Hey, Everyone! Long time...I know. I've been battling with major writers block. Anyways, I hope you all like the chapter!
Quorra unwound her arms from my torso and stepped off of the Ducati as I turned the engine off. I reached in the back compartment to grab my backpack, swinging it over my shoulders as I got off the bike as well. I walked over to Quora as she took her jacket off to reveal a baby blue eyelet tank top that clung to her form.
"Will you tell me what we are doing yet?" she asked as I took the jacket from her and put it in the compartment where my backpack had just been.
I grinned and wrapped an arm around her as I gestured towards the scenery around me with my other hand. "Care to take a guess?" i asked with a grin.
She looked around her carefully before she answered. We were at a national park just outside of Beverly Hills that was pretty quiet for the most part. I had been wanting to take her hiking for a while now and since Lora had offered to watch Gracey today, it was the perfect opportunity. "I thought you camped at night time," she murmured as she looked over at me with a puzzled face.
"Try again," I urged as I shook my head and squeezed her against me gently.
Her face lit up once everything dawned on her. "We're hiking," she stated with a gleam.
"Yes, and having a picnic under a waterfall," i added as i took her hand and started walking towards one of the trails. "I think that you'll like hiking, but I could be wrong. Some people don't like it too much."
She leaned in to me slightly. "Why not? Hiking seems interesting," she told me. "It's adventurous!" she murmured happily as we started to speed up. "And you know how much I like adventures," she added.
"I do," I agreed as I rubbed my hand over her bare shoulder.
We began our trek on the slight upgrade slowly, stopping every so often when Quorra would stray off of the trail to show something to me that caught her attention. "Are there wild animals here?" she asked me curiously as we walked through a large sunlit area.
"Like?" i asked her with a laugh.
She gave me a sideways glance. "Like...bears, mountain lions, deer, things like that," she clarified as she squinted her eyes in the bright sunlight.
"There are probably deer and maybe some foxes or coyotes but I don't think that there are bears or mountain lions in this area. We are too close to the city and this area is entirely too small to support a forest-like ecosystem," I answered. "Why? Are you scared?" i asked her with a wide grin.
"Kind of. Humans seem to get mauled by animals and hunted by them," she told me as she clutched my arm tighter for a moment.
I chuckled. "Those are just TV shows, it's not real. They are actors. It's for entertainment," i reminded her as I squeezed her hand and pulled her along with me.
"People being harmed is entertaining to humans? That sounds very...wrong," she murmured as she looked up at me with a saddened face. "I doubt someone would want that to happen to someone they know or themselves," she huffed.
I sighed. "It's supposed to add suspense, make it a thriller," i said. "But...when you put it that way, it does sound kind of bad," I admitted with a small nod.
"Oh!" Quorra gasped as she pointed to our left where a rabbit was sitting in the leaves. "It's so small, so cute," she murmured as she laughed. "Did you know that a baby rabbit is called a kitten?" she asked me with a wide smile as we stopped and looked over at the small animal.
I shook my head. "I didn't," i told her with a smile. "So when you said that you wanted a kitten did you mean a cat or a rabbit?" I asked her with a grin.
"A cat," she stated as she turned to look at me with a hopeful look. "But I wouldn't mind having a bunny too," she added.
"Any other pets that you want?" i asked her sarcastically.
Her eyes widened and she smiled widely again. "A bird would be cool too, one that talks, a parrot! Hamsters seem like they are cute too, and..." her voice trailed off as she eyes me curiously. "That was a rhetorical question, you were being sarcastic," she murmured as her face dawned in realization.
"You can still answer rhetorical questions," i said to her. "And I don't think the manager of our apartment complex would like us too much if we had that many pets," i went on with a laugh.
She shrugged. "It doesn't matter, we're moving soon," she reminded me as we walked over a small bridge with a small stream below.
"How'd you know that?" i asked her. "I was going to surprise you," i said.
Quorra shrugged. "Lora told me the other week. She told me that she wasn't supposed to tell me though and then she blamed her old age," she said with a small smile. "I don't quite understand the age issue that people seem to have. They complain that they are getting older. Technically, I'm over a thousand years old and I'm not complaining about it," she murmured.
I smirked. "Well, that's because you haven't aged as you got older. You look like you're in your 20's and you're perfect," I explained to her..
"I'm not perfect though," she told me in a grumble.
