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The sun rose to indicate the start of the day but Ray had been up a few hours beforehand as he ticked off the lists of camping equipment and supplies from the tent right down to S'mores but a part of him wondered if the last bit was a good day the chief had leant him two sets of fishing equipment as he hopes he recalled Clara had been fishing before but he was happy to remember Clara wasn’t a fussy eater so he packed whatever he could that was easy to cook by the campfire as he finished each box he placed them by the door even though the thought of spending the weekend with Clara made him happy he was worried if Clara would like the spot but it was a late Valentines gift due to he was at the firehouse on shift on the day even though the gifts arrived he wanted to do something special he took out one of Claras delicious valentines cookies he slowly ate as he took out a fake rose it was the only thing he could get but on the other hand he thought it will last forever .
!0.45 came and went before Ray realised as he opened the door taking the beginning of the bags down to a Red land rover placing them in the boot as he made several trips up and down the steps to his apartment as he took one final look making sure he had everything before closing the door for the last time till Monday afternoon as he placed the food in the back as the boot was closed his stomach growled as he realised with all his organizing he had forgotten to eat as he walked around to the driver’s side he took his seat as he tapped through the sat nav for taking away drive through as a Mcdonald's bleeped up he closed his door and starting the engine he set off following the directions the sat nav directed as he reached the line it grew to a snails speed as he pulled out his cell pressing the name Clara ( very cute GF) he thought to himself if Clara saw that he would turn redder than the primary colour red as he text
About 15 minutes away from you just forgot to have breakfast this morning so picking up Mcdonalds would you like anything
The cue slowly went down as he reached the tannoy “ hi can I have two chicken burgers and two galaxy Mc flurries and Fanta please “ the tannoy said the price as he drove up paying for the items as he saw them on the console he headed towards Clara’s home. Ray smiled as he passed the spot where he parked the first time he met Clara and he didn’t expect how things turned out he slowed as he turned onto her drive as he slowed to a stop in the spot he normally parked as he opened the door getting out as he took the Mc Donalds items placing it on the driver’s side as he reached behind lifting the waterproof satchels placing them under his arm as he picked up the items on his seat as he picked them up and closed the door as he walked across the driveway stopping in front off the door as he thought about how he was going to knock as he looked at the Fanta and meals in his right hand and Mc flurries in the left so he decided to knock with his foot gently,
It had been a long time since anyone had taken her camping, her mind drawing her back to the year before her father had died. Summer had been there annual time to go, each year Clara's father would take her to the same spot, a perfect place for going fishing, if one knew the right place to look. Luckily her father was brilliant at it, he had always been a great outdoors man, she wondered if Ray was too. Ahh Ray, the man she had fallen in love with, Clara never thought she'd ever be this lucky in her life to meet such a special man, but life had a funny way of surprising people.
Even though it had been a long time since she had gone camping she still remembered the things she needed to bring and items that usually weren't necessary, she slipped in her things into a waterproof duffel bag and brought it downstairs. Clara was fully dressed and in her hiking boots, knowing full well that most camping spots you usually have to hike to get there.
With everything packed and ready she checked her phone, noticing she had gotten a text from her soon to be camping buddy.
Hey baby, thanks for thinking of me, just got your text, don't really need anything but if you bring me anything (which i know you probably did) I'll eat it a little later,
With love, Clara
When she finished typing the reply, she slipped her phone back in her purse and went over to the cupboard to grab a glass of water, just as she was about to pour the water in there was a knock at the door. She set the glass down and walked over, opening the door to be greeted by her wonderful boyfriend, carrying quite a bit of food. "everytime, " she muttered, reaching out her hands to help him out, a smile on her face.
