Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chapter Three

"This is going to be so easy," Austin whispered to Claudia at the breakfast table the next morning. "Look at Liam, he follows her every move."

Claudia just smiled as she watched Dawn out of the corner of her eye. "Kristy and I were trying to talk her into teaching Liam sign language. Do you think he would be interested?"

"Sure, I think that is a great idea," Austin whispered back. "We get Dawn to teach him and then they get to be alone. Besides that gives us time for ourselves."

"It's not like we are going anywhere in this snow," Claudia smiled and bit into her roll.

"Yeah, God has perfect timing," Austin said as he looked out the window. The snow was still coming down but, not as thick as it had been the night before. About two feet were on the ground already.

After everyone was done eating, Thomas cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. Once he was sure he had it he said, "I am very sorry that I have to ask this of you, but would you mind helping us with a little problem? You see our plow is in the garage by the side of the house. In order to get to it, we have to shovel from the front porch and then shovel around the door so we can get it out."

"You don't need to say any more," Scott interrupted jumping up from the table. "Just point me to a shovel."

"We will all help," Claudia said. "With all of us shoveling it will take hardly any time at all."

Everyone rushed to get their coats, hats, and gloves. In about ten minutes, they were all outside shoveling away. In about one hour, they reached the garage.

Dawn was so glad that they were almost done that she missed with one of her loads and hit Kristy with it. Kristy didn't even waste a minute. Swinging around she threw a snowball at Dawn, who ducked so the snowball hit Scott smack in the face. Laughing Dawn tackled Kristy with another snowball that went wide and hit Liam and sending his hat flying. Before long it was a free-for-all. When Thomas came out, Claudia was trying to shove a snowball down Austin's coat while he was trying to tackle Scott. Kristy was chasing the whole group waving a shovel full of snow trying to stop Austin from getting Scott. Dawn was running off with Liam's hat, with Liam, hatless and his hair covered in snow, right behind her. Taking a sharp turn, she took off running as fast as she could around the garage. Liam headed around the other side to catch her.

"I came out to tell you lunch is ready," Thomas yelled so he could be heard over the yelling. "But if you are too busy we can just wait."

Scott stopped suddenly, as if a wall of cement had appeared out of nowhere in front of him, this gave Austin a chance to tackle him, which is just what he did, driving both of them into the snow bank. Kristy and Claudia were not far behind. Claudia ended up in Austin's lap and her snowball in his face. Kristy did an unintentional flying leap over Scott's head. She landed on her back on a cushion of snow staring up at the sky.

"We will be inside in a minute," Austin said after spitting snow out of his mouth. Turning to Claudia, he looked into her eyes and said, "You owe me one." With that he helped her up and then they headed into the lodge.

Scott crawled over to where Kristy still lay in the snow. "Are you ready for lunch?"

"Sure," she said offering him her hand. "Would you mind helping me up?"


When Dawn headed around the barn she only got halfway around when Liam caught her, she ran straight into his arms almost knocking him over into the snow.

"Where is my hat?" he asked as she tried to get away from him.

"You can't have it," she said laughing as she pushed at his chest. "Please let me go."

"Not until you give me my hat," he replied, "Or. . . ."

"Or what?" she stopped struggling and looked up, suddenly serious, straight into his eyes.

"You tell me why you are avoiding me." He moved one of his hands to touch her hair. "I love you, Dawn. I always have, ever since I woke up in your arms. At the time my shoulder hurt but I didn't care. I understand if you don't love me, but why are you avoiding me? You're crying! Am I hurting you?" He loosened his arms slightly as he looked at her a bit concerned.

She shook her head as best she could with it buried in the front of his coat. Silently she shoved his hat into his hand. "It isn't your fault," she whispered, "It is just me." Tears came again as she thought about it. Turning away she ran toward the back door to the lodge and disappeared inside.

Liam just stood there in the snow for a while, staring at his hat and thinking.


"This isn't going too well," Scott said to Austin, Kristy, and Claudia as they all sat in the lobby after lunch. "Dawn came in crying before lunch and wouldn't eat a bite. Then Liam comes in after lunch, mopes about stealing glances at Dawn, and then leaves to sit by the fire with a book."

"I don't know what happened out there but it didn't help their relationship much," Austin said leaning back to put his arm around Claudia.

"Maybe we should try a different plan," Kristy suggested as she perched on the arm of the couch.

"But we don't have a different plan," Scott said, "Anyone have suggestions?"

It was silent for about a minute before Austin spoke up. "I have an idea."

After about a half hour of frenzied planning they scattered to all parts of the lodge to set their plan in motion. The deadline was the next night.


Dawn sat on her bed on the floor of the room, which she was sharing with Claudia and Kristy, with her Bible in her lap. She was so confused and frustrated. Things had gotten so complicated since she had left home three days ago. She had been caught in a blizzard, met up with her old sweetheart, and fallen in love all over again. True, she loved Liam, but she loved God more and He said that she cannot date and with the prospect of marrying an unbeliever.

She knew Liam to be a moral person but that alone wasn't enough. She had suddenly realized, in the talk behind the barn, that Liam did not have a clue why she was not as willing to carry on where they had left off.

Realizing she was going to have to tell him what was scaring her. She knew she had to face him, but she was afraid. Part of her was scared he was going to try to talk her into going on with their relationship, and part was scared that he wasn't going to try.

"Please, Father, give me strength and wisdom to do your will in this," she prayed before getting up to go to dinner. "And, Father, help Kristy and Claudia too."


At breakfast it was obvious something was a miss. Claudia and Austin kept stealing glances at each other and smiling to themselves. Scott and Kristy were constantly whispering about this and that. Liam had brought a book to the table so he could watch Dawn around it. Dawn was deep in her own thoughts.

Thomas helped Maddline clean up the breakfast; so, he could ask her what she thought. "The tension in that room was so thick I could hardly see," he commented. "What I can't believe is that Liam and Dawn are still completely clueless."

"I think that Liam is sweet. Did you see the way he watched her every move?" Maddline said as she dried the last dish. "He worships the ground she walks on."

"True," Thomas agreed, "I don't know what is wrong with that girl." He shook his head as went out.


Lunch was a silent affair. The only words were, "Please pass the butter," "May I have the gravy," and "Thank you."

But after lunch, the girls took Dawn back to their room. Austin took Liam to the garage for some reason or another. Scott tracked down Thomas in the kitchen and started to explain what they were planning. Thomas was only too happy to help. Maddline soon was cooking away again.

Five hours later, it was all ready. Dawn was standing outside the door of the dining room in Claudia's best dress. "Listen Dawn this is how it is going to go," Claudia explained, "I am going to blindfold you and lead you into the dining room. We are going to seat you in a chair and leave you. You cannot make a sound until we tell you to. OK?"

"Ok, but why what is this all about?" Dawn asked.

"You will find out when you take your blind fold off." This was all that she could say before Kristy popped her head around the corner.

"Ready," she said and then disappeared.

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