Cherry: Chapter 4

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"What happened to you last night?" Phil leaned across the picnic table as Cherry grabbed the thermos. "I waited outside your cabin for almost an hour."

Cherry perked up. "Oh yeah? Why, you wanted to fuck me?"

"Cherry, would you stop saying things like that?" He lowered his voice. "Your mother could walk out of her cabin at any moment."

"Where's Daddy?"

"Went to buy firewood. Apparently we'll be cooking dinner on the open flames."

"Of course we will. How else would we do it?"

"Say, indoors, on a stove...?" Phil shook his head. "Wait, you never answered me: where did you go last night?"

"What are you, my father?" Cherry spooned instant coffee and powdered creamer into a tin mug, and then poured in hot water from the thermos. "I told you already: I went to the public wash station to take a shower."

"And that takes over an hour?"

"It does when you meet a pair of soapy drunk girls and get them to—"

"We've got instant oatmeal for breakfast," Mom called from the main cabin. "I've got the electric kettle on the boil."

Phil smacked his fist against the picnic table, obviously pissed off by the interruption. He overcompensating, saying, "Great! That's just marvellous, Sylvie. Thanks for your hospitality."

Cherry smirked around the lip of her coffee cup.

"Maple and Brown Sugar, Apple Cinnamon, or plain?"

"Surprise me," Phil replied.

"I'll have Maple, Mommy." Cherry got up and handed the almost-empty thermos to her mother. "When are we starting our hike?"

"Two hours ago."

"Aww, you and Daddy went without me?"

Her mother tilted her head and grinned. "No, we'd never do that, sweetie."

"Have you packed the gorp yet?"

"No, we left that for you. All the ingredients are here in the cabin."

"Want to help me, Mommy?"

Cherry knew she was torturing Phil by mentioning the soapy drunk girls, and then totally ignoring him. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him writhing in his seat. He was probably hard just imagining what she'd done in the shower.

He'd be even harder when she told him.

But that would have to wait, because Mom brought out the oatmeal in their special metal camping bowls, and dominated the conversation as they ate.

"What exactly is gorp?" Phil asked when Mom brought out the ingredients.

Mom chuckled. "Just a funny name for trail mix."

"Stands for 'good old raisins and peanuts,' but we put in a lot more than that. We put in cereal, dried fruit, all kinds of stuff. I like gummy worms in mine, but you can choose your own adventure." Cherry pulled out four Ziplock bags, ready to begin.

Phil waved the bag away. "Oh, I don't think I'll be needing one."

"You'll change your tune once you've been hiking for two hours."

"Two hours?" The way he reacted, it was like she'd said two months. "Oh, I think I'll hang back if it's all the same to you."

Cherry wanted to stamp her feet and whine, "No, you have to come!" but she held off, playing it cool. If Phil started thinking she didn't care about him, he'd just want her more. Begging and pleading hadn't done a lot of good yesterday. Today she'd try a new tack.

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