Clare noticed darkness ebbing away outside. She moved to the mouth of the tent and unzipped the nylon entry. Streaks of light had already crawled through the sky. She grabbed Brandon's arm and took a look at his watch. "We've been talking for hours."
"Hours?" he squinted at his wrist.
"You're an easy person to talk to, once the initial awkwardness passes; you actually listen. You ask more questions than answer." For the first time since they had started talking, she was able to see his face.
"Same goes for you," he leaned forward and rested his arms atop his folded knees. "What now?"
"I think it's time we wake them. We should be packed and ready when the sun comes up," she tied her hair up in a ponytail. "Don't tell me you're still thinking about staying put?" she asked tenderly. "We're going to need you. You seem to be the brains of this outfit."
She stretched a hand to him, which he took. He was so close to her that she could feel his breath as he exhaled. "Let's just wait to see what Jack thinks," he said turning to search out Jack's sleeping form. He absent-mindedly patted her hand once and let go.
Clare watched him lift the flap. "How are we going to travel with all those bags?"
"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?"
"But Jack could decide to join us? We need to think about it at least."
Brandon went back to peering at the snow world outside. "We'll think about that when we come to it."
"Well then, how about we wake up the two sleeping beasts?" She crawled over to the two still sleeping.
"Wake up, wake UP!" she called. Matt just flinched and Jack pushed her arm away. Annoyed, she flicked Matt's nose with her finger since he was the closest.
He woke up frightened. "What the hell?"
"Told you I'd wake you up," Clare turned to Jack and poked at his abdomen with a firm finger. "Jack, wake up now," but Jack continued to ignore her. "Fine, you leave me no choice. If you don't wake up in ten seconds I will stuff a sock up your nose."
"Ha-ha, funny, wicked witch of the west, I'd like to see you try that," from inside the bag.
She shrugged, "Okay, have it your way. It's a trick my nanny taught me, and she used to say that it can probably tranquilize an elephant." Jack stayed put, so Clare grabbed Matt's scarf.
Matt tried to help her out, "She's got something about people's noses, mine is still buzzing from that flick," He kept his voice very calm and strong, "and well yours is going to be stinking by the time she's done."
Jack stayed tucked in. Clare leaned forward, stuffing the scarf into Jack's face. Jack swung up immediately, thrashing his arms out. "God damn you, woman," he angrily huffed.
Matt laughed, "She is ruthless. I did warn you!"
"It's a scarf," she said holding it out towards him, "or do you actually think they make socks this long? One's got to be very tall for that, don't you think?"
"You're not as innocent as you look," Jack accused.
"So, sue me," she laughed.
"Come on, break it up," Brandon said calmly "however entertaining this might be, we've got other things to tackle besides Jack."
"So you decided to join us then?" Clare almost pounced on him, excited.
He nodded. "I think I might truly miss this circus otherwise."
"Yeah, you just might." Clare bit down on her lower lip, her heart suddenly skipping a beat.
Clare smiled. "Brandon's coming along for the walk."
YOU ARE READING
In Strange Company (**Complete**)Teen Fiction
Clare Peterson is rich, confident and beautiful, but even she knows money can't rescue her from her loneliness. As an unremarkable year draws to an end, she is shipped off to a ski trip in the company of strangers; her father's idea of love, but tor...