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In the Woods - Chapter 2

Jonnie looked at his watch. It was 5.30am. It took him several minutes to become fully awake, and realize that someone outside, Jeremiah, to be exact, was chopping wood.

April was sleeping blissfully. He gazed at her for some time, soaking up her mountain fairness. He wanted her up and about, but chose not to kiss her.

He got up, poured some water and washed his face to refresh himself. As his refreshing was over, he decided to get out of the cabin.

As soon as he opened the door, Jeremiah's large and experienced axe split apart an enormous trunk of wood.

''Good morning, sir!'' the words came from behind Jeremiah's back.

''Oh, good morning!, good morning...!'' answered Jeremiah without turning his look back at Jonnie.

''You are Jonnie, right?'' asked Jeremiah, placing another large piece of wood to be chopped by his large and wide fists and arms. His shoulders under his check shirt tightened.

''Yes sir. Jonathan.'' said Jonnie, noticing how a large piece of wood jumped and found its place on the heap.

''May I help you out, sir'' Jonnie asked, immediatelly surprized by his stupid question.

''Ha ... ha ... ha!'' laughed Jeremiah. ''No,you can't... I really mean it. You're a fine young man - I guess - but this isn't something you'd find interesting... Anyway, this is my toil. And I enjoy it this early in the morning, it keeps me fit. Two or three hours a day of wood chopping...'', added Jeremiah not sure how to end his thought.

''Daddy, Jonnie...!'' April opened the simple designed window and was now gazing at the two sweetest men in her life.''What are you two on about?''

''Just chopping some woods, dear...!'' smiled the loving father. He Turned towards April and Jonnie, leaned his fists on the immense axe's dull end, and put his chin on it. He gazed at her, then at him.

''Did you ... ahem ... sleep alright?'' her father and her boyfriend asked her almost simultaneously.

''I slept like a baby ... thank you both!'' laughed April. ''I'm gonna make us some coffee'' she said before she returned into the cabin's stoic interior.

''OK!'' answered Jonnie.

April suddenly returned. ''Is it gonna be coffee or tea for you, dad?''

''I've had my coffee this morning, thank you dear ... make me a cup of tea, won't you...'', answered her father. She left again.

After Jonnie realized she is not coming back again, he got reassured and asked Jeremiah: ''When do you get up in the morning, sir?''

''I always get up at 4am. And that's the rule. Rain or shine. Rain or shine, I've always got something to do.''

''What's that you enjoy the most, sir? I've heard that your the best hunter in Big Mouth Mountain...!'' Jonnie tried to sound more interested. Jeremiah couldn't be fooled by that sound, so he responded: ''Not only in Big Mouth Mountain, but in Small Mouth Mountain as well.''

''Yes, sir!'' Jonnie knew he could not fool Jeremiah, so he looked for an exit strategy. ''I'll go inside and check on April.''

''Dear guest, be my guest!'' laughed again Jeremiah as he turned his back at Jonnie, spat on his palms, rubbed them one against the other, and chopped another big trunk. ''There you go...''

Jonnie returned inside the cabin. He was depressed and April could tell.

''I wander if a man of such a character is ever gonna accept me.'' Jonnie slumped his weary morning body on the worn out sofa by the fireplace, and April closed the door after him.

''Here's your coffee... Don't be so nervous, he's always like that with new people around him...''

''I wish I'd be sure you're lying.'' replied Jonnie. ''But I couldn't.'' added he.

''You just give him more time. Think like a hunter. Think like him.''

Jonnie was looking in her eyes for a meaning. He thought: 'A hunter? Who, me?! The closest I've been to a bear was at the Chicago Zoo...'

He felt ashamed and unworthy. April knew that. April knew much more about Jonnie. She knew him better than he knew himself.

''I have a confession to make, April.'' said Jonnie. ''Remember how I told you that I had a rifle?'' April just stared at him. ''Well, I don't have any.''

''Well, that's gonna be little problematic'' said April thoughtfully. ''All my dad wants to talk about are rifles, guns, and stuff. But don't let this bring you down. I'll talk him into presenting one of his rifles to you.''

All of a sudden, Jonnie's face brightened. April noticed that. She smiled and felt the morning Sun light anew entering the half dark cabin. She new: Jonnie could now imagine himself on a horse, accompanying har dad and his horse on their way into the deep woods. They would dismount and follow trails, just like the Indians and their fellows, the trappers, did.

''How many rifles has he got?'' asked Jonnie.

The cabin's door squeeked, and they saw Jeremiah lowering his head just enough so as to be able to enter the cabin.

''I couldn't help overhearing you children,'' said he, ''I've got eight rifles. One for each day of the week, and a spare one for a guest. But Jonathan, you're not my guest. You're my daughter's boyfriend...''

April got afraid of the direction to which this conversation could go, and she interrupted her father right away. ''Jonathan and I will marry.'' she said to her father. ''Surely, he'll be more than your guest and the boyfriend of your daughter; he will be your son ... your son-in-law...''

'Come here, April. Don't you worry. I'll make a hunter of Jonathan. Ain't it so, Jonathan?'' April jumped with exhileration, approached her father and hugged him more firmly than she did the day before.


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