Hoping the storm would bypass them, Lissa dragged an Adirondack chair close to the fire ring. Jason pulled over a couple more. Before they could move the rest of them, Lissa felt a few sprinkles, the only warning before the downpour started.
They dashed inside, stopping in the kitchen to towel off.
Lissa looked at Jason. "There's no catching a break today, is there?"
He tilted her chin and brushed his mouth over hers. Little sparks fluttered over her skin. She rested her head against him, consoled by his broad shoulders. It was nice to have someone to lean on, even for a minute.
She stepped back, reluctant to leave the comfort of his embrace. She'd prefer to stay here all day or curl up into a ball in bed. "We need to come up with a plan B for the celebration tonight." She couldn't keep the tremor out of her voice.
"How about we take a little break? See if the storm passes by quickly."
A clap of thunder rattled the windows seeming to dispute that idea.
She swallowed and nodded. "I bet you're hungry. I know I am. Haven't eaten since breakfast."
"Got any cheese and crackers?"
"Yes. And some wine." She set out the snacks, choosing a Prosecco and water crackers.
Jason plucked a bottle of wine from the rack and opened it. "Good idea. Everything always looks better after wine and cheese. And you can even whine if you want."
Lissa giggled. "You're being very patient with me." She pulled out a chair for him at the bistro table in the kitchen and sat in the other one.
"Probably comes from having a couple of younger sisters."
"That's right. They're twins, aren't they?"
"Yep. Five years younger. The bane of my existence some days." He filled two glasses with the Prosecco and handed one to her.
"But I bet no one else better mess with them."
"You got that right." His grin softened his decisive tone.
By the time they'd finished a second glass of wine and the snacks, the rain stopped. Lissa sprang up from her seat and hustled outside. To the west, the clouds were drifting away, the sky was beginning to clear.
When Jason stepped up behind her, she pivoted, wrapped her arms around him and gave him a huge, smacking kiss. "Now that we've had almost an hour of rain, if we're careful, we should be able to have at least a modest bonfire."
* * *
Her kiss surprised Jason. He wanted more than a quick thank-you kiss, but now wasn't the right time. "And it should be fairly dry by the time people start to gather."
"And I'll make sure to have everyone bring a pail of water. That way, we'll be extra safe."
Lissa knelt at the fire circle. "Nanna Jo taught me the proper way to lay the fire. Except this time I'm adding an old magazine on the bottom so the wet dirt doesn't soak through to the paper and kindling."
"And maybe not fill the circle to the stones ringing the edge," he suggested.
"A very good idea."
"There are some herbs that are traditionally added."
"They were believed for purification and protection against negative or harmful energy. I think Nanna just enjoyed the nice smells."
"So what do you add?"
Jason followed Lissa to the back of the camp and entered a small gardening shed. Looking up, he saw bunches of dead plants hanging from a couple of rafters.
"Help me get them down."
He reached up and removed several from the hooks. Lissa gathered the rest.
"So what are these?"
"Mistletoe, saved and dried from Christmas, St. John's Wort, lavender, yarrow, some mint, rosemary, sage, basil and thyme."
He sniffed those in his hand. "Mmm. Smells nice."
She held out a carved box. "Put them in here."
She closed the box and tears shimmered in her eyes. "I don't think I can do this."