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Wilderness Borne by Mikayla Gabby-Green (1)

Chapter Attack of Morning People, and Hammers

 

Daphne opened her eye a crack. A little bit of light came in through the covered windows of her rented fifth wheel camper van.

She tried to understand why she was awake. Looking around her room with a curious expression, she heard it for a second time. Her eyes thinned in anger. Who the hell is bashing pans together out there?

She thought of her mother and the way she seemed to hit everything on her way out of the house when Daphne was a kid.

She closed her eye, as if her brain wasn’t fast enough to actually be awake for the disturbance.

It didn’t work.

“Well, I’m up now!” She tossed the covers to the side and pushed up into a seated position as she adjusted her shirt. She shivered a bit before she pulled on her nearby sweatpants and a hoodie with Western University emblazoned on its front.

She smirked a bit at the hoodie. Faint wisps of memory came back to her. She pulled on her boots and opened the door.

Cold fresh air came in. She balled herself deeper into her sweater, a small smile on her face as she took a deep breath of that refreshing British Columbia air. She took a moment to survey the BC landscape.

The dew in the air refreshed her slightly as she took in the mountains, the lake she was parked near, and the Rockies in the distance. There were no cars, buses, people rushing everywhere—just the beauty of untouched nature.

The sound of metal on metal interrupted her thoughts. Instead of the few starting hits from before, it seemed as if the bastard had got into a rhythm!

“Haven’t even had a damn coffee and this guy’s trying to wake up the entire Rockies,” she mumbled darkly, her eyes hooded. She moved toward the noise.

Three or four camper vans were nearby, close enough to know there were others, but far enough for everyone to have their own privacy.

She walked toward the water, seeing a man wearing a thick plaid sweater, the kind that someone couldn’t help but think would be comfortable.

He was swinging a hammer, again and again, slamming it into a metal stake, driving it into the ground. He was in the middle of a small bay. Kayaks and canoes, as well as Muskoka chairs, were staggered around him. As well as a series of plastic-looking boxes and different building supplies.

“Excuse me!” Daphne said, trying to be polite as possible.

The man twitched but it seemed he didn’t hear her properly.

She continued walking forward, a determined look on her face. “Hello!” she said in an authoritative tone.

The man missed his hit and had to dance a bit to make sure he didn’t hit his foot.

Serves you right, being up at this ungodly hour!

“Ah, morning!” The man turned around, an embarrassed look on his face.

Good morning to you too! Daphne thought as he pulled his long hair out of the way of his face.

He had olive skin, sparkling blue eyes, and seemed like he was always about to break out into a joke or a smile. He had chestnut-brown hair that made him look rugged instead of foppish. The stubble on his cheeks and neck made her want to just go up and rub it. A part of her wondered what it would feel like against her cheeks.

“Can I help you?” He smiled.

“Sorry. I was just wondering what you were doing this early?” she asked, recovering, and then alarmed at what she’d said. Ugh. Alex was right—I am too lawyer-y.

“Oh.” The man looked like a deer in the headlights as he slowly checked his watch. “Ah, I didn’t realize the time. I thought it was seven a.m. I just got in from Toronto a few days ago and I haven’t got used to the time change. Sorry about that. Is there anything I could do to make it up to you?”

I have a few ideas…down, Daphne. Down!

“No, it’s okay. I was just going to make a coffee anyways.” Daphne smiled.

“Nothing like a fresh cup.” The man smiled back.

Daphne felt he wasn’t just looking at her as if they were strangers.

“Oh, I didn’t introduce myself. I’m James.” He quickly stepped forward and held out his hand.

Up close, she could see he was built solid and he had a firm handshake.

“If I’m not too forward, could I ask you for yours?”

Daphne pursed her lips and the corners turned upward slightly. Her eyes thinned and flickered. She could see the mischief in that smile and those eyes that pulled her in. “Daphne.”

“Daphne, good to meet you and sorry to wake you. It did, however, make my morning to meet you.” He let her hand go and dropped his.

“Oh, did it?” Daphne said playfully.

James’s eyes flashed. “I’d say it’s definitely in one of my top ten mornings.”

“That high?”

James just laughed, hanging his head before looking up with a playful smile.

“Well, that coffee and shower calls me. How long are you here for?” Daphne asked.

“The whole summer. It’s supposed to be a hot one today,” James said. “How long are you here for?”

“Just a week,” Daphne said, a bit of regret clear in her voice.

James still smiled. “Well, you’ll have to make the most of it.”

“That I will.” Daphne bit her lips. Her eyes glanced over James and her heart raced, hoping she didn’t look like some kind of creeper.

James let out a chuckle, making Daphne blush but gain greater confidence.

“Shower and coffee, right. I’ll see you later then, James,” she said, thinking of how she was still wearing her comfortable clothes and hadn’t taken a shower yet.

“I look forward to it,” James said.

She turned and left. When she looked back from the door to her camper, she found James looking at her. He didn’t avoid her eyes and the sly grin was on his face; he shrugged as if he wasn’t able to stop himself. She shook her head and stepped up into her fifth wheel. She closed and locked the door behind her.

“Maybe I should do this morning thing more often?” Daphne asked herself.

She looked to her comfortable bed with its sheets tossed to the side. “Nope!”

With that, she put the coffee on and jumped in the shower, a smile on her lips as she thought about James.

You just met him! she complained to herself, which only made her smile grow a bit more as she thought about those eyes, his handshake, and the easy flirt he was. She wondered what was under that jacket. Maybe I’ll find out if he goes swimming.

She started thinking of her bikinis and what one would be the best to draw his attention without going overboard.

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