Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chapter Two

"What is going on?" Dawn mumbled as she sat up rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "It's cold in here."

"How do I put this delicately?" Claudia said as she grinned into the mirror. "Kristy just saw a ghost."

"I sure hope I'm not a ghost." Scott spouted indigently above the wind. "I am too cold to be a ghost."

"Can we get a ride?" Austin asked. He had walked over to the jeep to see what was keeping Scott. "Claudia! Is that you?"

"What is going on?" Liam asked coming up to the window to see what everything was about. Seeing Dawn he smiled.

"That is what I want to know," Dawn said to Claudia. "Why don't we discuss this with the window shut? I will say it again. It is getting cold in here."

"Good idea." Kristy said as she opened the door.

Somehow all three boys managed to squeeze through the door and settle into seats. After some organized chaos, Austin was in the passenger seat across from Claudia, Scott and Kristy in the middle seat, and Liam and Dawn sharing the back seat with almost all of the baggage between them.

"Does somebody have the map?" Claudia asked as soon as the commotion had died down. "I still don't know where to turn to get to the lodge."

"I don't know, I thought it was on the floor." Kristy answered and turned around to look at Dawn.

"Don't look at me," Dawn answered her look. "Look at the floor."

"Is this it?" Austin asked after some looking. He was holding up a wrinkled and torn map.

"Kristy!" Claudia moaned in despair. "Now we have no chance of getting there or back."

"Hey, should we help them out?" Scott asked Austin with a teasing wink.

"Sure, why not," Austin threw his bag to Scott. "We would only be saving their lives, again."

"Like you have a choice," Kristy said as she poked Scott in the ribs with her elbow. "If you don't tell us, I will make you."

Scott threw the bag over his shoulder so that he could get at Kristy. It landed in Liam's face.

"Take the first left after the shack in the left side of the road." Liam volunteered after pulling the bag out of his face. "Hurry up and drive so Scott can't throw any more things at me."

Scott couldn't answer because he was laughing too hard.


An hour later the car was quiet. Claudia had asked Austin to drive because she was having a hard time seeing. Now they were talking about dreams, Claudia's dream in particular. Scott and Kristy were very interested. All of them seemed to be enjoying them.

Dawn and Liam were another matter. Dawn was so tired she had fallen asleep almost as soon as it had gotten quieter. Liam had his nose in a book. At least it looked like he did. Really he was having a major conflict between his head and his heart. His heart said that he should sweep Dawn off her feet and ask her to go out with him, again. His head said that it had been too long. Sure, she had promised to always love him, but that was six years ago and they hadn't seen each other since.

"Liam you really need a haircut," Dawn was leaning on the baggage that separated them and looking up at him with her large eyes. When he turned, she smiled at his surprised look.

Speechless, Liam didn't know what to say or do. Suddenly he leaned over and kissed her.

"He's doing it again," Austin announced from the front seat, he had been watching them from the front mirror.

"Who's doing what?" Claudia asked. She was surprised because he had cut her off mid-sentence.

"Liam's getting ahead again," Scott explained as he leaned toward Kristy as they rounded a curve.

Liam drew back and hid his face behind his book. But, he turned it so he could see Dawn. She smiled at him but looked a little disturbed.

After a few minutes they arrived at the inn.


The building was small next to the mountain behind it. Built out of logs and bricks the main lodge was low and rambling. There were at least five cabins and none of them looked used.

"It looks warm," Scott commented hopefully as he helped Kristy out of the jeep.

"In this weather anything looks warm," Austin answered. Swinging out the luggage they each took some and headed toward the building.

The door was answered by a rather large man. He said his name was Thomas. After ushering them in he started to pepper them with questions.

"So what brings you folks up here in such terrible weather?"

"Scott, Liam and I were mountain climbing," Austin answered as he started to untangle the bags.

"The girls gave us a ride," Scott explained.

A plump woman entered and Thomas introduced her as his wife Maddline. After the introductions were handed around, she whispered something in her husband's ear.

