EverettMature

          I felt the blood drain from my face. "What?" I said, worried I'd somehow acted out the dreams I'd been having last night in some way. I dreamed we were in a cave off the shore of a beach I'd been to once, and she was wearing that bikini from yesterday. The rest was hopefully inconsequential.

          I watched her face. She was thinking about whether to torture me or just tell me. I stayed silent, hoping she wouldn't choose torture.

           She rolled her eyes. "You just hugged me when I got back in and wouldn't let go. You muttered a few things, but I don't know what beak knee or cave guy means to you. Must've been some weird dreams you were having. I tried to extricate myself, but you weren't making it easy and I fell asleep."

          I swallowed a sigh and stretched. "If you want to sleep in, be my guest," I said, turning to get up. She pulled me back, surprising me, and I grabbed for the comforter.

          "Not without my space heater. Mornings are getting cold now, please stay, just for a bit. I didn't like it at first, but now it's really comfortable having a gangly chimp suffocate me."

          Of course staying in bed with her was infinitely preferable to stumbling down the stairs, making coffee, taking care of the animals, and everything else, so I gave in and she grabbed the remote, turning the DVD player and tv on. I watched with trepidation as the menu came up and sighed with relief when I saw it was just Big Bang Theory, the least annoying of her comedies.

          We settled back into the pillows, and I used the arm that wasn't wrapped around her to pull the blankets up. Her head was resting on my chest, she even had one leg thrown over one of mine. Her wild hair was tossed behind her, a light floral scent hovering amid the curls. It felt so nice, holding her, keeping her warm. I looked down at her, her eyelashes and nose most of my view of her face from this angle, til she looked up and smiled, and I couldn't resist.

           I kissed her, and I know it was stupid, if at the very least because of our current location. I shouldn't be forging a romantic relationship with her; neither of us bought into the 'procreate to continue humanity' BS. Even if we had kids, we wouldn't want them procreating with each other or ourselves. Better to just let the race go. We didn't exactly do much good for the world, anyway.

           The kiss deepened and I held her tighter, turning us onto our sides. I slid one hand into her soft hair, stroking her cheek with my thumb. She pressed herself against me and I stopped using my brain for anything resembling common sense. I pushed her even closer to me, one hand on the small of her back, and she sighed, her face pulling away from mine to catch her breath for a moment.

          Our eyes locked and then I moved my lips to her neck and she froze, her arms locking around me like a vise as I kissed her. I may have made a poor decision, but I just couldn't bring myself to regret it.

          Kai barked at the door a while later and I got up to let him in. He and Mav were finally friendly with each other, so we didn't have to segregate them like we used to. He bounded onto the bed to say hello to Genevieve and I headed downstairs, calling him out to go relieve himself before he had an accident in the house.

          I heard her making breakfast in the kitchen through the open window while I took care of the animals. By the time I finished and came inside, there was hot coffee and a huge omelette and some toast on a plate for me across from her at the table.

          "Thank you," I said, realizing I was starving.

          "No, thank you," she said with a smirk over the mug in her hands.

          I didn't know how to respond so I just shook my head and dug in, enjoying the best omelette of my life. I helped her clean up once we were finished and then we went up to my bedroom. She wanted to figure out how we could travel with the animals so we sat down, I tossed her the notebook and pen, and we started throwing out ideas.

          "What if we just find a really nice RV, hitch a horse trailer to it, and set it up for them. We can build a coop into the back of it for the chickens, and the goat and pig get along great, so they can have the rest of the trailer. We'll mark out the places we plan on stopping so they'll have plenty of time to run about. This way we don't have to come back to the house every week. We could do a spiral patterned search instead of a star shaped one, then we can drive to another point, set up a base, and make a spiral from there. We can sray paint general directions on big road signs and leave up a few poster boards in the towns we pass in places we know people are most likely to go often, like hell holes." Hell holes was her personal name for Walmarts.

          "I think it would be okay if we did most of the traveling at night, set up the animals where we plan on staying for the next few days,  and then searched the neighboring towns in whatever car we find," I suggested.

          She frowned. "I don't think we were exactly on the same page, but I get what you're saying and I like it better than what I was thinking. We should make the coop for the trailer detachable and in pieces that way we can move it easily. It would suck having to build them a little coop every time we stopped for a few days."

          "We wouldn't even have to move it out of the trailer, though, we could just park it in a yard and leave the ramp down so they have a way in and out."

          "I think we should set up a few of the houses across the street for guests. We can put our address, and explain that anyone who sees the sign is welcome to head down and stay in one of the nearby houses we've fixed up until we head back and can meet."

          "That's a really good idea," I said, surprised. "I never would've thought of that."

          "And I never would've thought that the chickens could just walk up and down a ramp," she said, laughing. "I overthink things too much."

          We finished discussing a few details and then wrote out the plan step by step. Now that things felt less tense between us, I was actually looking forward to traveling again, even if it was just within the country.

          We spent the next two weeks getting everything ready. I mostly handled getting the animals set up after finding a horse trailer while she took charge of preparing three of the houses across from us. She wanted to do more, but I thought it was a waste of time and a little too much like getting our hopes up, so I talked her down from five to three and then all that was left to do was find a nice RV and set it up for ourselves to travel. Once that was ready, we enjoyed the last of the summer weather at the lake. Autumn fell mildly and it was time to hit the road.

The End

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