As if I wasn't already thinking about marriage more than what was good for me, Charlie and Cecelia announced their engagement the very next day over brunch. Mark and Kate invited everyone to the restaurant at the hotel that they stayed in last night. Near the end of the meal, Mark cleared his throat loudly, "Thank you all for coming, even if it was just for the free food, but my big brother has something to say."
Charlie looked down the table at his parents, then took Cecelia's hand and said that they were engaged. An eruption of "How wonderful" and "Congratulations" rose from the table. After the excitement toned down and we got the story behind it, he had proposed last week while they had been taking a dinner cruise on the lake, they wanted to wait until after the wedding (Cecelia said something about "Not stealing anyone's thunder").
Charlie had told Mark about it, Mark joked, "I was thinking we could just turn our wedding into a double wedding, but I guess they need more time."
Everyone wanted to see the ring, even Kate's parents, I guess it had been in the Mellark family for a few generations or something; or to put it in Grandma Mellark's words "Your Great-great Grandfather Mellark gave that to your Great-great Grandmother when they lived in Poland. They crossed the Atlantic 5 years later when your Great-Grandfather was only 3." The story went on, Great-Grandfather Mellark gave it to his bride, then Grandpa Mellark gave it to her for an engagement ring. "It always goes to the oldest son."
"Well here's to hoping you have a boy," Mark says raising his glass. Grandma Mellark pursed her lips slightly, I don't know if it was at Mark's flippant behavior regarding a family heirloom or because of the insinuation that Charlie and Cecelia might not have a son (like Cecelia or Charlie could control it).
Mark sets his glass down then looks at Pete, "Pete do you have any announcement for us?"
Everyone's head turns and stares at the two of us, with expressions varying from excitement to disbelief.
Crawling under the table seems like the best option for me, I'll just stay there until they all leave.
"Ha, ha, Mark," Is all that Pete has to say to get people to realize that we weren't also engaged. Kate elbows Mark and I hear her playfully scolding him. Everyone's attentions drift elsewhere. I'm sure my face is still bright red, I'm still thinking about crawling under the table, but now that no one is looking at me, maybe I can make a break for the bathroom or the car.
Pete squeezes my hand and leans over to whisper, "Relax." He brushes his finger up the nape of my neck, his touch giving me goosebumps and calming me down at the same time. I looked at him and stare into his blue eyes, his beautiful blue eyes that I get lost in.
"Your brother likes to tease me."
"No, he likes to tease me," He says with a smile.
By the next day Mark and Kate are in Hawaii where they'll stay for two weeks, and Pete's family has returned to their own homes.
Pete and I spend the next day starting to plan for our big camping trip. Pete got his camping gear out of his attic to sort through everything. We set the tent up on the deck to air it out, Jo came over and got giddy (yes, Jo got giddy), and she crawled in there like a kid exploring a fort.
"We should totally hot box the tent."
"It's Pete's, I don't think he wants us to smoke inside his, probably flammable, tent," I tell her, her face falls with disappointment.
Pete has practically everything we need, he even has a campfire coffee pot… I had planned on just taking the bare-necessities, but coffee will be so nice for mornings. I had bought both of us clothes that were supposed to be awesome for hiking and camping, light weight, easy to clean, quick drying and comfortable. Pete and I started planning the menu, we had slight disagreements about it, my plan was to bring instant oatmeal, fishing gear and something to cook the fish and oatmeal in, and leave it at that. Pete wanted to bring more. "At least something to eat with the fish for lunch and dinner, I'll get cranky with nothing but fish and oatmeal for 6 days straight."
I snorted with laughter, "You'll get cranky?" I've never seen Pete in any type of mood resembling cranky.
"That just sounds depressing. No fruit or bread, no vegetables either!"
"We'll bring some dried fruit and nuts for snacks. And oatmeal is a grain, you don't need bread," Is my counter argument.