I huffed. "That was supposed to be a compliment," i said as I pulled her off of the trail and pinned her up against the trunk of a large tree. "You're supposed to say thank you when you're complimented, not argue," I stated with a grin as i leaned my forehead against hers.
She gave me an innocent smile and pushed me away from her. "Thank you Samuel," she giggled.
"There we go," i murmured as I moved back towards her and grabbed her chin gently. "And since when am I called Samuel?" I asked her.
"Do you have a problem with it?" she asked me with a laugh as she ran her thumbs over my cheeks and then wrapped her arms around my neck.
I shook my head and pressed myself against her.. "Not at all," i breathed as I tilted her head up towards mine and kissed her. She responded almost instantly, tightening her lock around my neck and running her fingers in my hair. I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her towards me even more, if that were even possible, and melted against the soft feel of her body against mine
Her lips parted against mine and I felt the warmth of her breath as she took in small gasps of air. I bit on her lower lip gently before sucking on it and then running my tongue slowly over it. She let out a sigh and tightened her fingers in my hair as I picked her up and wrapped her legs around my torso.
Her hands moved to my shoulders and she pulled away from me, opening her eyes and pressing her forehead against mine. "You know what I've never done before?" she asked me with a tinkering laugh as she looked down at me with her gorgeous blue eyes.
I rose my eyebrows. "A lot of things," I answered as I pressed a kiss to her nose.
She gave me an exasperated look as she pulled away from me. "I've never climbed a tree," she murmured as she tilted her head back and glanced up at the treetops above her. "I want to, can we?" she asked as she gave me a small pout and pressed her hand to my cheek.
"Well, yes, but I was hoping to kiss you for a little bit longer, miss mood kill," I said with a grin.
She laughed as she unwound her legs from around me. "Well, I didn't know that it was an inappropriate time to make that suggestion," she told me as she hugged me before pulling away.
I gave her a quick squeeze before releasing her and shoving my hands into my pockets. "Sure, you didn't," I teased as I gave her a disappointed look.
"Oh, come on, Sam Flynn! You can kiss me up in the tree," she exclaimed as she pointed upwards. "Now let's start climbing!" she said as she turned around and stared up at the large oak tree.
I walked up beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. "You mean this one? That's a little difficult, don't you think?" i asked her.
"No, the hardest part would be getting to the first branch," she murmured as she reached her arms up and was short of the first branch by about five feet. "I can't reach."
I chuckled. "We can climb a different one."
"No, I want to climb this one," she murmured as she looked over at me and grinned. "It seems like a challenge. It's exactly74.23 feet to the very top of the tree but we can go about 63.5 feet before the branches start to thin out to the point where it would be too dangerous to climb on them," she told me.
"And you figured that out how?" I asked her with wide eyes.
She laughed. "A few simple mathematical equations," she answered with an easy shrug. "Now, will you help me up to the first branch?" she asked me. "Since you are taller than me, you can get up if you jump," she went on.
"I smell a very bad idea coming on," I grumbled as I made a face. I cupped my hands and bent down a little bit. "Here, put your foot here. If it's not enough, I'll help you onto my shoulders," i said as she did what i told her.
"It's not a bad idea," she said to me as I fastened my other arm around her legs and lifted her up higher. "Come on, short stuff," I chuckled as i looked up to see that she still wasn't near the tree.
"I am not short, I am actually slightly above the average height of women," she corrected me. "Am I hurting you? We can always try a new tactic," she suggested as she swayed and grabbed the trunk of the tree for support.
"No, you're alright. Place your feet on my shoulders and you'll get up there," I said as I lifted her up a little more and her weight moved from my hands to my shoulders and then was gone in the next moment. For a moment, I thought she was falling but then I saw her feet dangling and her body swinging. "You got it?" i asked her as i looked up at her.
She grunted and pulled herself up, pulling her upper body over the limb followed by one of her legs. She leaned up against the trunk of the tree and looked down at me in triumph. "Your turn!" she said with a smile.
I took a few steps back before rushing forward and jumping, grabbing onto the branch as i did so. Within a handful of seconds, I was eye level with Quorra again. "Would you like to go first?" i asked as I gestured up the tree. She grinned and stood up, hugging the tree as she balanced herself. "No falling," i added as i looked up at her. "I know how much you like hospital visits."