She set the bags on the counter, and with both their arms free she walked (briskly ran) to give him a proper greeting. With a light hug and a soft kiss, she smiled up at him. "Good morning,"
Ray smiled as he gently wrapped his arms around the woman he loved hugging her gently as he smiled “ good morning “ he gently kissed her lips before raising his hand to her cheek stroking gently no matter what Clara was always happy to see him as he was just as happy to see her and the thought the weekend of Ray and Clara made him smile more “ how have you slept “ he smiled as he listened looking into her eyes as he held her
“ i brought some extra dry bags in case you need them as we are gonna be a few hours away from evermore.” he smiled looking into her eyes again “ im looking forward to just you and me no bar no firehouse no emergencies “ he smiled “ and I hope I membered he correct Mc flurry flavour “ he smiled as he steps back looking at her “ and you look beautiful as always “he gently raised her hand as he spans her gently before holding her securely so she didn’t fall Shall we get your things in the car we dont need to go yet but saves us worrying “ he smiled gently
Ray sat gently on a stool as he held Clara’s hand “ so you know i am carrying a rifle but I've never had to use it cause of you know but to look normal I am carrying but on a lighter note do you know how to fish “ he smiled gently “as it is my first time “ he smiled
People would say that Clara and Ray were still in the honeymoon stage, and yes maybe they were right but Clara was always happy to be cared for, the "how'd you sleep?" and the "how are you's" rolled off his tongue easily, and it wasn't just that he asked, it was that he always cared to listen. She returned his kiss and pulled away to look at him. "I slept good, even considering how excited I am," and she was very excited she had packed some of her things already a couple of days ago because she was so eager. "How did you sleep?" she took a minute inspecting his eyes to see if they showed any traces of exhaustion. "Did you have a shift last night?"
She took the bags and gave him a nod. "Thank you, I think I've packed enough though," she had two bags full, with things she thought she would need, she also brought some binoculars she hoped she would be able to use those, "I brought my camera, I'm hoping to get some lovely shots," another one of her new year's resolutions had been to take more photos, so far it had been a little slow but she saw this as a perfect opportunity.
"I'm glad it'll be just the two of us, but I don't mind when you have to run off in an emergency, it's the responsibilities of a firefighter, I understand, work calls," she said. Clara never wanted him feeling as if he didn't give her enough time, she loved that he was doing what he wanted to do, it didn't hurt that he liked helping people. She smiled widely at the ice cream, "Of course it's the right flavour, I practically love them all," she took it in her hand, grabbed the spoon and took a big bite full, "it's ice cream, who'd say no to that,"
"Sure, let's put them in the car, then we can sit for a minute, eat some food, then it's driving. We're taking your vehicle, right? Because I'm not sure if my car can handle the trail," she asked.
"No worries, my dad had a gun at one point too, but he was never that good with it," Clara had spent enough time in the woods to know that most people brought one along for hunting. "Yeah, my dad taught me, it was one of his favourite things to do, I can't wait to show you,"
Ray smiled as he looked to Clara “no-no shouts at all and no bar shift “ he chuckled “I was just up before sunrise to make sure 3 times I packed everything “ he walked over to the girl he loved wrapping his arms around her as he smiled “ the only cell phone will be turned off it will be you me the camp the stars and oh yea glens somewhat cooled down chicken wings he felt bad about as he put it I nearly blew the poor girls head off with the hot sauce so his apology is in there but this weekend it is just going to be me and you “ he smiled as he leant forward kissing her lips gently
Ray smiled as he listened he let go of Clara gently as he picked up her items carefully “ well if its still there there isa platform above the camp there are good shots of the horizon from there “ Ray pointed a finger to the sky as he laughed” and i checked no flash floods this weekend “ he chuckled as he headed to the truck opening the boot as he carefully placed her items next to hisas he closed the boot returning to the girl of his dreams with a few brisk steps as he walked in he saw Clara tucking in to her mcflurry as he took his burger and began to eat as he smiled putting the burger down between bites “ what are you looking forward to this weekend “ he smiled as he listened “mine is 1 spending a un interrupted weekend with you , shows you my favourite sites and on the way back take you to a bookshop that you don't know about “ he smiled as he finished off his burger before looking back at clara “ you know i could not decide what one to get you it was either that flavour or the milky way mini stars one “ he smiled gently as he rose to his feet tossing .his wrapper in the bin “ Are you ready miss Carter “ he smiled as he gently offered his arm
He smiled as he gently leads her out the door stopping to let her lock-up he went over to the passenger's side door holding it open as he waited before moving towards the driver's seat as he typed the postcode in as he pointed in the direction of where he thought the campsite “ next stop perfect spot for stargazing “ he quickly changed the direction he was pointing when the sat nav directed “ he laughed “ don't worry I know where the camp is I left reminders “ he gently set off as he moved out of Claras drive and onto the road the satnav directed as they reached the long straight road he gently held his hand out to cuddle or hold Claras hand.
"Well I'm sure even if you forgot something we'll make do," she responded, happy to see he had gotten a little break from work, this weekend was probably something he needed more than she did. Clara stepped into his arms and smiled wide. "Just me and you, huh?" she teased. "What in heaven's name will we do?" Her first thought is she might want to read to him some of the books she had picked out, it was one of her favourites and poetry always sounded so good in the wall of the forest trees.
