up to the rigors of the trip. Striking out after eating we continued for another 3 hours and she was showing exhaustion when we found a road. It was a dirt road but looked like it was well traveled. Kathy's spirits picked up at the thought of being rescued. We rested for a short while and then headed down the road. Luck was with us when a pickup rumbled to a stop. After explaining our situation we were given a lift to the next town.
The town was not much for size but it did have what we needed, a motel. The driver dropped us off and we rented a room. Kathy collapsed on the bed, she was completely exhausted and her feet were swollen. I made certain she was comfortable before heading out to find some real food. McDonalds may not sound like much, but to us they came from heaven. Picking up several burgers, fries, and drinks, I took them back to the room where we devoured every bite.
We were filthy; sponge baths were all we'd been able to take. A real shower or bath would be an absolute luxury. I gave Kathy first dibs and she heading towards the shower, saying only two words, "Hot water!" She spent nearly an hour, reveling in the lavishness. When my turn came I did exactly the same; lots of hot water and standing under the stream for what seemed like forever. The word 'luxury' doesn't come close to describing how we felt.
That night we were able to sleep in a real bed. We couldn't get to sleep until holding each other like we'd done for those long weeks. Still, the warmth of the room and having soft blankets was fantastic.
In the morning I checked her feet which seemed better, as the swelling had reduced. We'd several things planned for today. First we visited McDonalds and ordered everything on the menu. They must've thought we were crazy, we didn't care. Next stop, a clothing store, where we bought a complete wardrobe and lugged it back to the motel. The drug store was our next place to go where we purchased personal items.
Returning to the motel, I shaved. Then I spent an hour combing and brushing her hair. It had grown long and I liked it, so did she. We took special care and I trimmed the ends. Then she cut my hair, it was her first time and I must say, she did a good job. We were becoming civilized again.
Kathy did something that surprised me; she dressed up. Until this time I'd only viewed her in the woods and cabin. Now she was dressed for an evening out. She wore a beautiful dress which came to her knees, heels and hose and she looked stunning.
We went out for the evening and had a fabulous time. At the restaurant I caught a couple of men turning to look a second time at Kathy. Whether she was aware of their looks, I'm not certain. After eating we took a turn on the dance floor. Some were fast, others slow, but the two of us were having a ball. Twice, other men asked Kathy for a dance, but she politely declined. "This is my date for the evening," pointing towards me.
It was late when we returned to the motel. Both of us were laughing and giddy from the fun. We slipped into bed and slept soundly. The next day was to be an important one.
We woke to a cloudy and overcast sky, but for us, everything was sunny. My first plan was to buy her a ring, so after breakfast we went in search of a jeweler. We walked a while before finding one; a lady behind the counter was ready to help. Kathy shared we were looking for a wedding ring, giving the kind and style. The woman brought out a couple of trays and set them on the counter. Kathy and I looked and selected 4 for closer viewing. To be honest, I knew nothing about diamond rings and the lady probably knew that. Anyway Kathy settled on one with a very nice cluster of smaller diamonds set around a single, we had it sized, paid for it, and she walked out into the street, letting everyone know that she belonged to me.
"Well," she said, "so when do you want to plan the wedding?"
"How about right now?"
She looked at me, pause a moment, then latched onto my arm and sidled up to me. "Where can we find a JP?"
I asked a couple passersby if they knew the location of the Justice of the Peace's office. They didn't, but pointed in the direction of the judicial building, they would likely know. From there we learned the JP was around the corner. The paperwork took a while and we had to wait till the JP was available. Kathy was excited and I was nervous. It was a couple hours before we were ushered before the JP, he read through our forms, asked us some questions, which we answered, and then he signed the papers. That was the extent of our marriage but it was legal and we were formally husband and wife.
As we left the building, Kathy whispered in my ear, "Do we have a date tonight?"
"I was thinking of going to bed early. I am tired. You can join me if you want?" I joshed.
She playfully slapped my chest and then pulled me around for a kiss. "At a wedding, couples always kiss after the ceremony, and I want mine now." With that we held 'lip lock' right there on the sidewalk.
"Are you up for a little walking? We need to find some wheels." We struck off down the street in search of a used car lot. Not finding one, we asked directions and were directed to the local auto dealer, about 12 blocks away. I was concerned about her feet holding up with our walking, but I needn't have been. She was doing quite well.
Anyway, we found the lot and were shown several models by the salesman, taking a couple for a test drive. The one we selected was a fairly new one and it was far better than any either of us had ever owned. Filling out the paperwork was a bit 'hoot'. We told them we'd need the full title and tags. This wasn't the normal request as most buyers finance their car. When they asked how we'd pay, Kathy opened up her purse and began counting out the full sales price. The jaw of the salesman dropped when the full amount was placed in front of him. We drove off the lot in our newly purchased car and returned to the motel.
We hopped into bed and had the most fantastic romp ever. Resting beside me, she and I talked about our love, life together, and our future. We'd emerged from the forest, leaving behind all our past and forging ahead into a new life. Later that night, we again consummated our marriage, sharing our deepest love. Kathy and I were one.
Our lives had been drastically changed over the past several months, there were no strings attached from our former lives and we determined to start completely new. The next day, loading up our car, we headed down the road in a direction which neither of us had been before. We drove in the only direction both of us wanted to go, "south" to warmer climates. Cold weather with snow was left behind as we headed to sunny climes. Even though the remaining money was limited, it did give us a chance to choose where we wanted to go, get an apartment, and search for work. I found another sales position and Kathy worked in a department store. Perhaps not the most exciting positions to hold, but for us, we had each other.