She stuck her tongue out at me. "You better...knock on the wood," she said with a smile before she started making her way up the tree carefully.
I laughed at her. "Close enough," i mumbled as I stood and started to follow behind her. "You know...I'm loving the view down here," I added as i looked up.
"What do you mean? We're only fifteen feet off of the ground. Nothing seems to be really different yet," she murmured as she looked down at me to notice where my gaze was pointed at. She gave me a surprised look and then I could see her cheeks tinting slightly pink. "Stop it, Sam. We aren't at the top yet," she huffed as she looked away from me and continued to climb.
"You are quite sassy, you know that?" I asked as i climbed up beside her.. She tilted her head back and laughed aloud.
"This is fun, a little energy consuming, but it's very fun," she told me as she now followed after me as I climbed up the tree. "I'm kind of hungry," she added.
I nodded as i looked down at her. "I told you to eat something more than a banana this morning, but no, you didn't listen to me," i reminded her.
"I wasn't that hungry and anyways, I was trying to get Gracey ready to go with Lora and Alan. She was being unusually difficult today," she responded as her forehead creased.
"It's probably just a little phase that she's going through. She's a kid, sometimes they are like that," i shrugged. "But I do have an entire picnic of things in my backpack," i said to her.
"All in there?" she asked me. "Oh, that's great!" she exclaimed as she started to fall behind from my movements. "This is a bit exerting," she admitted.
I slowed down. "I know," I replied. "Why don't we stop here?" I asked her. "How high up are we?"
She looked down briefly. "You are 51 feet exactly and I am 43.2 feet" she answered. "I think that is far enough," she went on as she caught up with me and sat on the tree branch. "Now you can kiss me," she murmured as she looked up at me expectantly.
I grinned and sat down beside her on the branch, leaning in against her to steady the both of us. She pressed her lips to mine before I could even get to her, leaning up against the base of the tree as she did that. I kissed her back fervently, brushing my hand over the soft skin of her cheek.
I felt her hands trace circles along my back and then move to my shoulders, gripping my shirt gently. Her scent was completely overwhelming, drawing me into her every time, causing myself to get lost with the simple idea of her.
Her full lips continued to move with mine and after a while, I could feel the rise and fall of her chest starting to stagger. I pulled away and laughed softly, placing my hands on either side of her face and kissing her once more but this time, gently. She inhaled deeply and looked at me curiously. "Why did you stop?" she asked me as she took another deep breath.
She ran her fingers through her hair and I watched as her pink cheeks started to fade. "You're out of breath," I answered with a sly smirk. "And because we aren't done hiking yet," i added as I grabbed her chin with my thumb and forefinger. I kissed her once more before pulling away completely. "Let's start making our way down."
She nodded at me and watched as I started to move down the tree. Once I got to the lowest branch,I dropped down to the ground and looked up expectantly. Quorra sat on the branch and swung her legs a bit while tilting her head to the side. "That is far down," she commented.
"Just jump, you're body can handle it," I told her. She shrugged and I stood back and watched as she pushed off of the branch and fell to the ground, landing on her feet but then falling back on her bottom.
I reached a hand out for her and she took it, pulling herself up and then brushing the leaves and grass off of her. "I didn't do that right," she murmured as her shoulders slumped.
"I'll give it a seven. At least you can say that you climbed a tree now," I said with a grin as I took her hand and led her back to the trail and started walking again.
She leaned into me and giggled. "It was fun," she breathed. "But I don't like that I get exhausted now. That's one thing that I like about my old self."
"Your old self?" I asked her with surprise. "That's what you call it? You're still the same person, but-"
"Program," she corrected with a small smile in my direction.
I sighed. "Program...you still have the same body," I tried as I squeezed her hand.
"It looks the same but it's not. It's weaker physically," she replied. "And I no longer have circuitry," she went on.
We entered a large opening and I could hear a roaring of water in the distance. "Well, aside from that... you're the same, aren't you?" I asked.
"I suppose," she answered. "I still wonder if I'd be like this if I had come here with my disk," she told me.
"You adapted, that's all," I answered. "You're still capable of what my father suspected."
She smiled up at me sadly. "You know that I can't do it, Sam," she murmured. "It's just...me. I can't save everyone. I've been here for over eight months and all I've done is help one person," she went on. "I can't do that for over 7 billion people."