Clara tried to contain her excited sequel but had no use, the thought of actually capturing images of the sunrise, sunset and the roaring campfire brought her a lot of joy. Words were wonderful but pictures...well they had a way of coming alive and stealing your breath away. "Good to hear, I'm not sure my rainboots would withstand a flood," it didn't help that she was on the shorter side. "Thank you," she mentioned motioning to the bags he was carrying to the back trunk. She took a few bites of ice cream and when he returned her ate some burger, not the most nutritious of meals but she was glad to see he was remembering to eat. She stopped for a second eating, "That might be pretty difficult, a bookstore I haven't been to? In this area?" she added and resumed eating thinking about his question to her. "Spending time outdoors, just us, we haven't spent a full twenty-four hours together yet, so this will be our chance, maybe doing some reading, doing some fishing will be fun too," she took another bite, this ice cream would be gone soon if she didn't slow down. "It's delicious," she mumbled between a bite, apparently manners are forgotten with really good ice cream. She took his arm "Yep, I'll finish this on the drive,"
As a gentleman, he helped her into the vehicle and then she set her ice cream in the cupholder. She slipped on her seatbelt and watched as he started on the navigation, she laughed as he switched directions. "Getting lost would be an adventure too," she suggested. She wasn't worried about where they ended up as long as they were together. She watched him turn and move along the path to the highway reaching over to hold onto his hands, she smiled gazing out the window.
Ray smiled as he hit the main road out of Evermore as he smiled "once we reach a certain point it will be around an hours walk till we find a tree with 3 Rs and a bit of a scorched tree " he blushed a little as he chuckled " don't tell Earth Initia that " he smiled as he eyes occasionally wandered over to the girl he loved before focusing back on the road as the final few buildings left there eyeliner as they hit the open road " SO what is your first thoughts on the hat we can do apart from setting up camp " he chuckled gently as he smiled as they continued for a couple of hours before pulling into a diner and petrol stop as he smiled turning off the engine he leant over kissing Claras cheek" it felt like an eternity " he blushed as he got out of his walking quickly towards Claras side opening the door Carefully " if you want to go into the diner ill join you after I've just filled the tank " Ray filled up the tank shortly walking into the diner joining Clara at a table .
He smiled as he sat opposite smiling “ Just got to pay the chef to watch the truck for the night and we can get going “ he noted the waitress as he raised his hand for her to come over as she got her pen out “ could I have 1 coffee and 2 apple pies to take away and 4-day travel pass” he handed the money over to the waitress would you like anything before we go Clara “ he gently placed his hand outstretched on the table I wasn't that fact he was possessive he just had demons he wasn't ready to reveal and feeling her hand against his calmed him “ where the gate says Northgate we just got to walk around an hour and we will be there “ he smiled gently hoping she would enjoy the site.
"What's the story behind the tree and the three Rs? You can't just tell me something like that a not explain," She teased as they left Evermore behind. Clara couldn't remember the last time she'd taken a trip out of town, besides the time she had been looking for some family with a friend, but that felt like forever ago. "I'm not sure, maybe we can start a campfire and roast marshmallows, you can tell me stories of other times you've been camping, after all between the two of us, you are the expert." She kept turning to look over at him, the man she loved, the man whose blue eyes could hold an ocean and whose emotions were never too far off the surface.
The drive continued on and somehow it flew by, easy laughter and chatter flowed between them, it was easy to fall into the little bubble of happiness they created. The pine trees seemed to grow taller as they passed, a few clouds in the sky seemed to paint the world with a touch of majestic beauty, it was perfect. Ray pulled over into a gas station, a small diner close by, as if on queue her stomach growled. Apparently, Ray was good at knowing when she needed to eat, cause, of course, she had forgotten with everything so beautiful they had passed by. "You missed my lips," she teased. Clara thought she was the shy one, but every time he kissed her, his cheeks turned a shade of pink, she loved that about him, but she couldn't help but tease him. Putting him out of his misery she leaned over and kissed him. "Sounds good, I'm starving," she answered.
