Amy pushed her way out of the tent, leaving Peter asleep inside. The sun had yet to crest the distant mountains, but the glow said it was not far off. Julie sat asleep, back against the side of one of the carts, the fire nearly dead before her. Amy picked up one of the small logs and poked at the embers before tossing on a few of the pieces of wood they had collected the night before.
The crackling of the fire as it spread to devour the wood woke Julie with a start. “Huh? Wha- Oh.”
She managed before she realized where she was. “Sorry, I must’ve fallen asleep.”
Amy dismissed the first comment that came to mind, realizing it would not do anyone any good, and said, instead, “No biggie.”
“So, how’d it go?” Julie asked, indicating the tent with a nod.
“Go? I don’t know what happened out there yesterday, but it spooked him. He spent most of the night tossing and turning.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be, it’s a start. How’d you and…” Amy stopped and thought for a minute, “You know, we’ve been together for nearly half a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever asked you your husbands name.”
“Darrell. It’s Darrell.”
“Ok, how’d you and Darrell meet?”
“It’s kind of sappy.”
“I think I could use sappy about now.”
“Okay, I was working in a coffee shop back in college and he came in one day and caught my eye. I couldn’t say a word to him, I was so nervous. I made him his drink and in trying to hand it to him, spilled it all over his coat. Luckily it didn’t go through to his skin. Well, I offered to pay for to get the jacket cleaned if he brought me the bill. He came back the next day, handed me the bill and then said ‘Care to try this again?’”
“That’s sweet. You think he’s still out there?”
“Oh, I know he is. He fell one day at work and broke his arm, and I knew it the whole day, I knew something was wrong with him. I’ve not once got that feeling. We’ll find him.”
“Find who?” Peter yawned, coming out of the tent.
Peter came up behind Amy and put his arms around her. She winked at Julie, who smiled back.
“So ladies, what’s for breakfast?”
Julie stuck her tongue out at Peter, causing Amy to laugh. “Now I see where Kyle gets it from.”
They sat in silence, watching as the sun finally broke the plain of the horizon.
“So,” Julie said, “How far do you think we’ll get today?”
“I think we can easily make it into New Mexico. I don’t think we’re that far.”
Peter’s suspicions held to be true, and after everyone was up and fed, they broke camp, passing by a sign that said ‘Welcome to New Mexico', long before anyone had begun to complain about lunch. A small round of cheers went up as they passed the sign, and then a second round as Rocky chose then to need a bathroom break, and with not a tree around, he chose to use the sign on the other side that informed people that they were ‘Now entering the great state of Texas.’
They made it another two miles before they broke for lunch. Peter spent most of the meal scanning every direction for some sign that they were being followed.
“Do you see anything?” Zach asked, coming to stand beside him.
“So how’d last night go?”
Peter ignored the question and continued to peer through the binoculars. He pushed the binoculars into Zach’s chest, “Your turn,” And then grabbed a piece of beef jerky and a handful of granola.
Amy came up to him, “Calm down, ok?” She said, briefly hugging him.
“Yeah,” Peter responded. “I’m just tired.”
“I can tell, you want to talk about it?”
“Nah,” Peter said, and then followed it by apologizing to Zach. “Sorry, man.”
“Yeah.” Zach surveyed the distance through through the binoculars.
“You see anything?” Peter asked, trying to take his mind off of the laugh that was still echoing in his head
“No, it looks like it’s leveling off too. No more hills for a while it would seem.”
Brian cheered, sheepishly looking at everyone else when they did not join in. This brought a laugh from everyone including Brian.
“Ok, come on let’s clean up and be on our way.”
It was nearing dusk when they finally stopped again. Peter once again shared a tent with Amy, but this time, they both took guard duty, opposite each other with Amy starting.
“There’s something on his mind, and he won’t tell me what,” Amy told Zach, who had been unable to sleep.
“You think it has anything to do with the two of you?”
“No.” She replied.
“Get some sleep man, one of us will need to be awake and alert tomorrow.”
“Ok, night.” Zach said and joined Brian.
Once Peter was sure that Zach was asleep, he pulled back the tent flap.
“Hey, you’re supposed to be sleeping.” Amy told him.
“I know, but I’ve been thinking.” He stood up and approached her. “I want you to hold on to this for me,” he took her hand and deposited something small and cold into it, pulling her to him and kissing her. “Night.”
“Night,” Amy said, and it wasn’t until the tent was zipped again that Amy looked at what was in her hand. Smiling, she placed Peter’s obol with hers in the small coin purse she had found weeks ago while still at Zach’s parents place.