In the end, after Pete's assures me that he'll be in charge of carrying the food in his pack, I let him pack a few things, applesauce and carrots, those will be light enough, carrots will keep in the soft sided lunchbox size cooler we're bringing. I put up a fight against the cornmeal and butter.
"Cornmeal? What the hell are you going to make with cornmeal?" I've never cooked with it, and I'm not sure if I've ever eaten it before, and "Butter?! You're going to carry a stick of butter in your backpack?"
"I'll put it in a tin, it'll be fine."
"Should we bring a gallon of milk too? How about some canned goods?" I ask sarcastically.
"I'm letting you bring your new camping shower, I'll be fine bathing in the lake. And you're bring two pairs of shoes."
I cross my arms over my chest, "First of all, my camping shower weighs all of 4 ounces and folds up easily. And aside from my hiking shoes, which I'll be wearing, I'm packing flip flops... It's not like I'm bringing high heels."
Him and I have a small stare-off, before his blue eyes twinkle and a grin spreads across his face. He closes the space between us and kisses my jaw, he brings his mouth to my ear to whisper, "You look very cute when you scowl."
How can I scowl and look cute, scowling is the exact opposite of "cute". I start to open my mouth to make some type of snappish reply, but he starts kissing my jaw line and trailing down my neck, causing me to not only forget what I was going to say, but also that we had been arguing. I run my hand throw his hair and I can't help but let out a moan when he grazes his teeth on my ear lobe. His arms wrap around me and I feel him smile against my neck, he thinks he won the argument, I can almost feel his satisfaction. I pull away, taking two steps back, and look him in the eye. "I am right, we don't need all that stuff… You think you can win any argument by kissing me, it's not going to work."
He raises his eyebrows, and he gives me a "is that a challenge?" look.
I narrow my eyes at him, as he starts to slowly move closer to me. I back up away from him. Don't smile, don't smile, I repeat to myself over and over. My resolution breaks and my smile acts like a trigger and he makes a lunge to grab me, but I manage to duck and take off running across my apartment. I run through the apartment, barely keeping out of his grasp. We play this little game for a little while until I purposefully slow down by the sofa. Pete catches me by my waist pulls me closer to him, my back pressed up against his chest. Right away his mouth is on my neck, I let out a moan as his brushes my ear with his mouth. He spins me around so I'm facing him and presses me into the sofa, kissing me passionately.
I like to think of our argument as "unresolved", but I'm sure Pete views it as won, especially since I let him pack his precious butter and cornmeal. I even turn my head the other way when he brings five packs of ramen noodles.
A few days later, I have my apartment in "hibernation mode", I've unplugged everything from the walls, closed all the curtains and turned to A/C to 85. Pete and I walk out wearing our new hiking gear, hiking shoes and our huge backpacks. It was so exciting to be leaving the modern world. I got Pete to sing along with me to the radio as we drove north.
Pete stopped at the gas station when we were about an hour and a half out of town, I grabbed a Sugar Free Red Bull and Pete got some Skittles and a soda, "Last stop for sugar," He said.
We had another two hours before we got to the parking lot, inside the little log cabin there was a man who we had made the reservations with. He gave us a map to our campsite, it was about three miles away.
We took advantage of the bathroom (with real plumbing) before getting ready to leave. Then we got our packs strapped on our backs and fastened in the front, Pete re-tied and doubled knotted his shoe laces. Then we were ready to head off.
The first quarter mile had a few campsites scattered around, people wanting to stay close to the in-door plumbing but still experience the "wild", there was even a swing set for kids.
When we got away from the "crowded" area, we slowed our walk to a more leisurely pace. The smell of pine filled the air and the only sound we could hear were the birds. We respected the silence for the majority of the hike and talked only when necessary.
We reach our designated campsite, marked by the number 74 carved into a piece of wood and hanging from the branch of a tall oak. Large white stones circle the fire pit and the only evidence of previous campers is the small pile of wood that they had gathered but not needed.
Pete and I stand and take it in for a moment.
