After eating, Matt turned to Clare. "Can I talk to you a moment?" he asked disregarding the other two.
Clare feeling uncomfortable looked at the others who meekly looked back at them. She swallowed her dry cracker. "What's this about?"
"You'll know soon enough!" he answered with a warm smile and rose.
She blinked. "Then talk!"
"In private, please? I won't bite," he excused himself. "I'll wait for you out on the porch."
Dusting the crumbs from her jacket, Clare shut the heavy log door behind her and stepped out onto the porch. "Don't tell me you want to kiss me again. It's a bit odd, saying that so casually to a girl, Matt," she timidly laughed, straightening next to him on the porch. "What's this about anyway?"
"Why were you adamant I talk to Jack?" he asked, leaning on the wooden banister, looking contently at the blanketed sky.
"I already told you."
He leaned back on the fence, facing her. "You want me to convince Jack to leave. You want me to talk to him and get him to agree to us leaving this cottage when he's already voiced his strong opinion against it. Why? That's all I want to know."
She didn't speak for a while and stared straight ahead as if still absorbing his question.
"Are you okay?"
She nodded. "It's just ... you'll probably think I'm selfish but I can't help it, Matt," she faced him. "You and Brandon think that within a day or so we'll find help, but what you think doesn't really matter." Shrugging her shoulders she continued, "You can't go because of your ankle and I'm scared, I'm actually scared that I might have to go. I'm tired of feeling scared. I'm tired of being hungry and cold," she said. "I'm just tired."
Matt stared at her, shocked and unsure as to how he should react.
"I'm scared that if I have to go, I won't be able to step out that door, knowing that I'm leaving whatever safety this cabin's provided. I'll be leaving that security, and I don't know if I'm strong enough to go ahead," Clare muttered.
She waited for him to say something but Matt remained quiet. "And, I don't want to go without you... two."
"Who knows what will happen tomorrow. It might be that we may never meet again and I don't know if I can do that... leave here with such a thought," she looked up to meet his glance. "Besides, I'll miss your talks."
"What about the others. I'm sure they talk too."
She shrugged her shoulders. "It's not the same. If I get frustrated, angry or scared in front of Jack, I'll end up freaking him out. Brandon, I don't know... something about him being so calm unnerves me." She had begun to cry and was completely embarrassed.
She wiped away her tears. "Look at me, I'm crying in front of you. That's something I'm beginning to prize," with that she collapsed into his chest unable to stop the flooding tears.
"Clare, you've cried before too," Matt's voice soothed her.
"I'm a horrible person," her voice drifted up from below his chin.
"No, you're not."
"Yes, I am," she hiccupped and Matt pulled her into an embrace, "because I want Jack to go so I can stay here and be safe. I'm selfish, Matt, my dad was right."
Matt stroked her hair ever so lightly with his gloved hands. "Hey, look at me," he commanded gently. When she looked up, he wiped away the tears. "You're not selfish, you're only scared and that's perfectly understandable. You... we have good reasons," he told her, brushing away loose dark strands of hair from her wet cheeks. "It's normal to feel anxious about leaving this cabin."
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...