Of course, the diner was quiet and surprisingly busy, a quick stop for truckers or travellers like themselves, the wallpaper was peeling at the sides and the linoleum floors were outdated, but the smell coming from the kitchen could have rounded up the pickiest of eaters. Wafts of bacon, pancakes and that sugary sweet syrup-filled her nostrils, the lively chatter in the diner brought a smile to her lips. It felt like a page out of one of her novels. She sat down at a booth, the waitress bringing over some water and a laminated menu. before quickly scurrying off. The door opened and a bell chimed, and in a few short steps, Ray joined her. She watched as he called over the waitress and she jaunted down what he asked for. "I mean if one of those pies are for me I should be good," she replied. If not she'd get her hand on a cinnamon roll, the ones in the bakery tray with icing oozing off the top. His hand landed on hers and she flipped his palm open so she could intertwine their fingers, a shadow of the past sweeping over his eyes. She'd be here for him whenever he was ready.
"Walking sounds wonderful, I feel like I've been sitting forever," she mentioned.
"Of course one is for you the energy boost will get to camp" ray smiled as he thought about Claras question " well the first time I was here I just ran no hiking gear just me and my lighter and for 5 days I wondered on the last day I found the site we are going to but I made my way back here when I need space again I came here but I had forgotten where it was spent the best part of a day looking for the camp so as I returned I scribed an R every half-mile so I would find it again the scribing is trackers and hunters trick my father used when he was smuggling stuff in the state the gang that brought it to the state lines left a trail of markings and they would let father know what the symbol was and we would follow it “ he smiled as the pies arrive “ one of the best pies in the state “ he smiled taking a bite of his “ im no expert just learn to survive “he smiled can always teach you some if you like “ he chuckled as he listed to Clara about sitting to long “ trust me when we get to camp you will be wanting that seat “ he teased .
They exited the diner some time later as they walked back to the truck as ray opened the boot holding up Claras backpack so she could put it on and adjust the straps accordingly “ all strapped in “ he smiled gently as he put his own on attaching the food bag to his rucksack as he pulled out wrapped up box hoping she liked the gift he went out especially to get them it was 2 hiking sticks with Claras name inscribed on them “ partially why i was late today “ he smiled as he took his own out of the side panel “ i've got fishing rods and a solar radio if we need it” ray raised a finger as he remembered the lat thing” he unlocked a bottle panel taking the rifle out as much he didn't need it they needed to look human he attached it to his bag as he smiled “ looking forward to the weekend in the wild “ he gently kissed her lips before walking to the entrance of the forests stopping in front of a tree as he removed a little moss to Show Clara a R carved into the wood” if you see a R exactly like this say as thats the direction we have to head ok “ he put once stick on his bag as he held out his left hand” you will definitely love the view when we get there” he smiled
Clara listened to his story intently, Ray didn't talk about his past a lot, and Clara understood why, but every time he did Clara saw little pieces of who he was being placed, though as much as she loved when he opened up to her, she would never push, it was something she had always felt was the right thing to do, they all had pasts that were sometimes too painful to talk about. "Well, I look forward to seeing all the carvings," A map to guide them where they would be staying. When the pies arrived, and once the waitress departed she took a bite, closing her eyes, gracefully containing a moan. "You're absolutely right," It was definitely one of the best pies she'd ever tasted. "Do we have to go camping so far, maybe we'll just live in this diner for a couple of days," she half joked. "Compared to me, definitely an expert and you'll most certainly have to teach me, what's the first lesson?"
