Sniffing a little June said, “I don’t think I could or would have, otherwise, but it was so fitting, so right that it wasn’t a hardship in the end, but a truly cherished moment.”
As they continued searching, Nigel considered their situation. While protecting June was imperative, he realized it was more than that, her safety mattered, above and beyond the usual considerations.
Although June had a sunny disposition a strong character and stronger constitution, he could guarantee before this fiasco was over, she’d need all of those attributes to see her through.
Concentrated on every step while wending their way toward their next stop point before nightfall, they didn’t talk much but it was a comfortable silence, a comfortable comradery.
For her part, June was pondering the situation over too. While she was afraid of what might come, what they might find, she had to know, had to do her best for Roland and Jackson. She knew if their positions were reversed, Roland would stop at nothing to find her.
Every now and then Nigel would halt long enough for an update or to send one, she wasn’t sure which, but it didn’t matter. She had every confidence in his abilities and by extension, his crew. If they were hand-picked as he’d suggested, he’d acquired the best for his team which in turn gave her the boost of confidence they’d find both men and bring them home safely.
It also humbled her. While she and the rest of the world sat in their sheltered homes, far away from drama, there were men out there ready willing and able to do what was necessary to bring the lost home. She couldn’t help but think of the similarities to her grandfather and others who’d served in the military and whose motto was “leave no man behind” and they meant it; they lived it.
Nigel touched her arm, then held on firmly while pointing a couple of feet ahead. He moved closer and whispered, “They’ve been here, and recently. Those broken branches haven’t closed over. They aren’t so green as to have been broken in the last 12 hours or so, but I’d say within the last 24 to 48 hours since they’re beginning to form a crust.”
“We’re on the right and getting close then?”
“I’d say so. Can’t imagine too many others that would trek all this way to find a waterfall. Unless they were heading toward the caves, there wouldn’t be a reason for them to be here.”