Jordan lay awake thinking about how her life had changed so radically in the past few weeks. She prided herself on her independence and planned to travel through life with no attachments holding her down. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy the company of men, but she wanted to be free to go wherever life would lead her in a moments notice. That was before she met Aidan.
She had been on another adventure hiking in Nepal when her group took refuge at Gorek Shep. They were told it was too dangerous to try to climb Everest in the winter. She was lobbying her companions to take a shot climbing part of the way. She didn’t find any takers and resigned herself to spending the night and heading back to Lukla in the morning. She was drowning her disappointment in dark chocolate and a large glass of wine at the fireside when she heard his voice.
“You don’t give up easily, do you?”
Jordan looked in the direction of the voice and saw large dark eyes that seemed to penetrate her with their intensity.
” I guess I don’t,” she replied.
” Your friends are right, this is not the time to climb the mountain.”
“I have given up on that idea already.”
” I am planning on a caving trip. Have you ever tried it?”
” I haven’t done that yet. Where are you planning to go?”
“The Krubera Cave in Abkhazia. It’s believed to be the deepest cave in the world.”
” The latest measurement was 2,197 meters.”
” That’s over 7,000 feet!”
“Yes, but I don’t recommend it for beginners. I would be willing to give you some lessons.”
” I have to head back to my home base but you have got me interested.”
“Where do you live?”
” I live in Nevada City.”
” Where’s that?”
“Nevada City is in the Gold Country in Northern California.”
” It’s where Gold was discovered and mined in California. The site of the “Gold Rush.” I grew up there. It’s a small town but with a colorful history of people who took risks and sought their fortunes in the Wild West. Maybe that’s how I got my love of adventure. I’m Jordan Sullivan, and you are?
“I’m Aidan Rourke, nice to meet you. Nevada City sounds like an interesting place to visit. Did you ever go climbing around there?”
“Just hiking but I was just thinking about what you said, teaching me about caving. There is a large cave near Angels Camp called the Moaning Caverns. There is rappelling available at the site. If you would like to come to California, you could be my guest in Nevada City.”
Jordan had shocked herself with this invitation to a man she just met but there was something about him. She was drawn to him and wanted to get to know him better. She had relationships before but they never lasted long and she told herself not to expect this one would amount to much either. After all, she was not interested in commitment and the men she usually dated felt the same way.
Aidan had taken her up on the offer to visit California and she had spent the last week showing him around her home town and the surrounding area. She was used to getting into intimate relationships quickly and this one was no different in that respect. What was different about it was how she was beginning to feel about Aidan. Jordan saw this as a red flag. You’ve got to get hold of yourself, slow down. No commitment, remember? There was something about this one though. He had such an appealing way about him. He was strong but gentle and had a quirky sense of humor that made her laugh. And when she looked into those big dark brown eyes she felt herself melt. What was she going to do? This was getting serious!
They decided to head for the Moaning Caverns the next morning. Jordan found herself yawning over breakfast.
” I didn’t think my conversation was so boring,” Aidan remarked grinning.
” I had a little trouble sleeping last night.”
” Anything bothering you?”
” Nothing really. I’m not sure what kept me awake.” Jordan was not going to admit what or who was causing her insomnia yet, or maybe never she thought.
“Are you ready for some rappelling lessons this morning?”
“I’m ready to get going. Can we leave now?”
Aidan picked up on Jordan’s irritability but decided to ignore it. He was looking forward to teaching her how to use the ropes. He couldn’t wait to get close to her again. He had been attracted to her from the first night they met and now he didn’t know how he would ever live without her. He had the ring hidden in his backpack and planned to surprise her when they were in the cave. He just hoped she felt the same way about him.
They had a great time rappelling down into the cavern. Jordan took to it like a pro. They decided to make one final descent. Aidan started off down the wall of the cave and was halfway down when his rappel anchor suddenly broke loose and he plummeted. Luckily a ledge broke his fall. Jordan screamed and cried out to him but he did not respond. She quickly descended to where he was sprawled on the ledge.
“Aidan, darling, are you hurt?”
It took a few minutes for Aidan’s head to clear then he realized Jordan was touching his body looking for any injury. “Did you call me darling?”
” Yes, and are you going to make a big deal out of it?” Jordan shouted, tears glistening in her eyes.
” Yeah, I’m going to make a big deal out it,” he said as he pulled her close and covered her mouth with his before she could say anything more.
They never made it to Abkhazia but found much to explore in Nevada City after they were married in the Spring.
This Flash Fiction post is for the # WEPFF WEP-Write…Edit…Publish February 2018 Challenge-In Too Deep hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renée, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim. Featured image Harwood hole New Zealand by Dave Bunnell on Wikimedia.org
Word Count: 998