She shook her head, "I'll probably regret my words later but for now I've got all this energy, and I can't wait to stretch my legs,"
The pie must have evaporated because it was gone way too fast, Clara was sure she couldn't have consumed it that quickly but nonetheless, it was gone and they were off to go camping, she'd ask Ray to take her back on the way home, maybe get a whole pie this time, to take home, she promised herself. Ray helped strap her in, and she realized why this wouldn't be as easy as hiking or just regular walking. "All good," she muttered even though the weight on her back was heavy, she hoped she wouldn't embarrass herself and fall over, It's just like a stack of books she repeated to herself, it'd be over soon enough. The walking sticks were beautiful, and she thanked him over and over again, at least now she'd have something to hang onto. "You didn't have to have them engraved," she sighed, she loved how he was always going the extra mile. She leaned up and kissed his cheek, "You're too sweet,"
Clara looked over everything and nodded. Following him as he pointed out the first R, "Are they all hidden or just this one?" she asked. She slipped her hand in his and took the first step. "I'm sure it's breathtaking,"
Ray smiled as he walked into the woods keeping at a normal pace with Clara as long as the R's are on the left we are good" he smiled " what are you looking forward to this weekend "? he asked questions they continued to walk stopping every 10 minutes or so showing Clara the next R on the trail and hid it again to put off any other hikers as he smiled " are you up for break there a bit of incline where you will need all your energy to stay stood up a break" he held Claras bag as he waited for her to unstrap herself before placing it down on fallen log before placing his own down " we are around 10 15 minutes away " he smiles ashe sat on the log as he watched her " do you like deers as in Bambi " he looked down to the ground as he pointed to the deer tracks" maybe 6 hours old "
After 20 minutes Ray rose to his feet as he put his backpack on as he held up claras letting herself get strapped in " nearly there" Ray smiled " it was the one place he loved and now he was sharing it with the woman he loved he started to walk the distance required stopping as he looked around slipping on the lege of the hill coming to a stop on his back as he burst out laughing " I'm alright " he got his self up " take he path to your left there is a rope to help you down ill wait for you at the bottom " ray moved quickly to where the end of the rope lay picking it up he pulled it tort so it was easier for Clara to get down after a few minutes she was down she smiled taking her hand as he waited at the edge of the campsite " you ready " he smiled as he pushed a branch away to show the camp
Clara decided to keep an eye out as best as possible but realized Ray probably had a better idea where all the Rs were hidden. "Definitely the "sleeping under the star" part of the trip, I've never really done it before, and I can't wait till we can go fishing, my father used to love fishing and I always feel a little closer to him when I fish. What about you, what are you looking forward to?" she asked. Even though she spoke about her father she wasn't saddened as she used to be, the times where her heart literally hurt when thinking about him, apparently time did help to heal.
She watched as he pointed out the Rs, and with the talk of a break Clara nodded eagerly, she wasn't that tired yet, but if some hard hiking was coming up she wanted to be prepared. "Yeah, that sounds great," she said, thanking Ray for helping her with her backpack and sat down on the log, and when he sat down beside her she reached for his hand. "Deer are pretty cute, I remember reading Bambi when I was a kid, my mom used to read that to me along with Alice in Wonderland," but he knew already that Alice in wonderland was one of her favourite books as a child she had mentioned it to him on one of there dates. When he pointed out the tracks she smiled. "I didn't know you could track, where did you learn that?"
Ray helped her after the break and she was getting excited to arrive at the campsite, the beautiful trees towering ahead made the view hard to see from here. The sight of watching Ray disappear from her eyesight made her jump, "Ray," she screamed, following after him looking over the fall, she heard his laughter and released a breath. "Are you sure, you're okay," once reassured, Clara couldn't help but tease him. "Getting tired of walking you just had to slide down?"
Following his instructions she grabbed the rope and walked down slowly, watching her step. Accepting the hand he offered at the bottom. "You worried me, you sure you're fine?" she asked again, she wanted to be absolutely sure, so she reached around to feel his head, "There were no rocks?" checking for a concussion she weaved her fingers through his hair. But eventually, he must have got sick of her fussing because he moved some leaves and showed her the camp, breathtaking was the only word that came to mind, how could she be so lucky to find a man who wanted to show her his most secret place, hidden in the woods. "It's...." she couldn't seem to find the words.
Ray smiled as he walked into the clearing as he placed his bag down at the log by the fire as he smiled holding Clara's bag as he smiled,," ok. Ve Got it if you would like to disengage from your bag and have a lol around " he smiled as he placed the. Bag next to his " the tent is to your right bathroom on the other side of the cave and" he moved out his arm showing the lake ," this is the lake home away from home " he smiled as he wrapped his arms around Clara as he smiled," this weekend. Me. You- and this perfect place for the weekend " he pulled out his lighter with his free hand lighting it as he focused on bringing the flame to the. Fire place " did I !ention you look stunning this evening " he smiled as he raised his hand to stroke her cheek as he leant into gently kiss her lips .
Ray smiled as he looked into her eyes " shall we get the tent up and running before we do what ever we like " he smiled as he gently let go of Clara as he walked to a log over looking the lake. As he. Unwrapped a material pulling it over the branches to provide shelter before. Walking back to Clara as he picked up his ruck sack " I brought two tents either you can have a single to your self or can share with e ," he blushed a little as he took out the tents unwrapping them placing them. Along the cave area with where the poles should be " he smiled as he looked to Clara" I pro!use you I'm ok. If I wasn't I would say