Brenda discovers love with the guide.

WHEN I'm ready."

"Come on Brenda, "Travis pleaded, "Brad's just trying to get us all home."

Brenda turned to Travis. "Fine. YOU go home with him. But I intend to stay and enjoy myself."

Holly finally stepped in and said, "Alright people, the decisions have been made. Brenda wants to stay and finish the trip. Fine. It isn't a problem with me. I'll help make sure she gets home, but it was your decision to go home tomorrow. So, first thing tomorrow, I'll take you to the canoes and you can go. Now quite arguing and get your food. We need to get some sleep before tomorrow. Travis and Brad, I have some ointment you can put on those blisters to help."

Everyone helped fix their dinner and went to bed. Brenda finished cleaning her mess kit in a stream just through the trees, then sat on a log close to the fire. She set the mess kit down and propped her chin in her hand, as she gazed into the fire. Brenda sat up as she sensed someone coming up behind her. She turned and saw Brad behind her. He sat on the log next to her. After a couple minutes, he finally spoke.

"I'm sorry, Bren. I shouldn't have made that decision for you. I just assumed you would want to go home with the rest of us."

"Why, Brad? None of you have you have given me a reason to even want to be with you. Let alone go home with you."

Brad hung his head. "I know, and I'm sorry. You deserve to be mad at me. At us. That's why I can't blame you for wanting to stay. Just promise you'll be careful. I'd hate for something to happen to you, after I leave."

Brenda sighed and put her arm around her brother.

"I forgive you. But I AM staying. I'm actually starting to have fun."

"No thanks to us. I really am sorry, Bren. I don't know what comes over me when I'm with my friends."

"Don't worry about it. Besides, I don't intend for this to happen again, anyway. Go get some sleep."

Brad stood. " 'Night, Bren."

"Goodnight, Brad."

Brenda watched as Brad entered the tent and zipped it shut.

"He actually apologized, huh?"

Brenda turned at the sound of Holly's voice. She grinned.

"Yeah. It's amazing. I think he's feeling guilty, too. Of course, if this hadn't happened, he wouldn't have."

Holly sat next to her. "You sure you don't want to go home with them?"

"I'm positive. I need some time to myself anyway. I really do enjoy it here, and if you don't mind I'd like to finish the trip. It will be more enjoyable with them out of the way. Besides, I hate paying for something and not getting my money's worth." They sat quietly for a minute, then a thought occured to Brenda. "Unless you don't want to finish the trip. One person is hardly worth your time to keep going."

"No. Not at all. I don't mind. I was more concerned for you getting home. You arrived with them and all."

"I'm not worried about it. I'd just be returning to my parent's house and start job hunting. I want to be able to enjoy some time before going back to the real world. As long as you don't mind."

Holly smiled. "I don't mind at all. I'm not scheduled to guide another group for a couple of weeks."

"Great. I just might stay around longer. I need a LOT of relaxation. Any time away from my parents and the pressure to start working."

Holly laughed. "I may hire you as a guide myself. I need another one to fill in for those that get hurt or called away in an emergency."

"Hire? You own this outfit?"

Holly grinned. "Yep. When my dad passed away I used part of my inheritance to start it. It's been a dream since I was thirteen. Now it's a reality and doing better each year."

Brenda nodded with admiration. "You've accomplished a lot in a short time, it seems. Don't you worry about finances during the winter?"

"No. Dad was actually quite well off. This is more of a hobby to keep myself busy. I've got a house not far from the base office. Most of the money I make goes for equipment, supplies and payroll. I've got plenty from my inheritance to last me the rest of my life and then some."

Brenda shook her head."Wow! That sounds great. I can tell you really enjoy this, too."


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