"Well, let's get started," Pete says and unfastened his pack and set it down, I quickly follow in suit. My back is relieved to be free of the heavy pack.
Finding the smoothest and even ground we make quick work getting the tent set up. We unload all the extra large sleeping bag and unroll the self inflating sleeping pad. We had made sure not to have any food in my pack, just clothes and other odds and ends, so my pack gets stored in the tent.
For Pete's bag we take our rope out and tie it to a rock to throw over a tall branch on the other side of the clearing, then tie his backpack to the rope and pull it up off the ground, preventing any wildlife from stealing our food.
"Wanna see what the lake has to offer?" I ask, I had the fishing poles ready along with a single sheet of newspaper and a small hunting knife that we can use to clean the fish. Pete grabs the 5 gallon jug he had tied to the back of his pack and the water purifying tablets.
Zipping everything up, we set off down a slightly worn path down the hill towards were the map said the lake was. It was only a 5 minute walk, we saw the "fish cleaning station", where you were suppose to clean your fish. There are some animals who might like the smell of fish guts, I'm not one of them and I don't want to attract any to my campsite, so you clean your fish well away from where you'll be sleeping.
The lake is large and beautiful, it's so calm and still, the trees surrounding it are perfectly reflected on the water. Pete and I just stood still and looked for a few minutes. Pete fills the jug up and drops the tablets in. Then we found a good spot to cast our lines in.
I sat with my back up against Pete and he laid his head against mine. The feel of his breath on my temple was so relaxing and comforting. After having no luck for a long time, we moved down the shore line a bit and were finally able to catch a fish each. Which is good because my stomach is starting to rumble. After cleaning the fish, Pete's job not mine (ick), and then buried the remains.
"Let's go see what we can whip up," Pete says to me after cleaning his hands in the lake.
While I get the fire set up and going, Pete is seasoning the fish with salt and a mix of herbs he brought.
A few mushrooms are thrown into the pan and we set it on the collapsible wire rack that serves as a cook top. Sitting together, watching our food slowly cooking, I can't imagine being anywhere better than this. The sun is starting to set as the food finishes up. I don't know if the bug repellant we're using is actually working or if the smoke from the fire is keeping the mosquitoes at bay, but apart from the occasional buzzing we haven't been bothered by them.
The fish flakes apart easily while we eat and it tastes delicious, better than I would have made it.
"Yum," I say/moan as I eat. Apart from the skittles and trail mix of nuts and dried fruit, we hadn't eaten anything since eleven this morning. 9 hours never seemed so long.
"Now imagine if it was just a plain slab of fish with no seasoning," He says, mocking me for not wanting to bring all these "extras".
"It'd still taste delicious," I say tilting my chin up defiantly, "Besides, I was never against bringing a little salt."
"Uh huh," He says with a grin.
"I'm not saying you were right," I start, "I'm glad you brought your fancy little extras." Pete laughs while I continue, "But I would have been fine going about it my way."
"Oh? And what if there hadn't been any fish to catch? What would you have done?"
"Tried harder," I say with a smug grin, "Hunger can be a damn good incentive to get moving and figure something out."
Pete rolls his eyes and we finish the rest of the food, scrapping the pan. Munching on some raw carrots we wash the dishes in the soft sided collapsible "sink" with biodegradable soap. There is a designated "gray water" disposal area a couple yards from the camp site where everyone before us had dumped their dish water. Though there wasn't much food partials left on the plates when we washed them, it could be enough to attract hungry critters, and hungry critters aren't something you want close to your campsite.
Once all the clean dishes and food is stored away in Pete's pack we secure it up in the tree. Now, there is nothing to do but sit and watch the stars get brighter and brighter. We let the campfire burn out as we lay snuggled together on the hard earth.
"This is perfect," Pete says, sighing contentedly, stroking my arm lightly with his hand.
I nod and lean my head up to his cheek to give it a kiss.
After watching the moon creep over the tree line for a good long while, Pete says we should tuck in and I quickly agree.