"You can't be expected to. I know that my father wouldn't have expected that from you," I said reassuringly.
She sighed. "I know..."
"It's not important now, so don't worry about it. We'll figure it out. We have time," I stated as we walked up towards a steep rocky downgrade that led to a large river with a waterfall.
Her eyes widened as she looked down at the scenery.. "It's so pretty," she murmured. "How do we get down there though?"
"Ready for a little scaling?" i asked her with a wide smile.
Her eyes widened even more. "Down this? It looks...dangerous. We don't have any equipment," she told me.
"It's not as bad as it looks," i promised her. "But we aren't going down right here," i said as i walked along the edge until I stopped at any easier point.
She looked at me with exasperation. "It looks the same," she commented.
"That means that you're not looking hard enough," I told her. "There's a trail, see?"
I pointed out a zigzag pattern across the rock forms that led to the bottom. "Oh, alright. You first though," she said as she edged away from the drop-off.
"You wanted to go hiking," I reminded her.
"I did," she agreed. "But I liked walking along flat surfaces."
I looked back at her. "We can go another way if this scares you," I told her.
"I'm not scared, just unconvinced about this terrain," she stated. "Let's go then."
I chuckled and took her hand, heading down the slope carefully with her behind me. "It helps to slant your feet slightly, like when we go to the lake. The broken up rocks are kind of slippery to watch your footing because you can slip."
"Whatever, Sam Flynn," she muttered behind me.
We made it down the sloped trail in about five minutes and I stopped at the bottom as Quorra took in the view. "Do you like it?" I asked her.
"It's amazing! The view is completely different from what I saw up there," she told me with a wide smile.
"We're going to have lunch over there," I said as I pointed to the space behind the waterfall.
"Wow, that's cool," she murmured as we start to make our way around the valley. The rocks were slippery with water as we made out way behind the waterfall but everything dried up as we went farther back a few feet. Quorra sat on the dry surface as I opened the backpack and pulled out a large blanket for us to sit on.
I pulled out a container of watermelon as Quorra fixed the blanket and then sat on one side of it. "Your favorite," I said as i handed the container to her.. I handed her a sub sandwich and a cold water before sitting down.
"It's colder than i thought it would be behind here," she murmured as she opened her sandwich and took a bite of it.
I pulled a second blanket out of the backpack and put it around her but then she stood and sat in my lap, wrapping the blanket around the both of us. "Even better," I mumbled as I kissed the top of her head.
"Anything else n that backpack?" she asked me with a giggle.
I shrugged. "That's about it. Not much more could fit in such a small space," I said as I drank some of my water.
Once Quorra finished her sandwich, she got up and sat on the edge of the rock, taking off her shoes and socks and dipping her feet in. She shrieked and pulled her feet out of the water quickly. "That's freezing cold!" she exclaimed.
"It's spring water. It stays underneath the ground mostly so sunlight doesn't hit it often. It's naturally colder," I explained as I watched her put her socks back on and then tie her shoes back up.
She sniffed. "You could've warned me."
"I could have, yes, but I wanted to see your facial expression," I admitted with a chuckle.
She came back over to me to sit with me again and I wrapped her back up in the blanket. "You're mean sometimes," she said with a saddened face.
"I'm not mean. You would've done it anyways. If I had told you it was cold, you would've asked me how cold it was and I don't know so you would've felt how cold it was," I stated as I hugged her to me.
She glared at me. "57 degrees," she mumbled as she stuck her tongue out. "Which seems colder when it's water for some reason, probably because the air around us is much warmer."
"Probably," I hummed as I took the last bite of my own sandwich and put the wrapper in a trash bag. My phone rang in my back pocket then. "I'm surprised that we have service down here," I mumbled as I started to reach for my phone. Quorra beat me to it though, reaching into my back pocket for it.
She looked at the screen before answering it, smiling up at me as she leaned her head onto my shoulder. "Yes, Alan?" she asked. Her smile faded as I heard Alan saying something on the other side. "What happened?" she asked as her head shot up.
"What's wrong?" I asked quietly.
"Alright, we'll bet there as soon as we can," she said before hanging up the phone and standing up. "We have to go," she answered as she unwrapped herself from me and stood up.
I stood as well. "Why? What's the matter?" I asked.
"Something happened to Gracey."
Tell me what you thought of the chapter, or just let me know that I still have readers...haha. See you all soon!