“Hi there, I’m Vikki.” She said and thrust her hand towards Gunter for an introduction. The larger man stood back a step, and slowly inched his hand forward.
“Hi…I’m Gunter” he said, and shook her tiny hand delicately. At that, he turned and began walking in the direction they were going originally. Seth leaned down to whisper to Vikki, “Gunter doesn’t talk to women, he’s shyer than a possum at noon.” She nodded her understanding.
Seth bounced her around while he caught up to Gunter, then he explained the true reason for their trip into the mountains. His answer was quick and to the point, “All right, I’m in. You’ll need help anyway. Want me to carry your pack, since you have..her.” He pointed to Vikki like Seth wouldn’t know who he was referring to.
“Again. The names Vikki.” She said, rather annoyed. Seth frowned at her harsh tone.
Gunter quickly ducked his head and she was sure he was blushing, “Yes, Ma’am. Sorry, Ma’am.”
Feeling like a total jerk for frightening him, she decided that if they were going to possibly be spending the next month together he needed to be conditioned to her. To settle all his nervousness, she thought the best way would be full immersion.
“Gunter, you know, poor Seth has been carrying me for a long time now and since your such a good, strong, friend I’m sure you wouldn’t mind taking over for a bit?” Vikki winked at Seth secretively, and he nodded. “Oh too true, she’s like a ton of bricks, here you go, lug her around for a while.” Then Seth tossed her into Gunter’s arms. “Hey!” Vikki cried in protest at his words, Seth’s only response was a quick wink.
Gunter caught her, but Vikki felt every muscle in his body freeze up. He held her a foot away from his chest and followed Seth silently down the trail, arms outstretched. This went on for about ten minutes before Vikki couldn’t stand seeing the completely strained expression he held. She didn’t think it had anything to do with her weight. Rolling towards him, she wrapped her arms around his chest and held tight. It was a little forward for her, but the silliness needed to be stopped. He called out, “Seth, come get her, she’s got me. I’m going to drop her.” Seth only looked back with a smile, knowing he would never compromise their mission.
“See, It’s not so bad. I don’t bite.” She grinned and Gunter continued to pretend she wasn’t speaking.
“So what do you do for fun?” she asked. No answer.
“Have you seen a good movie lately?” she tried once more, still nothing.
“Do you really have cookies?” she asked and he actually nodded yes.
“Can I have one?”
He attempted to reach into his jacket pocket and keep a hold of her at the same time, but was having difficulties. So she pushed his hand away and pulled the bag from his front pocket.
“May I have one?” she asked, just to be polite. He silently gave her permission. They were the best carrot spice cookies she’d ever tasted. “Oh my, these are delicious. I hope you brought more, because I’m liable to eat every one.” she joked. He smiled and his face was twice as handsome. “There you go. Smiling does you wonders.” His grin dropped and he continued to stare off into the woods. Him getting used to her wasn’t going to happen in an hour, she thought, but it was a start.
They switched off carrying her every two hours, and made it to the cabin as the sun peaked over the ridge. What took them seven hours of fast walking, Vikki figured would have taken her a week.
The cabin was a small one room shack with no indoor toilet, and no shower. The guys insisted that she have the closet sized bedroom to herself and they set up bunks on the other side of the wood stove. Immediately they both left to gather firewood and hunt down an ax. It was going to get mighty cold tonight if they didn’t prepare a fire. Being full wildlings, the two men wouldn’t feel the cold as much as she would. The only reason she didn’t freeze during the hike was because of all the body heat coming from Seth and Gunter. It was like snuggling a furnace.
She dusted and swept as well as she could with the straw broom someone had left in the corner. But there were very few surfaces to clean, only a small four person table and chair set, and a three foot kitchen counter next to the wood stove. Vikki then unpacked the food and kitchen supplies , which really were pretty meager and placed them in the two pantry cabinets hung on the wall. Someone was going to have to go hunting soon. Not her, but someone. She was raised in the suburbs, it was the least likely place to run into people in the Other community. They usually frequented the outskirts and forests. Subsequently she couldn’t hunt worth a damn and her animal instincts were dulled from lack of use. She took an embarrassingly long time to shift.
Seth came in with an armload of wood and stacked it in the corner. With a cheery tone Vikki asked, “Want any help with the wood carrying?” He stopped on his way back outside, “Yeah, Vikki..uh..I don’t think it would be the best idea for you to go outside just yet. People in the area might be coming around to check and see what we’re up to. I don’t want them seeing you. In a week or two, it should be safe. Okay? Maybe you could whip us up some sandwiches? I mean, what else have you got to do, right?”
Gunter walked in the door with his bundle of wood. She answered Seth with a fixed calmness. “I see. Fine. That’s fine.”
He saw her face and knew that when a woman said “fine” twice in one breath you left if you were able, so he immediately spun on his heel and went right back outside.
Seth took her words at face value, “Great, so glad you understand. I would like a meat and cheese sandwich and..” he hollered out the door to Gunter, “hey man what kind of sandwich do you want Vikki to make you?”
Gunter answered with a loud, “No thank you.”
“Get out you clueless boy. You’ll eat what I make for you!” She then shoved him to the door, red faced and ready to smash something. She settled for slamming the thin wood door in his face. Seth stood for a moment in disbelief, not having a clue when the conversation had gone awry. He was even more puzzled when Vikki opened the door again and in a sweet voice said, “Gunter, you need to eat, I’m making you a sandwich too.” He nodded, “Yes Ma’am.” and she slammed the door once more.
Seth looked to Gunter, he only shrugged his shoulders and continued cutting wood.
More to come…….