"We have a slight problem with rooms," the man said as he scratched his head. "You see we weren't expecting visitors in such a storm and well, I have only one bedroom with heating."

"Great," Liam frowned at nobody in particular.

"Couldn't some of us sleep in the lobby?" Dawn asked Thomas.

"Sure, but the floor is awfully cold and hard," Thomas said looking doubtful. "I guess we could keep the fire going all night."

"The girls can have the room," Austin said, "We were going to end up on the ground anyway."

"Fine," Maddline said cheerfully, "You girls come with me and I will show you the room."

"Lead the way," Claudia replied as she shouldered her three bags.


Maddline led them to a small room with two single beds and one dresser. After making sure they had everything they needed, she left them to their unpacking.

"What do you think?" Claudia asked as she unzipped her suitcase.

"I think that Austin likes you even more than before," Kristy answered as she swung her suitcase onto the bed. "What do you think?"

"I think Scott is in love again," Claudia said. "I get the bed next to the door."

"What are you going to do?" Kristy laughed. "Sneak out to talk to Austin after curfew?"

"Well, Dawn what do you think of Liam?"

Dawn looked up from her duffle bag. "I think he hasn't been taking care of himself."

"You mean his need of a haircut?" Kristy smiled. "You and your hair business."

"It isn't just that," Dawn answered, "It seems that he has lost weight, not just him, but Austin, too."

"What about Scott?" Kristy asked as she tried to shove her clothes into her drawer of the dresser.

"He looks like he hasn't had a vacation since we left."

"Dawn," Claudia said softly, "I think I am in love again."

"Just great," Dawn threw up her hands in despair, "We get a full-blown case of love sickness on only the second day of our trip. Now, I will have to listen to you two moan and help you get their attention."

"Just one minute," Kristy exclaimed, "And you don't have a touch of this virus?"

"’Fess up, Dawn," Claudia said.

For an answer, Dawn, signed something with an indecisive look on her face.

Claudia grabbed her hands and said, "Oh no, you don't. No speaking in hands."

"Guilty as charged," Dawn answered, "What is my sentence?"

"She has to teach Liam sign language," Kristy said, "So someone knows what she is talking about all the time."

Just then there was a knock on the door. "Come in," Claudia called, letting Dawn go. It was Liam who had come to tell them supper was ready.


After a delightful dinner, they gathered in the parlor to talk. Dawn stood by the window silently watching the storm. Claudia and Austin sat on the couch. Kristy sat on the rug in front of the hearth. Scott took the rocking chair. Liam took the overstuffed chair in the corner.

"So what have you girls been doing since we last saw you?" Austin asked leaning back.

"Yeah," Scott turned to Kristy, "I was wondering if you had finished school yet."

"Not yet, I finish college this spring."

"Then why are you guys up here during the school year," Austin asked.

"A friend of mine got two free vacations and gave one to me." Claudia explained. "Of course, I couldn't go by myself. So, I went and dragged Kristy out for Thanksgiving vacation and rescued Dawn from about ten dozen kids and dragged them up with me."

"Sounds like you had your hands full," Liam said to Dawn as he moved toward the window.

"Yes," she answered, "They are a rowdy bunch in their own way."

"What age groups?"

"Oh, quite a few different ages," Dawn answered still looking out at the storm. "They are all deaf but are great to work with."

"So you use sign language?" Liam asked. Dawn nodded and looked down at her hands. "You’re nervous, aren't you Dawn?"

"Excuse me," she said and slipped into the dining room. Puzzled Liam returned to his chair to think things over.

Scott looked at Kristy and asked, "How long has Dawn been so withdrawn?"

"I don't know," Kristy said looking thoughtful, "I remember her not talking as much after she moved."

"I think we should get them back together again," Austin said. "Liam needs something, and I think that Dawn needs a boyfriend. They would be able to help each other. What do you think?"

"I think that it is a great idea," Claudia agreed. "But how?"

"Well," Scott began.

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