The night is warm so we decide to lay atop the sleeping bag and use a light blanket as a cover.
We lay still for a few seconds before I bring my lips to his jaw line and slowly start working my way up to his ear, I graze my teeth over the lobe before whispering, "God, I want you."
He quickly takes control and rolls on top of me while giving me a passionate kiss. His hands worked up my thin pajama top and I took it off the rest of the way, I hear it hit the side of the tent before falling down. Both his hands twist at my nipples and I feel my toes curl and a wet warmth pooling between my legs.
"Oh, God, Pete… I want you so bad," I pant as he sucks along my collarbone.
"Tell me how bad, Katniss," He says gruffly.
"So fucking bad, Pete. I'm so wet for you. I need you. Now, Pete, now."
He slides off my bottoms and his fingers swirl around once before he sends two fingers in. It drives me crazy, making me want him completely inside of me even more. His thumb rubs over the sensitive nerves on my clit and I feel so close to the edge but so frustratingly far away.
I moan as his curls his fingers slightly, then moan louder as his mouth bits down on my nipple. "I want your dick… I need your dick inside me, now, Pete."
I can hear him quickly pulling his pants off then he's hovering over me again.
"Say it again." His has his tip right at my entrance, fucking tease.
"I need your dick inside of me, Pete. Oh God I fucking need it."
He slips right in, all the way, then pulls back out, tickling my clit with his tip again before plunging back into me.
"Again, again," I beg and he pulls all the way out again, when he pushing back into me for the third time my body explodes. My limbs and my mind feel numb for a moment, then I am slowly able to start thrusting my hips up and matching Pete' speed as he thrusts deeper and deeper. We roll over so I'm on top and he leans up and takes my nipple in his mouth as I ride on top of him. I feel another orgasm building and I moan Pete's name and he moans against my breast sending me over the edge again, this time I feel Pete's cum searing inside of me as we orgasm together. We lay panting together for a while before I move off of him.
"Holy crap, Pete. If camping sex is always going to be this good, we need to do this more often."
He gives me a kiss, "I'm game."
We slip back into our clothes and snuggle back under the blanket.
The next morning is filled with the aches the come with sleeping on the ground (no matter how much padding). After stretching and a few back massages we get breakfast ready. Oatmeal with dried fruit.
"Doesn't bacon sound good right now?" Pete asks in a dreamy voice.
I laugh but agree.
"We could have frozen it and it would've kept till the morning in the cooler pouch."
"Eh," I say with a shrug, "Not necessary."
We spend the morning hiking around our area, never going more than a mile from camp, then manage to scrounge up some more fish and we even stumbled upon a berry bush, so we gathered some up to have with lunch. Pete made some cornbread and fried it in the butter, the smell of butter melting in the pan was enough to make me salivate.
That was how the days passed, eating, hiking, fishing, and sleeping… Well and the other stuff that happened in the tent, I'm pretty sure we scared away any form of nocturnal wildlife, but it was such a turn on, knowing that for almost a mile any direction there wasn't any other person around, makes me feel wild.
The last night was a sad one, eating ramen noodles with out fish and watching the stars for the final time of this trip.
"We should do this again soon," Pete said.
"The fall would be pretty."
"And cold," I added.
"Well, maybe we could rent out a little cabin… One with a big fireplace."
"That'd be nice. It would just have to be for the weekend though." Our classes would be starting again by fall.
"Maybe pick a long weekend, like Thanksgiving."
"Spend the whole Thanksgiving weekend away? What about your family dinner?"
"Thanksgiving will always be our holiday," He says and kisses my temple, "Our first date."
I smile and look up at him, he is really almost too sweet.
"That sounds perfect. We can make up a nice meal just the two of us… well, I'll help you make a nice meal."
November is a long way off, but it's nice to know that we'll be escaping the city again before too long. Plus, what a romantic way to spend the anniversary of our first date, much more romantic then going to his parents house.