He glanced across the stream he had just splashed through to see if Emma was having any trouble. Anger wrinkled his brow as he spotted the woman picking her way across. Some of her long red hair had come loose from her ponytail, and there was a smudge of earth across one perfectly sculpted cheek. Even with the distance separating them, Emma knew he was in a foul temper. He had been upset since they broke camp early this morning. He had been upset since the first night. Looks like we'll be breaking up once we get back to town, she thought, not entirely happy with the prospect. The last three days had been hell, though it had started out well enough.
They had left the trailhead laughing and talking. Excitement bounced between them over the joy of finally getting to take a break. She hadn't even noticed the weight of her pack the first few miles, she was too happy to be alone with Joel finally. In the past few weeks they had barely seen each other, and most of their communications had been hurried phone calls discussing the upcoming trip. They couldn't have picked a better time to go either. The sun had been shining and the day hadn't been too hot.
Then the time to pitch the tent came. Joel had wanted to keep going, but Emma knew the trail well and knew the best spots to set up camp. After a short argument he finally relented. When she opened her pack and pulled out the fuel cylinder for her stove, though, he lost it.
"What is this? You don't think I can start a fire?"
She had jumped at the anger in his voice. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to be prepared. It might rain." She had watched him walk off to find wood, his shoulders tight.
She had been looking forward to making love to him under the stars, but it wasn't going to happen. He didn't even bother to zip their sleeping bags together,. The next morning he was in a good mood again, and she decided to shrug it off. They had a good day, and even stopped early. Then in the middle of the night it began pouring. It began with a few low rumbles of thunder, then the lightening brightened the inside of the tent. She had snuggled up closer to him, lulled by the patter of raindrops on their nylon shelter. The wind came up, and she felt moisture misting down on her face.
Sitting up, he had pushed her away. "God damnit, Em! Didn't you check the tent for leaks.?"
"I think the rainfly just came loose, I'll go check." She started to get up, but he had given her a withering look.
"I'll do it. Don't want you making me look like the asshole." She had followed him with hurt eyes as he searched for his poncho.
That had been their trip so far. She didn't even notice the water sloshing around her ankles as she stepped from the stream. She looked up at the frown in his blue eyes. "Sorry," she mumbled. She wasn't sure if she was apologizing for falling behind or for everything that had happened. It didn't really matter.
His eyes softened for a moment, smoothing out the wrinkles in his forehead. "Its okay, Em. We'll make camp soon and shrug off these packs for a while."
His paced slowed, matching his longer strides to hers. Maybe everything is going to be fine, she thought. When he turned off the trail she followed. There was a better spot up ahead she knew, but she decided to give into his wishes for now.
After resting for a few minutes Joel pulled the tent from his pack. Some dark clouds where on the horizon, and it seemed best to get the tent up before they drew any closer. She began looking for firewood.
Emma was lost in her own thoughts when she heard Joel start cursing. She hurried back to see what was wrong. He was kicking the tent when she got back.
"What's wrong, babe?"
He turned on her. "The fucking pole snapped! What kind of piece of shit tent did you decide to bring?"
"Do we have any tape? We'll figure out a way to fix it." She turned to rummage through her pack.
He stormed up behind her, waving the broken tent pole at her. "You and your fancy equipment. Look at this piece of shit!"
Something snapped in her . "Fuck you, Joel! Nothing I have done has been right since we started this damn trip. I give up. I don't know what the hell I'm doing. You can figure it all out yourself, you fucking man!"
She turned to storm off, then jumped back in surprise. A woman was standing at the edge of their clearing. Emma took stock of her quickly. She had blonde hair secured in a braid, a few loose strands hanging loosely around her face. She was thin, and shorter than Emma, but not by too much. She couldn't have been more than twenty. Emma felt reassured when she felt Joel's strong hand on her shoulder. Then she remembered their argument. Her face flushed crimson when she realized this woman must have heard them.
With smooth motions the woman strode the remaining feet towards them. She smiled. "Hi, I'm Jane." She said brightly. "Couldn't help but overhear that your tents broken. Mines big enough for three, want to share?"
Emma turned to face Joel. She was unsure of the offer and still a little embarrassed. He saw her hesitate and answered for both of them. "Thanks for the offer. I'm Joel, This is my girlfriend Emma. We'll probably just sleep under the stars tonight."
The woman, Jane, Glanced at the gathering clouds. "I don't want to sound like your mother, but these thunderstorms can be pretty harsh in the mountains this time of year." She smiled, glancing at Emma's body in a way that made her uncomfortable. "It won't be a bother, really."
As if to add force to her words, a heavy rain drop splatted on the ground between them. Joel glanced down at Emma. "Maybe we should take her up on it, Em. I don't want to get wet again tonight."
Before she could answer Jane spoke up. "Great! I'll set up the tent if you guys want to get dinner started. Do you have a stove? We don't really have time for a fire." She glanced at the pile of wood Emma had collected. "But we can throw my poncho over it so we can cook like real men in the morning." Her bright smile showed that no one would ever mistake her for a man. Emma nodded and began pulling the stove from her pack, smirking at Joel as she did so.
The storm broke just as they finished cleaning up after their meal. They climbed into the relative dryness of the tent. Emma was surprised that she liked Jane, even with the looks Joel had given her when he thought Emma wasn't looking. The girl was bright and funny. She told them about her school, she was in her junior year at college and couldn't wait to be done with it. "I'm just doing it for my parents sake, once I graduate I'm planning on doing a lot of traveling." Regardless, Emma made sure her seeping bag was in the middle. She couldn't help feeling a bit jealous of the looks Joel had been giving Jane all evening.
In the security of the tent Jane pulled out a deck of cards. After a few hands Emma began feeling uncomfortable. It was pouring outside, but she had to go or wet herself. "I'll be right back."
"Its pouring, Em, are you sure you can't hold it?" Joel looked at her with concern.
"I'll be okay. " She unzipped the tent. "be back in a minute."
It was raining harder than she had thought. Even though she hurried, she was soaked by the time she returned to the tent. Jane pulled out a towel. "Here, take your clothes off outside so they won't get the sleeping bags all wet." Emma blushed. "Oh, don't be shy, he's seen you before, and I'm a woman. Anyways I am sure you have nothing to be ashamed about." She said with a sly smile.
Emma did what she was told. Jane began drying her off the second she was in the tent. Joel had taken his shirt off in preparation for bed, and Emma saw him smiling encouragement at her. "You have beautiful tits, Emma." Jane whispered in her ear. Emma felt a surge of wetness between her legs as Jane tweaked her nipple through the towel.
"Thanks," She tried to take the towel from her.
Jane smiled at her. "Don't be shy. We can have a lot of fun tonight." Emma stared at Joel with shock as Jane took her hardening nipple into her mouth. In answer he leaned over and kissed her.